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Thread: Journey: Awakenings by Mary starting on 11th May 2018

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    Default Journey: Awakenings by Mary starting on 11th May 2018

    We will be discussing

    Journeys Part Two: Awakenings by Mary

    from 11th May 2018 on in this thread.

    Summary:
    Part Two of ‘Journeys’, called Awakenings. This, my version of Spike’s story, was written to satisfy my own desire to play with the ideas of good and evil, and the part the transforming power of love can play in the struggle between them.
    Awakenings’ is Part Two of a multi-part series, ‘Journeys’ and follows ‘Promise to a Lady’.
    ‘Journeys’ has angst, sex, blood play, and the occasional very bad word. Most of all, it has, I hope, love. However, the adult nature of this story does give it an overall rating of NC-17.
    Word Count: 174k.


    You can read the story on Elysian Fields, but you will have to be registered, because of it`s rating:

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/views...t=ok&warning=5

    It used to be on nocturnal-light as well, but this site was unfortunately closed a short while ago. You can still find the story via waybackmachine:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120607...eys_Awakenings

    This story is a sequel. You can find the prequel - Journeys: A Promise To A Lady - either on Elysian Fields:

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=1444

    or via waybackmachine:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120608...mise_to_a_Lady

    We will be discussing the prequel from 4th May 2018 on in this thread:

    http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/sh...g-4th-May-2018

    The third part of Journeys - Revelations - is a permanent WIP. We will not be discussing it here, but if you want to read it, you can find it here:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120607...elations_Draft


    flow
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    "Has angst".... No - hang on - that's the first, not the second. The sequel is loooooong!
    Last edited by TriBel; 19-04-18 at 05:59 PM.

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    Just a quick reminder, that the discussion for the prequel to Awakenings is now open and that the discussion for Awakenings will start next Friday.

    I haven`t even started reading it yet

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    I'm on chapter 6 but I might be pushed to finish it for next Friday, I'm going to try my best.

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    Hi everybody,

    we are due to start discussing this fic tomorrow. However, a few of us haven`t finished reading it yet. I`d like to know, if it would be okay to postpone the discussion for a week. How far is everyone with reading Awakenings? Are there more of you, who are still in the middle of reading it? Are there some, who don`t want to wait any longer for the discussion to start? Please give me a shout!

    flow
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    I'm done reading it. I'm afraid if I wait a week to post I'll forget about it. Maybe I can post tomorrow and put it under a spoiler?


    I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”

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    The discussion is officially opened!

    I am in the middle of chapter six and I am going to post my thought while reading on. Please don`t bother to put spoiler tags on your reviews, I will either skip them until i am finished or I`won`t mind being spoilered. i don`t want Spoiler tags to impair the flow of the discussion.


    flow
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    I'm only half way through, but I'm going to wait to read what you all have to say until I've finished it too. So back soonish...


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    I have read the first six chapters of the Story so far.

    I really loved the First Part because of it`s writing. The second part does the same for me. It is so well written and I love all the characters, except for Willow, who has - as often - to become the villain of the piece.

    Spike is a very mature, caring, calm and sensitive Spike. Almost ensouled without a soul. But it is okay, because he had sex with the bot in the first part and that proves, he is still immature and soulless :-)

    I love the ongoing friendship between Spike and Dawn. I love the friendship between Spike and Giles. It is very beautiful, although I am not a huge Giles fan.

    The Buffy, that has come back from heaven feels a bit creepy at first. I was absolutely shocked, when she called Giles "Rupert". But it all made sense, when she admitted, that she had been in heaven


    Spoiler !


    several hundred years. I felt sorry for her at that moment and I was wondering, how the writer would work with this plot.

    When Buffy regained her memories completely after the Tabula Rasa spell, I was a little bit disappointed, because fizzy, dreamy, polite Buffy is now gone, I guess. But I have a lot of trust in the writer`s ability to come up with something new and gives us a strong plot for the rest of the fic.

    The only chracater I am disappointed in so far is Willow. Is it impossible to write a Spuffy fanfic without turning on one of the scoobies and making them go evil?

    Oh, and we have seen next to nothing of Xander so far. I`d like him to be around a bit more.

    flow
    Last edited by flow; 16-05-18 at 10:28 AM.
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    I liked the story but it did have some problems. The cross burn on Spike was mentioned again and I really thought they were going somewhere with that but It didn't materialize. I really like this as a dawn Spike friendship story more than a spuffy story. I agree too many stories make scoobies villians but I accept this as Willow was a S6 villain so it's not entirely off. I read the notes for part 3 hoping to get the ending but no matter where you stop it does feel incomplete. I normally avoid WIP for that reason.


    I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”

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    I am at chapter nine now and unfortunately, since Buffy regained her memories, nothing interesting has happened anymore. I said, it would have been better, if the writer stuck to the changes she made early in this story instead of simply overthrowing her own original plot twist and returning to canon season 6, but (probably) without the abusive relationship between Spike and Buffy

    ETA: Now I am up to chapter 12 and all we`ve got since chapter nine was a lot of humping and a couple of handjobs and I have to say, that there are occasions, where I could do without a talking manual.

    flow

    ETA again: Half way through chapter 13 and I start to hate the way, Spike always says "my Slayer" or talks about "his Slayer". Since when does he own Buffy? And by the way. "sonofabitch" isn`t that original a word creation, that you have to use it in every other sentence.

    Has anyone else read this story except for GoSpuffy and me?

    flow

    ETA again: I won`t drop the story, because I am almost through, but "Strangle my ****." really pushed it over the line for me.

    flow
    Last edited by flow; 17-05-18 at 09:20 PM.
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    I ploughed my way through

    Okay, I have to acknowledge, how the writer gathered the loose end with Spike drinking Buffy`s blood in the first part of the series up. That really came an bit Spike in the ass :-)

    I was not fully convinced of Buffy`s reaction. After all those mind reading and the closeness she felt to Spike right from the moment she returned and those dreams they shared and this weird warmth they felt - none of this was ever explained, btw - she revokes the invitation without letting him even explain himself? Maybe that would have been more plausible, if all this stuff, that was useless anyway, hadn`t happen.

    But plotwise she returned to canon - Spike an Buffy breaking up - without abusiveness and AR and it was still good story telling.

    When Willow was hearing voices in her head, I was really excited and thought "woah, we are getting a schizophrenic Willow. This is going to be soooo interesting". Unfortunately the idea was dropped immediately and Willow went on a vacation to the Carribean.

    There were pieces in this fic, that were wonderful. For example the way Spikes asked Buffy to stay for their first night or the story about Drusilla watching Star Trek, because she thought Dr. McCoy was her father.

    But overall, I don`t know, what we needed 19 chapters for. What did really happen? Buffy was resurrected, came back, was a bit off, got normal again, had sex with Spike, broke up with him and Willow went bad and mad. I think, it could have been done in half of the chapters without leaving anything important out.

    And there were just too many things I did not like at all. Spike sitting on the roof for - what ? - a year or so? Why can`t he sit inside? Spike talking of Dawn and Buffy as his. Willow and Xander both assasinated as characters without it`s being neccessary for the story. Buffy and Spike talking through telepathy. There are many more, but I am going to stop now.

    I ranked the prequel 7/10 or 8/10. I am sorry, I can`t give this one more than a 5/10.

    I would really like to hear other opinions on this story!

    flow
    Last edited by flow; 17-05-18 at 09:21 PM.
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    I have reread Awakenings pt 2 and although it was well written, and there were parts I enjoyed a lot, ultimately it was not very satisfying. At least not in terms of the plot, because that wasn't really going anywhere. The story really suffers from being part of an incomplete series. A lot of things should presumably have been explained in part 3, but because that wasn't finished they never were.

    I agree with GoSpuffy that the Dawn/Spike friendship was one of the highlights of the story. I was disappointed that Xander totally reverted back to hating Spike in part 2. I enjoyed the evil Willow plotline; I thought it was pretty suspenseful. But the way it ended was quite anti-climactic. I liked the part with Spike's "naked witch friend", she was just so random and there was some fun dialogue there. I thought her connection with Spike was intriguing, but of course, like most things in the story it was never explained (though I admit it's also possible that I forgot.)

    As for Buffy, I thought the part where she had partially lost her memories was quite interesting. I enjoyed the Spuffy sex scenes; those were definitely a satisfying part of the story (including the c*** strangling ). I didn't mind the telepathy, but I could have done without it just as well. I'm assuming that this, as well as the warmth thing was somehow a consequence of the cross and/or blood drinking thing, but that's something we will never know. Overall I really enjoyed the Spuffy of it, except at the end. I was really annoyed by Buffy's over-the-top reaction to the blood and chip revelations; I completely afgree with flow that this didn't fit with what went before. Buffy's doubts had been very explicitly built up during the last few preceding chapters, but even with these doubts already playing in her head, I think it was unbelievable that Buffy would suddenly think Dawn was in danger from Spike and that she would not give him any chance at all to explain things. So the end left me rather frustrated. And as GoSpuffy said, reading the drafts for part 3 unfortunately isn't very helpful for tying up loose ends.

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    Okay, it is so long ago that everyone else finished this that I'm going to try to be brief. I enjoyed the Spike & Dawn of this story still most of all and I appreciated the developing friendship between Spike and Giles too.

    Overall it is an interesting alternate for S6 that still hits on a lot of exactly the same character and plot points. In many ways the biggest change pivots on how Buffy returns, her mindset. The difference is both from her increased distance from the group because of the emphasis being placed on the length of time she was in heaven and so the effect on her memories alongside her desire, as in canon, to hide where she was and the additional disconnection the writer gave her initially from the slayer side of herself alongside this. The story facilitated the latter from the moment she came back by her not fighting instantly on her return but being drawn home by Dawn. We then had the different, quieter side to her being drawn up that underlined the length of time spent in a peaceful place and how it resulting in confrontation being avoided by her. I found it a little disappointing for characterisation personally to see the strength of her innate 'slayerly' characteristics downplayed like this. Also her natural heroism the instant she returned when she instinctively saved the scoobies from the bikers is lost. Doc declaring Spike had saved the world by buying Buffy enough time was a point made at one stage too. Whilst an interesting point to connect to Doc having specific resentment of Spike, it felt like it was unfairly dismissing everyone else and taking something away from Buffy saving the world in her sacrifice as well. Generally I just found the combination of these things, especially the switch in Buffy at the start, a bit damseling of the character for Spike's character benefit. An alteration engineered in order for Spike to appear more heroic and it be possible for his support when Buffy first returns to be openly tender and, importantly, be readily accepted by her. It is particularly unsatisfying in that I think the 'reduction' of her is an incidental effect to the main intent of doing it, which I assume to be mostly that by taking the distancing and effect of being drawn out of heaven further, Buffy's increased draw to Spike could be explored in a more innocent and gentle way. It allowed the start of their sexual relationship to exist with a more positive tone between them. To be honest, with the presence of some deep connection that they hadn't yet figured out yet in there too (clearly yet another addition which is something 'more' driving them towards a partnership), it's all a little 'neat' and fluffying a route for me that actually disregards canon characterisations a bit too much.

    Clearly the writer is looking to present the alternate to canon that Spike can meaningfully change without becoming souled. Although I'm not convinced he won't have still just headed off to try and get his soul at the end of this part, it's still clearly being shown as something that is unnecessary for him to be reliable in this alternate. Despite having Buffy, after the argument with Xander and what we hear of the accusations, start to question Spike's ability to change, whether he is still evil, if the soul matters, it isn't a perspective that is supported in the writing. With Anya's negative response to Xander's worries about Spike/demons, Spike's constant care of Dawn, Spike's worries for Buffy and Dawn emphasised by his fear of losing them/guard dog routine, his guilt over Buffy's death being underscored and most importantly Giles' knowledge/acceptance of Spike and Buffy's relationship, plus his trust in Spike, his requests for support and the developing friendship... well, Buffy's fears are quite simply being presented as wrong.

    As expected there has been some justification for the melodrama of sending Spike to the extremes of starvation in the first story with the ongoing relevance of blood in the second story. This really isn't surprising as the first pushed the drama so much to be able to justify a scenario for Dawn to bring Spike Buffy's blood to 'save' him. At the moment the only solid narrative use of it is Buffy's horrified response and incorrect assumptions which resulted in her pushing Spike away because she decided from the combination of her dreams and his comment on having tasted her blood before that he drank from her dead body. I'm fairly confident that some of the strange/abnormal connection between them will turn out to be somehow linked to him having drunk her blood, having been saved by it, perhaps too. I'm not especially keen on the exaggerated connectedness of the glows and telepathy elements. It all feels too 'destined' and shallow in truth. For me trying to establish something deep by using randomly 'mystical' reasons that are supposed to by its presence alone make it all 'oh so meaningful' actually just serves to make it less so. The brief conversation that Giles and Spike had about the origins of the slayers could also be related to why they are responded to each other as they are with the emphasis put on the order of Aurelius at the same time and Spike being somehow prompted to think of the slayers as kindred. So the demonic link is likely to be raised alongside the blood one going forward I suspect.

    Both the storylines of Willow and Xander serve to separate Buffy from her friends to benefit her developing relationship with Spike and the separation of Buffy/Spike/Dawn as a distinct family unit. Giles' acceptance and approval the green light to the audience that this is how it should be. Although I think for both Willow and Xander the character points have been exaggerated, they are based on the canon issues and characterisations, so it didn't feel exceptionally off to lean more on these aspects as increased barriers between them/Buffy. Willow's further step is even given some more justification from the influence of what Rack has been doing as adding something specifically more to what was happening with her, rather than her break from the group feeling like it was just being placed on her as an inherently 'bad' person. It would greatly depend in both cases where their stories were taken next. It could end up feeling like character bashing was the aim, but at the moment I don't think that's the case. But it's walking the tightrope and could go either way.

    I could generally hear Spike pretty well throughout, but it quickly became tedious hearing him labelling Buffy and Dawn as 'his' constantly, 'his girl', 'his slayer'. There was also an odd, out-of-place scene where he behaves in an almost schizophrenic way talking to himself about his ability to change and what motivates him, what he wants from Buffy, that doesn't really fit the rest of the fic. I also tired of hearing all the varying and exotic demon names constantly. But generally I think the writing is better structured and has better voicing than the average story. I found the way the Doc was written into this one as a big bad slowly brewing in the background quite interesting. It was a shame the writer dropped the occasional paragraphs which were exploring what he was doing in the later part of the story. I'm sure it will be intended that this be picked up again in part 3 though, particularly as he has been linked to LA/Lorne and that is where Spike has just headed.

    The way the writer threads plot points through the series, like the importance of the blood, is good I think and although I've not liked the simplifying/smoothing of the characterisations in some regards, in others it is strong. Xander's fears and concern about Willow I particularly liked and the exploration of Dawn's continued sense of 'otherness', her worries about being constructed in people's memories and not being real was excellent. This plays a great deal in her continued canon insecurities for S6/7 but wasn't explored in depth so I like some more musings on this being included here.

    It's an enjoyable read and I particularly like that the writer takes time for general scenes too. The banter over patrol, over the tabula rasa spell or the scene with the Chinese takeaway spring to mind. These add so much to seeing the dynamics within the group and present opportunities for great little bits of voicing and interactions which adds to making it enjoyable. Snippets like the insert about Star Trek and Dru again was a fun addition. Sadly, whilst I appreciate that the plot is developing slowly across the fics, this is inherently disappointing when it is an unfinished series.

    As a story that somewhat questions the need for a soul it lacks in that Spike is just being written as his best self (so somewhat as if he is souled, ha). As we saw in the first story, he has extensive knowledge and abilities, is a demon expert and now a training guru and he was becoming greatly relied upon and trusted. Spike realising he hadn't been thinking lustfully towards Buffy and then being able to turn away after thinking of going to her and pushing the boundaries again felt soooo deliberate in creating and underlining this more selfless, more under-control Spike. The whole start of their sexual relationship was far more restrained and him pleasuring her all night long plays into this too. As an aside, I really don't see that as the great thing it is presented as when fics go down this route. To be frank I find it a strange thing to want someone to behave like they are a sexual slave all night long and that this somehow proves themselves on a meaningful level by denying their own pleasure/passion for a night. It irritates me. Anyway, this 'better' view of him outside of his care, selflessness and the original acceptance from Buffy, is also greatly flagged by that developing relationship with Giles. Giles who therefore is also at his wisest, most intuitive and reasonable self too, of course!

    So there was a little bit too much smoothing off of people's faults in a way that wasn't really earned. But then although Buffy's extensive years experiencing heaven were used to have meaningfully changed her in order to forge a new path with Spike, the writer wanted to then undo this too easily and have her readily turn back to being hard and even violent towards Spike. I see that post her argument with Xander it's established that her uncertainly over what was happening between them had suddenly been bothering her and her recalled pain/guilt over the incident with Angel/Jenny flared her emotionally in her doubts. But she was simultaneously reasoning her guilt out and acknowledging that Spike was as uncertain about what had been happened as she was, so it really just didn't work so well to push everything aside so quickly. It was too forced to get to her to make a huge jump in assuming he'd fed off her corpse! It felt again like in the first story that the writing looked to use over the top, amped up emotional responses and forced intensity to move the plot forward (although not as extreme here). I hate concluding with a list of negatives, so to leave on a positive note, I really liked the use of the break in the Tabula Rasa spell to reboot Buffy's wider memories.

    So much for trying to be brief!! I'll definitely read the third, even though I know it is a WIP that is only complete in note form and we aren't reading it here. I just want to know where it all goes after spending so many weeks reading about this version of the characters and the first two stories really not being ones that have a sense of individual conclusion. I will also read Wooden Path too, I really want to read that one, but after I've read Revelations. In an immediate sense however I'm going on to read/respond to the Dead Things review next and look to make something for Seasonal Spuffy, so fanfic is definitely going to be put to one side for me for a while.

    @flow, I note the possessiveness when talking about Buffy bugged you too, but I totally failed to notice the c*ck strangling comment so it neither bothered me nor satisfied me as it did for DD. Whilst I also found the switch in Buffy's characterisation when she turned on Spike didn't work, I suspect the third part of the story will (or was intended to) address the odd connection that had been happening between them and, like the blood issue in the first, it would be addressed again. I'll let you know when I eventually read what there is of the third if anything is added that feels like it draws together loose ends. As DD says, I suspect some of what is unsatisfying about this second instalment is because it was structured to be followed up with a third part to the series which would most likely have tied things together. There's a good chance even with the author's intentions written into notes that it isn't detailed enough to do this though frustratingly. Going from what DD and GoSpuffy have said. It will be a shame as this really was very much one part of a whole and the overall experience will just feel like reading a large WIP rather than two completed stories and the draft of a third.
    Last edited by Stoney; 29-05-18 at 09:30 PM.

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    I just finished reading the four chapters of the third part 'Revelations' that is a permanent WIP with author notes. I had thought it was more complete than it is, that there was a complete draft, so I was quite disappointed that it very much finishes really early on in what would clearly be a far, far longer story. There were a lot of threads still very much in progress. It's such a shame that this series wasn't complete. Yes, there are certainly issues in it, the melodrama and the ideal versions (a 'souled' unsouled Spike in many ways) but I really liked the relationship dynamics, the voicing and the introduction of a history between Spike/Angel in the third that was going to have layers/depth too was great. But sadly there is only a sense of the start of the third part gained from what has been published on it and so much left not even vaguely hinted towards the resolution of. Still, I think this will stay on my 'rated' pile just because of the difference of considering the time when Buffy was gone and for the focus on the Spike/Dawn relationship which was a definite highlight.
    Last edited by Stoney; 12-06-18 at 11:36 PM.

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    Thank you for coming back to the thread to talk about the third part of Awakenings, Stoney. I only glimpsed into it and saw, that it was just a draft. That was, why I did not read on further. But I agree, that it could have made an interesting story. I still think, the way Buffy`s Memory was affected and she had changed due to the prolonged period of time she spent in heaven could have made a very interesting story too. But alas, this opportunity was wasted, when she regained her memory back after the Tabula rasa spell and changed back into the old Buffy.

    I agree with you though, that the writing is exceptional. I still wish, the writer would have finished the third part.

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