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Some nights, pleasure taken, they sit on the wide stone windowsill and look at the city. Rich neighbourhoods are bright as galaxies, poor ones are black streaks speckled with dim yellow candlelight. The university glows violet, and an orange mist shimmers over the Ankh. It's a pretty view, a pretty lie, like most stories told in the dark.

Heedless of dignity, Vetinari perches like a boy, feet on the sill and knees almost touching his chin. Vimes leans against the glass. One hard shove would send either of them through, sixty feet above cobblestones. Sitting here together puts something to the proof.

They seldom talk. Noises drift up, not filling the silence but outlining it. This square of glass and darkness is the empty space of the city in abeyance.

Vimes cups the bony globe of Vetinari's kneecap; Vetinari lays a finger to the knob of Vimes's wrist. They don't kiss now, here, halfway between the bed and the city. They only touch each other's borders.

Later, Vimes will light a candle and put on his shoes. He'll go home to his wife; Vetinari will read the clacks dispatches.

They're civilised men. They never sit in the dark for long.