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And then the Elephant Sneezed...


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Title: And then the Elephant Sneezed...

This is a fanfic of Discworld by Terry Pratchett. All the normal disclaimers apply, I don't own these characters.

WARNING: Slight spoilers to "The Fifth Elephant". This fic takes place immediately at the end of that book (which had too many missed opportunities throughout the way and was just begging to have a fic made for it). It's not necessary to have read the book, tho it helps. Sorry no real elephant sneezes, regardless what the title suggests.

BACKGROUND: Discworld is a disc-shaped planet that sits on the shoulders of 4 large elephants which in turn stand atop the back of a gigantic turtle that travels through space. Ankh-Morpork, the largest city on the disc, is ruled by Lord Vetinari. The City Watch is a sort of police force run by Commander Sam Vimes. Captain Carrot and Sergent Angua are two of the officers under him.

---

Part 1:

Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson of the City Watch leaned back in his creaky chair and sighed. It had been a long week. Scratch that, it had been a long month. Perhaps it was chasing Angua across the Hub for hundreds of miles in a severe blizzard storm? Or fighting vampires, werewolves and wild wolves and almost dying three, four, or was it five times? Or returning home to find the Yard in chaos?

However he had finally gotten almost everything back in order, just in time he reflected, as Commander Vimes would be back tomorrow.

Carrot winced and put two fingers to his temple. A dull throb had settled deep in his skull. He could do with a hot bath but first he would tidy up these papers, check once more with the men (and women and trolls and dwarves and undead, since the Watch was an equal employment organization), and attend the late night briefing with the Patrician, Lord Vetinari.

A low rumble finally tinged his conscious as not originating from inside his skull but rather from outside his door. Before he could convince his muscles to move however, a large golden wolf burst through the door and snapped at him angrily. Carrot smiled wearily as the wolf ducked behind a partition. A few seconds later, Angua stepped back out shaking out her long blonde hair and adjusting her clothes.

"Busy day?" he asked innocently.

"Carrot!" she practically barked back at him. "Look at you!" Before he could reply, Angua strode up to his desk and pressed a firm hand against his forehead.

"I'm fine." he brushed her off.

"You have a fever." she scolded. "I could smell it from two blocks away."

"It's nothing." he persisted. He changed tactics and gave her his stunning smile. "Just tired, but Mister Vimes will be back tomorrow."

"I know." she replied calmly but her eyes told him that she hadn't dropped the issue.

"I just need to drop these forms off to the Assassin's Guild then stop by the Palace to brief the..."

"What?!" Angua snarled, "The Patrician? You can't seriously..."

"It's Vetinari, he's expecting me. Mister Vi..."

"Carrot, look at me." she grabbed his hand and stared into his beautiful blue eyes. "You're pushing yourself too much. You're about to pass out. Let me take you home."

"Angua, I'm fine. I just... h'huh..." Carrot stuttered as his breath hitched and a sharp prickle teased his nose. He turned aside as he pinched the bridge of his nose with his other hand until the feeling backed off.

She glared at him. "You were saying?"

"I have to go." he said as he slowly pulled away, ignoring the ringing in his skull as he gathered up the papers. When he looked up again the wolf stood were Angua had been. She growled menacingly but didn't block his way. He smiled gratefully knowing she fully intended to tail him and ensure he didn't faint in the middle of the streets.

---

Lord Havelock Vetinari sifted through a mountain of papers. Running Ankh-Morpork, the largest city on the Disc, required a certain finesse but also an acute juggling skill (which Vetinari could accomplish quite literally). Today's notes included a memo that Dwarves in the city were being infected from a mysterious virus, most likely dug up from the deep fat mines in Uberwald. Luckily only Dwarves seemed to be affected.

He extracted from the mound another couple forms, signed them almost absently, and rung for his aide. A young girl appeared on command a breath after the bell.

"Files these to be deliver promptly to the Thieves Guild."

"Yes, m'lord."

"And let the Captain in."

"m'lord?"

"Captain Carrot. He should be here."

The girl glanced behind her down the hall and saw the tall handsome man walking slowly toward the Patrician’s Oblong Office.

"Yes, m'lord." she bowed politely, excused herself, and trotted quickly over to the man.

"Good evening, Rosalin." Carrot smiled genuinely down at her.

Rosalin blushed profusely. Of course she knew the Captain, everyone did. But, being new, she had only seen the him before from a distance. Yet here he knew her name. Although she had heard that he knew everyone in the whole city, as he stood here gently speaking her name she still couldn't stop the blood from rushing to her head.

"m'lord is expecting you. Sir." she added quickly.

"Thank you, Rosalin. Please, I can see myself in."

The young girl bowed repeatedly and hurried away before she'd trip over herself.

Outside the Palace gates, the golden wolf sighed as only a wolf could. Even through the thick walls, her sharp ears still heard the whole conversation. Trust Carrot to charm everyone he meets. The problem was he did it sincerely. Even old ladies and a few men couldn't help but fall for him.

Carrot sniffed and rubbed his nose lightly before he pointedly grasped the handle and entered.

The Patrician sat with his back toward him, but even from behind his back Carrot could feel the Patrician's sharp eyes scanning him over.

"How are you feeling, Captain?"

Carrot stood up straighter. Just how DID he do that?

"Just fine, thank you for asking sir."

"You seem a bit, tired." with this Vetinari swung around and fixed his gaze over Carrot.

"How did you..."

"You're normally quite punctual. But your walk has slowed a bit, Captain. You weren't waiting outside my door when I asked Rosalin to show you in."

Carrot managed a polite grin. "Very astute, sir."

"And...?"

"Just a bit tired sir." There's no use denying anything from Vetinari. "However, everything is now in order when Mister Vimes returns tomorrow. He should be arriving by..." Carrot's voice trailed off as his nose picked such an inopportune time to itch.

"Captain?"

"heh...h-hehh'h..." Carrot turned politely and pinched his nose tight. He froze in place for a few heavy seconds before the itch finally subsided. Sighing lightly, he turned back to the Patrician who hadn't moved his intense gaze. "Sorry, sir."

"No need to apologize Captain. Speaking of which however, have you heard about the virus affecting the Dwarves recently?"

"Ah, yes. A few of the Dwarves in the Watch have also come down with it. I must have gotten it from them."

"Captain?"

"Yes sir?"

"But you're not a..."

"I'm a Dwarf sir. I've been raised with them. My constitution is mostly the same."

"Still it worries me Captain that a human, even though he is also a Dwarf, comes down with the same virus that only Dwarves have had up to this point. Did the virus mutate, for example? Can it now be passed among humans? These are the types of problems that I have to deal with daily."

"I'm sorry, sir." Carrot hung his head.

Vetinari brushed it aside. "Still, I think it would be for the best if you remained in the Palace, Captain. A short quarantine if you will. Perhaps Sergeant Angua may agree to..."

The Patrician's voice trailed off as he noticed the other man's distracted eyes. Carrot's head snap to the side with a sudden sneeze. "Hetchhhh'ew! Oh, excuse me sah...s... ehixktchhh'w!"

When Carrot looked back up, Vetinari was beside him holding a soft looking white cloth. Dwarves normally did not come down with illness and Carrot most certainly didn't remember such a thing ever happening to him before. His tired mind worked the meaning of the cloth and he took it with a slight flush of embarrassment.

"Go on, blow your nose Captain."

"Sir, I..."

"Come now, quickly. It's an order."

Carrot obediently brought the cloth to his face and blew lightly, but the gurgle brought another round of intense tickles that he could no longer resist. He spun around as a surprise fit of sneezes rocked his body. "Hetgchhew! h-hhh...hhe'xchhng! Eh'hh'extshhh! heeh...h'hh-Hehgsheew!" he sneezed repeatedly into the cloth. Momentarily forgetting the presence of the Patrician, Carrot blew his nose harshly and gratefully.

"Mightily done, Captain."

Carrot jerked back around and flushed again. "Oh sir, I..."

Vetinari waved his hands again. "Here, throw it in here. Now, I think I WILL call up Sergeant Angua and we will get you comfortable in one of the guest rooms. Where you are under orders, I might add, to get better. Oh, how prompt. Here she is."

A knock on the door was followed immediately by it opening. In stepped Angua, again in human form.

"Sergeant. How wonderful. I assume you've heard our conversation? Can you please lead the Captain down the hall and into the spare guest room #22? Being a werewolf yourself I'm hoping you're immune to this virus?"

"Yessir. We werewolves don't get ill."

"Good good. I shall ring up Rosalin to help you get settled. But again I hope you understand the need to limit outside contact as much as possible. Sergeant, you're given free roam of the Palace to gather anything the Captain might need."

Vetinari rung his bell again and Rosalin promptly popped in. "Ah, Rosalin. The Captain and Sergeant will be staying with us for a few days. Be sure to show Sergeant Angua the supply cabinets. Oh and Sergeant Angua, please give the Commander and his Lady my best regards. Now, unfortunately, I must get back to work."

Carrot and Angua bowed to the Patrician and followed the small girl down the hall.

Once the door closed Vetinari rang up Rufus Drumknott, the Patrician's personal secretary, who heavily strode into the office.

"Drumknott, cancel all my appointments for the next couple days. Also be sure to cancel that Guild Leader Council scheduled for tomorrow in the Rat Chambers."

"Uh... sir... there is no Guild Leader Council tomorrow."

"There will be if word gets out about Captain Carrot. I want the Palace quarantined, no one in, no one out."

"Yes sir."

Vetinari waited until the footsteps receded before he grabbed a bag and walked over to a side wall. He pressed a few panels lightly and a hidden door swept aside. Down a long winding hall, muttering, skipping, and pressing on more panels he finally arrived at a large metal door. He grasped the old handle firmly and with a deft twist he swung the door open.

Out of habit, Vetinari ducked in time before a loud explosion shot something passed his head. Leonard of Quirm jumped joyously out of his own hiding location upon seeing him.

"My lord! You're just in time! I have just invented nail polish!"

"Mail polish?"

"No, my lord. For your fingers!" Leonard proudly showed off a variety of glowing colors on his fingertips.

Vetinari waved the inventor off. "We don't have time for that Leonard. There's a serious problem."

"I'm all ears, my lord."

"Captain Carrot has fallen ill."

"I take it this is the serious problem."

"Yes, it's a dwarf virus and yet he caught it. Perhaps it's from his upbringing. However if he can catch it, other humans can as well now." Vetinari brought out the small paper bag with a soft white cloth within. "I need you to make an antivirus. And I need it in two days."

"Is he that ill, my lord?"

"No Leonard. That's when I'll succumb."

to be cont...

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Oooh, yay. I love discworld, this is great. I like the way you've written Vetinari being very calm about it all. I really hope we get to see him 'succumb', but if not then I'm still looking forward to more delicious Carroty goodness biggrin.png

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Well I do know this fandom (though haven't read this particular book yet) and I love it 8D Oh Carrot <3 I love how polite you made him, it's adorable.

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Ohhhhhh~!.. Don't know the fandom, but this is great writing :D.. Love the characterization here ^_^.. Hope to see more~ :D

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All these Discworld stories remind me of how much I need to get around to reading some Discworld. :V

This is adorable beyond words. Looked up all the characters to see what they looked like, and I like how there are a lot of interpretations of them, too. Looking forward to more!!

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Ah thanks for the comments all! I'll post part 2 now but part 3 still needs work so will have to see how that goes.

Part 2:

Carrot's eyes wearily took in the grand furnishings of the guest room. It even had its own majestic bath with hot running water. He had only tried such a bath once before in Commander Vimes' house but this one looked new with the latest invention in piping. His limbs ached for a soak and his head began to throb again.

But much worse, his nose had not given up its tickles. Ever since he had let that sneezing fit slip through, another and another had lined up in queue. To top off his embarrassment, Angua seemed to have already settled into nurse mode.

Regardless what the Patrician had said about werewolves not catching colds, Carrot flushed beet red at the thought of all that sneezing in her presence. He just couldn't... he didn't want to... but then his nose might not give him a say. Perhaps Igor could sew him a new nose...

"Carrot?" Angua's voice cut through his thoughts.

"Umm, yes?"

"Your fever has gone up again. Are you ok?"

"I was just wondering about asking Igor for a new nose."

"No!" Angua shouted appalled. Then she caught his eyes and smiled.

Carrot smiled wearily back. "Umm, well, since it seems I'm not allowed to leave can you..."

"Inform Corporal Cheery?"

"Oh and also..."

"Make a note for the Commander?"

"Don't forget..."

"To give Lady Sybil regards from Vetinari?"

"Can you..."

"Not finish your sentences?" Angua smiled as Carrot fixed her with a glare. "Sorry." she added innocently.

"No... I should be the one..." Carrot paused as his nose flared and the itch returned. He pressed a firm fist under his nostrils until the feeling subsided.

"You really shouldn't do that." she scolded him.

"Can't...h' h-help... it..."

"We're the only ones here. If you need to sneeze, just sneeze!"

"I don't... nnn.need." he protested.

"Uh-huh, sure. I can tell you know. I can hear it in your breath and I can see how the air around you zigzags." she dug inside the bag of supplies provided by Rosalin and pulled out more white cloth squares. The grime-covered city of Ankh-Morpork was never much for hygiene although, luckily, the typical citizen soon developed the resistance of a rock. Well, because if they didn't then they'd find themselves soon rolled into the oozing Ankh river, wouldn't they?

Carrot hesitated merely a fraction of a second, she noticed, before he grabbed the cloth from her outstretched hands and buried his sneezes into it. "Hek'xcshhhh'uh! eh... hheh-Heh'shhew! h'hhi'Hexchhh!" Sneeze after sneeze wracked his body as each of the suppressed itches from the day escaped into freedom. "eeh'h-hgnkkkxchh! ehhh... hhheh'hh" His nose and eyes began to run but he could still feel them itch.

He held the cloth in front of his face as he silently prayed to the Small Gods for one more. "HetgKchhh'w!" he sneeze mightly before giving a his nose a hard blow. Once it became clear his nose was on break, he dabbed it lightly and sank into the soft folds of the bed.

A light hand gently touched his burning forehead. Angua didn't need touch even in human form to see the heat radiating off Carrot. The heat burned a clear image in her eyes and nostrils, it even lingered long after he moved from a spot. Given his temperature, she was certain she'd be able to track his route three weeks or more from now. But he sighed calmly as the cool silky hand felt so good against his skin.

"I seem to be making this a pattern, aren't I? That time...erm two...that I collapsed in the snow?" he asked. Angua rolled her eyes in memory at his stupidity. Carrot had chased her into Uberwald without supplies or proper clothes, and in a blizzard no less. If she hadn't tracked him down... "And after, well, you know, Igor fixed up my arm?" Angua frowned at that. She knew what he was trying to avoid mentioning.

"It's because you're an idiot." she scolded and slapped his cheek, only half-mockingly. "At least Vetinari has the sense to know when you're dead on your own feet."

Carrot's shy grin contorted into a familiar obvious expression. Carrot was the most honest person Angua had ever met; even with the act of sneezing, his face couldn't tell a lie. His brows crunched up, his jaws slacked, and his nostrils flared wildly. In fact his whole body joined in the intense pretending-not-to-sneeze-again ritual until his nose finally won. At that point his hand rushed to his face and covered it with the cloth.

"Hetchhh'w! Ehx-ntchhh! heh...hhh'hh-h-CHHHng!" Carrot sank back wearily into the cushions. If only his nose would stop itching! Aches, pains, and even a broken arm he could deal with. Things like that were quite common in Ankh-Morpork or Dwarf mines! But his nose itched and annoyed him like a fleas on a dog and the sneezes drained him more than fighting an entire army of Klatch.

"Stop fighting it." Angua chided him.

"I'm not..."

"Yes you are. Look, even wolves sneeze. We have sensitive noses you know and we need to keep our noses clear the same as humans, it's an automatic reflex. A werewolf may be immune to colds but that doesn't mean some don't have allergies."

Carrot perked up, "Really?" he asked intrigued.

Angua sighed. "Yes well, you know a werewolf can track scents from miles away. And as scents lingers for days or weeks, so werewolves with allergies find things much more... difficult... than humans. Anyways," Angua cleared her throat to change the topic, "You need to stop fighting your sneezes like they were an enemy army." When Carrot blushed again she knew she got him. "Treat it more like, a political banter."

"You mean I should convince my nose to surrender and sign a treaty?"

"I MEAN... sometimes it's better to take it for a nice cup of tea." she said with a smile.

---

Lord Vetinari knew politics. In fact, he practically invented the word. He had single-handedly transformed the city of Ankh-Morpork from a royal mess into a running system. True, it was often difficult to say which direction it was running TO (or FROM as often the case might be) but nevertheless it ran.

He occupied himself with looking at the unique colors of nail polish as Leonard slowly melted from his shock.

"You... you? My... lord?" the inventor finally managed to get his jaw working again.

"Yes, me Leonard."

"But...but...how?"

Vetinari sighed. "Captain Carrot is ill, Leonard."

"Yes... so you've said."

"The Captain reports to me daily while Commander Vimes has been away. I've noticed 2 days ago that he looked fatigued, but I had put that down as the stresses from the past month. After all, chasing Angua through Uberwald is no easy feat. Even in my youth I'd have... well, let's just say the Captain has been under a lot of stress."

"2 days..."

"Yes. It would be too arrogant to assume I've not caught it. Much less anyone the Captain has come in contact with. And you do know he's a rather public figure. He knows everyone and does everything. People look up to him, they need him. Ankh-Morpork could not function without him."

"Well, yes... of course."

"So you have 2 days Leonard." Vetinari sighed and his eyes glazed over a bit. "And then the elephant sneezed..."

"What was that, my lord?"

"Oh just rambling. You do know the story of the 5th Elephant, Leonard?"

"You mean the one where the 5th Elephant crashed into the disk, creating the mountains, oceans, and continents?"

"Yes. Everyone knows that Discworld is a flat disk carried on the shoulders of 4 large elephants, which in turn stands atop a large turtle. Theologians however still argue over the existence of a 5th Elephant. Did it really crash into the disk? What really happened? One of the lesser known theories is that a mighty sneeze propelled it into the disk and created the far Rimward gulfs and islands."

Leonard laughed. "Surely not my lord."

"Still," Vetinari gave the inventor a serious look, "the Dwarves say this virus came out of their recently opened fat mines. An ancient virus that had been incubating in the old mines? I'd be a fool to disregard the signs, Leonard."

"Good dear! Will the Captain be ok?"

"We shall have to see, shan't we? At the moment, he's resting. But Ankh-Morpork cannot be without its Captain. Especially right now with the political upheaval in Uberwald and Klatch. There would be serious consequences if people found out that our Captain is seriously ill."

"You're keeping him a secret then?"

"Of course not! This is Captain Carrot we are talking about! I wouldn't be surprised if by tomorrow everyone in Ankh-Morpork knew. But in fact, because it IS Captain Carrot, it will work."

"Sir?"

"Just get on with the antivirus, Leonard. I'll take care of the rest. I do have two days after all." Vetinari smiled calmly and excused himself from Leonard's room.

---

A dozing Corporal Cheery practically fell off her seat as Commander Samuel Vimes burst into the Yard room late at night.

"S...sir!" Cheery squeaked. "I... thought you weren't scheduled to come back until tomorrow night sir!"

Vimes glanced around the Yard in relief. "Yes, I bribed the carriage driver to hurry. We rode straight through the day without stopping at the last inn."

"What's wrong sir?"

"Sorry Cheery, just a gut feeling. I've learned to trust my gut but perhaps it is wrong this time. What happened? Where's everyone? Where's Carrot?"

"Oh, erm... Captain Carrot is at the Palace sir. He wasn't feeling well and so the Patrician offered for him to spend the night."

Vimes' gut gave a twisting wrench. "What?"

"Yessir. I spoke to Sergeant Angua earlier tonight. The Patrician himself left you a memo. It's on your desk, still sealed I believe."

In a couple great strides, Vimes was up the staircase and sifting through the few papers on his desk. He found the one with the Patrician seal and ripped it open.

"Captain Carrot wille be resting at this residence fore a few days.

It is nothing to worry about. And welcome backe home Commander."

Vimes dropped the note which drifted to Cheery's feet. She stooped down, picked it up, and glanced at it.

"Sir?"

"Cheery, what happened? Can I see him?"

"Umm sorry sir, but the Patrician ordered a short quarantine in the Palace. No one comes or goes. Umm, Sergeant Angua did say it was precautionary. Is that bad sir?"

"When the Patrician says something isn’t to worry about Cheery, it makes me worry. He wouldn't have detained Carrot if it wasn't serious..."

"Oh no! I didn't th... heh..." Cheery stuttered and Vimes glanced at the dwarf just as she turned and sneezed violently. "Acktcchhh!"

"Cheery?"

"Oh, I'm so sorry sir." She flushed profusely while rubbing her nose messily. "It's just something going around the Dwarves. Don't worry sir; it's not contagious to humans."

"To humans except Carrot?"

"Well, Carrot IS a dwarf sir."

"He's a six-foot tall dwarf Cheery."

“But...”

“Yes yes, ok I see your point.” He said placating in the same way he often used with his wife. However as his mouth spoke, Vimes’ mind spun in overdrive. A dwarf illness? And Carrot ill? A quarantine in the Palace? And why the Palace? Would Vetinari risk... unless...

Vimes sunk into his chair. Unless Vetinari himself was ill? Was that the reason for such an obviously false message? To draw attention to the Captain, whom everyone in the city loved and stood behind? If the whole city rallied in support, the neighboring countries wouldn’t dare attack during a time of such a weakness. A quarantine also provided a convenient excuse so that no one would poke in unexpectedly to see the Patrician.

“Ackxchhh!” a sharp sneeze jerked Vimes back into reality. “Oh dear, I’b so sorry...” she said.

“Don’t apologize Cheery. I want you to go home and take care of yourself. Hear that? On your way, please stop by and inform Sergeant Colon that Captain Carrot is ill. It may be serious, but the Patrician doesn’t want us to worry, so we’ll have to look out for ourselves. Discretely of course. Wouldn’t want to cause mass panic in the city ahahah! Oh dear me, I just had a vision of poor Carrot on his deathbed. I sure hope the chap will pull thru! Now run along Cheery, it’s been a long day for me and the Missus you know. I’m going to head back home and get some rest myself.”

Cheery bobbed worriedly and left the Yard in a stumble. She’s a good dwarf, Vimes knew deeply. But if he knew Sergeant Colon like he did in his bones, by tomorrow, the whole city will know about Carrot.

to be cont.

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  • 1 month later...

Was just popping by to ask if you're gonna continue? Because I am loving this! :heart:

Vetinari is utterly delicious and I hope he does get a sneeze or two in :drool: Then again, I love everyone in the Discworld series, so it's all good either way :P

Loooooooove this! :love:

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Oh WOW. This is one my favourite things I've read recently, without a doubt. Beautifully written, and you have the Pratchett voice down really well.

Vetinari being concerned for Carrot?!?! Beautiful. I love power imbalances in care-taking. Angua can smell his fever? I don't know why that's hot but it kind of is. And Vetinari's almost nonchalant admission that he's infected too.... it's killing me. Seriously. Thanks so much for this.

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  • 3 weeks later...

How in the Disc have I not seen this before?

Who are you?

How do you write Pratchett so well?

Seriously.

My favourite part, though, has to be all the little details. Like Carrot thinking about Igor, and Leonard of Quirm inventing nail polish. Priceless!

(And I totally agree with everything about all the other kinky bits that have been said.)

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Sorry I've been so distracted lately. Just finished reading Going Postal, Making Money, and Snuff. Ohh gods, I'd DIE for a MOIST VON LIPWIG fic. Seriously. Please, someone? I had to make one of those myself just to satisfy my own inner cravings, however since it's not really a sneezefic I'll have to work on that one some more.

But I decided I should just finish posting this story anyways even without the basic editing. There are 6 parts total. Apologies in advance for the lack of sneezing in some parts.

____________________________________________

Part 3/6:

Angua sat and rocked herself in a chair by the bed. Carrot had finally drifted off into restless fevered sleep, pocketed briefly by a deep hacking coughing fits. If his fever didn’t break soon she’d.... she’d... well, she’d throw him into a cold bath. She diligently changed the cool towel on Carrot’s forehead. He tossed slightly before settling back into sleep.

Now that she was practically alone, her mind wandered back to what Vetinari had said. No, she reminded herself, not SAID. It was more of a whisper: too soft for any human to hear but knowing fully well that she could! A whisper between the lines of conversation as he spoke to Carrot. He was surely frightening in his own way.

“Sergeant, take care of the Captain.” he had whispered. “I leave you in charge, Sergeant, as I fear I have caught this too. I will arrange for a cure to be worked on but he must hang on for two days. The city will rally around our Captain. Be sure to tell Vimes not to worry.”

That last part confused her until she realized Mister Vimes would never believe the words that Patrician spoke straight from his mouth. Vimes respected and obeyed Vetinari but the word “believe” didn’t figure into that category.

Carrot jerked awake as another coughing fit racked his lungs. Angua leaped immediately to his side although hesitantly unsure of what to do. He pushed himself up weakly and wheezed for breath as she rubbed his back firmly. Carrot swung his head and blinked a couple times until his eyes focused on her. He smiled gratefully in a way that infuriated her... how can he still smile like that with how he’s feeling?

“How long... have I been out?” his voice sounded so strange to her.

“Ten minutes this time.”

“Oh, it’s getting better.”

“Carrot...”

“Angua... I... uh... I need... t-to...uhh”

She handed him another white cloth from the table and he took it hastily as a sneeze burst from him. “eHhhxchhh’w! hhh-h’hi-iHIT’chhhew! Uh... Angua... I hhhh’h I don’t think... ehHxxs-CHHhh'ng! I don’t think... tea is working.”

Despite herself, Angua smiled. Seeing her smile, he grinned in response.

“I can make more?” she suggested.

“Ughh... politics.” he groaned as his nose twitched again. “h'Hex’SCHHhew!”

The last sneeze triggered another coughing fit which doubled him over and left him winded. Angua eased Carrot back into the pillows and smoothed out his hair from his face. Even looking like Klatch blew over with his disheveled hair and red nose, he was still gorgeous. Carrot caught her hand and held it against his fevered cheeks.

“Feels... nice.”

“Carrot, let me get another towel for you....”

“No... just stay.” he protested as he drifted off to sleep.

---

Regardless what he told Cheery, Vimes didn’t sleep that night. If something happened to both Vetinari AND Carrot, well then he, Vimes, might just as well be next up the totem pole! And that thought alone frightened him enough to prevent any hope of sleep.

Ashamedly he remembered poor Carrot and chided himself for even thinking such thoughts! Carrot would pull through; he was Carrot after all... the rightful heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork. It was one of those secrets that simply EVERYONE knew. Although Carrot himself never wanted the position.

Now Vetinari on the other hand... Vimes grimaced. It was difficult to picture an ill Vetinari. Of course he had been injured in the past, poisoned and unconscious as well, but… ill? Vimes never knew the man to sneeze. Ever. The man WAS human, it was strongly believed, and he bled red blood the same as the rest of us. But sometimes even imagination failed.

He needed to see Carrot, just to assure himself. And the only way to do that would be through Angua. Absolutely foolish, he knew. Just what could he, Commander Vimes of the City Watch, Duke of Ankh-Morpork, do? A virus wasn't something you could arrest and throw in a cell.

Think some sense, man! He told himself.

Right, you can't do anything. Just do what you can do. Go back to the Yard and start patrolling the city.

---

Vetinari woke early with a light throbbing to his temples. So, his suspicions were accurate as he had assumed, he thought to himself smugly. Unfortunately the symptoms also appeared to be showing earlier than he had calculated. The Captain had been raised as a Dwarf in a Dwarf mine, so the Captain must have some resistances that even he, Vetinari, would not.

He swung his legs calmly off his bed. Vetinari as a whole didn't sleep much, if at all. He didn't need it. But last night, with the Palace quarantined and orders not to disturb him, he lay in bed thinking until he forced his mind to shut down.

Dressing quickly in his usual simple all black attire, he picked up his cane, strode over to his message tray, and deftly sorted and scanned through all the paperwork for the day. After absorbing entire sheets in quick glances, he then strode over to his Clack Decoder To Crack Clack Messages Device (one of Leonard's latest models) which monitored incoming and outgoing Clack messages. He glanced them over and allowed himself a grin.

Vimes had returned early and he had done precisely what Vetinari had hoped. The whole city knew about Carrot! And likewise so did all the neighboring countries as well. Klatch, Uberwald, and even as far as Lancre. The messages by Clack ran so extreme to detail the painful illness of beloved Carrot on his deathbed to speculations he had already died with the Patrician covering it up. A few claimed he had been turned into a zombie, albeit a still handsome zombie, and would protect the city long after he had died.

A few of these, Vetinari suspected, would not be too far from the truth however. He had better check on the Captain to be sure. Turning smoothly, he strode to a different wall, palmed it down in places, and stepped through another secret passage.

---

Carrot's head pounded in echos to the chimes of the multiple clock towers around the city and he blinked the cobwebs from his eyes until they met the concerned face of Angua staring down at him. As his eyes settled on her he frowned, wondering if she had slept at all?

"Did... you sleep?"

"I rested with my ears open. I could hear you waking from the changes of your breath so I got up."

His throat burned so he simply nodded in reply; unfortunately that motion also caused a wave of nausea to blur spots before his eyes. Ugh, how did he get so ill? He must look... pathetic... to Angua.

"Carrot?"

"I'm... fine."

"No you're not. And you need to eat something. Vetinari's personal cooks have just brought up some clear broth soup."

Carrot groaned audibly at the thought, the mention of food caused his stomach to turn.

"I don't... uh..." his breath hitched as a familiar itch filled his nostrils. He rubbed at it but the feeling simply intensified. Carrot scrunched up his face in a grimace as his broad muscled chest rippling as it began to heave, then with a desperate look to Angua he let go "uh...Huh'hh...HKXXCHHW! Ugh, my dose..." he groaned as he clamped his nose shut.

"Stop that. And you need to eat." she insisted as she tried to pry him open.

"I deed to... snnuh... sneeze." he denied as he struggled from her grasp. His nose itched like crazy and he really didn't want to start again so early in the morning. He buried his nose into the pillow trying to shut it out but the muffled sneeze broke free anyways. "eh'HetChuuew!"

"Carrot, honestly you..." Angua's voice trailed off as she heard a definite whisper.

"Sergeant." it whispered. "Sergeant."

With only the barest movements of her head, Angua's eyes darted around the room in a controlled alertness. The sound was coming from the walls itself.

"Good morning Sergeant. I see the Captain is awake now too. Two drops, if you would, from the vial in the bottom drawer of the far desk please."

"What?" Angua whispered back in confusion.

"Angua?" Something in her voice made Carrot looked up at her.

"Oh, it's ummm, it's nothing. Thought I heard some rats that's all."

"They're smart you know. The rats I mean." Carrot said while rubbing his nose. "They do tricks and bring me things. Some will come when I call."

"What??" Such things shouldn't shock her anymore but with Carrot anything is possible. He's even made friends with the Palace rats!

He grinned at her shocked expression but his nose insisted on his attention again as another unbearable urge built. He rolled away from her but Angua could see his shoulders shudder through the covers, could hear his breath shake brightly colored vibrations in the air, and could taste the heat of his fever radiating in waves off his body.

"eeh'hh... heh!" Carrot's breath quickened as the tickle took hold of him. "Hhh'hh-hheh... HkngChxeeew! h'hkxcchhh! eeeh-ehKch'w! Ungh." he groaned as the pounding returned to his head.

Angua jumped up, silently but purposefully strode to the far desk and opened the bottom drawer. In addition to the vial were a handful of other small pills and items, but she only pulled out the one she needed and closed the drawer. Walking over to his soup tray she carefully poured in two drops into the broth then brought the tray over to an exhausted Carrot.

"Eat." she ordered.

He grimaced and rubbed his nose. "Angua, I..."

"Eat." she said again, more firmly this time.

Defeatedly he gave in and picked up the spoon. The soup was no longer hot but it didn't burn his throat either as he sipped it. It also wasn't particularly flavorful, but assumedly as it was made by Vetinari's personal cooks it was, at least, most likely nutritious. Vetinari himself never cared for the flashy or extravagant.

He had forced down half the bowl before the lingering tickle suddenly blossomed once more into an intense itch. He rushed his hands to his nose as he clamped down hard. "Nngh!uhh." He stifled just in time as his whole body shuddered and the tray wobbled precariously. Unfortunately the stifle only increased the itch. He groaned at the pressure in his ears but didn't release his nose as he tried to safely move the tray aside with his other hand.

"Ahg...angwaah...haa" he pleaded just as she rescued the soup. "hetngCHhheew!" he snapped forward with a massive sneeze. "eekXTCHHH'w! hhh'h-HETKCHHH!"

When he looked up at her weakly she shook her head and smiled before handing him back his tray. He accepted it reluctantly but held an ever ready hand hovering in front his nose.

"Sergeant." the voice whispered again. Angua gave only the barest of nods in acknowledgment and so the voice continued. "Once the Captain has finished, please bring him to the window. The Commander has returned and is currently pacing anxiously around the Palace gates since sunrise." the voice seemed amused by this. "It will do both the Captain and the Commander good to see each other."

Mister Vimes had returned already? She strained to listen far out to the gates and indeed she could hear voices. A gruff sort of voice that could only be the Commander and a higher squeaky voice of Corporal Nobbs. The Commander was telling Corporal Nobbs in an overly loud and boisterly voice that the trip back from Uberwald with his wife, Lady Sybil, had been wonderfully beautiful... once you got used to the part of vampires and werewolves eyeing you like meat wherever you went.

Carrot obediently finished the last of the soup and immediately began to feel better. The clouds over his eyes dispersed, feeling slowly seeped back into his limbs and his very muscles relaxed. Now if only it could have done something about his nose, but then again you can't have everything.

"That was great soup." he said with noticeably more energy that Angua almost jumped with start. His smile for the first time in days radiated some of that Carrot charm which had won her heart and she felt some of her own stiffness melt away.

Just what was in that vial, she thought? And how did Vetinari slip it into that drawer without her noticing? Unless... unless he planted it in that room before he met with Carrot. That meant he already knew Carrot was ill even before she did. She shivered internally and shook her head, she'd really be better off not questioning the Patrician.

"Must be the secret to Vetinari's energy." she flashed him a grin before taking the tray away. "Since you're looking better already, I'll just open up these curtains to let in some light. Oh. Look. Isn't that... the Commander?"

"Mister Vimes?!" Carrot nearly tumbled out of bed if Angua hadn't anticipated it.

"Woah! Steady Carrot!" Somehow she was already by his side to steady his uneasy legs and supported him lightly as he made his way to the window. Her sharp eyesight spotted the Commander and Corporal Nobbs quickly but Carrot blinked in the morning light before he could just make out two figures lingering by the Palace gates.

Angua glanced to Carrot's face and saw him break into a pure smile as if a great weight had lifted off his shoulders. Mister Vimes was back. Everything would be all right. She just KNEW that was what he was thinking. Some part of her felt a bit jealous.

"Mister Vimes!" Carrot shouted, however his sore voice didn't carry the weight it normally would and the two figures didn't look up.

Angua leaned forward and shouted "Commander!" She grinned as the two turned as one to look up and finally wave back frantically in recognition.

"Captain!!" Angua heard Nobbs squeak.

"Carrot! Angua!" shouted Vimes right after him.

Carrot saluted and the pair returned the honor but Angua tugged at him to go back in. "Come on Carrot, don't push it. I can't have you faint on me here especially in front of them."

"I'm much better Angua, I feel like I could...c-heh..." he pressed his fist under his nose as a fierce tickle snuck up on him. He allowed her to lead himself back in until he was out of sight from the window then he doubled forward with a pair of sneezes. "Heh-hhh'he-Hekchhh'ng! Ee'exShhew!"

"Still sneezing though I see."

"My... nose... just won'd s...ss'steh" he rubbed at it furiously until Angua pulled his hands away from his face. Even in full health he'd be hard pressed to have beaten Angua in an arm-wrestling match. Helpless, his face scrunched up and his nose flared wildly, begging the tickle to release. "Eh...e'eeh-hhh-Heskx'www!"

"Come on Captain. Let me lead you back to bed." she said patronizingly but firmly.

Carrot frowned at her but did as she said.

---

Commander Vimes exhaled deeply. Carrot seemed ok and at least Angua was with him. He nodded to Nobbs and wandered back to the Yard house in relief. To his surprise however, the Yard was completely packed with every copper waiting anxiously inside.

"Commander!"

"Mister Vimes!"

"How's Carrot, Commander?"

"We heard he's dying!"

"Or dead."

"Or a zombie." Reg added

"When did you get back, Commander?"

"Have you seen Carrot?"

"Ith he donating hith limbth?" Igor asked

"Is he ok?" Cheery added worriedly.

"Quiet! Quiet down all of you. Yes, I just saw Carrot. He looks fine. No, he's not a zombie yet Reg. And NO he is NOT donating his limbs, Igor."

"Mighty good limbth, them." Igor said regretfully.

"The best in Ankh-Morpork, Igor." he agreed. And the heart as well, he thought to himself. Then he turned back to the Watch at large. "Carrot seems to have come down with the Dwarf illness but since his body is human, yes Cheery I know, the Patrician is simply being extra cautious. However while you're all here, we as the Watch need to be on high alert. We need to keep Watch on the other citizens of Ankh-Morpork in case any others come down with this same illness. And we need to protect our city in case any fool from any country decides now would be a good time to attack while our Captain is ill!"

A rousing cry rang out clear from each and every copper as they absorbed his words. Vimes hadn't remembered another time in the history of his service that the entire Watch stood united in full behind him. No, not behind me, he remembered. Behind Carrot. Even when Carrot isn't here he's still with us.

to be cont.

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There's more! I was so excited to see this. Colour me seriously intrigued about the voice in the walls. Angua's care for Carrot is just great, I love how she's really concerned but not smothering. I love Carrot and Vimes' relationship, too. And this;

"Mighty good limbth, them." Igor said regretfully.

That made it perfect. I love Igor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been neglecting this sorry ToT I've been preoccupied with the other story... *cough* But I do love Igor too lol!

Part 4:

The day dragged on and Carrot was restless. The grand guest room was a far cry from the cold damp cells in the Yard but it might just have been one and the same. The air was stifling and Carrot paced the room in annoyance with his captivity. When he wasn't fidgeting, he was attacking his nose with his fist in the distant hope that sheer brute strength could overpower a featherlight tickle. It didn't work. Nothing worked.

Angua watched Carrot's brow pull into a concentrated frown as the latest tickle won the battle over his fists. She knew the signs. His broad chest at once began to tremble and heave, his breath shuddered into a jagged run, his mouth hung open as his eye lids dropped, and his nostrils flared desperately as the tickle claimed control over his body. He hastily pulled out a cloth square from his pocket and buried his face into the soft material.

"HEPT-chhh! hehhh'hXXCH! eh'HeegxSHH!"

"Gods bless." said Angua.

"Wait... one... bore... eh-XCHHH!" the last one bent him strongly at the waist. He straightened up slowly with the cloth still pressed against his nose until he caught his breath and then blew harshly. Without looking, he tossed the used square accurately into the small basket by his bed and picked up a new one to dab his nose with. The basket had nearly overflowed once already before Rosalin had dutifully popped in and replaced it but Carrot looked to set a new record on this second one. He sat down on the bed distractedly massaging his irritated nostrils in small circles as it twitched madly under his fingers.

As attuned as she was to his behavior, Angua knew something was wrong. Of course there was the sneezing, there was always sneezing. And she was sure such incessant sneezing would try the patience of even the Disc's most patient man, with whom Carrot was a high contender. Yet there was something... something she just couldn't quite put her finger on.

“Carrot…” she said exasperatedly

“Angua, I was thinking. Perhaps Vetinari would allow me to rest in the Yard? I could take up Mister Vimes’ old room and move the cot back in, then you could pass me papers through the door. I’m sure the Commander has other business to take care of now that he's back and since I’m not doing anything at the moment I c-could…huh…hh-hckchhh!”

“Carrot…”

“I mean besides all this sneezing, I feel fine. But sitting on this bed all day long is driving me insane. I’d think I’ll heal up even faster if I have something to occupy my mind with. And I’m sure I eh-h’KCHH! I… uh… I’m sure I... Hiih-kngChh!... could at least handle a b-bit of paperwork.”

“Carrot!” Angua raised her voice over his rambling. “Vetinari specifically said you were to remain here. You don’t want to risk infec…”

“Even if it’s not the Yard, perhaps one of the guard houses? Or I’m s-sh-sure Lady Sybil would help me find a small room in the city. It’s not that I’m not grateful to the Patrician, but it feels like I’m being watched in a cage. I can’t explain it but it's suffocating. Anyways I… h-huuh... I only mean to ask.”

Carrot rose from the bed and took a step to the door but Angua jumped to his side and grabbed his wrist. In alarm, she let go as if burned. Her eyes opened wide as panic filled her chest. How could she have been so stupid?! Remaining in human form for too long dulled her werewolf senses.

Carrot looked at her quizzically but took her silence as confirmation and turned to the door again. This time however Angua clamped down on him firmly. Pulling him to her she placed her free hand on his forehead.

“Carrot! You’re burning up! Your pulse is going crazy! I’ve been human too long, I didn’t see…”

“Angua, I’m fine." he said bitterly as he tried to pull away from her. The sharpness in his voice caught her offguard but she didn't let go.

"You're not! Listen to me, your fever..."

"It's just too stuffy in here. There's no air."

"That's because..."

"I can't breathe. My chest..." his eyes swam and his knees buckled beneath him.

"Carrot!" she shouted as she caught him and lowered him to his knees.

His body shivered under her grasp as his mouth desperately tried to swallow air but it caught in his lungs until he forced himself to cough it back out. Angua thumped on his back forcefully all the while shouting his name but Carrot felt or heard nothing except a tightness in his chest like barbed wires binding his lungs and the pounding of blood like drums in his ears. He gulped at the air madly until his chest remembered how to breathe.

A shudder took him and when he opened his eyes they seemed not to look at her. He tried to pull away but she held him tighter. With his spare hand he pushed her away with an unexpected strength and, in surprise, she let go.

Carrot sprang with an impossible agility to the door before she tackled him to the floor. Rolling and shouting in a fevered rage he tried to claw out of her grasp but Angua held tight.

Then something went wrong. Instead of clawing at her, it was as if he were clawing at his own chest. His strong hands ripped at his light cotton shirt as he scratched gashes against his skin trying desperately to dig out the fire in his own heart. He screamed unseeingly while writhing on the ground.

“CARROT!” Angua shouted in panic.

“Sergeant.” the voice said from the walls. “The blue pill, Sergeant. In the bottom desk drawer.”

“What did you do to him?” she shouted back, no longer concerned with whispers.

“Hurry Sergeant.” the voice said. “Give him the blue pill.”

Angua rushed to the desk drawer and her shaky hands fumbled around the contents. Her eyes red with panic, she frantically pushed things around until, at last, she found the small blue pill. Running back to Carrot, she heard the voice again.

“Water, Sergeant.” it said. “By the faucet.”

Angua spun on the spot, grabbed a cup, and tried to steady her hands for long enough to fill it. Water spilt everywhere as her hands shook but she finally managed a cup and ran back to Carrot.

“Carrot!” she screamed at him in tears. “Listen to me! Stay still! Open your mouth!” But he fought her indiscriminately, spilling more of the water around him. Angua forced the pill into his mouth, took a gulp herself of the remaining water, and kissed him.

The kiss seemed to shock him and he swallowed in surprise, coughing slightly. She slapped his face. Hard. Then again. Shaking slightly his eyes unclouded and refocused.

“Angua?” he asked weakly before another sharp spasm gripped his chest and his back arched in protest. This time however he fought himself for control. He clenched his jaws and fists till his hands bled as he repressed the fire in his own body. Finally, after an infinity of seconds or possibly a full minute, he jerked one last time then collapsed into unconsciousness.

Angua stood frozen in place, hearing and seeing only the loud pounding of her own heart in her red glazed eyes. Her brain shouted at her body repeatedly until she shook herself wolf-like then dropped by his side.

She felt his pulse which was still strummed much too rapidly, like a guitar fast playing Music with Rocks In. His body temperature also burned much too high. She hit herself in disgust, she should have caught it! Water. She had to cool him down. She ran to the tub, opened the valves to fill it with cool water, and turned back to the unconscious Carrot.

Tenderly she undressed him piece by piece. Some of the scratches on his chest and hands had drawn blood but she would have to tend to those later. Ignoring the part of her brain that screamed in panic, she stripped him down completely and easily lifted his body off the floor. Carrot’s tall body was bulky and awkward to carry with her own smaller frame, but her inhuman strength allowed her to lift him without much difficulty.

Angua slowly lowered him into the running bath. Carrot shuddered slightly but didn’t wake. Once she settled him into position, she propped up his head securely and gently washed him down. She couldn’t start thinking about the “what ifs?” or else her body would freeze up. Then once she determined he had been in the bath long enough, she lifted him out carefully, wrapped him up in a towel, and carried him to bed. Changing him caused other problems but she refused to let her mind take over. She ran on instinct, treating and tending to him unthinkingly.

Time slowed down to timelessness. Outside this room, the Disc spun. Inside this room, even the very dust in the air hung silent and unmoving. The light didn't seem to filter in correctly, reds and purples with just a hint of coral tinged the air. She felt his pulse. The beat had slowed and his breath rose steadily. She exhaled in a crashing wave of relief as time flooded back over her.

That Vetinari! Anger replaced the fleetingly cool wash of relief. Anger overrode the suppressed panic that had threatened moments earlier to consume her. A blindingly white hot fog rolled over her eyes as her hairs bristled. Then she stood back and... changed.

A wolf’s mind couldn’t deal with emotions and Angua sank herself deeply until her wolf’s eyes glowed red.

--

A threatening growl in the hall frightened all of the Palace staff to securely lock their doors. But the wolf had only one destination.

“Come in Sergeant.” the soft voice rang clearly.

Wolf paws cannot handle door knobs. However no door itself stood a chance against a mad wolf. With a crash and a snap, she was easily inside.

“Oh dear. The door. Well well, can I help you Sergeant?”

Only another growl answered him as the wolf glared at the Patrician with its red eyes aglow. She snapped and lounged forward, but her jaws bit down on air as the space he stood shifted a foot to the left. She snarled and twisted her head but yet again somehow he had managed to move almost instantaneously. Her eyes would have doubted themselves if it was not for her nose that created a visible path of colors.

That fraction-of-a-second surprise caused sense to reasserted itself into her brain. Change back, it said. Her body glowed again as slowly her body elongated and stood up. Shaking her hair out, she accepted the towel from the outstretched hand and deftly wrapped it around her.

“Better, my dear?”

“What did you do to Carrot?” she growled.

“Do? Why, I didn’t do anything.” he replied innocently.

“You made me give him that drug. It nearly killed him!”

“No, Sergeant. The virus is nearly killing him. I just bought him some time.”

“Time??” she shouted. “He’s unconscious in my room! With his own claw marks on his chest!

“Yes, unfortunately that drug is also a hall-you-see-no-gen, as I think they call it.”

“What? What IS that? What did it do to Carrot?”

“It’s a new experimental drug from Klatch. Their warlike state gives their men drugs to perform temporarily stronger and faster to make them fight like the wind. It strengthens their bodies and heals their wounds, increases their heart rate and quickens their reaction time. But it also has the unfortunate side-effect of unexplained visions and pain.”

“That’s horrible!” she screamed.

“Yes, my dear. However we had no choice. At the rate dear Carrot was progressing, we may have been too late by the time a cure can be found. The drug strengthened him just briefly and it may be enough. I admit it’s a steep risk.”

"What was that blue one?"

"The pill was a Sed-ah-tiv they say. Quite a potent one at that, I'm told. It should knock him out long enough for the remainder of the first drug to wear off. I would still keep watch on the Captain though if I were you."

Angua forced herself to breathe and her eyes lost their mad glow. In fact, with her re-heightened wolf senses she could look around the room earnestly now. It shocked her that she could see the Patrician himself glowing brightly with fever. Indeed she doubted if anyone besides herself had noticed as he still carried himself with the same careful air and determination that he always held. The rest of her anger drained completely out of her.

“Sir…” she fell back respectfully, “Sir, you are…?”

“Yes, Sergeant. A minor inconvenience.”

“Will you…?”

“No. I, myself, won’t need this drug. Hopefully by the time the symptoms kick in, the cure will be ready. I can deal with the temporary bodily discomforts in the meantime. But I cannot risk the effects the drug would have on my mind. You watch Carrot. I watch the whole City.” he shrugged.

Angua realized her jaw was dropped open. She closed it quickly and bowed. “I’m sorry about your door, sir. I’ll get it fixed soon.”

“Please don’t worry about it, Sergeant. The Staff is well capable of changing it. Curious thing about doors is that they are so breakable, aren’t they? Well, please don’t let me keep you from your charge. The Captain needs you, Sergeant.”

--

The rest of the day passed to night. Carrot tossed constantly, clawing feverishly at invisible enemies until Angua strapped his arms down. She spent most of the night as a wolf, tense and alert on the bed by Carrot's feet. She changed to human every hour to sponge his fever down and dribble water into his throat.

Once a fierce coughing fit took over him that left Angua near to tears. Carrot heaved and thrashed as he gasped for breath, unable to get any air into his lung. In his nightmares large grotesque creatures of the deep grabbed and pulled him under the water, wrapping their long slimy tentacles around his flesh and neck The chocking taste of salt filled his lungs but his arms were lead as he fought back. Others grabbed Angua. He coughed desperately as he shouted her name but he still couldn't reach her! She was sailing away, far away from him on a foreign ship.

The monsters pulled him under once more as the suffocating weight of the ocean crushed his chest. Angua! He couldn't save her! Tears streamed freely, mingling with the salt of the ocean as a silent blackness swept over him. He could give in to the blackness, he was so tired.

When he stopped thrashing, Angua paniced. He wasn't breathing! She unstrapped his arms and pounded his chest over and over until he was taken by another coughing fit. She sat him up and leaned his body against hers as he collapsed wheezing heavily against her. But the panic in her own chest gripped her for even longer and she could only sit there holding tightly onto Carrot.

to be cont.

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