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honey and the moon

wickedprincess3 in ship_manifesto

Spike/Drusilla [Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel the series]

Title: Bad Poetry, Angsty Teen Archetypes, and the Great Rock & Roll Romance
Author: Evette | wickedprincess3
Spoilers: Through the end of both series though vague
Email: wickedprincess3@gmail.com
Personal Website: http://www.no-hero.org/
A/N: thanks to fabricatedvoice for going over this for me and stuff :)
ETA: sorry about the HTML mess up. I messed up a link and LJ is a h0r.




Asking me to talk about Spike and Drusilla is sort of like asking me to talk about tacos. "Why are tacos so great?" one might ask. I am only left to point at tacos and go, "Because it's a taco! Taste it! Love it! Do as the taco says!" Except that does not an interesting essay make, and now I'm hungry.

So what made me a Spike/Drusilla shipper? Well, my first ever episode of BtVS was "Crush." I was mildly interested in the hot British guy that wore leather, but nothing about the show grabbed me until the scene when Spike and Drusilla enter the Bronze together and begin to dance. I was first impressed by the complete change in Spike's attitude– at the start of the episode he was a rather broken creature begging in his own pathetic way for Buffy's affections. The guy that walked into the Bronze was not the one I'd been watching for the previous twenty or so minutes. Spike and Drusilla owned the place; but when they danced they only saw each other. It was a beautiful five minutes. Of course, Spike screwed it all up, but I was hooked. I was disappointed when I went over to my friend's house the next week and she informed me that no, the pretty dark - haired girl would not be on the show. I then began devouring tie-in novels and comic books like… tacos.

The thing about Spike and Drusilla is that it contains so many different elements. It's sweet and tender while being painfully dysfunctional. It fits into classic romantic archetypes and breaks them too. It is first love, lost love, painful love, dysfunctional love, idealized love, and, oh yeah, that entire eternal love thing. They're incestuous and star-crossed. It's like the greatest love story that occurred entirely off-screen and so we have to imagine its greatness and fill in the gaps.

A short history lesson, or flashbacks are our friend
A lot of what we learn about Spike and Drusilla comes from later season flashbacks (especially BtVS S5 and Ats S2 & 5). So part of this essay is me trying to briefly piece together one of canon's longest lasting but least talked about relationships.
Drusilla began life a simple girl in London in the mid-1800's. She is sired by Angelus (remember this guy, he's important). Drusilla's visions and the torture she receives from Angelus drive her completely insane. Flash-forward twenty years (London, 1880) and we meet a young man named William. William is a dorky mama's boy that writes horrible poetry. After being rejected by the object of his affections, he walks the London streets alone and depressed. Drusilla sees him and decides that William is her "bravest knight in all the land" and sires him. William and Angelus at first hit it off, but the gloves come off when William realizes that Angelus will be competing for Drusilla's affections, something that Drusilla clearly enjoys.

There's no belonging or deserving anymore. You can take what you want, have what you want... but nothing is yours.
*Drusilla walks in looking disheveled and pretty*
Not even her.

-Angelus to William in "Destiny"

The two battle for Drusilla's affections (Not that Angelus so much loves Drusilla, but she is "his" creation and she is something to use against William/Spike), until Angelus is cursed with a soul in 1898. The pair spend the next hundred odd years cutting a bloody swath through the world. William becomes "Spike" for Drusilla. He kills slayers (two of them), picks up a different accent, and goes from sniveling mama's boy to a sniveling mama's boy with a really good tough guy façade. Drusilla's failing health brings them to Sunnydale where Angelus, pipe organs, jealousy, and a little slayer named Buffy put a crack in our once eternal pair. Spike goes on one of history's greatest drunken benders only to briefly regain Drusilla's affections after "torturing her until she loves me again." Spike ends up chipped and obsessed with Buffy. He and Drusilla almost make a go of it again when Spike decides to use Drusilla to get Buffy to "admit her feelings for him." Drusilla walks off saying that Spike is beyond her help now. This is the last we see of her in the present day and rather the swan song for Spike and Drusilla in canon. Spike later embarks on a destructive relationship with Buffy, gets a soul, saves the world and dies, hooks up with Angel, does more world saving and yeah probably dies.


It's Mythic…

Spike and Drusilla fit some very definite types and that only adds to their mythic dynamic. Drusilla is a broken, mad, manipulator. She often dresses and behaves like a young girl. Though she does sometimes use these for her benefit (especially to manipulate Spike and Angelus), she is still very much insane and very emotionally immature. Our first shot of Spike is of a Billy Idol-esque creature made of cigarette smoke and motorcycle boots set to a hard guitar riff. However, this tough guy façade is proven to be a façade once Drusilla enters the room. We see that Spike is complete and total construct. In order to be Drusilla's lover, he has completely remade himself into something greater. (There is an excellent comment on the "Fool For Love" commentary about Spike gaining the layers of his persona- the scar, the coat- in each flashback and such). Like Drusilla, Spike is emotionally a child. He is impatient and extremely demanding. At best, they often display the attitudes one might expect from a pair of starry-eyed fourteen year olds.

This is, in essence, what they are. Spike and Drusilla are teenagers that never have to grow up. By becoming vampires, they have both become immortal and given themselves the power to live in a world of their own making. They live out a gory adolescent fairytale where love is eternal and the only rules you have to follow are your own. Spike says in "Fool for Love:"

.. Becoming a vampire is a profound and powerful experience. I could feel this new strength coursing through me. Getting killed made me feel alive for the very first time. I was through living by society's rules. Decided to make a few of my own…
-Spike to Buffy in "Fool for Love"

What kid doesn't dream of that freedom? Freedom, the object of your affection, and a spiffy car are the makings of a classic rock & roll fantasy. Add in a geeky young boy made cool by the love and guidance of the reckless and insane beautiful girl and you've got yourself a hit waiting to be screamed out by every garage band in the world. Joss once said that Spike & Drusilla were modeled on Sid and Nancy and it works so very well (I suspect Joss was talking more about the archetype than the actual couple, but if one wants to go with vampirism as an addiction metaphor it works pretty damn well.)

Spike and Drusilla's adolescent fantasy is more than just a rule breaking rock & roll myth. They are star-crossed lovers. Spike calls Drusilla his "destiny" and Drusilla picks William from a crowded street saying "I could pick the wisest and bravest knight in all the land - and make him mine forever with a kiss." When they are together they see only each other (unless Angelus is around). Speaking of Angelus, it is only fair to point out that Drusilla loves Spike differently than Spike loves Drusilla. While Spike is "nothing without" her and views her as his "salvation", Drusilla is not as obviously emotionally dependant on Spike. She admits during the Darla arc that she is lonely and it is obvious that she craves the family she once had, including her Spike. She is ecstatic when she thinks Spike is hers again and deeply saddened when she realizes that he is beyond her now. Though Drusilla doesn't display the same dramatics about it that Spike does, she does need Spike. She needed someone to care for her and deal with her insanity, someone who would treat her like a princess, someone who would just love her. It is not that Drusilla cannot love Spike, but she is a survivor and a victim, caught between needing love and her own need to thrive in the violent demon world.

Drusilla understands that love and affection are weapons, things she can use to get what she wants and needs from others. She manipulates Spike and Angelus by allowing them to think they are the big sexy alpha males, all the while she is being showered with attention and pretty things. The relationship between Spike and Drusilla is often filled with these odd power balances and imbalances. Drusilla allows Spike to believe he is in charge; all the while she pulls his strings effortlessly. One example is the bird scene in "Lie to Me" wherein Spike becomes angry with her. Drusilla starts to cry until Spike apologizes. Once he does, Drusilla is immediately better. Spike is a guy that labels himself "Love's Bitch". He will do anything to love and be loved; Drusilla knows this and takes full advantage of it. One problem is that no one can ever love Spike as much he will love them because of the force with which he loves and needs to be loved. To quote Shrift's "No Title Virtue:"

Spike knew he loved like a child. Loved with every bit of his being. Loved even after they left him. And they always left him. Because who could satisfy a child?
- Shrift's "No Title Virtue"

A relationship entirely based on this sort of imbalance would be sad and a bit boring. Spike and Drusilla are far more complicated than that. While Spike gladly submits himself to Drusilla's every whim (I think it's important to note that Spike doesn't mind being subordinate or used this way as long as he is being loved and can love. These are Spike's two most basic needs and he falls apart when they are taken from him.), their relationship often reflects a more egalitarian brother/sister dynamic. In fact, what should be the most dysfunctional and disturbing portion of their relationship is the most solid and tender part. One would think that Spike and Drusilla would behave like a Mother and Son, what with the siring, Drusilla's need to "mother", and Spike's big damn mommy issues. However, they tend to act more like brother and sister. Their place in the Fanged Four family is that of children to Angelus and Darla. Though Drusilla does sometimes refer to Spike/William as "her sweet boy/my sweet prince", she allows the relationship between she and Spike to seem far more balanced than that of any other sire/sired vampire relationship[1] (The Master/Darla, Darla/Angelus, Angelus/Drusilla). This makes sense when you consider the family dynamic of the Fanged Four and Drusilla and Spike's own unique dynamic.

Drusilla feels lonely and left out when she sires William to be her playmate. While Drusilla is important to Angelus, she is comes in second to Darla. We are left to assume that Angelus only pays her that sort of attention when Darla is away, ie "Destiny" or they are always under the watchful eye of the family matriarch. Once Spike is brought into the family, Drusilla not only has someone that loves her but she also now shares the space as a "child" in the family. They both share experiences of possible abuse from Darla and Angelus (something never actually explicitly confirmed in canon, but is assumed in fanon that Angelus used force and abuse to keep Drusilla, William, and the other vampires he sired in line). Spike and Drusilla share a bond over this common experience. A common story in early Spike and Dru fic is Spike, horrified at the abuse Drusilla suffers at Angelus's hands, steals Drusilla away in the night never to be harmed again. This is one more layer in Spike and Drusilla's grand adolescent fantasy. In this instance the "abused" children gain power to get away from their abusers, but like in real life, they too are now monsters.



In the end…
I fear ending this essay, as I know that once I put the final period I will realize I have forgotten ten other things I wanted to say. So I will conclude in saying that as I wrote this essay, I realized the reason why every aspect of Spike/Drusilla appeals to me. They are an adolescent fantasy with occasional real life consequences. They are broken children allowed to do as they please until their own dysfunction brings them down. They have the sort of love that one imagines it would take immortals to have, because it would destroy humans. It's a notion that Spike carries with him and talks about here…

Trust is for old marrieds, Buffy! Great love is wild and passionate and dangerous. It burns and consumes.
-Spike in "Seeing Red"

It isn't healthy, it isn't realistic; it is a childish fantasy painted in vivid red blood. But it is a beautiful painting.

Spike, Drusilla, and Fandom at large
With other pairings (S/B & S/X) becoming the more popular Spike pairings and Drusilla's only occasional appearance in flashbacks; many authors and web mistresses have lost interest. There is, however, a fairly active interest in the Fanged Four as unit and a certain amount of nostalgia for the neatness that was Spike/Drusilla.

--Fanfiction
I decided to go with a small sample of my favorite fics with links to more places for you, the reader, to hopefully explore on your own.

By Jess Walker (personal site)
-"Gifu" the tale of Spike returning to Drusilla post-"Lover's Walk"
-"The Pre-Show Series" Spike battling Angelus for Drusilla's affections

By Zero
-"The Brighter, Cold Moon" Spike and Drusilla come to terms with themselves, each other, and fate.
-"Cracked" dark, disturbing, amazing

By Indri
-"Hotel Lavear" Spike and Drusilla's break up and reunion from a different perspective

By Sylvia Volk
-"London Hellmouth" a long plotty fic about Spike and Drusilla in 1905.

--Websites
Love Lies Bleeding- Spike/Drusilla shipper site with fanfiction and the like, writers' guild shipper zone, also my site /bias/

Night Blooms- Spike, Drusilla, and Angel site that goes along with the list of the same name

Blood Screaming- Simply one the best Fanged Four fansites on the net. No longer updated but full of great content

Old Fashioned Fourplay- A newer and updated Fanged Four site with lots of content

Charm School- One of the best Drusilla centric sites I know of. Lots of fanfiction and links.

Fist & Fangs- One of the two best Spike sites out there. Great content

Allaboutspike.com- the other great Spike site out there, nice sized Spike/Drusilla section

Spikedandskewered.net- A great Spike site focused on a more evilish Spike. Nice wallpapers and extras.

Spike and Drusilla Arc- a page at BDD covering Spike & Drusilla's arc on both shows

As I said above this is only a starting place there are dozens of good sites out there that focus on either Spike or Drusilla (particularly Spike) but theses are some of the best places to start with.

[1] it is times like this that I am all "see we need a better way of saying 'the vampire he sired' because that is just long and somewhat annoying" *flails*

Comments

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Nice essay:)
Thanks so much! *squees*
Lovely essay. Your reading of the rock-and-roll archetype makes *so* much sense to me. [nods] Hurrah!

[goes to find tacos]
Thank you. There is just something about the pair that appeals to me so much and I think it's always going to have something to do with my inner 14 year old or something. *stops self from babbling even more omg*
Thank you :D
Great job! Now I want tacos.
Bwah! Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :)
Well said! I especially like the bit about tacos (;)) but I think the part that stood out the most to me was the bit about teen archetypes -- I've actually never thought about that before, and it fits implicity. Go you!
Thank you :)
I've always looked at vampirism as not just eternal physical youth, but giving whoever gets turned into a vampire an emotional and social eternal youth as well (if they want it) because they are able to live outside society's rules and stuff. Spike and Drusilla are the epitome of that I think... that comes off way more Anne Rice omgvampiressocool than I intended blah.

Anyway, glad you liked it :D
Squee! *loves you with an adolescent passion*
Aww <333 *snugs* ahem dude I am not longer allowed to use the words "adolescent" or "fairytale" again because I abused them so here :|
Wonderful essay. I love Dru and I love Spike, not necessarily together, but this captures the essence of who they are.
Thank you very much :) I hoped I could at least get why I dig them so much down on paper so I'm glad it is working for others.
This line of yours about their relationship just sums it up so well:

It isn't healthy, it isn't realistic; it is a childish fantasy painted in vivid red blood. But it is a beautiful painting.
Excellent manifesto. Thanks, sweetie.
Thanks! I always imagine Spike & Drusilla as this meshing of the hopelessly childish maudlin and the violent and scary. Which yeah I think works and is pretty obvious especially with Drusilla and her dolls and stuff.
So yeah thanks so much I'm glad you liked it :D
*snort* Incest & Tacos shouldn't make me think of that song that had the video with the giant spider but yet it does aarg stupid weird ass late 90's videos.
Thanks <333
Beautifully done; precise and insightful.

While Spike gladly submits himself to Drusilla's every whim (I think it's important to note that Spike doesn't mind being subordinate or used this way as long as he is being loved and can love. These are Spike's two most basic needs and he falls apart when they are taken from him.),

Oh God, yes! I really think you nailed this pairing so well here.
Thanks :D
Yeah that's rather my essence of Spike (especially pre-Ats S5. I think during the last season he started to let go of a lot of that and mature and see himself outside of that etc) and why I think Spike and Drusilla for all their dysfunction work so well, they needed each other in a very basic way that is almost sweet and omg I will shut up now :)
Hi, very good essay. S/D are not my cup of tea but I have gained insight into what makes them such a popular pair.
Thanks! Yeah I can't imagine trying to like convert people to a ship; it probably would have made me pull my hair out. I just wanted to try and get out why I thought they were so shiny and so I'm glad that came through :)
Thanks again!
Wonderful essay - you really capture the essence of Spike/Dru!

And now I must add my voice to the taco-craving chorus... :-)
Thanks! I think I'm amused that I've had the universal reaction of making everyone hungry. Taco Bell will owe me money :D
*sigh* As an Old School Evillista, this warmed my shrivelled little heart. *cuddles S/D*
Aww thank you. I am filled with nostalgia myself (not that I err have that much to be nostalgic about. I am a fandom oddity, a late coming Spike fan with evilista-ish leanings and that is omg S/D OTP!11). ANYWAY, ahem I'm glad you liked :D
That was a great essay one of my favorite 'ships! *loves on you for it* I didn't start watching Buffy until late S6, but I fell in love with Spike and Drusilla the moment I saw them together. There aren't a lot of people (that I've seen) that really get Spru. I see a lot of "Drusilla never really loved Spike" people out there. This definitely captured the twisted and wild S/D I know and love.

But admittedly, one line in your essay struck home in a personal way. In this instance the "abused" children gain power to get away from their abusers, but like in real life, they too are now monsters. As a child of abuse...that kinda hurts. :\

Nevertheless, it was a fantastic essay!
First off, sorry about that I was going for the metaphor that partially there in "Damage" with Spike & Angel's ending conversation but the wording was terrible on my part (honestly if I had thought it through more I would have caught it as to be vague and all I do uh sympathize, many apologies) :|

Anyway, I do love the pairing a lot and I usually only see the "OMG DRUSILLA WAS AN ICKY HO SKANK AND SHE NEVER LOVED SPIKE" and all that which just makes me the sad. I'm glad I was able to capture just a bit of what makes them so nifty

Spike and Drusilla are teenagers that never have to grow up. By becoming vampires, they have both become immortal and given themselves the power to live in a world of their own making. They live out a gory adolescent fairytale where love is eternal and the only rules you have to follow are your own.

Yesssss! *smooches*

I loved reading your insight into Drusilla. Fascinating! There's so much going on there.

Thanks, doll. Fabulous essay.
Thanks so much for asking me to do it it makes me all a *squee* that you liked it eek! :D
You had me from the mention of Tacos.

I have to admit that I am fond of Spike/Dru in the series, but I'd never actually thought about the inherent childishness of their relationship. And I loved these lines:

It isn't healthy, it isn't realistic; it is a childish fantasy painted in vivid red blood. But it is a beautiful painting.
Hee! I think too much about these things sometimes I think, but yeah I always sort of saw a paralell with B/A and the sort of thing or something, mmm.
Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it :D
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