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Back to Huinesoron’s Webplex

Look! It's Vemi! She came back! Although she managed to get turned into a Drow... not sure how... Anyway, this is apparently Version 2 of Not So Simple, but on checking, we can’t find any differences... not sure what’s going on there, but it makes life easier. ~Terri Ryan, DOGA Archivist

Not So Simple

by Blackened

Dafydd stalked through the corridors of HQ. "Stupid plants and their stupid missions what do they think they're doi-- ow!" Due to having not been paying attention, he managed to walk straight into someone, fall over, and land flat on his back.

The Agent who he'd walked in to yelped, jumped up before he had a chance to move, and then pinned him to the floor with a dagger to his neck, before...

"Oh, sorry Dafydd! Didn't realise it was you." The knife, however, didn't move. Nor did the Agent.

"Er... do I know you, then?" asked Dafydd, looking up at her. At first he thought her face was in shadow, but then he realised it was actually pure black skin. Combined with the glaringly white hair... "I don't think I know any Drow..."

"Hm? Oh, the skin! No... that was an accident. Vemi, remember? Those two Discworld 'Sues?"

"-- you're Vemi?" He peered at her face, and made out a few features he recognised. "Oh, hi again. Didn't realise you were back in HQ. Er... could you let me get up now?"

Her eyes narrowed, and she pressed the daggers just a Iittle more deeply in to his neck. "Only when you've explained a few things. Like why by Eru you didn't come to welcome me back? Or why I only heard about you being a certain Elf through gossip in the cafeteria?"

"... er?" Dafydd stared up at her. "I didn't know you were back..."

"Really? I was talking to Selene last week and she seemed to think that you'd heard."

"I, I, um," he looked around frantically for a way out, and then glanced down at his finger. Eru. I knew I should have worn the Ring. "Er... okay, maybe I'd heard something, but I was very busy and I didn't think it was true and I'm very very sorry I don't want to die..."

Satisfied that she'd caused enough panic, Vemi let the other Agent get up, pulling him up to his feet. Slipping the knife into a hidden pocket too quickly for Dafydd to see properly, she dusted herself down. "Fair enough, I suppose. You'd better have an amazing reason for not telling me about the whole Maglor thing, though. It's not very nice to hear that friends hide things from you, and it's not even as if it's to do with past partners."

"Er, yeah, about that." He looked around vaguely, and then sighed. "It's not exactly something I like telling people. You know, 'Hi, I'm Dafydd, but really I'm someone who participated in three Kinslayings and stole one of the most valuable jewels ever, and did I mention I managed to lose it afterwards?', it's not really a nice thing to have to bring up." He shrugged. "Plus a lot of people tend to start fangirling Fëanorians."

 

"I don't do public fangirling. Besides, you're Dafydd. Fangirling you would be... I don't know... weird. I don't suppose you've seen Penny anywhere, have you? I'm supposed to be going on a Disc mission, but I can't find her anywhere."

"I don't know, what species is she today?" Dafydd's irritable mood over the last mission was coming back now he was sure he wasn't going to die.

Rolling her eyes, Vemi fingered the hilt of one of her more visible blades. "Ha ha, Dafydd. Not funny. You try being chatted up by some weirdo wizard who keeps trying to impress you. It's really horrible. I'd have knifed him, only nobody would pay me. I suppose that's what you get for drinking in the Mended Drum, though. Besides, she's still normal. You would recognise her, wouldn't you?"

He blinked. "How would a Disc wizard even know what a Drow is? And, yeah, I think so... can't say I've seen her. Have you checked the cafeteria?" He thought for a moment, and then added, "Not that you'd be able to get in there, the Bleepka fountain's right outside the entrance, and there's a bunch of Nac Mac Feegle swimming in it right now..."

"Nac Mac Feegle? So it's true you recruited a tribe of them? Anyway, I checked the cafeteria not long ago. I don't suppose you want to come and do the mission instead, do you? Penny doesn't know the canon too well."

"Well, I wouldn't say 'recruited', more 'let them in and can't get them out again'. Er, a mission?" He looked thoughtful for a moment, and then said, "Discverse, you said? Yeah, why not, I could do with a change."

"What, Selene getting you down? She isn't so bad. I think she's really nice - fascinating to talk to. Where's my blasted... oh, here it is." Rummaging through her pack whilst she was talking, Vemi triumphantly pulled out a Remote Activator and opened a portal. "It's a very confused 'Stu. One of the worst yet. Come on."

"No, missions in Middle-earth are getting me down... oh, a 'Stu. Lovely." Looking around, he sighed. "I'm unarmed, I guess you'll have to kill him. Where does that portal go?"

"Sator Square." Stepping through the portal, Vemi pulled Dafydd along behind her before he had time to back out, had he wanted to, just in time to see... "He's eaten a whole sausage-inna-bun!? No way! That has to be UnCanon in itself!"

"-- I take it back. This is worse. And he, what?" Dafydd stared at the 'Stu. "Dibbler... told him about Mrs. Cake's... for no reason... my head hurts already."

Scribbling furiously with a glittering pencil, Vemi smirked. "You eat meat, right?"

"As long as it comes from a commonly edible animal, yes... if this is leading up to anything involving Dibbler's food, you can stop right there."

"Pity. Dare you to eat a sausage-inna-bun. Go on. If you manage it, I won't shame you back at HQ." Vemi's selective deafness was coming into play.

He blinked. "What am I being shamed over?"

She grinned maliciously, white teeth gleaming brightly in contrast to the unusually dark skin. "Being too scared to eat a sausage-inna-bun, and not having a weapon. Shame on you."

"I wasn't on a mission, I was in HQ, why would I have a weapo-- okay, stupid question. But I don't have any money."

"Keep your eye on the 'Stu, I'll be back in a moment." Dancing back through the crowd in the direction of Dibbler, Vemi disappeared from sight for a few moments, before returning with a sausage-inna-bun in her hand. By way of explanation, she said, "You get bored hanging around the guild buildings for too long, so you meet people. Besides, everyone knows Dibbler."

"Everyone knows Dibbler," the elf repeated in a hollow voice, and then shook his head. "While I'd love to eat that thing, 'Stu is wandering off to rip a Mrs. Cake scene straight from the books, and we really should get after him."

Quickening her step to avoid losing the 'Stu, Vemi continued to scribble notes in her notebook, avoiding being bumped in to by any of the crowd, having pushed the sausage-inna-bun in to Dafydd's hand, until they saw Mrs. Cake open the door.

Ignoring the badly written scene unfolding before them, Dafydd glared at the sausage-inna-bun. "Sorry, but you want me to eat this, why?"

"For the amusement value, silly. Why else? Hang on, I just need to get up..." Climbing up the crumbling wall to one of the windows, Vemi crouched on the windowsill and held her pencil at the ready. "Not much really happens, but I'll watch anyway. D'you want to go and keep an eye on the Patrician, and then we can go and meet up by Pseudopolis Yard?"

"Yah, sure. -- but I'm supposed to get there, how?"

Rolling her eyes, Vemi threw the Remote Activator down to him, and then turned back to watching the events on the other side of the window, continuing to make notes. Then, she looked back at Dafydd. "You do have a notebook, right?"

"Of course I do!" he replied, indignant, and then flicked open a portal and jumped through.

As he dropped out into a crouch in Leonard of Quirm's attic, Dafydd blinked. "Wait, didn't he stop trying to fly?" Shaking his head slightly, he settled down to watch the scene unfold.

As Vetinari and Leonard conversed, they were oblivious to a small voice in one corner of the room. If they had heard it, however, they would have noted such phrases as "When did Vetinari become psychic?", "What's Leonard got to do with Jayson?", and "Why's he being so cryptic?", accompanied by the sound of headwalling.

Finally, the Patrician left. Muttering to himself, Dafydd opened another portal and hopped over to Pseudopolis Yard, where he found Vemi already waiting.

"Honestly, if this guy isn't beating somebody up or killing them, he's the most boring person I've ever met!" she muttered, slinking in to the shadows to avoid being seen by anybody. "Ex-assassins my dagger! The only ex-assassins in existence are dead ones. It's like being an ex-Noldo, or something."

"Plus," put in Dafydd from where he was leaning against the wall, "not even ex-assassins would know where Vimes' traps are. He keeps changing them. And didn't the assassins stop taking out contracts on him?"

"Yeah, the assassins don't like being made fools of. Poor Jocasta, falling in to that pit of... um... well, you know. She did really well in her exams, though."

Creeping across the yard and in through the door, Vemi shook her head sadly. "Behold, the rape of canon begins. As if Carrot would let anybody do that to him."

Dafydd narrowed his eyes at the 'Stu and hissed, cat-like. "No. He wouldn't. And Carrot knows who he is, stupid 'Stu."

"Doesn't take him long, does it? It's only the first chapter, and already causing havoc!" As the scene unravelled, Vemi making notes all the while, the assassin scowled when the 'Stu jumped out from the window in the shower of glass.

"Smashed glass is wonderfully pretty, but that was just pointless. By Mandos, the cheek of him! As if Carrot would ever act that pathetic after getting scratched on the arms."

"Carrot was still upright after Wolfgang tried to rip him to pieces, this is just pathetic." Glancing up at the Words, Dafydd added, "Next chapter. When did you want to kill him, anyway?"

"How about just after he gets back to his own time?"

"Hmm... he'll be disoriented... yes, that works." Glancing up again, he winced. "It does mean six more chapters, though."

Shrugging, Vemi gave reply. "Better to go through them than to kill him now, or else the SO is going to have a hissy fit. Hmm. If we kill him before he does anything too awful, does that just count as murder?"

"What, when he's just beaten up Captain Carrot? It counts as suicide."

"Against Carrot? Are you sure it wouldn't just mean a very long time in jail?"

Dafydd shook his head. "If he died, and Vimes found out, he'd be marked down as a suicide."

Jogging to keep up with Angua, Vemi cursed under her breath. "We'll never be able to catch up with them now they're in werewolf form! Although..." quickly, she made note of another charge as Angua failed to take adequate control of the situation. "Any ideas, Dafydd?"

"Go and sit in a pub and watch them via the Words?" suggested the elf hopefully.

"We could... but I know a short cut to where they're going. Come on, this way."

With that, she launched herself up on to the rooftop, and set off at a run over the loose tiles, only just managing to keep balance as some of them fell away and clattered down on to the street.

"There's always that, I suppose," said Dafydd to the empty space where she had been, and then leapt lightly after her, his elven grace meaning he could move as swiftly as her over the unfamiliar roofs.

Slipping easily down a drainpipe beside the river, Vemi held her nose as she turned to Dafydd. "She'll not be long. I give it five minutes tops. Hey, look at the words... how on earth does he manage to stay alive for more than a few moments under that thing?" she muttered darkly, glowering at the ooze as it rolled slowly past them. "That can go down as UnCanon, too... oh look, here she is."

"He can do it because he's speshul," replied Dafydd to the rhetorical question, and then turned to watch Angua sniffing the bank of the Ankh. "How can she smell anything that close to the river?"

Vemi shrugged. "Well, it's all colour, isn't it? The Ankh must be a sort of brown sludgy smell - how could it be anything else - and as he's so speshul, he must be sparkly. He'd stand out a mile off."

"Oh, right, 'Stu-smell. If he smells octarine, I wouldn't be at all surprised." He paused for a moment, and reconsidered. "Octarine, Urple and Wilver. Betcha."

"I'd take you up on that bet, but we don't have any way of finding it out. Thank goodness. Eurgh, that mix sounds disgusting! Open a portal to the Patrician's Palace, will you?"

"I know, I was rather counting on that." Pulling out the remote activator again, he opened a portal and hopped through.

Following her partner, Vemi looked around curiously at the Patrician's office. Hidden in the shadows and being as quiet as physically possible, the assassin stared at the man sitting behind the desk. "There's something wrong, here," she muttered.

"Of course there is, we're in a 'fic." Then he blinked, and a faint glow appeared around him for a second. When it faded, he muttered, "Eru. He's using the Unseen to move around in. That's how he's getting around so suddenly. But that's cheating."

"That is going on the charge list!" she hissed, but stopped speaking as the 'Stu blinked and looked vaguely in their direction. For a moment she thought they had been spotted, but then heaved a sigh of relief as the 'Stu turned away and spoke to Vetinari. "Close," she muttered.

"Blast," muttered Dafydd, "I was hoping we'd have to kill him. Actually, speaking of killing, why doesn't Vetinari kill him?"

"I'll put it on the charge list... oh look, and he's messing with family trees. Destiny isn't Carrot's mother, though I think that was supposed to be a metaphor. Just the way he said it."

There was a short pause, and then Vemi almost squee'd. "Ooh, look at his knife! That is gorgeous!"

"I think Destiny would be very annoyed at the implications there." Then he glanced at the knife, and frowned. "Okay, pretty, but silver, as a rule, does not make good knives. Even with a Working on it, it won't keep its edge long enough."

"Oh come on, do you think I don't know that, with the amount of knives I've got? Doesn't stop it from being beautiful, though. Talking about knives and silver... I've got a theory on how to kill him. It's risky, but it might work. Oh, chapter three already."

"Hey, I was just saying. So what's this theory of yours?"

"Well... you can get powdered silver, can't you?" Vemi furrowed her brow, speaking slowly. "Well, what if we put a lot of powdered silver in to his drink, and read out his charge list to him just before he takes it?"

Dafydd considered. "Burn his innards out... that might work, actually. Or charge him while he's dying in agony, that would too. But it does require him to have a drink..."

"Everyone needs to drink sometime."

"True, dat. But do we know when?"

After a short pause, where the two agents followed Jayson up the steps to Carrot's room, Vemi gave a jump. "We can invite him to a drink in the Mended Drum, or the Klatchian's Head, congratulating him on how amazing it is. Should be easy enough. That's when we slip him the silver, when he's too drunk to know what's going on!"

Dafydd grinned evilly. "Eeeeeexcellent." Then he stared at the Words in shock. "He, he's claiming Carrot is evil..."

"Got it already. Carrot's right, he is insane. Who do you think's worse - him or Carcer?"

"Him," replied Dafydd without hesitation. "As far as I can make out, Carcer didn't think what he was doing was right. He pretended he did, but I doubt he actually thought it."

"I'm not sure, you know. Nobody not convinced of how right they were would give away the ginger-beer trick. He's fooling with the family trees again - Carrot's brother my daggers! Maybe we ought to make him listen to Barney the Dinosaur tracks before we kill him."

"Oh, I thought Carcer was just doing it for the joy of being evil." Dafydd winced. "No. No one deserves the Purple Dinosaur Treatment."

Vemi sighed. "Are you sure? It's a real pity, that. He deserves it. Hey, do you suppose the Purple Dinosaur is urple or wilver? ... Hang on, he can't just pin down Vimes' hand like that! Nobody's ever done that before, not even in Fifth Elephant!" Indignantly, the girl clutched at her dagger, her knuckles white. "I'm SO glad he doesn't mess with poor Sybil."

Dafydd gave the 'Stu his best 'I will take that Silmaril from your cold dead hand' glare, and said, in a low, dangerous tone, "Nobody messes with Vimes."

With an equally dark glower, hand still clutching the dagger, which glinted in the shadows, Vemi hissed, "I'm only going to add a little bit of silver to his drink. Then, he can die slowly! Honestly, as if anybody would have that kind of conversation in a situation like that!"

"Slowly and painfully. Once he's nearly dead, shove a firework down his throat. Then we don't even have to clean up afterwards."

"Nice plan. I'm looking forward to this more and more by the... oh, how DARE he!" Vemi spat angrily at the window which the 'Stu jumped out of, seething with anger as Vimes collapsed in to a chair.

"He's making all the characters so weak, Dafydd! That's just... just... infuriating. Oh, and as if Angua wouldn't be able to tell if her own boyfriend was a yennork if a brother and a sister were!"

"He's probably a speshul sort of yennork," muttered Dafydd. "He's probably from the Speshul clan of werewolves, who are Uber-Speshul, and--" He cut off at Vemi's Look. "All right, I've stopped."

"No, it's okay. You have a point. I suppose that's like the speshul breed of dark-elves who lived in Mordor and worked for Sauron, or something. Oh, thank goodness! Biers!" Vemi breathed a sigh of relief. "Long live Biers. We can get there a bit before him and relax. What do you want to drink?"

Dafydd shook his head slightly. "Ah, nothing, thanks. I'm not in the mood for drinking anything right now."

"Suit yourself. I'll be back in a second." Fetching a drink from Igor, Vemi sat down in to the seat next to Dafydd, and took a sip from the bottle.

"Oh, don't worry," she said, catching Dafydd's expression, "The SO can't complain - it's just lemonade. I don't get why Jayson would come here to find out about Dragon King of Arms, though. He'd be more likely to find something out about him in the Mended Drum. Everyone ends up in the Mended Drum."

"Or he could have asked one of the random Watchbeings he keeps attacking. They'd probably tell him while washing his feet in incense," replied the other agent.

"True enough. He should have just asked Carrot, before. It would have been so much... he's here."

The sparkles from the pencil glinted in the gloom as Vemi flipped open her notebook. Before she had time to write anything though, the werewolf 'Stu had left Biers and was on his way to Dragon King of Arms in his cell.

Dafydd twitched. "He scared them. He scared the inhabitants of Biers. I refuse to believe it. Let's just move on before I go insane."

"Nothing scares this lot, it just annoys them, and people who annoy them... well, they don't annoy them for much longer."

Following the 'Stu out of the bar, Vemi stiffened slightly, tucking a strand of brilliant white hair behind her ear. "Something's not right," she muttered. "I really don't like this."

"That's the second time you've said that," noted Dafydd. "You sure it's not just the idea of killing someone for free that's making you twitchy?"

Vemi looked at her partner in surprise. "Free? I'm not doing this for free - the SO pays Penny and I for every 'Sue and 'Stu we kill now. We told him that if he didn't, we wouldn't come back. We think it's because of the special training. No, that's not it. He's an above normal werewolf, and we've been tracking him for quite a long time now - why hasn't he noticed us?"

"You got them to pay you?" Dafydd stared at her in shock. "I didn't think that was possible... but, yes, werewolves. Erm... I'm not sure, actually. Maybe he's just stupid?"

"Yep, we're officially being paid now. He generally gives us jewellery though, not money, because you can trade jewellery anywhere. Behold." She held up her right hand, revealing a set of large, dull rings.

"They don't look too pretty, but if you wear something bright and sparkly in the Middle of Mirkwood, chances are you'll get spotted. That's not all they do - look." She pulled the gem away from one of the rings, revealing a small chamber filled with what seemed like dust. "Pure cyanide. You should go and talk to the SO."

The shocked stare immediately turned into an enthralled one. "Ooooooh... right, that does it, I'm going to see him as soon as we get back." Then he glanced up at the Words, and yelped. "Ai! He's about to kill Dragon. Come on." With that, he flicked open a portal and jumped through to a dark corridor in the palace dungeons.

"We can't stop him, or we'll miss half the story!" hissed Vemi, jumping through the portal after him. "I never liked Dragon, but... you shouldn't kill canon characters on a whim!"

"No, we can't stop him, but I'm not letting him do this without us watching. Oh, I can't believe he just broke the vampire's bones. Vampires are strong!"

"Yeah, well so are Carrot and Vimes. That never stopped him"

"-- true." Dafydd glared at Jayson, the 'Stu, and as the werewolf managed to catch Lu-Tze by swinging his claws, began muttering curses in Quenya. "Nai uruiti ravi i antumna lattar Angamandollo matuva hrívelya..."

"They don't make it very clear who Jayson's new friend is, do they?" Vemi muttered darkly, ignoring the curse. "I mean... he's threatening Lu-Tze's life, here! That's just stupid!"

She hurried along as quickly as she could, bristling with indignation as the dark shadows made by the crumbling walls of the Shades loomed over the two agents. "Not a good place to be. Not good."

"Maybe that's the point, maybe it's supposed to be a Big Surprise later on, and build up suspense..." Dafydd's voice trailed off as he looked at the 'Stu. "-- okay, I take it back. He's just stupid."

"Okay, so it's Sam Jr. Wow, what a Big Surprise that is! Although... he is cute, you've got to admit..." Vemi trailed off, smiling slightly in a half dazed fashion. " He looks really like Young Sam did."

"Yes, he does, rather. Excuse me for one moment." Wandering over to a nearby wall, Dafydd slammed his head against it a few times, and then moved back over to Vemi. "You were saying?"

"What? Technically, he is a canon character. He doesn't do anything too badly wrong, either, and he isn't nearly so annoying as Jayson, even if he is slightly wet. Oh look, Jayson's plotting murder... that can go on the list." The sparkly pencil, however, didn't move, as Vemi was still staring at Junior.

Dafydd sighed, and stepped in front of her, effectively blocking her view of Junior. "You know what they say about letting drooling over lust objects interfere with the mission, Vemi."

Leaning sideways around the elf, Vemi sighed, too. "Yes, yes, I know. Not envious, are you?"

Dafydd raised an eyebrow. "I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. I just think that you should write that charge list."

"Fine, okay," she grumbled, and the pencil skipped across the page. As the scene faded to make way for the next, though, she couldn't help taking one last peek at Sam Jr.

Looking around, Dafydd saw that they were once again in the Watch House. "Oh, it's angsty!Carrot and glum!Reg. Where did they come from?"

"Reg seems to spend a lot of his time being glum. Either that, or overly patriotic," came the sour reply as the scene was dragged out much longer than it ought to have been. "Sweet Elbereth, this bit is so boring!" Vemi muttered, doodling a little picture on a new page in the notebook.

"Yeah, but he's a loud sort of glum. He doesn't really mumble and evade, he wanders around saying how terrible things are." Dafydd blinked. "Wait, just how did they know about the holy water?"

"Educated guess? I don't know - this author never tells you what anyone's thinking beyond 'so-and-so was angry'. I don't think Vimes would be so happy about Dragon going missing, though. Just because he doesn't like somebody doesn't mean he'll be happy about a crime committed against them."

Dafydd muttered darkly. "Yeah, well, nothing's right in this abomination that is called fiction. It's just the author having fun beating up the Canons via avatar."

"I'll second that," Vemi agreed, continuing to sketch something. As the scene changed however, she flipped on to another new page, ready to make notes, as Jayson and Junior walked past them.

"Ooh, the Times," Dafydd muttered, then blinked at the description. "Ankh-Morpork's only daily newspaper? I'm sure they had a few more..."

"Yeah - there were those tabloids set up in direct competition. The one with all those silly stories. I wouldn't mind a copy, actually. They do good crosswords. Oh damn, how are we supposed to get in without Junior noticing?" She frowned, annoyed, but continued to skulk in the shadows watching the young man.

Dafydd laughed. "You're PPC again, Vemi. Canon characters can't see you without good reason." And with that, he wandered past the watchkid and into the Times office.

Blinking, Vemi followed him. "I keep forgetting that. It's really weird, you know, having everyone be able to see you. Besides, I keep forgetting that he's canon. After all, he only just makes it in to one of the books, and that's as a baby."

She looked around curiously, fascinated by what she saw. "All this paper... all these words! Isn't it amazing?"

Dafydd eyed them disinterestedly. "Tengwar are much better. And yeah, being visible would be odd..." He shuddered. "I don't know how I'd cope."

"Nor did I. You'd be surprised how much people don't see you anyway, though, if you look enough just like one of the crowd." She pursed her lips as she listened to the conversation between William de Worde and Jayson. "Okay, that's just annoying. Nobody should give in that easily. Besides, it isn't even that good a story."

Dafydd looked at her, and stifled a laugh. "You don't exactly look like one of the crowd any more..." Then he glanced up at the Words to catch up on the conversation, and added, "Someone's dead, yippee. Never had that happen before, have you, Mr. de Worde?"

"Hey, I told you not to make fun of my new... image!" she yelped, raising her voice a little too much. From where he was talking to de Worde, Jayson frowned a little, and turned his head. Darting in to the shadows, Vemi looked apologetically at Dafydd. "Oops? I... I don't think he really heard us."

"I wasn't, I was just mentioning it. Now please stop overreacting, because I doubt that you are werewolf-proof, and I know I'm not." He shook his head slightly. "Never mind, the idiot will just carry on with his story like a good little avatar."

"I'll try not to, or I'll probably end up getting both of us killed. Although... I do have a couple of silver daggers on me, so I'd probably be okay. Um... sorry."

She waited a few moments for Jayson to walk through the doorway, and then scurried after him, white hair bobbing around like a beacon.

Dafydd followed, muttering something vaguely threatening. As he caught up with Vemi, he asked, "Where are we going now?"

"Well... we pass the Sunshine Sanctuary, and then we go to Lord de Worde's home. Murder - that can go on the charge list, too."

As the passed the gates of the Sunshine Sanctuary, Vemi scribbled something down quickly in her notebook. "That's really nasty of him, being so cruel to a friend. He's not exactly a nice person, wherever he's from."

"Of course he isn't, he's Speshul Jayson 'Stu, he doesn't have to be nice." Dafydd rolled his eyes. "They'll all worship him anyway, him and his testosterone."

"Still, there's no reason to be like that to poor Junior."

As the agents followed Jayson and Junior up Scoone Avenue, Vemi looked around at the large houses. "Imagine living in one of those," she muttered, and then, "Oh wait, you had a better, didn't you? I keep forgetting, sorry."

"I had several," he replied, not at all offended. "And someday I'm going to get at least one of them back." He shook his head slightly, and looked up at the Words. "Oh, run-on sentences, that's why the World feels so rushed."

"How can you get one of them back if they're all... you know, gone? They are gone, aren't they?" Before Dafydd had time to answer, however, Vemi grabbed his arm and pulled him to a stop. "We're here. Let's wait for him to go in, first. He's less likely to see us if we do that." Hidden from view, they watched as the 'Stu entered the house, and then hurried along after him.

"Yeah," muttered Dafydd as they ran, "we can't do anything to let him see us, can we?" Then he deigned to answer the question. "I used to live in Tirion, remember? The White City is eternal."

"Yes, I suppose. Wouldn't you rather try something new, though? It's better to belong where you don't belong than to not belong where you do, after all. Eurgh, messy deaths! Could he not just have broken their necks or something? He's strong enough, after all."

She shuddered, not at the sight of the two dead bodies, but at the crudeness of the killings. "I suppose... he's not making money though, just a common murderer, so you can't expect much."

"Hey, if I get to go home, I'll cheerfully be outcast." The Noldo shook his head. "But anyway. No, he's just a messy kind of guy... although he could get paid for this and he'd still be a messy kind of guy."

Vemi wrinkled her nose. "That's just tasteless. It's why people employ assassins - it's nice to think that you won't get splattered all over the walls, or in various parts of the neighbourhood."

Crouching down behind a piece of furniture, she peeked around the edge to watch Jayson goading Death. "Another one for the charge list," she muttered dryly. "Death is just so nice - why would anybody want to goad him like that?"

"Wait, how can he even see Death?"

"We can, can't we?"

"Yeah, but we're not Canon... er, we're... we... um. Okay. Point."

Vemi paused for a moment to think. "Hang on, I've done a course at the Assassins Guild - doesn't that technically make me canon?"

"You are also a Drow, which aren't Canon. You are also also a PPC Agent, which means you are not integrated with Canon at this point." He paused, and looked suddenly thoughtful. "You could probably become part of canon again at any time, though, if you chose to."

Continuing to follow Jayson at a distance, Vemi grinned happily. Another reason she was grinning happily could, however, have been that she had her eyes fixed on Sam Jr. all the way until de Worde and Vimes began to talk to each other, and Jayson and Junior slipped out of the scene.

Dafydd sighed, and watched his partner warily. I just hope she doesn't try to tackle him, he thought, I really don't want to try to take on a trained Assassin unarmed...

"So gorgeous," she sighed, before whisking out the notebook for the umpteenth time. "Vimes isn't usually this snappy, is he? Although... I suppose we can't blame him for it after what de Worde's said about him."

She scribbled a few notes down before Jayson made his appearance and then quickly ran off again, half the force in tow.

"You follow Jayson, I'll keep an eye on Sam Jr. and de Worde. Don't worry, no glomping," she added hurriedly. "Work before LO's."

"Yeah, sure," he muttered, and ran off after the werewolf, wondering vaguely when Vemi had learnt to read minds.

Perched on a deserted desk, Vemi watched eagerly as Junior slammed William de Worde's head against another one, not too far away from her. She smiled in a dazed sort of fashion as the character rifled through the paperwork, only moving when she had to follow him out of watch house where he met up with Jayson.

For a second, her heart stopped as Jayson's eyes met with hers, but then he looked away again and she sagged against the stone wall as Dafydd came jogging back with the rest of the guards.

"Stupid chase scenes don't like chase scenes... oh, well done," he said as he wandered over to her. "He seems to be completely un-glomped."

"He... so... looked at me." she whispered, shivering despite the lack of chill. "He knows we're following him. I swear... he knows."

Dafydd blinked. "But then why wouldn't he do anything about us?"

"I don't know, but he looked right at me - and let's face it, how could he miss me looking like this?"

The elf shook his head. "He couldn't. All right, so we assume the worst-case scenario, that he knows we're here, and that he knows we mean to kill him. What do we do in that sort of situation?"

"Um... carry on, only act more quickly? How about we get him the second he kills Quirke?"

"Yessss," hissed Dafydd. "Do you think we can charge him once he's dead? Because I really don't want to try and hold him down for it."

"Okay, that's a good point. We can hardly slip it in his drink though, because he'd know what we're doing!" She looked around, realised that they had lost Jayson and Junior, and swore. "Dammit, we'll have to portal in to Quirke's house. That's not fun."

Dafydd shook his head. "I'm afraid not. You said you had silver daggers, just throw them at him. Preferably from behind. -- portal, you say?" He pulled out the Remote Activator and pressed the button. "Should drop us right behind them, in some nice shadows."

"Yes, okay, so I can knife him. What about the charge list? Do you want to read them out?" Calming her nerves, Vemi selected a silver dagger and began tossing it up and down, watching the glint that reflected on the polished surface as it flashed up and down.

"Me? Read your writing? You're joking, right?"

"Okay, fine. I'll read the charge list, and I'll stab him. Happy?"

"Perfectly," muttered the elf.

"You owe me, though, because I'm not going to forget about this. Penny would have read the charge list for me." She sulked, peering around as Jayson and Junior approached. "Okay, they're here. Do we let them kill Quirke?"

"Penny's probably had practice. Maybe you should have spent a little more time finding her before dragging me here. -- and I think we can let him live. We know they're about to kill him anyway."

"Hey, you said you wanted a change! Besides, I did spend time trying to find her. About six hours, as it happens. Anyway, it doesn't matter now." She stepped out in to the middle of the road, causing Jayson and Junior to stop dead, confused.

"Hi," she said brightly, notebook in her hand. Before either of them could reply, carried on. "Jayson, you are charged with multiple crimes against the canon such as sending various characters, up to and not including Sir Vimes, Carrot and Angua out of character, using the Unseen, messing around with the continuum - you stayed alive after going for a swim in the Ankh, for Eru's sake! - calling Carrot evil, changing the plot halfway through the story, murder and intended murder of various canon characters, messing with Time, being generally confusing, manipulating a cutie, annoying agents, unnecessarily jumping out of windows, just to show off, outrunning half the Watch, twisting canon - there's more than one newspaper in Ankh-Morpork - goading Death, and... actually, I think that's it. Anything to say?"

Behind her, Dafydd mouthed 'Manipulating a cutie?!?'. Back in front of her, Jayson snarled, and his claws began to appear. "You know why I'm here, Dark One. Don't try and stop me, or you will get hurt."

"Yep, I know. Sorry"

As she was staring furiously at her feet, it was an ambiguous response, which could have been aimed at either Dafydd or Jayson. When she looked up, however, she was grinning in the twisted way which Dafydd had learnt to back away from. "Bring it on, wolf boy!"

Raising one hand, Jayson extended a set of lethal-looking claws with a sound very similar to 'Snikt'. As Dafydd headwalled at the gratuitous X-Men reference, the werewolf leapt at the Drow.

Vemi, however, was ready for him. With a fierce cry she jumped at him, silver daggers in each hand. As the daggers met the werewolf he screamed, the pure silver eating away at his flesh. Falling to the ground for a while, he rolled around for a few moments before gurgling, and then, his eyes wide open in horror, burst in to thousands of sparkly pieces.

"Well... that one was unusual," Vemi muttered, cleaning the blades and returning them to their sheathes. "Oh, drat! He caught my arm!"

"I guess 'Stus like glitter too," muttered Dafydd, trying half-heartedly to brush bits of Jayson off his sleeve. Then he glanced at Vemi. "With his claws, right? You didn't get bitten, did you? I'm not going to end up dragging a werewolf Drow back to HQ, am I?"

"Definitely claws... ouch, ouch, ouch that really hurts. Double drat! This jacket was new and he's just ruined the arm! Ow..." Blood was, indeed, seeping through Vemi's fingers where the werewolf's claws had caught her.

"Look, can we get Sammy boy here back to his time and then get back to HQ, please? Because this really needs a bandage or something."

"Yes, that would be a good idea. Oh, what are you staring at?" he added, turning to the kid. "Never seen anyone kill a werewolf before?"

"He, he, he was trying to make things right..." whispered Sam Vimes Junior, looking at the pieces of his friend. Dafydd scowled at him.

"He was doing it the wrong way, kid. Didn't your father ever teach you anything about indiscriminate killing?"

"Hypocrite," Vemi muttered, and then, even more faintly, "Just please, please hurry up..." Before collapsing melodramatically on to the cobbled street.

Dafydd sighed. "Look, kid, just go through here, 'kay?" Saying this, he flicked open a portal to the future. At Sammy's sceptical look, he sighed. "Always have to do it the hard way, don't we? GO!!!" The last word was delivered in the patented Fëanorian Voice of Command, the same one that had caused thousands of Elves to abandon their homes to cross the Sea back to Middle-earth. Sam went, and Dafydd closed the portal. Then he turned back to Vemi. "-- oh, Námo."

The street was covered in blood, and it looked as though a vein had been cut. Muttering darkly, the elf quickly kneeled beside her and checked her pulse. "I can't carry her back like this..." Closing his eyes for a second, he tried to think of another way, but there was only one.

No more choices. Time to act. Laying his hands on the wound, he channelled his Power down into the ruined tissue, and began to sing a song of healing.

Ten minutes later, he finished. The wound was healed, but Vemi had lost a lot of blood, and he himself was exhausted. "Should have stayed in practice..." he muttered. With his last strength he opened a portal to the Medical Department, dragged the unconscious Drow through, and collapsed on the floor in a dead faint.

A few hours later, he woke up to see Vemi grinning down at him. "I don't see why you fainted - it isn't as though you lost any blood or anything."

Sitting up, he fought off the dizziness, and muttered, "You owe me for this, you really do."

She continued to grin. "Quite probably. Is it true what Penny was saying about the healing song, or something?"

Dafydd raised one eyebrow, started to reply, and then stopped. Slowly getting to his feet, he looked around for the door, and stumbled slowly towards it. As he reached the doorway, he turned back to look at Vemi, said, "It was nothing," and walked off.