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Downey sat up in bed, rubbing at one eye as he leaned forward a bit to avoid the heat of the sunlight that shone on his face from the window, peeking in between the slightly open curtains. He glanced at the other bed, which was empty, and then to the centre of the floor, where Vetinari was slowly moving from a backward bridge into a handstand, facing away from him.

“What are you doing, Dogbotherer?” Downey asked exhaustedly, seeing the shine of the light of his bedclothes.

“I have a kink in my back, Downey,” Vetinari said mildly, as if he wasn’t bent like one of the street pretzels one could pick up back in Ankh-Morpork, and Downey stared at him, lingering in the doorway. They oughtn’t have to share a room, really, but along the Grand Sneer, not all of the places they stay in are all that big, and there are, at the least, two double beds, but—

Vetinari fell forward, resting on his palms, and Downey stared, open-mouthed, as Vetinari spread his legs, the black silk of his pyjama trousers clinging tight to his backside and the muscle in his thighs.

His pyjama shirt fell down, against the surprisingly thick muscle in Vetinari’s slim shoulders, and Downey stared at the column of his spine, leading all the way up to…

Downey swallowed.

He could see Vetinari’s arse, see the cleft of his buttocks as he drew his legs forward, and the shift in the planes of his back, the way the silk clung

Gods, Dogbotherer,” Downey said. “What’s doing that meant to do?”

“Tension in the muscles, Downey,” Vetinari said, speaking in the same bored tone he usually used with Downey, and Downey watched as he slowly lifted up one palm from the ground, outstretching his arm and leaning on the other one. He didn’t even tremble, didn’t even falter: his form was strong, and he rested on his hands as easily as he rested on his feet. “Lengthening the muscles and then letting them loosen can help with the knots.”

Sweat glistened on his pale skin, and the sunlight glinted off the slick skin of his scars just like it did off the silk: white and pink contrasted against black.

“Why don’t you just… press on it?” Downey asked. His mouth was dry.

Not that Downey didn’t like men. He liked men. He usually liked… handsome men, who were broad, and muscular. Not men like Vetinari, who was undoubtedly athletic, but skinny, and who had angular bones.

Downey could see the upper part of his ribs, and he could see the exaggerated dip at Vetinari’s waist.

“Can’t reach, Downey,” Vetinari said.

“I could—” Downey cleared his throat. “I could.”

Vetinari’s head slowly moved, and Downey was certain, he was certain, that even with the training from the Assassins’ School, Vetinari oughtn’t be able to move his neck quite so far, although he did just— He was just supporting his body now, just on his arm, letting it come down a little, that he might meet Downey’s gaze.

Could you, Downey?” Vetinari asked, arching one eyebrow, and he dropped down onto silk-soled feet, padding forward, clambering onto Downey’s bed with grace that made Downey feel like choking. Vetinari slid forward, straddling his lap, his knees tight against Downey’s hips, and he brought Downey’s hands to his hips, pushing them against his lower back. “Please, and thank you.”

Vetinari was warm in his lap, warm and hot and heavy, and Downey touched the muscle under his fingers, and then Vetinari’s mouth was on his, and he was biting—

Downey opened his eyes.

The fingers snapped again. He could see Vetinari’s fingernails, neatly buffed and cut to perfectly square edges, and he looked at Vetinari himself, who was standing beside Downey’s bed, looking down at him with unveiled disgust. No sun shone through the windows: outside, it was drizzling. Vetinari’s bed was already made.

Come, Downey,” he said. “We leave in forty minutes.”

“Come,” Downey repeated. Vetinari frowned at him. “Yes, yes, coming, I’m… coming. Dogbotherer.”

Do hurry, Downey,” Vetinari drawled, and Downey watched after him as he slinked from the room, descending the stairs…

Downey stared at the ceiling.