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Scars by JamesMFan starting 13th March 2020

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  • #21
    This is an odd one for me. I did enjoy the story and the ending didn't bother me too much. Buffy could hear sirens in the distance so in my head she survives.

    What I wanted more of were the scars. I thought having scars on your back, though horrible, wouldn't have bought Buffy as low as is it did. I wanted there to be scars on her face, which I thought would have more of an impact on her and those around her. I also didn't think Joyce would ring the scoobies in an effort to intervene with her daughter. Joyce may have rung Giles afterwards, but not Willow or Xander and certainly not for them to take on the mothering role.

    Jeremiah was an odd addition. I didn't fully understand why he was there and I don't think the story would have been that different if he hadn't been. I also thought it was too long at 32 chapters, though they were short and it wasn't a long read.

    But saying all that, I liked the story and the writer captured Spike perfectly. Buffy was weaker than I'd expect her to be, but the other characters were pretty spot on. I like a dark angsty fic and this certainly delivered. JamesMFan has a nice easy style which I appreciated
    Last edited by Priceless; 13-03-20, 03:13 PM.

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    • #22
      Spoiler:
      I've also finished the story. The ending I had expected was Buffy staking Spike (or maybe, with a much lower probability, Spike killing Buffy). I didn't see the actual ending coming until, well, the very end. I don't think Buffy survived, it's not that kind of story. I can see why Jeremiah was included in the story but I'm not sure it was really necessary. I also agree that Joyce's overreaction to finding Spike with Buffy was not totally believable. Overall I did think the story was very good. I liked that Spike was lying and didn't stop killing. Too many Spuffy stories have pre-chip Spike give up killing for Buffy just like that, which I think is not true to character. I really liked Spike's characterization in this story.
      https://www.youtube.com/c/DoubleDutchess

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      • #23
        How do I put text in a spoiler?

        "I like who I am when I'm with him. I like who we are together."

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        • Stoney
          Stoney commented
          Editing a comment
          (removing the asterix) - put [*spoiler] Your text [/spoiler]. In the buttons if you highlight and click the one that is an empty grey box, that'll also tag it for you.

      • #24
        I did not like the story. It was bleak. Buffy can be sad and depressed like S6 but I want to end on a high note. Spike was written well but that was not my buffy . I believe she died at the end. I've lost someone I love to self harm, it changes you forever, perhaps this was too triggering for me.
        Last edited by GoSpuffy; 14-03-20, 12:44 AM.

        "I like who I am when I'm with him. I like who we are together."

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        • #25
          Spoiler:
          Since the story is set in season 4, I liked that Spike in this story is actually evil and he's genuinely frightening.

          I liked that Spike doesn't stop killing and doesn't turn good just because Buffy told him so, but I think she suspected that but chose to ignore it.

          Giles and Xander were so mean to Buffy, and their behaviour is a bit extreme.

          Somewhere in the middle, it became clear to me that there's not going to be a happy ending, and it wouldn't fit the story. I honestly expected that Buffy would stake Spike, but the actual ending was super depressing, and I didn't expect it. I keep asking myself, would Buffy really do that or was the ending a bit exaggerated? I mean, yes she's depressed, but I don't know if she would go that far. What do others think?

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          • #26
            With everything else going on here due to Cortona I almost forgot to say that the discussion is officially open now!

            I'm going to add my own thought this evening.

            flow

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            • #27
              I still have only reread a third of the story so far. I will finish it I hope this weekend at some point and will post and read everyone's thoughts when I've caught up. Sorry to be lagging as usual.

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              • #28
                I didn't see the actual ending coming until, well, the very end
                Me neither. I expected one to kill the other, or for Buffy to be turned, but not that she would take her own life.

                I did not like the story. It was bleak. Buffy can be sad and depressed like S6 but I want to end on a high note. Spike was written well but that was not my buffy . I believe she died at the end. I've lost someone I love to self harm, it changes you forever, perhaps this was too triggering for me.
                So sorry for your loss GoSpuffy, I can only imagine how awful losing someone to self harm must be. I do think this story is quite triggering, and I agree, I don't think Buffy would have done this to herself, not in this manner. In season 6 she was dancing herself to death, and Spike stopped her, but that was because she was under a spell.

                Since the story is set in season 4, I liked that Spike in this story is actually evil and he's genuinely frightening. I liked that Spike doesn't stop killing and doesn't turn good just because Buffy told him so, but I think she suspected that but chose to ignore it.
                He genuinely is scary. I liked how easily he could lie to Buffy without any guilt at all, that was written very well. I agree, Buffy must have at least suspected, with Jeremiah actually telling her that Spike was still killing.

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                • #29
                  First of all, there were several inconsistencies which seriously annoyed. For this reason, the story to me failed to be excellent and ended up being just a very good story which is sad because the potential is clearly there.
                  As for the inconsistencies:
                  - There is no explanation whatsoever given why Buffy's slayer healing does not work as far as her scars are concerned.
                  - Where is Drusilla? This story is obviously set in early season 4. We last saw Spike leave the town to win her back. In canon she took him back and dumped him again only shortly later, but what has happened to her here?
                  - In Lovers Walk we saw a partly evil and brutal Spike. I won't play down his evilness. But at the same time, he was a drunken and forlorn fool for love. Heck, he cried into Willow's fluffy pink sweater and caught fire because he had passed out blind drunk outside. In this story, we see him come back focused, evil, in charge, powerful, a leader of dozens of minions, a master vampire. What happened to the Spike from Lovers Walk?
                  - Buffy is stronger than Spike. This is a fact that has been stated again and again on the show. He sometimes gets very close to beating her but only under special circumstances. In School Hard she underestimated him. In Halloween, she was under a spell. In the Harsh Light of Day, he is protected by the Gem. And so on. But in this fic, she suddenly is weaker than he is. He beats her easily and she is clearly afraid of encountering him - at first. The very next night she is sure she can take him on. She gets chained and suddenly breaks free from the chains and slaps him over the face while he stands there and takes it like an idiot without even raising a finger. Whoever of the two is needed to be stronger than the other plotwise suddenly is stronger although he or she wasn't stronger a chapter ago.
                  - Jeremiah was popping up like a deus ex machina without any explanation, reason or aim. His only purpose was to tell Buffy how evil Spike is, but there was no need for it. Buffy didn't believe him anyway and the reader already knew. And why was Jeremiah such a good vampire anyway? Was he living on bagged pig's blood out of the goodness of his heart?
                  - Spike takes pleasure in describing in detail how he is going to torture Buffy by cutting off her body parts one after another. A moment later he muses about how he never was much into torturing his victims.
                  - When Spike first sees Buffy's scars he immediately thinks she has been ruined. He is not thinking she has suffered more than she can bear or she has been wronged. He explicitly uses the word ruined in his mind. Yet a day or so later he is the only person in the world who accepts her as being the same person she has always been.

                  That's a rather long list of complaints. But the good things still outweigh:

                  Spike is unrepentantly evil. He is unchipped and unsouled and hasn't lived among humans for more than a century. Everything else than being as evil as he is in this fic would not be plausible. Still he mostly gets pictured better than this even in season 2 or season 3 fics. But this is actually Spike the way he was in early season 4. Genuinely scary and frighteningly, like Priceless and GoSpuffy said. He casually kills and he casually lies to Buffy about killing and he doesn't care. At least not at first. It's already too late when he finally realizes he is in love with her and at least considers finding a way out of the trap he has gotten them both into.

                  Buffy is of course completely different from our canon season 4 Buffy. But there is a reason for it and it's convincing. She has gone through a major trauma, she has physically been wounded and those scars have not healed but have also wounded her inner self. It is possible - and not seldom - that a major injury can and will change you as a person. It is not only about the disfigurement that comes with the massive scarring on her back and changes her self-perception as a girl or woman. There probably also is pain and those circumstances lead to her closing herself off from her friends, her watcher, her social life and in the end even from Joyce. Joyce tries to get through to her but her friends and watcher fail her. Not because they are mean spirited but because they don't know how to reach out to her. Giles tries to find a spell. It is well-meant. But it also means that he wants to get the old Buffy back. That he can't and won't accept her the way she is now. That's what Spike is doing for her and what leads to her finally opening up again. It's beautiful to see how she finds her ability to laugh again and how the process of finding out how to live again immediately leads her back to her friends.

                  It could all have been wonderful had Spike not been Spike and evil. And the trust she has dared to put into him is shattered into pieces and with it every desire or courage to dare to live again. Of course, it is not only Spike who has failed her because if her friends had not turned their backs on her, had not burned the bridges and had not demanded from her to choose between them and him there is a chance she would have reached out to them after she found out about Spike's victims.

                  The scene at her door, where she is bleeding to her death and Spike is desperately trying to get in, is excellent writing. It made me want to scream "No". I am aware that this is a difficult topic and I can understand that someone like you, GoSpuffy who has lost someone that way, may find this triggering and disturbing. I was actually asking myself if this scene wasn't picturing Buffy harming herself in a way that was too sugar-coating. Writing about suicide in fiction is very difficult because one is always at risk of painting a picture that might draw someone else in.
                  I agree with Priceless that the writer left it open for us to decide if Buffy really was dead when the ambulance arrived. There is a chance she was saved. There is also the possibility she wasn't but Spike got his chance and turned her. And there is, of course, the option that the ambulance arrived too late and she already was dead. I think it is what the writer wanted to be the ending although they left it open.

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                  • #30
                    I agree with your positive comments, flow, but not with all of your complaints about inconsistencies.

                    Originally posted by flow View Post
                    - There is no explanation whatsoever given why Buffy's slayer healing does not work as far as her scars are concerned.
                    I think the idea was that the scarring was too severe. I think the show is also inconsistent when it comes to Slayer healing (compare for example Fool for Love and Chosen) so I'm willing to accept that there are limitations to what Slayer healing can do.

                    - Where is Drusilla? This story is obviously set in early season 4. We last saw Spike leave the town to win her back. In canon she took him back and dumped him again only shortly later, but what has happened to her here?
                    - In Lovers Walk we saw a partly evil and brutal Spike. I won't play down his evilness. But at the same time, he was a drunken and forlorn fool for love. Heck, he cried into Willow's fluffy pink sweater and caught fire because he had passed out blind drunk outside. In this story, we see him come back focused, evil, in charge, powerful, a leader of dozens of minions, a master vampire. What happened to the Spike from Lovers Walk?
                    These things did not bother me at all. In canon S4 (Harsh Light of Day) we also see Spike back without Drusilla, and as a leader with a bunch of minions. I don't really see the difference with this story.

                    Whoever of the two is needed to be stronger than the other plotwise suddenly is stronger although he or she wasn't stronger a chapter ago.
                    Here also, the show had the same inconsistencies, so this doesn't bother me any more than it did on the show.

                    About Jeremiah I agree, his only purpose was to point out to Buffy that Spike was evil. I think the story could have done without him. Were did you get that Jeremiah was drinking pig's blood though? I thought he did say that he was killing people.

                    - Spike takes pleasure in describing in detail how he is going to torture Buffy by cutting off her body parts one after another. A moment later he muses about how he never was much into torturing his victims.
                    A prime example of "talking big", I think.

                    About the "ruined" thing, I thought the story made it believable that Spike got over that first impression quickly.
                    https://www.youtube.com/c/DoubleDutchess

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                    • #31
                      Double Dutchess
                      These things did not bother me at all. In canon S4 (Harsh Light of Day) we also see Spike back without Drusilla, and as a leader with a bunch of minions. I don't really see the difference with this story.
                      That's true but he is still pining after Dru and whining to Harmony about how she dumped him. And the Gem of Amarra scheme is, in the end, nothing but a scheme to win Dru back again. He certainly is ruthless and evil in season 4 too if you think about how he tortured Angel. But he is also a bit pathetic like he was in Lovers Walk. That's what is completely missing in this story.

                      Here also, the show had the same inconsistencies, so this doesn't bother me any more than it did on the show.
                      That's true. there is absolutely no explanation why Spike had Buffy on her back and his teeth oin her neck in Out Of my Mind.

                      A prime example of "talking big", I think.

                      About Jeremiah I agree, his only purpose was to point out to Buffy that Spike was evil. I think the story could have done without him. Were did you get that Jeremiah was drinking pig's blood though? I thought he did say that he was killing people.
                      I went back and looked at the fic again and you are right. he admits that he is killing people (to survive). He appeared to be such a nice guy and Buffy never staked him. That must have been why I assumed he can't be killing - lol.

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