So many things about this story are awesome, but Buffy's words to Gregor are so effing perfect! So much better than the original, even not counting the wisdom she gained from the time travel.
I really love the Buffy and Gregor interactions. I think this older version of her understands him better. She's not a scared girl on the run this time around. She's someone who knows herself, her mission, and what it's like to lead troops who are following you for a cause far greater than themselves. She gets him, and she's tough enough to look him in the eye as a fellow leader, a fellow general.
I miss Eddie already! If his dusting doesn't cause the others to realize that all demons aren't evil, then they are just plain stupid (and evil) themselves. Spike was so good with him, very understanding like he is with Dawn. As far as Tara, if Glory stays on her timetable, Tara should be OK until nightfall. Since no one went to see Doc this time around, maybe he won't know enough to be there. . . .I hope. As far as Dawn and Lydia, they should be safe(ish) at Angel's hotel; if my memory serves, they are probably in Pylea at this point in time, and should be back soon. Wouldn't things have gone easier for them all if Buffy and Spike had just killed Ben?? They know he is Glory's human host, so would killing him be so awful? For the greater good? Slayer or not, Buffy should see at this point that one evil human can do just as much damage, if not more, than any evil demon can. Also, I am running out of seat edge to sit on! MORE, PLEASE!
As far as needing to realize all demons aren't evil, who do you mean?
Spike went to see Doc. Check out the last scene of Slipped Words.
Yep, Angel and co. are in Pylea, causing all kinds of chaos, with no knowledge of what's going down in Sunnydale, or that someone was sent to the Hyperion from there.
As for why Ben wasn't killed off, it wasn't because he was human. It was because it could have had bad results. Check out the Whistler scene in Safe House.
My heart just dropped when I read what happened to Eddie. He was just too cute and sweet to be a vampire. I love that Willow is finally seeing that the world did not stop because she went to England. Buffy was just not going to let her run wild with her actions. I am happy that Xander was there but she needed to be talked do in a non-General way. General Buffy was calling the shots and didn't appreciate her tryiing to take charge. I know that Tara wanted plan B to be active but it was still shocking to see her taken. Just an all around AWESOME chapter.
RIP Eddie. He really was a little darling, wasn't he?
I honestly have no idea how that "Willow tries to take charge" moment would have gone if Xander wasn't there. Willow's used to a Buffy that trusts her by default. The general who expects to know what's going on and/or have it run by her ahead of time, who is (it seems) suspicious of Willow's intentions, and is willing to restrain her physically without a second's thought? Willow doesnt' know her. And General Hard Ass Pratt isn't just being a hard ass for fun. She just lost a soldier not ten minutes before, and Willow's sudden charge ahead looked like it could easily lead to additional losses. They each expect something from the other the other doesn't understand. Willow expects trust and autonomy, a power position at Buffy's side. Buffy expects trust and respect for her position as a leader, the person responsible for all their lives.
The second Buffy grabs Willow's arm, the last remnants of the original Scooby dynamic crash and burn. The expectations of what it means to be a 'comrade in arms' between Buffy and Willow are out in the open as drastically different. Too different.
And Xander Harris is left standing between them, watching the fire. All he can do is try to get through that moment. Calm them down and keep things moving. But he's observant. I have no doubt he knows in that moment the changes of the last year aren't going to fade away, aren't going to soften and blend back into the Scoobies after this is over. Buffy has officially changed too much. And Willow hasn't.
The Original Scooby Gang ended in a sewer tunnel under Revello Drive.
I hate to say it but Eddie's death made me sad too. I know in war there are casualties although causalties don't seem like the right word to describe death. It's not casual.
I know it must be very frustrating for Xander and Willow to know there are secrets and being out of the loop when they were the loop for so long. And I admire the fact that they have been so patient and trusting.
So, tomorrow is the big day. I agree with Buffy, so much feels the same although there have been differences but are they enough?
I look forward to the big battle to discover if they managed to change things in a good way and can only hope that no more deaths other than Glory's happen.
RIP Eddie. But I'm glad you liked him while he was around.
Now here's a thought to chew on: If the teams hadn't been split up, Eddie wouldn't have been sent out to the street to move the manhole cover, right? Let's say Giles' diaries were in a safe, well-hidden place, and no one needed to run to the Magic Box to secure them. One team runs out to get the lock box and runs back to the bunker. No second team necessary. No manhole cover signal necessary. And hence, no dusty Eddie, right? Oh. Wait. Giles' diaries WERE kept in a safe, well-hidden place... until two time travelers screwed up something in November, and that safe place was destroyed.
It's indirect, but it's definitely a ripple from the stone they accidentally threw in Pivot Point. Buffy may have been in command, issued the order that sent Eddie out into the street, but (indirectly) a phone call Spike made in November is what got Eddie killed in May.
Xander has a ton of faith in Buffy and Spike. He's been watching them closely for many months, and he trusts their actions and motives. It doesn't hurt that he and Spike have become friends, besides. He knows they're keeping secrets, and he's not pretending it doesn't bother him, but he trusts them enough to believe that they'll make good on their word: They'll tell him when they can.
Willow doesn't have the same level of trust. She's twitchy about the whole situation, especially since Tara seems to be right in the middle of it, even to the point of volunteering herself for some high-calibur danger. She's come back to find Spike even more entrenched in the group that before, Buffy even less warm and friendly than before, and Tara's almost a stranger to her. But now, with Tara taken and the big Hellgod showdown looming, Willow is stuck. She has to see this through with the rest of the team, follow the general's lead, or risk Tara's life.
This entire chapter, was fantastic, as always, but the last scene had so many gems it made me shiver.
“From the Scoobies.”
And “Spike's sure. That's good enough for me.” !!! She's come such a long way from not trusting him that she won't have to jump.
YAY!!!! I'm so glad someone commented on "From the Scoobies." That's a nasty little bit of truth Buffy slipped in without its full context, isn't it? Of course, she means mostly Willow, but Willow didn't plan and perform the resurrection spell alone.
"20/20 vision" is obviously a direct reference to 2003 Xander losing an eye, but in a way, she's referring to all the scars (emotional and physical) she's trying to prevent being formed. "It will be worth it." The last nine months of work and worry will be worth it. The two more years of repeating history they have still before them will be worth it. If she can save the Scoobies (mostly from themselves), it will all be worth it.
"Spike's sure. That's good enough for me" is actually a multi-purpose line. 1. She's taken the extra boost of optimism he gave her a few minutes ago, and is openly trying to embrace it. 2. She has enough faith in him that his certainty feels almost like a fact. 3. The line is a direct call-back to the Spike and Tara conversation near the end of Porcelain Translations. Spike (referring to Dru) said, "Leastways, she's made Buffy sure. That's good enough for me." Which brings us to 4, the summary of them all: Buffy WANTS to be hopeful, wants the reassurances she receives to be right, and soaks up their hope like an eager little sponge. She may be dogged and annoying about her contingency plans, but the death wish is gone. She's not just saying that to make Spike feel better.
Thanks ! Things are moving so fast, lots going on .... such a good chapter. Much appreciated.
This is definitely a fast-paced section of the story. From the beginning of Underground Travelers through the end of Broken Armor is under 36 hours. Usually in Echoes, three chapters can cover anywhere from a week to a month. There's so much going on right now, that -although I'm getting far less time out of a chapter than usual- it still feels like it's moving very, very fast.
I just was reading replies to my coments and noticed in replies given to a couple of others that there is a planned sequel (even though this one is not near done yet). I let out a sound like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally and expected my husband to come in to see why I was orgasiming without him!
I can't say how delighted I am that this verse is going to carry on through 6 and 7. THANK YOU!
The sequel will -by necessity- have a totally different feel to it. The majortiy of the interpersonal relationship arcs that have dominated this story will be on some kind of settled ground by then, so most of the conflicts will be coming from different sources. It will be the same universe, evolving and expanding, but it will be noticeably different in a lot of ways. I'm really excited about digging into writing it.
Unfortunately, there are still chapters of Echoes that feel like they have holes and/or structural issues, so I'm stuck in endless cycles of editing, adding, and rereading right now. Rinse and repeat. And when I finally stop that, and get the rest of it posted, I have to go back and do some minor post-puiblication proofreading and summary work on Echoes 1 before I can walk away from it.
I think I need a vacation. The posting stage of this story has been a long, arduous process, mired in details and deadlines. Intellectually, I know it's good for me-- to become better at handling writing/editing deadlines, to force myself to accept content for what it is and let it out of my hands before I can obsess over it too much. But with a story this huge, and not being able to commit to a posting schedule tighter than every other day, editing and posting Echoes -as well as keeping up with the many reviews (Not a complaint! I promise!)- has become a multi-month part time job. I'm looking forward to stepping off the posting treadmill and just writing for a while. That actually sounds pretty relaxing.
Yup. You could give yourself more breathing room with fewer posting dates. Once a week or so is what some people do.
I stopped posting any WIPs of mine for many of the same reasons. RL always got involved at the worst possible times for example so now I wait till a story is finished. Now I just hope to start writing more than 3 - 4 chapter stories again LOL.
I'm very excited there will be more no matter when it works for you to begin posting.
Unfortunately, weekly posting would stretch a story this huge over about a year. That's just too long to hold interest, I think.
With Echoes, I got it to where I thought it was "just a few edits and some tweaking in the final chapters" before I started posting, basically 95% finished. But as I ran through the chapters with a more critical eye ahead of their scheduled posting dates, I started finding more gaps, more underdeveloped details and "practically summarized" bits than I had expected. So a lot of improvements have been made during the posting process. Where I had expected to mostly be working on the sequel during the posting of Echoes, I ended up working on Echoes itself.
But that's ok. I'm notorious for sucking at deadlines, and this has been good training for me. I've created a lot of material "on the fly" that has slid in perfectly with the rest, and actually been very well-received. The dental care bit from Hunkered Down everyone loves? New material, very recently created. The entirety of Resident Strangers? Every word of it was under a week old when it was posted. It was a "I really need to flesh out the characters' current situations and cover some gaps" last minute chapter that was thrown into the middle of the story on short notice. Good experiences for me (although going through every single chapter that came after to change their numbers in both the text and file name was super annoying).
Echoes not being as ready as I thought has worked out ok, so far. But it's been a big commitment, this 48 hour schedule and this 'way better than expected' reader response/level of engagement. I don't regret setting that schedule, and I'm very proud of myself for maintaining it as well as I have, but a break from it is going to feel very well-earned.
We can see how good they are at this. Separating into two equal team, planning what to do and being ready to adapt to changes, all good. Buffy's reaction to Willow's spellcasting was right. As a general she needed to know what Willow wanted to do and what it could lead to. I'm sad for the loss of Eddie, but I'm glad that Xander showed him that he was one of them. The loss in it's self was hard for Buffy, but it also waked up memories of other losses.
When separating into the groups, we could see that things aren't good between Tara and Willow. It makes sense, Willow has been gone a long time now and Tara has grown as a person, she has changed. They need time to get to know each other again if they shall continue as a couple. Xander and Anya seems to be better as a couple. Xander is handeling her better and that makes her react better to the things Xander says. Anya has also become a real friend to Buffy, which also is good for her.
It was good that Willow had that little talk with Xander, she could see that she wasn't the only one who didn't know everything.
I had compleatly forgotten about the message and it was a good idea that it could change, that does make sense. There should be some monks there now I suppose. Unless the First has been able to give Caleb his powers and sent him out.
Now we are really close to the big moment, the thing they have worked for all this time.
The plan was definitely solid. Two teams, of roughly equal strength in every respect. I'm glad no one has said they think Buffy pulling Willow back was a mistake. It wasn't her kindest moment, but it was the right response for the situation.
Seeing Xander offer kindness toward and later mourn for Eddie was a great bit of character development. Seeing Buffy's reaction to Eddie's death was a harsh reminder of who she really is: the general who was losing a war so badly, some of her soldiers were buried in her backyard, and others weren't buried at all (vineyard victims). This woman isn't season 5 Buffy, and in moments of stress, she's extra terrible at hiding it. Her rant in the tunnels also pointed out that Spike, who is generally better at keeping these memories quietly hidden, is also carrying around some guilt about the Potentials they lost, and is almost as bad as Buffy is about hiding who they are in moments of stress.
The tension between Tara and Willow was hard to write. My natural instinct with those two is to let it be warm and cuddly, let the love show. But right now, Tara is focused on the mission, and the well-being of her adoptive family. And Willow is being confronted with a near stranger who looks like her girl. This new Tara is strong, capable, willing to put herself on the line in a big way, and (possibly worst) willing and able to keep huge secrets from her girlfriend for prolonged periods of time. Willow doesn't know how to handle this.
We haven't seen a lot of how all the little shifts in Xander's mentality over the course of this story have impacted his relationship with Anya, only a few hints here and there. But with his kind, gentle way of asking her to hold on the vengeance demon story, we can see how much of a difference those shifts have made, and they're huge. He's not rude or dismissive, so she responds in kind. Definitely better than their canon relationship.
I'm so glad someone agrees with me about the message at the mission in Gilroy. It never made sense in canon that Caleb would go all the way up there to look at a message on the wall, unless that message changes.
Poor Eddie. RIP...again. I love your depections of how the tension between the characters is mounting. I'm hoping they are all able to come together instead of falling apart. I'm so looking forward to more.
Poor Eddie. And yes, the tension is palpable at this point. Some of it is interpersonal issues, but a lot of it is just the situation. More soon!
Poor Eddie!!! Not to be cruel but it's probably a good thing he's dust. Eventually he would have stopped being the cute puppy and become a vampire again. When that happened Buffy or Spike would have had to dust him. At least this way he got to go out doing something worthwhile.
Plan B is in play. Plan A had merit. Running out Glory's clock was the safest play. But unfortunately that really wasn't an option and I think Buffy knew that from the get go. Glory wasn't just going to sit patiently while her window of opportunity passed by. Eventually Glory was going to get her hands on the key. Or at least what she thinks is the key. Dawn is safe. Glory won't be able to open any portals with Tara. Even if Doc survived the slice and dice Spike gave him. Tara won't be harmed. Until the moment Glory realizes she isn't the key. Then all bets about Tara's safety are off. So unless Glory pushes Buffy off the tower onto the hard ground or beats her in hand to hand Buffy should survive.
Willow really is the odd man out right now. And I don't know how long she'll be willing to stay that way. A lock box? Really not to tough for her to get through. And not for nothing Giles won't be able to stop her if she really wants a look at what's inside. She is going to start the third degree as soon as Buffy comes downstairs and I don't think she'll stop until she gets the answers she wants no matter the methods she uses. She might be showing some hurt emotions right now but underneath it all she's pissed. Pissed that Tara let herself be put in that much danger. Pissed that she was left out of the planning. And seriously pissed that Tara has been taken. I wouldn't be surprised if she uses brute magical strength to open the lock box and put a truth spell on Buffy to get answers. And she really doesn't like to not be trusted.
Xander would probably be willing to wait. He's matured a lot over the past few months. He'll give Buffy the time she's asking for.
I wonder what Spike will find in Gliroy?
You're right about Eddie. He would have slipped up eventually, and someone would have had to stake him. I actually expected to eventually land in that scenario at some point, but the story didn't shake out that way. This is a far better ending for him, even if it is kind of sad.
The "natural course of events" thing Buffy referred to in Healing Soldiers and Patience Lessons was mostly right. Glory's desperation is something the Time Scoobies can't change. While there are ways it could have played out that didn't involve her getting her hands on the Key (or the fake one), she still has the same motivations and timetable, and they're still going to lead her to similar courses of action.
But things didn't go as well for her this time. She had to use the knights to get info, probably shadowed them for tracking, and STILL ended up with the wrong Key. So far, so good. The odds of Buffy dying are much, much lower than they were the first time around.
Willow's in a bad position right now, even from her perspective. She wants answers. She's desperate for them. She's pissed off at pretty much everyone for keeping her in the dark, feels like she's been demoted from 'essential' to 'very nearly in the way' with Buffy, both in friendship and Scooby respects, and Tara suddenly seems like a stranger.
But she's stuck.
If she makes any moves (like magically opening the box, doing a locator spell on Tara and running off to find her, etc.), she risks Tara's life, risks the last shreds of her friendship with Buffy (and possibly everyone else), and risks the plans for offing the Hellgod. She may be in a bad mood, and feeling like the odd man out, but she's still not stupid. She knows she has to play ball until this is over, or it could go very badly. Willow, for all her faults, is still a staunch white hat, still cares for Tara, and still means well.
But AFTER Tara is safe and Glory is gone? She might have something to say. We'll see.
I absolutely love the way Xander has developed over the course of this story. The last couple of days have really shown his growth. He's not afraid to push Buffy for answers, but he trusts her enough to take her at her word that he will be told when he can be. He's mature enough to quickly and quietly keep Buffy and Willow from each other's throats in the sewers, without offending either of them or making a stupid joke. He's kind and patient with Anya's inappropriately timed vengeance demon stories. He's mourning a fledgling vampire. When Buffy was missing, he readily followed the lead of William the Bloody -his regular drinking buddy at a demon bar- eager to walk at his side, in a darkened sewer tunnel full of unknown dangers, with a pretty bad ass weapon. Xander matured a lot? Hell, Xander's very nearly a totally different person.
He's certainly not much like he usually appears in Spuffy fics, at least.
For me Xander was always a difficult character to like. And I actually mean in canon. He was infatuated with Buffy from the get go and despite the other relationships he's had I don't think that ever really went away. He was cruel and thoughtless towards people he thought he was better than just because he had a soul or was human. But that just proved how small of a person he was. Behaving that way made him worse than the people he thought he was better than. His relationship with Anya made me want to punch him in the nuts on a regular basis. He was responsible for the deaths of a lot of humans when he summoned Sweets and he was never held responsible for it in anyway. It took entirely too long for him to grow up in canon. And there are really only a few authors of fanfic that actually create a believable mature likeable Xander for me. And you just became of of them. The Xander we see in this chapter progressed in a organic way. It is believable and makes me wish Joss had done this for Xander. Because the Xander that got his eye gouged out by Caleb? I didn't feel sorry for him a bit. Anything he lost in canon up till then he lost because of his own actions. Everyone else lost so much more. Buffy: her mom, heaven... Dawn: Joyce, Buffy.... Willow lost: Oz, Tara. So it was about time Xander lost something for me at least.
Can't wait for the next update!!!
Looking at canon from the perspective of writing fanfic, Xander is the character that has the most potential for development. We know TONS about him, strengths and weaknesses, and saw him repeatedly give in to the latter when it was obvious the former would have netted such great results. He's fully human, no demony or magical aspects, so he feels like he was designed to be relatable to the average viewer/reader. He's full to the brim with exploitable contradictions, both in his actions and in his personality. He should be an absolute joy for fic writers to play with.
Instead, he's usually treated as a burden (at least in Spuffy fic). Canon Xander gave in to his lesser impulses a few too many times, and turned a lot of people off to him as a character. They don't want to redeem him, or 'fix' him. They want to be rid of him. Frequently, he's absent, nearly absent, present but ignored, or simply made a villain of the piece.
My solution to the 'Xander in a Spuffy fic' problem was to nudge him toward something better. And keep nudging. And dropping hints. Eventually, I nudged canon Xander off a cliff, and the guy that landed turned out to be pretty cool.
Best laid plans and all that. Poor Eddie. He was cute.
Worrying about Tara along with Willow.
It's all going to have to come out soon or the scoobies (particularly Willow) are either going to die of curiosity or take matters into their own hands.
Yeah, it's definitely getting to be time travel storytelling time, whether the travelers want it to be or not.
Hate that Eddie died but love the rest..
Everyone is mourning Eddie. I never expected him to be so well-liked.
He remind me of spike in some ways..and he gave new insight on what could happen if give a chance ..
hmm, can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs and I guess you can't destroy a hellgod without cracking some skulls along the way. I am sorry to see Eddie dust but I find it kinda fitting. He decides to be a hero and gets what many heroes get... to end it in a way that furthers the cause. I can see his death as a painful reminder of the stakes and the possible other deaths and you made it work well.
Great little image of Xander holding the portable game and wondering what to do with it. It was a simple little image but very indicative of an unexpected death. You are left standing there holding the luggage and wondering what to do with all the emotional baggage it contains.
Thank you for sharing yet another great chapter. I always look forward to your updates and you never seem to disappoint with the care and plotting. Much appreciated!
I didn't go into Broken Armor planning to kill off poor Eddie, but -by the time Buffy's thoughts had drifted to the Potentials a second time- I could see the writing on the wall. So Eddie didn't make it back to them, or into the sewers to (relative) safety. The result was that Eddie went out as one of the good guys, his death brought home the seriousness of the situation to the Scoobies, and it triggered Buffy's angry breakdown-ish ranting in the sewers, which is one of my favorite scenes in the entire story.
It's a view at how much season seven still shapes who she is, how carrying the nickname of 'General' represents both success (earned it in showing her strength) and failure (graves in the backyard, anyone?). As I've said before, Echoes is as much about season seven as it is about season five. The war she and Spike walked away from to come back in time left its mark on them both. He just hides it better... most of the time. The rant in the sewers was a reminder that our travelers still don't truly belong in this time, that the emotional scars haven't gone away. Which was fitting, because Eddie's death was a reminder of how those scars were earned.
Xander and the game was something I wanted to spend more time on, but didn't have much else to say about. It's not words that are stuck in my head. It's an image. He's slumped at the table, with one hand resting in his lap and the other beside the game on the table, barely touching it. He's staring at it, trying to figure out why it hurts him to do so. His girlfriend is standing nearby, trying in vain to cheer him up, or at least draw his eyes to her. He doesn't even hear her. It's like she's not even there. His best friend since kindergarten is sitting across the table, too mired in her own tangled thoughts and emotions to pay much attention to him. But here's the thing: The image of Xander in my head is in need of a haircut and is wearing an untucked, mostly beige, plaid shirt and is sporting an eye patch. And I can't shake that view of him. I think the person he's mourning in that image is Anya, post-Chosen. It's an image out of time, out of the Echoes 'verse. The game and the bunker, as well as the versions of Anya and Willow I see are Echoes 'verse and Echoes era. But Xander isn't. And I have no idea why I can't stop seeing him that way in that moment. Maybe you've given me the answer: It's a reaction to unexpected death, one far batter than "That's my girl, always doing the stupid thing."
Death I get and the emotional baggage that goes with it. I like the image you further described of Xander. His physical appearance and such (but then, hey, I adore Hemingway and he lets you know how many dead flies are on the windowsill so yeah... I like detail with my written images). I am sure many of us would have liked a better line to sum up Anya and to portray Xander's grief. I think the subtle one you created is much better. Granted, it has none of the rage or denial I would think should be expected if Anya died this time around (cause, yes, you have done a great job of cementing their relationship better and making Xander approach it in a more mature and loving manner) but he is friends with Eddie not lovers. I appreciate all the time and effort you have put into your tale and I greatly enjoy the little image bits that stick with me from your tale. It isn't all about Buffy and Spike. I like that aspect. thanks!
Loved it. Will u continue this into season 6&7 or will u just end it?
There's a sequel planned, that will pick up immediately after this one leaves off, and will probably cover seasons 6 and 7 in one story. I'm already sitting on a lot of material for it. The first few chapters are complete, save for some editing. There are a also couple of nearly-completed chapters and a couple dozen scenes that will need nothing more than continuity edits when I get to their places in the story. But there's still a TON of work to do. Even with all of that, I still consider the sequel barely started. Like Echoes, I'll want to have it more or less complete before I begin posting, so it will be a while before you see Echoes 2. (I haven't decided on a title yet. I have a long list of options under consideration.)
I started building the structure for the sequel into Echoes before we even reached the halfway point in the story, but I still have quite a few more "sequel prep" events to get through. Echoes didn't start with a planned end point. I kept writing until I found its natural stopping point, when the major storylines had been wrapped up, but there were still a few questions, a few loose threads, and a strong set up for the coming year(s).
I actually found my stopping point while I was editing a scene roughly 3 chapters before where I thought the ending was. The characters handed me the perfect closing lines, and I let them. That's why the sequel will pick up immediately after the end of this one. I already wrote those chapters, intending to include them in this story. They've since been edited, and there are some overall narrative structure changes afoot that will cause further editing, but the first few weeks of the Echoes 2 era are already a reality.
But why is everyone acting like Echoes 1 is over? Do you think we're at the end of the major storylines?
Mabey everyone thought you were starting to wrap up because there isn't much left to tell in the season 5 storyline. After they beat Glory I'm guessing there is 1 mabey 2 chapters where everyone finds out Buffy & Spike are from the future & Tara died in about a years time was brought back to help them.
I am caught between two wants, first I reallllly want to see how this all plays out, but I also want for this fic to never end. This was another truly spectacular chapter. I was really sad to see Eddy die though.
Well, it has to end eventually, but why am I getting the impression from reviews that people think the next chapter is the last?
Darn I forgot to mention a couple of other things (and some from previous chapter at that).
Love Xanders more gentle and loving treatment of Anya. He stopped her story but NOT with disgust and dismissal as before just as in a "not right now honey...later" way that validated her and her history while stopping the inappropriate timing. LOVELY result of his opening up to the grey areas.
Now the previous items I meant to comment on and got submit happy LOL
Spike not packing what Buffy wore the first time sure makes the point that she is NOT gonig to be a dead body at the base of that tower this time! Nice. It is a promise to Buffy but also shows how intent he is on seeing to that himself.
The whole tooth thing was a HOOT! I liked that she could refer back to her time with Angel but only as a memory not a longing for an old flame, heart filled with angst sort of thing. Nice.
Kathleeen, you picked up EXACTLY what I was going for with Xan and Anya. I wanted to show that (while we weren't looking) he's become very accepting about the stories and her history, but is also still nudging her toward a better understanding of the social details (in a kinder way). Her asking if he wanted cheering up and his ready understanding of that as her motive was meant to imply she's told funny vengeance stories to him to cheer him up/make him laugh before, giving us a peek at what their home life might be like between sexcapades. Isn't this bunches better than their canon relationship?
I think a lot of people got distracted by the funny "don't get into a conversation about dental care with old vamps" bit and didn't catch the significance of the "Buffy's luggage" bit. You're only the second to mention it. The clothes she wore to face the final days of the original Glory fiasco: exact match. The clothes she died in: replaced with a nearly opposite outfit. The clothing choices are Spike's persistent hope and determination, an expression of "I'm not gonna let you jump," said in fabric instead of words this time.
Whew! Really heart pounding action. EDDIE! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I really had come to love the guy too. I'm glad his death mattered not just to Buffy and Spike but to Xander too. KInda like a dog rescued and given a loving home only to die a week later but at least he had that one happy week.
I hope Xander can keep Willow from pressing until they are ready to spill.
At least Spike won't have to make small talk with Andrew this go round LOL.
I check for these updates and am always excited when the chapter pops in.
I'm so happy Eddie was well-received enough to be mourned by the readers. I always thought he was a little underdeveloped as a character, but didn't worry too much about it, because he was a bit player. It's gratifying to know I'd done enough for him that you were unhappy to see him go.
Another thing I think I screwed up on with Eddie: I think I understated Willow's surprise at Xander Harris mourning a vamp. My, my! How things have changed!
Given Buffy's emotional outburst in the tunnels, along with a few other things that spilled out of her mouth in this chapter, "the talk" can't NOT be soon. There are beans on the floor, and the people tripping over them are eagerly waiting for the others to be spilled.
Wow! An actual "I love you" from Buffy. Nice to see it. I guess I was right about Willow, and she may get even crazier now that Tara's been taken. Curious to see if there is a different message for Spike. So, now I wait. Twiddling my thumbs. ;)
Yeah, straight out "I love yous" from Buffy are pretty rare. This one came out at a moment when she was feeling vulnerable, and Spike's strength and optimism were buoying her up. Knowing Buffy, that's probably not a coincidence. Giving him a rare, direct "I love you" instead of using their codes or just leaving the implication feels like a "thank you" of sorts.
Willow is definitely getting more freaked out about this situation by the chapter... No, by the scene. But what can she do? Buffy and Spike's obvious reluctance about the "let Tara get kidnapped" plan, even after it accidentally went into action, is pretty compelling evidence that they aren't lying: Tara was willing to see through the decoy play all the way to end. Willow might be a person with control issues, but she's not stupid. Helping the team follow through on that plan is the smartest thing she can do right now to get her girl back. Yes, they're acting very, very weird. But there isn't a lot of time for dealing with it right now. Tara is a priority. And THAT is something Willow can get behind without question.
...Even if she has some doubts about who it is they're going to rescue when they take down Glory. The differences in Tara's personality when she came back in time weren't as pronounced as those of the other travelers. Most of her changes have been since, and have become much more defined since Willow left. The Tara Willow thought she was going to come home to wasn't a woman who would let herself be "dangled on a hook until they were snapping at her like hungry sharks." She wasn't super close to Buffy or Dawn, and certainly not to Spike. She wasn't as strong and independent. In short, the old Tara wasn't any kind of hero, and she needed Willow a lot more. It's a big shock to Willow to have all of this "coming home" to her at once.
All the secrets are coming to a head. So little but so much happened.
Yeah, beans are already being spilled. The rest will have to follow soon.
I wonder... when Spike and Buffy were thrown to the future to see their kids, where was Willow? Why wasn't she with Tara? That makes me wonder if their relationship will last because Tara isn't the wilting flower she used to be. She is already questioning how Willow seemed to have wanted her lonely and basically alone while she was in England. We know she won't stand for any messing about with her memories. Are they even the same people who fell in love? Remember when Tara was pushing for Willow not to be forced to go to the coven for training back in the earlier chapters. Is she even still that same girl who had all this faith in Willow?
Unfortunately, I know exactly where Willow was in the 2036 scenes, and why she wasn't at the farmhouse with Tara, but I can't say because don't want to give anything away that could be spoilery for this story or the planned sequel.
But you're bringing up an interesting point, one that we've only really started getting into since they moved to the bunker, and has been voiced for the first time in this chapter. "It's like I don't even know her anymore." Are they even the same people who fell in love? Not really. Tara has changed a lot. Between the experiences of the original timeline, a year in heaven, and her massive development since, she's not the same person. She may still love Willow, and it may still be mutual, but the personality gap is wide enough now that you have to question if either or both of them is simply in love with the memory of the relationship they had, not with each other as they are now.
I so wish we could respond to other people's comments but that would probably be chaos. The one about the Scoobies: they were officially ended in a sewer under Revello Drive... that showed the crux of the situation. Everybody has grown and changed since Willow left, even Eddie had changed a bit since we first met. EVERYBODY...except Willow. And she is the main one who was sent away to learn control so maybe she changed that way but you'd think that being away from your friends, family and lover would give you time to reflect on your life and who you are as a person and etc. But she just seems more concerned on all the other changes in everyone else's life. She really did expect them to exist in some frozen bubble while she is gone. I think back on the conversation she had with Tara about spending all that time in the coven going forward. She didn't even bother to ask Tara what she wanted or if she had plans for her own future, she just expected her to get on board and basically move across the world. Yeah. Original Scoobies officially over in a sewer under Revello Drive.
I'm actually thrilled you've responded to that review exchange. That's how I see the breaking up of the original Scoobies, but I was afraid people would think I was overstating it.
The fact is, the Giles and Buffy relationship has changed, and is currently shifting into a new dynamic wherein he's going to be more personally close and less of a watcher. He's on the outer edges of the Time Scoobies as far as working relationships go, and will likely never be in a leadership role in that group.
Xander isn't a Time Scooby at all, not even in the "sort of" way Giles might be seen as being. But he's a closer and better friend now, even close with Spike. There's a clear increase in trust in the leadership of Buffy and Spike, and greatly increased respect for Tara (shown in his comment to Willow in this chapter). He's the most likely to readily accept the time travel story when it's told, and the time travelers themselves, because he has noticed not just the personality/behavioral shifts, but also the strength of the Time Scoobies as a team. He'll be cool with things, because it will make everything he already knows make sense. And hence, he's more likely to accept that the working relationships are never going to be like they were, that his role has changed. He's still a close and trusted friend, and knows it, so it will be ok with him.
So of Buffy's original 3 slayage assistants, 2 of them are in a "closer as a friend, but less of a 'slayer's right hand'" position (or at least moving in that direction). The dynamic has already changed significantly. Which brings us to Willow. Buffy (by her silence and failure to nuture that friendship post-time travel) started tearing down the last of the Original Scooby pillars pretty early on. And then she arranged for Willow to be sent off for training, getting the person most reluctant to accept that things were changing away from them. And then things changed even more, and Willow's come home to find 'in charge and hardened by losing too many soldiers' General Pratt has replaced 'always relies on Willow at crunch time' Buffy Summers. And Willow can't adjust as fast as the guys have. It doesn't even look like she wants to, really. She wants the old dynamic back. And it's gone.
Willow doesn't handle situations where she feels out of control very well, and she's never been one to readily adjust to change. The biggest change she's facing right now (aside from Tara) is that Buffy doesn't need her the same way, and isn't letting her take control of anything unchecked. Her belief that these things HADN'T changed, that the group structure was still what it used to be -or might be again- was really the last thing holding the illusion of the original Scoobies together. Things will never be the same.
I love reading the comment exchanges. It's like Cliff Notes or supplemental reading for Echoes.