The young man rushed down the hallway, careless of all else around him. He had just received his books for the semester and was studying them intently while rushing off to get to class. For his carelessness he was rewarded with a sudden jolt and the dropping of his precious books as he felt himself run into someone.
"Oh! I'm dreadfully sorry," he said, eyes only on his books as he bent to pick them up.
"No, the fault is at least partially mine. No reason to take all the blame." The other man joined him and reached for a couple of books which had slid across the floor.
The young man, having gathered the books near him, looked up at this other man. He watched him reach down, pick up the two books, and turn around. He, too, must have been fascinated by the books because he didn't look up from them as he walked over to the young man, though in reality they appeared the same age. The only thing that gave this man a superior look in age was his height.
The tall man's eyebrows knitted together, his small mouth posed in a frown. He looked up and offered the wild-haired young man the books. "A Guide to Political Adherence and The Botanist's Journal," he mused. The young man took the proffered books. "Not a pair you usually see together." He smiled.
"Botany isn't my main field of study. It's just a hobby of mine. My real interest is in politics, hence all the political books." He indicated the large load of books he held in his arms.
"Ah, so is mine! Although my hobbies tend to revolve around the cards and a good glass of Brandy."
"Nothing wrong with those. I'm partial to a game and a glass now and then. I don't suppose you're much of a singer?"
"Oh, good heavens, no. I would empty the room if I were to do any of that. But I take it you are since you asked?"
"Yes. My favorite part of church was the singing."
"Well I guess we're allowed our differences. What classes are you taking this semester?"
"Botany, Political Ideology, and Advanced Theories of Political Troubles Abroad. I'm just heading to Professor Fox's Ideology class now."
"Then we can walk together. I'm heading there now myself."
"Ah." The young man shouldered his books to one arm and extended his free arm to the tall man. "I'm William Wilberforce."
The man shook the extended hand. "William Pitt." They shook and laughed slightly, starting to walk to class.
"A good first name," Wilberforce said.
"Yes, I quite like it, I must agree," Pitt replied. This made them laugh again. Then Wilber stopped.
"Hang on. You're the son of the former Prime Minister, aren't you? William Pitt the Younger?"
"Yes, that's right."
"So you're my age and you've already been here for two years?" He already knew this but felt the need to ask for confirmation. "You're a prodigy. It's a pleasure to meet you." He fumbled with one of his books as he tried to shake Pitt's hand again. Pitt stopped him and took some of the books from his arms.
"Thank you," Wilberforce said, sighing as the weight was relieved from his arms.
"You're most welcome," Pitt grunted under the newly-added weight of the books. "You know, people usually carry their books in a satchel to avoid this type of situation." He indicated his own full book-bag.
"I know. I'm very impatient sometimes. I just got these books and couldn't wait to read them."
"Even while walking. A notable quality."
"Well obviously I'm not quite adept at it."
"Here. Pass me the rest of your books so we can put them in your bag."
Wilberforce smiled. "Now why didn't I think of that?"
Pitt smiled as well. "Well you did say I was smart." This made them laugh again. Wilberforce proceeded to pass his books to William Pitt and opened his pack. Pitt then gratefully placed the books into the bag.
"Ahh," Wilberforce sighed. "That's better. Thank you William." Again the started walking.
"Now, we can't go on calling each other 'William' all the time or else people who don't know any better will think we were talking to ourselves for no apparent reason. Do you have any other name you go by? I know in these cases people usually go by their last name but I can't go around calling myself 'Pitt' all the time. It sounds like I'm an unwanted part of a fruit."
"I agree. And Wilberforce is such a mouthful. It wouldn't be fair. But I can't say I've been known by another name." He shrugged. "My family occasionally calls me 'Billy' but not since I was young. But I'm guessing that maybe you use that name given the commonality of it?"
"Quite right. Although I too have not been called that for a number of years, but I actually quite like it."
"Well I would hate to deprive you of that so I'll think of a name for myself, as long as it isn't 'Will'. I've never been fond of that name."
"I'm sorry?" He looked at the man who walked beside him.
"Wilber. A shortening of your last name. What do you think?"
Wilberforce thought about it for a moment. "Yes. I rather like it." He turned to the other William. "Thank you Billy."
"My pleasure Wilber."
They both smiled.
"Ah! Here we are." Billy opened the door to their class and they both walked in. As they took their seats near the front of the lecture hall, getting their books out for the class, Billy turned to Wilber. "You know Wilber, I think we might just get along, you and I."
Wilber turned to his new friend. "I think you might be right."