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Buffy/Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series)

*posting for moscow_watcher who is experiencing connection problems                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Spoilers: through the end of both shows

Thanks to my wonderful beta Tallgent and all the great people on Cold Dead Seed and Sparklies forums.

I love what you are, what you do, how you
try... I've seen your strength, and
your kindness, I've seen the best and
the worst of you and I understand
with perfect clarity exactly what you
are. You are a hell of a woman.
Spike to Buffy

Buffy and Spike. Warriors of light who constantly clash with their dark sides. A couple that elicits the strongest response (whether positive or negative) from different fan communities. Fascinating characters created by diabolically gifted Joss Whedon and played by talented and charismatic Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Marsters. My favorite pairing.

I'll try to give Buffy and Spike their due, although my words are pale reflections of the story I saw on screen. It's impossible to convey all the glorious complexities of the ship so unfathomable and controversial. A ship that starts with mutual hate then proceeds straight to the engagement (albeit magic), then - to hot, sparkling sex, friendship, and, eventually, love.

Are there words to describe the expression on Buffy's face when Spike tells her she's a hell of a woman? Or the way Spike looks at Buffy when he thinks she isn't paying attention? Or the way they instinctively protect each other when there are battles? Or the way they automatically fall into a habit of bantering as soon as they see each other?

Their story wasn’t planned by writers. It just happened. Like it happens in real life. Fortunately, the writers were clever enough to go along with the natural course of events and they adapted other story arcs around this powerful and unique love story. Their decision resulted in a fascinating and controversial ship where it's quasi-impossible to take one party's side. Both Buffy and Spike have flaws; both have been through the best and worst, both have seen the beauty and ugliness of their relationship. They're not perfect. They're real.

Buffy and Spike are characters of a fantasy show. Yet I don't know a fictitious couple that look so real in the way of partners interacting. Buffy and Spike can snark and fight - but true passion shines through their every move, word and glance.

Buffy and Spike are creations of contemporary television which is ruled by an ideology of optimism. Yet in Whedon's high-octane emulation of Greek theater Buffy and Spike are the ultimate tragic couple. They belong together but the very word "love" is forbidden between them.

Buffy and Spike don't delude themselves. Their love is impossible. The Powers That Be give them only a few brief happy hours together. But, no matter what happens after, these few moments will never fade away. Because real love defies chaos, challenges eternity... and goes on forever in fanfics.

Why do I ship Buffy and Spike? I'm trying to chase away schmalzy answers about the most beautiful and perfect couple... Here's my take on honest answer (and it's up to you to decide if I succeed). For me, Buffy and Spike are the boundless source of joy - joy of writing fanfics, joy of self-revelation, joy of finding deeper meaning in life. Not to mention a lot of great friends I've met online. I started shipping Spuffy - a magnificent love anthem about two people who overcame impossible odds and found true love in a world full of evil, hate, and misery - because they sublimate the most appealing aspect of love: its ability to make people better.

Of course, it all started with a girl. A perky Slayer who dusted vampires because her Watcher told her vampires are evil. Enter Spike: a soulless vampire, who loves his sire Drusilla so much that he'd do anything to be with her. He even teams up with a Slayer to save the world because of his love.

Early Buffy/Spike interactions in the second season are true comedic gems. They reinvent classic comedies with their "I hate you" - "I hate you more" jabs and innuendos. Hidden passion is oozing through every verbal and physical fight. When Buffy and Spike meet, they drive each other crazy - they just can't stop teasing and snarking.

Things change when both Buffy and Spike become a threat to The Initiative. They learn they have more in common than they thought. Both have independent minds and rebellious spirits that can't function within any rigid system.

Their relationship becomes more complicated when fate delivers terrible blows on Buffy's head, because in Spike's vocabulary "passion" always rhymes with "compassion". Once he enjoyed snarking at cute bubbly girl but now he feels inexorably attracted to a courageous little woman whose life falls to pieces. Spike tries to fight his love for the Slayer because it defies his vampiric worldview and destroys his inner Big Bad - but he's already beyond the point of no return.

This is the real beginning of Spuffy. My favorite episode of BtVS is Intervention, because it perfectly captures the spirit of the Buffy/Spike relationship. Buffy starts to discover her spiritual roots and finds out that the Slayer's greatest strength is love. "Love, give, forgive" - says the First Slayer during Buffy's quest. Spike discovers that his love for Buffy can suppress his inner monster and make him a real man.

And The Powers That Be discover a new couple in their universe.

I interpret - well,"fanwank" is a better word, but still... - the last scene in Spike's crypt as Spike's subconscious dialog with PTB. Buffy comes to Spike's crypt disguised as the Buffybot to find out if Spike betrayed her. She finds out that he didn't, despite torture, and kisses him as a reward. In the most touching and heartbreaking moment of the episode Spike explains to "Buffybot" - an artificial, soulless creature! - why she (no, not "she" - "it") shouldn't tell Glory about the Key. He says: 'Cause Buffy ... the other, not so pleasant Buffy ... anything happened to Dawn, it'd destroy her". He could have just told the robot to shut up. But he treats "Buffybot" as a person. He wants her to feel worthy - hence "the other, not so pleasant Buffy". His behavior is a secret challenge to those who treat him - a soulless creature - as nobody. His challenge (so fierce inside, so non-committal on the outside) doesn't go unnoticed. PTB take the challenge, evaluate it on their supreme balance, make a decision... and Spike gets the real Buffy's kiss.

This is a moment of truth when Buffy and Spike overthrow the laws of the Jossverse. But their love has to withstand many tests and trials.

Buffy dies and comes back again, torn from heaven by her friends. She loathes her existence, and Spike provides her with a channel to outpour her frustrations; he wants her to put everything on him. He is love's bitch, he wants to be Buffy's willing slave, her sexual pet, anything to make her life less miserable. He doesn't understand that by degrading him, Buffy degrades herself in the process. His love is unconditional, but he has no soul, no moral compass to guide him in his blind passion.

Spike ascends as high as a soulless demon could. Buffy falls as low as a soulful creature could. They connect on a path neither humans nor demons dare to tread. They cling to each other with desperate passion, two wanderers in a scorched emotional wasteland. Their attraction is primal and instinctive, they can't resist it, they are inexorably drawn to each other. They pour out their raw emotions in wild sex sessions but sex alone doesn't close the emotional gap between them.

Buffy tries to persuade herself that she doesn't feel anything for Spike. She can't love a soulless demon! She doesn't let him be her friend, doesn't allow him to be close to her emotionally. She repeats that he's just a sexual toy for her, a "thing" to enjoy. But does she believe it herself?

In a desperate attempt to connect to Buffy, Spike oversteps the boundaries. The only connection Buffy accepted so far was hot, sparkling sex. So Spike went along with her and eagerly played titillating mutually-abusive games where "no" often meant "yes". He loved to provide his Slayer with what she wanted and it ended in disaster: misinterpreting her signals, Spike tried to force himself on Buffy.

She is shocked. But he is shocked even more. He realizes, at last, that without a soul he can only temporarily tame his inner demon but can't overcome it completely. Without the soul he can't be the man Buffy deserves. She becomes his moral compass as he challenges his destiny again by winning a soul in a series of trials against almost impossible odds.

However the emotional rollercoaster of their relationship takes another, unexpected turn. Ironically, the soul Spike won becomes the biggest obstacle in their love. The soul tortures Spike and makes him believe that he'll never be worthy of the woman he loves. No matter what Buffy does - saving him from The First Evil, inviting him to live in her house, caring for him, asking him to hold her in his arms - Spike is convinced that she can't love him. He stays by her side because he wants to protect her, to help her, to die for her.

Gradually she starts to trust him. She sees the man in him. She tries to make him feel worthy. Despite everything bad that happened between them she accepts and defends him. She loves him but she's not ready to accept and reveal it. She's afraid to hurt him. Her feelings are almost tangible and everybody else notices them. Everybody but Spike.

The beauty of the Buffy and Spike relationship in the seventh season is defined by its spirituality. These "fools for love" are full of love and their love changes the world. Buffy's love and forgiveness help Spike to become a Champion. Spike's love and faith help Buffy to overcome her fears and insecurities. Takers become givers. Buffy's love gives Spike the ability to become a Champion. Spike's love gives Buffy the strength to share her power with other girls. Together Buffy and Spike are able to make the world a better place.

They save each other’s souls, but even Buffy's love can't save Spike's life. One of the show's most powerful metaphors is the scene of Spike's death when his soul becomes the substance that makes him a Champion and, at the same time, kills him. He dies fulfilled because his love for Buffy is pure and unselfish. He gave her back the ability to love and enjoy life, and, for him, it's the only thing that matters. "You must go on living... so one of us is living". He stopped her from becoming consumed by the fire in OMWF. He takes her place as the Chosen.

And Buffy accepts Spike's sacrifice because she knows that spiritually he'll always be with her. In her choices and in her decisions. In her newfound ability to feel compassion and joy. He'll be her guardian angel for the rest of her life. No matter where she is, what she does, how she feels - Spike will always watch her back with his trademark smirk.

Their story comes full circle - from mutual hate to all-consuming love.

Oh, that pesky question about a happy reunion. Do I need canonical confirmation of B\S4eva to validate the ship? At the risk of being torn to pieces I answer "no".

Do they deserve happiness?
Yes. God, yes.
But it's not about deserving.
It's about doing what heroes do. Sacrifice their love to save the world.

True romantic heroes never get what they deserve. Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Dr. Zhivago and Lara - all of them deserved happiness. But the most compelling love stories have always been tragic love stories. Because we live in a petty and regulated world and the best way to transcend the banality of everyday life is self-identification with tragic heroes. We root for them, we "die" with them and are "reborn" enriched by the experience. We feel more alive after this vicarious death, because we've been reminded about the grandeur and beauty of true love.

Love. Give. Forgive.

Besides, I'll always have Internet to do it my way.

Maybe it's a stance of a person who grew up in a totalitarian society and got used to put unofficial culture above the official one - but in my opinion, the importance of canon is highly exaggerated. They play in their sandbox, we play in our sandbox.

My inner cynic murmurs into my ear that there is no possibility of a future where Buffy and Spike can have peaceful lives because we live in a harsh, bleak, and cruel world.

My inner amateur writer confirms that Buffy and Spike couldn't function as a happy couple in a show where monsters are reflections of heroes' inner turmoil - because happy family life doesn't provide enough turmoil to create convincing monsters and compelling stories.

Yet the sappy romantic in me believes that Buffy and Spike reunited immediately after they slayed the dragon and won the battle against the W&H army of darkness. In my little private virtual universe Buffy and Spike are a happy couple. Of course, they have occasional fights but every fight ends with hot, hot sex for five hours straight. Of course, Spike can't stay out of trouble, but Buffy always helps him to sort out his problems, and then she tends to his wounds and accelerates his vampire healing with the oh-so-sweet nectar of Slayer blood. And she never misses the opportunity to punch him for his irresponsible behavior. You know, the foreplay is always titillating.

Believe me, they're very, very happy.

However, I know I'd never ship them with such passion if the show ended with Buffy and Spike's happy reunion. The catharsis of their fiery hand-clasp is my main driving force for reading and writing fics, discussing B/S with other fans and re-watching the old episodes. Spike will stay in Buffy's heart forever. Buffy will stay in Spike's heart forever. Both will stay in my heart forever.

Ask me again why I ship Buffy and Spike and I answer: To hell with objectivity! Because it's the most unforgettable, most heartbreaking, most fascinating love story I’ve ever seen. Long live Spuffy!
My favourite Spuffy forums

In Russian
Forum is dedicated to James Marsters, the majority of members are Spuffies. Great textual resource for those who doesn't speak English. Heh!

In English
Cold Dead Seed
Don't let the name mislead you - you'll find a bunch of highly eloquent and passionate shippers, many in-depth discussions and a lot of mordant humor there.

With many insightful posts on All. Things. Spike. this forum is quintessence of wickedly sophisticated wit and all-encompassing erudition.

My favourite fanfiction sites
Disclaimer: Spuffyland is boundless and I've read less than 1% of Spuffy stories you can find online. This is highly subjective survey of a person who has quite conservative literary tastes and who started reading fics less that 2 years ago. I apologize to the authors I didn't mention and invite everybody to contribute links to other great sites and stories about Buffy and Spike.

in Russian (just in case)


In English

General sites

The biggest compendium of fanfics on the Net. Choose "Buffy" and "Spike" in "search by characters" and you'll find over 2500 entries. Some great Spuffy writers (terri botta, mahaliem) posted all their stories there.

For smut lovers. Over 350 entries. I'm not into smut, all I can say - proceed with caution... although Kelso's PuppetSpike is a gem.

Spike and Spuffy fanfiction sites

Over 1700 stories with random favorites by editorial stuff - a very clever decision that helps to rediscover gems written during early seasons.

Stories - 1830. Authors - 221. Plus: 116 links, 19 writers' resources.

Stories - 1233. Authors - 335. Beautiful fanart.

The highest overall quality of writing. Pairings - Spike\other, Spuffy including. With the help of search engine I counted about 500 Spuffy stories.

Stories: 424. Authors: 324. Good search engine.

Great archive of stories written by BAPS members. (BAPS - Bloody Awful Poet Society Yahoo community)

An archive with redemptionista angle. 300 stories, 182 authors.

The Crypt is formally devoted to All. Things. BtVS. but most of the stories feature Spike and Spuffy. All the annotated links to stories by 185 authors are placed on the home page.

Great archive of classic Spuffy stories with links to other sites.

À page of Crumbling Walls forum with links to the most compelling and beautiful Spuffy stories.

Single author\small community sites

Cousinjean. Nuff' said.

"Writing William" is a site dedicated to Spike's human half and his relationship with Buffy.

Ariane's works are full of paradoxes and unusual plot developments.

Kantayra is one of the most insightful Spuffy writers. She masterly reinvents Spuffy without deviating from canon.

Dutchbuffy's unique style is defined by seamless blending of comedy and tragedy, original ideas and true-to-canon characterisations.

Wisteria aka Alanna writes Spuffy, Spangel and Spander. In her latest work Correspondents she follows Buffy and Spike journeys during the last year of Jossverse.

Eurydice's ability to see unusual and unexpectable angles of Spuffy is amazing.

Herself is one of rare authîrs who write great stuff in every genre.

Annie Sewell-Jennings is one of the most emotional and heart-wrenching Spuffy authors, although her fluff is also great.

Veteran fic writer Sabershadowkat was one of the first Spuffy authors translated into Russian. Her stories are prophetic in many ways.

Kallysten's forte is consistently revisionistic approach - she rewrites whole seasons by adding single new element and exploring the consequences.

Pepperlandgirl's imagination is powertul and plotting is very inventive while characters are close to canonical.

Ravens in the Foregate is Evenstar Estel's site - great Spuffy auteur who writes and paints.

Barb Cummings writes inventive stories with great style.

Nautibiz writes different pairings, but her B\S stories are the best.

My (highly subjective and biaised) favourite 25 Spuffy fics in random order. Please bear in mind that I've got acquainted with only a tiny portion of online Spuffy legacy

1. The Butterfly Effect by Cousinjean. http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=cousinjean&keyword=The+Butterfly+Effect&filter=all Post-Chosen. Buffy is sent back in 1997 to retrieve a valuable item stolen by time-travelling demon; she recruits Evil!Spike to help her. Ultimate agnst - beautiful and pure.
2. Her Sire by Kallysten http://www.geocities.com/kallysten_fr/sire1.html Early season 6. Buffy is mortally ill and Spike sires her to save from fading away.
3. Rising from Our Dust by Mahaliem http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=934030 Virtual season 7 in script form with great characterizations of all the Scoobies, intricate season arc and lots of great Spuffy scenes.
4. Love is Blind by Avalon. http://www3.telus.net/avalon_online/btvs/btvs.html Early season 5. Buffy is blinded by a demon and Spike takes the Trial to restore her eyesight
5. Worth a Thousand Words... by Kantayra. http://www.angelfire.com/me4/kantayra/1000words/1000words1.html Post-Grave. Buffy finds Trio's surveillance tapes and gets a chance to revisit and rethink her relationship with Spike.
6. Here Is Gone by Terri Botta. http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=936018 Post-Grave. Souled Spike is sent back to season 5 to fix everything he screwed up before.
7. Spike and Buffy, Lost in Cyber-Space by Anne Rose http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=744270&chapter=1 Middle of season 6. A miracle connects Whedonverse with RLverse - so Buffy and Spike get a chance to read online discussions by BtVS fans ...
8. Perfect World by Cousinjean http://www.allaboutspike.com/fic.html?id=96 Post-Grave. Souled Spike finds himself in a world where Adam rules and Buffy is imprisoned and chipped.
9. All Too Human by Margot le Faye. http://pages.prodigy.net/leighschneider/ath_1.htm Post-TDA. A very brave attempt to explore the scales of Spike's personality and his love for Buffy. Written before canonical Spuffy.
10. Confessions in the Rain by Tallgent http://www.spuffyonline.com/bscentral/viewstory.php?sid=2369 Post NFA. Buffy and Spike meet in the final battle...
11. 19 hours by Annie Sewell-Jennings http://anniesj.net/fanfic/nineteen/index.htm Post-Chosen. When the screen faded to black and the show ended, Buffy turned away from crater and saw Spike. Human. And NAKED. Charming fluff describes the events of the next 19 hours.
12. To Dream Again by Ariane http://www.geocities.com/ariane_five/DreamAgain1.html AU from season 3. Buffy wishes Spike were human and he turns into William. Giles sends him back in 1880, where he intentionally becomes a vampire to meet Buffy again. And that's just a beginning...
13. Spike's Soul by Pepperlandgirl http://www.pepperverse.net/fiction/spikesoul1.htm Post-Grave. Buffy finds out that Spike has got a soul and that shanshu prophecy may be about him, not Angel.
14. Spiritgasms by Pattyanne. http://www.the-sandlot.com/fic.php?mode=fic&fic_id=1217 Post-Chosen. Spike is sent back to Buffy as invisible ghost. He is so desperate to touch her that reality bends to his desire. Magnificent fluff with highly unconventional erotic scenes.
15. Actions Past by Dutchbuffy2305 http://home.planet.nl/~balde096/actions_past.htm Buffy-1997 and Buffy-2003 trade places...
16. Gentle by OneTwoMany (Sabre) http://www.allaboutspike.com/print.html?id=521  During Chosen. Missing scene in the basement.
17. Seven Year Slayer by Dutchbuffy2305 http://home.planet.nl/~balde096/seven_year_slayer.htm Early season 7. Buffy finds the prophecy about a slayer who acquires extra powers when paired with a vampire.
18. All Over It by NautiBitz http://www.nautibitz.com/fic/alloverit01.html Early season 3. An apocalypse could be prevented only by Buffy's having sex with a vampire. Angel's curse makes him ineligible. Enter Spike...
19.When In Rome by Helga Von Nutwimple http://www.spuffyonline.com/bscentral/viewstory.php?sid=1871&PHPSESSID=5e1a1d48ea763d53f433eae7048d5c09 Post-Angel finale. A spell makes Willow re-live Spike's emotions; she shares them with Buffy. WIP
20. Just Another Saturday Night in Sunnydale by Poshcat http://www.allaboutspike.com/print.html?id=942 Middle of season 6. To recover a priceless book Buffy goes to a vampire convention undercover, as Spike's vampire date. Post-modernist spoof on fan conventions morals and manners.
21. Remembrance by Cindy http://www.allaboutspike.com/fic.html?id=524 Post-Chosen. Buffy and Drusilla meet and talk about Spike.
22. Daylight by Evenstar http://mypage.uniserve.ca/~sithean/daylight.htm Early season 6. Spike becomes human for a day. Has he enough time to convinve Buffy that he loves her?
23. Parts of Me by Ozfan http://www.allaboutspike.com/fic.html?id=514 Post-Chosen. Buffy writes a diary recalling her relationship with Spike.
24. Disenchantment by Herself http://www.allaboutspike.com/fic.html?id=553 Ten years after Chosen. Buffy finds Human!Spike on a remote island soewhere in the Pacific. He doesn't remember his previous life, but his body remembers her...
25. Aftermath by LC Fenster http://bloodyawfulpoet.com/fanfiction/aftermath.html Post-Chosen. Buffy tells her friends about her relationship with Spike. Does she deserve the second chance?

P.S. Many fans may disagree with my views. Some fans regard the lack of happy ending as cowardice of the writer who use character death as vicarious suicide; others are convinced that Buffy and Spike never loved each other. I'm open to discussion. You're welcome to polemize.


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Thanks, Sprencious, you saved my ass!
Because of problems in Russian online service I still can't post big texts in LJ but if this comment appears it means that I can, at least, make short posts.
because they sublimate the most appealing aspect of love: its ability to make people better.

That's it! That's it!

Thanks for an essay that so eloquently puts the whole thing into words.
I'm glad you liked it. This is my first attempt to write an essay in English.
awwww...Moscow, great essay. I love it!!
Thanks! I still can't believe I managed to write in foreign language about such complex and controversial subject and get away with it.
Fantastic essay! You really conveyed their story well.

Their story wasn’t planned by writers. It just happened. Like it happens in real life... They're not perfect. They're real.

Exactlty. It was transcendent in many ways - that their relationship made them both better people and broke free of their roles as Slayer and Vampire, but also because it seemed to form without writerly intent: because it was real, and because it was right for who those characters were.

One of the best examples of that transcendental nature of their relationship has to be their linked hands in Chosen. They have the fire that Buffy was looking for, but they aren't burning as Buffy suggested was inevitable (and bad) in Seeing Red (i think).

Thanks for writing this :)
They have the fire that Buffy was looking for, but they aren't burning as Buffy suggested was inevitable

You've nailed it! It's the Fire of Creation, not the Fire of Destruction, that ultimately defines them! That's why I love this couple so much.
Hmmmm....this was a well-written essay, however, as someone who has never been fond of the Buffy/Spike pairing, I'm inclined to disagree with some of your viewpoints. Though some of my criticisms with this are essays unto themselves (which is the major reason I will not post them here) I will say that I enjoyed some of the more descriptive elements of this essay. :) Nice job.
Thank you. I'll be looking forward to your essays and I hope we'll have great discussions. There is something fascinating about this couple, isn't it? Something that makes people go on arguing about them again and again, digging deeper and deeper, finding new details and meanings.


Шикарное эссе:)) Полностью согласна со всем сказанным, впрочем, ты это итак знаешь:)) Эх, хорошая вещь, пойду перечитаю:))

Спасибо, Геро! Мне до сих пор не верится, что у меня хватило наглости писать по-английски в компании таких тяжеловесов (ты же видела имена участников проекта). Собственно говоря, вначале мне просто хотелось поделиться с другими моей любовью к фикам, а в результате получилось это...
Great essay! Spike and Buffy are my favorite couple ever, for all the reasons you stated and more.
Thanks, I'm glad you like it.


Зато КАК получилось!!!:) Сейчас в библиографию диплома тебя запишу, так и знай:)))

Геронеечка, ты меня аж засмущала! Спасибо.
I love Buffy. I love Spike. I am in love with this.

Thank you. I love Illyria and I love your avatar :)
Thank you, that was a brilliant look at them! And I'm friending you, hope that's okay :)
Naomi, I'm proud to call you a friend! I'm just starting to appreciate the pleasures of having an LJ and online friendship is one of them.

Your amazing archive.

Hey, Moscow, it's Gottarhyme from CDS. This is spectacular. I loved your essay, and I love your list of the myriad sites I must now visit. I have always respected your opinions regarding fic, and I am chuffed byond words that you have made this listing. BRAVO, and thankyou.

Re: Your amazing archive.

Gottarhyme, I'm glad you like the essay and I'm even more glad that you find my fic recommendations useful. Two years ago I started collecting links and fics just for my pleasure. A year ago I started giving recommendations - first on Russian sites then on English-language sites. I never thought I'd get the chance to share them as part of an essay - hence, my attempts to systematize are not very satisfying. And I'll always know that I omitted zillion times more great fics than I mentioned. Just an hour ago I've read magnificent new fic The Seat Next to Her


and can't help but mention it here too. (I know I'm obsessed, he-he)

I will be happy if you and other posters will fill the lacunas and bring links to other great B/S stories.
Moscow watcher,

So proud of you for getting this essay up here. You articulate your passion and gratitude for Buffy/Spike so freakin' well it's amazing. With the soul and heart of a poet and the meticulous analysis of a scholar. It's a powerful combination and it is on fine display here. I feel privileged to have helped you with this and look forward to more collaborations and mutual guidance in the future.

And as for Buffy/Spike what the hell can one say? Steve Miller said it best: "You got to go through hell before you get to heaven." Love isn't easy. If it was everyone would feel it more, show it more. But I doubt they'd appreciate it. And it may have started from an ugly place. But there's more strength in elevation to a blissful plane than encountering the bliss at the first. They brought out the best the worst, everything in each other. And their love not only became more real. But they as individuals became more real. Became whole. Two wretched souls healed and saved by loving grace. As Bono said: "Grace finds beauty in ugly things."

Tallgent - it was you who inspired me to write this essay. Your posts on Sparklies and Cold Dead Seed encouraged me to rewatch old BtVS episodes and I realised that now I see them differently. After that discovery I found the courage to rewatch the most painful episodes of season 6 and, finally, embraced Spuffy in all its blazing glory. I'm endlessly grateful for beta-ing the text (I'd never dare to post it without your proof-reading) and - even more important! - for giving me inspiration.

"You got to go through hell before you get to heaven."
So true.


Moscow Watcher, I always enjoy your essays on Spike and Buffy's relationship. I'm from CDS and Sparklies. Their relationship was based in reality where things don't go perfect. Yes this pairing did not start because of the writers. The writers saw something and went with it. That is what Joss and his writers do best. Thank you for sharing this essay.

Re: Beautiful!

Hi, VS, nice to meet you on this thread! I'm glad you like the essay. I think that Whedon's forte is his ability to adapt characters to the actors' parameters.
That's why ships that weren't planned in advance (Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Spike) became great stories and gave us magnificent and powerful character studies, while pre-planned ships (Buffy/Riley, Willow/Kennedy) never achieved their level.
At the risk of being in the minority here, I wildly disagree and, in my opinion, the Buffy/Spike 'ship does not deserve this kind of romanticizing.
Don't get me wrong, I am, in fact, a Buffy/Spike shipper. But, well, I officially disown the 'ship once Spike gets his soul.
I realise it might not be proper, or in the community's rules or idea to do something like this, but I feel like I have to put forward a stance that noone ever seems to consider with these two.

Spike 'winning back' his soul was the vilest, most reprehensible, depraved act the Vampire ever commited.
Over the course of his unlife, he slaughtered, he killed, he fed, he rampaged, but, with those victims, he gave them the mercy of death.
When he won his soul, it was a selfish, thoughtless act.
I think it's safe to assume that, when vampires are turned in Whedonverse, the human that they were dies and their soul passes on, there's an incredible amount of canonical evidence supporting this (e.g. the continual references to 'them not being the person you knew' whenever someone's confronted with a turned loved one, the fact that Angel's soul has to be 'conjured from the ether'). So, when a person is turned into a vampire, a demon takes up residence in their body and their soul passes on to whatever the afterlife has in store for them.
As such, just like Liam and Angelus were two completely different entities, so were William and Spike.
So, when Angelus and Spike were 'born' Liam and William passed on into the afterlife. From what we saw of Liam, it's debatable as to where exactly he would end up in the afterlife but, for William, signs seemed to point to him ascending to better places.
When Spike won his soul back, he, effectively, removed William from the afterlife and forced him back into his old body, so that Spike could pursue his 'love'. Because of this, William was forced into a body with a demon, he suffered guilt, he went nearly insane, killed innocents and, eventually, died once again for what Spike wanted, for what was driving Spike.
So, in winning his soul, Spike robbed William of the afterlife and whatever rest or peace that promised him, and he did that without thinking or considering that. In essence, it's the greatest crime the vampire ever commited and that's something everyone always seems to overlook.
i think you're missing two very important points:

1) spike never intended to "win back" his soul. before he left town in 'seeing red', he quite clearly told clem that it was the chip that was the problem. however, he asked the demon in the cave to "make him like he was before". it was the demon who tricked him by giving him back his soul. (though, arguably, there was never a time in the past where he was an ensouled vampire.)

2) spike was wracked with guilt in season 7 for the things he did, yes. but nearly going insane and killing innocents had nothing to do with that. these were the first manipulating him, because he was a (somewhat) trusted member of the scoobies that still had the capacity for evil.

as to your notion of liam/angelus, spike/william, it's been mentioned numerous times in the show that angel and angelus occupy the same body - the first episode i can recall off the top of my head that blatantly states this is angel 'orpheus'. angelus is suppressed, but still there. because though he has a soul, he's still a vampire; a demon. though, jossverse canon has been kind of sketchy on these details, and the circumstances surrounding angel and spike's ensoulments are wildly different.
Interesting speculation. That's why I find Whedonverse so fascinating - its stories and heroes encourage us to argue endlessly. This alone is a sure sigh ot great art.

I never thought about Spike/William's journey this way. I perceived the concept of soul as beautiful metaphor and storytelling device. Before Whedon nobody delved into the intricacies of soul in a vampire's body - so he had been a trail-blazer.

I'll try to answer using your premise
You wrote
in winning his soul, Spike robbed William of the afterlife and whatever rest or peace that promised him

Do you mean by "robbing" that Spike/William's soul will go to hell after his death? Because I don't think so. After regaining his soul he was a good man, he fighted on the side of good, he helped to prevent the Apocalypse - obviously his soul deserves being in Heaven.

Or maybe by "robbing" you mean that he forced the soul to suffer again during his un-life experience - torture of the First, pain of seeing Buffy kissing Angel etc.? In that case you imply that "a soul" has a different personality separated from the person who has it. To put it simply - here's Spike, here's his soul, he grabbed his soul and started torturing it.

I don't see it this way. I see a soulful person as a single whole. It was Spike's choice to become a man with a soul to be worthy of the woman he loves. Supposing that William has a separate personality - I think that William (hopeless romantic and love's bitch) would be proud of Spike.

Anyway, thanks for giving a different perspective. It's always interesting to polemize with fellow fans.
Or maybe by "robbing" you mean that he forced the soul to suffer again during his un-life experience - torture of the First, pain of seeing Buffy kissing Angel etc.? In that case you imply that "a soul" has a different personality separated from the person who has it. To put it simply - here's Spike, here's his soul, he grabbed his soul and started torturing it.

That would be what I meant, yes. And, to be fair, yes a soulful person is a single whole. But vampires are not soulful people. Pre-Season 7, Spike was not a soulful person, he was a soulless vampire. Much like Angel and Angelus are different entities, wouldn't the same be true of Pre-Season 7 Spike and S7-onwards Spike?
Prior to what Spike did, the only case of a vampire being given a soul was a vindictive punishment that served vengeance, not justice, caging the demon and making the soul of who the vampire was suffer, resulting in Angel. He had it forced upon him.
In Spike's case, he wanted to cage his demon, which, in truth, is his true self and harness his old soul so as to love Buffy. He chose to do it and, as such, the newly-souled Spike, part of whom was William, suffered. He chose it and, well, regardless of whether or not William would have been proud, there seemed to be no thought on Spike's part as to what his soul would want.

Do you mean by "robbing" that Spike/William's soul will go to hell after his death? Because I don't think so. After regaining his soul he was a good man, he fighted on the side of good, he helped to prevent the Apocalypse - obviously his soul deserves being in Heaven.

I wasn't saying that Spike's soul would go to Hell because of being brought back, I agree, he became a hero, he deserved Heaven. But, at the same time, by drawing the soul out of wherever it was to put it back inside his body, Spike, effectively, did exactly what Willow, Xander et al did to Buffy at the beginning of Season 6.

Anyway, thanks for giving a different perspective. It's always interesting to polemize with fellow fans.

Likewise, I may disagree on certain points, but it's always cool seeing people put this much thought into their fandom.
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January 2018



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