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Green Smoke And Empty Mirrors by apprenticebard starting 30th August 2019

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  • Green Smoke And Empty Mirrors by apprenticebard starting 30th August 2019

    With 42k words our next fic is a shorter one and I hope that will make it possible for some more Folks to join the discussion.


    Green Smoke And Empty Mirrors by apprenticebard

    It is a Dawn-centric fic and it appears to have a lot of Spike&Dawn friendship. It is set during NFA with flashbacks to BtVS.

    The discussion will start next Friday.

    Dear apprenticebeard, if you have found your way to this thread, please be so kind as to read this:!
    before you proceed. Thank you for your consideration. Please feel welcome to join in the discussion. We would be delighted and honored

    Last edited by flow; 23-08-19, 10:07 AM.
    ................................ Banner by buffylover

  • #2
    Oooo Spike & Dawn friendship! Count me and Pricey in on that action!!

    “I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”


    • #3
      Originally posted by GoSpuffy View Post
      Oooo Spike & Dawn friendship! Count me and Pricey in on that action!!
      I'm so looking forward to this fic, I'm reading it right now . . . think you'll like it GoSpuffy


      • #4
        Arrrrgh, Spike & Dawn friendship is one of my biggest weaknesses but I haven't finished Fixing the Factors yet (so close) and the SR review is due to complete any moment and I have virtually no free time. I'm going to read this, but I will probably be late.


        • #5
          I've almost finished it


          • #6
            This is one of my favorite stories ever - the best Dawn and Spike!
            Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.


            • #7
              Let the discussion start!

              ................................ Banner by buffylover


              • #8
                I thoroughly enjoyed this fic. It gets me in that sweet Dawn & Spike friendship spot which I love.

                The opening confused me, with the cyborg Travers. It felt like I was in the middle of a story, not the start. Which is not a bad thing at all, just a little confusing. There was some slight editing issues, with words missing from sentences which threw me out of the story early on, but they were soon forgotten about because the story was so interesting.

                Connor's call was when the fic really began for me. It was exciting to see Dawn try to muddle through, with so much information missing.

                Loved the paragraph that began 'Spike is a creature of contradictions . . . ', it was so beautifully written and explained why Dawn loved him. It was so moving it nearly had me in tears.

                Loved the flashbacks, thought they worked really well in investigating Dawn and Spikes relationship and Dawn's growing understanding of good and evil and what that means.

                I did think getting Du Lac's cross and Dalton's notes was a bit too easy, considering they were buried in the Sunnydale crater. But that was probably my only criticism of the story. I thought the story had emotional depth, was beautifully written and had the characters voices spot on.


                • #9
                  I really loved this one. I've never read any fan fiction from Dawn's POV before.

                  The flashbacks are well written. I always imagined Dawn from season 5 on, but I never thought what memories and feelings she holds from before. Her friendship with Spike is very enjoyable to read. I wish the story would continue in a new fic, because I want to read more.


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately I am lying down with a flue and therefore I am cutting this short.

                    I really enjoyed this story. Some aspects were a bit contrived like the cyborg watches and Buffy being unreachable but I didn’t care because it served the plot in a way I approved. The flashbacks were the heart and soul of this fic and they

                    Apprenticebard‘s Stories are all Dawn-centric, which I find surprising, considering how many fans really dislike Dawn. There is so little time but I would love to read more of apprenticebard‘s stories.

                    Last edited by flow; 30-08-19, 02:16 PM.
                    ................................ Banner by buffylover


                    • #11
                      I agree, over all entertaining story. I loved Dawn charging off to rescue Spike, Andrew in tow. The author clearly loves all the characters, well except for Travers. I did miss Buffy though, I hoped she would come charging in at the end for the big rescue or better yet if there had been an epilogue showing the three of them together.
                      Last edited by GoSpuffy; 08-09-19, 05:05 PM.

                      “I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”


                      • #12
                        Hope you're feeling better soon flow

                        I did think Buffy would turn up at the end and we might get a Dawn pov of their reconciliation, but I wasn't disappointed that didn't happen. Like Redtent, I'd have liked more, maybe a sequel.


                        • #13
                          I've always wished for a sequel to this one. I've read all her Spike and Dawn fic and it's all worth reading. She gets the voices of the characters pretty much perfectly. I adored the flashbacks, and the fact that Dawn knew they weren't real even though she remembered them. The way they touched on all the aspects that created her personality is excellent. Most of all, I love the fact that her keyness meant something. I always wished they had done more with that aspect of Dawn. I love the way the author explored the morally grey aspect of caring for someone who has done great wrong. It's a tricky subject.

                          This is one of my comfort fics - it's engaging, well written, nicely plotted, with really excellent characterization overall. So many quotable moments. So much munchable prose.

                          Dawn sobbed into her sleeve, trying to keep the sound from coming to the attention of anyone else. She hated herself for forgiving Spike, even as she hated herself for not forgiving him sooner. She wanted him back, as much as she'd ever wanted anything- as much as she'd ever wanted Buffy and Joyce and Tara back, even knowing what he was. If that made her a terrible person, then she was terrible, and she was finally too tired to deny it. She let herself fall over sideways with the intention of curling up on the floor again, but her head hit the book she'd been reading earlier, the one with the passage about the vampire restoration ritual.

                          I love the fact that Eligor showed up, and that was the trigger to Dawn beginning to feel her essence as the Key

                          The words knocked something loose in Dawn's memory. She knew, of course, that most memories were stored in brains, the sort that vampires kept from before they were turned. Some memories were stored in souls- memories of heaven and hell, and the bone-deep need for concepts of right and wrong. What she hadn't realized was that some memories were so essential that they were stored in the fabric of time itself, impossible to ever fully erase. The nature of the Key was one of these things. When Eligor spoke, Dawn remembered.

                          I love the memories she has when she almost dies. They paint a vivid portrait of her indestructible nature, and her eternity of memories.

                          She is time. She is space. She is light. She is a gate to anywhere and anywhen. She is fury and fire and unstoppable force. She is chaos made flesh. She is so very, very real, even when she leaves no shadow and cannot remember her own name.

                          For a moment, an eyeblink, she is a child, a being that laughs too loudly, cries too often, trusts too quickly, and loves too easily. She is courage and defiance and the potential for greatness. She is called sister. Daughter. Student. Girl. Key. Human. Friend.

                          She calls herself Dawn, and it is not a lie.

                          The entire Spike and Dawn relationship is the heart of this story.I think this story makes Dawn more real than she ever was in the show. I love seeing Spike through her eyes.

                          Spike smiled at her. It was an absolutely perfect smile that warmed up the whole room. She'd forgotten that he had facial expressions like that, and she really hoped she wouldn't have the chance to forget again. "Take it that's a yes on the friends question, then?"

                          She smiled back at him. "It's a yes."

                          Spike swiped at his eyes. Sap. He seemed to realize that he was hovering dangerously close to the point where Dawn would be obliged to make fun of him, and decided a change of subject was in order. "So, ah- why did you include the life and times of William in the book? Not exactly relevant to discussing your memories, is it?"

                          Here's a much shorter Dawn and Spike story by apprenticebard -
                          Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.


                          • #14
                            Here's a much shorter Dawn and Spike story by apprenticebard -
                            Thank you for posting this Bespangled, it was a great little fic. Apprenticebard really captures that fractured Spike & Dawn friendship.


                            • #15
                              And here I am, crawling over the finish line after everyone else has gone home and had a few days rest....

                              Really like the inclusion of Andrew and, although brief, Connor for questioning what Angel is doing at the start. I loved the idea of Dawn changing into her costume during Halloween too. The mythology was a little ropey in how she lacked recall of herself before I think, but as it was from a spell and I took the effect of that to have their own perceptions intermingled with what they became so it didn't bother me. I just really liked the idea of filling in her background with Spike and including when she first saw him was neat. Tying her response to the meeting about fighting Angel in S2 with her response to Spike's attempted rape of Buffy was an interesting suggestion of background influence too.

                              Dawn's whole reaction to hearing about Spike being alive was written so thoughtfully. I'm not sure by post S7 she would feel against the idea that the loss or gain of the soul made Spike different as she started here, but she didn't really continue with that when she was examining her feelings later and in considering his return. Dawn questioning the difference it makes definitely wasn't out of step with where the character was in early S7, at least as I remember, I'm just not sure she was still there in the same way post S7. Of course in canon it did take some time into the comics before they seemed to reconnect fully again so there being some meaningful hurdles/distance created by the end of S6 is def compliant to that. Generally I thought her mix of emotional responses because of her anger and hurt at him staying away and the attack on Buffy worked well.

                              Again I wasn't as sure by how troubled she was by thinking of him as a hero by this stage still when she overheard Andrew talking to him. Her memories of her response to Kennedy post the final S7 battle and the start of the book kind of contradicted it. But how her mixed up feelings about having trusted him and then feeling more affected by the sense of personal betrayal and guilt at that which the flashbacks had helped to consider, and then also at having not reconnected and forgiven him sooner, featured along with the chance now of losing him again made it passably all just part of the emotional melee re-stirred maybe. Generally the jumbled responses worked well enough if accepting it was all still being processed and his return and potential loss again a traumatic shock. Her conclusion that caring is what makes it all matter to her in the first place, and her worry over whether he genuinely cares in return was lovely. Their whole conversation at the end that drew her vulnerability over being real and what we'd seen of her focus on her memories and desire to produce the book to share her knowledge of him and deal with the loss when he died was fab. And this was all really aided by the flashbacks considering her confused feelings at differing times too.

                              A lot of the flashbacks were great suggested lost scenes. The ones of going to Spike's crypt and berating herself for having trusted him after the AR and then going to him in the basement after he returns were great explorations of her character's pov. The exchange with Kennedy after the hellmouth is closed and she realises she knew him on varying levels others didn't so had that need to share her memories, was also great. Earlier I thought the suggestion that she'd see her threat to him at the start of S7 as a sign of respect despite her anger in there too was interesting. I'm really going to consider that when we get to that in the rewatch of S7. On a lighter note, I really enjoyed the earlier flashbacks suggesting some foundations of her relationship dynamic with him, particularly when Spike was chained in Giles' bath and when she bumped into him when shopping. The whole mix offered just worked so well for giving insight into her confusion and feelings of self-doubt with the senses of hurt and betrayal alongside familiarity and loyalty. It's an excellent aspect of the fic.

                              The scene with Illyria was probably the biggest weakness for me. Although the voicing was really good throughout the fic, and I could really 'hear' Andrew in particular, Illyria wasn't great. And I think faced with Illyria they really over emphasised Dawn's part revelation about her feelings a bit awkwardly. It just wasn't as strong a scene I don't think but suffered in great part because of comparison to so many really great ones. But it was only a small scene and I only mention it because I was trying to think of something I didn't like, which was hard. I suppose Angel having become friends with the dragon and them being able to find what they needed for the ritual in the ruin of sunnydale was a stretch and seemed somewhat ridiculous too. But finding weak spots isn't easy, this really is a great fic. I've always loved good Spike & Dawn in my fics. I think this one has just deepened that and given me things to think about when watching again in how Dawn responded at differing points that I'd only lightly considered before. It's definitely going straight on my top faves list.

                              I got the impression the whole thing with the blood being taken was a set up for a sequel. I haven't read any other fics by this author so I'll definitely look them up to see if there is one or if there are other fics. I'll read through the thread now too and might find you've all already discussed this.
                              Last edited by Stoney; 08-09-19, 12:55 PM.