Well, it's that time again!

Hey cool cats. I know I haven't been around much lately (personal post hopefully to come soon) but just popping in to say that it's my IWRY day. The iwry_marathon is a month long Buffy/Angel ficathon that's one of my favorite parts of the year. It's really making November fly by for me. I realized this morning that this is my fifth year participating (I started when I was a senior in high school; I'm a junior in college now) so I hope that some of you will enjoy my new offering, Trust Falls.

Anyway, happy weekend, friends.
I completely adored this like 1000%.

First, your Buffy speak is superb. The line Seems like a little too divide and not enough conquer. should have been in the show,

Secondly, I just love the idea of the AU. Here Buffy is just so alone, it breaks my heart. But I love how she and Angel have this complete trust in eaxh other by the end.

I hope this curse is different here, otherwise she's going to have no one when that all comes down. I don't even want to think about it.

Anyway, great story.
There were a few quotes that inspired this story. Joss has said that "... the very basic premise of the show: Buffy, Willow, Xander and the romance with Angel," and even though I love all of those things, I skewed them. I kind of wanted to play with loneliness (the scariest thing there is) and a relationship where Buffy's answer to Angel would never have been "I love you but I'm not sure I trust you."

I think that what Jenny was saying when she told Angel that they would have to talk about the unfairness of his curse, she knows about the loophole and would work to fix it. I do miss Xander and Willow, but I kind of love the idea of a universe where Buffy and Angel get to be best friends and have sex. ;)

Thank you so much for the comment. Truly made my night.
Okay, here we go. The first thing that impressed me about this story was the character voice. You're getting so good at it I'm thrilled and jealous. Buffy's dialogue in this one is virtually indistinguishable from her canon dialogue: witty and self-aware and genuine. I just skimmed for a favorite line and there were too many choices. Angel and Giles and Cordelia were great, too, and none of them are easy to write.

Second thing, and this was extra cool because it made me think about writing, is that you're showing a knack for balancing the narrative. That is, you know when to describe a scene in detail and when to summarize it, when to give us dialogue and when to switch to description, and just as importantly, how to transition from one to the other. I'm particularly thinking here about Buffy confronting Giles after she's Chosen, and then the paragraph opening with "And because a man disappeared in front of her last night" - which neatly covers the relevant action from the next day AND shows us the wider picture of how Buffy's life has changed, all without the slightest disruption to the pace. That's something I always have trouble with and I like analyzing how you manage it.

As for the story itself, did I spy you saying somewhere that you had ideas for expanding on this AU? Because I would read the hell out of that. I loved seeing the way this change in environment changes Buffy's relationships - we're all so familiar with the characters, but they're so different in alternate circumstances that it's both exciting and painful to recognize them. Just imagine, Buffy feeling like Giles' second fiddle...and never even making friends with Willow and Xander.

But of course there's two sides to the coin, and we get to see Buffy and Angel building a solid friendship instead of falling into a doomed romance. (Love the title, by the way. Trust is everything here, and the climax shows us clearly how Buffy and Angel catch each other at the crucial moment.) Jenny and Giles look like they've got a fighting chance this time around, too, and I don't think it will take long for Cordy's big heart to emerge. Also, it's fascinating and very believable that Queen C is non-Slayer Buffy's #1 friend. They're both good people inside, but they needed influences outside of each other.

I'd love to see you throw some kind of new disaster at the new B/A power team, something that has nothing to do with Gypsy curses or losing each other's support. This cast has enormous potential, especially when you consider alternative ways for other characters to be introduced.

Awesome story, so long and lovely and unexpected. Thanks a million!

Edited at 2014-01-18 02:56 pm (UTC)
I've just been sitting and giggling over this amazingness over the past few days, but then I remembered that you might actually want me to acknowledge it, so to quote you, "Okay, here we go."

When I got to "Buffy's dialogue in this one is virtually indistinguishable from her canon dialogue" I kept looking away and waving my hands and going stop! You stop that, K! You know I always have trouble with dialog and I spent a lot of stressful time with clenched fists trying to whip everyone into shape, so this was gratifying to hear.

I can only partially take credit for the writing style thing. Out of nowhere, I just started noticing construction as I was reading. Like, I would be reading along and suddenly it would be like a part of my brain had stopped devoting itself to the story and started noticing stuff like the way the author sometimes put descriptions before dialog and sometimes did it afterward, so I started considering that when I wrote. But I'm glad that you actually noticed! I guess it helps when you've been reading my stuff for 5ish years.

Ahhh, I didn't mean to mislead you! I actually wouldn't mind revisiting this verse, because I find it emotionally fascinating for all the characters involved, and I love the idea that we spoke about in the fangirl ramble of the conflict coming from without and the team (specifically Buffy and Angel) having to deal with it together instead of being fragmented from within. I'd also love to see if Willow and Xander would somehow come back, but that would be secondary. But when I said that I was thinking about expanding the series this belongs to, I was referring to something that you would have no way of knowing about. My original concept for this story was that it would be part of a series of several short pieces that would go AU at different points in BTVS/ATS. It got super long, so I just submitted it by itself, but I still do have the framework for the rest of the oneshots, which would all take place in separate worlds connected only by the fact that they're all AU. This is why I haven't posted Trust Falls on ff.net: I haven't decided if I want it as a oneshot, or if I want to wait and see if I manage to get more written so they can hang out together.

My parents were friends for seven years before they became involved romantically, so I have a really strong affiliation with "friends first." We saw multiple times during the series that Buffy and Angel could be excellent friends to each other (maybe not just friends, as Spike points out, but look at the scene in the park in Gingerbread) and I wanted to capitalize on that, but I knew that with Willow and Xander and Giles around as a support system, it was much easier to make Angel just a love interest and less of a friend.

I based a lot of the trajectory of Buffy's AU life on who we saw her as in the first episode. If she hadn't had to go deal with vampires, Buffy and Cordelia probably would have been the leaders of the posse, partially because of who they were acting as (shallow, catty girls) and partially because of the fact that they were both acting. But their personalities are still the same, and if you throw them into the right situation, even later in life, they'll blossom similarly to the ways they did in the show.

Thank you so much for the review! This made my everything!!
I can only partially take credit for the writing style thing. Out of nowhere, I just started noticing construction as I was reading.

You silly goose, you just described the way writers learn to polish their writing. Of course you can take full credit for that. And I really do love thinking and talking about the process. If only we all had the time, I would love to devote myself in a big way to a fandom writers' workshop. You could share your new secrets about Buffyverse dialogue.

Well, now that you've illuminated the original idea for multiple AUs, that sounds pretty awesome too and I wouldn't complain to see it either way. Let's say, whatever gets you motivated to produce more stories I can read has my vote. ;)

But Buffy and Cordelia's friendship would be amazing to see in this 'verse once both of them were true heroes. Just sayin'.

Bet you love Ron/Hermione! Hmmm, who else was friends first...
Of course you can take full credit for that.
Lol, part of me knows that I was improving my writing, but it was such a random out of body experience, that I feel like I didn't think about it enough to really purposefully have been making changes.

You could share your new secrets about Buffyverse dialogue.
Sorry, wrong number. I'll find a real expert and then you can start hosting fanfic writers' workshops. I would definitely be there, if only to squee over my favorite writers and sweat over which breakaway sessions to attend ("Snark and Spark sounds amazing, but so does "Beyond Mary Sue: Building Realistic OCs!")

But Buffy and Cordelia's friendship would be amazing to see in this 'verse once both of them were true heroes. Just sayin'.
If I ever write it, it would probably be inspired by Homecoming. Because even as big damn heroes, there would be some competitiveness. I mean, I write in slow motion, so if it happens, it could be years if ever, but I'm just sayin'.

I do love Ron/Hermione! And I saw them coming from so far off that I was confused by people's confusion about them. In certain senses, Logan/Veronica were friends first, although most of the canon action and the deepest cutting stuff happened after they were friends and before they dated. Nick/Jess from New Girl. I'm pretty eh on Ross and Rachel, but am a huge fan of Monica/Chandler. You know I've got a thing for trust and honesty, and being friends first is such a great source of that kind of stability.
Okay, then you can host a breakaway session on having a writing-instructive out of body experience.

I'm confused by people who don't believe Ron/Hermione, too. Harry Potter shipping is weird. The canon ships are so very confirmed that it seems like there shouldn't be any argument, but actually the argument is everywhere. Don't know the other ones you mentioned, except Monica/Chandler and I'm pretty eh on everything from Friends....though really I do remember liking their relationship more than others.