Hello! I wanted to join this community with something to show for it. Here is my fanfic, and it would greatly please me if you would be so kind as to comment on it. Thank you. :)
Title: The Lady Sybil Ramkin
Fandom: Discworld (no timeline necessary, but it’s nice to think this happens after The Fifth Elephant)
Rating: G, I suppose
Synopsis: Lady Sybil Ramkin does her usual routine at a social brunch. Maybe possible V/V, but only if you squint really hard.
The Lady Sybil Ramkin
She takes her tea with three lumps of sugar.
She counts her coins carefully before depositing them in her purse,
But wouldn’t bat an eyelash when she gives
A fistful of dollars to the beggar in the sidewalk.
She cares only for the comfort of clothes
And believes that a smile and a laugh never run out of fashion,
Which the love of dragons had patiently taught her.
+ + +
Lady Sybil Ramkin walks down the hallway like a Queen. And then, upon reaching the expansive courtyard where an open canvass tent has been set up, her shoulders slump, her face stiffens, and her walk is a little less confident than in the isolation of the empty walkway. Her feet shuffle forward on low-heeled slippers, and the hems of her great skirts rustle along the marble like the sussuration of a rising tide. She approaches the buffet table first, because that is where the coffee is served. She breathes deeply the caffeine-laced aroma, and is relieved to re-discover her soul among the brambles of the Society’s late morning brunch.
The Emmas approach her, and she is grateful for their unbreakable routine. She never appears to talk, but she is a great listener. She likes to think that writing letters to them later balances this small flaw out. She had never wished to be fully entrenched in the concerns of the times, and there is something of an art form in pretending to focus one’s attention to the gossip of the elite. She finds that bobbing her head every so often, and looking at the ears of her gossip friends help her greatly. In her mind, secretly, she wonders whether anything that comes out of their mouths goes to their ears, and this thought brings her great consolation and delivers her through the first movement of intermingling.
The second movement follows when the Emmas disperse. She never watches the retreat of the ladies. Rather, she turns around herself, and then makes it a point not to look at the garden ornaments. She has learned to occupy her vision with the quirks of people instead, which are infinitely more interesting to her curious eyes. She finds that the secret awkwardness of others diminishes her own, and augments her with needed indifference and a handy conversation piece in short notice. Her tour around the brunchers peopling the garden circles twice widdershins, and ends, precisely, beside the Patrician’s cane.
The Patrician never sits at these society gatherings. He actually prefers to stand, in a corner, lurking, and this surprises Lady Ramkin the first time she realized it. He has since comported himself to allow Sybil’s considerable girth into his corner with welcome comfort. These days, when she approaches, he would even grace her with a polite nod and a courteous hello. It is something of a wonder that they have become allies in the social arena. She never thought he needed one, and yet, since that first meeting, he seems more and more to volunteer these sentiments.
The first time she noticed him, or rather, he noticed her, was a month after that awful debacle with the dragon. She was still feeling very awkward with her recent popularity due to her involvement in the dragon episode, and thus was frankly speechless and discombobulated at the voice of Lord Vetinari, who had sidled with graceful stealth to her side.
It was a great relief that he did not mind the tea that she spilled on his robe. He replied simply, “It won’t be noticed,” and they had formed a friendship then and there. She never told Sam about this, at least not all the details, because she feared he’d die laughing.
They wouldn’t chat. That is part of the arrangement. Silence is treasured in his corner, she learned quickly, when Havelock Vetinari had decided to share it with her. Whatever his intentions, she treasures this part of him, and that he never tells her to leave ever so politely. It is disconcerting to hear him say this to the others, who approach his corner with veneration and fear, seeking his audience in matters of politics. She alone, it seems, reserves this honor, until she learns that her husband, somehow, has it better than her.
This morning, for example, she suddenly remembers a bedside conversation she had with Sam one night not long ago. “I just noticed,” he said, “that he’s not told me off in that favorite line of his for some time. ‘Do not let me detain you,’ the famous Patrician dismissal. I think this also applies to Carrot, but it’s easy to understand with him. You can’t imagine him being told off by anybody, even Vetinari.”
When Havelock talks, his words are economical and succinct. She has learned that he reserves this ability for people who matter to him, because talking equivocally is only for the uninitiated. She knows this intimately when he calls her Lady Sybil, and means with his tone thay she may call him “Havelock”. He allows it, strangely, and only with her. She thinks, perhaps, that he means sincerely with his friendship. She embraces fiercly this belief because, in her heart, he is already her friend.
Mainly, it is Vimes who is the climax of their conversations. A party, a festival, an ambassadorial mission—the Patrician is sly to employ the wife to do his battles. But she understands his need to avoid unnecessary confrontations, and she allows herself to be his intermediary to Sam. It seems that Havelock understands her husband’s moods, and sometimes she envies this of him. But Sybil is proud of her expansive heart, which does a better job of loving Samuel Vimes than her mind could fathom his actions and behavior. Sometimes, unconsciously, she catches herself wondering whether Havelock, in turn, is ever envious of her heart.
Today, the third movement finishes early, because Havelock has two lunch meetings and he wishes to stop at the Palace first. The fact that he dutifully reports his alibis to Sybil every time and without malicious intent eludes the lady. She simply accepts his gracious excuses with a smile, and never fails to say in parting, “Take care, Havelock.” They never really say goodbye.
And then Sybil herself is off. She considers this the proper end in her social duties to the party. She shambles off unhurriedly, and no one notices. Perhaps there is a glance or two, from the nobles she pay mind to invite to the ocassional dinner for the sake of the family name, but nothing else. The hostess maybe wonders for a brief moment why the Lady Sybil Ramkin’s smile is honestly pleased and sincere. The Lady Sybil, of course, is already thinking about her dragons before even she exits the house.