Yay! Lydia's there. I'm not sure how I feel about you losing Giles, but Lydia's there. *grin*
Lydia is a fun character. She stays in the background a lot, but she's great when we see her. I think you'll like her. :)
“Because he put it in the freezer!”
brings a whole new dimension to the meaning of cold war :D
There was a long silence before Spike turned the lamp off again. He pulled her close. “One day, love,” he whispered. “Maybe we'll both be proud of it.”
Ack, I'm still worried about this whole thing. Obviously Buffy is getting Spike's nightmares, so I understand her vehemence, but I wish, like Spike said, she could also see the heroic good in it, aand be proud of him.
“Uh, Buff,” Xander said, handing back the letter. “I'm pretty sure this is the official request form for another wet works team.”
*snicker* and good to see Xander getting some much- needed male bonding (not so thrilled with the men calling their women crazy).
“Demolition. The night after you get the whole damn cake, you and I are going to the safe house basement, and we are nottaking the stairs. Argument pre-show totally encouraged.”
Omg. I can only express my deepest hopes that this'll be an onscreen moment!
The way Buffy treats Eddie is really kinda sweet and reminds me a little of the way she was with Dawn at that age. Nice to see that sweeter side of her coming through :)
“Nah. She probably tastes like monk magic and Cheetos.”
*crying* OF COURSE this is what Lydia walks in on :D (also, yay Lydia! She's arrived)
Buffy, get the broom. Spike, put the kettle on. Let's just pretend we're normal enough to receive guests. Please?” Joyce led Lydia to the living room, and offered her a chair. “I'm so sorry. I think they have a button in their brains that turns them into children the second anyone comes to visit.”
Joyce taking charge of the miscreant children is completely charming though.
The "he put it in the freezer" scene was a late addition. Originally, I had the check issue settled very quietly and simply. But the readers seemed to be expecting something greater from it, so I altered that mini-story arc to give us weeks of a "cold war," ending in the other residents of the house forcing a stop to it. In both versions, Buffy was wrong about how it would go. She expected a big argument, and it never went that way at all.
The "wet works" line is one of my favorites Xander lines. It still cracks me up, many months after it was written. As for the crazy line, I don't understand the problem. Neither Buffy nor Anya are poster children for mental health (though Anya is admittedly much closer to qualified). They're both a little kooky. What's the harm in the guys cracking friendly jokes about it?
"Monk magic and Cheetos" originally appeared later in the story, but I thought this scene was a better fit, so it got moved in final edits. I loved Lydia walking in on the three of them acting like kids, making a baking mess in the kitchen, roughhousing, and all the while giving it that "only on the Hellmouth" air of casual joking about torture, drowning and the taste of a young girl's blood. But if I were Joyce, I'd have gotten the broom myself... so I could smack them with it.
~As for the crazy line, I don't understand the problem.
It's just a bit of an unpleasant cliche, isn't it - men calling women crazy as a get-out clause for actually trying to understand them. With Spike and Buffy you might get away with it (because it's clear that they actually do understand one another now) but with Xander and Anya I feel that he's far more prone to falling into the cliche in nasty ways. And as for Rowena, she just sounds like a strong-minded woman who knows what she wants, and whose behaviour is being belittled by a man/demon who wants to feel like he has some control over the situation. None of which I'm sure you intended, but there are undertones, and it just tweaks me the wrong way. Sorry.
I guess you and I move in different circles. None of my friends (of any orientation or gender) see the casual/colloquial use of "crazy" as a problem, don't treat it as a sexist cliche. One of my supervisors shook her head at me and called *me* crazy the other day because I had a rather outlandish idea for a project. And then she gave me the go-ahead -and even helped me complete the project- because she knows that my crazy, outlandish ideas tend to work. It just isn't a dirty word in my world. It's a joke, nothing more.
As for Rowena, she doesn't actually appear in Echoes. But she -like the other original characters from Willy's Bar- was borrowed from an unpublished WIP set in a connected universe. She's not some misunderstood/belittled strong woman. Don't let one drunk comment from Clem mislead you. She's a holy terror.
Rowie is the least likeable member of Sunnydale's peaceful demon community, to the point where the others call her "The Terror of Sunnydale." She's a teetotaling bully who hits Clem over the head with a frying pan, keeps her husband running scared and sometimes even hiding from her, isn't the least bit intimidated by our favorite slayer (calls her a rummy brat), and stands nose to nose with Spike -knowing full well who he is- growling at him to keep his woman in check. She's AWFUL.
When her husband (Tinker) is following her rules, and not hanging out with his "no good cousin" Clem and Clem's "horrible friends" (Buffy and Spike, namely), Rowie's allegedly alright. Tink says he won't divorce her and tries to tell the gang at Willy's to take it easy on her, because (when he behaves) she's really sweet to him. But if he wants to have drinks at Willy's with Buffy and Clem, he risks her temper... and it's not a quiet temper. Rowie rules her husband with an iron fist, and he's just enough in love with the good moments between to stay with her.
Tink and Rowie are almost a comedic expression of the worst of season 6 era Buffy and Spike, which makes a very drunk Buffy standing up to her, with the rest of Tinker's friends at her back, a very interesting moment. Buffy even tries to fix the relationship, to coax some acceptance of Tink as he is from The Terror of Sunnydale, who thinks controlling him is a better option.
I just thought you'd find that interesting.
Buffy is getting tired of having the check moved around and is taking the mokey then, some of them apparently went to pay the caretaker at Restfields. Buffy is worried about some changes, they don't have the hammer, but they have two scytes. The dream scared Buffy it seems. I'm glad that she admits that Spike doesn't need the soul, that gives me some hope for a soulless future (if he get free from it). Thenysome claim talk. As I said in my former review, Spike was sent back with Buffy, to make sure that things go right if she dies. So he can't die, if Buffy dies, so it does make sense. It may seem a bit cool, but this is general Buffy. We also has the fact that Buffy is forced into this, and she doesn't react well to that. She wants to do it later, but it must still feels like rejection to Spike. Just like Tara I suspect that something bad will come from supressing the bond, but we will see.
It's nice to see Xander getting along with Spike Eddie and other demons. He's worried about how Buffy has changed and to him the change has been a fast one.
It was good to see Lydia arrive, I like what we saw of her. I liked Buffy's letter to Travers, and in his answer I saw some dry brittish humour.
She forged her mother's signature to deposit the check into her mother's account, not her own. She and Dawn were ending the "return the check" game by taking Spike's side. I guess I should have made that more clear. In Connective Issues Spike stated he's thinking of his money as both his and Buffy's, implying she has access to his funds. Spike's account is where Eddie's money is coming from, if you were wondering. But we'll get more into Spike's money later.
"As I said in my former review, Spike was sent back with Buffy, to make sure that things go right if she dies. So he can't die, if Buffy dies, so it does make sense. It may seem a bit cool, but this is general Buffy."
Yes, yes, yes! Exactly. And the timing royally sucks, besides. 2003 Willow's magical shortcut probably wouldn't have been such a big deal if it had come home to roost after the Glory mission was behind them. I don't think Spike sees it as a rejection. Sure, it's another crumb instead of cake, but it's a pretty big crumb for her to go from "don't even ask me right now" to "is later ok with you?"
Tara was being literal about "something terrible is going to happen." She's referring to the suppressant itself. What she said to Buffy in Steps Behind, referring to the human marriage, "I get that you have to be practical," still applies, even though the conversation has shifted to the demon version of marriage. She gets where Buffy is coming from, but she's not exactly thrilled with the decision. I like that we really get to see her as a truly good friend here. She doesn't agree with this decision, but she's still going to support it, and even be the one to do the work, because her friends have asked her to.
I don't think Willow -if she were placed in the exact same position- would react the same way. HER stance on the matter would determine her support, in an "I know what's best" sort of way. I'm so, so glad they have Tara around for this. If they were depending on Willow, they'd be in trouble.
About the money, of course it couldn't be the money from the check. I don't know what I thought when I wrote that
Lydia oh Lydia. Shaping up to be a fun ride. Everyone seems pretty chill.... so perfect time to pull a Whedon.
*bats eyes innocently* Who? Me? Why on Earth would you think I'd pull a twist on you?
Let's just say I've been building an opportunity to explore something that's been treated almost as if it were forgotten up to this point.
Joyce and Spike are still going back and forth about that check...really? Buffy definately gets her stubborness from her mother. She insists on returning his money saying as a vampire he will have a long life and need that money. Spike has taken care of himself (and Drusilla) for over a hundred years, why she doesn't think he will be ok is beyond me. It's interesting that her and Buffy both seem to be making a decision for Spike even when he tells them he wants the opposite. I do think it's funny that Buffy is going to go ahead and forge her signature and deposit the check. I wonder how Joyce will feel about that lol...
Yeah, sending Willow to the coven did change something fundamental. They won't have the troll hammer and it was a big part of the original timeline fight with Glory. Hopefully those scythes do work in its place. Which just reminds me that even though Spike and Buffy feel like they are directly at fault for changing things so Anya was there instead of Giles when Glory came in to the shop, what other option was there? Any option would have ended up bad because Glory was getting her ingredients one way or the other. Anyhoo...
I really hope we can find out what Buffy dreamed about when she asked Spike not to go to that shaman. Did she see what he actually went through? And hoping they will both one day will be proud of his soul...That's confusing and slightly depressing...
That letter to Travers had some serious bite and I'm glad Xander was there to read it and have Buffy explain to him how humans don't get a free for all pass anymore...well that bond is really picking up isn't it. I'm assuming the bitten through pillows is Spike avoiding biting and claiming Buffy during sex. The fact that it's gotten that far instinctually means they really are running out of time. Spike is right he probably should move to the bunker if she didn't make a decision...
Aww, male bonding over strong-willed wives and girlfriends. I'm glad Xander is not swimming in denial and learning to be accepting of peaceful demons and the changes in Buffy he is seeing...I love how Spike calls Joyce Mum. She can tell something is going on with Buffy and he soothes her and sends her off to bed. How much more of a family can they be
I'm going to skip over Buffy's answer to Spike because it didn't seem any different to me than before so....Eddie is a good minion. I feel sad that he was becoming attached to a place that is supposed to be dispensible. Just shows how he never had a home. Hopefully he'll find his home with these people instead of a place. I love Tara talking to him and getting him to understand. I also love how Buffy interacts with Eddie...
Leave it to Eddie of all people to bring up the thing I know not just me was thinking. Buffy is so worried about not killing Spike by possibly having to jump but what about all the other battles after that? What if she died in the next battle or some run in with a demon or heaven forbid a Turak Han still managed to get loose and got the drop on her...what then? She's concentrating on this single mission...I understand I do...but what about the next one? She never did answer Tara if it was just an excuse. She just said she had to get past the jump. The present and future hinged on it. And Tara is right, cutting off her connection to Spike is the something terrible that's going to happen. But what is Monday? Is it Buffy's birthday? ... Lydia meeting the gang, hearing the plan and asking what she could do to help...Tara's right that is the magic question. Travers finally saw sense. Amazing. Happy for the win...
Yeah, that whole Tara as the decoy and Xander being apprehensive about it on top of the fact that he is supposed to take care of Tara for Willow AND the keeping Willow and Giles out of the loop...that's going to go over well. I understand the need for it and agree whole heartedly but this will just test Willow and how much she actually learns, or is willing to learn is a better phrase, at the coven.
Loved it. Can't wait for the next chapter. I've already read this chapter twice...no pressure lol.
I needed some time to pass before the thing with the check came up again, so there could be a few weeks of each "returning" it to the other, until it became almost a running gag in the household. The problem is, Buffy and Dawn had to live with this nuttiness. So they've put a stop to it. If there was any question about where Buffy got her stubborn streak, I think it's been answered. But I fail to see how Buffy is taking a choice away from Spike. She's doing what he wanted all along.
Unless you're talking about the claim with that "decision" comment. And then there's "I'm going to skip over Buffy's answer to Spike because it didn't seem any different to me than before..." So you don't think her taking some time to think about it and turning from a "probably never" to "definitely later" stance in the space of one chapter is progress? They're basically "eternal demon marriage" engaged now. She's giving him as much as she feels she can give him with that decision. I fail to understand why so many reviewers are acting like they dislike her for her handling of this issue. Obviously, it wasn't perfect, but she's trying, and he knows it. She wouldn't be Buffy if she wasn't conflicted and frustrating. Spike's accepting the progress for what it is. I wish the readers would, too.
Sure, she could die in a run in with a random vamp the week after they defeat Glory, for all she knows. But if she dies in any way that doesn't involve jumping into a portal to a hell dimension, how different are the odds of Willow trying to bring her back? If she changes that life-defining night, so much else can change thereafter. Whistler even told them they'd be in a totally new situation after Glory. Everything, present and future, hinges on the jump... including a drastic change in Buffy's continually struggling sense of hope, the loss of the worry about the First's possible rise looming over them, and gaining a real sense of freedom to live their lives the way they want to, at least a little bit. I really believe Spike knows this, as well as Buffy does. His response is hope, insisting on believing it's all going to play out right, because the alternative scares the crap out of him. Her response is hesitation, because she's scared of the same thing, and insists on planning for the worst.
I don't think you have to agree with either or both of them to understand them. Personally, I don't think either of them is exactly wrong, or exactly right. He's way too optimistic (how much of that optimism is fake is anyone's guess) and wants the claim, using the shared strengths as a selling point. She's way too pessimistic, and her other worries are influencing her thoughts about the claim, particularly the entire reason he came back in time with her in the first place. They both have good points, but I wish they were characters who could talk it out better, find the middle ground on things more easily. But they aren't. So saying "later" instead of "Sure!" or "never" is probably the best compromise we could expect to get out of them.
Sorry for the rant. I've found myself in the uncomfortable and unusual position of defending Buffy (not my favorite character) quite a lot the last few days, and my good humor on the matter is rapidly fading. I didn't mean to go off like that, and it wasn't entirely directed at you. Please do not take it personally. However, I've decided not to delete my comments, as I know the review responses get read quite a bit by others.
Thanks for the review, and for your patience with me.
First let me say i didnt realize how very long my review was and it was in block form first and then i put it in paragraphs. My only excuse was that I was on my laptop instead of phone and I could literally reference the chapter easier. That just means I appreciate your work a lot.
You don't have to apologize for the rant regardless of whether it was directed at me or whomever. That's how you see them and how you write them. I just see it from my perspective and I see yours too, don't think I don't, it's just all the things I've said repeatedly before. That's just how I see what's happening. Or maybe it's more from a perspective of what I would do or what just seems logical or heartfelt to me. That's the good things about varying opinions, you get to see so many different sides. Makes for good conversation. So on from that...
I did have a thought though, if Tara does die, would Willow try to resurrect her? Not the same but an interesting twist. I could see Tara ascending to something else...I feel like I remember the Guardian saying something like that to her...Or could losing Tara make this Willow we have now go completely dark despite the coven training and replace the First Evil as the future Big Bad.
And what is Giles doing over in England now? Does he know he's basically been replaced? And for the love of all things Hell-Mouthy, please don't tell me Angel is going to show up because we all know he still thinks he has some kind of claim of his own on Buffy at this point. Although that would be interesting...isn't Drusilla supposed to pop up at some point in this season 5 ish time line? I wonder what Miss Edith and the pixies have been telling her.
Sorry..I think I went on for a long time again..
I try very hard to leave things open to other viewpoints, to avoid forcing my interpretation on others, especially in the review discussions. (I may not be great at it, but do try.) I had no idea the reaction to Buffy in this section of the story would drive me to break that rule. I wish I could say it's an "I relate to her" moment, but that would be too simple. It would be a stretch to find any significant common ground between myself and the character. Maybe what I'm reacting to is that she's getting the "sort of villain-ish" treatment in the comments that Willow and Giles have gotten in previous sections, for the crime of struggling with what is arguably the most important decision of her life coming up at a really bad time.
Question: Now that the coven has Willow in their midst and are keeping tags on her, wouldn't they be able to keep her from trying to resurrect Buffy? I mean if she wasn't going to go to the coven willingly weren't they going to like mute her magic or something? Wasn't that what Tara was so upset about when she wasn't sure if Willow was going to go of her own free will? I need to go back and read those chapters again. If so, isn't that a keep Buffy dead backup plan right there?
Yep. If she hadn't gone, they were thinking of restraining her magically (basically blocking her magic). But since she went, they're hoping to train her out of her wild tendancies, and Buffy hopes they'll keep an eye on her after, just in case. So yes, that is a "keep Buffy dead" back up plan. But if you had a choice between putting an important job in the hands of distant strangers who have other things to do, or those strangers PLUS a possibly drunk, but otherwise super-focused and very local Spike, what would you do? You'd probably prefer including the on-site drunk.
Buffy would probably not count on the coven to replace her lieutenant. Given her season seven experiences, she's a little reluctant to rely on on anyone else at all for something this big, and she really doesn't know those witches. Tara seems to be the only true exception to Buffy's reluctance. ...But then, Tara wasn't around for the mutiny. She didn't choose a side, didn't participate in solidifying Buffy's stance on who she knows will have her backand who she needs to hedge her bets with. If you can't count on your friends, how likely are you to count on strangers? Not much. That's ok, though. She'll get over the hesitation eventually... probably.
Who knew Travers had a sense of humor. So happy that Buffy is getting an income. I mean how did the Council expect her to survive without income and still be doing her duty.
Like Lydia which makes her a great replacement but I still miss Giles. It is a shame that tragedy changes people and just like Buffy. The past has had an affect on him making it hard for him to be as open as he was before Jenny's death.
I'm not sure if that was humor or just caving in. Either way, the letter exchange was a blast to write. I tried to make it clear in the tone and phrasing that Buffy had help with the final draft of the first letter (likely from Spike) but went off on her own for that last one, the one where she really brought the hammer down. The first one sounded polite and educated. The second one sounded like a season 7 General Buffy speech. *shrug* That was the idea, anyway. "Battle axes and cheeseburgers" was the kind of accidentally funny thing Buffy might say, and it gave me the perfect closing to the letter exchange to have Travers bounce that phrase back to her.
Lydia is a darling, but she's no Giles. There's definitely still some Giles/Buffy baggage left to work through, and that will happen in stages, just like everything else between them that's happened up to this point. The first stage, of course, is getting them talking, either on the phone or in person. We'll see how it goes...
Still loving this. Characters are very well done. Thanks for the updates.
I had moments of struggle in writing Echoes, very uncertain about my character authenticity, but mostly, it worked itself out. If I can see/hear a scene playing out in my head, and it feels "right" to the people in it, it stays. If not, it goes on the chopping block. Today, I'm filling in a small gap I found, writing in an extra scene in an upcoming chapter. It's already gone through two versions, because the voices just didn't sound right. There's very little "needed data" that the reader needs to get from this scene. If I can't make the character stuff I've worked in with it flow right, I'll share that data another way and walk away from the entire scene.
I think matching the characters to the ones we know (even in a situation that's changed them from canon) really comes down to 2 things: Can you easily imagine it playing out on screen? Are you willing to throw pages of material out the window when you can't?
Thanks for the review?
Love the flour fight! Typically, just when they want to make a good impression....
And at last Buffy makes a decision. Hope the suppression spell and the delay don't screw things up.
And they get all their ducks in a row.....
Joyce is right, they turn into children when they have witnesses. But the "family having fun together" stuff was so worth a messy ktichen. We needed it, at least. :D
Yup, she's made a decision, and now we have to see where it leads. I know this claim arc has been driving some readers crazy, but just remember, I didn't put anything in this story that won't serve a purpose.
quack quack quack quack
*wags finger* Hey! You! Get back in line!
I love how silly Buffy is in this chapter, and I quite like Eddie, I'd like to see him become a little bit of a team member too :)
We needed some silly, didn't we? It can't be too angsty, or you'd wouldn't want to read it. I wouldn't, at least. And holding my own interest is kind of a requisite. :P
OMG too funny! Puppy dog Eddie. Xander, Spike, Clem and Eddie drinking buddies. Travers giving over! Love Anya's line at the end! LOL The only sad part is what Buffy is about to do. Blocking the bond the two of them have. That could bite her in the ass. I really hope she's thought this out beyond just making sure Spike survives the fight with Glory. It's almost like she doesn't want a deeper connection with Spike. And I think that has more to do with her romantic past than any slayer related issues.
She's clarifying her stance more every time she talks about it, but the final, summarizing lines of her worries are about to come up. Sometimes, the fact that this is a version of season seven Buffy really comes out...
I'm a little tired of Buffy's stubbornness regarding the claim. She never looks at the big picture Or how Spike feels. It would never occur to her that maybe the claim would save her from the jump. I just wish that she would learn to trust Spike and what everyone else is saying to her.
You know, Buffy isn't my favorite character. As far as canon goes, she's not even close. But I've been spending a lot of time defending her lately. It feels weird.
I agree that there are times when she deserves a slap on the side of her head for her stubborness, especially with the way she hedged and backed away in Unwilling Witness. But in Power Shifts, she's easing her stance from "probably no" to "definitely later" and it feels like no one is giving her any credit for it.
Also, this is a huge freakin' deal. The claim is a one-way street. Wouldn't you want her to be sure she wanted it and was ready for it? Maybe everyone is a little too worried about Spike's feelings to remember that the other half of the equation is the same woman who was second guessing a simple human marriage less than a month ago, and still isn't confidant she'll live to see summer. She's also made it very clear HIS survival is a huge part of the worry she's carrying around about the claim. Spike remembers all that, and he's willing to wait. "Later is fine" isn't just said to keep the peace. He means it. She's giving him more than he'd expected, and he's willing to take it as it is.
LOL!!! b25;b25;b25; GOTTA Love Anyanka!!!b25;b25;b25;
Leave it to Anya to take a silly, jubilant moment and dial it up to eleven. I had intended to bring the dancers back to the table and continue the conversation, but then Anya opened her mouth, and I found my chapter ending moment before I even started looking for it. I really couldn't top that for a closing line.
Are you sure you shouldn't have named this chapter "Battle axes and cheeseburgers"? I giggled like a maniac when I first read that phrase. Dislodged the cat off my lap and everything.
This such a fantastic story, I'm always hanging with baited breath for what comes next.
I'm so glad you love that line! It's by far my favorite part of the letter exchange, just ahead of "It's about power" and the "political power games" bit. I laughed like a fool when I wrote it, and it ended up being the perfect thing to call back to as the last line of the exchange. So glad you're enjoying it! Thanks for reviewing!
This was a fun chapter! Love the playfulness of all involved. Love that Xander is finally past his demon prejudices at a good time in the story to let him grow. Maybe he won't jilt Anya this time.
I like Lydia and glad she's there. She's going to have her mind blown as well as need to update the thesis.
Eddie is a cutie, glad he has a family now.
After the Angst City that was Unwilling Witness (with only Eddie to lighten the emotional load), the fun of Power Shifts (weighed down only when necessary to move events along) was needed. Yet another reason I call Echoes a roller coaster.
This version of Xander makes me happy. It took months (in Echoes time), but it was so worth it to get him to a point where he spends every Wednesday night drinking with demons and treats Spike like a buddy. If you grabbed the Xander from the early chapters, say, the guy who met up with Buffy on her walk towards the safe house, and told him that's what he'd be doing in January, he would have flipped out. Our time travelers have definitely made an impact.
Lydia's thesis is definitely going to need some revisions!