Title: Incense and Peppermint
Author: David Falkayn
Disclaimer: The characters and universe of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” all belong to Joss Whedon, Dave Greenwalt, Mutant Enemy, and Productions who hold all rights and copyrights. This is purely a work of amusement; no profit is being asked for or received from this work.
Notes: This story takes place after “Birthday” but before the events of “Waiting in the Wings”, so the Grooster hasn’t made his appearance yet. This is also my first “Angel” fic, so any help as regards characterization or anything else that you can think of that would make this story better, please feel free to let me know. I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I am enjoying writing it.
If you’d like to read some definitions of 60s slang, check out these links:
And for general stuff on 60s pop culture such as what movies were playing and what songs were hot, you might want to check here: http://www.sixtiespop.freeserve.co.uk/
Part 1 (of ?)
As Cordelia walked down the park trail, she
flashed a wide grin as she lost herself, for a few brief moments at least, in
the gentle sunshine, green grass, and clear, cloudless day. Yes, her recent
birthday did give herself and everyone else, especially her best friend, Angel,
the cursed vampire with whom she worked in Angel Investigations, a scare, but,
she survived the experience. And, thanks to Skip, she had a received a very
special birthday present. In making her half-demon, her demon guide had ensured
that she would no longer have to deal with the excruciating pain her visions had
been giving her, much less have to worry about the prospect of having to die
from them. All things considered, things could have been much worse for the
former Queen C, so she decided to celebrate her good fortune by taking a walk in
“It’s getting to where my birthdays are worse than Buffy’s!” She laughed in merry amusement as she spotted a group of young men who had been tossing a football stop their game in order to check her out. ‘And why shouldn’t they give me a look?’ She thought as a self-satisfied smirk crossed her features. Her low cut blue jeans were nice and tight, showing off her curved hips rather well while at the same time revealing, along with the red midriff top, just enough of the sun and moon tattoo she wore at the small of her back to entice. Also, the former May Queen knew just how to strut her stuff. Smiling smugly, she swayed her hips just enough to give the football players a thrill while at the same time holding her head erect and walking at a brisk pace, sending a very clear message to the boys that she wasn’t interested in anything more than giving them a good look at her. “Yup.” The former Queen of Sunnydale High beamed, “Still got it.”
Then, as the boys faded from view, it came. Flashes of color, men and women dancing, wearing clothes that looked like they were decades out of date—bright colors—robed figures chanting. Now, the partiers screamed in agony as they died at the hands of a vampire horde led by a figure that Cordelia recognized immediately as being the Master. She saw Angel drinking from a cup. He lay on the floor, writhing in pain, his demon face contorted in agony as he looked up in vain prayer for release from his suffering. Then Cordelia saw a calendar on the wall—May, 1967. Recovering from her vision, Cordelia, shaking her head, picked up her pace as she quickly exited the park to report what she had seen to her co-workers back at the Hyperion.
“So English, what you make of it?” Gunn asked, smiling as he unwrapped the taco that he had planned to have for lunch.
“Well…” The former watcher, taking off his glasses, surmised, “It appears that someone in 1967 will attempt to raise the Master. But what I don’t understand is…” The Englishman shook his head, “If the Master did ascend from his prison in the past, then why things haven’t changed here?” He then looked across at the ensouled vampire sitting across from him, next to Cordelia on the couch. “Do you remember where you were in 1967, Angel?”
“Let me think . . .” The former scourge of Europe said in a low voice as he tried to peel back almost four decades of memories. “You’re not going to believe it.” He said with a laugh. “But I was in Sunnydale—passing through on my way to San Diego and points south.” Then, shaking his head, he asked, “But …if Cordelia’s vision is right, then why am I still here—I shouldn’t even be…alive.” He said, shaking his head at the irony of his words.
“Temporal bubble.” Fred said with a shy smile.
“What do you mean?” Angel asked as he glanced in concern at his young Seer sitting next to him.
“We’re in a temporal bubble.” The physicist and former slave explained as she typed furiously on her laptop. “We have a limited period before the mystical and quantum energies released by what happened alter the current time line.” Finishing her calculations, she then looked up, her face clearly showing her alarm. “We don’t have much time though.”
“How much do we have?” Cordelia then asked as her eyes darted about the hotel, making sure that everything was still there.
“A day at most—our time.” Fred said as she returned to her computer. “But for the person we send back, it could be a little longer—it depends on the exact time of the event and when the person arrives. Regardless, we have to send someone back to keep this from happening.”
“I’ll go.” Gunn volunteered.
“Not a good idea.” Cordelia then said, shaking her head.
“Why?” The young black man asked.
“An African-American in 1967…” Angel answered, “And in a suburban town. Even in California you won’t be able to operate easily. Take my word for it. You’re going to be hassled by every police officer who sees you wandering around ‘in the wrong neighborhood’—and back then Gunn, most of Sunnydale would be the wrong neighborhood.”
“I don’t believe it!” The young man shook his head in disgust.
“Angel’s right.” Wesley added. “Don’t forget, the Watts riots took place in 1965 and there were more riots in 1966, there were riots in Newark and Detroit during the late sixties where they called in paratroopers to crush them, and Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. We need someone who can move about with maximum freedom.”
“I’ll go.” Angel then said. “After all, I was…am…there. I know what it was like back then.”
“You can’t go.” Fred replied, shaking her head.
“Why not?” The ensouled vampire answered back, looking like he didn’t want to take no for an answer.
“Because you’re already there.” The young physicist responded with a nervous giggle. “If you go back, you’ll create a paradox, making the situation worse than it already is. She then turned to Wesley, “You can’t go back either.” She then flashed a sweet smile, “You wouldn’t be able to survive the stress of having your body physically shifted that far back in time.” She then added as an afterthought, “Anyway, weren’t you born in 1967?
“Yes.” Wesley answered back with a slight smile. “January, in fact.”
“Then, that definitely rules you out.” Fred smiled sadly back at the ex-watcher.
Understanding rapidly dawning, Cordelia shook her head in disbelief. “You mean . . . I’m the one that’s gotta… ” Letting out a deep breath, the former Queen C raised her voice as she looked up, “Thanks for nothing, Skip!”
“We’ll need a witch to cast the spell.” Wesley then said. “The magic’s much too powerful for any of us to risk it.”
Acting decisively, Angel stood up. “I’ll get the car while you contact Willow and see if she can help us.”
Several minutes later, the former Watcher returned. “I wasn’t able to reach Willow, but I did manage to contact her estranged lover, Tara. She said that Willow’s keeping away from magic…it seems that she delved rather deeply into the darker magics and they’ve had rather negative side effects.” Angel, knowing full well the dangers of magic addiction nodded his head as he heard the news. “Tara, fortunately…” Wesley continued, “…informed me that she could perform the spell and that everything would be in readiness for us when we arrived.”
The drive to Sunnydale was a quiet one as Angel drove while Cordy sat next to him with Fred and Wesley riding in back. Lorne, with his usual good grace, had consented to baby-sit baby Connor while Gunn had reluctantly agreed to man the fort in the event something unexpected should turn up—after all, Holtz was still unaccounted for, and Wolfram and Hart always lurked in the shadows.
As Cordelia glanced in the bag at the dress and other articles that they had bought at a retro-clothing shop before leaving LA, she crinkled her nose, “You mean to tell me women actually wore outfits like this?” She complained disbelievingly.
“What we got’s tame compared to some of the outfits I remember seeing.” Angel then chuckled, “I remember the dress one girl I knew wore once…”
The rest of the trip to Sunnydale went just like this—laughter, pointed barbs, and the genial companionship of friends. Then, reaching their destination, Angel parked the car in front of the Magic Box, grinning. “Well…here we are.” Then turning towards Cordelia, the ensouled vampire asked, his voice filled with concern. “You sure you want to do this?”
“Yeah.” Cordelia flashed a sweet smile. “’Sides, I’m the only one who can do it—remember?”
“Be careful.” Angel then cautioned as the LA family exited the car. “There was a lot going on back then, and it’s easy to get caught up in it if you’re not careful…”
“Don’t worry, Angel.” The lovely seer smiled once again as she gave her vampire companion a playful punch on the shoulder. “I’ll stay away from any wild love-ins.”
As the LA family entered the magic shop, two figures watched in the shadows. One, a young man with short cropped red hair sitting in a van, flashed a sad smile as he remembered happier times in this town. The other, a middle-aged woman with strawberry blonde hair now touched with grey, her youthful beauty matured into a natural elegance, sat behind the wheel of her Ford Taurus, her lips turning up into a warm smile as she saw the lithe figure of Cordelia walking into the shop, the ensouled vampire who was her companion just behind her. “See you soon, roomie.”
“So…where’s Buffy and Willow?” Cordelia asked the couple standing behind the cash register after the introductions were made.
“Buffy’s out on patrol with Spike.” Xander replied, the tone of his voice making clear his dislike for the chipped vampire.
“And Willow’s staying with Dawn tonight.” Anya added, noticeably uncomfortable at being in the joint presence of both her fiancé whom she had initially intended to curse and the woman whose heart he had broken and whose anguish had originally brought her to Sunnydale.
“Just as well.” Cordelia sighed, not bothering to hide her relief. “Buffy, Angel, and Spike in the same room together at the same time…”
“Yeah…bad news.” Xander, agreeing, nodded his head.
“So…are you coming to the wedding?” Anya, seeking to change the subject, asked with an expectant and enthusiastic smile.
“Gonna try.” Cordelia said with a winning smile. “But you know how it is in our business…”
“Tell me about it.” Xander sighed, quickly hiding his unease at the coming nuptials. “Well, I really hope you can make it.”
“Yeah, it’d mean a lot to us.” Anya added.
“I’ll try my best.” The lithe brunette smiled once again as she looked into her bag at her sixties outfit and then sighed. “Well, I better go change while Wesley and Tara get things straightened out.” She then motioned with her head towards where the ex-watcher and Wicca were standing engaged in serious conversation.
“You can change in the backroom.” The former vengeance demon offered helpfully as she gave her fiancé a peck on the cheek. “I’m gonna show Cordelia where it is…” The former demon smiled as she instructed her future husband, “Xander…you watch the money.”
“It’s a tricky spell…” Wesley said doubtfully as he and the blonde witch read carefully over the incantation.
“I know.” Tara agreed thoughtfully. “Normally, I wouldn’t do it, but…”
“We really don’t have a choice.” The ex-watcher said, finishing the lesbian witch’s thoughts. As he gazed down upon the lovely young woman, the Englishman decided that he immediately liked and respected her, not only because she was a very nice person, but also because she impressed him as someone who knew full well the dangers and limitations of magic and knew better than to push either. Reading the list of ingredients, he then asked, “Do we have the necessary elements to cast the spell?”
Nodding her head in assent to both his statement and the question he asked, Tara answered, “We should.” Then, somewhat uncertainly, she said, “I can cast the spell and send Cordelia back to 1967 before her visions are supposed to happen and all, but…”
“But…” Wesley interjected, encouraging the shy young woman to continue.
“But…I can’t guarantee when she’ll arrive. I mean, she might get there an hour before the visions…or a day…or a week…”
“Or a month or longer.” Wesley said, finishing her thoughts once again.
Nodding her head once more in agreement, Tara then said, “I wish I could do more, but time travel spells are dangerous and tricky enough as it is, and I don’t want to take any more risks than I have to.”
“You’re quite right.” Wesley said in a tone meant to be reassuring to the young Wicca without at the same time being patronizing.
Smiling at the English former Watcher, Tara said in a soft voice, “I’d better get ready, the spell’s a long and draining one, and I want to be at my best when it’s time…”
“So how do I look?” Cordelia smiled as she entered the retail area of the Magic Box after having changed into her period clothing.
“All I have to say, Cordy, is . . . WOW!” Xander exclaimed, only to yelp in pain as Anya poked her errant lover in the side.
“My God, Cordelia . . .” Wesley said in a soft voice as he took off his glasses to clean them.
Angel, upon seeing his Seer wearing a miniskirt with alternating gold and coral horizontal stripes that barely reached down to cover the upper half of her thighs, gold ball earrings, a red hat, and gold platform shoes, barely managed to avoid whistling. “Cordelia…the last time I saw someone dressed like that was…a long time ago.” Smiling softly, he said, “You look beautiful.”
Smiling shyly, Tara then directed, “If you would p-p-please stand over there, Cordelia.” The young Wicca then pointed towards where a circle had been painted, surrounded by runic symbols.
“What about money?” Cordelia, ever the practical one, asked as she pulled out a quarter dated 2000.
“Don’t worry. The spell will transmute your money and everything in your purse to period dates.” Tara smiled back reassuringly. “Just make sure you have enough with you.”
“Ok. Money taken care of.” Cordelia then mentally ticked that little item off her check list. “Now for the really big question—how am I supposed to get back?” The former May Queen, her face displaying her irritation at the fact that no one else had bothered to mention this little point, asked pointedly.
“You’ll be anchored in the past until you either stop what you’re supposed to stop or you fail.” Tara answered, “Once either event happens, the spell will return you.”
“You have to find out who those people are and how they are planning to bring the Master back and stop them, and save Angel from whatever it is that happened to him before it’s too late.” Wesley instructed.
“I got it Wes.” Cordelia replied in a slightly huffy tone. Then, taking a deep breath, she said, “Ok Tara . . . let’s do it.”