This was really incredible. Like, amazeballs incredible. Such an original take; plot twists and turns well crafted. The dialogue was so good. Thank you so much.
You're welcome! Thanks for the kind words.
First, I started reading fan fiction in early 2012, so I must have missed this one. I began reading it out of curiosity, because of the odd the title.
Second, I am very glad I did. I was laughing so hard at the Star Wars references by Andrew in chap. 8, that I was crying! Not something one should do while sitting outside. . .in public. Unfortunately, the odd looks I got only made matters worse. Most old people have no sense of humor. (For the record, I'm 64). Since I have limited time to read, I may not finish this for a little while, but I needed you to know that you made me laugh harder than I have in a while. . . .and have kept my interest, at the same time. Thank you for sharing your talent with the rest of us.
Thanks! I was a bit of a Star Wars fan myself, so it was fun to write.
Wow! This was exactly what I wanted to read. I absolutely LOVE the inclusion and attention given to the cast of the Scooby gang. Even though I spent much of the story waiting for Spike and Buffy to finally reconnect, I still looked forward to each installment of the plot, no matter which character it revolves around. This story was incredible, with twists and turns that consistently tugged on my heartstrings.
Thanks, tarriestsine. I was always a little worried about posting this story here, since the Buffy-Spike angle wasn't the primary focus (Actually, I'm not even sure there was a primary focus).
This was an amazing story. So many intricate twists and turns, so many moving parts, just amazing. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to your follow up story.
Wow. Just. Fucking. WOW. I am so glad I found this fic. I'm a late comer to Buffy and Buffy fandom; only just watched the show in January. Been obsessed since then, scrounging around for all of the fic I can find. This...is possibly going to ruin other Buffy fic for me from now on! Holy shit! Your writing style is absolutely gorgeous; I was hooked from the first chapter. There's such immense creativity and imagination packed into this story. I know this is long ended and I dunno if you'll even see this review but wow. I'm only on chapter 12 and I expect that the following chapters will be just as impressive, engaging, and emotional. Thank you so much for this piece of work.
Thank you for this. While it's true that this story's been finished a long time (and I've hardly written anything else since), I still feel like it kinda lives inside me, somewhere. It really made my day to know that someone else was reading it, all these years later.
“Why’s it got to be Spuffy?” the vampire murmured, sounding mildly annoyed. “Why can’t it be Bike?”
See, it really ought to have been Spiffy, which has the merit of being an actual word in addition to using equal numbers of letters from each name, only Spiffy has an even less appropriate sound than Spuffy, which makes me think of couch cushions. But Bike really does sound totally stupid.
The dialogue between everyone was perfect here, as usual. The near miss the gang has with death fills me with dread - because it's the sort of death that can happen to anyone: senseless and useless and final - and Jack Turtle's intervention fills me with relief. I don't really get who he is, or what he's doing, beyond that he's got some knowledge and power over reality. But I sure am glad he decided to step in, earlier with Willow to save the worlds, and now to save a few heroes.
...So, here I am at the end of the story again, and I already kinda want to go back and re-read it. There's so much in it that I think I'll find something I missed or didn't understand before every time I read it again.
I think this is a good place to end it, even though there's that loose thread of Willow's that I recall you picked up again in the sequel. I like the last paragraphs - the traveling music and Buffy setting out into the next with all her friends around her. It's not exactly a happily ever after. It's more just an ever-after, but you know that they're pretty happy and they've fitted themselves back together into a family, so things are probably going to be okay. It's sort of hopeful, I think.
Thanks so much for sharing your story.
Thanks for all your lovely reviews. I concur that "Spiffy" is superior to "Bike". Likewise, "Spukky" sounds a little too yucky. However, a quick trip to Ye Olde Anagram Server just now yielded "Sky Fife Pub", which sounds like a marvelous place to get a iced whiskey sour and some Peter Frampton on the juke.
Anyway, it was very cool of you too leave so many kind words.
You're welcome! Clocks of the Long Now was one of my first favourite Buffy fics, and when I ran across it here I'd been thinking of re-reading it for a while. I wanted to stop and review and actually think about it this time, instead of just inhaling it as fast as I possibly could. :P
"Sky Fife Pub" doesn't sound too bad, but I have no idea who Peter Frampton is and had to look up his stuff on Youtube. Conclusion: you could probably beat up a lot of vampires to the sound of "Do You Feel Like We Do".
I was going to list what I loved about this, but on consideration it'll be easier to list what I don't love about this:
But in particular I cracked up over:
- 18 seconds later
- “Oh, for the sake of a million Petes,” Harris whinged.
- “What isn’t,” Willow replied cryptically.
- “No, that was very cool,” Dawn deadpanned. “Buffy, can you teach me to be cool like you?”
- Jolly Old Angryland
I would read an entire series of nothing but these guys beating up monsters-of-the-week and teasing each other, if you wrote it. 'Cause you write it really well.[Report This]
She reached up with her trembling hands and gave to him the little lost treasure. And when the boy looked down, he saw that it was a piece of his soul. She had kept it safe, somehow.
This made me tear up again. I like it.
I really like how you've explored their relationship in this fic through, mostly, exploring their relationships with themselves. They both started off in a pretty bad place, but now Buffy's started building her little family up around her again, and Spike's gotten back what he thought was lost forever, and it looks like, now that they're not so broken up inside, they can be together without breaking each other.
I like that the story (sans epilogues) ends with people re-connecting - Xander and Willow, Xander and Dawn, Giles and Faith, Buffy and Spike. A lot of the story felt like ... people were always separated, running here and there - Willow chasing down Skaya, Giles and his super secret For Giles' Eyes Only plan, Spike trying to avoid Buffy, Buffy going off to die on her own - so it was really nice that no one ended the story alone. (Even Andrew and Melvin!)[Report This]
I find it extremely satisfying that Kennedy was offed because of one of those inferiors she was so scornful about. That'll learn her ... or not, 'cause she's dead. Whatever.
And ... is Dr Stark dead too? She'd better be.[Report This]
There's something really sad about both that Spike couldn't bring himself to actually kill Skaya, and that Willow could. I dunno, man. I teared up a bit when she burned up. Also, I just realised that Skaya's world is now reverse-image mirroring Buffy's. Tara's dead in Buffy's world, and in Skaya's now everyone in the gang except Tara is dead.
I LOL'd at Faith interrupting Giles by killing his audience. Can't say I'm sorry to see Ethan Rayne go.[Report This]
I was going to wish that someone would just drop a house on Rayne, but apparently that wouldn't help.
Also I'm super pleased about Buffy teaming up with one of Dr Stark's monsters. Is that something you had planned out from the time Dr Stark got a Buffy power-up, or did you think of it later? Either way I like that the very thing that made her so strong also created a nicely exploitable weakness.
There wasn't much planning that I can remember (particularly in the second half of this story, which was mostly written in a fugue of whiskey and weltschmerz). But looking back at it? Yeah, I think maybe I wanted the whole Frankenstein situation to reverse (or almost reverse), in much the way it backfired on Maggie Walsh.
Spike Two's death left me with a lump in my throat. He's still Spike and Skaya is still Buffy and so the way he tried to protect her and failed kinda hurts. And the fact that Spike killed him kinda hurts. And this:
Spike tossed the lighter down onto the man’s chest.
'Cause I did notice that you refer to Spike a lot as "the vampire" or "the monster". And here he is, looking down at a version of him that didn't give up the soul, and you are, or maybe Spike's internal narration is, calling him a man. The whole thing just hurts, all right? Kudos.
(Also: Drusilla....)[Report This]
Ow. This chapter hurts to read. Oz Two and Giles Two dead, Xander trying to kill Skaya ... or, well, trying to try to kill her, unsuccessfully. But I really liked this bit:
Strength was so easy and straightforward. She should have asked them if they were ready for the things it does to you, for how it changes you. Were they ready to be kind? Were they ready to be brave and wise and forgiving? They weren’t, and she suddenly felt very sad that she’d never gotten the chance to teach them, because she was still learning how to be these things herself.
What's that thing ... "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"? It suddenly strikes me, that for all the flak the Watcher's Council takes for being a bunch of controlling, cowardly old men (and Lydia), they had a legitimate use - keeping the Slayers in check, giving them rules and purpose so they wouldn't be consumed by their own power. Too bad they didn't have anyone to watch them and make sure they didn't go off the rails.
What's that thing ... "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"?
I guess this line probably sums up whatever "political" value the story might have. I could go on and on about the nature of power, including the what I think are the increasingly disturbing ways in which people both define and wield it. But, yeah, in this story, power is definitely a big, big, bigbigbigbig problem (especially centralized, pyramidal power, blossoming inside a bubble of rationalization). Maybe the biggest problem of all is that the people who tend to climb to the top of such power structures are usually psychotic, or so traumatized that their actions are indistinguishable from psychosis.
I can't decide if I like that Tara Two is such a badass or not. On the one hand, it's pretty cool. On the other hand, I feel sorry for her that she got so twisted out of shape by the events of her world.
I laughed at Andrew trying to explain redemption to Melvin. Yeah, you gotta do the right thing for the right reason, otherwise it doesn't feel right. Or something like that.[Report This]
What. Whaaaaat? I completely forgot that Skaya's Spike in not-really-Sunnydale was actually the real Spike Two. Huh.
It suddenly occurred to Buffy that Drusilla had 'made' Faith, almost as surely as she’d made Spike.
That ... is really weird to think about.[Report This]
Poor Willow. Got all this way and she's still not sure she's fighting actual bad guys....
Well, in Skaya's world, I'm not sure it's as simple as bad guys and good guys. Both sides have a point, I guess. Both sides have done bad things.
...Anyway, I giggled through Melvin's scene. Poor stupid guy, he ate a Fury, what did he expect?[Report This]
Dang, there's like a soul-detaching plague going around the L.A. gang. Angel's is just velcroed on, Illyria burns up Fred's, Spike gives his up for the Greater Good, and now Gunn's sold his, apparently? Anyway ... nice to see Gunn, notwithstanding whatever is going on with him and Angel and Wolfram, Hart, & Angel.[Report This]
Wait, Frank knew Professor Walsh? Did we know that already and I just missed it somehow? So ... he knows Dr Stark too.... Does that mean the Agency was somehow involved with the Initiative, or that Frank just worked with both of them?
Annnnd Harmony's gone. Too bad, I was enjoying her bits! You had her ditzy tone down to a T.
Yeah, Frank knew Maggie and Nancy. They were all snuggled together in a a big ol' ball of conspiracies, black bag ops, secret experiments and the like, in bygone days of horrid yore. I think it was all covered in the first library scene in England, after everybody was flown there from the Romanian rescue op.
Haha, nice. I love Xander and Spike having to work together. I always enjoyed it in the show - pity there wasn't really any after season five.
But, she wasn’t Buffy. She was just a tiny, broken shard of her. Glorious, poetic suicide missions weren’t her thing. And, besides, there were other ways to help. Sneaky ways. Dawn ways.
Have I mentioned that I like how you write Dawn? I really do. In canon she struck me as extremely intelligent but bogged down by years of being put through the emotional wringer repeatedly. So I love seeing her sneaky side explored here.[Report This]
Strength, Kennedy knew, wasn’t the willingness to sacrifice yourself for a cause. That was just martyrdom; surrender by another name. The willingness to sacrifice others was much harder. It required wisdom and toothy grit, and displayed the sort of heroism they never tell you about in storybooks. In order to write history, you needed to dip your pen in the blood of inferiors.
I love how this starts off sounding almost reasonable, and then gets less and less so until the last few words smack you right in the face. True heroism is arranging for the deaths of people less important than you, huh? I don't think Kennedy understands heroes very well.
Also, how much do I love Xander doing some dimension-hopping when he realises what's going on with Spike and Buffy? A lot. He may be Mr Joe Normal among the Scoobies, but he's never hesitated to throw himself in the middle of an extremely abnormal mess if something needs doing.[Report This]
Well, it looks like Angel's right at home with the evil lawyers these days. The emails were hilarious - the recipient's escalating attacks mirrored by Angel's de-escalating politeness as he got more and more ticked off.
And then ... huh. There's a lot of mirroring going on in this chapter. Willow figures something out based on Giles Two's similarity to her Giles. The thing that's after Andrew is reflecting his worst act at him. And then in the last section there's a mirror-image of Seeing Red. Spike came to Buffy to talk, Buffy comes to Spike determined not to talk. They end up in the same place but with the positions reversed.
The scene is kind of hard to read. Occasionally the writing makes the action seem distant and separate from Buffy herself: "She felt her face twist as she wrestled forward, trying to steal the moment back." "Her once gentle hands only wanted to rip and shred now, to violently plow the field for flesh." And yet the whole scene is permeated with her desperation to connect with Spike, secure him before he goes off on a suicide mission, make him realise he has someone to come back to. Even if she has to use force to do it. It's really raw and sort of horrifying. And I mean that as a compliment to your skill as a writer.[Report This]
The notion of being this close to his face without sticking a boot in it was a weird new sensation for Buffy.
Well ... maybe she could kick him in the face just a little? For old times's sake? No...? Well, a girl can dream.
I continue to love Andrew's bits. He's still quite the storyteller.[Report This]
So THAT'S what Giles has been up to. Sneaky! By the way, I have to commend you on the phrase "mail-order Marley", which delights me. I stopped to notice it and went back to look at it several time because I like it so much.[Report This]
Oh, so that's it. Nancy's still looking after her garden, only ... the whole world is her garden now? The world is going to be destroyed and remade as her garden? Either way ... she's getting a bit full of herself, isn't she?
And so Xander's the first of Buffy's old relationships to be patched up properly. Makes sense.[Report This]