"All right, gentlemen." They were cleaning the keep's kitchen after breakfast when Chaucer finally broached the topic that had been on everyone's minds. "We have less than a month until the wedding of our dear lord and friend, and he is going to need a best man. Now, I've thought this over very thoroughly and come to the conclusion that the logical course of action is for it to be - "
"Me." Wat declared, as if there was no other choice.
"Why the hell do you think it should be you? I've known him the longest!" Roland declared, puffing out his chest.
Chaucer raised one pale eyebrow. "Well, I daresay he wouldn't have gotten very far had it not been for a certain silver-tongued herald. I practically made him what he is today."
Wat shot him a glare. "You. You made him what he is today? Where the bloody hell were you when we were pulling his ass along in a cart teaching him to joust 'cause we only had one horse?"
"While I'm certain you made a very good mule, Master Fowelhurst, but - "
"I WILL FONG YOU!"
“Hmm, yes, quite. You keep threatening that,” Chaucer mused.
“None of this changes the fact,” Roland interjected, “that I’ve known Will since he looked like a little curly-haired blond girl, and let us not forget, basically, he likes me most.”
"Says you," Wat shot back, frowning. “Just the other day, he let me eat his treacle tart.”
“That’s because he’s watching his girlish figure for the wedding, ain’t he?”
“Pain...” Wat mumbled, flaring his nostrils.
"Gentlemen," Chaucer started with a sigh, "While I am certain that Master Will greatly values your long history together and your friendship, the fact remains that being the groom's best man requires a certain level of comportment that both of you are dearly lacking in. Bluntly put: it is simply out of the scope of your abilities.”
“Fonging! With... teeth.”
"All right," Roland started with a sigh. "We're clearly not going to come to any kind of agreement, so we'll have settle this the old fashioned way."
Kate had remained silent up until this point, munching an apple at the kitchen table. "You idiots could just ask him what he wants, you know."
“Why on earth would we do that, woman?!” Wat exclaimed with genuine bewilderment.
"This isn't about him," Roland agreed.
“Indeed, this has nothing to do with him,” Chaucer confirmed. “This is about my needs to be recognized for the contributions I’ve made to his life, and society in general.”
“Hear, hear,” Wat nodded, then added, “Wait? What?”
"We need to settle this like men," Roland started again.
"Right," Wat agreed, and started rolling up his sleeves.
"We are not brawling over this!" from Chaucer's expression they might as well have suggested kicking small animals for fun and profit.
Wat snorted. "You have a better way then, do you?"
Chaucer paced the room for a few moments in thought, at last, raising one slender finger aloft, he pronounced, “Loathe though I am to knock heads with you, I propose we settle this by a fair contest. Now, there are three of us, each one with different strengths, and therefore it is only fair that each propose a contest of our choosing, benefiting their own strength. We shall then draw straws to see which one of us will be more favored by fortune in naming his own terms.” He stopped and glanced about the room. “Am I being followed?”
“Followed by a fonging,” Wat mumbled.
“Come, gentlemen! Propose a contest of your choosing! I shall start, and fair Kate will be the judge. For myself, I choose poetry.” He smirked.
“Unfair!” Roland protested.
“I’ll give you such poetry, you won’t be able to sit down for a fortnight!” Wat added.
"I'm sure you would," Chaucer replied with a smirk. "Roland, name your poison."
Roland leaned back against the wall and folded his arms across his chest while thinking. "Pies," he said finally. "Meat pies. Whoever bakes the pie that Will likes best is clearly the best choice to be his best man."
"You know bloody well Will loves your pies," Wat grumbled.
"Well, what's your choice, then?"
“Let me guess, wait!” Chaucer interrupted. “A fonging contest!”
“I’ll have your face fonged, I will!”
“There will be no fonging in the kitchen,” Kate interfered again. “Please, Wat, do be a dear and chose something more civilized.”
“Fine!” Wat searched his mind, rather angrily, casting disdainful looks towards his comrades. “Tansy cakes!”
“You cannot make tansy cakes!” Roland pointed out. “You might as well forfeit!”
“Nay, you fool! But you know as well as I do that I love nothing more in the world, present company most definitely included, than I love my tansy cakes. I choose a tansy cake eating contest! Ha HA!”
After a long moment of silence, Roland straightened. "Well, there you have it, then. Time to draw straws. Kate, if you would do the honors?"
"You're all bloody daft," Kate replied, but stepped outside, returning a few minutes later with three pieces of straw in her fist. "Whoever draws the shortest one chooses the contest, and I'm only doing this once, you hear?" She held out her arm towards Chaucer first, “Go on, then!”
“Oh, bollocks!” the poet declared, pulling a straw which looked to be a losing contender.
“Now you,” Kate faced towards Wat, who made a big show of making a graceful bow towards her, prior to choosing his lot.
“Aha! I win! I always win, don’t I, dear Kate?”
“Indeed, you would be the man with the shortest straw,” Chaucer sneered. “If all victory relied on the shortness of your straw, you would be King of the World.”
"Why you - "
"No fonging in the kitchen!" Kate snapped again, throwing an arm out and nearly clotheslining Wat as he rushed at Chaucer.
"Tansy cakes it is, then," Roland declared, ignoring Wat's sputtering. "And lets get on with it, right? I don't have all afternoon."
While it did end up taking all afternoon to procure enough of a quantity of tansy cakes from the local tavern to satisfy even Wat's demands, they finally had all the tools for their match, each small cake topped with a neatly measured dollop of peppermint cream. They were divided evenly into three piles, carefully counted and verified twice by each contestant, at Wat's insistence.
Kate sat across the table from them. "Right then. Whoever finishes their lot first - wins, assuming they keep it down for at least five minutes afterwards.”
“Wait,” Chaucer held up his hand, and then quickly disposed of his tunic and shirt.
“What on earth?” Roland asked. Wat just gaped with a slackened jaw and hollow eyes.
“Whyyyyyyyyy youuuuu.... I say, no distractions! That’s bloody cheating!” Wat shouted.
“I’m merely making more room. Contain yourself and your distractions!”
“Bloody hell, at least keep your pants on!” Roland begged. Wat snarled next to him.
"I can concede to the need to protect myself from your savagery," Chaucer agreed, sitting back down at the table.
"Right then," Kate said with a sigh, holding up her hand. "As soon as I hit the table, you may begin. One, two...."
With a bang, the three began shoveling the small cakes into their mouths. Wat was certain he had this down to an art, stuffing three cakes in his mouth at once and chewing each cake exactly three times before swallowing. Still, he couldn't help but keep tabs on Chaucer out of the corner of his eye. He was certain the gangly weasel must have something up his sleeve, sleeveless though he was, possibly an extra mouth. Why else would he be half naked?
The cakes in front of him quickly began to diminish, and he was gratified to see that Chaucer still had far more left than him. But just as he was about to reach for his last two cakes, Kate's fist banged down on the table. "And we have a winner!"
"WHAT?" Wat tried to say, although with his mouth still full of tansy cakes it came out closer to "WHUFF?"
Roland leaned back on the bench with an all too smug grin on his face, swallowing his last cake and licking a crumb off his fingers. "That was delicious."
"Why you - " Roland had to keep from upchucking for at least five minutes, and Wat was sure could definitely do something about that.
"If you fong him then you forfeit the competition," Chaucer pointed out quickly, catching Wat's arm to keep him from lunging at Roland. "Mind you, I'd win in that case. Which would you prefer?"
After a long and arduous internal struggle, Wat came to the conclusion that the only thing worse than Roland winning would be if Chaucer won. "Fine," he muttered, sitting back down on the bench, and sadly mouthing the remaining tansy cakes with a woeful sigh. Roland punctuated his victory with a grandiose belch.
“The best man has clearly won,” he complacently petted his tumescent stomach. “Now, when I can move again, I’ll go tell Will of his good fortune.”
In the end they all insisted on going to tell Will, and Chaucer took over most of it, spinning the whole situation into an intricate tale of valour that ended in Roland's victory. Throughout all of it, the furrow between Will's eyebrows grew deeper and his expression more consternated.
"Well," he said finally, "I suppose if you've decided amongst yourselves in a manner that you've concluded is fair, then... I will honor the outcome of your competition."
"Bloody right you will," Roland replied, belching again. "I won't be able to eat another tansy cake for at least a year thanks to this."
Wat wiped away a furtive tear at this. It was unclear whether he lamented being bested by Roland, or just the general thought of someone not eating tansy cakes for year.
As the three men and Kate turned to leave the room, Will suddenly called them back.
“Just a minute there, good sirs! Roland, now that you’re my best man, where do you think you’re going? You must stay here with me, help me figure out my costume for the wedding, help me trim my horse, find my Lady a wedding gift, and last but not least, plan my bachelor party, obviously!”
Wat found himself suddenly, strangely glad that he hadn't won after all, though Roland seemed all too happy with the list of tasks. “Trim his horse!” he snorted and eyed Chaucer. “And you took your shirt off for that!”
"I took off my shirt," Chaucer agreed, with a strange little smile playing about his lips.
“Can I eat your last tansy cakes then?”
Chaucer regarded him for a moment, still smiling that strange little smile. "I will let you, on one condition."
Wat's eyes narrowed slightly. "I'm not writing any bloody poetry."
"I should certainly hope not," Chaucer replied with a soft laugh. Wat followed as Chaucer returned to the kitchen, grabbing a platter and moving the remaining tansy cakes onto it.
"Well? What's your bloody condition?"
"That I provide the cream, of course," Chaucer said simply, turning and heading towards the living quarters and leaving Wat no choice but to follow the disappearing platter of delicious delights.
Now, dear reader, a choice is in front of you. Should this fic remain a simple piece of friendship and humor, its innocence intact? If this is your will, then read no further.
If, however, you wish to experience Wat and Chaucer consoling each other in all sorts of delightfully nasty explicit ways that may or may not involve humorus euphamisms, then, by all means: READ ON!