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Disclaimer:  All Discworld characters belong to Terry Pratchett.  I own nothing.  I’m just inspired to write stuff he isn’t likely to.  No disrespect is intended.

Author’s note: This is the fourth story in the Carrot/Vimes slash series.  However, since this story is rated for darkness rather than smut, it’s listed under both ‘Author’ and the ‘Restricted Section’ along with the rest of the series.

~

Missing!
by Badge177

Chapter 1

Carrot was on his lunch break.  He never wandered far from the Watch House and was sitting in a handy café.  He finished eating and then pushed away his empty plate, picking up his mug of coffee.

The waiter came over.  “Another helping, captain?” he asked cheerfully, wiping his hands on his apron.

“No, thank you, Mr. Gimlet,” said Carrot.  “That was delicious, but I must be getting back to the Watch House soon.  I’ll just finish my coffee and then I’ll be off.”

“Right you are.  But if you need anything else, just give me a shout.”

“I’ll do that, Mr. Gimlet.  Thank you.”

Carrot leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, enjoying a few more minutes before going back on duty.

On the far side of the room, an unknown figure was watching him intently.  He reached for his tankard with a massive hand, eyeing Carrot as he drank.  He held the tankard to his lips and whispered out of the corner of his mouth to the man sat next to him.  “’Ere, Watts... is that him?”

“Yeah, that’s him,” the one called Watts replied.  “And stop gawping at him before he notices us.”  Watts was weasel-like, his dark, lank hair hung around his face and he had a matchstick hanging from his mouth.  He was watching a small beetle scurry across the table.

“He’s a big bugger, ain’t he?” The larger man said.  “You never told me he was big.”

Watts reached out and grabbed the beetle; he held it tightly in his hand.  “He’s no bigger than you are, Sharkey,” he said.  “If you don’t want the job, just say so, I can always get someone else to do it.”  He picked up the beetle between his thumb and index finger, watching as it struggled to free itself.  “I didn’t think he’d be a problem for you.”

Sharkey sniffed.  “I didn’t say he’d be a problem,” he said irritably.  “I just said he was big, that’s all.”  He took another slug of ale and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.  “How much did you say he’d be worth?” he said, keeping his voice low.

“At least $100,000,” said Watts; he was pulling the legs off the beetle, “…maybe more.”

Sharkey pulled a face.  “That’s a lot of money for one Watchman,” he said doubtfully.  “You think this other geezer will pay it?”

Watts crushed the beetle between his fingers, killing it.  “Oh, he’ll pay it all right,” he said darkly.  “I’ll make sure of that...”

-o0o-

Commander Vimes sat in his office with a mug of cold coffee.  He was staring at the mountains of paperwork on his desk.  He sighed.  If he didn’t get around to it soon he wouldn’t have a desk left to work on.  He sometimes wished he shared half of Carrot’s enthusiasm for dealing with it.

He got up and walked over to the window, taking his mug with him.  The window was wide open.  The air outside was warm; the sounds of the street drifted up from below.  That’s where he really wanted to be, out there in the streets.  That’s where the proper police work was done in his opinion, not in here stuck behind a desk.  He took a mouthful of coffee and then wandered down the stairs.  He looked around until he spotted Sergeant Colon.

“Fred?” he called out.  “Any idea what time Carrot’s due back from lunch?”

Colon glanced up at the clock. “Well, he left about noon, sir.  So he should be back any minute now.”

Vimes nodded.  “Right.  Well, send him up as soon as he gets in, would you?  I could do with a hand upstairs.”

“Will do, sir.”

Vimes returned to his office and sat down.  He could already hear Carrot’s lecture about the paperwork as he picked up the first letter on the pile.  Oh well, he thought.  Better make it look as though I’ve made a start...

-o0o-

Carrot pushed back his chair and got up from the table.  He left enough money to pay for his meal by the side of the plate, and then left the café.  He was followed by the two men who left immediately afterwards.  Once outside, Sharkey disappeared down a side alley, leaving Watts to follow Carrot.

“Er, excuse me, officer?” said Watts as he caught up with Carrot.

Carrot turned.  “Hello, Mr...”  He looked the man up and down.  “Oh.  I don’t think we’ve met before, have we?”

“Er, no,” said Watts.  “But I was wondering if you could help me?”

“Yes, of course, what seems to be the problem?”

“It’s this way,” said Watts, gesturing in the general direction of the Shades.  “Follow me.”

Carrot hesitated for only a second, before following, dutifully.

-o0o-

Vimes looked up from the latest complaint from the Thieves Guild and glanced at the clock.  It was almost half past one and there was still no sign of Carrot.  He frowned.  It was unusual for Carrot to be late.  He got up from his desk and walked back down the stairs.  He wandered over to Colon, who was doing his best to look busy.

“Fred?” he said.  “Did Carrot have any jobs on after lunch?”

“Not that I know of, sir.  Why?”

Vimes shook his head.  “I just wondered that’s all.  It’s not like Carrot to be late.”

“I shouldn’t worry, sir.  He wouldn’t be late unless he had a good reason, and he’s hardly likely to get lost!”

“Well, all the same, if he’s not back by 2 o’clock send a clacks out asking him to return to the Watch House, would you?”

“Right you are, sir.”

-o0o-

“Er, how much further is it?” said Carrot, when he noticed they were going deeper into the Shades than Vimes would have liked him to go on his own. 

“Not much further now...” 

Watts was leading him down numerous back streets and alleys, deliberately keeping away from what passed for the main thoroughfare.  Carrot looked around, convinced they were going around in circles.  A quick glance at his watch told him he should’ve been back at the Yard almost half an hour ago.

“Can’t you just tell me what the problem is,” he asked politely, as he followed Watts down another back street.

“It’s easier just to show you, really,” said Watts.  “We’re almost there now...”

They turned another corner, finally stopping in a narrow dead end.  The buildings overhead seemed to close in, cutting out what little sunlight there was.  The alley was dark and strewn with rubbish.  Rats scavenged among the overflowing dustbins lining both walls.  It looked like they hadn’t been emptied in months.  It smelled like it, too.

Carrot put a hand to his nose.

Watts grinned.  “You’ll get used to it,” he said.  Adding mentally, Where you’re going, you’ll need to.  He led Carrot to a doorway.  “It’s just through here,” he said.  He opened the door and stepped back.  “After you, officer.”

Carrot ducked under the low doorway and entered into almost complete darkness.

“What am I supposed to be lookin—” Carrot managed to get halfway through the sentence before something hard hit him on the back of the neck.  He fell to the ground, heavily.

Watts stepped in and kicked the door closed behind him.  He grinned.  “Nice work, Sharkey.”

Sharkey bent down and grabbed Carrot under the arms.  “I told you he wouldn’t be a problem,” he said, dragging Carrot away from the door. 

Watts looked pleased.  “This is easier than I thought.”

“Don’t get cocky, Watts.  This is only the beginning.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” said Watts, looking down at Carrot’s unconscious form.  “This is when the fun really starts...”

-o0o-

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