Reaping Affection
Chapter Two

A quick warning I probably should have put in the first chapter: I got this account on ff.n so I could scribble out fics for all the pairings I'm ashamed of myself over having come up with them. I did do my best to push away the thoughts that they'd be good together, but then I got The Last Hero and Rincewind didn't really look that old. Plus in Last Continent it's said that in places the sand in his lifetimer's flowing backwards, which I chose to believe means he sometimes gets younger as time passes. So, um... *coughs* just be glad that I've managed to keep off any Ridcully/Susan bunnies thus far.

Nothing here belongs to me

* * *

Susan stared into her closet full of monochromatic clothing, wondering what to bring for Hogwatch day itself. She didn't have anything really suited to the holidays, and while normally her clothing would fit into Death's realm perfectly well, she thought he might appreciate it if she actually managed to find something at least a little festive.

Her hair was twisting and twining together like snakes in response to her aggravated mood as she dug through her clothing. She was sure her grandfather wouldn't actually mind if she never wore anything but her normal outfits, but this was the first holiday they were spending together since she was a very small child, and she'd be damned if she didn't at least make an effort to do something special!

Finally, near the back of the closet, she found a red blouse she couldn't even remember owning. She stared at it a long moment, then threw it in her bag. It was shortly joined by necklace with a small emerald pendent that she'd inherited from her mother. It would have to do.

She glanced around the room once more, seeing if there was anything else she'd want to bring. She had clothing, toiletries, a book to read, the papers she had to get around to grading before school started again...

Gifts! She'd been putting off getting them since her grandfather was quite probably the hardest person in the world to buy for. And now she'd have to rush through it before nightfall. Albert would be easy at least, he was happy with the fattiest sausages she could find and a few bottles of Bearhugger's Old Selected Dragon's Blood Whiskey. On the other hand, with the stuffed bear she'd gotten last year she'd pretty much run out of World's Greatest Grandfather items, and she other then that she came up blank when choosing presents for Death.

Well, she had a full day to look before she had to leave, so she might as well get to it. She sent her bags to her room in Death's house, then grabbed some money, and left.

* * *

Across town in Unseen University Rincewind, the world's most inept wizard, was just sitting down for breakfast. The night before he'd bribed the kitchen staff with what little money he had, and now the table was covered with every potato dish they could think of. He piled food onto his plate, ignoring the both the complaining of all the other wizards who were up, and the shaking of his own hands, intent on making this the most enjoyable meal he'd ever had. He rather feared it would be his last.

TOMORROW YOU WILL COME TO MY REALM. Death had said. He supposed it was polite of him to have warned him, since apparently while he was capable of seeing Death, Rincewind lacked the power to see his own death coming. At least, he sure hadn't known he'd die today.

Ignoring the glares from the few other wizards wake this early shot him he began shoving every dish that wasn't full of something to sloppy into the luggage, hoping that the old stories about things made of sapient pearwood following their owners into the next world were true. He doubted there would be many potatoes there.

Very calmly he stood up, nodded to the Archchanceller, and left the room. He had to think. He had to plan. He had to run. No, no. He'd already saved his own life once (at least) by not running when he knew he was supposed to die. It had been the first time he'd met Death in fact. Of course that time he'd been told that he was supposed to die elsewhere, and had avoided it. Death wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Then again, it could be he was supposed to think that, and that very day a statue would fall over and crush him in the university or something. He backed very quickly away from the one he happened to be standing next to.

He could always go get drunk enough that he hopefully wouldn't even notice it coming until it was to late. Recently the Drum had started importing XXXXian beer, and though it was a bit pricey it wasn't like he had anything better to spend what little money he'd managed to save up on. Of course there was always the chance he'd then die of alcohol poisoning.

He reached his own room, and his eyes settled on a flask of the sleeping potion the other wizards had forced him to start taking after he'd woken everyone up with his screaming a few too many times. He studied it for a long time, then sighed and carefully poured himself a small spoonful. It was less then the normal dose, but the heavens only knew that he'd end up overdosing and dying of that if he tried for a normal one. All things considered, he'd like to die in his sleep. Hopefully it would be painless then.

He lie down on his bed, ignoring the way it shuffled a little underneath him as the vast amount of insect life tried to get into comfortable under his weight. A few minutes passed, then the potion kicked in and he fell into a sleep like the dead.

* * *
Susan sighed as she wandered the streets of Didjabringabeeralong. This was the fifth city she'd been to trying to find her grandfather a gift. Everyone else was easy, she'd gotten the butcher she'd bought Albert's sausages from to give her some entrails for Quoth, and she'd gotten the Death of Rats a meat pie. But her grandfather... what on earth did you get Death?

She stopped outside a store seemingly devoted to picture frames, and thought hard. This store brought to mind one thing that she could give him which would actually be a thoughtful gift, but she really didn't want to do it. Then again, she hadn't even actually seen it since leaving home; he'd get much more happiness from it then she did. Sighing she entered the store.

Once in it became apparent that the frames were just in the front, there were actual paintings for sell in the back. Her lips twitched when she caught sight of one which was predominantly displayed. It was obviously an artistic impression of her grandfather, and a rather well done one at that. However, it showed him wreathed in flames, and wearing multiple robes of many colours over his skeletal form. For a brief moment she considered buying it for him as a joke, before realising that the small sense of humour he'd managed to develop over the years wouldn't find it funny.

She glanced around, and grabbed the first nice frame she saw that seemed to be the right size. Really, she wouldn't have bothered at all except the one she was currently using had been ancient when she'd gotten it. She paid, then the universe blipped and she was in her room in the Sto Helit Palace.

She immediately broke into a coughing fit as a large cloud of dust rose around her the moment she moved. Apparently the cleaning staff hadn't been doing their duty while she was gone. Then again, considering the fuss she used to raise whenever she noticed they'd been in had probably warned them off doing so unless she actually asked.

The picture was still sitting on her desk, where it had been for as long as she could remember. She picked it up and examined it for a few minutes, eyes sad as she took in her parents' happy faces. She barely even remembered them, and while there were plenty of pictures of Mort and Ysabell around the castle, this was one of the few that had Susan herself in it as well. She'd still been to young to sit still long enough for many portraits when they'd died, and iconographs hadn't yet caught on.

She carefully removed the portrait from it's dusty old frame, and into the plain wooden one she'd bought. She was pleased to see that it fit neatly.

She sat down on the bed, then quickly stood again, and stripped off the dust entrenched covers and sat again on the relatively clean sheets. Luckily she hadn't dropped the other presents and wrapping materials she'd bought off at home, since now she could just wrap everything here and leave. It would be nice to do this somewhere where she could pass five seconds without sneezing, but she knew herself. She knew herself, she knew full well that she could easily talk herself out of this if she went home. She was still a little uneasy with the supernatural side of her life, even after the last year. A tiny section of her mind kept mummering that if she spent all that time in Death's realm she may not be able to return to the real world.

The door suddenly flew open and a stern voice said, "Alright, who's in here?"

Susan started, and stared at the stern-looking maid, who stared back with her mouth hanging open. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bother you," she said.

"I... I... My lady! Is that you?" The maid dropped a rough curtsy, her eyes still not leaving Susan's face.

"Yes. Again, I'm very sorry. I just came here to pick something up, then decided I might as well do my wrapping. If you could not mention the fact that I was here to anyone, that would be great."

"Of course My Lady, whatever you desire. I'm so sorry that you had to find your room in this state, we just recalled that you preferred we not." She paused, then added, "If you'd like, I could do that for you," staring at the presents Susan was wrapping as though her mind couldn't comprehend the fact a noble woman was doing something so menial.

"No, that will be quite alright. If you'll go back to your duties, I'll be done soon," Susan said, while neatly tying together the wrappings on Albert's sausages and neatly snipping off the ends of the string. For a brief instant it seemed that the woman would argue, then she turned away. "Oh, and if it wouldn't be to much trouble, could you see that someone comes in every so often and makes sure that the room doesn't get this dusty?" Susan called absentmindedly after her, while moving on to the Death of Rats' pie.

"Of course, My Lady! Whatever you desire!" the woman replied, curtsying once more before closing the door.

Susan managed to do the rest of her wrapping without incident, besides having to ignore the way her door kept opening a crack as various members of the housekeeping staff snuck down to get a peek at her. She was quickly remembering why exactly it was that she'd been avoiding her home like a plague for all these years.

She gave one last glance around, checking for anything she may one day want since she was there anyway, then teleported herself to Death's home.

* * *


The sleeping wizard didn't move an inch. Death tapped his foot, and nudged him with the end of his scythe. Rincewind let out a loud snore and drooled a bit on his pillow. Death glanced down at a small clinking noise at his feet. The Luggage had dropped a small bottle in front of him. It's label identified it as having contained a sleeping draught.

If Death had eyes, he would have rolled them. OF COURSE. Perhaps he should have been clearer in it's invitation, but he had assumed Rincewind would take it as the friendly invitation it was, rather then some sort of threat. Clearly the man was still ore twitchy around him then Death had believed. That could be a problem.

He snapped his fingers and the potion evaporated out of Rincewind's bloodstream. He woke with a jerk and a scream, then screamed again when he caught sight of Death. "I wanted to go in my sleep!" he said. "Is that so much to ask?"

HOW DID YOU EXPECT TO RIDE THE HORSE? Death asked, slightly confused.

"Ride the horse? I thought people went straight there."


Rincewind was slowly realising that somewhere he'd apparently made a mistaken assumption about what was going to happen. Somehow, he was feeling even more unsettled then he did when he thought he was going to die. "Er, exactly what is it I'm going to your realm for anyway?" he asked, hoping that Death wouldn't somehow be insulted by the question.


Granddaughter? For a second Rincewind's mind locked up at the thought, then the memory came to him from the last time of the beautiful yet insane young woman who'd tried to trap him and Twoflower there. Apparently she'd managed to snare some poor fool. Who knew what her daughter might turn out like, although the possibility of her being as crazy as her mother was slightly less terrifying then the concept of what Death might do if Rincewind turned down his hospitality. "Alright then, let's go."

Death glanced around Rincewind's tiny, cramped room as though seeing it for the first time. I BELIEVE IT WOULD BE BETTER TO DO THIS IN THE HALLWAY.

Rincewind followed him, wondering why he wasn't gibbering in terror. Of course, he realised, he was going to the one place (if he understood the laws of Death's little realm correctly) where there was no possibility of getting killed. Not being somewhere where he'd get killed was very important to Rincewind.

Death's horse was standing in the middle of the hallway, apparently completely at ease despite it's surroundings. It seemed that the other wizards in the building were carefully avoiding the hall, since normally it was fairly busy and yet it was currently completely empty. In fact, as Rincewind and Death walked up to Binky the Dean walked around the corner, saw them, and quickly backpedalled. Most of the wizards living in the school were old enough that they would go several hundred miles out of their way to avoid contact with Death, just in case it triggered the memory that he'd forgotten he'd had an earlier appointment with them.

Death gestured to Binky with his scythe and said, MOUNT.

Rincewind looked at the saddleless, bridleless horse and grimaced. It wasn't that he couldn't ride a horse. He'd even ridden one of the other horses of the apocalypse before. Well, hung onto one of the other horses of the apocalypse with a deathgrip in a mostly upright position. Then there'd been that blasted XXXXian horse, although he'd thankfully managed to repress most of the memories of that ride. It's just that actually getting onto one was a bit of a hassle at the best of times, and seeing as Binky was a tall stately horse, and there was nothing other then his mane for Rincewind to drag himself up with, there was certainly an embarrassing scene waiting in the immediate future.

Binky seemed to be thinking the same thing, since he calmly regarded Rincewind for a long moment and then slowly kneeled. Rincewind blinked at him, and he impatiently shook it's head back, as if to say 'Get on already!' So he did.


Rincewind could only hold on tightly as Binky surged to his feet and into a steady trot while the walls of Unseen University seemed to dissolve around them. The trip only lasted a minute or so, but somehow that minute seemed to contain infinite smaller minutes pressing suffocatingly close around him. It would have been the most terrifying moment of his life, that is, if his life hadn't consisted of one horrifying event after another.

Perhaps he could just walk back when the holiday was over.