The Buffy of Ars Draconis is a lot smarter than the Buffy of Reconnection. I just realized this while writing her. The Reconnection-Buffy is more, er, an idiot savant? Which is exaggerating. She's sweet, and ditzy, and serious when she needs to be, and completely willing to do her job, but not entirely conscious of what makes her a sound tactical thinker. Whereas the ArsDraconis-Buffy is conscious of her skill acquisition and her training, an active participant in her Slayerness. And is a little less sweet.

AD-Buffy is aware that Giles is male, and attractive, but also aware that he's not for her. At least not that way. It's a Giles-Buffy partnership story. It's season 5; the relationships among the Scoobies are healthy, and the threat is external. But Giles' role among them is shifting because of the sword, especially his role with Buffy, and thus they must adjust. And then there's the mutter mutter issue, hinted at in part 2, which part 3 makes clear.

There are several editions of Giles co-existing in my head, some of them harder-edged than others. I've known this for a while. I was interested to note that my internal Buffy has begun to take on variations.

There are some similarities. I tend to class Buffy as a tactical thinker (assess a roomful of threats accurately; make judgments on the fly about immediate combat) and not as a strategic thinker (putting her in charge of larger battles or campaigns would be a mistake; that's what Watcher-training is for). Also that she has completely trustworthy instincts about who's evil and who's not. And that her #1 repeated mistake is going to be not trusting the people around her to help her, even when they've proven over and over that they can.

This is exactly the thing that fanfic gives you that standard writing does not. If I were to write a series of stories about an original character (which is, btw, exactly my goal in the next year), I would aim for consistency of character. Or a single growth arc, perhaps. I would not write variations on the character. Or write several takes on how the character would act in a fixed (canonical) situation. But we do this in fanfic, and enjoy it.
I've read both of these stories several times. I don't really think Buffy is stupid in Reconnection. I think she's sort of in shock. I don't think anybody would exactly be on top of their game after what she went through. I agree that she isn't much of a strategic thinker--she did better when she was younger, but the battles weren't as hard then either. People study this stuff for years, decades even, to be effective soldiers and leaders and Buffy, the ultimate Valley girl, is supposed to just somehow know this? Hmmm.
I'm not really sure that even in canon, Buffy is oblivious to Giles as an attractive male, though I think she does see him as not available to her in that role. My contention is that Joss simply doesn't know what women and girls find attractive because Giles has it in spades and they continuously underplay it on the show. If this were a real situation, that library would have been crammed with young women drooling over the gorgeous librarian. There wouldn't have been any training going on, that's for sure. Once he opened the Magic Box, women would have been falling over him and as for the singing at the Espresso Pump--huh. He'd have been beating women off with sticks. It's a deadly combination of good looks, kindness, intelligence, and, let's face it, the accent. Age wouldn't have entered into this equation at all.
My contention is that Joss simply doesn't know what women and girls find attractive because Giles has it in spades and they continuously underplay it on the show. If this were a real situation, that library would have been crammed with young women drooling over the gorgeous librarian...

Hear, hear! You've hit the nail on the head.
Yeah, I was definitely exaggerating there. "Unconscious" is a better word for her, and yes, it's definitely because of shock. Part of the fun of writing that story is the narrative voice: depicting Buffy slowly emerging from the cotton wool of depression and becoming aware of sensation & the world around her. The distinction between her indifference to Giles' plans for her in the opening section, and her active participation in discussing the Willow threat in the second part. And murfle mumble in the planning I'm doing for the third...
You know, I really find your thoughts on the whole process of fanfic writing fascinating, because I don't seem to ever get as deeply into my own head as you do into yours. I just kind of barf out words, and then I post them, whereas you seem to really think about and dissect the whole process and how and why you do things.

Maybe if I could teach myself to think like that I'd be as good at this whole business as you are. ^_^
here from metafandom... I totally have the same character multipersonality thing going on with Methos in Highlander. And I love nothing more than writing him a bit differently when the story calls for it. Great thing about Methos, he was often a bit different every time he was shown in canon, so it gives me wiggle room as a writer to explore these different personas.

fascinating topic, thanks for posting.
Hello to people from (eek!) metafandom! Nice to meet you. It's neat how fun it is to write variations on a character, isn't it? And sometimes you seek out a particular writer because "their Fred Flintstone" is so interesting. You know it's different from canon, but it's still somehow Fred. It's like there's a bunch of transparencies layered on top of the canon photograph, each a slightly varied illustration of the same character.
Also here from metafandom!

I'm a fandom gamer more than fanfic writer, and what I've discovered with being a big old geek is that there are more ways to see a canon character, more ways to *write them*, and have it be 'right' than I ever would have believed possible.

Tiny early differences can mean a world of change, and even without those the *motivations* you assign the character can hugely alter the characters actions and reactions, even paint them as an almost completely different person than if they'd been assigned a different set.

It's a lot of fun to play with, but I think in fanfic the reason we write it all over and over and over is nothing IS nailed down. It's a way we 'lay claim' to the canon characters and make them ours. It makes them accessible and human and fills in those details. Doing it over and over I think just comes down to answering the BIG fandom question: WHAT IF?