This isn't really fic as much as jotted notes in the form of a plot summary for how I'd have written S9 with the same plot elements and themes we'd been given. I think, a long time ago, I'd wanted this to become a fic, but I guess I just can't be bothered to do it when the base plot isn't as strong as I'd like? If anything, I might take elements of it and write drabbles, all drawing from this rewrite instead of the original plot.
- The season begins with Buffy, same position as before, same what did I do? underlying the flashbacks to the party the night before. Buffy isn't one to immediately address all the events of last year, but we can definitely have a reference to the last time she'd [actually] had sex while under an influence she didn't choose.
- And hey, the following arc can totally be all about Severin, but with resonance. Here's a great place to start addressing Twilight and last year's mistakes~ Willow's there, frustrated with Buffy's denial. Buffy doesn't want to talk about it, and would rather run off slaying with Severin instead. Instead of the cutesy bit at the end of the first issue with the student loans, have her encounter Severin then, and have him earn her trust early on. We get the start of a friendship while the SFPD set their sights on Buffy, some early camaraderie, and while the suspicion of her friends is warranted, we can write it off to unconscious jealousy from them at this new Scooby. And when Severin betrays her, it's much more jarring than before.
- During this arc, we have Spike picking up Koh, but he needs some conflict of his own beyond just loving Buffy. Koh raises good points- what good is he doing here, how much of a purpose can one possibly have when his whole life's mission is just ~supporting Buffy~?
- And Xander and Dawn are having conflicts of their own- Xander is craving the good fight, even though he knows that he can't be a casualty again, and that coupled with his stress at losing Giles and his girlfriend's new situation re: The Seed (more on that later) that she doesn't seem to realize are all making him antsy and reckless. Dawn is constantly sick, and Xander gets angry with Buffy for putting even more stress on them this arc and with his own helplessness.
- "You are not the Slayer," the First Slayer tells Buffy, but what does that mean, when it isn't the buildup to an arc that winds up just being a brief fakeout? Buffy and Willow resolve some issues, and Buffy addresses some of the events of last year and her own guilt there. How can she be the slayer when she's made the tough decisions and they all seem to be wrong? The last page is Buffy getting a frantic phone call from Dawn, and when we see her in the last panel, she's staring at a pregnancy test.
- Dawn doesn't know if she wants to have this baby, when things are still so new with Xander and something's off about him lately, anyway. Buffy is supportive but quietly just as panicked, though she'll only admit to Spike that it's more about Dawnie hitting adulthood before her, she thinks. And she's feeling more and more directionless while Xander and Dawn argue back and forth about the baby. Xander wants to keep it, but Dawn's not ready for her life to change into something else when she's still so young. She's taking stock of where she's going, what she wants out of life, and Buffy's doing the same every time they talk back and forth about it.
- And maybe we can have Spike and Xander have a talk about his reluctance, and Spike finds out that it's more about Xander's worry for the way his memories of Dawn have been fading in and out and his suspicion that it has something to do with the Seed. This baby might ground Dawn, or give them both something more tangible to hold on to than a bunch of fictional memories, and Xander admits that it's more about that than about wanting a baby with Dawn so soon. Spike is unimpressed with the revelation that old memories of Dawn are vanishing- especially nearly all of his were made after S5 began.
- Throughout this arc (and the two before, to a lesser degree) we see Buffy's panic manifest in her own nausea. She forgets to eat often (though Spike is the only one worrying about her at this point), sometimes for days at a time, and her head's still aching from #1. Weird, right?
- The abortion goes off without a hitch, but Buffy and Spike are called away midway by Dowling, who's fighting zompires with his partner (Cheung, who survives this time because I HAVE PLANS) and completely outnumbered. They finish off most of them in the same way as the comics, but the extent of the Dowling-wants-Spuffy chat of the original comic is cut to Dowling just asking both of them about their history and it being awkward. No need to smack us over the face with the Spuffy, Spike is sticking around in this comic. Spike doesn't want Buffy to fight because she's been sick, she shows up anyway and he gets angry, they argue a little and it gets emotional and maybe Spike really does mention that he needs to get out, to feel like he's doing something important and that he's needed. Buffy shuts down at the demand and we still have that last bit of them staring at each other, distracted, until the zompire yanks off Buffy's arm and we see sparks.
- While Buffy and Spike confront Andrew, Dawn is recovering from her ordeal and making some decisions about her future. She has a bit job now while she finishes up college, but she wants to be out there fighting evil in her own way, too- and that, for her, means some real training as a watcher. Xander is distant now, trying to keep himself from being around his fading girlfriend by throwing himself into battle with Dowling and a wary Cheung, and he's reckless enough that Dowling gets himself killed. Bye, Dowling! Cheung is furious with him and Xander is furious with himself, and recriminations include him getting even more reckless and angry. Dawn moves out for now into Buffy's apartment, where Buffy is still absent and Anaheed and Tumble are p. good about it.
- Meanwhile, a much more minor arc is Buffy and Spike and Andrew attempting to retrieve Buffy's missing body so she can no longer be a ~robot~, but the body has gone rogue with Simone, who's been working with Severin. (We will eventually find, I think, that Simone and Severin both are pawns of Nash and Pearl or Eyghon or whatever's happening in AnF, but I'm not going to rewrite that last segment to include that because it hasn't been written yet. Just know that it's a plot element here to tie together our two stories at the end!) But if we're going to go with this robot story, I guess we have to
commit to it, and this arc ends with Simone and the Buffybot getting away, and Buffy vowing to retrieve her body. Lots of underlying tension about women's autonomy here, and reclaiming it in a way that the 'verse has never given us before, unfortunately. But this is the agenda of the season.trash it completely because it's ridiculous and not really all that relevant?? So it resolves, Buffy gets her body back, yadda yadda yadda.
- We end off with Spike and Buffy finishing their conversation, and Spike deciding that he's got to find something to do for himself. He promises he'll still be around if Buffy needs him or if there are any new leads on Simone, but he's going to be on his own now. Lots of subtext and understanding there that this is just as much about Spuffy as about Spike, but Buffy is unable to say the words to make him stay. She ends off the issue more alone than ever.
- Next arc is slightly different! Buffy slays and Dawn studies and Koh makes himself known as Buffy's new slaying buddy. She refuses to help him in his vengeance and he's unhappy about it, but he still grudgingly assists her at first. Meanwhile, Cheung is still encountering Xander picking fights with zompires on the street and is getting irritated with him. Minor plot point, though, Xander isn't taking center stage this time. At the end of the first issue, Buffy gets a call from Spike informing her that he might have information on what Simone's doing next.
- And since W&H's role in the TinCan arc was mostly fanservice, we've switched the villain! Severin's a trust fund kid, maybe this is his parents' company and now it's working to get rid of TinCan's intermediary so they can try and open a portal to a hell dimension. Buffy assumes it's for Severin to suck up more power, but we'll eventually find out that there are more nefarious purposes there.
- But anyway! Turns out Spike is working with Kennedy now, of all people, and Kennedy has Deepscan, an international security agency designed for slayers (mention that Satsu is involved in another branch, because major characters shouldn't be forgotten a season later~). Spike is helping with the training and Kennedy is grudgingly pleased with the situation, and Buffy is pretty impressed with the work they're doing. (Things are awkward with Spuffy still, of course.)
- So! The arc goes in pretty much the same direction from then on- this is Buffy and Kennedy and Koh coming up against Severin's company again, and it's complicated by the demon tech that's already brought forth some demons. Simone tries to win Koh over and Koh does nearly betray them for the knowledge of his captor, but they still win and save the day. After, Kennedy mentions that the SFPD has been in talks with them about having liaisons from her company working the streets of San Francisco, dealing with zompires, and offers Buffy a job with Deepscan, helping with the on-the-streets training of the slayers (we still have the last conversation with Kennedy and hear that she still respects Buffy, etc), and Buffy accepts- it's a job where she can still do good, and teach slayers again, and she's finally feeling like she's back on track.
- Next arc is short and Dawn-centric! While Buffy trains slayers to hunt zompires and deals with Cheung's distrust of slayers, a bullied-for-his-sexuality Billy starts taking action to slay vampires, too, in one of the less-patrolled areas of the city. He and Dawn meet and hit it off, and she takes on the role of his watcher. Ups and downs, of course, and both Dawn and Billy struggle with their own self-doubts of what purpose they're serving, playing at watcher and slayer. But they do okay!
- This arc we also see Xander still flirting with danger and getting in the way, and Cheung finally tries locking him up for a night. Dawn bails him out but tells him that he's got to get his act together.
- We start off the next arc with Buffy and Dawn and Xander and Spike (and Billy + roommates) all hanging out at Buffy's apartment, Buffy warming up to Spike again and Dawn and Xander maybe a little flirty again. Things are getting better, right! Then they get a call from Cheung that there's a vampire on the loose that even Kennedy's people couldn't stop, and Buffy, Billy, and Spike head off to help out. (Spike is dubious of Billy's skill, but Buffy insists that she has faith in Dawn's abilities.) They're doing well up until Buffy and Spike both disappear and Billy barely escapes with his life.
- Same plot with the council seeking to get rid of Severin, but with bonus Spike and with the revelation that Illyria was the one who'd imprisoned Koh all those years ago. Illyria is unfazed by Koh's attempts to kill her and informs him that he's going to have to fight Severin, and after she proves a whole lot more powerful than he, he's forced to glower lots but still work for the council. Buffy, Koh, and Spike fight Severin again with Illyria, but when Severin nearly drains Illyria of power, the council decides it isn't worth their fight and departs. Before they go, Illyria asks Buffy if she knows why Koh was imprisoned. Buffy doesn't.
- Meanwhile, Dawn rushes to the emergency room when she hears about Billy. Billy isn't hurt as badly as he thought but they're both not so sure that they're good at this, after all, and Xander comforts Dawn while they wait outside. They're maybe starting to reach a reconciliation when Dawn passes out unexpectedly, and the arc continues as such. Xander is frantic, Andrew isn't all that helpful, and they don't need Illyria to figure out why Dawn's consciousness is gone.
- At the same time, Billy hears about Dawn but knows she'd want him to put the zompire first before someone else dies, and it's very fortunate that Anaheed shows up when she does. Anaheed's a slayer, keeping an eye on Buffy, and she has worked with Kennedy in the past (and is still on good terms with her people). She recognizes the zompire as one of Simone's slayers.
- And here's where we stop for now! We know Willow comes back, we know that they'll all be headed to the Deeper Well, and I'd probably write it so Dawn is becoming the new Seed of the world, but Willow manages to save her by planting her new Seed there instead. Dawn is back, albeit with the powers of the Key awakened, and perhaps Illyria will be relevant again, coaching Dawn on how to use these powers. Xander's arc will come to a head quite nicely next issue after a gradual buildup to it (and Xander and Dawn will happily reunite after all this), and Buffy's arc will solidify as those last bits of last season return to bite her in the ass and she can retort that she's back to what she does best and in control of her life and still managing quite nicely. Angel and Faith will presumably make an appearance, Twilight will be discussed, Giles might be present? (i don't read anf i just count on liz to explain it to me) But the end result is that some of the bad guys are finished off, the good guys win, and it's a satisfying end to the season at last. Magic is back, there's still some serious doubt about Koh and probably someone else gets away (and who is good ol' Heinrich, anyway?), but loose ends are left for Season 10!
- ~the end~
comments. Comment at Dreamwidth or right here.