Title: feet been draggin’ cross the ground
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Gen with Dawn and Buffy, background Buffy/Faith
Categories: drama, family, hurt/comfort, romance
Length: Long [17784words]
Warnings: canon typical violence

Author/Artist/Creator on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] celaenos
Author/Artist/Creator Website: celaenos' AO3

Summary: Dawn goes along with Buffy on a seemingly endless road trip after Sunnydale blows up. Stubbornly avoiding their friends, and any semblance of normalcy, they try to figure out just what the hell they are supposed to do with their lives now.


I do remember that the first time I tried to read the fic I stopped after the first few scenes, because I felt there were some clunky sentences. Then later I sat down again, because I'm a sucker for a good fic about the Summers sisters and even more for Buffy/Faith and that time I read it in one setting and what I found was an amazing fic.

It's set post-canon and Buffy feels lost without her mission, instead of joining the scoobies she and Dawn set out on a road trip across the country. It's a fic about the sisters and their relationship and how life changes for them, how they deal with being or not being the Slayer and a girl that technically isn't real, but the Key. It has wonderful bonding moment and wonderful humor. It's also about Buffy running away from facing the feeling she might have for Faith.

It also does a good job of showing how both Buffy and Dawn slowly figure themselves out and find their way.

It's wonderful. The characterisation and slow progression is perfect and highlights the confusion and the feeling of being aimlessly adrift. There are just so many unique and wonderful women around in this fic and it makes for a wonderful highly recommended read.

feet been draggin’ cross the ground

Orleans by Hth (PG13)

  • Apr. 22nd, 2015 at 9:04 PM
Title: Orleans

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Buffy/Faith
Categories: femslash, AU (canon AU), dark
Length: medium, 6369 words
Warnings: unhappy endings, character death (file under "Wishverse")

Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website: Hth on AO3

Summary: There's a big daddy vampire out of Missouri who used to keep alligators as pets. There's a Slayer. And there's Faith.

Review: You have a crossbow strapped to your back under your jacket, you have three twenty-dollar bills and a bus ticket in your pocket, and this could be your last day on earth.

Or not. Either way, it's nobody's damn business but yours and your victims'.

Last week, I wanted to rec something with badass women and couldn't bring anything to mind that hit the note I was looking for. A few days later someone on my friends list was good enough to re-rec this story from years back with a new AO3 link... and talk about stories that stick in your mind for years...

It's the Wishverse in the dying days before Buffy's trip to Sunnydale, and Buffy and Faith in St Louis, a tale of cults and vampires, alligators and mass sacrifices, bathed in religious imagery and blood and heat, and you know it's not going to end well but the journey down is so captivating you can't look away.

This fic. The structure, the language, the weight of the metaphor and imagery, this fic is a thing of beauty. I can't think of much else I've seen told with the same intensity, and I've never seen a second person narrative work much better than in this.

Title: california girls (we're unforgettable)
Fandom: Teen Wolf/Veronica Mars/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: gen (references to canon pairings)
Categories: angst, crossover, family, friendship
Length: short
Warnings: afterlife, canon character deaths

Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website: on ao3

Summary: Allison never really believed in an afterlife. But then, she didn't believe in werewolves either until she met one.

Review: I still really haven't accepted Allison's death, but this fic makes it okay. It's a gorgeous little fic about Allison's journey into the afterlife and all the remarkable women she meets there. The tri-crossover works *really* well here, grangerbutstranger captures all the characters beautifully and makes you wish that they had the chance to meet during life (someone ought to write that). It's the best of female friendship and bonding, and the strength forged from fighting for something you believe in.

california girls (we're unforgettable)

Summer in Neptune by btvsp2082 (T)

  • Sep. 26th, 2014 at 11:44 PM
Title: Summer in Neptune
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Veronica Mars
Pairing: Buffy/Veronica
Categories: crossover, romance, angst
Length: Long
Warnings: canon typical violence

Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website: on ao3

Summary: Instead of running away to LA at the end of season 2, Buffy runs back to her old high school, showing up on the doorstep of her best friend Veronica.

Review: 'Summer in Neptune' is the first story in an on going series that blends these two fandoms together in a wonderfully believable way. As fandoms, Buffy and Veronica are largely considered sister shows (helped along by a delightful cameo by Joss in VM) so the blending of them feels righ - like in the way you've always believed they belonged together. There's some understandable stumbling blocks (as any meshing of a supernatural fandom and a reality based one is). But the real delight of this series is the interactions between Veronica and Buffy. The two queens of sass and badassery kicking ass and taking names.

Sister fandoms they may be, but the author writes Buffy and Veronica as lovers and believe you me, you'll ship it. Watching them move from friends to lovers is wonderful and age appropriate (the story takes place while they are both in high school).

Summer in Neptune

Three Drabbles

  • Sep. 16th, 2014 at 1:13 AM
Drabbles are hard. That's one reason why I'm a drabble purist; if it isn't exactly 100 words, you're taking the easy way out and I won't be impressed if you claim it's a drabble. You have just enough room to show an idea, set up a punchline or whatever, and making that sound plausible while still keeping to the strict word count is quite a challenge.

In an effort to have less words of review than actual content, I hereby offer you three drabbles from three different authors that I picked off Twisting the Hellmouth. All are PG, gen, and need no warnings. And they're all 100 words long, of course.

Title: The White What?
Author: P.H. Wise
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dune
Categories: Crack, crossover, eugenics, real family

Xander has a powerful magical heritage that he is only beginning to discover...

"Real families" are a common trope in BtVS crossover fanfic. It offers an easy way into a crossover to declare that someone (usually Xander or Willow) was adopted/kidnapped/hidden, and have them discover or be discovered by their real (crossover) parents. This drabble is the reductio ad absurdam of that idea, and a caution to overly enthusiastic breeding programmes everywhere. The repetition at the end is a little weak, but I'll let it off that for a good idea well expressed.

The White What?

Title: What's in a Name?
Author: Speaker to Customers
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Star Wars
Categories: Crack, crossover, real family

An incredibly stupid variation on the 'Character X's Real Father' theme.

If "The White What?" was a reductio ad absurdam, this little gem is just plain absurd. If you're faster than me you might well see the punchline coming, but enjoy the concise, clear writing anyway.

What's in a Name?

Title: Hiding in Plain Sight II
Author: Marcus L. Rowland
Fandom: Highlander/Top Gear
Categories: Crack, crossover, driving, faked death

If Richie Ryan isn't dead, where is he?

Marcus is one of the most prolific drabble writers I know. I picked this story not because of the surprise idea — if you know anything at all about Highlander and Top Gear you'll have already guessed it — but because it's a great demonstration of how to structure a drabble to read naturally.

Hiding in Plain Sight II
It's Epic week, and I've been saving this one up! This should have been posted last night, but I fell foul of misbehaving hotel wifi. Sorry about that.

Title: The League of Extraordinary Women
Fandom: Harry Potter/Buffy/Stargate SG-1/DCU/The Secret World of Alex Mack/Bionic Woman
Pairing: Gen
Categories: Crossover, action/adventure, crossover,
Length: Super!Epic (134,500 words)

Author Website: Diane's page on the Whateley Acadamy fanfiction wiki.
Author Website: Twisting the Hellmouth author page.

Hermione Granger has to recruit six women to help her stop an army of monsters before her world is overrun. But none of the women are even in her dimension...

This massive story is a response to a site challenge that basically amounts to "get a bunch of women together to save the world." The resulting story is so much more than that.

Yes, OK, so a lot of women from different worlds do get together under the direction of Hermione Granger to defeat a hellgoddess intent on invading other dimensions, but they do it with intelligence and style, making full use of the widely varied skillsets they have. There are fights, but they are conducted with tactical sense and use of such extra resources that are available. In general it hits that wonderful balance point where the characters are intelligent and competent, but not so smart and capable that you stop believing in them.

It's not perfect, of course. The prophecy has all the usual credibility problems of prophecies in being both too specific and too vague, as well as a bit cringeworthy; as usual it would have been more believable if we didn't see the whole thing and immediately treat it as an indifferent acrostic. There is also maybe a bit much random discussion and phoning home before the main event, throwing the pacing off a bit. It's still a very good story with a great deal to commend it to all readers.

There are two sequels, using the term loosely. The first, Cross Purposes is really a collection of shorts in which various characters look up the equivalents of their team-mates in their own universes. Thus SG-1 attempt to recruit Rupert Giles from the British Museum, unaware that he is a double-oh; Bruce Wayne contacts an embittered Sam Carter just before she turns into a supervillain; the Scoobies discover just how paranoid a retired air-force colonel can be; and so on. Some of the stories have been extended into novellas, but are confusingly intertwined and could do with a good sorting out.

The second is the super-epic The Secret Return of Alex Mack. Weighing in at a whopping 1,000,000 words — yes, you read that right, one million words — and still climbing, it continues Alex's story as she returns home and takes up the the identity of "Terawatt." Crossovers abound; I won't spoil your enjoyment by saying much. Suffice it to say that an awful lot of my B-movie guilty pleasures get checked off, and my admiration for Riley Jerome Finn knows no bounds. Again, there are faults; I could cheerfully live without ever seeing Alex's morning exercise routine again, and the emphasis on how much Alex has to eat to fuel her powers is a overdone. Personally I'm not at all taken by the teen drama parts, but that's probably more a reflection of me being a middle-aged man rather than a sixteen year old girl; either way none of the flaws are fatal.

Just a little light reading for you as you head off on holiday :-)

The League of Extraordinary Women
Title: Three Corn Fed Farm Boys
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Stargate SG-1/Superman
Pairing: None
Categories: Crossover, humour, action
Length: Short (1,600 words)
Warnings: None

Author on TtH: DireSquirrel
Author on FF.net: DireSquirrel

Three men meet at their ten year college reunion and discover they have more than the same school in common.

So it seems that Riley Finn did his undergraduate degree in Kansas, at the same time as Cameron Mitchell and Clark Kent. Their ten-year reunion gets interrupted, which is just too bad for the cyborg responsible.

This is a nice little romp, reminiscent of the superhero team-up stories of my youth. Not a lot happens, but the entertainment is in the by-play of the characters as they work together to deal with the crisis. It would be nice for someone to take the idea and run with it at greater length, but this isn't that story. This is fine just as it is: something light and fun, just the sort of thing to perk you up after a tiring day.

Three Corn Fed Farm Boys

Sam's Girls by Grundy (PG-13)

  • Aug. 4th, 2014 at 11:32 PM
Title: Sam's Girls
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/CSI
Pairing: Gen
Categories: Case fic, supernatural, crossover, family, drama
Length: Epic (45,600 words)
Warnings: None

Author Website: Grundy on Twisting the Hellmouth

When a Slayer comes to Vegas to deal with a vampire problem, Catherine discovers she isn't Sam Braun's only daughter.

Set shortly after the end of Buffy and during season 4 of CSI, this is a properly meaty story. Briefly, Buffy goes to Vegas ostensibly to deal with a vampire problem, but also to get away from all the chaos of Slayer Central. Blending the background sketched out in Angel with that of CSI, it shouldn't be a surprise that the major casino owners are well aware of the supernatural side of life, and that the "night life" is generally well-behaved (or else).

The police are much less well aware of what's going on. Some people, like Warrick Brown, have had encounters with vampires and generally keep their mouths shut about it. Most haven't, and the CSIs in particular dismiss the supernatural as nonsense or camouflage.

So pity Catherine Willows when Sam Braun turns out to have a very personal reason for wanting to talk to Buffy.

This is one of those rare things, a crossover between the super-powered/supernatural and the normal (if very smart) that doesn't feel horribly one-sided. The resolution of the plot does depend as much on Catherine's investigative abilities as Buffy's slaying technique. There's no clumsy full disclosure to the CSIs after decades of keeping magic a secret, nothing really to break the worldview of either show. It's a skilful bit of plotting, and the writing is well up to carrying it through.

I often find that when I come back to stories I read and loved a while ago that they don't stand up to a second reading. I start to notice things like characters' voices going awry, or plot-holes that memory had papered over, things like that. Sam's Girls is still as good as when I first read it, and that's very much to Grundy's credit.

There are a bunch of sequels, all rather short. I'm going to stick with the main story as my rec, but they are all linked together conveniently if you want to spend a few pleasant minutes reading them.

Sam's Girls

Extreme Wormholes? by MissE (R)

  • Jul. 29th, 2014 at 12:24 AM
Title: Extreme Wormholes?
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Stargate SG-1
Pairing: gen
Categories: Crossover, YAHF
Length: Short (2,000 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] misse
Author on AO3: favicon MissE
Author on TtH: MissE

It's come as you aren't night. What might that mean for the Scoobies?

If this story had more substance to it, I would have been using it for last week's cliché rec. It's a simple enough idea; the Scoobies dress up as SG-1, become their costumes, fix the situation and retain a certain amount of their characters' attitudes and knowledge. The twist is that everyone dresses up as the person they are least like (dragging Angel in to play Teal'c), so the result is much more balanced and mature than you might have first thought.

While the story itself is only sketched in, there is enough presented to have made a decent long (or even Epic!) fic. It has certainly fired my imagination, and what more can you really ask for from a story?

Extreme Wormholes?

Jedi Harris by Scribbler (PG to 15)

  • Jul. 22nd, 2014 at 1:40 AM
Title: Jedi Harris
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Star Wars, plus Stargate:SG-1/CSI/NCIS/Haven/Castle/Father Ted (yes, really) in later stories.
Pairing: Gen
Categories: Crossover, action, drama, occasional crack, YAHF
Length: Super-Epic (230,000 words, and that's just the first story)
Warnings: None (though the Wish-verse section is appropriately nasty)

Author on TtH: Scribbler
Author on ff.net: The Dark Scribbler

“It’s a prop,” said a British voice to one side of him. “There’s a rumour that it was used, I believe, on one of the Star Wars films. I’ve no idea which one, but it might have been the original Star Wars.”

It's Cliché Week, and for Buffy crossover fans that can mean only one thing: YAHF. Yet Another Halloween Fic. That season 2 episode has launched more fanfics than any other single episode, in part because it's so easy to base a crossover from it. Just have your favourite characters pick up a costume of the show you want to use, and when Ethan Rayne's spell begins you have an instant crossover.

Needless to say, Sturgeon's Law applies in spades. Far too many stories use the idea as a cheap power-up for their favourite character, usually Xander, and let him keep his powers at the end with not the slightest hint as to why no one else gets to keep more than fuzzy memories. At first sight, Jedi Harris looks like it falls into that category; Xander dresses as a Jedi, becomes a slightly confused version of Obi-Wan, and still has Force powers at the end.

Fortunately, that's barely the beginning. Scribbler does have an explanation that the characters toss around; the Force is real, isn't the same thing as magic, and Star Wars gives the right metaphors to approach it despite being fiction in this world. It's a deliberately incomplete explanation, and it doesn't explain how Xander can remember large chunks of Obi-Wan's life that were never in any of the films (and aren't part of the Obi-Wan he dressed as, for that matter), but it does explain why Xander and (eventually) others can learn to manipulate the Force. It even comes with a built in balancing mechanism, not falling to the Dark Side, that stops Xander taking primacy from Buffy.

It's really cleverly done, in my opinion. The characters feel true to themselves throughout, though Jedi do tend to end up calmer and more self-assured, as you might hope. The plot moves on logically, taking into account both canon and where it would logically be changed by events. Many characters move in and out of events in ways you might not have expected, but which fit perfectly well when you think about it. There are even little cameos by other crossover characters, such as Don Camillo (give yourself a pat on the back and feel smug if that made sense to you).

Jedi Harris has turned into a whole sequence of stories of varying lengths, all equally well written, as more and more Jedi are found and trained. I thoroughly commend the lot of them, complete or not.

Jedi Harris (takes things up to Graduation)
The Terran Jedi (incomplete: introduces SG-1)
Train From The West (medium-length story in which the Vegas CSI team investigate an impossible crime scene).
Craggy Island: Vampire-Free Zone (purest crack)
The NCIS Jedi (how a member of the NCIS team becomes a Jedi)
A Jedi, a Mage and the Troubles (a case takes the NCIS team to Haven while Audrey is in the Barn)
The Alley and Jedi Castle (strange things happen in New York too).

Old School Superheroics (R) by batzulger

  • Jun. 24th, 2014 at 12:47 AM
Title: Old School Superheroics
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Champions
Categories: Crossover, action/adventure, nostalgia-fest
Length: Medium (4,600 words)

Author Website: Batzulger's author page on Twisting the Hellmouth

There is something unspeakably horrible lurking in the London drizzle. Slayers aren't the only ones hunting it.

The actual summary is "Bringing in some 60s awesomeness," which I have to agree with but isn't all that helpful. The awesomeness in this case are the three stars of a 1960s ITC show The Champions, who in retrospect are absolutely ideal crossover material with the Buffyverse. While in their own show they faced only mundane challenges (blame the TV technology of the time), they make the transition to dealing with supernatural in a very natural way.

The plot is fairly basic; two groups trip over each other hunting for a nasty, spend a while interacting and deducing each others' abilities, and team up to defeat the big bad. The story is all in the interaction; how the two sides get on and deduce little things about each other.

All in all it's a simple story nicely told, and a great comforting dollop of nostalgia for oldies like me.

Old School Superheroics

Province (NC-17) by ChessM

  • Jun. 3rd, 2014 at 12:47 AM
Title: Province
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supernatural
Pairing: Xander/Dean
Categories: Crossover, slash, angst, gradually diverging from canon.
Length: Super!Epic (~217,000 words across six stories)
Warnings: Explicit sex, suicidal talk, believed character death, angstorama

Author on TtH: ChessM's author page on Twisting the Hellmouth.

Dean and Xander are the same sort of self-sacrificing idiot. It shouldn't be surprising that their relationship is made of angst.

I'm cheating slightly here; Province is a series of stories that chart a not exactly idyllic relationship between Dean and Xander. I'm not entirely sure that the series is complete — the major plotline clearly isn't resolved &mdash but nothing has been added for quite a while now, so I'm going to claim that all the important stuff is at least rounded off. As far as timelines go, it asserts that the first episode of Supernatural occurs shortly before the fall of Sunnydale, and starts bending canon from there on.

It begins with a break-up. Set The Fire To The Third Bar alternates between Xander and Dean having enthusiastic sex, and Dean calling to break up in the immediate aftermath of Jess's death. It's short, bitter, and makes perfect sense from Dean's point of view, and it's patently obvious that neither of them knows that the other knows all about the supernatural.

From there we watch Xander struggle through the fall of Sunnydale with plenty of taunting from the First Evil, not really having the time to deal. It feels a little strange because we're used to seeing Xander the goofball, and this Xander has too recent a hurt to play that part. Then Dean sees the news reports of the destruction of Sunnydale and loses it, because he knew that was where "Alex" lived. We are treated to exactly the sort of meltdown I'd expect from Dean; tightly controlled until he's too drunk to manage any more, and with Sam hovering and trying to stop his brother self-destructing.

The next story turns the screws. We reach the end of season 1 of Supernatural, and of course the Yellow-Eyed Demon lets John Winchester know that his oldest boy is gay, and lets Dean know that Alex is still alive and now its number one target. This naturally gets the Scoobies involved and things kick into high gear for a while, until Dean and Xander meet up in relative safety. And then the real fun begins.

For all the plot I've just described, and all the rest that I haven't, this is really a family drama. Xander and Dean are both damaged in their different ways, and have both been keeping secrets for that matter. It's not surprising that they have a hard time rebuilding trust. Throw in John, who has a whole barrelful of prejudices of different sorts all pushing his buttons, and a Sam who can't go five minutes without exploding at his father or wanting to know more than Xander will trust him with, and you have a highly volatile situation. The story takes a justifiably long time to work up enough trust that Xander and the Winchesters can function (albeit badly) as a team, and Dean and Xander both come out darker if marginally happier by the end. From Xander we get the overwhelming impression of weariness, and very little of his characteristic humour; from Dean we have a massive lack of confidence after his big decision went so badly wrong, and his trademark cockiness is sorely missing as a result.

This isn't a light or easy read, but it is very well written and nicely observed. The little nods to canon throughout the earlier stories help to anchor the later ones and make the crossover work. All in all, worth the effort if you can stand the angst.

Set The Fire To The Third Bar (first story in the series)

Demons of DC (R) by Laimelde

  • May. 26th, 2014 at 10:58 PM
Title: Demons of DC
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/NCIS
Categories: Crossover, gen, drama, supernatural, post-series (for BtVS)
Length: Epic (46,800 words)
Warnings: Nothing "on-screen", nothing worse than an episode of either show.

Author on Twisting the Hellmouth: Laimelde
Author on the Pit of VolesFF.net Laimelde

Xander joins NCIS and has to prove himself to become a proper Federal Agent. Keeping his past secret is hard enough by itself — will he be able to do so when the supernatural manages to find him in DC?

Xander becoming an NCIS agent is a common enough means of crossing these two fandoms over. It's been done a few times, with varying degrees of success. What sets this story apart for me is how it resolutely refuses to fall into the usual lazy writing traps. This Xander isn't a Superxan; his Halloween memories give him an expertise with firearms but his Sunnydale instincts are for hand-to-hand, and his eye-patch is offset by Willow giving him perfect depth perception. Similarly this Gibbs is somewhat open to the possibility of the supernatural, but isn't omniscient and has no idea that demons are anything more than indistinct shapes in the desert. And Tony is an ass to the probie, but not to an extreme.

It makes for a refreshingly well thought out story, with just the right levels of trust and secrets flying about. Xander actually has the perfect foil for the team's curiosity about his past; in the official reports, the Scoobies were treated as civilian consultants to the Initiative, so Xander is officially not allowed to tell Gibbs anything. Gibbs doesn't have to like it, but without good reason he does have to lump it, and again the author plays this nicely.

The supernatural element turns up in the form of a vague and ill-defined prophecy that is taken to mean that the someone in DC in the right government job at a particular time will come into lots of power and money. The NCIS team become involved through missing marines, and then Angel and the Slayers show up separately, and Xander has to walk the tightrope of keeping everyone cooperating. This is not easy when Gibbs doesn't trust civilians and the Scoobies don't trust the military, and possibly my only criticism of the story was that I felt Xander didn't quite have a hard enough time of it. It's a matter of degree only, and personal preference at that, but I would have rather seen both Gibbs and Buffy take a little more convincing to play well.

All in all, a well-balanced story.

Demons of DC

An Echo of Thunder by anotherlostsoul (R)

  • Mar. 25th, 2014 at 2:17 AM
Title: An Echo of Thunder
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Categories: Action/adventure, SuperXan
Length: Long (30,900 words)
Warnings: Minor character death, parental abuse

Author Website: NotDeadFred
Author on TtH: anotherlostsoul's author page

What if Buffy wasn’t the only one of the Scoobies with a destiny? Xander Harris finds a destiny all his own that has nothing to do with hyena possession, Halloween or road trips...

I'm in two minds about this story. It's an award-winner — the 2007 Crossing Over award for best Buffy/Smallville crossover — but the crossover elements are limited to setting up for the next story in the series. It's well written with good grammar, structure and phrasing, but it doesn't quite grip me. It features a well drawn Xander, except that his good humour is dialled down, and he's the only one of the Buffy cast to fare well; Giles is written as infuriatingly obtuse, and the others aren't even present. It's got a good grasp of the Norse myths that form the basis of the story, but sometimes seems inconsistent about what people know.

It's a good story, don't get me wrong. I like the writing style, I like the story, I like the Xander who isn't yet too far from an Everyman to lose me. It's just that for every aspect of the story that I want to pick up and praise, a niggle leaps to my attention. This is going to be one of those stories that you have to read and decide for yourself.

There are two sequels, Thunder Over Smallville: Book One (the Smallville crossover proper) and Tales of the Thunderverse: Champion of Themyscira. Both are incomplete and haven't been worked on in a while, and I prefer Echo to both of them. Thunder Over Smallville in particular suffers from the high power level of the superheroics going on; nearly everyone, it seems, ends up with powers that let them operate on a par with Clark, and it quickly becomes very hard to rein in that much power and present an interesting and credible challenge.

It's a bit of a Curate's Egg in my view. What's your opinion?

An Echo of Thunder

A Strange Attraction by Saone (NC-17)

  • Feb. 18th, 2014 at 2:00 AM
Title: A Strange Attraction
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Graham/Xander
Categories: slash, romantic comedy, mild kink
Length: Long (15,900 words)
Warnings: light bondage, sex (in the last chapter)

Author Website: Saone's page on the Unconventional Relationshippers archive.

When Graham gets hurt, the Scoobies subject him to their brand of helping.

I first came across this immensely silly story many years ago, and recommended it to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen. Then Saone's original website disappeared, as such things do, and there was much mourning (and possibly a little gloating that I had saved a copy to read offline). Fortunately it still exists on a number of archive sites, as I discovered when I went looking for Rom-Com week offerings, so I can push it to a new generation of fandom. Lucky you.

The story takes place at some point in an alternate season five. Riley is still Buffy's boyfriend, Graham is around as a permanant liaison, and Xander and Anya aren't together for unspecified reasons. Olaf the troll has turned up and been sent off without his hammer, and some time later Buffy is a tad careless while swinging it around, putting Graham in hospital with a broken leg. More than that you'll pick up as you go along, and in any case it's just window-dressing to the bumbling misunderstandings Graham and Xander manage to foster between themselves. To add to the confusion, Buffy, Riley and Willow figure out that something is up between Xander and Graham, and promptly start grasping the wrong end of various different sticks. It's all very nicely blended together, and a perfect recipe for a rom-com plot.

Saone has a deft touch with the characters, and puts together some wonderful conversational exchanges. The ways the various Scoobies try to cheer Graham up during visiting hours are particularly nicely done, and you can see after only a few paragraphs why Graham would regard Xander as the only sane company he's going to get. It's a testament to the writing quality that I can see the action happening in my mind's eye as if I was watching as an episode.

On the downside, the POV does slip around rather a lot. I have no problem with authors swapping viewpoint characters between sections, but when the viewpoint swaps (often several times) in the middle of a section it gets downright confusing. There is a particular point in chapter 2 when the viewpoint slides from Graham to Xander to Graham's daydream quite rapidly, and something that should have been funny instead throws me out of the story.

It's still a very amusing take on the classic romantic misunderstanding. Go on, treat yourself to a laugh.

A Strange Attraction was originally published in separate chapters that are irritatingly not linked together. Here's a table of chapter links to the story as archived at UCSL (the UnConventional RelationShippers List archive) and Big Guns (the Graham slash archive):

Chapter 1: Death To Teddy Bearson UCSLon Big Guns
Chapter 2: Bad Thoughtson UCSLon Big Guns
Chapter 3: Desperate Timeson UCSLon Big Guns
Chapter 4: Assumptionson UCSLon Big Guns
Chapter 5: Playing It Straighton UCSLPart 1, part 2 on Big Guns
Chapter 6: Finallyon UCSLon Big Guns

I found a single-page version, but it looks like an unprettified website archive and may not hang around. Here's the link:

A Strange Attraction

The Stepford Conjunction by Vitruvian (PG)

  • Feb. 4th, 2014 at 1:56 AM
Title: The Stepford Conjunction
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Wonder Woman/The Bionic Woman/Stepford Wives
Categories: Crossover, action/adventure, casefic
Length: Medium (14,000 words)
Warnings: Comic-book violence.

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] vitruvian23
Author on TtH: Vitruvian

Slayers aren't the only strong female role models out there.

This is a moderately old action story, but I think it deserves more attention than it has had. The crossover is ingenious enough, and the action well-enough written and fast paced enough to merit its place here.

The plot, briefly, is that Wonder Woman (the 70s TV version) and Jamie Sommers (the 70s Bionic Woman) are sent by their respective agencies to investigate what's going on in the town of Stepford. They get joined by a 70s Slayer (no prizes for guessing who), who has been dreaming about the place, and have to fight their way through robots and hypnotised men to stop the villain. That's basically it.

What I really love about this story are all the throwaways. The snatches of conversation as the Watcher calls his shady contacts to find out what's going on ("No, Charlie, you can't recruit her.") are little gems. Buffy fans should also pay close attention to the epilogue, which in one little comment sets up some major points of the series. It's neatly and economically done, and satisfying to read.

Of course it has faults. The chapters are rather short, the viewpoint sometimes slides between the protagonists in ways that it really shouldn't, and the characterisation is sometimes a little flat. That said, the action is fast and furious, and keeps your attention with sheer pace and energy.

The Stepford Conjunction
Title: Deeds of Maidenly Unkindness
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/St Trinians
Categories: Gen, crossover, humour, mystery, British public schools.
Length: Long (35,000 words)
Warnings: Sharp practice, underhand dealing and all the other things a good school teachs you.

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] ffutures
Author Website: Marcus's profile on Twisting the Hellmouth

Buffy and Willow take teaching jobs in Britain. Will the school survive the experience?

As the summary says, Buffy and Willow are working on getting teaching qualifications. That means getting some practical experience, i.e. spending a term actually teaching in a school. They are thrilled to get placements together at a girls' boarding school, well paid and with lodgings thrown in too. In fact the only downside is that Giles nearly has a heart attack when they tell him the name of the school: St Trinians.

If you are familiar with Ronald Searle's anarchic stories of a boarding school for girls, your brain is probably already hurting at the thought of the coming culture clash. If you aren't, go and familiarise yourself immediately; read the books for preference, or failing that watch the wonderful old films starring Alistair Sim as the headmistress. The more recent remakes come less well recommended, and on the whole I'd recommend reading Marcus's story instead.

You see, Marcus has one of the most twisted imaginations I know. He has been a freelance RPG writer for decades, so as a fan writer he is a skilled wordsmith. He also has an amazing ability to spot connections that are, in retrospect, obvious if rather demented, and make them work as stories. In Deeds of Maidenly Unkindness he uses the fact that the Buffyverse is full of the products of stuffy British public schools to make Buffy and Willow's foray into a rather more disreputable British public school seem perfectly natural. A lot of the things that the Scoobies did at school come back to haunt them (in one case literally); stopping the girls smuggling rocket launchers in, for example, or brewing up interesting substances in the chemistry lab. Somehow the result is both a supernatural action story and a cartoon-violent comedy.

It's brilliantly silly. Read it.

Deeds of Maidenly Unkindness
Title: Noggin and the Vampire
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Noggin the Nog
Categories: humour, crossover, not-very-bloody vikings
Length: Medium (9,600 words)
Warnings: innuendo (the only reason it's not PG)

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] speakr2customrs
Author Website: Speaker-to-Customers' Corner

In the lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale.

They tell of Noggin, Prince of the Nogs, and how he journeyed far to the North, to the Lands of the Midnight Sun, to marry Nooka, Princess of the Nooks. They tell of Noggin’s wicked uncle, Nogbad the Bad, and how he schemed to make himself king while Noggin was away, and how he was exiled from the Land of the Nogs forever because of his wickedness. They tell of Graculus, the great green bird.

And they tell of Spike.

Noggin the Nog was a simple animation shown on BBC TV originally in the late fifties/early sixties, and repeated well into the seventies when I watched it. It was produced by Smallfilms, aka Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, who also produced such children's classics as Bagpuss and the Clangers. The summary above (actually the story introduction) gives you a perfect snapshot of the style they used.

This is my favorite "You must be joking" crossover story of all. People who know about Noggin (meaning most of UK fandom) can't believe that anyone would even try to write such a story. Surely the gentle, meandering pseudo-epic style of Noggin doesn't mesh well with the teen-drama style of Buffy and particularly not with the impatient and aggressive Spike?

Except it does. It's as incongruous as all hell, but the incongruity works. The plot is simple, but that's entirely in keeping with style of Noggin. It's that style that is the most impressive thing about this story. Speaker-to-Customers has done a very good job of keeping the storytelling even and gentle, just right for Noggin, while still allowing Spike to sail as close to the wind as he ever does. It's brilliant, in short.

If you're British, read this for the happy memories. If you aren't, read it to find out why we're giggling.

Noggin and the Vampire

Velveteen by Eponine (PG-13)

  • Oct. 22nd, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Title: Velveteen
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supernatural
Categories: Supernatural, crossover, family, the W word.
Length: Medium (9,300 words)

Author Website: Twisting the Hellmouth author page.

Author's Summary:
In which Xander hates being the bearer of bad news, Bobby hates uninvited guests, Dean hates witches, and Sam should have known better than to use that word.

How many of you know the children's story The Velveteen Rabbit? Good. And how many of you have put that together with the Winchester brothers and are now hiding under your seats? Clever people.

It turns out that when Halfrek died, she left everything in her will to her best friend, Anya. That includes the contracts for a number of ongoing wishes made by children that Hallie thought needed her special brand of justice.

All these contracts duly passed to Xander on Anya's death. He has no idea what the wishes were or how Hallie granted them, but he has a list of people affected and a deal with D'Hoffryn allowing him to dissolve whichever wishes he thinks were over the top. He has spent months travelling around talking to people who talked to Hallie, undoing some wishes and leaving others. Now he has arrived at Singer Salvage to chat with Sam Winchester about a conversation with his guidance counselor at Stanford, and by now you really should be hiding under your seats.

This is a beautifully written story. Eponine's language flows nicely, showing us clearly the complex flow of emotions that rocket around this story. She has the characters pitch-perfect as well; I can imagine all the dialogue being delivered by the actors as if I was hearing it. That's absolutely essential to a dialogue-heavy character piece like this, and Eponine pulls it off very well. It's just a gorgeously heart-wrenching read that somehow manages to fit the tone of both shows. It's also rounded off just enough to be believable, without hitting the metaphorical reset button at the end. Dean and Sam's relationship is changed in the course of the story, and while calling them OK at the end might be a bit of an overstatement they are at least coping with those changes.

Read it. But maybe hide under your seat first.


Airman Harris by litgal (NC-17)

  • Oct. 14th, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Title: Airman Harris
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Stargate SG-1
Pairing: Xander Harris/Daniel Jackson
Categories: AU, slash, supernatural, drama, crossover
Length: Super Epic (122,000 words)
Warnings: Mutually questionable consent (Aliens Made Them Horny), PTSD

Author Website: favicon LitGal
Author Website: Twisting the Hellmouth

After an alien attack drags Airman Xander into an battle when he only wants to deliver his peaches, Xander discovers a whole new world, and a new way of seeing the world and himself.

After Adam is taken down and the Initiative disbanded, Xander falls victim to Spike's mindgames and in a fit of insecurity joins the Air Force. With classic Xander timing he is delivering supplies to the Cheyenne Mountain complex when SGC is hit by invaders with a (ahem) unusual means of distracting the base personnel. In the confusion Xander ends up on entirely the wrong level, shares a closet with Daniel Jackson and eventually gets compos mentis enough to help save the day. And that's more or less chapter one.

As you can probably tell, this is not a "Xander joins the military and kicks ass" story. Xander does very little ass-kicking, although his unorthodox fighting style meets with Teal'c's approval. No, this is a story about people. It's about Jack O'Neill dealing with someone who uses the same tactics of annoyance as he does. It's about Daniel Jackson wrapping his head around the idea that someone who knows bits of Akkadian and Sumerian can be not a linguist. And mostly it's about Xander not being allowed to snark his way out of facing his past.

It's not pretty in places; such things never are. Everyone has their own opinion of the rights and wrongs of situations, and no one is completely correct or completely blameless. This goes double when the action shifts back to Sunnydale as Glory is making her move. The real surprise is Jack and Buffy: I expected to see two determinedly contrary people butting heads, forgetting that neither of them are stupid.

This is a long psychological piece with enough bursts of action and humour (and not too much sex) to keep it fresh. Thoroughly recommended.

Airman Harris


epic_recs: (Default)
[community profile] epic_recs
Epic Recs

Length Guidelines

Short: under 2,000 words
Medium: 2,000-15,000 words
Long: 15,000-40,000 words
Epic: 40,000-100,000 words
Super Epic: 100,000+ words


Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
Designed by [personal profile] chasethestars