sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-09 09:25 am

Transformations; PG, AU. Vimes/Angua.

Note: This story is an Alternate Universe story which takes place during Men At Arms, canonically, and retcons both MAA and Guards!Guards!. At points, dialogue is lifted directly from MAA.
Summary: Vimes, trying to regain his footing as a guard captain after the death of Sybil Ramkin at the hands of the Dragon, begins to fall for the new werewolf on the squad...
Warnings: None.

Also available at AO3.

***

'Vetinari's terrier, I've heard them call you,' the Prince went on. 'Always hot on the chase, they say, and he won't let go.'
Vimes stared into the calm, knowing gaze. 'I suppose, at the end of the day, we're all someone's dog,' he said.
-- Jingo


***

Consider how people own things.

Like rooms.

There are two rooms which, more or less, this man owns; a bedroom whose only personal touches are a razor, a sheet of cardboard under the bed, and a grubby trunk half-full of what personal belongings are important to the sort of man who doesn't even hang pictures on the walls. Not even a candle, because this room is used not for living in or even for residing in, but merely for sleeping and washing in.

The other room is larger, rather better-lit, and with bigger windows; drafty, because this is not a man who spends his time in rooms at any rate, and he likes the outdoors. There is a desk covered in a reasonable amount of paper, because the Watch has yet to become the tree-killing, paper-generating machine that it someday will be. There is half a curry on one of the stacks of paper, and a mug of tea on the only bare patch.

There is a squeaky chair liberated from a store-room by young Carrot for his Captain to use.

It is occupied, of course, by the Captain, who is in the throes of a minor personal dilemma.

A few months ago the dilemma would already have been drowned in a couple of shots of cheap whiskey, which was the Captain's drink of choice. But there was something about nearly getting incinerated by a dragon -- and the memory of Sybil Ramkin being its first, and thankfully only sacrificial victim -- which had caused Sam Vimes to bring his life sharply under review and draw a few conclusions which were beginning to have an effect.

The conclusion that he drank entirely too much was the first, and so he'd quit. It hadn't been easy, and he wasn't entirely sure he'd kicked the thing completely. Once or twice he found himself with a bottle in his hand without having recalled why or when he'd bought it. But he almost never actually finished one anymore.

He felt as though he could use a drink right now. He'd just thrown out a half-full bottle and it would be so easy to go fetch it back.

He'd just finished interviews with two of the three new recruits that the Patrician had sent them. They weren't to go in the Day Watch, of course, because the city wasn't quite ready for a troll and a dwarf patrolling in broad daylight. And the City Watch certainly wasn't ready for a werewolf patrolling at any time.

But Vetinari'd said take them. Do it, he'd said.

Never mind that this Detritus lad was thick as a brick sandwich and Cuddy the dwarf not much taller than one; never mind that it was daft to put a werewolf in the Night Watch. Never mind that the werewolf was Delphine von Uberwald, the daughter of the most noble werewolf clan this side of the Ramtops. Who cares? It's only the Night Watch, after all.

He rubbed his temples and looked down at von Uberwald's file. In a moment of honesty, or possibly defiance, she'd actually written 'Werewolf' on her application. He imagined she was probably not the most attractive of women, probably pointy ears and heavy eyebrows sort of thing -- the nobility tended to look that way in any case. Probably couldn't hide it, he thought.

There was a hesitant rap at the door.

Well, no time for a drink now. He'd successfully thought about depressing things other than that for as long as it took von Uberwald to arrive.

"Come in," he called. The lance-constable, not yet in uniform, not yet sworn in, came forward a few paces and stopped at something approaching attention in front of his desk.

Sam Vimes stared.

Delphine von Uberwald was a tall, graceful woman -- a quite young woman. She had pale, ash-blond hair falling to her waist, a pleasant face that was just shy of being beautiful, and the air of someone with a tightly-coiled internal spring. She shifted nervously under his gaze.

What a lovely woman, Vimes heard himself think. The unusual nature of the thought snapped him back to reality hard. It'd been years since he'd let a healthy appreciation of the female form override his duties as a Watch officer. Alcohol, yes, all right, but not women. You had to pick your vices with care.

And she's a werewolf, good gods, what's wrong with you?

"Lance-Constable Delphine von Uberwald, I assume?" he asked, covering the brief moment of confusion by searching his desk for her file, which proved to be right in front of him.

"I'd prefer Lance-Constable Angua, sir," she said mildly, and quite nervously.

"You would?" he asked, looking at her application. Von Uberwald, Delphine A, it read.

"Yes, sir. It's just that von Uberwald's a bit of a mouthful, and...my family..."

He looked at her over the edge of the file. "You won't get any special treatment in the Watch because your father's a Baron in some country hundreds of miles away, Lance-Constable."

"No, sir, it's not that at all..." she trailed off again. "But the von Uberwalds are well-known and -- I mean -- "

"Ah. You repudiate the family's ways and have run off to the big city to be an independent woman?" he asked, unsuccessfully stifling the little core of sarcastic cynicism which made him Vimes -- and often made him crave that drink.

"Sir?" she asked, now thoroughly confused.

"I don't like werewolves much," he said briskly, aware that he was being far more cruel to this woman than the other two new recruits. "The undead in general, to be honest. But I don't like anyone, really, so you're all right there. My senior officer's got to know, lord knows how we'll work your days off, but I'll leave it up to you whether to tell the others. Lance-Constable Angua."

"Thank you, sir," she said, with a composedly grateful smile that made him regret his harshness. Nevertheless, he continued.

"Don't thank me. Thank the Patrician. He's the one told us we had to have you. You'll get fair treatment, but don't expect anything more than that."

"No, sir," she said.

"All right. You've been through Watch procedures and Sergeant Colon'll be training you. Any questions?"

"No, sir."

"Off you go, then."

She turned and left, as gracefully as she'd entered. He watched her go.

When she was gone, he put his fingers to his lips, thoughtfully. That woman was a werewolf? She'd looked so normal. More than that -- she'd looked unnaturally normal. Nondescript clothing, no unnecessary fidgeting, not even strong facial expressions. A woman used to succeeding at the attempt so many people made to blend in.

He felt a vague stirring, deep in his copper's soul, that told him she'd make a good Watchman -- she had that necessary balance.

Vimes used to drink to forget, which was ironic because he often couldn't remember what he was trying to forget, even when sober. But an extended period of time without the bottle had begun to reawaken those memories, and attached to all of them -- because they were memories of all the terrible things he'd seen, as a copper in Ankh-Morpork -- had been that old, corroded sense of duty that his first sergeant had tried to give him, years and years ago.

By gods, she was young! Or perhaps he was simply old. Certainly she was older than Carrot, but that wasn't saying much; Carrot was barely more than a lad, though a well-grown one.

The treacherous little voice in his head said that Lance-Constable Angua was pretty well-grown, herself.

He shook himself, stifled the automatic urge to reach for the now-non-existent bottle in the bottom drawer of his desk, and got to his feet.

***

It was a busy time for the Night Watch. Unusually so. Before the new recruits, it was mainly cup of cocoa, patrol, find a place out of the wind, return to the watch house. It was a good formula. With only four people, it worked pretty well. Of course Carrot's routine was a bit different, since he was a young lad and hadn't picked up the cynical attitude of his comrades*, but at the end of the day they were all still alive, so good for them.

* Who would never have referred to themselves as that. Comrades was the kind of phrase only Carrot could use without sounding like an idiot.

But now there were the recruits to train, and Captain Vimes was getting a bit keen about actually stopping unlicenced crime. Shaping up to trade in alcohol as an obsession for real policing, was the general consensus of Colon and Nobby. They blamed Carrot, in part, who shamelessly encouraged the Captain's sobriety habit.

He was even taking an interest in the training. Now they stood -- Carrot, Vimes, and the trainees -- in front of one of the city's enormous gates.

"This," said Corporal Carrot, "is the Hubwards Gate. To the whole city. Which is what we guard."

"What from?" said Lance-Constable Angua.

"Oh, you know. Barbarian hordes, warring tribesmen, bandit armies..."

"Invading hegglers," Vimes added, in a murmur that Carrot, if he heard it, ignored.

"Just us?" Angua asked.

"Oh, no!" Carrot laughed. "That'd be silly, wouldn't it?"

"Silly," Vimes echoed. "So if you see anything like that, you just ring your bell as hard as you like, and the rest of us will come running," he said. He saw the sarcasm pass straight over Cuddy's head and straight through Detritus', but he wasn't speaking for their benefit. He watched Angua's reactions with interest.

"What happens then?" she asked. Carrot looked at Vimes, who shrugged.

"Haven't ever had opportunity to find out," he said. "Carrot, I think that's enough of a civics lesson for one day. You take Cuddy and Detritus, stop by the armourer on the way and place an order for some elephant battle armour for Detritus and...erm, a breastplate for Angua, right?"

"Certainly, sir," Carrot said. He started off for Remitt the armourer's shop, the recruits following. Angua started, too, until Vimes took her arm.

"Not you, lance-constable," he said. "You stay here with me."

She gave him a questioning look.

"They'll be a while. We can make it back in time for Colon to give the evening report, if we take a few side streets."

The look didn't leave her face. "Just...me, sir?"

"Well, let's say I'm holding off on the others until we can get Cuddy to let go of his axe and stop Detritus saluting himself unconscious, all right?" he said, more defensively than he meant. "Walk with me."

They'd gone about ten feet before he tapped her right leg with his truncheon. "Not like that. This is called 'proceeding', I always have to teach the new ones. You lift your foot like so, swing the leg, let it down. You can walk for hours, like that. Got to know how to walk properly, in this job."

"You like walking, don't you, sir?" she asked. He shrugged.

"I like the outdoors. I like the city," he said.

"So does Corporal Carrot."

He smiled, grimly. "The city likes Corporal Carrot."

"Sergeant Colon," said Angua. "He draws a lot of desk duty, right?"

"Fred Colon's a good man," Vimes said, automatically.

"Why has he got a pet monkey?"

"That's Nobby. He's human, we think."

"You don't like us much, do you, sir?" she asked. He winced, inwardly.

"I told you, lance-constable. I don't like anyone much."

"You like Corporal Carrot."

"Everyone likes Carrot. He's good at...being liked."

"He told me he's a dwarf."

"Aye."

"He's six foot!"

"He's a tall dwarf," Vimes said humourlessly. "He's adopted."

"Why -- "

There was a splintering noise across the street. They turned as a figure sprinted out of a tavern and took off running.

"Stop! Stop! Unlicensed thief!"

Vimes was about three seconds into a dead run when he realized he was doing the wrong thing. Here'n'Now -- it was undoubtedly Here'n'Now, he could see it was Here'n'Now -- would run straight home; he could have gone up Mormius Street into Borborygmic Lane, and down Whilom Alley to Zephire street, and made it with time to spare.

Too late now. The terrier instinct was full-on, and it was only when he finally skidded past Here'n'Now and punched him in the head that he realized Angua was right behind him.

Silver dollars rolled across the cobbles. Angua nearly ran into him.

"Bigods," Vimes panted, hauling Here'n'Now up by the scruff of his neck. "You've got a set of legs on you."

She blinked, and he realized how incredibly terrible that sounded. For the first time in his life, he fully experienced the term 'lecherous'; he had never felt so much like a lecherous man. He reddened.

"You run well," he added. "Also important in this job. Running."

She smiled.

***

They arrived back at the Watch House just as Colon was beginning the evening report. Vimes took the unlucky Here'n'Now down to the cells while Angua seated herself between Carrot and Detritus. She looked like a whippet between two rottweilers.

"What's all this about, then?" Nobby asked. "Us sittin' down here and you standin' up there?"

"We got to do it proper, now there's more of us," Colon replied. Vimes came up from the cells, and leaned in the doorway. "Right! Ahem. OK. We welcome to the guard today Lance-Constable Detritus -– don't salute! -- and Lance-Constable Cuddy, also Lance-Constable Angua. Right, that's out of the way. Now, says here -- "

"Sergeant?"

"Yes, Carrot?"

"Aren't you forgetting something, sergeant?" said Carrot. "They've got to take the oath, sarge. It's the law."

Colon shared a look with Vimes.

"He's right, Fred," Vimes said. "Haven't done that in years, but I recall it. Think I even took it, which not everyone did. Did you take the oath when you joined, Carrot?'

"Oh, yes, Captain. Only no-one asked me, so I gave it to myself, quiet like."

"Care to give it to the recruits, then?"

Carrot stood up and removed his helmet. He smoothed down his hair. Then he raised his right hand.

"Raise your right hands, too," he said. "Repeat after me..." He closed his eyes and his lips moved for a moment, as though he was reading something off the inside of his skull.

"I comma square bracket recruit's name square bracket comma..." He nodded at them. "You say it."

They chorused a reply. Vimes turned a treacherous laugh into a cough. Angua was determinedly looking at a point six inches to the left and two feet above Carrot's ear.

"...do solemnly swear by square bracket recruit's deity of choice square bracket to uphold the Laws and Ordinances of the city of Ankh-Morpork, serve the public truft comma and defend the fubjects of His ftroke Her bracket delete whichever is inappropriate bracket Majefty bracket name of reigning monarch bracket..."

"Never did like that part," Vimes said quietly. Angua tried to concentrate on nothing but Carrot's voice, providing them with the next series of words. On top of everything else, Detritus' patient monotone was already several dozen words behind everyone else.

"...without fear comma favour comma or thought of perfonal fafety semi-colon to purfue evildoers and protect the innocent comma laying down my life if necefsary in the caufe of said duty comma so help me bracket aforefaid deity bracket full stop Gods Save the King stroke Queen bracket delete whichever is inappropriate bracket full stop."

Angua fell silent. She looked at Carrot first; there were tears running down his cheeks. Then she looked at Vimes. He, too, seemed to be fighting tears; he'd been laughing silently for about a minute.

" -- pro-tect the in-no-cent com-ma -- "

"In your own time, Lance-Constable Detritus," Vimes said briskly, when he'd managed some modicum of control. "And now, Carrot, I'm sure there's one more thing to do..."

"The King's Shilling! Yes sir!"

Vimes took three small dollar coins out of his pocket, and tossed one to each of the recruits. Cuddy and Angua caught theirs; Detritus' bounced off his chest, and ricocheted into Nobby's helmet. Vimes sighed the sigh of a man who knows his lot in life, but wonders how he drew it.

"This is called the King's Shilling. You take it when you join," he said. "Don't know why. Suppose you've got to give it back if you quit, or some daft nonsense like that. All right, Fred, I think you can start now."

Colon cleared his throat, and began the evening's announcements. Vimes let them wash over him, while he thought about other matters. He heard Colon say something about parades of trolls and dwarves, and then he heard him call Angua 'miss', and heard her correct him.

"Not miss," she said. Colon's brows drew together.

"Why not?" he asked.

"Angua is a man of the Watch. She doesn't have any sex while she's on duty," Carrot said.

Vimes' face was as empty as a man about to win large sums at Cripple Mr. Onion.

***

The rest of the Watch had gone out to Short Street, to see if they couldn't sort out what Vimes referred to in his head as the Parade of Armageddon. He'd have gone, too, but Carrot had taken him aside and asked him not to. Carrot said he scared the recruits. Vimes thought that fear was quite the proper emotion for a recruit to have. Fear made people faster on the uptake. It made them notice things.

But someone had to watch the Yard, and he wanted some time to think things over. Mostly, what on the Disc he was going to do with the new recruits.

There was a certain...fear-inducing element to Detritus. If you could get his thoughts off slow-blink and teach him a few things about coppering, he'd be a force to reckon with. Cuddy looked the sort to survive in the Watch by sheer indestructibility. He was the kind of ma -- the kind of dwarf who didn't go looking for trouble, and didn't waste any time ending it when trouble found him.

Angua had the makings of a really good copper. She could go Day Watch, if she wanted. If they'd let a werewolf in the Day Watch. Which they wouldn't. He didn't even want her in the Night Watch. He didn't like werewolves.

But he did like Angua. She was quick to learn, she did as she was told, and she asked the right questions.

He was just settling into his chair, behind his desk, when the world exploded.

Right, that did it! The alchemists had blown up their Guild House for the last time, if Vimes had anything to do with it...

But when he peered over the window sill he saw, across the river, the column of dust rising over the Assassins' Guild.

***

The rest of the Watch came trotting along Filigree Street as Vimes reached the Guild entrance. A couple of black-clad Assassins barred his way, in a polite manner which nevertheless indicated that impoliteness was a future option. There were sounds of hurrying feet behind the gates.

"You see this badge? You see it?" Vimes demanded. "Let us in, in the name of the law!"

The Assassin smiled nervously at him. "The law is that Guild law prevails inside Guild walls," he said.

Vimes glared at him. Angua stepped forward.

"Then bring us the Master of Assassins," she said.

"Who're you?"

"Lance-Constable Angua, City Watch," she said, showing him her badge. Her other hand rested calmly on her belt, several inches from her sword.

"Hah! Your uniform doesn't scare me," the Assassin said. "Not yours neither," he added, to Vimes.

Vimes looked down at his battered breastplate and worn mail.

"You're right," he said. "This is not a scary uniform. I'm sorry. Forward, Corporal Carrot and Lance-Constable Detritus."

The Assassin was suddenly aware of the sunlight being blocked out.

"Now these, I think you'll agree," said Vimes, from somewhere behind the eclipse, "are scary uniforms."

The Assassin dashed away.

"Sir," Angua said, as they crunched into the courtyard. "I think there's something you ought to -- "

"Is this the time, Lance-constable?" he snapped. There was a pause.

"Yes, sir, it really is," she said. She reached into a pocket and handed him a letter. He read it, glanced at her, smiled a terrible smile, and looked up the stairs, at the Master of Assassins, descending to meet them.

Something smelled wrong. You didn't have to be supernatural to know that. But this little sheet of paper should make it all better...

"What is the meaning of this?" Dr. Cruces demanded, when he reached the small band of Watchmen.

"Ah, Dr. Cruces," Vimes said. "Captain Vimes, Night Watch. This is Sergeant Colon, Corporals Nobbs and Ironfoundersson, and that's lance-constable Cuddy. The big standing stone is lance-constable Detritus, and this, Dr. Cruces, is lance-constable Angua."

"No-one sent for you!" Cruces snapped. "What gives you the right to be here, mister policeman? Walking around as if the Watch owned the place?"

Vimes paused, his heart singing. He savoured the moment. He'd like to take this moment and press it carefully in a big book, so that when he was old he could take it out occasionally and remember it. He decided that he could forgive Angua being a werewolf, for this moment.

He handed Cruces the letter.

"Well, if you would like the most fundamental reason," he said, "it is because I rather think we do."

Dr. Cruces read the letter. He looked at Vimes. He read it again, and looked at Angua. She gave him a, well, let's face it, a wolfish grin.

"I see," he said, handing her the letter. "Very well."

Vimes gave Angua a nod, and turned to face the Master of Assassins. "What happened here?"

Dr. Cruces hesitated.

"Fireworks," he said.

That was only the beginning of the trouble.

***

They had talked out the inspection of the Assassins' Guild, and re-talked it, and theorized and questioned and wondered until Vimes had said they might as well leave it for now, and get out on patrol. He sent Detritus out with Carrot, on the grounds that nobody had more patience for people than the corporal. Cuddy was out with Colon, and Nobby was manning the desk, which meant that anything worth keeping had been locked up before they set out.

He had taken Angua out again. He hated himself for doing it, but he did it anyway.

"You didn't list an address on your application," Vimes said quietly, as they rounded Body street and headed up King's Way. "Now I think I know why."

"I just wanted a normal job," she answered.

"But you don't need a job. Good gods, you're worth millions. You could afford to give me a job."

Angua shrugged. "I didn't want to think that way," she said. "I just wanted to have a normal life in the big city. I didn't want to be the daughter of the Baron, or the Lady Angua, or any of it."

"I didn't know Lady Sybil was a werewolf," he said musingly.

"She wasn't. She and my mother were at school together. Lady Sybil was my godmother. She didn't have much family, and nobody she liked well enough to leave the estate to. Except me. It's all perfectly legal."

"I'm sure."

"It did help today, didn't it?"

"Yes, I suppose so."

"You knew Lady Sybil?"

He shrugged. "Passingly. I...liked her. She was a good woman. She didn't deserve to die like that. Nobody does." He paused. "Except the person who caused it."

"I'm sorry. She always sent me nice Hogswatch cards."

"She seemed the type."

"And now you've got another reason to hate me."

He looked at her, sharply. "I don't hate you, lance-constable. I don't know you well enough to hate you."

"Thank you, sir."

"I told you. You'll get a fair share of respect in the Watch. No more, no less."

"And a transfer out of the Night Watch as soon as you can arrange it, right?" she asked, bitterly. "I know how it goes."

"Oh, you do?"

"Yes, I do! I hated being the Baron's daughter so I came to the plains and I tried working in Pseudopolis and Quirm and Sto Lat, and it always ends the same. I thought Ankh-Morpork might be different."

"Lance-constable, I'm going to give you another valuable lesson in coppering, if you're willing to pay attention to someone beside yourself for a moment," Vimes said sharply. Angua subsided, sullenly. "A good copper doesn't let on what he's thinking. He keeps quiet until he knows what's going on. He doesn't complain, and he doesn't presume to know his commanding officer's thoughts."

They proceeded on in silence.

"Yes, sir," Angua said finally.

"You come to Ankh-Morpork to get a job, or because of this inheritance?" he asked, as they passed the Ramkin mansion. It stood empty, now; Angua stopped and looked at it, sourly.

"Both, sir."

"Why the Watch?"

"Why not?"

Vimes grunted. "Would you like the short list?"

"It's not easy, getting a job in Ankh-Morpork, not when you're a woman. Or a werewolf," she added.

"There's a reason for that."

"I'm a vegetarian, you know."

Vimes threw back his head and laughed. "A vegetarian! You? That's pretty good, lance-constable."

"I'm glad you find it funny, sir."

"Come on, now. When's the last time you met a vegetarian wolf?"

"I'm not a wolf. Any more than I'm a human."

He turned to face her. "What does that mean?" he asked.

"I don't expect you to understand. I'm a werewolf. I'm not a wolf and I'm not a human and neither race likes us much. So if you'll give me my orders and stop poking around in my personal life, I'd be grateful." She paused. "With all due respect, sir."

He regarded her for a moment, then nodded.

"Fair enough, Angua."

They passed the Assassins' Guild, where some of the more junior members were sweeping up the debris from the explosion.

"Assassins in daylight," snarled Vimes. "I'm amazed they don't turn to dust. Assassins and licensed thieves and bloody vampires! You know, this was a great old city once."

"I've read about that," Angua said. "When we had kings -- "

"Kings? Kings? Hell, no! A monarch's an absolute ruler, right? The head honcho -- "

"Unless he's a queen," said Angua. Vimes nodded.

"The supreme ruler, okay. But that's not right, see? One man with the power of life and death."

"The Patrician's a supreme ruler," Angua pointed out.

"But he doesn't wear a crown or sit on a throne and he doesn't tell you it's right that he should rule," said Vimes. "I hate the bastard. But he's honest. Honest like a corkscrew."

"Even so, a good man as king -- "

"Yes? And then what? Royalty pollutes people's minds! We probably had good kings, once! But kings breed other kings! And blood tells, and you end up with a bunch of arrogant, murdering bastards! Chopping off queens' heads and fighting their cousins every five minutes! And we had centuries of that! And then one day a man said 'No more kings!' and we rose up and we fought the bloody nobles and we dragged the king off his throne and we dragged him into Sator Square and we chopped his bloody head off! Job well done!"

Angua was impressed. This was the sort of rhetoric that got your throat ripped out back home. Here, barely anyone was even paying attention. It was true what they said; nobody cared about you in Ankh-Morpork enough to kill you.

"Who was he?" she asked.

"Who?"

"The man who said 'No more kings'."

Vimes shoved his hands in his pockets, and his face went blank. "He was Commander of the City Guard in those days," he mumbled. "He's not in the history books much. But he wielded the axe, you know. No-one else'd do it. It was a king's neck, after all. Even after they'd seen the...private rooms, and cleaned up the...bits. Even then. No-one'd clean up the world. But he took the axe and cursed them all and did it."

"What was his name?"

Vimes mumbled something she couldn't hear. She waited patiently.

"Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes," he said, not much louder. She could smell the shame on him.

"I see," she said. "What about the rest of the royal family?"

"Oh, there was a surviving son, I think. And a few mad relatives. They were banished. That's supposed to be a terrible fate, for royalty. I can't see it myself. I like the city, but if it was a choice between banishment and having my head chopped off, just help me down with this suitcase. No, we're well rid of kings."

"We haven't got kings in Uberwald," she said. "Just the big ruling families. Same thing. I guess the Commander had it right."

"He didn't rule long. Six months, I think. He told the people they were free, and they got frightened, and asked for the old tyranny back. And you got the Patricians."

"Lord Vetinari seems all right."

"Yeah, but you should've seen the ones before him. Mad Lord Snapcase, now there was a mistake."

They walked on, in silence, but it had changed from sullen to respectful.

"Are you staying up the Ramkin place, then?" Vimes finally asked.

"Oh, no. I've got rooms with Mrs. Cake."

"Mrs. Cake? But she -- " he paused. "Aha. Ahaha. I see."

***

There were busy days to follow. There were deaths, and the gonne-card, exploding dragons, and Detritus and Cuddy getting locked in a freezer. There were reports to write, bodies to examine. From the Watch's point of view, things happened, seemingly without order and with disturbing swiftness. You take a dwarf, a clown, an explosion, and a couple of lead pellets, and see what you come up with, without a handy plotline that explains things as it goes along.

Angua remembered, vividly, her first case with the Watch. But what she remembered most, up until the point that Vimes drew the sword, was the rivalry between Carrot and the Captain.

It was never anything that was put into words. It wasn't even anything you could see in their actions. But you could smell it, and you could feel it.

Carrot was the logical choice, of course Carrot was the man she ought to walk the city with, and talk with, and admire. He was young -- even younger than she was -- and he was handsome, and everyone liked Carrot.

Carrot was a bore.

Sam Vimes, on the other hand, was fifteen years older than her and didn't shave often enough and hated werewolves. Anger was his base state of being. The only thing he really seemed to like was running. But he had more in his head than the City Laws, and he lived in the world of Ankh-Morpork, instead of drawing Ankh-Morpork temporarily into his own little world, as Carrot did.

Angua quite liked Vimes. This was worrying. For once she'd found a job where her superior wasn't outwardly trying to discover if she was a natural blond, and she was spending her time wondering how much she owed the man who'd tailored his britches.

At first she'd thought the rivalry was purely one-sided, that Carrot was only jealous because, up until the new recruits, he'd been Vimes' favorite, the golden son, the one Vimes took out into the city to teach. Then she and the others came along, and Vimes chose her over Carrot.

But Carrot showed up on her doorstep on her day off and wanted to take her to see the city, and she realized that Carrot quite fancied her. She could not, in her entire life, recall a situation like this. Most of the men in Uberwald tended to cower or run away when she was around. The Baron had made it Very Clear that anyone attempting to speak to his daughter without his direct permission would find himself in a world of toothy pain.

She walked with Carrot and let him show her the city, but when they got back to the Watch house, Captain Vimes was hurt, and she saw the look in Carrot's eyes as she bandaged his ear. And then the girl at the Beggar's guild, and she saw the look in Vimes' eyes when Carrot took over the investigation smoothly.

Neither of those were anything, however, compared to the mess at the Watch House after Lord Vetinari asked Vimes to turn in his sword and badge.

They'd found him in the Bucket. He was obviously not sober. There was something clenched in his hand so hard that his knuckles were white, and there was an empty bottle in his pocket. Neither of them -- not Carrot, not Angua -- felt anything at that moment except sympathy and fear, the sort of fear you get when you discover your parents aren't all-knowing.

Carrot carried him up to his room and sent Nobby out for Klatchian coffee. Angua, who'd never been in her Captain's bedroom, was stunned. She had never seen such an unlived-in room.

"What did you expect?" Carrot asked.

"I don't know. Anything. Something. Not nothing. I mean, at least a rug," said Angua. "A picture on the wall. Something."

"Captain Vimes isn't really an indoors kind of person."

"I hate to see him like this," Angua murmured.

"He only drinks when he gets depressed," said Carrot.

"Why does he get depressed?"

"Sometimes it's because he hasn't had a drink."

She squinted in the darkness. "He hasn't even got candles in here. Or an ornament or anything."

"There's a sheet of cardboard under the bed," Carrot volunteered. "I remember I was with him in Filigree Street when he found it. He said "There's a month's soles in this, if I'm any judge". He was very pleased about that."

"He can't even afford boots? You can buy boots, and you get less than him. And you send money home."

"Maybe he drinks it."

"But everyone knows he's off it now."

"Obviously not," Carrot said. Angua turned on him.

"It's not easy, you know! It's not as though he's got anyone but us!" she said sharply. She lifted the lid of his trunk. "Look. Everything he owns in the world. Old boots and stuff. And some paper." She waved the crude notebook in his face.

"That belongs to Captain -- "

She opened the book and read a few lines, expecting it to be notes about Watch business.

Her mouth dropped open. Her heart sank. "Will you look at this? No wonder he never has any money!"

"What d'you mean?"

"He spends it all on women!"

Carrot looked over her shoulder. On the bed, Vimes snorted. Angua felt as though her world was falling around her. She didn't expect this. He must look at every woman the way she sometimes caught him looking at her. Sam Vimes, a wolf! Who'd have thought it?

There, on the page, in Vimes' curly handwriting, were the words:

Mrs Gafkin, Mincing St: $5
Mrs Scurrick, Treacle St: $4
Mrs Maroon, Wixon's Alley: $4
Annabel Curry, Lobfneaks: $2

"Annabel Curry couldn't have been much good, for only two dollars," said Angua bitterly.

She was aware of a sudden drop in temperature.

"I shouldn't think so," said Carrot, slowly. "She's only nine years old."

"What?"

Colon appeared in the doorway, carrying a small ceramic cup carefully.

"Sergeant," said Carrot, "Lance-Constable Angua wants to know about Mrs Gaskin."

"Old Leggy Gaskin's widow? She lives in Mincing Street."

"And Mrs Scurrick?"

"In Treacle Street? Takes in laundry now." Sergeant Colon looked from one to the other, trying to get a handle on the situation.

"Mrs Maroon?"

"That's Sergeant Maroon's widow, she sells coal in -- "

"How about Annabel Curry?"

"She still goes to the Spiteful Sisters of Seven-Handed Sek Charity School, doesn't she?" Colon smiled nervously at Angua, still not sure of what was happening.

"But...fourteen dollars...that's nearly half his pay!"

"No pension for widows and orphans," Carrot said quietly. He picked up Vimes' limp arm and tried to prise his fist open, but even though Vimes was out cold the fingers were locked. "You just drink this, captain," he said, holding the cup to Vimes' lips, "and everything will look a lot...clearer..."

Angua could hear them talking in the background, could hear Vimes scream as the coffee sent him too far the other way, but she didn't register any of it. It wasn't until his badge tumbled out of his bleeding hand and onto the floor that she looked up again.

"I'll get some bandages," she said calmly.

***

The others had gone downstairs to deal with Quirke; Angua could hear raised voices as they argued. She took the roll of white cotton bandaging and tore off a short strip, soaking it in water from the basin and washing his hand. He didn't even flinch, and she wondered if the coffee was wearing off.

"I don't imagine it'll be forever," she said. "It's just until this mess with the Guilds blows over."

No reply. She glanced up at his face, and saw his dark eyes watching her, but not in the way a person's eyes did; there was a wall, blocking off thought, and she decided it was rather like the look of a dog watching a stranger. She picked up his other hand, opened it, and set the bloody bandage in it. The least he could do, if he wasn't going to talk, was help her keep the mess to a minimum.

"Anyway, the Yard's been too quiet. Least this way, when the Patrician re-opens the Night Watch, we'll probably get more people," she said, as she picked up his hand and rubbed some sort of balm into the cuts with her thumb. She set the bottle next to the rag in his other hand, and was pleased to see his fingers rise to grip it.

"And it's not as though he fired you. Just a...an administrative leave," she said brightly, wrapping his hand in the thin white strips. She noticed, for the first time, that it was the same cotton cloth as Watchmen's uniform shirts were.

She moved to stand, pushing the broken-seated chair back to where it was, but he stopped her. He held the bandaged hand in front of her eyes, and extended his forefinger. His hand turned, and the tip of his thumb stroked her cheek.

She closed her eyes when he kissed her. He was surprisingly good at it.

"Thank you," he said quietly, as the bandaged hand pushed her backwards, gently. "Those are very good lies, Angua. Hand me my badge, please."

She picked up the piece of copper, wiping it off with her hand, and gave it to him without meeting his eyes.

"You've known," he said slowly, "for some time. I know. I'm not as stupid as all that. It won't work. You need a young man, like Carrot."

"It's messy," said Angua.

"Yes."

"And now is not the time."

"No."

She looked at him. "Is that all you're going to say? Yes and no?"

"There's nothing more to say right now," he said, studying his badge. "We still have a job to do."

***

There were riots in the streets. Coalface the troll had been arrested for the murder of the dwarf Hammerhock. A body had been found in the cavernous ruins below the city. And then, for the love of the gods, Carrot formed a militia.

Vimes watched it all with that same walled-in expression. He gave orders, and so did Carrot, and in-between times he simply watched and waited -- he wasn't even sure what for. Even when the militia began to swell and Carrot field-promoted Detritus, Detritus, he promoted Detritus, Vimes didn't say anything.

Even when the night fell and it was his time, the time the Night Watch was supposed to be on the streets.

"I think we've finally got control for the night," Carrot said, as they reached the Yard. Angua had dropped back, to check down a side-alley, and was just catching up when she looked to the sky and swore.

How could she forget?

The rest of the Watch turned when they heard the curse, but by the time their eyes adjusted to the sight, all that was left of Angua was a large, golden wolf, and a pile of armour.

The sword was in his hands before Vimes even thought about it. It was instinct. He didn't even know who he'd pulled it from. Carrot, probably.

Angua growled, backing away, the hackles on her neck standing up. Vimes advanced, cautiously.

She stopped, and stared at him, and he felt the walls dropping.

"Oh bugger," he said, as she vanished into the night.

***

The irony of it all was, that if they'd had a werewolf about, they could have tracked her.

***

It was morning. Late morning. What else was there to do? He'd walked the streets for hours. He thought he knew the city well enough to find her, and he was wrong. It wasn't as though he would have slept; when he finally did get back to the Yard, all he did was doze standing up in a corner, while the others talked about the next move and tried to puzzle it out.

He couldn't find a werewolf in a city he'd lived in all his life. So not only was he a terrible person and a speciesist idiot, he was a bad copper.

Sam Vimes had not had a good night. He was angry, mainly at himself. And he wanted to spread it around.

"All right lads, we're not doing any good here," he said, finally. "Might as well do our jobs."

"We don't go on shift for hours yet," Colon pointed out.

"We don't go on shift at all anymore," Nobby added. "Been stood up."

"Stood down, Nobby," Carrot corrected.

"Dat too," Detritus rumbled.

"Shut up!" Vimes said, sharply. "So we're all a bunch of useless uniforms? If you're going to hang about the Watch House instead of going home, you might as well get out there and at least pretend to be real coppers. I'm going to," he added, clenching his teeth.

He didn't look back to see if anyone had followed him. If they hadn't, he didn't want to know it.

All he'd had to do was take in three new recruits and teach them how to be coppers and keep them from killing themselves or anyone else. He'd managed to captain the Night Watch for years without ever being entirely sober for any measurable length of time. Without the bottle, he ought to be able to do this job in his sleep (and sometimes, from the way he'd handled things, suspected he had). And now, because of the stupid gonne and his own stupid reaction to the more furry side of Angua's personality, she was gone, and the Watch was gone, and all he had left was the patrol, even if it wasn't an authorized one. Even if it was his last.

Some nob was getting married up at the University. Coaches were rattling through Sator Square, and, as Vetinari's open carriage rumbled past, he saluted it cynically.

Vetinari inclined his head in sober reply, which was why the first lead pellet skimmed the back of his head before slamming into the carriage, instead of hitting him square between the eyes.

Vimes took off at a dead run for the Patrician, which was why the second lead pellet went through Vimes.

***

It was a little dog, a mongrel that had about half the hair a dog ought to have, and twice the smell. Three times the smell.

Angua had seen him around, chased rats with him a couple of times. Gaspode, the world's only talking dog. A terrible-looking creature who nevertheless had managed to disband the Dogs' Guild with two well-placed words. Dogs were obedient animals, after all.

She rather liked Gaspode; he reminded her of the Watch. Heroic, but not quite up to the task of being heroes. Scruffy and not very well loved. Nearly homeless. Animals of the city.

"'Ullo, Angua," he said nervously. She growled. She'd found a nice, quiet alley, where she was nearly certain Sam Vimes wouldn't know to look, and she was contemplating never coming out. She was quite seriously contemplating never going back to human. It was too hard. Far too hard.

Gaspode sat down. His tail thumped uncertainly.

"Knew I'd find you sooner or later," he said. "The old nose, eh? Finest instrument known to dog."

There was another growl. Gaspode whimpered a bit.

"The thing is," he said, "the thing is...the actual thing is, see..."

"Did he send you?" she asked. Gaspode cringed.

"Not as such. Not as such. But like...the Watch, they're like dogs, ain't they? I like the Watch. Good lads. Give him a biscuit, wouldn't he like some curry. I can see you...don't want to talk right now. But that's the whole mess about being a dog, see?" he said. "There's the voice sayin': Bad Dog. And it don't come from anywhere but inside, right from inside the bones, 'cos humans made dogs. I knows this. I wish I didn't, but there it is. That's the Power, knowin'. I've read books, I have. Well, chewed books.'

The alley was silent.

'And you're a wolf and human at the same time, right? Tricky, that. Makes you kind of like a dog. 'Cos that's what a dog is, really. Half a wolf and half a human. We've even got names. Hah! So our bodies tell us one thing, our heads tell us another. It's a dog's life, being a dog. And I bet you can't run away from him. Not really. He's your master. Your Captain, he is. He wants you to come back. The thing is, if he finds you, that's it. He'll speak, and you'll have to obey. But if you goes back of your own accord, then it's your decision. You'd be happier as a human -- "

Angua howled. "He drew his sword! And there's always someone who's going to draw a sword! I can't go back. I -- "

She froze. Her ears twitched.

"What? What?"

"He's been hurt!"

***

Cuddy and Detritus had been following the Captain, on Carrot's orders, and Cuddy had the sense to ring his bell while Detritus charged the coach and tried to return fire with the siege crossbow. It took a chunk out of the Tower of Art, and didn't do much else.

The bell was too much attraction for the shooter to ignore. Cuddy crumped to the ground just as Detritus swooped down to carry him along to the relative safety of the overturned carriage.

Vimes crouched behind the makeshift cover, aware that his neck was bleeding and his shoulder burned with a firey sort of chill. Detritus' big craggy fingers clamped down on him.

"Jus' stoppin der blood flow, sir," Detritus rumbled. "Corp'ral Carrot showed me how."

"Don't break the bones," Vimes said. "Morning, Lordship," he added, to Vetinari. The Patrician stared at him.

"Two -- " a zing, and the carriage splintered. " -- one more," he said. "Detritus, you take his Lordship and Cuddy -- oh. No."

Detritus was looking down at the still body of his friend. A sixth pellet ricocheted off the wheel of the carriage.

Vimes took off at a dead run. He reached the tower just in time to see a black-clad figure making a run for it. The terrier in Vimes sat up and growled. Then something deeper and darker also began to take notice.

Red rose in front of his eyes as he ran. It poured down his shirt, too, underneath the chain mail. He was going to want a long bath and a lie down when this was all over.

But right now, he had a killer to catch.

The man knew the streets, he could see that, but so did he. And, he noticed, so did Carrot, who was running parallel to both of them, occasionally visible when he passed an alleyway. The whole damn Night Watch must have followed him.

The man turned down a dim street, and Vimes grinned cruelly. Got you, my old chum, that's a dead end --

A shower of pellets burst out of the alley, and Vimes slid to a stop, rolling underneath them. He heard cursing as the man tried to hammer another six rounds into the gonne. He leapt into the alley, and hit the wall just as the gonne fired.

He had just enough time to register that it was Cruces, Cruces who was wielding the gonne, before he found himself staring down the barrel.

"Don't move, Vimes," Cruces growled. "It's not you I'm after."

Vimes found it not at all difficult to obey. He was barely standing, in any case.

There was a gap in the wall. Carrot, if he had the sense he was born with, could reach through and --

Cruces saw Vimes' eyes stray to the gap, and he grinned as his finger tightened --

And a blur of golden fur came out of nowhere, leaping in front of the Assassin and taking four square shots to the chest.

Cruces ran. Vimes roared.

"SON OF A BITCH!" he shouted, pumping after the Assassin. Cruces tripped, and the gonne fell away. Vimes dove for it, and beat him to the weapon.

He stood.

Cruces drew a knife.

Sam Vimes fired.

And then he collapsed.

***

Anyone who hadn't known the Watch, the Night Watch in particular, would have been surprised at the way things were dealt with. By the time Carrot reached them, Vimes had recovered; he had just enough energy left to stare in horror at Cruces for a while before hurling the gonne against the wall, wrecking it completely. He stood and made his way unsteadily back to the corpse.

Angua's corpse.

Carrot stood there, helmet off, turning it in his hands.

"She saved me," Vimes said hoarsely. "Jumped right in front of it. Just like that."

"Cuddy's dead too, sir," said Carrot.

"Damn it all." Vimes tried to wipe the grime and sweat from his forehead, but his arm wouldn't move properly. Blood caked his uniform. "Damn it."

"The Patrician's all right, though. Detritus has him up at the University. Cuddy's there too."

Vimes stood in the filthy alleyway, over the body of a woman he'd thought he might even be able to love, and put his face in his hands. He didn't know how much longer he could stay upright.

"Come on, Carrot," he said, after a while. "Let's take her home."

They carried her back to the Yard, or rather, Vimes did, ignoring the pain in his shoulder; Carrot, conceding the field, went ahead to clear off a table and get some bandages ready, since his Captain was barely coming in under his own power.

He fetched a basin of water as Vimes, wincing, laid Angua on the clean white sheet over the table and cleaned her fur as best he could, using damp rags of bandage. Only then was Carrot allowed to see to his Captain's wounds.

And then he left them alone.

Vimes sat for a few minutes, his head cocked to one side. He put out his bandaged hand, almost touched her eyelids to close them, then stopped himself. He turned, and let himself out into the front office.

"I'm going upstairs," he said, his voice dull and flat. "Carrot, you...if there's anything left to handle, you handle it."

"Yes, sir," Carrot said carefully.

"There's a half a bottle of Bearhugger's in my office under the loose floor-board. Throw it out, would you?"

"Yes sir."

Vimes, already shirtless, scratched at his bandage as he undid his bootlaces and shucked them in a corner of his bedroom. He didn't have the energy for anything more, and rolled himself up in his blanket, wincing at the pain. He could at least pretend that he would sleep soon.

After a while, there was the sound of the door opening, and someone crossing the floor. A cool hand touched his bare, bandaged shoulder.

"It's very difficult to kill a werewolf," Angua's voice said. He didn't dare turn; he was probably just dreaming. "We don't drown or bleed much, and there aren't many poisons that'll do the trick. Fire will. And silver. But steel knives won't. Iron pikes won't. And lead pellets certainly won't."

He did turn then, pushing himself up on one elbow to look at her. She smiled. She was wrapped in the sheet he'd laid her on. It preserved decency, and not much more.

"You've got scars," she said, letting her hand fall away.

"Yes," he managed.

"Me too. You fight dirty?"

"Yes."

"So do I. You ever lose?"

"No."

"That all you're going to say? Yes and no?"

He reached out, half-wondering if his hand wouldn't go right through her. It didn't.

"Yes," he said, pulling her down.

The bedsprings went glink.

And quite soon, for Samuel Vimes and Angua von Uberwald, the Disc moved.

And continued to move. Bread and newspapers be damned.

***

It was some time later; the sun was almost up in the sky. It was a new day. The Patrician was still alive, and so, miraculously, were the Night Watch. Carrot was, he was sure, Handling Things.

Dr. Cruces was dead. So was Cuddy.

Sam Vimes was not, however. And he'd had enough years as a Watchman to count that as a blessing in the face of Cuddy's death.

Neither was Angua.

But she had stolen the sheets.

And she slept on his side of the bed.

And she was a werewolf.

And a vegetarian.

Vimes couldn't remember the last time he'd had a real vegetable, if you didn't count the turnip filling in so many of Dibbler's dodgy meat pies. He supposed that chips were 'vegetarian'. No, those were fried in fat. Well, dammit, what was? Mashed potatoes, without gravy, although without gravy mashed potatoes weren't really food -- maybe window sealant. Cheese pizza. Toast. Coffee. Possibly some of the more harmless forms of curry. All of which were good things to think about if you wanted to avoid the many problems at hand.

He lay on his side a few inches from her, and spoke.

"It won't work," he said quietly.

"It'll be like all the other places," she answered, without turning to look at him. "Pseudopolis and Sto Lat and Quirm, sooner or later someone picks up a pitchfork."

"Or a sword."

"Never had a sword before."

"I'm too old for you. And I drink."

"You drank."

"All right. But you're a nob and I'm not. That'll raise eyebrows."

"You think the fact that you're my commanding officer won't? I'm a werewolf, we're not very sociable people anyway."

"Angua, you do realise who you're talking to?"

"You don't like werewolves. I don't blame you. Most of us are horrible people."

"I like you," he said. She didn't answer.

He rolled off the bed, and pulled on his britches. She watched as he walked stiffly to the washstand and drew some of the water up in his hands, rubbing his face.

"You've got a scar on your back, looks like an arrow," she said sleepily. He began to shave.

"I was knifed by a drunk," said Vimes, between strokes of the razor.

"Your right arm?"

"Stray ricochet, crossbow bolt off of someone's helmet during a riot."

"And the one on your hip?"

She saw the tips of his ears turn red.

"Bumped against a hot clothes iron once," he muttered.

"Shouldn't think you knew what one was," said Angua. He set the razor down, aligned it Hubwards with care, and wiped his face, turning around. For the first time she saw his bare chest in good light, and she blinked. The marks on it weren't scars so much as stripes -- as if someone had bleached his skin in angular, irregular lines.

"And those are from a dragon," he said, when he saw the look on her face. "My reward for trying to save Sybil Ramkin from being eaten. They don't hurt," he added, and ran a thumbnail down one of them, to prove it. She winced.

"You see?" he said, coming to stand at the foot of the bed. "I'm too old for you. I have no class, no style. I'm not charming. I'm not particularly strong or handsome. I apparently don't eat vegetables at all. I hate small talk. I am an imperfect human being. Carrot would -- "

" -- show me several good examples of dwarf bread before trying to court me by introducing me to the fine civic architecture of Bloody Stupid Johnson," she finished for him. "I didn't choose Carrot. I chose you."

"Then you were wrong. We have nothing in common," he said. But inside, there was a small voice saying that nobody'd ever chosen him before. Things had just happened. If it came to a choice, he'd never been it. But here he was. Chosen. Chosen against Carrot, for the gods' sake.

"All right. Say this isn't going to work, then," she said. "Why don't we make it work today? And then we can try again tomorrow. After all, it isn't so hard to keep it going for a single day."

"And then another?" he asked, though it wasn't really a question he needed answered.

"Like in the Watch. You do your shift, and then you come back tomorrow and do another. You get by with what you've got."

He put his fingers to his lips, an unconscious gesture that he probably didn't even know he had. Angua did, though. It meant he was thinking.

"What are we going to do with each other, Angua?" he asked.

"Well, helping me find a spare pair of trousers would be favorite," she drawled.

"Lance-constable Angua, fined five dollars for loss of trousers," he said faintly.

***

We know the happy ending, even when the story is new to us. The brave guard captain is knighted; the Watch receives a new dart-board; their ranks swell to fill the new guard-houses around the city. The lady gets her man. A courtship, a wedding, all in the normal way of things. Normal for the Disc, anyhow, where a romantic moonlit walk can take on new dimensions of terror.

But what about the other guy? The rival for the good Lady Angua's affections, who graciously conceded defeat?

Well, you know what they say about Guards.

Eh?

But I thought everyone knew --

Well, all right, not everyone, but --

All right! They say that women like a man in uniform.

And Susan Sto Helit is certainly no exception.

END

You da Man

(Anonymous) 2005-09-26 02:56 am (UTC)(link)
Massive awesomeness all around, Sam. All your stories are completely great and butt-kicking goodness and I am rambly yay.

Just one thing, though: 'retcon', I think refers more to changing the interpretation of previous events, a la "that wasn't me you killed, that was my twin brother who was visiting for the week!" Probably a better phrasing would be "diverges during G!G!"

But yeah, you rock.
aunty_marion: Official Aunty Marion (Dragons rule OK)

[personal profile] aunty_marion 2005-09-26 09:22 am (UTC)(link)
You killed Sybil!!! How *could* you?

On the other hand ... Vimes and Angua.... Mmmmm. I could take to this....

[identity profile] blueyeti.livejournal.com 2005-10-02 11:37 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, I've always disliked Carrot in the vague way relating to his utter boringness, conflicting with the occasional Carrotism Charisma Moment. So Angua's thoughts were pretty much mine - who wants a bread museum, even when it comes with a Carrot, when you can have a lovable knurd bastard?

Very nice. I liked the way things progressed, but especially the Carrot-Vimes conflict/thought/stupidity over the militia, as well as the way you smoothed the non-Sybil path.

[identity profile] blueyeti.livejournal.com 2005-10-02 11:38 am (UTC)(link)
And, Oh My God!, Susan/Carrot!!!

*drops down dead*

And I can't figure out if I think that's a good idea or not, yet.

[identity profile] jazmin-firewing.livejournal.com 2005-12-09 10:07 pm (UTC)(link)
*laughs* I love this fic. And it works, too. Very awesome. This bit had me rolling on the floor laughing:
"Angua is a man of the Watch. She doesn't have any sex while she's on duty," Carrot said.
Oh, Carrot ... So innocent, and yet ... To court Susan Sto Helit, he can't be. You should write a Carrot/Susan fic, if you haven't already. That'd be cool.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-12-10 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm glad to see you enjoying the fics -- I've read all your comments, I just don't always reply because I'm a loser :D

Carrot/Susan....my god. *horrified look*

[identity profile] jazmin-firewing.livejournal.com 2005-12-10 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, but that'd be so cool! Maybe you could write how they met, or something. I don't know, I'm not the master. That's your job. I just comment.

[identity profile] gypsyliz.livejournal.com 2005-12-20 11:15 am (UTC)(link)
Great fic, Sam! :) I liked this a lot. Glad it's AU, as I really like Sybil, too. lol

[identity profile] pixelarious.livejournal.com 2007-08-03 02:40 am (UTC)(link)
Wow. That was fabulous, and I love that you told it mostly straight, and I totally agree that Vimes/Angua are meant to be. They're so cute together, each getting the other's sarcasm. I love Sybil, and yay Carrot, but still. The natural pair is Sam/Angua. Just is. This was a lovely story that needed to be written.

[identity profile] quean-of-swords.livejournal.com 2009-08-10 11:53 pm (UTC)(link)
An AU I can certainly accept, though I do miss Lady Sybil. Also, Susan/Carrot? YES. Don't know how I missed this fic before. You really are the Master of the Alternate Universe, aren't you?

[identity profile] shanejayell.livejournal.com 2009-11-20 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
*claps*

Oh, that was GOOD!

^__^

(Anonymous) 2009-12-04 03:07 pm (UTC)(link)
"The irony of it all was, that if they'd had a werewolf about, they could have tracked her."

This line is made of so much win. Great fic.