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Am I the only one who thinks that fics about Buffy and Spike secretly communicating in A5 never get old? Hopefully not! This is a 700-word piece of mildly angsty sop for 'exile', tame as tame apart from the language, no AO3 warnings apply. Set a little after Damage. (The title, by the way, is a lyric from Bad Religion's In the City, which is a good song of theirs.)

Breathing at Your Side.
by Quinara

Half a city away from Wolfram and Hart, Spike stood in front of a payphone, trying to dial with as little muscle movement as possible. He held a pen between loose fingers and slowly jabbed the number into the keypad, waiting for it connect – slowly. Of course, when he’d got through whatever passed for an exchange these days, it only took three rings for the call to be picked up.

“Where the hell have you been?”

Ah, Spike thought: his light, his love, haranguing him across the ocean. These were the moments he cherished… “That what you call concern? Bloody charming.”

“And why exactly should I be concerned?” That was a warning, a very definite one. “There'd better not be cause for concern.”

Spike cringed, wishing it weren’t quite so preferable to keep the phone tucked between his chin and his shoulder. “Andrew didn’t tell you, then?” he asked, actually quite surprised. (Although, if he hadn’t, maybe it was best not to mention the hands.)

“The little runt’s getting sneakier.” She sounded grudging, but thankfully distracted. “He didn’t even tell me you were alive... Why am I not allowed to know that, again?”

“Because we don’t know why I’m back?” Spike wasn’t sure himself, to be honest, but he remembered that being the reason at one point. “Not to mention Angel’s still sucking off the Big Evil for five bob and a power trip…”

“Nice.” 'Eww' was the fairly emphatic subtext on that one. He could just imagine the cute little face she pulled when she was disgusted; it was worth it every time. “That wasn’t an image I needed, Spike.”

“Sorry.” He wasn’t.

She seemed to notice, though, which was gratifying. “What’s with you, anyway?” Changing the subject, was she? Fair enough; Andrew was about as interesting as Angel's wardrobe. “Recently you’ve been… I don’t know, you don’t seem very – chill?”

Caught off-guard then, Spike’s throat closed. He found himself staring at the graffiti that covered the phone’s shelter, the swirls of black and red and orange, wondering what to say. For a few seconds he entertained the idea of telling her the truth, that he was horny as fuck and sick of not getting anything done, that having his hands out of commission wasn’t helping with either – but he was pretty certain even Buffy didn’t value honesty that highly. “Miss you, don’t I?” he offered instead, because that was also true.

There was silence after that, which made Spike remember the other invisible line he wasn’t meant to cross. These were business calls after all, at least first and foremost; no time for the more gooey side of things. And didn’t that suit everyone just perfectly, with him banished thousands of miles away. “Spike…” She was almost certainly setting up for reprimand.

“Forget it,” he interrupted, not wanting to hear it and starting to feel the pain in his unrested wrists.

“I will not.” Now that rejoinder made him do a double-take. Of course, she was stubborn cow, wasn’t she? Had he really forgotten that? “I miss you too; look -” Her words were rushing, almost falling over themselves. “- how about I call you back, OK? Your number’s showing on our shiny spy-phone, I –” For some reason she sounded flustered, as if she thought he was about to hang up and wanted to keep him on the line. Who knew why; he couldn’t move for the death of him. “We could catch up or something, maybe? If you’re free to talk, I mean, or, uh…”

Regaining enough sense, he tried to reassure her, feeling awkward nonetheless, “Yeah – yeah, that sounds good.” What was the point of being a vampire, really, if you couldn’t stand in the same place for a while and not worry about your legs going any more dead? “I…” Then he looked up, at the sky bright black with the new night, slightly worried. “What time is it where you are, love? Must be late – don’t want to keep you up or anything.” It wouldn’t be right to let her know how long he’d be happy to stand there.

But then: “No, no!” She was reassuring him. “I wasn’t, um, I wasn’t asleep.”

“Oh, right.”

“I guess… There may have been some – concern.”

And just like that he felt slightly less cut off from it all.



( 64 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 12th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)
I agree--it never, ever gets old.

I love the way you write them. With the sometimes harsh snarkiness that hides the concern. This is them, and it's completely beautiful in its way. Lovely.
Mar. 12th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you - I'm so glad you like my versions of them. And that it doesn't get old! :)
Mar. 12th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC)
Ooh that was lovely.

I wasn't aware this was a genre though.
Mar. 12th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
I wasn't aware either, but now you've made me want to play in this genre, quinara.

Lovely job. (wanders away, humming)

(no subject) - quinara - Mar. 13th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - quinara - Mar. 13th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch - Mar. 13th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 12th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
I love this. I don't think I've read stories with them secretly communicating. This is a thing?
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D As far as I can tell, the phenomenon has formed in my head from a combination of various aspects of wisteria_'s Correspondents, treacle_a's Night Call, Collect and anaross's Long Day's Journey... Though I suppose none of those fit the bill entirely? It should be a thing if it isn't!
(no subject) - aerintine - Mar. 13th, 2011 05:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - quinara - Mar. 13th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 12th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
Absolutely love this to pieces! Buffy and Spike secretly communicating is the best.
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
Yay, thanks!! And it's definitely one of my favourite things. :D
Mar. 12th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Am I the only one who thinks that fics about Buffy and Spike secretly communicating in A5 never get old?
Count me in.

Ah, Spike thought: his light, his love, haranguing him across the ocean. These were the moments he cherished…

As do we all.
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
Thanks - and hurrah for enjoying the secret communication!
Mar. 12th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
Very true to the characters. Buffy and Spike are their own worst enemies.
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
Thank you! I don't think they're doing too badly, though they could probably skip a lot of their conversation if they got to the point a bit quicker.
Mar. 12th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
“Because we don’t know why I’m back?” Spike wasn’t sure himself, to be honest, but he remembered that being the reason at one point.
Doofus Spike!

Like this wonderful, new 'secret' genre. Just the two of them.
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
Thank you! And that Spike, he's so silly...
Mar. 12th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
Lovely. Just perfect. I love this community!!!! (I say that a lot, don't I? LOL)

And now I want to write a post season eight fic in which it turns out Buffy and Spike were in communication all through AtS 5 right up until the battle in which they all vanished... (LA in Hell?) Hmmmmm....
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! And I love the comm too!!!

This fic sounds very good to me. :D
Mar. 12th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
I had no idea this was a thing-the secret communication during ATS5-love it. This one is particularly lovely. :)
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) I'm a bit worried that maybe it isn't a thing; in my head it seems to be a thing because of wisteria_'s Correspondents, treacle_a's Night Call, Collect and anaross's Long Day's Journey, but maybe I've constructed a much larger group of fics than there actually is...
Mar. 12th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
ohh lovely ! and Spike's line about Buffy appreciating honesty was gold XD

I do miss these kinds of stories, I love wisteria-s e-mail series although it always ends up depressing me. XD
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad you enjoyed. :)

[Bad username: wisteria_&quot;]'s is a bit depressing, isn't it? I find myself always wanting more from Spike's email persona, but then it is very good.
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:11 am (UTC)
Oh, I like this! I didn't know it was a thing, but it definitely *needs* to be a thing. It makes so much sense. If they are in secret communication, then the whole hurtful, inexplicable Spike-stays-away, Buffy-is-indifferent problem disappears. Plus, they get a chance to reconnect without having to deal with other people's opposition, which may be what they need most of all, because it's Spike and Buffy and they can create their own problems and misunderstandings without any outside assistance.
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:20 am (UTC)
Yay; thanks for saying so! And exactly, this sort of scenario fixes all manner of irritating things. :D
Mar. 13th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
Is there more of this kind of fic? Really? Awesome!

I liked this piece very much!
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
I think so! Maybe not in exact terms, but I feel like the idea's been floating around for a while.

And hurray!! Thanks for telling me. :)
Mar. 13th, 2011 03:57 am (UTC)
OMG. This is too perfect, I can't deal with it.

Actually I didn't know this was a thing either, but I love it now!
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
Hee!! Thanks very much! :D

Clearly there should be a 'this thing' ficathon or something just to appease my delusion.
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC)
Oh, those dear, stupid, insecure kids.
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
That was a compliment, btw.
And now I'm resisting the urge to pimp my own "this kind of thing" fic.
Re: That was a compliment, btw. - quinara - Mar. 13th, 2011 10:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: That was a compliment, btw. - thisficklemob - Mar. 13th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: That was a compliment, btw. - quinara - Mar. 14th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: That was a compliment, btw. - thisficklemob - Mar. 14th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)

I, honestly, had never read a "Spike and Buffy secretly in communication during Angel Season 5" fic and now I am madly in love with the concept!!

(Because, yeah, it made no sense not telling Buffy Spike was back save for the inability to get SMG to do a few episodes. :P)

But them talking behind everyone's back?? OMG. "No, no, don't tell her... (I called the second I was solid)."


Okay, enough about the concept - the ficlet itself is sweet and gentle and says so much between the lines. LOVE! *mwah*
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
So glad you liked it!! Yay, thank you. :)

And I'm extra glad to share the love of the concept, because (as far as I'm concerned) it is too, too perfect; the idea that six weeks, or whatever it was, was enough to make Spike weenie out of talking to Buffy again makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Although it's possibly also that I just have a massive narrative-kink for Spike and Buffy having a secret relationship that they're both happy with, since I'm well up for S7 shenanigans and merry S6 fics...
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
Now why didn't the secret communication genre ever occur to me? Because I would be so onto that. In fact, I think I'm making it canon. Loved it.
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
Thank you! And yay - the secret communication fanon will rise and take over the world!! I support you all the way in your canonising. :D
Mar. 13th, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
I like this one a lot! Aside from loving the idea of Spike and Buffy communicating throughout season 5 your Spike feels very in character.

“Not to mention Angel’s still sucking off the Big Evil for five bob and a power trip…”

Yup, that's our boy. Though I tend to be with Buffy on the "eww!"
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! I don't have too much practice with A5 Spike, so I'm glad he came off OK.

Poor Angel can only guess how soundly he gets mocked... ;)
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
For some reason she sounded flustered, as if she thought he was about to hang up and wanted to keep him on the line. Who knew why; he couldn’t move for the death of him.

This was so delightfully Spuffy. And actually the first time I've even seen this genre, so please, keep them coming (if you want to)! *Goes off to read the recs down below*
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I don't know where else I'd go with this set up just at the moment, but it's always in mind. Hope you enjoy the other ones!
(no subject) - gingerwall - Mar. 15th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
I *love* secret Buffy/Spike communication stories during S5 "Angel." Never, ever gets old! And this one was fantastic. It felt so totally Spike & Buffy. Gruffiness and hesitancy covering up concern and tenderness.

Any chance of more? Like a series? :)
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much!! Glad I could live up to a very fine tradition! I don't know what ideas I'd have for a series, but, who knows, I might come back to this idea again. :)
Mar. 13th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
This is truly lovely, and the idea that they are communicating very welcome, and the voices excellent.

Are there really other fics that deal with this idea, and where do I find them?!
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :)

I think there are a few others that deal at least partially with this idea - I've been mentioning wisteria_'s Correspondents, treacle_a's Night Call, Collect and anaross's Long Day's Journey, and thisficklemob mentioned her own The Unmasking. There must be others too, but I don't know where they are!
(no subject) - relurker - Mar. 15th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - quinara - Mar. 15th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 13th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous awkward loving stuff. Who knows what the reason is - doesn't matter at all.
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D One day I'll get tired of Spuffy, I'm sure, but not today...
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
It definitely should be a genre, if only because Spike ends up looking so terrible in AtS season 5, especially post-Damage. That should have been a clue to him to get in touch with Buffy:(

Very nicely done.
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
I haven't watched A5 in quite a long time, just because it really feels to me like (most of the time) Spike is putting on a front and generally just very miserable. In a way that never gets explored. So, yes, I love this genre for helping with that.

Thank you! :)
Mar. 15th, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
Never gets old! Especially Bitchy!Buffy realizing she's gone on autopilot and awkwardly trying to let him know that she's trying to turn it off.
Mar. 15th, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)
Yay, thanks! And hee, what a perfect way of putting it - so absolutely true. *pats Bitchy!Buffy's wee head*
Mar. 15th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
Adorable and very in character ♥
Mar. 15th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
This is so very sweet! Would that it had been canon.
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! And yes; oh how perfect Season 5 would have been...
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