Vimes stared at Carrot. Then he stared at the pile of papers in his desk, to see if any sense could be made there. A rustling, then a pair of eyes stared back. *
'Lad, you can't just expect the whole of the Watch to run after Angua.'
'Not all the Watch, sir.'
Vimes ignored him, because he knew he was right. 'And especially not into Klatch. You've seen what's been happening around - some family are firebombed by their neighbours just because they're "rag-'eads". Some building gets set alight by friendly Ankh-Morporkians, well, decent ones, who we'd see in the streets buying curry from Throat. Well, the not so bright ones, anyway.'
'Couldn't we say it was a kidnapping?'
'Politics, captain, politics. Imagine how it'd look if some Klatchian kidnapped an Ankh-Morporkian off the harbour.'
'She's from Uberwald, sir.'
'Doesn't matter to them. And anyway, Carrot, don't worry about her. Don't you know how hard it is to kill a werewolf, Carrot? They won't die at anything, the damn things.'
Immediately, Vimes regretted it. Carrot's jaw tensed, his fists clenched and a bolt of hatred struck through his peaceful blue eyes. Vimes felt himself leaning back out of the way, and flinched when Carrot unclipped something from his shirt and placed it on the square inch of desk not occupied by paperwork. Vimes leant over the piles to pick it up.
'What is this, captain?' All too late, he realised. 'Oh gods, it's a badge. For the regiment. Carrot, did you make this?'
Carrot looked proud of the crudely drawn foot stuck onto a pin. 'These, sir. Most of the troops have got one. I got Dibbler to make me some.'
'How much did they cost you?'
'What, for one? You know what I've told you about Throat.'
'No, sir, for a hundred.'
Vimes stared at him. This man could do the impossible. 'You got Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler to give you a decent price?'
'He seemed quite cooperative. Especially after I'd just eaten one of his sausages.'
Vimes just stared at him. This man could move mountains if he wanted to. 'A whole sausage,' he said hoarsely.
'In a bun.'
'Inna bun,' Vimes repeated in disbelief. 'And you're alive.'
'I've eaten dwarf bread, sir, and that's forged. At least this doesn't break your teeth.'
'Ah, you got a good one then. I've known people to break their jaw from one of Throat Dibbler's sausages inna bun.' Vimes rustled some of the paperwork on his desk, narrowly avoiding a cluster of ferrets. 'And you're giving me a badge that you made yourself.'
Irony managed to slightly hammer it's way into Carrot's head. 'It's more...symbolic, sir. I quit, I'm leaving, that sort of thing.'
'So, you're actually going after Angua.'
'Of course, sir. She'd do the same for me.'
Oh gods, Vimes thought. He's putting his trust in a werewolf. Lovely girl, really bright and all, but still, a werewolf.
Then he remembered Angua's face when Carrot had been hurt in that fight in the Bunch of Grapes, how she had known even before anyone had told her. It was like she had been stabbed. And he remembered what Cheery had said about her deciding not to leave because of him, because he was the only thing she had. And he considered what a wolf crossed with a human really was...
'All right, Carrot. You can go.' He rummaged around for a sheet of paper, and gave up. 'I'll put you on compassionate leave or something.'
'You're not coming?'
Vimes sighed. 'Look, Carrot, I can't. She's your girlfriend, so you go after her. But me, I've got to stay, I've got Sybil, and the regiment, and the city-'
To his surprise, Carrot patted his arm. 'I understand, sir. Man of the city, to protect and serve. It's your duty.'
For a minute though, Vimes considered the real duty of a policeman. But he wasn't a copper any more, was he? He was a politician, a commander, a knight. Vetinari's terrier.
So, he absentmindedly nodded and reached out to grab the Dis-organiser. For a minute he felt like he was seeing double; his head span and he felt something tugging at the object in his hand. Then it passed. He slipped the imp into his pocket.
'All right, lad. You got money? Know how to get there?'
'I'm sure I can find someone to help.'
Vimes honestly wouldn't be surprised if he could. The boy had eaten one of Dibbler's sausages, for gods's sakes.
He stared silently at the door after Carrot had left, imagining that another Vimes, somewhere, had run after him. Then he slumped his head down onto the table.
*A common dare given to new recruits was to stick a hand into Vimes's floor and keep it in there for a whole minute. The smart ones were those who, instead of doing this, offered to pay for a round of drinks. The not so smart were bitten, or worse, felt the lightning sharp pain of one of Vimes's hands connecting with the top of their head for being 'so godsdamn stupid.' You could find anything in there, including, it was rumoured, a poor, stupid Assassin who had thought of it as a hiding place. He had to use a shovel.