Actions

Work Header

Lights and Darks

Chapter Text

Angua carried on walking over to the bed, and sat down onto what she supposed was her side, wrapping a sheet around her. Carrot stood up from the chair, lifted his chain mail over his head, and came over to sit next to her.

They sat in silence for a few minutes.

'Angua?'

'Yes?'

'Have you ever died before?'

That was the question he asked? Angua shook her head, internally; she had already realised it wasn't a good idea to do anything like that in front of him.

For a sharp man, she thought, he's remarkably bad at emotions.

'Not that I know of,' she replied, trying to keep a light tone. Her voice cracked half way through, and she rubbed her throat. 'You got a drink?'

Carrot walked over to his desk and unlatched the window, grabbing a glass bottle of milk from the windowsill.

'Doesn't Nobby steal that?'

'He can't reach over the desk.'

He returned, glass in hand, and watched her while she drank it. Beer would have been nice, she thought, or whiskey. An image of Vimes came to mind.

'Carrot? You know Captain Vimes?'

'Yes.' None of them could ever get used to calling him 'Mister'.

'Does he often get drunk?'

Carrot nodded sombrely. 'We thought Lady Sybil might have broken the habit.'

'Why does he do it?'

Carrot's tone was bitter. 'Everyone does, after a while. I've seen you do it; stare into the bottom of a pint glass like you can see the world more clearly, then top it back up again so that you don't have to look anymore.'

Angua nodded. For some people, the only escape they could get was through alcohol. She had never found that it worked.

'Dwarves don't drink, do they?'

Carrot shook his head vehemently. 'Gods, no. Their parents would go crazy.'

'Then why have I seen dwarf bars around?'

Carrot flushed. 'Most of their parents don't see them now. They think they can do anything.'

'Colon said you're a dwarf.'

'I am.'

She breached the subject as carefully as she could. 'You don't really look like the rest of them.'

'Does that matter?'

She was shocked by his curt tone of voice. 'No, I mean, it shouldn't, but you know...'

'Know what?'

She rested her head back on to the stark wooden headboard. 'Doesn't matter.'

He seemed satisfied, and lay back beside her. 'In a way,' he murmured, 'we're both out of place. I'm a six foot six dwarf, and you're a human who ever so often has to turn into a wolf.'

So much for not being good at emotions.

'I guess so,' she said absently. Then, with a more focused tone, she asked the question she had been wanting to ask since she came into the room. 'Does it bother you?'

'Does what?'

She sat back up and looked at him in complete incomprehension. 'Me being a werewolf.'

'No, not really.'

'Why not? You just saw me killed with that gonne thing, as a wolf, then be resurrected and walk back into your room, as a human. That sort of thing would bother most people.'

'Why?'

He genuinely couldn't understand. 'Carrot, I'm a werewolf. Famed for ripping out people's throats and howling at the moon. Nobby nicked a silver spoon from the Assassin's Guild to keep me at bay after I told him the one he stole from the Fool's Guild was only pewter.'

Carrot turned scarlet, and gritted his teeth as he sat up straight, glaring into the distance. 'Just he waits till I-'

'Wait, Carrot-' she pushed him back against the headboard, '-you care about that?'

'Why wouldn't I? That's just disrespectful.'

'You get used to it. Like Cuddy and that model left in his locker.'

'What was that model of?'

'What?'

'The model. What was it of? I couldn't quite work it out.'

'Wasn't it from a Sonky factory?'

'Can't say I ever saw it there.'

Angua looked up, startled. 'Wait, you've been in the Sonky factory?'

'Of course. There's a museum.'

'What about?' The images flashing through Angua's head were nothing short of traumatising.

'Oh, they had an exhibition on the uses of rubber. Then one on the housing crisis in Ankh-Morpork, but I didn't get the link.' A small crease came between his eyebrows as he furrowed his forehead. 'I think it was because of the jobs provided.'

'Yes. That'd be it.' She exhaled with relief.

'Can't see why they felt the need to give some to me.'

Angua could. She had been approached by Wallace Sonky the day she arrived in Ankh-Morpork, who, thinking she was a seamstress, had pressed a couple on her. She'd told him that she was a watchman, and he'd given her more. They were hidden at the back of a drawer. Stupidly, she had forgotten them.

Still, what are the chances, she thought. Genetics and all that. It couldn't work.

She became aware that Carrot was looking down at her.

'What?'

'You looked sad.'

'Oh.' She leant back onto the pillow. 'Just tired. You'd be amazed what dying does to you.'

He nudged her, and she shifted over a couple of inches so that he could lie down. As she slipped ever so slightly over the edge she yelped, and felt him put his arm across her and pull her back up towards him, dislodging the sheet ever so slightly.

To hell with it, she decided. She leaned closer.

'Carrot?

'Yes?'

'Do you think this could work?'

'Well,' he said slowly. 'I don't see why it couldn't.'

And for just a split second, neither could Angua.

 

Chapter Text

'Carrot?'

'Yes?'

'What time's the reception for the wedding?'

Carrot rolled over and glanced at his watch. 'In about half an hour. Shall we go.'

Angua sighed. 'Might as well.'

'We don't have to, you know. We could go and see some of the museums, or I could show you some of the landmarks.'

'Ankh-Morpork has landmarks?'

'The colossus of Morpork, the Hanging Gardens of Dolly Sisters…'

Angua raised herself up onto one elbow. 'Hang on, I patrol Dolly Sisters. I've never seen any gardens or anything vaguely green apart from the moss. And the Colossus of Morpork?'

'Well, it's a kind of moss. More a wall of moss. And the Colossus is about an inch high, kept in the pocket of the man who runs the Dwarf Bread Museum, but people like to be patriotic.'

'I bet they do.' She sat up and curled her arms around herself. 'I think we should probably go to the reception. They'll be worried.'

Carrot nodded, and climbed out of the bed. Angua blushed.

'You okay?'

'Yep.' She would never tell him what was going through his head; he probably wouldn't understand most of the words. 'Fine.'

'Are we going to tell them about… us?'

'Oh, I'm sure they'll have guessed. I got some very funny looks from Vimes last week, and I don't doubt he'll have told Sybil.'

'Well, they are married and all. You'd tell me stuff, wouldn't you?'

She turned around from getting dressed. ''Course I would,' she lied, then felt guilty. You couldn't lie to Carrot, it would be like hitting a puppy. 'Well, most stuff.'

He evidently didn't hear her. 'Are you going to wear your uniform?'

'Probably not. I'll stop off at home and get something.'

'Right. Mrs Cake's.'

'Yes.' She raised her eyebrows, challengingly.

He rose to the bait, or just swam straight into it. 'It's just, you could stay here. With me.' He flushed bright red, and Angua was reminded of Colon's stories that Carrot had stayed at the Seamstresses Guild. She had to ask:

'Carrot, didn't you used to stay at the Seamstresses Guild?'

'Yes. I went out a couple of times with one of them.'

Angua just stared at him. 'When you say 'went out'?'

'I dated Reet. You might have seen her; likes to wear red, often goes to the Mended Drum after the brawls. She likes to help the wounded.'

I bet she does, Angua thought. Dated a seamstress, and nothing happened. That'd be something to tell Colon.

'I think I'll probably stay at Mrs Cake's for now, Carrot,' she said apologetically. 'She knows me, and my needs, and the Watch House smells of socks.'

'Does it?' He sniffed the air.

'Well, apart from your room. You clean. It's like you're a rare species.'

'Oh. Well. I'm sorry about that.

He was dressed, and she quickly pulled on her leggings and tunic. She stood up and kissed him on the cheek. 'Don't be,' she told him. 'Maybe later.'


They entered the hall of the Ramkins, now the Vimeses, and the aristocracy of Ankh-Morpork turned to look at them. Sybil came to their rescue, with a bashful looking Vimes, with a piece of confetti in his hair, following her.

'Ah, Carrot, Angua,' she trilled, in a way that made the rest of the nobles back away quickly, lest it be turned on them. 'I'm so glad you could make it.'

'Thank you, Lady Vimes,' Carrot said seriously, and turned towards Vimes. 'Captain.'

Vimes nodded, and turned to Angua. He frowned. 'How?'

'Werewolf, remember.'

He nodded. 'And you're okay now?' He pulled her off to one corner of the room urgently. 'And Carrot, he's alright. He was hurting, you know.'

'I know.' She patted his shoulder uncomfortably. 'And we're fine.'

He raised his eyebrows. 'Fine?' She was already walking off. 'We?'

She returned to Carrot, who was making conversation with the Dowager Duchess of Quirm about geraniums. 'Ah, Delphine, dear,' the Duchess said, turning towards her. 'I haven't seen you for years. And you look so lovely tonight.'

Angua froze.

'And how are your parents? And siblings?'

Carrot nudged her. 'Angua?' he whispered urgently. She shook herself, and tried to swallow down the lump in her throat.

'They're fine, thank you.' Her voice cracked, and she felt her hackles rising. 'I haven't seen them for a while, actually. Not since I moved here.'

The Duchess nodded understandingly, or so Angua thought. 'And I understand that you're a member of the City Watch now. A fine profession.'

Angua raised her eyebrows and began to speak, but Carrot interjected. 'Yes, indeed. Now, I'm very sorry Brenda, but I must speak to Captain Vimes. Urgent matter, of course.'

With great skill, he steered her away.

'Brenda?' she hissed.

He raised his eyes. 'Delphine?'

Distractedly, she twisted her hair around her finger. He grabbed her hands and held them. 'Delphine?' he asked again.

She shook her head. 'Back home… back in Uberwald, my parents called me Delphine. My middle name was Angua, and I changed it when I came here.'

'Why?'

'I hated it. It just reminded me, constantly, of my family. Which isn't a good memory, Carrot, and I don't want to talk about it here.'

He smoothed down her hair in an uncharacteristic act of affection. 'That's fine,' he said softly. 'Whenever you're ready.'

'Carrot?'

'Yes?'

'Could you please not tell anyone else that my name's Delphine? I don't want to be reminded of it.'

'Sure.' He put an arm around her shoulders. 'Shall we go and talk to Nobby. He's looking rather out of place.'

As they walked over Angua began to laugh. 'Nobby?' she called.

Nobby Nobbs, master crook, criminal and boil popper, turned to look at her. 'Please, Angua, call me Cecil whilst we're here.'

'Cecil?'

'Yep.' He slipped a silver spoon into his pocket and Angua shuddered. 'That's m'name, lance-constable.'

'Cecil.'

'Cecil Wormsborough St. John Nobbs.'

'It's a lovely name, corporal,' Carrot said from behind her. 'Very sophisticated.'

Newly-aristocratic Corporal Nobbs looked up them both. 'Ee, are you two…?'

Angua sighed. Here goes, she thought. 'Are we what?'

Nobby leered, and flapped his hands around. 'You know…' he said, creepily.

Just to escape from the hell which was Corporal Nobbs trying to be secretive, she admitted it. 'Yep.' At the same time, Carrot said the same thing.

'Cor, you are, ain't ya. Wait 'til I tell Fred.'

'I'm sure he'll love to hear the news,' said Carrot sincerely. That was a true Carrot comment; you could take it any way you wanted. Nobby took it the wrong way.

'Well, I'll just be going to tell him now then, if he'll love it so much.' Still leering, he turned and elbowed his way through the upper crust of Ankh-Morpork*.

'Well, that's out,' Carrot said accurately.

'Yep.'

'How long until the whole of Ankh-Morpork knows.'

Angua considered it. 'Well, Nobby'll tell Throat Dibbler, who'll tell Sidney Lopsides, who'll tell the Canting Crew… probably an hour.'

'You'd better look forward to it,' Vimes said from behind them. ''Cos I told them all last week.'

'Oh bugger.'

'Language, Constable. We are in selective company.'

'We're in amongst Sybil's company intermixed with your company, captain. I doubt that 'bugger' is the worst they're going to hear.'

'And Lady Rodley,' Carrot said.

'Who?'

'The Dowager Duchess of Quirm. I'd never heard some of the descriptions of her gardening.'

Vimes shook his head. 'I'll never figure him out,' he muttered, so that only a werewolf could here. 'Anyway, captain, constable, the reception is nearly finished. I'm supposed to let everyone know.'

'Do you want us to tell people?'

Vimes looked at Carrot gratefully. 'Could you, lad. Be a big help.'

Carrot nodded, and Vimes hurried off. Carrot walked to the centre of the room, towering above everyone else. Suddenly, Angua realised how he had interpreted that request.

'Oh bugger,' she repeated to herself.

'Excuse me,' Carrot asked the room. 'Excuse me,' he repeated, more loudly.

The whole room turned to look at him**.

'I'd just like to say that Captain Vimes has asked me to inform you that the reception is now over.'

Behind him, now sheltering behind a pillar, Vimes tried to shrink out of view. He caught sight of Angua, who was scarlet and wishing the floor would open, then laughed. Angua glared back at him.

'He's your boyfriend,' he mouthed.

She turned away from him, sensing his laughter. A roomful of aristocrats was looking up at this six-foot-six man as one.

Carrot was still talking to them. 'So if you could just make your way out of the exits here, here and here.' He gestured to the various doors.

Angua managed to slip out of one of the doors before the whole of the room realised that their feet were moving without their brains even thinking about it. She met Carrot outside, closely followed by Vimes who was looking up at him incredulously.

'They even picked up their rubbish.' He gawped at Carrot. 'How d'you do it, lad? Nobby even stopped nicking the spoons.'

'He got three silver spoons and all of the pewter ones you buffed up and laid out for him to take,' Angua told him.

'I'll get the silver ones off him in the morning.'

'No need,' Angua said, wincing. She held out her skirt. 'They're in the pocket, I took them back as he was going out. I can't touch them much.'

Vimes reached in and took them out. 'How long have they been in there?'

'About two minutes. Too long.'

'Thanks, constable.' He slipped them into his jacket.

'Constable?'

'You've finished your training, haven't you? Dying's a big part of it. Anyway,' he started to turn away, 'I'll see you two in the morning.'

Carrot nodded. Angua and him started walking down Scoone Avenue, and turned down King's Way.

'Well, that went pretty well,' Carrot said. 'All things considered.'

'Yes, it did.'

They crossed over the Ankh onto the Isle of Gods. She breathed in deeply as they approached Pseudopolis Yard.

'Carrot?'

'Yes?'

'Can I come in?'

He smiled and took her hand. 'We'll go in round the back. Though I'm sure everyone will know.'

'Thanks. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.'

Carrot opened the back door of the Watch House and led her up the back stairs. 'Don't worry about it. Nothing bad can happen.'

'I suppose not.' She inhaled the scent of his bedroom - soap, ink and a lack of socks***.

She bent down to take off her shoes, and heard him come over to her. She turned round.

'Yes?' she asked.

He kissed her.

 

*The part that currently wasn't floating on top of the river.

**Apart from Nobby, who was taking the opportunity to slip a few more items of cutlery into his seemingly endless pockets.

***After any time spent in a building full of men, a lack of socks can be considered a smell. It's the smell of socks that no one notices anymore.

 

Chapter Text

Carrot woke up, rolled over in bed and almost crushed Angua. She grunted slightly, but didn't wake up.

After checking that it wasn't full moon, he threw open the curtains and stared out of the city. A few lights glimmered at him - he was facing out of some of the less nocturnal areas of Ankh-Morpork - and he caught sight of the satisfying darkness of the Tower of Art, just out of the corner of his eye.

He gripped the windowsill, and shuddered as he remembered the bullets.

They hit her almost in slow motion, puncturing the golden fur and forcing the blood to blossom across her chest like some beautiful, deadly rose. She had slumped backwards, and he had stopped dead, just for a brief second.

Then he ran on.

And he had done what needed to be done, he had put the gonne…somewhere safe, not blaming Cruces at all. Because he had felt the power, but it was somewhere else, a malignant madness with a bluey-green sheen and a faint smell of rockets. It wasn't in him.

Absentmindedly, he had picked up one of the lead shots and rolled it around in his fingers. Its smoothness, its precision had astounded him. It felt too delicate to have caused such damage, too clean to have caused that much mayhem.

But it wasn't the gonne that caused the problems. It was the people.

Angua stirred behind him, and opened her eyes with a look of panic until she remembered where she was. Her eyes narrowed as she tried to remember.

Her voice cracked slightly as she spoke. 'I died, yes?'

'Yes,' Carrot replied, looking out of the window. 'And then you came back, and then we talked, and then you fell asleep.' He felt it prudent not to give her all the details.

Angua looked down at herself, and curled herself up into a ball. 'That wasn't all that happened, was it?'

Carrot blushed; Angua could see the tips of his ears reddening as he thought about a polite response. 'Not quite all.'

She giggled, pulled the blanket around her, and walked over to him, leaning her head on his shoulder. 'You do realise it's nothing to be embarrassed about, don't you?'

'Are you sure?' Carrot asked sincerely.

'Very. Although,' she said quickly, knowing how he would interpret that, 'you don't have to tell anyone.'

Carrot exhaled, and she could feel the muscles under her head move slightly. His smell, one of soap and worry and kindness, surrounded her and made her feel warmer as she stood there, staring out of the window with him.

As she watched, she could see how he saw the beauty in the chaos. Maybe not the beauty, as such, it would take a very good poet, and a very good liar, to describe Ankh-Morpork's 'beauty', but she could see how its complexity astounded him. Tiny little cogs, all working together in perfect harmony, and she knew he thought he had to keep the cogs moving rather than do anything to disrupt them.

But he had disrupted them, hadn't he?

What she would never tell him was that, in the middle of the night, she had gone downstairs to get away from him. Because she felt she could never let him that close; to do so would only hurt him, and she couldn't bear to see the pain in his eyes as she had fallen.


She had made herself a coffee, wrapped the blanket closer around her shoulders, and spotted someone else sitting at the table.

As she sat down in front of him, Mister Vimes raised a head wearily.

'Rough night?' He glanced at the state of her hair, and whose shirt she was wearing, and reconsidered. 'No, Carrot's not the sort for that.'

'Thanks for that,' she said, blushing.

'You're welcome.'

'What are you doing anyway? It's your wedding night, and it's a little perverse to be spending it here.'

'Thanks for that,' he retorted. Then his face softened. 'Couldn't sleep.'

'So you came here?'

'Well, I suppose I'm technically banned, but you don't look to be in much of a state to do anything either.'

'Couldn't sleep.'

He looked as if he was going to make a joke, but decided against it. 'How come?'

'Guess.'

He watched her for a moment. 'Let me guess, because of being a werewolf you have severe commitment issues, and are afraid that if you stay close to him he'll end up getting hurt.'

Angua gulped her coffee to think of something to say to that. 'I suppose so,' she said slowly.

He grinned bitterly. 'Well, it's the same for humans, Angua. Some humans, anyway.'

It was the first time he had actually used her name, but that was normality now, she supposed.

'Go back to her,' she said firmly.

'What? Are you going back to him.'

'Yes. So, this is our deal.'

He shook his head. 'You're a tough gambler.'

'Well, there's a lot at stake. Especially for you.'

He looked at her, his expression full of pity. 'And you don't think there's much in it for you?'

'I can get out.'

'No, no you can't. It's completely clear to the rest of the Disc that you're completely in love with him, so don't try to hide it.'

'How do you know it's not a simple, no-strings-attached hook-up?'

'Because you wouldn't do that to him,' Vimes replied instantly. 'So don't try and kid me that it's anything other than whatever humankind - sorry, whatever the collective noun is for werewolves - has invented for our need for companionship and occasional sex.'

'You don't mean that.'

His eyebrows raised in challenge. 'Prove it.'

'Because, this afternoon, you got married. And I saw your face afterwards, and it was of a man who loves his wife with everything he has.'

'Sentimental. Lovely.'

'Do you accept our deal?'

He sighed theatrically, and looked at her amused glance. 'Fine.'

What he would never tell her, though, was his discussion with Carrot earlier that night.


Carrot, just after Angua had fallen asleep with her hair spread out over the pillow beside him, had walked down the creaky stairs and into the canteen.

'Evening, Mister Vimes,' he said cheerfully, if not a shade tiredly.

'Why are you up?'

Carrot didn't reply instantly, instead seeing if there was a plausible almost-truth that he could use instead. Finally, he settled for what he thought was ambiguity. 'Angua's just fallen asleep.'

Vimes laughed suddenly. 'Well, Colon owes me half a dollar.'

'Why?'

He evidently didn't want to explain the actual name of the bet to Carrot. 'So, how was it?' he asked, smiling slightly.

'It was interesting.'

'That doesn't sound great.'

'No, no, it was.' Carrot was blushing. 'It's just…'

'Listen, lad, you don't need to be embarrassed.'

'It's just that…she knows what she's doing. And I don't.'

'You mean about sex?' Vimes asked bluntly.

Carrot looked panicked. 'No, no. I know that, and she seemed happy enough. It's the actual being in a relationship that I don't know much about.'

'Well, you went out with that girl Minty, didn't you?'

'But her parents were always watching us.'

'Well, from what I've heard about Constable Angua's parents you wouldn't want them watching over you.'

Carrot looked confused. 'What have you heard?'

'Hasn't Angua mentioned it?'

'Mentioned what?'

Vimes paused. 'Look, you know her family's werewolves? Well, she ran away from them, so I gather it's not that great a family.'

Carrot stared out of the window for a moment, as if he was trying to understand something he really didn't want to. 'She's got scars…'

Vimes nodded.

'All over her…I mean, everywhere…'

Carrot seemed to be frozen with the realisation of what Angua…was. 'What did they do to you?' he whispered.

'That's something I can't help you with. So don't go believing Angua's as confident as she seems.'

Carrot nodded, but he seemed to be elsewhere.

'Carrot, just stay with her. Because I don't know what she would do if she didn't have anyone.'

'Has she had other boyfriends?'

'You tell me.' He looked at Carrot's confusion, and grinned inwardly at the boy's innocence. 'I don't doubt it. She's a pretty girl, and she was lonely. If they were serious or not, that I can't tell you, but somehow I don't think they were.'

'Why?'

'Look, she's a werewolf, Carrot. Most people aren't alright with that.'

He nodded slowly, and looked straight into Vimes's eyes. 'Why would they hurt her?'

'I don't know.'

Carrot walked over to the sink and put his mug down in it. 'Why are you here, anyway?'

'Maybe I needed a little emotional support.'

'But you're married. Why not Sybil?'

Vimes shrugged, not really knowing himself. 'I don't know.'

Carrot watched him sympathetically. 'Well, I hope you find out.'

And, through those two, he did find out.

As Mister Vimes walked down Scoone Avenue and let himself into her…no, his house, he remembered both of their expressions. And then he remembered Sybil's.

And he went up to bed, kissed her on the cheek, and fell asleep.


And as Angua rested her head against Carrot's shoulder as they stared out across the city, he idly traced the most vivid scar on her left shoulder and felt himself love her more.

And as she lay above him, staring into his blue eyes and feeling the heat of his body, she forced herself to stay for now.

As he rolled over and put his arms around her waist she stared out of the still open window, feeling the slight breeze caress her shoulders and make the thin wisps of her hair fly out, she felt herself actually wanting to stay, rather than being forced to. And it was a feeling she clung onto, grabbed it and held it to her waist where his hands were gently pressed against her skin, just so he would remember it if she forgot.

Though she doubted he would ever forget.

Chapter Text

It was compulsory, Carrot had said, for the Commander of the Watch to make a speech at the Hogswatch party. So, Angua was sitting in a shadow in the far corner of the canteen watching Carrot persuade Vimes to go up onto the table.

Finally, Vimes relented, and Carrot gave him a leg-up onto the table at the front of the room. Vimes looked around awkwardly, and caught Angua's eye. She shrugged her shoulders.

Carrot came to sit next to her, and smiled encouragingly at Vimes.

Vimes cleared his throat. 'Um, hello?'

A couple of people responded. Carrot glared at anyone who didn't.

'Um, well, Happy Hogswatch. I hope you're enjoying the beer.' There were a couple of cheers and Vimes grinned. 'This is the first proper celebration in what, twenty years? So we're happy to have you, even the specials,' here he glared at Carrot, 'and the Librarian.'

'Ook,' the Librarian said cheerfully, on his twentieth banana.

'So, Happy Hogswatch.'

Everyone started clapping. Vimes jumped down off the table and grabbed his drink.

When he turned round they were still clapping, and Angua nudged Carrot. 'They can stop now,' she hissed.

Carrot made a flourish only slightly akin to a conductor, and the clapping stopped.

Vimes had come over and sat next to Angua. 'Was that okay?'

'Well, it went down fine.' She gestured to the room. 'They seem happy.'

Vimes nodded. 'I don't like speeches.'

'I know.'

'Never made one before. Well, not of my own free will. Don't like 'em.'

'I can see.'

Vimes grinned briefly at her, and reached into his breastplate. 'I got you something.'

'You didn't have- Oh, gods.'

Vimes twirled the sprig of mistletoe in his fingers. 'I thought that it would add a bit of festive cheer.'

'Put that away!'

'Why?' Vimes asked innocently. 'Don't you want to kiss him?'

'He thinks there are rules!'

'That's not great in the bedroom,' Vimes said solemnly.

'No, he'll think he has to kiss me. Right here!'

'Hello, you two.' Carrot came over to sit next to Angua. He looked between them. 'She is my girlfriend, sir,' he said, slightly upset.

'No, no, it's for you.' Vimes grinned at Angua.

To her complete lack of surprise Carrot blushed. Then, to her complete surprise, he leant down and kissed her. It was a proper kiss, as well. She could feel her knees going weak.

Dimly, she could hear Vimes burst out laughing. Without breaking the kiss, she reached behind her, picked up an empty beer mug and chucked it at his head.

Finally, Carrot pulled away and she gasped. Colour flooded her face.

'Alright, Angua?' Vimes asked. She glared at him.

'Was that alright?' Carrot asked nervously.

'That was...that was good,' Angua managed to stutter.

'Well, if you two want a bit of privacy...' Vimes stopped, because Angua had just kicked him under the table.

'Okay,' Carrot said cheerfully.

'Carrot!'

'What?' Carrot asked her, perplexed.

'Do you know what he meant?' she hissed. Vimes rolled his eyes as she pulled his head down and whispered something in her ear.

'Oh,' he said. 'Well, if you want to.'

Angua went beet red, and there were a couple of catcalls from the people who had been watching. Vimes grinned and nudged her.

'I think he wants to go with you.'

'Shut up!'

'Just saying.' Vimes leant back and lit a cigar.

Angua glanced around the room, then looked at Carrot, not really knowing what to say. Nervous Carrot, she could deal with. Willing Carrot, no, not willing, he was always willing, it was enthusiastic Carrot she couldn't quite figure out.

Suddenly, she turned to look at Vimes. 'What did you put in his drink?'

Most of the people had wandered off, the entertainment done for the night.

'Nothing,' Vimes said, and she had to admit she believed him. He wasn't grinning, for a start.

She looked back up at Carrot, who was still smiling nervously. 'Alright,' she said slowly. 'But we'll go back to my place.'

Vimes patted her on the back. 'I'll leave you two to it. Have a good evening, Constable, Captain.'

Angua kicked him again, and he wandered off.

Carrot took her hand and led her outside. The cold air whacked her round the face, and she started shivering. It had been warm inside the Yard. That was why she was flushed. Of course.

'Carrot?'

He turned to her, and the lamplight reflected off his face as he smiled. 'Yes?'

'What...what was all that?'

'Well, Colon had told me to be a bit enthusiastic. He said that you looked like a girl who enjoyed that sort of thing.'

'Oh, gods. And you believed him?'

'Well, yes. He's already given me lots of good advice.'

Angua laughed out loud, because that was Carrot, real Carrot, who took all advice he was given, who followed it to the letter. You had to smile at it.

She reached behind his head and pulled his lips down to meet hers. And suddenly, she wasn't cold anymore.

 

Chapter Text

She would have gone. That's what she told herself afterwards. She would have gone.

She had even packed her bags, they were under the bed at Mrs Cake's place. No, her place. The watch house was not her place, nor was Carrot's room, despite how much she stayed there.

If anything, she should have gone sooner, not let herself get sucked into this. But she wasn't sucked in, was she? She was fine, she could get out, she was fine...

And then she had woken up beside him.

He was looking down at her, concern radiating off him. 'Are you alright?'

'What?'

'You were crying.'

Angua raised a hand to her cheek and felt the tears. 'I don't...'

'What's wrong?'

She sat up and put her head in her hands. Carrot put an arm around her.

'Angua?'

'It's nothing.'

'No, it's something. Something you're not telling me.'

'Did I ever tell you about my family?' she interrupted.

'Well, I've met them. I think that counts.'

'And did you notice something about them? They were all werewolves.'

'I thought that was sort of a requirement,' Carrot said carefully.

'Exactly! This,' she pointed to herself and then him, 'this should never have happened. You'll just end up getting hurt.'

'More hurt than you would be if you went back?'

That shut her up. 'What?'

'More hurt than I would be if you left?' Carrot continued. 'This is working. Well, as well as can be expected. You just keep convincing yourself that it shouldn't be.'

For a simple man, Carrot could be remarkably astute.

'I don't want you to get hurt,' she said weakly.

'Who says I will get hurt?'

'I do! You've met my family, haven't you? Wolfgang tried to kill you!'

'No he didn't. He broke my arm.'

'He could have killed you!'

'Not any more.' And that was Carrot all over, being so...rational.

'But who's to say that something else won't come after you?'

Carrot looked her dead in the eyes. 'What reason do they have to come after you? Why should they care anymore?'

Angua just stared at him.

'You ran away, yes? They didn't come after you. Well, you've never said what you did after you ran away, but I'm fairly sure you would have mentioned that. And it was only when you went back that they tried to hurt me.'

She got out of bed and walked out of the door. 'I don't want to hear this.'

'Why not? Angua, you should be relieved!'

'But I'm not! I'm not, and that's the most stupid thing about it! I should be cheering and celebrating that I won't get hurt anymore, but I'm not!'

'Because they're your family.'

'Yes!'

'And what have they ever done for you? You've never told me much, but you didn't have that great a childhood, did you? I've seen some of the scars.'

Angua stood dead still. 'You never mentioned those.'

'Why would I have? You didn't want to talk about it.'

'But they're family, Carrot!'

He shook his head. 'No. Families don't do that to each other.'

'Oh, for crying out loud, Carrot, you've seen enough families not to believe that.'

He stood up, and he was almost crying. 'Look at us, Angua! What have your family ever done to deserve the pleasure of knowing we're screaming at each other?'

She stared at him. Just stared.

She looked at Carrot, tears rolling down his cheeks, holding his hands up in the air in exasperation, and felt guilty, so, so guilty... Carrot's innocent face was torn up, his red rimmed eyes blazed blue.

'What are you going to do?' he asked. 'Because you can do whatever you want, I'm not going to stop you. I just need to know.'

This was it. This was the decision. And as she stared into his eyes she knew, she knew what she was going to do and she hated herself for it, because she had promised herself she would never put anyone else in that danger. And now she was.

He could see it in her eyes, and walked forward. As he put his arms around her, she wanted to push them off, because it would only end in pain. But every breath she took, ever sob she made, made her want to stay more.

'Angua?'

'Yes?' Her voice was muffled by the fabric of his vest.

'You don't have to decide now. I'm sorry, I was being-'

She looked up at him incredulously. 'You think you were hurting me?'

'Well, it's your life, and I don't want to impose-'

'Carrot, if you weren't here I would have gone far away already. And you know, I don't think I can leave.'

'You can leave if you want to.'

'What's a cross between a wolf and a human, Carrot? It's a dog. I'm your dog.'

'But you don't have to be.'

'Maybe it's different for werewolves, then, because I couldn't leave, even if I wanted to. And I don't want to.'

'Are you sure?'

'Carrot, ten minutes ago I was screaming at you, and you just let me. You didn't let it hurt you, you just let me get it out. Other men would have hit me, they would have left, but you didn't.'

'I wouldn't hit you.'

'It hasn't stopped others. No, listen, Carrot, you've been the only one who I've ever told that I was a werewolf and not looked scared, or angry, or gods know what. But then my family thinks I'm too human, and I can't ever get it right!'

'Those scars...'

'Yes?'

'They weren't all from your family, were they?'

She shrugged. 'It's not easy, being a werewolf. Yes, I can defend myself, but from a huge man holding a knife?'

He pulled her closer. 'Who was this?' he said angrily.

'No one you know. I can assure you of that.'

'Who?'

Angua looked up at him. 'Carrot, you can't do anything. I mean this. It happened, all you can do is stop it happening again.'

Gently, he placed a hand on her ribs, just where the deepest scar was. 'You don't have to tell me,' he said softly. 'But I'm here if you want to.'

'I don't...I don't want to remember it.'

'You don't have to.'

'I will someday, though. Someday in the future.'

'So you'll be here?' he asked gently.

'I think so.'

'Well,' he raised her head so that she was looking at him, 'that's all I can ask for.'