I resisted watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for years. My mom loved the movie and would constantly quote from it, which was annoying, and then there was my problem with Sarah Michelle Gellar for what I thought was insanely unprofessional behavior after she finished up with All My Children. Even though my husband nagged me over and over again about trying it, I always switched the channel on him. Until that fateful night when he said, "There's a chance this is the very last episode and I want to watch it. You can stay or go, but I'm watching it."
I stayed. It was the last two episodes of S5, aired together in the UK. I knew very little about the show except that the red-haired girl was Buffy's friend. It got to the end, and this vampire was breaking down over the death of his mortal enemy, and I couldn't get that image out of my head. Why? What had I missed? The following Monday, I started watching on Sky One at 6pm where it was showing reruns. It was the middle of S3. The blond vampire was nowhere in sight. Apparently, that didn't matter because by Wednesday I was hooked. When S3 finished, it started over at S1 and I got to see what I'd missed. I went out and bought S4 and S5 on VHS so that I would be ready to watch S6 when it aired.
And it all started with Spike.
I had never been a part of a fandom before. I had liked other shows and books before then, but I'd never obsessed like I did with Buffy. I went off in search of everything I could find and that's when I discovered this glorious thing called fanfic. But my love for Spike and my overwhelming desire to give him the happy ending he so clearly wanted compelled me to write prose again for the first time in 15 years. Don't get me wrong. I love the ensemble. I love the whole damn show to pieces.
But Spike hit a chord. Because he'd started from a shy, bookish, bullied past, turned to revenge when he could, then fought back to try and be good when he fell in love with his mortal enemy. Because he has the heart of a poet and a romantic. Because he covers it all up with a bravado even he doesn't believe sometimes.
Spike opened my world. I found online friends, such a valuable commodity since I was an expat American in the UK who was stuck at home with toddlers and not working for the first time in fifteen years. I found my writing voice again, which I'd thought lost when I switched to scripts as a teenager. I found a world where I could be wholly accepted instead of viewed as a freakish geek for the first time ever.
Some of my best memories are because of Spike. For our fifteenth wedding anniversary, my husband and I renewed our wedding vows. He surprised me by quoting Spike's speech from Touched: "When I say I love you, it's not because I want you. Or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you *are*. What you do. How you try...I've seen your kindness, and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand, with perfect clarity, exactly what you are... You're a *hell* of a woman... You're the One." I cried for the rest of the ceremony.
So thank you, Spike. For simply being you.