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A Word on Mutual Respect

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Drumknott respected Lord Vetinari. Sometimes, he thought he respected the man even more than he respected paperwork, and even - though such a blasphemous thing was almost inconceivable - stationery. Some of his colleagues saw it fit to tease him about it from time to time, when they thought they could get away with it (though noticeably less often now that the kittens have been introduced).

Drumknott bore it bravely, mostly because he couldn’t imagine how having respect for Lord Vetinari was something to be teased about.

Even so, the fact remained that His Lordship could, sometimes, be a little…

Unreasonable.

"Are you quite certain, sir?" he asked again, perhaps unwisely; His Lordship, like any tyrant, did not take kindly to having his orders questioned.

Even if those orders pertained to keeping the palace windows open at all times so he could creep back in without putting the staff into unnecessary uproar.

Lord Vetinari ignored him and moved to the window. Quietly, Drumknott admired the ominous swish his black cloak made when he moved. Nothing so vulgar as magic, no - His Lordship never needed that.

And that was because he had Style.

Nevertheless…

Drumknott decided it was time to put his foot down. “You’re not so young anymore, sir,” he insisted as politely as he could. “And you know how upset Commander Vimes gets when someone does his job for him.”

"Oh, lighten up, Drumknott." His Lordship was now looking out the window, at the thousand lights of Ankh-Morpork by night. "I cannot be expected to stay in my office forever. Even a tyrant deserves a little fun every once in a while."

"So I’ve heard, my Lord," Drumknott mumbled. Personally, he could never quite grasp the idea of fun, let alone the appeal - not until his first ride on the Iron Girder, anyway. “However, I must insist that you at least use the rope I have provided, this time. It was rather embarrassing, having to explain to the mason after last time.”

Vetinari gave him a sigh, that long-suffering one that meant that he was putting up with his follies like a child might when he was being pestered by his nanny to keep his trousers clean.

"Very well," he admitted with an air of resignation. "Safety first. Do put the kettle on when I’m back, I shall require tea afterwards."

"Of course, sir." Drumknott nearly bristled. That should be taken as read.

There was a whisper of the air, softer than the stalking of a predator at night. And then His Lordship was gone.

Drumknott went on to supervise the stoking of the fire and the cleaning of the halls, and decided that it was a good thing he never told Lord Vetinari about the… adjustments he’d made to the black boots His Lordship favoured on his escapades, to make them safer for scaling walls.

Even though he was pretty sure they had been noticed anyway.

Lord Vetinari respected him, too, after all.