The Commander unfastened his leather cape and let it fall to the floor. Then, fingers trembling but without hesitation, Samuel Vimes began releasing the buckles on his breastplate.
The Patrician went silently to the window and pulled close the heavy draperies, then walked around Sir Samuel to turn the massive key in the lock of the bedroom door. By that time Vimes had discarded his armor and chain mail shirt. That was the easy part.
"I'm a bloody mess," Sam muttered, "Three days on duty whenever I should have been sleeping, and I'm soaked to the skin."
Vetinari moved to stand directly in front of him. He carefully pulled Sam's rain-wet shirt up and over his head and dropped it, with a degree of distaste, on top of the other items on the floor. Vimes shivered, but he wasn't certain it was from the chill of the air.
"Perhaps you would feel better if you took a quick bath," Vetinari suggested quietly. He paused, then added, "I'm certain I would feel better if you did."
Vimes' rueful chuckle was cut short with a soft gasp as the Patrician began loosening the laces of his leather britches. Gods, just the feel of the man’s fingers, there…
Finishing with the laces, Vetinari moved his hands slowly around Sam's waist to his back, sliding his fingertips under the britches and the linen drawers to caress the bare skin. For a frozen moment in time they stood close, each wondering what the other would do next. Then, very slowly, the Patrician moved forward, touching his lips feather light against Sam's. He softly traced the tip of his tongue over the Commander's parted lips.
The touch tingled like tiny sparks. Fire raced through Vimes' veins, and he pressed fiercely into the kiss.
They broke apart only when the need for air forced it.
"Gods," Sam finally whispered.
"Indeed." The Patrician blinked and swallowed, making a visible effort toward self-control. He cleared his throat. "You'd better take that bath now. And please don't dally at it."
Vimes nodded, but stood frozen to the spot until Vetinari finally broke eye contact. Then, moving in a daze, he went into the lavatory, turned on the bath taps, and finished undressing. He stepped into the tub while it was still filling, then sat trembling in the hot water. Parts of his brain were numb with terror. He still did not want to want this. But gods, he did want it. Desperately. His mind was filled with the image of Havelock's face as they'd ended the kiss, his gray eyes preternaturally bright, the perpetual cool detachment replaced by evident and urgent yearning.
Sam shook himself out of the fugue state and began briskly scrubbing away the stink of Ankh-Morpork and of his own internal tension. For better or worse, he had let it come to this point. Had forced it to this point. There was no turning back now.
Vetinari entered the room just as he was finishing.
"Feeling better, Samuel?"
"Er, cleaner at least. Not so much like a half-drowned stray mutt."
The Patrician's chuckle was soft and low as he offered Sam a towel. Vimes, all but paralyzed with an incongruous bout of shyness, clutched the cloth around his middle as he stepped out of the tub and, facing away from the Patrician, made a clumsy effort to dry himself without being fully visible for scrutiny. Vetinari stepped close behind him, putting his hands on his shoulders, sliding them down to his biceps. Vimes felt the man's breath soft against his neck. Then lighting crackled through his nerves as the Patrician began to softly suck and nibble at the skin beneath his ear, moving slowly down the side of his neck to the hollow of his throat, then back up again.
Vimes moaned softly, tipping his head to give Vetinari greater access. He felt powerless to move and unable to stand still. There seemed to be a direct connection between the sensitive skin and his groin. It was absolute torture that Sam could not bear for another second and wanted never to stop.
"Gods... gods, Havelock, please! Can... can we... get... get to the bed before... before my knees give out?!"
That low chuckle again. Vetinari released his hold, turned, and walked to the bed. He discarded his customary black dressing robe as he went, draping it with casual grace onto a chair. He had been wearing nothing else. Pulling down the coverlet, he slipped into the bed and lie on his side, propped up on one elbow.
Vimes was slow to follow. Fear and confusion were still putting up a good fight against impulse and desire. He suddenly felt trapped. How had he ever come to be here, like this? But it was now or never, and never had ceased to be an option. Vetinari watched him with cool gray eyes, with that same expression of self-contained, detached interest Sam saw so often in the Oblong Office, as though vaguely curious as to what his subject might do next. Vimes suddenly burned to destroy that veneer of self-control, burned with the knowledge that he had the power to do so. Leaving modesty and hesitation behind with the towel, he crawled into the bed.
There was a new jar on the bed table of the lubricant Vetinari had previously introduced. Vimes reached over the Patrician to get it, brushing his own chest against Vetinari's and shivering at the touch. He rubbed a small amount of the gel onto his hands, then put the jar back, intentionally leaning down this time to press skin to skin. Fascinated, he put one hand flat against Vetinari's chest, starting at the collarbone and sliding his palm down. Not an ounce of fat, every ridge of bone and steel band of muscle clearly visible. Skin so very pale and unblemished. Vimes watched the movements of the Patrician's pounding heartbeat.
As his fingers slid over a hard nipple, he noticed a slight catch in the Patrician's breathing. Interesting. He tried tracing one finger around and over the tiny nub. Vetinari shivered, gasping silently. Oh really? Vimes smiled, and trailed the backs of his nails over the nipple. A soft moan escaped from the Patrician's lips. Sam toyed, using nails and slippery fingertips, and Vetinari, breathing faster, shifted to lie flat on his back and closed his eyes.
Vimes moved his other hand slowly but purposely down Vetinari's torso. By the time he had reached his inner thigh, the Patrician was already erect. Samuel smiled again, wickedly. This he knew how to do. His fingers closed around the erection. Within a single moment Vetinari was totally his, breathing in ragged gasps, moaning his name, fingers clutching at the bedclothes, thrusting and squirming. He took Vimes totally by surprise when, with what was obviously a supreme act of will power, he pulled away, sitting up and shoving Sam forcefully onto his back.
"Not... so fast... Samuel," he panted as he shifted down toward the foot of the bed, "You wanted to know... I believe... what it would be like... to share my bed, now that... your injuries are no longer an obstacle..."
"What are you going to... oh gods..."
Vetinari began touching and stroking, softly, then more forcefully, with fingers, with tongue, with lips. Vimes had never experienced, never even imagined... he cried out incoherently again and again, feeling sure the sensations would drive him to madness.
"Gods! Havelock... please wait no don't stop oh GODS! Havelock, damn you... oh gods, I can't... Havelock, in the names of all the gods, please!"
Vetinari backed off, his fingers still stroking lightly. "Do you want to catch your breath, Samuel?"
"Yes! No! Yes... Gods!... I don't... How do you... I mean... Gods!"
That same low, soft chuckle. Humor, warmth, companionship... a sound Vimes had never heard in all the hours he had spent in the Oblong Office.
"Damn you! Why am I...?" Sam moaned. The Patrician's strong, slender fingers were still driving him to distraction, but he could think now, just barely. He was trembling from head to toe.
"I... Havelock... gods, that feels good... I've never wanted, never thought about, never... oh, g-gods, there... I nev... I never even considered... I mean, with another man, for gods' sakes..."
"Mm. Samuel, just what do you imagine my sex life to be?"
"I guess... Can you... change around positions... so I can reach you?... I guess I've always assumed... you didn't have one."
Vimes was becoming quite attached to the sound of that chuckle. Vetinari swiveled to give Sam access to his unattended erection.
"For these past years, you wouldn't have been far from the truth." The Patrician paused, gasping, as Vimes' fingers toyed lightly over the most sensitive areas. He squirmed in a vain effort to increase the pressure. Damn the man, he could not force himself to lie still!
"The point... gods, Samuel... the point is that my pref... preferences are not so different from... from yours. I have taken very few men to my... my bed, and none since I was a youth."
"Then why me? Why now?"
"Samuel, this is not the best time to ask me that question!" Vetinari hissed through clenched teeth. He was growing increasingly frustrated with his own inability to stop squirming, as well as increasingly, well... frustrated. "I can not wax philosophical while you're doing... doing... doing that!" He cleared his throat, struggling for self-control. "Our mundane relationship has developed rather... OH! Oh, that's... oh, yes... um, developed rather intense aspects which are best... expressed in very non-mundane ways."
"You mean, we... we... Gods! Yes! Like that, right there, oh gods!... we both care too damn much?"
"I believe... I just said that."
It was enough to satisfy Vimes, who was in any case becoming frantic for the more physical sort of satisfaction. He firmed his grasp and began moving his hand in deep, slow strokes along the Patrician's entire length, tearing a breathless cry from Vetinari's throat. In something nearing self-defense, Havelock took Samuel into his mouth.
What followed was something like a competition, both men teasing and torturing the other while attempting to maintain his own sanity. What followed was a universe comprised of nothing but the most intense of physical sensations. What followed seemed to last for eternities, but not nearly long enough.
Until neither man could deny the urge for completion another instant.
Until the climax hit Vimes with such unparalleled pleasure, he shouted incoherently at the stabbing blasts of ecstasy.
Until Vetinari, crying out Samuel's name, came with such overwhelming intensity that he feared he would pass out.
Then for several moments they both lie exhausted, panting, drenched with sweat, savoring that idyllic sense of consummate gratification known in clichés as afterglow.
"Gods," Sam breathed finally.
"That was... was..."
They panted some more. Vetinari managed with a badly trembling hand to pour water from a pitcher into a glass, and they handed it back and forth, swallowing between gasps. Eventually Vetinari lie with one hand behind his head, Samuel's head on his shoulder, their legs entangled, listening to their heartbeats gradually slow and watching the room spin.
"And here I've been thinking alcohol was a tough vice to give up," Sam sighed at last.
"I would prefer to think of this more as an occasionally beneficial pressure valve rather than a vice," the Patrician replied, "And thus, is it entirely wise to totally give it up?"
Sam stifled a yawn. "As I recall, you were the one apprizing me of the risks."
"Do you believe this should stop before it gets any more complicated, Samuel? Do you honestly want this to be the last time you share a bed with me?"
"Last time? What a..." Sam yawned and made a half-hearted effort to keep his eyes open. "What a hideous thought."
"There is nothing of value on the entire disc, Samuel, that does not come with some risk."
Vimes scrubbed a hand over his eyes and face and yawned again. "Tha's true." He twisted onto his side, letting one arm fall across Vetinari's chest. The Patrician observed this with a dry combination of irritation and fondness.
"We will have to limit frequency. And there are a number of precautions to be taken."
"Samuel? Ah, would you like me to wake you in time for breakfast with Lady Sybil?"
Samuel's only answer was a rather loud snore.
Vetinari smiled wryly. ‘This is a most dangerous game you’ve started, Havelock,’ he thought to himself, ‘But then, those invariably prove to be the most rewarding.’ He rested his cheek against Sam's damp hair and allowed sleep to flow over him. He would handle the future when it arrived. For the moment, he felt uncommonly happy and content.
A/N: Okay, this is really the end this time. Honest. Well, at least it was until I wrote ‘In This Room’.