Buffy can really get on the Hard Headed trip - she keeps with the apologies about not accepting the claim that it comes across as an excuse not to fully accept Spike - don't know if that is what your intention was but it is how I'm seeing it more and more as they story continues.[Report This]
None of those ads feature a married couple that beats the crap out of each other that severely... especially for fun.
This was quite a gentle, if sad, slice of life chapter. Which makes me think the stinky stuff is gonna hit the proverbial pretty soon.
Poor Buffy, trying to be everything for everyone again, and inevitably failing. Still, the continued disintegration of her relationship with Willow is worrisome...
Resident Strangers was very quiet and simple, but getting Dawn's POV was fun and useful. As for things hitting the fan... Soon. That's all I can say.
I liked that final conversation between B&S, it was sweet. Hopefully they will take some advice and try friendship and dating, if they can ever get some time alone. It's nice to see Dawn acting more mature and feeling more included.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw some sweetness in the porch scene. As others have implied, it was a little depressing, but there was something sweet about it, too. I really love how that scene worked out. You can see the friendship backbone of the relationship on full display. And -for the first time since we were in single digit chapters- they have to rely on it. Honestly, no matter what the future holds, that reminder will be good for them. Thanks for reviewing!
that was so sweet and tender it made my heart melt a little and love the character interaction you got going on in this chapter. Mad props :)
It's so comforting to see everyone settling into their new routines, and to (finally) get all three travelers together in a major way. Tara not living with them made it difficult for the time travel team to function as a unit. It's not like they can just talk at Scooby meetings. Scooby meetings aren't all that frequent anymore, anyway. There wasn't an exact plan in place to move more and more of the story into the Summers' house, but as it happened, it felt right for Echoes, and true to the heart of season 5.
The main point of this chapter was to settle us into a new family dynamic at the house, centered around Tara -both her presence and the recent changes she's caused to Buffy and Spike. But it opened up some great opportunities to flesh out stuff that was only previously hinted at. I'd mentioned Anya and Buffy hanging out. This was my chance to show it, and it came with the bonus of a little window into the changes in the X/A relationship. What little we'd seen of Dawn was definitely hinting that not treating her like a child was paying off. We got to climb into her head to see that for sure. I knew Buffy was going to end up neglecting her phone call promise to Willow. Resident Strangers gave me a chance to show it, and use that situation to remind us that Joyce doesn't think she has long to live.
And now I'm going to do something remarkably stupid. I'm going to tell you (and everyone else who reads the review responses) the truth.
Ten days ago, Resident Strangers didn't exist. Not a word of it. In my rereading/editing runs through upcoming chapters, I felt like there was a gap, too much left to be assumed. I wasn't missing any real events, or any serious links in the logic train, but I was missing the necessary character interactions of this latest "settling in" period, some character motivations needed clarification, and there were were some underdeveloped ideas lingering in the background of this section of the story. There was also a noticeable gap in time, a few weeks passing between chapters 23 and 24. So I wrote a new chapter to fill that time with all the details I thought I was lacking and a big bucket load of character stuff.
I got lucky. My "emergency chapter" worked. It did everything I wanted it to do, and much more. But the entire process was stressful. I didn't want to break my "even numbered days" posting routine for this, but I'm not used to creative writing on a deadline. Also, I had to go back through every chapter that follows, not just to change the chapter numbers, but to make certain I didn't change anything in the progression of the storylines themselves. Meanwhile, I was panicking that this "non-event" chapter would be terribly received, that it would read as the "rush job" I believe it to be.
The fact that Resident Strangers has been so well-liked is either a testament to my ability to work under pressure, or a testament to the kindness and loyalty of my readers. either way, I'm in "giant sigh of relief" mode right now. Thank you.
I liked reading things from Dawn's POV. Your characterization of her is written better than canon. I've seen you reply on why and agree with you. Looking forward to the next chapter.
"Your characterization of her is written better than canon."
Wow. That's a huge compliment. Thank you!
I miss the old Buffy and Spike....makes me sad.
Its a ride...but right now an emotional one.
Still loving it!
Hmm... emotional? How about emotional plus old baggage? And a tiny glimpse into Buffy's inner monologue, besides? Chapter 25 is coming soon!
And yes, I'm well aware that I'm an evil person.
Fascinating to see developments through Dawn's eyes. She sees (and overhears!) more than everyone realises and she's smart enough to try to make sense of it. Likewise Joyce, who although she knows of the time travel, doesn't know about so much else!
It's really sad that Buffy can't bring herself to call Willow to foster the friendship. She's not only blaming her for things she hasn't done yet, she's also keeping so many secrets from her that she feels as though she has nothing to talk about with her. Plus, she has bonded with Tara and Anya, so they are there to share the everyday friend stuff so she has nothing to share with Willow.
Poor Spike & Buffy both having nightmares. Perhaps they'll stop when they've dealt with Glory and completed the claim.
I'm a little confused by your use of TTFN when Buffy indicates her dream of Chloe's death. I've always known TTFN as shorthand for 'Ta-ta for now'.
TTFN is what the First (in Chloe's form) said in lieu of 'goodbye' right after they found Chloe's body. One of the other Potentials explained it to Buffy as a reference to Tigger's use of the term, as Chloe was a Winnie the Pooh fan. So TTFN -in Buffy's mind- would likely be directly associated with finding Chloe's body.
As an aside, something came out in the writing of this porch scene that had existed in my head for a while, but never previously made it to the page: Spike and Buffy have talked to each other so much, they can refer to each other's recurring nightmares by a shorthand of a few words. It's a little bit of background stuff that I hadn't had a great opportunity to bring to the fore. Echoes is so dialogue driven (with a "no pointless scenes" rule, besides) that a lot of stuff happens behind the readers' backs. There's a lot we don't know until the characters talk about it while we happen to be in the room.
As for Willow, you nailed it. "...she feels as though she has nothing to talk about with her." Old blame and new secrets are definitely the triggers for the gaps in the friendship. The question is, will they eventually fix it and close the gap? Will the gap widen until the rest of the friendship falls through it? Or will they end up somewhere in the middle?
Thanks for explaining the TTFN reference. I rarely rewatch S7, so I'd forgotten that Tigger reference.
saddest last lines ever :( I hope Buffy catches back up soon! Interesting choice to have this one be from the perspective of Dawn and her diary. I like this mature version of her who doesn't snoop.
I'm so excited that people are enjoying the Echoes version of Dawn. She's been on the back burner for a long time, and I was happy to bring her into the mix. Seeing her perspective on this "settling in" stage was a perfect opportunity, especially since she's an established journal writer.
Way, way back in Plan B (chapter one), Spike dropped an advice-like hint that if they treated Dawn more like an adult, she might act more like one. That was partially for myself, as I thought the childish way Dawn was written was a mistake on the part of the writing team. But it also opened a door, an opportunity to make her more of a character unto herself and less of a walking/whining prop to motivate Buffy's season 5 decisions.
Burning up from a ray of sunlight while you hold my hand....
I so cried watching the last episode of Buffy and you just reminded me of it - probably on purpose because you are so delightfully evil.
Caught that, did you?
I've said before that Echoes was written mostly sequentially. The "mostly" comes in where I had an idea for something that would come later and scribbled it out before I forgot it. Roughly 80% of those scribbles ended up going unused, as the situations were different by the time I got there in the story, I had a better idea, or I just didn't decide to go that direction at all. (For the last, I'm referring to the alternate versions of how the endgame with Glory would play out.)
That heart-twisting little "call back to canon" line is the sole surviving tidbit from a different back porch scene. That scene, in its initial incarnation, included Buffy's first "I love you" to Spike. So it probably would have been a little more painful to read. To give you an idea of how early on the original version popped into my head, the scene was set in March, and began with Buffy on the phone with Tara, who was sharing a dorm room with Willow and making her first attempt to give Buffy relationship advice after Buffy did something to royally piss off Spike, whose status with her was barely in the "boyfriend" range. So basically, nothing was the same as the Echoes world we know. The entire scene got shoved into the Echoes "rewritten" folder many moons ago (I don't trash any of my scribbles until I'm SURE I can't use anything else from them), and was nearly forgotten about.
Writing it inspired some good stuff, though. That scene was my first experiment with the easy dynamic between Buffy and Tara, and Tara's natural fit into an advisor role. It was also made me realize that the pace of the Spuffy relationship in that scene's universe was ridiculously slow, that progresss would have to come sooner. And then there was the "ray of sunlight" line, the only line in the entire five page scene that actually made it into Echoes.
I just thought you'd find that interesting. :)
It was good, seeing things through Dawn's journals. She does live with them so of course she is noticing that things are different.Tara handeled Dawn's questions well. She admitted that they won't tell her everything but treated her as a grown up.
Joyce also see how different things are, Buffy putting away her old photos, her old friends and the different situation between Buffy and Spike. Just like she said to Buffy, this must remind her of the situation with her and Hank. Buffy and Spike are distant now just like Joyce and Hank was. Buffy is more or less ignoring Willow, she has other friends, but again Joyce probably sees similarities. Combining this with Joyce worry for her own death, we have a good reason for why she seems so sad here. It also makes mo wondering if Buffy read Joyce letter or just put it away with the photos, another reason for sad Joyce.
It would be good if Buffy talked more with Willow. The problem is about what. So much about whats going on is a secret and they can't talk about that. Tara knows whats going on, and Buffy and Anya are creating a new friendship, in which Anya also knows s lot. The sad part is that Buffy doesn't need Willow, their friendship has become a duty.
In the talk between Buffy and Anya we learned that Xander seems to treat her better now. Probably because he sees that Buffy isn't for him, and going out with male demons has probably changed his way of thinking.
A good talk between Buffy and Spike at the end, they miss the connection. It must feel weird for them to share a room when so much of their feelings is gone. In a way it must remind Buffy of her last time with Riley, whwn she pretended they still had a relationship.
Well, since they're rarely even asleep at the same time, the room/bed sharing is hardly an issue right now. Stupid schedule. :P Of course, the schedule highlights Tara's "try dating" point: It's very easy for Spike and Buffy to not spend much time together right now (built-in excuses), when absence and silence are probably the last things they need.
Buffy hasn't found Joyce's New Year's letter yet. We'll know when she does. But Buffy putting away her old photos, essentially throwing her teen years into a shoe box, is definitely a little sad for Joyce. With the time travel, it was basically like she blinked and her daughter was all grown up, with different priorities and a different attitude. That's finally coming home to Joyce, although it actually happened months ago. It mirrors Buffy becoming a slayer. She changed suddenly, and her mother was a little behind in seeing it/adjusting to it. This time, there's the added layer of her daughter being so grown up, she's a married woman, and Joyce's concerns about possibly dying soon, besides. Some of the sadness would naturally be concern that this new version of Buffy isn't as eager to have a strong network of friends, when she might very soon need them more than ever.
I'm sure Wednesday nights at Willy's have shifted Xan's perspective a little, but I'd like to think our travelers have played a more significant role than that. They triggered Xander facing up to his dislike of Anya's past, triggered him to tell her exactly how he felt, and likely inspired him to invite her to move in. Also, they've been (from Xander's perspective) an example of a relationship that is working because the participants are LETTING it work, not fighting the natural development of the relationship, as highlighted in the conversation between Xan and Spike at Willy's back in Old Friends. Of course, *we* know Spuffy is far more complicated than that, and there was a long stretch of "fighting it" to get them this far, and some "fighting it" still going on. But Xander doesn't know that.
I can understand keeping Dawn in the dark about the time travel. That's a hard pill to swallow. Joyce took it pretty well but she has a better grasp of the realities of life and could see why they would do such a thing. Plus she saw it. She saw the flashing they did and telling her about it explained what she saw. I think Dawn would understand about the bond even without knowing about the time travel. Buffy getting Tara to suppress it could also be explained in a way that Dawn would understand. I think she would be able to keep it under her hat too. Glory is a dangerous foe. One that they aren't sure they can beat without someone sacrificing themselves to stop her. Dawn could understand all that. Keeping it from Xander might not even be necessary anymore. The only two who might have a serious problem with it are half a world away. Despite Dawn's promise not to snoop under Tara's bed that won't stop her from accidentally on purpose hearing tidbits to glean information. And hearing things that way isn't going to make much sense and will probably only serve to make her more curious. She is a teenage girl after all. Patience isn't really a virtue at that age! Telling her about the wedding, having her be there for it was a crumb. Here we'll let you in on one secret hoping it will be enough to keep you from trying to find out the rest of our secrets. She is acting pretty mature though. Figuring out that if she really snooped they wouldn't tell her anything. So go Dawn with the maturity!
Anya is feeling more comfortable in her relationship with Xander. It seems like Xander is finally over Buffy. Unless he is just making nice to earn brownie points for when Buffy and Spike finally inevitably, in his mind, split? Thinking your boyfriend doesn't love you as much as you would like doesn't make you a bad girlfriend. She had cause before. Xander was weirdly interested in all of Buffy's relationships. I've never been able to get past the very first words he said to Buffy. "Can I have you?" It would be great for him to finally realize that no he can't and to move on and really see what a great woman Anya is and to love her the way she should be loved.
But Buffy on the other hand. She is in the running for worst girlfriend/wife for suppressing the bond. Sure she has a reason but part of me thinks it's more of an excuse now than necessary to the battle.
Digging into Dawn's perspective, having her catch a mistake *I* made in letting her hear too much of the "have the wards ready" plan, and putting her "I want to be in on this, be a real Scooby" wish in plain view were all really fun to write. My personal view on Dawn is that the writers didn't properly adjust for hiring an actor older than they had planned for the character, and we all suffered for that mistake. She was written as a spoiled, sheltered little kid, not the teenaged sister of a slayer. By season seven, they started making an effort to show her as intelligent and mature (sometimes), but the damage was already done. A large portion of the audience hated her, and had classified her as a "pest," not an "asset." The answer to that problem? Make the time travelers discuss her maturity in chapter one, to plant the idea of treating her as an adult, knowing she's smart enough to respond by acting more like one. The result is a season 5 Dawn who doesn't think or act like an eight year old.
I think what drunk Anya and drunk Buffy were comparing in the "world's worst girlfriend" conversation was "unjustified insecurity that impacts the relationship." Anya is apparently starting to get over hers, as she's beginning to see exactly how unjustified it is. Hmm... I wonder if our travelers had a hand in pushing him to make that more clear to her? ;)
Glad Dawn is doing her best to behave and stay in their good graces. I feel bad for Willow I know sh'e done a lot of bad but she hasn't yet this time and Buffy should keep nurturing her. I hope she does call Willow.
Dawn acting like a grown up? Buffy and Willow aren't besties? What strange madness is this? Oh. Wait. That would be my madness. And I'm inflicting it on you poor people.
Thanks for reviewing!
Awwwwwwww that was a melancholy conversation there at the end.
They may have to tell Dawnie about the time travel aspect before this is through.
Maybe Xander's time out with Spike and the fun demons is making it easier for him to fully accept (and love) Anya. I hope so. I really felt so bad for her when he didn't marry her and they never had that second chance either.
I don't know why but I still feel like Willow is a walking time bomb (only at a further distance at least). Hope they really are making progress over there. I also hope Giles is reflecting and will return with a good attitude.
The schedules and Buffy's cold exterior are straight out General Buffy from her own time. Makes sense but it also makes it hard on everyone else too.
Yes, the porch scene was rather melancholy, but it's still my favorite part of the entire chapter. In a few words, it manages to convey the friendship built through a long and difficult history together (they even know each other's recurring nightmares by shorthand references) and the bone-deep wish for them to have more than the friendship again. The scene was noticeably longer up until final edits, but it felt extraneous. So I let the silence between them grow and breathe, and axed some of the talking. We didn't need them to say much to know what they were thinking. They didn't need many words to express it to each other, either.
Xander's greatest influences aren't coming from Willy's bar, but from the little impacts the time travel couple has made with him. They nudged him into not fighting with Anya about her past, encouraged him to tell her his real feelings, and (likely) inspired him to invite her to move in with him. Meanwhile -to a 'not in the know' Xander- our travelers appear to be in an exemplary relationship that works easily, because both are very accepting of each other and neither is fighting the natural flow of the relationship (running when it gets serious, etc.). That point is clearest in Old Friends (chapter 13), when Xander and Spike are talking at Willy's Bar. Of course, WE know the Spuffy relationship has never been easy, never been a 'go with the flow' situation, and acceptance took YEARS to even begin. But Xander doesn't. He sees something far simpler, something that's really working.
Thanks for the update. I like getting Dawn's perspective .
Poor Dawn has been on the back burner for a very long time. She was due for a little spotlight, and her perspective on the changes in the household -as well as her involvement therein- was really fun to write. Thanks, juggler!
hmm, I was hoping for a little fluffy romance but I will have to settle for the little itty bit of porch time at the end *sigh*.
At least Buffy is admitting to not liking the disconnected feeling. It still makes me sad for the couple but at least I understand why Buffy is doing what she is doing. She really doesn't want to risk Spike's unlife with her possible need to jump. I like that. It seems to cement her true feelings in my mind at least.
I am not sure where you are going with the separation thing with Willow. They are not as close and are at different places in their lives and that makes it hard to maintain relationships. Buffy is hiding so much and nurturing a close relationship with someone isn't really an option when you have to hide intricate parts of ones life from the other party. If she isn't sharing her marriage or the stuff to keep the Key from Glory, what more does she have to share with Willow? She would have to make up crap and that would make it even more taxing.
thank you for the update... *smiles*
You expected Buffy to actually take Tara's good advice? Promptly? Without nudging? Ha! You must have a far higher opinion of the
stubborn little mule slayer than I do.
Re where I'm going with Willow: I think you answered your own question.