Title: The Experiment

Author: Shells

Rating: better call it M. if I were less arch and more specific, I probably couldn't post it here.

Summary: Vetinari is lacking some crucial experience…

Pairing: Vetinari/Downey

Warning: So not mine.

Vetinari is going to let it happen.

He understands the theory. They've covered it in Literature of Ancient Quirm. Well. Not explicitly. But everyone knows that when good old Themis-the-Swift hands Vidimos-the-Mutterer his loins, his shield brother's next move is not to transfer them to the bar-b-que, despite what Professor Whimbilby would have one believe. And the fact that the only women mentioned in an epic covering the entire 32.56 years of the Quirmo-Klatchian war are either somebody's mother or sacrificed for dramatic effect early on does imply certain logistical inevitabilities.

The situation has several parallels to the one which prevails at most all-male boarding schools. Like the Assassin's Academy.

Whimbilby hadn't much liked that comment either.

Vetinari's analytical skills are right up to snuff, but his practical knowledge is sorely lacking. He has always classed That Sort of Thing with things like snobbery and fox-hunting—behaviors that his peers engage in that can only be met with mild wonder and touch of scorn.

A good way to sum up Vetinari, at this point anyway, is: Book smart, not street smart.

But, here is Not-yet-Lord Downey standing in front of him, oozing Debauched Youth, and smelling quite strongly of Sto-Lat liquor (the expensive kind! It hardly smells like cabbage at all!). Staring into those dilated brown eyes, Vetinari has come to a decision. He has come to school in order to acquire Experience, and this is the one area in which his peers have the advantage. And after drinking that much Sto-Lat Thunder, one is lucky if one's head has not disintegrated come morning. It is, therefore, highly unlikely that Downey is going to remember the encounter.

Hot breath tickles his neck under his ear. Vetinari makes a note of the fact that sensation is not unpleasant, although it would be much improved if the whispered words had not been, "Wotcher, Dog-Botherer…"

He gives Downey a measured look which asphyxiates in the sea of Sto-Lat's Best that is now Rupert Downey's brain. Downey's mouth wobbles into a grin. It is the same razor-sharp smile that has been slicing at Vetinari's nerves since his first day here. It is not a pleasant expression. Vetinari feels a bolt of heat shoot down into his belly and wonders exactly how much alcohol he has aspirated from Downey's breath.

"Liked that, eh, Dog-botherer…"

Vetinari looks down at the square hands clasped around his upper arms. He looks back up at Downey. Downey's smile morphs into another, more subtle expression.

"You'll like this even better."

Interesting, thinks Vetinari. Having someone stick their tongue into one's mouth is not as revolting as the description would suggest. Some moments pass, and he thinks, did he just lick my teeth?

When they break apart, both are panting slightly. Downey pulls him closer, and Vetinari notices for the first time that puberty has not been unkind to his house-mate. There's muscle under that artfully disheveled shirt. Muscle underneath one's hands, he decides, is also not unpleasant.

Downey has his arm around Vetinari's waist, and the other hand supporting the back of his head. They are weaving slightly because Downey can't quite seem to keep his balance. Vetinari lets his hands drift downward, intent keeping things moving so that his housemate doesn't fall asleep on his feet before his curiosity is satisfied.

To his frustration, Downey pulls back and gives him an appraising look.

"Well." He lets out a deep chuckle. "Well, well. Who'd have thought you had it in you, Vet-tin-nari?"

"I shan't have it at all if you collapse before getting your pants off," Vetinari says reasonably. "Shall we proceed?"

Downey stares at him for a moment. Vetinari decides that he looks even more like a horse when he's stunned. Further explorations reveal that his face is not his only equine attribute.

Vetinari is not quite sure how they've gotten to the couch, and he's not quite sure how he's suddenly half-naked. Downey, clearly, has had a great deal of practice. Although rather daunting, he is inclined to count this as a good thing. The entire experience promises to be quite archetypical.

Somewhere from the region below his belly-button, he hears a muffled, "And how do you like that Dog-botherer?"

The irony that someone who is so busily nosing around Down There should be calling him Dog-Botherer appeals to Vetinari. He attempts to apprise Downey of the fact, but the comment keeps getting lost in the moaning. Not that Downey is listening anyway.

It occurs to Vetinari that Downey is much more tolerable when he can't talk.

His legs are being lifted up to his chest. He looks up and his dark eyes meet Downey's lighter ones. Their gazes catch and hold. Vetinari notices that despite the reddened, swollen nature of Downey's lips, he has still managed to twist his mouth into a sneer. It is much easier to look at the sneer than at his housemate's eyes, much easier to watch the lips descend… and… and…

He throws his head back, and in his last few seconds of coherent thought, he thinks that is must be a very, very bad idea to do something like this with someone one hates. It confuses an issue that should be simple. And he is very, very glad that come morning, Downey won't remember a…


They are stumbling towards Downey's bed. Or, rather, Downey is stumbling towards his bed, and dragging Vetinari along with him. Vetinari is unsure, exactly, as to why… but he's feeling too limp and lethargic… and gods help him… relaxed… to object. Easy enough, he decides, to slip away after his housemate succumbs to the drunken stupor he so richly deserves.

And it happens that Downey just manages to collapse onto the bed, bringing Vetinari down with him, and to arrange their limbs to his satisfaction before Morpheus comes and drives him into the land of sleep via a bitch-slap to the head. Vetinari stays there for awhile, breathing, and then slowly drifts off himself.

At exactly four a.m., his internal clock wakes him. He figures four gives him enough time to be in his own bed before anyone else wakes up. He slips out of Downey's arms and pads down the hall to his own sleeping room, pausing to collect his clothing from the common area.