A Touch Undecided

by: K. Ryan, 2004

Rating: PG, mostly for the dreadful puns.

Author's Note: My first venture into the Discworld fandom, with a not-particularly-innocent little ficlet about some rarely-written characters. Very definite slashy undtertones.

Late at night, somewhere in the forests of Borogravia, a vampire was looking sophisticated as it hung off a pine branch.

This was not uncommon. Borogravian vampires prided themselves on a certain level of sophistication--or, at least, superior aural abilities to the average Ɯberwaldean sucker, who found the difference between a w, v, or an affected mannerism something of a challenge--and thus attempted to look reasonably glamorous in any posture. This particular vampire appeared to be making just a touch more effort at it, however. There weren't many of its kind who, once they had stopped hanging, would walk in a leisurely way to a gold-plated Klatchian coffee maker, retrieve a cup, and drink. The vampire appeared to look out at the world with devastating suavity over the cup's rim, but there are some teeth you just never associate with caffeine stains.

The vampire was alone--which was common--and in uniform--which was not. Standing and sipping under the pine, now, it adjusted the small, black ribbon attached to its corporal jacket, and watched a new recruit nervously adjust the new pair of socks that had been given to her by Sergeant Perks, with firm instructions to 'kiss these and not the Duchess.'

"You're getting the hang of it, Private, but most lads would do it with a touch more joie de vivre [i], if you understand me.

The recruit jumped, giving a wavery salute that ended up sailing past her ear. "Umno, I don't, Corp."

"With a bit more balls, Rosemary."

Grinning in a way that made the youth's confused blush fade very quickly from her face, Corporal Maladicta packed up her coffee maker with exaggerated fastidiousness, and walked away among the trees.

"Don't scare the lads, Mal."

Walked a few steps away, past one tree. Polly Perks, who knew the song, and many others besides, was looking up at her.

"I don't think she's quite a lad yet, Sarge." Maladicta could see that the tendons in Polly's neck were straining as she tried to lift her head high enough to maintain some form of sensible eye contact. Every single one of them. The vampire had had to close her eyes three times before realizing that the sight of it didn't inspire the urge to bite, draw, then finally discard after no amount of slurping would get the last dregs out [ii]. It did make her think fervently of Klatch's Best Black, though. There were some cravings, she was discovering, that were worse than the b word. "Seems a bitundecided."

Polly's look turned quizzical. She stepped back. "Are you--is there--do you, er, need anything?" she asked, voice automatically going into a key of something jolly and caffeine-totaling.

Maladicta opened her eyes again, and smirked. She could always rely on a smirk. "Besides a new uniform, a decent bed and a possible change in scenery? Nothing in the world, Ozzer. Are you Ozzer? Or do I call you Polly, now?"

Polly shrugged. "Not sure this week, but you call me Sarge."

Maladicta groaned. "You're just as bad as your 'lads', Sarge."

Another shrug.

Another smirk.

A rather long pause. A two-weeks-over-nine-months-and-heartily-sick-of-fat-ankles pause

"Corporal? I need to ask you something."

"I'm standing to attention, paying you attention, Sah!"

"Actually, you're leaning over me and have just given a really languid salute which doubled as a way of fixing your hair, but this has been annoying me for weeks, and--"

"--Out with it, Sarge."

Polly swallowed, blushing. "Really, underwire nightdresses?


i: While Vampires of the Borogravian strain can enunciate "William wears wildflower waistcoats on wet washing weekdays" with aplomb, there is still some little part of them that needs to interject foreign-language snippets into normal conversation so that they sound like right clever pillocks. Some pretensions appear to be universal.

ii: Humans have been metaphorically connected to almost every single edible substance in the universe. Forget onions, they're old hat. In certain circles, milkshakes are considered far more appropriate. Especially the strawberry ones.