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Fulgurite (Meta for Morag)

"Therefore, fulgurites may be ground up and added to spells in order to intensify effects and significantly boost their power." Buffy's past trust with Angel is added to her relationship with Spike to boost the significance and her ability to accept him and his intentions of redemption.

Created by Drizzlydaze, Foxstarreh, and Spuffy Luvr


One of the most commonly seen tropes in Spuffy fanfiction is the concept of how Buffy's previous relationship with Angel essentially ruined her ability to have a relationship with Spike.

Generally, the basic idea is that because Buffy's relationship with Angel ended in blood, death, creepy stalker drawing on her pillow, and her friends being hurt and murdered, she becomes closed off to the notion of a vampire being able to be redeemed without a soul.

And this idea isn't without base. The distinction between Angel and Angelus is enormous. They are wildly different people, and Buffy experiences just how much misplaced trust can backfire.

However, what ends up missing from the argument is the fact that Buffy started off not trusting Angel.

She makes Spike earn her trust just like she made Angel earn her trust.

In 1.07 "Angel," Buffy's response to discovering that Angel is a vampire is to go out, hunt him down, and try to kill him. There's not really any consideration that he could be good, or could become good. He just needs to die. Vampires are evil, full stop.

And it's not even after Angel explains that he has a soul that Buffy trusts him. It isn't until he saves her by killing Darla, the woman he was obsessed with for over a century, that Buffy gives him the benefit of the doubt. It is then that she decides to take his lack of attempts to kill her, along with his occasional help, to mean that Angel is 'good'.

Angel earns her trust much more quickly than Spike does. Not because Buffy hasn't yet learned to not trust people, but because Angel has, up to this point, been consistently on her side. Sure, maybe he's a little creepy and stalkerish about it, but Angel never, say, threatens to kill her on Saturday. Nor does he kidnap her friends and hold them hostage in a burned out warehouse.

If there hadn't already been a basis for that trust between Buffy and Angel, Angel very easily could have ended up dead that night at the Bronze.

Spike doesn't have that background when he decides he wants Buffy to trust him. You know what Spike did have, though?

Three years of trying to kill her and her friends.

Despite that, once he stops actively trying to kill her, Buffy doesn't actively try to kill him.

Her mindset has changed from 'vampires must die' to 'vampires who are killing people must die.'

Why? How?

Angel.

Yes, Spike has to work for her trust, just like he should have to, but Buffy is only willing to accept the idea of trusting him because of her past with Angel. Because it's already been proven to her that vampires aren't necessarily mindless monsters.

Because of Angel, Buffy has already made the paradigm shift that vampires can be allies. And so when Spike approaches her, wanting to save the world, she doesn't dismiss him out of hand. She listens. And she works with him. Sure, end of the world circumstances and all that, but a Slayer is trained to see vampires as the enemy. Always. She may not trust Spike, but the seeds are there.

When Spike becomes a more permanent part of her life, Buffy already has the idea that redemption is a possibility. Even if she actively denies it, she is aware of it. So each of Spike’s actions toward his redemption, toward earning her trust, actually becomes more significant because of Angel. Because his actions can be taken in the context of the possibility of redemption, Spike achieves Buffy’s trust much more quickly than he could have without Angel having paved the way.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
spuffy_luvr
Oct. 25th, 2013 10:58 am (UTC)
I approve! :D
kikimay
Oct. 26th, 2013 08:31 am (UTC)
Interesting meta. It really makes me think about this common trope. Personally I've also always thought that there's a change in Buffy after the whole Angel experience. And I think it's still mostly true because experience always changes people, but I'll think about my position once more.
spuffy_luvr
Oct. 26th, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
Whenever I see a trope repeated over and over and over in stories, it always makes me want to question it. I'm not one for just accepting commonly accepted assumptions. :)

I doubt we'll change anybody's minds (or even our own), but it's fun to at least think about it from a different angle.
shapinglight
Oct. 26th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I entirely agree, darling (either with your premise, or the trope as stated), but my head is too fuddled with all the smoke the dragon is creating to think properly just now.
spuffy_luvr
Oct. 26th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
Eh, I'm not sure I agree either, but I do like to take common assumptions and come at them from a different angle. When you see a trope over and over... it could be because it's true. Or it could be that it needs to be picked apart. I'm ornery, so I go for the picking it apart.

"I can't love you because of Angel" is the basis for almost every Spuffy fic ever (either overtly, or as common background assumption), and it's starting to make me twitchy every time I see it. I felt the need to stir things up a bit. :)
zanthinegirl
Nov. 7th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
Very interesting idea. I'd never thought about that way before, but it's intriguing. Hhhm! I'm going to have to mull that one over.

For what it's worth I've always sort of thought that a lot of Buffy's Angel issues (which carry into her relationship with Spike) are due to the fact that her relationship with Angel had such an artificial ending. They can't be together because Reasons. I suspect that were in not for Angel's Curse they would have eventually broken up and moved on more naturally. They're very different personalities, and they both grew up a lot over the course of the series. But the artificial nature of their separation means that they still both have unrealistic ideas of the other, and find it hard to move on.
spuffy_luvr
Dec. 21st, 2013 06:01 am (UTC)
Aw, I'm so glad this got more attention.

I like your point about artificial separation. That 'what if' keeps them hanging on long past when they would've naturally.
readerjane
Nov. 10th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
Oh. I like this very much.
spuffy_luvr
Dec. 21st, 2013 06:01 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think most people thought we were nuts, but hey, it's fun to theorize. :)
red_satin_doll
Dec. 5th, 2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
I CANNOT believe I missed this!
The woman who says she's not into meta - writes meta. And collaborative meta at that. LOVE IT.
I really enjoyed reading this. (I'm surprised there wasn't more conversation here but then again I'm not; talking about Spike having to actually *gasp* earn her trust is not the most popular opinion, so kudos to you ladies for voicing them.)

I don't have time right now but you've inspired some thinky thoughts about all this that I'd like to come back to tomorrow on this, mainly about how Buffy's trust issues are rooted deeply in her relationship with Joyce and Hank before Angel even arrives on the scene.
spuffy_luvr
Dec. 21st, 2013 06:14 am (UTC)
Re: I CANNOT believe I missed this!
Yes. I did it. If only to... stir the pot? And it was a joy to work with Fox and Drizzly.

Buffy has trust issues up the wazoo, but I don't think you can't point the finger at any one person. It's a compilation of betrayal after betrayal. Starting with her parents, of course.
red_satin_doll
Dec. 21st, 2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: I CANNOT believe I missed this!
I love this show and this fandom but man oh man, this pot NEEDS a righteous stir now and then. (IMHO)

It's a compilation of betrayal after betrayal. Starting with her parents, of course.

EXACTLY YES. That's the perfect phrase for it. I haven't had time to get back to this one yet with my "thinky thoughts"; but Buffy arrives in SD with a suitcase full of trust issues that eventually becomes a steamer trunk. She doesn't trust her father's love (Nightmares); she doesn't trust Giles as one of "you people" (WTTH); she wants to reveal her identity to her mom in Ted and Joyce shuts her down; her parents have already established a pattern of silence, evasions and withdrawals (alternating with rage).

Have you ever read Harriet Lehrner's The Dance of Deception? I think her work maps out really well in terms of btvs and the ways people are kept apart from one another by a sick system/paradigm that demands secrecy and silence; especially in terms of how it affects women's (mothers and daughters) relationships with one another. On the show, the Watcher's Council is actually able to use the unhealthy patterns in Buffy's relationship with her parents (we don't talk about what's going wrong in the family etc) to their benefit.

(I'm at the place I volunteer on Saturdays so I may not be terribly coherent at the moment - end of day etc.)
red_satin_doll
Jan. 6th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
Angel earns her trust much more quickly than Spike does. Not because Buffy hasn't yet learned to not trust people, but because Angel has, up to this point, been consistently on her side. Sure, maybe he's a little creepy and stalkerish about it, but Angel never, say, threatens to kill her on Saturday. Nor does he kidnap her friends and hold them hostage in a burned out warehouse.

If there hadn't already been a basis for that trust between Buffy and Angel, Angel very easily could have ended up dead that night at the Bronze.

Spike doesn't have that background when he decides he wants Buffy to trust him. You know what Spike did have, though?

Three years of trying to kill her and her friends.

Despite that, once he stops actively trying to kill her, Buffy doesn't actively try to kill him.





This reminds me of the fact that in WTTH, Buffy doesn't trust Giles; "Why won't you people leave me alone?" He's just a representative of the WC; he has to earn her trust. (bone_dry1013 talks about this in her metas for her Origins/Seasons fic esp re: The Witch and Giles saving Buffy's life.)

And this all gets back to the Watcher's Council, to Merrick, and of course to Hank and Joyce. The common fandom assumption that I see over and over again is that Buffy's "Angel issues" are entirely responsible for her "Spike issues", but Buffy walks into Sunnydale High with a suitcase full of trust issues that have to do with trust, confidence etc not established in her family of origin. Hank and Joyce's marriage troubles, and the family dynamic of denial, keeping up appearances for the sake of other's; Buffy having to lie or pretend to protect herself and protect her parents from her own feelings of disappointment (as children are wont to do), predate Buffy burning down the Hemery High gym; her calling revealed the cracks in the Summers' household, it didn't create them.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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