Vimes looked up blearily as he heard the scuffle at the end of the hall.
He hitched himself as best he could to his feet, he walked over to the cell door and peered through the small barred window. Light lancing in made him blink for a moment.
A loud commanding voice reached his ears. "I want every man turned out, do you hear? And I want those who had them locked up arrested. Now!" Footsteps, many in armor, came crunching swiftly up the hall. There were the sounds of doors being unbolted and thrown open. Finally, he was forced to step back, and fell on his bottom as his was thrown open as well. He was faced by several large, muscular and heavily armed men. Palace guards... no, these men were in full Watch uniform. Watch uniform?
The wall of humanity parted, and a familiar shape emerged, with definite differences.
"S- I mean, Commander? Are you all right?"
Vimes waited in silence as he let his eyes focus. This was the final piece of the puzzle. Not too unexpected, though.
He struggled to get to his feet.
"Let me help you." Two strong hands reached down, and the tall, red headed new Patrician lifted him gently to his feet.
Some weeks later, in the Oblong office, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes stood before the desk at the base of the throne. His dress armor gleamed with a new polish. All of the familiar pieces - truncheon, badge and all the rest- were back in their familiar places.
He had filled out a bit since getting back to his house in Ankh; Sybil and young Sam had been overjoyed to see him.
If anything had happened to them... Vimes shuddered and put the thought out of his mind.
Carrot, resplendent in the black and brown robes of office, turned to him from a bookshelf he had been studying. His face split into a grin. "S- Mister Vimes! I'm so glad to see you in good health!" With two great strides, he reached Vimes' side at his desk.
"Don't think I'm not grateful for being reinstated, Car- your lordship, but I did have something I wanted to talk to you privately about."
The new Patrician sat on the desk, his face a mask of concern. "I would always be willing to talk to you, Commander. I can use all the advice and help I can get!"
I'm sure, thought Vimes.
"I was amazed that Vetinari had been killed, even at his age. He will be missed."
Carrot closed his eyes, and a look of real pain crossed his face. "They wanted to make me King, Mister Vimes. They really did! Thank gods I was able to make them accept only this."
When carrot opened his eyes, vimes looked into them closely. This was going to be a dangerous bit, but there it was. He had to be sure.
"What did he say before the end?"
Lord, how did I ever miss that? thought Vimes as he saw past the innocent confusion of Carrot's face at his audacious question, to the diamond-clear intelligence in his eyes. And just like that, everything changed. Carrot paused, looked at Vimes closely, and then sighed. "I see. You always have been amazing and tenacious man, mister vimes. I have known from the beginning that you're important to this city; that's why I looked for you so desperately. I need you. The City needs you! His fist smashed down on the edge of the desk, breaking it off. "Those blind huruk-grackuk!"
Vimes stood very still. He had been right about Carrot, true, but a nagging voice whispered at the back of his mind:
...a good man will kill you without a moment's hesitation...
Carrot turned away from him for a moment, and when he had turned back, his entire demeanor had changed.
Gone was the simple lad from the mountains who had joined the Watch to seek his fortune; gone was the strict but competent and fair Captain who had served under him all these years.
Before him stood... The Man.
Gods, thought Vimes, he really could run the city. He practically is the city.
"Just one other thing before you go, Mister Vimes," said Carr- no, the Patrician. "How did you know I had laid this out? How did you figure I was ultimately the one who did it."
"You really want to know, Your Lordship?" Vimes snarled. Somewhere in the base of his mind, Old Stoneface stood and growled a last defiance.
"I wouldn't mind knowing, Commander."
The last bit of defiant Vimesness crumbled, and he slumped. He turned toward the door, took a few paces, then turned back with a sigh.
"Because it worked, Carrot. Because it actually worked."
And with that, he was gone.