“I didn't think the Powers could be so cruel.” You're attributing human emotions to fate, Dawnie. There was a line from the Last Unicorn which always stays in my head. "You are cruel to him." "Cruel? How can I be cruel? That is for mortals.... So is kindness."
By the way, I see the need for your warning. Oddly enough, I would have found it bitterly humorous that evening, rather than heart-rending, 'cause that's the way I roll, but I definitely see the cause for concern.[Report This]
I'm glad she thinking and looking but finding that hiding bastard is the problem. At least she knows that the PTB have a plan that will bring Spike's back. Or at least that is what she believes but when is the big question. Wil it be the famous 147 days because I confess I think she's going a bit crazy right now she won't make it.
147 days? No. Longer or shorter, I can't say.
Going a little crazy? Possibly. We'll be getting into Buffy's mental state more soon.
Buffy has a glimmer of hope (even if I am too thick to totally see it, she does and that gives ME hope). So the bond still shows in the aura....that is also hopeful.
I'm glad she's sharing s7 memories...they need to hear how bad it was to fully understand not only their coming back but why. Also why they were as they were.
I love that Xander, Clem and everyone are having a wake for Spike and Eddie. It warms my heart that they are grieving (especially Xander and Giles who can now actually admit the worthiness of a vampire, indeed two vampires).
Angel does need to speak and I am glad he sees the basic goodness and worth of Spike too.
Buffy is finally crying but I think she has a ray of hope. Whistler might just get another smack down for keeping quiet and making things look final.
Buffy's first rays of hope get a clearer explanation soon, and we find out more about what's going on with the light of the bond in her aura.
Season seven memories: That bit came about as a random-thought, stand-alone scribble during the earlier editing stages of this section of the story. I HAD to work it in. It was too perfect. There wasn't going to be a better way for some of the others to grasp how bad it was than to hear how bad the "good days" were. And Buffy's "It was hell, but it was home" really solidifies how alone she is now, without her time travel partner. There's no one left who can appreciate exactly what she means, can understand the internal confusion of being homesick for a miserable time and place.
I wish I'd had a reason to show the wake at Willy's, but there wasn't anything important to tell. We know that everyone but Buffy probably showed, and the watchers were probably as uncomfortable as Willow was back in Old Friends. What matters is the idea of it, of human and non-human friends gathering to mourn, brought together by Xander and Clem, Spike's closest guy friends (and Eddie's). But I still would have loved an excuse to show it.
Angel has spoken, sort of, by leaving a phone message with Xander. Now we have to wait for Buffy to call him back. As for that scene between Angel and Lorne in the office at the Hyperion, it was probably one of the most open, honest moments of Angel's entire existence. Worry, regret, caring, and confusion about how to proceed. We don't often see Angel that way, putting it all out there. Of course, it's not likely we'd have ever seen that much openness at all if Lorne hadn't caught him off-guard, walking in on his obsessive replaying of the messages.
Nope. No Buffy tears yet. We'll get there. And we'll get to Whistler, too. Unfortunately, we're not rid of the little weasel.
Gahhhh! You're killing me, and I'm running out of tissues. I have absolutely no clue where you're going but PLEASE make it better soon! Love how concerned the Scoobies are and Angel's cameo was wonderful. Love the Memorial though I do hope they don't really need it!
I'm glad you love that Angel scene. I do, too.
I wish I'd had a reason to take the time to show more of what was going on in these first few days after the tower, to really show you how much everyone is trying to adjust to everything that's been thrown at them, and worrying about Buffy, each in their own way. I definitely wanted to take the readers to the wake at Willy's, at least. Unfortunately, we mostly just see Xander's POV (as representative of the group's overall response), because I didn't want to have any pointless scenes, or to get mired down in those first days too long.
I lke the flashback scene where Spike gets the threatening dream from the First, and knows Plan B is a good idea.
Dawn's recap of the future world is funny and sad - Buffy's future through someone else's eyes is terrible indeed.
Angel listening to the tape was one of the teary moments of this chapter. Loved it. Will be interesting to see how his new "non-jealous ex" relationship continues to evolve with Buffy.
About all the other insinuations... not sure if I should let myself get hopeful or not. So glad to read this update, as always!
The flashbacks do tell a little bit of story here and there, but they're mostly in place to keep you mentally lined up with where Buffy is: Mired in disconnected memories, being pained at the sound of his voice in her head from those memories, and still, somehow, a little connected to him.
Dawn's recap is really the whole point of that little ramble. Buffy is showing them -through her memories- how bad it really was. This Dawn (who has actually had it better than Gift-era canon Dawn, in some ways) sees that memory as a horror story. This Buffy, who has seen worse horror stories, sees that memory as a "good" day.
I'm so glad to learn readers are enjoying the Angel and Lorne scene. I've loved that bit from the first draft (and consequently, gave it very little editing). For me, it's more painful than the flashbacks to hear the messages left behind, and see Angel struggle with his regrets.
Ok, so will the Spike dust from him dusting be able to somehow bring him back? Do the PTB have some sort of contingent plan? Will what Spike read on the wall the ' house you built will stand' (sorry if I've miss paraphrased )stuff mean he knew it would work out ok? I've been worrying this in my mind sense the last chapter... Thanks so much for the update.
Open gridwork platform, high up in the air? It's a safe bet the little that landed on Tara's clothes was all that could have been find-able. The mention of Tara having ashes on her after wasn't a clue. Eww! No. It was a reminder of what she had just gone through. She was two feet behind him. He was standing between her and Doc. And she watched him die. The ashes on her sleeve at the tower are pain, not magic.
The ashes are also part of the reason she didn't want Willow to hug her, the other part being that she was still in mission-mode, more focused on Whistler and Buffy than Willow.
Spike didn't get the "house will stand" message at first. No one did. Did he figure it out before he got staked? Hmm...
Well, at least you give us a smidgeon of hope in this chapter (unlike the last one that just made me cry and I apologize for not reviewing but I don't stand much of a chance of doing so when I have tear induced headaches so hey... good on you creating such compelling images).
Of everything in this one, the image of a quiet moment that led to a nap because she actually felt comfortable and at peace for just a few ticks was beautiful.
I love that you are not just giving us pain without reason. The hope for an ultimate happy ending (or if not the thing of fairy tales at least a thing of living *smile*) remains a kernel in out minds. We know that the Powers have some sort of plan in place and I doubt that they are about to allow a two-bit Hellgod and her long tongued associate make a mess of it. That alone is cause for anxiety laced hope.
I truly enjoy the pace you provide in this tale. You mix plot movement well with giving us a chance to experience the emotional change and character growth instead of plowing through your ideas in a breakneck speed just to reach the conclusion. At the same time, you don't drag out every little detail to the point of monotony. It makes things seem so much more feasible (or as real as vampires and demons and hellgods can be at least *grin*) and for that I am thankful.
As always, I will look forward to your next addition. Thanks for sharing!
At least I didn't leave you completely hopeless for long. It could have been much, much worse. I kept myself to certain strict rules in writing this giant story, rules that explain both the brevity of the time period before hope began to spring and of the overall pacing of the story.
Rule #1 was NO pointless scenes. Every scene serves an easily defined purpose, many at least 2. Character development scenes almost always include at least one bit of data to move the story forward, because I didn't want to allow "but it's character development" to become an excuse for me to dawdle and create filler. There are NO filler scenes in Echoes. This beast was too big in concept alone to allow that.
Rule #2 was that I watched chapter length to an obsessive degree. Not word count, but page presentation (including the massive number of paragraph spaces that happen in dialogue-heavy prose). I trimmed, edited, and trimmed some more until every chapter of the first 40 was 13 pages or under. The standard was forced to ease for the sake of content after 40, unfortunately. That kept the line-by-line filler from creeping in unchecked. Then, when I was starting the final edits phase of the chapters (usually roughly a week ahead of posting dates), I finally let myself off that leash, because the only material I was adding was needed content to fill story gaps. So the final versions of quite a few chapters cross the 14 page line, but only those that actually needed to.
I can see Spike and Buffy in my head, sitting on the cot in the basement, leaning against the wall a foot or so apart. Not talking. Not looking at each other. Holding hands while she dozes and he stares off into space. It's still and silent and depressing, and tastes like the hopelessness of the larger situation: This was one of the good moments, on one of the good days. That's the perspective of people who expected to die, taking solace and some small amount of joy in such a dreary moment. Pre-amulet, pre-scythe, pre-Beljoxa's commentary, there wasn't much hope. Just a long, slow, downward spiral to a world wherein a basement cell with a camp cot and shackles hanging from the wall became one of the "happy" places.
*shakes away the image.* Ugh. Now I'm depressed. *steals some of Buffy's hooch*
OMG! Whats going on in that head of Buffys??? I can not wait until the next update!!! The story is kicking ass!
The next chapter really explains what she's figured out so far. *looks at the jigsaw puzzle I dumped on the floor* It's a start.
I just love the nuances and intricate details if this story. Sometimes I catch them, sometimes I catch them later and sometimes I have to see them unfold in the story. It all quite lovely.
Do you have any original works? I'd love to read an author like you.
Echoes is the first story of any significant length I've ever finished. Ever. And it's so long, it's practically a novel. *crosses fingers* I really hope it's only the first.
I spent many years starting various original stories that were never finished. They lacked a core direction, a plotline strong enough to carry them. I've dreamed of making my name and my money as a writer since I was in grade school, but always lacked what I needed in the tools (life experience, discipline, etc.) and the story (well-developed plotlines and structure).
Maybe I'm finally getting there, finally finding my feet as a writer. Fanfic might just be the training ground I've been needing for the last quarter century. I hope it works.
In the meantime, I intend to continue to expose you poor people to my training exercises.
Oh thank God, hope at the end of the tunnel then? I can roll with this.
I'm also strangely excited for Faith to show up. I don't know how much you plan to include her in the following story, but even if it's very little I'm still rather interested in how it works out.
I'm betting Buffy's still planning to punch Whistler the next time she sees him. Contingency plans or not, making her think that Spike is truly gone is just cruel.
*peeks at the upcoming material and the sequel plans* I don't foresee Faith ever becoming a major, day-in-day-out character, but she'll be around some, snarking up the joint, throwing punches, and swinging her hips. Mostly in the sequel.
I'm glad you're still enjoying it! More Buffy versus Whistler to come!
Okay, I have few theories. Spent some time going back to find the message in Gilroy only to realize I have no idea what it means and that as far as I can make out it has no connection to the one theory I have. Good mystery on Spike's return by the way. Mean, cruel, evil writer for kiling him off. Still extra loving this story though. I was relieved when Buffy at least began to realize she was probably still a dancing monkey. Okay, my thought and it is the only one I have is what the First Slayer spirit guide said, most of it again but not all. Forge strength for her pain, let her Demon roar all to get her to her love. Death bringing her to her gift. And then the scyths. Spike was killed with one of the scyths and they still can't tell them apart. Is that one now going to be Spikes? Letting the demon roar I'm really shaky on and the only faint theory I have is that Buffy needs to be killed by her own scythe? While letting the demon roar? See shaky. Very good on the cryptic and the mystery I will say again. But please can we have Spike back again soon? I'm watching for the updates like a crazy person. By the by, I do like that Giles and Buffy have made some steps back to being family. I really haed what he became, 'really' hated. And I'm glad that Tara didn't die and is most likely going to stay in sunnydale at the Summers/ Pratt abode. And I'm glad too that it looks like Faith is going to get a head start on being the person we know she can be with some support. I'm hoping that if Buffy flails around for the answer too much that Whisler will make that promised visit when she is calmer-which she is now that she has started to think of what Whistler's project really was-she and Spike. I just don't want it to be a long time or horribly painful at his return. A little bit of happiness and perhaps that claimed marriage before the next thing comes down the road would be lovely if you are taking requests. Please update soon. I really do hate to see where we are now, especially when I can't figure out what has to happen. LOL
Buffy is still a dancing monkey... and so are my poor readers, in a way. Yes, I am evil for killing off Spike. But now, as the shock has worn off, you, my little monkeys are knee deep in tin foil, full of wild theories and literally *studying* parts of the story for clues to piece it all together before Buffy does. It's freakin' beautiful.
Mine is an evil laugh.
Now for ripping up some tin foil: Who owns which scythe (and even identifying which one offed Spike) will not happen without both scythe owners present. The roster of residents at the Summers house isn't static.
We haven't seen the last of Whistler, not by a long shot.
Buffy is not dealing well, but I can't blame her, no one would. She's putting her energi into make things ready for Faith, so that she can stop being the Slayer for real. The others are worried about her of course and they don't know how to deal with this. Xander having a sort of memorial service for Spike and Eddie together with other demons show us how extreamly far he has gone from his old self. I wonder if he will be a father soon? It's still to early to say and it was only once without protection, but that is enough. I just have to wait and see.
Willow is analysing all the things Tara has said and done. That seems like something she would do, but I don't think it's good for the relationship.
After some thinking Buffy got an idea and it's getting her to feel again, it's anger but still a feeling. I have to make a guess. There is so much information in this story so there is no way that I can remember everything. Some things seems to indicate that Spike is in Buffy's head, sort of like when he was in the amulett on the show. How to get him out though? There has been talk about bloodlines and blood, which I thought only had to do with the claiming, but maybe the line of aurelius (Angel) and Buffy's blood can be used to get Spike back. Somehow the scytes will probably be involved too.
I only remember some of all the information we have been given, but I have made a guess now. Let's see how this will play out.
I forgot to mention the part were Buffy thought fondly about the future she left. Without Spike it does make sense that she would think it like home, even if it was "hell". I also forgot to mention how I liked the switching of the citats on the wall they have been doing. This time it felt like hope.
Xan's gone through a lot of changes over the last year, until he's legitimately grieving for Spike. Who would have seen THAT coming?
You're right about Willow she's analyzing the situation, and her girl by extension. There's a rift there, and she's excavating it instead of helping to close it.
Buffy's been saying since Flash Forward that Spike's words are in her head. She proved it when his lingo showed up in her thoughts in Unfought Demons. Some of it might stuff that she picked up from the accidental telepathy when they were due for suppressants, I suppose, but it's mostly just simple exposure. She's been listening to him talk for years. Her memories are crammed full of Spike-speak (and in his voice, besides). He's tainted her language (and it's mutual, if you've caught the occasional Buffy-ish phrasing from him).
Right now, his words in her head are a thread to hold him by, in her own mind. Buffy's slips into Spike speak are mostly because she's not filtering her internal monologue much right now. Among other reasons, (1) she doesn't really give a damn what anyone thinks and (2) it's a connection to him.
I'll take this chapter to mean that Spike will be coming back before too much longer. . . . . I hope!! Spike really NEEDS to come back!! Aldo, Angel's really should talk to Buffy -- over the phone -- and he should tell her exactly what he said to Wesley. At the very least, it may help Buffy hold onto her inner Spike, just so she can tell Spike all about it when he gets back. Whistler better watch all of his breakable parts once Buffy (and/or Spike) catches up with him. Thanks for the update!
Angel took Lorne's advice and called. Now we just have to wait on Buffy to call back.
Any possible return of our favorite vamp is going to be earned, not given. Like everything else in Echoes, it's going to take time and work.
Poor Buffy, and us poor readers are desperately trying to work out where this is going next!
The next chapter will clarify the pieces of the puzzle Buffy has started putting together. More to come!
These last few chapters have left me in awe and speechless. I knew the fight with Glory wouldn't go perfectly, and my thoughts were of all the people to die, it would be Spike. I hate that I was right.
As for this chapter, I know Buffy (and I believe the readers) desperately wants him back, but I'm surprised Buffy would do so. If what Buffy has in mind does come to fruition and she is able to get Spike back, will he be like feral like Angel in Season 3? Or will he be Spike, but now furious being brought back when he was "done". True, for obvious reasons he wouldn't be in heaven but he made his grand sacrifice and he knew going into this he might not make it. This is a precarious line Buffy is walking, especially knowing how it feels on the other end.
This frequently drunk, possibly stuck in wishful thinking version of Buffy isn't thinking that far ahead yet, isn't considering how this will go in the big picture sense, or what it could mean for Spike. You'll be able to tell when the thought occurs.
Can I ask when you figured out it would be Spike? Was it in the text or just you analyzing the situation in your own head? I know I dropped a couple of subtle hints in Broken Armor, but didn't (intentionally) make it obvious until the opening scene of Battle Ready. Did I accidentally tip you off sooner?
I had more of a gut feeling. I felt that a lot of emphasis was placed on Buffy having to jump, by Spike, Buffy and Tara. They put tons of fail-safes (if that's a word) into place for the showdown with Glory and for all the questions that would come after. In all areas save but one, Spike. He was so worried about Buffy jumping, he didn't prepare himself for the unknown (Doc coming back) and in the end, he did what he wasn't able to do before...sacrificed himself for the girl.
Believe me, this wasn't transparent and not something I saw all along. You've weaved a brilliant tale. No worries!
The dream with Glory is what made Spike certain that plan b was the right plan. I always wondered. Everyone is very worried about her with good reason. She isn't dealing well at all. Sitting by herself, drinking, not sleeping. I guess she is waiting for all the paperwork for Faith before driving up to the jail. Makes sense. Buffy is hoping she is interpreting Whistler correctly. If not she just put all of her eggs in a losing basket. And that will crush her. Finally! Some emotion. Even rage is good right now. Something to break through the shell she has herself encased in.
Willow probably needs to let this all go. Eventually Tara is going to get tired of saying sorry. Yes she lied to her girlfriend for months. So bad Tara. But she had a damn good reason for the lies. She wasn't cheating on Willow she was saving the world. And if Willow keeps bringing up stuff eventually they will fall apart. Accept it. Your girl had something important to do and to accomplish her mission you needed to be kept in the dark. Don't make her keep saying sorry it will destroy what is left of the relationship. Try being proud of her instead. She may not be the same woman you left but that isn't necessarily a bad thing either. This Tara is amazing and Willow should be proud of her.
Xander is throwing a wake for Spike and Eddie. I bet a few years ago he would have laughed himself unconscious at the very thought. Now he is mourning two friends who just happened to be the demons he hates the most. He's come a very long way in a very short amount of time. I know he was trying to help but suggesting that the coat should be moved or that Buffy should change bedrooms.... It just isn't time yet. Plus none of them but Tara, Anya and Dawn know about the bond. They don't know just how close Buffy and Spike were. Married yes but beyond that...
I wanted to say sorry. I didn't mean to hound you this morning. But I just look forward to a new chapter every even day and when I didn't see one.....
Your eagerness was a compliment and taken as such. Don't worry about it.
Besides, I was the one who set the posting schedule and got you all spoiled to it. If I had stuck with my original posting routine from the early chapters "sometime on even numbered days" instead of shifting into a far tighter "the first two hours of even numbered days," this wouldn't have been an issue. I set a high standard and didn't meet it because my brain was busy with other stuff. How is that your fault?
You're touching on some important points with Willow and Tara. "Should be proud of her" is kind of a big one. We'll soon see how that situation evolves.
Xander is definitely well-meaning, but the room switch idea -even for the sake of getting Buffy to sleep more- was far too soon. Also, the time travelers didn't tell the Scoobies all the details. Xander doesn't know he was suggesting Tara move to the room in which she died. But he's trying to be helpful, even in his own grief. As for the coat, I think he meant to imply she shoudl put it away for both his sake and Buffy's. He knows it's got to be super difficult for her to see it there, because it's difficult for him. And did we just see Xander Harris wiping tears from his eyes while he stared at Spike's duster? Holy crap! The world IS actually ending!
Buffy's first expressions of emotion are anger, both times from a dream that made her wake up screaming for Spike. We'll eventually see that dream. And then there's the first threads of hope. What if Whistler wasn't totally full of it? What if some of what he said really mattered? As for the question of 'what if Buffy's wrong,' Tara's got the same worry. We'll get into that soon.
Spike's "last night in 2003" dream explains the shift in his attitude between scenes in chapter 1, and the serves as the trigger point for his growing optimism throughout this story. I'm filling in a few tiny gaps with these flashbacks, but that's mostly by accident. They are there to serve other purposes-- To twist the knife ('cause I'm evil), to track you back through some Echoes history, but mostly to keep you close to where Buffy is mentally. She's got a brain full of memories, no idea what to do with them, and the lingering feeling she's still close to Spike, even post-dusting (hence her questioning her aura versus her imagination). The flashbacks keep you right there with her, suffering, remembering, and still hearing his voice in your head.
I know I am missing some of the foreshadowing you have already put in previous chapters. My biggest problem I get so engrossed in the story I read it to fast! But in a way I'm glad I'm missing some things. It lets me be surprised when stuff happens.
Ok, so I see that the clue from last chapter is indeed a clue. And I was right to be suspicious about the change in drinking habits. Go me!
Still not sure how exactly how to solve the problem the clue sets up. I feel like I'm not seeing something big that has to do with the whole mess. Well, maybe several something bigs. Not sure. And since I am not seeing it it's a bit hard to be concrete :P Bother.
I've reread up to chapter 8, and I'm seeing some of the groundwork laid for this mess even that far back. You're a mean person to these poor characters ;). But I'm also seeing some changes in Buffy here that are really good for her. She's trusting her gut. And her plans.
So you caught the present tense in Whistler's comment in Opened Locks? That's AWESOME.
Well, now that you know what kind of little things to look for, did you catch Whistler's two slip ups in Safe House that (should have) told them Tara was a time traveler? I've been waiting for MONTHS for someone to point those out. You seem like just the right person to prod.
Yes, the booze has a subtext, but Buffy didn't even seem to be aware of it until Jasleen mentioned it. A combination of his drink and hers. A swtich from a sweeter, gentler liquor to something a little more raw and powerful.
The crazy thing about the "big picture" groundwork being laid early: It was mostly on accident. I was writing the stuff in the early 30s (chapters) before I realize Spike was going to be the one to die on the tower, and that it all fit. The vast majority of the foreshadowing was accidental (in the first drafts, anyway). Echoes was built from its own history, I used each previous chapter to build the next, finding details with surprising importance hidden in the work as they became relevant later. I had a lot of "light bulb" moments of understanding my own work as I wrote. So, so fun.
No, I think my clues wind up being different from yours. I'm doing a closer read this time, with notes. I'll holler if I think I'm getting somewhere that comes out in words rather than weird art metaphors. Or if it comes out as actual finished pictures. I suppose that counts too ;).
The rum vs Jack Daniels thing, dunno. I'm not sure I've ever had Jack Daniels... American style whiskey or bourbon, yes, but not that brand. The bourbon we keep around the house is knob creek. And I've not drunk enough rum to really know what it's like. I'm more of a gin person, or scotch. And gin and coke is just a terrible idea.
From what a lot of writers say, foreshadowing almost always starts out accidental. Probably because human brains like to link things up, and can figure out connections between random things just fine. Give us a bit of structure, and the human brain will go nuts finding connections. It's one of the fun things with most kinds of art. Humans just need hints to fire off some seriously wild speculation. Brains are so weird and interesting in how they work!
Well, Buffy's rum of choice is Captain Morgan (she usually specifies 'Captain and Coke' when she orders). The good Captain is a spiced rum that goes down pretty smooth and easy straight, even for a mixers-loving weakling like me. Jack isn't so gentle.
You're taking notes?!?! Holy crap. I'm not sure Echoes is worth that level of dedicated study! Do you have any idea how huge of a compliment that is?
OK, holding it together...
I'm making a guess: is Spike not really dead? Are the Powers keeping him away from Buffy as a "price" for his resurrection? It would explain why Buffy doesn't feel the loss, and the whole "inner demon" thing.
Can't wait for more!
Oh, he's dead. Dead and dusted. But if Buffy still thinks she's feeling a connection to him, and it's not just her imagination (we'll soon see), SOMEONE must be interefering at a higher level. But to what end?
You know, assuming Buffy isn't just mired in wishful thinking and Jack Daniels. She's had A LOT to drink over the last few days, you know.
Love that I'm keeping you thinking! That's amongst the highest compliments that can be paid to a story.