<I>“Would you please let me have my moment?”</I> Ah, I adore Joyce.
Joyce was super fun to write, especially scenes like that. Such a great character to get to play with, especially since she was rather underdeveloped in canon.
I like how you acknowledge that Spike without his soul has to rely on Buffy as his moral compass and that's a lot of responsibility to ask of somebody. I don't think many writers and readers for that matter, get how truly terrible that is. No one should be asked to be responsible for another's ethical behavior. The real question is has Spike grown enough to be ethical without a soul. If he can reason out right and wrong, even when he can't feel the difference between the two. I suppose ethics and social morality is learned anyways. It changes from culture to culture. Although, the whole don't murder thing is kinda universal.
Thank frick for Tara. She's always caring for people's emotional health. She seems to be the only scoobie, (besides, oddly enough, Xander) who cares. Finally, Buffy acknowledges her reticence in being in a relationship with Spike is more than just being slayer and vampire. She has some major insecurities when it comes to relationships. Her parents may have been the seed, but she needs to acknowledge that her relationships with Angel and Riley did their damages as well. On the plus side, they are soooo frickin' cute when they do couply stuff. You really have their banter down.
What's in the Watcher ed. I wonder? I was starting to feel a little sorry for Giles but this is a point against him. This manual will have information that Buffy needs access to and she has to steal it. He does like to keep her in the dark about some things doesn't he?
It's interesting to see Buffy nostalgic over the old crypt, considering how many bad memories must be there. But then again, she did call it cozy, so maybe they had some good times too. Some deeply repressed good times...
The moral compass issue seems obvious to me, so I really don't get how a lot of people don't think about it. But then, I suppose not putting that aspect in play serves some stories well. For some stories, the soul may be viewed as a "gift" to Buffy, a major play in the redemptive arc for Spike, a burden on one of them, but not so much on the other, etc. Different stories have different needs. As the soul itself it not a major point in Echoes, my story's needs are met through using that issue to dig into the characters' minds and motivations. That means every aspect of his having it is fair game for being at least touched on, and can be used to tell us more about their thoughts, and who they've become over the years.
I didn't bring the slayer/vamp aspect into Buffy's commentary about her relationship/commitment issues more than absolutely necessary in Echoes, because that ground has been covered a thousand times over the years, starting in season one. I'd like to think she's past that barrier. It might still be a bit of an issue, but it's pretty far down the list. It was a nice cover (for her, anyway) while it lasted, though.
Buffy mined a little useful data from the Watcher Edition, as well as a couple of other choice tidbits from Giles' office. I think you'll love how she uses them.
There's definitely still a little internal conflict with Buffy's perception of their season 6 relationship. We'll get into that more later.
Good talking between Spike and Joyce. I liked the line, "you are housing my daughter in your bedroom". Telling Joyce about everything was probably a good thing. They talked about the soul. I really hope that he doesn't takes it again when it's gone. The symbolic value of not taking it would be enormous.
Then we have Tara saying som very good things to Buffy, things that she should think about. Buffy is doing some more good planning it seems. Getting allies in the Council could be very useful.
Buffy's reaction to seeing the crypt was interesting. That place seems to have ment more to her than she realized herself, she even called it "our place". Buffy did think about what Tara said. She told Spike about her issues and how she think about the marridge, good. We can see the old fears that Spike has when she started talking, and in the morning after. How Buffy acted in the morning made things better, as we can see from Spike's line "couldn't you have left like that every time?" We also had some really enjoyable bickering between them too.
Then the Xander part. As I have said before, it's a joy to see this good Xander. He's nice, friendly and understanding, just like he should be. The thing with the punching bag was wonderful. Through Xander's eyes we can see that Buffy and Spike have created a home in the basement. They are being such a good couple. The thing with the canvas was amusing, but I got curious about the other three.
And last a nervous Buffy talks with Joyce. Wonderful lines there at the end.
Don't forget that losing the soul in the summer of '02 is a maybe, not a certainty. They don't actually know if keeping it is going to be a choice. The discussion about it centers on the idea that it will be, because if it isn't, there's really nothing to discuss. If it *is* a choice, there's a lot to say, and they haven't said it all yet.
Don't you want to give Tara a big hug and thank her for keeping our favorite couple out of trouble? She's the kick in the butt they need.
The break in at the Magic Box pays off, but it happens in stages. It's worth the wait.
The bunker (formerly known as Spike's bedroom/ the lower level of his crypt) was really the perfect place for them to hash some of that stuff out, including the morning after stuff. The biggest shift in how that mroning went comes down to the friendship that's built up between them since the first time around, providing a backbone to the other layers of their relationship. Sex in a crypt? Hurrying off after? Planning a wedding? None of it would be going well, least of all with casual joking around, if they hadn't become friends by this time. It would just be a really strange replay of their past.
Yay! Someone noticed the punching bag line! I really believe Xander's already established friendly perspective was the perfect way to introduce us to how the basement bedroom has evolved over the last few months. I could have described it sooner, but seeing it through his eyes seemed like a better first impression.
You'll get to read the other three canvases, but not immediately. I saved the Oscar Wilde quotes for when they were needed.
Joyce being a typical mom about a very atypical wedding was so fun to write. I'm glad everyone else enjoyed that scene as much as I did.
Thanks again, magnus!
I know that losing the soul is a maybe. I wrote it wrong, I should have written if it dissapears. Anyway if it does, I hope he doesn't try to get it again, or becoming a "normal" human. Tara does deserve a lot of hugs.
Her mother pulled her into a hug. “Oh! My baby's getting married tomorrow!”
“Mom!” She rolled her eyes. “I'm eloping with a 150 year old vampire, and we're living in your basement. You are not supposed to be happy about this.”
“Would you please let me have my moment?”
That made me snort and I never snort it was that funny.
That wasn't originally the chapter-ending scene. There was another scene after it, that takes place later that same day. But that moment was too freakin' funny for me to bury it in some mid-chapter place, and seemed to wrap up a rather funny chapter nicely, so the following scene got shifted to the beginning of the next chapter. I just posted it. I hope you like!
LMAO gotta love Joyce having her moment and the wedding thing is shaping up pretty nicely. I am enjoying Xander and Willow is leaving soon so I am pretty happy with this story overall :).
Yeah, for the moment, things are progressing nicely. You that means someone has to screw it up, right? :P
Wonderful chapter! With a wedding itself there are so many plans to make, never mind coupled with an impeding show down with Glory and dealing with the aftermath. I'm just hoping Buffy will heed Tara's advise and see this for what it is, and not just as another stratagem.
Gotta love Tara. She forced a much needed conversation to start. Buffy may be finally beginning to talk about her feelings, but she still needs a little nudging. She'll get there. And eventually, the idea of being Spike's wife will quietly settle in, while she's worried about other things. I hope you like how it plays out.
Pre wedding jitters. Buffy can act like the marriage part isn't important but she knows it is. Especially to Spike. She better catch up soon because Tara was right this could go so very badly for both of them. So Joyce is in the know now. Spike could probably convince her to take hte money now. Hinting that she is going to need it really soon. Might work. Xander, Spike and Clem drinking buddies? Holy Cow never saw that coming!
I think you'll like what happens with the check Joyce doesn't want to deposit.
Getting Xander comfortable enough for guys' night at Willy's felt like it took forever. But I love it as a big pay off to all the building. He's finally become *their* friend, not just hers. Much needed, especially with the Willow and Giles turmoil that's been going on. One adjusted Scooby relationship went right, right from the start (even if it was a slow progression).
Thanks for continuing to review, ginar!
Tara is right, if Buffy didn't make her ambiguous feelings clear to Spike, by marrying him for Dawn's sake, she would be 'using' his overwhelming love again, as she did in S6.
Love the continuing Spuffy bickering, especially since the nasty sting has given way to fond jokiness.
Spike was so cute asking Joyce for Buffy's hand, and very honourable by telling her what was happening and why.
Looking forward to the wedding and wondering whether it's going to go smoothly. Somehow, I doubt it...
Those two need Tara like most people need air. They can't survive without. Given that she was the closest to being 'in on' their season 6 affair, but missed their season 7 growth, she brings a unique perspective to the situation. She's someone for whom their worst days are a little fresher on the brain than the (somewhat) better ones.
If they got along perfectly, I don't think I would recognize them. Also, I think they'd go nuts if they didn't fight and argue once in a while.
Definitely a cute Spike moment. I'm glad everyone loves that scene, because there's more Joyce and Spike conversation coming... later.
I'm a little concerned that people are eagerly anticipating the wedding. The plan is to elope at home, with Tara and Joyce for witnesses. It's not exactly a gigantic event.
“Not at all.” He turned to look her in the eye. “That's why I told you. Wanted you to have the facts in front of you before I asked for your daughter's hand."
This is such a sweet conversation between Spike and Joyce. When he gets earnest like this it's one of my favorite things ever :) I love that you've included so much of their friendship.
“What I'm saying, sweetie, is that this is just another version of that weird fling you had. He wanted more out of it, and should have backed off, because you weren't ready to give it, but he hung on, because he thought it would make you happier. Also, he's stupidly optimistic where you're concerned. Back then, he thought if he waited patiently, you'd catch up with him, be in the same place in the relationship he was. I doubt that's changed.”
Thank goodness for Tara. Heh. I had these same fears myself after last chapter. It's good that Buffy has someone like this who'll be honest with her and force her to open up. Other than Spike, of course, because even he can't make her own up about himself.
I need a little more time. I'm willing, but I'm not where you are, Sparky. I'm a few steps behind, as usual. ...I'm not actually ready for this stuff. // “I know you're not. But thanks for sayin' it.”
Such an important conversion. Big strides made by both of them here. Buffy for articulating it in the first place, and Spike for reigning in his bitterness and instinct to lash out long enough to hear her. And a wonderful and poignant call back to canon. I had a little wibble over that, I'll admit ;)
Buffy's jaw dropped. “Asked for my...? Oh my god. What century are you from?”
Hee! A good joke works on many levels ;)
“Couldn't you have left like that every time?
And there's the little shadow of his bitterness, creeping out. This chapter is woven through with echoes of their past. Nicely done.
The passive aggressive war over the prints is completely charming :)
There's more Spike and Joyce coming later. I think you'll like it. :)
OMG do they need Tara to keep them in line. I love that her perspective is unique. She was on the periphery of their season 6 fling (pretty much the only person who was), and didn't see the season 7 stuff, so the 'bad old days' are a little more prominent in her mind. She's never seen them coasting along on ambiguous non-relationship silence (season 7), but she's seen them be destructive to each other, particularly Buffy's destructiveness. It puts her guard up in a way that theirs no longer is, and she ends up protecting them from themselves, in a way. She brings something to the Spuffy relationship not just in gentle prodding and timely fight mediating, but also in caution. They tend to get reckless with each other's emotions (again, mostly Buffy). Tara is the warning bell they needed all along.
I used "Thanks for sayin' it" in chapter one, with the idea of rounding out my pseudo-Chosen episode. But when the Steps Behind conversation happened, the line was a perfect fit, and I used it again. So I went back to chapter one, intending to edit it out, and only use it once. I couldn't improve it with other words, so I left it. But in retrospect, I think both work, for different reasons. The chapter one use thanks her for a compliment, which is sort of how he took the "I love you" in canon. This one thanks her for her honesty, and thus covers the "she's finally saying what she means" interpretation of the canon "I love you." So both reflect the original use, but from very different perspectives.
To ruin a joke: I wrote my own thought processes into the "century" line. It was an accidental joke. The comment rolled out of her mouth reflexively, as something Buffy would very reasonably say as a character. *Pause. Hands hovering over the keyboard.* "Ok, that's a stupid question. She *knows* what century he's from. I need to ditch that line. What else might she say to that? Or maybe.... Hmm. Maybe I should just roll with it. Ok, so moment of pause. Reaction. Realization. Buffy obviously spoke before she thought. Typical Buffy. Ok, that works." *reread* "Hey! That came out kind of funny! Yeah, we're definitely keeping that."
Her hurrying off after post-coital sleep is something that keeps coming up after significant nights together. It came up after the first post-time-travel hook up. It came up after their first night the lower level of the crypt. Both important hook ups for them, both with reasons for her to leave their bed like she did. So what's the next significant morning after going to be? And why is she going to hurry off this time? Yeah, some of the story arcs are buried kind of deep in the details. I may be slightly crazy. :P
LOL this chapter was so funny and sweet! :D Seriously I LOVE this fic!!! Your doing an AMAZING job and I get SO thrilled seeing every update!!! :) Can't wait for more & the wedding! :)
Lots of caps lock and exclamation points? I must be doing good! Glad you're enjoying it!
Chapter is a thing of beauty. I love that Buffy admits her commitment and intimacy issues aren't really about the vampire/slayer part of their situation. She was always more complex than that and I think this nailed it.
Love Xander in this story. Kinda wish he'd be at (and okay with) the wedding. I'm expecting something other than smooth sailing and am torn between Giles or Willow for the reason.
Looking forward to what Buffy found out in the special version of the manual (and you KNOW there had to be one. The Council told too many lies not to have the truth out there somewhere. I got a kick out of Lydia and wonder what Buffy has in mind with her...clearly it will utilize her soft spot/crush on Spike in their favor in some way.
Loved Spike and Joyce leveling. Great scene.
I completely understand why Buffy reacted as she did to the crypt. I would too. It was "their" space but it also was Spike's. Now it's like he wasnt there and neither was their history. Nice touch and speaks volumes about Buffy's real feelings about their season 6 affair.
Love the changing pictures game playing...they are really cute together as a real couple
Most of this chapter was wedding prep and making clear that the wedding itself isn't changing the Spuffy relationship, not really. But, as began in Flash Decisions, Buffy's emotional dam is breaking. (Tara, lovely woman that she is, is happy to swing an axe into it to push things along.) The wedding itself may not be a big deal, but the Spuffy conversations it is both triggering and surrounded by (through coincidental timing) definitely are. They're making real progress as a couple. Finally.
Xander was the perfect person to introduce us to what the basement bedroom has become, because he didn't walk into it until he was established as a pro-Spuffy ally ...even if he doesn't know who they really are, and has previously expressed concerns that something doesn't quite add up. We got to see the cellar dwellers' (so fun to have Buffy use that phrase) nest from a friendly perspective, and the entire visit felt like *their* friend (not just hers) dropping by for a casual visit. It's taken a while, but Xan's finally on board.
You're the first reviewer to mention Buffy's reaction to the bunker. I'd only given two warnings that they were planning something with the crypt (one short line when he agreed to move back into the house and another a chapter or so later). I expected a lot of people to express surprise at the introduction of the bunker, and a few to comment on her reaction. Aside from you, I've heard nothing but crickets thus far. In addition to other purposes the bunker may later serve as an established setting, we needed to see her response to seeing "their" place converted into something cold and efficient... and there's no better place in the world for those two to have the conversation they had there.
Thanks for the review, Kathleen!
Very funny lots of smiley moments.
Definitely one of the more fun and lighthearted chapters in Echoes. I did try to strike a balance with this story, mixing some humor in with the big, serious stuff. Sometimes, the humor landed in high concentrations.
Loved it. Please tell me we c the wedding and the scoobies reactions.
Well, keep in mind, they're intentionally scheduling this to happen outside of Scooby visual range, with the intention of telling them later.