When I posted the dvd commentary meme, I thought arrogantly, "oh ho, no one would *think* to ask for Betrayer. Who would ask me to do commentary on a story over 160 pages long (in Word)?"
Thank you, jennem, you smashed my arrogance to pieces. So, as it'll take forever to do this as a whole, I'm doing it by chapter, hopefully every two days I'll have another comment-tastic section posted.
Well hey there, I guess I should do a quick intro to Betrayer. It's my longest work, so I decided to the commentary in parts. I'd never really written Wesley, this fic was pretty much at the end of my days writing only Buffy/Angel fic (and would pretty much signal my decreased involvement in the B/A side of fandom) and would lead me into writing other pairings. It was an immense project that took four months to complete. I should say that I wasn't writing every single day, a week could pass and all I'd do was futz with a word or two in a chapter draft. It was posted in chapters, as a WIP, which is something I haven't done since then. I wouldn't have finished it without the aid of my friends, particularly Jennem, Nariya, GatorJen, Dawny Diesel, Leelee, and Smurfy. If I'm forgetting anyone feel free to remind me, I'm very scatterbrained.
Okay, so here we go.
Author: Regala Electra
Pairings: Wesley/Lilah, Buffy/Angel, (minor: Fred/Gunn)
Summary: If you're going to hell anyway...might as well enjoy the ride.
Spoilers: BtVS S6 and AtS S3
Warnings: language, violence, sexual content
Author's Notes: Alternate storyline taking place after events in "Forgiving" and "Brave New World."
the title was pretty much a given after Forgiving. How could I not name a Wesley story Betrayer?
*Prologue - The Last Temptation*
The prologue's title is the only one that is not a line from Shakespeare's Halmet. It's also a blatant, shameless set up to the rest of the story.
The book lay on the ground, a fine sheen of dust collected on the cover. He hadn't moved it since he tossed it all those weeks ago. He hadn't moved anything.
I wanted to start up the fic with a random image, something that should be meaningless, but because it's *the* book, Dante's Inferno, it's cleary important. Watching Season Three, I was, well, not quite happy with the way things were turning out. I had found myself falling hard for Wesley, because I love the angst and dark character arcs. One spoiler which stuck with me was a picture, my above icon, of Wesley and Lilah. My reaction was pretty much 'oooh.' I shouldn't even be surprised that I then had to go and write a fic starring Wesley.
More clutter and shattered bottles dry of their liquor rested in his sink. Medicine mirror yanked apart, new regimen of meds staring back at him. Did not need to see his reflection. The image was not him anymore.
Someone more damned than he.
He walked away from the neat rows of half-filled bottles patiently waiting for him. He'd return eventually. He always would.
It wasn't his fault. Was his fault. He could never decide.
My writing style was still going through changes and this one is a bit sparse. It has a terse, really clear stop to the ideas, I wanted the story to be told chiefly in character POV, third person, but very close to the characters. I'm not quite sure I pulled it off.
He had heard about Connor's reappearance through Fred.
Fred. What a silly, hopeful girl.
Ya like Fred? Well, this upcoming bit of flashback-dialogue is prety much the end of her role in this fic.
"Hi Wesley," her nervous twang began, "I just wanted to...Connor's back! From Quath Tol! He's...older now. A teenager! I just wanted...needed...to let you know..."
Wesley remembered cutting her off at that point.
So what that Connor was returned safely to Angel? Why did it matter anymore?
"I think, perhaps, you should leave. Now."
It was still his fault.
Oooh...that right there is the Fall, my friends.
And he was sick of taking the blame for it.
He sent her packing with that cold comment, watched the hope die in her startled brown eyes.
No one else had contacted him after she left. Not even Wolfram and Hart.
The book still lay there.
ooh...suspense! Will a gust of wind open up the book? Who knows!
He was damned to Hell. Damned by a misguided attempt to save the one person that mattered most in his friend's life. By friends who shunned him - unless he could provide some help for the latest mess they'd find themselves in - without even wanting to ask why he had done it.
Ouch, my metaphor's a bit...heavy-handed here.
Of course, they'd only see themselves as selfless.
He scrubbed his face. The prickly beard remained. He hadn't bothered to care about it. Because he'd have to look at himself in the mirror. And the reminder - the memento - of all his troubles was still there. It would be there forever.
Okay, I love the scar. And the scruffiness.
Looking into the mirror's a big theme with me, it's cropped up in other fics as well. It's not to denote guilt or self-hatred, more of the character's crisis of self. When you look into the mirror, you understand what you are, and sometimes, it ain't pretty. Avoiding the mirror is sign that not only trouble's a-brewing, but also major conflicts are about to occur.
"I'll kill you! You hear me! I'll kill you!!! You took my son!"
Wesley had studied all about destiny and prophecies. He also remembered well the tales of Greek tragedy. People's attempts to defy prophecies only brought the pain more quickly in the end. The terrible fall from grace, yes, Wesley remembered those stories well. He just had never thought his story would be the same.
But his life had always followed the same pattern.
Wyndham-Pryce: the brilliant scholar. Through hard work, he made it through Council training despite his outright fear of monsters. Able to store vast amounts of knowledge in his head, he was regarded highly. But in the end, it was only useless.
He was fated to be a screw up.
Knowledge does not equal seeing.
I do like this bit, but I feel I could have worded it differently. It's a bit too obvious.
He thought he was doing a good job for once. Felt he had grown up in the past four years and managed to make something out of a child his father declared, often after a great deal of scotch, "worthless." And now, he was still nothing.
But he would always be needed. When the new crisis sprung up at A.I., some intermediary of Angel's would show up, sob story in full effect. Trying to tug at his heartstrings, voice filled with urgency. And because he was Wesley, he would help them.
Wesley always did the right thing. Always.
Not once would they bother to listen to his tale.
Maybe Lilah would slink back in, viper eyes challenging him to decide. Haughty tones and snotty words, the very presentation of simply knowing more than he, and perhaps this time, he would listen.
Woo! Lilah strides into the fic, and Wesley's hate, bitterness, and interest in her propels a lot of the action. Plus, I loved describing Lilah, she makes herself just such a noir figure of the sexy, evil screen siren who you know is gonna screw you in the end. I had also hoped that this would show that Wesley is projecting his need for temptation onto Lilah.
This is where all his work has led him.
The road to Hell.
Better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
I'm sorry. I know, I know, quoting Paradise Lost is a bad cliché. I can barely look at this line without wincing, my final paper in my Milton class was on Satan and Reason. Guess which lines I spent a lot of time deconstructing.
But it was not his choice anymore.
Either way, it was all for nothing.
He picked up the book. Reopened to the very first canto. He knew the words, knew how the story really ended. But it was not his tale. He had no guide to show him the way, to save his soul.
He walked his path alone.
Turned to the first blank page. And dialed the neatly printed number left just for him.
Obviously messing with AtS canon; Lilah had a card. But I think she'd totally have a back up plan.
"Lilah Morgan's office."
Difficult still for him to work his voice. Thick gravel grating as he said, "This is Wesley Wyndham-Pryce."
"Oh." Recognition of his name. He was expected. "Just a moment...sir."
It was added on grudgingly. Soon, it would be used with reverence.
Oooh. That ain't a good sign.
He'd make his own destiny.
aaaaand...end prologue. So, it's a really quiet scene, not much happens. Wesley remembers a clipped conversation with a ghost!Fred, he picks up a book (that is incomplete, The Inferno is only a part of the Divine Comedy), finds a number, and decides to actively 'make his own destiny.' I think the overt Hamlet overtones really started at that moment, where Hamlet tried to prove what he was doing is right, Wesley knows that he's wrong, that he's done a terrible thing, and he basically decides 'fuck them all.' I hope it would act as an exciting introduction, as well as introducing an element of freedom to the overall story. If we know that Wes is willing to do whatever it takes to get that 'reverence' then I hoped that the audience would be willing to follow him along on his journey, even when he does terrible, terrible things, all for the sake of breaking out of his set path.
I'll have my commentary for Part One up tomorrow hopefully.
This is Reg, saying, holy frell, Batman, this is one damn long fic to comment about.
edited because I was kicked offline before I could fix bold codes