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Thread: Discussing Fanfiction: A Better Man by Sunalso

  1. #21
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
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    I liked that Rob was a terrible Spike, but in a subtle way. I was also happy that Buffy recognised the real Spike almost immediately, because Spike made a terrible robot, and Buffy not realising the truth would have been unbelievable. The fact that it took her some time to realise she wasn't hallucinating or that this wasn't a symptom of her illness, actually played quite well into that illness.

    Rudy was great, he had real character, but as has already been said, I think I would have liked further explanation as to why he didn't kill. It's virtually canon that fledgies wake up with a burning hunger and they have to eat straight away, which is why they kill those closest to them. Though I like the idea of Rob and Rudy going off and having adventures on their own, though Rob looking so much like Spike could cause a lot of mistaken identity issues.

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  3. #22
    Slayer TriBel's Avatar
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    I think the Council doesn't have that right at all and that you have a hybrid of the demon and the human.
    This is one reason I have problems with the notion of canon - canon in the sense of the internal laws that govern a universe. Things like the nature of the soul, demon etc aren't "natural" laws - they're cultural ones. Where did they originate? Often, in both the real world and the fictional world they sustain the status quo to the detriment of other groups. Buffy changed the canon of the Slayer - what stops other canonical laws from changing (genuine question)? Is it just a "thing" with fictional verses? Stoney? Anyone?

    though Rob looking so much like Spike could cause a lot of mistaken identity issues.
    Not for me. In my head canon he looks like this: https://78.media.tumblr.com/e93013fa...lqlzo1_500.gif
    Last edited by TriBel; 13-04-18 at 07:05 PM.

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  5. #23
    Hellmouth Tourist sunalso's Avatar
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    OMG Tribel..I'm dying...though it's more like this: (I spent a lot of reviews with a reader calling him R.O.B.)



    Canon is necessary as a shared language and common basis, but there are 8 million different interpretations of it and often if you don't like it, it just goes out the window.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  7. #24
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    In my headcanon he looks like this :

    giphy.jpg


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    ................................ Banner by buffylover

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  9. #25
    Slayer TriBel's Avatar
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    OMG Tribel..I'm dying...though it's more like this: (I spent a lot of reviews with a reader calling him R.O.B.)
    LOL! Seriously though, what I like about Rob is he was programmed by her friends - which shows the characteristics they valued. I didn't really see him as the robot but I did see him as "the man you could take home to meet your parents". In fact, like flow's GIF

    It raises interesting questions when you take the title into consideration. In fact, it demands you consider the title.

    I had a pile of notes on Chapter 2 but can't find them! I liked the opening.

    "Buffy teased one out and yanked at it. She was sitting on the sofa, knees pulled up with one arm wrapped around them, listening to the robot talk to Giles on the phone. The string between her fingers was refusing to be pulled out and she curled it around her knuckle."

    I like the attention to detail; the distraction of the thread (a plot satellite) pushes the centre to the periphery. I could imagine the scene being filmed. I don’t like Rob saying “Sir” (yes - see flow's GIF) but I like the explanation of why he’s using specific registers. I like that both Buffy and the couch have arms (I presume). The last bit struck me - it might not be something you intended but Buffy "unraveling" and no more animated than the couch - I like that. The problem with sofas and BtVS is - of course - The Body. It's always an absent presence

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  11. #26
    Scooby Gang cil_domney's Avatar
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    Stoney: I think I would have liked clearer understanding of how the post S7 period went downhill for Buffy, when the pride she seemed to feel at Spike's sacrifice jumbled in with her own sense of a loss of purpose/identity and her response to his absence became more grief laden.
    Glad you brought this up – this is the same for me. I found myself wanting a lot more story support for this massive emotional and mental destruction that led to Buffy’s intended total destruction of her existence. I can’t help but think of the “train wreck symbolism” of Buffy making her choice to engage with Spike in their sexual relationship as her emotional killing/punishment object. In this story Buffy uses that bus – the vehicle that she once used to escape her emotional devastation after sending Angel through the Acathla portal. The Bus was also her escape from Spike’s death and self-sacrifice in the closing of the Hellmouth. The series played it all off as - well frankly I have no idea what the intention of the final scene looking back into the hellmouth as Buffy smiling meant. But for this story – it had to have been HUGE. The bus symbolism as her Killing/Suicide of choice is so important – I like how the writer used it as it, for me connected the Angel/Angelus relationship, the destructive behavior of the S6 relationship and the death of Spike.
    Along with wanting more background for this element of the story – I also would have like more exploration of the idea that Buffy suffered a loss of self-identity and sense of power and self-respect from the new slayer. I don’t see why Buffy would have a sense of having been diminished because of all these added slayer or because she is no longer that extremely Special Chosen One – The world and her life only benefits from having all these powerful strong women warriors working to make this world a better place not just for humanity but as a force against the forces of darkness in the Buffyverse world.

    Stoney: I really liked that Buffy hadn't gotten physical with Rob. Of course she thought briefly that she was, when Spike had switched, but how she quickly came to realize the differences and truth worked to counter that. To place it more as an intuition that he had returned rather than a sudden want to use the robot for sex.
    Absolutely – It would have been a too much like S6 objectification of Spike for sex toy and Spike’s own Buffy Bot desperation/fiasco. Where Spike wanted sex to be part of his Buffy Bot fantasy, the most vital element was his desperate need to have a connection with Buffy even if it was all a fantasy. Buffy in this story is holding on and trying to rebuilding her life, best as she can and her memories, love and emotional needs depend of this physical Spike Bot to keep her sanity and emotional connections with Spike as a fundamental health tool while she finds a way to want life again.



    Stoney: Along with this, Buffy and Spike both seemed happy to assume Rudy could simply control himself which for me goes against the realization they both had after SR that Spike definitely needed his soul. Combined these seemed to question the merit of it, so for me personally the story would have been stronger to canon without Rudy's inclusion (even though I quite liked the character), or at least if he'd been something other than a soulless vamp.
    No way that Rudy can exist without bringing into question the foundations for all of Buffy’s and post Souled Spike world view. How can Rudy exist within Buffy’s “must have soul” understanding of what it means to be a vampire?
    I want to do some refresher reading before I do any comments. It’s going be difficult for me to keep up with all the reviews and doing the reading for these discussions. But I will try to keep up – still, with all my other RL projects other reading projects it’s not so easy with time factor.

    I enjoyed this story very much - Sunalso is one of my favorite of the current fanfiction writers working with the Buffyverse. Like so many aspects of this work - particularly Rudy and Rob and Rudy - So would love to have a continuation of these characters working with Spike & Buffy or heck, even a Rudy & Rob series. Ruby & Rob I think would be a good way to explore some of the essential questions of how Spike develops in the series and also dealing with the dogmatic world view of Must Have Soul. OR, maybe the Soul vs No Soul will always revert to those people who don't think a soul is needed and those who do group.

    Question for all your brainy types and writers and critics - when doing reviews or analysis of a work is it best to work within the parameters set in the story i.e., the Buffyverse requires that there be a soul for demons to ever reach the final status of Good. Or it is acceptable or detrimental to analysis to impose one's individual perspectives on the work?
    Last edited by cil_domney; 13-04-18 at 09:25 PM.

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  13. #27
    Scooby Gang GoSpuffy's Avatar
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    I saw Rob in my mind wearing a plaid shirt and chilling with Rudy. I can find images of DB, ASH and NB in plaid shirts but do you think I can find one of JM? No. Standing with his son or his fans who are wearing plaid, sure, but I'm beginning to think JM doesn't even own a plaid shirt lol


    I like who I am when Im with him. I like who we are together.

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  15. #28
    Scooby Gang SpuffyGlitz's Avatar
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    Hi! I just want to jump in and say -- I finished A Better Man about 2 weeks ago, and while I have some dissertation deadlines coming up this month (ack - why do I always let things pile up till the end??), I just wanna say --a big THANK you for this! I REALLY loved reading this. I loved the premise and story, and the sustained pleasure in in reading it

    This probably won't be a very organised collection of thoughts, so I'll just list all the things I loved:

    1. I love the premise and I echo everyone on the pacing and consistent tone - kudos! Definitely a page turner. I have to add that it held a lot of emotional depth, too. I read it all in one sitting, couldn't stop!

    2. I LOVE that we alternately get direct access to Spike's POV and Buffy's POV and in such a convincing, evocative way- it's a difficult thing to do but you accomplish it so satisfyingly! (and I'm a huge Spuffy shipper and love both characters to death, so I'm probably hard to satisfy.)

    3. I love the YEARNING most in this story. From both characters. It really comes through so strongly and so authentically - I got chills reading the Spike POV bits when he sees her on the bed the first time since they parted, and he can barely stand with the intensity of emotion. Just dreamy! And the way Buffy tries to keep his memory alive because she's grieving so much for him, and re-living past moments in a new light. It makes a lot of sense to me because all through Buffy, they were facing one apocalypse after another, and now Buffy believes Spike has "gone" permanently from her life. Once she's processed it, it just hits home for her how much she loved (and presently still loves) him. It was very believable and authentic (for me.)

    4. Another reason I enjoyed this fic --- I'll go off on a tangent here: I hated how on AtS, they made Spike not go to Buffy because he doesn't want to spoil his image in Buffy's eyes (his "grand, glorious exit".) While his uncertainty post-soul may be plausible, I always thought - what the heck - doesn't Spike care to find out if she's ever grieved for him? TGIQ made it plausible that Spike wouldn't have the courage to try to see Buffy after she's supposedly "moved on" with the Immortal, but still. So this fic really helped smooth out the mess of Spuffy that was AtS S5. I feel I can better understand Spike's dilemma. He's got 2 kinds of love to cope with - 1) he's still "in love" with her like he was throughout Buffy seasons 2-6, but now he also loves her with his soul and with a lot of self-doubt thrown in (he's not just in-love with her) which is a big distinction. The "in-love" part of him still wants her at all costs, because he needs her. But post-soul, he loves her in an all-encompassing, self-critical way, where he can see things he only partially considered before - questions about her future, her happiness, her interests, her well being, and wanting her to see him in a better light. I feel like that tug of war between both types of love comes through so well in the fic. Even though I acknowledge how you say you're in the "soul doesn't matter" camp (well, personally I feel like it is necessary but that's me, personally), I actually think the way you've written Spike's POV makes the soul thing come through, regardless. I'm not Christian either so I probably don't bring a lot of religiosity to my understanding of it, but to me I think it just adds a new layer of richness to his love for her.

    5. I love how Rob the Spike bot was essentially different from Spike, just like the Buffybot was. And I enjoyed the character of Rudy.

    6. I love that it's set in a quiet, snowy town. I LOVE the atmosphere. I can almost see it in a movie.

    7. Initially, I was a little startled at how weak/depressed/given up on everything Buffy seems in this fic. Of course, the Spuffy part of me is glad for how much she's grieving Spike, but the Buffy-loving part of me (for whom Buffy was my hero through school), was a little startled. She's the Slayer! She had that triumphant smile at the end of S7 (which I read as emanating from her pride in Spike's victorious exit and reformation, and part happiness at the overall victory of the Scoobies.) However, giving it a rethink - I think it's absolutely understandable now and really plausible that she'd be very disoriented and battling a very deep sadness. For one thing, it's finally hit home how much she misses Spike - and after the frenzy of the battle is over, she's having to adjust to a new identity. Plus, she hadn't had time to process just how barren life would feel without the man she loves. Yes, she's the Slayer, but she's also human, and she isn't the only Slayer now, and everything has drastically changed. She's fought continuously for 7 years and - hey - that's got to result in some cumulative PTSD, right? I love that you say you don't see her as "neurotypical". I agree. Buffy often can be shown as "depressed" but I don't know if it's 'clinical' depression as much as it is a natural reaction to the circumstances of her life at various phases. And I've always loved that it never diminished her strength, in fact, she always ultimately wins over it.

    8. I love that she's being 'nursed' back to health, life and vitality by Spike. At first, I was startled. It seems almost spoilt on her part to be waited on, doing nothing more strenuous than light reading, someone else to cook and clean, a Spike 'butler' of sorts, and the real Spike initially catering to her. Looked at again, though, I just realised - isn't that completely acceptable when it's reversed in gender? How many novels have I read where the "nurturing" female heroine nurses the hero back to health and life? Jane Eyre, for example, to the handicapped Rochester, and so on. I LOVE that that trope is reversed here. And the Slayer certainly deserves it! She's got cumulative trauma and fatigue after all the years of one-handed slaying and sacrificing, she's owed it for the sake of her own health and sanity, and it's completely understandable that she'd be demoralised in a very human way. Especially since, to her limited knowledge so far, the man she loves has apparently died. So I love how human and vulnerable she's portrayed. I also think it's entirely believable how Spike acts. We've seen his caring nature even in S2 in School Hard, where he tries to 'nurse' Drusilla - he has caring, sensitive tendencies and traits, and it's a very authentic Spike I see in this fic.

    9. Finally, I really like Spike's surprise and doubt, till practically the very end, that it's possible for her to feel that deeply about him. It's so fitting that he sees just how important he was and is to Buffy.

    I probably have many more thoughts to share, but these were just the most immediate and pressing. Thank you once again for your talent! I loved reading A Better Man and will probably always come back to re-read it when I need to bask in a Spuffy classic!
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  17. #29
    Hellmouth Tourist sunalso's Avatar
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    I found myself wanting a lot more story support for this massive emotional and mental destruction that led to Buffy’s intended total destruction of her existence.
    This is a fallacy about mental health. We'd like to believe it takes some major thing to make a person experience SI. Because that way we feel safe. "It won't happen to me because the huge tramatic things didn't happen to me". But it doesn't work like that. Buffy had YEARS of emotional trauma and probably significant PTSD from her time guarding the hellmouth, then she lost her home, the place she'd been sacrificing for and guarding for years, she lost her status as one of the chosen two and is now one of many- it can be seen as a good thing, but it's another piece of her identity gone, a big part of her support system died, any one of those things could lead to significant depression and SI, alltogether, it's a lot. Dwelling on any of them could make her feel adrift and not herself to the point that not having to deal with the struggle anymore becomes attractive. There's not "right" way to perform depression or SI, here I tied it to her loss of identity, but with her mental health history, she might not even need more than undergoing a massive change of where she's living to set it off.

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  19. #30
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    This is one reason I have problems with the notion of canon - canon in the sense of the internal laws that govern a universe. Things like the nature of the soul, demon etc aren't "natural" laws - they're cultural ones. Where did they originate? Often, in both the real world and the fictional world they sustain the status quo to the detriment of other groups. Buffy changed the canon of the Slayer - what stops other canonical laws from changing (genuine question)? Is it just a "thing" with fictional verses? Stoney? Anyone?
    I wasn't sure whether to stick my response to this under a spoiler as it isn't really about the story and I don't want to disrupt the thread and conversation about the fic?? So to avoid the risk of it being irritating...

    Spoiler:
    I actually believe the soul as it functions in the verse is a 'natural' law, but it is one only true and applicable to the verse it resides in. There is inherent limitation to the soulless vampire and Spike's story directly looked at this. The soul enables a line to be drawn between the choices and acts of the soulless being and the souled. So the enjoyment that Spike and Angel took in the violent acts they committed is meaningfully distanced from them when they are souled. In human terms the soulless vampires would be sociopaths or psychopaths, limited emotionally and with a demonic drive for blood/violence on top, a supernatural fictional step further. But one where their own social norms are accepting and even relish such behaviour. By creating this distinct line that can be drawn the distance that this allows between the souled vampire and their past acts means they don't have to address at all that enjoyment that was found in the acts committed and the ease with which they took those choices. What it says about them that they did and that they liked it. And Buffy doesn't have to worry about whether Spike would lose control and try to force himself on her again because he is meaningfully separated from the being that assaulted her. He genuinely sees moral lines and relationship boundaries in a different way when souled and can make choices now with a complex moral understanding behind them. As we know, souls don't make someone good, no. That still comes down to choice, just as it does for a human. But as Angel explained to Faith, being souled gives a vampire the ability to make the choice fully, when he was soulless he didn't have the same choice that she did. There isn't that lack of understanding and true emotional connection that can thwart a soulless being's understanding sometimes of where the boundaries lie, even with the best will in the world and a genuine wish to be reliable. As we saw with Spike. So soullessness in verse is a matter of nature, I believe that is how it is set up. It's a literal physical limitation that becoming souled overcomes it. What they then do with their souls, that is a whole different story.

    How the Council view vampires on the other hand is greatly affected by cultural understanding and their pov had advantages and purpose to it. They were somewhat misinformed perhaps and sometimes I'm sure deliberately presented things in ways that were more advantageous for them. As the cultural shifts occurred in the comics it was accepted that there are more greys and that a soulless vampire could choose to look to tow the line and integrate. But this isn't a leap away from what we saw often in AtS in truth. There were always some demons that were just trying to stay under the radar and get by. For vampires though, where there had been more of a preemptive attitude towards dealing with them, an assumption of specific threat, this did move the lines, a bit. They may be choosing to live within agreed expectations on behaviour, but it was for need as much as anything, not entering a war with humans openly. It isn't automatically assumed that a soulless vampire will earn a staking but it isn't questioned if one is dusted. They aren't being looked at as equals still and the group still treats them with wariness. And that is still shown to be the right approach. The verse is in truth consistent that a soulless vampire shouldn't be trusted because they can turn on you as/when it suits them and all the ones they regularly interact with in fact do betray them to varying levels of significance at some point.

    Could they choose to change the canon around the soul? Of course they could. The verse has certainly been shown to develop around the interactions with demons generally and in a way that feels like a logical progression along with the characters increased maturity, experience and independence. But I can't see how they can change the stance on the difference the soul adds, particularly in the case of vampires, without it detrimentally affecting both Angel and Spike. Of course they are souled and if they remained souled it wouldn't really matter in one sense. Except if others became 'equal' unsouled it would be saying that they were somewhat inherently worse than the other soulless vampires. That there was something that needed locking away in them specifically because they weren't able to control it and they were dangerous in ways other vamps can control if they really want to. But that then doesn't distance those other vamps from the fact that they didn't want to before and what kind of beings are they then? It is really murky to take away that distinction for the ripples it has imo.

    I do think that fictional verses can develop and change in the same way that the real world does. But when you change things that are a background structure that affected and played major points in the history of several/all of the characters you have to consider the knock on impact to those characters, the stories past, and what it says/reveals about them when you change the scaffolding that supported their paths. This is why I'd be against them deciding to show soullessness as not mattering with vamps in the verse, the effect on Angel and Spike would be negative imo.

    Generally I think that verse truths are established for structure and to aid understanding of the story between creator and audience. Of course, as sunalso says, individual interpretation can turn from accepting this structuring and I think fan fiction often works to specifically explore what things would look/feel like if a different perspective was followed. It's one of the most interesting things about fanfics, as much to see the really popular alternates as anything. But in terms of understanding the verse itself, canon remains important, but not necessarily static. It is interesting though to consider that often when I've heard people discuss the show and they've said they don't understand or just dislike aspects of where characters go, how the verse develops generally, it's often because they don't agree with something the creator intended earlier on. If they won't accept or can't see what happened at a key point as the creator wished for, then as the creator keeps writing on the basis of that point being within the story it's totally understandable why different aspects of the thread unravel for them. For me, its why the author never truly dies and their intent matters, but I know a lot of people don't think like that.


    flow I love that pic, that is totally Rob.

    And yes, I loved the acknowledgment that it was her friends that decided on the programming and that this would automatically stop Rob from being incredibly accurate. Perceptions always play such an important and interesting part of the verse it was a great inclusion.
    Last edited by Stoney; 14-04-18 at 09:29 AM.

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  21. #31
    Hellmouth Tourist sunalso's Avatar
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    I got chills reading the Spike POV bits when he sees her on the bed the first time since they parted, and he can barely stand with the intensity of emotion.
    Which is why there's a song and dance around the invite, lol. Originally, Buffy was going to be awake, but there was no way I could do that without Spike completely giving himself away.

    So in this fic, it really helped smooth out the mess of Spuffy that was AtS S5.
    That's a large part of why I wrote this fic, to come to an understanding of why Spike didn't go to Buffy in AtS S5. And while I really don't think the soul is a necessary thing, since it's post series I have to deal with it and I usually ascribe the fact that it does move Spike to a non-selfish kind of love, one that makes him realize he dosen't deserve Buffy. Plus he knows Buffy would want him to listen to whatever the soul is insisting on, so he can't easily try and think critical about that side of him or even integrate it entire into himself.

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW- this is a lot try and keep up with- if there's something I've missed/you really want me to address maybe highlight/repost it?

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  23. #32
    Scooby Gang cil_domney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunalso View Post
    This is a fallacy about mental health. We'd like to believe it takes some major thing to make a person experience SI. Because that way we feel safe. "It won't happen to me because the huge tramatic things didn't happen to me". But it doesn't work like that. Buffy had YEARS of emotional trauma and probably significant PTSD from her time guarding the hellmouth, then she lost her home, the place she'd been sacrificing for and guarding for years, she lost her status as one of the chosen two and is now one of many- it can be seen as a good thing, but it's another piece of her identity gone, a big part of her support system died, any one of those things could lead to significant depression and SI, alltogether, it's a lot. Dwelling on any of them could make her feel adrift and not herself to the point that not having to deal with the struggle anymore becomes attractive. There's not "right" way to perform depression or SI, here I tied it to her loss of identity, but with her mental health history, she might not even need more than undergoing a massive change of where she's living to set it off.
    I don't mean I wanted more as an explanation - sorry for not being more clear - but more of the story of that time. However, as the writer you chose not to devote a large amount of page space to that part of the story; the specific history in time of your story. I am speaking only from my individual POW which is I would have like a bit more of that specific period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cil_domney View Post
    I don't mean I wanted more as an explanation - sorry for not being more clear - but more of the story of that time. However, as the writer you chose not to devote a large amount of page space to that part of the story; the specific history in time of your story. I am speaking only from my individual POW which is I would have like a bit more of that specific period.
    Ah, I get it now. But narratively that wouldn't have worked, it would have been starting the story too early (and not really a spuffy story) since this is the story of Buffy and Spike finding themselves/each other. The inciting incident is Spike hearing that Buffy isn't okay and deciding to go to her since that destroyed his basic assumption that she'd moved on and was okay.

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    I read this fic while it was being posted — thank the FSM for fic updates — but I just reread the first 3 chapters in anticipation of this discussion.

    First, I wouldn't say that I love Buffy's mental health issues — because she is my bae and I don't want anything to hurt her, ever — but boy, do I BELIEVE her mental health issues. Not just in this story, which handles them very well, but in canon. Nearly every huge victory she achieves also comes with a great loss, and she usually needs to deal with that afterward. This is why nearly every season begins with Buffy on a bummer. She's been through hell here on earth. At the end of season 1, she dies and withdraws, and is uncharacteristically cruel to everyone in Season 2 opener "When She Was Bad". After all the trauma of the Angelus arc, she has to kill her lover and flees — is almost forced to leave — and it takes her the whole summer and the first two episodes of Season 3 to even begin to bounce back. At the end of Season 3, she and her friends are victorious, but only after she attempts to murder her sister slayer and her lover leaves her. I've always wished she was more peppy at the beginning of Season 4, because she has prevailed enough to make it to college, something she never thought would happen for her, but I think the issues with Angel and Faith really got to her. The beginning of Season 5 has a very happy Buffy, but then she didn't lose anybody in her climactic battle with Adam/The Initiative. During Season 5, she goes catatonic when she thinks she's lost Dawn, close on the heels of losing her mother. Season 6, she's just died again — in a heroic suicide — and been ripped from heaven, and it takes the whole season to process all of that loss. Season 7 is an anomaly, in that she lost Tara, Spike, and Willow at the end of S6 — even if some of those losses end up being temporary — but she seem to start out pretty much okay with everything. Only to lose so much — not only the support of her friends/family (temporarily) but the permanent loss of Potentials, fellow slayers, Anya, Spike, and her whole town — at the end of Season 7. She prevails, but the cost is huge. I am absolutely on board with her having a breakdown after all that. I've written it myself.

    I'm glad that we get Spike's perspective first though, because it is so hard to see Buffy's situation. Both are drifting, both are dealing with a lot of identity issues, but Spike's coming from a stronger place because he knows he's going to go on, he's just trying to find his direction. Buffy knows no such thing, and a direction is almost laughable in its impossibility at this point in her recovery.

    One plot point that I wondered about was why Marcy the loose-lipped Slayer wouldn't have reported to the Council (or whoever is running things these days) that a platinum-haired vampire was asking about Buffy's whereabouts. I explained to myself that she was too embarrassed to admit — not only that she'd broken into Giles' office and read confidential files — but that she'd given up the info without a fight. I hope that Spike remembers to tell Giles that he needs to beef up security.

    I've got so much sympathy for Rob in chapter 2. He's got an extremely difficult task, much as Spike did in Season 6, of keeping Buffy together enough to make it through another day. That Buffy is aware of this makes me love her all the more:

    Rob was a thing, a robot, he shouldn’t have emotions. It was just…she tangled her hands in Rob’s hair and kissed him fiercely. She didn’t believe anyone, not anymore, when they said something—or someone—couldn’t feel. Her mind simply wouldn’t let her, she’d learned her lesson too painfully to ever believe anything but her own instincts.

    Rudy is really interesting, and I always enjoy approaches which broaden the scope of what "demon life" entails. You see this a bit more in the "Tales of the Vampires" comic, but there are examples of vampires choosing not to kill for their own reasons. On the show we have the "blood hookers" as an alternative unlifestyle choice. I do wonder at the distinction between minion and family siring, though. I don't think the show has any support for there being a way to differentiate between the two at the "making" point of things. Of course, there's nothing in canon to say that it can't be that way. I prefer the notion that it's what the sire decides to do afterward that makes a vamp into family, because I am all for free will above predestination.

    Another character I love that I haven't seen mentioned is Matilda. She's a challenge to Spike's identity, all by herself. Maybe he'd be more comfortable if he put pirate flags up in place of the stars and stripes!
    Last edited by Rebcake; 13-04-18 at 11:29 PM. Reason: typos
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    One plot point that I wondered about was why Marcy the loose-lipped Slayer wouldn't have reported to the Council (or whoever is running things these days) that a platinum-haired vampire was asking about Buffy's whereabouts. I explained to myself that she was too embarrassed to admit — not only that she'd broken into Giles' office and read confidential files — but that she'd given up the info without a fight. I hope that Spike remembers to tell Giles that he needs to beef up security.
    She was totally too embarrassed to say anything, lol. What? Break in? NOT ME. And there's a line later where Spike says Giles better pay better attention to the baby Slayers (or the like).

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    Absolutely see the creative choice and needs of this particular story - it would be a very different effect on the story you want to tell. The important element is Spike finding out that his assumption or rather more acceptance of "what is good for or what Buffy wants" is not at all the reality.

    And what a way you start with Spike - the original Buffy Bot incident was, from my interpretation, a lesson in seeing and making a reality that each character wants or needs or thinks is "reality."


    "No, this time, when she said those words, he would say them right back and the whole world would be wonderful, full of rainbows and puppy dogs."

    "His favorite fantasy was that instead of spitting him out in Angel’s office, the bloody amulet was sent to Buffy and that when she touched it, he appeared, but as a human—albeit it was his fantasy so he was a superpowered human—as a reward for services rendered."

    Contrast this to the reality that Buffy has experienced and is now living - Awesome way to begin this new phase in their life stories and relationship.
    Last edited by cil_domney; 14-04-18 at 12:18 AM.

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    Maybe he'd be more comfortable if he put pirate flags up in place of the stars and stripes!
    Cough...Cough. He's English - I think he'd prefer the Union Jack or Flag of St George. Personally, I wouldn't be happy with either but since I'm from Manchester and my own headcanon involves standing next to him at Old Trafford, I'll willingly donate a couple of Man United pennants. Moving swiftly back to topic, I loved Matilda and Spike's discomfort. This made me laugh out loud: "Spike groaned and he slumped forward, banging his forehead on the middle of Matilda’s steering wheel. The opening notes of ‘Dixie’ blared out". This really should be a screenplay.

    On the subject of Buffy's depression, my critical perspective always veers towards psychoanalysis so I tend to read it as melancholia*. Every loss is a repetition of a child's first loss - the mother. Significantly, Revello means "plucked" out - the first home the child is plucked from is the womb. A desire to return to the womb is also a desire for the tomb. Given the significance of dwelling places for Spuffy (an abandoned house in Smashed, evicted from the mother's house in Empty Places, reconciled in a stranger's house in Touched), I'm glad a house figures strongly in this.

    *IMO, the later seasons draw on French Feminism, which supports this reading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebcake View Post
    Maybe he'd be more comfortable if he put pirate flags up in place of the stars and stripes!
    OMG- there's a guy that lives a few doors down from me that does that. I'll have to see if I can get a pic. Though it's been REALLY windy here lately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    Cough...Cough. He's English - I think he'd prefer the Union Jack or Flag of St George.
    Yes, and I've often written him as aggressively English, but I don't think his Englishness would translate into banner-waving. I think he'd be much more likely to wave a banner of rebellion, even in his souled incarnation, than he would the banner of his homeland. He's in many ways a man without a country, by choice — or a man of the world. I do like the Man U idea, but again, just don't see him wrapping himself in a flag of conformity. He's through playing by society's rules...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by cil_domney View Post
    when doing reviews or analysis of a work is it best to work within the parameters set in the story i.e., the Buffyverse requires that there be a soul for demons to ever reach the final status of Good. Or it is acceptable or detrimental to analysis to impose one's individual perspectives on the work?
    First we'd have to agree that "the Buffyverse requires that there be a soul for demons to ever reach the final status of Good." I'm pretty sure there is a difference of opinion on that point. Angel needs a soul to be good, sure, but we have plenty of other examples that are not so clear: We don't know the souled status Clem or Lorne, for instance, although it's pretty clear that Lorne has Soul, if not A soul.

    I would say that Buffy and her friends believe that a soul is necessary for goodness, but their belief doesn't make it a fact.
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    [QUOTE=sunalso;718617]This is a fallacy about mental health. We'd like to believe it takes some major thing to make a person experience SI. Because that way we feel safe. "It won't happen to me because the huge tramatic things didn't happen to me".

    Thank you

    I have returned to this thread a bit late, but there were two things, I forgot to mentione in my earlier post and I needed to get them out :-)

    One scene I really, really loved, was, when Spike and Buffy were just a second away from having sex and Spike hops around on one foot, trying to get his sock off. That was more than just funny. It was so ....normal. Spike was not the sex-god, he usually is in Spuffy fanfics. He was just a guy, struggeling with his socks....that was really wonderful.

    The second point I have forgot to mention before, was adressed in several of the other comments here. It was the way, the demon, the soul and Spike talked to each other. My POV on the matter of the different beings/entities/voices or whatever is very simple. They don`t exist separately from one another. Spike is a sum of his former human personality, the demon and the 120 years he has (not) lived since being turned. When the soul was added to that mix, it blended in. It does not cohabitat with the demon. They are one.

    Coming from that POV, I am not really a fan of fics, where Spike talks to his demon or - as for example in Nan Dibbles Blood series - thinks, his soul hates him.

    But I enjoyed the conversations between Spike, the soul and the demon in this fic a lot and the main reason for that was, that the soul and the demon often teamed up against Spike. That was such a nice turn and - to me - a mocking of all the fics, that take the matter of the different entities too seriously and have meaningful discussions going on between the demon and Spike or the soul and Spike. Did you write it that way on purpose or am I reading too much (or maybe too little) it ?

    Stoney, I am sorry, I am not allowed to give you reputation points for your post (the part, you put into spoiler alerts).

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