Does Buffy Love Spike?
YES, Buffy Does Love Spike!

In Season 6, Buffy kept saying she couldn't love Spike. Either you say "I love you" or "I don't love you." Does a person say "I cannot love you!"??? Only when she/he does love, but... can't, for some (right or wrong) reason, don't you think? Never did Buffy say "I don't love you" and yeah, I know, there was that one time, but she was with her back to him (and to us), so who knows what kind of horrible grimaces she made to bring herself to say those words... 

The fact that Buffy couldn't love Spike had to do with her so much more than it had to do with him. The girl was very, very, troubled at sixteen, she lost her virginity to a very older man, Angel, and right after the love making, he turned evil and started killing people; she ended up having to send "the person she loved more than anything" (at the time) to Hell. Next, she had the disastrous one-night stand with [Parker], The Jerk. Then, it came Riley, who cheated on her, leaving her afterwards. Add to these an absent father and the death of her mother. Too much abandonment, people she loved always walking away. It's not surprising she found it hard to open up, to love and accept love. [Clem] was right. Buffy had issues. A lot. To go with the cookie analogy (ugh!), Buffy was burned cookie... too afraid to get burned again... 

Besides, Spike not having a soul was a big deal for Buffy; she always believed that someone without a soul couldn't love (bad experiences with Angelus, who didn't love her, you know). She didn't believe Spike's love for her was real; eventually, she did accept it was, even confessing that she had mistreated him, that she had been the monster in the relationship.



Season 6

At first Buffy just wanted to feel; but I do believe she fell in love with him eventually, even if she herself didn't want to admit.... issues, remember?

After Buffy broke up with Spike, the two of them met at Xander and Anya's not-wedding and she got jealous that he had taken a girl with him she even said that it hurt; and she was pleased to know he would come back to the crypt, but wasn't going to do anything with said girl  (Hell's Bells)

when they met in the cemetery after the not-wedding and he asked her if she had cried... because of the wedding, that face of hers... it was like "wow, busted! He knows! I cried because of our breaking-up!" (Normal Again)

when she saw Spike having sex with Anya, she got hurt; everybody noticed that, Willow, Dawn... (Entropy)

she said to Spike she had "feelings for him" , and after Spike, out of desperation, tried to force himself on her, she got much more disappointed than mad (Seeing Red)

when she needed somebody to take care of her precious little sis Dawn, she didn't think twice, she knew she could trust Spike for the job she who had said to Spike "I don't trust you enough to be love" hours before. But she did trust him, so... (Villains)

when she learned from Clem that Spike was gone, she seemed very disappointed and sad, and wanted to know when he would come back (Villains)



Season 7

It took time, but finally the Slayer let herself to be touched by love again Spike had won a soul for her, after all. All season seven was a big construction of the Spuffy Love. After the attempted rape and the abuse of Spike by Buffy ("No touching!", as he yelled at her in Beneath You), the two of them rebuilt the trust in each other and were able to be a couple again, to touch each other again hence the tittle of the episode where they cuddled, Touched:

Buffy seemed in awe when she saw Spike after months without any news, and was concerned about Spike's chest injuries (Lessons)

she got upset when he said they weren't best friends anymore and still was concerned with his chest injuries (Beneath You)

she wanted him out of the basement and managed to get a place for him to live (Him)

she wanted to prove he wasn't the killer, and didn't kill him when she found out he was the killer (Sleeper)

she believed in him (Never Leave Me)

she rescued him from the Turok-Han and looked at him with love (Showtime

she was worried about his injuries and clearly missed his comfy old crypt (Potential)

she was very concerned about his pain and its consequences, trusting him enough to get the ship removed (The Killer in Me)

she said to Willow she had been in love with Spike ("Why do people in this house think I'm STILL in love with Spike?"); she was so concerned about him and his injuries she forgot Xander (who was severely wounded) and she didn't want him to leave (First Date)

she was truly worried about him and his well-being when Giles was trying to de-triggered him, paying attention to his physical and mental pain; she ran to save his life; she told Wood and Giles (who had been her mentor for years) not to mess with her vampire ever again (Lies My Parents Told Me)

she wanted to spend the night with Spike (Touched)

she said to him that the night they spent together meant a lot to her and he didn't need to be terrified (End of Days)

she chose to spend the 2 nights before the big battle with him nights that could have been her last ones on earth; she chose him as her Champion; in the end, she stayed with him until the last second, said "I love you" to him, almost dying under the crumbling walls (Chosen)
 

So, what would she be thinking in front of that big crate, right after having had a beautiful moment with her vampire with a soul, flaming hand holding and everything? She was proud of him, of his achievement on life; the fire of love had finally baked the cookie without burning it (ugh, the cookie thing again). A little too late, one can say. But as Spike is alive and well... anything is possible.

And how about Spike's "No, you don't", to Buffy's "I love you"? Well, he did have his issues, too. He suffered a great deal in Buffy's hands, with her mind games, and mixed signals (and yet she had the nerve saying "I'm tired of defensiveness and weird mixed signals" to him...). 

Even after she had said she was "holding the scythe, because of you, because of the strength you gave me", he doubted of what he had just heard; too traumatized to cling to words:

I know, I hear you say it, but...

So, when Buffy finally said the three magic words, he didn't believe her he heard she say it, but...



Sacrificing the One She Loves

In Lies My Parents Told Me, Giles asks Buffy whether she had to kill Dawn to save the world then, she would do it or not, and Buffy's answers is yes, after all she has been through she would sacrifice a person she loves in favor of the world. 

And it is what she does when she leaves Spike in the cave; she knows his sacrifice is necessary for the greater good, she knows it's what her Champion wants, and, as the Slayer she is, she accepts his destiny.



Conclusion

So, yeah, Buffy does love Spike. And how about that "Tall, Dark and Forehead" guy, who is "bloody stupid" and whose hair "goes straight up"? Well, he got the brush off for Captain Peroxide, didn't he?!



Trivia

The last words said by Buffy/Sarah Michelle Gellar on BtVS were: I LOVE YOU. SPIKE.


The thing about Buffy and Spike is that they understand each other in a way that nobody else understands her. They've both lived a hundred lives. And I think we'll see over the next couple of years she'll learn that he's someone who she can trust, who is a companion to her... (Sarah Michelle Gellar)


 

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