Echoes of Beljoxa by myrabeth

08/13/2015 10:09 pm
And Always         
Well, that was truly an epic! I had no idea when I started reading it. You've created a whole new world for Spike and Buffy to live in. Wonderfully imaginative, with just the right mix of angst and humor. Good job.

tamisnead
08/10/2015 06:04 am
And Always         
Just finished your wonderful story  and can't wait to read the sequel.  soon please?

08/09/2015 10:45 pm
And Always         
What a finale, full of ups and downs and Buffy revealing all to Spike.  You've kept this complex world racing along to the very end and I've enjoyed every chapter.  Thank you so much for all your hard work.

08/09/2015 06:56 pm
And Always         
Truly a fantastic tale!   The best part are the relationship issues and dialogue.  I'll just say fantastic dialogue all around in whatever time frame.   And I am supremely happy that you are working on a sequel!! 

08/09/2015 09:01 am
And Always         
fun was had.  still don't understand the spectator dream thing.  guess I'll have to do some rereading...

looking forward to season six and seven and all the crazy time travel stuff...

thanks for elise.  look forward to getting to know her... and the guardian of course.

You bit off one humongous project.  I'm so happy... and so sorry for you!!!  (I know precisely how much work is involved!) hehe...

Blue

08/08/2015 10:54 pm
And Always         
Glad to see you've finished this, and even more glad to hear that you've started to work on a followup!

Melissa
08/08/2015 03:32 am
And Always         
Other than the way too abrupt ending this is one the of best fanfics I've ever read. Looking forward to the sequel.

08/09/2015 07:34 pm
Kitchen Chaos         
Wonderfully human sentiments from Buffy, she deserves a little basking.

08/08/2015 02:13 am
Kitchen Chaos         
Home is good.

08/08/2015 12:10 am
Standing House         
I still don't know why Spike was sent to the tower.  However,  I am so happy that he is BACK!!

08/07/2015 10:17 pm
Standing House         
The time jumps make so much sense now, it's sublime.  Loved the crackling reunion, so much unsaid and the typical Buffy facade.  Excellent.

08/06/2015 05:28 pm
Standing House         

This is utterly priceless, especially Giles' drollness!

“She's already killed me once... sort of,” Angel murmured.

Giles sighed. “Buffy, do try harder next time. Need I give you another speech about your sacred calling?”

Spike raised an eyebrow at the watcher. “Yeah, Rupes, 'cause there's still a chance in hell you'll end up with a proper, normal slayer.”

Melissa
08/06/2015 03:09 pm
Standing House         
Yay! A chapter a day makes me happy (also, Spike being home)!

08/05/2015 09:57 pm
Puppet Masters         
Absolutely mindblowing -- wonderful invention perfectly written.

08/05/2015 03:40 pm
Puppet Masters         
Jump?  Why jump when you can fall through the floor?  hehe. 

Thanks for the odd day'd update, btw.  I needed a bit of  something extra!

08/05/2015 09:34 pm
Dead Languages         
What a web you're weaving, it's a fantastic job you're doing ... Once more unto the breach!

08/04/2015 09:11 pm
Dead Languages         
This:

Henry chuckled. “'Never piss off a slayer you don't plan to kill,' Dad always says. 'It won't end well.'”

Always great advice!!

And again with the cracking me up:

“What the hell are the Powers thinking by encouraging Spike to breed?”

...because that's such an awesome question... even if you did give it to Peaches!  Then again, it's such a 'Peaches' kind of question!

Lots of laugh out loud moments, but the moment with Doyle and Angel... that was... lovely... actually wouldn't have minded a bit more, but I suppose this is not that story! 

I REALLY, REALLY miss Glenn Quinn.  Stupid drug addiction!  Addiction really screws with everything good.  (Probably why I don't find the funny drunken Buffy that funny.  I totally get why someone might take that approach, but it doesn't really feel like 'Buffy.'

Anyway... Doyle was my favorite character on Angel...  And the person who took his place is also gone...  Andy.  (Lorne).  It must be true.  Only the good die young.  RIP Glenn and Andy.

08/04/2015 08:26 pm
Dead Languages         
I so do not want Henry to get hurt although I understand his reasoning.   Hopefully, he will not be battle tested?  Or maybe a battle is exactly what is needed to bring the unknown quantity of Aurelian power to the fore.  Angel is OK in this chapter since he's not broody.  I'm still thinking that he's nursing a ray of hope though.   

08/04/2015 10:57 pm
Living Leverage         
She's not called the General for nothing, your Buffy absolutely rocks!

08/04/2015 08:17 pm
Living Leverage         
This cracked me up:

“Better than getting my taste in snacks from Dad, isn't it?” Henry pointed to his teeth. “These only have one setting.”

It's quite a world when teeth have settings!!!

08/01/2015 09:20 pm
Righteous Felons         
Loving resolute Buffy... in fact she's becoming a law unto herself and actually has some decent support now.  Bring it on!
The General is back in business! Woo hoo!

07/31/2015 04:12 pm
Righteous Felons         
Yes!   Doyle sees it!   If Buffy had not been so persistent...  
A new ally who happens to be an agent? There is so, so much win here.

07/30/2015 09:32 pm
Righteous Felons         
I always liked Doyle. 
I think everyone did. He was such a great guy. I loved having a chance to bring him into the Echoes 'verse.

07/28/2015 10:18 pm
Puzzle Pieces         
Angel has some nerve in telling Buffy not to challenge the Powers considering what he did LOL!  I am so glad to get a feeling of expectation... of good things to come or there will be a showdown.  

07/28/2015 10:08 pm
Puzzle Pieces         
Stupendous Buffy, she really is on a roll now.  Lovely to see Doyle, such a nice touch.
Doyle is an awesome character, and bringing him in just when Buffy remembers that fire in her belly isn't just spicy Thai food really came together wonderfully. I love this chapter. Not just for all the "puzzle pieces" is puts together, but also for growly Buffy "letting it roar" and Doyle's low key "Eh, I was sent to retrieve the hostage, but I really don't care that much" rescue attempt.

07/28/2015 03:36 pm
Puzzle Pieces         
Lovely chapter! 
Thank you.

07/28/2015 09:33 pm
Fifth Wheels         
I love how insightful Faith has become.  I suppose sitting in prison with no friends gives a person lots of time to rethink their lives.  If only that were so in the real world.  

07/26/2015 05:02 pm
Fifth Wheels         
I love Faith in this. 

I'm beginning to lose patience with poor me Buffy.  I'm a widow too, go figure! She's just... whiny and self indulgent.  It's been 21 years for me.  The grief never fucking leaves, not entirely, but life has to go on.  And it can be great too... just different.

Moving forward is a choice

When you lose everything... the one you love AND the life you shared and pretty much everything in the moorings of your life comes loose and I do mean EVERYTHING - choice is all you got.  Get up or lie face down.  Because you won't FEEL like getting up.  You have to choose anyway.

I'm an addict and I didn't use when the love of my life died.  I know that one wants to crawl into some hole (including the opening of a bottle) and just stay there, but you can't... not if you have other people and want to keep it that way. 

So, just as Willow annoys me, but I see that's in her insecurity (and frankly, her fundamental weakness of character), Buffy's annoying me.  She's the big general.  She knows better. she saw it in the potentials who gave up, and in Willow and even Giles.

Particularly since I know she has a plan.  She has hope.  The misery I get.  (To be honest, the misery never fucking leaves you entirely, though you better learn to box it up or you'll crap all over your life.)  It's the self destructive spoiled poor me I'm gonna cook my liver with booze crap that I'm tired of. 

So, the new project is a good idea... just hope that she remembers she's an adult and throws out the damn bottles.

She may not be the slayer anymore, but she's still Dawn's guardian.  If Spike could pull it together and take care of Dawn, so can Buffy.  After all, she has that precious soul thing.

Blue
The phone call with Lucy that prompted Buffy to start cutting back on the drinking was Day 24. It took Buffy a grand total of three and a half weeks to begin to get her act together with the liquor, while also coping with a supernatural issue in play that the liquor was helping with, besides.

I get that we're in very, very heavy "hits home" territory for you, and I'm sympathetic to that, but please notice what it is you're reading.

I didn't write a prolonged period of "self-destructive, spoiled, poor me" drunken Buffy refusing to move forward.

I wrote three and a half weeks of Buffy drinking nightly (and occasionally during the day) while still making attempts to move forward. And then she started to cut back on the drinking, without anyone forcing her hand, and without being so far gone she had to quit entirely.

But that's fine. If you don't like the imperfect characterization I wrote, that's entirely fair, and entirely your right.

07/26/2015 11:22 am
Fifth Wheels         
Faith is blossoming under the new set up and it's good to see.  Hopefully Willow will start to grow up now though I expect it must sting that it's Faith who is speaking sense.  More mystery both unravelling and thickening... how do you do it? Brilliant.

07/24/2015 07:42 pm
Distant Travelers         
Nice pacing, you're not overdoing events at all and the surprises you slip in are lovely little mysteries.  Best tale around!
Even when the emotional baggage and/or lack of action make Echoes feel static, it never is. We're always moving. 200,000+ words in, the roller coaster ride continues. I'm glad you're still on board! Thanks!

07/24/2015 05:54 pm
Distant Travelers         
These last two chapters have been so depressing.  Buffy seems to be getting worse in her alcoholism even though she supposedly has some sort of hope.    And Willow.  Boy is she egotistical!  The world does not revolve around her.  Sheesh.  
Every arc in Echoes is a journey, from Buffy's drinking to Willow's relationship with Tara. We're still traveling.

07/24/2015 01:09 pm
Distant Travelers         
Every night I save you... 

But who's gonna save Buffy? 

I can't believe you're makin me feel sorry for Angel! 

I am impressed by your continued insight into Willow.  I really do hope that things can work out for W&T, but not at the expense of Tara's self respect or agency.
Buffy's going to have to save herself, one way or another.

The best thing about this version of Tara that's evolved over the course of Echoes is that she stands up for what matters to her... Even if that means standing up to Willow.

07/24/2015 10:55 am
Distant Travelers         
I've really enjoyed the chapters since Spike's death-but-he'll-get-better. I caught Whistler's present tense--not that it matters, since probably three-quarters of your readers did; but it's a nice point, and perfectly understandable that your Buffy didn't. Her quiet, intense desperation, sublimated violence, and whiskey-based chattiness are entirely memorable. I can't help recalling Auden's Stop All the Clocks, Cut Off the Phone as an instance of mood, especially the last verse. It's very different from the usual extroverted Buffy response to Spike's death in various fanfictions, but I think, more accurate. She's not the kind to emote visibly at such a time. For what it's worth, and IMO, I think you caught just how she would respond, by withdrawing emotionally from others and finding ways to dull the pain. This is the I'm-back-from-death arc but with the added sharpness of knowing it's the most important person in the world to her who's gone. It's no longer all about her, and having opened up, the pain is multiplied. Excellent job.

Great encounters between Tara and Willow, between all and Buffy. The emotions really sweep along the story, and the absence of any apparent plot push only highlights the directionless hell Buffy is lodged in. What can I add? Very nicely done, again. I'm extremely curious how you will handle Spike's return, and Buffy's emotional response to that. Staying tuned, etc.
The chapters after Spike's death feel almost like a different story to me. The mission, the mood, and the characater dynamic make such an abrupt shift after the tower, you end up feeling his absence in every scene. Something is missing. Something isn't right. Somehow, it isn't the familiar Echoes world we know.

That wasn't exactly intentional. The dynamics changed naturally with the removal of a major character. And the impact on of the loss on another major character pushed it even further. I didn't have to try to make you feel the loss, be constantly reminded of it, scene to scene. The characters did that for me.

I didn't spend a lot of time trying to figure out how Buffy would take his death. I followed my instincts, continued my theme of letting the characters drive, and what I ended up with felt right for her. She's angry, but usually keeps it quiet. She's drinking. She's not crying. She's a woman on a mission, but it's a long shot mission, and the reality of it is constantly nipping at her heels. For the last of these, it puts you back in season seven, in a way, specifically during "the worst Christmas ever" when Spike was being held prisoner. A battle she thinks she's probably going to lose, getting Spike back as the goal, and proving to someone (in this case, it's mostly herself) she's tough enough to get the job done.

07/23/2015 10:52 am
Eighty Proof         
Love how Buffy is holding her own against all comers, also how Tara is growing into her true self and no longer hiding her worth.  Great chapter for the gals.
I've enjoyed every stage of Tara's development in this story. It's so fun to see how far she's come from being Willow's mousy, stuttering, witchy arm candy. She's now a strong, confident woman, dedicated to what she considers important, and tough as nails when her usual gentleness is ineffective.

07/22/2015 04:00 pm
Eighty Proof         
Widowhood sucks.  Missing your soulmate sucks.  Even if you think it might be temporary.  Nothing ever makes it stop sucking, not even other people, no matter how great they are.

Sadly, I know this personally.

I didn't drink.  But if he hadn't been the reason I stopped drinking, i probably would have.  I'm still sober. 

Blue

PS: loved the conversation with Angel. 
Ouch. That sucks, Blue. But it shows a lot of strength that you stayed on the wagon. 

I love the Angel phone calls in this section of the story. They're such a good mix of supportiveness, humor, and 'shop talk.'

07/21/2015 11:39 pm
Stripped Away         
Wonderful turmoil ... this is simply enthralling.
Stripped Away and Opened Locks are hard chapters to slog through. Until the tail end of the former, the only hope provided is the months of clues that came before. Angst city.
Glad you're still on board! The journey continues.

07/21/2015 04:53 pm
Stripped Away         
Fantastic dialogue that gets better each chapter!  And the riddles?  My interest is piqued more.  Something is going on.  
If you love the dialogue, I must be doing ok. That's 90% of the story. hehe

Glad to know I'm still keeping you thinking.

McPastey
07/21/2015 05:04 am
Stripped Away         
AHHHHHH! You are killimg me! I love your story and I can't wait for an update! Thank you for writting such a wonderful story!
Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it!

07/19/2015 03:00 pm
Opened Locks         
Gruelling ... good to see Buffy holding it together and still steadfast.  Can't figure what happened to Spike though.  Well done.
Tara will eventually describe exactly what happened at the top of the tower. But she's not ready to talk about it yet.

07/18/2015 06:47 pm
Opened Locks         
This is heart wrenching for Buffy.   Willow seems to be taking it well.  
Willow's got some serious "my girlfriend has been lying to be for nine months" issues to deal with. We'll get there soon.

07/18/2015 04:21 pm
Opened Locks         
brutal.
Opened Locks is definitely a difficult chapter, but a necessary one. It's real now. And it's something that has to be faced.

07/17/2015 03:14 am
Battle Ready         
Very nice way you didn't show or tell us Spike's demise, but implied it through remarks of Doc and Tara. Good chapter, well paced, and fine ensemble management. (I don't mean clothing, but a group scene. And I know you know that. )
This section of the story has a rhythm to it that I love. Underground Travelers covers a few hours of time, then Hunkered Down covers roughly the next 24, with focuses on specific parts of that stretch of time. Broken Armor and Battle Ready run through the exact same cycle. In total, these four chapters cover 62 hours (3:45 pm Friday to 5:45 am Monday*). It's a LOT of material for a very short period of time, especially considering that in most of Echoes, four chapters can easily cover an entire month.

That I managed to break my usual pace so drastically and still hold both your interest and your comfort with the pacing so well is a lovely compliment. Thank you!

* The reason the times are so precise is that Underground Travelers opens with Dawn getting home from school. If classes end at 3:30 or thereabouts, as is common in many US public schools, and she was driven directly home (not bussed),  she should get there around 3:45pm. Battle Ready ends just before sunrise, which in California in the third week of May is approximately 5:50 am.

07/16/2015 04:47 pm
Battle Ready         
Never doubt your skills for writing action, this was perfectly constructed.  Love the mystery ending...
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you! Of course, the real structure in Battle Ready wasn't about the battle at all, but about preparing the reader for the end of the chapter.

07/16/2015 03:20 pm
Battle Ready         
No, no!  What happened to Spike?!
We'll talk about that in the next chapter, and after.

Melissa
07/16/2015 03:12 pm
Battle Ready         
That is an evil, evil cliffhanger.
I know. I should probably be ashamed of myself.

07/16/2015 02:03 pm
Battle Ready         
no.  YOU DID NOT DUST SPIKE.
Yes, I did.

07/14/2015 08:15 pm
Broken Armor         
Fist off,  farewell in Hell to Eddie, an wonderfully written Aurelian character.  Second,  Xander and Willow are like dogs with bones continually gnawing.  Geesh.   I hope none of those books or notes were left behind and that whatever is in Gilroy will be of help.   All I know about the town is it's the garlic capital.   
RIP Eddie. He was so fun. Xander is curious, but he's not going overboard about it. Willow's curiosity is laced with anger and frustration at being left in the dark, though. If it weren't for Tara's life being on the line at this point, she'd probably be doing something stupid.

Gilroy is a call back to season seven, like much of the argument that came before the idea to go there. It's all interlinked. Fun, right?

07/14/2015 02:11 pm
Broken Armor         
You really have to stop killing off people I love.   Yes, even though he was a 'red shirt', Eddie was totally adorable and I really mourn him.  Weird as it sounds, Eddie was an 'innocent'.  Yes, I do remember hew as as impure as the yellow snow and all that, but still... Don't be Joss.  Capricious Tara murdering creep that he is!  Don't you dare kill Lydia.  Maiming is good.  Sometimes maiming is even better than killing for causing misery.  You can maim.

Other than that, it was a solid chapter.  Willow's completely at sea.  the others aren't far behind.  It could get hairy inside the bunker as well as outside it.  Gilroy, huh?  Hmmm.  Crunch.  From beneath or above, reality bites, right?  It's crunch time, kiddies!

Blue
Eh, maiming is overrated. Echoes isn't a hurt/comfort fic, and it won't become one.  A good, clean death, on the other hand? That happens. It was sad to see Eddie go, wasn't it?

07/14/2015 01:45 pm
Broken Armor         
Xander and Willow don't seem to have a lot of faith in their general,  I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't follow through, especially Willow (she's a real pain).  Sorry to lose Eddie, he was a sweet character and very much the opposite of the run of the mill vamp.  Can't wait for the next ep, a cliffhanger every chapter!
Willow doesn't get the whole "general" vibe in the first place. She's used to being in a power position at Buffy's side, with a great deal of autonomy. This is new. And tense. And seriously awkward for what's left of their friendship.

Xander is being eaten up with curiosity, and isn't afraid to say so, but he's behind her. All the way. He's the most loyal non-Time Scooby of them all. When Buffy says she'll tell him when she can, he believes her. As a soldier, he's loyal and willing to help. As a friend he's curious and concerned. But he's managing to balance the two.

RIP Eddie. It was hard to see him go, wasn't it? But you can't deny we got some awesome scenes out of the aftermath!

07/13/2015 06:52 pm
Hunkered Down         
Another nerve-wracking episode ... the climax is going to be unbearable!  Can't wait.
I love that I'm keeping you on the edge of your seat! It's a great compliment!

07/12/2015 03:55 pm
Hunkered Down         
Still wondering why Glory and her minions would ransack the house.   And the knights are still in the picture and the General is not up to snuff.    Hoping they all pull the battle off without loss of any of our guys lives/unlives. 
Spike's theory on the ransacking is probably right: They're looking for the means of cracking the code Glory heard Buffy say into the phone. Glory may be a bit of an idiot, but even she could figure out that if Buffy didn't want her to understand what was being said, it was probably important.

We end Hunkered Down approximately 24 hours after the end of Underground Travelers, and Buffy's been asleep most of that time. Healing. I probably should have been a little more clear about the timeline, but it was probably sometime around sunset when Eddie found her in the sewers. (I was working from Buffy's perspective, and she'd lost all concept of time, so we don't know exactly when she was found wandering.) She woke up in the bunker at around 3:30 or 4 am (about 7 or 8 hours unconscious).Then she went back to sleep for another 12 hours, after painkillers and food. She's gotten in some good healing time.

She's still got a headache, and her scalp isn't quite healed over enough for shampoo yet, but she's ok. Our general is a tough little slayer.

07/12/2015 03:02 pm
Hunkered Down         
I don't know why, but 'it's time' are pretty damn ominous words.  Way to go with ratcheting up the tension in this chapter, btw.  Of course, Angel and company are some where over the rainbow in Pylea doing the dance of rescue-Fred-and-try-to-get-out-alive.  Hope this time that there will be no Willow to greet them with bad news! 

How could they NOT decide to put the Important Magic Papers someplace safe?  Sigh.  Humanz!
Hunkered Down ran long, and very nearly had the Buffy and Anya scene moved to the next chapter, to balance out the length a little. "It's time" is a big reason I didn't follow through with that idea. For two short, simple words, they carry a lot of weight. I like to end my chapters on "good lines" (strong, dramatic, or funny) whenever possible, and have previously shifted scenes to the openings of other chapters for that reason (at least in part).

"It's time" being left where it is contributes greatly to the feeling of still being in that Underground Travelers level of tension when you "walk away" from this chapter. Most of the body of it was quiet conversations, sorting out the previous chapter's missing pieces, watching the characters plan the next chapter's excursion to the surface, and a lot of taking time out for character stuff. Hunkered Down is tense in spots, but not as consistently as Underground Travelers was.

"It's time" is a lie, fooling you into thinking you've been tense throughout the chapter, when it's really only been sporadic.  But to be fair to myself, it was an accidental lie. I was well past the decision to let the chapter run long to keep the line as the ending when I realized its true effectiveness.

07/10/2015 11:50 pm
Underground Travelers         
Wow that was so exciting, terrific build up of tension!!!  You officially rock.
Underground Travelers is one of the most tense chapters in the entire story, from start to finish. Others, before and after, have pages and pages of  tension and action, but only a few come close to the start-to-finish breathless, heart-racing tension of this one.

Obviously, if you've read this far, you know I'm all about the development of characters and the quieter stories they build with them. I'm not frequently action girl, or even super-dramatic-moments girl. Underground Travelers is me stepping outside of my comfort  zone a little. I'm thrilled to know it was well-received.

07/10/2015 07:31 pm
Underground Travelers         
Edge of the seat suspense!  Hopefully nothing untoward happens before uniting with the gang.  
On the edge of your seat? A little breathless? A lot worried?

Good. The evil author has done her job.

Happy to know you're still enjoying it! Thanks!

07/10/2015 01:20 pm
Underground Travelers         
OK, this chapter was officially scary as hell.  Are you sure you don't want to update again tomorrow? 
Sorry, but you'll have to wait until the 12th to see what happens next. I should be ashamed to say this, but I'm glad I scared you. Getting your heart racing was kind of the goal.

The good news is that we're seeing the time travel and preparation work pay off more and more in recent chapters, and Underground Travelers puts it on display in a big way.

The "code" was built from references to their original timeline that mean nothing to anyone else, so they didn't even have to plan to need a code. They could just use what they had. The bunker idea, first referenced all the way back in Precious Gifts (chapter 7), is suddenly incredibly useful. Spike's improved relationships with the Scoobies made him gathering them with a phone call easy and unquestioned. Willow being sent off for training has resulted in her freaking out at what she's learning, but not using magic to express that. Lydia being present and an established ally has just come in handy in a huge way, as they've been able to trust her with the Key, far away from that Key's guardians. And getting Angel on board with them and their "preparing for the worst" has given Lydia and Dawn somewhere safe to go.

More payoffs are coming, for both the prep work and the other threads of the story.

07/09/2015 07:00 pm
Patience Lessons         
Good thing that the knights have been dispatched without our heroes being there.  One disaster averted.   Now all their attention can be placed on Glory.     There is a sense of impending action coming Real Soon Now.   
Action is coming very soon, indeed. But I wouldn't jump to conclusions about the knights. Let's wait and see what Spike learned from Eddie's report.

07/08/2015 07:55 pm
Patience Lessons         
Things are hotting up!  I'm loving this tale.
Yup! It's definitely getting close to action time!

07/08/2015 05:07 pm
Patience Lessons         
Well, I guess the knights aren't gonna be as much of a threat as last time... after all... sounds like a slaughter was had!  I really have a hard time feeling sorry for anything but the horses...

I do love the image of the two of them at the hearing... trying to look as mild mannered and 'Clark Kent-y' as possible!  Very nice. 

I really fear for Tara.  Please promise me you won't let her die this time.  I fear your ruthlessness.  Sigh.

Blue

PS: I love Eddie.
We'll soon find out what Spike heard about what happened at the knights' camp, and how that will impact things going forward.

Your Clark Kent analogy is dead on. Two demony super people trying to come off as a normal young couple, and you get the feeling they only pulled it off because they were terrified of failure. That, and they didn't have a chance to bicker in front of the judge. THAT wouldn't have gone well, we know.

Eddie is such a fun, sweet guy. I enjoy his scenes. You'll be seeing him again in the next chapter. Enjoy!

07/06/2015 03:42 pm
Healing Soldiers         
This is one of your best chapters.  Tight.  Well thought out...

And fun.  Yes, fun!  Even with the Sparky torture.

I love the conversations with Giles... all of it... and finally, I adored the "should I worry about what you would say" X 2 in two slightly different accents!  Very, very funny... and I think Giles finally does 'get' it!

Excellent!

Blue
Blue's Stories
Healing Soldiers is a favorite of mine, too. In the space of roughly twelve hours, we go through a gamut of emotions, touch on a bunch of situations (a few with big moments), and get in some great funny moments, besides. This is one of the chapters that didn't change drastically from first draft to final. I never had to give it more than minor tweaking. It came together just right the first time.

Glad you're still enjoying it! Thanks!

07/06/2015 12:19 pm
Healing Soldiers         
I'm glad Giles has been brought on board, it seems to be making a big difference to his attitude.
It took a while, but he and Buffy are finally in a good place. Acceptance, honesty, and the beginnings of  a new relationship. It isn't perfect, but it's a start.

07/05/2015 06:44 pm
Solid Bonds         
Being a karateka, the best thing I like about this chapter is the sparring advice.  Novices do not even think that a kick can be easily caught so they don't focus on the recoil.   Also loving the bond among this make shift family more and more.   Doris is not the baddie here even if she is exceptionally nosy.   
Thanks! It's really cool to find out I got that stuff right. I don't have any sort of training or experience. I just tried to visualize Dawn's attempted kick, and went from there.

07/05/2015 04:56 pm
Solid Bonds         
I really loved this chapter.  Particularly the relationship that has developed between Tara and the others. 

And I fear for Willow.  She really is self-centered.  Hard to feel sorry for her 'poor me one' self pity, when it seems she'd prefer others to 'need' her to the point of being alone without her.  Sadly, I know people like her and they seldom change.  Power is not something that they cope well with either... it's just too tempting.  I do hope the dose of training will somewhat overwrite her instincts, but I'm not sure it will be enough. 

So much prefer the way the Kroger meeting went this time. 

Peace,

Blue
<a href="http://www.tthfanfic.org/authors.php?no=12717&amp;list=profile">DeepBlueJoy's stories</a>
It's taken a while to build up the familial vibe (particularly for Tara) to the point of the characters actually saying it, but I think the wait was worth it. They're a kooky, cobbled together family, but they are one, and it works. My personal favorite part of this "saying it" stage is the Dawn and Tara scene. It's so good to see how close they've gotten. Very sisterly.

I tend to give Willow a little leeway in my own mind, because she doesn't know why everything has changed the way it has (not her fault). But on the other hand, she's not really being as supportive of the new relationships as her titles of "girlfriend" and "best friend" should imply.

07/04/2015 07:08 pm
Solid Bonds         
Oops, I fear Tara has unwittingly triggered Willow ... other than that, everything seems to be going well for the moment!
What we're seeing is Willow coming to terms with the widening gap between her and Tara. She got to see it first hand when she was visiting for the funeral, but Tara's "family" talk really put it all out on the table in a way that forced her to face it. Tara isn't just "a Scooby," now. She's a part of Buffy's family. So, to Willow's admittedly self-centered mind, she's losing both of them. Her best friend doesn't need her, and her girlfriend seems like she's closer buds with that best friend than Willow herself has ever been. So close, in fact, that Tara seems to be more interested in her new "family" than in keeping Willow happy.

Tara isn't just "Willow's witchy arm candy" (canon) anymore. She's a Scooby in her own right, Buffy's friend in her own right, and poor Willow hasn't been given the information that would help explain how and why all this is happening. So the question becomes, how will Willow react when she DOES know what's going on?

07/03/2015 01:28 am
Slipped Words         
Flying by the seat of your pants in time shifting.  Brilliant possible scenarios!
It is nice to have some options on the table beside Willow's flexible ethics and unexplained whims, isn't it?

07/02/2015 10:42 pm
Slipped Words         
Surely they'll complete the claim now!
While Buffy is taking Dru at her word, and now believes the jump is very unlikely, it still isn't certain. Remember what she said when she told Spike she wanted to put off the claim: "As soon as I make damned sure I'm not going to make you a widower or a dust bunny."

So do we think she's "sure" enough to go ahead with it?

07/02/2015 06:03 pm
Slipped Words         

She lifted her glass. “To Anne and Henry.”

He lifted his. “And their poor, buggered parents.”

Love it!

OK, I officially hate you... another cliffhanger?  What does Spike hear?  Is it one of the idiot glorygits?  Sigh. 

 

It wasn't Spike that heard something. It was Buffy, accidentally hearing his thoughts. That extra strength suppressant spell has been showing signs of wearing off for a while. It looks like it's gone.

07/01/2015 10:50 pm
Surprise Preview         
That was a whole lot of fun, Henry and Ann such very proper names.  Best quote 'They came, they epiphanied, they poofed.'  Brilliant.
I love that line from Dawn, too. I wanted to keep a bit of her playfulness as an undertone, despite that she's so much older. The concept of "Vini, Vidi, Vici" translated into time traveling Scooby-speak seemed like a good way to do that. We saw so little of 2036 Dawn, there wasn't much time for character development. I had to pack a lot into what I had.

06/30/2015 01:08 pm
Surprise Preview         
Regarding the nicknames.  Yes, I know Sparky isn't new. I was more commenting that you were good at coming up with original nicknames (Of course, Sparky's not original, Warren used it, but it's original used for Spike).  I actually don't mind the 'glow girls', it kind of suits them.  I enjoy the verbal combat with Whistler.

__________

Quote from Dead Things:

ANDREW
That's not fair!

JONATHAN
Dude, you didn't call it!

WARREN
I don't have to call it, Sparky.
She's mine. But don't worry. You
can play with her all you want...
after I'm done with her.

You know, I'd forgotten that bit from Dead Things. What I remembered when I was writing Echoes was the First as Warren calling Spike "Sparky" during the crazy-in-the-school-basement period. That realization burned when it happened. I was halfway through the story by then, and more or less married to the nickname. I didn't want to drop it, but considered that I should because it would be tied to bad memories (assuming Spike himself even remembers that scene, since he was pretty out of it at the time). But I stuck with it, anyway.

06/30/2015 12:56 pm
Surprise Preview         
You are very, very cruel, you know that, right?  I need the next chapter.  very, very badly.  you're sure you don't want to post twice today? 

Yup.  It's good.  Interesting family that.  Notice there was no mention of a Willow of the 'present' in 2036.  Everyone else appears to be alive, including Joyce and Rupert 2.0(?) who are someone's kids...  you 'betta' update on time, or I may die of withdrawal...
Where 2036 Willow is, and who Joy and RJ belong to, are questions that will have to keep until the sequel. I have the answers, but Echoes doesn't. What Echoes has is a lot of little story threads and the solid structure for a sequel, built right in.

Yes, I'm cruel. For more than one reason.

07/02/2015 07:29 pm
Past Revelations         
I agree about expositions: they're tough to write, and they can really read badly. I'll never forget Mel Brooks' deliberately throwing in awkward exposition sentences in his films, only to have the character stating them turn around, glare at the audience, and growl, "Did everybody get that?"

But your expositions here are fun, in part because, I think, your Whistler is a puzzler. A teacher, constantly giving pop quizzes. He prods his students, and by implication, us. Those chapters are detective stories, and we're all Watsons to his Holmes. That's quite clever of you.
Awkward exposition played for comedy (and 4th wall breaking) is hilarious. I wish we would all pull that off. It would make exposition so much easier.

As a long time Holmes fan, I am bowing in gratitude at that comment. I never considered it that way, and it's a fine compliment. I always have two goals in mind when I write such scenes: Making it as clear and simple to the readers as I can and making the characters work for that understanding. Even in exposition, nothing is truly handed to them. The result is, as you say, a bit of a a detective story, though I never thought to phrase it that way.

07/01/2015 08:32 pm
Past Revelations         
This just gets better and better -- super twist from Whistler!  Love it.
Whistler brought a lot more than a screwed up pep talk this time, didn't he? Images of 2003, the revelation that he helped nudge Plan B into existence, and then BOOM! Buffy and Spike are whisked away to the future. We're really starting to get a feel for what an agent of the PTB is capable off, and it's a lot more than simple conversation.

06/30/2015 02:14 am
Past Revelations         
Great fun, this. I much prefer your casual, smartass Whistler to most appearances by him, in which he's little more than a quick plot device. He fits in as a character with the others, and you write him well.

I also like your mordant take on the Grand Solution, aka Every Girl Gets Slayer Powers, which supposedly makes up for one too many girls having slayer powers who shouldn't. Always seemed one of the silliest ideas in the series, barring the comics, which are infinitely worse. It's great seeing Plan A as an idea germinated by the First, along with its ramifications.

You do great exposition.
That's a big compliment about Whistler. Thank you!

As a plot device, I didn't *have* to have him, since the time travel work was handled by 2003 Willow. But including him opened a lot of other doors to enrich the story, starting with the addition of Tara (hinted at from his first appearance) and opening many others over the course of the writing of the story. As a character, he's kind of fun. I mean, he's not the most likeable person ever, but he's interesting. He's also probably the biggest smartass to ever be classified as a higher power.

I took my cues for his speech patterns from the little we saw of him in canon and let it grow from there, developing his little quirks until his voice is clear enough to be (at least occasionally) identified without speech tags. The habits of calling people by their surnames and kid/kiddo are probably the most distinctive traits. His casual tone is a little off from the casual speech of the others. Clearly his, but not the contrast one might expect from someone whose job title is "Case Agent for the Powers That Be." Whistler doesn't really do formal.  Mine doesn't, anyway.

I haven't read the comics, but if they go even further off the logic train than Chosen, I probably shouldn't. The complete FAIL that was the words of the Eye of Beljoxa vs. the "Grand Solution" drove me so nuts, I've written a novel-length story to fix it. The comics might be too much for me.

Ugh. I detest exposition scenes. Of what's posted thus far, there have been three heavy exposition Whistler scenes that I edited, rewrote, edited, and stared at for countless hours, never happy with them (the end of Connective Issues, the middle of Unwilling Witness, and the second half of Past Revelations). If I could have just downloaded that data into the readers' heads and deleted those scenes, I would have. They were such misery to deal with. Writing is easy. Endless stressing over clarity and simplicity is hard.

06/29/2015 01:22 pm
Past Revelations         
Glow girls?  Sparky?  You're big on the nicknames these days.  2036?  Y'know what, nevermind, I'm not even gonna begin to figure it out!  Just keep those updates coming so I don't have to wonder too long!

Poor Dawn.  now she knows what it's like to keep secrets!

______

Yes, the dracula review: I  got several responses.  I forgive you!  It's nice to know you try!
Come on, Blue! You should be used to Sparky by now. It's been in almost every one of the last 30 chapters.

Glow Girls is just a Whistler thing. I promise it won't catch on beyond him. Don't worry about that.

As for 2036, that chapter just posted. We're officially back on schedule. Enjoy!

Re the Dracula review: If I see it a fifth time, I'm going to report it, so the admin team is aware of the glitch. I promise I'll be clear that the report is about the glitch, not about you.

07/01/2015 07:58 pm
New Foundations         
That was smooth smooth, I like it when Angel is reasonable.






Angel didn't really have much of a choice. If he'd started a fight -or even just thrown a tantrum- he would likely be shutting the door on any future communication with Buffy. I think he knows that. Buffy and Spike are a package deal now, and Angel's being forced to accept that putting up with Spike is going to be the price of staying in touch with Buffy. On the plus side, Buffy's going to be family to him soon, in a way. It could be worse. *thinks for a minute about how much Spike annoys Angel* Ok, maybe not by much. hehe

06/28/2015 03:03 pm
New Foundations         
Oh, no!  They goofed up by not paying attention!  Understandable, considering what was right in front of them but they forgot a chief point of the mission.   Another excellent chapter!  Are you pushing some kind of point regarding destiny because that's what it seems like...
I don't understand what you're referring to. How did they goof up? What point of the mission did they forget? What point about destiny do you think I'm pushing?

06/27/2015 03:36 pm
New Foundations         
Well, I don't like the fact that they were careless enough to let Jinx get info.  Really not.  Sigh.  Let's hope this doesn't go even worse than before.  That isn't what you're planning, is it? 

So Angel's protecting the happy couple?  Didn't see THAT coming!  Angel as family protector.  Bet he didn't see it coming either! 

Well done, though I'm still very unhappy with you that Buffy is motherless.  very, very unhappy.  Grrr.  Grrr.
Um, how were they careless? Jinx specifically said he didn't catch much because he was staying far enough away to go unnoticed by "the slayer's vampire." So they had an intentionally vague conversation (in case they *were* overheard) and Jinx caught only enough to know that "the tall man" was an ally whose location would be worth knowing, and that the Key is a person (something Glory found out in canon).

Angel got put into a really bad position, and I kinda feel sorry for him (even if Spike doesn't). His ex is now the chosen mate of his least favorite relative (basically the vamp equivilant of 'off the market forever' and 'engaged to make it official'. He has three choices: 1. He could try to break the bond before a claim can happen by offing Spike. But -even if he could pull that off- Buffy doesn't seem like she'd be happy about that. Not even a little. 2. He can throw a tantrum and go home, likely pissing them off enough that he may never see Buffy again. 3. He can man up, accept the situation, and keep some kind of relationship with them both, since they're a package deal now.

I painted the poor guy into a corner. Add in the hero complex we all know Angel's carrying around, and he's pretty much stuck with option number 3, with a side order of helping them out. Yes, I'm evil. I forced Angel to behave himself and tried to make him useful, besides.

07/01/2015 07:43 pm
Right There         
Buffy's just lost her mother and Willow's still banging on about me, me, me supposed to be bestest friend ever...I don't get her at all.
I do. She really thinks she's being a good, supportive friend. She doesn't see that the "friendship test" was childish, or that she was interrogating Buffy at a really, really bad time. She thinks giving this distant, grieving Buffy another chance to be her BFF, not shutting the door on their relationship, despite everything, is doing Buffy a huge favor.

I know Willow doesn't come off as the world's best person in this fic, but I never mean it for character bashing. I truly believe that -in her own head- she's being patient, understanding, and forgiving. What Willow doesn't realize is that  Buffy doesn't think she has anything to be forgiven for.

They've drifted apart. Buffy's ok with that. Willow not only isn't ok with that, she also hasn't been given the information to explain why it happened. Buffy didn't seek her approval before pursuing a relationship with Spike. Buffy doesn't want to talk and hang out as much (in person or on the phone). Buffy's personality is a little "off" all the way around. Willow doesn't understand it (not her fault), and she doesn't generally handle change all that well (established character flaw).

06/25/2015 06:57 pm
Right There         
Yup, I know inventory sucks.  I used to work retail.

Rest well.
Inventory is definitely exhausting, but at least I still have few months before the Christmas chaos begins. Ugh. I need to be independently wealthy by then. I'm getting to old for this.

06/25/2015 06:56 pm
Right There         
Sometimes I hate life.  Well done chapter.  Really wanted a different outcome.  Sigh.

Blue
Sorry, Blue. I know you wanted her to stay.

07/01/2015 06:54 pm
Inevitable Spin         
Wow, now they are actually compromising -- progress indeed.  The ending does not bode well.
Compromising AND apologizing. It's like they've finally become grown ups... And just in time, too.

The 911 call was hard to read, wasn't it?

06/24/2015 01:11 am
Inevitable Spin         
Now we know one of things was inevitable,  I hope our heroes buckle down and get real serious with the others or maybe they cannot be moved in a desired direction either?   At least now Buffy knows it happened quickly...
There are layers and layers of plans in place, that have been building for months. The best summary (one scene referencing quite a few aspects of the planning) is probably in Connective Issues. Though more plans continue to be added as they go along. The time travelers aren't exactly flying by the seat of their pants, here.

06/22/2015 04:25 pm
Inevitable Spin         
That really, really, REALLY sucks.
Forgive me?

07/01/2015 04:58 pm
Porcelain Translations         
Thanks to an uncannily helpful Dru, there's positive progress.  Who'd have thunk it?
It's funny, no one ever expects Dru to be genuinely useful. Not in-universe, and not in the world of fan fic. I think I surprised a lot of people when I gave her visit a real purpose.

06/21/2015 12:00 am
Porcelain Translations         
Always have been a sucker for good games-within-games plots. And you do very nice Dru-speak. Not like some, just quoting the show or other fanfics. Caught various aspects of the broken prism of her personality well, too. Thank you for this.
I was slightly dreading getting to the Dru appearance, but when I actually sat down to write it, it came much easier than expected. I didn't write out a "clear and sane" version of her statements to use as a guide. But somehow, I managed to come up with pages of fairly consistent Dru-speak, wherein every line had a meaning (and a few have two).

I think that probably means I'm as crazy as the character. I should lie and say it was difficult, shouldn't I?

06/20/2015 09:12 pm
Porcelain Translations         
wow.  I was originally going to talk to you about Dru... but Whistler kind of stole her thunder and consider that for a moment!!! The powers that be are bastards. 

I love your version of Dru.  I'm awful fond of Dru and have written her with a soul, so I read your version with a sort of delight.  Usually, I find she makes a lot of sense inside the deliberate obtuseness and poetic craziness...  she really does need slaying, though...  even though I have a hard time seeing her go...

In case you care:
http://www.tthfanfic.org/wholestory.php?no=17764#chapter1
Wow. Whistler stealing the scene from Dru is kinda huge!

Bookmarking your story to read later. Very intrigued! Thanks for the link!

Joyce
06/20/2015 07:17 pm
Porcelain Translations         
Hmm, long games always sound ominous.  Should I hold onto my hat?  Still hoping for good things in the end though.  
Always hold onto your hat! This ride is anything but smooth!

06/29/2015 11:48 pm
Familiar Roads         
Smashing date -- and just what Buffy needed.  She seems to be learning good lessons.
They're actually talking? And compromising? And having fun just hanging out together in an off-slayage-duty way? OMG. Who are these people and what have they done with our favorite dysfunctional couple?

06/18/2015 05:35 pm
Familiar Roads         
I like the way you've explored in some detail the dysfunction of your Buffy's emotional landscape. And that you're also allowing for movement and change, which is not always forward. There's something to be said for action fanfics that stay close to their plots, but also for fanfics that while disciplined allow for a more leisurely exploration of their characters' worlds, both inside and out. Nice.
Echoes didn't start with a plan. The first thought was basically, "What if they actually listened to what the Eye of Beljoxa said?" And the entire thing snowballed from there, the story and the characters developing as I went. The result of this approach, working without a net (no outline), and letting the characters hold the reins, is a story that is a total nightmare in terms of pacing. It's not even remotely consistent.

The only real structure is provided by holding canon events loosely to the episode timeline we know. In between, the characters' responses to their situation and each other have time to grow and change. And I found (between stops at canon events) plenty of time to show it. I was mostly along for the ride, acting more as a guide than an author. That casual approach is what ruined the pacing, but the pay off -in terms of characterization- was huge.

The other good news about not being tied to an outline -and being so casual about the pacing- was that the story developed in a truly organic way. To build Echoes up to what it would become, I kept pulling things from its own history, using my own 'canon' to create the larger story, not knowing what that truly was until I got there.

It may be common to be reading a multi-layered story and find yourself slapping your forehead, mumbling, "Doh! How did I not see that coming? Of *course* X is Y and  Z is what caused it! *That's* what that line a dozen chapters back actually meant!" But it's a pretty amazing experience to do that when you're the one writing the story. Echoes caught lightning in a bottle. I doubt I'll ever again get such good results on such a huge story without a plan in place, to find accidental foreshadowing and the organic growth of a story built into itself so easily.

So the emotional stuff got tangled up with the action stuff, without solid plans for either in place. So the pacing is a train wreck. What matters is that I had a ridiculous amount of fun (and learned a lot) writing this story. And you wonderful readers like the results enough to throw incredible compliments at me, despite the meandering aspects. I guess I didn't need an outline, after all.   THANK YOU.

06/18/2015 04:34 pm
Familiar Roads         
Poor Eddie.  But it was for a good cause!

I used to have a friend who had a platonic harem of friends and ex girlfriends... My husband christened us "Joe's Harem" when we sadly had to plan his funeral a few years ago.  He was only 53. 

Some guys just have all the charm!  And yes, even my husband was charmed enough by him as a friend not to feel threatened.   (I was never one of his girl friends. That probably helped)
Aw! Joe sounds like my kind of guy. I love a fun, easy-going flirt. Charm and flirting are communication methods, just like anything else. They just happen to be strengths in some people, while the rest of us are either Jasleens (not sure how to take it) or Buffys (rolling our eyes, but accepting it with a smile). The charmers draw us to them, bring the kind of casual, giggling fun to our daily lives we frequently don't even know we need. It's always a joy to know the Joes of the world, whether we be Jasleens or Buffys. Sorry for your loss, Blue. *hugs*

06/29/2015 02:34 pm
Unfought Demons         
Very unpleasant Ben, spooked Buffy and hence the lack of romancing on a date -- but so far so good.  Giles returning was a surprise, nicely done!  He started well but was soon back in the land of the bewildered, that was fun!
Poor Giles. He came back thinking he could start fixing things, and immediately learns the situation isn't exactly what he thought it was.

06/16/2015 03:37 pm
Unfought Demons         
Speak to us of really, really perfect timing... for mayhem and misery... 

He's back five minutes and he knows his slayer got married.  Without him.  to a vampire.  Yup.  That was painful! 

Loved it.  Moar, moar!!  (raises the electronic bic lighter with the long flame)
More has posted! I have to keep feeding your addiction, don't I?

06/16/2015 03:10 pm
Unfought Demons         
Whoa,  Ben got more sure of himself!  It's like Glory is leaking over in a gimme way.    Looking forward to Gile's reaction in the next chapter.   The way you drop reminders of previous things and connecting them is wonderful.  You are a very talented writer. 
Aw! Thank you! That's very sweet. 

I think you'll like where things are going with Giles. He came expecting to make the first small steps, and ended up finding the first one was going to be a lot bigger than he imagined. Poor guy! He just can't catch a break with these time travelers, can he?

06/29/2015 01:29 pm
Resident Strangers         
You've done well with Dawn, still a kid but not so bratty as the original.  Buffy and Spike are kind of sad really -- hopefully they'll go on a date soon!
There was a balancing act with Dawn. I gave her more room to be mature, but didn't want her to come off as totally adult. It sounds simple, but it was more of a challenge for me than something that should have been far more difficult: Writing Drusilla dialogue that is crazy-abstract and still makes sense.

I suspect that means I'm closer to being insane than being a teenager.

06/26/2015 03:43 am
Resident Strangers         
brilliant chapter.  a little too peaceful, but like Dawn, I think I know crazy's around the corner soon again.

can't wait for the 16th.  damn, you've made an addict!
And here it is again. I think this review is Dracula. It ALWAYS comes back.

06/22/2015 05:01 pm
Resident Strangers         
brilliant chapter.  a little too peaceful, but like Dawn, I think I know crazy's around the corner soon again.

can't wait for the 16th.  damn, you've made an addict!
Glitchy, glitchy. This review keeps returning to the unanswered queue. Odd.

06/14/2015 08:51 pm
Resident Strangers         
brilliant chapter.  a little too peaceful, but like Dawn, I think I know crazy's around the corner soon again.

can't wait for the 16th.  damn, you've made an addict!
Here's something for you to chew on while you wait on chapter 25:

Up until about ten days ago, Resident Strangers didn't exist. Not a word of it. This allegedly "brilliant" chapter was the "extra chapter" we discussed previously, my emergency run at filling in some gaps. As I said before, it came together easily, but I played with it, edited it, and stressed over it up until the reviews started coming in.  I can breathe again now. It feels like it added some much-needed stuff to the story, and I apparently can do ok with occasional creative writing on a deadline.

I'm so, so happy you enjoyed it.

06/29/2015 12:56 pm
Friendly Detachment         
Smashing long chapter with all the necessary steps taken.  Tara's suggestion is brilliant, dating will be exactly what they both need!
One can only hope Buffy takes the advice. You know how stubborn she can be.

06/13/2015 05:52 pm
Friendly Detachment         
I feel for Buffy having had that intimate connection and then losing it.  Hoping their connection continues to grow for the sake of the mission.   Again, each chapter is better than the last.  The feeling of building up to a climax is increasing.  
It's a slow bulid. Sometimes it's so slow that you can't even see the progress. But we'll get there, with a few big moments and a hundred small ones along the way. Thrilled to know you're still enjoying the journey!

06/12/2015 01:17 pm
Friendly Detachment         
I feel so sad that she went through with it.  I personally think it was a mistake even though I understand her logic.

I really do like Eddie the minion.  And your version of Lydia.  And I really do wish you were updating this every day.  Because you've turned me into a junkie!

Blue
Don't worry too much, Blue. Our emotionally screwed up heroes have gotten through far worse than the suppressant. 
I really like Eddie and Lydia, too. I wish I had more opportunities to show them than I did. But my cast is kinda huge, and even the fun people end up on the back burner quite a bit.

06/11/2015 05:54 pm
Power Shifts         
No need to shrug! Your outline for the correspondence battle between Buffy and Travers was perceived just as you planned it, from the first volley that mixed Buffy's forcefulness with Spike's scalpel-like precision to her second, on which Shakespeare's Henry V might have looked with approval. I wanted to compliment you on it because correspondence seldom appears in BtVS fanfiction, and when it does, it's more structural and a distancing device to bring the sacred pair together. I've not seen it used before as a means of combat, so you get points for that, as well as for its quality.
Good! I told that part of the story almost entirely through the letters, and I was hoping the writing style would explain what was going on. I'm thrilled to know it worked. I have the characters put pen to paper a few different times in Echoes, all with the hope of pulling the reader further in, bringing them closer to the inner thoughts of the characters. Whether in letters or journal entries, it's common for people to write what they aren't saying aloud.

Thanks for your kind words!

06/11/2015 02:53 pm
Power Shifts         
Brilliant chapter!  I do hope we're gonna see more of Giles too, in spite of his 'issues'. 

I do love me some Anya!  That girl is something else!

I had pictures of Spike with flour in his hair, and on his face and a wriggling teenager on his shoulder!  they were hilarous pictures!
Nope, Giles hasn't been "written out." We'll see him again.

Leave it to Anya to take a silly, jubilant moment and dial it up to eleven. I had intended to bring the dancers back to the table and continue the conversation, but then Anya opened her mouth, and I found my chapter ending moment before I even started looking for it. I really couldn't top that for a closing line.

I have the same pictures in my head. In fact, up until a few days ago, I had him shaking flour out of his hair, not brushing it from his shirt. The last minute change was to slightly improve his appearance for his first meeting with Lydia, make him look a little less silly as he began almost-silent flirting with her. But I lived with the original version for months, and nothing is shaking the image in my head of him raking his fingers through his hair to shake loose some of the flour.

06/11/2015 02:51 pm
Power Shifts         
Tara shrugged. “I can handle these two. My summer job in high school was at a daycare.”

To quote the Simpsons' Bully!  "ha_ha"  That is too funny!

06/11/2015 02:49 pm
Power Shifts         
Tara shrugged. “I can handle these two. My summer job in high school was at a daycare.”

To quote the Simpsons' Bully!  "ha_ha"  That is too funny!
It would have been more useful if she'd been a lion tamer.   A daycare is much more believeable, especially for Tara.

06/10/2015 09:31 pm
Power Shifts         
I don't usually comment on (or even read) works in progress, but this is one of my rare exceptions. Enjoying it, and especially the written jousting between Buffy and Quentin. I think you caught the tone of both perfectly, allowing for Buffy's better handling of vocabulary in text form. Which, truthfully, might be due as much to her greater age, and to Spike's literary upbringing: in any case, it fits.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes. Good job.
I tried to make it clear in the tone and phrasing that Buffy had help with the final draft of the first letter to Travers (likely from Spike) but went off on her own for that last one, the one where she really brought the hammer down. The first one sounded polite and educated. The second one sounded like a season 7 General Buffy speech. *shrug* That was the idea, anyway.

I'm so glad you're enjoying this story. I've been living with Echoes for many, many months, along with my paranoia about how it would be received. I've never invested this much time and effort into a story, never before completed a novel-length piece. The kind responses to the chapters as they post are really carrying me through this final stage of the project, keeping my chin up as I dig through the final reworkings of the "rough spots." Thank you!

08/10/2015 10:05 pm
Unwilling Witness         
Loved this line  Even by vampire standards, that one courts danger on a professional level 

Such a wonderful description of Spike.
I put two very similar descriptions of Spike in Unwilling Witness. The Whistler line you quoted and Buffy's "I know you and caution are loose acquaintances, at best." I really can't decide which line I like more. They both crack me up.

06/25/2015 04:31 pm
Unwilling Witness         
Excellent dialogue here, Whistler talking even purtier than Giles at his best!  Buffy has come a long way if she's giving Eddie a chance like that - a fun idea in itself.  I'm so pleased she and Spike really are talking!
Actual communication? It's like they finally figured out they're grown ups or something! hehe

And Eddie is the most fun accidental character ever. He's so sad and pathetic, but such a nice guy... er, vampire.

06/09/2015 02:48 pm
Unwilling Witness         
You really have the best lines this chapter!

“I'm well aware that you and caution are loose acquaintances, at best, Spike.

And Buffy has minions!  poor thing.  This hooking up with the Prince of Darkness thing is definitely overrated... or maybe not! 

Damn, and now I've had my fix... I have to wait until tomorrow!  It's gonna be tough!  I will say that if you are going to polish your chapters into jems like this one, it will be worth a little extra waiting.

blue

(sorry the html didn't work in the previous message)
There are two versions of a similar thought in this chapter, and I really can't decide which is my favorite. Buffy's "loose acquaintances" line or Whistler's "Even by vampire standards, that one courts danger on a professional level." They both crack me up, and are such accurate descriptions of Spike's reckless streak.

Buffy with a minion is a fun little concept. Buffy letting that realization settle in on a joking line is a huge character moment in  tiny package. She's finally accepting enough of the weirdness and demon stuff in her life -particularly where Spike is concerned- to crack a joke about it in front of him. He's finally comfortable and secure enough in the relationship to take those words without reading any sting in them, and reply in the same joking spirit.

That this happens after the relationship has had a rather rough night tells you how far they've really come. Even with the uncertainty between them that they've just tried to hash out, there's still something unshakable at the foundation of the relationship. It took a lot of years for them to get to that little joke, and to all it represents.

That unexpected chapter I added came together with remarkable ease. It was so easy, in fact, that the outline I scribbled out for it ended up being almost entirely unused. Apparently, I had a better idea of what character development and storyline updates were needed than I'd initially thought, and once I got started, it flowed remarkably well. As of now, there's no sign I'll need to break the schedule.

06/09/2015 02:15 pm
Unwilling Witness         
<font color="red">"</font>I thought we were going to hang out. Maybe trade slayer stories?”

“I've already seen yours. It was depressing.”

That is PRICELESS. 

(Eddie's bit is also missing an initial double quotation mark)
 

Nice catch! Corrected.

06/25/2015 02:43 pm
Connective Issues         
Pitch perfect comunication from Travers! 
I'm not surprised Buffy finds the Scoobies hard work, she's a not their Buffy but does surprisiingly well.  She has more patience than I'd have!
I'm relying on you to clarify the Whistler business.
Which aspect of the Whistler business? The stuff he's involved in will be unraveled, a little at a time.

06/06/2015 05:43 pm
Connective Issues         
OK, I found the conversation Tara had with Whistler just a tiny bit confusing...  What did I miss? 

The conversation with Buffy and Joyce was necessary, though Joyce probably will worry more now she thinks she'll die. 

The scooby reunion is a good thing, I think.  I feel ambivalent, but I think Buffy feels ambivalent too. 

Love the relationship with Tara, Buffy and Spike!  Trust is good.

Blue
The Tara/Whistler conversation is a lead in to chapter 21, where this topic takes center stage. If you're still confused after that, please let me know, so I can work on it.

I didn't realize Joyce had figured it out until I wrote the "my girls won't starve" line. I stared at it, trying to decide if she had actually figured it out, or if I should delete the line. It took me a minute to realize she'd been given too much information NOT to.

The Scooby lunch was mostly a "Buffy trying to get into the 'best buds' groove with Willow, almost as a parting gift" situation, sending her off without bitterness, mostly because Spike pushed her (literally). I think you're right about her feeling ambivalent. There was a "forced cherfulness" undertone to the whole conversation that I couldn't shake in edit after edit... until I understood why it was there and stopped trying.

The real "best buds" situation is forming among the travelers. They're starting to really bond as a group, and it never feels forced to write or read it. They just naturally work.  We'll get more of the traveler friends later.

Thanks for another kind review, Blue!

06/25/2015 01:27 am
Dance Partners         
Deftly done, my dear.  I love how Buffy isn't wavering.
She really brought the general and her luggage out to talk to Giles up on the catwalk, didn't she?

06/04/2015 05:41 pm
Dance Partners         
lovely ending to a great chapter, even with the sad bits.  I do hope that Giles has the sense to get his arse back to America post haste as soon as he's settled Willow in.  It really doesn't work as well without him and I would love to see that healing happen.

Thanks,

Blue
Hopefully, the massive unloading of stories and internal conflict Buffy is carrying around will influence his decision-making about how long to stay gone. There's definitely more healing that could be done. We'll see!

Thanks for another kind review, Blue! 

06/02/2015 02:18 am
Steps Behind         
  I note that I'm not the only one of your public who's expecting mayhem with a few scattered punches!
I've noticed. But what goes wrong and what goes right vs. what gets loud and what goes quietly can get a little mixed up sometimes. And sometimes, not only is the trouble not what you're expecting, but the causes and the effects aren't, either.

06/02/2015 02:16 am
Steps Behind         

“Mom!” She rolled her eyes. “I'm eloping with a 150 year old vampire, and we're living in your basement. You are not supposed to be happy about this.”

“Would you please let me have my moment?”


And THAT is absolutely priceless!!!  Now, I can't wait for the big, crazy slayer-vampire nuptials.  Gonna be quite a BASH!  Hope there's no bloodshed!

Peace,

Blue

I originally had another scene in this chapter, after the line you quoted. From a narrative point of view, it made sense. From a 'good stopping point' storytelling point of view, it didn't. This was a far better chapter ending than the other scene. So the other scene got shifted to the beginning of chapter 19.

This is actually the second time this happened. Xander's confession of love to Anya got shifted from the tail end of Lost Pupil to the beginning of Old Friends for the exact same reason. The previous scene was a far better chapter ending. Both are cases of "It's the same day, it should be the same chapter," immediately followed by the counter argument of "When you find your stopping point, and it sounds good, STOP." No wonder my characters argue. I argue with myself...

06/01/2015 11:36 pm
Steps Behind         
What are the chances of this going smoothly?  Here's hoping. 
For what to go smoothly? The wedding? The psuedo-reception? The marriage? What part of any of those could crash and burn? The field is wide open. 

Yes. I'm evil. But you've probably figured that out by now.

Sheila
05/31/2015 11:41 am
Implied Promises         
Wow! our story justkeeps getting better and better. Thank you
Thanks! Thriled to know you're still enjoying it!

05/30/2015 10:21 pm
Implied Promises         
Wow -- I didn't see that coming!  Great to see Buffy is really opening up, and Spike's keeping pace with her.  Again Tara excels -- wonderful.
Who is keeping pace with whom is actually a major theme in chapter 18, which just posted. Enjoy!

05/30/2015 05:51 pm
Implied Promises         
I'm not sure which part of this you thought we would hate...  I think this is an awesome chapter and people are acting like themselves.  Did I miss something?? 

The only thing I really want to see you avoid is the death of two of the loveliest women of the buffyverse...  We need our Tara and Buffy and Dawn (and Spike too) needs mommy.  Please?

Lovely chapter.  How's that for a review?  <great big smile> 

Peace,

Blue
I was dead convinced the crazy proposal would be received with eyerolls, and the fear that I'd be derailing Echoes into fluff-ville. Admittedly, there is a little fluff building going on, but only as part of the wild roller coaster of the larger story. Honestly, I'm shocked that the commentary I've received thus far has been so positive. I was sure Implied Promises would be the first of the strange turns in the story to earn remarks of disappointment. Telling you I'm sighing in relief right now doesn't begin to express my feelings.

Thanks bunches, Blue!

05/30/2015 12:14 am
Flash Decisions         
Good that Buffy went to see Faith, it went well too.  At last Buffy came clean to Spike, Willy's place might not be the most romantic venue but it works for me!
My stance on Buffy is that she really isn't the romantic type anymore. I think all the romance and cuddly, open affection attitudes have been sapped out of her by this time. After all her years at the slayer, and the resurrection's aftermath, she's different. This may be a season 5 story, but this is a Buffy who went through seasons 6 and 7. General Buffy's emotional dam is finally breaking, but it's never going to result in a flood of cutesy 'I love yous'. She's just not that girl anymore.

I'm glad to see people enjoying the low-key presentation of the 'OMG, we've been waiting for this forever' moment at Willy's, and the welcoming attitudes toward Faith. I freakin' LOVE Faith. I wish I'd had an excuse to make that prison scene longer.

05/28/2015 08:30 pm
Flash Decisions         
This was a very funny chapter.  Funny and poignant. 

I felt a little sorry for the first.    The spell is complete now, isn't it?  They've already changed the future irrevocably.

I loved the scene with Faith.  I like her. I think she's underused, so I'm glad to see you're integrating her into the storyline.

I really am looking forward to the next chapter.  I cannot wait for your updates!! 

Blue
(blue's stories) http://www.tthfanfic.org/authors.php?no=12717&list=profile



Yup, that's it. The 2003 they knew no longer exists. Year 2000 Willow took it away as a possibility by agreeing to go in for training. Things can't happen the exact same way anymore.

I love Faith. As I told another reviewer, I would have loved an excuse to make the prison scene longer. Back in True Stories (chapter 9) I sort of addressed my Faith thoughts. She's a lot like Spike, and even Buffy thinks they might have made a match. Just imagine if he'd fallen for the other slayer. They could have torn the world down together, and her sass with his snark would have been so, so fun.

Chapter 17 is one of the ones I'm nervous about. The story takes a turn, one I'm sure a lot of people won't like. I've just posted it, and I'm expecting some serious fall out in the reviews. The next week or so is going to be a lot less friendly on the review pages, I fear. I can only hope people read my chapter notes and trust me with this.

05/29/2015 11:53 pm
Tree Trunks         
Excellent Tara is so patient with the terrible two -- witty as well.  Looks like Xander is being reasonable too.
Unfortunately for Tara, the Terrible Two kind of *need* a mediator/babysitter, and she's been unofficially elected. She should carry weapons and learn how to threaten them. hehe

And aren't you proud of Xan? It's so good to see him acting like a grown up!

05/26/2015 02:11 pm
Tree Trunks         
ROTFL.  Best.  Line.  Ever.

Tara shook her head. “I'm so glad I was dead for all of this.”

____

This has been quite a chapter.  I'm gonna miss my red scythe, but then again, I've always liked green!  If I ever make another copy of the scythe, I'll make it green in your honor... assuming I don't make it indigo in my own... not sure of the symbolism of an indigo scythe though...

____

You give good Xander.  I love how he's developin'.  Really, really do!  I fear for Willow for Tara's sake.  I do hope that Tara gets to live through this, no matter what transpires with Willow.

And I'm dyin' to hear the favor Spike is asking!

More soon, right?

Blue
________

Little (but long) quibble: You may want to change this word...

Yea ≠ yeah. Or yeh or yay, which is what it sound like.  Yea is biblical English and still used today mostly for voice voting {yea or nay}.  It is NOT the correct spelling of the affirmative slang 'yeah' or 'yay' or 'yeh' in either British or US English.

Spike uses all of the different variants of Yeah, yeh, yah, yay... and maybe even some I haven't thought of, but never the meaning of yea, that I can remember, and your chapter above has no voice votes that I noticed.

It's yea do I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... don't think that was what you were going for, though with Buffy and Spike, occasionally, the valley of the shadow of death seems to be a good description of their relationship! 

http://blog.educationbug.org/2011/05/commonly-misused-words-like-yea-vs-yeah.html






That Tara line is a favorite of mine, too. The perfect cap to her observing of that 'season 7 baggage' argument, wouldn't you say? It still cracks me up, months after I wrote it.

Hmm... Indigo. Maybe something related to the sky at dusk? The meeting of night and day?

Xander's progress has been so fun to write. It's been slow and subtle, and (I fear) frequently buried in the other stories going on around it, but it's been among the high points of the larger story for me. Isn't it great to see *something* going right?

Re yea vs. yeah-- After reading your comment, I did some research, and found boatloads of articles and blogs on the topic. I can tell you exactly why this is a common mistake: Some people were actually TAUGHT that in contemporary slang, both spellings mean 'yeah,' and the choice is purely artistic.

I know because I was one of the students. Her name was Mrs. Kretzer. I remember that lesson well for the -apparently ironic- reason that I think of it every time I see 'yeah,' the spelling I opted against. It stuck with me. And here I am, nearly  three decades after I left her classroom, finding myself having to do a lot of editing and (far more difficult) having to relearn something long ingrained. I really want to hunt that woman down right now...

(Safe bet that you'll catch some inconsistencies in the usage from me for a while, until it gets drilled into my head.)

06/03/2015 02:35 am
Eternal Monkey         
I was almost surprised by how easily Willow gave in but remembered this is an earlier, less sure of herself Willow.  Really liking Althanea!
Yeah, this is pre- "I resurrected a slayer, so don't mess with me" and even pre- "I faced off against a Hellgod" Willow. Also, the focus is being put on Giles' history with magic, which Willow knows isn't exactly pretty.

05/24/2015 03:51 pm
Eternal Monkey         
That was a bit easier than I expected...  Other shoe?  I always suspect a whole deluge of shoes when Willow's involved.  I do like her, but I am very suspicious of her a lot of the time b/c her rape of Tara's mind and some of the other unethical things she does in canon really didn't get the consequences that she earned.  She came very close to destroying both Buffy and reality and I don't think she really ever 'owns' it in canon. 

Essentially, your story is forcing her to do so, and thankfully, before the fact.  Actually, it's unique in requiring her to face her issues, or very nearly so.  Of all the characters on the series, Willow and Xander get away with the most egregious wrongs.  Xander is often destroyed in fanfic for his, especially in Spuffy fic - a lot of spuffy writers appear to hate him (I don't).  Willow, seldom, if ever gets the same treatment.  (I do remember one story where she kills Tara inadvertently). 

I don't like character bashing - I have no use for any character bashing stories.  I'm talking about stories that explore the characters in a three dimensional way, the way you are.  It is rare.  You do it well.

This is one of the more thoughful stories I've seen about the nature of all the characters and their relationships.  Very well done, in case I haven't been clear on that!

Blue
Thanks, Blue! I agree, character-bashing is tiresome. But real relationships with three dimensional people? *That's* interesting.

What's really fun is seeing the divergence with  Xander and Willow. They started out in almost the same place as far as dealing with this suddenly changed Buffy and her relationship with Spike. But Xander started accepting the changes, observing and trying to edge closer to these strangers, attempting to close the gap. While Willow fell to sulking about the distance in the friendship and trying to forcibly restore the closeness in one big move. It's the tortoise and the hare, in some ways. And here we are, headed into chapter 15, and the old 'judgey Scooby twins,' a very well-known 2-for-the-price-of-one character set in the Spuffy fandom, aren't acting like a single unit at all.

It's amazing what can happen when you let characters think for themselves, rather than forcing them in a certain direction, or having them feed off each other's insecurities. Treat them like actual, individual people, with their own styles of communicating and reacting to events, and you don't have to turn friends into villains to keep things interesting.  Real, flawed relationships with real, flawed people is way more fun to explore than the simplistic 'Friend doesn't like my boyfriend. Screw you, friend! You're now the bad guy' refrain we all know so well.

05/24/2015 03:01 pm
Eternal Monkey         
Willow seems very open to the idea, can it be as easy as that?  I love how you've picked up on and used events like Buufy flatlining -- brilliant.
I always thought the fact that they never mentioned Buffy having another 'technically, I was dead' moment in canon as a dropped ball. Granted, there was a lot of other stuff going on, but *someone* could have mentioned it at some point. So I grabbed both of those facts: That it happened, and that no one bothered to talk about it. It gave me a few good lines, and also gave us an additional reminder of an important facet of the Spuffy relationship: There are still things they don't know about each other, still conversations they haven't had. Also, that Buffy has stopped viewing her deaths as something to freak out about. I guess, by the third time, you get a little jaded about it.

(As an aside, there's an unspoken implication in Buffy telling that story: Either season 7 Willow told her she flatlined or Buffy made a 30 second visit back to heaven. Those are the only circumstances under which Buffy would know what happened while she was on the operating table. Either Willow admitted to a second resurrection-ish act, or Buffy got yanked out of heaven again. Definitely an interesting thought to play with.)

05/23/2015 05:05 pm
Old Friends         
Considering the circumstances, I think they are doing really well.  Look forward to seeing how the Willow magic intervention goes.
Our travelers are slowly building a new situation for themselves, with each other and with the Scoobies. But it's early yet. How this dynamic plays out is anyone's guess.

05/23/2015 03:53 am
Old Friends         
First off, thanks for the reminder of why Glory/Ben can't just get offed...  You made a reason so you could write this great story and it does work, I just forgot b/c I am occasionally braindead.

________

That was a lovely chapter.  A great way to get everyone together, but also a great way to move people to places that feel comfortable for Spike and Buffy... including introducing Buffy to Clem, etc.  It was a great 'utility' chapter.  And the others don't even know!

I loved your kitten demon and Trixie! 

More, more, more! 

Blue
I hadn't thought of Old Friends as a 'utility' chapter, either from the travelers' perspectives or from my own, but that's definitely a fair assessment. The Scooby get-together that included Spike, showing the shift in Buffy's attitudes about Willy's bar, and all the implications that come along with hanging out there (casual drinking, being friendly with demons, letting herself get comfortable in Spike's world as much as he's gotten comfortable in hers, etc.) was all necessary stuff. The Scoobies needed to see and experience all that, and the readers needed to get a taste of some of the little not-time-travel-related things going on behind the scenes.

Echoes is told mostly through conversations, so a lot of little stuff happens behind our backs. We don't find out about some things until the characters talk about it while we're in the room. That's why we're just now finding out Buffy tried to move up her mother's doctor appointments, and that she and Spike make occasional late night stops at Willy's. Both readers and Scoobies are being let in on things a little at a time.

Thanks for another wonderful review, Blue!

05/23/2015 12:36 pm
Lost Pupil         
Spanking good chapter.  I'd almost forgotten the time jumping.  Buffy needed to get all the Giles crap off her chest, not sure how he'll react though.  Excellent voices all round.
Giles' reaction, and the evolution of that relationship, is going to be a process. Their lives are very much intertangled, so they aren't going to be able to get rid of each other completely, even with the death of the watcher/slayer relationship. The question is, what relationship rises from the ashes? And how does it happen? Thanks for another kind review!

05/22/2015 12:47 am
Lost Pupil         
Whistler surprised us with his philosphy!
He may be an annoyance, but he's not stupid. The question is: does that make him more or less of an annoyance? Thanks for reviewing again, Joyce!

05/20/2015 02:33 pm
Lost Pupil         
I had a long and loving review that Firefox ate... I'll try again.

First, I love the shout out to Cassie!  Yes, one day she'll tell him.  Not sure that day is now, but this is close!

Really thought that the use of Giles 'G'ournal was a great Gilesian way to gain insight into his thought processes and how confused he is.  Poor Giles has no idea to do with Buffy's rage, but Buffy really is angry

It's high time that Buffy do some confronting... Xander really needs to consider his feelings for Anya.  I think if anything, Buffy needs to sit him down and ask him about his misgivings.  To be truthful, you can see signs of them without the time travel...  whatever the result (them breaking up or them sorting things out) it has to be an improvement on being jilted at the altar.

Still unclear as to why killing Ben is so bad, but if not Ben, hopefully, killing Doc is on the cards, though not so soon that he can be replaced.  I really would like to see Ben go, though because many, many innocents are going to die because of his continued existence.  And yes, I see how he's an innocent, but unless you can come up with a way to separate Glory from him and let him continue living, I think he's going to have to die at some point no matter what... it's just a matter of how many people he (in Glory) kills first.


Can't remember the rest... sorry, 

Great chapter, can't wait for the next one.

Blue
*shakes fist at Firefox on your behalf*

The Cassie line was one of those happy accidents. The conversation stumbled into that moment naturally, and instead of editing Buffy's casual comment, I just went with it, and let Spike express his thoughts on it in the most concise and natural way I could think of: That he would immediately think of Cassie's prophecy, and have mixed and/or unclear feelings about what Buffy said.

The Xander conversation was essentially a replacement for his (top five greatest canon Xander moments) confrontation with Buffy in Into the Woods. The circumstances -and thus the words- are different, but the theme of each telling the other 'Be honest with yourself about your lover, and then SAY IT' holds for both the canon and Echoes versions.

Keep in mind all the little Xander moments we've had thus far. Our travelers are influencing him, and influencing his relationship with Anya, almost by accident. His arc doesn't carry the big moments that some of the other changing character relationships carry. It's sneaking in, a piece at a time, little comments and conversations scattered amongst all the bigger events that draw both the characters' and readers' focus.

Whistler laid it out in Safe House (chapter 3) that if Ben dies before his internal battle of wills with Glory 'softens her up,' there's a chance she could be strong enough to jump into another host body. And the nearest one would be Ben's killer. *shudders* There's no way that would end well. Can you imagine Glory inside Spike or Buffy? Yikes!

Unfortunately for our travelers, there aren't any shortcuts to take. Fortunately for us, we get to see it all play out, and see all the similarities and differences as they happen.

05/20/2015 01:26 am
Pivot Point         
One of the very satisfying things about time travel fic is keeping all the various details together.  I love how Tara went "Who's Kennedy?".    Each chapter gets better and better.  It also looks like Xander is doing some actual growing up too.  
That Tara knows pretty much only the bare bones of what came after her death is something that keeps coming up. I actually thought, in the first days after I turned Tara into a fellow traveler, I'd have trouble keeping it straight that she knows the big stuff (First Evil, dark Willow, etc.), but only knows the details and the other stories from what Spike and Buffy tell her. It was easier than I thought. And it actually provided a few fun moments along the way, as she reacts to some of the details, including one of my favorite funny lines in the entire story.

Thanks for reviewing!

05/18/2015 02:01 pm
Pivot Point         
I like it when a plan goes well.   Of course, poor Anya probably doesn't feel all that sanguine about it!

Much less brain twisty!

Blue

Regarding the previous chapter: Yes, the visions of future/past were disturbing, which I'm hoping was your intent.  That I found it disturbing was a compliment.  The confusing part wasn't, but sometimes, things in fiction are (and need to be) confusing b/c a lot is happening...  see what others think about the last chapter and in a few months re-read it and see if it still hangs together in your head...  sometimes in the heat of things, you can't see the 'issues' because you know what you mean to say, but all of it doesn't make it to paper as cogently as you would like.  Of course, sometimes a reader's brain is just 'some place that is else' and that is not the writer's fault!  

Bottom line: don't sweat it.  You have a story that DOES hang together rather well and I genuinely don't know what's going to happen... which is fun with stories like this.
Poor Anya! She dodged the shoulder injury because 'Real Me' played out differently, and ended up with a more serious injury because 'Shadow' played out differently. Way to go, time travelers. *shakes head in disappointment at Buffy and Spike*

As for Flash Forward, a little confusion was expected. It's a lot of contradictory scenes overlaid (literally) with a room full of talking observers... Mostly the same people. But it sounds like you got more than a little confusion. Hopefully, I won't lose you like that again.

05/18/2015 02:46 am
Flash Forward         
I found this chapter both disturbing and hard to follow. 
Disturbing in what way?
I'm sorry you had trouble following it. The 2003 portion is definitely a tangle, what with all the flashes of possible versions of that day sharing the room with the 2003 Scoobies. Is the uncertainty about what may come what disturbs you?

05/18/2015 12:33 am
Flash Forward         
All those possible time changing scenarios are making me nervous.  Wonder if they changed something significantly at this stage and hopefully for the better?
If that dream is any indication, they've just changed *something* important. What that is is a question for chapter 11 to answer. Thanks for reviewing!

08/10/2015 03:08 am
True Stories         
Ah - but doesn't Giles already know some of this? So, he may be unhappy, but .... okay, no more speculating. I'll just wait.....
I'm assuming you were referring to Willow's "Giles is going to freak" response to seeing the Spuffy date. The short answer is that she doesn't know what Giles knows. And she definitely doesn't have a clue there's been a Giles and Spike conversation that discussed Spike's relationship with Buffy. Wouldn't her mouth drop open if she did? LOL Just imagine the look on her face...

05/15/2015 12:01 pm
True Stories         
Sometimes Plan B is the superior plan.  Please love me some more... give me more Spike and Buffy lovin'!  And please let Giles get a clue.  I'm so tired of people being idiots.  With friends like them, one does not need the First.

Blue... who feels really blue that B.B. King died yesterday.  Glad for the music of a good story to cheer me up a bit.

There's big Giles stuff coming soon. I think you'll like it. He offers us a really good look at his internal conflicts about this 'new to him' version of Spike, and Buffy offers Giles a peek at the reason she made that Quentin Travers comment a few chapters back. But there's a lot of stuff going on (almost) at once, so personal issues of one stripe get pushed back for those of another. We'll get there soon. Thanks, Blue!

08/10/2015 02:50 am
Heaven Sent         
OH, Well, that's an interesting development! Loving this fic. So very them - all that respect and love and they still push each other's buttons like nobody else can.  
The Tara reveal was foreshadowed, but I think I was too subtle with it. A lot of people seemed to be surprised by it.

Re pushing each other's buttons: And that's the most fun part of the relationship. I love the adversarial layer to it, and didn't want that to be wiped away, no matter how well the friendship and romantic attachment layers developed.

05/13/2015 11:00 pm
Heaven Sent         
i like the old lady!   And the last several chapters... very nicely done.  God, but you're good at making me eager.  It's  a special talent you've got. 

Re: the fight... not that fond of it either.  Re the argument and the Spike running off but doing nice things... it reads right.  It's pouty, but not ridiculously so.

Blue
Maybe you'll find chapter 9 more to your liking. At the very least, it's less tumultuous. We'll see! Thanks for reviewing!

Sheila
05/12/2015 10:49 pm
Heaven Sent         
Just  caught up with several chapters.  The story is great, thanks.
Thanks for reading and reviewing! More soon!

tamisnead
05/08/2015 11:45 pm
Fair Trades         
TextI just finished the last chapter of this story so far and I just wanted to tell you how much I loved it!  Please tell me you plan on finishing this wonderful story?
It's already finished. I'm still fiddling with some edits to the final chapters, but the content itself is complete. Those edits should be done in ample time to avoid disrupting the posting schedule, which is 'approximately every other day.' The hard part is talking myself into ditching five pages of material because -while it's a scene I felt was useful- it isnt necessary, and disrupts the narrative flow of that section of the story. Once I finally convince myself to get rid of those five pages, the rest of the edits will be a breeze. As I said, the content is done.

05/07/2015 03:32 pm
Fair Trades         
As painful as the soul is, I think he's better with his WHOLE psyche intact.  I do believe that conscience really does improve judgment.  Love may go a long way, but Seeing Red and the demon eggs happened for a reason... it wasn't lack of love, but lack of true MORAL judgment.  Spike is amazing with or without the soul, but a champion of the Light needs a true north moral compass... and Buffy needs a monster with a true north moral compass too.

Blue
I completely agree. He needs to keep it. But she needs to be able to look him in the eye and acknowledge that some part of him didn't need it, that he's still more than a monster (*cough* Angelus) without it.  She's finally getting there.

05/07/2015 03:17 pm
Time's Colors         
It begins to get complicated, doesn't it?  Hard to trust someone who betrays you the way Giles has even though this one hasn't yet, isn't it?  Sigh.
Yea, there's a lot of invisible baggage that tagged along on this trip. Dealing with that won't be simple.

05/05/2015 01:46 am
Time's Colors         
Giles is too stubborn in an arrogant way to change.  

05/05/2015 01:46 am
Time's Colors         
Giles is too stubborn in an arrogant way to change.  
We'll see. This could get a little complicated. Thanks for reviewing!

05/04/2015 09:30 pm
Time's Colors         
Tara is just as nosey as Willow but happily has more control ... so far.  Well done with sniffy Giles.
I think of it as more 'curiosity' than 'nosiness.'  But yes, definitely more control. Thanks for reviewing!

08/10/2015 12:24 am
Safe House         
Forgot to comment on last chapter. I'm really enjoying this and jumped right to the next one.  Could happen again....
If you're too caught up in the content to remember to pause between chapters, that means I did my job, right?

05/07/2015 02:38 pm
Safe House         
really liking this a lot!!
Thank you!

05/03/2015 09:15 pm
Safe House         
Totally enjoying this! 
Good to know! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

05/03/2015 07:35 pm
Safe House         
I love how well they're getting along, it's really sweet .. the business with Joyce too.  Even Whistler did well.
Unfortunately, I have a schmoopy streak with Buffy and Spike that I kind of suck at hiding. The good news is that -like everything else in Echoes- there's a concerted effort being made to match the characters we know... And that means it's not always so sweet.

I'm so happy everyone is enjoying Joyce. I had a lot of fun writing her appearances. I was hoping I wouldn't be the only one who liked them.

Sheila
05/03/2015 02:54 pm
Safe House         
Love this story already.  Can't wait to read more.  Thanks
Thanks! Your eagerness is my ego boost. Um, I mean, your wish is my command. Yea, that's what I meant to say. Update posted. Thanks for reviewing!

Melissa
04/30/2015 11:28 pm
Bounce Factors         
Great story. Looking forward to more.
Happy to know you're enjoying it! Thanks for reviewing!

08/09/2015 08:17 pm
Plan B         
Ashamed to say I'm just now getting to this. You're off to a great start!
YAY! SMS is reading Echoes! That's a compliment unto itself.

06/07/2015 05:27 pm
Plan B         
so much missing my fix of this story I started re-reading it.  I cannot tell you how rare that is.  About the only thing I re-read is my own stuff, and that's mostly to correct mistakes.

Blue
Thank you! That's a huge compliment! Don't worry, I've posted another "fix" for you.

I maintain that Echoes is going to be much more enjoyable as a binge read after completion than it is as a chapter-by-chapter read. There's too much little stuff that can be forgotten in the days or weeks between mentions, and a lot of the foreshadowing is being missed by the "as it posts" readers for the same reasons.

Re rereading for mistakes: I'm right there with you. I'm still going through every chapter at least three times in the week prior to posting, tweaking and touching up as I read.

I've just found some gaps in some upcoming material that I'm freaking out about. Nothing is really missing in the logical flow of things, but there's an obviously missed opportunity to better explain a situation (it feels almost summarized as it stands), paired with an even more obvious opportunity to take care of some character stuff. I'm currently adding some scenes that might add up to an entire extra chapter, and hoping it's all polished up in time to prevent breaking my "every even numbered day" posting routine.

And once I've gone through that, and continued plowing ahead of the readers to fine-tune the later chapters, I STILL have to go back to the early chapters to root out more typos and write proper summaries. I think I'm going to need a vacation when this beast of a story is finally over.

04/28/2015 11:04 pm
Plan B         
Good start update soon
Thank you! ... Done!