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31 August 2010 @ 06:35 pm
Shipper Manifesto: Buffy/Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer  
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Buffy Summers/Spike


Why do I love Buffy and Spike? Because no one has a better story than they do. No one.

---

It’s anything but love at first sight. Try hate-at-first sight: two enemies squaring off in an alley, then in a darkened high school hallway. She’s the Slayer, a warrior of light Chosen to destroy evil. He’s a vampire, conscience-less and reveling in bloodshed. For millennia, Slayers and vampires have hated each other, hunted each other, killed each other. When they meet Buffy has already killed countless vampires, and Spike’s got two Slayers under his belt.

But it’s not quite that simple.

For one thing, there’s a connection: watch him observe her dancing in the Bronze; watch how she stares at him, riveted in the alleyway; watch how they circle each other in the high school. They’re acutely aware of each others’ presence, of each others’ existence, of each others’ dangerousness.

For another, they aren’t quite your textbook examples of Slayers and vamps. Contrary to tradition, Buffy embraces her emotions and relationships, using them to make herself stronger. And Spike dedicates himself to love, faithfully tending to his paramour. From the beginning, they’re both a little complicated, and neither one of them quite fit the mold. It’s clear from the beginning that neither one of them will do what’s expected, and that holds true in how they treat each other as well.

Somehow they can’t seem to stay away from each other: they keep being drawn back together by their own choices: every time you think they have parted ways for the last time, they meet again--Spike barrels back into town to get a spell to heal his broken heart, Buffy decides she won't kill him after he's been chipped, Buffy seeks him out after her return from the dead, Spike returns to Sunnydale after his trip to Africa.

Their relationship is, as Spike says, a dance, right from the very beginning. The steps of that dance lead them into many different roles and many different ways of relating to each other, none of which are simple or easy to categorize. They’re many things to each other, but what they could never be to each other is insignificant, no matter how hard they try to forget each other.

These two characters probably would have kept meeting and fighting and bantering and hating each other until one of them finally had their one good day and killed the other. After all, that’s what they’re made for, what their labels demand.

But some military guys capture Spike and stick a chip in his head that keeps him from harming humans. Starving from lack of blood, he throws himself on the mercy of the Slayer. Grudgingly, she agrees not to kill him--he’s harmless, after all--and once more Spike is pulled into her orbit.

Still, it’s going to be a while before love enters their story. They have to snark and grouse at each other first, before eventually they start--reluctantly--working together.

Spike starts to bend first. At the beginning, Buffy is perky and innocent, a little bit naïve and full of righteousness. She’s a cheerleader, beach-bunny teenage girl in her short skirts and high heels and Spike’s always been drawn to the cool brunette type. When he figures out that he’s being drawn to her strength and grace, he’s pretty horrified. But he was a Victorian gentleman poet before he was turned, and he knows romance when he feels it. He professes his love in the least romantic way possible (there…might be chains and an insane vampire ex-girlfriend or two involved) and Buffy is horrified.

Why shouldn’t she be? Spike is the very last kind of guy to catch Buffy's eye. From the beginning she sees him as a dangerous annoyance, and after the chip he's just a plain annoyance. Then he falls in love with her and she's disgusted, because even if he wasn't evil and a vampire, he's this punky Billy Idol type, all energy and over-the-top statements and sarcasm. Buffy likes the strong and silently manly football player type, even if those are the guys who keep leaving her and breaking her heart.

Most importantly to her, though, he doesn’t have a soul, and she’s certain he can’t be good or love without one. But Spike relishes the impossible, throws himself at it with wild abandon. He tells her he's going to change for her…and then he starts to. The first time that she really sees him and what he's capable of is when he withstands Glory's torture. And she sees that there's more to him than flash and sarcasm: he can do something real. And that one action opens her eyes enough that she can begin to respect him and trust him to take care of her sister. She still believes (because of prior experience with her souled-then-unsouled vampire ex-boyfriend Angel) that he can't really love, but she knows that he can feel, that he keeps his promises, and that he cares about Dawn and he will fight by Buffy’s side.

Then she dies. On earth, Spike mourns but keeps his promise to look after Dawn. In heaven, Buffy rests, at peace and basking in her reward--until she is ripped out of heaven by her friends, and everything is hard and bright and so, so different from the tranquil paradise she's grown accustomed to. Everyone in her life wants her to be okay all the time but they don't want to help her and it's so exhausting. Depression is like hell, and the truth is that she isn’t okay.

And Spike is just there and he doesn't demand anything and he listens and doesn’t judge her. And for a while we catch a glimpse of what they look like as friends. And why not? After all, they've been through a lot together and when he's not being an ass (which is often) or she's not being a bitch (which is often), they actually get along.

In fairy tales, kisses tend to make everything better--but this was never a fairy tale. When Buffy kisses Spike, everything starts to go downhill. Until this point, they were learning to be friends, carefully navigating their way into the next phase of their relationship. But that kiss gives Spike hope for something more. Never a patient guy, he sees his chance to get what he’s wanted for a long time now--Buffy! All to himself!--and he starts pushing, willing to take anything she’ll give. A lot of the ugliness that had been lulled to sleep inside him stirs again. As for Buffy, she starts using him--for sex, for violence, for escape. He thinks that this means she's coming around, that she might love him, and he gets greedy. Buffy, though, is so depressed that she isn't capable of being in any kind of healthy relationship. She craves both death and life, and Spike represents both of those. He is dead and knows what it's like to claw one's way out of a grave--and she yearns for that; at the same time, Spike's always been so vivid and vibrant and alive, and she craves that, too. No one in her life is paying attention to her--Giles is gone and Willow and Xander are both caught up in their own drama. But Spike is there for her.

Plus, the sex is really fantastic. Like, really, really, really fantastic. (No, really! They destroyed a building!)

And this relationship that was building towards a partnership becomes instead a power play, pulling and pushing, both of them hurting each other (and themselves) to get what they want. It’s an ugly but fascinating chapter in their story together, and neither one of them is innocent. They’re both getting something good out of their relationship, but it’s so twisted by selfishness and pain that it’s impossible to hold on to.

Buffy finally gets it together enough to realize how toxic this all is and tells Spike it’s over. Desperate and terrified that he’s lost her for good, he succumbs to his evil nature (remember: no soul, no conscience, and no real conception of right and wrong at this point beyond asking himself "What Would Buffy Do?"; not to mention his only romantic experience is a century with another vampire whose idea of romance is torture), and corners her in her bathroom, swearing that she felt something for him once and he’ll make her feel it again. What he makes her feel, however, is pain and betrayal and fear.

Cue identity crisis of the highest order. From the time he fell in love with her, Spike has always sworn to himself that he'd never hurt Buffy, but now he has. He tried to be good--both to her and for her--for a while, but that didn't work, and then they had a twisted farce of a relationship for a time, but then she rejected that, too. Now he sees that his nature is in conflict with what he aspires to be, and it breaks him.

snickfic puts it like this:

The AR [attempted rape] triggers Spike's soul quest because he disappoints and shocks himself by breaking his own ironclad rule, which says that he never hurts Buffy, not really. We may see his verbal jabs and his nagging for sex as harmful, but he doesn't. It's not until the AR that he so shocks himself with the results of his own behavior that he's willing to get a soul to make it right.

I think that epiphany is key to his journey: the realization that even he is dissatisfied with his evil nature....he is upset to find that his two impulses - to be devastated and to not care - are in contradiction. He's said all along that he can be evil and love at the same time, those two things are pointing him in opposite directions, and he's just now having to deal with the fact.


And then he does something truly remarkable. Still caught up in this whirlwind of guilt and resentment and love and confusion, he goes to seek out a legend, faces a series of trials, and wins his soul.

Back in Sunnydale, Buffy is shaken by what Spike almost did to her, because even though she told herself she didn't trust Spike...she did. She may not have trusted him not to go out and do evil things, but she trusted him not to hurt her and to protect those who she loves.

On the one hand, she's obviously hurt by what Spike did. On the other hand, it offers her confirmation that she was right all along--this guy is evil and he can't be more than that. If he's capable of more, that destroys her worldview, and worldview shifts are too big and painful. So she puts it from her mind and carries on, because she is Buffy Summers, and that is what she does.

But then he comes back. And he has a soul.

Let me take this opportunity to quotea brilliant piece of meta by the_royal_anna:

Buffy talks a lot in Season 7 about the fact that Spike has a soul. Of course it matters to her. It is everything to her, because she is the one who lost Angel his soul. That is who she is. That is what she is worth. She is the destruction of what is good and the end of hope, and she can save the world a thousand times but that will still hang over her. Until now. Because suddenly this is how much she is worth – she is worth a soul. She is worth a vampire going out and getting a soul for her, all for her, and yes, it matters to her. She is the Slayer and she can do anything and everything but she cannot earn back that soul, that damn soul that was lost at her hands and regained only for her to destroy it again, sending it to straight to Hell. But this time, this vampire takes it out of her hands. She cannot earn back that soul but he can. And what Buffy is only just starting to understand is what he can do for her is as much hers as what she can do for herself, that this gift of a soul is part of who he is, and who she is, and who they are.

I think what I love most about Season 7 is that over the course of it, Buffy and Spike become stronger and more dependent.

In a world that loves to tell us we should all be strong and independent there's something very extraordinary about that.


When he returns and reveals that he has a soul, Buffy reels, caught between the fact that he hurt her terribly and also that he completely changed his metaphysical existence as a result. In shock, she hangs back for a while, trying to recover, but eventually she starts to try to pull him out of the pit he's in.

Because Spike's been driven mad by guilt and also by the First Evil, who is forcing him to kill people. He begs her to kill him, because he can’t stand to be used as a pawn to slaughter innocents. Buffy refuses, because she realizes that he doesn't want to be evil, that he wants to be more, that he really did want his soul and that he wants to be a good man. So she takes him home and patches him up and tells him she'll fix it and then gives him a lovely faith-filled speech.


BUFFY
Listen to me. You're not alive because of hate or pain. You're alive because I saw you change. Because I saw your penance.

SPIKE
(lunges violently at her, but chains hold him back) Window dressing.

BUFFY
Be easier, wouldn't it, it if were an act, but it's not. (walks toward him) You faced the monster inside of you and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man.

SPIKE
Buffy...

BUFFY
(in his face) And you can be. You are. You may not see it, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike.


She sees what he can be. No one else has ever transformed himself for the better the way he has, and she sincerely believes that he can be more. It's a huge moment, in which she sees him as a person--as a good man.

And finally, between her faith and his transformation, there’s room for love to grow. Not the kind they had before, which, while powerful, was also always twisted by ugliness and pain, but real, selfless, adult love.

James Thurber once said, "Love is what you've been through with someone." And whoa, have these two been through a lot.

Now that he has a soul, Spike begins to understand the meaning of all they’ve been through together. He understands true selflessness and goodness and he falls even more in love with Buffy than he did before--he can finally appreciate the fullness of her goodness and light. When he has hurt and betrayed her so horribly, she finds the grace and compassion to forgive him, to believe in him, to take him in, and to fight for him and bring him close to her heart. She’s overflowing with love, even if she can’t verbalize it. But they never really needed words anyways, so he sees it in all that she does for him.

She’s strong and compassionate and selfless. She’s a hell of a woman. Of course he falls in love with her all over again.

Meanwhile, Buffy’s coming to terms with who she has grown up to be. Her personality has drastically changed since she found her first great love at sixteen. As she gets older, she pulls into herself more. She becomes more and more introverted, more and more self-contained. And in the process she becomes the kind of person who can love a rebellious punk poet like Spike. For the past year or two, she'd grown apart from her friends as well: they never really understood what she was going through, how alone she was, and boy does she ever feel alone. Her friends and family love her, but still, there's a distance.

But with Spike she feels no such distance. Their dynamic shifts back to what it was right after her resurrection: he doesn't demand anything of her, she doesn't have to be peppy or strong or anything else with him. He really has seen the best and the worst of her and he still thinks she's wonderful. She has reached the point where she's given of herself for so very, very long that she feels that she has nothing--is nothing--left. And yet he thinks she's warm and beautiful and kind and all of these things that she wants to be but can't because she has to make herself hard and apart in order to take care of everyone else all the time and continue to save the world.

So just as she sees what he can be (and tells him so), he sees what she is (and tells her so). And here's this guy who would go to the ends of the earth to become better and who she can joke around with and who will sit there in the quiet with her and let her be herself. They become a great team, dependent upon each other and all the stronger for it. She's feeling such huge amounts of pressure to take care of the potential Slayers and save the world, and she's petrified of getting close to anyone because she knows that many will die in this last battle. She’s being forced to play general to a small army, which is not a role she ever wanted, but she keeps getting up and carrying on, and Spike is always, always there for her.

He's the kind of man who will get a soul. He's the kind of man who would die for her and the world and the mission. Of course she falls in love with him.

Love, this time around, looks very different than it ever has for either of them in any of their previous relationships. It’s an understated love, quiet and comfortable. They’ve gone through such terrible pain, hurting each other in every way possible, and now is the time when they can learn about forgiveness and about how it isn’t enough just to sit around and brood over past misdeeds: they have to do what they do best: adapt and carry on. They grow to depend on each other and strengthen each other and it's love: love through action, through being there for each other, through little looks and touches. It's not flashy or showy: it's steady and sure and strong. And unspoken. They go through hell to get there, to be grownups who are honest with each other, and then they finally reach that place: of love and sacrifice, peace and comfort, maturity and forgiveness.

I'm not sure at what point, though, that Buffy figures that out. Because she expects love to be like it was with her first love, Angel: dramatic, forbidden, angst-ridden and dark. But with Spike it's just quiet and steady and everyday but at the same time it burns deep and true enough that in his final moments, as he gives his life for her and the world, she reaches for him and she stares at him completely in love with him and he tells her to go live her life, their clasped hands bursting into flame. And she knows at that moment. What she feels for him is love, and it's different than it was when she was seventeen, but it's no less real or precious. This wasn’t destined love. It wasn’t “meant to be” or written in the stars. They weren’t soul mates and they’d both probably laugh at the idea if you suggested it.

What they are is real. Messy and complicated but true. They had to fight every step of the way, and each step was guided by their own choices.

She has to leave him behind to die to save the world, but she stands on the edge of the hellmouth, the crater that's taken the place of the burden she lugged around for years like a ball and chain, and she has a future and hope for a real life and a chance to heal, and she has that because Spike gave it to her, because of who he was and who she is and who they were together. And because of the crazy journey they went on that started out enemies and then became reluctant allies and then annoyances and then people who respected each other and then unrequited love and then friends and then self-destructive twisted passion and then forgiveness and love and peace and did I mention love?

And so she smiles.

--

And in the end, maybe that’s who they are--the evil vampire who gains his soul and gives his life for the sake of the woman he loves and the woman who is set free to smile again because of the sacrifices of the vampire she loves. It was a long road to get there.

But if you asked either one of them, I know they would tell you it was worth it.




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And now that you survived my verboseness, the recs!

NB: There are thousands of Buffy/Spike fics out there, and a hefty percentage of them are good. This list doesn’t even begin to cover them all, and there are so many I hate leaving out, but hopefully it’s a decent start.

A Buffy/Spike fic (or two) for every mood or whim you could possibly have (I hope!)

When You Want Something Lighthearted:

Crash
Author: zyrya
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: A what-if fic exploring what would have happened if Buffy gave Spike his crumb in “Crush.” Porny but delightfully playful with a fun Buffy voice. (S5)

Awake
Author: Betty Cratchit
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17. You must register with the site to access this story, but it’s painless and worth it.
Why This Must Be Read: Spike has a habit of going to the Slayer when he has a problem he can’t solve. This time, he hasn’t been able to sleep in days, and it’s bringing out all kinds of sides to his personality that Buffy’s never been able to see before but that she likes. A little bit silly and a whole lot fun. (Somewhere in an AU S4 or 5)

--

When You Want Something Simple But Moving:

Still the One You Were Before
Author: nellaria
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Spike discovers that Buffy’s come back from the dead, but without any memory of who she was before. A slow burn, lovely and peaceful. (post-S5)

A Sort of Homecoming
Author: kcarolj65
Ratings/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: This is the missing Buffy and Spike scene from “Lies My Parents Told Me,” that delves much deeper into both of their responses to the events of that episode. Great characterization, and it fits the mood and emotions of the episode perfectly.

--

When You Want Babyfic:

Ouroboros and Three Nights Spent in Bed
Author: st_salieri
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Gorgeous babyfic that manages not to be saccharine in the least. The latter, especially, is beautifully written. This is babyfic for people who hate babyfic. (post-NFA)

Heart Don’t Lie
Author: nautibitz
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: NautiBitz is famous in fandom for her porn. This fic has that and more--it’s plotty, silly, and sweet all at the same time. (S4)

--

When You Want to Get to Know One Half of the Pairing Better:

Ten Thousand
Author: wisteria_
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Spike alone. This is Spike’s journey back from Africa post-soul, and he feels every step of the way. (post-S6)

One
Author: wisteria_
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Buffy alone. After the destruction of Sunnydale, Buffy sets out on her own. These two are companion pieces of sorts, and though the author is serious about the “alone” part, they still touch the heart of what Buffy and Spike are together and the way they influenced each other. (post-“Chosen”)

--

When You Want Proof That Love Is in the Small Things:

Last Step
Author: the_royal_anna
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Buffy and Spike and an ordinary night during S7. This piece matches the mood of the Buffy/Spike relationship during the last half of that season so wonderfully well it makes me ache. (S7)

Super Food World
Author: Valerie X
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: A classic for a reason. During S6, Buffy and Spike go grocery shopping. Fantastic dialogue, of both the hilarious and poignant kind, with flat-out fantastic characterization. (S6)

--

When You Want a Different Format:

Spaiku: Intervention
Author: mere_ubu
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: mere_ubu is a genius and is justifiably famous in Spuffy fandom for her Spaiku, in which she retells episodes of the show in haiku. Once you check out these set during “Intervention,” you’ll definitely want to read them all. The epitome of pithy awesomeness. (S5)

Buffy’s List
Author: st_salieri
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: I’m not sure this technically counts as a fic, but it’s made up of words, so I’m going with it. During S7, Buffy makes a list of the pros and cons to getting back together with Spike. Somehow it manages to be extremely insightful into Buffy, Spike, and who they are together. (S7)

And as a bonus for those of you who sometimes get confused by all the twisted love triangles/squares/shapes of an indeterminate nature of the Buffyverse, check out this handy-dandy chart!

--

When You Want a Happy Ending:

Heliotrope and The Sun, the Moon, the Stars
Author: Gwyneth Rhys
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: Spike comes back from the dead and--silly boy--decides to stay out of Buffy’s way. How much you wanna bet she manages to find him anyway? Beautifully written and happy-inducing. (post-“Chosen”)

Unspoken
Author: anaross
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: Post-“Not Fade Away,” Spike builds Buffy a garden. Schmoop and revelations ensue. A perfect Buffy voice. This fic is my go-to on days when I’m feeling down and want a pick-me-up. (post-NFA)

--

When You Want Something That Goes A Bit (Or More Than a Bit) Dark:

Roundabout
Author: Devil Piglet
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17; dark themes
Why This Must Be Read: Buffy’s possessed by something dark and homicidal, so Spike takes Dawn and runs. Brilliantly written and exciting as hell, it balances sweetness, scariness, suspense. And a hefty dose of Spike&Dawn friendship, for those of you who enjoy such things. (S6)

The Writing on the Wall
Author: hollydb
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: After “The Gift,” Buffy’s friends assume she’s in hell, and this fic explores what might happen if they were right. Spike descends into hell to save her. Very strong Spike characterization and a fascinating plot. (post-S5)

--

When You’re in It for the Long Haul:

The Barbverse
Author: rahirah/BarbC
Rating/Warning(s): See individual stories
Why This Must Be Read: Where to start? rahirah has been working on this series for years and it now covers dozens of fics and hundreds of thousands of words. The story goes AU after S5 and follows Buffy and Spike finding their way to each other and then building a life together--one that’s messy and domestic and anything but normal. This is also one of the ultimate “redemptionista” fics, one that argues that Spike can become a good man without a soul. (post-S5)

My Life Closed Twice
Author: anaross
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: anaross describes this fic as “PWP—poetry without plot,” and it’s a must-read for anyone who likes poetry and William the Bloody Awful Poet. Buffy goes searching for Spike’s remains and finds him in the most unexpected of places. Gloriously lit-geeky and lovely. (post-NFA)

--

When You’re Wondering If Someone Can Actually Pull Off an Early Season Romance:

Persephone
Author: botias
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: botias self-deprecatingly labels this an excuse to have virginal Buffy and evil Spike have all kinds of sex, but it’s really so, so much more than that. It’s also proof that absolutely any premise can work if written well by an author who knows what she’s doing--she manages to pull off the “If we don’t shag, the world will be destroyed!” plot without making me groan. Everything about this fic is a joy to read. A caveat: it’s never been finished, however, the last chapter works reasonably well as an ending and the ride is totally worth it. (S2)

Let’s Get Lost
Author: herself_nyc_fic
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: Instead of going to L.A. after killing Angel and stopping Acathla, Buffy ends up in NYC, where she runs into Spike who needs her to help him out with a little problem of his own. herself_nyc is known for her wonderfully-written and character-driven smut and the dreamlike quality of her writing, and this fic has both. (post-S2)

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When You Want a Little Angel in Your Spuffy:

An Exploding Cigar We Willingly Smoke
Author: tyleet27
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: This love triangle has always been complicated, and in this one-shot, that complicatedness becomes a strength. Beautifully written and insightful. (post-NFA)

Because Cavemen Have Fire
Author: elisi
Rating/Warning(s): Threesome
Why This Must Be Read: Buffy decides she’s died and saved the world enough times to do whatever the hell she wants. And what she wants is both of her vampires. Doesn’t that seem like the obvious solution? Our girl is smart like that. (post-NFA)

--

When You Want Some Buffy/William to Go with Your Spuffy:

Forward to Time Past
Author: unbridled_b
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: In this epic, Buffy is sent back to Victorian London. Guess who she meets? This fic starts off a bit slow, but it’s well worth the effort; its three parts are all absolutely riveting in their own way, and her descriptions of Spike’s life after his turning have become part of my own personal canon. (S5)

Legion of True Hearts
Author: eurydice72
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: Dreams are clearly the way to avoid the sticky time travel issues. In this fic, Buffy, who is visiting London after Angel leaves for L.A., meets someone familiar who may or may not be real in her dreams. Together with the sequel A Symphony of Echoes, this series makes for a long, plotty, and satisfying read. (post-S3)

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When You Want a Soulless Spike Falling for Buffy:

The Butterfly Effect
Author: Cousin Jean
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: There’s actually a whole subgenre of “post-‘Chosen’ Buffy travels back in time to see Spike again” fics, but this is one of the first and best. Lots of fun with trying not to mess up the timeline and also with evil Spike. (post-"Chosen"/S2)

In Fire and Blood
Author: kallysten
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17; character death
Why This Must Be Read: Based on the S3 episode “The Wish,” this fic envisions a much darker world and more jaded versions of Buffy and Spike to go with it. A fun idea well-executed, with nice supporting roles by Giles and a Cordelia who just wants to go home. (AU - S3 - The Wishverse)

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When You Want Something That Will Make You Cry:

Stay
Author: anaross
Rating/Warning(s): Character death
Why This Must Be Read: Many a fic has brought tears to my eyes, but this one left me sobbing. Read it in one sitting if you can. Buffy asks Spike to stay. (post-NFA)

Frail
Author: slaymesoftly
Rating/Warning(s): Character death
Why This Must Be Read: There’s something so right about this fic, as sad as it is. It isn’t an ending I’d pick if I could choose one for them, but it’s certainly believable. Delicate and true. Even Slayers can grow old and frail. (post-NFA)

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When You Want Something Bittersweet:

The Last Days of Autumn
Author: cindergal
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Immortality isn’t always a gift, especially when you have to watch the ones you love change while you stay the same. Beautiful and poignant, the epitome of bittersweet. (post-“Chosen”)

Emulating Atlas
Author: Tanith
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Spike prides himself on keeping his promises, and this fic takes that character trait to its logical conclusion. This is his future. (post-everything)

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When You Want Something Silly:

The Penguinverse
Author: Practically everyone currently active in Spuffy fandom
Rating/Warning(s): Excessive silliness
Why This Must Be Read: Proof that “Spuffy fandom” is the silliest (and most fun) group of people ever assembled: a stray suggestion about “All Penguin AU” grew into the inside joke that wouldn’t die. One of these was even listed on fandom_secrets as being more in character than regular fics… (The insanity of our depraved minds?)

The Completely True Story of Buffy, the Slayer of the Vampyres as told by A.W.
Author: st_salieri
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Buffy’s pregnant! Who’s the father? Of course the only possible person to answer that question is Andrew, the consummate Storyteller himself. Double the giggles because this fic has illustrations! (post-NFA)

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When You’re Willing to Read a WIP:

Thought You Should Know
Author: angearia
Rating/Warning(s):
Why This Must Be Read: Dissatisfied with the potential (heh) being squandered in the current Season 8 comics, angearia uses the plot and themes of the comics to build something worthwhile. It might actually make you hate the comics more when you see what could have been done with them. This story feels like the show, with its balance of action, drama, humor, and romance. (post-“Chosen”/S8)

West of the Sun, East of the Moon
Author: KnifeEdge
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read: Did I spend the last day and a half reading all of the currently posted chapters of this fic in practically one sitting? Yes, I did, just so I could rec it to you. 40 chapters so far, and the writer assures us she’s got lots more in the bag. The updates come fast and furious. An AU in S5 (no Dawn, no Glory) featuring a fun new Big Bad, lots of prophecies, and great character voices. (S5)


A note on timelines for those of you less familiar with Buffy fandom: I have included the temporal setting of each fic in parentheses at the end of the summary. Each season of the show is indicated with an "S" plus the number of the season (ex: S5). Stories labeled with a simple "SX" take place at a given moment during the season (usually the story itself will tell you when it branches off from canon or, if it's a canon-compliant fic, which episode it is set before/during/after). Stories taking place immediately after the season and including everything in the season as canon are labeled "post-SX." Stories taking place after the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and including the whole show as canon are labeled "post-'Chosen.'" Stories taking place after the series finale of Angel the Series and including the whole of that show as canon are labeled "post-NFA." Feel free to ask me any questions if something isn't clear.
 
 
 
The Mezzanine: 147 daysdeird1 on August 31st, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
YAY.

*adds to mems*
Lirazel: [btvs] bloody revelationpenny_lane_42 on August 31st, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
YAY indeed! I'm adding this to my own memories because it's going to be pretty useful to me, too!
(no subject) - natural_blue_26 on September 1st, 2010 12:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - natural_blue_26 on September 1st, 2010 12:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
natural_blue_26: Spike/Buffynatural_blue_26 on September 1st, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
I am so incredibly happy you did this! :glomp: So much fic to read!!!
Lirazel: [btvs] just a smokescreenpenny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you're pleased! And I hope you enjoy each piece that you read!
Emmie: Spuffy OMWF Kissangearia on September 1st, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Addendum to the Rec List
Your lovely het_reccer, Lirazel, is also an incredibly talented Spuffy author herself and you'd be missing out if you didn't read every beautiful word of prose she's ever written about the couple.

When You Want Poetry That Makes You Cry:

Ars Poetica
Rating/Warning(s): R
Why This Must Be Read: The story of Buffy and Spike's relationship as told through poetry, a perfect scene for every season that captures their journey and their future.


When You Want a Post-Apocalyptic Romance:

Scarlet and Midnight
Rating/Warning(s): R
Why This Must Be Read: It's dark, brutal and beautiful. The summary gives you a taste--The world is remade in shades of scarlet and midnight, and all that's left is each other--and the story will satisfy you soul-deep.


When You Want Dawn Playing Matchmaker:

Love and Blackmail
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13
Why This Must Be Read: A wonderful Dawn POV (with bonus romance), a perfect Spike and Buffy reunion, and Andrew being Andrew. Delightful, heartwarming fun and romance with added Dawn/Spike friendship. This story will leaving you smiling--nay, clapping with delight.


When You Want Outside Perspective

Prism
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13
Why This Must Be Read: Spuffy as seen through the eyes of the Potentials, giving lesser known characters new life (and better characterization than the show!) while showing the quiet romance between Spike and Buffy during Season 7. There are no words, only tiny actions to be observed as their love is put into a whole new context.

Kaleidoscope
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13
Why This Must Be Read: This time through the eyes of those closest to the separated lovers, Spike and Buffy are drawn back together and their love observed by dear friends.


Edited at 2010-09-01 12:05 am (UTC)
Emmie: Andrew Crime Tastes Funnyangearia on September 1st, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List
*waits for Lirazel to be embarrassed*

*doesn't care*

*she so knew this was going to happen*
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - penny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - angearia on September 1st, 2010 12:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - penny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 12:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - ahigheroctave on September 1st, 2010 12:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - angearia on September 1st, 2010 12:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - penny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 12:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - slaymesoftly on September 1st, 2010 01:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - penny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 01:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - penny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 01:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - aerintine on September 1st, 2010 05:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Addendum to the Rec List - penny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Caroline: (BtVS) Spuffy Back Porchahigheroctave on September 1st, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
I LOVE THIS. Just thought I should say, and I agree with 90% of the recs (and the rest I have not read). However, while I know it's kind of lame to rec your own fic, I still think Ars Poetica and Kaleidoscope should be on here.
Lirazel: [btvs] understandpenny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
Good! I always figure that everyone else has been in Buffy fandom far longer than I have and has read everything ever, but I was hoping that there would be at least a few that people may have overlooked. So I'm thrilled!

And thank you for your kind words. You're too sweet!
slaymesoftlyslaymesoftly on September 1st, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
*flails* I'm going down the list, nodding when I know one and agree completely, making mental notes about the ones I don't think I've read (although, as we all know, it's possible I have and just never noticed the titles...) - Anyway! OMG, there was my little "Frail" on this list of amazing fics. I am humbled and proud all at the same time.

(reread your meta, too and I still think it should be required reading for every Bangel out there).
Lirazel: [btvs] not giving in this timepenny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
Oh, good! I was hoping there would be lots of agreement and lots of "Oh, I need to read that one!" going on!

I really do love the stuffing out of "Frail." I don't know what it is about it except that I could so see it happening. And it makes me tear up!

(Hahaha! Unexpected by fantastic compliment!)
Sculllaaaaaaaaay!blackfrancine on September 1st, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Yay! There's several I haven't read on here! I'm so excited.

Your manifesto is full of perfection!
Lirazel: [btvs] only lovepenny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
Oh, good! That thrills me!

And thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it! Now that I'm done I can reply to all those comments that have been languishing in my journal!
Sunny: Buffy smileysunny_serenity on September 1st, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
I HAVE THE BIGGEST GRIN ON MY FACE RIGHT NOW BECAUSE YES YES YES YES TO EVERYTHING YOU SAID AND ALSO, FIC!!!!
Lirazel: [btvs] like you mean itpenny_lane_42 on September 1st, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
OH THAT MADE ME GRIN SO BIG TO HEAR THAT. THANK YOU!
chorelle: BTVS - For Herchorelle on September 1st, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
This is lovely, showing the good aspects of S/B. Not many people can see that, but really, S/B is sometimes the only thing that gets me through Season 7.
Will def be checking out some of these fics in the not too distant future (I hope anyway!)
Lirazel: [btvs] rest nowpenny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And I hope you enjoy any of the fics you check out!
Rebcake: btvs_spuf_carpetrebcake on September 1st, 2010 04:15 am (UTC)
Awesome, plus one!
Nice work, love! You have many excellent points. *nods* It goes right into memories and I'm going to relish reading the stories I've missed!

I have one addition to your terrific list. This particular work hits a ton of your categories (lighthearted, outside perspective, very different format, and about a half-dozen others), and it's so fun that I just have to pimp it.

Attack of the Cookies Monsters by rahirah
It's a colorful picture book about a domestic adventure in the household of a slayer and her vampire, as written by one of their kids. Classic chaos. Also: fun for the whole family. I know people who print it out and read it to their kids, or make paper dolls with it, or, well, it's pretty versatile.

Yes, you mentioned the Barbverse, and this is included therein, but it also stands out as a unique work in the Buffyverse.
Lirazel: [btvs] utter trustpenny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Awesome, plus one!
Oh, I love this one! I'm so glad you mentioned it--I had a difficult time figuring out which Barbverse fic to include, so I went the easy route and just recced the whole thing, but I wish I'd thought of this one!

Glad you enjoyed the post!
the business of benefiting hussies: something effulgentmarketchippie on September 1st, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely.

I only read part of this because I'm slowly swimming through s6 (and keep rewatching "Once More With Feeling" and "Smashed" because I LOVE my s6 so much right now and will never not want to take it apart), but you're clearsighted and you love them and I like what you've written about this ship which I am beginning to profoundly love. And, of course, I can't wait to come back when I can read fic. Yours not excepted.
Lirazel: [btvs] bloody hellpenny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I love that you love S6! It's my favorite--it's not the best, probably, from a technical perspective, but it's the one with the most layers and complications, and it's the one that made me fall in love with Buffy as a person. It's rough, but it's worth it, in my opinion.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! And I hope you like any of the fics you might read!
Snicksnickfic on September 1st, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
Yay!!

Alas, your link to Writing on the Wall is broke. :(
Lirazel: [btvs] b/s/rocket launcher = OT3penny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know--I fixed it!
Sari: Spuffy cuddlesarian71 on September 1st, 2010 07:12 am (UTC)
Oh, I love my OTP! *ecstatic sigh* This post says it all. Wonderful job! :)

*adds this treasure to memories*
Lirazel: [btvs] only lovepenny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Mrs Darcy: Touched by killtheprettyxelisi on September 1st, 2010 07:23 am (UTC)
She has reached the point where she's given of herself for so very, very long that she feels that she has nothing--is nothing--left. And yet he thinks she's warm and beautiful and kind and all of these things that she wants to be but can't because she has to make herself hard and apart in order to take care of everyone else all the time and continue to save the world.
This. So much. I think what I love most - apart from all the other things - is that Spike gives Buffy back to herself. That he sees all the things she thinks she has lost and sacrificed.

Also thanks for reccing me! Although I want to point out that Cavemen is only rated 15. No actual smut. :)

ETA: Actually, another rec: So This is How They Are. Post-Chosen/NFA, and beautifully observed by Dawn. This should be canon.

Edited at 2010-09-01 07:43 am (UTC)
Lirazel: [btvs] rescuepenny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
is that Spike gives Buffy back to herself. That he sees all the things she thinks she has lost and sacrificed.

Exactly. He can see her when no one else can.

You're welcome, and I've changed the rating.

Oh, I love that fic! Thanks so much for sharing!
(no subject) - red_satin_doll on April 14th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elisi on April 14th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - red_satin_doll on April 14th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elisi on April 14th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - red_satin_doll on April 14th, 2013 08:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elisi on April 14th, 2013 08:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - red_satin_doll on April 15th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
petzipellepingo: clapping piglet by peaces_iconspetzipellepingo on September 1st, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)
Bravo!

You did a wonderful job of assembling all of this. You deserve many pats on the back from all of us who love Spike and Buffy.
Lirazel: [btvs] realpenny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I love your little Piglet icon!
Naomi: Spuffy sleeping togetherfrelling_tralk on September 1st, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
Fabulous post :)
Lirazel: [btvs] just a smokescreenpenny_lane_42 on September 6th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you!