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Why Buffy didn’t kill Spike in Season 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7?

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  • Why Buffy didn’t kill Spike in Season 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7?

    “School Hard” (2.03): Spike had beat her, but now he was without weapons and Buffy could have gotten the axe and went after him.

    “Halloween”: (2.06): She now had the metal pipe and she had Angel, Xander, and Cordelia there.

    “Lie to Me” (2.07): Spike, Dru, and Co. were trapped and Buffy now had Angel, Giles, and Xander there. She could have firebombed the place or something.

    “What’s My Line Part II” (2.10): Spike and Dru were under the organ. Buffy after getting Angel out could have gone back in there with Giles and made sure that Spike and Dru were dead. Or she could have waited for hours to make sure that Spike and Dru didn’t leave the church and therefore were actually dust.

    “Lovers Walk” (3.08): She could have dropped Angel and tried to go after Spike.

    “Harsh Light of Day” (4.03): Once the Ring was off, Buffy simply could have kept Spike in the sunlight and he would have dusted.

    Post-“Hush” (4.10): Buffy no longer needed Spike for info on the Initiative.

    Post-“Primeval” (4.21): Spike had betrayed them to Adam and he couldn’t fight back.

    Post-his attempt in “Out of My Mind” (5.04) to get his chip removed and kill her: not only did he try to kill her, his actions would have killed Riley.

    Post-“Fool For Love” (5.07): Spike told her that he was staying in Sunnydale to kill her.

    Post-finding out in “Smashed” (6.09) that he could hit her and therefore kill her: he had no problem with beating on her and what if he ever got bored with her and decided that killing her would be more beneficial to him than ‘being’ with her.

    Post-“Sleeper” (7.08): he’s connected to the First Evil, he’d been killing people, and Buffy knows that Spike can kill her.



    In all, unless her own life was immediately and directly in danger, Buffy didn’t even try to seriously fight Spike. She stakes him in “Harsh Light of Day” (4.03), but not only was her life in immediate and direct danger, his being able to be in the sunlight meant that he almost certainly wouldn’t be killed be the staking.

  • #2
    Because Joss wanted Spike to have a longer character arc, so he valued Spike's survival over inconsistent character choices. Any other explanation is just some sort of failed attempt to rationalize the character's actions (especially the one about Buffy having feelings of any magnitude for Spike back in season 2).

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    • #3
      Well, essentially the answer is always going to be because they didn't want to kill off the character! S2-5 (pre Intervention) I would say that this is pretty much the reason.

      Post him enduring Glory's torture to protect Dawn his character started to have a level of worth to Buffy which would have potentially had her start to 'weigh up' pros and cons. In some scenarios (like with Dawn) he started to be reliable to her and have ally worth. S6 & 7 she became emotionally involved with him so things got more complicated then, particularly S7 when he was souled she viewed him differently. Buffy covers why she doesn't kill him in Never Leave Me, whether you choose to add in any depth of emotions as well is interpretative I suppose but this much she states...
      SPIKE
      Kill me.
      BUFFY
      (turns to face him) What?
      SPIKE
      Buffy, you have to kill me.
      BUFFY
      You don't understand. When I left the room earlier, I heard you talking to someone—
      SPIKE
      Do you have any idea what I'm capable of?
      BUFFY
      I was in the cellar with you. I saw what you did.
      SPIKE
      I'm not talking about the cellar. The people in the cellar got off easy. I'm talking about me. Buffy, you have never met the real me.
      BUFFY
      (crosses arms) Believe me, I'm well aware of what you're capable of.
      SPIKE
      No, you got off easy too. (stands) Do you know how much blood you can drink from a girl before she'll die? I do. You see, the trick is to drink just enough to know how to damage them just enough so that they'll still cry when you— (chokes up) 'cause it's not worth it if they don't cry.
      BUFFY
      It's not your fault. You're not the one doing this.
      SPIKE
      I already did it. It's already done. (paces, then steps purposefully toward Buffy) You wanna know what I've done to girls Dawn's age? (beat) This is me Buffy. You've got to kill me before I get out.
      BUFFY
      We can keep you locked up. Keep you here and we'll figure out—
      SPIKE
      Have you ever really asked yourself why you can't do it? Off me? After everything I've done to you, to people around you. It's not love. We both know that.
      BUFFY
      You fought by my side. You've saved lives. You've helped—
      SPIKE
      Don't do that. (rolls eyes) Don't rationalize this into some noble act. We both know the truth of it. (looks down and away) You like men who hurt you.
      BUFFY
      No.
      SPIKE
      (looks at Buffy) You need the pain we cause you. You need the hate. You need it to do your job, to be the slayer.
      BUFFY
      No. I don't hate like that. Not you, or myself. Not anymore. You think you have insight now because your soul's drenched in blood? You don't know me. You don't even know you. Was that you who killed those people in the cellar? Was that you who waited for those girls?
      SPIKE
      There's no one else.
      BUFFY
      That's not true. Listen to me. You're not alive because of hate or pain. You're alive because I saw you change. Because I saw your penance.

      SPIKE
      (lunges violently at her, but chains hold him back) Window dressing.
      BUFFY
      Be easier, wouldn't it, it if were an act, but it's not. (walks toward him) You faced the monster inside of you and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man.

      SPIKE
      Buffy...
      BUFFY
      (in his face) And you can be. You are. You may not see it, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike.

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      • #4
        Yea, post-soul Buffy can't justify (to herself) killing Spike. When she starts developing feelings for him and is abusing him in season 6, she's not going to kill him because she doesn't really see him as a threat, and she's selfish and emotionally unstable at that point.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Foyboy View Post
          Yea, post-soul Buffy can't justify (to herself) killing Spike. When she starts developing feelings for him and is abusing him in season 6, she's not going to kill him because she doesn't really see him as a threat, and she's selfish and emotionally unstable at that point.
          The reason she has since Intervention still runs true in S6, he is still a strong fighting ally who can and would fight to protect Dawn and help out generally for Buffy with whatever demon threat she might be facing. For non-human baddies he is still her best fighter/option aside from Willow and she was off the juice (theoretically) for a lot of S6 too.

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          • #6
            The first and most important answer is Plot Armor -- Spike has some of the best in the history of genre fiction.

            But specific answers... there are a number of cases where Buffy was probably, and legitimately, prioritizing the safety of friends and civilians over chasing down Spike. "School Hard", "Lovers Walk", "What's My Line, Part II", etc. Some times, there is no rational or moral excuse and she just comes off looking like an idiot ("Out of My Mind" for example"), which is one of the effects of plot armor at times. In "Sleeper", though, it's actually that she's recognizing he may not be culpable for what has happened. Buffy has no interest in staking him if he doesn't deserve it.
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            • #7
              Because he was one day going to be her soul mate :P not saying she knew this but IMO its what subliminally kept attracting her to him in season 6 without being able to comprehend why. Problem was by this point he didnt have a soul. It was painful and confusing as to why was she so drawn to a vampire without a soul. Even after horrendous crimes he has committed against her in the past, she still continued to be drawn to him throughout.

              I know people are gonna hate me for saying that I know it wasnt the plan in seasons 2 to 3 but 4 -7 is a whole different kettle of fish we know what Joss was thinking back then with the two. In my shipper heart it was beyond clear since Intervention that her spirit guide basically subliminally guides her towards Spike at the end of the episode.

              When I watch it back its clear to me that he was to be her soul mate one day, all he needed was to do more unselfish acts like that which would eventually lead him to getting his soul back and he would finally be hers.

              I mean come on.."your love is brighter than the flame, blinding thats why you pull away from it"..... "risk the pain" "love, give, forgive" who is the one person she constantly pulls away from through fear of her feelings and the one person she continues to risk the pain with and forgive, love and give to? Who has the biggest fire metaphor relationship in the entire series? Who does she show the capability of loving for in the last scene of Intervention? Who is the person she gives a kiss to and who is the person she forgives? Who is the person who becomes a permanent fixation in her life from that moment onwards?

              Spoiler:



              EDIT - it wasn't just her friends intervening in that episode, i'l just say that. lol The biggest intervener was her Spirit guide. If Buffy had never let Spike in here, he would have never eventually got his soul back and they would have never become soul mates by the end of season 7.
              Last edited by BuffySpike; 16-08-12, 03:32 PM.
              Bonehead, carrot top, shirty & dope
              the nonsensical vocabulary of Buffy and Spike

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              • #8
                First off, I’m referring to ‘in ‘verse’ reasons, not ‘production’ – including Joss and the writers didn’t want to kill him, the character was too popular, etc. – reasons.

                Essentially, what are the possible in-Buffyverse reasons for why Buffy didn’t kill Spike in Season 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

                So, I’m going to dismiss and/or ignore any explanation that includes ‘outside-verse’ factors like Spike’s and/or James Marsters’ popularity. Obviously, this includes not explaining pre-BtVS S5.

                _______

                Post-“Becoming Part II” (2.22) can be partly explained with that he helped her save the world, killed vampires, and told her that he didn’t want the world destroyed (if only because he likes nice parts of London and he likes eating people). But “Halloween” (2.06) and “What’s My Line Part II” (2.10) are really hard to explain other than that she didn’t really want to kill him.



                KingofCretins

                But specific answers... there are a number of cases where Buffy was probably, and legitimately, prioritizing the safety of friends and civilians over chasing down Spike. "School Hard",
                Simply incorrect (at the very least for the friends part). She left with her mother. Spike leaving meant he was going to kill more people. Willow and Cordelia were still in the closet together. There’s no indication that Buffy was even thinking about her friends. And she had told Giles that she didn’t even know if Willow and/or Cordelia were still alive. And Buffy didn’t have any weapon when she left with her mother and it didn’t look like Buffy was even thinking if Spike was going to return or not.

                "Lovers Walk",
                Only if she thought the vampires were going to come back and/or that if she went after Spike that Spike would simply double-back and kill Angel.

                "What's My Line, Part II",
                Huh? If safety was such a huge factor, Buffy and Co. could simply be waiting to see if Spike and/or Dru survived. They could be waiting with Molotov cocktails or whatever.

                Also, “prioritizing the safety of friends and civilians over chasing down Spike” doesn’t at all explain:

                “Halloween”: (2.06): She now had the metal pipe and she had Angel, Xander, and Cordelia there.

                “Harsh Light of Day” (4.03): Once the Ring was off, Buffy simply could have kept Spike in the sunlight and he would have dusted.

                Some times, there is no rational or moral excuse and she just comes off looking like an idiot ("Out of My Mind" for example"), which is one of the effects of plot armor at times.
                Well, it’s easily argued that she should have killed Angel, Oz, and Anya. As for Spike in “Out of My Mind” (5.04): Spike that very episode was trying to kill vampires. The rational excuse not to kill Spike is that the chip was still in and Spike would still be killing vampires and demons.



                BuffySpike

                Because he was one day going to be her soul mate
                For BtVS S1-3, I don’t necessarily go that far. But it is clear that it seems she didn’t want to kill him. And there is a reason for that.

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                • #9
                  Well, look, I don't think it's hard to decode, that the supposed "real" answer is that Buffy never could kill Spike all that time because from the instant she saw him, her true subconscious self was already thinking like this --

                  BUFFYBOT: Oh... (panting)
                  SPIKE: Is that your best, Slayer?
                  BUFFYBOT: No.
                  SPIKE: Why not?
                  BUFFYBOT: I, I wanna hurt you, but I can't resist the sinister attraction of your cold and muscular body.
                  SPIKE: Maybe I should repay you for your gentleness. Maybe I should let you go.
                  BUFFYBOT: No! No, Spike. Never let me go.
                  SPIKE: You know you should be afraid of me. I'm bad.
                  BUFFYBOT: (seductively) You are. You're very, very bad.
                  And, to any of you who (because even if you don't, there are plenty who do, sadly), whether you admit it or not, actually kinda this this is the reason -- No. And also no.

                  In practical, real-world terms, it's usually a pretty bad idea to go chasing after bad guys. Cops can do it because they are relying on the radio; the one chasing and the one who catches aren't even necessarily the same thing and whatever bad guy is more likely to end up running *into* other cops. But one person just chasing another person, down a trail of their choosing no less, has surrendered every possible tactical advantage, and it's just a bad idea. So really, there's no good reason for Buffy to go galloping after Spike in such situations, not even "but he might kill people". That argument is used for Angel in "Innocence" because he was right there (and note, he does in fact get the drop on her when she chased him).

                  There is no rational reason not to kill him in "Out of My Mind" -- he not only nearly got Riley killed and kidnapped a man, he also tried to kill Buffy herself, and the whole point had been to get rid of the chip so he could kill anyone he liked. That deserved a stake, period, in any rational decision making process. Plot armor ALONE spared him.
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                  • #10
                    I just read my other post above and my god that is embarrassing. I must have been feeling very shippy when I wrote that.

                    I know most people dismiss what I say because they think I'm just seeing through shipper eyes but thats not really the case most of the time. I write scripts for short films and understand subtext/theme etc in screenwriting. Sometimes I do make a silly post like the one above and overanalyse but I'm still able to understand something I think the writers are doing and its not me hoping somethings there when its not. If I think something is not there, its not there and I'm the first to admit that.

                    But I noticed you picked up on the suggestions from the writers in Intervention and say they are not relevant to this theme but I think they are because what she says there ties in exactly with what actually happens at the end of the episode. She goes there to kill him and we find out that she cant do it and why? because she becomes attracted to him for what he did for her. It may or may not be romantic attraction but it is certainly an attraction of some sort.

                    Even in the shooting script they draw attention to when they first met and that this feeling of attraction was there from "the moment she heard his voice"...I really do think the writers are suggesting something, theres also a load of other cut lines where she constantly goes on and on about "sinister attraction" again i felt they were trying to drive some point home especially after what we see in the last moments of the episode. I could be totally wrong. Thats just what I gathered from it though.

                    Buffy also does say in Never Leave Me exactly why she found it hard to kill him. IMO it stems back at least as far as Intervention

                    I agree mostly though with the plot armour saving him most of the time before that and possibly after. He was too valuable a character to kill off like that. she should have killed him in OomM there was no excuse not to.
                    Last edited by BuffySpike; 20-09-12, 01:57 PM.
                    Bonehead, carrot top, shirty & dope
                    the nonsensical vocabulary of Buffy and Spike

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                    • #11
                      I admit it’s a bit of a stretch, but I always thought that maybe Buffy was too preoccupied with her mother's illness to go after Spike in Out of My Mind. First she hangs around the hospital to see Riley patched up and then she leaves him to take care of Joyce. So maybe tending to her mother simply took priority over chasing down Spike? What’s harder to explain is her attitude the next time she sees him in No Place Like Home. It’s actually a really great scene with one of the best Spike lines in the show (“Out. For. A. Walk. Bitch.”) but it’s odd she doesn’t bring up the previous episode at all and isn’t more alarmed by him hanging around outside her house.

                      I won’t go as far to say it’s OOC that Buffy didn’t stake him after OoMM. I always thought the most believable thing about fantasy!Buffy in Spike’s dream was the way she hesitated when he tells her to just stake him. The moment where she raises the stake to dust him and then wavers is really spot on. That's exactly how I'd imagine that scenario to play out in reality and I think he captured Buffy perfectly in that moment. I don’t think Buffy was ever going to be able to kill him as long as he couldn’t fight back. It just wasn’t in her nature.

                      Also, even after everything he just did, I just can’t imagine how they could possibly shoot a scene of her staking him without it not looking pretty dark as long as he couldn’t/wouldn’t put up a fight. Every time I see that fantasy and she raises the stake to kill him I always imagine how it would come across if it were real and she did go through with it and, IMO, it would just feel wrong. It’s not the stuff of great heroics to see your protagonist stake someone who would either be saying "just bloody well do it" or, worse, begging for their life whilst they're physically incapable of fighting back. Whether Spike deserves to live or not, that would always be extremely disturbing and I think the writers knew this in their gut. It's as much about sparing Buffy's character as it was Spike's.

                      I know this isn't what you were saying BuffySpike so please don't think I'm referring to you, but I can never take it seriously when people think Buffy left Spike alive all these years (from S2 onwards) because of some subconscious attraction. It ignores at least three different instances I can think of where Buffy either thought she had killed him, was moments from killing him, or had no way of knowing her actions wouldn't result in his immediate death;

                      What's My Line II – Buffy hurled him into the organ and sent the church crashing down on top of him. She assumes he's dead after this moment and let’s just say, she didn't lose any sleep over it. Had he been dead, I think we could have gone the rest of the series without Buffy so much as making another reference to Spike and it wouldn't have been remotely OOC.

                      Lovers Walk – Buffy raises the wooden spoon and is seconds away from bringing it down on Spike's heart when he cries out "Willow!" That's the only thing that saves him in that moment. This wasn't Buffy just raising a stake as a threat (like she does later in the episode) this was Buffy in mid-action about to deliver the killing blow. The sheer terror in Spike’s voice leaves little room for ambiguity. He knew he was moments away from being dust.

                      Harsh Light of Day – Buffy pulls the gem off Spike’s hand when he’s standing in broad daylight. If Spike hadn’t been so fortunate to have that sewer entrance close by, he would have combusted into flames. Now, I guess if one wants to they could fanwank that Buffy saw the open sewer access during their fight and knew that he’d have an exit out of the daylight. But it’s an incredible stretch and not one that’s supported by anything in the scene at all. She’s too busy fighting for her life to pay attention to such trivial things and when she does gain the upper hand her attention is on him the entire time. There’s no moment where SMG glances around at the scenery. I think it’s safe to say that Buffy pulled that gem off his finger with the full intention of letting Spike burn to death in the sunlight. The only reason Spike survived that fight was luck.

                      The other moment in this episode is of course when she stakes him directly through the heart. Now, I have seen people fanwank this moment as Buffy subconsciously already knowing it wouldn't work because Spike is out in the daylight and, thus, must be wearing the Gem. Of all the fanwanks I find this to be the most logical but even so, she was willing to gamble with his life and at least give it a try.

                      So we have 3 episodes where Buffy was more than prepared to kill Spike without hesitation. Yes, there are other scenes where she lets him go but people tend to forget about these moments where, without the fortunate intervention of outside circumstances, he’d have been dust at the hands of Buffy. It isn't until later in the series when he a) becomes harmless and, b) becomes more of a "person" to her, that I think was any genuine hesitance on her part. S2-Early!S4 Buffy was more than OK with slaying him.
                      Last edited by vampmogs; 20-09-12, 03:53 PM.
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                      • #12
                        The content of the fantasy is ultimately valueless in explaining Buffy's actions, for the simple reason that it isn't her fantasy; it is a fantasy about her. If it is spot on, it comes couched in the also highly dubious and OOC notion that she would want to stand around chatting before coming at him. From start to finish, there is a reason the scene is a fantasy. There are little other than reasons it is a fantasy. The thing that is up to the test of realism is how she didn't go there at all.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                          If it is spot on, it comes couched in the also highly dubious and OOC notion that she would want to stand around chatting before coming at him.
                          You and I watched two very different versions of Buffy Summers if you think it's more in-character that she'd just walk into Spike's script and stake him without saying a word. That's Terminator-esque which Buffy is decidedly not. Even when she came for Faith she stopped to have an exchange with her first.

                          The content of the fantasy is ultimately valueless in explaining Buffy's actions, for the simple reason that it isn't her fantasy; it is a fantasy about her.
                          I never said the fantasy explained Buffy's actions. What I said was that I think the fantasy happened to be amazingly accurate at depicting what Buffy would be like if she had decided to stake Spike. Anger and frustration, followed by trying to psyche herself up, and then that flinch, the wavering, as she raises the stake but is visibly unsettled by having to dust somebody who is unable to defend themselves, who does nothing but stands there and waits for the deathblow. Buffy is a slayer not an executioner and in that moment Spike's subconscious was wicked accurate. It was Buffy Summers to a T and it's exactly how I'd imagine her to act had this gone down for real.
                          Last edited by vampmogs; 20-09-12, 06:30 PM.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                            You and I watched two very different versions of Buffy Summers if you think it's more in-character that she'd just walk into Spike's script and stake him without saying a word. That's Terminator-esque which Buffy is decidedly not. Even when she came for Faith she stopped to have an exchange with her first.
                            I watched the Buffy Summer who almost exclusively quipped and snarled *while* beating on themngs she already knew she was going to kill. The non-fantasy Buffy does not typically go after an enemy and stand around chatting it up before attacking. The closest I can think of that is "Showtime", where there were, intentionally, people watching her. Real Buffy speechifying like that, standling idly around chatting about how she will start killing any minute would be inauthentic. As for the hesitation... probably benefitting from yndsight as a character point, namely "Sleeper". Real Buffy at the time, though, had been less equivocal about killing Angel in "Angel" than Fantasy Buffy was about Spike, even though, unlike Angel, there was no ambiguity about what Spike had actually done.

                            I never said the fantasy explained Buffy's actions. What I said was that I think the fantasy happened to be amazingly accurate at depicting what Buffy would be like if she had decided to stake Spike. Anger and frustration, followed by trying to psyche herself up, and then that flinch, the wavering, as she raises the stake but is visibly unsettled by having to dust somebody who is unable to defend themselves, who does nothing but stands there and waits for the deathblow. Buffy is a slayer not an executioner and in that moment Spike's subconscious was wicked accurate. It was Buffy Summers to a T and it's exactly how I'd imagine her to act had this gone down for real.
                            I am just saying it has no more weight than if he correctly fantasized her breast size. Even if you instinctively find that hesitaon at his surrender was authentic, the circumstances, the context, weren't -- the trembling lower lips, the catch in her breath, that indicate his sudden show of vulnerability has her percolating... it is a fantasy for a reason.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                              The content of the fantasy is ultimately valueless in explaining Buffy's actions, for the simple reason that it isn't her fantasy; it is a fantasy about her. If it is spot on, it comes couched in the also highly dubious and OOC notion that she would want to stand around chatting before coming at him. From start to finish, there is a reason the scene is a fantasy. There are little other than reasons it is a fantasy. The thing that is up to the test of realism is how she didn't go there at all.
                              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                              I watched the Buffy Summer who almost exclusively quipped and snarled *while* beating on themngs she already knew she was going to kill. The non-fantasy Buffy does not typically go after an enemy and stand around chatting it up before attacking.
                              Oh really? Are we talking about this Buffy Summers:

                              Originally posted by School Hard script
                              SPIKE

                              Stops. Very still. CIRCLE AROUND HIM as the door behind slowly opens. Buffy enters, twenty feet behind him, throwing ax in hand.

                              SPIKE (cont'd)
                              (without turning)
                              Fe fi fo fum. I smell the blood of
                              a nice ripe girl.

                              Now he turns.

                              BUFFY
                              Do we really need weapons for this?

                              SPIKE
                              I just like 'em. Make me feel all
                              manly.

                              A beat, then he drops his. And she hers.

                              SPIKE (cont'd)
                              The last Slayer I killed, she begged
                              for her life. I don't see you as the
                              begging kind.

                              BUFFY
                              You shouldn't have come here.

                              SPIKE
                              Yeah, I messed up your doilies and
                              stuff. But I just got so bored! Tell you
                              what. As a personal favor from me to
                              you. I'll make it quick. It won't hurt a bit.

                              BUFFY
                              Wrong. It's gonna hurt a lot.

                              A moment's hesitation crosses his face, and he HURLS HIMSELF at her. Fast.

                              And now the punches fly, fast and furious. Think Gross Pointe Blanke. Two pros giving it all they've got.
                              ...who, instead of using the axe she already had in her hand to quickly and pragmatically chop off the head of the vampire who's just been built up as super-dangerous by Giles and Angel and who had bragged and threatened the previous night, instead preferred to match his thrash-talking with her own, drop the weapon and have a big mano a mano fight to beat him, without anything she could actually use to kill him - and as a result, almost ended up as Spike's third Slayer kill, only saved by her mother, who was smart enough to use that axe?
                              You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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