You Can't Win 'Em All

Category: General / Humour

Rating: General

DISCLAIMER: This is fanfic. Joss own. Me not. Me wish I did.

Thanks to Jon for the beta test.

YOU CAN'T WIN 'EM ALL

The top of Wesley's forehead met the thick wooden table with an audible thunk. He stayed there for a second, unmoving. Still sitting in his seat. What had he done?

Impetuous, that was his trouble. Impetuous, impulsive fool. His father's words came back to him. Think! Before! Reacting! the old man had said, and he'd hammered home the point often enough. A familiar feeling swept over Wes. Crisis of confidence, here we come! He should have thought before dragging everyone into this. He should have prepared, he should have tried to arm himself with knowledge, he should not have been impulsive! Look where it had got him! Again!

Oh God, there was the voice again. He was the only one who could answer the questions it kept firing. The voice was loud and harsh, deep and piercing. It cut straight through him as he sat with his head on the table. It felt as though it had been shouting for hours. Make it stop . . . .

He looked up. Angel and Cordelia were looking at him with something approaching pity. He felt terrible. He'd only suggested they come out for an evening's R&R, a single, solitary night not spent fighting demons and lawyers,and look where they'd ended up. His choice, his wrong choice. They were trapped. No way out, no means of escape. The table was covered with goodness-only-knew-what. His forehead was resting in a small pool. He blanked that one out completely. He didn't want to know what his head was lying in. He had a horrible feeling that some of it was his.

"Wes. . . . "

It was Cordy's voice. Wes didn't look up. How could he? Angel and Cordelia had seen him here, reduced to this, and it was his fault! He'd started it! He was the one who'd bitten more off than he could chew. Two wrong choices - and didn't he see what those should have been now - and they were here.

He risked a look after a few seconds. They were staring at him, upset. He could see Angel's face better than Cordy's. His large brown eyes were sorrowful. They would be! Wes mentally shouted, I'm the one who's supposed to know these things! I'm the one being questioned! For a second he almost risked speaking to Angel, but the last time he'd tried that, the voice hadn't been happy. And anyway, he knew Angel just didn't have the knowledge he needed. He was the specialist, after all.

Cordelia's eyes were kindly and he was grateful for it. She didn't blame him for what had happened. He didn't know if they were likely to get out but she didn't blame him! That was sweet. Misguided, but sweet.

"Time's up, investigator. I need an answer."

God help him, he couldn't give one. All the preparation, and he'd been caught out by a simple mistake! A mistake anyone could have made! But of course, said a litle voice in his head, not anyone made the mistake. The mistake was made by you, and you alone. And here you are. All alone.

"Eight." he murmured. "I don't know. Please."

He straightened up, took a quick breath, reassembled the shreds of his dignity, and faced his inquistor.

"I think there were eight."

"Unlucky."

said the voice.

Wes shut hs eyes and felt the walls start to close in through the heat. Well, that was it. He was spent. He didn't have any more to give. What happened now, happened.

"I was after 'Two'. That's an unlucky choice of individual bonus round for The Investigators there. You scored one point on 'England'."

Wesley sighed and wiped the beer from his forehead.

"The next team in the Lucky Pint Quiz, that's The Ex-Pats, have chosen to answer questions on 'Science'. Give them a big hand!"

FIN