, written for last year's Seasonal Spuffy. It's the Buffy&Spike(1) chapter of her Giles/Winged!Faith in Pylea series,
: the gang are on a mission in Pylea, and each Slayer's powers physically manifests itself as wings. Faith is freaked and then elated, Giles is aroused, Buffy's wigged and Spike is curious. (If you're wondering, watching AtS might be helpful but isn't necessary; I never have.)
: fantastical, sexy and a more than a little dark - befitting Buffy&Spike* and the story that inspired it, particularly the final line. But I also think it stands very well on it's own; where Brutti's fic was humorous with a touch of darkness, comlodge's banner is more atmospheric, and could well be the inspiration for an entirely new fic, perhaps a long-form epic adventure. Her use of stylized wings for Buffy, rather than realistic ones, heightens the sense of Winged!Slayers as mythological creatures.
Janice and I (we're "the other Janice" to one another) I got to talking about her banner and the story that inspired it afterwards, and I confessed to having a Winged!Buffy kink. Hence, the commission. *gulp*
I may be the only person in Buffyverse fandom who does, so far as I know, and it's entirely
Brutti's fault. Before I read "The One With Wings"
the idea of "Winged!Buffy" or winged anyone else had never occured to me. I have never been "into" angel imagery, or images of winged humans, "Winged!Spike" or "Winged!MaleCharacters From Fandoms I'm Not Familiar With" (and it's usually males who seem to get this treatment nowadays), angelic or otherwise. It just doesn't appeal to me. Neither does male nudity.(2)
I don't even think of Sarah-Michelle Gellar as "sexy" per se; rather that she's adorable in a "Gosh, Mom, she's sooooo cute and cuddly! Can we keep her? Can we? Please
?" sort of way. (Which could be perversely sexy...and I think I need to go scrub my brain before any "Puppy!Buffy" kinks take hold. Oops.)
But somewhere in the back of my head existed an image of Winged!Buffy sitting on a bed and curling her dove-like wings protectively around herself, whilst Spike regards her with a mixture of awe, amusement, arousal, and a fine appreciation for the irony. That image doesn't exist in the story itself; it's actually a combination of 1) Giles observing Winged!Faith in "Higher Than an Eagle"
: "Wrapping herself in Slayerness. How very metaphorical of her."
2) An advert
Sarah appeared in for Vaseline skin care products that I first saw thanks to a link
And then Janice took me completely by surprise by coming up with this
I've never had anyone make a Buffyverse artwork for me as a gift before, and this just stole my breath away. Literally. I just LOVE this so much. I went to work grinning like the world's happiest little clam for the entire day. It's lovelier than I could have ever imagined, the relatively "realistic" wings and floating feathers contrast nicely with the fantastic nature of the concept. She essentially "borrowed" my fantasy straight from my head and returned it to me vastly improved and more artistic.
And the "painterly" touches - virtual brushstrokes and textured canvas effects, the dots of color that remind me of an aging mural - make this all the more special and personal. Although she knows my partner is a painter & sculptor, I don't think I ever told her that I prefer "painterly" styles to hyperrealistic ones; that one of my great pleasures is going to a gallery or museum, or my partner's studio (formerly known as the living room) and seeing the evidence of the artist's hand in the work, the textures of paint overlaying and interacting with canvas or panel. She can't possibly have known all that and yet, improbably enough, it's all here in this image.
She gave me permission to play with my present if I wished, and I did sharpen it a little in Photobucket. I wanted to sharpen Sarah's face only, as blurred faces can be hard on my eyes, but leave the rest as-is. I couldn't find a tool to do that with, or that didn't sharpen the face but completely blur out the rest of it, including the artist's signature. But Janice approved the result, which is all that mattered; it's pretty hard to degrade the image entirely. In fact, this is the only photo I've ever tried out with every "effect" in the current Photobucket editing suite, about 30 or so, and it looked great in every variation: color, composition, light, and shadow all remained in perfect balance.
I also tried a thousand ways to Wednesday to make an icon of the entire image, again with Janice's approval, but the best result I came up with was with a cropped image of the face that, lightened, reminds me a little of Botticelli's Primavera
, or The Birth of Venus ,
one of my favorite paintings when I was a little girl.(3)
As far as I know this is the first image Janice has done in this fandom that is just of Buffy, by herself, so I appreciate it that much more. Most of her work is Spike- or William-centric, by himself or with Anne, Dru, Dawn, or Buffy. OT, she's someone with whom I can discuss "hot" issues re: Spike or Buffy&Spike, as two relative newcomers to the fandom, while still feeling that I'm "safe", in an atmosphere of civility and friendship, as well as passion. We have a basic shared understanding on the larger (real-life) issues that serves as a foundation for differences of opinion in the fine details. That's all the more very valuable for being so hard to find.
Artwork-wise, Janice been challenging herself to branch out a bit lately, as her skill and artistry continuallly improves. Her recent Buffy/Riley ITW banner "Not the Long Haul Guy"
is so gorgeous and melancholy that my heart softened a little for Riley and I almost forgot to be pissed off with him.(4)
This is the first Winged!Buffy image I've seen in this fandom, but even if there were a hundred others I don't think anyone could quite top this, or that would be closer to my (occasionally perverted little) heart. Not that I'd discourage anyone else from trying. In fact, I'd be more than happy to share my kink with like-minded fans. I still sort of suspect I might be alone with this one, but that's ok too.
(1) "Buffy&Spike" = my personal moniker for the 'ship. 'cause I loathe smushnames except "Bangel" and that whole relationship was about romantic illusions anyway; and the standard slashmark seems insufficient to me. These two are so many things to one another that it's almost impossible to wrap my hands or my head around it all, although it's certainly fun to try: enemies, wary allies, friends, lovers, mutual abusers, equally-matched warriors; Heros, companions, partners, a Queen and her Champion; the rose in one another's hands and the thorn in each other's side; the anti-romance that's so "effulgent" that it destroys Hell, which cannot bear the presence of Love and Hope. Occasionally, all of these at once. That makes me cry, laugh, cringe, scowl, and leaves me a gooey, puddly, inarticulate mess. Quite frequently, all of these at once.
(2) Or asparagus, for that matter. Now put that in your humidor and smoke it, Dr. Freud.
(3) To whom I owe sincere and grateful belated birthday greetings because she's one of my Heros in this fandom and, whoa, am I behind on that project. And properly embarrassed.
(4) True story: When I was about eight years old my brother, who was a year younger, colored over the image of The Birth of Venus and some other nude images in my art history book with orange colored pencil because he thought they needed to be clothed. I was furious with him for months afterward - so furious I broke the "don't tattle" rule and ran straight to Mom, breathing as much righteous, livid fire as an eight-year-old can. The fact that I wasn't fussed about the nude figures, especially of the Venus, should have been a big, neon red flag that I would grow up to become an art-loving lesbian whose life partner is an artist. Life is funny that way.
(5) "Almost" being the operative word here.