Author's Note: This article discusses the events through the sixth seasons of both Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
General Attributes: How do They Compare? (05-09)
In the Beginning (10-20)
Coming Face to Face (21-29)
Before the Love (30-47)
The Revelation (48-64)
A Time of Changes (65-85)
Turning From the Hate (86-119)
What the Future Holds (120-123)
THE LOVING HATE:
AN EXAMINATION OF THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN XENA & ARES & BUFFY & SPIKE
 Relationships. They are something everyone hopes to have at some point in their life. The idea of finding someone that one can connect with and can love is everyone's wish. Relationships can be happy or they can be sad, it all depends on the actions one chooses.
 Movies, television, and books often portray happily-ever-after love stories because that is what people like to see: relationships where bad things may happen but in the end, everything works out. Not all stories, however, choose to create such easy circumstances between two people. Sometimes the relationships are more complicated. One common scenario in the television shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the idea of a bad boy who turns good. A tough, fierce, sometimes seemingly evil man being changed forever by a feeling he probably never expected to feel: love.
 Unlike the predictable "and they lived happily ever after" stories, these two shows dealt with complicated love-hate relationships, each between a woman who fights on the side of right and a man, presumed to be a bad guy, obsessed with her from the beginning and constantly trying to stop her do-gooding, then eventually falling in love with her against his better judgment. This situation creates a powerful and intense dramatic scene that draws people to want to see more and more, never knowing what might happen next.
 Both Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer share this unique quality in a show. Although they may have different writers and different producers and are all around, entirely different shows on many levels, the relationships between Xena and Ares and Buffy and Spike are surprisingly similar.
General Attributes - How Do They Compare?
 One look at these four characters and it probably seems that they do not have much in common. Physically, Xena, Buffy, Ares, and Spike are as different as night and day - literally. The light hair, skin tone, and eyes of Buffy and Spike are very much a contrast to the dark hues of Xena and Ares' appearance. As a whole, though, Xena, Ares, Buffy, and Spike seem to somehow complement and mirror each other. Xena and Buffy are females who fight for what they believe in. They are seen by many people as unusual because of the superb skills they possess - skills that are more often granted to a man rather than a woman. This makes these two characters special - they know they do not need a man to get a job done, especially when it comes to kicking the daylights out of the evil forces that inhabit the world.
 Ares and Spike have been two tough bad guys from day one. They both like to kill, and they are both immortal. Ares is a god, and Spike is a vampire. Neither can die unless unusual objects kill them. Things that can kill Spike include the sun's rays, wooden stakes through the heart, crosses, and holy water. Less common items like Hind's Blood, the Dagger of Helios and the Bones of Cronous can kill Ares. It could be said that they share a lot in common.
 But Xena and Buffy are like the other half of a coin, similar in ways, but also a parallel of the other. For example, Xena has a dark side that Ares once thrived on, but then she turned good. Who she was and who he was echoed each other - more so after Ares became mortal through most of Season Six. After having a taste of mortality, Ares is never the same. There is good in him; Xena can see that. She is always striving to be good. Ares, though, is the God of War, and has darkness about him (only not as much as it had been). He became somewhat like Xena and that is how they both seem to reflect each other - holding inside them a part of the other.
 Buffy, too, has a dark side, though not as clear to her as Xena's. Her dark side comes from the power that a Slayer possesses, rooted in darkness. Spike knows that she has this dark side for a long time. He wants her to embrace that darkness no matter how much Buffy tries to resist it. It is this fact that shows how Buffy and Spike are alike. Yet at the same time they both share sides of themselves that their counterpart possesses fully. The goodness of Spike is, no doubt, a part of his being, specifically after he becomes an incapable vampire because of the behavior-modifying chip in his brain. Buffy's darkness is because she is a Slayer, a part of her too.
 With the idea that Xena, Ares, Buffy, and Spike share something deeper than they know, having them interact is even more interesting. Learning about them becomes something that is important to do, in order to better understand what it is that connects them - that little aspect that paints a picture of their entire existence.
In the Beginning
 For Xena and Buffy, fighting for the good of the people and even the world, at times, is what they do, but they both have very different pasts. Xena has a long, complicated past while Buffy's past is unknown. She was only a teenager when she realized that she was the Slayer, so that is probably the reason why there isn't much known about her past. Likewise, Ares and Spike are immortal, so there isn't much known about their pasts. For Ares that would be thousands of years of information. For Spike it would be over a century. Still, knowing a little about these two leading female characters and these two male characters is important in order to understand the relationships they have with each other later. It sets the backdrop to everything that occurs between them.
 Xena is not always the tough, nearly unstoppable warrior that she is perceived to be from the beginning of the series. Once a simple peasant girl, she lived with her mother Cyrene and her two brothers, Toris and Lyceus. When she was a teenager, a warlord named Cortese attacked her hometown village of Amphipolis. With the help of Lyceus, she created a small army with the aid from their fellow villagers and stopped the destruction of their village, driving Cortese off their land.
 It was a victory for the people of Amphipolis, but Xena paid a price when Lyceus was killed. This event led Xena to leave her home, along with the small army that had been mustered. This began what would turn out to be her ten-year long trek of the known world.
 After Xena left home, she traveled all around with her army, first starting out as a pirate. After Julius Caesar killed her army and crippled her, she gathered together a new band of warriors with only one purpose in mind: death. She conquered small villages and then tried out bigger possible places for spoils - traveling to Ch'in, Jappa, Britannia, the Norse Lands and the land of the Northern Amazons. She became a very powerful, ruthless warrior, killing anyone that got in her way. No one dared cross paths with her and if they did, they would soon regret it.
 Xena's reign of terror did not last forever, though. Nearly ten years after becoming a warrior, Xena faced the fact that she was changing. After saving a baby from being killed by her army, she was forced to run the gauntlet causing her to become an outcast in the conquest world. Hercules came along to help her find her true self. Xena changed and realized that what she'd been doing for years was not what she was meant to do in life. She set off on her own to atone for her past and soon met up with a peasant girl, Gabrielle, who quickly became her best friend. From then on, Xena dedicates her life to fighting for the Greater Good and trying to keep her past from catching up with her.
 Ares' past history, before he met up with Xena, was less defined. Having lived for thousands of years, Ares clearly had started many wars all over Greece and perhaps had a hand in wars beyond the Grecian shores as well. Being the God of War, he is a dark, ruthless, smart deity, knowing all there is to know about battle tactics and conquest strategies. He enjoys bloodshed, but rarely does the dirty work himself. He prefers to have warlords go into battle and die in his name. Ares is an elusive character, and no one knows much about him except that he thrives on the prosperity of war and death.
 Both Xena and Ares lived in ancient Greece - a time of gods and monsters - all natural occurrences. Buffy, however, is a 20th century girl. She once had a normal life, as normal as any teenager could have. However, when she was 15 years old she learned she was the Slayer, a Vampire Slayer. Her life was forever changed. For the first time she had to deal not with first dates, getting on the cheerleading squad, or going out with friends on the weekends, but with the fact that she was the sacred, chosen one to protect mankind from vampires, demons and the forces of darkness.
 She took on her role with a little resistance at first, but soon grew into it and realized that what she was fated to do in life was not the same as everyone else around her. With the help of her Watcher Giles and her friends, Willow and Xander, Buffy is able to fight and defeat every kind of evil she comes up against, no matter how apocalyptic the mission.
 Compared to Buffy, Spike has a more interesting back-story. Before he became a vampire, Spike was known as William. Living in London in 1880, he was a man of passion and grace and an aspiring poet. His poetry was not the greatest, however, and he was often called William the Bloody because of his "bloody awful poetry".
 A shy, romantic soul, he was in love with a woman named Cecily. Sadly, she would not accept his charms or his poetry. She claimed that he was beneath her so she rejected him. Her rejection of him drove him to take off and spend some time alone and doing so brought him face to face with Drusilla, the vampire who would soon end his human existence. After he became a demon, he and Drusilla grew very close and possibly even came as far as love; as much love as any vampire could hold.
 Spike adores being a vampire. His life, or unlife, as a vampire is far more gratifying to him than his human life could ever have been. He is strong, smart and his wit surpasses most other vampires. Before coming to Buffy's home of Sunnydale, California, Spike had the pleasure of killing two Slayers in his time: one in China during the Boxer Rebellion and the other in New York in 1977. He is a very powerful vampire, earning his nickname of Spike because he tortured his victims with railroad spikes.
Coming Face to Face
 The meetings between characters happened early on in their shows. Xena met or was at least seen meeting Ares in the first season; Buffy met Spike in the second season. The circumstances of their meetings were also similar. Both couples met in a fight, though they were for very different reasons and had different end results.
 It was never exactly clear about the conditions of Xena and Ares' first meeting, but fifth season episodes such as CHAKRAM and SUCCESSION do suggest that Xena and Ares might have had some kind of relationship during the ten-year period when Xena was traveling around conquering and pillaging. These episodes,particularly SUCCESSION, hint that Xena had been Ares' girlfriend in the past. It is in the first season episode THE RECKONING, though, that Xena and Ares are first seen physically meeting.
 When Xena changed her path, to use her warrior skills for good instead of evil, Ares was not happy about it. She had clearly been the greatest warrior in the service of the God of War and when she turned, he lost someone who had the potential to conquer the entire known world for him. In order to get her back, he frames her for killing some innocent peasants - a deed that he himself actually performs. Xena is taken hostage by the villagers' families and put on trial for the crimes that she did not commit. Ares comes to her in her jail cell, offering to release her if she comes back to him. He uses his charms and tries seducing her, tempting her with the thoughts of how good it feels to be the warrior that she once was, raiding and destroying villages for the sake of only one thing: power. Xena, however, fights not to succumb to his wishes for her and instead uses his own promises for her against him. She tricks him into bringing back the lives of the villagers he'd killed instead of bringing back long-dead warriors to serve in her army like he'd originally planned for her to do. Surprisingly, Ares is not angry with her for the trick she pulls. Instead, he is just more impressed with her and he leaves her with the knowledge that he will try again.
 It is clear that even from their very first encounter, Xena is Ares' favorite and always will be. It will take more than one chance for him to give up on her.
 In 1997, in the episode SCHOOL HARD, Spike and Drusilla came to Sunnydale. He wants to restore Drusilla's former strength - having been weakened by an attack she'd suffered in Prague - and in doing so, it is only a matter of time before he comes into contact with the Slayer.
 The feast of St. Vigeous, a vampire crusade, draws near and Buffy knows that she has to stop it from happening. Spike knows about St. Vigeous, but does not really care. All he wants is the glory of killing the Slayer.
 He studies her closely, watching her fight and kill a fellow vampire so he can discover her strengths and weaknesses. Spike promises the other vampires that he will kill the Slayer for them, which they allow him to do, despite his rash behavior, knowing that the Slayer is tough to defeat.
 On Sunnydale High School's parent-teacher night, two nights before St. Vigeous, Spike and his gang of vampires attack the school. They hold the people hostage and Spike goes to find Buffy. He finds her waiting for him, ready to take him down. As soon as they start fighting, Buffy realizes that Spike is not just any vampire that she can fight and stake quickly. He is smarter and stronger than most vampires she has faced. Spike, too, realizes that Buffy is a Slayer who will not be crushed easily.
 Spike is defeated by the end of the episode and he leaves the school, but he will be back and Buffy knows she has not seen the last of him.
Before the Love
 For both Xena and Ares and Buffy and Spike, many things happen between them before Ares and Spike realize they are having feelings for the women that they so often are fighting. Xena and Buffy continue to do their jobs of helping people and all the while they find themselves running into Ares and Spike - an occurrence that becomes more and more frequent. Little do they know the results of those visits that will later develop.
 Many of the encounters between Xena and Ares after THE RECKONING deal with Ares trying to get Xena back to be his Warrior Queen. He is manipulative, always scheming and planning. He wants to do anything to get her back. In TIES THAT BIND, Ares disguises himself as Xena's long lost father, Atrius, then tricks her into leading an army in Ares' name. When Xena finds out that Atrius is really Ares, she begins to realize that Ares will do anything to get her back. She starts to despise him for the things he does to her.
 The second season episode INTIMATE STRANGER shows even further how far Ares will go. He decides that if he cannot have Xena, then the next best thing is to have her body. He switches the souls of Xena and Callisto, Xena's arch nemesis, causing Xena to become trapped within Callisto's body and vise versa. That way, Ares is able to exploit and do everything he wants to do with Xena, even if it is not really her, but Callisto instead.
 Ares later returns Xena's body to her after the episode TEN LITTLE WARLORDS where Ares loses his sword and becomes a mortal temporarily until Xena, in Callisto's body, returns it to him. The switching body incident made Xena quite upset with him after that.
 After INTIMATE STRANGER, it is clear that Ares is obsessed with Xena, even if it is only because of her warrior skills. In the third season premiere episode THE FURIES, the Furies themselves are the first to mention that Ares is indeed obsessed with Xena. At the time, Ares wants to have the Furies drive Xena insane so that she kills her mother and comes back to him and his ways. It does not work and though insane, Xena is able to get the Furies to lift her insanity by proving that Ares is her real father. Although the Furies believe it, the fact that Xena says Ares is her father is just a ruse. She only wants to get the Furies to give back her sanity. Ares is impressed with Xena because she foiled his plans for her again. But his actions just made Xena dislike him even more.
 Ares' schemes never end. In the first few seasons, Ares digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole with Xena because of his failed attempts to win her back. Nothing he does to get her back works and many things he does disappoints her. In SACRIFICE PART II, Ares sides with Dahak and Hope, believing that if he does so, he will be able to join Dahak when the rest of the Olympians are destroyed and thus become the only Olympian left. In SUCCESSION and SEEDS OF FAITH, Ares tries to get to Xena through her best friend, Gabrielle, but that does not work either because Gabrielle is aware of his tricks. She is not about to let him draw her into his power.
 All of those things, especially the fact that Ares uses Gabrielle to get to her, only makes Xena angrier. She loathes him and wants nothing to do with him. His hopeless obsession with her just creates a larger gap between them. Things seem like they cannot change.
 In contrast to Ares, Spike is definitely more evil. Unlike Ares, Spike is not interested in having Buffy join him. All he desires is to see her dead. Having killed two Slayers, he at first assumes that Buffy will be easy, but after meeting her, he finds out that is not true. It will take more brains to bring her to her knees.
 After SCHOOL HARD, Spike focuses on restoring Drusilla's strength. The two-part episode WHAT'S MY LINE is the episode in which he restores Drusilla. To do so, he needs Angel - the one who turned Drusilla into a vampire - to transfer his strength to her. The cure for her is supposed to completely drain Angel of his life force, killing him, but Buffy stops the process and rescues Angel. Spike tries to kill her then, but is unable to because he has to get Drusilla out before Buffy kills her. Drusilla regains her strength, but when the church that the ritual had been preformed in catches fire, Spike is crippled temporarily when an organ falls on him. He is then, for several episodes, forced to spend time in a wheelchair until he recovers from the injury.
 In only the first year of knowing Buffy, Spike had already tried to kill her twice and failed miserably both times. When Angel later loses his soul and became the completely evil vampire he had been 100 years before, Spike chooses to join Buffy in the two-part episode BECOMING to help destroy Angel and stop him from causing the destruction of the world and also so he can get Drusilla back. Drusilla had been fawning over Angel since he was back to his "old, bad self," making Spike incredibly jealous.
 Spike siding with Buffy briefly is similar to when Ares wants to side with Xena against Dahak in SACRIFICE PART I. Though Ares never actually goes as far as joining Xena, he is willing to at first, until he realizes the power that Dahak could bring him.
 Spike may have helped Buffy, but it does not change her attitude toward him. He is still evil in her eyes and what he does did not change him much, either. He still wants to kill her. She is still the Slayer, after all, and, as a vampire, his main goal is to kill the one thing that is a danger to his kind.
 After BECOMING, Spike begins to change gradually, the changes unknown to him for a long time. The confrontations between him and the Slayer become more regular. He is gone from all of season three except for one episode, LOVER'S WALK. In this episode Spike wants Willow to perform a love spell so that he can get Drusilla back. She left him after BECOMING claiming that he'd gone too soft when he sided with Buffy. So Season Four is awfully intense for Spike. Having become captured by a monster-hunting government agency early on in the season in the episode THE INITIATIVE, Spike undergoes a series of changes that will affect the rest of his existence.
 The Initiative implanted in his brain a chip that made it impossible for him to ever hurt another human being. If he does the chip will cause him serious neurological pain. The chip greatly impairs Spike. Having it in his head creates a problem for him because he can no longer feed off people for his nourishment. The first few nights after he has the chip placed in his brain are difficult for Spike. He is pathetic and helpless, starving from not being able to feed. The Initiative is on his trail, realizing that he had escaped from their institution. He is constantly on the run.
 Finally, after running endlessly from the Initiative, in PANGS Spike knows he has no choice but to go to the one person he had never thought he would go to for help - Buffy. Though her instincts tell her not help him, now that he is a neutered vampire, she knows she cannot not just kill him because he is helpless. She occasionally gives him blood, but eventually, he is forced to rely on other means of getting his nightly amount of blood. He finally ends up relying on blood from a butcher's shop to sustain him.
 Apart from being unable to get his blood the old-fashioned way, killing people for fun is also no longer an option for him. Spike is no threat to any human anymore - something that is a real burden. There is no reason for anyone to fear him. The only beings he can harm and kill are other demons, which he discovers in DOOMED.
 Throughout the fourth season, Spike finds himself helping the human population on occasion by killing other demons, which does not make him very popular in the demon world. He is deemed as an outcast and a rebel amongst them. Spike sometimes even fights alongside Buffy and even helps her out in certain situations, though most of the time, not without a price for his generous help - payment of money that he uses to buy his blood, smokes, and alcohol.
 The chip is one of his first steps to changing, but having the chip in his brain still does not change Buffy's feelings toward him. Though no longer dangerous, he is not to be trusted and he is still a trickster. Over time, both Spike and Buffy begin to see that the chip is having an affect on him, since he sides with humans more often than demons. However, he is still Spike, still wanting to believe that he is the same old vampire that he had been for 126 years. It takes something more drastic to change him further.
 Extraordinarily, despite their history, both Ares and Spike eventually discover they have feelings for Xena and Buffy. Strangely the realizations and changes happened in the fifth seasons of both shows. Ares had been obsessed with Xena from the beginning, so it wasn't as unusual for him to have feelings for Xena that went beyond just power. But for Spike, it was something that happened almost instantaneously. Apart from having deeper feelings for the women they so often fight against Ares and Spike deal with those feelings quite differently.
 All of Ares' games are getting him nowhere with Xena, even though at times Xena seems drawn to him. For example, in CHAKRAM, Xena loses her dark side, but she still feels attracted to Ares. Xena is continually trying to push Ares as far from her as possible. It isn't until late season five that Ares starts to show some changes within him - changes that could have never been expected. GOD FEARING CHILD is the turning point for Ares - a point from which then on, he can never go back.
 The news of the Twilight - a prophecy foretold by the Fates that one day, the reign of the gods would end and they would loose their powers - makes its way through Olympus. When Xena is found carrying a child unnaturally conceived by forces more powerful than that of the gods, the Fates proclaim that when her child is born, it will bring about the end of the gods. So Zeus orders the unborn child of Xena killed. This news drives Ares to realize something he had never accepted before: that he has feelings for Xena, feelings that are deeper than he could ever explain and failed to realize before.
 While Xena is trying to escape the gods, Ares comes to her. Her first reaction is to protect herself. Ares confesses that he is not interested in hurting her or her unborn child and instead, he tells her he wants to protect it. Xena is blown away by his intentions, believing that he must have had some plan behind it. He tries to explain that he has feelings for her, that he cares about her, that he sees her face everywhere, and that if the prophecy comes true, he is willing to become mortal and live out his life by her side. But she will have none of that. She does not believe his proclamation to her is sincere and she dares him to tell her he loves her. He cannot, though he is clearly holding something back. She leaves him after that and when she is out of earshot, Ares says that he loved her.
 It is a complete shock when he says he loves her, even if he could not say it to her face. He is going against everything that the God of War is all about and he himself admits that he is not fond of the feelings he is having. He cannot deny them, though, no matter how much he wants to. He had admitted to himself that he loved her and, in a way, that was truer than if he had gone along with her dare and told her. She would not have believed him anyway had he done so. Having said it to himself, he proves that he is not lying, that it is true and he can never take it back.
 Apart from Ares, it is unclear as to whether Spike is obsessed with or had feelings for Buffy. Since she is a Slayer, Spike focuses most of his attention on her, trying to think of a way to bring her down. It is natural for him to do so. The implant in his brain, however, wrecks any chance he has at fulfilling his desire: to kill yet another Slayer.
 So by Season Five, with the changes he has been going through, Spike finds himself helping Buffy more often than he realizes. After Drusilla leaves him, Spike finds another vampire, Harmony, who quickly becomes his girlfriend in season four. Yet Spike's obsession with Buffy is clear to Harmony too, just as it had been to Drusilla. Spike is obsessed with her and not just because he wants to kill her. There is something more to it than that.
 In the fourth season episode OUT OF MY MIND, Spike first realizes that he has feelings for the Slayer. He knows that it seems Buffy is everywhere he is. She is always foiling his plans, mainly the recent plan he has about trying to get the chip removed from his head. Buffy seems to be haunting him and he hates it. He just wants to kill her. However, one night, after yet another confrontation with her, Spike dreams that she comes to him, ready to kill him and he is not afraid. He wants her to kill him; he wants his torment to end and the only way that could happen was if she killed him, releasing him from a world that has her in it.
 She is near to killing him, but for some reason does not and that is when he makes his move and kisses her passionately. She is a little surprised, at first, but soon joins in the kiss. She admits to him that she wants him and he tells her he loves her, how he loved her so much.
 When Spike wakes up from the dream, he is shocked. He cannot believe he had dreamt of being in love with Buffy. He hates the idea of having feelings for Buffy.
 After OUT OF MY MIND, Spike finds himself realizing even more about his feelings for Buffy. He has a manikin in his crypt, dressed with a blond wig and a sweater of hers that he talks to, pretending it is Buffy. He has an entire wall in his crypt covered with pictures, stakes, and other objects of Buffy's. It is, in a sense, a shrine to her - a clear sign that he is dealing with an all-out crush on the Slayer.
 Spike continues to hate the fact that he has feelings for Buffy. In FOOL FOR LOVE, after he and Buffy discuss his past and she rejects him after he says she is attracted to him, he wants to kill her. He doesn't care if killing her would give him one hell of a headache because of the chip, he just wants her out of his life hoping that it will finally give him some peace.
 He goes to Buffy's house with a gun, prepared to shoot her, but when he sees Buffy sitting on the steps to her house, crying because her mom had to go to the hospital because of a tumor in her brain, Spike's anger vanishes immediately. He completely forgets about killing Buffy; all he wants to do was comfort her. He sits down next to her and puts an arm on her shoulder and she does not pull away. Spike is willing to forget about all his rage and act solely on his feelings for Buffy, even if just for a moment. It is apparent that Spike's feelings run deeper than just a mere obsession. In CRUSH, Spike finally goes all the way and knows that he cannot keep his feelings to himself forever.
 Like GOD FEARING CHILD was for Ares, CRUSH is a turning point for Spike - the point at which he admits to actually being in love with Buffy whereas, unlike Ares, Spike is courageous enough to tell Buffy how he feels directly.
 When Drusilla unexpectedly returns to Sunnydale after having left Spike nearly two years before, she is willing to forgive, forget, and take him back so it could be like it used to be between them. Drusilla is surprised, however, when Spike ties her up and threatens to stake her to prove his love for Buffy.
 Buffy is not about to believe that Spike will kill Drusilla for her and Drusilla does not believe it either. But Spike wants to prove it to Buffy. He tells her he loves her and then reminds her of what Drusilla meant to him - and what he is ultimately giving up for the sake of his unwanted feelings for Buffy.
 In the end, though, Drusilla does not die and she and Harmony leave Spike, not wanting anything to do with him since his little thing for Buffy is now out in the open. It does not turn out so well with Buffy, either, for although Spike tries to admit that all he has are good intentions when it comes to her, she does not care. She does not want anything to do with him. Spike cannot believe that after what he had done, she cannot accept that he loves her. Nothing he does ever seems to be good enough.