Pairing(s): Spike/Buffy Summers, Spike/Drusilla, Spike/Tara McLay, Spike/Nikki Wood
Recced on LiveJournal By: skysamuelle
Spoilers: Sparse for character development from Season 2 to 7.
Spike, aka William The Bloody, aka William Pratt, bloody awful British poet.
Enters the series Buffy: The Vampire Slayer with a flair a fateful day of 1997, just to establish himself way fast as one among the most charismatic – and beloved- villains of television. And what a entry it was:
(Above Collage by Anonymous author)
He was already different from the other vampires Buffy had fought, and not only because he had more of a sense of staged drama. He was more strategic, spoiling for a fight and kill he had to sweat for. He wanted a challenge and he *was * a challenge. In fact all of Spike, from his provocative demeanor, to his caustic wit and often cruel brand of blunt honesty, looked like a demand for both attention and confrontation.
But, on the other side of the coin, he was a romantic guy, utterly devoted to his girlfriend and sire… a lover of all things tangible and tasteable- like music, fashion, food, soap operas. Despite being un-dead, he was a passionate creature, that lived hard, loved harder and was loud about it. He never did anything half-way, even to the cost of coming through as pathetic (which he did, on occasion). He was always unrepentantly, wholly invested into something – be it Drusilla, a quest for vengeance, his self-destruction, Buffy – and he seemed to need it, the goal to give himself over to, the purpose, the dream.
"We like to talk big... vampires do. "I'm going to destroy the world." That's just tough-guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I _like_ this world. You've got...dog racing, Manchester united. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Good-bye, Picadilly. Farewell, Leicester-bloody-Square."
When it came to it, Spike enjoyed the world. Enjoyed life for itself, and he enjoyed love. Up to the point that I believe he understood it more than any other character in that show:
"You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love till it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other until it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood -- blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
“Hey, look at me. I'm not asking you for anything. When I say, "I love you," it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman. You're the one, Buffy."
Over the seasons, we saw different incarnations of Spike – the unrepentant villain with punk-ish tint, the manipulative foe that lost but always reared his head for one more go, the chipped near-caricature that had lost his place in the world, the lovesick stalker, the tortured and unrequited lover, the souled self-flagellating antihero committed to Buffy beyond reason. Angel’s reluctant side-chick in Angel: The Series, still fighting the good fight, and for all the right reasons.
Spike grew up, acquired new layers, but at heart he remained a fighter and a lover, a dead man chasing life. That’s why he is awesome.
Rec #1: London Hellmouth
Word Count/WIP?: 21565, no
Why This Must Be Read: Spike and Dru, in 1905, visiting London’s Hellmouth, on the hunt for his next slayer and stumbling in quite a different mystery. Dark and bittersweet, with an appropriately hellish and seedy London coming alive in vivid details, vintage Spike and Drusilla taking care of each other in their twisted, sid-and-nancy-esque way. Memorable monsters and mystery plot.
Rec #2 Quick and Bitter, Slow and Sweet
Author: Miss Murchison
Pairing: Spike/Tara McLay
Word Count/WIP?: 41796, NO
Why This Must Be Read: A slight point of divergence from canon brings Tara and Spike on the road to develop a friendship cemented by shared heartaches and surrogate parenting of Dawn. As the titles says, it’s ‘slow and sweet’ in contrast to the ‘quick and bitter’ of their recently failed relationships with other people – a mutual understanding that grows bit by bit in something more. I don’t even know what the most enjoyable feature was – the uber-amusing inner debates between Spike’s three inner voices (named The Fool, The Poet and The Demon), the various scenes of Tara and Spike reining in and taking care of, alternatively, a Dawn that keeps acting out, just like a makeshift little family, Tara growing self-assured and more self-assertive chapter by chapter. The romance, once that blossoms, is achingly, reverently sweet in a way that suits the ways Spike and Tara have to love.
Rec #3: WayWard
Pairing: Spike/Nikki Wood, Spike/Buffy Summers
Word Count/WIP?: 36226, no
Why This Must Be Read: [Post-Get it Done, An old acquaintance of Spike's turns up in Sunnydale…Nikki Wood. Of course the Scoobies don’t figure out right away who the young, feverish woman brought on their doorstep is … and a certain vampire is in no rush of telling what he knows. Nor he can refuse Buffy when she asks him to take care of the new arrival. Spike doesn’t know what is the game behind Nikki’s return to life, but he desperately wants to not kill her again, yet the things between him and this Slayer he slayed are anything but easy or simple… despite a certain synch. There’s flashbacks, and it’s interesting to get to know Nikki Wood in her times … you get fond of her even knowing she is under The First’ influence … and the Nikki-Robin reconnecting did me in. At the core, this is a story about Nikki returning to life, and Spike’s coming to terms with his past. Their relationship, while at the forefront when compared the background simmering Spuffy, is essentially about forgiveness… there’s erotism and compassion, and the blurring lines where you love what has hurt you in order to heal. Its’ s basically a season 7-themed Anti-Smashed and hell, the intentional or unintentional parallelism was brilliant.
Rec #4: The Ballad of Randy and Joan
Author: Annie Sewell-Jennings
Pairing: Spike/Buffy Summers
Word Count/WIP?: 23868 words. No
Why This Must Be Read: [She is a blank canvas, and he is not allowed to paint her.]Firstly, very evocative writing. Painfully beautiful, delicately intense take on the classic Randy-and-Joan-fic-trope of spuffy fanzone, alternates melancholy and tenderness in such a way than draws you in, punches you in the gut, and then soothes you. This what you read if you want to be moved.
Rec #5: Marking Time
Author: Night Owl Too
Pairing: Spike/Buffy Summers
Rating/Warning(s): NC17, sex
Word Count/WIP?: 80,321, no
Why This Must Be Read: [Set Post-Chosen, Post-NFA. Buffy receives an unexpected summons to England, where she learns she's not the only one with nine lives. But a mysterious crisis threatens. How far is she willing to go to save someone she loves?] A winsome mix of humour, drama, and romance, original plot hinging on Buffy being ‘given’ a comatose Spike and saving him with her blood… and sex (sure enough, the semi-sex-with a semi-comatose vampire part, by all rights, should have been more disturbing than it was – it creeped me out, but not so much that I didn’t keep reading and enjoying the rest… the scene kinda reminded me of an erotica rendition of Sleeping Beauty I stumbled on once). Buffy and Illyria meeting came with quite rewarding, illuminating scenes between them, and in the general the eventual collision of the angel and buffy crews turned to be brilliant.
Rec #6: Journeys
Pairing: Spike/Buffy Summers
Word Count/WIP?: 55084, NO
Why This Must Be Read: Post-The Gift, it follows an AU path to Spike’s journey from Buffy’s death to her resurrection, with the premise that, as we are fashioned and formed by what we love, he’s still in the process of becoming someone else. He mourns Buffy, and he is haunted by Buffy, so much that she never feels truly gone, and he pretty much lives to take care of Dawn . A quasi-friendship with Giles develops around he and Spike keeping watch on the Hellmouth … and there’s the foreboding, underneath it all, of some obscure future waiting to happen.
Part Of The Journeys Series as there are two amazing sequels up: http://www.allaboutspike.com/seriespage.html?sid=14
‘Awakenings’ that picks straight after Journeys, part 1 left off, follows Buffy’s resurrection and a very different brand of relationship developing between her and Spike, in virtue of the fact that as soon she sees him and Dawn, she is guided by a deep sense that they both belong to her. So, you have a Buffy that instead of feeling completely alienated by everything around her, only feels a connected to two people out of everything she used to know, and the result is the utter opposite of what we saw onscreen in Season 6. Also, I dig that Buffy was Spike’s center, not his whole relational-emotional life revolved around her – there was space for Dawn to *stay* and be important too, and for Giles and Spike talking to each others like adults.
Awakenings is completed, and the best thing I’ve read in BTVS Fandom to this day. Mary is one incredible author.
Rec #7: Prophecy and Warmth
Author: The Bear
Pairing: Spike/Buffy, Spike/Other
Word Count/WIP?: 63110, no
Why This Must Be Read: Post BTVS and ATS Series. Angel Shanshued, he and Buffy are together despite a mutual perception of the growing distance between them… and the secrets they keep from each other. For Angel, it’s the knowledge that Spike lives. For Buffy, it’s how often her memory returns to a different lover, one she believes to be forever lost to her. Spike is in Brazil, has found a sort of salvation in Carlotta, a young slayer that is both her best friend and his lover. He taught himself to accept the fact Buffy never loved him and never will – he is happy he has found someone he is enough for. Until more and more the new slayers start dying out of a delayed side-effect to the power transference, Carlotta and Spike gets called to the new homebase by Giles, and Buffy learns the truth. What follows is confrontations, jealousy, a race against time to find a spell … and then a terrible sacrifice by Carlotta (an OC that is truly easy to love, even in the mids of your spuffy feels ) that is going to change everything irreversibly… again. Buffy and Spike go through an incredible journey together and for Buffy is the time to realize many things about herself and their relationship. The Angel-Spike relationship too, is addressed in a way I found utterly fitting. Admirable that Carlotta’s presence in the story instead of driving S/B apart or bringing them together via the easy path of jealousy-stirring, makes it possible for them to reconnect on a deeper level … this is not a banal, predictable read in the least. The spectacularly amazing ending was the cherry on top of a suspenseful cake.
Rec #8: What Price Too High
Word Count/WIP?: 42865, no
Why This Must Be Read: [Post 'Get It Done' and off from there. What if there was a prize to pay for the Scythe? What price is too high and is there blame in paying that prize?.]Or, Spike trades his hard-won soul for the Scythe. Buffy surprises herself by realizing she has missed the old him – but it does not mean she is going to accept it easily. How will Season 7 cope with a Spike that more like his earlier seasons counterpart? TheBear has a peculiar insight into Spike and Buffy’s psychology, and she pens both their voices in so well, I almost heard them in my ear.
Rec #9: Love lies bleeding
Author: LA Ward
Pairing: Spike/Drusilla and Spike/Buffy
Rating/Warning(s): PG15, violence
Word Count/WIP?: 22,575, no
Why This Must Be Read: Love can be both a promise and a curse… pray it’s never both. Dru heads back to Sunnydale, and Spike ends up torn between two loves, two women who gave a very different purpose to his unlife… the epilogue is going to be tragic, but before that, Buffy and The Scoobies will have a chance to get a clearer picture of both Spike and Dru, and the sweet hell that bound them to each other for so long. This was heart-breaking. And all what Dru’s return to Sunnydale should have been.
Rec #10: Four Things you never knew about French
Word Count/WIP?:12,520, no
Why This Must Be Read: Three independent one-shots that manage the rare accomplishment to fully capture why Spike and Dru fit, once upon a time. Two are AU, but the number 3 ‘Life, Love, Liar’ is pre-series and particularly recommended –it seizes fledging William and his sire right where ‘Destiny’ left off, when Will wonders why she even made him if she had Angelus in her bed, and it sets the stage for what their relationship will become in the following years. Dru is… truly shining through in her best attributes for once and it’s intriguing to look at things from her POV.