Emmie (angearia) wrote,

To Risk the Pain

After watching a bunch of Spuffy Productions Spike/Buffy videos last night, I felt a hankering to watch my favorite couple on TV. This led to a quick marathon of Touched, End of Days and Chosen. Here's some thoughts on Buffy and Spike and love:


Spike's insecure.  That's one of the chief differences between Spike-without-a-soul and Spike-with-a-soul.  With a soul, he's extremely hesitant and insecure.  Shades of William, no doubt.  Without a soul, he's brash and rude (and he gets some of his confident attitude back after he dies to save the world and feels like his Champion-card has been punched). 

So here's a few conversations:

End of Days

BUFFY
(walks after him) You're a dope.

SPIKE
I'm a what?

BUFFY
You're a dope. And a bonehead. And you're shirty.

SPIKE
Have you gone completely carrot-top?

BUFFY
Do you see this? (holds up the scythe) This may actually help me fight my war. This might be the key to everything. And the reason I'm holding it is because of you. Because of the strength that you gave me last night. Look, I am tired of defensiveness and weird, mixed signals. You know, I have Faith for that. Let's just get to the truth here, OK? I don't know how you felt about last night, but I will not—

SPIKE
(breathes in, looks away) Terrified.

BUFFY
Of what?

SPIKE
(lets out a slow sigh) Last night was... (looks up) God, I'm such a jerk. I can't do this.

BUFFY
Spike...

SPIKE
It was the best night of my life. If you poke fun at me, you bloody well better use that, 'cause I couldn't bear it. It may not mean that much to you, but—

BUFFY
I just told you it did.

SPIKE
(sighs) Yeah...I hear you say it, but... I've lived for soddin' ever, Buffy. I've done everything. Done things with you I can't spell, but... I've never... been close... to anyone. Least of all, you. 'Til last night. All I did was... (smiles) hold you, watch you sleep. And it was the best night of my life. So, yeah... I'm... terrified.

BUFFY
You don't have to be.

SPIKE
(looks at her) Were you there with me?

BUFFY
(looks straight at him) I was.

SPIKE
What does that mean?

BUFFY
I don't know. Does it have to mean something?

SPIKE
No. (looks away) Not right now.

BUFFY
Maybe when...

SPIKE
No. (throws up his hand) Let's just leave it.

BUFFY
OK.

SPIKE
(sighs) We'll go be heroes. (walks out the door)

 

Buffy's hesitant in this conversation, focused on the mission, until she realizes how profoundly Spike doesn't understand that he's the reasons she has a mission again.  And that that means so much to her.  He gave her back purpose in her life.  That they're partners in this.  And then she confirms that what he terms as "the best night of my life" was of them finally getting "close" (something they'd never done before while having sex) and that she was there with him, she felt it too.  Then he asks "what does that mean?" and she hesitates.  Just like she hesitates in this conversation, the world is about to end and she's cookie dough:
 


End of Days

Buffy walks out of the tomb. Angel follows her.

ANGEL
Is it Spike? (Buffy stops walking, turns to face Angel) You're not telling me something. And his scent, I remember it pretty well.

BUFFY
You vampires. Did anybody ever tell you the whole smelling people thing's a little gross? (walks away)

ANGEL
(follows) Is he your boyfriend?

BUFFY
Is that your business?

ANGEL
You in love with him? OK, maybe I'm outta line, but this is kind of a curve ball for me. I mean, we are talking about Spike here.

BUFFY
It's different. He's different. He has a soul now.

ANGEL
(stops) Oh. (looks up) Well.

BUFFY
What?

ANGEL
That's great. (mumbling to himself) Everyone's got a soul now.

BUFFY
He'll make a difference.

ANGEL
(mumbling) You know, I started it. The whole having a soul. Before it was all the cool new thing.

BUFFY
Oh, my God. Are you 12?

ANGEL
I'm getting the brush off for Captain Peroxide. It doesn't necessarily bring out the champion in me.

BUFFY
You're not getting the brush off. Are you just gonna come here and go all Dawson on me every time I have a boyfriend?

ANGEL
Aha! (points) Boyfriend!

BUFFY
He's not. But...he is in my heart.

ANGEL
That'll end well. (walks away, leans on a tombstone)

BUFFY
What was the highlight of our relationship? When you broke up with me or when I killed you? I'm well aware of my stellar history with guys... (sighs, leans beside Angel) And, no, I don't see fat grandchildren in the offing with Spike, but I don't think that really matters right now. (chuckles) You know, in the midst of all this insanity, a couple things are actually starting to make sense. And the guy thing— (sighs) I always feared there was something wrong with me, you know, because I couldn't make it work. But maybe I'm not supposed to.

ANGEL
Because you're the slayer?

BUFFY
(looks at Angel) Because—OK, I'm cookie dough. I'm not done baking. I'm not finished becoming whoever the hell it is I'm gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and maybe one day I turn around and realize I'm ready. I'm cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat— (eyes go wide as she catches herself) or enjoy warm, delicious cookie me, then...that's fine. That'll be then. When I'm done.

ANGEL
Any thoughts on who might enjoy— (sighs, irritated) Do I have to go with the cookie analogy?

BUFFY
I'm not really thinking that far ahead. That's kind of the point.

ANGEL
(hands the amulet to Buffy) I'll go start working on the second front. Make sure I don't have to use it. (walks away)

BUFFY
(calls after him) Angel. (he turns to look at her) I do... sometimes think that far ahead.

ANGEL
Sometimes is something. (smiles, walks away)

BUFFY
Be a long time coming. Years, if ever.

ANGEL
(shrugs) I ain't getting any older. (walks away)


One of the chief differences here is that Angel is brash and confident in this scene, even petulant in his assumption that Buffy love him more than whatever "in my heart" feelings she has for Spike.  (Their love is destined!  It's forever!  She's still his girl!)  But she still puts off Angel, unable to give any promises.  It's not the right time and she has to focus on THE END OF THE WORLD.  But then she throws him a bone and says "I do... sometimes think that far ahead."  But wait--what was she about to say in her earlier conversation to Spike when he cut her off?  She said, "Maybe--"  And he was too insecure to hear her out, "No, let's just leave it.  We'll go be heroes."  

Buffy is treating both Angel and Spike very similarly in terms of holding them back emotionally.  Making no promises or declarations.  But when it comes down to a partner to stand at her side, she chooses Spike.  And when it comes to where she wants to spend (perhaps) her last night on Earth, it's in Spike's arms (she could've been playing an RPG game with Giles as a wounded dwarf with the mystical power of a doily!  She could've been hanging with her best friend Xander, too!).  She wants to be with Spike.  She keeps choosing Spike over other people.  She's been choosing Spike over other people all season. 

Just a note about how many people view Angel and Buffy as OOC in their scene.  Anyone watch How I Met Your Mother?  There's an episode where one of Lily's (Alyson Hannigan's characters) old college friends comes to New York to hang.  And horror of horrors, Lily regresses to ghetto talk.  Girl, don't be up in my grill!  Her current friends are aghast.  Thankfully, when Lily's old friend leaves, Lily reverts back to her normal mode of speaking.  It's a temporary regression of character based on former context.  I've experienced this myself.  When you're around an old friend or someone influential in your past, you sometimes go back into old modes of behavior, kinda like you're caught in a loop.  Like say, you're a mature and self-sufficient adult but when you go to your parents' house sometimes you just want to be squeezed tight by mom and have her make you hot chocolate and brush her hands through your hair.  No?  It's a flashback to a former you.  You're not a child anymore, but for that moment you feel like one and you act like one.  But that's not who you are now.

Buffy is now a woman who quietly shoulders burdens and has trouble opening her heart: 
 

"I'm starting to feel like ... being the Slayer is turning me into stone... Maybe being the perfect Slayer means being too hard to love at all. I already feel like I can hardly say the words. ... Giles ... I love you. Love ... love, love, love, love, Giles, it feels strange." - Buffy in Intervention.
 

She doesn't make new friends the way she did when she was younger.  The years of being a Slayer and her heart being broken time and again have made her open heart hesitant and fearful.  She's afraid to "risk the pain" and admitting she loves someone new is dangerous.  She never said "I love you" to Riley.  Ponder that.  She never declared romantic love for another partner after Angel.  This is who Buffy is now.  But she's shown us in Season 7 that she keeps choosing Spike, keeps choosing him to be her partner in all moments big (fighting by her side) and small (sleeping in his arms).  Or perhaps it's the other way around, the small moments are where they fight together while the big moments are where they're being close and intimate.  Intimacy.  That's what they have now.  Trust.  She trusts him more than anyone.  Let's him be close to her when she's pushing everyone else away, even Angel who she said she'd "loved him more than [she] will ever love anything in this life"--but note the past tense.  She's not saying she still loves Angel more than she'll ever love anything, but that she was able to love Angel with all her heart back then, back before her heart was torn up and tortured. 

It's a constant struggle for her to open up, to open her heart, but Buffy finally takes the plunge and gets the "fire back" when she clasps Spike's hand and their joint grip alights in fire.  She finally "risk[s] the pain" and says, "I love you."  Yet Spike is still caught within his own uncertainties.  His idea of great love is wild and passionate.  When you love, you make verbal declarations.  He doesn't understand that for Buffy, love is about what she's willing to do for you.  That's why Spike's love only became real when he withstood Glory's torture to protect Dawn.  For Buffy, words are play things she manipulates and twists around, having fun abusing the English language.  It's in actions that she finds truth.  Yet I believe Spike thinks everything she's done for him was out of pity; helping the cellar dweller get back on his feet, not realizing that their growing intimacy and trust were helping to heal Buffy's heart and finally make her feel safe enough to declare, "I love you."  His insecurities deny it, "No, you don't, but thanks for saying it," but Buffy's been showing her quiet, loving heart the entire season.  She's been declaring her love for him by choosing him all along.  She doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve anymore--back when she did, it was demolished (by Angel when he lost his soul) and it's taken her years to recover from that torment. 

So I read that scene as exactly what's given to us, no clever interpretations.  Buffy loves Spike because she says so.  Spike's doesn't believe her because he says so--he's too insecure to believe her because he thinks she's saying it out of pity.  He doesn't realize that what they have together is unique; an all-encompassing trust and intimacy paired with attraction (hello!) and affection. 

And so she finally loved after years of being unable to declare it, and he was finally loved as he'd always wanted to be (whole-heartedly), but he didn't believe her because now he was afraid to "risk the pain" (something he never feared while soulless).  There lies the inherent emotional tragedy--not only is Spike dying, but he's rejecting Buffy's love that she's fought so hard to give and he's fought so hard to "bask" in, to bask yet he doesn't realize it's rays have been shining down on him this entire time.  And that way her eyes shine as she looks at Spike choosing to sacrifice himself to save the world.  She's proud of him.  She understands his choice because it was her choice two years before.  Even in heroic death, they are akin.  His sacrifice was once hers.  Partners, through and through.

This is the story I see when I watch Chosen.  And it's the story I see when I watch AtS Season 5 and still see Spike insecure in how Buffy feels about him (an insecurity that Angel works to increase exponentially).  So what happens next?  This is why I'm riveted by what's coming in Season 8.  Riveted and "terrified" just like Spike.  Because in Season 8 Buffy is supposed to face "betrayal, the closest, the most unexpected."  And to me, that betrayal would be from Spike.  Because Spike is the one who she shares that close trust with, the one who helped heal her heart.  She trusts him to never betray her (not after having fought so hard to win back his soul).  But Spike's characterization with Buffy is now about insecurity; I could see this being used to bring him to a point of turning on her somehow.  I hope not, but I'm worried.  Oh, beloved OTP. 

 

 

Tags: meta, my love is for buffy always and forever, spuffy
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