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Common Interests

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Havelock almost started as Vimes pounded his way into the Oblong Office.

“Did she say anything to you? She must have told someone!”

“Told me what?”

Vimes staggered around the office. “How could she have found out about us? It’s only been twice—and that was here! None of your staff would have told her—would they? No?”

“Samuel, I’m not sure I have all the facts,” Havelock frowned. His hardened expression would have fooled anyone else.

Vimes goggled. “Sibyl knows. And she left a note for me. It wasn’t anything serious—I would have told her it wasn’t if she’d said anything. I love her. Why didn’t she talk to me—yell at me, sic the dragons on me? It was stupid, I’ve been so stupid. What can I do! Gods, I’m an idiot.”

Wasn’t serious.

That was a verb tense and a sentiment Havelock didn’t like. Did Samuel think he encouraged embraces from other men? He literally had no idea how much deliberation there had been before—before? How long he’d admired Samuel Vimes? No, not always admired; he had too much anger in him. He was so unreasonably angry when Havelock gave him the only gifts he could, unwanted titles.

But desired. Always desired, even before he learned that he’d met Samuel thirty years before as John Keel. The strength and intelligence were an almost gravitic attraction for him. Apparently he’d dropped his guard only to learn he’d been misunderstood. He tightened his impassivity. Of course it was only sex to Vimes. What had he thought? He’d not been with Vimes long enough for Havelock to express anything but guttural pleasure.

“May I see the note, please?”

His voice was glacial, and at his tone Samuel seemed to realize how rude he’d been

“I'm sorry, I wasn’t thinking. It wasn't only the—well that was great, but um...? " Sam babbled. "There could be more? Can be more? I didn't have any idea you felt—how was I supposed to know? Hell, we’ve only have gone to bed twice.”

"If you can call it 'going to bed' when I’ve merely let you bugger me.”

“Let me?” Sam’s glare was dangerous. “You wanted it, you came to me, right here in this office. You leaned into me, you squashed yourself against me. You said things. I know what we did—you started it.” When Havelock continued to stare cold-bloodedly at him, Samuel’s face lost the redness under his bronze. It was obvious that he hadn't perceived the danger.

If it wasn’t passion, Sam thought—what did Havelock think they’d been doing? It wasn’t possible to physically assault his boss. Twice. His boss the trained assassin who gods alone knew how many sharp objects he had on his person now.

“The letter,” Havelock snapped. Sam handed it over.

Havelock skimmed it, then read it more slowly. The missive was short. He pressed his knuckle against his mouth so that not even a decibel of inappropriate noise escaped him, but he could not prevent a small shake of the head.

“Oh Samuel. Sam, you are in such big trouble. You had no apprehension at all that Sibyl wanted out, no conception that she had stronger feelings for—they do have robust common interests."

A small back and forth of the head. “If this was what she felt all the time—why did she marry me?”

“I supposed she was grateful and you bowled her over. I did hear her say you were the ‘dashing Captain Vimes.'" He read the damaging communication aloud.

“In light of your disgraceful behavior with his Lordship, Sibyl has come to her senses and seen who truly loves her. And will cherish her. Do not attempt to contact her and do not seek a reconciliation. She was mine for a decade before you barged in and toyed with her affections. We will send the Emmas tomorrow to remove the dragons.”

Signed,
Brenda,
Lady Rodley,
The Dower House, Quirm Castle, Quirm.

PS Tell his Lordship if he attempts to interfere, I will have his guts for garters.”

Samuel peered at Havelock with hope. “You think she means it? No more squeaking horrors to dribble on your clothes at dinner? Or sizzle your eyebrows off?

“Does a dragon explode in the woods?” It was not often that Havelock used scurrilous language.

Samuel chuckled weakly. “Good for her. Good for both of them.” He inhaled slowly and meandered closer.

“So do you think we might?" He wondered out loud. "Would you like me to take you to bed?"

“Yes.” Havelock tried to look severe. “But I need you in the bed literally. My leg insists on it.”

Sam slipped an arm around his waist, smugly. “Who am I to mess with his Lordship’s legs?” He folded Havelock into his arms for a kiss.