Author's note: Inspired by Would be Done by BigCat.
Igor thays: Thith ith not written by Terry Pratchett. TheMidgetBee does not claim to be Mithter Pratchett in any way thape or form, at least until the NHth sayth it will fund a thex change and thee finds a way to age thirty yearth. And becometh a better writer, obviouthly. Tho do not thue her, pleathe.
Sam Vimes stifled a groan and silently wished a painful death on the maker of the clock in the waiting room as his head began to throb. Gods, this day really couldn't get any worse, could it? He'd had the shift from hell, Captain Finsbury had been really snappish recently and now he, Sam Vimes, had been summoned to meet the new Patrician.
Vimes sighed. He might be a little slow on some things, he might not be too up on the latest political developments in the city and he might be extremely hung over, but one thing he wasn't, was stupid. Well, not that stupid. Finsbury was out and that meant the Night Watch was getting a new Captain and he'd been picked as the lucky one to break it to the rest of the men.
Oh gods, he thought, please don't let it be Quirke…
The door to the Oblong Office opened and Wonse stepped out. He looked Vimes up and down with a disdainful expression and tutted disapprovingly. "You could've shaved, you know."
"I didn't have time. I've only just come off shift," said Vimes.
"Hmm." Wonse sniffed. "The Patrician will see you now."
"Right. Yeah." Vimes hesitated. "Wonse?"
"This new guy…what's he like?"
"What does it matter?" said Wonse. "He's your boss, he's everyone's boss, and that's all you need to know. Now don't keep him waiting...unless you want to be made an example of…?"
"No, sir. Sorry." Attempts to stall having failed, Vimes admitted defeat, cleared his throat nervously and entered the room, stopping in front of the desk and saluting.
The thin, dark-haired man at the desk didn't even look up but continued writing.
Vimes saluted again. "Er…sir?"
"I am well aware of your presence, sergeant," said the Patrician in a sharp tone. "Or perhaps you think you warrant special attention?"
"No sir. Sorry sir."
The Patrician finished writing a sentence and finally looked up at Vimes, a vaguely shocked expression quickly crossing over his features. "Your name is…Vimes?"
The Patrician's eyes narrowed. "Hmm."
Vimes shifted nervously under the weight of the stare; meeting the new Patrician was not his idea of a good time in the slightest, especially with the throbbing headache he had. Besides, everyone was already saying that this one was crazier than Snapcase, and he'd only been in the job three days. It didn't help that Vimes got the distinct impression his mind was being read as the stare continued.
Vetinari eventually leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers, looking over them at Vimes and giving him a predatory smile. "Well, well, well," he said at last. "Sergeant Vimes."
"Yes sir. You asked to see me, sir?"
"Indeed." Lord Vetinari arranged his features into a friendlier smile. "As the newly appointed Patrician I have decided that several branches of government in this city could do with an infusion of new blood, as it were, and I have come to the conclusion that the Night Watch could do with a new captain."
Vimes felt a small victory at being right for once, then his stomach clenched; who was going to be Finsbury's replacement?
"And after an extensive evaluation of the men available for the post I have decided that the new Captain of the Night Watch should be--" OhgodsnotQuirkeohgodsnotQuirke "—you. Congratulations, Captain Vimes."
Vimes stared at the man. Did he just hear that right? Him, Captain?
"Surely you must be pleased, Captain Vimes?"
Lord Vetinari stared at him unblinkingly.
"Er...thank you, sir."
Vetinari nodded and smiled again. "Capital." The smile disappeared as quickly as it'd arrived. "Now, Captain, as you have no doubt heard, one of my first acts as Patrician has been to formalise the setting up of the Thieves' Guild."
Vimes nodded. Fred had told him; that was what had started him drinking this time. A Thieves' Guild? The man was clearly insane.
"I know it seems a somewhat radical idea to legalize theft, Vimes, but it really will be good for the city," He waved a hand vaguely." Take the little uncertainties out of life, keep the money circulating and so on. I want to make it quite clear though, on no account are any members of the Guild conducting official guild business to be arrested, do you understand?"
"Yes, sir. I'll try to remember that arresting thieves for thieving is against the law, sir."
Vetinari gave him a cold stare that seemed to go on for several seconds too long. "I think you meant to use the words 'licensed thieves' there, Captain. Never mind; I shall be keeping you abreast of the legal situation in the city, via my secretary, Mr Wonse, of course. I wouldn't want somebody like you and your men going around upsetting important people now, would I?"
"No sir," said Vimes gloomily.
The smile returned. "I'm sure you will be fully suited to the role I have set out for you, and I have no doubt that with a little instruction your work could prove…adequate." Vetinari looked down at the paperwork in front of him and picked up his pen. "I shall follow your progress with great interest. Now do not let me detain you, Captain K—Vimes."