A Triangle with Many Sides By Tania
When we think of the characters of Angel and Spike many things come to mind; their bravery, their tortured souls, their personalities, etc. It is hard however to think of these two characters without putting them into the context of their relationships with those around them. Both vampires are capable of deep love, harsh violence, and jealousy. Donít forget the jealousy.
Whether they are pining over Buffy, worrying over Drusilla, or just trying to act in ways that wonít incur Darlaís wrath, both men take their women seriously. It is important for the fanfiction writer to remember that while their interaction with each other makes for some good reading, it is the effects of all of their relationships that have made Spike and Angel into the men they are. All of their loves and friendships influence them as greatly as their own histories. The fanfiction writer does well to remember that the women whom Spike and Angel have loved left deep scars on them both, and that for fiction to ring true with the reader these loves cannot just be cast aside or ignored. It is only when we embrace the pain, so to speak, that we truly see the complexity of these two men.
When it comes to Spike and Angel there is one person who has greatly influenced both of them, and continues to stand in their way to a smooth relationship of any sort...Angelus. Angelís evil alter ego helped to mold the vampire William the Bloody became. While they were only together for twenty years the bond was close. Canon has shown that their relationship was rocky at best, they fought, sometimes brutally, but there were strong feelings there nonetheless. This was shown on several occasions when the two met many years later. There was the infamous "you were my yoda" comment by Spike, as well as his obvious elation when Angelus returned to him and Drusilla. Unfortunately this reunion did not go well. Angelus tried to destroy the world and Spike turned on him. Any subsequent meeting between Spike and Angel will no doubt be tainted by this encounter, and of course the scenes from "In the Dark" where Spike had Angel tortured for the better part of a day.
Spike was not always the ruthless killer or the insane guy in the basement. There was a time when he was a man capable of passion and romantic prose, a man who cared for his ailing mother enough to mend her health at any cost, and a man so blinded by his romantic ideal that he could not see anything but fascination in the eyes of the woman who killed him. William is a man that often stands between Spike and his demon as a reminder of what it was to be human and driven to be better than your station would suggest. This is the man that Angelus, Drusilla, and Darla first met, and the same man that Buffy knew to be there when they were alone and he didnít feel the need to put on his Spike disguise. If we remember the man beneath the monster and the fact that those who know him best still see traces of William below the hard exterior it is easier to write Spike without turning him into a crying ponce.
Angel and Buffy shared the true-deep love that comes from shared trauma as well as shared destiny. It all looked really good on screen, but as Darla pointed out many times it was in a way the man who had been Ďmarriedí or bound to one woman for a hundred and fifty years getting a taste of something new. It is important for the fanfiction writer to not simply label the Buffy/Angel relationship as True Love and that is all. Their relationship was more complex than that; it had angst, violence, sex, pain, as well as many secrets. It is just as easy for writers, especially slash writers, to vilify Buffy or make her naive, bitchy, or just stupid. This undercuts the entire pathos of their relationship. It is hard to write about Angel without understanding that whatever the writerís feelings about Buffy, the character of Angel considers her his soul mate.
Spike and Buffy have an entirely different sort of relationship. They were brought together by deep pain, the pain Spike felt at being an outcast to both the vampire and human worlds, and the pain Buffy felt at having to lie to her friends to protect their feelings, while neglecting her own. They had a passion-filled affair, full of violence and hurt, but also filled with deep sentimentality. This relationship with Spike was for Buffy what her and Angelís relationship had been for him; something new and at the complete opposite end of the love spectrum from her previous relationships. While Angel had had a long lasting but loveless relationship with Darla and then great love with Buffy, she was now having a passionate, but loveless affair with Spike.
The key thing to remember when writing about Buffy from within a Spike/Angel centric story is to not belittle their feelings for Buffy. They both loved her immensely and they both feel they were the right man and better lover for her. This jealousy will most likely erupt in a physical fight as well as many childish name-calling matches, as most we have seen on the show. Neither man is known for controlling his rage, whether against men, women, or demons, they tend to show their feelings with their fists.
Angelís relationship with Darla both as Angelus and his ensouled counterpart is complex. She was his sire and mother figure, his lover and for all intents and purposes, wife. She was also his nemesis, often leaving him stranded in battle, outnumbered, even wounded. He was the great love of her life, or unlife at least, and yet, she was not his. Angelus was a creature incapable of love, as his human self, Liam, had been. He showed her little loyalty and tended to think of her as a possession more than an equal. Even after regaining his soul and fleeing from their family group, Angel returned to her, and after she rejected him a second time he went to the new world, in search of if not her, her roots.
Spikeís relationship with Darla is less clear. It has never been stated in canon exactly how long Spike and Drusilla stayed with Darla after Angel left the second time, although they were still with her two years after Angel regained his soul. It is possible that Spike looked to Darla as a motherly/grandmotherly figure like Dru did, but her feelings for him, other than anger that he may have ruined the only chance at removing Angelís soul when he ate the gypsyís family, have never really been shown.
As obsessions go, Drusilla was Angelusís worst. Angel has said in canon that he believed his destruction of her sanity to be the most heinous thing he ever did as Angelus. Yet, when Angelus reemerged one of the first things he did was rekindle his relationship with her. There are many fanfictions where Angelus is annoyed by her rantings and ready to be rid of her, but in canon he referred to her as precious and seemed to find her gift fascinating. These are important aspects to remember when writing Angel and Spike together. While Angelus did not have the reverence and utter love of her that Spike did, he considered her his property, and was not entirely willing to share her with Spike. In the early years of their relationship he still referred to Darla and Drusilla as Ďhis womení even though Dru was enamored with Spike.
In the end each relationship that Spike and Angel enter into has three sides: the womanís, Angel/Angelusís or the womanís, Spike/Williamís. Both men have to deal with the women in their lives (and each otherís lives) with the knowledge they have accrued as their ensouled selves, and the damage done by their demons. If the writer embraces that these are not merely two dimensional characters who will act in predictable patterns, their interaction can make for some fascinating stories. If, however, the writer chooses to ignore the complexity of the characters they might as well be writing original characters, because they will not be recognizable as the vampires we know and love.