Tuesday, January 14, 2014


This is a fanfiction piece I wrote from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer world.  Willow, Giles, & Faith have always been my favorite characters and this particular story is about Giles and Faith.  It takes place after Season 7, right before the comics begin and it's got a bit of AU to it as Robin Wood is dead in the story, but not in the series.

The bar was just what she was looking for:  low key, not overly populated, and had a huge liquor selection.  Faith slid onto a bar stool and plunked down a twenty.  “Shot of Jack Daniels,” she called to the barkeep.  After downing her first shot it occurred to the Slayer that she didn’t want to be here alone.  “Yo, how long you open?” 
            “Last call is at 1:30, we close the place up at 2:00,” was the answer she received.  “I’ll be back with some company,” she smiled slyly while leaving a tip for the barkeep.  It was only 11:00 now so she had time to do a small sweep of the area before heading back to the troops.
It had been two weeks since the Slayers had defeated the First Evil and all the Uber Vamps in Sunnydale.  They had lost 5 of the baby Slayers that morning, and Robin had died four days later after fighting a horrible fever and blood loss.  The lot of them had traveled in the school bus until Giles had thought it safe enough to stop at a hotel.  This was the second stop the group had made and Faith wasn’t sure how much more of the togetherness she could take.  She could feel the urge to take off pushing closer each day, but didn’t want to leave just yet.  There was something she needed to do first, and for once in her life she didn’t want to do it by herself.  Mentally running down her options, she narrowed it down to two people.  Willow was the obvious choice since she’d had her own issues with the Dark, but she’d been so cuddly with Kennedy that Faith didn’t even bother going there.  With the girls being 2 to 4 to a room she just couldn’t deal with the extra estrogen.  That left her second choice:  Giles.  If anyone else had a dark side, it was the head Watcher now that the others were all gone.  With that thought in mind, Faith headed to the room Giles was at in the hotel.
She knocked on the door and waited thirty seconds before pounding on the door.  A befuddled Giles answered the door seconds later.  He’d obviously just gotten out of bed and was quite un-tweedy.  Giles blinked at the dark Slayer standing in the hallway and asked the first question that popped into his mind.  “Faith what the Bloody Hell is so important you need to wake me at” here he stopped to glance at the clock in his room “11:45?” 
“Get some clothes on, G” she replied with a small smile.  “I found a bar with your name on it and believe it or not I don’t want to go there by myself.”
Giles frowned at Faith then sighed his trademark Slayer sigh.  “All right just give me a moment and I’ll accompany you.”  He moved to turn away then, came back to closely peruse Faith.  “What exactly are you planning on drinking at this bar?”
“Alcohol” she answered cheekily.  “I’ll buy first round, but you better hurry your British ass up or I’m going to get tequila.”
“Oh dear Lord,” Giles murmured with horror.  “I’ll be right out.  How far is this place?”
“Not far and they don’t close up ‘til 2:00 so get a move on, G.  I’ll explain once we’re on our way.” 
“Fine, just give me a moment,” the Watcher replied as he shut the door in her face. 

“So why am I accompanying you to a bar in the middle of the night?” Giles queried as he walked with Faith in the direction of said bar.
“Because we need to say some goodbyes before we go any farther on this merry-go-round ride,” Faith shot back.  “I know it hasn’t been my style, but I learned a few things in jail and one of those was bottling shit up just makes it worse.  So I figured you and me would go have a drink and remember those we lost.”
Giles stopped in surprise for a moment then began walking again to catch up with Faith, who had not slowed down.  “But why would you want to do this with me?  It’s not like you and I have ever been close….”
Faith let out a frustrated breath and spun around to face him.  “Yeah it’s not like I’ve been close with any of you Scoobies, but you’re what I’ve got so trying to make the best of it here.  If you don’t want to be here, just head back to the hotel.  Me, I’m going to drink some Jack and remember those who died so the rest of us could still be here.”  After delivering this speech, she spun around and resumed her course to the bar.
Giles frowned at her back then picked up his pace to match her definitely faster stride.  Coming from Faith this was somewhat of a revelation and he wanted to support her as much as possible. 

Several minutes later Giles followed the dark Slayer into a small establishment that was clean, had a full bar, and pool tables in the back.  He was quite grateful to observe there was no dance floor of any kind and the music being played seemed to be older rock.  Faith sauntered over to the bar and climbed onto a bar stool.  “Bottle of Jack D,” she called out to the barkeeper.  “Good Lord, Faith,” he glanced down at her.  “If we’re going to be drinking a bottle we’re going to drink the good stuff,” and with that he conversed with the barkeeper to see what they had that he could tolerate.  Once an agreement was met, the barkeeper left the bottle and two shot glasses with them and moved off to handle other customers.
“Damn, G, this stuff is smooth,” Faith commented with a pleased sound low in her throat. 
“Hmm, quite,” was his reply.  After perusing the bar, Giles stood and lifted the bottle.  “If we’re going to be remembering those we’ve lost, why don’t we move to that booth over there so all these lovely people at the bar don’t have to hear us,” he suggested mildly. 
Faith looked around and gave a curt nod.  After grabbing the shot glasses she sauntered over to the booth he’d indicated and plopped down.  Giles sat down opposite her and poured each of them another shot.  “Now, why don’t you tell me whatever it was you didn’t want to say to Buffy,” he suggested.

Faith contemplated the alcohol in her shot glass, rolling the glass between her fingers before lifting it to her lips to take a sip.  “One of the things I had to learn was how to deal with things.  You know, not keep them inside so they ate me up.  And losing those girls…it was tough.  I mean, B kept saying that people died in war and I know that, but they were so YOUNG.  I’ve had some dreams about them, so I figured maybe talking about it would help,” she ventured in one of the longest conversations she’d ever had with Giles.
After taking a sip of his own drink, Giles thoughtfully replied “And none of this has anything to do with the death of Robin?  I thought the two of you had…gotten close,” he added delicately.
Faith’s fingers tightened on her drink, and then she forced herself to relax.  “We had sex Giles,” she ground out.  “I only knew the guy for a week and a half.  I’m closer to you than I ever was to him, so no.  We didn’t get close.  Maybe we would have if he’d lived.  But he didn’t.  I was much closer to those girls than Robin.” 
“Alright, so what do you want to talk about?” he asked softly.  “I’ll be happy to drink as much of this as we can before the place closes, but I just don’t know what you want me to say,” Giles ventured.  “You’ve become quite the warrior since your return, but this is a side of you I’ve never seen.  How do you want to….remember the girls?” he questioned hesitantly.
Faith drew in a breath and let it out again.  Then she threw a small smile at Giles.  “I don’t really know.  Was hoping you could give me some tips since you’ve been round this block before.  This is all new to me and I don’t really know what I’m doing.  You’ve been in some of the same places I have, so I was hoping you could shed some light on this….whatever this is,” she finished.  Looking up at the Watcher with nothing but sincerity, she asked, ”How the hell do I get these girls out of my dreams?”
After sticking around for last call, the tipsy Slayer and Watcher slowly made their way back to the hotel.  Once there Faith followed Giles to his room, hesitating before leaving.  She thought of the baby Slayers she was currently rooming with and how they never stopped talking.  Then she said the first thing that came to her mind.  “Hey, G?  If you’ve got a second bed in there can I crash on it?  Those girls never shut up and I just want some quiet.  I’ll get out of here before anyone else sees.  Can I stay?”  she asked plaintively.
Giles took in a breath and opened the door wider.  “Of course.”

Around 10:00 that morning Giles awoke to a pounding on his door.  He also saw a note lying next to his head on the pillow.  “Just a moment,” he called out to whoever was pounding on his door (check out time was Noon so it was probably one of the girls.)  Opening the note he read:
Thanks for the drink last night, G.  I’m taking off for Cleveland, but I’ll call and give
you my contact info when I get there.  Can’t stand the baby Slayers’ spazzing
anymore and you know I do better on my own.  Please let B and the others know I
didn’t bail on them.  It’s kind of important that they don’t think I just went back to
the old ways.  And G, if you need me for anything just holler.  I’ve got your back
whenever you need it.  Later, and when you get settled have a drink and think of me.  Faith
With a sigh Giles lay back against his pillow and thought of all he and Faith had talked about.  It was with some surprise he realized he would miss the dark Slayer.  But he didn’t doubt she would stay in touch and if he had need of her there was no doubt she would answer his call.  Getting out of bed, Giles made his way over to the door to deal with the latest baby Slayer emergency.  It was ironic how much he and Faith were alike, now that he thought about it.  She with the hard exterior, but soft interior and he with the hard interior, but soft exterior.  Giles hoped it wouldn’t be months before he heard from Faith, but he had much to do in the meantime.  Folding up the letter she’d left him, he opened to door to another day.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book review: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien


3.5 stars for The Hobbit. I was a bit conflicted on how to rate this because so many people rave about it, but I didn't think it was a great as, say The Hero and the Crown. But I did like it overall, so I went with 3.5.

Things I didn't like so much: the lack of detail in the book. I've been thoroughly spoiled by Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies and I really loved all the extra stuff in the films. Also really hate that the dwarf lads died. (Despised is a better description. It bothered me so much that I'm writing a fanfiction where they don't.)

Things that were pretty awesome: the elves; Beorn; Gandalf; and the multitude of songs that J. R. R. Tolkien took the time to write.

It's definitely worth the time to read, but it left me wanting more.

Book review: Holidays are Hell (novella anthology)


3.5 star overall.  Did not read the Lynsay Sands novella, but the other three were well done. 

First off, The Kim Harrison short. I'd heard of this short from others who'd read the Rachel Morgan series, but this was my first chance to read it. It was really, really well done and made me want to go back and read the whole series again (starting from book 6, because NOBODY in their right mind wants to have to read through what happened to Kisten again.) When Pierce came into the series I had a gut reaction that he needed to be punched. Repeatedly. I'm interested to see if that's going to change since I read this version of Pierce from a younger Rachel point of view. We shall see.

Next was the Marjorie M. Liu short. I've read one of her books before and like her writing style well enough. This short was fun to read and it'd be great to read more about Six and Joseph in the series Liu writes. Really enjoyed the non-traditional vampires that Liu works with here and it would be very interesting to see the entire world again.

Lastly was the prequel for Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series. This was....a bit difficult because I have read ANY of the authors' books, so it was kind of like getting thrown into the Hobbit halfway through and just figuring the rest out. But. It was still a good read and I'm going to be getting more of the Zodiac books when the budget permits.

My very favorite part of this was the collection name: because holidays ARE hell.

Book review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


3.5 stars for Unearthly. 

What I liked: Clara, her family, her interactions with her peers, and the Angel mythology which permeates the book. 

Issues that made me not rate the book higher: Angel bloods are supposed to be extremely rare and yet there just HAPPEN to be two of them (besides Clara's family) in the town they move to for Clara's purpose? Yeah that didn't really work for me. Also, Angela makes me suspicious.

Would love to get more back story on Clara's mom & <3 the romance between Clara & Tucker.  Looking forward to the rest of the series.