But What About True Love?
Spike/Anya is a fairly small part of the Buffy Fandom, this is true, but there is a great potential with these two characters to write great fiction. The problem? Spike and Anya have both clearly been in deep love with others, and not necessarily each other. This fact cannot be ignored when writing canon fiction; those other relationships will always hover over Spike and Anya. This can work to the author’s advantage if one is willing to look for similarities and emotional themes that bind them together.
Spike’s Two Great Loves
Spike’s first great love was Drusilla, his sire. It is clear in canon that he had deep love for her, even when soulless. It is also clear that Spike’s love had a nasty habit of manifesting itself in jealousy, much of it warranted of course, and violence directed at Drusilla and those who crossed his path. His relationship with Dru was turbulent and very long lasting; to write Spike as though his time with her was unimportant to him is to undercut that which makes his character so fascinating. Spike was willing to stay with a woman who was insane and vindictive at times and loving and needy at others, he had great patience for her the majority of the time, a patience that can only come from love or at least an idea of what love should be. His relationship with Drusilla will influence any other that he enters in to.
Of course Spike’s love for Buffy was a defining part of his life. His love for her led him to seek out a soul and try to redeem himself, but before that their relationship was not all chocolate and roses. Just as he did with Drusilla Spike let his jealousy and natural disposition to violence cloud much of his time with Buffy. This is not to say that he didn’t truly love her, that’s a debate I am not getting into, however I will say that in many ways Buffy filled the roll in his life while he was in Sunnydale that Drusilla had played before that. She sometimes showed him kindness, or at least tolerance, other times she simply acted out her own violent impulses. In that respect Spike and Buffy were as similar in their actions as Spike and Drusilla had been.
The two major loves of Spike’s life share the commonalities of deep love and violence. To write a Spike, even an ensouled Spike, capable of love without some measure of violence is not being true to his character. Even ensouled the demon still lives within him, and he will still crave that edge to his relationship. He will still be sharp witted and quick to hurt with his words, yet he will strive to be a man worth having. Spike is a romantic and a poet in his own way, he is also willing to shag a woman (or vampire) he does not love simply to have sex. All of these characteristics are what make Spike, well, Spike.
It is also helpful to remember that Spike has a clear idea of what love *should* be. He is willing to overlook many signs that his relationship is in trouble to continue believing in love. This tendency can be viewed either as hopeless romanticism or utter blindness to the situation around him, both of which make for interesting fiction because they give writers the chance to explore what is actually present in Spike’s relationship and what he only *wishes* were there. Spike cannot always make the distinction between real feeling and need, so it is up to the writer to show their audience both sides of the affair, or if following only Spike’s POV to show the irony in his romanticism.
Anya’s Two Great Loves
When Anya was still human, Olaf was her great love. It is unclear whether he and she were married or if unwed couples were allowed to live together in Sjornjost, it is clear though that Anya (or Aud) loved him. She also had issues with jealousy, again this may or may not have been warranted, but she acted on her jealousy in violent ways, going so far as to turn Olaf into a troll. When writing Anya it is important to remember that these tendencies were there before she was turned into a vengeance demon, she had some inherent violence in her even as a human and she wasn’t afraid to act on it.
Once Anya became human and fell in love with Xander her jealous nature did not simply disappear. She had more than a few standoffs with Willow regarding Xander’s affections, although in this case it seems she had nothing to worry about. She also reminisced about the vengeance she inflicted, still seeming to delight in it years after becoming human. When Anya returned to her job as a vengeance demon after being left at the altar by Xander in Hell’s Bells she slipped back into the role fairly easy. Anya loved Xander for several years and yet when it ended her first instinct was to return to the violence she had used in the past.
Anya’s impulses towards jealousy and violence, as well as idealizing her partners are evident in both of her great loves. She is a true and loyal lover, but when crossed she is quite deadly. This is important to remember when writing Anya, because those tendencies do not just get buried. She is not afraid to act on her jealous nature, or to inflict serious damage. Adversely she is the first to comfort a hurt lover, even an ex lover, she is compassionate, even when she doesn’t want to be, and she is willing to have sex with someone she does not see a future with because she is a very sexual creature.
Anya also shares Spike’s romantic view of love, believing that true love is possible, and even though she has seen eleven hundred years of infidelity, betrayal, and heartbreak she clings to the notion that love can overcome any obstacle. She is prone to fantasizing about her partner, making him out to be the perfect mate, and at the same time she is made out to be the perfect woman. She is incapable of seeing that both parts of a relationship are responsible for its outcome, and so she generally speaking, puts all of the blame on the man for not holding women up to the same pedestal she herself does.
Spike and Anya Together
When bringing two volatile characters like Spike and Anya together there can be sparks of both the good kind and the bad. They can come together for casual sex, but they are also romantic people. They might blow it off as casual but these two have known true love and will be looking for it again, this can make writing them an adventure because the writer must try to find that believable balance between falling head over heels and recognizing a mutual need.
These two are also prone to jealousy, violence, and pettiness. To think that a relationship between them would be without the occasional blow out and slung accusation is naive. Were they to enter into a serious true love kind of partnership it would most likely mirror the other relationships in their past. An author could ignore this fact and write them as a fluffy pairing, but Spike/Anya is much more interesting when written true to character. When their penchants for violence are channeled, whether writing them as evil/ensouled or demon/human respectively it makes for a good read. This aspect of the pairing doesn’t necessarily have to result in "Dark Fic", but it can have undertones of these elements, spicing up the scene and making for some great fiction.
The potential for fear of a relationship with each other might also be present. Spike and Anya have had enough conversations about the good old days to know that they each harbor serious violence and they know those tendencies are liable to surface at any time. This fear may never truly leave their minds, but they may be the only people suited to understand those tendencies and thus they make a great pairing. The sparks that make them dangerous also draw them to each other. They are more than just friends in canon, so it’s not a very big leap to put them in a serious relationship, the fun part is figuring out what kind of relationship that will be.