Well, I like how it turned out in the end. Spike's hair is back to brown and he and Buffy are sort of Council Consultants. Dawn and Xander, Willow and Oz. It all sort of turned out well.
Still, it feels sad. I feel somehow, strangely, that this isn't really a Spike that I'll totally be able to respect. I don't know if I, or Buffy, will be able to forgive him for not loving her when he was human. That seems to me to be such a difficult betrayal to get past.
Also, I am sad because I think this is the last of your stories. I have now read everything by you, and it is all fantastic. Hope you're still writing fiction these days.[Report This]
It's so hard to read this. I am where Buffy is--I feel like I can't trust Spike, like he is mean, a mansplainey jerk who just can't fit into her life. Their affair feels wrong, like they'll never really fit together. Usually, I want him so badly, but now, after he's betrayed her yet again so many times, I don't even really want him to succeed. Their love really is A Terrible Thing.[Report This]
I've had a miscarriage. I am sad that Buffy had one, and sad that Spike couldn't find the strength or the courage to pull it together for her. I saw that he had some strength left when he finally went to find Buffy the morning she was going to leave, but it seems to have eluded him again.[Report This]
Fan as I am of Herself's work, I have so far avoided reading this story. It is frustrating, and meant to be so. Obviously Spike isn't actually dead, not permanently, or there wouldn't be three more parts. I do want to know what happens so I will read on![Report This]
I obviously kept reading through to the end of this story and YES. YES SO GLAD. The angst and pain of part 1 is perfectly paired to this lighter part 2. When I was at the end of part 1 I had no idea how this would resolve. It didn't even begin to occur to me that Spike would take the steps he did to rectify his situation. It's so simple and so perfect for the story line. Their interactions and Buffy's steps to not keep her feelings for him in the dark in this go around was wonderful.
As always, when you write steamy, you write scorching hot jungle steamy. When Spike and Buffy finally came together in this I was fanning myself. Wow. Their interactions overall in Part 2 where we have a Spike reinvigorated were just stunning. Very perfect for the both of them.
This story is worth the read for any Spuffy fan. It is in my top 10. You are one of the greats. I see there aren't a ton of reviews on this story but I hope more people stumble upon it and come to enjoy it as much as I have.
Thank you for a story that gives us a little bit of everything, rips our hearts out and then patches us back together.
This was SO WONDERFUL. I followed your work back in the day when I was first in fandom YEARS ago. When I recently came back and saw your name I remembered you and got back to reading a bunch of what I had missed. Herself, what a great author tag. I have never been disappointed by one of your fics. I really need to read the bittersweets series (I think I started it years ago but never finished) but I am so glad I read this one now.
Part 1A and B. Freaking fantastic. This could be a published novel. I have never been to Vietnam but I FELT like I was there while I was reading. You encompassed all senses while you were writing this fic for the reader. It was poetic and beautiful and so real. You are always a writer that gives the best angst and boy did you deliver. I read through Part 1 hoping REALLY HOPING for a happy ending but really not knowing whether we would get one and still wanting to read it.
Your characterization, wow, spot on. This is a Buffy that was real and had learned and had feelings and was broken but better all the same time. You brought us along with her so beautifully that I cried with her and felt what she was feeling. Spike, goodness yes. THIS is what should have happened post BTVS and ATS if everything went down how it did in show. It all makes so much sense. And if Spike had got the sanshu and become human I imagine this is EXACTLY what would have happened to him. He hated who he was as a human and he loved being a vampire. I imagine his whole sense of self would have been ripped away. I imagine him trying to end it over and over to find that the powers had prevented that from being possible. So we get a Spike that we see here, wasting away, broken, a shell of himself, angry and lashing out. Gosh it was painful and beautiful.
After a discussion in shoutbox about what would have happened post Sanshu Spike I brought this story up as my FAVORITE example of how it would have went down. This could be canon. Really. I really hope you are a published author now and I wish I knew what you were published under so I could go read it. Your words are beautiful and I cherish when I get the opportunity to read a story of yours for the first time.
Setting, plot, character - spot on for everything.[Report This]
But that filthy DP bath—that was when you made love to me, Slayer. Even though I was nothing anymore that you could possibly want, you went full out with it. Were in an ecstasy—could see that, feel it, well enough, an' knew it was all for me. Good that he did get it. even through my misery I felt it an' knew what a mistake I'd made. Being too proud an' stupid in California to figure out in time when you loved me back." So many regrets. Hope Buffy finally stops this retreat to her old habits or there will just be more of the same.
This desperate wild need, yawning and insatiable, this was what he'd endured, while she'd held him at a distance. While she'd hated and used him, refused to treat him like a man and a friend, beat and kicked him, he'd stayed with her because he felt this. Yeah a bit of sauce for this goose only he's not doing it to be mean. He's leveling the playing field, hitting reset as an equal. He was as aware as she that it was all changed. He was no longer her supplicant, she was no longer the queen.
"Bite did her good. If some vamp bit her properly, say, once a month, she'd remember a bit that she's a person like other people when she gets up in the morning. Would improve her." LOL actually he has a point. Willow never had a real problem with magic but she does have trouble with arrogance. Being reminded of her mortality (while all around her call her goddess) would keep it from becoming full blown hubris again.
I get her wanting to feel that fear. Because the fear underlines that he MATTERS. Only when someone, some relationship matters can it possibly hold hurt. Like she said she's not fearful he can't be trusted or even that he doesn't love her. Angel was puppy love but he mattered and now so does Spike (Riley never did).
"But it bothers you, that I threw my humanity away, as you put it. Not as much as it bothered you that you loved me when I had no soul. But it's something like that." Yes I think that will always be there, it's too deeply ingrained. The soul/human preference or the part of her that thinks she SHOULD give preference to those aspects will always murmur in her subconscious.
"'Course I don't. An' not when we're naked either, if you don't agree." He descended as smoothly as he'd risen, without unbalancing the tray. "You know I'd never try again to force you. You do know, don't you, Buffy?" Yeah it is only consensual and equal between them now. She won't be using him either.
I love that NOW she is finally asking about his life and he is answering. She's getting some of the sweet bits too not just the parts he hated.
"Would break my heart if that were to happen to you. Pet ... you know I'd never hurt you." He loves her as she is and if turned (as his mother proved) who knows what she would be like. No he'd never want her to be turned.
That made her think of Angel. Angelus never—never!—could've acted as Spike was acting now. He wasn't capable, sans soul, of even making such a choice. Something that should have occurred to them all long ago! They always compared Spike's actions to that of a human or at the very least a souled vampire. If they wanted a fair comparison it should have been Angelus and Spike was so much better in every possible way from Angelus! He was often better than souled Angel for that matter.
Loved their connection once all those walls went down. Wonderful that she wants a true relationship complete with shared stories, shared lives. He does too. This time they can have the healthy relationship that her hangups (mostly) and his awkwardness in dealing with a human girl prevented before.
LOL Giles eats crow rather elegantly. SO glad Buffy laid it all out there from the start.
Beautifully happy ending all round. Everyone grew up and became their best selves at last.
It makes sense to me that William would chose to become Spike again. As I said he LIKED being a vampire. Hope Buffy remembers all those insights she had in Vietnam about the man and vampire she knew. The soul didn't make him have a conscience (he even pointed it out to her). It didn't make him love her.
"Not tired now. Not sick, not weak, not half-blind an' deaf, gutted an' tormented." He thrust his arms back, chest out. "Anybody stakes me now, pretty damn sure I just blow away. Nothin' left. Nothin' to bring back. I call that freedom." And why is he goading her? Does he WANT to be dust finally? Does he want to test her honesty in all she claimed to have learned and wanted?
I can't help but be happy for him actually. This is the being that embraces life to the full. This is the guy who doesn't hate himself.
"Seem to recall, few months back, girl who looked a lot like you, in a lather of tearful remorse, sayin' how Spike was worthy of her even when he had no soul, if only she'd been able to admit it. Thought she'd maybe sussed some things about herself, an' about him. Should've known, it was only the heat, gettin' to her. Makin' her soft in the head for what she thought she'd never have again." Yeah that.
Faith said and did what Buffy SHOULD have. Buffy immediately ran with assumptions and recriminations. All about the soul again and how she just can't open to him. Serve her right if she lost Spike to Faith but I doubt he'll be over her to consider it.
Can Buffy be any more willfully blind? "He's not evil. Don't be a dope. He came because it's where you are." Faith has more sense in her left pinkie than Buffy on a good day.
Man Buffy is SO contrary! She wants him when he doesn't want her and runs back to her old standby's about the soul. He can probably still hear, "Evil, disgusting thing with no good in him," in his ears even if she's not said it. If he gives up on her it will only be her own fault.
Julie is a threat. She has some issue (reminds me of Kennedy that way) about Spike and I don't trust her.
Spike's a lover, an' a warrior. I'm yours for both, but you've got to have me as I am, or not at all." That sounds fair after all these years and all she should know of him.
All the times she made Spike her doormat ... YEARS of it ... this bit of time is the least she owes him. To style herself someone who has been put upon by him is the height of self obsession. If she does love him then the smallest thing she owes him is patience as he struggles with his life now.
Yeah I can see her wanting a baby. Subconsciously she might even think it would give him purpose, make him live again. He's in much the same condition that she was in when resurrected, worse actually.
"Suppose I taught you everything you know, 'bout hanging about where you're not wanted." Pretty much. He was nothing other than persistent.
Equal to how he'd loved her, was the pain she'd ground into him, without thinking. Even when she believed she'd befriended him ... even when she'd imagined they were lovers, really lovers at last. All that time he'd been storing up his hurts, hiding them absolutely from himself. Loving and serving and bolstering her, and all the time infected inside with that creeping decay of all those suppressed insults, all the advantages she'd so blithely taken of him, all the cutting inequalities. I don't think he loathed her though (although there were times he would have had cause). Maybe loathed himself and his needing her love so badly that he let himself be used.
"Always wanted things, yeah. Trouble was, never could get them, could I? Or if I did ... made things worse. Shouldn't have been the case but it was sadly true.
It was exactly the same. Everything she was going through now ... was what she'd inflicted on him before. BINGO
He does still love her or he wouldn't have tried to take care of her with the miscarriage.
I never thought Spike wanted to be human again. Always thought if he did Sanshu that he'd not see it as a reward. He LIKED being a vampire even after he stopped killing humans. PART of his deep depression is the loss of himself.
I feel sad she lost the baby (having lost 2 myself). No she wouldn't be a model parent perhaps but I think she will always have an empty place where that child would have been.
This is so profoundly sad. Spike loved with all his being and remade himself over and over trying to please those he loved. He desired the company of others. Now after either saving or helping to save the entire world at least 4 times (Acathla, Glory, FE, NFA) and voluntarily seeking and winning his soul he died miserable and in pain.
Buffy did her best to deny that she loved him, that he mattered. When Buffy finally did decide that she loved him he no longer loved himself.
I loved the first half of this: the writing is so beautiful and precise, and the feelings of both Buffy and Spike are very realistic continuations of canon. Didn't like the second half so much, tbh: too much of a fix-it (and willow and oz getting back together seems like a conscious joke on that!).[Report This]
I honestly don't understand why this fantastic story doesn't have more reviews. I love it, there was so much angst and misunderstanding and plot development –oh man! That plot development all the way, was anailurely beautiful. There were a few things that's left me wanting and kinda not in agreement with but that's just me being a finicky critic and reader, overall it was uber spectacular. I hope to read some of your other works real soon.[Report This]
Wow. Wow. Reeeeaaally loved this. The first half was so sad. I wanted to cry! It was just miserable, but in a way that I just couldn't stop reading, or hoping...and then the second half was even better. I think you are a marvelous, insightful writer. It was smokin hot of course--but , even more so--it was a great story.
thanks so much!
im now moving on to read more of your work[Report This]
OMG! What an incredible story! What an excruciating and exquisite work! You are a master storyteller!
The darkness and grim, grinding agony of the Vietnam chapters was absolutely brilliant. In your writing I could feel the oppressive monsoonal heat and the suffocating sadness and hopelessness that both Buffy and Spike endured because of Spike's inability to cope with surviving the final fight with the Senior Partners, the loss of Angel, and his new reality as a human. Absolutely, heart wrenching! It brought tears to my eyes several times. But, through it all, even in the darkest moments, there was love; Buffy's love for Spike.
Very beautiful and complex story; so much going I'll have to re-read it again to really appreciate all the nuances of this many layered and enduring relationship.
You rock my world everytime I read one of your stories. Thanks for another awesome read!
I love this series of stories - I just wish that it would get a lot more attention and readers - It is a very different exploration of the consequences of the Shanshu. The author totally committed to this very dark psychological study of Spike. The sequel is a very good counterpart to the devastation of Spike and Buffy in the first story.[Report This]
This was such an emotional story! The way you describe everything made me FEEL it. The first 2 parts were so hard to get through-- full of depression, yet a sliver of hope-- that I almost stopped reading. But i just had to know how it ended. I'm so glad the final 2 parts left Buffy and Spike on a happier note. Worth the emotional rollercoaster! :)[Report This]