This is so frickin cool. It's funny--if you looked back over my history of recs, I think I tend to pick those with pretty traditional narrative styles (and of course, that's what most fans write). I tend to assume I have an open mind about literary form but when it comes down to it, I think I favor transparency. However, *this* story has a bit of fractured form to it and it's wonderful. I love the weave of third person with the first-person inserts. Xander's voice grabbed me right away--it's not his canon speaking voice on the show, but it's incredibly persuasive as a grown-up version of him, filtered through age and a different sort of tone. In fact, the whole story has a tonal shift which becomes more clear as you read; it's not a dystopia, there's a lot of happy, but it's a more darkly shaded version of the Buffyverse, like the Wishverse. I adore the pairings. Willow and Xander are so comfy together and so sweet, and this is one of the few depictions of Buffy/Faith that I've been really caught by, where it just seems *right*. And of course Giles & Spike is a hoot. Spike's first few lines of dialogue threw me because I wasn't sure how to read them yet, but they get retconned by later context and characterization--he's the version of snarky, semi-evil Spike that we see on the show, with a sharp twist to the left.
Favorite bits: Like I said, I love the Xander voice--his first-person observations are greatness. Also, Spike & Faith fighting in the alley--big cats scrapping, making it look scary when in fact they're utterly cool with each other. *g* Willow smelling of strawberries. Meta snark! Spike: "As you are so fond of reminding me, I’m playing with balls now. Get your tits off the table, bint." Ha. And the way that everyone in the Bronze is scared of them. They're tight now, a gang/family, and this is a future where they've built up a reptutation--they're not longer the secret Scooby club.
Spike's collar. Happy sigh.
Fangirls are so cool. You are all the coolest.