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Oh Balls!

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Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Terry Pratchett/Discworld characters portrayed in this story and this is purely a work of fan fiction. First published at FF.

The Sunrise Awakening ball had been a resounding success these past few years of Lord Vertinari's leadership. Far from it's old-fashioned origins of being a husband finder for all the nubile young aristocrats, it was now a husband, wife, lover, and roll in the pantry finder for all who could afford tickets (not to mention the 2nd major fashion event of the year - the first being the Seamstresses parade in summer but no one could compete with their expertise, the undergarments dance being a particularly captivating set piece to the evening's entertainment).

This ball was now garnering a great deal of attention in the press as to which young celebratory would be accompanying which young fashion icon and who would or wouldn't be there and why? Older members of the nobile elite as well as the young up-and-comings we're expected to make an appearance at least but the eldest were not expected to stay all night. Although, after midnight who knew what would happen? Rules were broken, promises made and then lost. It was a night of excitement, glamour and secrets.

Vetinari was a realistic leader and provided rooms at the palace for this one night of (as some easy to scandalise newspapers had put it) debauchery and mayhem. If there was scandal to be had, he wanted to keep it hidden safely inside, until it needed (if ever), to be released or bargained with (usually by him). Generally, The Patrician - Lord Vetinari, assessed most people as weak creatures and far too willing at times to slip up and make a fool of themselves. In a way he supposed he was protecting some foolish behaviour but also as a politician, and a supremly clever one at that, he was gathering insurance. The rooms and the party did at least it keep a rowdy lot off the streets for a night, although he wasn't entirely sure whom he was protecting in that circumstance.

Vetinari's big ball as it was sometimes known, was a joyous celebration, letting off steam for the citizens of this seemingly chaotic city. The winter months were long, cold and gloomy with snow and, more frequently, a lot of dampness. By the time springtime arrived, Ankh-Morpok was ready to let its collective hair down. Or at least watch others do it. The party generated a massive crowd of fans outside the palace hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite celebratory or a snippet of gossip and view the glamour. It was a welcome release, and a little part of him, that he almost refused to acknowledge, enjoyed the spectacle.

It was late in the day, the sun was setting and there were only a few weeks to go. Madam Lestoota was discussing the final preparations with the weary Patrician.

" Mmmph, yes My Lord the blue swans are necessary this year, I realise this is a late addition to the proceedings but ahem, it is most certainly needed, believe me my Lord you will be amazed." Beamed the magnificent Madame Lestoota, Head designer at the prestigious Arabella Academy of the Finest Arts in Ankh-Morpok. Her hands clasped hopefully underneath her ample bosom.

" Very well," sighed Vetinari, tired of this frivolous talk. " Your academy have never let us down before, I'm sure this party will of course be no exception," he continued, his gaze never moving from her face.

" Ah-heh yes my Lord," trembled the fragrant woman. Oh, if her students could see her now. Feeling an unusual sense of empathy with them as they often stood and trembled before her, Lestoot resolved to tone her manner down a notch or two when in their company. Or, as the Patrician's office door opened, and an attractive slight man drifted past, maybe she too could get herself a Drumknott?

Madame Lestoot felt the atmosphere in the room gently soften as the silent clerk walked by and stood by his master, Lord Vetinari, whispering close to his ear. Vetinari's gaze dropped from hers allowing the woman to breathe normally again.

" Ah yes, thank you Madame for your time, you may of course go. If you need anything please talk to my secretary here. Drumknott would be most willing to help."

" It would be a pleasure Madame." Bowed Drumknott.

" Oh gladly My Lord, Mr Drumknott. " Bobbed the Madame as she hastily left the room.

"As ever Drumknott I am grateful for your presence." Smiled the Patrician.

" My Lord." Drumknott looked into Vetinari's eyes briefly, allowing him the smallest of smiles, his expression briefly conveying...something Vetinari's surprise. So brief however, the Lord thought he must have imagined it due to the immensly frivolous conversation he had experienced earlier.

" Drumknott it is late, I think we'll call it a day don't you?"

" Of course my Lord. I have only to file a few documents, however, may I stay a while after you leave?"

" My pleasure Drumknott. I will see you in the morning." With that, Lord Vetinari nodded to his faithful secretary and smartly strode out of the office towards the corridor that finished with only his room.

Whilst in his bedchamber, a spacious affair with some obvious luxury items (the king-sized bed, the chaise-lounge and the magnificent wardrobe), Vetinari bathed in the en-suite corner bathroom area. His room was tasteful and spartan in a way only the very rich could afford. There was no ostentatious display of wealth nor was there the opposite austere minimalism that some may have supposed was his taste. Instead a subtle yet powerful blend of dark and light fabrics and textures combined to form a comfortable and stylish room. The comfort would have surprised the very few who may have been invited here (ignoring the housekeeper who was trained to see and say nothing of her master's or mistresses private rooms).

The tall slim man sighed as the hot water and oils massaged and soothed his aching muscles. He breathed in the pleasing scent as he thought about Drumknott...hmm? The appearance of the younger man, the attentive fair clerk into his very relaxed thoughts unsettled him a little. I wonder if he's still in the office? Thought Vetinari. I wonder if he...hmm. Oh, Vetinari you must be overworked, he scolded himself and tried to dismiss the images that popped into his head. Sinking underneath the deliciously warm water to wash his hair he put a halt to those intrusive and extremely mischevious thoughts.

For a moment.

The bath was oh so nice, the oils so fragrant and suggestive, made Vetinari feel so good that he easily let his imagination, and his hands, wander. He was overcome with a need to ...relax further. Vetinari tried to think of a nameless man or woman as he touched his body but his mind betrayed his most secretive passionate thoughts. A slight thrill was felt each time he thought of Rufus Drumknott, his faithful clerk, images of his intelligent, clear, deep brown eyes and soft fair hair swam into view. Oh, to gaze in those eyes, he sighed. How would it feel to brush hands through that mane that Drumknott fought so hard to keep neat? No, that's my clerk. My secretary, I can't imagine him like that. Vetinari tried to change his fantasy by thinking of the new dazzling actor with the golden hair who featured in so many plays currently in Ankh-Morpok and beyond instead. Now his attractive image was everywhere, he was unknown personally to Vetinari and safe...too, it wouldn't do...his body right now, ached for Drumknott.

Rufus Drumknott, made him tingle, every innocent gesture, his eyes, voice, and smile was recalled for Vetinari's pleasure. He stroked him self faster as he imagined what Drumknott would do with a man...with him. Just whispering his name out loud made his back arch, his long legs quiver, his toes curl and his mind turn into white hot blankness. As pleasure overcame him, Vetinari shouted out. The Lord lay in his bath, legs trembling, breathing slowly in and out. " Oh Gods." He exclaimed. He hadn't felt like that in a very long time.

The next morning Drumknott was having a heated discussion by his office with the gardeners who were protesting the enchanted pigs currently devouring and burping frantically in the palace gardens.

" They're eating everything and what they don't eat they burp out fruit!"

" Um," frowned Drumknott.

Vetinari walked quickly past, his morning walk over, and closed the door rapidly behind him. Drumknott seemed to have this all in hand.

" Is this fruit edible?" Queried the secretary.

" Does that actually matter?" Said the irate gardener.

" Well... I'll contact Madame Lestoot sir." Magic decorations, that's all he needed.

As Drumknott entered the Oval office, Vetinari got straight to business.

" The Ephebian ambassadors will be arriving at noon Drumknott to discuss the higher speed clacks. I'll need their individual files."

" On your desk My Lord, with a folder on the recent developments in clacks research. Always handy to have sir."

" Marvellous Drumknott," smiled Vetinari.


" Of course."

The day passed pleasantly enough until the late afternoon as Vetinari returned from his meeting with the three incredibly talkative and charasmatic Ephebian ambassadors almost exhausted. Tea and biscuits were placed strategically on his desk and Vetinari gratefully approached them. Sitting down heavily with a sigh.
" A clacks from the Überwald My Lord, it's on your desk," notified Drumknott and resumed his filing.

" Ah, Margolotta." The Patrician quickly sliced the envelope open. "Hmm...ah well," muttered Vetinari. The Lord looked in Drumknott's direction and pondered.

Feeling the hairs on the back of his neck prickle, Drumknott turned around. " My Lord?" He questioned.

" Drumknott, Margolotta will not be accompanying me to the Sunrise Awakening ball. Would you consider going with me instead? We will not be dancing, I just need to make an appearance and well these things are so tiresome without company." The Patrician looked expectantly at his clerk for a reply.

Drumknott looked at his master.

Vetinari looked at Drumknott. He felt slightly uneasy.

Drumknott held his gaze and replied in a carefully controlled calm voice. " As flattering as that invitation was My Lord, especially considering I was also your second choice, I have unfortunately got a date for the ball. Now, if you'll excuse me, I really must see to my office documents."

"..." replied Vetinari nonplussed.