Thanks to d_tepes, who emailed them his share of questions, it turns out that it doesn't matter if you credit or not or only use a few lines or not. Anything you didn't write (the specific guidance mentions songs, but I suspect that it's about to expanded to books and other published works as well) and isn't in the public domain is a no-no and is grounds for nuking your account.
That means I better rescue Whisper this weekend, since Chapter 33 in that fic needs to have lyrics summarily yanked tonight. I'm not going to bother re-writing. I'm just going to cut the lyrics and have a nice little author's note at the top of the chapter. Whisper is already archived several places, but I probably should bring it here and finish putting it up at autoarchives like I Need a Parrot (also have to fix the formatting on what I do have there) and Slayer Fanfic Archive.
By the way, if anyone else can point me to an auto-archive, I'd be ever-so-grateful. Thanks.
Anyway, Dismay remains one of two of the strangest stories I've ever put out there (and both my strange stories are supposedly B/X...ummmm...sort of...)
- It's the only first-person narrative you'll find in my portfolio.
- It's the only story where I've written Xander as someone in the early stages of alcoholism, although in this story he hits rock bottom with a defeaning thud.
- It's the only story where some of the positive feedback on the story made me cringe. One typical piece of FB: "Gud. Zander knows how Spiek feels abut beeing uzd by Bufy. Buffys a bitch who just uses people and Zander mad funn of Spiek and help abusing Spike and makeing him fel stupid. Tehy too belong togehter." My response (never sent): "Way to miss the point there! And where did you learn to spell? Let me know when you get out of second grade." (Yes, I'm being mean. *snerk*)
Dismay was supposed to be a second part in a B/X round-robin story and ended up being a stand-alone. The first story, called Disbelief by Wicked Raygun was posted to the BX_Fanfic Yahoo Group in the spring of 2003. He issued a RR challenge to get these two crazy kids together. I immediately volunteered for story two, wrote it up, and sent it to him. Wicked adored it and gave me his blessing to post it to the list. I cackled with glee. He cackled with glee. We were setting up quite the scenario he and I. I couldn't wait to see who picked up the baton.
The story was greeted with stunned silence.
There were a few tepid remarks. One person from that list very politely asked me, "Are you sure you're in the right group, honey? Because a story like this is not what we want here. We were expecting something better. Did you read the rules? No bashing Buffy or Xander and you did both. We want something romantic and this...well this story is not good. Thank you for playing. Don't try this again." Those words were not used (like I said, she was very polite), but that was pretty much the gist of this feedback.
Now, what kills me is that it's pretty damn clear that I'm not bashing anyone, especially if you read the scenario set up by Wicked in Disbelief. I was literally following his lead and I even ran the story right by him to make sure it was what he wanted.
At any rate, Dismay was summarily ignored, someone else wrote a new second part that went over better with the audience, and I think it even went into a third part, although I'm not sure on that. Dismay has floated by itself ever since, although I always do my best to link back to Wicked's story.
Now comes the ironic part: Of all the stories I've written, this one tends to crop up on a lot of, "Does anyone remember this story?" lists. No kidding. At least two dozen times in the last two years, I've stumbled across people asking: "Does anyone know the title or have the link to a story with ths plot? I've been trying to find it and I can't!"
Whenever I volunteer that it's me and I give them a link, the response is, "You? You wrote something like this?"
Ayup. I can't believe it either.
Anyway, here it is. Story two in my saving the puppies from the Pit of Voles Project:
Author: Lizbeth Marcs
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: Rated PG-13 for vague hints of sexual intercourse, drunkenness, and if you’re really sensitive about religious issues.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer are owned by FOX, written and produced by Mutant Enemy, which means none of the characters within are mine.
Summary: Xander deals with aftermath of a one-night stand by talking to the only person who might be willing to listen, and he’s not even sure about that. Post S7.
Pairing B/X, but not romantic. Makes reference to A/X.
Warning: Was originally written early S7. Is now standing as an AU.</p>
Author’s Note Was originally written in early S7 as a response to a challenge by Wicked Raygun to his story Disbelief. It has since received minor tweaking to reflect the time immediately following post-Chosen.
Kill. Me. Now.
You owe me Big Guy. Seriously. I’ve been involved in seven…no…wait…EIGHT apocalypses if you count the one involving Jack, a diesel bomb, and rampaging zombies.
If saving the world eight times doesn’t get you some sort of special dispensation of the time-traveling variety, I don’t know what does.
So, while I’m curled up in the fetal ball on the floor of my bathroom and hugging the toilet, you will work Your Mojo and turn back the clock to just before Buffy asked me to go to that stupid dance club to track down a vampire that had acquired a taste for roofies.
Yeah, that’s what I said.
Roofies? Vampires? What next? Cokeheads with pointy teeth? Turns out said vampire ingests said roofies by drinking the blood of the high who, when under the influence, believe they’re also mighty.
We won’t get into ‘mighty what,’ will we God? Especially since You saw fit to illustrate in the most painful and humiliating manner as possible what happens to Yours Truly under the influence.
Anyway, when you plop me back in the Summers-Rosenberg apartment sometime yesterday, You will then put the following words in my mouth:
“No thank you, Buffy. Me and Demon Alcohol seem to be having a nasty custody battle over my body. I thank generations of careful inbreeding in the Harris Line. I will go home, duct tape my mouth, and stare at the blank wall until the urge to drink boilermakers until the world goes fuzzy passes. Thank you for asking. Have you considered taking Willow instead? How about Dawn?”
When I count to three, You will cast Your Magic Spell, send me back in time, and have me say just that.
One. Two. Three.
Gah! I’m still here. Okay God, I’m giving You one more shot. Ready? Count of three.
One. Two. Three.
I. Have. Not. Moved. A. Smegging. Inch.
You know God, the thought occurs—please correct me if I’m wrong—the thought occurs that You just might not exist.
The further thought occurs that, if You do exist, You, in fact, have a very sick and twisted sense of humor.
Do You know what the killer is, Pal? The real killer? I didn’t even finish my one drink. Don’t get me wrong, God. I ordered a Guinness, but only after Buffy staked our Very High Friend with the Pointy Teeth within five seconds of entering the club. Dumbass was giving a hickey of the fatal kind to some Goth Chick right by the entrance where anyone could see him.
Who says drugs don’t make you stupid? Heh.
Buffy made him instant dust and Goth Chick was staggering back to the dance floor muttering something about something.
Owwwww! My head. My stomach. Hold on…
Ewwww! Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to do the Technicolor Yawn in the middle of this very, very serious conversation I’m having with You.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah, convincing You of the rightness of time travel, namely, time travel to benefit me.
Buffy wanted to stay and do some dancing while I wanted to go home and try my dry-out-the-Harris-curse-using-duct-tape-a
Now there’s an appropriate new word to apply to me: whore.
Matches “stupid” and “worthless” and “drunk” and “Slayer’s boy.”
So Buffy orders an umbrella drink and looks at me with one of those looks when I order a club soda. I’m not in a confessional mood so I order my Guinness because I don’t want to deal with questions about my growing relationship with Demon Alcohol. I figure I could just leave it on the bar and pretend to sip. Spares me questions that I don’t really have the strength to answer.
I’ve mentioned the ‘I’m stupid’ part, right?
So I see Guinness Draft in that perfect Guinness Glass, and what do I do? I take a big gulp. Big dumb Xander. Can’t even resist temptation.
So this song that’s all over the radio like a cheap suit starts up and Buffy’s dragging me on the dance floor because she loves this song and we’re pinballing all over the place. I hate the song, but it was nice just to pretend that there are no worries involving bills, big bads, broken hearts, lost Heavens, disappeared towns, new cities, scattered Slayers, lost Watchers, battered bodies, dead Spikes, and dead Anyas.
There was just the dance floor, me spazzing out because of my lack of rhythm thing, and her.
So the song ends, we’re back at our place at the bar and shouting over the music. Not a real conversation. No. Unh-unh. Scoobies don’t have real conversations. We quip. We make fun of people. We make fun of each other. But a real conversation? Not in years.
See, God, that’s part of why I want this time travel thing. Maybe if I said something about me and my affair with Demon Alcohol, I could’ve had a real conversation because, I gotta tell you God. I’m beginning to scare myself and I don’t know who to talk to.
You don’t count.
Why am I scaring myself? Wait, lemme get to my feet. The only way You can see this is if I look in the mirror.
See? Look. Look at that. Every day I look in the mirror I look a little more like my father, glass eye issue aside.
I think I sometimes act like him, too.
Except I haven’t hit anyone. Yet.
Probably because just about every woman I know can kick my sorry ass without breaking a sweat. And if they can’t do it, they know someone who can.
Ohhh, I don’t feel so well. Excuse me while I just slide right back to the bathroom floor.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. Dance club. Right.
We’re doing the running commentary and I’m doing…well…doing very well actually. Or I thought I was doing well. I’m just sipping here and there of beery goodness. I didn’t even order a second drink before my first one was done.
At least I don’t think I did. Did I? I don’t suppose You know that answer to that, do You?
You can tell me. Whisper it right in my ear.
C’mon! You can tell me.
Shit. Don’t tell me You don’t remember last night either. Bet You were too worried about sparrows falling out of the sky or something like that.
Yeah, I’m hoping You strike me dead with a thunderbolt. Am I that obvious?
Thing is, I don’t remember finishing my first drink. I sure as hell don’t remember ordering the next. I just remember sipping the beer and talking to Buffy and then…
Well, not exactly nothing.
Next thing I know, I’m walking on some street and Buffy’s giggling. I look down and there she is supporting my entire weight like she’s some sort of crutch. So I try to stand and I fall flat on my ass right in the middle of this sidewalk. I try to get up and Buffy says something I don’t really catch and then she reaches out her hand to help me up.
I figure, hey! Slayer strength! She can pull me to my feet!
Except she doesn’t.
I yank, she falls right in my lap and she looks at me with those big green eyes and then I drown.
I honestly drown, God. I can’t hear anything ‘cause there’s this roaring and there’s this difficulty breathing I’m having and then…
I can’t stop. I don’t want to stop.
Somewhere in the middle of the kiss I forget everything and start thanking Demon Alcohol.
Do You get that? I’m grateful that I’m drunk because I can get what I want and not pay later. I can claim that I don’t remember a thing.
I am slime. You can slug me up now, God. Right here. Just make sure when you slug me up that you do it near an overturned saltshaker. Got it?
The slug wish is if you decide not to come through with the time travel wish. Just so we’re clear.
And the next thing…
Except I don’t remember the next thing.
The next thing I actually remember is we—Buffy and I, that is, Buffy and me—are in my kitchen and she’s sitting on top of the counter and we’re kissing and her legs are wrapped around me and…
Were we still clothed?
Wait. Wait. Lemme think a minute here. If I’m going for the full confession I gotta be clear.
Yes? No? Yes. Still clothed. But it doesn’t feel like it because the friction thing and I can’t stop myself even if…well…maybe if Buffy wanted to, but short of that? Fire, flood, apocalypse, Dawn, nothing is gonna stop this and I can feel it all over in that tingly, ball-tightening, stomach-clenching, painfully hard way.
And just when I feel like I’m about to…
I mean nothing.
Except this vague memory of skin on skin coming into focus and then…
God…not You…what the fuck did I do?
Everything I ever wanted.
Everything I ever dreamed.
And it doesn’t mean a fucking thing.
Don’t get me wrong.
Means everything to me.
More than words can ever hope to express. More than thoughts can hope to express.
Last night was a prayer in flesh.
And it meant nothing to her.
I could see that before she fled my apartment. Right in her eyes. I was “convenient.” Just like I’m always “convenient.”
I need a ride, Xander. I need you to fix the window, Xander. I need to stow some extra weapons and clothes at your apartment, Xander. Can you pick up pizzas on your way over, Xander?
Can you fuck me because I’m feeling unattractive and because I haven’t had a date in months, Xander.
As a token of my appreciation, please excuse me while I rip your heart out and squeeeeze it with all my Slayer strength in front of your very eyes before I jump out of your bed and race for the front door, Xander.
Suuuuure, Buffy. Whatever you say, Buffy. I’ll even blame myself for being so fucking stupid for believing that I mean a fucking thing to you, Buffy.
Even though you mean everything to me.
And especially Anya, even if she isn’t among the living any more.
Riley’s not State Farm. I am.
God…yes I’m talking to You…this hurts.
It hurts that I still love her and I didn’t even know it until I woke up and saw her staring down at me with those perfect green eyes and the early morning sun highlighting her hair. It hurts that I just wanted a repeat performance of last night and knew the second I looked into those green eyes that I would never have it again. It hurts to have a night of warmth and wonder the next morning if you’ll ever, ever be warm like that again.
It hurts to know that the connection we had as friends really wasn’t a connection at all. It was all about me being some sort of safe harbor in between the real storms of Buffy-romance.
It hurts I’m losing my custody battle with Demon Alcohol. It hurts my inner Daddy Harris is getting a little less inner.
It hurts that maybe that Buffy-torch didn’t snuff out while I planned to marry Anya.
But I swear, God, I swear on a stack of whatever Holy Books You want me to swear on that I didn’t know. I didn’t realize.
Let’s tack “not self-aware” on to my list of adjectives, shall we?
It just hurts. And I know, I just know, that it will never stop.
Say, God? About the time travel request…
Can You just kill me instead?