Title: Going West
Beta By: Starway Man
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel the Series, along with the characters from their respective shows, are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Description: After being dragged into the Hellmouth during the fight with the Master, Xander and Cordelia decide to strike it rich. Things aren't as simple as they hope, though...
A/N: This will be entirely from Cordelia's POV.=====
I groaned, loudly, as my head whacked the side of the carriage once again, thanks to that incredibly bumpy road. There was a good side and bad side to go with that, though. On the bright side, it wasn't as crowded inside the damn carriage now as it had been during the journey. Unfortunately, when Xander had gone up top to ride shotgun with the driver, he'd left me alone with a bunch of strangers.
The whores were pleasant enough company for being, well...whores. Seriously, it still surprised me how much more civil people were in this day and age, regardless of their position in life. That would have been tolerable, if it weren't for the two men who I was stuck sitting next to.
Prospectors came in all kinds; on the ride from Philadelphia to Cleveland, Xander and I had met a true gentleman. Even though his appearance was pretty unkempt, he was well-spoken, and we were able to pass away the hours with some decent conversation. Well, when I say decent I mean for the current situation; the guy wasn’t interested in discussing the latest fashions from Paris, for example.
These two characters, however, were just plain disgusting
. One held a spittoon between his feet, and both took turns using it quite frequently. They and Xander had almost gotten into fisticuffs when one of them had suggested using it as a piss-pot, rather than simply stopping the carriage to relieve themselves outside.
Not that I had much right to throw stones, because let’s face it; I was wearing a stolen dress, and pretending to be from old money. Still, I saw no reason to lower myself to their level, something the whores thoroughly agreed with.
It was funny how the term 'whore' was actually an occupation here, rather than a slur. A lot of women had nothing else except their bodies to make a living with, this far out from what was currently American civilization. Still, they had their pride, something I'd been severely lacking since the day Xander and I had been dropped into this time...=====::Over Two Years Ago::
After being dragged into the Hellmouth by that...that thing
during the night of the Spring Fling dance, Xander and I had quickly discovered that somehow we'd ended up in New York City, circa 1864. That was learned through the discarded newspaper that was lying next to me in the filthy alley we'd landed in.
It was just my luck I’d ended up in the freaking 19th century. I'd been really upset by the whole thing, until Xander had pointed out that our final destination could just as easily have been Hell. When put into those terms, my new outlook on things was slightly less jaded.
I didn’t know why we’d ended up here, and neither did the dork-head. Sci-Fi geek that he was, Xander had then started babbling about the Temporal Prime Directive and some other crap about not interfering with history.
He quickly shut up after I threatened to kick his ass, though, as well as my pointing out that we were stuck here without any way to get home; and if he wanted to live, he was damn well going to have to interfere with his precious time line or whatever he called it.
After spending several nights sleeping on stoops, we'd come to realize we'd need to get jobs for new clothing, and a place to sleep. That didn't exactly go as planned, in fact - it actually turned into something resembling a nightmare.
Having no usable money and 'strange' clothing hadn't helped, either. The worst part was that because of the way I was dressed, many men honestly thought I was some kind of foreign prostitute. While most went about their business with a simple no, with some, Xander had had to remedy the problem personally.
Yeah, yeah, I know it wasn’t exactly PC for 1997, but men didn’t take women seriously in 1864 unless they shoved a gun in the guy’s face, and I didn’t have one.
The last fight Harris got into over some guy trying to grope me ended up with him landing in jail, after he'd broken the man's jaw; just our luck that the pervert was a powerful businessman's son, who’d been out on the prowl for some exotic piece of ass.
I soon found out that Xander was going to be conscripted into the Union army, after the kangaroo court session involving a judge who was literally drunk
on the job. The draft riots during the previous year had made pulling that off harder for the authorities, but since he'd been arrested and convicted of a crime, Xander didn’t have a choice in the matter.
After learning all of this, I was almost literally scared to death. Because like it or not I needed the big loser with me, and in one piece. In Sunnydale, I always gave the impression of indifference when it came to school and homework, but that was simply because of my standing with the in-crowd. In actuality, I knew quite a bit about history, including lots of stuff about the Civil War.
The number of deaths on both sides was staggering; and even if you were one of the lucky few to survive, it was more than likely you’d return home lacking one or more limbs. And having seen the mangled survivors of the war, with all their hideous injuries on display quite regularly in the week I'd lived on the streets, I knew I had to act quickly.
On account of Xander would only be in the lockup for a short time. The police were waiting for a contingent of soldiers who were garrisoned outside the city to come and pick him, and several others, up.
After carefully noting all I could during the few jail visits I’d been allowed to make, I’d learned quite a bit about how things worked there. The jail-house that Xander was being held at was small, only employing a few police officers.
One such officer would stay there at night, and that was it. There was a war on, after all, and the men had other things to do - things more important than keeping an eye on some guy that was soon gonna end up cannon fodder.
Using my natural acting talents, a panicked banging at the jail-house door and a sob story about a man following me had worked like a charm. Unlike the last days of the 20th century, here if you screamed 'help', people actually listened, and wanted to help you.
When he'd come out, I'd waited until the guard’s back was turned before using the wooden chair leg I'd hidden under the ruffles of my third-hand dress. Catching him across the back of the neck, I'd knocked him out with surprising ease.
After stealing the jail cell keys and freeing Xander, the two of us dragged the policeman into the cell. I scrawled a quick apology to the man for all the trouble I'd caused, and then we left.
That very night we stole a horse, which I had to control because Xander had never had the opportunity to even get on one before. He'd had to hold on for dear life as I pushed the horse as hard as I could. We didn't even know where we were going, just that we needed to get the hell out of New York.
We finally decided on Philadelphia, the next largest city on the coast. Integrating ourselves into life in the 19th century wasn't easy, but we were stuck in this time, and so Xander and I ended up just having to make the best of it for the next two years.=====
After we arrived in Philadelphia Xander got a job doing construction, first of the City Hall building and then other things, and I found work as a seamstress. It wasn't the most exciting job in the world, but considering the first job I'd gotten was scrubbing floors, I couldn't exactly complain.
During that time the Civil War ended, much to our relief. Luckily, there had never been any repercussions from our little jail-break back in New York City. While cameras did exist in this era, no one had yet come up with the idea of taking pictures of prisoners; even the WANTED! posters had hand-drawn pictures on them, and daguerreotypes were simply too fragile to handle except under glass.
Thus, even if the authorities were
still looking for us, they had pretty much no chance of finding either Xander or myself. It’s weird how much larger the country is, when you’re limited to travelling around on a horse or train.
Anyway, Xander and I lived together in a small apartment in a boarding house, posing as a young married couple. I know, me
being Mrs. Alexander Harris? If we’d been in Sunnydale, I’d have hanged myself before ever answering to that
But hey, in 1864 it was either that or call myself his sister; and no one thought twice about two sixteen year old's being married and living on their own. It’s not like we were expected to still be in school, anyway. Besides, we shared the two-bedroom place with another young couple in their twenties, who had a little boy.
They were Russian immigrants, and spoke almost no English. They could tell that Xander and I weren’t together in the husband-and-wife sense - you live in the same broom closet with two other people for long enough, you pick up on the couple vibe - but luckily, they never said anything to us or anyone else.
Over time, we managed to teach each other enough of our languages to communicate. Ludvig and Tatiana eventually became our closest friends, and their boy, Dmitri, was like the cutest thing ever.
Our friends were Russian Orthodox Christians, and when they had Dmitri baptized, they asked Xander and I to be his godparents. Weird, as the dweeb and I were both only seventeen at the time, so it was amazing to think they had that kind of trust in us. If Harmony had been there, I’m pretty sure she would have fainted from the shock. But say la vee.=====
The strangest part of the whole thing was Xander and I actually becoming man and wife, for real. No, I’m not kidding; after I turned eighteen, I decided to marry the big jerk, and we made it official with the same priest who’d baptized Dmitri - on account of we knew he could be trusted to keep his mouth shut about our little deception.
Living with Xander wasn’t all bad, after all - we’d been pretending to be a married couple for a long time by that point, and he and I had been forced to share a bed for keeping up appearances and such. At first, he was even gracious enough to sleep on the floor...
But after that went on for four days, and seeing him hunched over from the back pain resulting from sleeping on that cold, hard floor, I'd ended up telling Xander to just climb into the bed already.
It had been really strange at first, both of us doing everything possible to avoid any kind of contact. Not to mention me telling Xander that that if he dared touch me with his guy parts, I’d be visiting his anatomy with a very
But as winter got closer, so did we. Finally, one Sunday morning, I woke up to find us spooning. I knew Xander wouldn't dare
to do such a thing, so it must have happened in our sleep.
Instead of causing a scene, I just rolled over, snuggled closer to his warmth, and dozed off again. After that, one thing had eventually led to another - and our first time is something I will never
That’s the funny thing about Xander Harris - if he gives you his heart, he doesn’t hold back in any way, shape or form. Despite our bad history, literally ever since kindergarten, after becoming his first Xander treated me like a queen.
Oh, sure, at the start I was kinda worried that I was just a substitute for that bottle-blonde menace, Buffy Summers - puh-lease
, I wasn’t blind to what was going on between him, Buffy and Willow back then - but as it turns out, I wasn’t. Xander loved me for me, especially after the freakazoid had made it clear that she preferred them tall, broody and without a pulse.
Speaking of which - jeez, why hadn’t anyone told me that Angel was a vampire? What, was I supposed to just know
these things? I’m just glad that he’s on the opposite side of the Atlantic right now, as apparently he isn’t the cute guy I’d been trying to flirt with yet; he’s Angelus, according to what Xander said Giles had told him and the others way back when. The most vicious and homicidal vampire of them all.
But getting back on topic - after we got married anything I wanted, if Xander was able to get it, was mine. In the ‘what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine till death do us part’ sort of way, that is. He even put up with my rough time with jobs. It wasn't that I couldn't find them, it was keeping
them that was the problem.
Woman's lib was a long way off, see, and people expected me to work for half as much as a man for the same amount of, if not more, work. Even worse, they expected me to be happy
to do it. I burned through more than a few jobs that way in Philadelphia, after telling my employers to damn well go to hell.
Tatiana, with her infinite patience, taught me how to sew; something I'd never had to learn as the daughter of the richest people in Sunnydale. Surprisingly, I developed a talent for it, and after several months, I was finally able to get a decent job for decent pay. Well, decent for 1866 anyway. I think I would have been able to keep it too, if something else hadn’t happened apart from the pregnancy scare.
After all, protection? It was totally against the laws of the Church during this era, even if anyone could invent something that wouldn’t hurt or chafe. So Xander and I had to be real careful, as I knew enough about childbirth in the 19th century to be terrified of it. The midwives did a decent job for the most part, sure, but no drugs and no idea what to do if a C-section was required? No thanks
Right now though, here Xander and I were, heading west - having left Philadelphia behind. A terrible accident three months ago had turned doing what Xander had loved into a horror show. A two-ton slab of granite that he had rigged up, fell when the ropes had snapped, pinning another worker to the ground.
From the pelvis down, the slab had crushed the man’s body, yet he lived for another two hours before finally dying. Xander had totally blamed himself for it, even though everyone from the top down had told him it was an accident and in no way his fault.
I knew that deep down, it was all due to Xander accidentally staking Jesse after the vampire he’d become had tried to kill me in the Bronze that night; but try convincing my stupid, idiotic, yet loveable husband of that.
After drifting from job to job, and finding nothing that held his interest, I had gotten worried. Sure our savings more than covered our costs, ten bits a day wasn't much, but it killed me to see him just so aimless like that.
Not to mention I knew that no matter how careful we were, sooner or later the odds would catch up with us; a baby, maybe even more than one, would eventually show up in our lives.
Because let’s face it, sex with Xander was not something I had any intention of depriving myself of. We were married in fact as well as in name, and in the Philadelphia of 1866, our social lives were such that procreation really was the only viable form of recreation.
It’s not like how it would have been in Sunnydale, if we’d gotten married after graduating high school; here and now, Xander needed a job to help provide for our family, when the time came.
Then one day the dork came home excited, a copy of The Philadelphia Bulletin in hand. I wasn't sure what had gotten him so worked up, but I considered it a gift from the gods. If something had made him happy, I would be fully behind it. Well, just as long as it wasn’t hunting vampires, which luckily we hadn’t encountered for over two years by that point.
For one terrifying moment I thought Xander had decided on contacting the Watchers Council, even though we had decided against that in the early days. I mean, seriously - those guys recorded everything, if Giles was anything to judge by, and who knew what might happen if the Watchers cast a truth spell or something on us?
Hello, Xander and I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen for the next 130 years! They’d probably suck us dry and then lock us up in some dungeon or other, for the rest of our lives!
But luckily, Xander quickly explained that a large amount of gold had been found in a place way out west, in Indian country. He’d thought this would be our chance to really make it big - in fact, he was sure we could do it. Become rich, I mean, because he’d remembered that this was when a lot of people had found gold at that place.
After I reminded him about that whole ‘changing history’ thing, he asked me if I would be happy sewing dresses all my life…
So a week later, after packing up and saying our goodbyes to our Russian friends, we were headed west. As our carriage made its way through Indian territory, I could only hope we'd get there soon.
To an up-and-coming prospecting town known as Deadwood.=====Disclaimer 2: Deadwood and its characters are owned by David Milch and HBO.=====THE END