This is not a love story.
It's a bit difficult to say that when attempted murder occurs with some regularity.
This is a story about a human woman and a vampire man.
Many would say that love shouldn't come into the equation at all.
In every generation there is born a Slayer. Yadda yadda yadda. We know this already.
In every generation, there are hundreds upon hundreds of vampires. Many of them don't survive the first month. If there is a Slayer in town, we whittle that expectancy down to the first week.
However, sometimes someone comes along who is special.
If I told you that there was a vampire who fell in love with a Slayer, would you believe me?
I'm not talking about a vampire with a soul.
I'm not talking about a vampire like Dracula (and let's be honest, does he even count? I mean really.)
I'm talking about a vampire. A fangy, violent vampire in black leather with black boots and rough, calloused hands. A vampire who has killed young children in the middle of the night and feasted on the fear of wars and rebellions. A vampire who has killed Slayers.
The thing about Slayers, though, is they've done their fair share of killing.
You see, it's like this: every vampire was once a human, therefore every dead vampire is still another dead being. And even if sometimes they were worthless scamps (we're looking at you, Angel), sometimes they weren't. Sometimes, if they hadn't been vampires, they would have lived out a nice life in society, failed attempts at poetry aside.
Remember that this vampire is special.
And we're still not talking about Angel.
Most Slayers don't fall in love either.
The first time this Slayer saw this vampire, he was trying to kill her. But it's only fair, because she was trying to kill him right back and they were evenly matched.
The vampire had a girlfriend at the time, but she was quite literally a psychotic bitch, and so we don't talk about her much.
There were a few other times that our two met up, involving fighting and attempted death.
But after that. After that is what's important.
This vampire helped this Slayer save the world.
Yeah, you heard that right. He helped her save the world.
Why did he do it? Well, he likes this world you see. He likes the food. The football. The people.
And he likes the Slayer.
Though that probably wasn't one of his reasons at time.
Right then, she was a temporary ally, and that meant something.
Later on, things got interesting.
There was melodrama.
There was tears.
There was sex.
There was almost a wedding.
And then he helped her save the world again.
This vampire helped the Slayer save the world twice. Probably more times, although these two are the more memorable ones.
He didn't even have a soul the first time around!
That's far more than you can say for Angel.
See, this time that he saved the world with the Slayer? That time was different.
Because this time he died. (We think. And it still counts, even if you come back.)
There was this necklace, you see. Tacky thing, but it had Special Properties.
(Be careful of what you pick up in thrift stores. It's always the shiny ones that get you. And the lockets. Lockets are just overall bad news.)
He sacrificed himself to save the world.
It was a big step for a people-eating vampire.
It might be a cliché to say that he did it all for love.
But yeah. He did it all for love.
The Slayer said that she loved him.
He didn't believe her, though. He told her he didn't, but thanks anyways. Always polite, our vampire.
And then he went out in a blaze of glory. (Literally. There were flames and everything).
But then it gets tricky. Cause he came back.
So at first he was a ghost, and because he was non-corporeal that probably doesn't count. But eventually he was returned to human form, and then our vampire doesn't even call the Slayer! He didn't even pick up a phone and say hello!
Okay, so there might have been an apocalypse going on and there might have been a dragon in it and lots of other things. But still. At this point in the story our vampire here is The Hero. We're rooting for him. He's the Badass Longcoat and we want him to get the girl.
So of course his own stupidity gets in the way.
Because he didn't call her.
And as you might expect, she got kind of mad. Especially when she found out that there was an apocalypse and she wasn't invited.
So they fought, and they won, and it was a fight full of adrenaline and they saved each other's lives quite a few times. And the Slayer's witch friend showed up and blew things up as well, because that's how she rolls.
And then the fight was over.
All the adrenaline was gone.
The witch best friend pulled Angel away to go talk to him about the logistics of something or other that she made sound very important and urgent. She's good at the sort of thing, which is why she gets to deal with the Council. They're also all kind of scared of her since she almost ended the world.
Everyone else seemed to go away too.
And then it was
"Buffy," he says, his voice full of heartbreak and exhaustion and exhilaration.
"Spike," she says, a little bit angry and a little bit excited and happy and everything else all at once.
She inhales, he exhales.
And then she runs into his arms.
He smells like blood and sweat and leather, with a tang of smoke and whiskey. He smells like hours spent not sleeping and grief and shock. He feels like he always did though, and he holds onto her.
Her hands grip his shoulders and he bows his head into the curve of her neck.
She feels him cry, feels him shudder, and all she can do is hold on.
"I thought you were dead."
"God, Spike, I thought you were dead."
The vampire squeezes the Slayer's hand and lightly traces a thumb through the veins that he can see, the ones close to the skin. She's paler than he's probably ever seen her. She isn't spending time in the California sun anymore.
"I'm sorry," he says, because he can't say anything else.
"I should slap you," she says. "I really should."
"You really should," he agrees with her.
"You just-" she breathes in shakily, and he can hear the catch in the her throat. "I said that I loved you. And you didn't listen."
"I'm a right jackass," he grins a little at her and her hold tightens.
"Do you believe me now?"
You don't have to worry. He does.
This isn't a traditional love story. That's been pretty clear from the beginning.
They've stopped trying to kill each other, of course. There are much better ways of working out tension.
But we have a Slayer and a vampire. And he's not the tragic hero, or even the normal hero. He's not supposed to get the girl, right? He's not even supposed to get her and then lose her (and then find her again and then lose her again and then...) Besides, this Slayer would like to argue that it's her who gets the man, not so much the other way around.
We'd say that the whole tale just proves that opposites attract, but they're not really opposites.
In fact, they're very much the same.
As our friend Will Shakespeare would say, the course of true love never did run smooth. But that quote is kind of overexposed. And did you know, there's a second half to that quote that suits them far more. It goes like this: Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but love.
People always forget about the second halves of things.
There's a second half to this story too. The one where the beloved couple ride happily off into the moonlight, perhaps on a horse, merrily making out the whole way.
And they'll get there.
They just have to avert an apocalypse first.