Chapter 17 – Turning Point (Changing the Rules)
“I am the one who sold his soul
Forever gone to be the last man standing”
- HammerFall – Last Man Standing
As the world came back to him the first thing that Rupert was aware of was a chill seeping into his bones. He thought he’d known what being cold meant, but the small part of his mind that was still aware knew that he had never felt cold that was this intense. Sweat ran freely down his forehead, and even the heat of that was enough to feel like it was burning his skin. It felt like he had been baptised in boiling water. He would have screamed, but it was beyond him. In the midst of the pain he forgot how to.
The concrete that had been smooth and cool under him just before dug into him like it was coated with sandpaper. Twisting and writhing he tried to pull away, but couldn’t find anything that gave him relief. His mouth was open wide in a silent scream and every breath that he drew was a struggle in itself, pulling burning, acrid air into his desperate lungs.
He wanted to retreat back into the darkness that had welcomed him before, but something stopped him, as the chill settled over him even more heavily. Sounds became as sharp and clear and brutal as nails being drawn down a blackboard.
Please he wanted to beg, but couldn’t form coherent words out loud. Even his mind struggled with the task. Please. Not that he knew what he would be begging for if he could have done so. Some form of relief, a release from this pain. He knew what the only release would be, he wasn’t that far gone. He just wished that he were.
Closing his eyes to the blinding moonlight he curled into a ball that was as tight as he could manage and tucked his arms against his ears trying to escape from the noise. Sweetness lay on his tongue and teeth; a sweetness that he knew instinctively was poison, a poison that he wanted more of. Poison would end this suffering and he didn’t care how.
Another wave of cold, tied into a fresh wave of agony rolled over him and this time he broke his silence, mouth opening in a thin screech as his muscles contracted uncontrollably and his back arched.
Then, blessedly, a single spot of coolness was moving towards him. Blinded and deafened, helpless as an infant, he reached out towards it and felt his entire body sag with relief as he was moved, lifted clear of the burning earth and held back against that coolness.
Agony still twined through him but at least there was some relief in being held. Shaking like a beaten dog, he clung to that single spot of coolness as he fought to draw breath into his lungs. He didn’t even know why he was fighting to live, aside from the fact that he couldn’t stop, no matter how much he wanted to.
“What the hell did you do to him?” Buffy launched herself towards Ethan, fists swinging as she watched Rupert’s expression contorting. He fought the air itself as Ethan moved towards him and crouched down to pick him up, drawing him into his chest. “What the hell did you do?”
Ethan ignored her, in favour of tightening his grasp and shifting Rupert into a more comfortable position against his body.
She swung at him. With a single hand, without letting go of Rupert, he caught her fist and tightened his grasp just to the point that told her exactly what he was capable of if he chose to do so. Then in one swift movement he yanked her forward, planted a hand against her shoulder and shoved her back with enough force that when she hit the wall near the door she saw stars.
Groaning she sat up and shook out her muscles in an attempt to shake the blow off.
“Shut up and help me. Open that fucking door for me, or clear off,” Ethan’s voice was low and he was obviously pissed off, “I need to concentrate.”
She only dared to take her eyes off the vampire and man for a heartbeat, as she opened the door and stood to the side so that he could go in first.
“Is there anything that I can do?” Willow asked, looking as anxious as Buffy had ever seen her.
“The last thing that he needs is an untrained sorceress around leaching off his magic while he’s like this,” Ethan’s reply was cold and unfeeling, as he climbed the steps to the front porch, without looking back, “the best thing that you can do is go. Buffy, come in.”
Buffy glanced at Willow, “You can ring my mom and tell her that I’m hanging out at yours, and I might spend the night. That would be good.”
“Sure. I can do that.”
Buffy followed the pair into the house and locked the door behind her, then headed for the sitting room. She crossed her arms and leaned against the wall. For a brief moment Ethan took his eyes off Rupert and glanced towards her.
She watched as his free hand moved through the air above Rupert’s body, dipping down to touch certain points, his forehead, over his heart and then over his lungs. Then he ran a light touch down his right side, and then he almost kneaded at the flesh over his heart for a moment, and touched his head again. All the time he was constantly muttering something in low, musical sounding notes, forehead wrinkled with concentration.
Eventually he spared another glance for Buffy, “You said to do something, and I did. I did what I had to, to save him.”
“You saved him, then why the hell is he like this?”
“The damage was extremely serious, Slayer. He lost a lot of blood very quickly, and using my blood was the only way to allow him any chance of survival.”
She frowned at that, and after a few more moments of the vampire muttering and touching other points of Rupert’s body, the inside of his thigh on the right, the left side of his neck and the skin over his heart, she spoke again.
“You’ve done that before, haven’t you? He never really talks about it, but you have, I‘ve picked up that much. So why the hell is this happening?”
He pressed his hand down, fully flat over Rupert’s heart, and she saw Rupert’s body shudder and jerk like it had been shocked.
“Because I’ve done this before. He already had quite a lot of it in his system. His body has adapted, and it is responding. This is what we call the turning point.”
Those two last words almost sounded like they deserved capital letters, “The turning point? What the hell is that?” she had a sneaking suspicion that she already knew what it was, but she still had to ask.
“Hs body has absorbed enough of my blood that it’s trying to push him over the line from human to vampire without me draining him. There is more of my blood in his system than his own, at the moment.”
He moved his hand from Rupert’s heart, to over his head and rested it there for a good few minutes. His concentration was painfully obvious on his face, and he was completely focused on what he was doing. Eventually he lowered his hand back to his heart and a couple of the wrinkles on his forehead smoothed out a little.
“If I can keep him alive for the night, then his own blood will wipe out some of mine and he will be past the danger point.”
“Why the hell would you care about doing that, when you’re demonic yourself?”
Buffy felt safe enough asking that question while Ethan was concentrating on what he was doing.
“Any other time I would let nature take its course. But I haven’t yet bound his soul, and I have my own reasons for wanting to do so.”
“You want to bind his soul then still turn him into what you are. Do you have any idea how much he hates the thought of that?”
“Far more than you do, Slayer. But the world doesn’t have a say in the matter and nor do you. If you try to do anything foolish, like kill him before he is turned, then I would see to it with my last breath that you were slaughtered. Even if you manage to kill me, then you seal the fate of the world yourself.”
Buffy didn’t reply.
“Make yourself useful and get me something to drink,” Ethan snapped, sounding distracted as he concentrated on his task again, “I can’t risk letting him go.”
The request was reasonable enough, but the unreasonable part of her mind was still determined to blame him for all of this.
“Where the hell do you get off ordering me what to do?”
She watched as a ripple passed through him and the skin on the hand that was supporting Rupert’s head yellowed. The nails lengthened to wickedly long, curved black talons like something that wouldn’t have been out of place on a wild animal. It was fitting really, because for all of his charm and that polished human act he was still just an animal.
As he lifted his head she felt her breath catch in her throat. He had morphed fully then, which she had gathered was a rare thing for him. Amber and black eyes, lit from within by a hint of wild red fire glared at her, and now that she was a lot closer than she had been last time she could see that the skin on his face had a yellow tinge to it, too, like aged paper. His brow, though, looked smoother than that of most other vampires she had seen, and when he spoke, or rather snarled it was in a guttural tone that wasn’t far off a growl and was distorted by one of the longest sets of fangs that she’d seen. It wasn’t just the fangs, either. All his teeth had changed, sharpening to wicked points that would clearly be able to do very real damage.
“You will do as I tell you, or you will get out. I don’t have the patience to argue with a child at the moment.”
She swallowed as she looked at him, and then shook her head to snap herself out of the state that she’d almost fallen into. She stood up and told herself to avoid looking him in the eye when he was like this.
“Um, don’t kill me for asking, but when you say something to drink… I know there’s only normal food in the fridge.”
“The basement. You want the first wine rack to the left. I keep some fifty-fifty mixes there for when I don’t feel like going out. Which isn’t often, granted, but it does happen.”
Rupert whimpered and twisted himself around, pressing further into Ethan’s chest, effectively ending the conversation.
“So cold…” she just heard him saying as she left the room. She didn’t catch Ethan’s answer as she looked at the doors. If this place was the same as hers then that meant that that was a closet, and that was a spare room, that was a dining room and this door here was the basement.
She opened the door and cool air rose to meet her as she found herself staring down a pitch-black set of stairs. Reaching for the light-switch to the side she flicked it and blinked as the basement was flooded with the harsh illumination of a single unshaded bulb. The light made the shadows in the corners appear to be a lot deeper than they should have seemed. She noted the three wine racks, and the tunnel access which obviously led underground. She wasn’t sure why she was surprised by that, but she was. She supposed that it made sense though, considering the speed and ease that Ethan seemed to move about with during the day, as well as at night.
There was no railing, and the staircase was cut stone. Cautiously she made her was down it, unsure about trusting that great big open gaping hole over the far side of the basement. She stopped beside the first wine rack and grabbed a bottle. Any old one would do she supposed. It wasn’t like the wine was untainted after all. With the thought of exactly what fifty-fifty was in this case, she pulled a face and wondered how the hell he’d got the blood bottled. Then she decided that she was probably better off not knowing.
With one last glance at the tunnel access, she mounted the stairs and headed back towards the living room, bottle in hand only to pause in the doorway.
Ethan had shifted back to his human face, sweat was already beginning to dampen his forehead and while that fierce concentration was still obvious, the hand that wasn’t moving around what she figured were vital spots was gently twining fingers through his hair with a tenderness that she would never have suspected him capable of. The way that Rupert steadfastly refused to talk about much of anything to do with his vampiric partner, and knowing what other vampires were capable of she had assumed that the relationship was something that was bloody and violent and that they would have been on completely uneven footing.
Yet here was evidence to the contrary. He wasn’t just keeping Rupert alive for the sake of his soul, or for the world, he was doing it for himself. Maybe the reason that Rupert never spoke about Ethan, then, was because it was too tender to find the right words for?
“I know you’re there.”
Ethan didn’t glance up and all of a sudden she felt like she had been caught out doing something that she shouldn’t be. Without a word she crossed the room and held out the bottle.
“Did you want me to open it?”
He took the bottle before she finished her sentence and holding the bottle by the neck drove his thumbnail into the cork and popped it out.
“Guess not then,” she said to herself, and then crossed back to the other side of the room. She sat down in the chair that was directly beside the door, just in time to pull a face and watch him tilt the bottle up to take several long swallows. When he lowered it again it was already half-empty.
Her expression of distaste furthered as Ethan grasped the sides of Rupert’s face with the hand that looked like it had been doing the vital work and squeezed at his cheeks gently, encouraging him to open his mouth. Slowly he tilted the bottle up, and Buffy swallowed against a touch of nausea as she saw Rupert’s throat working, swallowing down some of the foul mixture.
“Okay, full points for disgusting.”
“The alcohol in it will help encourage his body to relax which is something that he really does need, and the blood in it will do a little to placate mine. Believe me when I say I need all the tricks that I have, Slayer. This isn’t a process that was designed to be stopped once it starts.”
He let Rupert take another mouthful, and then lowered the bottle, glancing towards Buffy as he did so.
“Were you planning on spending the night, then?” he asked and although she couldn’t be certain she thought she saw something that was closely related to amusement there.
“Yeah, I think I was. No way am I going to leave him, not while he’s like this. I know there’s nothing that I can do, but I still have to be here. Just in case, you know?”
“Then you may want to consider grabbing yourself Rupert’s box of beer from out of the cupboard, or some food. It’s going to be a long night for you, and he certainly won’t need any of it tonight.”
She was surprised by the offer but she didn’t let it show. Instead with a nod she stood again, and slipped through to the kitchen. A little bit of poking around revealed a couple of twelve packs of some brand that she didn’t recognize, both unopened and in a cool, dark cupboard with grating on the bottom that looked as though it lead straight down into the basement.
Grabbing one of the boxes by the handle she turned and headed back out to the lounge and lowered herself into the same seat as last time. She opened the box and grabbed a bottle out before she settled back.
Frowning to herself, she turned it over in her hands looking at it. A sound drew her attention back over to the other side of the room, and seconds later a glint of silver was flying in her direction. Reaching up she snatched it out of the air automatically, and stared.
Right, it was keys. Keys, with a bottle opener attached. As she set the lid against the opener and flicked it off, she found herself smirking. How many people would agree that it wasn’t a good idea to drink with a vampire? Most would probably even be right. But Ethan had already proved that he could stop her whether she was sober or not, and almost with one hand tied behind his back. Hell, for that matter he could probably do it with magic if both hands were tied, too.
Somehow knowing that helped her to feel a lot safer around him. Eyeing the pair over the top of the bottle she took a small sip of her drink.
“Does it always hurt like that? Changing, I mean.” her voice sounded way too loud in the quiet room.
“No,” Ethan’s voice was low and strained as he replied, “it gets a lot worse. But it’s usually over a lot quicker, too,” he drew another draught from his bottle and tilted the last swallow up to Rupert’s lips, “His body is trying to die, Slayer. His heart is on the verge of stopping, still, and if that happens then the human blood that’s still in his veins is no longer travelling around his system keeping his body alive. It that happens then my blood can turn on his and alter the rest of it. That’s when the real pain starts. This is agony, because my blood is trying to chill his body and his own is trying to warm it and keeping it going, but believe me, it gets much, much worse.”
She took another mouthful of her own drink, “If your blood is trying to cool him down, then wouldn’t it be better to warm him up as much as you can, rather than holding him like you are?”
Ethan nodded towards the empty bottle, “Get us another one. In fact, while you’re down there you may as well grab a couple.”
She knew from before that there was no point in arguing with him, and if that horrid mixture was helping to keep Rupert alive, then she wasn’t going to waste time. Putting her bottle on the ground beside her seat she stood and headed back to the basement, realising as she opened the door to it that she’d left the light on last time.
That scuffling noise from the tunnel access that she was trying not to think about sounded too big to be a rat. Okay, so she doubted Ethan would have an unguarded entrance to the house, but she still didn’t like what she couldn’t see. She made her way down the stairs and grabbed the first two bottles that she reached, before leaving the basement as quickly as she could. This time she made a conscious choice to leave the light on, so that she could see exactly what she was dealing with.
Back in the lounge she set both bottles within easy grabbing distance and picked her one back up before she sat back down again. With one more swallow she finished it to the halfway mark and glanced towards Ethan who was already drinking deeply again. The strain in his expression was becoming more and more obvious, but when he spoke again he sounded a little better.
“At the moment any warmth at all is enough to feel like it’s burning his skin. If he were warmed before his body can handle it, then the pain would send him into shock and that alone would be enough to kill him. It’s a fine balance, and it’s hard enough to keep him from slipping into shock as it is. All that I’m doing right now is to keep his body going. That should give his blood some chance to repair some of the damage.”
One word there leapt out at Buffy and she frowned at it as she drained the rest of her bottle and uncapped a fresh one, before asking something that should have occurred to her a long time ago, in a tentative tone of voice.
“Damage, Ethan? Damage? Will he still be himself if he pulls through this?” Okay, so she knew that she sounded a little hysterical, but who the hell would blame her? If Rupert wasn’t going to be himself anyway, then she couldn’t see the point of putting him through this torture. If it had no point other than to keep his body alive then she didn’t think it was worth it.
His eyes flicked up, and Buffy could see an internal debate happening, “Given time to recover, then he should be fine. It will take a few days, maybe a couple of weeks for him to be entirely himself, but after that… After all, he hasn’t stopped breathing for any significant length of time, and his blood is too closely tied to mine for anything to properly cool down.”
“What do you mean any significant length of time? Are you saying that he’s actually stopped breathing?”
“His lungs were the first organ that my blood hit. It’s the same with anyone that hits the turning point. The lungs are shut down so that there’s no fresh oxygen getting in, and then it hits the heart to stop circulation. After that our blood attacks the human blood. The last thing to alter is the brain, and even then the body’s new master still gets all of the human’s thoughts and memories.”
The night slowly got later. Buffy watched, sipping at the beer and keeping Ethan in supply as bottle after bottle was used up. It was around one in the morning before Buffy spoke again, and by that time her backside was beginning to go numb and she was well aware of every single one of the lumps and dips of the chair that she was sitting on.
“Has this ever been done before?”
Ethan frowned, and he shifted Rupert a little in his arms.
“I’ve heard of it five times in all the time that I’ve been alive. It’s always parents keeping children alive, or lovers keeping their partners alive. The halfblooded has survived it three times, and two of those were parents keeping their children going. Only two of the casting sorcerers have on the other hand, one of each. The other three times the exertion has killed the caster. For a mage to wipe himself out magically isn’t a good thing.”
“In the cases when no-one has survived, then how do you know about them?”
“I know because the vampire that takes over is… different. Unable to separate natural impulse from human desire, they starve themselves to a point and then go mad with the hunger. If you know the signs then you can recognize it.”
“Enlighten me. How is that any different from the result of a normal demonic rampage?”
Ethan chuckled to himself, “A normal demonic rampage, as you coin it, is, for a vampire at least, purely to feed. No-one survives. Other desires may be indulged at a whim, but, normally it’s about sating the thirst. The thirst is like nothing you could ever imagine.”
“Yes, oh, as you put it. When those two halfblooded that didn’t survive gave in to their thirst there were people left half-drained and unconscious, and every single human urge that they still carried was indulged.”
It didn’t take much thought for Buffy to get exactly what that meant.
That also left her with another question, one that she wasn’t entirely sure that she wanted the answer to. But if she didn’t ask it, then she knew that it would have her tossing and turning at night.
“How is that any different from what you plan to do, anyway? I mean, binding his soul beforehand, leaving human impulse and desire behind.”
“It differs,” he broke off and concentrated on Rupert, talking again in one of those funky languages that she couldn’t recognize and then picked up exactly when he left off, “in the fact that binding his soul allows his human self total control over a body that’s altered by demonic blood. It’s not a half-dead human brain struggling for control with a demonic persona.”
“That makes sense.”
“Quiet, now,” Ethan said in that tone of voice which was half ordering and half snapping.
Looking at him she didn’t think that she had ever seen anything that was as pale as he was right then.
She closed her mouth, and watched as the hand that had still been moving around over Rupert’s body fell to the side as Ethan stopped moving entirely. The minutes drew out, stretching into one another, and it felt like an age before he spoke again, lifting the bottle of blood wine to his own lips and then Rupert’s again first.
“His heart is beating on its own again.”
“That’s a good thing, right?”
“Yes, but it means that this is also a critical time. His blood has fought mine back enough that it can flow on its own, but if his body cools down now then my blood will turn on his, and there won’t be any chance of stopping the change after that. His body is already exhausted and depleted.”
Standing, Ethan turned and rested him on the couch, taking a few steps back.
“Go and grab the feather quilt from the linen cupboard and put the kettle on while I get the fire going.”
She moved instantly, going out to fill the jug and set it on the element, before stopping at the cupboard on the way back into the lounge to grab the quilt. As fast as she was, he was faster. He’d already shoved the couch forward so that it was right in front of the fireplace, and set the fire so that it was ready to blaze. As she came back in he flicked a hand towards it.
“Incendium,” he said, and she was impressed by the way a healthy blaze sprung up in the hearth. He turned towards her, “Give me that blanket.”
She tossed it to him and he caught it and in one swift movement had it securely tucked around Rupert’s now shivering form.
“He needs body warmth, Slayer. Sit and hold him.”
She looked at Ethan and blinked, “Me?”
“Yes you, damn it. I fail to see another living body in the room.”
All of a sudden feeling pressured she circled around the couch, and making sure that he only touched the blanket, Ethan picked Rupert up. As she sat down he rested him in Buffy’s grasp. She could feel him shaking through the blanket, as she held him. Ethan rested the box of beer on the coffee table that he slid across to rest next to the couch, and placed the blood wine beside it.
“Make sure he still gets that at regular intervals.”
“Sure,” she fished out with one hand and grabbed the bottle that she’d already half drunk, finishing it off just before the jug began to whistle.
Ethan headed out of the room, and Buffy put the empty bottle down on the ground before she reached out and grabbed the wine bottle, taking a sniff at it out of curiosity. The smell of it turned her stomach, although she supposed that it would have been a different matter had she been carrying demonic blood too. The shivering of the man in her arms worsened, so Buffy raised the bottle to his lips. She was surprised by his speed as his hand flashed out towards it.
Ethan was there, grabbing it and pushing it back down before she could react.
“Instinct,” he offered by way of explanation, “he’s operating on pure instinct at the moment. He knows what makes him feel better, and he’s determined to get it. That is something that you’ll need to watch; because if he gets his hands on that bottle then he’ll drain the lot and it will make him sick, which is something else that his body will not be able to handle right now.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, thanks,” she nodded to him and her wariness must have been obvious in her voice, because for a moment Ethan actually looked sympathetic.
“I should have warned you.”
As Ethan spoke he let go of Rupert’s hand and grasped the wine bottle. He pulled it free and set it back on the coffee table. Then he turned and headed back to the kitchen to do whatever he had wanted the kettle boiled for. She held him a little tighter and shifted herself to expose him to the heat of the fire a little better. With a whimper that sounded no stronger that a child’s, he twisted himself around and buried his face against her body as well as he could with the blanket tight around him.
Raising a hand she drew her fingers through his sweat-soaked hair in the same way that Ethan had been doing earlier. Stroking his back she made a gentle shushing sound like her mother did whenever she used to have a fever or nightmares. Sometimes it was still something she missed.
She kept it up until she heard Ethan come back into the room, and she glanced up to see what he had been doing. He was carrying a pair of hot water bottles in one hand and a fresh bottle of the blood wine in the other. He was also walking slowly and he was shivering and pale, far more so than he had been even half an hour ago. He sat the wine bottle down beside the other one and then he circled around and tucked one of the hot water bottles into the blanket between Rupert’s chest and arm. The other was tucked into the blanket at his feet.
Then he grabbed the wine bottle that was three quarters empty and drained the rest of it before he shook his head.
As he put the empty bottle down she noticed how badly his hand was shaking, “That’s not going to work. It’s nowhere near enough to hold me, not now. I need to go out for a little while.”
“What?” she asked. She was unsure whether she had heard him correctly.
“Out. I need to go out, Slayer. I need to feed, and I need to do so now while I’m still in my right mind. Unless you wish to find a scene of utter devastation in your precious town in a couple of nights, that is. The thirst is a constant, yet the last time I felt it quite like this was during my first few years of being turned. It will only get stronger, too.”
“He…you’re…he’s like this, and you’re going out to feed?”
“You’ll be fine with him, now, and I won’t be long. Believe me when I say that keeping him alive means as much to me as it does you.”
In the end there wasn’t really anything that she could do.
“Fine, just… please make sure you’re quick about it.”
She looked away from him, and pretended that she had the power to dismiss him.
“As quick as I can be, Slayer.”
He was out the door before she could say another word. Instead she grumbled to the empty space where he had been, as she popped the cap from the fresh wine bottle and raised it to Rupert’s lips, keeping an eye on his hands as she did so, although he seemed more interested in hanging onto the hot water bottle right now.
“Slayer this, Slayer that. You could try calling me by my name for once, you know.”
It was far later than it usually was when he went out to hunt, but that didn’t matter. This wasn’t hunting for pleasure, it was a job that he had to do if he wanted to be able to function, and that ability was something that he knew he would need. He had lied outright when he had said he was sure Rupert would be the same after this, and he also had his own reason to lie about the number of times this had been attempted.
He didn’t know a single person that had been exactly the same after surviving something like this, and he had a feeling that the Slayer would have a different definition of what being fine would mean.
Thirst sharpened his senses. He could hear rats underground, and the heartbeats of birds roosting on the ledges of building. Every possible source of food almost seemed to be begging for him to just take it, but he needed something far bigger than a rat to slake him this time around.
In the end he found what he was looking for, a teenager lying comatose in the grass near the park, with empty cans littering the ground around her. He turned and bit her, making short work of her. There was no time or call for finesse, and while it didn’t satisfy him, at least it took the edge off the thirst so that he could function on a slightly more rational level again.
He would need to feed properly tomorrow night, but at least that would be enough to get him through until then.
Tomorrow night he would pick up that boy of Rupert’s, too. He would need contact with Rupert over the next couple of weeks while Rupert was recovering, if he didn’t want to become a part of Sunnydale’s smorgasbord.
He had a feeling that Rupert wouldn’t be too impressed if that happened, although he wouldn’t thank him for bringing the boy over, either. If he was going to be anything like those precious few others that survived the turning point and maintained humanity then he would be animalistic for the next couple of weeks.
Rupert would need human blood to build him back up, and he would act without being capable of thinking. It would be days before he was up and about but a couple of weeks before his mind began to come back.
Only then would he be able to see if any serious damage had been done.
Even if Rupert recovered completely, then he would still need to supplement his diet with blood on occasion. He was too close to the turning point to avoid it now. All that he could do by trying to avoid it would be to make himself very sick.
A few things were going to have to change.
End of Part Two
To Be Continued
Wordcount overall: 105,189
A.N. This thing was a lot more manageable, when I first started it. The original game plan was to do everything that I wanted over the course of Season 1. But then time ran out, and Buffy refused to die. So, back-up plan. Season 2, cover a little more back-story, and round everything off nicely. Should be possible to cover a whole Season in 100k words or so, right? Yeah, sure. (This is about 105k words without counting the song extracts, and chapter titles. Never broken 100k words, before so, yeee-ha!)
Anyway, basically, this thing has taken on a life of its own, and is well on the way to becoming a monster. I think I was lucky to get as far as Halloween territory, combined with my own take on ‘The Dark Age’. Apparently there’s a lot that I have to do to actually make this thing work realistically.
If I’d actually realised what I was getting into, I have no idea whether I would have started on this, or just kept playing with it in my head. Now, though, I’m both dedicated, and loving it.
Anyway, thanks for reading. Hope you've enjoyed it, and are looking forward to the next instalment.