bethbethbeth: Lord Vetinari image from Discworld, with caption: Veni Vici Vetinari (Discworld Vetinari (alpheratz))
[personal profile] bethbethbeth posting in [community profile] disc_fest
Author: SandyQuinn
Title: The First Rescue (of the Sybil Ramkin Society)
Characters and/or Pairing(s): Sybil Ramkin, Havelock Vetinari
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1193
Possible warnings and/or enticements - highlight to view (may contain spoilers): *None.*
Summary: Young Sybil and dance-lessons with the young gentlemen of the Assassins' Guild. Prompt 134: Sybil Ramkin and Havelock Vetinari as children: Were they friends?
Author's Notes: I always imagined Vetinari slightly insufferable and a bit of a creepy child when he got on with someone.




It wasn't often that the Quirm College for Young Ladies entertained men. This much was obvious from the tittering and whispering amongst the flock of modestly clad schoolgirls, and in the way their teacher was discreetly patting her hair down, using the shiny surface of the piano as a mirror.

The dancing lessons, which had started at the beginning of the autumn semester, were about to get a lot more interesting with the addition of the Assassin' Guild boys of same age, and as much as Sybil tried to resist it, she found herself smoothing down her dress in anticipation, much good that it did.

It wasn't that she wasn't perfectly aware that she lacked the certain grace some of her classmates had, even at the tender age of twelve: Sybil knew that she was built for strength after generations and generations of hunting and warring noblemen, but it wasn't much of a consolation for an awkward pre-teen, slightly hulking and too curvy. She was no Serafine, who was delicate, with glinting eyes and wide expressive mouth, but it didn't mean Sybil, a girl with the temperament that moved at the pace of continental plates, was not coming to terms with this unfortunate hand that life had dealt her.

She was never going to be pretty, but she could be kind, and although it comforted her a little sometimes, it was during times like these she became aware of the silliest things, like that her nose was too big-

The girls craning their necks near the door suddenly pulled back, giggling wildly, and in marched a flock of pimply boys clad in black, like very dark and murderous ducklings. The girls around Sybil pulled back onto their side of the room and Sybil, who had moments before been perfectly aware that her hair was not nearly as shiny or soft as it could have been, was suddenly not nervous. Perhaps it was the blood of warriors flowing through her veins or perhaps it was because she recognized Sebastian Selachii who used run around without his trousers in the Ramkin gardens when they were younger.

(Young lord Selachii was looking decidedly green at the aspect of dancing with young girls, his non-existent chin wobbling as he wiped obviously comb-resistant hair back. He was avoiding Sybil's eyes.)

It was silly. They were just children, practising dancing, she thought with sudden clarity, practising adulthood, but practising, nonetheless.

“I'll take him,” she heard a whisper behind her, if she could call it that, because it was audible enough for half the room to hear. Sybil suddenly felt immensely embarrassed for her classmates, following Serafina's- because it was Serafina, of course it was- pointed finger to the boy joking with his mates, a half a head taller than others, with a clear skin and blue eyes. Sybil supposed he was handsome.

Suddenly feeling a bit like when she was examining the horses with her father at the estate, she let her eyes slide across the uneven row of boys. For a moment she wondered whether they'd be allowed to check the teeth.

“All right, girls, boys!” A teacher she didn't know, a lady with a deep red velvet dress and a shade of lipstick most of the girls were eyeing covetously, clapped her hands delicately. “Settle into two rows, please, facing each other. The person standing opposite will be your dancing partner- Quickly, now!”

Much shuffling and pushing ensued, to ensure that the right girl would end up with the right boy.

Sybil, partly lacking hope and partly annoyed, stayed out of it, settling to the end of the row, finally looking at the person she would be dancing with, and at this point she found it hard to care, because it was probably Sebastian Selachii.

It was not. A pale, dark boy looked back at Sybil. Her first instinct was to smile.

Very briefly, like a flash of light on a smooth surface, he looked startled. Miss Turpitude, extremely enthusiastically, started with the piano, and the boys and girls approached each other awkwardly.

“Hello,” Sybil said and smiled again to cover the awkward jolt when he put his hand on her waist- and she was relieved that he wasn't sweating or letting his hand hover stupidly. Really, boys could be silly sometimes.

“Hello,” the boy said politely. He seemed calmer than a lot of them, and Sybil couldn't remember whether she had seen him before in her assessment of the Assassins' Guild students. Funny, that.

He wasn't a bad dancer, and Sybil was struck with the notion that she was probably half a head taller than he was and that any tripping would end in very embarrassing results.

“Did you wish to have a conversation?” he inquired, entirely too politely, and Sybil, although momentarily thrown, pushed on.

“I just thought I would say hello,” she said. “Since we're dancing together.”

“Why?”

She blinked. “Because it's- polite?”

“Coyly staring at our feet seems to suffice,” the boy remarked dryly. He sounded much too old for his age, and Sybil was thrown, once again. It was mildly annoying, being at a loss for words like this, being awkward and too aware of her own body, and so she proceeded to - be even politer.

“I thought a greeting in the beginning would have been nice. It's all right, we don't have to talk if you don't want to,” she said, as peacefully as she could muster. He turned them around in a slow twirl, carefully, and Sybil tried not to step on his toes.

He looked at her for a moment.

“You were looking at us before,” he said smoothly. So now he did want to talk?

“So?” she asked, perplexed.

“You were smiling. I was just curious.”

“I was thinking about examining your teeth,” Sybil told him promptly, a true Ramkin, and to her surprise, he smiled.

“The one with the shiniest mane might not be the fastest,” he remarked, maybe a bit too pleased with his cryptic statement, in her opinion.

She looked automatically for Serafine and her partner, and found them stumbling, mostly thanks to the handsome boy's ineptitude, or perhaps Serafine was too distracting for proper focus. She was annoyed, actually barking orders at him under her breath. Serafine hated being embarrassed.

“Oh, poor Serafine,” she said, ignoring the fact that he'd apparently read her mind before.

“Why do you say that?” the boy asked curiously. “You don't like her.”

“Of course I like her. She's a friend,” Sybil said automatically.

“Interesting,” he said, and then, smiling slowly, like he'd made a decision, he added: “I'm Havelock. Havelock Vetinari.”

“Sybil Ramkin,” she said.

“I know,” he said. He was really too smug and thought no one noticed.

He wasn't a handsome boy, but then again, Sybil had always been fond of the unattractive ones, the kind that bit even when you fed them. Someone needed to like them too, and she had a feeling that not many people would like Havelock Vetinari.

She smiled at him again.

Date: 2012-07-30 05:46 pm (UTC)
glinda: hex: anthill inside (computery)
From: [personal profile] glinda
Heh, excellent, they both watch people and learn more about them then other people realise.

Date: 2012-07-30 11:08 pm (UTC)
copracat: leto and ghanima from Children of Dune, dancing, with the text 'dance me to the end of love' (ghanima)
From: [personal profile] copracat
What great Sybil you write. This made me laugh out loud: "like very dark and murderous ducklings." What a fantastic image. I can just see their self-conscious little glowering faces.

Date: 2012-07-30 11:14 pm (UTC)
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)
From: [personal profile] musyc
dark and murderous ducklings

I laughed far too hard at that line.

Well done. Great look at the beginnings of the relationship/friendship/mystery we get in canon.

Date: 2012-07-31 03:52 am (UTC)
woldy: (ook)
From: [personal profile] woldy
For a moment she wondered whether they'd be allowed to check the teeth Ha! Great line :-)

He was really too smug and thought no one noticed. I can totally imagine him like this! Of course, with time he stops caring whether people notice or not.

Love your Sybil POV throughout, and how much you capture with a short fic. Nice work!

Date: 2012-08-10 12:19 am (UTC)
iulia_linnea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] iulia_linnea
This is excellent. :)

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