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17 December 2003 @ 06:42 pm
the likely unlikely  
I want people to adopt this as a meme, because the idea fascinates me: come up with 5, 7, 10, however many unlikely pairings or threesomes that catch your fancy, and then summarize the most plausible or attractive scenario you can imagine for how they might actually get together and work.

Or, you know, just *one* pairing, since this turned out to be fifty times longer than I intended and took me three days to write.

Giles/Xander: I find this pairing a hard sell. I get zero subtext or sizzle off them. I don't even see a deeply concerned paternalism on Giles's part--not like we see him demonstrate toward Buffy or Willow. It'd be easy to "cheat" given the nature of the Jossverse and say that the only way they'd hook up is with the help of magic. Heh. In fact, thinking about such an unlikely pairing makes my mind go immediately to all the staple clichés of slash fiction: Giles and Xander in prison together, Giles and Xander Must Have Sex or Die!, Giles and Xander go undercover as big gay lovers. Not that any of those really work for me here, but it's amazing how many I can roll off the top of my head. And what I was really trying for with this meme is to imagine a scenario stemming directly from the unique personalities of two characters, and how those personalities mesh. More like: what would Joss do if he wanted to make canon go there?

Looking at it that way, Giles/Xander would probably happen in S4, when both of them were adrift. You'd have to write Anya out of the picture. Give them a shared and stronger jealousy of Riley; a sense of displacement, uselessness to Buffy. So they'd hang out more, finding common ground that wasn't previously obvious--ooh, Giles takes Xander on as an unofficial watcher apprentice. Xander comes out as gay; you can't really avoid that prerequisite, so we should just go there boldly. And of course he'd crush on Giles, because shows always draw from their core cast when it comes to setting up romances and relationship plottiness. It would only slowly dawn on Giles what all of Xander's fumbling meant, and he'd become standoffish, nervous. And one evening Xander would surprise him by being there in his apartment when he comes home, cooking him dinner. Giles looks like a deer in headlights, they bumble through a heart-to-heart; Giles has previously confessed in a careful, euphemism-laden way to having a bi-friendly past, but now he expresses uninterest in Xander--which baffles Xander, because to his logical mind, if you're *that way*, wouldn't you be interested in the nearest other guy who is also *that way*? Giles gives him the hairy eyeball, amazed at this line of reasoning. They come to an understanding and Xander starts dating someone his own age, but one brush with death later--Xander's--Giles is grabbing and kissing him. Shocked at himself, he retreats, but Xander pursues, and you get him taking a deep breath and making a gutsy emotional play, kind of like the closing Xander-Anya scene of "Into the Woods" or the Willow-Tara of "New Moon Rising," and you get this sweetly downplayed May-September romance which takes place mostly offscreen and slowly trickles into the consciousness of the others via subtle cues--Xander always being at Giles's and knowing where things are in the kitchen, bringing out a bowl for the pretzels during a Scooby meeting; and their body language would be careful. You'd see their intimacy more in how they don't look at each other than in how they do. Et cetera.

And Anthony Stewart Head and Nicholas Brendon would make the cover of the Advocate together!

Anyway. I was going to pull all sorts of crazy or challenging ships out of a hat--Andrew/Faith, Angel/Gunn, Buffy/Giles, Buffy/Willow, Riley/Anyone But Buffy, Dawn/Spike/Xander--and try to rationalize them, and of course I realize that one fan's "crazy or challenging" is another fan's "well of course" but I'm just leaving that one alone. And I think I'm done with this lunacy for the moment.
Strange Rambling Writer Chick: Bouguereau (anniesj)debxena on December 17th, 2003 06:48 pm (UTC)
Sounds pretty cool actually - challenge me! Give me a pairing and I'll see if I can think of something!
Anna S.eliade on December 17th, 2003 06:52 pm (UTC)
Ooh, pretty icon. Um...let's see. Buffy/Willow. *g*
(no subject) - ladycat777 on December 17th, 2003 06:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Wow - mgs on December 19th, 2003 02:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - debxena on December 18th, 2003 10:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Anna S.eliade on December 17th, 2003 07:05 pm (UTC)
Hey, congratulations--I think you're the first! Heh. Okay, maybe not. *g*
(no subject) - herself_nyc on December 18th, 2003 07:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
Brassy Hag: yay! capitalism!miggy on December 17th, 2003 06:55 pm (UTC)
I want to see an Anya/Willow story with great chemistry and dialogue. I know it must be possible, and I think they'd be a good match.
Anna S.eliade on December 17th, 2003 07:09 pm (UTC)
Anya/Willow--I could totally go there, even in canon. Willow could come around eventually and strike up a rapport with Anya, and then Anya would break up with Xander, and eventually Anya and Willow would hook up. And there'd be some W/X friendship angst but there'd also be some incredibly funny moments where Xander is trying to deal and failing--he's boggling, he's wrongly fascinated, he's glass-eyed with the visuals. *grin*
(no subject) - eliade on December 17th, 2003 07:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miggy on December 17th, 2003 07:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on December 17th, 2003 10:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miggy on December 17th, 2003 10:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on December 17th, 2003 10:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miggy on December 17th, 2003 10:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - herself_nyc on December 18th, 2003 07:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miggy on December 18th, 2003 09:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - herself_nyc on December 18th, 2003 09:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miggy on December 18th, 2003 10:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - herself_nyc on December 18th, 2003 10:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miggy on December 18th, 2003 10:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - paratti on December 17th, 2003 09:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on December 17th, 2003 10:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
I saw you eating ice cream, pal!: Xanderglossing on December 17th, 2003 07:25 pm (UTC)
I don't even see a deeply concerned paternalism on Giles's part--not like we see him demonstrate toward Buffy or Willow.
I'm so torn on Giles's attitude toward Xander. particularly in early seasons. On the one hand, he let Xander hang around even though, for the most part, Xander doesn't help all that much - certainly not like Willow, or, even, Cordy who had a car. Perhaps that bespeaks some kind of affection. On the other hand, I've always found Giles to be easily irritated by Xander, and for a long time I thought he didn't even particularly *like* Xander. (Witness the Doppelgangland exchange when they think Willow's dead: "Much, much better than you.")

I've tried to play with the tension in the two G/X stories I've written, but as for the follow-ups to them? You scooped me, you wench. It's all about their mutual sidelining (hee!) in s4, beautifully captured in the immortal Giles line "It looks like once again you and I will not be necessary".
Anna S.eliade on December 17th, 2003 10:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm with you--there's a kind of edginess on Giles's part that at times *does* seem like dislike. A free-floating dislike, almost, hard to attribute to any particular event or issue--though it's possible I'm just blind to an event or issue that's there for the taking in canon. I mean, I could see someone making an argument, saying, "Well you see how in this ep he's obviously upset with Xander because ---------, and you can trace that back to season X when -------------" etc, and I'd be like, "Ahhhh." I feel like there may be connect-the-dots evidence there for a dynamic I'm not seeing yet.
Minim Calibreminim_calibre on December 17th, 2003 08:04 pm (UTC)
(Stares at own archive)


Hmm. The problem is, everytime I do this, I write it. This would be how Joyce/Snyder/Holland happened.
Anna S.: nouveau_girleliade on December 17th, 2003 10:00 pm (UTC)
Well--you may not be my target audience. Or else you're the member of the audience with the bulls-eye on her heaving bosom and maybe a badge that says, "Fannish slut--ask me how!" Either way, there should be clones of you!
(no subject) - minim_calibre on December 18th, 2003 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on December 18th, 2003 06:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
witlingwitling on December 17th, 2003 09:23 pm (UTC)
And Anthony Stewart Head and Nicholas Brendon would make the cover of the Advocate together!

Heh. Yes. Also, this is all entirely plausible. And I approve.

::stamps ship with big stamp o' approval::
Anna S.: gileseliade on December 17th, 2003 10:07 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't it be lovely? Somehow visualizing them together on the Advocate, pop culture press as evidence of fait accompli, makes it strangely easier to work backwards and imagine the canon that might have been. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Groundbreaking Gay Love!"
A good grammarian can outwit any word.: Ethancesario on December 17th, 2003 09:27 pm (UTC)
see, I think you're right on the money when you say that one person's unlikely is another's of course. Because I personally have NO trouble seeing Giles/Xander. At all.

On the other hand, this is one of my favorite activities---not necessarily even coming up with *scenarios* for the pairing but at least finding ways in which they fit. I remember staring into space during class once and stumbling upon a way in Oz/Drusilla would work. And scaring myself.

Still plan on writing that one.
Anna S.: spike_femmeeliade on December 17th, 2003 10:11 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah. I do that mental scenario-writing all the time. My current fantasy is one of the most ridiculous ones I've ever come up with and I should be embarrassed to reveal it...and yet! And yet is it *really* so twisted and wrong to imagine Spike as a woman smothered in a puppy pile of Wes, Xander, and Riley?

I think not.
sophia: four_englishmensaraslash on December 17th, 2003 09:27 pm (UTC)
I want to read this. ::whimpers::
okoge on December 17th, 2003 09:42 pm (UTC)
unlikely pairs
Brian Kinney / Melanie Marcus

Anna S.eliade on December 17th, 2003 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: unlikely pairs
Yessss...?! And is there a story I should know about? *g* Because I am starting to think I'm as much slashy in the non-canon sense as in the gay sense, given how fascinated I am by het pairings in QaF.
Re: unlikely pairs - okoge on December 17th, 2003 10:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: unlikely pairs - rachelmap on December 17th, 2003 10:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: unlikely pairs - okoge on December 17th, 2003 10:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: unlikely pairs - rachelmap on December 17th, 2003 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
White Hartwhite_hart on December 17th, 2003 11:23 pm (UTC)
If you ever get a chance to watch a comedy series called 'Little Britain' which is on in the UK at the moment you'll see exactly how Giles would respond to an overwhelming crush from Xander - Tony Head guests as the Prime Minister with one of the comedians as his assistant who has a similarly overwhelming crush. It's very hard to watch without thinking of him as Giles, though.
KJVkjv31 on December 17th, 2003 11:41 pm (UTC)
My secret evil is Snyder/Tara, especially challenging due to the fact that Snyder was dead before Tara even showed up. Maybe Tara was scoping out Sunnydale U and ran into 'Band Candy' Snyder and...no, it's too ridiculous.
Estepheia: Slash rules!estepheia on December 18th, 2003 12:01 am (UTC)
Funny, for me everything Oz is highly unlikely and also ... un-interesting, so I wouldn't even feel tempted to come up with such a get together scenario. I wonder why. I like him, he's a great character and I like seeing him in gen fics, but I find it completely boring to read or think about him on a ship level. *shrug*

I still like your Lorne/Spike, but it relied very much on Spike being incapacitated. They didn't get/grow together as equals. I'd like to see a scenario the brings those two together without too many McGuffins. :-)
ngaio on December 18th, 2003 12:05 am (UTC)
Several points:

1) Please write this!

2) I'm a G/X shipper, but do agree about the unlikeliness. The two fics I've written are both G/X but the first is a Xander-unrequited-crush S4 internal ramble which could come out of your scenario (which is spooky), and the second is post-S7 and is an existing relationship fic and therefore avoids the question of how they got together altogether.

3) I find pairing Angel with *anyone* when he's not Angelus unlikely. OK, I'll amend that, I find any *slash* Angel pairing unlikely, I tend to think he's got a bit of the old gallantry/protect the ladies thing.
yonmei on December 18th, 2003 03:13 am (UTC)
This sounds fun. (And I totally buy your Giles/Xander!) Give me a theoretically-unlikely pairing...
Anna S.eliade on December 18th, 2003 03:38 pm (UTC)
This is so weird. Your comment shows up when I hit reply but I can't see it on the post itself.

How about...Willow/Cordelia. *g*
(Anonymous) on December 18th, 2003 05:30 am (UTC)
[quote] (Witness the Doppelgangland exchange when they think Willow's dead: "Much, much better than you.") [/quote]

While I think Giles has often treated Xander pretty shabbily, I kinda think that this line is more of an absent-minded grammatical correction (Xander says 'way better' and Giles corrects him 'much better') than a put-down. Of course Xander, hardly the English major, would be more likely to see it as a put-down, and ignore thinking about it, as he so often does, that sort of language being white noise to him by now.

After watching Restless, my favorite 'ship that never was has to be Tara and Oz. Watching them giggle and flirt in front of Willow in her dream was amazingly fun.

Riley and Willow would have been neat. Willow and Anya would have also been neat, after Riley did something that required Anya to show up and vengeance his ass. Some jealous bickering over which of them D'Hoffryn likes most, since both would be world-travelling lesbian tourist Vengeance Demons, in my fantasy, would be sandwiched between hot sex scenes.

After the love-spell, Xander / Drusilla, or Xander / Amy are interesting potential choices.

Xander / Joyce is oddly compelling, with the potential of him moving in and he and Joyce find solace in each others arms after Season 5 Buffy death 2.0. (Joyce would have to survive this imaginary season 5, obviously...)

As for 'ships that were, but we didn't get to see enough of, I'd be happy to watch a night in the unlife of Vampire Willow and Vampire Xander. If they took turns torturing Angel, and killed a bunch of people, I'd be even more happy. Then again, I'm predjudiced, having written far too much fic dealing with their vampire selves as a pairing.

Then of course the inevitable Mr Gordo / Miss Edith pairing...

Just avoid the ridiculously unlikely pairings of Wood / Faith or Willow / some annoying Faith-like potential. :)

(Anonymous) on December 18th, 2003 08:58 am (UTC)
A fic that I am (slowly) writing now has some bizarre pairings;

Watcher Gwendolyn Post and teacher Jenny Calender supervising a Scooby gang consisting of Faith the Slayer, vamp-with-a-soul Jesse, witch Amy, invisible 'forgotten boy' Jonathan, hacker / techie Willow and the XanderBot.

Pairings are Gwendolyn Post & Jenny Calender, Faith & Jesse (maybe?) and (eventually) Willow & the XanderBot.

After watching the slapfight again, I think Xander and Vampire Harmony also have potential. Darn Anya. I love her dearly, but I think that a lot of other people would have made even more traumatic, humiliating and amusing pairings with Xander. And darn Tara and Kennedy. I would have loved to see Willow hook up with someone else. Riley. Percy. Parker. Xander. Faith.

Mmm. My brain just locked up. Willow and Faith. All we would need to get them together would be the tragic death of Buffy and Xander at the end of season five, with Faith being sprung to help with the Glory fight, and left behind as the sole Slayer, the Council managing to get her cleared through some sort of legal finagling.

A similar situation, the death of Buffy & Xander at the end of season 5, without the prison-springage, could also justify a united-in-their-grief, last-two-standing Giles / Willow or Willow / Spike pairing.

I like this idea, then again I love alternate universes.