Here, have some Discworld genderswitch.
(I don't know why gwnderswitch is so much fun. I actually did these because I was playing with some origific genderswitch and realized it was simply unworkable. The other fic in progress was - and still is -Discworld, so . . . )
"It's just not proper," Carrot said, with a pained look. "I mean, of course there's female dwarves, but they don't go around flaunting it!"
"I think you're overlooking something." Angua raised an eyebrow.
"You should have said we." She rubbed her eyes. Granted, Carrot was the least effeminiate woman she'd ever met, but ... "You're female. You don't make any effort to hide it. You've even got long hair."
Carrot blushed at that, and glanced around the street as if making sure they wouldn't be overheard. Her hand automatically went to her helmet. "That doesn't mean anything, for a dwarf. Lots of dwarfs have long hair. Male and female. I don't use makeup. Or wear dresses."
Angua would have commented that Carrot had never complained about her wearing makeup, if she ever used it, or dresses, except she'd never worn anything but her uniform when they spent time together. She settled for a sigh. "Maybe you should. You're allowed to be human sometimes."
"I don't mind being human. It's being a woman that gives me the trouble. It'd be like denying my heritage." Carrot half-shrugged, miserably. "It's just different for dwarfs, okay?"
But Carrot was, as ever, immune to sarcasm. "Oh? Well, partly it has to do with the social rules in Uberwald, you know - this gender thing is much easier when there aren't any humans around to get it wrong. Dwarfs are just dwarfs. Maybe I should get you a book, there was a rather good one Mr. Hopkinson mentioned to me - " She broke off at Angua's expression. "Sorry. I can't really explain it in this language."
"It's alright," Angua said, and ventured a pat on the shoulder. It seemed to help.
Her presentation watch ticked peacefully on the bedside table. Outside the dragons whuffled in their sleep, occasionally lighting up the pens with a fierce glare as they sneezed or flamed at something in their dreams. The lights of the city weren't out - they never were, in Ankh-Morpork - but there was certainly approximate peace and quiet, and the general settling-down that happens to even the most enthuisiastic of cities around three in the morning on a cold night.
Samantha Vimes-Ramkin lay wide awake and stared at the celing.
Her husband was snoring quietly. She'd never been able to convince Sidney he snored. She sighed and clutched his hand, and wondered how she'd gotten herself here. A big house with all the hot water she wanted, loads of good breakfast, and a husband too, who adored her utterly and hadn't even blinked about hypenating their names. The wrong way round. A job she still suprised herself by being good at, even if she managed to piss off the hordes of upper-class twits who consituted the movers and shakers of Ankh-Morpork society just by existing. A Knighthood, too, and she still wasn't sure Vetinari hadn't done that to watch people twitch trying to figure out whether to call her 'Sir Samantha'. And in six or seven months, she was going to be a mother.
It was that which was leaving her awake. Sidney was going to be thrilled, once he got over being flabbergasted, and that was just going to make it worse.
She was still awake when sunlight crept in through tbe windows. She thought it over in the bath, and listened to Sidney in the other room, absently humming as he dressed, and concluded there was absoltely nothing for it. It would have to be tonight. Yes, tonight, before she lost her nerve. It wasn't likely to be a long day today, bar something sudden breaking in the ridiculous bread museum case. She pulled on her armour with renewed determination, and wondered how long it would still fit. Were Watchmen allowed maternity leave? Had the question ever come up before? Even now there were more dwarvish women than human on the force.
Breakfast was bacon and eggs. Before they could really get started Willikins came up with an envelope clutched delicately in one white-gloved hand. "This was delivered by a clerk from the Palace, sir," he murmured, and deposited it beside Sidney's plate. Sidney slit it open with his butter knife. Sam watched thoughtfully as he read it, lips moving, occassionally muttering something under his breath.
When he looked up, his expression was slightly dazed. "Sam? I've just been appointed Special Envoy to Uberwald. Did you put Vetinari up to this?"
"What? Of course not." Sam snatched the note from her husband's fingers and looked it over. It was in Vetinari's own handwriting, and said very little, but it seemed they had an appointment at the Palace. Both of them.
This must have something to do with the Low King; Carrot had explained it at length. They were going to be very busy. Sam realized she was pressing a hand against her stoumach and trying to clutch at her armor.
Well, that would just have to wait. No point in worrying Sidney. He would have enough to worry about, before this business was over with.
"I mean, it's all so annoying. They yell and scream and nothing ever gets done. Or if it does it's because Ponder has snuck off and told some students to do it while the rest of the faculty's arguing. They're all useless."
"Present company excepted, of course." Rincewind sighed, adjusted her black hat with the silver occult symbols on the band, and shoved the next book back into place as though it had done her personal harm. "And when I try to fix anything they call me a silly girl! I swear, there's not a sane man in this University."
The Librarian scratched his ear and reached down for the next book. "Ooook?"
"Well, it's no life for a witch in Ankh-Morpork. They don't need us like they do in the mountains. And I couldn't get books in the mountains, and there's bears." She shudered slightly, and tapped the Luggage with her foot; it obligingly scooted three feet to the left. "Far too much excitement. No thank you. I like it right here." She reached in the Luggage for the next book, examined its spine critically, then knelt to place it carefully on the lowest shelf.
"I was left on poor Gammer Turnbuckle's doorstep, she hadn't any other trade to teach me. And it's not that bad, being a witch. People respect it. Well, some people." She straightened up. "Do you hear foosteps?"
The Librarian shrugged, which was quite a sight on an orangutan.
A moment later a figure in a stained white robe rounded the corner of the shelves, looking hopeful. Rincewind brushed off her robe. "I thought you might be here," Ponder Stibbons declared. "Mistress Rincewind, could you help me? I'm looking for Heragabon's Occult Thaumilapidary Guide, and it's not where it was last time."
"Probably lurking in the Dark Stacks again. We'll have to get a net and some blunt instruments. I do so hate bookhunting." She patted the Luggage and it raised its lid slightly. "I'll be right back. Be nice to the Librarian, give him the books in order, and don't try to snap shut on his arm or he'll rip your lid off and use it for a desk, alright? And I won't stop him. Come on, Ponder." She tugged her hat more firmly down and stood up.
Ponder was blushing slightly. "Thanks. I don't know what we'd do without you."
"Get horribly lost and have adventures," Rincewind muttered, but she was smiling as she said it.
"Ah. Yes." William looked at the depths of his teacup and frowned. "I've got a few more clients for my little newsletter now. I suppose Muntab is eager to become a player on the world stage."
"You sound exactly like A Child's Guide to Disc History, you know," Stuart Sto Helit said, not unkindly, and dunked his biscuit. "The one they tried to make me use last term until I lost all the copies in the Ankh."
"Sorry." William de Worde looked sidelong at Stuart. "It seems to happen automatically. What did you use in the end, anyway?"
"Tacitus for the Circle Sea, Gorogi for Howondaland, Duchess Grintzwold for Uberwald and Borogravia. Havn't gotten to the Hublands or the Counterweight Continent yet, and nobody seems to think the rest of the Turnwise Plains have enough history to write about. There's Genua and that's it. Don't suppose you know of any good writers?"
William sighed. They'd been at school together, and they were the best of friends, but he still found Stuart's steady-minded insistence on precision and honesty unnerving. Admirable, but unnerving. There were a lot of things about Stuart that were odd, frankly. He hadn't been disowned, was technically a Duke, but he seemed happy to lett the Council of Ministers go on ruling Sto Helit while he taught history to a bunch of six-year-olds. "Sorry." He absently grabbed a biscuit, nibbled on the edge, and made a face. "I think they used bad figs, you know."
Stuart picked up the dropped biscuit, sniffed it, and set it back down. "I think you're right. Well, it's hard to get good fis here. Shall we head back to the Drum?"
"Yes. Please. I don't think the weather here agrees with me."
"It's Genua. It has very strong opinions." Stuart gave an uncharacteristic half-smile.
Well. That was weird too. But it was certainly handy. William had long since given up applying logic to Sturt. Logic threw its hands up in the face of utter obliviousness. Stat had explained it all once. William had found it hard to believe, and had said so.
"That's fine," Stuart said. "I don't always believe it either. It doesn't seem completely real. But I had to tell someone, or it wouldn't be real t all. You understand?"
And he had, more or less.
He smiled to himself as he pulled some Genuan coins out of his pocket to cover the tea.
A few minutes later an apprentice thief followed two young men in slightly shabby but well-cut clothing into an alley just off one of the main boulevrds of Genua, sensing easy pickings. He had drawn his knife and was approaching them at at casual walk, admiring the way they hadn't stopped chatting long enough to notice they were about to walk into a blank wall, when they melted into the wall and vanished. He was sufficiently shaken by the experience to leave town, afraid someone had cursed him, and head for Ankh-Morpork on the next ship he could find. It would have comforted him not at all to know the two young men had arrived n Ankh-Morpork through a brick wall two months before, but he never ran into them again, and soon had a flourishing new career as a wholesale fish salesman.