Reviews For Echoes of Beljoxa
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rainsrabble Reviewed Lost Pupil on November 16, 2017 12:54am

I enjoyed the watcher diary entries. they add a whole nother layer to the whole thing

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alive_or_dead Reviewed Lost Pupil on January 24, 2016 05:55am Liked

Willow you stupid cow, how dare you try that without his consent!!! No matter that it didn't work, you had no right! God, she pisses me off, can't fuckin stop meddling in things that don't bloody concern her... Perfect example of why I hate that character (in the last three seasons, at least)... Ooh I just wanna punch her...! And Giles! Ugh, where's the trust? The respect? *growls grumpily and glares at Willow and Giles*

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Sigyn Reviewed Lost Pupil on January 23, 2016 08:35pm Liked

“Well, um, I have an orb of Thessulah...” WILLOW ROSENBURG! You stop that RIGHT NOW! Grr...

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nmcil Reviewed Lost Pupil on September 09, 2015 10:28pm

Nice touch bringing Cassie reference- can't help but feel sorry for how the Buffy-Giles relationship has deteriorated so much.  Giles can be so stubborn even to the level of destructive dogma. But Buffy is also guilty of the same character trait - it's, IMO, one of the reasons that she and Spike had such a terrible relationship.

Author's Response on September 10, 2015 12:57pm

So much of this story comes down to perspective.

This season 7 Buffy's stubbornness has shifted where Spike is concerned, and she's carrying some serious Giles-shaped baggage. She looks at Giles as a guy she wants to trust, but doesn't think she can or should.

Spike has a better handle on the the idea that THIS Giles isn't a traitor yet. He might have some big, heavy Giles baggage of his own, but he's also carrying around the weight of Buffy's past and possible future death. He'll take any decent ally he can get.

Giles doesn't have the window on the future they have. He's learning about these altered personalities in fits and starts, and seeing it through the eyes of someone who hasn't been through what they have. He doesn't quite get who they are, how they got that way, or how he's expected to react. And Buffy's not making the situation any easier for him.

It's messy and complicated. While it would be easy to lay it at one person's feet or another, they all could be dealing with this in better ways.

And yay! Someone else who got the Cassie reference! Thank you!

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13th Blackbird Reviewed Lost Pupil on June 23, 2015 02:13am Liked

Flashing Buffy: Joyce sees flashes because of the time travel? Must be but I'm not sure how. Cool though.

Cassie? I've lost track of whom that is.

Author's Response on June 27, 2015 12:22pm

Flashing: The memories and 'essence' of season7 Buffy were merged into those of season 5 Buffy, in a spell that was loaded with flashing white light. Joyce is seeing the two personalities smushed together, essentially seeing what the spell did to the daughter she knew. So it's a safe bet that both Spike and his coat look the same way to her, though the coat is iffy. Probably just some flashing around the pockets.

Cassie: Reference to the season 7 episode "Help." Cassie was the seer who told Spike "One day, she'll tell you."

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MrsTattooedButterfly Reviewed Lost Pupil on June 22, 2015 06:29am Liked


Surprised

Cassie????!!!!!! OK, I was way off, like on the other side of the Planet off!!!!!

Gotta read more, Now!!!

Love

Read

 

 

Author's Response on June 25, 2015 12:47pm

Don't worry. Cassie is a reference, not a presence.

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pfeifferpack Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 26, 2015 07:02am

Been reading some other reviews...I completely got the Cassie mention.  Buffy said "hurt the people I love" and Spike understood that meant him.  Cassie said she would say it eventually.  Of course it wasn't conscious by Buffy or spoken the way he was hoping but he caught it and so did I.

 

I think that was a very clever line.  It shows that Spike carried that promise close to his heart throughout the events of the original timeline until now.  

I'm sure she will eventually say it in a clear and direct way but Spike always grasps at crumbs.

Kathleen

Author's Response on May 26, 2015 05:33pm

Thanks, Kathleen! I appreciate the support for that poor, maligned chapter ending! Heart

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Chrissel Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 24, 2015 11:31pm

Ooh! This chapter makes me as mad the second time around as it did the first.  How can Willow be so short sighted to try and curse Spike with a soul right now?  Does she really not consider that if it worked, she may be sidelining one of their strongest allies to be crippled with guilt?  Or does she see that as somehow being a good thing?

And then there's Giles.

"Yes, I believe I am. You're allowing an emotional attachment to inhibit your judgment, blind you to a danger we all know quite well. We've worries enough, with Glory about. Another ensouled vampire at your side is a liability you can't afford right now. You need to be reasonable about this.”

Pick one, Giles.  The soul makes him a "liability", but when Buffy suggests she doesn't want him to reseek it in the future, Giles freaks out about an unsouled, unchipped demon. Wasn't Giles in the dark about the soul when he helped them dechip Spike?  Wouldn't that have been the time to question the status of his soul if it was truly that big an issue?  I know he did have a problem with it at the time, but bringing it up again now without referencing the first conversation just makes Giles look extra pissy somehow.

 “If you saw this coming, Spike, I would have appreciated a warning, before the volcano erupted... Though I'm finally beginning to understand why she's been keeping me at arm's length.”

 Seriously, Giles? Chastising Spike for not warning you? After everything you just said about how little you think of Spike? That takes some big, brass ones...

"...but relying on the inherent instability of a soul's grip on a demon is not something with which I can ever again be comfortable. It was easier to trust his reformation when I thought it possible he had merely made good use of the time he carried that microchip, when I could believe he'd made himself an ally without any outside personality influences. Learning that the changes in him are attached to a soul brings the question of Spike himself back into play, and -without the chip- it's a treacherous game."

Okay, I get that Giles has baggage when it comes to the souled vampire thing. I can give him that much, especially if he is unsure of how much the change in Spike is related to the chip, the soul or just himself.  But he still crossed a big line in my opinion in this chapter.  I'm fond of Giles' character in general, so I'm hoping he can use the smack down he got to effect a change in his thinking and work his way back into the fold.  But it's going to be a long, hard road...

And then there is the Xander conversation.  I've read the earlier reviews and your responses - I see what you did there. ;-) Not sure I have much to add, beyond a "me too" to the earlier comments. Nicely done, and I like Xander being portrayed as the understanding, caring friend he (sometimes) can be. So many Spuffy stories play up the bigoted PIA (that he also can be!) angle, it's nice to see him in a positive role for a change!

Buffy sighed. “Yes, yes. We have a consensus. I need to wash my hair. Demon slayed, by the way.”

Oh, poor Buffy!  I'd have a complex about the slime-smelling hair at this point too!

He's leaving out the part where he reminded me we don't know what our mission actually is, and he still hasn't offered to tell us, because -and I'm just guessing at the reasoning here- he's an asshole.” Spike looked at Whistler. “Nothing personal, mate, but if the slayer decides to off you, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy the show. Right now, I figure you've got about two minutes 'til curtain.

*chortled*

He shook his head, and watched her go upstairs. “Is that what you meant, Cassie?” he whispered.

Sorry, afraid I also couldn't place the reference until I read your responses to others' comments.  Maybe it would've worked better to include a little flashback to that scene before Spike's comment?

Overall, whoo-ee!  Doozy of a chapter!  Probably my favorite so far!  Should probably stop now, before the review is longer than the chapter. :-)

ETA- Hope that what comes through in my reviews is how powerful I'm finding this story to be.  Rarely do I find fan fiction so well written that it makes me, at various points, angry, laughing, thought-provoking, just everything.  Ugh, I'm not a writer (wish I could have that kind of talent) so it's hard for me to make things clear here.  Just know I love this story.  I think I saw someone else say this, but I agree this will probably end up in a "10 Best BtVS Fanfic" list nice all is said and done...

Author's Response on May 25, 2015 03:54am

Yea, maybe a flashback-y reference would have helped. I really didn't think the little Cassie line would be such an issue. It counters precendent. Everyone remembers Whistler, a minor guest character in the season 2 finale. Almost no one remembers Cassie, the central guest character of a season 7 episode. I could not have predicted that.

You're right about Giles. He's all over the place in Lost Pupil. But it's mostly because he doesn't know who he's dealing with. As he learns, his perspective changes. It's not going to be a short, simple thing, but there's room for progress, eventually.

Sometimes, Xander deserves the hate that gets thrown at him, at least a little. But season 5 was when he was least deserving of it, when he was written (in canon) largely as a decent, observant guy worth having as a friend. As I said before, I see the Into the Woods B/X conversation as one of his greatest moments as a character. I took *that* version of Xander, the season 5 'best bud material' guy, and the results were that (even from these first dozen chapters) you can see a rapid divergence. Willow and Xander started in roughly the same place regarding this suddenly changed Buffy and the vamp in her basement. But this observant season 5 Xander and this pouty, 'more power than sense' season 5 Willow are already miles apart in how they've dealt with the situation. He's edging closer and closer to full acceptance. She's still floundering about, looking for quick fixes, easy ways to make Buffy not be different anymore.

From the chapters that have posted thus far, I think Lost Pupil ranks as a favorite for many. It packs a big punch in character relationships, with one of them forming a distinctive main plot, offers a few good odds and ends of other parts of the larger story on the side, and (except for the opening diary entry) takes place over just a few hours. I suspect it feels a little like an episode for a lot of readers. Most of the chapters of Echoes -while carrying at least one major, defining scene- are not structured in such a way, and don't focus on a single day or night, some even covering a week or more. There are a few other chapters that are packed into short periods of time, some so packed that a single day stretches into two chapters. I'll be interested to see if those chapters draw the same attention, to test my 'feels like an episode' theory.

Thanks for reviewing!

Author's Response on May 25, 2015 04:54am

I just saw your edit. Thanks so much! I hope I can live up to the expectations! Also, I'm glad you're finding it occasionlly funny. The humor isn't often mentioned in the reviews (only one regular reviewer frequently mentions the funny lines, and few others have at all). Me and my weird sense of humor find something to laugh at pretty regularly in my rereads/editing runs. I love being told I'm not the only one seeing the funny. :)

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tempestt Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 24, 2015 09:39pm

I think this is one of your best chapters.  I love how the first section is framed by Giles' narrative.  His last line is so despondant, and it also seems that he's starting to have some adult realizations of his own.  It shows no matter how old you are, you can grow and learn.  I love, love Buffy's defense of Spike.  It's something that I've always wanted to hear, and with this story it doesn't feel forced to into the narrative, its a natural development.  You've done an excellent job here.

I can't believe that Willow took it upon herself to do a reensouling spell.  To me that's mind-blowingly short-sighted and completey self-involved.  I mean...wow.  It's interesting to see her behaving this way this early.  How certain stressers cause her to fall into behaviors that are destuctive to others, and she can't even see how invasive they are.  It almost makes me disrespect Tara more.  Don't give me wrong, I love Tara, but she's keeps trying to ignore this nonconsentual side to Willow.  The typical Scoobie blind hope of if I ignore it, it will go away.  I guess that's love, until its not, and just becomes enabling.

I think you're doing something interesting with Xander as well.  He seems to be the only one really paying attention and learning without having his nose rubbed into it too much.  

Author's Response on May 25, 2015 05:32am

You know, I thought Lost Pupil was a strong chapter, but never expected it to get the love it has. I hope some of the later chapters are worthy of the same praise.

Tara is definitely torn between being Willow's loyal-to-a-fault girlfriend and being Willow's PTB-sent lion tamer. She knows a lot of stuff doesn't get fixed if Willow isn't brought in line, but her instincts are protective. You're right, there's a line between loving and enabling. Certainly, someone with the retrospect Tara has knows no good can come of the enabling, but she's afraid it will cost her the relationship, and doesn't want to risk it. For the moment, it makes you want to shake her by the shoulders, but the important thing is that -while she's biting her lip in hesitation- she's not love-blinded enough to try to stop the attempts to pull the wild witch of the west into line.

It's nice to see Xander *not* being a blind jerk, isn't it?

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gonnaregretthis Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 21, 2015 10:26pm Liked

I'm so glad Buffy and Giles had the blow-up.  I have been wanting Giles to get seriously called on his awful behavior for a long time, and it was cathartic for me.  But I do have a lot of hope for them--there's a lot of crap for them to wade through, but that's pretty much always the path to growth.  Thank you!

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 09:59pm
Right there with you. I think *we* needed that to happen almost as much as Buffy did. And long term, yes, there is some hope. Thanks for the review!

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Lou Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 21, 2015 09:07pm Liked

Wonderful dialogue all the way through.  This is riveting reading.

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 09:59pm

Thank you! I hope it continues to hold your interest!

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TieDyeJackson Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 21, 2015 06:21pm Liked

Just steamrolled through this and gotta say I am very impressed by your AU here. I am loving matured Buffy and Spike writing wrongs while treading on time eggshells. :)

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 10:03pm

Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it. I hope you'll stay on for the rest of the story! :)

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djjd Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 21, 2015 03:10pm

Don't end this story...just want to read it everyday.

 

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 10:06pm

Well, it has to end *sometime.* But I've already started fiddling with a sequel, just writing some scenes and ideas out. So when we get to the end of this, there might be more in the works for a later date.

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gill Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 21, 2015 12:58am Liked

ooo, interested to see how they're going to stop the Willow-rock. Interesting choice to have her sever ties with Giles. 

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 10:14pm

Yea, she kinda surprised me with that one. Echoes was written mostly sequentially, without an outline, and I often didn't know how scenes were going to go until I was writing them. *I* didn't know Buffy was going to fire her watcher until he said, "It seems we're at an impasse." Buffy's reply came naturally. She handed over her keys and left the rest of the baggage there to be sorted out later. I was shaking my head as I wrote it, wishing I could change how it went, but when it feels right, feels like how the character would actually behave, I have to leave it alone. Basically, the Giles mess is the characters' faults. I had nothing to do with it. Tongue Out

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crazyjane Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 06:35pm Liked

Totally brilliant, what more can I say.

 

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 10:16pm

You are too kind! <3

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magnus374 Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 04:52pm

A lot of issues in this chapter. I like how we saw Giles diary notes. Willow is clearly seeing that Buffy is different, and she has no idea why. So it does make sense that she is worried. In her typical way, she doesn't ask about it though, she tries to "fix" it. She also doesn't think things through. A curse is an evil thing, if she wants to do good she should do a blessing. It's a good thing that Buffy contacts the coven. Willow's reaction will depend a lot on how she's informed about this. Xander is handeling this "different" Buffy better. He hasn't been as close to her as Willow was though, and this is season 5 Xander, he's a good character.

Then we have the Giles situation. To Buffy, the way he act now reminds her of all the wrong things he did in the future. She's blaming him for things he hasn't done, wich isn't right but must be almost inpossible not to. For Giles, this must remind him of the Angelus situation which he suffered greatly from. He hasn't seen Spike change, he sees a changed Spike with a soul and makes a logical assumtion about that. This break between him and Buffy will be hurtful for them both,  but maybe they can build something new.

Whistler arriving seems to actually brought something good this time. He made Buffy and Spike think on another thing they can do to change the future. Earlier he told them that they shouldn't change things, so he brings a lot of mixed signals too.  I did like that he pointed out that the situation with Giles has a lot of daddy issues in it. And poor Joyce, now she has trouble with both her daughters when she sees them.

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 10:54pm

I think a lot of people misinterpreted Whistler's finger-wagging about them changing too much personal stuff as also applying to the mission. The time travel work is like the Scooby relationships: a mix of personal and professional. Of course he expects them to change things that matter to the job at hand. He just doesn't think they should change other stuff, because he views it as unnecessary. Of course, that doesn't make you wrong. He's definitely putting off mixed signals about some stuff. He's annoyingly inconsistent. Don't you just want to smack him?

Buffy and Spike, on the other hand, are hoping to fix a lot more than just Buffy's death and resurrection. The personal stuff changes matter to them, almost as much as the mission stuff.

Thanks for another great review, magnus!

 

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xblacklilyx Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 02:11pm Liked

She broke up with her watcher, well, at least it isn't as bad as the time he broke up with her!

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 10:57pm

You're so right! And now the aftermath begins. We'll see how it goes.

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All4Spike Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 01:33pm Liked

Oh, harsh! Little bit unfair to blame Giles for stuff he hasn't done yet, but at least you've got him thinking.

So the main mission is controlling Willow's abuse of magic? That works for me....

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 11:00pm

Yea, it's unfair, and it's a good thing he called her out on that. But it's also stuff she *desperately* needed to get off her chest. We'll see how it plays out.

Re Willow: Yea, that's sure what it looks like.

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ladypeyton Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 12:23pm Liked

I love that we were able to see both Buffy and Giles perspective during the break up. I love how perplexed Giles is. I love that Buffy straight up telling Giles off does not result in Giles simply falling into line. That it's not a quick fix. Everything is so fluid. Do over fics are all about the ripples but your story is one of the rare times that I've seen the ripples flow realistically instead of being forced into the shape that works best for the writer.

I can not express how much I adore reading this story. It's one of those one in a million finds and IMO will end up being one of the top 10 best Spuffy fics of all time.

ETA: I also love that reading the comments is just as interesting and insightful as reading the fici itself. You inspire you readers to analyze and share.

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 11:44pm

A huge part of the reason these relationship/story evolutions appear natural and fluid is that I was working without a net. No outline. No set plans. I wrote most of it sequentially, and very often had no idea how a scene or chapter would go until I was looking at it on my monitor. I try very hard to hear and see the characters in my head, and I let them do most of the driving. As I wrote, I pulled ideas and details from the story's own history, building up recurring themes and in-jokes, finding foreshadowing I didn't even know I had written, growing the overall story from its own roots, etc. Of course, as the story moved along, I repeatedly went back and fine-tuned earlier chapters, honing in on the stuff that became important later and nixing the excesses that didn't. But the review edits were rarely significant chunks of text. Mostly, I just let it play out, let the threads of the story weave themselves, with as little 'forcing it' as humanly possible.

I was about 1/3 of the way through writing this before I wrote the first version of the end game. Then I set it aside, and kept going, not making any effort to work toward what I had written, just seeing how it went. By the time I'd gotten to that point in the story, the first version was not even remotely salvageable. I didn't use a single line from it. Ditto for the page of notes I'd (virtually) scribbled out of *another* version of how it might go. The characters and story didn't take me there, so that's not where I went.

As for the comments, I love the interaction with the readers. The conversations we're having are opening my eyes to underlying themes and details *I* didn't even notice, and I end up analyzing my own work, almost from a third party POV. Also, it's educational. This is my first completed long work, and it's good for me to see what's clear to you and what isn't, and get different perspectives on various aspects of the story. I may be enjoying talking to you guys about Echoes to a ridiculous degree, but I'm also learning a lot from these conversations.

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Cloongarvin Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 10:30am

Poignant. Believable points of view and emotions, given what each party has most recently experienced. I like that we can read Giles' self-view along with experiencing Buffy's. Good point about ripples and Willow. I'm curious what this all might change, both in what they go through, and at the end. 

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 11:27pm

Changes are definitely coming. And the relationships are still works in progress. Even when they look like they've finished evolving (for good or ill), wheels are still in motion. And there are a lot of little wheels in Echoes. Thanks for reviewing!

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madspuffyfan Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 08:12am Liked

Loved it

Author's Response on May 21, 2015 11:01pm

Thanks!

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jhiz Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 06:51am

*shiver*  Oh that was lovely.  You allowed Buffy to finally share so much of the pent up emotions that she has harbored for so long in regards to her Watcher.  I think it was wonderfully done.  The use of the diary entries to get across Giles' responses and worries added an extra dimension to the chapter which I found particularly rewarding as a reader.

For pure enjoyment factor, I like that Spike asked Giles to leave "his" home.  I also appreciated the little snippets between Xander and Buffy while in the Magic Box.  They seemed quite natural from both characters' perspectives for the time that each is actually matured.

Your little addition of Joyce seeing something weird with Buffy is an added perk.  Poor woman.  Both her kids are making her freaked on top of possible death sentence from brain cancer... not her week.

Thank you so much for the update and continued attention to this story.  It is wonderful fun to read.

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 04:35am

It's very late, I'm a little tired, and I'm probably a horrible person... but your comment about Joyce had me rolling. Your phrasing was just hilarious. Poor woman, indeed.

Buffy's relationship with Giles may be a mess, but I'd like to think the relationship with Xander is a bit of compensation. At least *that* one is going decently.

I play with the storytelling technique once in a while in this story, primarily utilizing the time travel structure, of course, but there are a couple of other tangents. Giles' diary entries were an experiment I was quite proud of. I'm thrilled to know they were appreciated.

I loved the accidental undertone of a threat I found in the 'asking Giles to leave' bit after I wrote it. Spike asking Giles to leave on his own behalf is not only an assertion of residency, but it also carries an implied 'flash of fangs.' Spike knows from 2003 that and angry slayer not wanting Giles around really doesn't have much of an impact on whether he stays or goes. But pissing off an unleashed vampire in said vampire's home is *never* a smart idea, especially when there's no slayer around to save you. :P

jhiz Replied on May 20, 2015 08:10am

*snicker*  Well, I have to be a bit snarky when it comes to Joyce since I don't particularly like her as a character.  I can say, Poor Woman, but it is still a bit snide in my head when I say it... wonder which is worse... you laughing or me thinking... well, karma...

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knightowl Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 06:49am Liked

SqueePopcorn

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 04:38am

Heart

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tazmatic Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 06:19am Liked

Wow. Certainly wasn't expecting that. I figured a blow-out between Buffy and Giles was bound to happen- had to happen- but for her to straight up tell him their done? Didn't see that. And sigh. Willow. Just....Willow. I want to say I'm surprised she'd go to such measures to keep Buffy from Spike, but no, no I'm really not. Wonder how she'll take Buffy calling the Coven? And I love Buffy's shot at Xander. Anya really did deserve more than that. :) Hope to read more soon!

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 04:58am

Don't count the Buffy and Giles relationship out yet. There's still some love and respect buried under all that rubble, and a lot of social interactions that will keep them bumping into each other.

Willow's definitely freaked about the idea of Buffy with Spike, but it's not entirely about Spike himself. It's also about her best friend being so suddenly different. They don't talk or hang out as much as they used to, and (if you haven't noticed) Buffy's not very good at pretending to be her younger self. From Willow's perspective, Spike's involvement with Buffy is a likely cause, or at least a big part of why things are different.

Buffy's dig at Xander about accepting Anya for who she is was right and fair. And so was Xander's dig at Buffy for being unclear about where she stands with Spike. It wasn't the gentlest of conversations, but it was a good talk, one they both needed. That overheard conversation was meant to mirror the Buffy and Xander talk in Into the Woods. It's a bit earlier on the calendar, and the situation is different, but the theme is the same: 'Be honest with yourself. And then be honest with your partner.'

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lambean Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 04:45am

The mention of Cassie is so sad. Him thinking that that's the only "love you" that he will get from her.  So sad.  But a great chapter.  I love her standing up to Giles.  Can't wait for more

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 04:01am

The Cassie comment was one of those little accidents. Immediately after I wrote the 'people I love' line, which came about in the natural flow of the conversation (totally unplanned), I realized how such a casual, sideways mention would effect Spike. Referencing Cassie's prophecy was the most concise way to express that. Thanks for continuing to review!

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the_moonmoth Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 04:08am Liked

Oh this is so so good. You kept that tension right the way through and I feel exhausted now! I loved the way it was framed by Giles's diary entries, and his slow, painful progression from blaming Buffy, to being generally bewildered, to finally examining himself and the innate personality traits that led him to betray her trust so badly.

I wasn't forceful. I was understanding. And then, it seems, I wasn't. At some point in the future, I wasn't there for her when I should have been, wasn't the ally she needed [...] something for which I have my future self to blame, perhaps also my past and present selves.

I'm not sure he still really accepts his culpability, unable to comprehend Buffy's pov, which puts her in position of being the more mature of the two, as she demonstrably does comprehend his. I admit it did my heart good to see her finally voice her resentment to him, not because I'm a Giles hater, but because he was in the wrong so many times, and the way Buffy sat on those feelings was hurting her. 

“No.” She jerked her arm free. “I can't. You may be all stoic about it, because you never expected mutual trust and respect with him, but I did. I was trained to it. I relied on it. And then it wasn't there.” She turned her focus back to Giles. “It took me too many years of thinking you'd come back around to being who I thought you were, too many years of thinking I was the problem, for me to figure out the simple truth: My mortal enemy is a better ally than my watcher.”

Ugh, I've been there, to that place of parental betrayal, and this is exactly how it feels. She needed to say that, for herself more than anyone else (though I'm still glad Spike got to hear it). And I understand v well his concerns (you did a good job there, making his distrust believable and logical) but the fact that Giles can't trust Buffy's judgement after everything, even knowing this Buffy is older and wiser, is just galling.

And yet, somehow, I wasn't expecting her to drop him completely. Not because it doesn't make sense, but because of the conventions of the medium we're working in here. A brave authorial choice. Perhaps there will be a reconciliation later, but if so, I expect Giles will have to earn it, a position diametrically opposed to his role in Buffy's world prior to this.

God, and Willow. Already at this relatively early stage she is making unilateral decisions for the supposed good of those around her, convinced that she's in the right. Just randomly trying to restore Spike's soul without warning or discussion? It could've incapacitated him for weeks/months at a critical time. What was she thinking? D: Of course this comes back again to her unwillingness to trust Buffy's instincts, an unwillingness that is completely unfounded and stems from her own flaws. (If it's not clear - I freaking love this as a piece of character deconstruction, spot on). How her path will differ now thanks to Whistler's nudge is going to be very interesting and, I suspect, absolutely critical.

Some cracking lines, as usual.

“Summers, I'm not here to talk about your watcher daddy issues. Get a shrink.” // “Nothing personal, mate, but if the slayer decides to off you, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy the show. Right now, I figure you've got about two minutes 'til curtain.”

I laughed at both of these out loud, something very much needed after the tension of the previous sections. Omg seriously if this gets any better my head might explode! :D

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 03:46am

I think I love you. You're catching the lines I'm personally stuck on. In nearly every chapter, there are at least a couple of lines that define it in my head. "Watcher daddy issues" is a big one for Lost Pupil. It's short, funny, and deadly accurate. Probably my favorite Whistler line of the entire story. Also, your word choice of "Whistler's nudge" is utterly hilarious to me. It matches phrasing I had another character use to describe that very same conversation. You'll see it in a couple of chapters. Ok, fun stuff aside...

The Giles and Buffy relationship: His Angelus/Jenny baggage coming head to head with her future abandonment/betrayal baggage (at the natural meeting point for those two topics: Spike and his soul) is more than that relationship can bear. It *has* to break. No, that doesn't mean it has to stay broken. It simply means it can't be what it was anymore. This is a Buffy who isn't used to working under a watcher anymore, so she sees that portion of their relationship as disposable. 'It's broken. Toss it away.' Her time's Giles *taught* her that it was disposable, by the way he abused, neglected, and destroyed that relationship. But Giles as a future soldier to General Buffy? Giles as a friend/father figure? That's still up in the air.

Even after everything, I truly believe there's still a lot of love and respect under all of their issues. But neither one of them knows how to find it, or how to use it to build a new relationship from the ashes of the old one. The important thing right now is that they're finally acknowledging that there's been a fire. And it's been burning for years.

As Buffy mentioned, they have a lot of mutual friends. They're going to still be seeing each other. This relationship shift is a long way from over. It's going to take a lot of time to get to where it's going.

And then there's Willow. Someone needs to put a leash on that witch. Paging Althenea! :P

My approach to the Scoobies has been to try to show them for what they were in the series, both back in season 5 and from the travelers' perspectives. I'm taking those people and relationships, and seeing how they change under these new circumstances, with a very different slayer and her 'Hang on a second. Didn't we hate this guy a few months ago?' lover/partner.

So what is Willow? Pre-season 6 Willow is the poster child for well-meaning screw ups everywhere. And how does she change? Well, that's the problem, isn't it? So far, she hasn't. She isn't thinking her actions through, and selfish motivations are getting in her way. Typical Willow. She sees things changing, and she assumes that change is not for the best, based on her own perspective, not even considering the perspectives of the people who are making those changes. It's a narrow, immature viewpoint, but it isn't malicious. She thinks 'Buffy is acting very differently' means the same thing as 'Buffy doesn't know what she's doing,' so she's trying to 'fix' it. And the most obvious change in her best friend is that she's hooked up with Spike. In Willow's mind, this translates to 'Fix the Spike situation, and everything goes back to normal.' To season 5 Willow, this makes perfect sense.

But there's another layer to it: Her best friend has basically disappeared. They don't talk as much. They don't hang out as much. It's a loss, a loss she doesn't understand or know how to deal with. Willow the Scooby Witch wants to wave her hand and 'fix' the changes, and she's being reckless about it. Willow the Insecure Girl feels like she's losing her best gal pal, and she's being pouty about it. Buffy has to deal with both situations. Separately.

I know I keep harping on this point in my review responses, and I've even mentioned it in the chapter notes at least once, but everything keeps coming back to the same issue: every one of these relationships is two-fold. Professional and personal. Straightening out Willow the reckless Scooby witch and straightening out her friendship with Willow aren't the same thing. Giving up on Giles the Watcher and giving up on Giles the Friend/Father Figure doesn't have to be, either.

Buffy has seen this division in the relationships, particularly when her friends (who still loved her, and whom she still loved, all in their own broken ways) mutinied against her. Now she has to start implementing what she learned, and actively decide (new to Buffy!) what she wants and what she needs out of each of those relationships. *throws Buffy a skeptical look* We'll see how it goes.

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ValidescopeWest Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 03:04am Liked

Who the devil is Cassie?

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 12:39am

Season 7's 'Help.' Cassie was the prescient girl who told Spike, "She'll tell you. Someday she'll tell you."

He was thinking out loud, responding to what Buffy said right before she left the room.

 

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ginar369 Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 01:54am Liked

Both of them are stuck. Giles can't see the differences between Spike and Angel not because there aren't any but because he won't let himself. He trusted before and it blew up in this face and he refuses to trust again. So Spike pays for Angel's sins no matter the timeline. Buffy can't forget the betrayals by Giles over the years. The simple ones where he just left to the major ones where he questioned her judgement.He was over the line though. To come in to her home and verbally attack Spike then Buffy without knowing anything really was seriously bad form. The fact that he was surprised that there were repercussions was kind of funny in a sad way. Did he think he could just berate her and that would be that?

Willow needs to be contained and quickly. Why no one ever got someone to control her before astounds me. But at least Buffy is doing something about it now. I just hope it isn't too late. The fact that she would try to curse Spike without talking to anyone about it first is just.... Evil comes to mind. The fact that she was trying to give him a soul is besides the point. She was going to curse him. That curse was created as vengeance. What exactly had Spike done to her that she thought she had the right to exact vengeance for? Because Buffy talked to Spike? Because Buffy kissed Spike? Because Buffy went to Spike instead of her? YUP

Xander did have a point. Make a decision Buffy. Figure out what Spike is to you because you are really yanking him around and it's not fair. At the same time Xander needed the harsh truth Buffy dished out to him. Was that a crumb Buffy gave Spike? Or was it unintentional?

In canon I always thought Cassie's words were telling. She said, She will tell you. Cassie didn't say Buffy would mean it just that she would say those three little words. Saying them and meaning them are two different things. So did Buffy mean it or was it a slip of the tongue?

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 12:29am

"Stuck" is the perfect word for where Giles and Buffy are right now. The difference between an impasse (Giles' word choice) and a stopping point (Buffy's word choice) is whether or not you're giving up. She's giving up on him as her watcher. What that means for the evolution of their personal (father figure/daughter) relationship, and if that means he'll still have a place in the Scoobies in the long run (just not in a leadership role at her side) are things that will take time to sort out. For now, they're stuck, each with their emotional baggage and mistrust, and they have to deal with that. But it will take time.

Willow pulling out the Orb of Thessulah trick is definitely a clear indication that she's not thinking things through. If she is, she's doing so with selfish motives getting in her way. Not necessarily malicious selfishness, but then, her track record is littered with 'I didn't mean to be evil' selfish acts of magic. From her perspective, things are suddenly different for no reason. Buffy dumped Riley, found out a bunch of stuff from some unknown source about Dawn and Glory, had Spike move in, and now she's acting all couple-y with Spike. Where Xander is standing back, watching things unfold, and reacting with (usually) quiet words, Willow is panicking. Her thoughts are likely along the line of "I don't like how things have changed. I need to fix it." And that "left out" vibe you're getting? Definitely legit. We'll get into that in chapter 13. Meanwhile, we can all breathe a deep sigh of relief that Buffy called the coven.

Xander's greatest season 5 moment -and possibly his greatest moment in the entire series- was the Into the Woods conversation with Buffy. (Her response sucked, of course. She was lying to herself when she chose to run. I mean, did she even *miss* Riley when he was gone? If she did, I'm not sure it was much more than 'It'd be nice to have a boyfriend who doesn't bail out to lean on right now.') But Xander was AWESOME in that scene. He showed he was truly 'best friend ever' material, even if a lot of his words and actions before and after contradicted that. That one scene permanently altered my view of him. Writing a story that takes place in season 5 gave me the chance to dig deeper into *that* Xander, and have that "Be honest with yourself. And then be honest with your partner" conversation happen under different circumstances. The Buffy and Xander conversation when he caught her walking toward the safe house was the teaser, there have been a few moments of building up since, and here we are. The overheard training room conversation in Lost Pupil is essentially the Echoes 'verse version of the Into the Woods scene. Same theme. Different circumstances. Different words. And they both needed to hear them. There's still a little more building to do, but this is clearly the tipping point. The Into the Woods Xander is officially here... whether he knows it or not.

I always thought Cassie's phrasing was intentionally vague. "Tell you" as in "tell you what you want to hear"? Or "tell you" as in "tell you what is true, but she doesn't want to say"? The way it was played, especially given the Angel scenes just before the final fight, I think Joss and co. meant for us to think she didn't mean her last words to him, just a crumb, a bit of comfort to a dying man. (Also, Spike was consistently written to be insightful and correct about this sort of stuff, with Buffy specifically.) But it was also a blatant crumb to the Spuffy fans. We're frequently happy to take that crumb, kick away the accuracy of the insight, and run with it. As for Echoes, I stepped in right between the Angel scenes and the final fight, basically leaving everything in canon between them standing except the last day or two. (With the addition of my own little 'missing scene'/time between episodes bits.) I gave those three little words more time to happen, and took them out of the stressful situation that was keeping them at arm's length. Now Buffy just needs to woman up and say what she's thinking. We'll all be happier for it.

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juggler Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 01:49am Liked

Thanks for the update ! Wonderful stuff. Much appreciated.

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 12:30am

Glad you're still enjoying it! Thanks!

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tshe4323 Reviewed Lost Pupil on May 20, 2015 01:31am Liked

I love it...amazing.. Can't wait for next chapter 

Author's Response on May 20, 2015 12:37am

Thank you! Your eagerness is a compliment all on its own. <3

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