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Thread: Ties That Bind by rainsrabble starting 12th July 2019

  1. #21
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
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    These are my general comments following completing the story, so I've stuck them under a spoiler just because others seem to be reading still. Look at me catching up, ha!

    Spoiler:
    I enjoyed my reread of this fic. Buffy's early deep infatuation and arousal at every little thing Spike does is daft but this is just a light fic and pretty AU to me in terms of characterisation. Spike is just too easily everything wanted of him and the obstacles are pretty much non-existent. The general story works really to provide an opportunity to offer this mating bind that breaks boundaries between them and gives them both the experience of all that they can be together if only they choose to be. As I say, it's easy and light. Like Pricey I quite enjoy the blending of parts of S4&5 too.

    I actually enjoy the more animalistic bond of claims in fics well enough, but they do tend to be used to remove obstacles because of how they connect the two of them and provide surety that in and of itself instantly goes beyond the dynamic they have with anyone else. Regularly used with wanting to make Spike trustworthy and accepted unsouled by giving assurance of a level of control over him, transparency to his feelings and actions, or through providing the benefits and restraint of a soul by being mystically connected to Buffy, or even just to use to spotlight the depth/level of his devotion and ability to commit. So it's very commonly used as a tool in early season fics to overcome barriers that often removes the need to have other, more complete or complex character development and changes occur. I've never really thought of it until now but I'd be surprised if it features even a fraction as often in fics where Spike ends up souled. Anyway, I roll with claims as a typical 'fanfic' fantasy AU that simplifies, lightens, often idealises, but is essentially constructed on the notion of the connection and draw Buffy and Spike feel to each other, just in a less gritty/complex way than canon.

    The familial bond between Angel and Spike was treated similarly in this and whilst I don't 'like' the rewrite of the siring and the 'call' and control that Angel is able to use to his family when needed, it fits alongside the idea of deeper connections as being written between Buffy and Spike. And reallly I prefer to see Angel and Spike's familial bond being written like this and emphasised rather than Angel being bashed as part of a spuffy story. It was all just more smoothing over though. Even to the extent of Dru showing up later on and just doing as she was told and then shuffling off stage left. A factor that doesn't really impact the story other than to be underlining the notion of bonds, showing Spike's choice to put Buffy first before even Dru, as well providing another example of unsouled vampires playing nice if they choose to. Although these others leave after briefly helping to go and kill elsewhere. I actually don't have a huge issue with that come and go as prioritising dangers is a reality for Buffy, always was. Similarly I actually like the inclusion of getting painkillers through willing blood donations from drugged humans and found that an interesting moral consideration that was a bit more gritty than the story generally went.

    And in the end we get Spike's wish to give everything up for Buffy alongside his desire to be mated again. But this only comes out after him having gone off to LA to prove to himself he can do it anyway, before the talk of becoming mated again occurs when we know Buffy has a tight connection to him that could have been seen to regulate him instead. So on this occasion it seems the writing used the bond/claim to let Buffy experience the depth of commitment Spike offered and come to realise her feelings rather than as a restraint in and of itself. Suggesting the ability to choose is there beyond any transparency achieved through mating. But the writing is light and so doesn't attempt to address any of the negative ties between the person Spike had been that had murdered etc for decades with enjoyment and who he is now saying he is without the bond's effect/existence. And I'm fine with that as the tone of the story doesn't fit with a more angst driven, deeper character exploration and I just go back to how AU it feels anyway and that it's simply a pretty light read.

    As often happens, Xander was mostly used to raise objection and be the voice of dissent over the relationship. This role tends to be his or Giles', sometimes Willow's, and comes with varying degrees of negative portrayal of them for taking issues with the relationship between Buffy and Spike. It wasn't anywhere near as negative in this story as it can sometimes be. Again smoothing over or past objections is another aspect that creates that light/easy tone to the story. It really isn't angst driven.

    I felt that there was an odd shift in the writing around the time when Angel came into it that felt a little like the writer was rushing towards the end by that point. It lacked a little padding out in the writing, if that makes sense.

    So, it simplified the situation between Buffy and Spike, requires you to shrug at the unaddressed negatives, often greatly idealises everyone's responses to Spike and felt very much like AU versions of characters, but in a pretty standard way for pro-unsouled early season fics. Possibly not the best for anyone that heartily dislikes claims but enjoyable enough if you don't mind them.
    Last edited by Stoney; 16-07-19 at 05:21 PM.

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  3. #22
    Scooby Gang Double Dutchess's Avatar
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    Like Priceless I have taken up reading the story again. I'm currently at Chapter 14. I still see no reason to assume that Buffy was under a spell from the start, so my dislike for the first few chapters remains. But at least once she and Spike get under the actual spell there is an explanation for the over-the-top attraction and that's OK with me. Also the fact that it happened by accident makes it a lot more palatable to me than your average "claim". So I'll continue reading.

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  5. #23
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
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    I've finished this fic and in the main I quite enjoyed it. I agree that it did seem rushed at the end, but I think it was longer than it needed to be anyway, and could have done with a harsher edit. There were whole chapters just of smut. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy smut as much as the next person, but I felt this could have been halved and still been a smut fest

    I enjoyed the story and the writing style. It was well written, though the characters weren't my Buffy and Spike, this was an interesting take on their relationship.

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  7. #24
    Slayer flow's Avatar
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    I've finally read it! Yay me!

    As most of you know I absolutely hateclaims in fics.

    But this was handled very differently. The claim was uncalled for. It happened accidental and without consent. And although they were both very deeply affected by it they also did both object to that affection. There was a push-and-pull between the claim on the one side and Buffy objecting to Spike's evilness as well as Spike longing to be free for Drusilla on the other side that makes this claim fic really worthwhile reading. The whole story was also written very well. There were so many lines that were funny and enjoyable. I particular remember a line at the very beginning where Buffy felt like throwing up while Spike carried her and found the time to spare a thought that it would serve him right if she puked all over him because he was evil. That's the kind of lighthearted and (seemingly) effortless writing I really like. Throw an Angel into the mix who is not only pictured true to character and likeable but also helpful for once and you have a nearly perfect fic. The one minor drawback was the characterization of Xander and the very little we saw of Willow.

    I thought it was satisfying that the claim ended. That way both Buffy and Spike had the option to make a choice about a re-claiming. I appreciate that they did not jump into the re-claiming but that Buffy initially considered Spike's vampric instincts to hunt and to kill as an obstacle. Only after he had proven himself and with the further help of the claim to stop him from killing again Buffy was ready to consider a relationship with him possible.

    I've often read fics where the sire bond is used as a plot device. I don't rememeber having come across a fic before, where the eldest of a line can summon the whole line. That was a new to me and I liked how it was used (although I think is Angel summons the line we should have seen Lawson and maybe even Penn. I don't know if maybe Penn was already dusted at this point in the canon time line).

    This was beautifully written, nicely paced, had an interesting plot and the character voicing was spot-on throughout. It is basically a very good fic. I am glad I came back to this thread and read it although I was quite late to the party.

    Stoney:
    I've never really thought of it until now but I'd be surprised if it features even a fraction as often in fics where Spike ends up souled.
    On the top of my head I can't remember a single story where Buffy and souled Spike claim each other. I don't think such stories exist - lol.

    flow .
    Last edited by flow; 09-08-19 at 08:52 PM.
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  9. #25
    Scooby Gang Double Dutchess's Avatar
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    I finished this fic a while ago, but just didn't have time to post. After overcoming my annoyance about the first few chapters I did enjoy the rest of the story. Having the accidental claim to explain Buffy's fixation on Spike made things a lot better. I also liked the Angel-Spike bond. I did find Drusilla's motivations a bit weird, I don't really get why she did it. But it got things done, so I guess that's what counts.

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