December 24th, 2004
|ariastar||07:38 pm - Christmas fic: It's the Thought That Counts|
Title: It's the Thought That Counts
It’s the Thought That Counts
It was Miss Dearheart’s idea.
“Oh no,” said Moist, who was already quite bogged down in enthusiastic Ankh-Morpork citizens all taking advantage of the novelty of Hogswatch postal service. “No. I can’t. That’s involving the Times and—and the Watch. I’m not mad.”
“But Lady Sybil has been contributing so generously to many areas of the golem cause,” Miss Dearheart pointed out sensibly. “It would only be fair—”
“I’m not objecting to your sending a gift,” Moist said rather helplessly. “But Vimes—”
“Is her husband,” Miss Dearheart interrupted firmly.
“Actually,” Moist said, staring at the package, surrounded by crinkled tissue paper, “I was going to say ‘but Vimes doesn’t strike me as the sort of person to appreciate velvet boots for Hogswatch’.”
“Ah,” said Miss Dearheart, and began wrapping said boots in tissue paper, “but it’s the thought that counts.”
“Yes?” William de Worde looked up, and then up a bit more, in order to see over the mounds of paperwork that lay heaped on his desk. It was more paperwork than normal for the simple fact that Hogswatch at the most affluent and influential newspaper on the Disc meant that everyone was asking some holiday favour of the Times. The advertisement section, which had been Sacharissa’s idea, had started off quite small and only advertised businesses that could afford to pay the Times two dollars a week for the ad, such as the larger Guilds. In the Hogswatch rush, however, everyone was sending the Times letters offering to pay five dollars for the two weeks around the holiday.
Not to mention that William was receiving Hogswatch greeting cards from people he barely knew existed, having only interviewed them once in his life, some of them years ago now.
So it was a relief, really, to see his Chief Iconographer edging into the room, wearing the habitual pointy grin that couldn’t be dampened even by the rampant holiday spirit. In fact, William secretly suspected Otto liked Hogswatch.
“It is anuzzer letter for you,” Otto said rather apologetically.
“Oh gods. Well, all right, put it on the pile.”
“Vell, it is not qvite like zer uzzer letters,” Otto said. “Zhis vun vas delivered straight from zer post office. By Miss Dearheart. Do you remember her? She vas zer vun zer Postmaster asked to marry just before he started zhat race—”
“Yes, I remember,” William said. The whole clacks versus postal service intrigue had been a pet project of Sacharissa’s, and William had seen Otto hardly at all that month, as Sacharissa had insisted on having only the best iconographer with her. In all honesty, William had been glad to be well out of the whole affair, which screamed of really colossal lies that had never really been cleared up to the best of his satisfaction. But that was months ago now, and William knew enough about Ankh-Morpork to know that no one besides himself cared anymore.
William blinked, coming back to the present and the vampire who was currently holding out an envelope to him. “What? Yes, all right, Miss Dearheart delivered the letter. Go on.”
“She said something about how zer up-und-coming institutions of zer city should band together to do something for zer older institutions zhat are tryink to come into zer new century vith us.” Otto shrugged. “It vas zer regular spiel ve get vhen somevun vants something from us, of course. Er. You may vant to read zer letter. It is razzer… odd.”
When Otto pronounced something odd, it generally was. William took the letter.
It was, as Otto said, filled with the regular chatter about goodwill and coming together and working collaboratively. The worrying bit was that the grammar and spelling were undeniably correct, and the tone behind the words reminded William rather alarmingly of Sacharissa. Things that Sacharissa wrote, however, usually didn’t smell faintly of ash trays.
Sacharissa also wouldn’t write anything like As a token of this goodwill, the Postmaster and I would be much obliged if you and prominent members of your staff would sign the attached card and send it back by return-of-post so that I may add it to the gift we are sending Commander Vimes this Hogswatch.
To William’s horror, Otto had already signed the aforementioned card.
“What are they sending him?” William asked blankly.
“Boots,” Otto said quite happily. “Velvet boots. In a very nice shade of maroon, Miss Dearheart tells me.”
You’re mad, William started to say, but made the mistake of looking up at his iconographer. The vampire’s eyes were shining with suppressed mirth. And William read in his face, Of course it is mad. It vill make zer Commander absolutely furious, but he vill be able to do absolutely nothink about it, und zer Duchess vill make him send us thank-you notes. William read in his face that Otto knew exactly how William felt about His Grace Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, and even if Otto had no particular cause to dislike the man, he was quite willing to let William have a bit of perfectly legal and courteous fun.
William sighed, fighting to hide a grin, and signed the card.
Little Sam was playing in the wrapping paper.
Sybil was quite pleased with the turnout. Sam had insisted, quite vehemently, that they were not having a Hogswatch party, and Sybil had relented. Little Sam’s first Hogswatch, after all, should be one in which his father was around, and whenever Sybil threw a party, Sam would invariably find some horrible holiday crime and go off chasing it. Of course, this wasn’t really Little Sam’s first Hogswatch, but Sybil’s first memories, to the best of her reckoning, started roughly when she was three years old. Of course Little Sam’s first two years of life had also been quite important, but this Hogswatch, Sybil felt it to be doubly so.
She hadn’t known how very nice it would be to simply stay home and spend the holiday with her husband and son.
They had gotten many of their presents by way of the new postal service. Sam, of course, had the normal pile of useful or thoughtful things given to him by various members of the Watch; Little Sam had been given a great many toys by doting members of the aristocracy who were, at least in word, friends of the Ramkin-Vimes’s; and Sybil had gotten the usual assortment of fancy dresses and polite cards. The card from Havelock this year was especially nice, though Sam, as always, had only an offhand and rather wary appreciation for it, as though he were expecting it to explode at any moment.
“Yes, Sam?” Sybil said, after making sure that Little Sam wasn’t plotting to eat all wrapping paper in sight.
“I have a present from…” Sam stared for a moment at the very tasteful card he held in his hand. “Moist von Lipwig, Postmaster; Miss Adora Belle Dearheart; Otto Chriek, etc etc; William de Worde, Editor in Chief; and Miss Sacharissa Cripslock.” He looked up at Sybil, incredulous. “What is this?”
“Open the package, Sam,” Sybil suggested.
Sam did so, still looking rather stunned.
“Boots,” he said at length.
They were really quite nice boots. Sybil said so.
“Oh yes dear, of course, very nice,” said Sam, still staring.
Sybil knew that Sam liked those silly old cardboard boots he always insisted on wearing. She also knew that these velvet boots were exactly the wrong shade of red to go with Sam’s ducal outfit, and that even this fact wouldn’t coerce him into wearing them.
“Well,” she said rather helplessly, “it’s the thought that counts.”
|Date:||December 24th, 2004 08:32 pm (UTC)|| |
. . . *snrrrrrk* xD! And the best thing is I can totally see it happening. Major kudos.
|Date:||December 24th, 2004 09:02 pm (UTC)|| |
Ahaha, and the really funny thing is that my conversation with litsares
went something like, "Vimes with velvet boots? Um. Can do. Given by Moist and Miss Dearheart? Um. Possibly. And
William and Otto? Um. Um. How will this work
And then it did. XD
|Date:||December 24th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC)|| |
And quite well too! Poor Mister Vimes. xD Are they lacey? Like, just a bit at the top? Because I am seeing these boots in my head, and they are lookin' mighty fine. :D
|Date:||December 24th, 2004 09:25 pm (UTC)|| |
I am sure they are as lacy as you think they are, yes. =D
|Date:||December 24th, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC)|| |
Haha 'lacy'. *shifty eyes*