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The Practice of Intimacy

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If flaws were what caused people to fall in love with one another, Drumknott realised, then he was the perfect candidate for Vetinari’s lover. No one else could spend enough time with him to discover all the little things that made the man so himself, or, indeed, was there anyone else whom Vetinari would trust to reveal those flaws to, a fact Drumknott was very cognisant, and very proud, of.

In short, Drumknott loved Havelock Vetinari (no matter how much Vetinari might doubt the fact) and Drumknott was more than willing to forgive his flaws, when he found them. If he found them.

As it turned out, he found one quite soon after they began their relationship – or rather, he found it out as they were beginning their relationship. Vetinari had just agreed to giving the whole ‘intimacy’ thing a go, so when Drumknott reached up to press a kiss to his lips, he was quite surprised when Vetinari started slightly only to then remain as still as marble.

‘Er,’ Drumknott said, drawing back after a few seconds of non-response. When he became aware that Vetinari was not looking at him, and was instead frowning at the wall behind him, he understood, and wished he hadn’t said it. It was surprising to discover, but Drumknott realised Vetinari was nervous, and he smiled.

‘It’s alright,’ he said. ‘We can take things slowly.’

Vetinari seemed to drag his gaze to Drumknott’s face with effort. ‘I don’t want to disappoint you,’ he said quietly.

The simple statement caused Drumknott’s heart to squeeze in his chest. He had thought he knew Vetinari so well, but it had never occurred to him that the man could be so – dare he say it? – sweet.

‘Not at all. With time and practice, it will become easier.’ So saying, Drumknott squeezed his arm affectionately, and left for his own bed.


The next time Drumknott tried to kiss Vetinari was two days later. Drumknott had stepped close to him to make his intent clear, Vetinari had made no sign of moving away which he took as a signal to continue leaning forward – and then Vetinari turned away and sneezed.

Drumknott tried to refrain from a remark, failed, and gave in to a laugh. He received a severe glare for his pains.

‘I could never find the words to express the way I feel for you,’ Drumknott said warmly.

‘What are you talking about?’ Vetinari said a touch coldly.

‘I mean to say, I either feel admiration or affection for everything you do. What you may consider a mistake in yourself or your actions only endear you to me.’ Drumknott smiled and tried to pull him closer. ‘Even when you sneeze when I’m trying to be romantic.’

‘Rufus, I never before thought you capable of speaking such nonsense,’ Vetinari said. This close, Drumknott could see the small curve of his lips that had appeared and was coming dangerously close to a fond smile.

‘It’s kind of you to say so, Havelock,’ Drumknott said, and claimed his kiss.

As he had initially suspected, Vetinari simply didn’t know what do when kissed. His hands touched Drumknott’s waist, tentatively, and he only moved his lips slightly when prompted.

‘You’re too tall for me to teach you to kiss while standing,’ Drumknott said upon breaking away.

This time, the amused smile properly made itself known on Vetinari’s face. ‘Perhaps we should move somewhere we would be at a mere even level,’ he suggested, his eyes flickering to his bed a short distance away.

‘I should like that very much,’ Drumknott said happily.


The twentieth-or-so time they kissed (Drumknott had lost count) was the next morning. It was not exactly much of a kiss and could hardly hope to reach the top ten kisses Drumknott had ever received, but it was very touchingly given considering the fact that Vetinari was awake and had brushed his teeth, whereas Drumknott was merely awake, and even then, only barely.

‘Good morning,’ Drumknott said. Vetinari was dressed, while he was the exact opposite, but he couldn’t feel embarrassed at all. As a matter of fact, he felt wonderfully warm, content and secure. ‘You’re a fast learner. You’ve become very good at this quite quickly.’

‘From you, Rufus,’ Vetinari said, ‘I am always willing to learn.’