Ok, timestamp review time in my reread, coz I maybe have some puzzle pieces put together.
I feel like a major theme is "carpe diem". This seems to be applying to almost every character in this. Not just Buffy and Spike. It's a theme for Willow. It's a theme for Tara. Dawn. Giles. Xander. Eddie. Anya. Joyce. Don't just settle. Don't put the mission as your first and only priority. There are ways to take care of the mission of saving the world without burning yourself at the stake to do it. And when the characters make a point of working for balance (like with the happy memories before Joyce dies), it helps. It doesn't do magic. It does cut the suck a bit.
I haven't quite worked out how the cryptic prophecy crap is supposed to play out, coz there's layers and layers. And not all the various lines of prophecy seem to have the same agenda. But there's a very strong theme of Buffy worrying about what will happen to Spike when she jumps, and her worries about him are pretty much exactly what she does. She obviously hasn't tried to take a sunny morning walk to commit suicide, since that's not going to work on a Slayer. But she's crawled into a bottle of Jack Daniels, and she's not taking care of Dawn all that well. She's planning to run off and take Dawn away from the Scoobies. She's *not* pushing Willow more about getting comfy with her power. And she's not making space for Wilow to pull her outta a bottle of Jack. And I'm pretty sure Buffy isn't thinking about her instruction to NOT resurrect her (again) as applying to Spike. And she definitely hasn't taken the time (so far) to make sure Willow understands about all this stuff and the letters and... Yeah. I'm worried. Buffy doesn't take *herself* seriously as a source of prophetic crap if nothing else. And if she wants less cryptic, right now she's got a damn good track record.[Report This]
Really good chapter , they work together like a machine even with one of the pieces missing and glad glad glad Giles is coming around
They really did come together as a team, and it went very smoothly. It's great to see them working together. And the Buffy and Giles conversation was just the cherry on top.
just love the chapter. I am glad that Buffy and Giles had this conversation. It is something that they really needed to do. they are all working as a unit and it is great to see. Awesome update
I'm so happy everyone is enjoying the Buffy and Giles patch-up scene! Like how their relationship broke apart, fixing it didn't happen all at once, but in stages, with a defined turning point at each end.
Writing the Scoobies fighting together was definitely fun. Cranky old General Buffy can still rally the troops! ...Especially for a good cause. The months since the time travel have shifted Spike into the "good cause" category. This is where we got to truly see it.
Cute, the two of them think alike. I am so relieved that things seem to be getgting better between Buffy and Giles. I just hope that the tower never happens.
Buffy and Giles have finally reached a point of understanding and acceptance. Took them long enough! It's not perfect, but it's a relationship clearly on the mend, and well on its way to a good, solid place.
Thanks! Good chapter. I like the porch talk with Giles.
This is one of the chapters where I wish I had gone for a shorter average chapter length, because the rapid-fire events and action of the first half of the chapter (Wednesday night) are so different from the quiet conversations of the second half (Thursday morning). It's a big contrast, and not the only chapter that has built-in mood swings, not by a long shot. The roller coaster ride continues!
A good thing she didn't spend money on the spirit guide. It didn't seem like it was worth anything. I do have a pair of thoughts about how it could mean something, if it's supposed too. This time Buffy wasn't worried about not being able to love though, so the guide didn't have to say anything about that.
Spike got taken again, and it played out mostly like last time. It was more general Buffy this time and some threatening though. I also liked Lydia. There is something about her, she seems like a school teacher, but I just know that she can be naughty Tara also got to show of her skill. Poor Xander he is almost the only one who doesn't know, and of course he has to wonder about how Buffy is behaving.
Things happening more or less the same this time, even with changes done. It make sense that Buffy is worried that there is some sort of faith. A good talking with Giles, she could talk to him about her worries and the things she is planning for. He got to see that she does trust and need him, and they can build something new from here. She does need to have a talk like this with Willow though. It was nice to her Buffy using Sparky as a way to call Spike champion, and that she really want the claiming.
Then Giles had a good talk with Spike. I like how he said he could be a character witness and that both Buffy and Spike said the same thing about that.
The spirit guide's words will all make sense later. I love that you caught on to there being zero concern about Buffy's ability to love this time around. She's definitely past that stage.
I enjoy seeing the general in action. Unlike season 5 (and earlier) Buffy, she's firm and decisive. And not just for the big "power moments" that feel like they're designed for episode promos. But always, and even more so when she's in a battle situation. Whereas earler versions of Buffy had to be dragging, kicking and screaming, into facing big battles for what they were, and accepting her role in them, some part of this Buffy is always ready for war, always in that frame of mind, at some level. The small personality differences people have been noticing since the time travel are starting to become more distinctive and obvious as the war draws nearer. This could get interesting.
Xander, Anya, Lydia, and Willow are all in the dark on the time travel. It's almost a dividing line between them and the Summers household (plus Giles and Angel). That will have to be addressed before long, too, especially if "General Buffy" keeps making these obvious appearances.
Buffy said she's not taking this as an omen, not a sign of fate, but as a natural course of events. This is because Glory's Key activiation schedule and associated level of desperation aren't on the list of things they've changed. There's no way they could change those things. This is Buffy realizing that. They can change a lot, but they can't change Glory's core situation. So some things have to go similarly. Which means she has to finish the last stage of her contingency planning, just in case: Getting Giles' support for the aftermath of her possible death. No, she doesn't think it's likely, but the similar situations tell her it's not impossible, so she's covering her bases. Meanwhile, this is a good time to iron out that relationship, to move into the final stage of repairs: Acceptance, warts and all.
I agree that she needs to have a similar talk with Willow. But I'm not sure it's going to happen so easily. She and Giles have been working their way back to each other, a little at a time, But she and Willow are still at the "big time distance between us" stage.
The most important (to me, anyway) reference to the claim in this chapter wasn't that Buffy is more clearly saying "soon," or that she told Giles it was coming, but how she explained to Giles why they were waiting: She's not 100% sure she's ready, and she's prioritizing other stuff right now. There's so much in that line. She's telling Giles that the chosen mate status isn't being abused or used as a power play by the naturally dominant demon (Spike), that the lesser demon's (Buffy's) needs are being fully respected.
She's subtly telling him this demon claim is going to be an even partnership, even though one of them is mostly human. THAT is why he isn't angry. I'm sure he's versed enough to know there's nothing he could really do to change the situation, and that plays a role in his acceptance of it, as well as his obvious internal resolution to accept Buffy and her life as they are (highlighted in this chapter in a few different ways), but being told Spike is not forcing the issue -and that Buffy is taking an active (not submissive) role in dealing with this very demon-y situation- makes a difference.
And we end the chapter with Giles willing to really put himself out there to show his support for this couple... And their looks of disbelief and worried commentary. hehe
Outstanding! So glad that Buffy has finally opened up to Giles and that he is accepting.
They've been working their way back to each other a little at a time since Unfought Demons, just as they broke apart a little at a time up until Dance Partners. It feels good to finally have them back on solid ground, and accepting each other as they are. She doesn't expect him to be anything but a loyal friend and ally anymore. He doesn't expect her to forget the baggage she's still carrying from her own timeline. Their relationship will never be the same, but it's in a genuinely good place now. It's about freakin' time, isn't it?
Loved it. The ending
I'm getting a huge kick out of everyone's reaction to the last lines. I didn't think it was half as funny as you guys do. I view it as a "light" punchline, especially since the humor is mostly in what you visualize Spike and Buffy's expressions being in that moment. For me, the humor of Healing Soldiers lies in Buffy's commentary to and about the spirit guide.
Aww, "Sparky" is her way of calling him champion? Such a great payoff for that nickname. Makes we want to revisit every time she's used the word.
So glad they got Spike away from Glory without a confrontation. She remains to me the scariest big bad.
I think the first Slayer is saying she needs to let her demon side in/bond with Spike before the battle in order to win?
Now that you've heard Buffy's reasoning for the nickname, rereading it will be fun. As she's using it both as a term of endearment and a substitute for champion, she's essentially calling him "my darling hero" (or something similar) every time, just in a less gooey-romantic way (and occasionally sarcastically). In a sense, she's been saying, "I love and respect you" ever since the first time she called him that. We never see them discuss her thoughts on the nickname, but I think he knows what she's saying, or at least figured it out at some point, Otherwise, I'm sure he'd have fought her about it... Even if he is the king of nicknames, himself.
The spirit guide is definitely stuck on Buffy's inner demon. You'll eventually find out why. Every word of the guide's commentary will make total sense... later.
I forgot! I'm an idiot! I had a complete brain fart that Glory snatched Spike when Buffy was on her quest. I wonder if he told her she had a lopsided ass again? So Giles is coming around. Good. Despite his sometimes rigid views he can be a big help when he puts aside that uptight thinking. And I think he is starting to realize that Spike was the right choice. Even when the show aired I always thought Spike was her gift. He is death in a way. He brings death to people and to slayers. If the first time around she had relied on Spike (death) more she wouldn't have had to jump most likely. This time if she bonds with Spike I'm pretty sure the first slayer is saying she won't have to at all.
My money's on the "lopsided ass" comment having happened again. Spike knew that insult was effective the first time. Surely he kept with what works. He got out of there the same way, didn't he? Of course, he may have come up with even better insults this time around. We may never know.
It's such a relief to have finally brought Giles back to Buffy's side fully. It took a while to break them up, and took a while to put them back together, but they're back now. He's a part of the team, back in his place at her side, but less as a father figure and more of a friend. She's trying not to be a bitch about her later-season Giles baggage and he's trying to accept her and her life as they are. It's not perfect, but it's good enough.
What is the gift? What does the spirit guide mean by "death?" How much of what she said was metaphor, and how much was meant to be taken as it was stated? We'll eventually find out. *evil grin*
Maybe Giles can @test to William's lousy taste in football teams and colleges... as it's usually written that they are at opposing ends of the spectrum on both.
That would be a fun moment. Giles would say something like, "He supports Manchester, for God's sake! Are you certain it's wise to continue to expose Dawn to such idiocy, your honor?"
And the American judge would look at Buffy, confused.
Buffy would shrug. "Hell if I know. Welcome to my world."
I liked your explanation of Sparky as being synonymous with Champion in Buffy's mind. Gives it even more meaning.
Ugh... just gotta agree with Buffy on the whole "vision quest" is full of crap stuff. Really? What is wrong with a little direct answer now and then?
The conversation on the porch between Giles and Buffy was satisfying since it helped re-establish some of the family vibe between them.
Thanks for the update!!
Basically, "Sparky" is a combination of a term of endearment and "champion," which makes every instance of her calling him that turn into a typically-not-gooey-romantic moment of saying something along the lines of, "my darling hero." ...Which makes it rude and/or sarcastic when she uses the nickname when she's irritated with him or teasing him. Fun stuff.
But the ultimate point of her giving that explanation to Giles was to tell him that Spike deserves to be called a champion, that she believes he's earned it. The end of the porch conversation reads like it's about a little tidbit of Buffy and Spike's private life (the nickname), but it's really about Giles, giving him a deeper understanding of who it is his slayer is going to bind her life to. He opened the door by asking about "Sparky," and she took full advantage of the opportunity, explaining to him something we later see she hasn't even explained to Dawn. The reasoning for "Sparky" is meant to be private, even if the name itself is used in front of other people. She only explained it to Giles because it was information that could further his understanding, strengthen his support. We'll never see her explain it to anyone who doesn't NEED to know.
I love Buffy's sass to and about the spirit guide. This older version of her has no patience for bullshit (as her every interaction with Whistler proves), and she's not afraid to say so. But she'll eventually understand every word she heard from the guide. And so will you.
Some funny lines from Buffy - word salad, Princess Crazytown and Ugh the Cave Slayer all made me LOL. I was a bit disappointed in Ugh's message - was hoping she'd be a bit more clear this time around. I guess I'll settle for not understanding for now.
You'll understand it later. :)
I love the way Buffy's phrasing came out with the Princess/Ugh line. She acknowledging that the seers she's been consulting are from both her demon's history and Spike's. And she's doing it in a typically funny way, showing her irritation with the indirect speech patterns of both.
But my favorite funny line of the chapter isn't that bit, or even the "screw that guide and the horse she rode in on" bit (which makes me cackle, because it's almost Anya-esque blunt), but Buffy's rude, disrespectful ranting directly TO the spirit guide, particularly the "another year of mystical psychobabble" bit. This version of Buffy has no patience for bullshit, and she's really had more than her fill since the time travel (mostly from Whistler). I get a huge kick out of her sassy little rant, for some reason.
Love Giles back in the family. This time he will not make the same mistakes. Funny that....learning from his FUTURE goofs!
Glory got him again, somehow I had a feeling she would.
Looks like Buffy is starting to think that bond might be all right after all.
I'm just glad he's learned! I'll take the confusing time travel-related methodology, if that's what it takes! LOL
I never say so explicitly, but I tried to imply -throughout the entire Giles and Buffy arc- that she WANTS to trust him, that trusting him is still her default setting. But the uncertainty of Dawn and Spike's safety with him, given what she knows him capable of, have forced her to counter her own instincts and thrown into question the years she DID spend trusting and relying on him. In short, she's been super conflicted about Giles for a very long time, especially since the time travel.
And now they've reached a peace, a point of being "ok" again. But it's imperfect. She still has that future baggage. He's still trying not to freak out at some aspects of her life. But they are accepting each other, flaws and all, and really, that's what they needed most.