I totally hate these flashes. They remind me that things can go bad, and I'm a happy ending kind of girl. Hence the fanfiction obsession!
Poor Spike, he has so many insecurities it just makes your heart clench. Buffy has a lot of work to do to fix that.
I'm horribly curious about the ring. Is it their engagement ring? It better not be Angel's ring. That would be...weird.
I actually like Faith. I think she got a raw deal, even from Buffy herself. If someone had just stepped up in S3 and acted like they cared for her, she wouldn't be where she is. Buffy asking her to come watch the hellmouth was pretty heart-wrenching, Spike's reaction even more so.
It was the answer she deserved. She needs to say it more often. Without reserve. You never know, she might find out how freeing it can be.
The ring hasn't been metioned since Bounce Factors (chapter 2). That's how Spike knew where to have Joyce look for it. Yes, I'm playing a long game with this story, and with all of you poor readers.
I agree about Faith. A little respect and caring from people makes all the difference in the world to her. I touched on the fact that Buffy has finally found some resprect for Faith all the way back in chapter one, but this is the first time it's come into play. (See what I mean about a long game?) A Faith who has Buffy's support could be a powerful force, and a fun person to have around, besides.
Spike's freak out about the prison visit was one of those things so obvious, I didn't even feel the need to show the first half of it (the argument they had the night before she went). Of course he's going to instinctively think she's planning for her own death and go into a 'the slayer's got a death wish AGAIN' panic. And of course, she's going to play the 'just in case' card. Seeing the second half of that battle was exhausting enough.
Loved this one. So glad that Buffy finally was honest about her feelings for Spike. Thanks for that! Hopefully, either Spike or Buffy will remember that Ben is Glory in her human form. Maybe sn "accident" can save everyone from Glory 's threat. Could Buffy really use the "can't kill a human" excuse here?? Thanks for the update, and for sharing your talent with the rest of us.
She's finally starting to talk about her feelings. I think the world is ending. :P
They remember the Ben/Glory thing. They aren't going after Ben because of what Whistler told them in Safe House (chapter 3). And Buffy's stance on killing humans is going to be addressed very soon.
Ooh, the 2003 scene gave me shivers. What with the First showing up and then... Blam. Something has definitely changed. We just don't know what yet.
“Like it's normal,” he muttered, shaking his head.
N'awww, Spike. It's so obvious how much he craves the company of other people. It's so nice to see him not only get it, but be affected by it.
“After the amount of laundry that came with you running a bloody refugee camp here, I think I've built up an immunity to 'too much domesticity.'”
He stared out into the yard, gathering his nerve. When he spoke, his voice was a whisper again. “Don't ever revoke my invite, Buffy. Please.”
Yesssss. Thank you. Love it :,)
“Quiet, girls. I need to pretend you're both little toddlers in pigtails for a moment.” // “Uh, Buffy? I think Mom just ran off with your boyfriend.”
I love your domestic scenes, and this one was esp good, sweet and funny and very natural.
“Right then, Slayer. Go ahead. Stake me now, and be done with it. You'll never get a better chance to catch me off guard.”
She finally said it :) I think I was as caught off guard as Spike! Nice way to do it. Quietly, without fanfare, and somehow perfect. Still, it worries me that she won't commit to saying it lots. She's such an affectionate person at heart, there's clearly still some hang ups in there, my guess being that they're mainly related to her impending maybe-death, but I guess we'll see :)
Re 2003: Not a big secret. Year 2000 Willow has just decided to go to Devon for training. That alteration to her path is significant enough that the exact future they were heading toward is no longer a possibility. No matter what else does or doesn't change, what we know as canon can't happen exactly the same way if Willow goes to Devon.
I remember staring at the cursor for a long time, trying to figure out how Spike would say that he's enjoying being treated like family, being immersed in all the domestic little stuff with the Summers women. Pointing out some of the little stuff and asking for a promise to never uninvite him was the best I could come up with. At the other end of the spectrum, "And I love you, too" came quickly and naturally. Of course, I'd been building it with her responses to "Not gonna let you jump" for a while.
Buffy *was* a very affectionate and loving person. But how much of that survived the resurrection? Season six was a gigantic emotional disconnect in the Buffy brain. Season seven wasn't exactly cuddly puppy time, either. In Echoes, I've played the idea that her "cutesy romantic" side is pretty much dead, and her "openly affectionate" side is pretty deeply buried. Expressing her feelings at all is an achievement worthy of us being proud of her... and thrilled on Spike's behalf. I would never expect her to revert back to how she was. (I'm remembering the elevator shaft hugs/I love yous with the Scoobies in Primeval and the speech/kiss to Dawn on the tower in The Gift right now.) I just don't think that person really exists anymore. It may not be a good thing that she's grown out of that stuff, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing, either. It's who she is now, a permanent battle scar she carries, something you'd expect of a long-lived slayer.
Like the changes in Xander. A bit confused about some of the possibility reflections earlier. The Faith moment was very realish and I'm so glad to see. But as always the best part was Spike and Buffy's back and forth.
I've received a few comments about Faith. Apparently, I'm not the only one who was happy to have a moment with her. Honestly, if I had an excuse to do it, I would have made that prison scene longer, just to get in a few more Faith lines. She's such a fun character.
Definitely good to see Xan handling things like a grown up. I think we all needed that. It's been a slow build to get to this point, but it's finally paying off.
What confused you about the 2003 possibility scenes? Can I clear anything up for you?
So they've settled on a future with the spell. It must be the right one. The first Evil came to try to mess it up. William the Bloody, The Slayer of Slayers domesticated! Buying Christmas presents. Xander and Spike getting along? Holy crap the world is gonna end!
Not necessarily a settled future, let alone a 'right' one. Year 2000 Willow's decision to go to Devon has destroyed the exact future they came from, but a lot of other possibile paths are still on the table. Obviously, the odds are against the future they get being First-friendly, given that little visit, but a lot can still happen.
We've been building toward Spike being cool with being domesticated since he was newly-chipped and hanging out at Giles' apartment in season 4, which is almost 4 years ago, from our travelers' perspectives. It was about time he admitted it. The Big Bad loves having a settled home life. But after roaming all over the planet with Dru for so long, can you blame him?
Yea, if Xander is going to give Spike a chance as a person, the earth is definitely doomed. :P
Hee. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. It feels like things are going smoothly, which is... never a good sign. *waits patiently*
There are definitely other shoes. There's also and author who had WAY too much time between season5 episode-centered events and used it to allow the characters to get into some character stuff. Some is borderline fluffy. Some is kinda angsty. All of it adds to the story eventually, but in the meantime, I'm keeping all the shoes in the air.
The spell is finished and the old future is gone. It happened just as the one in the future talked about how a lot of their problems was because of Willow. I suppose that's because past Willow decided to go to the coven. The Slayer dream supports that idea. The possible future we saw seemed nice. We don't really know anything about it, but my first feeling about it was good. There is a lot, and very different ways to make what we saw a reallity though.
The little part with Joyce picturing her kids as toddlers in pigtails and then getting over it felt like such a good moment. Speaking of good moments, I really like nice Xander. I got curious about what ring Joce gave Spike, the only one I can think about is the skull ring from "something blue". It was also good that Buffy talked with Faith. Making plans are good but we can see that it reminded Spike of what he really fears now.
The talk Buffy and Spike had at Willy's was good. I loved when Spike said "it's about bloody time" when Buffy told him she loved him. We can see that he's still so scared about losing it all, but Buffy admitting it seemed to help a bit. What Cassie said became true for Spike then.
It must soon be time for Dru to arrive. I wonder how that will go?
Nailed it again, magnus. A lot of variations are still possible. What exactly 'our' 2003 faded into just before it was erased is still an open question. But Willow deciding to go to Devon changes things too much for the canon 2003 to happen again.
The ring hasn't been referenced since the first bounce in Bounce Factors, which is when Buffy told Spike where it would be.
A few people have commented on the Christmas tree decorating scene with the Summers women. That one was really fun to write. My Joyce is very good at finding the middle ground required for living with young adult / nearly adult offspring: Somewhere between motherly and a friend. It makes for a good home life, for all of them. And it's even occasionally funny. :)
And yea, Spike's thoughts and feelings are right out there on his sleeve. He's freaked out that she might jump again, and he won't be able to stop it. He's relieved that she finally said the three little words, but the undertone of 'I might still lose you, anyway' hasn't gone away.
I packed a lot of chapters into a short time for December and January, so Dru is still a little ways away. The story flow isn't consistent. If I didn't have much to say about what was going on during a stretch of time, I didn't. My goal was to not have a single scene that didn't serve a purpose, and very few that didn't serve at least two. The result is that there's a TON of material for the months of December and January, with chapters coming (in story time) right on the heels of each other. But in late winter through early spring, there are frequently bigger gaps between chapters, and even between scenes. Sometimes, all you need to know is that time is passing, and things are moving along as previously established. I didn't include any filler scenes to pass the time more evenly. I hope that was the right decision.
Time travel makes my brain hurt.
Still loving this story though.
So happy that Buffy has broken the ice with Faith and reminded her that she has a calling.
And Buffy said The Three Little Words! And the sky didn't fall in!
That's ok, time travel makes Buffy's brain hurt, too. It's a good thing she wasn't around for all the flashes in 2003 (just her body). Think of Xander's "Huh?" responses times 3.
<3 Faith. I'm glad the 2003 version of her made a good impression on Buffy. Much needed.
Buffy getting in touch with her emotions? And saying stuff out loud? What kind of bizarro world did I create here? :P
Fabulous chapter. I think that was the right note for Spike to finally get the words said and his reaction makes sense given their history. Poor boy is still not counting his chickens even though he's living on the farm! “Don't ever revoke my invite, Buffy. Please.” he is still insecure and no one can blame him.
I think Xander could have been brought around at this point in time had Buffy insisted and Anya backed her up. I like them as friends.
YAY Faith. Buffy having gone to her like that might just make a difference in how she progresses.
Hope the FE was just jerking their chain. Since they all went poof in the "future" I wonder what that meant? You'll tell all in good time.
Thanks for spoiling us with frequent updates...I search for them.
Everyone loves the low-key 'I love you.' I didn't want it to be an event. That much I knew going in. By the time I got them actually saying it, it already felt like an established fact, not a big Buffy revelation, so I treated it as such, and it worked out pretty well. Of course, as seems to be the norm with Echoes, I didn't know when she walked into the bar that this would be the night she said it. I don't think she did, either. It just slipped out in conversation, and they didn't even kiss to celebrate the moment. They just ordered another round. I'm writing Buffy as the person I saw her as in season 7, given a little extra time to sort through her baggage. That Buffy (in my mind) doesn't *do* big romantic declarations, wouldn't save up the first 'I love you' for a special event. She's outgrown all of that.
The other things everyone seems to be enjoying are the Faith visit and Xander coming around. I love Faith, and I expressed from chapter one that Buffy respects her more now. Buffy's (forgive the pun) faith in her and her respect as a slayer could easily be all she needs to turn herself around. (Gee, I wonder where Buffy learned *that* lesson?) Xander has been a slow build to this moment, but I wonder if I was too subtle with it, as the 'breaking point' of him asking Spike out for a beer is getting a lot of attention. My hope was that I'd built up the Xander evolution storyline enough that this wouldn't be a surprise, would be another 'non-event,' just like Buffy's first 'I love you' to Spike.
The First realized the odds had shifted, and was trying to stop it. Too little, too late. They've erased that exact path from the possibilities, by sending Willow in for training. The future they end up with will definitely be at least a little bit different from canon. How different is anyone's guess. ;)
More spoiling posted this morning. Enjoy!
Xander is taking a huge step. Spike and Joyce had a scene and we got a semi-cuddly Spuffy ending to the chapter . Loved it all :D
Semi-cuddly is just the right way to phrase it. Sweet, loving, friendly, and still snarky and non-romantic.
It may be a huge step in Xander's mind, but I was hoping it wouldn't be for the readers. I think I was too subtle with the build up, as most of the Xander moments that got him to this point were overshadowed by the other events in those chapters. I guess that's another point where Echoes will be better received and understood as a big binge read, rather than a chapter at time. I've been posting for a month now, and I think it's very easy to forget all those little scenes in everything else that's going on, especially when read over a period of weeks.
Love the way they interact, and the way Buffy can tell him she loves him with that sense of casual sincerity.
Obviously, Echoes went through many, many edits, chapter by chapter. But I never actually *cut* a lot of material. Usually, I was adding, to flesh out ideas I was afraid were unclear. The only exception was Spuffy one-on-one conversations. I'd get into a rhythm, and they'd just keep talking, dragging scenes on long past their actual point, and not necessarily finding additional ones. I had to chop off a lot of the tails of their interactions, just to keep myself in check. The second half of their conversation at the bar was one of the times them just talking actually *found* additional points, and I was thrilled to have an excuse to keep it.
(If you haven't noticed, Echoes doesn't have any filler scenes. There are literally zero scenes that don't serve a purpose, and a lot that serve more than one. Some of the purposes aren't immediately obvious, but I kept myself on a very strict 'no filler' rule. This approach may have curtailed some of the Spuffy conversational fun, and a little character development, but Echoes is long enough without allowing any excesses.)