Disclaimer: Yeesh! If I owned them I wouldn’t be writing fanfic, now would I?
Summary: The Scooby gang goes back in time. It’s a story trapped in an AU post S2 world.
Notes: I finally finished this! I’ve been having writer’s block on this for years and now it’s done! And now it will stop mocking me. It used to sit there and laugh because it was so far out of date that it made no sense to even continue writing it. It would go, “Neener neener neener!” at me. Really. Anyhow, this will never be revised, never be fixed, and I don’t care because it’s stopped with the mocking laughter.
Notes 2: Oh yeah, forgive my lack of knowledge of Irish history, my (hem hem) accents, and just about everything that is wholly innaccurate in the story. Of course I realy don’t care anymore, but I’m posting it for the satisfaction of doing so.
Feedback: Comments, complaints, questions, harassment? My e-mail is scwlc
“Well? Does it make me look fat?”
Angel looked at his girlfriend and smiled. She looked absolutely stunning in the dress, and he was having thoughts he shouldn’t have about her. At least, not in public. She looked at him, the long skirt swirling around her ankles, her gorgeous bust spilling over the top of the bodice, and the elegant embroidery on the old fashioned dress making all the varying shades of green to brown in her hazel eyes stand out.
“You look beautiful. I wish I could have had you on my arm at my birthday two hundred and fifty years ago.” Angel responded before she pinned him to the wall of the history fair’s dressing room and demanded an answer. Buffy’s expression immediately softened.
“That is so sweet. Except the two hundred and fifty part. So, you think I should buy it?” Buffy smiled at her boyfriend. He was just so absolutely wonderful. Handsome, sexy, intelligent, interesting, sweet, romantic, a good dresser (for a guy), he knew who and what she was, and she never had to worry about him in the middle of a fight. In fact he generally looked really hot when he was kicking butt.
*And speaking of butt kicking,* “Willow! Come on! You cannot possibly look terrible in that thing!” Buffy was slightly annoyed with her friend. They had dragged the guys over here so that the girls could try on the pseudo-medieval to nineteenth century clothing being sold at the history fair. Even Ms. Calendar was trying on dresses, and Giles was doing the stuffy old English guy equivalent of drooling with his tongue spread all over the floor. Cordelia and Xander had vanished into a local utility closet, and Buffy was wondering if it might become necessary to drag the couple out. Willow had only tried on one dress, and had yet to come out to show anyone.
“Yes I can. Anyway, this dress is making my chest too big . . . and . . . I . . . The collar . . . is . . . low.” The other girl stammered through the curtain.
Buffy smiled craftily “Oz is doing a strip show Will. Might want to come out. You wouldn’t want to miss it!” Buffy smiled at Oz who had looked puzzled, then had nodded his understanding as Willow shot through the curtain covering her dressing room and looked around wildly.
“What? Where? Oz?” Willow looked like a cross between panicked and insanely pleased. She also looked downright gorgeous to judge from the fact that Oz’s lower jaw had nearly hit the floor, and Angel was even giving her appreciative looks. “Buffy you--how could you . . . I . . . uh . . . “ Willow trailed of from her tirade of indignation as she realized she was being stared at. By guys. She started to try to cover up her now prominent bust by crossing her arms, and looked extremely nervous.
“Willow, you look so . . . every time I think I’ve seen you at your most gorgeous you one up yourself.” Oz looked as if he had just hit cloud nine and was continuing on up.
"Whoa, Willow, you look absolutely . . . ” Xander began. He was cut off by the look Cordelia gave him and continued with “But of course you four ladies look really stunning, especially Cordy.”
“Nice try Xand, better luck at a save next time.” Buffy said compassionately as Willow and Cordelia began a joint attack on Xander.
Things abruptly went wild as the room slewed sideways and everyone hit the floor in a tangle of skirts, arms, legs, and bodies. A shriek rang out, followed by a cacophony of voices.
“Buffy!” Angel’s hands found a female form near him in the suddenly dark tent and grabbed hold, the skirt nearly making him lose his grip.
“Oz? Giles? Buffy?” Willow reached out and came in contact with the distinctive tweed of Giles’ coat and hung on, followed seconds later by a somewhat worried Oz.
“Willow, honey, you okay?”
“Guys! What the hell is going on! Wha-” Xander broke off as, in the dark, he was grabbed by Ms. Calendar. “Who are you?”
“It’s me, Xander, Ms. Calendar.”
The room tilted upside down and everyone was falling still hanging on to each other. Then everything was black.
Angel woke up suddenly. It was very dark, and the dampness around told him he wasn’t indoors. In the faint light he could make out some irregular shapes around him. As his eyes adjusted he realized he was in a cave. He also realized there was someone else there with him.
Someone in a dress.
If his heart still beat it would have been pounding in fear as Angel moved towards the too-still figure lying on the floor of the cave. Suddenly the person moved and slowly sat up pushing dark hair out of her face. She began to take in her surroundings with rapidly growing panic.
“Omigod, Xander? Buffy? If this is some kind of joke you are all so socially washed up!” Cordelia’s voice began to rise in pitch “I can’t see in here! Guys, I know you’ve got to be able to see being used to crawling around in the dark all the time now-”
“Cordelia, none of the others are here. It’s only the two of us.” Angel tried to get the hysterical girl to calm down somewhat.
“Angel? Is that you? How do I know it’s you?”
“When I ‘rescued’ you from that arm back in September last year you were hiding in a dumpster behind the school.”
“Okay, I believe you. Do you have any idea where we are?” She began to calm down slightly, as she took in their surroundings “Besides in a cave?”
"I don't know, but I would like to ask you to do something.” Angel responded, unsure of how to phrase his request. “Could you look around a bit towards that light there?”
Cordelia immediately freaked, “What? You expect me to just go and wander into some light that you don’t even know what it is while you wait here? I thought you were actually brave, unlike Xander!”
“Look, what if that leads outside of the cave, and it’s day, then I would wind up a pile of ashes, and you wouldn’t be able to complain about me, so just try it, okay?”
“Buffy? Willow? You guys here?” Xander sat up. He was in an alley somewhere, and everything stank. He also realised after a moment that the floor was dirt, and the buildings around him looked old. Not old like they’d been around for a hundred years, but old as in they had been built a hundred years ago. He slowly stood up and saw Ms. Calender sitting up and holding her head.
“Xander, what happened?” She said as he gave her a hand up.
“I wish I knew. One minute you gals are trying on dresses, the next everything goes wonky and we wind up here. I didn’t wake up any sooner than you did either.” The two looked around for a couple of seconds, then someone walked into the alley.
“Excuse me Sir, Miss, but what is a couple like yourselves doin’ in place like this?” He was dressed as though he had just stepped out of one of Xander’s history textbooks. “And what is it that you’re wearin’ Sir, you both look as if you’ve been sittin’ in the mud.”
Ms. Calender stepped in to the rescue “Oh, it was terrible! We were attacked, and there were all these men and my brother here, he is brave, but fighting is simply not his strong point. They took almost all of our money and bags. You see, we are travelling, and we were to meet some friends of ours here before we continued on our way.” She gave a pathetic smile to the man and he led the two of them on to the main street, where he gave them directions to a nearby inn.
“. . . Then you pass the church and it should be right there at the end of the road. The Happy Fool, best inn in Belfast. That church is a wonderful building, took us five years to build. We started in 1747 and we just finished this year. Father McCaffery said it was a sign that God is pleased that we finished so fast.” The man smiled, “Good luck on your way.”
Buffy staggered to her feet and looked around for any sign of the fair or the others and saw only trees, trees, and more trees. As she glanced about she saw a road nearby and began to walk along it reasoning a road would take her to someplace there were people and then she could get help.
Giles, Willow, and Oz organised themselves and started to walk past the mud hutches that were all around them. As they walked by, they were solicited by several of the people there who very obviously peasants.
“Giles, where are we?” Willow asked hesitantly. She was not feeling particularly comfortable with the way these people were staring at her. It was a peculiar combination of dislike, confusion, and hope.
“I wish I knew. I suppose we could ask one of these people.” Giles responded.
“I guess, but do you see the way they’re looking at us? It’s as if we were some kind of overlords.” Willow said.
They turned onto another street then, more huts, and then Willow saw a man in a brown robe with a cross hanging at his side, step out of a larger building at the end of the street.
Oz spoke up unexpectedly, “Why don’t we ask him?” He said, pointing at the man in brown. “He is, after all, a monk or something.”
“Ooo! Isn’t he smart? You’re so smart!” Willow squealed as her usual overenthusiasm for anything Oz-related came to the fore. They followed the man down the street until they reached another non-hut building and followed him in.
Angel finally talked Cordelia into sneaking to the front of the cave and taking a peek out. When she came back he demanded, “So, what was out there?”
“Well it looks like the history fair went way overboard. There were all these funky buildings, and everyone was speaking weirdly. Y’know, kinda like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, like a Scottish-”
“Cordelia, the leprechaun is Irish, and Scottish and Irish are very different accents, “ Angel broke in, unable to listen to somebody mauling his culture by comparing it to a cereal ad.
“Well there were all these women dressed in dresses with these tight little tops and gigantic skirts, and the guys were all wearing these funky shorts and stuff, it was way freaky, I mean haven’t they heard that those went out in the sixties and haven’t come back?” Angel stared as for about five minutes Cordelia critiqued the clothes people were wearing and gave him an accurate picture of the town, it’s layout, and the fact that she hadn’t seen any of the others around. From the sound of it they had been shot back in time, and it seemed entirely likely that they were in Belfast in the late 1700’s. Angel had spent a fair amount of time there before he and Darla had finally really started to travel. Of course he would have to wait until nightfall to be sure.
Buffy walked for a couple of hours along the road figuring that she would at some point get somewhere. Roads lead to places, and at the moment places, although unspecified, seemed to be an improvement over no place. As Buffy trudged along she took in the beautiful scenery which had changed from woods to plains fairly rapidly.
From behind her, all of a sudden, there was the sound of hooves on a dirt road and Buffy turned around and saw a man on horseback rapidly moving towards her. When the young man reached her he pulled up his horse and asked “So what’s a pretty thing like yourself doin’ out in place like this?” He was dressed in clothing from the late 18th century, and Buffy thanked her lucky stars that she had had to do all those projects for school, and that Angel had the patience to tell her all about his youth. Not to mention her stint as an 18th century noblewoman. It allowed her to be able to tell the approximate period of his clothing as well as a whole bunch of other things.
“Well,” she began, rapidly formulating a story that seemed somewhat feasible, “I was going to meet someone, and I was attacked and they took me here. I’m somewhat lost. I don’t suppose you could help me?” Buffy gave him her big puppy-dog eyed look that usually got her whatever she wanted from her father, Giles, Angel, and Xander.
He stared at her. “I know there are some progressive types about, and it is the year 1752, but a lass like yourself? Travellin’ alone on a dangerous highway like this? Who’s your father?” He seemed somewhat shocked at her tale, but Buffy was prepared and made the save.
“You see,” she said, drawing on buried memories of proper ladylike behaviour, “I was to meet my husband. He had gone ahead to get our room and board arranged by the time I got to town, and when he left I and my servants were set upon by thieves and the guardsmen with me turned out to have been in league with those horrid thieves.” Buffy gave a sob of distress for effect, “The servants all left and I was alone out here and had no choice but to walk. I am not even quite sure where I am, having merely followed the road. I . . .” Buffy broke down in tears to try to avoid having any more discussions until she had a better idea of what was going on and where the others were.
“There now, ma’am,” the man said trying to get her to stop crying, “I’ll take you home with me, and you can send for your husband from my house in Belfast. It’ll be fine. You’ll see. My name’s Daniel Monaghan, what’s yours?”
“B- Elizabeth Summers.”
Giles, Willow, and Oz made their way into the building and were confronted with a bunch of monks, all of whom looked fairly startled by their visitors. “May I help you sir?” the monk they had been following asked them.
“Actually, yes,” replied the watcher, “I was wondering if you could tell us where we are. We seem to have gotten lost, and, to be honest, somewhat lost track of the date as well.” Giles hoped that he wouldn’t have to answer too many questions, and was already formulating various excuses and stories to cover any question that might be asked.
“Well, as to where y’are, that’s in the poor quarter o’ Belfast, and the date is July 28, the year of our Lord 1752.” The man looked around the small group and asked the question the three dreaded. “So how is’t that gentlefolks such as yourselves would come ta be here wi’ no knowledge o’ how?”
Xander and Ms Calender made their way through the town to the inn, registered, and hurried up the stairs before anyone could ask any questions they couldn’t handle. Once safely ensconced in the two rooms connected by a door they settled down to talk.
“The first thing we need to do is figure out how we got here.” Ms Calender stated, “Once we’ve got that we should be able to figure out if any of the others got dragged here too, and how we’re going to make it home.” Not that she looked very hopeful about the prospect of doing any of it.
Xander took a deep breath and decided to be calm and rational, “How the hell are we supposed to do any of that!? I don’t know about you, but all I remember is the floor tilting and then waking up in an alleyway!” He started to pace, rapidly muttering about computer teachers who had no clue as to what they were talking about.
“Xander, I just meant we need to think about this rationally.” she said, irritated, “For example, do you remember anything the could have been an accidental invocation of a talisman? Strange people hanging around the changing tent? Visiting a fortune -teller or something? My point is that we should try to see if we do know anything about the situation aside from ‘Belfast 1752’.”
Angel sighed as Cordelia demanded for the thousandth time why he wasn’t letting her go into the town. He had, at that point also decided to give up on being tactful, “Cordelia, if you go down there acting the way you do normally you’ll get hauled off somewhere for indecent behaviour, possibly even prostitution, as it stands I’m going to have to pass you off as a spoiled brat of a younger sister who never learnt proper behaviour.”
“What is wrong with how I act!?” She demanded and Angel was barely able to refrain from responding ‘Where to begin?’.
“You act fine for a girl born and bred in the late twentieth century. For a girl of the late eighteenth, you’re rude, loud, obnoxious, difficult, and you don’t know your place. Not to mention that for a girl of the station you appear to be of, you are woefully undereducated.”
The cheerleader was, naturally incensed at this, “Undereducated!” she demanded, “I’m in my last year of high school, how much more education should I have?!”
Angel sighed again and started to list off the things he could think of off the top of his head, “You don’t know anything about embroidery, sewing, or mending, the differences in how to address a Lord as opposed to a simple landowner, you have no knowledge of Latin, Greek, or any of the classics of literature, you don’t know how to properly seat guests according to rank, gender and class, a hundred little details that I don’t know because I’m a man and had a very different education from a woman’s, not to mention that if it’s the time of year I suspect it is, the season will have started and I’ll bet you don’t know what that is never mind how to respond to questions about it.”
Cordelia sputtered for a moment in indignation, then asked, “Season for what?”
Buffy found herself on the back of a horse rapidly trotting down a road to Belfast. Her new friend kept glancing back at her as though to ask a question, and Buffy kept up the waterworks. Finally he gathered himself to ask, “Why do ye keep weepin’ la- Mrs. Summers? I’ve got you, and soon you’ll be safe wi’ my mother.”
Buffy scrambled for a reason. She had forgotten she might be asked why she was still crying after rescue, “I- I do not know myself. I- If my husband were to see me now though, sitting astride a horse with a strange man- what would he think of me?” She followed this with the appearance of valiant attempts to stop her sobs. Buffy began to wonder if she might be laying it on a bit thick. She sounded like a muddle-headed heroine of a cheap paperback romance.
His faced instantly softened however, as he said, “Now then, don’t make yourself sick with frettin’. I doubt he’d be all that unreasonable as to expect ye to be a proper lady after such an ordeal as yours. It does ye credit that you worry of his reputation before your own.”
Buffy sniffed artistically and carefully began to brighten, then frowned and said hesitatingly, “Would- would you mind taking a route where we won’t be seen? I don’t want there to be rumours about either of us. Especially after you’ve been so nice.”
As it happened, as they got into the town that evening, they just missed Angel and Cordelia carefully heading into town.
Giles was grateful for Willow and Oz’s help with deceiving the priest. The story about being attacked and kidnapped by bandits in league with their guardsmen had been a stroke of genius on Oz’s part, and Willow’s claim of being his daughter had also allowed him the chance to quiet the two down before their brilliance had degenerated into statements with unfortunate side effects. As it was, one of his spur-of-the-moment adjustments to Willow’s story was having side effects of it’s own.
“Why did you have to tell them my name was Lilac?” Willow demanded of the watcher, “There’s nothing wrong with my name.”
He tried to temporize, “Willow, it’s not that there is anything wrong with your name, but-”
“But what?” she said irritably.
“But Willow isn’t even considered a name in the eighteenth century, and Giles was trying for something that wouldn’t get us too much bad attention.” Oz came to Giles’ rescue, causing Willow to pause for a moment’s reflection. “Anyhow, I think we need to work on finding if we’re the only ones who are here, and how to get home.”
The elder man smiled gratefully at Oz and then continued with the thought, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember anything which might have been a working to send us through time. Did either of you hear or see anything odd?”
“No,” Willow replied, apparently having gotten over her earlier irritation over Giles’ high handed treatment of her name, “Oz?”
That had taken them nowhere, it had been a long and tiring day, and it was getting late. “Perhaps we had best call it a night. Tomorrow we’ll do as Father O’Shea suggested, and visit the local authorities to set them after our imaginary bandits then search for the others.”
As they broke up for the night, Oz heading for his cot, and Willow going to the separate room she had been given due to her gender, Giles couldn’t help but wonder where the others were, and if they were all okay.
Angel and Cordelia made their way around town, as Angel confirmed that they were indeed in Belfast, and that none of the others could be found after a first cursory sweep. The Cordelia began to complain.
“God, haven’t these people ever heard of pavement? Or sidewalks?” she demanded, “I mean, is it really so hard to set something up so people don’t get completely covered in mud?” Cordy asked as her foot landed in a brown substance that wasn’t mud.
Angel considered not telling her what she’d stepped in, but she’d find out eventually, and would then make his life hell. “Cordelia, that’s not mud you just stepped in.”
Buffy and her escort rode up to a nice looking house near the town’s centre square. Daniel Monaghan helped Buffy off the horse, then strode into the house with her in tow, and began to tell the entire household, in strident tones, the story Buffy had spun. An older woman hurried down the stairs partway through the narrative, interrupting his tale with a flurry of words and activity.
“Daniel, honestly! Ye’d think a grown man’d know better’n to leave a poor lass like this. ‘Tis amazin’ she hasna collapsed from the shock of‘t all!” the woman, who Buffy presumed to be Daniel’s mother wrapped a big blanket around Buffy’s shoulders as she spoke, and started hauling the slayer up the stairs. “I ken you’ve nae had a chance t’get warm since my son found ye out on that highway,” she then redirected her attention at a clearly amused Daniel, “Dinna just stand there! Get th’ girl somethin’ to wear to bed from your sister’s wardrobe.
“Ach you poor lamb, attacked by thieves and wit your husband off on business,” said the woman as her attention moved back to Buffy as they reached the top of the stairs, “My name’s Maire. My scapegrace of a son’ll make sure to tell the local constables of those bandits, and tomorrow you’ll give your story officially.
“But first, you’ll get some rest and some food in ye, and we’ll start tryin’ to find where your husband has got to.”
Taken aback by the woman’s whirlwind of activity Buffy let herself be hustled into a room partway down the short hall at the top of the stairs. She heard herself making vague comments on the search for her ‘husband’, the kindness of Maire and Daniel, and something utterly hen-witted about the deep yellow brocade dressing gown not being her colour, as Maire efficiently stripped her of her outer layers, got her into the dressing gown, and tucked her into the bed with a final “Ah, lass, it’ll all work out the way the good Lord plans.”
Then the older woman took the candle and left Buffy alone in the comfortable bed. At that point the Slayer decided she might as well get some rest. It had been a long day, and there was no telling if she’d have a place to sleep anywhere close to as comfortable as this in the coming days.
“What do you know about chemistry?”
“Don’t worry. I’ve already said you had only just begun to study it. We can simply say you had no notion those chemicals would turn your hair green.”
“Okay. Good night Giles.”
"Good night Oz.”
Angel and Cordelia came up to an inn that Angel was certain he had never been to before, so as to avoid any bizarre temporal paradoxes. As they crossed the threshold Cordelia began to complain on cue about the tobacco smoke, the music, the conversations, and the fact that she couldn’t dress like one of the serving wenches. By the time Angel had finished ordering two rooms, and using the money from pawning off some of Cordelia’s jewellry to pay in advance, she had managed to garner attention from every corner of the room.
“Yer wife seems ta think she’s the one in charge ‘ere,” said one of the men next to Angel, “Ye’ll hafta take ‘er in hand afore she causes trouble for the both o’ ye.”
The vampire turned and gave a long suffering sigh as he spoke, “She isn’t m’ wife. She’s m’ sister. Our da always spoiled her. Gave ‘er her own way all the time ‘til she had no more sense of her place than a babe.”
With a squawk of sheer outrage at being spoken of like that Cordelia began to speak, “A spoiled baby!? I’ll give you spoiled-”
“Quiet girl! Our father isna here ta listen to yer foolish chatter! I’ll no’ put up wit your ramblin’ on about what ye deserve. If I have ta I’ll take me hand to ye d’ye understand me?” Angel fell into the role with great ease. Then decided to enjoy his rant further. “If ye hadn’t been wanderin’ about wi’ that Harris boy like you were his whore I would be with my wife now and not here havin’ ta keep ye away from that bastard!”
Incensed, Cordelia retaliated with venom, “Ha! You’re just jealous of Xander and the amount of time he gets to spend with Buffy! You wouldn’t care if he and I lived in sin for our whole lives just as long as you kept him away from her!” The looks of sympathy aimed at Angel did little to help her temper. “And you’re just upset ‘cause they’re at home together, and you’re here with me!” Cheering had started in the back of the room as she ranted and bets were being placed on who would get the better of the other as Angel and Cordy faced off.
The commotion got the attention of patrons in their rooms upstairs and they came down to see what the fuss was about. Including Xander and Ms Calendar. The two came down the stairs in search of the cause of the ruckus, and saw Angel and Cordelia squared off in the common room having World War Three over imaginary slights and not so imaginary ones.
Xander began to walk toward the pair saying, “Cordelia?” On hearing her name, she turned and saw her boyfriend coming in her direction. With a cry of joy she hurled herself at him, and the two started to make out right then, scandalizing the patrons of that establishment.
Angel’s eyes widened and he strode forward , tearing the two apart. “You!” he shouted at the teenage boy in his grasp, “You bastard! Get away from my sister! Carryin’ on as though she were no more ‘n yer whore!” with a sternly suppressed glee, Angel sent his fist into Xander’s face. At this point Jenny caught on to the game.
“Bastard!? You’re the one with a whore for a sister!” Angel caught the grin Jenny was trying to hide, and managed to wink back. Xander and Cordelia were both too insulted to notice. “Throwing herself at my brother so that the poor naive boy would marry her!”
Angel’s response was just as quick, “Throwin’ herself after he’d convinced her he was in love wit ‘er! Girl hasna th’ common sense of a gnat and him takin' advantage o’ her innocence!”
The two were now having a battle royal the likes of which the locals hadn’t seen for years. There was an extremely high entertainment factor. Cordelia and Xander realized exactly how much attention the elder pair was drawing and elected to coax the two upstairs where they could get them calmed down.
The moment Angel and Ms Calendar entered the room however, they stopped arguing and carefully straightened their clothes. Taking in the dumbfounded teenagers’ looks, Ms Calendar chuckled and said, “You actually thought we were fighting for real? Wow. I’m a better actress than I thought.”
Xander and Cordelia stared at the two, absolutely amazed. Angel cut through their stupefaction by asking Ms. Calendar, “So you decided that Xander was your younger brother?”
She smiled slightly, and said, “And Cordelia is your younger sister. Huh. I guess as of tomorrow they’re engaged,” she sighed, shrugged, and continued, “More to the point in our predicament, do you have any idea of how we got here?”
Angel glanced at the teenagers, but they just shook their heads and returned to the internecine warfare that characterised Xander and Cordelia’s relationship. He looked chagrined and replied, “I was hoping you knew something. I guess I can take your question to mean you don’t.”
“Just that we were in the tent one minute, and in an alley the next. I think, given that the four of us are here, we should assume everyone else is as well.” Ms Calendar looked at Angel expectantly, and he told his and Cordelia’s story.
“We woke up in a cave just outside of town. When the sun set we headed into town, and here. I don’t think I ever stayed at this inn, so that should keep from causing too much of a time paradox,” he said. There was a pause as everyone exchanged looks, then Xander cleared his throat and hesitantly spoke.
“Um, so should we get our cover stories straight? I mean, Ms Calendar is my older sister, and Angel is Cordy’s older brother, and she and I are dating or something, but we’re not supposed to be, right?”
Cordelia cut in, “Well, Angel said he was supposed to be getting me away from you, so maybe I’ve been . . . I don’t know . . . Dishonoured or something?” Her guess drew an amused glance from Angel.
“I see, so you want everyone to think you’ve slept with Xander and are quite possibly pregnant,” he said with a wry smile, “I think that will explain both of your behaviours quite well actually.” Before she or Xander could protest he glanced at Jenny who appeared to be equally amused at the teens’ distress. She nodded her assent.
Then her face settled into a more serious expression as she remembered, “Oh! We have to stop at the constable’s station tomorrow, before we go looking for the others.”
“Why?” asked Angel.
“Well, I had to explain to a local why Xander and I were all over mud and sitting in an alleyway, so I said we had been attacked and robbed.” She gave a chagrined smile and shrug.
Cordelia grinned back, “Well then maybe we should combine our stories there as well, because we told the man at the pawn shop that we’d been robbed too.”
So they settled on a description of Principal Snyder as the ringleader of the bandits, Spike, the Gorches, and the members of Machida’s sect of followers as his henchmen. Then they adjourned to their separate rooms as Angel made a big public spectacle out of ensuring that Xander would be sharing a room with him so that the boy wasn’t anywhere near Angel’s ‘sister’.
Right after Angel had blown out the candle and pulled the curtains closed so that he wouldn’t be fried by the dawn, Xander asked the question that had been plaguing him all evening, “Why the hell did you punch me anyways?”
“I had told people Cordelia was my unmarried sister, Xander. The way you two were acting was . . . Well, to put it in twentieth century terms, you guys were doing the current equivalent to having sex in a public forum,” Angel replied.
Xander sat up and stared at Angel across the darkened room, “That’s how bad it was? Really?”
“Woah. I mean, I can totally see where your character was coming from, Dead boy-”
Angel cut him off, “Don’t call me that.”
Xander continued as though he hadn’t been interrupted, “I have to ask why you paused like that right after you punched me, though.”
Angel chuckled and said, “Remind me to teach you how to fight in a barroom brawl. Anyone who’d ever been involved in one would have picked up that stool and tried to break my skull open.”
“Oh. Good night.”
“Good night Xander.”
The next morning Giles, Oz and Willow headed out to see the constable and report their ‘robbery’. For most of the trip Oz’s jaunty little hat covered the portion of his hair that had been dyed green, but just as they came up the steps to the front door, a breeze sprang up blew his hat off. Naturally passers-by stopped and stared at the young man with green hair.
Oz was busy enough chasing down his hat that he didn’t notice until one man handed him the hat with a look of utter befuddlement. “What?” the werewolf asked.
“Um, I’m sure ye know ‘bout the . . . um . . . “ the man trailed off gesturing vaguely at Oz’s head.
His eyes widened as he remembered that he had green hair at a time when such a thing was so uncommon as to be genuinely disturbing. “I uh -” he began. Luckily Giles rescued him.
“My young friend here is studying chemistry at the university,” Giles said with great aplomb and a slight hint of disdain, as though the other man should have known this. “There was a slight accident in one of the laboratories.” This having been said loud enough to carry, the words had the crowd dissipating within minutes as people found the story far less interesting than they had expected.
Willow had been silent through the whole exercise, as per her instructions from Giles on the proper behaviour of a young lady of the class she was representing. As they entered the building however, the sight of Cordelia, Xander, and Ms Calendar had her forgetting herself and running forward to greet the trio.
“Xander! Ms Calendar! Cordelia! I’m so glad to see you!” only her immediate friends noticed the slight hitch in her speech as she remembered to both edit the word ‘guys’ and add Cordelia’s name to the exclamation. “Are you alright?”
“We’re fine. We have wonderful news in fact,” Ms Calendar looked hard at the other three in an attempt to convey her message, “Miss Chase has agreed to my brother’s proposal.”
A moment of stunned silence followed the remark until Oz picked up on the significant looks Jenny was giving them and realised that there was a coverup going on, and that Xander was supposed to be the technopagan’s younger brother.
“Congratulations,” he said to Xander, “I hope you two are happy together.”
“Oh! Um . . . Yes,” said Giles looking rather flummoxed, “My felicitations.”
The only sound that escaped Willow’s mouth as Xander and Cordelia were as gracious as they knew how was a startled squeaking sound she rapidly muffled.
“You uh . . . Remember my daughter Lilac, and her fiance Daniel Osbourne, Miss Calendar?” Giles politely inquired.
“Why are you calling Willow mmph-” Cordelia’s question was cut off as Xander forcibly muffled her. They had already drawn attention, and Xander decided to at least cover up why he had muffled his wife-to-be in the public’s eyes. To be quite honest, he had no idea why Willow couldn’t be Willow to people, but Giles was the book man and probably had a good reason.
So he smiled and spoke pitching his voice to carry, “Just because we haven’t seen Lilac for a while doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten her. We’re practically brother and sister. You must remember how we used to call her Willow all the time, ‘cause she was so . . . uh . . . Willowy.” he trailed off.
Willow regained her voice finally and asked, “So what are you doing here? At the constable’s station, I mean.”
The constable had noticed the small collection of people talking just inside the front doors and had started on his way to ask that very question, “Sirs and madams, I was wondering that myself. To what do I owe this visit?” Glances were exchanged, and then Cordelia, unknowingly, took a page out of Buffy’s book.
“Oh it was awful!” she cried, hurling herself, sobbing, into the man’s arms, “These men attacked us and stole almost everything we had with us! My older brother is out trying to find the people who did this to us himself, but . . . “ she trailed off, still sobbing, having managed to get them out of hot water.
The official looked quite perplexed by the teenager’s sudden mood swing and patted her on the back before handing her over to Xander. He looked at the small group of people and asked, “So all of you were travelling together and got robbed?”
Jenny gave him a wide-eyed look, and glanced briefly at Xander as though hoping he’d speak. When it became apparent that he was unable to take his attention off the sobbing Cordelia, she shook herself and responded, “Well sir, I don’t know about Mr. Giles and his daughter, it does seem that Miss Chase and her brother were attacked by the same group of bandits that robbed my brother and myself.”
She went on to tell her story about robbery, the chance meeting at the inn, and how they had wound up comparing notes. With Cordelia and Xander’s help they carefully described their ‘robbers’ naming a man who looked suspiciously like Principal Snyder as the ringleader. As they finished, Giles, Willow and Oz, who had been quietly discussing the situation off to the side, rushed forward and broke into a startled spate of chatter.
“That sounds just like the men that attacked us!”
“Good heavens! Miss Calendar, I hope you are all right! Those men were positively brutish to my Lilac.”
“What if they start robbing more than just travellers?”
So, the constable insisted that everyone wait so that they could be questioned individually. Once he had finished, he sent everyone on their way and started the search for Snyder’s gang of thieves.
Buffy woke up in the small room at the Monaghan’s just before one of the maids came in to open the curtains.
“Oh! Good mornin’ Mum,” the girl said, with a startled bobbing curtsy, “I wasna expectin' ye ta be awake.”
Buffy smiled at her, “Oh, it’s alright. I’d only just woken up.” She looked about and looked the dress she’d been wearing the day before. When she didn’t find it Buffy got up to search for it.
“The mistress told me I was ta help ye into this,” the maid indicated the dress she had been carrying when she entered the room.
“I couldn’t possibly-” Buffy began.
At that point, Mrs. Maire Monaghan swept into the room, clearly having heard the conversation. “You can, and you will. My daughter isn’t wearing these dresses any more since she was married.” So Buffy gracefully gave in and let the maid help her into the deep blue dress. The maid led her down the stairs to the dining room where breakfast was already laid out on the sideboard.
“So,” said Daniel Monaghan, “Are ye up ta seein’ the constable today?”
Buffy’s head snapped up and she stared at the man, before remembering her tale of bandits and woe. The expression on her face cleared, but not before Maire interpreted her look to be a fear of a damaged reputation. “Ach lass, ye’ll not be treated poorly. Ye do yourself credit to worry, but ye must help to catch these men.”
“I know. It’s just that I have no money and no way of knowing where my husband is, or even if he’s been robbed or hurt by those horrid thieves." Buffy let her lower lip quiver for a moment before straightening her back and looking resigned. “I suppose if I must we should go immediately after breakfast,” she said, and was rewarded with encouraging nods from Maire and Daniel.
They chatted amicably enough for the rest of breakfast, Maire was a widow, and Daniel was her youngest son staying on to take care of his mother. Buffy told them just enough that she wasn’t lying about herself and her friends. After breakfast Buffy profusely thanked the pair for their help and kindness.
“’Tis nothing,” Daniel assured her, “We would be poor Christians indeed did we not help a young lady in need.”
Buffy sent him a grateful smile, “But still Mr. Monaghan, you did not have to pick up a strange woman on a country road. Why, I could have been anyone!” They were in the buggy on the very short drive to the constable’s when Daniel mentioned that his mother had insisted that Buffy was going to attend a small gathering that evening no ifs ands or buts.
Upon entering the office Buffy had her story organised, and had even decided that she would describe the little troll Snyder as the ringleader of her imaginary bandits. It would give her a little proxy satisfaction to send the law after him. Even if he didn’t technically exist yet.
“So what seems to be the trouble here,” said the officer. He was a kindly looking man, with a slight paunch and friendly brown eyes.
Buffy let Daniel tell her story on her behalf and watched as the other man’s face became grave. When he asked her to describe some of the bandits Buffy received a surprise when he said that they had been having problems with a man exactly matching Buffy’s description. “We only just heard several reports yesterday, but he seems to have lead thefts in at least three incidents so far. I’ve already sent out men to look for him.”
With that assurance Buffy allowed herself to be driven back to the Monaghan’s home to be fussed over, and fitted with a dress for the party that evening.
Daniel made his way to the inn where he always stopped for a drink. As he entered The Happy Fool, he noticed a man he’d never seen before, sitting at a table nursing a mug of beer. He looked depressed and Daniel, who had never been able to keep from helping those in need of a sympathetic ear walked over and asked, “Mind if I join ye?”
The man shrugged, but moved slightly so as not to crowd anyone who sat with him, and Daniel took that to be his invitation. They sat for companionable silence for a while, until the man looked at him quizzically and asked, “So, is there any reason in particular you’ve decided to join me at this table when there are many others, and most of them empty?”
Daniel smiled and said, “Ye looked like you needed the company.” The man just sighed in response, so he tried another tack, “Is there anythin’ you wish to talk about?”
That got the other’s attention and he looked his new acquaintance over speculatively before saying, “It’s most likely nothing, but I sent my wife on ahead of me, and she has yet to meet me at the inn where we’re stayin’. I know with the roads the way they are this time o’ year there’s any number o’ reasons she could have been delayed, but there’ve so many robberies on the roads into town I’m worried she’s been attacked.”
Daniel’s eyes widened slightly, that story sounded too familiar for coincidence, and he was about to start making certain that Mrs Summers was this man’s wife, when he noticed the angle of the sun through the windows. “I must be goin’ he said to his new friend, “But I’d like ye to join us at my mother’s dinner tonight. I’ve got some friends who have just returned, from travellin’. You can speak with them and see whether they’ve heard anything.”
The man looked startled, then smiled broadly and said, “Thank you. Where do I go?”
“23 Connaught avenue. Th’ name’s Daniel Monaghan,” he looked at the other waiting for a response.
He smiled, “Liam Summers.”
“Well then Mr. Summers, I’ll see you tonight at seven o’ clock sharp.” Daniel grinned inwardly as he left. If he was right, then the couple would be reunited that evening.
When the Scooby gang finally made it back to the inn after perusing the town up and down with no luck at finding the last member of their group, they trotted upstairs to find Angel cursing, and arguing with himself as he paced in the room that had become their unofficial meeting place.
“Angel, look who we found!” Cordelia said cheerfully, “Giles, Willow and Oz!”
The vampire perked up, then immediately settled down when he realised Buffy wasn’t on the list. “Hey,” he greeted glumly.
Xander raised an eyebrow in pique, “Well shucks, don’t make us feel welcome or anything,” the teenager’s voice just dripped sarcasm.
“Sorry,” Angel replied, “It’s just that Buffy isn’t anywhere to be found, and I’m worried.”
Giles gently placed his hand on Angel’s shoulder, saying, “She’ll be fine Angel. She is the Slayer. There is very little she can’t handle. You know that.”
The two men shared a moment, before Cordelia interrupted it asking, “So what was with the schizo act when we came in anyway?”
“I got an invitation to a dinner tonight,” he replied, “And I have to find something I can wear to it.”
Xander’s snide comment was stopped before it began by a swift elbow from Willow. Knowing Xander as long as she had gave her a sixth sense when it came to the boy’s inappropriate remarks. “Well, we’ll pool our resources, and find something to wear, okay?” she asked.
“What resources?” Oz questioned, “Not that I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but don’t we need to have resources to pool before we pool them?”
Jenny Calendar shrugged, “Well, I have a necklace here we could pawn, anyone else have stuff?”
Cordelia glared at everyone, “Well, I’ve already donated to the cause, and I’m not giving any more.”
Giles reluctantly pulled out a pocket watch, “Here. I’ll add it to the pool,” he said, resigned.
No one had any other things they could pawn, so the gang just had to sit tight while Jenny and Xander went to pawn and shop. Jenny because everyone knew she was the only member of the group who could bargain without being either anachronistic or just very bad at it, and Xander, because he was a close, albeit not perfect match for Angel in terms of size.
The rest of the afternoon, Angel spent suffering at the girls’ hands as they tried to make him cut the dashing figure. More than once he had the urge to bite someone just to make them stop. Xander kept dropping by to look at Angel sympathetically and then mock him for being a wuss for letting girls fuss over him like that. The experience gave Angel the inspiration he needed to decide that should he ever become evil again, he would kill Xander first.
The torture ended at sunset, sending Angel into the streets to escape the horror of being at the mercy of the feminine fashion fiends that had taken over his room at the inn. As he made his way to 23 Connaught avenue, he thought about how much things had changed over the centuries. The things he missed, like the way a woman had to dress demurely in public so that no one but her husband ever got to see her in a mini-skirted sheath dress that would ride up just so when Buffy danced...
He firmly wrenched himself away from such thoughts. He shouldn’t be thinking such things, he firmly reminded himself as he climbed the steps to the front door of the house. After checking that it was the right place Angel took a deep breath, reviewed all the correct behaviours he had to exhibit in public, and knocked.
The door was answered by a nervous maid who led him to the sitting room. He smiled and made the standard comments about how lovely the ladies were, and what a nice wine had been picked. Daniel introduced him around, and Angel found himself trapped with the brandy drinking blowhards who were far more interested in their cards than in the answers to Angel’s questions about Buffy.
It was about half and hour into the evening when he turned around and saw Buffy chatting amicably with Daniel Monaghan on the opposite side of the room. As he made his way over, completely shocked at the sight of her, Buffy noticed Angel and threw herself across the rest of the distance between them with the glad cry of, “Husband!”
Angel nearly had a seizure right then.
Then Buffy burst into sobbing hysterics, the gist of which was that she had been woefully mistreated by some robbers and Daniel, (kind, wonderful, oh-so-brave, Angel was turning green with jealousy, Daniel) had rescued her. With not a little coaxing, he and Mr. Monaghan convinced Buffy to take her public scene to another room, and then the were left alone.
Promptly Buffy’s tears dried up and she grinned at Angel saying, “Not too shabby hunh?”
“Uh ... What?” replied the baffled vampire, “Are you okay honey?”
She rolled her eyes at him, “I was acting Angel. You know how you sometimes pretend to be something you’re not? It was easier to have hysterics than answer questions.”
Greatly relieved that she hadn’t gone insane in his absence, Angel grabbed her and they kissed until they simultaneously remembered they had to return to the evening’s entertainment. The two quietly got their stories straightened out, and then Angel escorted Buffy back to the party, where, for the rest of the evening, Angel kept almost whipping around looking for Buffy’s father at every, “Mr. Summers,” he heard.
It was almost two o’clock in the morning when they finally left the gathering. Angel was carrying a bag with several dresses thanks to Maire’s generosity. “Ah, don’t worry about the dresses, “ she’d said, “They were my daughter Caroline’s before she went off with that Welshman of hers. I never saw a man as could spout off the flowery language like that one.”
So they made their way into the inn, past the door, and up to the rooms they had split between the girls and the guys. Angel and Buffy kissed, quietly slipped into their respective rooms, and went to sleep. So the next morning everyone was awakened by the sound of Willow having hysterics of joy over Buffy’s miraculous appearance.
“Buffy! You’re here! How did you wind up here? Where have you been? Do you know how we got here?” The questions were rapid fire giving the Slayer no chance to answer.
“God! This wasn’t a nightmare?” Cordelia demanded irritably from her spot on the bed she had grimly commandeered earlier that night.
Buffy gave a wry grin as the guys came rushing in, saying, “Hi to you too.” When the hubbub of greeting finally died down, Buffy told the others her story.
“Which leaves us with no more information than we had before,” Cordelia said disgustedly, “Do you think one of those dresses would fit me?”
Giles was looking distinctly rumpled, Angel was visibly cranky, and Xander just looked confused. It was Oz who came up with a sane suggestion, “It’s still kinda early in the AM for most of us,” he said, “Why don’t we go back to bed and figure this out tomorrow when we’re awake enough to think?”
His idea was greeted with great relief by everyone, including Angel, who was exhausted in spite of his being nocturnal. So they all trudged back to their rooms to sleep, and Cordelia found herself evicted from ‘her’ bed by a grouchy technopagan who was threatening to fail Cordelia in any class taught by the gypsy if the teenager didn’t give the bed up immediately.
They were all awakened by screams the next morning. This time the noise came from outside, and when the Scoobies sans Angel, and everyone else in the area, rushed outside, they found two deputies dragging a young man in jeans, a t-shirt, and a hat not unlike a style worn by the locals. He was shouting as he was dragged down the street, “I wasn’t propositioning her! I swear! I didn’t even know who she was!”
Giles sighed and took it upon himself to save the poor man from a situation he was even less prepared for than Buffy’s gang of Slayerettes. He strode up to the threesome as they made their way down the street and said, “Oh thank heavens you’ve found my nephew!”
“You know this man sir?” one of the officers looked skeptically at Giles, while the other simply concentrated on not letting his prisoner escape.
“Dear me, yes. He has the most awful tendency to say inadvisable things, and perform worse actions.”
The man had now determined that, for whatever reason, this stranger was helping him not go to jail in a time not his own, and began to ramble, “All I did was ask whether she knew a good place for me to crash until I figured out what was going on and where I was-”
Giles smiled helplessly at the men as though to say, *see?*. They nodded grimly and let the prisoner go, hurrying off and leaving Giles and the others to haul the poor wretch back up to their rooms to see if he knew anything. He did.
“All I wanted was to make a big splash at the fair!” he whined, “So I found this book about spells and stuff, and I thought it would be neat to do this spell that would send people to the time period of the clothing they had bought from the fair.”
Xander dropped into a chair at the desk in the corner and began to thump his head against the wood, while the others looked on in disbelief. Angel put his head in his hands and muttered something about irresponsible children, earning him a gentle smack from his girlfriend.
“Well, I didn’t think it would work!” They had learned his name was George, and that he worked at the magic booth at the fair. He also had no clue about the forces he had called upon. “Magic is just sleight of hand. Sometimes on a grand scale, but it’s just misdirection and quick movement. How was I supposed to know this would work?”
Jenny kept her head in the midst of all this and asked, “What exactly did you do?”
So George told them about the spell calling on Cronos, God of time, Janus, the two faced God, the Fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, Mnemosyne, Goddess of memory, her daughter, one of the nine muses, Clio, the muse of history, and even Minerva, a goddess not merely known as the goddess of wisdom, but also for her skill at weaving. The spell was actually fairly simple. You said the spell calling on all these deities, sprinkled some olive oil onto a fire as a sacrifice, and tied some cloth around a piece of parchment with the specifics of what he wished the clothes to cause.
Amazingly the spell worked, and as he finished it he had opened his eyes to discover he was standing outside a town clearly from the eighteenth century. He had also rapidly realised his situation was not only his fault, but that he had very likely gotten many other people in trouble as well. Jenny smiled at the others and said, “Well, this is good news.”
“How?” Xander demanded, “We’re stuck back in time, we don’t know how to get back, we have almost no money, no-”
She interrupted Xander’s rant, “But I do know how to get us home. I think.”
“You think?” everyone looked somewhat perturbed at that statement. Giles repeated himself, “You think? You don’t know but you think you know how to get us home?”
Ms Calendar shrugged, “What do you want from me? I’m not exactly the most powerful witch there is y’know.”
Buffy looked at the others as they got ready to start haranguing Jenny again, and cut in, “Hey! This is good news. We have a way home. So, we do the fix and we get home. Okay? Now you guys can stop ragging on Ms Calendar.”
“Besides,” Jenny spoke again, “I was talking about the fact that at least we know this wasn’t some plot to kill us or something.”
Cordelia looked determinedly brighter after that statement, “It’s true,” she said, gaining funny looks from all and sundry, “No one trying to kill us is a good thing,” she said to the others as though speaking to small children. This response stunned Angel who was wondering when the lunatic he had spent an afternoon trapped in a cave with had developed some self possession. “Of course the fact that Ms Calendar will probably kill us all with her spell to fix this sorta makes it all moot.” Or maybe not.
At sunset Angel paid the innkeeper, and they made their way out of town to a small glade nearby, and Jenny broke George’s spell. All she had to do was say a short releasing chant and burn his cloth and parchment. Everyone held their collective breath as she did this.
Then the forest turned upside down, and the Scoobies found themselves in a pile on the tent floor. Immediately they all hurried into change rooms, got out of their period costumes and left the fairgrounds.
Later that evening, Buffy looked up as she was getting into be to see Angel standing in her room holding a bag. “What’s that?” she asked her boyfriend.
His lips quirked into his trademark half smile and he said, “Open it.”
“Why do you have all these clothes?” Buffy asked as she pulled out a deep red dress with an elegantly embroidered corset and flared skirt.
“Well, you were asking before about whether you should get yourself a period dress.” Angel trailed off there.
Buffy frowned, “But where did you get them?”
“From Maire Monaghan,” he replied, “You’ll recall she insisted we take them with us.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow and gave him a fixed stare until he gave in.
“I just thought you looked really sexy.”
“How sexy?” she moved closer to him until they were inches apart.
“I think you know,” he replied leaning in closer.
“Why don’t you show me anyway?”
And he did.
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