badass_tiger: Charles Dance as Lord Vetinari (Default)
rufus ([personal profile] badass_tiger) wrote2016-01-08 07:56 pm
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Untitled: A Vetinari/Drumknott fanfiction

This was written for me by the fantastic [livejournal.com profile] flipthefrog for the [community profile] fandomsecrets Secret Santa 2015! Temporarily posting it for visibility here, hopefully a link from the user themselves should come soon.


Havelock Vetinari ran his fingers lightly along the inked staves of the manuscript lying on his desk in front of him, nestled in a small pile of Hogswatch wrapping debris. A few months ago, he had been invited to the Opera and had found himself unable to decline the invitation, as even he must occasionally bow to social pressures, and the Patrician must therefore be seen supporting the Arts in Ankh-Morpork. The performance had, as always, hovered slightly above mediocre; however, the real tragedy was that the music itself had far outstripped the ability of the musicians to perform it. He had made a note to acquire a copy of the score, but the task had been pushed to the back corners of his mind by a series of low-level crises and squabbles among the guilds. And yet, the manuscript, itself a small work of art with its author’s dedication to clear notation and delicate penmanship, lay in his hands, courtesy of one Rufus Drumknott, secretary.

Vetinari raised his glance from the papers. “You know, Drumknott, most employees would have been content with a more traditional gift for their employers. A fruit basket, perhaps.” His voice betrayed no hint of emotion.

Drumknott shifted slightly, and replied, “Would you have preferred a fruit basket, sir? I’m sure I could find one, although at this hour they might be out of the ones with the pineapples.”

Vetinari smiled, thinly. “No, you were right the first time. I was merely remarking at the… familiarity implied by a Hogswatch gift of this quality.” It wasn’t even the expense Drumknott might have gone to in order to get the manuscript—the score to a failed opera could be gotten surprisingly cheaply, considering (for example) the number of oboists and mezzo-sopranos willing to recoup costs by selling off anything they could get their hands on. It was simply the fact that Drumknott had been in his direct employ for such a long period of time that not only did he know that Vetinari would prefer sheet music to exotic fruits, he even knew which music he would most enjoy.

It occurred to Vetinari, suddenly, that in addition to being the longest-serving (and by far the most helpful and competent) secretary he had ever had, Drumknott, by virtue of persistence and reliability, become possibly the closest thing to a friend the Patrician had. It also rapidly occurred to him, after seeing the quickly-concealed expression on Drumknott’s face at the word “familiarity,” that friendship may not have been the relationship Drumknott had intended to test the waters of.

Drumknott stood before the Patrician’s desk, his face as readable as a slab of marble. “If that will be all, sir, there are several reports from the Beggar’s guild that need filing. Enjoy your—“

“Wait,” said Vetinari. “I—apologize. I did not intend…” He trailed off, his years of hard-fought skill at making people do what he wanted fleeing in the face of emotional sincerity. Better to be honest, he thought, than to risk everything falling apart from an untruth. “Personal relationships with more, for lack of a more suitable term, intimacy, than those between political adversaries are not something I have a great deal of experience with.” At this, Drumknott’s face relaxed into something approximating disappointed acceptance, with an underscore of faint relief.

“However,” Vetinari continued, “for you, I would be willing to try.” And as the light rose in Drumknott’s eyes like the flow of sunlight across the Disc, Vetinari stood, walked out from behind the desk, and took his hand.