Ok, I’m really late with this review but better late than never, right?
You do such a good Andrew voice – it’s the perfect balance of deep/shallow, funny/sad, innocence/guilt. Like how do you do it??? “Cartoon Network’s Toonami was nothing but a web of lies.” He is so relatable, I just love him. I laughed out loud several times.
I love seeing Spuffy through another’s eyes. The characterization of everyone is on point and it’s even more impressive that you’re filtering it through Andrew’s slightly unreliable POV.
They shared the biscotti.
That kiss was amazing and perfect and everything I wanted.
I loved the Giles-Andrew interaction in this one.
I AM full of Christmas spirit, even though it’s uh… April. Speaking of which I’ve had Die Hard on the DVR for a while now, so you’ve inspired me to go watch that.[Report This]
Yes, thus, thank you. One of the reasons I don't really enjoy season 7 is the murkiness of everything. I mean we know why the previous big bads want to do what they do, whereas the first just does and preaches, but nothing is really explained. Why kill the potentials at all? To end the Slayer line for good? Would that prevent any other potential being born because of some weird genetic marker? Why so focused on spike and angel? Why so shy in the beginning with buffy? Why, why, why? Thank you for at least attempting to answer some questions and bringing a proper ending to it.
Loved the Rocky horror mention too.[Report This]
I always wondered about the connection between the souled vampire, the non-dead slayer and the first. I'm not sure it was ever properly explained on the show. (yes, Spike wore the amulet in the end, but by then any of the potentials turned slayers would have qualified.)
Very good chapter.[Report This]
Absolutely marvelous. I love your attention to detail. How Xander stopped hammering while Anya was talking in the first chapter, that didn’t need to be there, those little nuisances are what make you a truly spectacular author. Really, you spoil us.
Other little tidbits that really stand out, Andrews egg talk, how Spike wrapped Buffy’s hands off camera, sharing biscotti, bickering about Spikes chains (I could hear their conversation even though you didn’t write it). B&S whispered kitchen convo. Xander’s convo with Dawn and his funny little one liners. Ugh, I wouldn’t be mad if you wrote a little one shot epilogue. I’d love to see what the future looks like with Sunnydale still standing. I don’t think I’ve ever read a S7 fic where Sunnydale stands and Spike doesn’t die and Buffy says she loves him and generally things go exactly as they should have gone.
I was grinning and laughing throughout. I don’t know how you do it, you voice these characters like you were writing them with Joss. Never stop writing. You are just my absolute favorite. Always giving us just enough to keep us wanting more![Report This]
I am LOVING this fic SO much, wow. I laughed many times throughout this chapter. Also the connection btwn the First going after Angel and going after Spike made me go "ohhhhh! That's so smarrrrt!" while slapping my hand to my forehead. It's a connection that makes way more sense than "uhhh y'all brought Buffy back so now everything is ruined, but belatedly"[Report This]
I, for one, am v. v. grateful for a reasonable explanation for all the nonsense with the First Evil, Christmas, and souled vampires. It was all so ... stupid, in canon. Very satisfying, my dear. Also agree about the microwave.
Generally, I will not miss your stories, because the lols are delicious. This time the Plot™ was maybe even more delightful to me than the funny, which was also great. I mean, Andrew POV sort of can't miss, if you lean that way, which I can admit I do. (Saw Tom Lenk in a terrible sketch thing last weekend, and even then he was pretty funny.) Anyhoo, he makes a lot of good points, especially about butter, bless him. Props also to Willow with her subversive macaroons. I will henceforth add them to the holiday bake, in your honor.
I don't know why I doubted it, but you pulled off a genuine, heartwarming (and possibly pepperminty) Christmas miracle! Actually, I do know why I doubted it: than darned unreliable narrator you had cast doubt right from the very start! I love being wrong! Love this, love you, love the true meaning of Christmas most of all[Report This]
WHAT IS JONATHAN/THE FE GOING TO ASK FOR? EXTRA VANILLA? Because if it thinks it's going to get anywhere asking for bits of sharp eggshell in the cookies, it does not understand who it is talking to.
My novel. I’m considering leasing a lonely cabin in the woods to complete it. Or perhaps becoming a hotel’s winter caretaker.
I want to do this too. What could go wrong?
Please use appropriate caution, and also please avoid starting arguments about punk music, Manchester United, or twentieth-century poetry.
The only man left in the household is Mr. Giles, and I can’t possibly imagine him in a corset and pearls.
I want a snoopy-dance emoticon here, but we are sadly lacking.
What we heard from Buffy and Spike, there at the end, was not passion. It was forgiveness, and faith, and trust. Intimacy and understanding. The bond between two people who have been through the fire, wronged each other deeply, and come out stronger, and despite all that pain, find true joy in each other.
AWwwww. What a fab Spristmas story! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
It’s a little late for NaNoWriMo
now that I am on the side of good I should try to look good in spandex
Shouldn't Evil face the same requirements? I mean, I guess sometimes Evil wears a cloak or something, but...
all willy-nilly flaying people alive
The very scariest way to flay people alive.
as author of a dozen reasonably-well-received Star Trek Enterprise fics, which I swear will be completed someday, I know quite well that when the muse is speaking to you, there is no time to waste
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
I join Andrew on this team.
And then the final line! Of course Jonathan. Of course.
I'm sorry I didn't see this until now! But I am not sorry at all that I can continue on to Chapter 3 immediately. Your Andrew-eye's-view is deeply, deeply enjoyable.
Great Christmas story.
Andrew’s POV is absolutely perfect. I love how he directly addresses the reader for example, and keeps trying to cast himself as the valiant hero or the solitary lone wolf. The whole story is very reminescent of Storyteller (my personal favorite episode of Season 7).
You capture the silliness and grandstanding of Andrew, while also acknowledging the very very dark deeds he participated in. The show itself doesn’t quite manage this, concentrating on his killing Jonathan but sweeping under the rug his involvement in Katrina’s death and the rape device he seemed eager enough to use then, and I'm really glad that you do address it. Andrew thinking of undressing Katrina's corpse is absolutely chilling. And he does start to earn his redemption here, better than he did in Storyteller, because the First is pretty terrifying and it was hard to stand up to it and say no, even if it wasn't in a triumphant speech the way Andrew would have liked.
The First Evil’s plot here is pretty good, and makes a lot more sense than it does in season 7. It neatly explains its motivations in going after the Slayer line and the two Souled Vampires we know. The point that it could have gone after the Slayer line slowly and surely for centuries without the Watchers noticing anything is a great one - it makes a lot of sense that Spike getting his soul back would be an incentive to move things along. It also explains its actions in Amends, which are never made very clear.
I really like that Giles mentions that the First probably had nothing to fear from Angel, the subtext that Angel and Buffy's relationship lacking the depth and intimacy of Spike and Buffy’s. Also : “My concerns about Buffy and Spike are not grave enough to convince me to do evil’s direct bidding. I wasn’t born yesterday, you know.”
You do a good job with the Scoobies: Anya, bitter that Buffy staked her and not Spike, afraid for her life and looking for any way to survive, touched by Xander's gift; Dawn, unsure of Spike and how to feel about him, trying to capture a bit of innocence back by insisting on celebrating Christmas; a mature and toughtful Xander; concerned grumpy Giles who's still willing to admit that he may have misjudged things.
And of course, very nice Spuffy. The mistletoe scene is great.[Report This]
Andrew is his usual self. He is downplaying his own evil, but the amusement we got from him makes me still like him.
A nice Christmas moment. The presents didn't have to be big, the fact that there was presents is the important thing, everyone can use the moral boost.
I don't buy the reasoning or motivation for the First. That said it works within the context of the story and allows us the great basement moment, so I am not complaining.
Forgiveness and expressed feelings of love during Christmas what more could we ask for. It was so sweet what we heard from the basement.
I really did enjoy this.[Report This]
Well now, what a perfect resolution! I absolutely love it!
The solution for defeating the FE was Buffy & Spike declaring their mutual forgiveness, love, respect and trust in each other on Christmas Day.
And All Andrew had to do was say, "No," when the FE tried to persuade him to interrupt. That was probably the bravest thing he has ever done and ever will do.
Love Giles here.
If only it really had worked out this way and they could have avoided that ill-contrived spell to activate all the potentials.
Thank you.[Report This]
I agree with Dawn. When the world might be ending soon, A little Chrismassing is essential. The same would apply even if it's not actually Christmas.
And that exchange between Dawn & Giles regarding Spike and his soul is extremely important. I think it's made Giles reconsider some things he thought he knew. He's being really extra watchery... which I think is a Good Thing.
"Chains are heavy. They don’t look heavy on TV but they really are." Well, yes Andrew. Chains on TV are generally made from plastic. The clanking can be added in post production.
Good to have the recap so everyone understands what's going on. The FE has something against slayers and souled vampires. Perfectly natural since it's evil and they're the competition. It's trying to weaken the enemy - which should help Giles understand that Spike is not the enemy he suspects he is, and is on their side!
And now the FE is targeting Andrew. Oh dear...
Am I alone in finding Andrew incredibly irritating in S7? He does add a little comic relief now and then but overall....
Although, saying that, it's fascinating to see events unfold from his POV.
Giles is being... Giles. Thankfully not quite so dismissive of Spike's epic achievement as he was on the show, and actually interested in it's effects. Although Andrew isn't the most reliable of witnesses and so Giles is still questioning Buffy's instincts.[Report This]
Aww. I loved so much of this... Xander making a present for Spike too, and Andrew recasting the Rocky Horror crew with the Scoobies (Giles as Frank N. Furter?? Nooo, UNconceivable), and every single time Andrew showed his unwillingness to think back and/or remember what really happened with Katrina or Jonathan, and Giles listening in on the First's final conversation with Andrew - I was worried nobody would listen to him, even if he did manage to tell about it - and also that spectacular Gandalf-like moment in Andrew's idiotic mind, and that bit you added about the fact that biscotti now means cookies in general (heh), and also Buffy feeding Spike biscotti and then their kiss and their mutual forgiveness... *gives a big sigh* I'm kinda bummed we don't get to see Buffy and Spike making love (I'm a sucker for fluffy love scenes between these two), but Andrew's pov was super fun all the way. Also, I learned just how ignorant I am about the world of baking.
The plot idea you have with the First trying to separate Buffy from a powerful redeemed warrior is also very interesting; personally I didn't find the First's motivations too unclear and nonsensical, it seemed to make sense to me (it's evil itself, it wants all evil on earth, yadda yadda), but your version is in fact a bit more compelling in the fact that it's more focused on a particular objective to reach/something to avoid. In any case, it made for a lovely and compelling Christmas story :D thanks so much for sharing![Report This]
This story will have me smiling like a fool for a while :D... While thinking 'what if', of course... Such as wonderful Christmas present.
To say the truth, I never understood why Buffy and Spike didn't just openly said that they forgave each other and themselves during season 7. They have so obviously forgiven everything already and they both desperately needed (obviously as well) a little love. It would have been so awesome.
So, thank you so much for giving us a little of what could have been. Ah, and Andrew's point of view (that was spot on, for sure) just makes it better.[Report This]
Having Christmas even from the Dollar Store is a good morale boost. Dawn may be ham-handed in many ways but that doesn't mean she's wrong.
Andrew baking away is a rather sweet image. I think that over mitt endeared him to me considering he was actually evil the season before.
Giles with his crossbow is very in character. He was such an ass in S7. I'm certain she had plenty of threats directed at her Watcher if he even thought about dusting Spike!
Sweet of Xander to pay for the gifts and even return part of the money to Dawn. He can be a sweetie when he forgets his bigotry.
THIS whole conversation is GOLD:
“You said the slayer line was exposed by my resurrection. That was in August of last year. Giles, when did the Watcher’s Council start getting reports of slain Potentials?”
“During the summer, I believe Robson said. Middle of June? That would have been Lola, in Germany.”
“So why did the First wait almost a year before it started hunting? What happened in the middle of June?” ....
“Middle of June, I walked into a cave in Africa. Few days later -- might have been a week, hard to say -- I crawled out again with my… prize.” He looked up her then, his face half proud, half ashamed.
“Your soul,” Buffy whispered.
They just looked at each other for a while, like the rest of us weren’t even in the room.
Finally Mr. Giles cleared his throat. “When we originally encountered the First, its manipulations were also directed at a vampyre with a soul.”
That broke the sizzling eye contact between Buffy and Spike; he growled and looked one way, and she flinched and looked the other.
“Angel,” Buffy said, her voice flat. “It kept appearing to him in dreams and when he was awake, as people he’d killed. It was trying to get him to kill me, and when he resisted it almost got him to kill himself instead. If it weren’t for a freak snowfall….”
It never made sense to me that the FE was released to do damage because of Buffy's resurrection. That made no sense. Where was the FE in S6? Off knitting cunning sweaters? Spike getting the soul, however...now THAT tipped the balance. A demon wanting a soul had to really rock the boat in a big way. From the beginning of S7 Spike was the target (along with the Slayer line and Council of course). Everything the FE had Spike do was designed to have him either killed by Buffy and her group or kill himself! HE was the main target for quite a while. Now it might be that the FE had some prophetic knowledge that Spike would win the battle in the end. Spike getting the soul was the thing that gave the FE that open door IMHO and not Buffy's resurrection.
We never really heard exactly what Beljoxa's eye said only what Anya and Giles decided it meant. I also thought it odd that Giles would trust the word of a demonic creature as Gospel!
There I was, mourning the passing of Christmas for another year, when lo! I found on EF not just a Spuffy Christmas fic but one by Bewildered! Thanks for prolonging the season a week after I took my tree down. You write all the voices so well and your Andrew is hilarious. I look forward to reading more of this story. Great twist too.[Report This]