chapters 1 2
A Changing Moon
At the sight of the bed, reality snapped, with a rather loud click, back into focus. Vimes blinked in astonishment. It seemed that just a moment ago they had arrived at the Palace. And then the Patrician had-
Vimes gulped at the realization of what he was doing. He wasn't going to lie to himself and say that he had never wondered about the personal life of the Patrician. Everyone else, with the possible exception of Carrot, speculated, wondered and were extremely puzzled by Vetinari's lack of vices.
Samuel Vimes had just never thought he would be the one to find out in a rather up close and personal way.
Vetinari stepped behind him and lifted the hat from Vimes' head.
Vimes shivered at the cool touch over his tipped ears. Vetinari's fingers caressed the outer curve and moved down to his neck. For some reason his neck was more sensitive than usual tonight.
Vetinari bent his head to press a kiss to his cheek.
Vimes dimly wondered if he should have shaved.
Lord Vetinari's hands continued to move down his body. Stopping at the buttons and ties of his clothes.
Sam felt his mouth suddenly get dry. Nervously he pulled away from Vetinari's touch.
"I can do that, my lorrrd."
Vetinari's mouth quirked in something that looked like a smile. "My name isn't my lord."
"I know," Sam said, as he swallowed in the attempt to wet his throat.
"What is my name?" Vetinari whispered. He was very close but not touching Samuel Vimes in any way. The Patrician knew that getting him to say his name was a major step in getting Samuel to stop thinking about him in a certain way. It would force him to acknowledge Lord Havelock Vetinari as being more than the nearly emotionless, deadly man that ruled the city with such fine control. It would make the Commander see him as a person, who had a family, feeling, and was just as importance an individual as any of the citizens that Samuel spent his hours trying to protect and serve.
Sam licked his lips. "Havelock," he choked out.
Sam was rather shocked to see warmth enter Veti- Havelock's eyes at the sound of his name. He felt hypnotized; he couldn't move. There was such caring in Havelock's eyes that he had to be hallucinating it.
Sam's eyes snapped shut as Havelock kissed him once again.
Havelock continued to undress Vimes. Moving quickly but carefully so as not to spook Sam he finished. The last of Samuel Vimes' clothes hit the floor and left him naked before Havelock's hungry eyes. Such a scene had been one of the last Havelock would have ever expected to experience.
Sam wasn't a cowardly man. He wasn't going to let the Patrician, Havelock, dictate how this encounter would go. Samuel Vimes opened his eyes and kissed Havelock back.
He moved his hands to Havelock's robes. "You should get out of these."
"I plan to." Havelock smiled and pressed his hands onto Sam's shoulders. As he pushed him towards the bed he slowly slid his hands down. Onto his collarbones, down to his chest, further down onto his abdomen. They caressed every inch of bare skin.
Sam watched the way the long, elegant fingers moved over his skin and barely noticed that they had reached the bed. He did notice when he ended up sprawled onto the black sheets.
Havelock moved back and pulled off his robes. Sam noticed that he wasn't the least bit uncomfortable in doing so.
His body was slender but the Patrician kept himself in good shape.
Sam Vimes was captivated by the long expanse of smooth white skin. There were no notable scars on Havelock's body, unlike his own which reflected his rough lifestyle. Vetinari's birth into a privileged family hadn't softened him, for his body was firm with muscles.
Havelock gracefully walked over to his desk and brought out a slim, blue, glass bottle from one of the drawers.
"What is that?"
"It's a gift I received from Mrs. Palm. On the anniversary of my achieving the office of Patrician. It's scented oil."
Vimes turned red at what that implied.
"She felt that my job was entirely too stressful and I could use a massage now and then," Havelock continued, ignoring Vimes' new facial colour. "I have thought of a better use for it."
He walked up to Sam and settled on the bed. He poured a small amount in his palm.
The faint scent of lavenders wafted through the room.
Havelock dripped the golden liquid onto Sam's stomach. He dipped his hand and smeared it all over Vimes' chest. Vetinari traced every muscle and line of flesh. He admired the way that Samuel's skin shimmered in the light of the candles. The colours were the only ones in the whole room.
Sam shivered at the slow touches and the long caresses.
He gasped as Havelock's oil covered hand wrapped around his erection.
He was reduced to trembling and moaning as the slick hand covered ever inch of soft skin.
It had been too long. Sam could feel the orgasm building fast.
"Wait-" he panted. "Too much."
The warm hand pulled away and Sam groaned at its loss.
"There is no reason to rush." Havelock whispered against his ear. "You aren't going anywhere for the rest the night."
Vimes moaned. He couldn't decide whether that was a promise or a threat. He closed his eyes as Havelock's mouth descended on his neck. Soft, shocks of pleasure rippled up his spine as Havelock bit him lightly and then soothed the skin with slow lingering lick.
Sam's eyes snapped wide open as he felt Havelock's muscled legs brace his sides.
He froze, staring, as he watched Havelock lower himself on to his cock.
"Wha-What are y-!" Vimes gasped and closed his eyes as he felt himself enveloped into the hot, tight spot. He couldn't believe this was happening. Havelock had just-!
Wouldn't that have hurt him? Vimes grew concerned when he noticed that Havelock wasn't doing anything.
He opened his eyes and was caught in Vetinari's deep blue eyes.
"Are you with me now?" Havelock asked, bemused.
Mutely, Vimes nodded, so Vetinari began to move.
Havelock's slow movements were torture.
He almost reached out to grip Havelock's hips but caught himself in time and shoved his clawed hands deep into the coverings of the bed.
As Havelock rocked and moved above him, Sam's breathing grew fast and erratic. Each gasp of air moved the scent of Havelock deep into his mind.
His eyes widened when he heard Havelock moan in pleasure.
He almost stopped breathing all together at the sight of the other man. Havelock's skin was pure white. The faint layer of sweat made him glow. His normally smoothed down black hair was wild and it was longer than he expected. Havelock's eyes were as bright as sapphires and stared straight down at him.
Samuel realized, for the first time, that Havelock Vetinari was a rather beautiful man. He had never noticed before and now he couldn't help but be enthralled.
The instant their eyes met a connection seemed to form. It called to the beast within Sam. He felt it clawing for control, but Samuel Vimes was more stubborn than any animal ever created and he refused to yield.
Havelock held himself in firm control. The urge to push both of them to the edge as fast as possible was overwhelming. Yet he resisted. He was going to enjoy this for every breath possible. There was a considerable chance that he would never get to repeat this experience again.
He gasped, taken off guard as Samuel moved under him. He could feel the coiled strength of Samuel's werewolf body and the way that he held back so not to buck him off.
He locked his gaze with Samuel's. There were emotions darkening Samuel's eyes but he couldn't define them, and at the moment he didn't have the time.
He tightened his hands onto Sam's shoulders and held on.
Havelock screamed silently as his orgasm stormed through him. It crashed through his mental barriers; it destroyed every essence of control and intelligence, leaving behind only pleasure.
Wet, heat spilled onto their bellies.
He slumped onto Samuel's chest and lay there as he tried to get his breath back. It had been a long time for him too and being with Samuel was better than he'd ever imagined.
Sam's hands caressed Havelock's back. He couldn't stop himself from touching the soft skin.
Havelock pulled himself away. Sam's softened cock slipped out of his body.
Sam trembled and tried not to cry out at the loss of the warm body as Havelock got out of bed.
Moments later Vetinari returned and cleaned both of them off with the ruin of his former black robes.
"I take it that any thoughts of suicide are furthermost from your mind right now?"
Vimes nodded. He couldn't even speak at the moment. He was also so relaxed and mellow he probably would have agreed that burning down all of Ankh-Morpork would probably be a good idea. It would clean out all the criminals after all. But lucky for the city that was not what the Patrician had in mind.
"You should get a few hours of sleep. It's late and neither of us are as young as we once were," Vetinari said.
Vimes nodded and yawned. Not fully aware of his actions he pulled Havelock close to him and nuzzled his neck before drifting off to sleep.
Havelock blinked at the ceiling at Vimes' actions before allowing sleep to lure him away.
Right outside the last bit of darkness was pushed away by the impatient fingers of the rose coloured dawn. As the sun blazed up the slow, honey coloured light followed.
Vetinari felt Vimes shiver next to him. There was an odd feeling, as if the air had torn itself in half, for less than a moment.
He pulled Samuel against him and let his fingers run through his hair. It felt like hair now and less like fur. His fingers caressed the fully rounded ears.
Vimes was back to his human form.
Vetinari didn't need much sleep; if anything even with the night's activities he had gotten more sleep then he did on a regular basis. So Havelock walked to his desk and settled down to wait for Samuel to awaken. The reactions of the Commander would determine the state of their 'relationship', but it would take him a couple of hours to awaken. He might as well get some work done.
Samuel Vimes jerked awake as a nightmare faded back to fantasy and reality set in.
It is a sad state of the Commander's mind that having such nightmares was a regular part of his morning and that upon waking it is easy for him to shrug it off.
Vimes yawned and stretched out his body as he awoke. He blinked as he failed to recognize the ceiling. 'Where are all the cracks?' He sat up immediately and stared around the room.
The sight of the abysmally bare room and the dark-robed figure working on the desk made his memory return swiftly.
Vimes very quietly watched the Patrician work. He was very confused over his feelings. Within himself he felt absolute contentedness and pleasure at the sight of Vetinari. He should be panicked and trying to get away as soon as possible. Instead he felt the urge to get out of bed and wrap himself as close as was possible to Havelock's smooth skin. He was utterly certain that last night wasn't enough for him.
It was like he had to be near Havelock and protect him at all costs.
Even his emotions were strong in regards to Havelock.
Sam's hands clenched in sudden shock and realization.
He couldn't have fallen in love with him. Vimes lay his head back on the pillow and stared at the ceiling. He was dazed. It wasn't possible. He couldn't have just fallen for Havelock like that could he? He had never even considered Havelock like that before.
Maybe it was just that he hadn't slept with anyone in a long time. That had to be it. Anything else just didn't make any sense.
"Are you hungry?"
Vetinari's voice startled Vimes out his thoughts.
He shoved his emerging soft feelings away and nodded towards Vetinari.
He pulled himself off the bed and found a black robe lying next to him. He shouldered into it and silently followed Havelock Vetinari out of the room.
After eating a light snack they returned to bed and got to learn how their bodies worked together when Vimes was fully human.
The differences; were not many and very interesting to discover.
After as they lounged in bed a sudden memory, repressed for several months, returned with a vengeance and struck Vimes with the force of a hammer. Or at least one of Dorfl's fists.
Sam Vimes turned himself around so he could look into Havelock's blue eyes.
"I think I know what happened."
Havelock blinked. "Clarify."
"I know what made me a werewolf."
Havelock watched Sam's eyes stare at the air as the memories played out in his mind.
Sam whispered, "It was in Uberwald. When the werewolves were chasing me. There was this point on a boat. A werewolf was waiting for me there. I wasn't fast enough. He ripped my chest open." He blinked and shuddered, "There was so much blood. I could feel my heart pumping away. I- I was still aware when the werewolf began to feed on me. It ate most of my chest and stomach. The pain was so intense. I wondered why it didn't just kill me. Then I figured out that it enjoyed eating me alive."
Havelock's hands clenched. He had to resist the irrational urge to examine Samuel's chest to be sure that there was no injury or the mark of one.
Sam Vimes' became soft and dazed. "I think that I passed out at once then. I thought I had been hallucinating, that it was some sort of dream. I was very cold. It didn't even hurt. Then we went over a waterfall. I saw Death. I talked to him, he was strange. That is why I thought I was hallucinating. Death isn't like that. When I came out of the water I was fine. Not a scratch on me. I thought I had dreamed the whole thing. That it was some sort of living mirage caused by the cold."
Vimes' voice broke. "But it wasn't. If the waterfall hadn't been there I'd be dead right now."
Vetinari controlled a shudder. He knew that was true. He also knew that if Samuel had died in Uberwald he would have blamed himself. He was too involved with Samuel Vimes to think otherwise.
Vetinari tightened his arms around Samuel. He considered what to say in response and how to phrase it correctly. He finally said, "I can not say that if I had known what would have happened I wouldn't have sent you. You were the only one who fit the circumstances and could react like a watchman and still have the ranking necessary to be accepted by Uberwald's elite society. I doubt there is another man in the whole city who could have done what was necessary and in such a manner."
Vimes felt a brief flare of anger, before calming and realizing that it was true. No matter what had happened to him and how it would give him screaming nightmares for years to come, he had survived and he had been the only one who had been able to piece all the so called 'clues' together. Had anyone else been sent then it would have been very likely that right now the riots among the dwarves would have escalated and war would have broken out in Ankh-Morpork. And those people that he had always tried to look out for would be suffering.
"I understand." Vimes said. "I don't like it but I see why I had to be there instead of someone else. It helps that now I know the reason as to why you sent me there in the first place. Just as long as there is no similar surprise waiting for me."
Vetinari froze and thought. There was something that he was holding back. Something that he would have to tell Samuel about.
There was no other option. He would have to inform Samuel. His own respect and emotions regarding the man were to high too hold back this information from him.
Vetinari just hoped he would not lose the man's consideration in light of the new information.
Vetinari pressed a kiss onto the skin of Vimes' shoulder. "There is something you should know."
Samuel Vimes groaned. "What else could you tell me that is more earth-shattering than finding out I'm one of the bloody undead."
Lord Havelock Vetinari sighed and continued. "Did you know that wolves mated for life, Samuel?"
Vimes looked briefly puzzled. The thought trickled into the rest of his mind and the little unused bits shouted warning. Very slowly he turned around to look at Havelock straight in the eyes.
Vimes asked in a flat monotone. "What are you trying to say, sir?"
Vetinari sighed in mild exasperation. "Do I really have to spell it out, Sir Samuel?"
Vimes pulled away from Havelock's touch. He clenched his teeth to keep his anger from saying something he would later, without a doubt, come to regret. "Yes." He ground out.
"Werewolves also mate for life. I'm the only one you will ever want for the rest of your life."
Vimes glared at the white blank wall over Vetinari's shoulder and whispered harshly. "You knew that didn't you, sir?"
Vetinari was silent. It was true. He had known that little fact about werewolves. He seduced Vimes with that knowledge and hadn't let it stop him. If fact he knew he had been relying on it.
"Yes." Vetinari finally answered. "I knew."
Vimes scrambled away from Vetinari and began to pull on his clothes. The fury he was feeling made his actions abrupt and quick. Once he was fully clothed he turned to look at the Patrician. He asked angrily, "Why? If you knew that much about werewolves, why did you sleep with me? Does it give you some perverse sense of power to tie me to you like that?"
Silently Vetinari watched him rant. Vimes stared down and waited for an answer. When none came forth he snarled and stormed out.
Vetinari sighed and rubbed his forehead. He had handled that rather badly.
He should have known that Vimes would react in such an angry manner. The man was so stubborn. Obviously having sex with Vimes had destroyed some of his own logical thinking skills.
And the worse of it was that he wasn't likely to say no to the repeat of another such night. Many, many repeats.
Vimes wandered the halls of the Palace. He was lost.
The Palace wasn't this big. How in the Disc had he gotten so lost?
He came to a green door and knocked.
Vimes heard a shuffle and the door opened to show the Patrician's secretary, Drumknott.
Drumknott looked startled to see the Commander of the City Watch in the personal wing of the Patrician.
"Duke Vimes." Drumknott tried to look dignified in his bed clothes. "Is there something I can do to help you?"
Vimes ignored Drumknott's curious look. "How do I get back to the office of the Patrician?"
"Just take the third door on the left and walk down the hall to the fifth door then you will come to a larger room with three sets of stairs. Take the middle one. The rest lead elsewhere." Drumknott's curiosity got the better of him. "How did you get here Sir Samuel? The entrance to this wing is well hidden."
Vimes just growled and stalked away. He had to get out!
The despair that had haunted him earlier was returning with a vengeance and it's brother, anguish.
Vimes swore as he ran out of the Palace.
Bad enough he was monster, one of the bloody undead, but now he was bound to the Patrician closer than he had ever wanted to be in his life.
That wasn't the worst thing, considering last night, it actually wouldn't be bad, he honestly admitted to himself. No, the absolutely worst thing was that he didn't have a choice in the matter. Havelo-Vetinari had deliberately trapped him and taken away his freedom. He was worse off than any slave. At least a slave could break out of his shackles and escape. But no matter how far and hard he ran he would still be tied to Hav-Vetinari. At least a slave always had the hope to escape the shackles and be a free man.
Vimes paused at the end of Gleam Street and with his copper homing instincts began to search for the nearest bar.
He needed a drink. No. He needed to get drunk. He no longer had any motivation to stay sober and on the bloody wagon.
If ever there was a time a man needed to get drunk, then finding out he was werewolf and being told that he was permanently mated to the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork would be it.
Oh Gods! He was, in all essence, married to Havelock Vetinari.
Vetinari steepled his hands on his desk as he tried to think of his next move.
Knowing Samuel Vimes, the man had either gone back to work or was planning a drastic course of action that would involve multiple bystanders, heavy property damage and blood in the streets. Hopefully if he had gone to work first then Captain Carrot would be able to stop him before the River of Ankh-Morpork turned more bloody than muddy.
If Vimes avoided work, well, he would be hearing the reports and complaints soon enough.
Until then the most he could do was continue his job as the Patrician. The city didn't run itself and last night had set him back on the daily reports. It would take him a few additional hours to catch up on all the night's activities.
Oddly enough he really wasn't looking forward to it. He hoped he wasn't catching Samuel's aversion to paper work.
With one hand Vimes happily swung two bottles of Bearhugger's Finest. A third bottle was clutched in the other hand, and it was mostly full too.
He had decided it would be safer to get drunk alone than in the middle of a bar. The other drinkers could start a fight and as a werewolf he would have hurt them badly. Not that they would have been innocent bystanders but it was one thing to hurt someone on purpose and quite other to kill them, even by accident.
Vimes staggered into the Watch House and up the stairs into his private room.
The sound of a door slamming up the stairs unfroze most of the Watchmen.
In panic, Nobby bit his helmet. "He's going to go spare. Absolutely spare!" he mumbled under his breath.
Sergeant Colon stood up slowly, gravely and with a face that was a peculiar green-grayish colour. "Someone get Captain Carrot. Now!" he said.
About a dozen guards frantically ran out the door and headed in all directions before a clever, and cool-headed guard just went up to the clacks and had an encoded message, describing the situation, sent to the captain to come in as fast as possible.
No one was willing to go up stairs to face the Commander. At least not without the captain as back-up.
"My lord." Carrot saluted as he stepped into the Oblong Office.
"What brings you here Captain?" Vetinari asked.
"It the Commander."
Vetinari leaned back. He was going to enjoy this. Vimes always come up with the most fascinating ways of dealing with people who broke the law or insulted his sense of justice.
"He's locked himself in his room, sir. And he was seen carrying three bottles of alcohol."
Vetinari sat up straight. "What!" He hadn't expected that at all. Since being given more responsibility the Commander avoided alcohol like a vampire avoided the sunlight.
Carrot watched Vetinari's face. The emotions sweeping across were nearly too fast to catch and recognize.
"What happened last night, sir?"
A cold hard mask drooped onto Vetinari's features. "That is none of you concern Captain."
"Something's happened." Carrot insisted. "Mister Vimes wouldn't just take up drinking again without some sort of reason."
"I would think that being turned into a werewolf would be sufficient motivation." Vetinari said dryly.
Carrot shook his head. "No, Mister Vimes wouldn't drink if it was just that. There has to be more to it."
Vetinari narrowed his eyes. "There is no more Captain."
Standing very still, Carrot watched the Patrician. He knew that more had happened than he was being told but he could not figure out what it could possibly be. It had to be very important for it to affect the Commander so much. The only other time he had been worse was when the Patrician was going to take Mister Vimes' badge away from him.
"Sir! Did you ask the Commander's resignation? His being a werewolf won't be a problem. I've had a chance to talk to Angua and she said that--"
"I'm not taking his badge. If anything I had to firmly order Sir Samuel to keep it."
"Oh." Carrot was more puzzled than before. "My lord," he said respectfully. "Would you consider stopping by to talk to the Commander?"
Vetinari nodded stiffly and watched as Carrot saluted and left. He began to read the reports on his desk again. After five minutes he gave up. It was entirely too obvious that he would not be able to concentrate on his work until he was certain that Samuel was all right. Vetinari needed to find out what had driven him to drink.
Lord Vetinari frowned at his hands. He would have to go see Samuel, now.
Overwhelmed with red rage Vimes smashed the half-full bottle of Bearhuggers against the wall. It shattered with an explosion of glass and the finest liquor in Ankh-Morpork.
"Bloody hell!" He couldn't get drunk!
He'd drunk two bottles in minutes and he still wasn't drunk. He wasn't even slightly tipsy!
"I believe you once said that wasting a bottle of Bearhuggers' Finest was a crime punishable by hanging."
Vimes jerked around to stare at Vetinari. The Patrician was leaning on his cane and watching him with a steady look.
"What do you want?" Vimes grumbled. He was miserable. He couldn't believe that the day could get any worse. Obviously he was wrong.
"Why have you stepped off the wagon?"
"What does it matter? I can't even get buzzed off this stuff." Vimes dropped onto his bed and avoided looking at Vetinari.
"I want to know why you felt the need to start.'
Vimes let loose a low bitter laugh. "Its always about you isn't it? Even now."
Vetinari blinked. He hadn't been expecting that. But knowing the Commander it made sense that he would still be thinking about the whole mated for life issue.
"Tell me." Vimes demanded. "I need to hear the real reason why you took me to your bed. I need to know. You aren't a martyr. You wouldn't do anything that didn't benefit you in some way. And if you tell me otherwise I won't believe you."
Vetinari remained still and silent. How was he to give the man a sufficiently believable reason when he had a hard time explaining it all to himself. He cared for Samuel; that much he could admit. But the reason he had forced the issue and linked Samuel to him with deception was harder to explain. He just knew that the thought of the Commander with anyone else made his soul shudder and his heart rage with jealousy. It didn't excuse his actions though. He had deceived the man for personal reasons. Had it been for other reasons he may not have cared how Vimes felt about it. But never before had he used Commander Samuel Vimes for anything less than to save Ankh-Morpork from people with a less firm grasp of reality and politics. Instead he had used Samuel for his own gain. Vetinari knew he owed the other man the truth.
Second ticked by without a response from the Patrician.
"Dammit Havelock!" Vimes stood up and stalked up to Vetinari.
"I don't know what you want me to say, Commander," stalled Vetinari.
"Yes, you do." Vimes looked terrible, his face haggard, and his eyes pained. He hated this game that Vetinari was playing with him. He shivered, even now with the day's sun outside he felt the tug of the wolf inside of him. It was insisting that he obey Vetinari, that Vetinari was Alpha- the leader, but as the man he never took orders blindly. He wasn't about to start. He wanted this charade to end now.
Vetinari looked full force into Vimes' pleading eyes. And took in a slow shuddering breath.
He finally answered, as honestly as he could. "I couldn't stand to lose you. You were too close to attempting suicide last night. I had to make sure that you would never leave me."
Vimes slowly exhaled, his knees felt weak. It was both a relief and very frightening to hear that confession. A relief because now he knew that Havelock sleeping with him wasn't motivated by some strange, arcane, political reason. And it scared him to hear it because it implied a deep level of feeling from the Patrician that he hadn't considered possible. He had spent too much of his life regarding the Patrician as an unfeeling monster that to actually be faced with a man who had a heart and some very real feelings to go along with it, was shocking. Like finding out the world was round instead of a disc.
Vimes wobbled over and sat on his bed.
He had to think clearly about this. He couldn't let his anger control him
"What you did to me was wrong," he finally said. "You should have left me some choice in who I wanted to be with for the rest of my life."
"It doesn't make it better but I'm more willing to understand why you did it. I don't know if I can forgive you anytime soon."
Vetinari slowly exhaled. "You've already had my heart for years."
Vimes mouth dropped. "Years?" he said.
Havelock Vetinari's smile was slow and self-deprecating, "Yes. I may have tied you to me last night but you've tied me to you for much longer than that."
"What-?" Vimes' face was confused. "What do you mean?"
"I've been tied to you since the day we first met."
"But that was-"
"Over 15 years ago. I know."
"All those years? I thought you hated me!"
"You put me in the damned Night Watch!" Vimes yelled.
"To keep you safe. You were always running after danger. You were too reckless, too certain that nothing would hurt you." Vetinari whispered. He wasn't going to admit the nightmares that had haunted him for those months. It was when he began to establish his reputation of needing no sleep.
"I was young and stupid," sighed Vimes, he agreed with Havelock that he would most likely be dead if he had stayed with the Palace Guards. "Still, you did that to me for my own good?" Vimes' voice was incredulous and full of anger.
"I wasn't going to let you hurt yourself." Vetinari said. "I wasn't going to let that happen then and I most definitely wasn't going to let that happen now."
Vimes shook his head. He was having a hard time believing it. All these years of being certain that he was a breath away from the scorpion pit. Just one misplaced word, or action away from death. That he was beneath the notice and care of the most powerful man in Ankh-Morpork, and that all this time the man had actually been keeping him under firm watch. Havelock Vetinari had actually been trying to protect him for all these years. But that didn't explain everything. "What changed your mind?"
Vetinari blinked, he knew what Samuel was talking about. Why after all this time, why had he given him back so much? The Watch, his Dukedom, everything. "I was seeing you lose yourself in alcohol. It was destroying you. I couldn't bear to watch. For a long time I thought that I had pushed you too far and there was no way to get you back."
"So you ignored me."
"I never ignored you. I just couldn't focus my personal attention on you for the whole city to see. That would have also put you in danger. But I never forgot about you."
"His arrival was the catalyst that changed so much of the Watch. That dragged you out of the bottle and back into reality."
Vimes rubbed his neck. "So if Carrot had never wanted to become a Watchman you would never have done anything?" Anger leaked back into his voice. "You would have left me there. Forever?"
Vetinari didn't answer.
"Havelock," growled Vimes. "What were you going to do with me?"
"I would have left you alone." Vetinari looked into Vimes' angry eyes. "If you hadn't pulled yourself out of the bottle I would have ended the Night Watch. Maybe I would have attached you to a permanent position at a desk for the Day Watch."
Vimes shivered. That would have been even worse than being captain of the night watch. Then he truly would have been in hell. He glared at the Patrician. "Have you lost your bloody mind? By that time I would have been less than a shell. I would have been broken! And you would have done that to me!"
"I know. What I have done to you is possibly unforgivable but I am asking you for it." Vetinari stood his ground as Vimes grew closer to him.
Vimes shoved Vetinari against the wall. A few inches away from Havelock's face Vimes hissed out, "I may forgive you. You owe me. So I have some conditions. One: You have to promise to never attempt to save me from myself ever again. I am my own man. What I do and the choices I make are mine alone. You cannot and will not make them for me!"
Vetinari nodded. He didn't want to say a word in case it caused Samuel to change his mind or made him angrier than he already was.
"Two: If you need me to do something. Tell me. Don't yank my chains and drive me crazy trying to manipulate me. If you just let me know I can do what need to be done."
"Three: You have to help me find some way to cure myself of the werewolf. I can't be like this forever.
"Four: Never leave me because if you do, I swear I'll hunt you down."
Havelock tightened his arms around Sam. "That is not a demand for me. It is my pleasure."
"And Five," Vimes continued, his voice somewhat muffled from trying to talk into Vetinari's neck. "I reserve the right to add more to these demands, later. I need more time to think."
Vimes pulled himself back and straighten his clothes. "Do you agree to this terms?"
Havelock smiled and said, "This has to be the first time that I have ever been outmaneuvered in a negotiation in a very long time. Very well Sir Samuel. I agree to your terms. Any future terms will require a meeting so both parties can consider them. If that is acceptable?"
Both men exchanged looks. Vimes nodded.
"All right," Sam Vimes whispered. "We will just take everything a day at a time." 'And maybe we won't kill each other.'
He leaned forward and gently kissed Havelock. It became a passionate, deep kiss before he turned around and said, "I have to get to work."
Lord Vetinari smiled again and walked out the door.
Carefully Vetinari sat before his own desk and began reading the reports that had continued to flood in during his absence. It had been a long night and an even longer afternoon yet he felt strangely energized and content.
He was facing a future that was better than the one he had considered for himself when he had first received that letter from Captain Carrot. He could be free to express his feelings to the one person he wanted to be with on all of the Disc. And that man was willing to forgive him for all the years of hell he had put him through. It seemed he had underestimated Samuel Vimes once again. And for once he was glad that he had been wrong.
So Havelock Vetinari began the long work needed to keep him up to date and help him continue the smooth functioning of his city.
Heh. Does anyone want a sequel?
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