Oooh, she thinks Buffy's the key. Brilliant!
<I>I know your new best friend is what I'm looking for.</I> ? Oh, or not.
Eeee, I don't like unconscious Buffy being left alone.
Yeah, that ending was a bit of a cliffhanger. I left you wondering if Eddie is going to turn around and come back for a snack, or if something worse might find her.
You know, 'cause I'm evil that way.
so many amazing things in this chapter I'm not sure where to start!
I think the reader is meant to be able to decipher the code, right? Clorophorm is a reference to season 7 where Xander tried to take Dawn to Angel, Lydia is their new houseguest, and grenade is a reference to their bunker? I also love that Spike followed her orders faithfully without letting his emotions about wanting to save her get in the way... although I'm not sure what he would have done differently, it's wonderful to see that trust.
Also thought the piece where she wrote a message to him in her blood was brilliant.
Looks like the action is started! And I'm already rivited - can't wait to see what comes next.
In season 7, the original "chloroform play" was just to "get Dawn out of town." We weren't told where Xander was taking her. That's why Buffy specified "to second front" in her orders, because (also season 7) Angel was planned to be the second front in the war with the First. But yeah, that's pretty much it. It wasn't a pre-planned code. They had no way of knowing they would need one. Buffy just took that moment when Glory was trying to get her to talk to figure out how to tell Spike what to do in a way Glory wouldn't understand. Using their "future memories" was the simplest solution.
Unfortunately, there isn't much he could have done differently. His comment to Giles about Buffy being "with the bloody bitch. Outdoors" relays his frustration at that. Detouring to walk the sewers under UC Sunnydale was the closest he could get to trying to help, and it netted him nothing. And you're very right that the trust of their partnership shines through here, if for no other reason than that the general's order was to follow through on something her lieutenant was hesitant about when it was originally planned back in New Foundations: sending Dawn to Angel.
I was very afraid the message behind the ladder in the sewers would be a tough point for the readers, worried you'd think Spike was able to read too much info from it for it to be believable. But those three letters, given their location and type of "ink," really do say a lot. Buffy's injured, but still moving. She tried to get to the bunker, but didn't come because she had trouble right behind her. "KoB" tells him what she's up against, and why she went back up the ladder. Given that she's injured, she may not have a choice about running to the bunker if she can't shake them. Spike can obviously figure that part out without elaboration in the message. It's a lot from three letters, written in blood on a sewer wall. I was sure it would be hard to swallow for the readers. I'm glad you liked that bit. It's a big sigh of relief for me to read your opinion on it.
When it hits it hits hard. Glad to see they brought Willow hopefully repairs will be made there too. Poor Eddie trying to behave when the best temptation that exist is right there. Glad to see he has such good self-control. Glad Dawn is out of the picture for now only hope they didn't catch an unknown traveler along the way.
Very hard. If I were to rename the chapters in sound effects, Patience Lessons would be "Tick, Tick, Tick" and Underground Travelers would be "BOOM." War prep mode started the second Greg called about the raid on Willy's bar. The active part of the war itself started the second Buffy said "Lieutenant" into the phone at the fair. We're in it up to our knees, now.
Willow is having a tough day, it seems. She knew things were changing, even before she left. And she's seen/heard about more of it since. But now she's seeing exactly how much has changed, and how much her secret-keeping girlfriend is right in the middle of it... while Willow herself isn't. And the differences between what she thought she understood and what she's seeing with her own eyes is kinda huge. Can you just imagine the look on her face with Spike and Tara were holding hands to comfort each other in a tense moment? There's no way Willow could have been prepared for that degree of closeness between her girl and a vamp. It's not easy for her, not any of it. It's abrupt and shocking (especially the whole decoy thing), and it's understandable that she'd be a little freaked out.
Poor Eddie, indeed. His loyalty to his master and mistress versus the ultimate vamp buffet, barely clinging to consciousness. I really did put the poor kid in a bad position. At least Buffy didn't freak out about it, and try to stake him pre-emptively. She accepted the situation, accepted his natural inclination to drool at her head wound, and stayed calm, though her guard was as up as she could make it.
I've been waiting for the more active part of the war but I'm not ready... *covers eyes and peeks through fingers* ok I'm ready now
Yup. We're now officially in the action stage of the war. It's finally getting interesting.
Wow! A lot happening, fast. Great pacing by the way. Thanks for the update. Good chapter.
I'm glad you like! The next one has a bit more of the usual Echoes tone and pace, but don't get too comfortable. *evil grin*
Great great great story! Can't wait for more! Thank you!
I wouldn't be so eager, if I were you. Buffy's unconscious, smells like a vamp buffet, and is alone in the sewers. Willow's pissed off at finding out her girlfriend is voluntary bait. Dawn's been taken out of town to be protected by someone WE know isn't even in this dimension right now. The knights are actively hunting for the Key's protector. Glory definitely thinks Tara is the Key, and is looking for her. But this situation has so many terrible possible variations, that -as bad as all that sounds- things are actually going comparatively well. *shudder* Are you SURE you want more of this?
The chapter starts in their normal life and then, the phonecall. It's good to see how well they have planed everything, some code words to Spike and he starts to call in everyone and sending Dawn to LA. I hope they have a key to the hotell, Angel is in Pylea now isn't he? Everyone else meets at the bunker, and Giles got to hear about Eddie, another vampire who can controle himself. Well, most of them can, but it's not offten admitted.
Tara paniced and run from Glory. I acctually thought it was planned like that, but I can understand the panicking. Willow has arrived, of course she didn't like that Tara is a decoy, but who would. I just hope that the surprise of that doesn't make her do anything stupid. We got to see more of Buffy's strenght in the end, and Eddie got to help her, good for him.
A very intense chapter, this means war.
Yep, Angel and his team are in Pylea. That's why no one answered the phone. I don't think Dawn has to worry about a key to the hotel, thought. Clients, enemies, and everyone in between strolls into the Hyperion lobby all the time. It's not likely the place is locked up, especially since the AI team didn't actually plan to leave town, let alone the entire dimension.
The best part about the code is that it isn't a code at all. It wasn't planned ahead of time. It didn't have to be. It's two season seven era references and a season six one (that has been a bit of a recurring gag in Echoes). Buffy knew Spike would understand, because he's the only other person in the world with all those memories in his head. Glory didn't stand a chance of understanding that "the chloroform play" refers to a 2003 attempt to get Dawn out of town, that Angel was intended to lead the "second front" in the war with the First, or that a reference to "grenades" is actually a reference to the lower level of Spike's old crypt. (She also doesn't know Lydia is on her way to the house at that very moment, "the houseguest." It all makes perfect sense to Spike, and is utter gibberish to anyone else, Glory included. Buffy's refusal to speak the first time Glory told her to looks to the Hellgod like simple stubbornness, but really, it's Buffy rapidly sorting out a plan in her head, figuring out how to convey what she needs to convey to Spike.
It's subtle and quiet, but this afternoon/evening is a shining moment for Eddie. He's kind and helpful to the humans, and fights his urges admirably well for a young vamp with a bleeding slayer buffet right in front of him.
I understood the houseguest, grenades and the second front. I had totally forgotten about the chloroform thing, but now I remember it.
And it has begun. Buffy and Spike appear to have all their bases covered, but this is Sunnydale. Anything can happen. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Looking forward to the even days!!
Yep, the prep work is paying off, but there's no way things can go exactly according to plan. They never do. Already, we've got Buffy injured and alone in the sewers, pinning her hopes of being brought to safety on a young vamp who's struggling to not look at her as a snack tray. There's a witch at the bunker who is simultaneously confused, disappointed, and pissed off about being left out of the decoy plot, and has just learned that locator spells don't work on Buffy. The knights are actively hunting for the Key's protector, and the Hellgod might be, too, for all we know. ...But, compared to how bad things COULD be, it's actually going ok so far. That's a depressing perspective, isn't it?
I want the next chapter NOW!
Slightly breathless? Heart racing? Some combination of stressed, worried, and flat-out scared?
Good. I've done my job.
(And you thought GLORY was evil. )
Cruel place to leave this. I don't know if Willow is going with a big mad fest-hopefully non black Willow-and they will have to tell mer more-or if they will have to bring her in to so me aspect or go with this was the plan, your girlfriend wanting to protect and it if was her decision in this case and we'll see controlling Willow. All of that with or without spilling any of the big Time travel beans or if it will go another way altogether. Looking very forward to seeing. And absolutely LOVE how she is no longer letting Giles and her supposedly best friend original Scoobies bully her and tell here who she can see and what she can do. I HATED that about Buffy. Worse than a child is what she was and so afraid to disappoint that she went with what she didn't want to try to make them happy. Hated that too. She is a grown woman and in this one she has grown up and become a good one and realized so much of that. Discussing with her Love and taling to Tara and positive sound bourds that actually want Buffy to be happy not do as she is told. Not that they don't give constuctive criticism such as Tara along with a nuturning love, but hey let Buffy make her choices without fear. Xander has amazed me with how far he has come and I have some small hope even for Giles if her keep his head out of his s## and out of Courcil rheteric.
By the by, I have LOVED this story. Spike with Buffy and both of them strong-especially Buffy as I am sooo glad that she admits he is the only one she truly has trusted and that she contines to do so. Love that. I know I haven't reviewed yet on this, but I have read and reread up to here. Great great story. Loving it Look several times a day to see if there are new update. Thanks for so far making them come so regularly. Thanks so much for those and as soon as you put on another I can begin to get my 'fix' again. LOL
Re updates: Every other day (even numbers) in the first couple hours of the day (US Eastern time) is the routine. I slip out of it here and there, but that's the baseline. But I'm totally taking the update stalking as a compliment, just so you know. Also, I see the compliment in the various "You've made me an Echoes junkie" comments I get from people (you aren't the first). I love my loyal readers!
As for the other stuff you added to your original review, I'm right there with you. In canon, the super strong slayer had a tendency to be an emotional doormat, and turned people-pleasing into a life-altering habit. Ugh. How can someone so strong be so weak? Better question: How can we be expected to think of her as a superhero? Character flaws are one thing, they offer depth and humanization. But a "hero" with such huge, unlikeable flaws that seemed to get worse as she moved into adulthood (counterintuitive) isn't much of a hero.
The best thing about a time travel story is that it gives us a chance to take a version of Buffy who has seen the worst of what the world and her friends have to offer, hasn't said enough about it to lock in her perspective to a single interpretation (there's A LOT she didn't say during season 7), and put her back in a situation where what was broken was still fixable, including her own behavior. The most adult version of Buffy canon has to offer meets an opportunity to take back some of her worst childish moments. I really couldn't ask for more, where she's concerned.
In Echoes, she's making her own choices, isn't apologizing for them, and is finding out how good the results could be. She's married and promised to claim the person who is really her best friend, despite how that title gets bandied about amongst original Scoobies. She's got a warm, solid, caring friendship with someone she never took the chance to get to know in the original timeline. She's got a good relationship with her sister, and has been open about wanting to make it even better.
Xander, after a bunch of little moments of character shifting (mostly as an observer) has become a better friend to both Spike and Buffy than anyone could have expected, in part because of the unapologetic attitudes of them both. And -after some long, painful struggles- Buffy's old watcher has worked his way back to her, finally approaching his slayer as a friend worthy of being accepted as she is, not a student in need of direction.
It's amazing what accepting yourself and your life can do to your outer world, isn't it? It's so good to see Buffy finally getting that.
Cruel place to leave this. I don't know if Willow is going with a big mad fest-hopefully non black Willow-and they will have to tell mer more-or if they will have to bring her in to so me aspect or go with this was the plan, your girlfriend wanting to protect and it if was her decision in this case and we'll see controlling Willow. All of that with or without spilling any of the big Time travel beans or if it will go another way altogether. Looking very forward to seeing.
By the by, I have LOVED this story. Spike with Buffy and both of them strong-especially Buffy as I am sooo glad that she admits he is the only one she truly has trusted and that she contines to do so. Love that. I know I haven't reviewed yet on this, but I have read and reread up to here. Great great story.
I agree that this was a rather cruel place to cut this chapter off. Buffy is alone, injured, and failing at that whole "staying conscious" thing. Her safety is pinned on an unchipped, soulless young vamp who openly admits she smells like dinner. We don't yet know how she managed to trade enemies in the middle of the afternoon. Willow has joined the gang at the bunker, and is beginning to see that things have changed even more than she thought. (Can't you just see the look on her face when Tara and Spike are holding hands to comfort each other? Holy crap! When did Tara get to be THAT close to a vamp?)
The next chapter will tell you where things stand. Underground Travelers is essentially moving us through Tough Love and into Spiral in the canon timeline. Our heroes have officially gone to war. The first battle didn't go perfectly well, but their readiness is already paying off. Let's just hope it's enough.
Buffy recognizing that (by late season 7) only one person truly had her back was probably the trigger point for her giving their relationship post-time-travel an honest chance. We'll see an expression of that long ago revelation again soon. Thanks for reviewing! It's always good to see a new "face" on the review page!
I love even days! (Looks like this chapter was posted early... I hope the next one is too!)
Loving this story, so well plotted and keeps me on my toes! I love that it's unpredictable, but true to character- everyone is behaving in ways I completely believe.
I posted Underground Travelers a couple of hours early because I'd had two straight super early shifts at work and was suffering a pretty awful headache besides. The chapter was ready, so I posted it and crashed early last night. (Early for me is any time before 3am. I'm a night owl.) The routine I've developed is to post between approximately midnight and 2am US Eastern time on even numbered days for most chapters. I occasionally run late or early, though.
"True to character" is a big compliment. Thank you. That's always the goal, isn't it? To see that these are still the same characters we know and love (your mileage may vary) from the show, even if they're in a foreign situation.
On the bright side Dawn gets to spend some of her vacation time in LA. Kidding. Nice code. I had no idea what the hell she was talking about! For a second I thought Glory had shoved her hands into Buffy's brain! Willow didn't freak to much. But I think there will be freak-age yet to come. As soon as it really hits just what the gang have set up. Of course when they need Angel he is no where to be found. I know where he is in canon, I don't know if you are following his canon timeline for this or not. But I guess even without Angel and the Fang Gang there Lydia and Dawn would be safe from Glory at least. No one knows they are there besides the Scooby's. And LA is a big ass town. And part of me is glad that they haven't told Willow just where Lydia took Dawn. Better if she doesn't know. Because who knows what Willow might do? I mean that is the recurring theme here. Willow is unpredictable, unstable and damn powerful. A bad combination.
But did you figure out the "code" eventually? Of course, it wasn't really a code. It certainly wasn't planned. Buffy just took that moment when Glory was trying to get her to talk to figure out how to convey information to Spike in a way she knew he would understand, and Glory wouldn't.
Yep, Angel and co. are in Pylea. That's why no one answered the phone. The other Time Scoobies are currently the only people in Sunnydale who know where Dawn's gone, but that won't be kept from their bunker-mates for long.
Willow's freak out right now is about being left in the dark, especially by Tara. Yes, the Scooby dynamics and relationships have changed, and she's uncomfortable with that. But seeing that her girlfriend is not only at the center of the action with Buffy (Willow's traditional place) and has been keeping secrets about it? That's not just uncomfortable, that's a big-capital-letters PROBLEM. We'll get more into that later.
It took a few minutes but I did figure it out. No one else would though! Which made it perfect. Nice job.
This... looks bad. That's a lot of shoes to come crashing down. And I don't think a transfusion is enough to fix Buffy. And isn't Angel in Pylea right about now?
*peers anxiously at the bunker*
Yep, Angel is in Pylea. That's why no one answered the phone at the Hyperion.
Buffy's a tough little slayer. A nasty head injury is nothing to scoff at, but I wouldn't count her out, yet. Also, she's really not that far from the bunker. Eddie said they were only a quarter mile from sniffing range, so she's definitely under a half mile away. Assuming the young vamp doesn't turn back to grab dinner at the Ritz, he should be able to get help to her pretty quickly. Of course, being alone and unconscious in the sewers in the meantime isn't an awesome situation, but it's like she told Eddie: "I'm not dead yet, kid."
And thus begins the deluge of shoes. Drowning in footwear, much?
What an idiot, not to just go on and do the CLAIM!!!
Yeah, the enforcing "the dust bunny clause" might have been a mistake. Underground Travelers is our first glimpse into how different a dangerous situation would be if they HAD already claimed each other. That's part of why we see Spike and Buffy whispering to each other in absentia. We're seeing that a telepathic link would be really handy right now, and what they would say if they had it.
And also - Buffy and Tara friendship? YES PLEASE!
“So how does this code work?” Anya asked, taking a seat on a mattress.
Giles threw her a glare. “I don't think now is the time, Anya.”
“Sure it is. He needs a distraction. We all do. What's the code?”
GREAT Anya voice here!
This really is a beautifully constructed chapter.
Re Tara friendshipts: The relationships Tara has built within the household have been showing more and more in recent chapters. I like showing the depth of those relationships not just in speech, but in physical contact. The shy, quiet Tara of canon was so unaccustomed to being treated as a close friend to the Scoobies that she seemed genuinely shocked at Buffy's season 6 "confessional" ending in the witch having a lapful of crying slayer. She wasn't close enough to anyone but Willow for physical contact to be common or expected. (We saw what? Maybe a half-dozen slightly awkward hugs, at most?) This Tara's experiences have been very different, and the relationships have evolved. I used physical contact with her to point out the degree of the change in the friendships, to show the readers and the other characters (namely Willow) how connected she is now.
Willow's first glimpses of Tara's closeness to her housemates included the coffee scene in Right There, in which Tara was warmly appreciated by both slayer and vamp, put her hand on Spike's shoulder, and made a semi-joking threat to him that was treated casually by both. By Solid Bonds, we see that Tara and Dawn sitting on her her bed late at night with a tissue box between them and hugging is not treated as something shocking, but as a simple comfort of an established friendship. In Patience Lessons and Underground Travelers, Tara grabs Buffy's hand for security and strength when she's scared. Later in Underground Travelers, Spike takes Tara's hands in an effort to make them both feel better, and it seems totally natural. But can't you just imagine the look on Willow's face when they did that?
The canon Tara, who was so shy she was nearly aloof, and only showed her natural warmth toward people other than Willow on occasion (and somewhat awkwardly), is gone. The Time Scoobies are a close, caring family, and physical contact -even with formerly shy Tara- is a comfortable part of their lives.
As for Anya, I really didn't get to spend much time with her in Echoes, so I tried to make her appearances shine. I'm glad you're enjoying them! More to come!
loving this story. i check for updates EVERY day.
*wags finger* You junkie!
I'm kidding. Sort of. I love that there are Echoes Junkies who aren't afraid to say it. I take update stalking for the huge compliment it is, and greatly appreciate it.
Tense! Well written scenes, very visual and heart pounding.
I don't blame Tara one bit for running.
Hope while they are in the bunker they spill to the rest of the gang so everyone is on the same page. I think it's time.
Good! Tension and heart pounding was the goal. We've finally made it to the active stage of the war.
I don't blame Tara, either. At the fair, when she was already scared, and who shows up again? Definitely panic time.
Some spilling is coming soon, but the circumstances under which the first beans hit the floor are not quite what you expect.
I've been diving in and out of this story and so far Chapter 37 may well be my favorite - it just zips along, with plenty of suspense and action and I'm riveted: where is Buffy?? What happened to her? (Buffy's my favorite fictional character bar none.) I admit that the chapters this chapter is more interesting to me than the ones that focus on Buffy and Spike relationship stuff and lots of talking about souls etc. This chapter just tells a story and it moves along at a wonderful clip; the cliffhanger ending is nail-biting.
The scene with Glory is just violent enough that it's gripping and worrisome but doesn't go overboard; very very well constructed and I love that she talked code to Spike. Give the way Buffy plays with the language - her puns and her malaprops - it seems appropriate that she should twist it (code) to suit her purposes here.
Lots of stories have OC's that are poorly written but Eddie is a lot of fun to read, I can imagine him in my head.
Poor Tara, feeling guilty for leaving Buffy behind. I sort of wonder why she didn't try to do some little spell, just zap Glory with a little electricity, enough to at least distract her and let Buffy make a run for it sooner.
Buffy's dialogue throughout is wonderful btw - If you have an excedrin I'll let you pass. / I'm dinner at the Ritz.
Probably some of the best, funniest Buffy dialogue I've seen in ANY story.
Even with a head injury, Buffy's still cracking jokes. Gotta love it.
The "code" is one of my favorite bits from this chapter. It's just the sort of off-the-cuff thing you'd expect her to come up with, using something she knew Glory wouldn't understand, but Spike would (future memories). Of course, a big reason I like it so much is that it fell into place so easily on the first draft. "Run the chloroform play to second front" popped into my head during the drafting of that scene, and it just worked. Sometimes the good stuff is effortless and the mediocre stuff takes work.
I try not to describe characters' physical appearances more than necessary. I don't believe it's my place to put a specific image of a person in your head unless that image is important to the story. With Eddie, I've told you he's young (turned at 15, only 3 years ago), very skinny, and have implied he's also on the small side in height. That's data that has served a purpose in his story. I haven't offered anything else, because nothing else is relevant. Beyond those traits, whatever image you can conjure up in your head is just as accurate as the one in mine.
For me personally, the Eddie in my head has sandy brown hair that's long enough in the front for him to have to occasionally brush it out of his slightly hollow-looking hazel eyes, a jawline just a bit too wide to look proportionate to the rest of him, and a chin that would have a clearly defined cleft if he weren't so thin. He wears dirty sneakers (that probably used to be white) and dark blue, rather baggy jeans as a matter of habit. His shirt collection speaks to history as a scrounger, even before he was turned. He's not a sports fan, but probably owns a couple of team logo t-shirts or jerseys, because he managed to get his hands on something that almost fit at some point, and kept it for that reason alone. (I usually imagine him in a major league baseball team t-shirt, if you want to talk specifics.) His jacket is short, brown, slightly battered-looking, and has wide lapels that seem to emphasize how narrow the wearer is in build. It looks very much like he's using a discarded blazer two sizes too big for him as a jacket.
But that's just the Eddie in MY head. If yours looks nothing like that, yours is just as valid. None of these details were included in the story because they aren't important.
OMG! Please update ahead of schedule! Please?? PLEASE?????
I have to give you time to do some rereading, don't I? You know, so you have a chance to figure out how this is going to go?