Title: Happenstance

Rated T just in case there's more.

Summary: With the latest Clerketary dead, Lord Vetinari is in need of another. Enter Rufus Drumknott.


Death watched in annoyance as a positively skinny young man sauntered around Lord Havelock Vetinari's office. The boy was young, and disturbingly handsome. He was also making a great deal of noise, and from where he was comfortably seated in the guest chair, Death could quite clearly see the vein that was enthusiastically throbbing on the Patrician's forehead. He couldn't blame the man. If he had hired the boy, he would have had him executed. But the gracious Lord Vetinari, with his impeccable manners, would never stoop so low. It would, after all, be excruciatingly bad press.

Not that any of that mattered, because in a few minutes, the annoying creature known to the world as Stanley Tollingham would be dead. Death was extremely patiently waiting for the opportune moment for a swift and hopefully painful death.

And, of course, right on time, a knife flew through the window of the Oblong Office and stabbed into Stanley's neck right as he stepped in front of it. There was a faint gurgling sound, and he fell to the floor. Lord Vetinari straightened, looked over, and sighed.

"Again?" He asked the (mostly) empty room. "That's the fourth one this year."

Death allowed himself to visualize. The Patrician didn't even blink, to his credit. SURELY YOU KNOW THAT HE WAS DOOMED FOR IT, WORKING FOR YOU.

"I assure you, I'm well aware." Vetinari smiled a razor blade of a smile. "Very nice, though, to have him gone. He was quite difficult."



But, of course, now there were interviews to be held, to find a new "Clerketary" as one of the Clerks had dubbed them. They were a combination of Clerk and Secretary to him. There were dubious candidates this time around- word had spread that the position was cursed. But Vetinari intended to have a new Clerk, one way or another though.


"Welcome," Lord Vetinari said, beckoning the slim young man in. He sat down, and watched as the boy approached. He stood next to the chair, but didn't sit, watching the Patrician with light blue-green eyes. He was what could only be considered lithe, and must have been in his early 20s. Vetinari smiled inside, already pleased with this unusual specimen. He wasn't very tall, standing about 5"8', with a very ordinary face that was almost pretty with its simplicity. Hsi bone structure was nicely defined, but he wouldn't stand out in a crowd. Perfect...

"You may sit," he told him, leaning back in his chair and watching him. The boy moved with liquid grace to the seat- the move of a predator, Vetinari noted with mild interest. He was quite a pretty thing, too, with that sleek black-brown and bright eyes.


"Rufus Drumknott, my lord."

Vetinari lifted an eyebrow, and opened a file on his desk. The boys eyes flicked down rapidly, then snapped back up at him, attentive but wary. "The Drumknott's are tailors, are they not?"

"My parents are, my lord."

"And you chose such a different area of a career…Why?"

Drumknott ducked his head, and then said quietly, "I was told that I had to leave my family business or be kicked out on my ear, my lord. I chose the path of least pain on my part."

This was a surprise. Vetinari glanced at the file on his desk. He was the eldest of five, a good student, and almost religious in his routine. His teachers and trainers at the office had mentioned he was almost obsessive with his filing, a pureblooded clerk whose personal habits were impeccable. His one vice was aparrently the odd. There was nothing to indicate that his family was anything but kind. The Drumknotts were well known around Ankh-Morpok and he'd yet to hear anything bad about them (or, at least anything bad enough that they could be put to death or, more importantly, in a job for him).

"Why?" He finally asked, looking up after considering this information.

Drumknott's adam's apple bobbed rather fetchingly as he swallowed. "My lord…My personal…" He took a steadying breath, lifted his head and said in a rather resigned voice, "My tastes run to men, rather than women. My family believed I was a curse. So, they told me to leave."

Vetinari rarely was taken by surprise by anything or anyone, but the boy had just achieved it in a limited amount of time. He considered him, keeping his face purposely blank. Drumknott's cool, deceptively calm eyes remained fixed on him, his own face meticulously wiped of emotion, his head up in a firm, resolute shape.

Vetinari leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers. He'd never had anyone quite like this in the office before. Completely unapologetic, but utterly attentive to him, straight backed but loose, handsome but quietly bookish- Drumknott was like a puzzle.

And oh, he loved puzzles.


Two days later, Drumknott entered the office with the grace and silence of a panther, and very neatly set three files on the Patricians desk along with the paper, opened to the section devoted to riddles, puzzles, and that funny thing with squares that you filled the numbers in. Vetinari was already seated at his desk, but had just barely gotten comfortable. He was marginally surprised by the boys perception. Stanley, or any of the others, really, had never done such a thing.

"My lord," he said quietly. "Will you be requiring anything more at the moment?"

"No, thank you Drumknott," he said, almost cheerfully, and pulled the paper too him. Their eyes met, and Drumknott simply smiled.

"Very well, my lord. I will be back as soon as Clerk Brian has brought me the file on Mrs. Palm." And he exited the room, quiet as a cat.

Vetinari watched him leave, with a curious smile on his face. He could get used to this one.

"Is he going to get killed off too?" he asked the air.

Death appeared, in the same chair as before. UNLIKELY. I RATHER LIKE HIM.

Vetinari smiled thinly. "Lovely. How long can I expect to have him?"


Vetinari leaned back in his chair, nodding thoughtfully. "I must thank you then."

Death's permanent smile broadened a little, and he vanished. Vetinari returned his attentions to the files that were resting almost impatiently on his desk, and began making notes in the margins, humming quietly to himself in a very smug, self satisfied way.


AN: My first ever Discworld story, and it's slash. Of course. *sigh* Well, please tell me what you think. Reviews are lovely creatures.