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disclaimer: PTerry's, the lot of them.

whom to blame: Sam, for starting the fire. And Jingo. No book has the right to be so damn suggestive.

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A Delicate Hand
by Miss Malice

 

It is an odd arrangement. Politically, logically, even grammatically wrong. And then there are rumors, and if what urban legends say is true, there is no way it could work between these two. Yet it does.

Maybe because they are Her faithful men... broadly speaking: one insists upon his being a dwarf, and the other's humanity is often, if quietly, questioned. They are Her men, and She is their city, and that is that. Then there are other things: history, languages, arms, word-play... Many a hazardous shared interest. Not quite formal conversations and even occasional walks, but no chess.

They often talk about Commander Sir Samuel Vimes.

Sometimes they conspire.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"While I myself wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the Commander's merits," Lord Vetinari says, "I cannot imagine him accept this... quietly."

That has to be said about the Commander. And the times they live in. The inherent irony of the situation is, of course, lost on the good captain.

"Convince him."

Eyes narrow, "If you say so. You do not happen to have a letter up your sleeve, do you, Captain?"

"Not this time, sir."

"Ah, yes. This time it is personal." The smile that follows is cold, thin and very nasty.

"It's called-"

"Exactly."

"That is hardly fair, sir." A hurt look in honest blue eyes.

"They say all is fair in love and war."

"But we are not at war, sir," Captain Carrot points out, adding conscientiously, "Not any more."

"Not until this gets out. And we most certainly are not in love. Hmm..." Fingers unlock, tap the chin, weave a pattern in the air. With mock reproach, "For such a simple man, Captain, you enjoy complications too much. But with a delicate hand-"

His own hand comes to rest not on the desk, as intended, but clasped gently in Carrot's for what appears to be a close anatomical study.

It is a delicate hand, yes, thin and narrow, a fine construction of bone and tendon covered with skin fair. The contrasts seem to fascinate Carrot, tan against pale, smooth against rough as he runs curious but careful fingers along the lines on the palm and the scars on the back. Delicate but strong, firm and warm to his touch, it speaks of tricks and skill, and - aye - complications, and danger. A delicate hand of a strong man. A ruler. An assassin... He traces blue veins on the bony wrist, feels the pulse - normal, even, - and thinks of pencils and handcuffs...

The Patrician begins to wonder if the Captain is indeed trying to read his palm when Carrot leans down and lips touch where his fingers were. It... tingles. Shy and hot. Vetinari's fingers skim over the curve of an ear, curl in cropped short red hair when a hot tongue licks across his wrist; his heart sinks and then picks up a wilder beat...

...And someone knocks at the door.

"Come in."

Enter Rufus Drumknott, bringing a stack of papers. A quiet, sensible man, and a good secretary.

"The drafts, my lord. Captain."

"Thank you, Drumknott."

The door closes. Lord Vetinari peruses the stack. Good news. Calm and peace. The tick and flow of life.

"Captain?"

"Sir."

"May I have my hand back? Thank you."

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There is no way it could possibly work...

 

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