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20 October 2003 @ 05:45 pm
found items  
Found on my hard drive as I was looking for something else just now. Apparently one day I scribbled the opening scene for one of those guys-return-through-the-portal stories I dwell on so often in my mind. Usually Spike comes back mute and mysterious but he's kind of perky here. I think I still intended him to be Xander's slave-vamp, though.

It's not especially good, but it's filler! Mmmm, filler.



When Xander and Spike came back through the portal, no one was there, and it made Willow feel achey-breaky around the heart to think about it, like the time she came back from England and no one was at the airport to greet her, except they were, just invisible. That wasn't the case this time. They'd been gone three weeks; long enough for everyone to give in and agree that it would no longer be useful to sit shifts at the clearing in the woods where they'd vanished, even Willow herself, who'd held out as long as she could before giving into mourning. They were all the walking wounded. Giles had stopped speculating about the possibilty of their survival and was drinking too much. Buffy had turned quieter than quiet. And Willow thought of the years ahead, an existence without Tara and Xander and Oz, and she wondered what the point would be after Buffy inevitably fell and gave it up for the next slayer in line, and Willow wondered how she'd kill herself--quickly? slowly? By carelessness, with deliberation? She pictured her vampire alter ego, shuddered, and told herself that no matter what, she wouldn't let it end *that* way.

Nearly a year after insurance company agents had suspiciously inspected the shattered magic shop, Anya finally wrested her money from their bloodsucking grip and left town with teary good-byes. Faith and Robin took off in his car for Cleveland. Sheepish, anxious locals returned in waves to resume their homes and their lives. Shellshocked potentials blinked and called their parents and blew away like tumbleweeds, including Kennedy, who, when the purse strings were tugged, folded like a cheap lawn chair. Dawn chopped off all her hair, went back to school. Andrew kept house and worked on a comic book. The Hellmouth was closed again, for now, and this was the part where the survivors were supposed to pick up the threads of their lives and go on, reknit, but the survivors should have included Xander. Because frankly, Andrew was not an acceptable Xander substitute, not even the margarine of Xanders, not even Xander Lite, and if he didn't stop offering her bundt cake, she was going to slap him silly.

Which was what she was thinking the night that Xander and Spike came back. She was sitting in the living room, Buffy out, Dawn out, Andrew bundting, Giles next to her on the couch, drinking with her. They were hanging together. She was hanging with Giles. She'd done some of that in England, but now they were here, reinforcing her awareness that they were behaving almost like peers. They had peerage going on, a kind of wavelength even. Soon they'd probably start sleeping together, one of those May-December, lesbian-watcher relationships you hear about.

"I'm kind of drunk," she was noticing aloud, at just about the time that Xander and Spike came back.

Giles stared ahead at the screen where Katherine Hepburn was teasing a leopard, lifted his glass to his mouth, then lowered it and turned to her on a five-second delay. "Pardon?"

"You're kind of drunk," Willow said kindly.

"Oh." He glanced at his glass. "Yes. I suppose I am, rather. I have this painful knocking in my head."

"That's the door."

"Oh, fine. Thank god." At once he took a long swallow from his drink.

"We should answer it," Willow said from her slumped position, gaze back on the TV.

"Quite."

A moment of shared immobility passed before Willow called, "Andrew! Door!"

"I've got it," their housemaid trilled.

So it was Andrew who answered the door, saying, "Hola, and welcome to Casa Sum--" And then his voice broke off into silence. Onscreen, the leopard roared; Willow took another sip of her drink.

Andrew slammed the front door and appeared in the living room entrance, pale-faced, wringing his hands. "There're ghosts at the door," he said, sounding uncertain. "Should I let them in?"

"Sure," Willow said, watching the commercial of dancing Chex Mix. "Why not? Are they friendly?"

"They bear the visage of our fallen comrades."

After two ticks of a melted, eternal clock, Willow and Giles turned their heads and looked at one another, then hied for the door and opened it, and there they were, Xander with his hand raised to knock again, Spike half turned away, gazing around the neighborhood as if to orient himself--a fleeting impression as the door swept them into view, and then he was turning back to face them, and then they were all facing each other.

Willow found a croak of a whisper to say, "Xander?"

It was funny how she knew already what had happened, right then, but they'd talked about the possibilities, so maybe intuition and evidence and supposition just converged like they do sometimes, because she knew. He was older, enough that she could see it around his eyes, with the longest hair he'd ever worn and a beard that made him another person entirely, like a blues guitarist or one of those bad-ass guys who played bar pool like they were married to the table. It was like seeing a cousin you haven't met in five years and finding out he's this complete *man*, and kind of crushworthy.

"Will," he said, and it was his voice, or maybe lower. Raspy. As if he'd screamed a lot sometime, somewhere--

She flew into his arms, a crazy drunken bird hitting a tree--he was like wood, it was like hugging a tree, hard and strong. He hugged back, and she pressed her wet face into his shoulder and inhaled leather, sweat, and intense woodsy things, like maybe he'd slept in pine needles and sap and crushed greenery until their scents had blended into the fabric of him, not just clothes but skin. They were bizarre, not-Xander smells, and she knew he'd been gone for a long, long time.

There was a chaos of greetings, a hug between Giles and Xander when she stepped back and swiped tears off her face, Andrew burbling meaninglessly in the background, and then Giles pulled away and she noticed Spike, always an afterthought, barely missed by them all this time, overshadowed by the huge absence of Xander.

Willow knew she was looking at Spike because he was with Xander; ergo, he was Spike. If he'd been on his own, come to their door, she wasn't sure she'd have recognized him. She remembered Spike as a dark scowl, an unkind mouth, a series of head tilts and suspicious gazes and postures and mockeries. Thumbs hooked in belt, entire body a slump, cigarette smoke shrouding him in bitter fumes and boredom. He'd looked his age, a hundred years of apathy and evil, and those few months of soul hadn't changed her impression of him. But now he looked weirdly fresh-faced and wide-eyed and young, as if he'd just stepped off the plane or wandered off from prep school for the first time. His hair stuck up everywhere in tiny licks, a yellowy-white mess as if someone had rubbed his head vigorously with both hands after washing. His face was whiter than white, clean as snow, but he didn't look at all sick or hungry. When she caught his eye, he smiled at her with eyes and mouth.

"Hello, Red."

His voice made a melody of her name, and for some reason when he spoke she finally took in the rest of him and realized he was wearing simple clothing with complicated trappings--belt and sword and boots--and a cloak over it all, and Xander was too. They hadn't just been gone a while. They'd been gone an elsewhere.
 
 
 
ivyincubus on October 20th, 2003 06:03 pm (UTC)
Is there more? There should be more. I'm very curious now. There doesn't have to be more, but if there's more, you should share it. ;)
Circe: cheater by 1conattackcirce_tigana on October 20th, 2003 06:04 pm (UTC)
wowwowowowowowowow!!!

!!!!!

Heee.

This is possibly the most inane feedback I've ever left, but your fic opening made me giddy and genuinely regressed my critical skills to the saying of: "Love!!!!!"

She remembered Spike as a dark scowl

Hee!
Strange Rambling Writer Chick: Kill Bill Silhouette (sihaya09)debxena on October 20th, 2003 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm a big Spike fan, but that Xander sounded just ... hot! I want more woodsman Xander please :) *begging*
A carbonated fusion beverage!: evil - green_luv (*hugs*)swmbo on October 20th, 2003 06:11 pm (UTC)

Oh god. How much would I kill to know where they were and what happened - and how long they were even gone.

*sighs* My mind is just whirling. That was gorgeous.
all right, so you're nonchalant: knock you outrunpunkrun on October 20th, 2003 06:15 pm (UTC)
Soon they'd probably start sleeping together, one of those May-December, lesbian-watcher relationships you hear about.

Yeah, nearly inhaled my orange juice right here. I loved homemaker Andrew, too.

lightning rod for criticismannakovsky on October 20th, 2003 06:19 pm (UTC)
This is really great. I love the Willow/Xander friendship stuff, and drunk Willow and drunk Giles and the Soon they'd probably start sleeping together, one of those May-December, lesbian-watcher relationships you hear about and the Andrew was not an acceptable Xander substitute, not even the margarine of Xanders, not even Xander Lite, because they make me laugh, and the description is killer, and did I mention that I liked this? And that I want to know what happens next?
Herself_nyc: robintcj's S/X manipherself_nyc on October 20th, 2003 06:32 pm (UTC)
Awww, maaan, don't leave us like this. Please write more.

Or not. No pressure.

But I really liked this, and especially for the Willow POV which seems like a fairly rare thing with you--I seem to recall one other, maybe--and it's just NEAT. Especially what seems to be happening with her and Giles.

So . . . YUM.
Lumenara Dhahm: please do.lumenara on October 20th, 2003 06:40 pm (UTC)
I love you.

They hadn't just been gone a while. They'd been gone an elsewhere.

My god. If this is just the filler, what's the story like?
(Anonymous) on October 20th, 2003 06:51 pm (UTC)
*blinks*

*lip quivers*

*tears well*

more? please?

*whimper*
Essene: James by _green_essene on October 20th, 2003 07:16 pm (UTC)
Not only do you come up with these interesting little plotty things in your fics (excerpt or not), you string words together like this:

After two ticks of a melted, eternal clock, Willow and Giles turned their heads and looked at one another, then hied for the door and opened it

I love you.
Veracopracat on October 20th, 2003 07:26 pm (UTC)
That was all so very nice and full of tugs to other thoughts.

I did dearly love Andrew's Agador Spartacus-like turn.
Carrie: taisto & swancbking on October 20th, 2003 07:31 pm (UTC)
It's not especially good, but it's filler!

Not especially good?? Oh, silly, silly woman. What a wonderful picture of a world I want more of. More! Um, please?
twi: Dangerous Beauty - saavatwistingflame on October 20th, 2003 07:32 pm (UTC)
Others already mentioned the May-December line. Hee! Also,

"I'm kind of drunk," she was noticing aloud, at just about the time that Xander and Spike came back.

Giles stared ahead at the screen where Katherine Hepburn was teasing a leopard, lifted his glass to his mouth, then lowered it and turned to her on a five-second delay. "Pardon?"

"You're kind of drunk," Willow said kindly.


I could totally see this, and I loved the detail of the old movie which now I can't remember but I know has the word baby in it.

She flew into his arms, a crazy drunken bird hitting a tree--he was like wood, it was like hugging a tree, hard and strong.

Lovely imagery.

and she noticed Spike, always an afterthought, barely missed by them all this time, overshadowed by the huge absence of Xander.

Yes. And I'm wondering how Buffy would react now.

All in all, a pretty little snippet. I yearn for more of man-Xander and demasked Spike.
it's just that you're unbearablefitofpique on October 20th, 2003 07:38 pm (UTC)
Mmmmmmmm, filler! With portals! And manly Xander and boyish, delicious-looking Spike, and everything that is good!

What's not to like?

I just want to squeeze you! You're lovely.
Bright!  And shiny!: Floppy!Xander by Gortheadcalendae on October 20th, 2003 07:38 pm (UTC)
Found goodness is cool and all...
But there has to be more, right? Where were they? How long were they there? Is Xander alright? Is Spike okay?

Please, might I have some more? I'll even use my floppy!Xander icon, if that'll help!
rubywisprubywisp on October 20th, 2003 07:55 pm (UTC)
I love you.

Well, okay, that's not new. But still.

Love *this*. Willow knowing what had happened as soon as she saw Xander; the fact that she could see it 'around his eyes' - that is inexplicably, indescribably sexy to me - younger, licks-of-hair Spike. They'd been gone an elsewhere. *sigh*

I'm so happy you shared this. Thank you. *smooch*
GinnyLSginnylovesspike on October 20th, 2003 08:30 pm (UTC)
"She remembered Spike as a dark scowl, an unkind mouth, a series of head tilts and suspicious gazes and postures and mockeries. Thumbs hooked in belt, entire body a slump, cigarette smoke shrouding him in bitter fumes and boredom. He'd looked his age, a hundred years of apathy and evil, and those few months of soul hadn't changed her impression of him." -- That is the best description of Spike I have ever read in my life.
You are amazing and nothing you write is ever "not very good." The way you put words, sentences, thoughts, etc... together to paint pictures so clear you can practically see them right in front of your face ...just rocks my world. I am definitely one of the many who love you.
And, if there was truly a benevolent god somewhere in this universe, everyone of your snippets would magically turn into a complete 400 page story so we wouldn't have to beg you for more all the time. :-)
gwynnega: Anniesj Gwynnega Willow/Giles icon!gwynnega on October 20th, 2003 08:53 pm (UTC)
Oh my god - Anna S. writes Willow/Giles (well, a little bit, anyway)! ::does joyful dance::
Mintwitchmintwitch on October 20th, 2003 09:10 pm (UTC)
When did I become your bitch? When did this happen?

::sigh::
namastenancynamastenancy on October 20th, 2003 10:28 pm (UTC)
wonderfulwonderfulwonderful!!!!!!! See - I knew that the Goddess Anna would throw a bone or a snipplet or wonderful words to her humble worshipers! moremoremoemore....but no pressure. No. Of course, no.

namaste SF Nancy (Chief Priestess of the Church of Anna in SF).
Juliajuliaabra on October 20th, 2003 10:44 pm (UTC)
Anna sweet Anna. Your filler is better than most's substance. Should you decide to add more to this marvelous story, I don't think anyone would tell you nay. In fact, I might throw myself down at your feet and beg for more if it wouldn't be indecorous.
*smooches you and offers bourbon and chocolate to you and your muse*
RivkaT: Riley gunrivkat on October 20th, 2003 10:47 pm (UTC)
I really like Willow's narrative voice. It feels right. And I love the last line.
Estepheia: Ladykillerestepheia on October 21st, 2003 12:35 am (UTC)
Mmmmm. It's like cream filling. Um.
Wouldn't mind a tad more, you know....
Disgracelandsdisgracelands on October 21st, 2003 03:08 am (UTC)
I guess I should insert the obligatory "strictly filler" joke but this isn't strictly filler. And you're writing Willow POV, which is always welcome and Xander and Spike are all Iron Johnish and standing in the doorway and I'm all kinds of intrigued.
Rat Phooeyratphooey on October 21st, 2003 06:55 am (UTC)
not even the margarine of Xanders is pure genius, and this fic bit has made my day. And possibly tomorrow, too.

More, please?
Scarlett Girl: whisper lips - catatonic 1242scarlettgirl on October 22nd, 2003 06:21 am (UTC)
Wow. I've been reading your journal for ages and these little drops and bits of things that fall out just amaze me. How much would I love to read more of this? More than I love Krispy Kremes. And that's saying a lot.