Right now my RL job seems to be making up people and then killing them all off. Fun in fanfiction. Not so much in situations that's supposed to ape RL.
Here is my typical conversation with people who know me:
Other Person: "How was work today?"
Our Heroine: "I wrote stuff."
Other Person: "That's good, right? That's why they pay you."
Our Heroine: "Yeah. Except when I write it, everyone dies.
Other Person: "Everyone dies?"
Our Heroine: "Followed by, 'The end.'"
Anyway, I'm going through various WiPs and deciding what's most likely to see the light of day (except, for, you know, the one I'm supposed to be working on) and to organize what's going where.
I've got some very, very weird rough drafts floating around that are never going to see the light of day. At least not in fanfiction.
So, I thought it might be fun to just throw out what I'm going to attempt to get done at some point.
Facing the Heart in Darkness (Africander series; est. time of completion first week in August)
Water Hold Me Down (Whisperverse series; followed by complete soundtrack)
No Myth (Whisperverse series; minor re-writing necessary to bring it in line with Water Hold Me Down)
Acme Heartbreak Repair Kit (stand-alone; major re-writing necessary)
Discovering the Truth About the Wizard of Oz (Psalmverse; extremely heavy re-writing needed; plot will be significantly shorter than originally planned)
Midnight's Clear (Africander series; Xander, Buffy, Alexandrienne, Eva Swithin, The Immortal)
Note: Algeria follow-up to Facing the Heart in Darkness.
Buffy stayed hard on Xander's heels. "Xander, I'm just trying to—"
"What? Exactly. What are you trying to do, besides being a pain in the ass," Xander snapped without turning around. Buffy, with her impec-a-fuck-able timing. With all the shit he had to deal with, the absolutely last thing he needed was a blast from the past, especially this blast from the past.
I've got to get rid of her. Ally's not too far behind and this has the potential to get really ugly. Xander forced the desperate thought down. Last thing he needed was Ally's Xander-shaped radar to pick up that Buffy was one of the dirty little secrets he'd been hiding. He hated the fact that Eva was right. His past really was about to bite him in the ass with a vengeance.
And just because the universe really, really hated him, Eva was around to witness the big event. Lovely.
"Listen to me!" Buffy grabbed his arm, but Xander yanked it free as he stormed down the anonymous hotel hall. "Damn it, Xander! I had a Slayer dr—"
At the end of his rope and desperate to make her disappear before Ally caught up with them, Xander whirled on her. "Go away!"
"That's what I'm trying to tell you!" Buffy shouted at him. "I can't. There's some square around here called Martyr's Square or something like that anyway and there's a big ol' Grim Reaper with your name on it if you go there and—"
That's when Xander saw it, although like the first time he saw something like this on Irina, he wasn't entirely sure what he was seeing. Buffy's voice seemed to be fading in and out as his attention focused on those disquieting fine brown lines — the ones that looked like scars, but not quite — that seemed to float just above the surface of her skin.
There's where the Master drowned her, there's where she stabbed Angelus, there's where Dawn came in, there's where she dove off Glory's tower, there's where...wait. The source is right there. Xander stumbled back a step, almost as if the realization had physically slammed into him. There was another Watcher before Giles?
Xander began to shake and his breath became ragged. What the hell was he actually seeing?
He shook his head hard and closed his eye.
"Xander, are you okay?" Buffy sounded worried, or maybe nervous. He wasn't sure.
Xander slowly opened his eye, afraid to see the spiderweb of brown lines all radiating out from that ugly loss that he never knew about. The lines had faded at least, but somehow their presence were still there in his head, like once seen they couldn't entirely be unseen.
"Xander?" Buffy's voice suddenly sounded small.
Xander took a step forward and reached out a hand to touch her, but he couldn't quite bring himself to make contact. Before he could stop himself, he asked, "Who was the Watcher before Giles?"
Buffy's reaction was immediate. She jumped back and warily eyed him. "Giles told you?" It sounded more like an accusation than a question.
All he could do dumbly was stare at her. How the hell did I know that?
Before another word could pass his lips, Ally's voice rang through the halls. "Xander! Are you okay? Xander!"
Xander's eye snapped up just in time to see Ally turning the corner with Eva hot on her heels. A man, Xander guessed he was a man at any rate because he looked more caveman than anything else, took up the rear. The strange-looking guy seemed buoyed along by mix of polite interest and vague amusement that Xander recognized from his time in Africa. This was the same kind of guy as those grey-hat big-shots that made their living in some pretty precarious countries and had seen it all from fire and flood to civil war and peace treaties that got shattered before the ink was dry.
Even as Ally and Eva bore down on him, even as Buffy turned to see who was interrupting the argument still in progress, Xander was strangely more thrown off when caveman-guy stopped short and just stared. The mask of polite distance dropped as those beetle-black eyes traveled from him to Ally and back again. Something akin to wonder and disbelief appeared on the stranger's face, like someone had told the guy that not only unicorns were real, but that he qualified to take ownership of a whole damned herd of the things.
All this registered in the 10 seconds or so that it took for Ally to barrel between himself and Buffy.
"You. It is you. I thought so," Ally said with a distinct tone of accusation. "You are that Slayer from Rome. The one who followed us."
"What?" Xander snapped back to his more immediate problem. "When did this— how did this— how did you two even— do I even want to know?"
"Hello. Again," Buffy said almost apologetically to Ally. "I know I said that I trusted you to watch out for Xander, but you've got some big trouble coming. I'm here to help."
Behind Buffy, Eva turned a bright shade of red, clenched her fists, and glared daggers into Buffy's back. He'd never seen Eva this furious, not even after he'd tricked her into outing herself as a Slayer in front of two entire villages.
Oh hell, Xander thought helplessly as his heart sank. All his worlds were about to collide with an earth-shattering bang and there wasn't a damn thing he could do to stop it.
"Excuse me," Eva said in a tone that was just a little too polite given the look on her face.
"Eva," Xander warned.
Caveman guy's attention was now on Eva, but he still stayed silent. The look of wonder had been stuffed behind his cool mask of vague amusement and interest.
Buffy frowned and looked over her shoulder. "Are you with Xander?"
"At the moment. Are you Miss Summers?" Eva coolly asked.
Both Buffy and Ally shot Xander questioning looks, although he was pretty sure their questions were way different.
He really needed to step in and do something, but everything had locked down into the crash position in anticipation of the coming train wreck. He couldn't get his voice to work. Hell with that. He couldn't get his lungs to work.
Buffy turned back to Eva. "Um, yeah. Who's asking?"
Eva relaxed, and Xander relaxed along with her. Eva's normal default for avoiding confrontation had finally overrode whatever had pissed her off and the crisis had been avoided. Now if he could only get to Buffy and tell her to ixnay on the Unndalesay, he'd be able to breathe easier.
"Just wanted to be sure," Eva mildly said.
Then Eva darted forward and punched Buffy in the nose.
Meet Alex Hill (stand-alone; PG-13; Spike, "Alex Hill" aka Xander)
Note: Will definitely need a beta because I'm shaky beyond belief on Spike.
Spike flops backwards against the driver’s side door. “Feeling a mite peckish myself, truth to tell, so we’ll have to stop soon’s we spot a butcher’s. If her Highness expects me to live off whatever rodent I come across, she’s got another serious think coming. I don’t do rats.”
Alex shrinks back against his seat. Spike’s talking crazy again and that can’t be good.
“Still, a bag of crisps’ll do me in a pinch,” Spike says with a shrug, his complaint about butchers and rats forgotten. “How ’bout you? Maybe could manage a sandwich and some pot noodles. Most convenience marts have a microwave so shouldn’t be too bad.”
“’Kay,” Alex responds. His voice sounds raspy.
Spike grins in a way that seems to light up his face. “That’s the ticket. What say I throw a Twinkie on top of the deal? You’d like that I bet.”
“If you want,” Alex says meekly.
“What’s this? ‘If I want,’ he says. C’mon. Twinkie’s like your main drug and I’m offering to be your dealer.”
Alex starts to stutter because right now Spike likes whoever Spike thinks he is and he doesn’t want to disappoint because that would be bad for him, but… “I-I-I-I-”
Spike leans forward and stares at him. “You must be…you’re not serious. You’re telling me that you don’t want a Twinkie?”
Alex hunches his shoulders. “Don’t like them.”
“You don’t…but…” Spike sputters a bit. “All right. What do you want to end your fabulous feast with?”
“Trail mix. I like trial mix.”
“Trail mix,” Spike says slowly.
“It’s got raisins in it. And nuts. And dried fruit. But I really like the raisins.”
“You like raisins. You’re giving me the wind-up, aren’t you?”
“Raisins are nature’s candy,” Alex explains. “Twinkies are bad for you. Ms. Smythe said that I have to eat healthy so I can be healthy.”
“Stop. Right there.” Spike starts the car, puts his hands on the wheel, and mutters, “Trail mix. Red’s turned him into a bleedin’ health nut she has. That’s just…that’s just…” He turns back to Alex and shakes a finger at him like Alex has done something wrong, “A man’s got his needs, he does. Every man’s got his poison, get me? Now, for some, it’s that aged fine whisky. Or a good smoke. Or the fresh blood of a virgin, yeah?”
“I’m not a virgin!” Alex yells.
“Hunh? Where the hell’d that come from?”
“Just mentioning it. Just in case,” Alex says quickly.
“Riiiiiight,” Spike drawls. “What I’m getting at here is that depriving a man of his poison is like…like…turning him into someone else. It’s just wrong that is. A man needs his vices and without his vices, he might as well lose his soul.” Spike pauses with a frown. “Or gain it. Okay, as a metaphor, not one my better choices, so let’s just erase that last bit. No wonder why it took me a few centuries to get my standing Os for poetry. Belabor the point a bit too much. Almost had it there, but…”
Alex’s stomach lets out another growl.
“Right you are,” Spike says as he shifts the car into drive. “One packet of crisps for me; one sandwich, one pot noodle, and one packet of,” he pauses to give Alex a look that can only be described as disgusted, “trail mix for you. God what has this world come to? The day Xander Harris turns down…”
“Alex. Alex Hill,” Alex corrects. “My name’s—”
I bleeding well know your name," Spike snaps.
Blue Murder in the Dreamtime — tentative title (Africander series, although technically takes place in Australia; Xander, Buffy, Alexandrienne, Eva Swithin)
Note: Definitely will need a kind West Aussie familiar with Wittenoom to help me out on this one.
Xander stared at the warning sign. "You have got to be kidding me."
Ally tugged on his sleeve. "What is this 'as-best-os'?"
Buffy critically eyed the sign. "I'm thinking it's ugly death if we plan on breathing."
"I think that only counts for the non-Slayers in the immediate vicinity, which would include — oh, wait! — me and Pike over here," Xander pointed out. "Speaking of which, Pike? Don't you think you just might have mentioned that we'd be walking into a potential deathtrap?"
"He did," Judy pointed out.
"But death by breathing?" Xander asked. "That's just a little bit different than death by demonic trap. Just sayin'."
"Hear, hear," Eva agreed.
"You're overreacting," Pike said.
"Hello? Ex-constrcution worker over here. Do you have any idea what hell CalOSHA puts you through if you even suspect there's a half-a-cup of asbestos within 10 miles of a worksite?" Xander rhetorically asked. "And we're walking into an entire ghost town where they suggest breathing is a bad idea? Overreacting? Have you gone insane?"
"Blame your seers," Pike shot back. "They were the ones that pointed you in this direction."
"And you're supposed to be guide-guy. You'd think you might've warned us before we got into the car without respirators," Xander argued.
"Maybe you and Pike should stay here," Ally immediately said. "We Slayers should maybe investigate to see if the seers were right."
"Not sure if Slayer healing can deal with our lungs turning into chunks of asbestos," Buffy disagreed. "My suicidal days are loooooong behind me."
"Right!" Eva sounded relieved. "I say we tip-toe far, far away. No point in tempting fate, or raising any more dust than we have to for that matter."
Pike shot Xander a look. "Are you sure she's a Slayer? Buffy was braver at 15 than Eva is now. Buffy was braver at 15 than Buffy is now."
"Buffy was way stupider at 15 than Buffy is now," Buffy said firmly with crossed arms. "Buffy at 15 wouldn't even know what asbestos was. Buffy now would like to avoid a slow, painful death because Buffy can't hold her breath for the next however long we're going to be wandering around out here on a wild goose chase. "
"I'm telling you that my information is solid and backs up what your seers have said," Pike protested while Judy nodded next to him.
"Xander is with Buffy," Xander announced. "Unless Pike is carrying enough respirators for everyone in his gym bag, which I know Pike isn't because it's barely big enough for bowling shoes, Xander is staying firm with Buffy and, God help me, with Eva. This opinion will change if Pike can prove that he has an interdimensional gym bag and there are, in fact, respirators for everyone stashed in a pocket universe."
"If Xander doesn't like it, then Ally doesn't like it and Ally stays with Xander," Ally declared.
"You do realize you're talking about yourselves in the third person," Pike commented sourly.
"I'm not," Eva huffed. "Annoying conceit aside, there is a lot of sense in what they're saying."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Pike, I know you find this hard to believe, but you're talking to a bunch of people who sometimes leap before they look."
"Not me!" Eva protested.
"Except for Eva, who thinks way too much before getting out of bed in the morning," Buffy quickly conceded. "So, if we're just a little too hesitant to start off-roading in the equivalent of a giant asbestos pit, I honestly can't see why a bunch of ex-Sunnydale lunatics would think setting up their mini-apocalypse here would be a good idea."
"And need I point out, Mr. Pike, that the book we are tracking was sent to a Perth address, not to Wittenoom," Eva sniffed.
"And we're not sure these guys are actually from Sunnydale," Xander interrupted.
"The seers were quite sure," Eva protested.
"But their names don't ring any bells," Xander said. "Not with me, not with Buffy, not with Giles, not with Willow, not with you, or even anyone who's ever been involved with the Sunnydale Project. To put it bluntly, the seers could be dead wrong. God knows it wouldn't be the first time."
"They're not wrong about the mini-apocalypse part," Pike said.
"But what's the point?" Buffy waved at the beautiful, if deadly desolate landscape. "There's no one even here. With my tons and tons of experience stopping multiple worldicide attempts, the whole point of any apocalypse is to kill lots and lots of people with the first big boom and then ripple out from there."
Pike blinked. "When you said your life got really interesting after I dumped you back in L.A., you weren't kidding, were you?"
"If anything, Miss Summers has a rather nasty habit of understating things," Eva complained. "A disease, I might add, that is shared by her comrade-at-arms."
"This is true," Ally sighed.
Pike snapped his fingers. "Secrecy."
"And experience tells me that you can be secret right under people's noses, especially under the noses of people who don't believe in the supernatural, so that doesn't track," Xander said.
"Maybe they don't care if they survive," Judith pointed out.
"That doesn't track, either," Buffy said. "Usually the apocalypse-makers are getting something out of it, like power or an ascention into pure demon-hood."
"Or because they want to go home," Xander added.
"Or just cause chaos," Buffy agreed. "But the whole point for the apocalypse-doers is to actually survive. Dying before they get to really enjoy the benefits has never part of the plan in my experience."
"There's always a first time," Pike pointed out.
Xander and Buffy exchanged despairing looks.
"We can't rule it out if these really are ex-Sunnydale lunatics," Buffy relucantly agreed.
"Curses," Xander sourly said, "foiled by logic again."
Eva sighed. "I somehow suspected we were doomed. Still, it was nice to hold on to hope for the," she checked her watch, "5 minutes that sanity took hold of your senses."
"Now that we have decided, can someone please explain to me about this asbestos?" Ally asked.
Sharper Than a Knife — tentative title (Whisperverse; PG-13; Scoobs, Spike, Illyria)
Xander did his best to act nonchalant as he walked into the house still wearing his clothes from the night before.
It wasn't the first time in the last six months that he'd wandered home in the early-ish morning wearing yesterday's clothes, but he couldn't quite bring himself to stow a stash at Heather's. It just felt like too big a step. This whole dating a nice normal girl thing was too new for him to even try thinking of the next step.
Thanks to the ungodly early hour, the house was still clear of the usual gaggle that milled around the first floor, so he was spared the usual teasing from the older girls and giggling from the younger ones.
He grinned in relief. Home freeeeeee, as freeeeee as the wind blows...
The thought stuck with him until he walked into the kitchen and saw Buffy armed with a mega cup of coffee and a stack of books for her child psychology class. Upon his entrance, she looked up and flashed him a grin.
"Soooooooooooo," she drew out the word with deliberate slowness, "still wearing last night's clothes."
"Jealous because I'm date-having?"
"Is that what they're calling booty calls these days," Buffy tapped a pencil against her bottom lip with mock seriousness.
"Booty! Hey! I don't do—"
"You know, Xan, most guys would be dancing around the kitchen announcing that they were 'the man' and that I should bow before their greatness. I'm just sayin'."
"See? You're just trying to get under my skin." He gathered himself up to his full height and nonchalantly headed for the Mr. Coffee.
"So. Is she evil yet?"
"Is she evil yet?" Buffy asked with mock innocence.
"Well, my head's still attached, so I'm going to give that a 'no.'"
"Damn," Buffy grumbled, burying her head back in her book. "You're no fun anymore. You won't date girls that I can Slay. It's not fair."
"Sorry to rain on your parade."
Buffy looked up again, giving him cartoon puppy eyes. "Are you sure she's not evil?"
"Dead sure. I think I would've noticed by now."