Title: The Uxbridge English Dictionary
Pairing(s)/Characters: Giles, Wesley, Buffy (Gen)
Summary: Giles and Wesley decide to resolve their disagreement like adults. Childish adults.
Challenge: Getting On (or not, as the case may be)
Word Count: 1,320
Setting: Some time late season 3
Disclaimer: Not mine. They belong to the almighty Joss. I’m just playing in his sandpit. Sad, sad times. And neither is the Uxbridge English Dictionary. That belongs to the marvelous people at I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.
“How very dare you!” Giles snapped his book shut and dropped it onto the library table with a bang. “I’ll have you know that my command of the English language is beyond merely adequate.”
Wesley Wyndam-Price flinched at the outburst, immediately regretting his earlier remarks. Remarks regarding Mr. Giles, Americanisms and a somewhat thinly veiled inference as to the sexual proclivities of the man’s mother. The Ex-Watcher was a dangerous man, for all his affected airs and graces. And, whilst Wesley was somewhat confident he wouldn’t find himself dead in a ditch somewhere over a few petty remarks, he couldn’t rule out the possibility of some portion of his face making a rather intimate acquaintance with the man’s knuckles.
Thinking about it, he wasn’t quite sure what had possessed him to make such remarks in the first place. It was probably caffeine depravation, or the heat, or the interminable boredom of yet another unproductive evening spent in a high school library, he reflected. To date, the sum total of their research regarding the Ascension was sod all and that alone was enough to make anyone tetchy.
It wouldn’t do to push him too far, said the rational part of his brain. Wesley was quite fond of his face, especially when it remained in one piece. However, the rational part of his brain was quickly overruled when the Ex-Watcher reached over and snatched Wesley’s notebook from in front of him without so much as a ‘please’. Wesley’s temper flared at the blatant display of disrespect.
Oh, well, in for a penny…
“You could have fooled me,” Wesley said snidely, leaning back in his chair, pinning the Ex-Watcher with an icy glare.
Giles glared back, ramming his hands deep in his trouser pockets with an air of petulance.
“Oh please, my vocabulary is exceptionally extensive. In fact, I could beat you at any word game I like with my hands tied behind my back.”
Wesley snorted at the arrogant tone Giles’ reply had taken. “Metaphorical hands?”
“Metaphorical, physical, allegorical. Your choice.”
“Is that a challenge?” Wesley bristled. He rose to his feet, drawing himself up to his full height as stood toe to toe with the older man.
“If you’re foolish enough to accept it.”
“Fine,” said Wesley, his tone cold and unwavering.
“Fine,” came the equally cool reply.
“Lady’s choice,” said Giles with a smirk.
Wesley’s eyes narrowed. “Very droll. The terms?”
“The loser must organise and catalogue the newest shipment of books from the school board.”
“And the winner?”
“Gets the satisfaction of having won.”
Wesley stood silently for a moment, glaring at Giles over the top of his spectacles. A slow smile began to spread across his face, one Giles did not like the look of. Not one bit.
“Uxbridge,” said Wesley with a grin. “First to twenty.”
Surely the man had listened to I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. He practically exuded Radio 4, all stiff upper lip and sarcasm. But Wesley was quietly confident that he would be the victor. After all, he had a secret weapon: a sense of humour. Something it seemed, at least from his perspective, Mr. Giles lacked. He would wipe the floor with him, no question.
Giles nodded and offered his hand. Wesley took it, his grip tighter than was strictly proper, giving it a quick, perfunctory shake.
They’d been at it for twenty minutes, and Wesley was losing. Dismally.
He thumbed absent-mindedly through the large tome before him, thinking. It turned out that the Ex-Watcher was rather better at this game than he had anticipated.
He sighed, listening to the church bells chime the hour. It was 11pm. Two more hours and they could call it quits.
He blinked. Chimes. Clock.
“Lactic,” said Wesley, smartly. “A stopped clock.”
“Another for you. Well done, Wesley,” said Giles with just the slightest hint of sarcasm, adding another mark beneath Wesley’s name on the blackboard. “That brings your total to three against my seventeen.”
“Beginners luck,” sniffed Wesley.
“Ah,” said Giles, “Tally Ho: a loose woman who keeps count.”
“A little vulgar, don’t you think?”
“And yet, it still counts.”
Giles added another little line to the growing tally beneath his name. Eighteen. Two more and he’d win. Well, he damned if he was having that!
“Algebra,” said Wesley. “Ladies underwear made from kelp.”
Giles tutted. “Can’t allow that I’m afraid. Algae and kelp are not the same thing. Nil points.”
“Fine. Abattoir,” said Wesley with a smug grin. “A threesome in a monastery.”
“A what in a what?” piped up an all to familiar voice from behind them.
The pair turned, grins falling from their faces.
“Buffy!” yelped Wesley, “I, er, I thought you were supposed to be patrolling.”
“It’s pretty dead out there.” Buffy frowned. “No pun intended. What are you doing?”
“Mr. Giles and I are…” Wesley sighed. There was no way to phrase it without it sounding stupid. Siding with honesty being the best policy, he ploughed on ahead. “We’re settling an argument. With a game.”
“You’re playing a game?”
Wesley nodded. “Yes.”
“Seriously?” She turned to Giles, who merely shrugged. “The world is about to end and instead of helping, you two are playing a dumb game?”
“It’s not a dumb game,” said Giles. “It’s a fine English-language tradition, and I am winning. Speaking of which,” he turned to Welsey, waving a piece of chalk in his general direction. “Nineteen. Midwifery: part way through breaking wind.”
Wesley held back a snort. It wouldn’t do to laugh at something so base in front of the girl. He had a reputation to protect, thank you very much. He opened his mouth to make a suitably sarcastic reply when he was interrupted by Buffy.
“Wait, Giles?” she said, blinking in disbelief. “Did you just make a fart joke? What is wrong with you? No, wait, I don’t care. Just stop it right now.”
“Given that I am no longer your Watcher, Buffy, I don’t feel I have to justify my behaviour to you,” said Giles as he polished his spectacles on the corner of his shirt, “And as it happens, I did. A rather clever one, if I do say so myself.”
Wesley did snort then, earning an icy glare from the elder man.
“I take it you disagree, Wesley?” Giles said sharply.
“Obviously,” he replied, a snide look on his face. “There is never anything clever about breaking wind.”
“Oh, I don’t know about th–”
“Children, please!” snapped Buffy, slamming a hand on the library desk. “As hilarious as the pair of you seem to think you are, need I remind you that we actually have work to do? You know, Watcher/Slayer, save the world, vanquish evil type work?”
The pair of them at least had the grace to look sheepish.
“So,” said Buffy, folding her arms, “have you guys found anything?”
“Not as yet,” replied Giles smoothly, pushing his notepad towards her. “Just a few mentions of meteors and other space-related phenomena.”
“So nothing, then?”
“Wait,” said Giles, holding up a hand. “I think I have something.”
“Asterisk,” he said, a large grin spreading over his face. “The chance of being hit by an asteroid.”
That made twenty. Giles had won. Wesley dropped his head to the table with a loud groan. It was going to be a very long night.
He waited for the inevitable crowing, for Giles to rub his face in it. But it didn’t come. Instead, there was a loud thunk followed by a pained ‘ow’ and the sound of a heavy book, a book thrown by one angry Slayer, hitting the floor.
Wesley thought it sounded rather like comeuppance.