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Money Talks (Moist von Lipwig) PART 4


snuffles

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After reading "Raising Steam" I was compelled to finish up this fic started ages ago but which was never intended to be posted. Moist and Vimes together are just sooo... <3. There are no spoilers to Raising Steam but there are definite spoilers to "Making Money" and "Going Postal". This fic takes place immediately at the end of Making Money.

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

BACKGROUND: This is my second Moist von Lipwig fic that vaguely follows the first. Moist von Lipwig (ex-criminal, reformed citizen, Postmaster General) did so well at the Post Office that Lord Havelock Vetinari "arranged" that Moist also take over as Master of the Royal Mint at the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork. Moist manages the Bank as the Deputy Chairman and introduced the concept of "paper money" to the City. Mr Bent is the Bank's Chief Cashier. Commander Vimes is in charge of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. His wife, Lady Sybil, breeds and raises swamp dragons.

---

A Golem is Hammering ~ Mr Lipwig

is All Wrong ~ The Dangers of

Shaving ~ A Touch of Makeup

thump... thump... thump...

Golems are made to work and they do it well. Molded from clay and filled with the ancient fire of life, golems work tirelessly, endlessly, efficiently. They do not need to eat, sleep or rest. Somewhere in Ankh-Morpork is a golem hammering away at whatever it is paid to hammer at.

thump... thump... thump...

Yes, that's right. Paid. Meager sums in exchange for endless work. But the Golem Trust helps golems to buy their own freedom and his, what was it? fiancee? ah yes Adora Bell Dearheart, leads that end.

thump... thump... thump...

Moist opened his eyes. A dull throbbing pain beat at his temples in rhythm to the consistant hammering. As he rolled slowly in bed he felt the ache spread to his limbs, body, and-- ugh his throat, which felt like he swallowed the infernal fire of a golem.

thump... thump... thump...

Hold on, that didn't sound right. That was... knocking? As his tired mind wrapped itself slowly around that thought, realization dawned. This wasn't the Post Office; he was lying on his king sized damask draped bed in his grand suite at the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork.

"Come in Mr. Bent." he said with a wince. Oh gods, he knew it was bad when his own throat protested with, what Moist was certain, was surely picket signs. Then it was only a matter of time before one of the protestors took up their signs and began smashing in the heads of other protestors. Or, since this was Ankh-Morpork, innocent bystanders which always crowded around for a show.

The thin and creaselessly dressed Bank's Chief Cashier entered with his usual soundless footsteps. The cashier's meticulous attention to detail was contrasted only by his typical red nose which Moist felt in sympathy with as his own nose began to twitch.

"Sir, the directors..." Mr Bent paused as he noticed the Master of the Royal Mint Moist von Lipwig laying unresponsive in his bed. "Sir? Are you alright sir?"

"I believe I'm all wrong, Mr. Bent. Is there a golem knocking outside my door?"

"No sir."

"Ah, I thought not." he winced again as he pressed four fingers into his temples. His head pounded to the beat of an ape playing a banjo but a more pressing need tugged at his sinus. Moist rolled over to the side just as a pair of sneezes escaped. "hhH'escHEEEW'uh... huh-hh'exgchh!"

"Bless you sir."

"Ugh... thank you Mr Bent. What where you saying?"

"It is currently 9:32 and 21 seconds, sir." the cashier informed Moist without bothering to glance at the wall clock. "The directors, shareholders and major investors are assembled downstairs in the Grand Conference Room. I shall cancel it, shall I?"

Moist groaned. That's right, he had called his meeting to assuage the worries of the key players of the bank's future. He may have gotten away so far with doing as he pleased but without the acceptance of the main pillars of the bank, the drastic system he implemented might well topple back over.

Some people just didn't warm easily to the fact that an ex-master criminal and convicted bank robber happened to be in charge of the largest bank in the city. Not that he blamed them of course. He, himself, had protested, quite loudly in fact, when Lord Vetinari, damn that man, had saddled him with the position. Moist had been quite happy at the Post Office, thank you very much.

"The meeting sir?" Mr Bent repeated.

"Oh, what? No no... please apologize to everyone for me Mr Bent. I'll be down shortly." He eased himself upright in a slow but jerky motion as the joints in his body cracked in horror. Just how did he get so bad? Ok, last night he had crawled into bed with a headache but surely...

"I have already done so sir, but if I may be so bold, are you sure about that?" asked Mr Bent.

Moist was only half listening to the cashier as the other half of mind flashed back over the crazed string of events from the past week. True, breaking a prisoner out of the Tanty in the pouring rain probably didn't help. Along with spending a night down in his bank's own freezing vault as he had attempted to pick the lock. Hmm... not to mention having been thrown into the Tanty by Commander Vimes himself and spending the following evening in a cold cell. In retrospect Moist realized he should be glad he wasn't, in fact, dead yet.

"Sir?"

"No Mr Bent. But who am I to stop the flow of economic advancement? Let me juh... huh... hh-huxCCHH!" he sneezed into his sleeve attempting to stem a different type of flow originating from the crevices of his face. "hh'hhH-eschh'ew! heeh-hurSChh'uh."

"Bless you sir."

"You dod't need to keep saying that Mr Bent, I'm certain it'll get worn out by the end of the dh-day." he replied with a heavy sniff.

"Yes sir."

Moist kept his sleeve firmly to his nose as he rummaged for his handkerchiefs. Having found none, he opted instead for a soft handtowel. He sighed again and dabbed his nose lightly as he made his way into his personal washroom.

"What other items are on my schedule for today Mr Bent?" he called out, wincing again to the general pain of his throat.

"You have a meeting with Mr Spools in the afternoon to discuss the ten dollar note sir." said Mr Bent who waited patiently outside.

"Ah. Right." Paper money. It was still a new concept to the city but Moist was positive this was the way forward. Coinage was bulky, heavy, and costly to produce. Whereas Mr Spools could produce the highest quality of printed paper at a reasonable cost. He simply needed approval of the design...

"Commander Vimes is still reh... heh... refusing is hhh-he?" asked Moist from the basin. But even as he splashed water and shaving foam on his face he soon realized he was fighting a losing battle. His nose itched greatly and refused to give him even a moment's reprieve.

"Yes sir."

"I'll have a... hahhh..." he paused and carefully set his razor down before he sneezed a foamy sneeze into the handtowel. "hhh-ha-iscHhh'ew! Ugh... hode od Mr Bedt."

"Yes sir."

"h'hahIsShhhew'uh!" Well, at least the towel was soft. Moist dabbed lightly at his nose and decided if he'd like to keep the skin on his face and neck he had better devote his full attention to shaving. He reapplied the lather, which dangerously tickled his already irritated nose, so he grit his teeth and picked up his blade.

Moist hadn't, at least up until this point, fully appreciated the combination of a twitching nose and a sharpened razor. Each hitch of his breath caressed the smooth steel blade of metal against his skin and ran a shiver down his spine. He saw the reflection of this own reddened nostrils flaring back at him in urgent warning. Twice he pulled the razor away as the itch treatened to overpower him but on sheer will alone he managed to suppress the need once more.

Danger always made his brain fizz. It was better than a morning coffee.

No sooner had the razor touched the basin than the pent-up fit erupted from his nose. "HER-CHHiew! eh-Eehtchhh! hH'Heshew'uh. tCHHw! hh'huh... hhhuh-Hushhhiew! Ughhh."

"Are you alright sir?" called in Mr Bent.

"Yes thag you Mr Bent." said Moist as he dabbed at his nose.

But looking in the mirror now, Moist could see he'd fool no one downstairs if he presented himself as he was. His nose was already much too red and his eyes much too swollen to fool anyone. Not to mention the excess moisture which streamed down from crevices in Moist's already moist face and made him look like an over zealous fountain. He turned his face from side to side, leaning forward and touching his cheekbone with soft fingers to examine the extent of the damage.

Of course he had some tricks he could use with a simple pallete of paint and makeup, being a master of disguises was indeed a particularly handy trait. Makeup was far from the top of his preferred bag of tricks but the disguise itself was a pale illusion compared to the final act. The real trick was getting other people to see what they wanted to see and Moist could, on a good day, step into any act on cue. Life was a wonderful theater to weave wealth out of nothing.

Today however even a single sneeze would give him away. Sneezing he could put up with to a point. It was a poor criminal indeed to let loose the un-timely sneeze while hiding behind a pile of crates in a comic crime scene. Moist would know of course, having been said criminal himself in the past. He sighed and washed his face, being sure to give it an extra good scrub in case it might help.

"I'll have a talk with Commander Vimes. After the board meeting that is... I-hhh.. I'll..." he grabbed again at his towel and buried his face into the softness. "hh-huhgx'Chh! hhh-eCHH'uh!" He blew his nose into the cloth, tossed it aside, and rejoined Mr. Bent who was still waiting in the bedroom.

Mr. Bent blinked in surprise. "Are you..."

"If I leave before noon, I'll catch him at his residence. I intend to... uh... appeal to his feminine aspect. I have faith she that won't allow him to arrest me, again. Probably." he added with a smirk as he picked out his best golden suit, banking on the hope that the glowing glare off the lapels would camoflauge the redness of his nostrils.

A good suit always helped and Moist had his tailored from golden thread. The gold shone and drew people's attention away from the little details. People saw the suit. Not him. Not his face: the face of an ex-criminal. Anyway, together with his golden top hat, he thought it all looked rather spiffy.

"Yes but..."

"Is there anything else, Mr. Bent?" Moist asked with growing impatience.

"Not at the moment, sir."

"Good. Please ask Peggy to forgoe breakfast but I think a hot cup of tea and honey would be welcome. Oh and ask her to find me some extra hankerchiefs, will you? Then I'll meet you down in the Conference Room in ten minutes. Do begin with the charts on Investment Activities that we've already prepared. I'll be... heptchh'uh!" That last one came without warning and he barely snapped to the side in time. He sighed again as he massaged his aching head.

"Very good sir." Mr. Bent acknowledged and respectfully bowed out of the room.

to be cont.

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MOIST! I love him so much. Your writing paints a beautiful, very hot picture and your Moist voice is perfect. I loved him trying to shave and his sneezes are so gorgeous.

Can't wait for the next part smile.pngheart.gif

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Argh argh argh I LOVE disc world fics. I'm so impressed by your pratchett voice and style, and the hotness too. Gorgeous. I look forward to reading the rest.

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Aww thank you both! I love writing Moist, he is so much fun to torture <3 <3

The Ringmaster ~ In The Eyes of Men

~ The Collapse of the Bank ~ Some Kingly

Advice ~ What Can Be Used

PART 2

In fact, it was 11 minutes and 27 seconds later but no one except Mr. Bent would have counted on it. Moist stood outside the grand double doors, steaming mug in one hand as he smoothed back his hair with the other. Well... nothing for it now. He put on his best sunshine smile and entered the room.

---

By now Mr Bent thought he knew the Master of the Royal Mint, Mr Moist von Lipwig, rather well. At least as well as he could relate with to... well... anyone. Granted, Mr Lipwig's past hadn't been what you might call... spotless, but if you were going to be nitpicky about things like that then neither was his.

He had indeed observed his master over the past week to be a bit more worn than usual. At first the weariness had been a mere fleeting glance but Mr Lipwig so effectively blurred his expression that even he, Marvolio Bent, had questioned what he had seen. Yet as the week progressed, he had caught his master uncharacteristically leaning against one of the bank's tall marble pillars or resting at his chairman's desk with his fingers pressed to his temples.

Mr Bent had surely thought that his master earned a rest after saving the bank from near collapse but instead Mr Lipwig simply pushed himself even further. He had so fully integrated himself into every aspect of the bank that he even knew by heart the names, faces, families, and extended families of each of the bank's employees. So it was really not a wonder to find Mr Lipwig fallen ill this morning.

However the man that entered the Conference Room left even the normally stoic and expressionless Chief Cashier taken aback.

Moist von Lipwig practically glowed. True, it was most likely from that outrageous golden suit he always wore, but if he had not seen the man a mere 11 minutes and 59 seconds ago he would have never have suspected anything was indeed wrong. Mr Lipwig radiated hope from his being that the future of the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork would be successful in his hands.

With eyes that danced bright with energy, a face that glowed warmly with just a touch of rose to his cheeks, and that smile, THAT smile, which dazzled and enchanted anyone it turned on, the Deputy Chairman's entrance immediately melted the irritation of the room. Mr Lipwig walked with a spring to his step and a half bow as an apology for the delay that no man questioned.

But then, after his mind worked past the flambouyant distractions, Mr Bent's trained eye could see through the minute tells. The tinge of redness on his master's nostrils, the hint of powder on his forehead to reduce the sheen, the barely discernable offness of pitch in his voice, the near soundless way he cleared his throat before turning to the next man, and of course that casual nonchalant way he rubbed his nose.

Distractions, diversions, feints, sleights of hand, and charades.

It was like a card trick or magic show with the fate of the largest bank in Ankh-Morpork balancing on the tightrope. Mr Lipwig was the ringmaster. He made men see what they wanted to see, and what these gentlemen wanted to see were figures in terms of dollar signs. Mr Bent knew this of the man but it was nevertheless impressive to see it now with trained eyes. Smoke and mirrors. That is what he had told Mr Lipwig before.

But done without smoke and in complete absense of a mirror, Mr Bent! Mr Lipwig had replied.

This man was amazing. There was no other word for it. Mr Bent may have thought he understood but those 20 long seconds were now in the past and the new wave of comprehension very nearly floored him. THIS was why Lord Havelock Vetinari had put this man in charge of the bank.

Mr Lipwig took his customary place at the head of the table with Mr Bent at his right. Mr Bent was certain none of the other men in the room caught the hint of handkerchief as it passed briefly under his Master's nose before vanishing again like a playing card.

But a skilled sleight of hand was not the only talent Mr Lipwig possessed. Like a true magician he captivated and directed the attention of everyone in the room, drawing their attention to boards and charts with broad sweeping motions and a warm glowing voice while simultaneously suppressing a pending sneeze with small unnoticed flicks of his other hand. He played into the minds of these men, drawing on their deep collective love of money, and created the future in front of them so vividly that a few actually drooled.

As the meeting progressed, Mr Bent noted the gradual increase in the rate of Mr Lipwig's nose rubs per minute which had begun at 0.4 and was now at an urgent 1.8, plus or minus 10%. A similar increased rate also applied to the number of times he near soundlessly cleared his throat.

However in the hearts of the men of the room, Mr Lipwig's dramatic pauses were timed for emphasis. They saw the glowing fever in his eyes as his far reaching vision. They heard the coarseness of his voice and the heaviness of his breath as his passionate sincerity. Once he even turned aside for a quick cough but Mr Bent was certain it passed unnoticed by the eyes of the other men.

Well, all except the one in the very back of course.

Moist cleared his throat for possibly the hundredth time that morning. His throat felt positively on fire from all that talking, his head had taken up the drumming again, and any movement on his part simply further inflammed his already aching body. Oh not to mention that insistent unscratchable itch in the back of his nose.

Any slip, any break in concentration, could potentially mean the collapse of the entire Ankh-Morpork economy.

Moist grinned. It was exhilarating.

Oh, it wasn't as if he wanted the collapse of the bank. In truth, it'd be hard pressed to mess up that badly. He'd probably have to be unconcious or even dead to allow it to happen. If anyone could talk their way out of a mess, it was Moist von Lipwig. But hey, it could happen, right?

Still, to ignore one's limits was one's own folly.

"Mr Bent," said Moist catching the cashier's attention. "Can you please explain the figures of economic growth from Hubert to these gentlemen?"

Mr Bent nodded curtly and proceded with a compounded explanation of numbers which never made much sense to Moist on a good day. Moist caught the words "maturities" and "capital needs" but he stopped listening after that, as his own interest in numbers ended once numbers became silly.

Numbers obviously weren't silly to Mr Bent who wound and wove them into complex patterns on the charts. Yet while the gentlemen attempted to wrap their minds around the droll of figures from Mr Bent, Moist risked another light rub to his nose as he pretended to tidy some papers.

He rubbed his nose again, feeling the urgent itch of the past half hour taunting him to take even a single breath. He had kept the pressures of the sneeze at bay but the need had, by no means, diminished. Yes. It was a need, a deep intense unbearable need. He needed to sneeze, and no amount of nose rubbing or parlor tricks would stop it.

Against his will his breath hitched and Moist saw, out of the corner of his eye, Mr Bent almost glance at him. But his cashier rallied well and drew the crowd's attention back to the charts on hand. Very good, he must have picked up a few tricks from spending so much time in the company of Moist von Lipwig.

Moist seized the opportunity, knowing fully he had mere seconds, and pinched his nose tightly, near silently stifled a sneeze h'cchm... then a second hmmph'uh... with only the slightest of bob to his head as any sign of a giveaway. He risked a soft sniff to test the condition of his nose and melted his attention back on a stack of papers.

When Moist glanced back up, he silently scanned the room to find all eyes still on Mr Bent's spiel... all eyes except one. Mr Harry King sat alone in the back with a smirk on his lips and his eyes fixated on Moist. Ah well, Moist could deal with Harry King.

At least he was sure he could... on a good day. He sighed. The stifles might have held the immediate overwhelming urgency of his sneezes in check but did it nothing for the insistent feathery tickle in his nostrils. His nose still felt so decidedly ticklish, flaring ever so slightly in its own rhythmic trance, that he was forced to clench his fist to prevent himself from rubbing it raw. To distract his hands, he took a sip of his tea only to sadly find it already cold. Perhaps after this day was done, he'd sneak down into the bank's basement and hide himself under the Glooper. Igor most certainly wouldn't mind and Moist knew Hubert probably wouldn't even notice.

He must be slipping because Moist caught Mr Bent glancing at him again. Moist gave Mr Bent a nod with his eyes and the cashier promptly wrapped up his speech.

"Well, thank you for taking time out of your schedule today gentlemen. If you have any further questions, please contact myself or Mr Lipwig and we will schedule a private meeting to answer any individual questions you might have. But for now, we have a bank to open and customers to attend to."

Moist wanted to chime in his appreciation as well but his throat suddenly closed on itself and he could barely manage a smile and nod. With a rushed politeness he pushed his way out and slipped down the hall into a small empty meeting room.

Once he ensured the door had shut, Moist lurched forward into a volley of suppressed sneezes. "Hgxchhew'uh... hh... hkxCHH'uh! uh... hhh'HiSSHIEW! hgxCCHHew! huh... hh'HH-gxt! Ugh!" The sneezing triggered a harsh sounding coughing fit which resonated like a golem grating a handful of rocks into sand. Fortuitiously these meeting rooms were near sound proofed to protect the confidentiality of their customers so Moist doubled over carelessly as his lungs attempted to escape from his body. Finally when he managed to get some sort of hold on himself in order to breathe again, he collapsed into the closest chair utterly exhausted.

"That's one bad bug you have yourself there, Mr. Lipwig." a voice from behind him broke in. Moist heard the click of the door shutting again and a heavy set man making himself comfortable in one of the large leather chairs.

Moist didn't need to turn around to know who this man was, it was Harry King himself. THE Harry King. You didn't mess with Harry King and expect to come out with all your limbs still attached. He sighed audibly but was too spent to care. Then with a strained heavy effort he straightened up, wiped down his brow, turned around, and smiled his sunshine smile.

"Mr Harry King." he said sniffing lightly. "Thank you for attending the meeting this morning. Did you have any further questions for Mr Bent or myself?"

Mr King smiled back, revealing quite a lot of golden teeth. "Just wondering when the rest of my money would be ready Mr Lipwig."

"Mr Spools is printing them in the Mint as we speak. He'll be starting on the fuh-fives today. And the tens too, as soon as... p-pardon... heh-hekchhh'uh... as soon as I get Commander Vimes' approval." Moist rubbed at the bridge of his nose as the unfortunate escaped sneeze only served to reintensify the burning itch from the last half hour.

Mr King looked genuinely surprised and even ignored the brief interruption. "He agreed?"

"No. No, of course not. But we will move ahead as if he has. I'm sure I can persuade the Commander to change his mind. In fact, I intended to pay a visit to his residence after this morning's meeting."

Now Mr King grinned evilly. "And people tell me that I play dirty? Come now Mr Lipwig, that'd be hitting below the belt."

"Nothing of the sort, Mr King. Lady Sybil is a wonderful woman I've heard."

"Who will be the one doing the persuading, I'm sure."

"Only if it is to her fancy. And imagine what a great deterant that would be to forgery with the Commander's own face snarling back at you?"

"Just by the Commander's face on a ten dollar note? Well of course you'd have first hand knowledge on this, yes?"

"When one runs a bank Mr King, one has to ensure against heavy odds. I simply..." Moist paused and held a clenched fist to his nose.

"Yes Mr Lipwig?" Mr King asked mockingly.

"I... huh..." No good, the tide was too great. The overwhelming flood of itches rushed forward along the wave of that first escaped sneeze. It surged against his sinus and filled his nose with an unstoppable need. No longer with any other say in the matter Moist turned aside, pulled out his carefully folded handkerchief, shook it open, and sneezed harshly.

"huh'hurCHHH'ew!" That felt so good. Moist knew Harry King was surely smiling but he simply didn't care. The relief of the first sneeze was short lived however as his nostrils flared and his breath trembled under the fit to come.

"eh'hhh-egtchhh'w! hhH'heeh-hksheew!" Even through his clenched eyes, Moist could feel Mr King lean back into his chair to enjoy the show. The man's own presence could say nothing very loudly.

"htchhh'uuh! hkch! hTCHH! ehxshhiew'uh..." Urgency somewhat abated, the lingering pressure of the last few sneezes still teased his tender nose, hitching his unsteady breath and dragging out the spectacle.

"hh'huh...uhhh-huh...?" Moist froze as the sneeze stuck. He cracked an eye at Mr King who grinned back at him. In desperation he glanced upward to the lit ceiling lights and the sensation tipped him over the edge.

"Uhhh'hh... hhuh-huhhg'schh! hh'Huuh'hh... uh-hhhchhew'uh!" Moist groaned as he sank back down. The fit left him light-headed with his nose streaming. At least the itch was sedated for now but he nevertheless kept his handkerchief protectively to his nose in order to stem the flow.

"Now you know I've bet hard money on you in the past Mr Lipwig. So let me give you some free advice." said Mr King as he leaned forward conspiratorally. Moist glanced wearily at him over the cloth.

"Take a day, Mr Lipwig. Hells take two. I might work my men hard but no one's to say I ain't fair, right? You mighta had everyone else in that room fooled but I recognize a man working the collection rounds as I might say. That twinkle in your eye back there? What a couple eye drops can't do, huh? Take a day. Or else my next bettin' might be on my boys findin' you sailin' down the golden river as it were."

Moist blew his nose lightly, tucked the cloth away and managed a weak smile as he sat up. "Thank you Mr King. If I make it past today I'm sure I'll keep your advice."

The other man smiled again. "So you say, Mr Lipwig. Send a note when my money's ready will ya?" Then he got up, turned and, without looking back, waved and strode out.

After Harry King stepped out, Mr Bent stepped in. "Perhaps you really should call it a day sir." the Chief Cashier said.

"You were listening?"

"Pardon?"

"Oh nothing. H-hold on Mr Bent... I... HuhxCHH'uh."

Moist sighed then he got up slowly and stretched. Gods, he hurt... perhaps he really should take Mr King's advice. But Moist might miss the only opportunity to catch Commander Vimes in a forcibly agreeable mood. He needed Lady Sybil there to soothe her husband and he was certain an ill Moist von Lipwig, Postmaster General and Master of the Royal Mint, could play on her maternal sympathy cards quite effectively.

"Mr Bent, please send a messenger ahead to the Lady Sybil and Commander Vimes' residence to announce my arrival. I shall only drop by briefly to discuss the previously mentioned ten dollar note. Oh and move up my appointment with Mr Spools to 3pm, will you?"

"Are you sure sir?"

"Yes. Yes, I can use this." he spoke wearily as if more to convince himself than his cashier.

"Sir?"

Moist straighted back up. "I need the Commander's approval but he won't audience with me I'm certain. However his wife, the Lady Sih-hh..." Moist snapped aside as another fit broke out of him, "Hhh-kkCHH'uh... hhuh'gnXCH! Puh-pardon hxCHH! Uggh. As I was saying, sniff, Lady Sybil won't turn me away. I need only a few minutes. Tomorrow I will rest, you have my word on that Mr Bent."

"Yes sir, as you say."

"Thank you, Mr Bent."

The cashier gave his Master a curious look but nevertheless nodded obediently and silently turned out of the room. Moist took a few more seconds to adjust his face and recompose himself before he too stepped out. He'd only make a brief stop upstairs to his suite to touch up his appearance and grab a few necessary essentials: namely extra handkerchiefs.

to be cont.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks silentdreamer! Here's the next part...

The Hazards of Tree Climbing ~ The

Con-Man's Smile ~ Everyone Makes

Mistakes ~ The Niceties of Corporal Nobbs

PART 3

That is how Moist von Lipwig found himself stepping out of a cabby almost an hour later and looking at the grand front gate, home of his Excellency, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh, and his wife Her Grace, Lady Sybil Vimes nee Ramkin: one of the richest and arguably most powerful couple in the City.

Sybil Ramkin had descended from a rich and prosperous line of Ramkins that had left her the wealthiest unmarried woman in the City. When she finally married Captain of the Night Watch Sam Vimes, he was flat broke and a recovering alcoholic. [No, not an alcoholic. A drunk, as the Commander flatly put it] Together with their only son Young Sam, they built up a grand legacy including the strengthing of the City Watch, the Lady Sybil's Free Hospital, and the Sunshine Sancturary for Sick Dragons.

Moist rubbed his nose as gods knew it still itched terribly. It just wouldn't do to sneeze on either Lady Sybil or the Commander; he doubted the Commander's charity would go far as not throwing Moist into the Tanty for that act of violation. He'd simply have to get his sneezes out now and trust in his ability to hold the rest off until later.

He felt the itch build as he dropped his head back, closed his eyes, and then...

BOOM! An explosion shook the very rocks under his feet. Moist jerked his eyes open to see a mushroom cloud of smoke rising from the back of the Vimes residence. Fire? He swirled around but the cabby had long gone and the streets of Scoone Avenue were empty. His sore voice wouldn't carry far in any case. His hazy mind dropped his guard so without thinking, in lithe movements he jumped the fence and sped across the grounds.

He had almost made it to the main building as his breath started to strain when he saw something barreling toward him.

A swamp dragon.

Swamp dragons tended to explode when upset and the light off this one's eyes glowed red in frantic rage. But even the ones that didn't explode still breathed white fire, and Moist didn't want to be around when it found him to be a handy test subject to blow off steam.

In an agile feat, Moist leapt upward, grabbed the lowest branch of the nearest large tree, and swung himself up off the ground. He let his momentum carry him up, almost three stories high, before he heard and felt the crack. He glanced down and saw that the branch, which he was certain should have been thick enough to support his weight, had been sawed partially through with painstaking precision.

Ah. Part of the humor of Commander Vimes ensured that would-be assassins and thieves met not-very-pleasant deaths if they attempted to invade his home and family.

Again, Moist's body took over automatically. As the branch gave way under his feet, Moist ran forward and lept off of it, caught the frame of the window, and swung himself through it. He rolled as he landed but nevertheless felt the burnt of the impact hit his shoulder.

He got up, out of breath, in pain and disorientation only to find himself staring down the shaft of a crossbow and into the eyes of Commander Vimes himself. Moist sighed. It simply wasn't his day. He felt the last of his adrenaline drain from his system as he held up a slow and deliberate finger.

"Pardon me Commander but I...hhh-" Moist turned asided as he pinched his nose firmly with the thumb and knuckle of his other hand. He bobbed forward and stifled a nearly silent "hh-hxggt!" Ooow. A white hot pain welded his eyes to the front of his skull.

Vimes blinked blandly. True, that was enough of an unexpected response to not shoot the younger man on sight, especially after he had seen the golden figure running through his own front yard. His copper eyes, by habit, took quick inventory of the other man noting the furrow of his brow to the tension in his jaw. Vimes knew of the man to know he was clearly far from done but Lipwig held off magnificently and straightened.

Then Lipwig smiled and somehow, in that next instant, Vimes found his own brain valiantly attempting to override the previous assessment from his eyes. It was as if Lipwig had never, what? sneezed? It was... that... smile. It convinced your own brain you just couldn't have seen what you thought you saw. But Vimes trusted his sharp copper eyes more so than he did his brain which he knew could play tricks on him. That confident bastard.

"Most people enter through the front door, Mr. Lipwig."

"Most people don't have loose swamp dragons running across their property, Commander." replied Moist with the barest rub to his nose.

That comment at least triggered a slight smirk from the Commander. "That's just Turns. She's harmless."

"The explosion...?"

"Oh yes, unfortunately Samward had an accident."

"I'm sorry to hear it."

"And the answer is still no"

"Pardon?"

"For your request, Lipwig. I know what you're doing and if you think for a moment- for gods sake man, just get it over with, will you?" this was directed at Lipwig who had been rubbing his nose with increasing urgency.

Moist hesitated but only slightly. He knew a losing battle when he saw one. "Could you... uh... luh-lower that crossbow Comm...hhh..."

Vimes glanced at the sleek metal weapon he still shouldered and shrugged. Then he snapped back the safety latch with a click.

Moist nodded in thanks then turned aside as he pinched his nose. "Hnnn'kngt! kchh! HGXXT! hh'hexchhhw! ugh." That last one escaped him and he winced again at the sharp pain behind his eyes.

"Bless you, Postmaster General." said a large bustling woman entering the room. She slapped off her still smoking dragon gloves and tossed them aside. If an armed war goddess took human form, Moist thought she'd look just like the Lady Sybil descending into the room in a plume of smoke. But when she looked at him, she smiled kindly.

"Or is it 'Master' Lipwig now? Seeing as you are currently the Master of the Royal Mint. Chairman of the Grand Trunk too, I might add. No doubt soon you'll have more titles than my husband."

Moist smiled back at her as he rubbed his nose again. "Just Mr. Lipwig please, Lady Sybil."

"Call me Sybil. And I shall call you Moist. Come now Sam, put down that bow. You'll poke someone's eyes out."

"That's the whole point dear." replied the Commander sarcastically but did as his wife said.

"You look worn out Moist. My husband and Havelock have been working you much too hard. Do come and make yourself at home. I shall bring up some hot tea for you." She took his arm and half-led/half-pulled Moist toward a large, plush, and comfortable looking armchair facing an unlit fireplace.

The Lady Sybil radiated an innate regal confidence that made it impossible to refuse anything she suggested. As a con-man, Moist had worked hard his whole life to perfect this aura. Yet the lady gently holding his arm was indeed the real deal.

"Please don't bother yourself Sybil," he said her name clearly and purposefully ignored the Commander's glare behind him. "but I can't be staying. I simply had some banking business to discuss with the Commander."

"I'm sure it can wait until after you've had your tea. Now, just rest yourself here and I'll be right back. Sam, will you come with me please?"

The Commander grunted and paused for a few seconds before he followed her out. Moist sighed and leaned back into the soft chair. Perhaps it had been naive to think he could play on the Lady Sybil. She was indeed a strong woman, she did marry the Commander after all. And true, Moist could use a hot cup of tea; his body and throat ached, and the chair was certainly comforta...

---

The Commander ensured the door had locked behind him as the key gave a satisfying click. But when he turned, he found his wife frowning at him.

"Honestly Sam. I wish you wouldn't be so hard on the boy."

"Boy... Sybil?? He's almost thirty!"

"28. And a very accomplished young man at that. Postmaster General AND Master of the Royal Mint? He's done wonders for our Post Office and has just completely revamped the entire economy of our city all within a few short years. And you KNOW Havelock has other plans for him..."

"What Vetinari does is his own business. But Lipwig is a lying crook and thief, Sybil. I wouldn't trust him around our son even if he sprouted glowing wings from his back... ESPECIALLY if he sprouted glowing wings from his back." he added as an afterthought.

"Play nice Sam. He's ill..."

Vimes snorted. "It's just an act Sybil."

"Sam Vimes, I think I know when a man is ill."

Vimes blinked. "Yes dear, I meant he's playing for sympathy. He's acting less than he is whereas in reality I know he's about dead on his feet."

Sybil relaxed. "I know Sam."

"You know? And you'd still keep him here? With Young Sam downstairs? He'll just try to sweet talk you with that sugar coated forked tongue of his. You can't believe anyth..."

"I believe he is ill, Sam. I won't kick him out, not now. Sending him back to that bank will only make him worse. It is what got him in this condition in the first place. He's made mistakes, Sam, but so have we all."

"Mistakes??" Vimes asked incredulously.

She patted his arm gently. "Now be good and don't shoot him between his eyes before I come back."

"Don't bother with the tea, Sybil."

"Sam..."

"I meant, he's already asleep."

"How do you...?"

Vimes snorted again. "I checked before I closed the door on him. I wouldn't have left him alone in my house if I hadn't been sure."

Sybil smiled and gave her husband a loving caress. "I'll get him the tea anyway. He'll expect it when he wakes." She turned and headed back down the stairs while Vimes unlocked the door and went back into the room.

---

Vimes walked around silently to the front of the large chair and glanced over the sleeping figure. Mistakes!? He huffed aloud. A "mistake" was calling someone by the wrong name. Or possibly it might be a term used when you added a couple numbers together and they didn't match the sum. It might even be when a man got so drunk he woke up lacking trousers in someone else's bed.

Mistakes weren't what happened when a man accidentally robbed a couple of banks, forced businesses into foreclosure, and caused dozens of families to starve. Sure he cleaned up smartly but a crook's always a crook just as a copper's always a copper.

Still... the man wasn't half as bad asleep as he was awake. He looked... uncharacteristicly haggard and worn. The smooth fascade and lies were washed away with sleep and instead replaced with an honest, raw and pained expression. Lipwig shuddered and coughed but didn't wake.

Vimes bent over studying him carefully. The funny thing about the man's face was that it was so ordinary that no one ever remembered what he looked liked. How many crimes had this man commited with that smiling face? Would even he, Vimes, see through the next mask of lies? He leaned forward staring carefully and brushed fallen hair away from it.

Oh bells, what a fever. He can't be lying about that at least. It was a wonder the man had lasted on his feet as long as he had with a fever like that. He had even made it through the third floor window for gods sake. Well, adrenaline is like drugs for the brain and no one knew that better than Sam Vimes.

He knelt down and felt Lipwig's forehead, unbuttoned the man's suit and moved down to his neck and chest. Vimes forced his hands to work as impartially as a routine weapon's pat down. He didn't worry about the other man waking, he was positively certain Lipwig wouldn't wake even if another swamp dragon exploded in the next room.

Commander Vimes was used to bodies, particularly those of the dead persuasion. Vimes paused and ammended that thought-- it might be more accurate to say the vertically challenged. [Reg Shoe, a zombie, made a fine officer in the Watch albeit a rather dead one.] Anyway, by the time a crime was serious enough to pass one of his capable sergeants and then Captain Carrot to finally reach him, it generally gravitated toward some case of horrible murders.

[Although it must be said it was not uncommon to accidentally trip over a body in the middle of the street while on beat, especially if said body was found to be worse for drink. Any good copper would then politely kick the body in question aside so it may not be run over by a cart. And if this copper also happened to be Corporal Nobby Nobbs, the body would wake to also find its pockets politely picked clean.]

Something was... off. Vimes bent further, close enough to feel the heat radiating off the other man's skin. He touched a bead of sweat off Lipwig's forehead and experimentally rubbed the moisture between his thumb and index finger. He glanced curiously at the sheen of his fingers in the light. Then he withdrew his own handkerchief, one that his butler always laid out for him, and with broad gentle strokes he wiped down the other man's forehead. Vimes turned to the light again and examined the residue on the cloth.

Ah, so that was it. The makeup was certainly well applied, even Vimes' sharp copper eyes hadn't caught it until the sweat caused a strange oily gleam in the light. Vimes shook open the rest of his handkerchief and continued to wipe down the man's face, leaving behind a trail of raw exposed fever in its wake.

Moist shivered under the Commander's hand as he coughed and curled up against the soft frame of the armchair. Vimes frowned. How can Lipwig be shivering with a burning fever that high? He glanced around the room and found a thin sheet from the bed. He pulled it off, tucked it under once, and covered the man to his chest. He'd have to do something about that fever as well. Couldn't a high fever fry a man's brain? He was sure he'd read that somewhere. Well, Sybil would know what to do.

Just as he reached the door, Sybil entered with a steaming mug of tea and a bag of ice from the cold room. Ah that was Sybil, she must have felt his fever when she touched his arm.

She glanced once at the sleeping Postmaster General and smiled at her husband in a silent marital understanding. Vimes rolled his eyes but still took her ice and together they tried to prop up the sleeping man.

to be cont.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know how I missed the second part until now, but both 2 & 3 were wonderful. I'm soooo looking forward to the next part (I love me some Vimes) :D

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Oooh SnowSpirit, I'd definitely recommend it lol. Though I'd have to say it'd be best to start with "Guard's Guard's" which is the first book with Vimes <3

And thanks for the comments all! Here's the next part...

A Slice of Tea ~ Mr Lipwig Stands ~

Commander Vimes Ponders

Diplomacy ~ The Impasse Resolved

PART 4

... fortable.

Moist blinked. What... happened?

He winced as a sharp pain shot through his body like lightning. Parts of his body that he didn't even know he had hurt. His tongue hurt. Was that even possible? His head absolutely pounded, his throat felt like he had swallowed a pair of razors, and he felt hot and sticky.

Moist glanced down, saw the thin blanket draped over him, and grimaced. Oh. So that was it. He had fallen asleep. But how long? He let his eyes roam slowly taking in the subtle changes of the room. Someone had lit the fireplace to a low glow causing the afternoon shadows to dance softly around the pastel colored room. And over to the small table beside him he noticed the mug.

Moist managed to reach his hand around it to feel the cool ceramic. Stone cold. Lifting it carefully, he tilted the contents which oozed slightly in a tar-like consistency. Well, Commander Vimes liked his tea thick enough to eat with a spoon. This one must have sat for at least a few hours to congeal to this.

Then another urgency snapped him back to reality. He put down the mug as his breath hitched and he pulled a clean handkerchief from his inner breast pocket.

But before he allowed his sinus to take over, he cleared his throat and said rather raspily "Comma'der Vuh... Vimes, cad you pluh-please... lower your crossbow?"

Behind his chair out of sight somewhere, a grunt and a sound of metal on wood thunked softly.

Satisfied, Moist tilted his head and let go. "Herschhh'w! Extch'shhhew! Heh... hiehh... hehkCHHH'uh!" He sighed and sank back into the plush chair.

"Oh, you're awake Moist." said Sybil as she entered the room carrying a new mug of tea. The contents bubbled and foamed like molten lava and Moist eyed it curiously.

"My apologies Lady Sybil, how lo'g was I out?"

"It's just Sybil, remember? And you've been resting for about three hours."

Moist groaned. "I'm sorry. I have to be leav'ig. Mr Spools is...” he tried to get up but the Lady Sybil simply pushed him back into the chair.

"Don't worry yourself over that Moist. I had our butler Willikins speak with your Mr Bent, who seemed particularly unsurprised at the developments. He said to tell you not to worry and he assured Willikins he'd take care of it." She felt his forehead and neck, her hands felt so cool to the touch against his burning skin. Moist hadn't realized until just then how fevered he really felt. She then proceeded to dip a towel into cold water, wring it out, and dab him down.

It was... nice. Moist tried to remember the last time another woman [that he hadn't been trying to con] had fussed over him. Adora Bell certainly wasn't the type. Oh, once there was that odd pretty lady in Quirm who insisted Moist was her dead husband and since he was nursing a badly sprained ankle at the time he had simply not corrected her. Then there was Moist's own mother... but she had passed on when Moist had been very young. He could remember her hands though, very vividly in fact, which were not unlike those of Lady Sybil's.

Take a day. That's what Harry King had said.

Well, it wasn't like he had much of a choice now. Then to his irritation, his breath hitch. For just an instant, he considered his options before he touched Lady Sybil on her arm, holding her off with utmost care as his other hand brought his handkerchief to his quivering nostrils.

"eh'Hek-CHHH'uh."

Lady Sybil hadn't flinched. She radiated patience while waiting for him to finish.

"hh-heh... eh... Hept'gcHH'w! HehsCHH! ugh... please pardohh.... huhhh'huh-kuschh'uh." He sighed and softly blew his nose. "I do beg your pardond, Sybil."

"Bless you Moist. And please don't, you needn't any."

"Thang you, Sybil." Moist was glad that it was Lady Sybil who hovered in front of him, as he wouldn't put it past the Commander to be able to shoot a man between his eyes with a crossbow while said man was fully obscured behind an armchair.

"I think you should see Dr. Lawn, Moist. Have you met him yet?"

"Yes, wodce briefly. Excuse be... hegpchh'ew!" He rolled aside as he muffled yet another sneeze. He felt so congested and heavy like his head was filled with solid gold. His throat felt hot and raw that he was sure it would give out soon. He knew he'd better get on with it while he still could, he had a few minutes at best.

"If you'd excuse us Sybil, but I'd do really deed to speak with the Comma'der. Before by voice gives out completely, thad is."

She sighed. Men. They worked themselves ill and continued through even then. She knew it of course. Sam never took a sick day, at least not willingly.

"I'll have Willikins call on Dr. Lawn, Moist. No, don't protest. Your tea should have cooled a bit by now too." She gestured toward the mug beside him.

"Tha'g you Sybil." He smiled his most charming smile, or at least what he thought was his most charming smile. In truth he knew it probably looked more like a strained dog in an alley. Then she got up and, with only a brief glance to the corner of the room where her husband sat, turned and left.

Moist sighed. He could feel the Commander's gaze blazing a hole behind the back of his head. He'd have to stand, it was the only way. He knew he could never dream to convince the Commander of anything from an armchair with his back facing the man. Before Moist could even move however, the Commander's voice cut through the room.

"You know, I could have you arrested simply for wasting Watch time." it said.

Moist smiled. As bad as he felt, this was going to be... fun.

"Please Comma'der. I still haved't asked ady questions yet." He winced from the pain in his throat, glanced at the bubbling tea but thought better of it. Then with a concentrated effort he pushed himself up. Every muscle in his body screamed in protest over the movement. Surely, he didn't remember standing to be so difficult before. The heaviness in his head like a gold bar threatened to teeter him over but Moist gripped the chair tighter and got to his feet.

"Any question you could ever ask me, Lipwig, will have the same answer. Just keep it down in your pocket and it will save you the future trouble of ever calling here."

Moist finally managed to turn around and face the Commander. His breath strained from the effort and he leaned heavily against the back of the armchair. Sam Vimes lounged in the corner of the room with his crossbow on the table. Moist noted that the tip still pointed forward. A towering pile of papers beside him represented everything Moist hated about government work and Moist sighed in sympathy.

"Please just hear be out, Comma'der..."

"There's nothing to hear out. You want to put my damn face on one of your bank's new damn paper bills. The answer is no. And why should I help you anyw--"

"That's a very good questiod, I'm glad you asked that, Comma'der!" Moist took the opening to break in happily, to the scowls of the other man. He continued briskly before the Commander could gear up for another argument.

"Would't you agree, Comma'der, that ady effort to curb forgery is id the best indterests of the City? Lord Vetidari is heavy ha'ded whed comes to crimes againdst the City."

"So is mine, Lipwig, in case you've forgotten. Had a comfortable rest in that cell of yours? Treated you well, did we?"

"Quide so quide so, just a touch chilly perhabs."

"I'll bring you extra blankets next time. Personally. Free gratis."

"That'd be very mbuch appreciated." Moist muffled a cough into his sleeve. His throat no doubt vehemently protested its use and he could feel the Commander frowning at him in lukewarm suspicion.

"Do you have a point, Lipwig?" snapped Vimes sharper than he had intended. A stab of guilt flashed through his gut. The Tanty cells could indeed get quite chilly. And that cough sounded worse now than it did a mere few hours ago. It was deep and throaty even as the younger man attempted to muffle it. Was he being played? No, it simply wasn't possible to fake that. Vimes scowled as he realized he had been about to sympathize with Lipwig for the many a cold night that he, Vimes, had patrolled the lonely streets. Really, there was no comparison.

"It'ds just thad crime is, as it were, your specialty Comma'der."

Vimes snorted. "In that case, it would be yours too, sir. Although from the opposite end, I'd fancy."

Moist smiled. The Commander had called him 'sir'. We progress.

"The Times says that the Patriciand has effectively take'nd over the Royal Bangk. So ady... huh... fuh-forgery is directly draidi'g the City's ownd pockets." Moist pinched his nose as he pressed on. "Trust be whed I say forge'ig a bill with the Cuhh-hhh-Comma'der's face would be the sin'gle most indcredible deterandt id itself."

The Commander's lips twitched slightly against his permanent frown before he masked it. He also didn't need to be a copper to read the shudder and congestion in the other man's voice. He could barely even understand the man and yet, at the very least, he could admire the stubborn dogged determination.

"The answer is still n--"

"Let be just add that I'b certaind all of the Comma'der's aristocratic associates would simply love havi'g your face on the bills they throw arou'd like water."

That comment actually got a smile. A $10 bill might be 2 weeks of pay for a poor citizen but possibly a mere appetizer for the rich. Moist knew, as indeed everyone in the City did, that the Commander hated being associated with those pompous aristocratic snobs. A poor citizen would be hard pressed to lay their hands on a $10 note.

So, in fact, the only ones that would really handle and trade them would be the rich. A pocket full of Commanders. That would surely piss off a lot of rich aristocrats. Moist held a light fist under his nose. He couldn't sneeze yet, it would completely ruin the effect. But it sure itched like crazy...

"I don't need your bills to do that. I'm quite capable of pissing off nobs all on my own."

"A'd it is early eduff that Mr Spools is still id his office. I'm sure I cad catch him if I leave dow. We could get started od those dotes immediately." That was his final trump card and Moist felt the Commander catch the sting in those words.

This bugger would leave, get out of his house, away from his family. Alternatively the not-a-threat proposition would surely mean Sybil would keep him here.

Oh of course he, Sam Vimes, could simply throw the man out by the scruff of his neck. He was the Commander after all. But Sybil would protest no matter how diplomatically it was done. And he was absolutely positive that Vetinari, damn that man, knew about the situation but yet no messenger came from the palace to cart Lipwig away. It was almost as if Vetinari was waiting to see what Vimes would do. It would be the Patrician's little idea of fun.

Moist finally couldn't restrain himself any longer as he snapped forward. "het'chhhew! uh... parduh...hh-hurshhhw!"

The timed sneezes jarred the Commander out of his thoughts. Sam Vimes looked up as the other man, who had already been leaning heavily against his chair, was now curled over shivering. It was an act. It had to be an act. But yet, against all odds, it didn't look like one.

Moist hadn't, in fact, planned on it but once it started he couldn't stop. His body felt chilled to the bone which even the fireplace couldn't warm. And yet oddly he could be simultaneously sticky and sweating. He wished his body would make up its mind.

His mind did settle on one thing however, his nose. Those two escaped sneezes only served to whet his need for more. The incredible ticklish nuisance refused to relent. He brought out his already soggy handkerchief, eyes fluttering as he panted for breath and muffled sneeze after sneeze into it. "herschhh'mff-uh... hH-huh'epschhhmph! echmmph! hhh'heh-eh'gkcchhhew! huh... hhhh'hhieh-hexckkkw!"

When the fit finally stopped, Moist blew his nose and groaned. Damn. It had been going so well. Regardless what he had hinted at to the Commander, he knew had to get out of here. He was shaking so much now that he could barely stand and the pain in his throat, head, and... well... everywhere else burned in every raw nerve.

"Pardond me Comma'der. I really must be... huh-hhh'hursheew... huh-hherkchhew'uh... must be goi'g. Thag you for your ti-..." was all he could manage before his voice gave out on him. Moist's own Limit hit him like an express mail coach and nearly bowled him over.

Vimes looked at the other man in actual surprise. "Wait. You're leaving?"

Moist tried to form words but his throat caught and he bent over coughing, the effort of which threw him forward with such force he clung to the armchair to keep upright. When he stood, the movement caused his vertigo to spin his vision. He swayed and...

The Commander caught him. Just how did he move so...? Moist could feel the lean solid muscles of the Commander wrapping him firmly and rippling against him. Sam Vimes was not a particularly tall nor broadly build man. But his firm muscles had been conditioned from years of working the dangerous streets of Ankh-Morpork. The strong scent of cheap cigars penetrated through his clogged sinus although not unpleasantly.

Vimes eased the shaking man back into his armchair. Once seated he tilted Moist's head back and peered into the man's glassy eyes. Leaning forward with his own eyes a mere hand span away, Vimes shifted his weight from side to side so as to examine those eyes from different angles. Then he brought his hand up and felt Moist's forehead, ran it down behind his ears, and to his neck. He stopped there and felt for the pulse which strummed much too violently to be any good.

"Fever's gone up again." he said more to himself than to Moist. Then he turned on the man. "Are you an idiot, sir? Wait, don't answer that. I'm not giving the fools enough credit. What is so damn important that you had to come today to--” Vimes stopped and stared.

Moist smiled and gave a fevered noncommittal shrug.

Vimes glared. "You've already made them, haven't you? You've already put my damn face on your damn bills. You were planning on releasing them regardless on my answer."

I would have preferred your approval, although said voiceless it came out more like "haff ferr yer... rooffahl..."

Vimes snorted and rolled his eyes. It was hard to stay mad at someone that looked like Death warmed over. He'd know best of course, having met Death himself on various occasions.

"Well." He stood up and brushed off his hands. "I say that effectively solves our impasse. I'm still saying no and you're still proceeding with it regardless. You. Stay here. I'll find Sybil." the Commander's tone left no room for arguing but Moist couldn't have done so even if he had wanted to. His cracking voice was all but gone and he doubted if he had any energy left to even move. But his eyes drooped heavily and he was asleep again by the next breath.

to be cont.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This story is wonderful. You've hit the characterization nail directly on the head, especially Moist and Vimes. I really do hope that you continue. :3

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