He couldn’t open his eyes for some reason, probably for the same reason that the side of his head felt about twice the size it normally was and the room smelled of something foul and herbal. He could hear voices though, and he was fairly sure they were real. A lot of the time he couldn’t put names to them, his brain still being somewhat scrambled, but he recognised them.
One sounded like a warm bath and was accompanied by the uneven clicking of an amateur’s knitting needles. It assured him that, ‘Havelock is taking a personal interest, dear.’
Another, not long after, told him that ‘Inquiries are continuing, sir. We shall have the suspect in custody before you can say - say Bjorn Stronginthearm is your uncle.’ He could hear the shine of the armor polish. No. Not hear. Taste? Smell? Something like that.
A jowly voice some years the wrong side of retirement: ‘What have you gone and got yourself into now, Sam?’ and then - hang on, he only calls me Sam when he’s worried - but Vimes couldn’t hold on to one thought for long, and the voice was already switching from nervous to shocked: 'Hey, you can’t take that!’
And another voice replied, a voice that sidled : ‘Come on sarge, I’ll pay him back.’
Then the first voice again, ‘First time for everything,’ and Vimes knew them, he did , but he couldn’t think of their names -
Another, much later, sharp as a concealed blade and twice as deadly: ‘The culprit has been… apprehended.’ The pause yawned open like a scorpion pit and Vimes almost felt sorry for the said culprit. Sorry not to have witnessed the apprehending, at any rate, his head still throbbing the way it was.
And later still, in the quiet of the evening, someone young and expectant asked,
‘Is Daddy going to read to me?’
And someone else, older, tremulous and courageous and loved , ‘Perhaps you could read to him?’
There was a pause and a shuffle - pages turning and throat clearing and then -
‘Where’s my cow?’
Vimes opened his eyes.