You did an admirable treatment for the Buffy and Giles separation - it works just right with your treatment thus farfor them in this story. Tara is another outstanding character variation to the series events.
I am enjoying reading this again very much.[Report This]
Heart ache with Buffy and Giles - but a great section of the chapter and story -
The Dance Partners Buffy and Giles scene is probably my favorite of their interactions in the entire story. They have other good moments, from a character perspective, but that talk on the catwalk is when he starts to really "get" this version of her, when she finally lets him in enough for that to be possible.
We really don't get into Buffy's head in such a direct way very often in Echoes. I popped that door wide open for this scene, and was very happy with the results.
I like how you're changing things without making anyone into the bad guy. Some BtVS fic that changes the storyline takes a character the author doesn't like and makes them unreasonable and kicks them out of the group for it. You're not doing that and I appreciate it.
Nope, no character bashing and no character assasination here. While I'll play up some character strengths and weaknesses, highlight some flaws and whitewash others, I still make an effort to keep the characters as 3D as possible. Stories about real-ish, imperfect people, who care, who try, and who screw up in difficult situations and/or complicated relationships are way more interesting than "This character is now the bad guy. Let's all hate him together. Because I said so."
I find myself feeling sorry for this Giles but at the same time hope he learns from what he's been told. Maybe they can forge a new relationship, one of equals, in time.
The Magic Box bathroom scene in Lost Pupil almost didn't happen. If it hadn't, their relationship might have ended abruptly with her yelling at him in her living room a couple of hours before. That quiet, resigned conversation while she was washing Queller slime out of her hair left them in a position of being disconnected from each other, but not necessarily at odds. The catwalk scene in Dance Partners is basically the continuation of that, taking place when she's loosened her tongue with alcohol and has had a little more time to process her thoughts. She sent him off with tons of stuff to think about, but there are two points she implied in that conversation without actually saying, and they matter.
Dawn and secrets...shyeah.
S7 Buffy was cold and borderline heartless, but you've wrought real change in her. I like seeing this side of her, especially with Spike. His insecurities keep cropping up though. He's the one still caught in the past, it seems. He never lets himself forget and live in the moment.
Dawn told Willow, didn't she? She's absolutely right. Willow has come a long way from supporto Willow that she was in S2. Not necessarily in a good way either.
Good job showing the core relationship of the original Scoobies. They really did have a great relationship. Seeing them work together again, gives you hope that they can be that way again.
This Buffy is so mature. Her understanding of Nikki really shows how much she's grown as a person and a slayer. In this regard, she's finally caught up with Spike in understanding that his hunt of the slayers wasn't vindictive. It was a challenge. A fight between equals, warriors. Having her explain that to Giles goes a long ways to showing how it is that Buffy is so accepting of Spike now.
Well, Giles has all the facts now. Is he going to prove to be a wanker or is he going to step up to the plate?
Personally, I think both Buffy and Spike are still caught up in their history. Their perspectives of season 7 have been a constant shadow over this entire time travel expedition. It's just manifesting differently in each of them. She's prone to little bouts of homesickness, and viewing everything through the eyes of a general fighting a war. He's prone to brooding and little side comments about the unpleasant baggage they brought back with them. When they are on a calendar doesn't really matter within the relationship itself. They're still developing along the trajectory they were on before they left. It's the season 7 relationship, given more time and freedom to grow and evolve. It just happens to be taking place in the tangled mess that is season 5, version 2.
You're the first reviewer to mention Buffy's perspective on Nikki. Yes, yes, yes. You nailed it. "My point is that it shouldn't have mattered" and she "went out like a slayer should" are huge revelations for Buffy, true acceptance of a slayer's role in the world, and of Spike's history with slayers. The subtext of that section of the Buffy and Giles conversation was definitely "I know who I am. I know who Spike is. Do you, oh wise Watcher man?"
And he hasn't answered that question yet. We'll see.
“No,” she said quietly. “Trust is the best defense. It's misleading sometimes, but then, so is fear. Trust builds relationships, teams of people to help keep a slayer alive. I trust him, Giles, with my life. More importantly, I trust him with the lives of the people I love.
“I miss some things,” she whispered, taking another sip of her drink. “Stupid, little stuff. Waking up to the kitchen swarming with people. Drill Sergeant Kennedy shouting in the backyard. The look on Vi's face when Spike would get the jump on her in training. Rona catching us sneaking out for Thai food after we brought them home from patrol. Dawnie being mature enough to be mad at me quietly, but still make her point. Andrew, driving us all crazy with his video camera,
I love that she feels this way. It's so tempting to think that we can go back to a time when everything was better, but in reality you can't go back, not really (as Giles and Willow are discovering).
So Willow has figured out Spike has a soul, but did she believe it was her spell that finally worked or something else? Hmm.
Glad Spike got to indulge in a little romance with the threshold carrying :)
She said a lot of important things to Giles up there on the catwalk, things she really needed to get off her chest, and things he probably needed to hear. The "looking for happy endings and hero stories in a place and time where they didn't exist" comment tells you a lot about the version of her who left 2003. She was losing her hope. But in this same conversation, she shows Giles she's in the process of finding it again.
The downside is that there's a certain amount of homesickness attached. The life she left was a crappy, dangerous mess, but it was HER life. And she walked away from it, and all but one of the people in it, to risk reliving some of the worst days of her life, all for the sake of the mission. The original Year 2000 Buffy probably wouldn't have made the same decision. I think Giles sees that, and is beginning to understand this war-ravaged, hardened personality. When she uses the general and lieutenant terms, he accepts them without comment, and then promptly uses them. It's an indication that he respects why those words are being used, and is also (hopefully) beginning to understand the depth of the sacrifice the time travelers have made.
She also made it clear that there's a damned good reason she brought the time travel companion she did, aside from the romantic attachment. She needed a trusted partner with a proven willingness to sacrifice everything for the mission. By May of 2003, there weren't a lot of people around who fit the criteria. She's definitely sending Giles off with a lot to think about.
You're the first reviewer to mention figuring out what it was that surprised Willow during the dance. I thought it was obvious, but maybe not. I doubt she thinks it was her, as she never could make her Orb even find the soul, so she wouldn't have had the means of restoring it. But she's definitely figured out why those attempts failed. The questions now are what that will change about her perspective (and how much of the second half of their conversation was influenced by that revelation)? What's she going to say about it? To whom? And when?
Buffy can push back against Spike's romantic leanings as much as she likes, but she's never going to be able to prevent ALL the sweet moments. And once in a while, she'll even instigate a little sweetness (like the note in his red book). ;)
So sad. I'm happy that the wedding went without a hitch and they had some fun as well as a moment of Scooby time. But the illwill between Giles and Buffy his one-way trip. I was hoping they could mend the fence and make up. And I hope Spike's talk helped Willow, but I got the impression it wasn't enough but it was a start.
The Giles conversation on the catwalk definitely had an overtone of resignation, but it also accomplished a lot. She sent him off with a lot to think about, and a better understanding of who she and Spike are. Maybe there's a shred of hope in that.
The Spike and Willow dance conversation shifted that situation in a better direction, but what that direction is exactly isn't clear. We'll just have to wait and see. :)
The Spike & Willow exchange was very well thought-out.
So glad Buffy & Giles cleared the air.
I'm glad you liked those two conversations. They were the most important points of this chapter, and I was afraid my readers would discount some of it in their disappointment over not having a bucketful of cutesy wedding stuff or a gigantic Scooby ""OMG! MARRIED?!" meltdown. Thrilled to see that isn't the case (at least for those reviewing).
Of course, hearing about the wedding would make Dawn scream and worry Joyce. I like that Spike carried Buffy over the threshold, it felt a bit sad that the wedding itself was so practical and sort of soulless Perhaps they can have a new cermony in a few years when they are both ready. Spike trying to teach them to dance was nice. I loved the line about how she should watch her feet.
Then the Scoobies arrive. I feel a bit bad for Willow, things have changed a lot without her knowing why. Xander is handeling it better, but Willow was closer to Buffy before and feel the difference more. She also doesn't react well to not knowing and she wants to be in controle of things. Buffy doesn't really know how to connect with Willow again, and it's Spike who wants her to try. It was nice how he called her Mrs. Pratt when they were alone. Joyce's part with her writing a letter and her thoughts at Buffy's old room had a melancholy feeling to it. In my mind it felt like she was leaving a good by letter.
Then bronzing, it was nice seeing the original Scoobies together, it felt like a tribute to the past. It was good that Spike danced with Willow, the things he said to her was good for her to hear and she clearly need to talk about how she feel about all this.
A good talk between Giles and Buffy. She explained many of the problems and what had let to the loss of trust. It was good that she told him that even if she didn't need him anymore, the others does. The talk also gave a small hope fore a future when they can be friends again. She still sort of need him it seems, she didn't like that he would leave for england. It could of course be more of a reaction for the loss of Giles being made real. Their whole conversation had this feelings of regrets and loss.
Yes, the wedding was extremely practical. Buffy's already said she doesn't view it as big, important thing, and Spike's very prone to following her lead when it comes to setting the tone of their relationship. Maybe they can be talked into a "real" wedding (something bigger than a living room elopement) sometime down the line. Here's hoping! *crosses fingers*
Spike is definitely a little more in tune with Willow's outsider feeling than Buffy is. (Wonder why? It's not like he has any experience with a closed-off Buffy. ) Hmm... I wonder if he can exert a little influence?
Joyce's visit to Buffy's abandoned room definitely had a "the baby's flown the nest" vibe to it, among other vibes. The feelings she had looking at that room will influence a decision she makes later, among other things. I'm itching to say more, but you'll see it, soon enough.
When I wrote the "original Scoobies" bit, I hadn't planned on doing anything more than having the three of them dancing together near where Spike had first saw them. Offer a moment of nostalgia, and then move on to the next scene. But when I got to it, I realized I needed to let it play out, letting it become a true traditional "Scoobies at the Bronze" moment. And you're right, it ended up being a bit of a tribute to their past... Something I think Buffy noticed, as she took the reminder of the night she met Spike up to the catwalk with her, and the reminder of the "good old days" with the original Scoobies is about to come into play.
The Giles conversation covered a ridiculous amount of ground: past, future, regret, grudges, hope, homesickness, trust, and resignation, just for starters. It also served as a clear reminder that the fahter-daughter relationship, the fact that they care about each other, isn't gone, despite their problems. And yes, it does seem like she might still need him. We'll have to see how that plays out. :)
Thanks again, magnus!
Wonderful update, as always! I just love this story. I love seeing buffy and Spike stand up for themselves. I wish this was canon lol
"I wish this was canon" is probably the greatest compliment one can give to a fanfic story. THANK YOU!!!
Dawn was right. Tara wasn't replacing Willow. She was filling an open position one that Willow isn't comfortable filling.
Two important conversations had. Hopefully Giles and Buffy can repair their relationship once he comes back. If he comes back. Willow and Spike still seem a little iffy. I just hope that she confesses all to the coven and they make her see that her actions lately have been wrong. Plus maybe they can help her get over her self-centeredness. Because really isn't not all about Willow. She attaches too much importance to her own feelings and not enough to what is actually going on. Its all about how Willow feels about what is happening. Some how some way she thinks she has the right and moral authority to change things how she wants them. That is not what her power is for.
Xander is coming along nicely. He didn't bat an eyelash about the the dancing even joining in!
The wedding was too funny! She really has gotten harder. She was all rainbows and kittens over Angel but some of that little girl fantasy has washed away over the years. Kind of sad.
I love Dawn's "astute moments" in Echoes, when she tips her hand, and lets people know that she's quietly paying attention, and thinking about what she sees. Kid Sister is a little smarter than she looks. We've only seen glimmers of it up to this point, but -as she's not being treated like a dumb little kid this time around- she's finally starting to say more of what she's thinking, and being rather bold about it. Fun, isn't it?
The "replacement" thing comes up twice. The first time, Willow implies it's about Tara. The second time, she says it's about Spike. Really, it's all three of our time travelers. While Tara isn't letting on exactly how close she's gotten to Buffy and Spike, it's already starting to look like she's at least in the mix, and I think Willow is beginning to get the vibe of a tight trio forming. We'll see how that plays out later.
In the meantime, you're right: Willow lets her emotions cloud her vision, keeping her from getting a clear picture of what's happening around her. Really, she's always been that way, since all the way back in season one, when she heavily encouraged 16 year old Buffy's highly questionable relationship with Angel for the sole reason that she was enjoying the vicarious romance. Hopefully, the coven will teach her to not bring her magic into interpersonal situations, but we shouldn't expect them to change her personality. Willow will always be Willow, faults and all. We can only hope her mis-use of magic ceases to be one of those faults.
I guess it is kind of sad that Buffy outgrew the fluffy white dress dream wedding and embracing of "gooey, romantic crap." But it makes sense. Even with this "new lease on life" sort of experience she's having, of going back in time to make things better, she's still -at her core- the battle-hardened general who couldn't manage to say "I love you." She's definitely shown recent signs of finally getting back in touch with her softer emotions, but she's still our season seven Buffy. A happier home life with a man who wants a little romance is great for her, and helps her soften up, but there's a big gap between taking off the sharp corners and reverting back to blind, romantic optimism. Yeah, it's sad, but it feels like a natural evolution.
Thanks again for reviewing, ginar!
Awesome chapter with everyone gelling somewhat. Sad to see Giles go but you've been juggling a lot of secondary characters and need to etch out your own new scooby gang dynamic and a few peeps need to be on the back burner. Loved the wedding and Dawn's reaction and pretty much everything else about this chapter.
Character juggling was definitely an issue throughout the writing of Echoes. I love Anya, but she's been sadly under utilized, only showing up in a handful of scenes that aren't group scenes. She's been sitting on the back burner with Dawn while the evolution of the Xander friendship and the difficulties of the Willow and Giles relationships have taken up a ton of "screen time." Even Tara, though established as a central character, has been somewhat under used up to this point. A shift in the dynamic, an adjustment to the status quo, opens things up a little. We're working toward a new Scooby team arrangement, but that's going to take a while to establish. So who is front and center, who is on the back burner, and how/when that stuff changes is still in flux. In other words, I'm still juggling.
Thanks for the review!
You are juggling very well, my dear :)