Author:  Meltha

Rating:  G, nothing objectionable

Feedback:  Yes, thank you. Melpomenethalia@aol.com

Spoilers:  Season three of Buffy interspersed with undercurrents from Angel seasons 2 and 3.

Distribution: Fanfiction.net and the Bunny Warren.  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  A young Wesley contemplates what his life will hold.

Author's Note:  The fifth in the Jewel Box series, a collection of 500 word fics (in response to The 500 Club) and an idea taken from Challenge in a Can www.dymphna.challenge.com.  In this case, it's Wesley, jewelry, and determined. 

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Duty

Wesley's gold cufflinks clinked into the change tray on his dresser.  They glinted at him coldly, each bearing the initials WWP in sharp script.

Today had been his final day at the Watcher's Academy, and in celebration of his completed schooling, his parents had taken him to an expensive, highly stuffy restaurant.  Perhaps it would be better to say his mother had timidly suggested marking the occasion and his father had gruffly complied, making reservations without asking him where he wanted to dine.  It was only his way, the young man told himself, trying not to feel looked over.

In truth, Wesley would have preferred a pub or rowdy eating-house to the pretentious upper-crust establishment.  All night he was reminded of what his life must become in service to the Council: conformity and blandness.  After the raspberry flan, ordered by his father though his son detested raspberries, his mother had opened her evening bag and nervously taken out the box.  Wesley could tell she hadn't asked his father's permission in the matter of a present, and he was touched she would venture so far outside of propriety.  A genuine smile, one of few he had ever allowed himself, crept to his eyes.

"Thank you, Mother," he said politely as he lifted the lid and saw the cufflinks.  "I'm sure I shall find use for them."

His father had glanced at the present warily, his eyes squinting to read the letters.

"I hope you will prove worthy of the name those initials signify," he spoke in his clipped voice.  "At your age, your Uncle Theodore had been a Watcher for over a year and dealt with three Slayers.  I myself graduated six months earlier than you, and with significantly higher marks."

"Father, I was at the top of my class," Wesley said softly.         

"A poor class it must have been.  You'd do well to remember the family honor now rests upon you, and I trust you will rise quickly through the ranks to make up for your deficiencies of late."

Although Wesley wanted to scream, he found himself, as he always did around the imposing man, wilting.  "The motorbike was an expedient way to get to class.  It was cheaper than an automobile, and it was much easier to find parking space."

"And utterly, completely undignified.  Selling it was the only way you would be taken seriously.  Life is not an opportunity to make a spectacle of oneself; it is hard work, and the rigors of your calling should be your only thought."

"Yes, Father," he replied woodenly.

Those two gold circles on his dresser stared at him, mocking him with an existence made up of dress shirts and tweed, reports and rules.  Sighing, he reminded himself he had no choice in the matter.  Determinedly thinning his lips, he vowed he would show his father how wrong he was.  He was capable of succeeding.  Committed to this idea, he drifted asleep, grateful Sunnydale was thousands of miles away from England.