I had this feeling I'd read this story before and it didn't have an end but oohhhhh nooooo.
Just in case you still read your reviews, I especially liked the way that Buffy's and Spike's relationship sped by on fast-forward: that a lot of what they experience in canon they still experience here... in some way, shape, or form. And having Buffy's dreams 'parallel' or 'display' the future-moment to which they correspond... Buffy really beginning to trust Spike is marked by a symbolic representation of Glory's Tower; Buffy beginning to sleep with Spike is represented by her conversation with Tara about how there must be something wrong with her... and so on.
I haven't read this story in ages, but the scene in the empty Bronze at New Year's during the storm was fixed in my memory, as were both of Buffy's flashbacks: the Cruciamentum and the Master. I recalled, too, Spike's understandable fear of dusting in the sun.
By this time, I had begun to wonder about where the story was going... and I'd come to one of two possible conclusions.
The first of these is that no one else is asleep: just Buffy and Spike. That would certainly have been interesting. If that were so, then it was possible they'd both been 'out' for months. And part of Spike's 'pathological' fear of being dusted in the sun is kind of real, because part of him is aware he's unconscious? Subconsciously. Of course, if it were a dreamscape, then there is a possibility that very little time has passed in the real world, or no time at all. One night's dreaming can definitely cover months of time.
The second of these is that some kind of spell lifted Buffy and Spike back into a dreamscape of their past, potentially to kill each other. While it's possible that, in the rest of the world, time is simply unspooling at the usual rate, and that Buffy's dreams are 'just' Slayer dreams, the peeks into the future are a little too explicit to be the latter. Buffy doesn't have Slayer dreams so often in canon, so we could see this as her Slayer abilities desperately reaching forward in some attempt to figure out what to do next, or we could read this as her memories straining to get in. The pair of them being bumped back to their pasts, before they understood each other better, and isolated from everyone else... it does just seem like the type of thing to get both of them out of some future-conflict and potentially to kill each other off.
Both of these would cover a lot of potential-plot-hole sins. I mean, the thing is, surely someone would eventually be as determined to get into Sunnydale as Spike was. I imagine that the US Military is probably waiting on some updates from the Initiative, which we've made clear actually exists already. So the idea of the outside world chugging along without noticing Sunnydale slips out of realistic possibility. Angel may be a wanker, but even he probably eventually wants to reach out to the Scoobies about something. Eventually.
I think I like the latter idea very well, because it would handily explain the sheer volume of future-hints Buffy keeps getting. And it would be a neat explanation regarding why Buffy's and Spike's relationship has ridden on the same exact rail, making all the same pit stops along the way. And hopefully headed for a reckoning and eventual reconciliation.
Unsure why you stopped writing but if it was folks hung up on Buffy being "too mean" or whatever, I'm sorry to hear it. Well aware that life interferes sometimes as well. Thanks for taking the ride this far![Report This]
They found it! And good grief was that an intense discussion just before. Once again, really can’t say it enough—I adore your characterization, holy shit.
Anyway. This fic was an excellent ride and I’m really glad that I found it again—and that I read further than I had before, because oh my goodness are the chapters in the latter third of this REALLY FUCKING GOOD.
Thank you for writing, and for sharing what you’ve written![Report This]
Holy *shit* this is a chapter
Those first few paragraphs are some WONDERFUL character exploration
Already talked about my mixed feelings about the way Buffy thinks about sex, like how there absolutely are things wrong with this picture but the things she seems to think are most wrong of all (“dirty”) feel pretty abstract to me 😂
Poor kid though. I know that it really REALLY is tough to free yourself of that mentality if it’s what you’ve been raised to. And with her picturing her friends and family’s reactions and such as well… :( Plus the whole conflicted over her Slayer duty thing.
And then coming back to where she DIED as if she didn’t already have enough on her plate fffff
And! That ending!! Spike panicking over the possibility of her dying, and then this final reveal… good stuff. >:)
It’s always so strange to me, the level of moral value that gets assigned to sex. Like. I know that that is absolutely the norm, in media and culture and all of it, and it is absolutely a thing that flavors a good chunk of BtVS. Including it here is just accurate characterization—and, heck, it’s even a faithful nod to some of the show’s themes.
And yet somehow I miraculously managed to just… not ever get that lodged in my head? Wasn’t raised with it, and somehow the cultural osmosis didn’t manage it, either. There’s safe and unsafe sex—physically and emotionally—and there’s morality in how you treat people, and in how people choose to treat you, but that’s… it’s a different flavor, I guess? Feels very different to me than the more abstract “does this make me a bad person” type of sex-moralizing that Buffy is getting up to here.
So. Yeah. Even knowing it’s accurate characterization, even knowing it’s the norm, it still feels slightly weird to me. I think that there’s always going to be a slight disconnect for me while the back of my brain goes “oh for goodness sake just relax and stick to worrying about the actual real consequences, it isn’t like there is a shortage of those.” 😂[Report This]
“There was nothing for her anymore except the daily reminders of everything she'd lost.”
Oh, Buffy. Poor kid. And self esteem issues raising their heads besides. :’(
…and then the spectacular twisted mess that is Buffy and Spike finally reaching enough of a breaking point to go for it. I’m pretty impressed thh. This is so thoroughly AU, a completely different path for the journey, and yet in some ways—for Buffy at least—you’ve brought them to a similar place to where they (she) were (was) in the show, emotionally speaking.
…and I can say pretty confidently now that whenever I first read this, either I didn’t get this far or you hadn’t posted this far yet, because this was definitely new to me. xD[Report This]
Did I mention the moments of genuine actual talky connection that you’ve been weaving in?
Because GOODNESS THIS ONE IS A DOOZY and it is wonderful
It feels like a turning point—an actual conscious choice not to cut from Spike, Buffy accepting the conversation and the quiet, a darned interesting conversation in its own right—feels like a bit of character analysis and I’m loving it. Kind of a fun nod to Spike’s “make it a project” conversation with Anya, too, hah.
Even if there are future back-steps and negative turning points, this conversation can’t be undone. Look at these two managing to feel things without an immediate conniption, heh. I’m almost proud :’)[Report This]
Ah, man. I’m sorry to see your note on this chapter—or, well, sorry you were receiving the kinds of reviews to make it necessary, at least. One of my favorite things about this fic is your characterization of both Buffy and Spike!
I love that you’re taking your time with things, not rushing into any sort of spontaneous reconciliation; when there are softer moments there are reasons for it, like the trance, or Spike’s caretaking tendencies, or Buffy feeling bad about the werewolf mauling, or actual moments of connection over a subject that they’re talking about. And I’m equally as pleased that you’re always paying attention to the things that undermine that connection as well—Spike’s violent thoughts and history, Buffy realizing that Spike might have a human-like fondness for something but that it’s likely that he may have approached that fondness from the exact opposite direction than she would (eg. her thoughts about what might make him like a scar vs. what might make her like a scar), both of them managing to find exactly the most cutting thing to say at exactly the wrong (right) moments, etc. It all feels really natural and I can tell you’re paying a lot of attention to these characters’ histories and natures and why they think the things they do.
Anyway. Your writing is excellent and I, for one, am always incredibly happy to find a fic that gets into the nuance of things without relying on the crutch of character bashing. That’s always been one of the most impressive things about BtVS to me, honestly (even when it’s causing me ENDLESS PAIN AND CONSTERNATION): just how flawed all of the characters are. The ways they fuck up both their own lives and the lives of those around them, and the fact that the existence of those fuck-ups doesn’t ever erase the moments of grace and vulnerability and bravery and selflessness that they also possess.
So! I know this is an old piece—I know in part because I read it years ago and am back here on a happy reread—but hopefully you do still come around and hopefully you haven’t in fact given up on reading reviews, because truly. This is an absolutely excellent work and I love it to bits, and I think you’ve done a wonderful job with both characters. <3[Report This]
Never commented on a fic before, but DAMN, this is a good story. Endlessly impressed. Literally didn't put it down until I was through. I'm putting a prayer to the universe that you feel the urge to come back and finish this. Seriously incredible.[Report This]
Thank you so much for this extraordinary story — intriguing plot, spot on characterizations, skillful weaving of canon events as dreams — just everything. I don’t know what I could say that hasn’t already been said by others, but I needed to take a moment to say thank you. Even if it stays unfinished, this will always be a favorite and a reread for me.[Report This]
What an absolutely beautiful chapter. I mean really, I felt like I was in the Bronze there with them. With every paragraph I just kept thinking "wow this is great" ... "oh god this is even better"! Seriously touching stuff.[Report This]
I really love your stories. I'ver reread West of the Moon, East of the Sun three times now. I've only just found this one but now I love it as well. I think you are so true to all of the characters. I love where this story is leading and I hope you will have time to finish some day. But even if you don't have time --THANK YOU for this![Report This]
I like the way you write Buffy and Spike. So much so that I am rereading this again for the third (fourth?) time. I don’t understand the fans that are mad at Buffy; Spike hasn’t given her enough reason to love him yet. Besides, when Buffy and Spike struggle to fall in love it makes the pay off so much more rewarding when they finally do. I hope you haven’t given up on this story because I would love to see how it ends. You are a very talented writer.[Report This]
I found your story by pure chance and I must say that it is really well written the characters are just as you characterized them at this moment They are archenemies and they hate each other even if and at this point in the story they are starting to see the person beyond the facade ! I am reading with the translator I hope I have not missed anything. I wanted to leave this comment because it is a story that deserves and I love it![Report This]
Still as amazing as I remember! I remember when you first posted this fic (so many years ago god does time go fast) and screaming at my friends telling them to read this fic since they had loved West. I hope you’re doing well and wish all the best for you.[Report This]
Hello! I think I read this story a long time ago, I just read it again and I keep wondering why you have not finished it, 😭 I love how focused the characters are in their canonical character and how they are getting closer each time, the mystery of the origin of the sleep spell and how Buffy dreams of the other dimensions and characters at the same time as where they would be in the future if they weren't all asleep, and that moment where Spike ironically tells her that he has fallen for Buffy and she sends him to fall through the mirror! and the elevator hole .... oh I laughed at that but poor Spike ... I guess Buffy would be in trouble rescuing him alone he must have some broken bones from that fall. I wonder if she would give him some of her blood in a cup to accelerate their healing and that they can get out of there, I would love if you could continue this story ...please , I really liked how it was going until now, and I really would like to know who is the cause of the sleep spell! 😭
Greetings to you💕🌟[Report This]
Just binged the whole thing and have to say I loved every minute. The fact that buffy and spike remain in character throughout is brilliant and the plot itself is so intriguing. I can’t state how much I adored ever second of this![Report This]
I have enjoyed this fic beyond words. I'm so sad to see that it's not completed, but I want to thank the author for an astonishing journey. The writing is absolutely exquisite. You perfectly capture the personalities of Buffy and Spike, and the strained but developing dynamic of canon.
I LOVE the premise that forces them to into each other's company 24/7 - it's a luxurious wallow to get to see them together non-stop where even canon couldn't create this much shared time. This is what I love about fanfics - we can experience amazing, long-term situations the show would not have been able to support for many episodes, while canon is still served by an author's incredibly deft preservation of the genuine voices of the characters.
This whole fic sounds like Spike and Buffy on the show, but we get to hear the inner struggles in a true-to-form way too.
I also loved the slow-burn! Often in reading fics, it's hard not to get impatient for the big moment when they finally kiss - or other things too! ;)
But with this story, the snarky dynamic was written SO well that I never felt impatient for things to get to another place - it was on its way there the whole time but I was basking in the journey so much that I almost didn't care if it didn't get there. This story is so beautifully written and the dynamic so true to canon.
The premise itself is a wonderful mystery; I'm sad that it may never be revealed what the spell was and how it will be broken.
The story also made me so sad that I cried. Spike's heartbreak was so poignant. Just watching the show, I already felt for him, felt for his vulnerability and heartbreak at Buffy's rejections including the final decision from her; I didn't think I could feel even more sad for him. The way you wrote his pleading, tears were rolling down my face. Wonderful writing; sad it's not finished, but what a journey. It was a "page turner" - I was glued to it. Thank you so much for this wonderful piece.[Report This]