Vetinari led Vimes up the staircase and along the narrow corridor. They emerged, somewhat to Sir Samuel's surprise, in the Patrician's bedroom. He watched curiously as Vetinari closed the wall panel, which melded back to become indistinguishable from the rest of the wall.
"I should have known about that, back when we had the arsenic problem," he noted, mildly irritated.
"There was no need for you to know," the Patrician said shortly. He slipped off his undecorated black outer Robe of Office, leaving him dressed in an even simpler high-collared, floor-length black garment. The outer robe he hung from a hook on the already closed bedroom door. Then he turned the heavy key in the keyhole.
It was at approximately this moment that a ridiculous, suspicious, undercooked, frightening thought slithered up from the back of Vimes' brain. He'd told Vetinari about his, well, problem. And then the Patrician had insisted he drink two double shots of Bearhugger's finest malt. And then he'd brought him here, via a secret passage, to his bedroom. It was almost as if...
Vetinari next words slammed the thought, full-grown, directly into Vimes' forebrain.
"I want you to get undressed, completely please, and lie down on the bed."
"WHAT?!" Vimes shouted.
The Patrician turned around and looked straight into his eyes and, without a single spoken word, the two of them held a perfectly understood conversation. Vetinari's side went, ‘You heard me correctly. And please remember that I did say I would be annoyed if you refused my wishes. And that you have used up your allotment of my patience. Of course, you should also remember that I told you a few days ago that I am concerned about you.’
Vimes' side of the conversation consisted of, ‘Wha…?’
"There's a dressing robe hanging behind the panels, if you must," Vetinari continued, with a wave of his hand. He turned his back and walked over to close the window draperies.
The Patrician turned back to look at Sam, his expression mildly inquisitive.
‘Are you serious? Are you crazy?! Why would I do a thing like that? What the hell are you up to?’Vimes thought frantically. He heard his own voice say, "Yes, sir." He very slowly walked behind the panels that encircled the dressing area.
He managed to get his breastplate off without too much hesitation. Then his boots and socks. Stripping to the waist took longer, and by the time he began fumbling with the laces on his britches his fingers were trembling nearly too hard to untie them. He thought he'd been scared when he'd seen the tonsils of a gigantic dragon, up close and personal. Or when he'd looked straight down the tube of a gonne to the pellet of metal poised within. Or, for that matter, when he'd felt Vetinari's blade at his throat. But none of those experiences seemed half so frightening as taking off his trousers and drawers at this particular place and time.
The only thing even more frightening was what the Patrician might do if he didn't.
The thing was, well, Vetinari was a cunning, scheming, manipulative bastard with more power than any one man should have. But Sam knew instinctively that what he was not was a monster. Vetinari was, in his own unique way, fair.
Slowly, Vimes loosened the laces and gingerly stripped off the leather britches. He shrugged into the dressing robe - black, of course - and wrapped it tightly around himself, cinching the sash belt. Finally, very carefully, he eased his drawers down and stepped out of them. He tried to swallow, his mouth and throat dry. He took a deep breath. Gods, oh gods, how he wanted another drink! Trying his best to stop trembling, he stepped back around the dressing panels.
Vetinari was sitting on the edge of the bed, examining the contents of a drawer in the bedstand. He looked up briefly, his extraordinary senses somehow alerting him that Vimes was standing across the room.
"Lie down, Sir Samuel. Please." the Patrician instructed, motioning toward the space beside him on the bed.
With the speed and care usually reserved for approaching very poisonous snakes that are coiled to strike, Sam crossed the room. His eyes never leaving the Patrician, he carefully positioned himself on the bed as far from Vetinari as possible, taking care all the while to grasp the robe at thigh level in order to prevent it from gaping open. He was in serious danger of hyperventilating.
"You needn't look so worried, Sir Samuel. I've no reason to intend you harm, unless you have a guilty conscience over something of which I am not aware."
"J-Just what do you intend?"
"I'm not sure yet. I won't be until I see how badly you're injured." The Patrician had removed a small jar from the drawer and was inspecting its contents.
"Wha...?" Vimes stopped, cleared his throat, and made another attempt at speech, this time managing not to squeak. "What's that?"
"Relax, it's perfectly innocuous," Vetinari assured him, "It's... slippery. Here." He held out a small globule and Vimes, though with obvious misgivings, allowed it to be smeared onto his own fingers. "It is fabricated by the Assassins' Guild, but it's used for its properties in preventing friction, not as a weapon per se. The Guild also sells a rather substantial amount to Mr. Scrope's shop in Wixon's Alley"
Sam blinked. Mr. Scrope's customers, with the exception of members of the Seamstress' Guild, tended to sneak furtively into and out of the establishment, with their purchases wrapped in plain brown paper. Vimes vaguely recalled overhearing part of a conversation in which Nobby was trying to explain to Carrot that 'marital aids' did not include such things as bridal dresses, engagement rings, or those stupid little figures people put on top of wedding cakes.
The Commander examined the gel, rubbing it between his thumb and two fingers. Slippery was the operative word, all right. It was like jellied ice... only not cold. While his attention was held by the texture, he didn't notice the Patrician coating his fingers with the stuff.
"Now, may I see exactly what they did to you?"
Vimes froze. Having let matters progress this far, he wasn't sure how to stop them. On the other hand, he was pretty certain he was physically incapable of uncovering himself in front of the Patrician. Unable to resolve the conflict, he simply dropped his arms to his sides and lay quite still, staring at the ceiling.
He closed his eyes when Vetinari began to untie the belt in order to open the robe, and therefore missed the wince that the Patrician quickly covered.
"The bruises resulted from activities to deny your completion at the last minute, I presume."
"Nicely put," Vimes replied wryly, "The scratches that are half-healed are from sandpaper, I think. Pits found out he could get me to... well, it hurt like hell, but the itching from that powder they brushed on me was bloody unbearable."
"What about the deeper cuts?"
Sam hesitated, swallowing hard. "Pits used a knife of some sort... he thought I was... getting too close, and he cut me. That was when I started screaming." A shudder quaked through Vimes' spare frame. "Pits liked that, made it one of his standard threats from then on."
"If Pits did all of the damage, what about Cor?" Vetinari asked, involuntarily curious.
"Pits got his kicks from causing pain. I could almost handle that. But Cor... he knew it was easy to make a man beg you to stop. He wanted me to beg him not to."
Vetinari was silent for so long that Vimes finally looked at him. The lines on his face seemed somehow more deeply etched than usual. His eyes looked almost black.
"How can you ever forget...?"
"Sir, I survived. If I could forget all the parts of my life that I'd like to, well, I wouldn't have a whole lot left to remember." Vimes realized with a start that he was actually trying to reassure the Patrician. He watched as Vetinari composed himself, the traces of sympathy and anger once more becoming invisible.
After a long moment, Vetinari leaned closer and began a careful examination of Vimes' injuries. Sam quivered at the unaccustomed touch, his eyes tightly closed again and his fists clenched. Even the merest soft brush of Vetinari's lubricated fingers caused his staff to twitch in anticipation. Vimes' face and throat went red and he opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. He was unsure if he wanted to protest, offer excuses, or apologize, and decided that anything he could say would only make matters worse.
Vetinari found what he was hoping for fairly quickly: a small patch on the underside of Sam's member, directly below the head, that was free of abrasions and, as evident from the Commander's reactions, quite sensitive. He silently took a deep breath, then began to firmly stroke the area with three slippery fingers.
"What...?" Vimes yelped, jerking involuntarily as the organ in question leaped to proud attention, "Gods! What are you d...oh gods!" His eyes, originally wide with surprise, squeezed tightly shut, and he squirmed uncontrollably. "Gods, Vetinari," he hissed between clenched teeth, "What do you think... you're... ohh..."
It was just too intense, too overwhelming. The sensation of Vetinari's long, slender fingers sliding over the supersensitive region was irresistible. Sam gave up trying to be outraged and started concentrating on trying to breathe.
"Samuel, I do have a first name. Under the circumstances, I'd prefer you use it."
"Hav... Damn you, Havelock!" Vimes panted, "Damn you... You could've... oh gods... could've warned me!"
"That would have been somewhat awkward. Demonstrating seemed more expedient."
'Awkward?! Damn you... oh... oh gods, that feels... don't stop..."
"Rest assured I have absolutely no intentions of stopping anything before you wish it."
Vimes, writhing with the undeniable urge to press harder against Vetinari's fingers, was quickly losing his ability to speak coherently. Gasping and moaning, he managed little more than a repetitious "...more... don't stop... more..." Rapidly becoming desperate with frustration, he moved to grasp himself, but Vetinari seized his wrist with his free hand.
"Patience?!! You... don't... oh gods, oh gods! ...don't know... a damn thing... about patience!"
"Oh, but I do. More than you know." Havelock released Sam's wrist and very carefully slipped his hand under the swollen balls, cradling them gently. Vimes had gone through three days being trained to anticipate interruption at the critical moment. Lord Vetinari knew he would be tensed, subconsciously expecting it. What he needed now was stimulation completely free of pain.
Several drops of liquid escaped the tip of Vimes' straining shaft. Silently, Vetinari leaned over and collected them, running his tongue along the narrow slit.
Vimes convulsed, arching his back, and tried to gasp and shriek simultaneously. "Hav... Havelock," he finally managed to stutter, "Do... Do that... Oh gods! Do that again!"
"I'll do better," Vetinari murmured. Vimes' eyes flew open at his tone of voice, and for the first time he saw how flushed the Patrician was, how fast he was breathing. For a frozen moment they held each other's gaze.
‘It’s exciting him to do this to me,’ Vimes realized with a sort of confused wonder, ‘He feels like that because of me!’ and the thought unexpectedly sent an even greater sense of urgency through him. Then Vetinari turned his eyes back to the matter at hand. Continuing to stroke that one vulnerable spot, he crawled onto the bed, straddling Vimes' shins. Sam could feel the Patrician's erection through his robe, pressing hot and firm against his leg. His already floundering brain put the sensation into abeyance rather than risk being further muddled. Vetinari licked his lips with the tip of his tongue, carefully moistening them, then lowered his head, took Vimes' very apex into his mouth, and began lightly sucking and lapping his tongue over the sensitive opening.
The effect on Vimes was electrifying. He shouted inarticulately. Every muscle in his body seemed to contract simultaneously; the ones in his stomach and thighs tightened until they trembled. Back arched, his hands desperately grasped Vetinari's shoulders, clenching until his knuckles turned white and his fingertips left dark red marks on the Patrician's pale skin. Vimes' universe wound into a tight knot of sensation, of pleasure and need. Like a gigantic wave about to crest, the drive for completion grew until he could not help screaming, but there wasn't air enough to scream...
...And then the explosion at last hit and he did scream, the mushrooming climax thundering through him, spasm after spasm shaking him. For a moment that stretched like taffy, the only rational thought that survived in Samuel Vimes' brain was that nothing could possibly feel so good.
After several minutes of semi-consciousness, spent catching his breath and idly noting the spinning of the room, Sam realized that Vetinari had shifted away from him and was sitting again on the edge of the bed. His expression held its usual inscrutable detachment, which under the circumstances Vimes felt extraordinarily inappropriate, annoying, and just plain unfair.
"You didn't do that just because your Watch Commander needed to get himself off in order to properly execute his duties."
"What other reason could I possibly have, Samuel?"
"None that I can think of, sir."
Vetinari gave a soft, indulgent chuckle, allowed himself a tiny smile. ‘He isn’t so gullible in matters that don’t involve his own self-worth.’ "No, Samuel, that wasn't my only, or even primary, reason. Had it been, I would have simply given you the jar of lubricant and some privacy. Or suggested you inquire about which members of the Seamstress Guild have particular skills."
"Succumbing to temptation, I suppose. A very rare opportunity for something that would under normal circumstances be denied me."
"Are you saying that you've been wanting... this... er, with me...?"
"Oh, on rare occasions. Say, for example, when I am endeavoring to bend you to my will and you manage to twist my words in precisely the opposite direction. And perhaps when you choose to avoid my direct orders by feigning ignorance or misunderstanding. And of course on those days when you come into my office bristling to arrest at the very least half the city because it has offended your personal sense of ethics."
"You've just about covered every day of the week."
"Yes, I would say that's a good estimate."
"Havelock... get undressed."
Vimes noted smugly that he had succeeded at last in wiping that expression of self-possessed detachment from the Patrician's face. It was first replaced by the expected, wide-eyed ‘What did you say?!’ look. Then an entire pack of warring emotions vied for manifestation, with fear and hope appearing to be the strongest contenders.
"Samuel, you don't have to..."
"I know that."
"I do not want you to feel obli..."
"Look, I don't want to talk. I don't want to think. I particularly don't want to ask myself why. I just want to...do. Now get undressed and come here before I lose my nerve or regain my sanity."
Havelock Vetinari was not accustomed to taking orders from anyone. Particularly orders like this one. Looking rather stunned, he reached up and unbuttoned the fastenings at his high collar. His eyes closely followed Vimes' hand as the Commander reached for the jar still sitting on the night table. Then he stood, facing away from the bed, and fluidly slipped off robe and underclothing. Sam wondered briefly if the man owned a single garment that was not black.
Stop thinking and just do. Running on impulse and instinct, Vimes moved to the edge of the bed. Wrapping his arms around Vetinari's exceedingly narrow hips, he explored cautiously between the Patrician's legs, then carefully took hold of his shaft. Already half erect, it hardened quickly when Vimes firmed his grasp and began moving his lubricant-slick hand up and down its length. Vetinari threw back his head, eyes tightly shut, a muted moan escaping from deep in his throat. With an almost predatory smile, Sam increased the depth and speed of his stroke, and won a sharp gasp and a hoarse "Samuel...oh, gods, Samuel..."
Doing his best to maintain contact, Vimes moved back to make room on the bed and pulled Havelock down beside him. The enthralled Patrician offered no resistance as Samuel drew him close, until the two of them were lying on their sides, front to back.
Sam sighed deeply and closed his eyes, immersing himself in the experience of doing to Havelock that which he longed to do, but at present was unable, to himself. Long, firm strokes along the rod which was longer but slightly narrower than his own. Gradually increasing the rhythm, paying special attention to the tip and underside.
Vetinari trembled and squirmed in Vimes' arms. Panting in ragged gasps, his soft moans took on a constant litany of, "...yes... so good... Samuel... yes... oh, yes..."
‘He’s mine,’ Vimes realized, bemused, ‘For this moment he’s the one in my power. Me, giving Havelock Vetinari this pleasure. Vetinari! His completion, that ultimate release, depends on me.’ By his very nature Samuel Vimes was a man repulsed by the idea of being master of anyone except himself, but now, just for this moment...
He was only peripherally aware that he was hard again until he unconsciously began to rub against Havelock's thighs and buttocks. The friction that felt so delicious also hurt like hell, and he swore sharply and pulled away. In the seconds it took for the worst of the discomfort to pass, Vetinari assessed the situation, grabbed the jar of lubricant, and began applying a thick layer to Vimes' rock-hard rod. Sam closed his eyes and squirmed, relishing the touch.
"Samuel," Vetinari groaned hoarsely, "At the risk of having my comment about patience thrown back in my face..."
Vimes smiled, but it was a smile with no mercy. He closed his fingers around the Patrician's taut organ and began moving his hand up and down its full length in very slow, firm strokes. He paused to tease the purpling head with slippery fingertips, rubbing his thumb softly over the narrow slit. Stroking again, then pausing again.
He got exactly the reaction he'd been hoping for. The Patrician arched his back, straining desperately, his low moans equal parts pleasure and frustration. Fists clenched amidst the bedclothes, hips thrusting in a vain attempt to establish a faster rhythm, striving to satisfy the maddening teasing. Droplets of viscous moisture ran over Sam's fingers.
Vimes was trembling with his own need before Vetinari's patience finally broke. With a guttural snarl the Patrician suddenly clutched Sam's shoulders, fingers digging into flesh.
"Now, Samuel!" he growled through clenched teeth, "I need you to... Gods, Samuel! Please!"
"I think I know exactly what you need," Vimes replied in a low, rough voice, his lips a mere fraction of an inch from Vetinari's ear. His craving for power satiated, and more than a little desperate himself, Sam urged the Patrician back into their previous position. With little hesitation, he resumed his ministrations, pumping with long, rapid, almost rough strokes, while thrusting and grinding his hips against Vetinari in time to the movement of his hand, sliding rhythmically between the tightly clenched buttocks. There was still some pain, but it was totally unimportant for the moment. Pleasure and need drowned all else.
Havelock's litany interspersed whispered words with ragged gasps... "yes... yes, like that... so close... soon... oh gods...". The words sent Sam spiraling faster and faster to the ultimate pinnacle...
There was a timeless moment filled with nothing but sensation...
Then Vetinari suddenly spasmed, crying out Sam's name, pulsing and throbbing in Vimes' grasp. Immediately and without further warning, Samuel's own climax crashed over him.
Vimes awoke with a shout, either because of the nightmare or because he had started to scratch in his sleep. Vetinari, wearing a dressing robe identical to the one still crumpled around Sam's shoulders, appeared beside the bed almost immediately. Sam wondered, in a detached sort of way, whether he was still asleep.
"Are you alright, Samuel?"
"Thirsty," Vimes mumbled irritably. He reached to scratch again, caught himself, and winced.
"You'll feel less irritation if we get you cleaned up a bit. How delightful. I have gone from being the Patrician of all of Ankh-Morpork to serving as a nursemaid," Lord Vetinari poured Sam a glass of water from the jug beside the bed, then went after a cloth damp with warm water from the adjacent bath. By the time he got back, Vimes had emptied the glass and fallen back asleep, but he awoke at the touch of the cloth and watched foggily as the Patrician very carefully sponged him off.
"Umm. Tha' feels good."
"Obviously. Is there anything else you want?"
Vimes considered. "Yeah," he finally ventured, "You to come back to bed."
With a faint smile and no hesitation, Vetinari retrieved the lubricant from the drawer, let his robe fall to the floor, and slipped under the bedclothes beside Sir Samuel.
Vimes obediently rolled onto his side, so the two lay face to face. He shivered, then gasped as Havelock's fingers trailed over his chest and stomach until they reached their goal, unerringly moving to the same sensitive spot the Patrician had found earlier. A few moments later, already totally enraptured, Vimes reached between them and curled his fingers around Vetinari's erection.
In a very short while, both men were panting, trembling, lost in sensation. Lord Vetinari allowed his lips to brush first Samuel's forehead, his temple, his cheek, and at last his mouth. Startled, Vimes at first drew back slightly from the unfamiliar touch, but then found himself responding, very tentatively at first, then with growing self-assurance. Eventually the kiss developed a passion that pushed the Patrician beyond the edge. Convulsing, he cried out softly, his lips still touching Sam's. Even while he was still struggling to catch his breath, Vetinari began to move his lips and tongue slowly over the same course his fingers had taken earlier, around one of Vimes' erect nipples, following the line of fine hair on his abdomen into the denser hair below, finally flicking over the tip of the rock-hard staff. Vimes was far past ready, and it took only a few seconds for the touch of Havelock's mouth to have its effect. He spurted powerfully, arching his back and incoherently shouting out in pleasure.
Sam was asleep almost before Havelock could recover enough to move back up to the pillows. Vetinari sighed indulgently. More content than he could remember being for a very long time, the Patrician settled comfortably beside the Commander and did something he seldom bothered to do. He slept.