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The Day After Friday

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The sunrise crawled, treacle-like, across the mountains and valleys of the Disc, stopping occasionally to puddle in interesting valleys and across the eyes of disgruntled sleepers before moving on.

It made its way, ponderously, over the Ramtops, piling up on one side of the peaks before spilling down the other. It flowed over the Klatchian desert, draped itself across the Ubervaldian forests, and oozed into the streets of Ankh-Morpork, outpacing the grand River Ankh by a large margin.

This is, insofar as the word can be applied to life on the Disc, was completely normal.

And then, over the horizon, came THE FONT

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The real trouble began, as it so often does, in Ankh-Morpork.

Vimes stared down at the cat on his desk. It resolutely refused to turn into something easier to deal with, like paperwork or a small golem uprising. It did begin to lick itself.

He lifted his eyes from the cat to look at the arresting officer, who was emitting what he could not legally claim was a growl in the general direction of the... animal in question. Already Vimes was wishing that he had volunteered himself for the monthly safety tour of the sewers instead. “Why, may I ask,” he said, head dipping dangerously toward his clasped knuckles, “did you find it necessary to arrest a housecat?”

“It was disturbing the peace. Sir.”stated Sergeant Angua, who managed to look like she had her hackles raised while standing perfectly at attention.

“And just how, exactly, was a cat in an amusingly teal tunic doing anything to 'disturb the peace?' Did it murder someone? Incite a riot? Please tell me why this cat is dangerous enough to warrant locking-up.”

“It were playing the board of keys and chasing people off the street, Commander,” Nobby piped up, suddenly appearing from where he had blended in with the grimy walls of the Watch House. Vimes stared at him.

“It was being annoying,” growled Angua, who glared at the cat when it suddenly looked up into her face. PLAY HER OFF, KEYBOARD CAT! it shouted suddenly, striking the tiny, flat piano Vimes had not noticed them place on his desk before with stiff arms. Angua fled the room.

Vimes turned to Nobby. “This,” he said, somehow encompassing the cat, the tiny keyboard, Angua's departure, and his headache in one rather complicated gesture, “never leaves this room. Am I understood?”

“Oh, yes sir. Definitely.” Nobby Nobbs was nothing if not loyally enthusiastic. He was also rather predictable. “Wait, sir, does that mean that I'm not allowed to leave this room?”

Vimes finally gave in and dropped his head onto his desk with a satisfying clunk. The cat licked his helmet.

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Ponder Stibbons lifted his glasses to peer more closely at the strange creature running in place inside the jar he'd found for it, brightly-colored body reflecting bright lights onto the glass. He scooped up the jar, walking it down to the University's most reliable analyst.

“Hex,” he said, clamping the jar and its strange contents into the Unidirectional Substance Barometer port and utilizing the GBL to get it started. “What sort of animal have I trapped in that jar?” A tiny hourglass popped out and turned over a few times before Hex suddenly came alive, scribbling a message before Ponder's eyes:


+++NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN NYAN+++ +++POPTART ERROR. REDO FROM START+++

And then the whole thing suddenly exploded in rainbows.

Ponder dove to the floor as a particularly violent-looking beam shot past him and ricocheted out the window, nearly taking a limb off of a passing student.

“Stibbons! What in the devil is going on?” The Archchancellor’s bellow usually preceded him down the stairs by a few good minutes, giving Ponder enough time to send himself into a frenzy. He had found that if he avoided showing the Archchancellor the most confusing and fantastic things that Hex could do, he could also avoid having to explain them. Not Explaining Things was Ponder's subject of choice.

He was probably going to have to explain the rainbow-producing cat, though, especially since it now appeared that there were two of them in the jar. They'd soon have double rainbows all the way across the University. The Archchancellor was not going to be happy about this.

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Granny Weatherwax was glaring. Generally, this was a cause for alarm., and already most of the former inhabitants of the room had abruptly discovered that they had left something important undone at home and left in just slightly less than a panicked rush.

Thankfully, Tiffany had spent enough time around Granny to realize a few things. One was that, while one never ignored her glares, one could also judge the severity of the situation by the quality of the glare in question. This glare was number eleven, entitled I May Not Understand Just What Is Going On Here, Embarrassing-Full-Name-Of-Perpetrator-Here, But I Know That I I Will Not Be Having With It. Tiffany was rather proud of that name, and had drawn a star around it in her spotter's guide, for repeated use.

The other two remaining inhabitants of the room were similarly unaffected by the glare, but this was because the only experience they had with fear was in inflicting it upon others. Nanny Ogg was sitting in a rocking chair, Greebo settled in her lap.

And she was petting him.

Now, Nanny Ogg would often protest that Greebo was naught but an old softie, but even she would hesitate to pet such an animal as him. Missing one eye, part of an ear, and most of his sense of self-preservation, he had been the scourge of Lancre for years. And now he was sitting in Nanny's lap, purring and smiling.

Greebo was smiling in exactly the way that Greebo did not smile. That is to say, Granny had only seen him smile after she'd trodden through the grisly remains of a triple rodent homicide, and the amount of teeth showing between his whiskers now made her want to check under her boots, just in case.

“So what's wrong with 'im, then?” asked Granny gruffly, keeping one eye trained on Greebo, one on Nanny, and another on Greebo again. (It's a witchy thing. It's really better not to ask.)

“Nothing's wrong with my Mr. Puss-Puss, now is there?” she muttered nauseatingly, rubbing his belly in a way that would have usually cost her an arm and an amount of blood that would be inconducive to her continued living presence. I HAS A HUNGRY.

Nanny Ogg tried valiantly to look like she had not heard the voice booming out of the be-whiskered monstrosity on her lap. Granny glared again. Tiffany took notes. Greebo licked Nanny's arm and, for once, didn't draw blood with his barbed-wire tongue. U HAZ  A FLAVUR, he miaowed, licking his lips in a disturbing sort of way.

“Right,” said Granny, tearing her eyes away from Greebo's manic grin for a moment. “Obviously, we're dealing with some sort of anthropophiric persona-whatsit-” Nanny nodded sagely “-and there's only one person to see about that. Especially since he likes cats and all.”

And with that, she readjusted her hat, ensuring that the point was both respectably crumpled and intimidatingly tall, and stalked out of the cabin.

Greebo cranked his head around to train his one remaining eye on Nanny Ogg. I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER? he yowled plaintively, tilting his head at an improbable angle and opening his eyes wide, reputation as a hardened criminal entirely forgotten.

Tiffany finally fled the room, stifling her laughter as only a witch could, at least until she was far enough away that Nanny could pretend not to hear her.

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The knocker clonked loudly against the wood of the door, releasing a sound that somehow both embodied the entire idea of an ominous clang and remained frustratingly just quiet enough that you wondered if you should knock again, just in case. Death looked up from his illustrated copy of The Rhyming Book of Epitaphs.

NOW, he intoned, WHO COULD IT BE AT THIS HOUR OF THE NIGHT?

Of course, time (except for lunchtime) had no meaning in Death's kingdom, but he felt there were certain rituals to be observed. Albert scurried from around the corner before Death could stand up, trailing the scent of burnt sausages and cheap tobacco behind him. Albert did so hate to be interrupted while he was cooking.

He strode off toward the front door, feet stomping in what he probably imagined was a rather fearsome gait. He returned moments later, cap in hand and grease wiped hastily off his chin. “Mistress Weatherwax to see you, sir. Said she couldn't abide waiting around. She'd like to, erm, see you. Now, as it were.”

YES. I HAVE BEEN EXPECTING HER. SEND HER IN.

Death set aside his book and attempted to look as though he were sitting comfortably, which is a hard enough act to pull off when your bones are all attached by nothing more than the sustaining idea that they should be. Granny Weatherwax, on the other hand, stood in front of him like she had more right to be there than he did, and she waited with conviction like she knew it, too.

Death cleared his throat, rattling his cervical vertebrae around a bit.

Granny Weatherwax did not relent.

Death attempted to place his hands in his lap nonchalantly but, having very little practice in it, managed to nearly tip his chair over instead. Underneath it, something miaowed.

Granny narrowed her eyes at him.

OH, VERY WELL, he said, reaching under his chair to bring out small box and the rather larger cat that had crammed itself inside it. I DIDN'T THINK THERE WOULD BE ANY HARM IN KEEPING JUST ONE OF THEM. AND LOOK, IT DOESN'T EVEN TALK.

As if to prove his point, the cat looked up at Granny, and leaped to the floor, running and sliding into yet another box it had waiting for it there. Looking around, she could see that the floor was fairly coated in varying sizes of boxes, each in different stages of misuse. She cocked an eyebrow at Death, and if a skeleton could look sheepish, he would.

But it can't, and so she settled for a cup of tea and a biscuit instead. And if she nudged a few boxes into the cat's way, well... Death certainly wasn't telling.

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High above the Hub, a window opened in space, Perfectly square, it faced the Disc below. From inside, a whiskered head appeared, glancing around to each kingdom, noting the havoc being caused by the Disc's newest visitors.

Ceiling Cat smiled.

SOON I CAN HAS  ALL THE CHEEZBURGERS, it whispered to the clouds, eyes catnip-crazed and black against its creamy fur. SOON.

Another cat appeared behind it, its twin in every way but in its silky black fur. Basement Cat placed a paw on Ceiling Cat's shoulder. NOM  ALL  THE CHEEZBURGERS, BROTHER, it said, staring down at the unsuspecting people below.

THE TIEM FOR CATURDAY... IS NAO.