Spotted this earlier on musesfool's journal:</span>
Go through your old stories and find something that perfectly encapsulates your feelings about a character and post it to your LJ.
And I thought: HEY! What an interesting idea to combine the two! I know I've got bits and pieces floating around with snippets that I thought was pretty good, good enough that I want to use them in an actual "living" story.
So I combined the above memes. I'd be kind of curious to read different abandoned bits that other people on my FList liked over their own work, but know that those bits might never see the light of day.
So, how's this for a meme?
Post something from an unfinished (and probably never-to-be-finished) fic that you really liked that you think perfectly encapsulates characters in that fic.
C'mon. You know you wanna. I'll even go first:
Just a warning: The actual text from the stories is unformatted, so the visible text might be a little small.
Title: Sometimes Not Quite A Lie
Premise: This was actually a B/X fic. Yeah, yeah. I know. I was actually writing it as a cheer-up for a friend of mine, Lori Bush. The problem is this story has been so amazingly Joss'd by the ending of Angel that the entire back third is broken and can never be put together. I haven't been able to figure out a way to work around it, so I can pretty much say that this is dead.
Bit I like: Buffy and Xander are attending community college (he's going for management courses and she's trying to pull together some credits so she can transfer to a four-year). This is Buffy's PoV as she watches Xander cross the campus. Notice my anti-ship gene is in full force here. I'm supposedly writing a shippy story and I can't even get that much right.
Truth The Third: Eventually We All Must Walk Alone
She kept her eyes on the crowd of adult students as they rushed to their cars post-class or milled with friends and acquaintances deep in conversation. Since she was stationed by the stairs on an upper story, she could amuse herself by watching the swirling bodies as they danced in the snow.
Some part of her sensed Xander was coming before she actually saw him. She wanted to believe that it as because she was reconnecting with her friends and making an effort to be more sensitive to them, but she knew it was because random movement had transformed into a pattern.
The crowd parted, almost like the Red Sea in the movie The Ten Commandments, making room for the lone brunet walking up the path. The crowd closed behind him as he passed, erasing his passage from sense memory.
Xander seemed unaware that he was walking in the center of a null space. The human-created spotlight backed by white snow highlighted the long, black wool coat Willow bought him for Christmas and the scarf of nearly Dr. Who-esque proportions that Dawn knitted for him. A saddlebag, a gift from Giles, was slung crosswise over his shoulders.
What surprised her the most was that he moved with a ghost-like grace, unlike the other people in the crowd who jostled and slipped. He had no trouble carrying the two coffee cups--one in each hand--despite the fact that the saddlebag probably threw him off balance and the slick snow that was making it tough for everyone to walk.
Yet again she was struck by the contrast between Xander and every other normal human being in his vicinity. She's seen it too many times since they'd moved to Cleveland not to notice it. The few times they'd visited bars or dance clubs to blow off steam, Xander was able to move effortlessly around in a crowd, always in the center of a space, and was easily able to get attention from bartenders and waitresses and order whatever anyone in their group wanted.
At first she thought it was because waitresses and female bartenders were attracted to him in that way, or that male bartenders thought he was some manly man capable of pushing his way through a crowd. But she noticed the unease with which they addressed him--all sir and yes, sir and coming right up, sir--as if they were merely giving him what he wanted just so he would go away and leave them in peace.
And then there was the one time she visited him at work. The employees and foremen literally jumped when he told them to, the owners were overly solicitous to whatever he said and Buffy found herself wondering if Xander landed his job and people did what he suggested simply because they were afraid to tell him, `No.'
For the life of her she couldn't figure out why that would be the case. This was Xander, sweet, funny, teddy bear-in-training Xander. He'd never do anything to purposely hurt anyone. Okay, so he was quieter and more reserved since Sunnydale collapsed, but all the survivors had changed to the more thoughtful end of the spectrum.
Besides, in all the times she'd seen him mingle with other people, she had never, ever under any circumstances see him do anything that might make people think he was someone who needed to be catered to or else.
She just didn't get it. She really didn't.
She blew on her fingers and watched his progress; still fascinated by the effect he had on the crowd. Although most of them acted as if he wasn't there, some people glanced at him before quickly looking away, as if they were afraid he'd look back.
She wondered what they saw when he walked by in his cone of silence. What was it about him that seemed to encourage people to silently ostracize him using polite words and avoid even accidentally coming in physical contact with him? What was it about him that made people back up and look away?
She wondered if he felt lonely as he made his way up the path and the stairs and found herself feeling very sorry for him, although she wasn't sure if she felt bad because she was hyperaware of the reaction to him or because Xander seemed so alone.
He reached the top of the stairs, looking around for a familiar face. When he spotted Buffy, he raised a cup-bearing hand and grinned before making his way over to her.
"And how was Classic Lit 101, my sweet Buffista?" he asked when he reached her. She was nonplussed to realize that he hadn't spilt a drop coffee, which meant he hadn't slipped or been jostled between the coffee shop on the corner and their rendezvous spot.
"Probably better than your management class," Buffy responded as she reached out and grabbed the cup with an H for hazelnut on the cover.
Xander sipped. "I'll tell ya something: walking in the snow? Not a good time. I was slipping and sliding all over the place."
Buffy squelched the urge to ask, "You were?" Near as she could tell, Xander had no problems keeping steady on his feet.
"Plus, the crowd tonight. Sheesh. I thought I was never going to get here," he said as he headed for his car, fishing one-handed through his saddlebag for his car keys.
But they made room to let you by. I saw it, she wanted to say. Holy Captain Clueless, Batman. Xander had no idea he was on the general population's do not call list.
Title: When You're Falling
Premise: Meet the only WiP I've ever abandoned! The general idea: Post-Sunnydale Xander starts slipping into some Faith-like behavior by taking refuge in a series of meaningless, almost cruel, one-night stands to escape his "Heart of Darkness." I had started posting it on the DarkXZ Yahoo!Newsgroup, but a combination of having serious squick reactions to a lot of the stories (I like Dark Xander, but too many of these stories were Dark Xander in the extreme to the point I couldn't see the Xander part.) and the fact I wasn't sure I could sustain writing a full-on NC-17 story (the beginning is pretty hard core) prompted me to drop this. The sad thing is, there's a lot of bits in this story I actually like.
Bit I like: After stumbling across Xander's activities by accident, Faith takes it on herself to keep an eye on him because she knows it's a matter of time before he self-destructs. This actually detals "the game" the two of them play. She wins, he goes back to the house without complaint. He wins, she leaves him alone for the night.
It's become a cat-and-mouse game between just the two of them.
If she finds and spots him first, she catches him and drags him back to the Mother House by the scruff of the neck. She never says a word and he goes quietly.
One month of this and he's climbing the walls in desperate need to blow off steam. He's getting dangerously close to shitting in his own nest as too many thoughts ping around his brain, nervous energy zings through his muscles, and jail-bait Slayers begin to look far too tempting for comfort.
It's strange, but he doesn't consider relief of the auto sort. The walls are too thin, a fact he can attest to because of the muffled arias he hears from Andrew next door.
His dreams plague and tease him instead. The one that crops up most often is the Funky Buddah where his brains are getting sucked out through his dick while someone watches. Sometimes it's Willow who sees him over Kennedy's shoulder while the Slayer bites into the witch's bared neck. Sometimes it's Buffy leaning over a table licking her lips while some faceless guy takes her from behind. Sometimes it's Dawn as her delicate hand dances over the camel toe in her jeans.
It's never Faith, who was actually there.
The explosion wakes him from sleep and he's always tangled in sheets, soaked in sweat, and messy with spunk.
He thanks god he does his own laundry.
In a strange way it's a blessing. If anyone checks on him, not that he thinks anyone does, they'll just think he's having a nightmare.
He's somewhat amazed that no one notices that he's riding so close to the edge. Honestly, why should anyone realize what he is? He's just good ol' Xander who jokes with them when they're down, helps bind their wounds when they're hurt, and would lay his life down to make sure they get out alive.
He sometimes hears the giggled whispers among the baby Slayer set: He's cute in a your friend's big brother kind of way. If he wasn't Xander, they'd be all over that action.
He should be flattered, but mostly he's annoyed. They've managed to desex him into a living Ken doll and lock him in a draw marked "safe."
July and continued Faith-frustrated escape attempts translates into more training hours to take the edge off, to lose himself in physical punishment and exhaustion. Faith's leash keeps slipping tighter around his neck. He can't see a way out and she's not giving him any room to maneuver.
One night he snaps.
One night he gets her before she gets him.
There she is checking out a dive when he sees her through the window. Without knowing quite why, he slips into the bar, and while her back is turned, casually walks up and whispers in her ear, "Tag. You're it."
He steps back quickly to give her room to turn around. With a jaunty wave he's off into the night, leaving Faith open-mouthed in the bar.
The game gets more even after that. She's still up on him. Gets him more often than not.
But he's gaining.
He's to the point where he gets to be the cat at least once a week.
On those nights when he wins, she backs away, anger burning in her eyes while he slips out from under her gaze. This is his reward for seeing her before she sees him: to loose himself on an insensible populace.
He's beginning to get why vampires are attracted to this scene. There's nothing as fun as taking a Slayer--especially a Slayer that can claim to sort of know you--completely by surprise.
But the press of human bodies around you? Nothing can top that. Even with his still-human senses he can feel the pulse of blood and smell the random sex. There's something about targeting one person and hunting them down, something about pulling them to you in a wordless recognition of mutual desire, to seduce them with a thousand small tortures of touches.
This should worry him, he thinks.
The game is slipping beyond game and is turning into something else. He can feel it twisting and mutating as he applies these burgeoning hunting skills to stalking things that need to be killed.
At some point he becomes the go-to guy for tracking bad things down. He's at the top of every Slayer's list when they need to find hidden lairs of rampaging badness. The last hunt-and-kill mission in Canada left Giles wordless when he was able to find a nest of demons with the barest of clues in unfamiliar territory.
It occurs to him that Faith plays the game with him just as a form of training for both herself and for him. It's nothing more than a hunt with the safety locked in the on position.
That's perfectly fine with him.
Title: The Vanishing Hitchhiker
Premise: Crossover with, of all things, Ally McBeal, post cancellation. Was supposed to take place right after Sunnydale went kablooie. Someone, I forget who, had sent out a request for a Billy (from Ally)/Xander fic or a Dom(RP)/Xander fic. annakovsky took the idea and ran with it with her Xom fic, A Critique of Pure Reason. My story ended up dead simply because I didn't watch Ally McBeal after Billy died and it would require too damn much research to write it. The general idea behind this was to take that oh-so-popular urban legend and have Xander giving a ride to a ghostly Billy (the character died during Ally's run). Then I started musing about how cool it would be if the Scoobs met up in Boston and through a series of events ended up hiring Cage & Fish (sans the annoying character of Ally, who's in New York as of the last episode of Ally McBeal) to file a class action lawsuit against The First on behalf of the Sunnydale survivors, complete with courtroom drama. Needless to say, I dropped the idea like a hot potato.
Bit I like: This is Xander after he picks up hitchhiker Billy before he figures out Billy's a ghost. I don't know why this exchange strikes me the way it does, but it does.
"I thought you said you were just heading east." There's something in Billy's voice hinting that he knows Xander running from rather than running to. "Just a `get in the car and drive' scenario."
"I said it was something like that," Xander corrects.
Billy leans back in his seat, looking every inch a lawyer that's cracked a witness. "So you do know what I'm talking about."
The urge to wipe that smug certainty off Billy's face overrides Xander's unwillingness to share. "If we're talking about running away from home, no, I really don't."
"I was talking about running to home."
"That makes troll-sense."
"It makes perfect sense," Billy corrects him. "You just have to think about it."
He doesn't want to even try puzzling that out. Billy, it appears, is several business cards short of a complete Rolodex.
Xander for a brief moment takes his eye off the road and sneaks a peak at the passenger, who is now back to watching the scenery and humming a vaguely chick-flicky song under his breath. He pegs Billy as a definite professional type. He mentioned law school, so it was a good bet he was a hotshot lawyer at some high-flying firm. Probably woke up one day questioning the meaning of existence and decided to head to Vegas, take up with a showgirl, play the tables, and become his own wildman living life to the hilt or some such bullshit.
Great. He's traveling with a walking cliche.
Title: Legend of the Glenbogle Watcher's Retreat
Premise: Crossover with Monarch of the Glen circa early S4 for that show. Two years after Sunnydale, there's a Watcher's Retreat at Glenbogle Estate. The Scoobs, who've persued their own lives and careers for two years, have a mini-reunion. You know there's going to be trouble.
Bit I like: This actually pretty much encapsulates the entire early S4 cast of Monarch of the Glen. Since I assumed most people who would've read this would've been Buffy fans, I had to come up with something that would explain all the characters from Monarch.
Lexie continued watching the guests arrive as Archie strode into the entrance hall, all business and charm and family pride. In her mind's ear, she could hear Hector's ghost blustering how the great MacDonald clan was now reduced to playing hosts for the snobby British upper-crust, conveniently forgetting that the MacDonalds were to the manor born themselves.
She could hear Molly joining her son in the hall, her chipper, childish voice welcoming the fine gentlemen and ladies to the "humble" abode that is the Glenbogle Estate and offering Golly's and Duncan's services as guides through the more remote hills and forested dales.
She noticed Molly wasn't saying anything about the cook and Lexie just knew before the week was up she'd have to roll up her sleeves, stage an invasion of the kitchen, and do her best to save the MacDonalds' collective hides from disaster. Again.
Still, her role as reigning Lady of Glenbogle and ex-cook for the estate had its perks: Archie for a start. Followed by what was perhaps the most eccentric family on the planet. The fact that Hector-god rest his romantic, foolish heart-thought she was too good for Glenbogle still never ceased to amaze her.
There's actually a lot more where that came from, but most of the stuff I'd post are actually from the same stories I've already posted or are from stories I haven't quite given up on yet. Others are passages I plan to actually use and adapt for another story.
If anyone wants to adopt any of the above orphans, drop me a line.
Tag! YOU'RE IT!