quinara: Buffy's sad-looking profile from Villains. (Buffy profile)
Quinara ([personal profile] quinara) wrote in [community profile] sb_fag_ends2011-06-29 12:32 am

'Silence in the Gardens' by Quinara (PG)

This is in many ways a companion piece to Breathing at Your Side, in the sense that it's again about Buffy and Spike having a relationship by phone. But it's set after the AtS finale, probably more oblique, definitely more moody (as in it's uncertain I'll still think it's good in the morning). I've got Buffy in London(ish) and there's a thunderstorm - everyone's enamoured with thunderstorms, right?

PG because I couldn't be bothered censoring Spike; ~700 words; free of anything that would need a warning on the AO3; title's nicked out of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, because the man has a good turn of phrase.

Silence in the Gardens.
by Quinara

He isn’t there when the storm breaks. He isn’t there when England proves it can only be sunny so long, when the blue skies dull and the grey clouds roll in thick, when the rain pours down in full, heavy drops and thunder cleaves the air. No, he’s still in California, where it can be like this, but isn’t. Much.

The heat hasn’t left the house (her house isn’t built to lose the heat), so she’s sat with the French windows open, looking out into her ‘garden’ (fifteen paving stones arranged five-by-three, a row of weeds and then another row of dirt). The rain pours down, filling the air with that sweet, blue smell of ozone, and it’s scuffling on her weeds, on the overhanging branches from the cherry tree next door. She wants to call him.

And so she does; she takes the cordless from the dock by the couch and dials. He has a cell these days; she can call.

“Hello?” he answers, quick to pick up on her, but speaks with the hushed tones of nighttime, of early morning predawn dark. “That you, Buffy?”

“Yeah, it’s me,” she says, as the thunder cracks again. The rain beats faster, patters in puddles where her paving’s not quite flat. “Is this a bad time?”

Putting LA back to rights, fixing where the demons trashed? Living with Angel in a single room? It’s always a bad time. “Nah, nah…” He never says so, though. “Why d’you call?”

“No reason,” she says. It’s quiet. It’s quiet and it’s gonna rain all afternoon. “What’s the night like, where you are?”

“It’s dark,” he starts dismissively, confused. But that’s OK, she can see him in the dark: monochrome and stark against artificial glow. “Weather’s… It’s all right. Dry. City ain’t seen a drop for days. Smells of petrol – gas, I mean. Food in the bins that’s off.”

It’s the other side of the world, or might as well be, but she can see him there. Leather against stone, wrinkling his nose in the alleyways. If he’s talking to her from somewhere so different, then he must be real, mustn’t he? Because she can’t imagine the dryness, not there, not while she’s here, the air not so cool but damp as it breathes into her house – as every other squall of wind brings it dashing to the mat that marks the windows’ threshold.

“It’s not like that here,” she says. “Though it’s dark.” So dark she put the lights on, just to read. “It’s raining – like I always thought it would. Big thunderstorm; probably not gonna flood, but they put a warning on the TV. Not for here.”

This is completely insufficient, she realises, for a phone call. Totally not enough. She should have something to tell him, or have changed her mind about the beginner’s level phone sex he’d tried to instruct her in last week. But she has nothing, only this.

He seems to realise, too. “Are we talking about the weather, love?” It comes with a laugh. “Suppose they might send you native after all…”

“Is that OK?” she cuts in quickly, not a joke. (There’s silent lightning far away.) She needs to clarify this point. “The weather talk, do you mind it? There’s only so much else I have to say.”

His humour dies immediately; she can hear he’s heard she’s spooked. “It’s fine, yeah?” he says earnestly. “Absolutely fine. Buffy –”

“It’s like everything is backwards: I haven’t got enough to say, but too much time to say it in.” As the thunder rolls, she jumps. “Or maybe I’ve got too much time I want to fill. I mean, here’s me, I’m taking up your time, is that –”

Buffy.” He stops the stream, but sounds like he’s sitting down somewhere, a bus stop or a bench, in the long, dry quiet of his night. “It’s absolutely fine. Let’s talk your thunderstorm. I’ll talk my fuck all breeze.”

“OK. OK,” she says – and starts to talk the way she wants to talk to him. The rain goes on.

stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)

[personal profile] stultiloquentia 2011-06-29 12:40 am (UTC)(link)
This is really good. It really works, on a bunch of levels. Aw, I keep letting myself forget how much I love these characters.
lutamira: ([btvs] [b/s] vampire and slayer)

[personal profile] lutamira 2011-06-29 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
I love it when you post! This may be moody but it is also atmospheric and evocative and gorgeous and hopeful and chock full of Spike and Buffy making it work.

“OK. OK,” she says – and starts to talk the way she wants to talk to him. The rain goes on.
evilawyer: young black-tailed prairie dog at SF Zoo (Default)

[personal profile] evilawyer 2011-07-02 04:52 am (UTC)(link)
Read this the other night but got kicked off line and couldn't get back on. I like this a lot --- a great moment of pseudopeace in the midst of palpable tension (both external and between Spike and Buffy).