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Wesley hated his cell phone for two reasons. One: it was large and bulky and he could not figure out how to work it. And two: Whenever it rang he knew he was about to hear something unpleasant come out of his father’s mouth. Especially when it was the wee hours of the morning and Wes had been hoping to sleep in, but of course it was late morning in England and that was all his father cared to think about.“Hello, Father,” he said dully. 

And, okay, he always tried to be a good son and all that, but he was privately amused by how remarkably predictable his father could be. Roger Wyndam-Pryce was not the sort to bother with small talk or asking how Wesley was doing unless his intent was to criticize in some way. It turned out that today was not one of those days.

“Wesley. Your mother wants you home for her birthday.”

Abrupt and to the point, and unabashedly upholding the well-known fact that it was never Wes’ father who wanted him home – just his mother. Whose birthday was in three weeks.

“I see,” said Wesley, waiting for some kind of qualifier, like he can’t go because his grades aren’t good enough or he wasn’t polite enough when he answered the phone.

“There’ll be a portal set up for you tomorrow at one o’clock, boy. Do your best not to miss it the way you did several years ago, as they’re really quite expensive to create.”

Those “several” years were actually eleven, when Wesley missed the portal to an alternate dimension his class was studying at the Watchers’ Academy. He had been five at the time, and yes, his father had to pay for a new portal to be created.

“I’ll be sure to catch it, Father,” he said dully.

“See that you do.” And Wesley was about to end the conversation when his father added, “Oh, and boy? I was informed that you hit the shoulder of a target in your marksmanship course last week. Next time, I’d advise that you aim more carefully in order to secure a fatal wound.”

Wesley took care to say his goodbyes pretty quickly after that. After hanging up, he slumped on his bed, completely annoyed. Three weeks at home was not something he was looking forward to at all. Because while he’d been doing quite well in his marksmanship class and had managed to at least tolerate his self-defense class, his father would obviously find something about his performance at Fandom worth extensive criticism. Plus there was that whole thing where it hadn’t been that long ago that he’d completely embarrassed the Watchers’ Council and allowed his charge to try to help a giant snake destroy the world. That was always worth criticizing.

He started packing his stuff, enjoying how much lighter his luggage was after he’d unloaded a dozen books on Tara the previous night. Which meant that he’d have less to do while hiding away in his suite at home, but at least he wouldn’t have to fall over when carrying his things to the portal. Probably. Not.

[establishy for a three-week AFK, but cabinmates or visitors or whoever are free to overhear the call or see Wes fall over with his bags if you want.]
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February 2015

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