“Mr Chriek, your lens,” Drumknott murmured, and Vetinari watched as the iconographer turned to smile at him, showing the set of his white teeth as he smiled, and Vetinari watched Drumknott give a small, polite smile of his own, leaning his chin back slightly. It wasn’t a flirtation, Vetinari knew: Drumknott had overwrought his shoulders this morning, and had been making slight shifts of his neck all day to try to soothe the ache, but…
Chriek was a vampire.
Chriek’s gaze didn’t flicker down to Drumknott’s neck, but he did look him in the eyes, did lean in toward him, and Vetinari felt one of his fingers twitch as he resisted the urge to clench his fists. The jealousy was not an unfamiliar emotion. He felt it, at times, where Drumknott was concerned: a desire to make it clear he was spoken for, that he belonged to someone, and now…
“Thanks,” Chriek murmured. “Do you like iconography, Mr Drumknott?”
“I don’t know anything about it, Mr Chriek,” Drumknott said, with a delicate shrug of his shoulders.
“You should learn!” Chriek said, digging in his pockets, and Vetinari watched the way Drumknott’s nostrils flared as Chriek grasped for his hand, pressing a card into his palm. Vetinari was aware of the pump of his blood in his ears. “Ve run a vorkshop, yes? On Thursdays–”
“The Stationery Appreciation Society is on Thursdays,” Drumknott said cleanly, but not impolitely: his smile was not as steel-sharp as Vetinari would want it to be, even as he retracted his hand. “I’m the club secretary.”
“Oh,” murmured Otto Chriek. He must have heard the difference in Vetinari’s own heartbeat, because he shot Vetinari an uncertain glance. “Vell. I shall see you, Mr Drumknott, Lord Vetinari.”
Drumknott nodded to him, and Vetinari watched as Chriek followed Mr de Worde from Vetinari’s office. Drumknott closed the door behind them. He didn’t flinch as Vetinari pinned him back against the door, his hands tight on Drumknott’s hips, one leg sliding between his thighs.
“He wasn’t flirting,” Drumknott murmured. “He was being friendly. He doesn’t like it when people are frightened of him.”
“You think he’s handsome?” Vetinari asked. His tone was stiffer than he intended it to be, and Drumknott inhaled slowly, his hands settling on Vetinari’s chest, his shoulders, his palms gentle where they rested on the fabric of Vetinari’s robe. He was handsome, was Chriek. Handsome, with his vampiric grace, his pale skin, his dark hair–
“Handsome enough,” Drumknott murmured, his tone non-committal, and he reached up, touching the side of Vetinari’s cheek, his fingers cool. “My lord, I wouldn’t–”
“I know,” Vetinari murmured. Guilt - an unfamiliar sensation indeed - tugged within him. “I know. My– apologies. I mean nothing by it.”
“I know,” Drumknott murmured, and Vetinari drew away to return to his work. “Ah. My lord?”
Vetinari glanced back. Drumknott handed him von Chriek’s card: simple, neatly-printed, with the hours of the iconography classes. Vetinari burned it, with no small satisfaction, and pretended not to see Drumknott’s smile as he returned to his own desk.