Afterword for "Life is a Road ":
I was rereading this story recently to refresh my memory on details in preparation for writing the sequels, and I realized that I'd promised an after word several times in the author's notes and never delivered. Heh heh heh. Err... oopsie? ;)
Ah well. Better nate than lever. snicker So, here it is, belatedly. If afterwords aren't your thang, then move along, nuthin' to see here, and no hard feelings. As always, this is the spot where you're going to find all the odd stuff and little bits of trivia I didn't include at the front because it would ruin the story to give it away ahead of time, or because I didn't want to clutter up the narrative with Author's Notes any more than necessary. Feel free to ignore it if you're one of those people who don't like author's commentary. But, if you like the ocassional glimpses into the warped mind of the author, then this is the place. (And if you're just here from seeing this pop up on the Whut's New Page and don't care what the idjit behind the keyboard has to say about the story, feel free to page back and read the story while ignoring the postscript. I won't mind - honest.)
This was a surprisingly difficult story to write, considering how well it flowed. My usual style of writing is to have a beginning and an ending, plus a general outline of the story in mind, and once I have those: I write the ending and the first several chapters and fill in the middle.
Yes, I realize that may not be how other people do it. It usually works for me.
In this case, however, I wrote the first eight chapters and the three chapters of the ending in a rush of inspiration, then got partway through filling in the middle - and I realized that Chapters 4 through 10 no longer worked properly because my "minor characters" had taken on lives of their own and demanded a much larger part of the storyline than I'd planned. Oops. Hate it when that happens.
Well, actually, I don't. That usually tends to make for much more fully rounded characters and a more interesting set of dynamics, even if it does make my brain hurt. ;)
On the other hand... it does make for one hell of a lot of rewriting and staring at a blank WordPad muttering vile imprecations to myself as I try to make things flow properly and deal with all of the character dynamics.
This did start out as a more or less "straight" Faith/Supernatural crossover. Honest. Really. It did. And then Obie, Giambione, Hogan and the others grabbed a bigger part of the spotlight and Abby, Hannibal, Vince, and Blade decided they didn't want to be left out of the sequel to "Anything for Love" and, well... there ya go. So here we are, roughly thirty three chapters later - which is about twelve chapters more than I'd plannned on. And somewhere along the line, poor Sam and Dean became relegated to the roles of supporting cast in a Faith/Night Heat crossover...
Heh heh heh. Err... sorry, guys. I'd promise to make it up to you, but I'd be lying through my fangs. Oh well.
K.O. Ennyway... Assorted notes and explanations:
It has been noted in comments that the characters of Sam and Dean Winchester seem a bit OoC. There's a reason for that: I'm not a slave to canon, and I made them fit my fic, my story, and my worldline the way that they wrote themselves in my head, not the way they came across in Supernatural's first season, neccessarily. (Considering that, as I stated in the foreword, this is set between "Phantom Traveler" and "Bloody Mary" in Supernatural S1, then possibly, this adventure had something to do with their character's evolutions in the series. Or not. Wah.) This is the way that Sam and Dean are, character and personality-wise, in this Alternate Universe. Deal with it. Or don't.
Obviously, since this fic takes place in 2003, Supernatural's first season has been moved back several years to meet with the AtS time line. As noted in the foreword, Sam and Dean have remained the same ages: Sam is still 22 here, and Dean is still 26. (Going by Wikipedia's listing of their ages and moving their birthdates back to compensate.)
Other vampire breeds: If you've been following comment discussions at the TtH version, you've already gathered this. If not, then... the "Kindrel" in this series are NOT World of Darkness/Vampire the Masquerade "Kindred". Period, end of discussion, are not. While I borrow a bit from WoD for the inspiration and a few abilities, and a rough idea of vampire societies, that's about it: that and the name resemblance is as far as it goes. My "Kindrel" are an amalgamation of several different fictional and mythical vampire types blended together to create a "new" breed to fit my world line. ('New' in scare-quotes because no matter how you reblend the myths and source materials, if they're going to be recognizably European style vampires, they're always going to have certain similarities to other vampire types.) Please refer to Chapter 5: "Practical Like Stuff" for explanations of what the Kindrel are in this worldline, what their antecedents are, and where they come from. It really is explained in story context. Honest. And it really is "canon" for the purposes of this AU series: I'm planning to stick with the storyline context when I use the Childer of Lillith and Kane in the future.
Ditto for Elora. She is/was NOT an Underwold "Death Dealer" and this is not an Underworld crossover. Her self-claimed title is a surface resemblance only. I happened to like the combination of words. More will come out and be explained in story context during the series as time goes by. We are going to be exploring Elora's memories and Faith's efforts to integrate them as time goes by... and there's a wealth of history and background in there that may or may not be completely exposed within story context. (I gave up on even pretending to tell Faith what to do part way through "Anything for Love": she makes her own decisions and I just write about them.) At least some parts of that background and knowledge will come into play in future plotlines, and I wil be elaborating on Kindrel society and politics as time passes.
On the other hand, other than giving them a breed name, "Draaken", that fit their origins as Childer of Dagon/Children of Drake from Blade Trinity, I made only minor changes in the Blade vampires to make them fit the Buffyverse.
The "X-Files" exist in this AU, obviously, as you'll notice reading through. However, that particular FBI branch is named something different and it's always been Agent John Doggett and his dark-haired partner - Agent Monica Reyas - and one other red-haired woman agent (not Dana Scully and not shown in this episode). The "X-Files" here is a TV show and is fictional, and Scully and Mulder are TV characters. There were too many X-Files and "Mulder & Scully" jokes in the Buffyverse episodes for me to be comfortable doing it otherwise. But - life mirrors fiction and naturally Doggett's wierd little branch gets called the X-Files a lot after the show. If you want to assume that all of the Mulder and Scully episodes in our universe happened to Doggett and Co rather than Mulder and Scully, cool. If you want to assume they were all TV episodes and Doggett's cases and adventures were different ones, that's cool too. I'm not telling. Yet.
Yes, Wormhole X-Treme is a Sci-fi Channel television series in this universe, as is Special Unit 2. As for whether there's an SG-1 and a Stargate in Colorado Springs in this AU... I'm not telling. Yet.
Buffy Season 8 (The comics) never happened in this universe. Period. No Giant Dawn, no Nick Fury Xander, no new Initiative, and definately no Giles leaving Faith in poverty in Cleveland and coercing her to act as his assassin. My Giles may not be perfect - but he's not as... vile... as Whedon's "canon" version seems to be turning out. So, if you consider Buffy Season 8 to be Official Canon (I don't: IMO it's mediocre Authorized Fanfic written by Joss Whedon), then this is AU from Chosen on. Season 8 ala Ironbear, the way it should have been done were I the owner of the Bufffyverse, Blade, Night Heat, Supernatural and the other series. Done the Right Way. ;)
(Why yes, I am arrogant and secure in my ego. Why do you ask? g)
Some editing will be done as time goes by to fix the odd typo, punctuation, and speeling eeror that I caught belatedly once I saved this out to PDF and reread it carefully. I usually catch those in speelchucking, or my beta reader does, but hey - accidents happen.
Various Credit Where Credit is Due stuff:
1. Tail-kinker to Ennien -slash- Evan Wilson was drawn from Janet Kagan's delightful "Uhura's Song" Star Trek novel. Excellent read if you like Star Trek Origional Series fiction and can find a copy. She's good people, too. Buy her books. Gratuitious plug inserted free of charge by the Author.
(PS: I discovered recently while visiting her site that Janet Kagan has passed on. sigh Rest ye gentle, sleep ye sound: ye shall be missed.)
2. Vince Kroenen, Agent Hagerman, and Elora Ménard are my own original characters/creations. (It should go without saying that Giles, Vi, Angel, Charles Gunn,and the other Buffyverse characters mentioned belong to Joss Whedon.)
3. Song lyrics are credited at the bottoms of the chapters they're used in. To recap: "There goes another love song" is by The Oulaws, "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen, and "Allstar" is by Smashmouth.
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series dialogue quotes were drawn from the transcripts at , and the quotes in Chapter 26 are from: "Faith, Hope, and Trick", "Homecoming", "This Year's Girl", "Consequences", "Touched", "Five by Five", and "Salvage". Insights into Faith's mindset and thought processes during those episodes were drawn from Faith:
5. Listing of various Crossover characters: X-Files, Night Heat, Supernatural, Blade III, Uhura's Song, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series. Karl Kolchak from the new Night Stalker series at the very, very end. And there is at least an implication of Highlander Immortals and the Immortal Watcher's Council.
6. Timelines: AtS "Just Rewards" takes place during the first few chapters of Life is a Road. AtS "Unleashed" takes place around Chapter 12, Day 9 in this timeline. AtS "Hell Bound" takes place between Chapter 26 and Gunn's return from LA in Chapter 29, "Conversational Interludes 2.0". (Why yes, I am taking liberties with the Angel Season 5 episode dates as I noted I would be.) There's a hiatus between "Hell Bound" and the end of this fic where no other Angel episodes occur before New Year's. Episodes post-New Year's I shall fit in where I need them to fall.
Many thanks to my beta reader SamanthaDancer, and to NWHepcat and litmouse for some of the inspirations I've drawn upon in this fic. Noteably: litmouse inspired Faith's cigar habit, Angel giving Faith a motorcycle (Although I had him give her a custom BMW rather than a hog - I like BMW's better: they're better bikes), and the Xander "Clint" nickname reference. NWHepcat 's story "Four Questions" neatly dovetailed with my own thoughts on why Giles failed Faith so spectacularly as a watcher in Season 3, partly inspiring some of their conversation in Chapter 29. Also, many thanks to Kiwikatipo for letting me bang my head against theirs in email and in comments while I was struggling with the rewrites on the final chapters.
I am working on sequels, however I am making no promises as to when they'll be posted.