Detante is a Beautiful Thing
Disclaimer: All characters from BtVS are not mine, I don't own them,
yada yada yada.
Summary: Buffy and Spike call a truce...over hot
Copyright E. Marney 2001
Without seeming to make
any conscious decision she finds herself wandering back through the cemetery,
skirting the puddles, walking up to the crypt, knocking on the door.
the door swings open, they just stare at each other for a moment or two. Her
plaits are bedraggled, her nose is red, dripping, and she is dwarfed beneath
jacket, coat, scarf, hat. He, by contrast, is like the eye of the storm - neat,
dry and composed, long black sleeves his only concession to the weather,
nicotine-stained fingers his only
His eyebrows lift in query, but
before he can spit out a caustic remark and break her resolve she delivers her
"Can I come in?"
This politeness stops his mouth
firmly. She's asking to come into his home - now he's confused. Anything could
happen. He makes a snap decision, opens the door wide and steps back, giving her
entrée with the tilt of his head and the line of his body.
Her step, firm
over the lintel, into the light of a pilfered lamp and a collection of candles
in bottles. She feels a quiver of misgiving, and the sound of the door closing
behind her is like a reprimand. She turns quickly to face him before her will
He's lighting a cigarette - he needs one.
"And to what
do I owe the honour..?"
"Oh - no reason. I've been out. Passing by -
thought I'd drop in."
Like it happens every day.
"On patrol? It's
raining." He almost looks sympathetic.
"Yah - noticed that actually." The
tight smile she gives is the icebreaker. He remembers that he used to have
"Erm - do you want a drink? I made hot toddy."
"Hot toddy." He looks a bit sheepish and defensive at the same
time. "It's booze, but it's warm - oh, here." He picks up a thermos and fills a
mug, thrusts it at her before she can object.
"Ah...thanks." Against her
instincts she lifts the mug and takes a cautious sip. It's wine, spiced and hot
and sweet. She's caught off guard by the taste. "Hey - this is good."
shrugs. "Old recipe."
So now they just stand there for a moment,
wondering what to say next.
"I just wanted - "
"It's not like -
They both stop, berating themselves. (Did they really think it was
going to be easy? Making conversation without the glib comments and the
"Sorry, you - "
"You first - "
glare at each other. He holds up his hands for time-out - swallows, and decides
to go with social custom, gesturing her to proceed.
She takes a breath,
speaks quietly, only her fingers picking at her jacket giving away a lack of
poise. "I patrolled late. Mom's at home with Dawn. It's too early to be morning,
and too late to go to bed. I just..felt like..visiting."
He takes this in
and nods, trying to be casual. Sizes up a response, then decides to go with
honesty. Chill the whole situation out a bit.
"Well...it's nice to have a
visitor. I've just been having a quiet night in with the telly." Throws a hand
toward the lazy arrangement of saggy sofa, coffee table and TV set, plonked down
incongruously to one side of the tomb. "D'you want to sit down?" Can't hurt to
This seems to be pushing things a bit, by her expression. But then
her face changes - to 'I-can't-believe-I'm-doing-this' - and she plunges
She dumps coat and hat. So there they are, sitting
sided by side by the flicker of the telly, sipping hot toddy, not close enough
to touch and looking uncomfortable. But it's a start, he thinks.
this is very civilized."
"Well, I thought we should, you know, clear
the air - so here's me. Kind of a detante thing."
"Detante?" he asks
She interprets this as reluctance and sighs. "Yeah, you know
- you, me, not trying to kill each other every time we meet -"
yeah, I do understand the term," he says
They glare again, this time at
the telly. But then curiosity overcomes his pride.
"So...are we talking a
total cessation of hostilities here? Or do we just try to avoid each
She blinks contemplating this.
"Well...I don't think we
can completely ignore each other - I mean, hello, me patrolling the cemetery
"True." His next cigarette seems to be demanding a careful
perusal. "And...I don't think ignoring each other is quite going to do the
trick." He's thinking, more likely it'll have the opposite effect.
swallows and colours faintly - better not go there.
"I-I was thinking
that we could just, um, act polite. Like you said -
They look at each other for a
moment - time enough for both to take in a few details. He thinks that, in her
dripping state, with the plaits, she looks incredibly young. It makes him feel
200 years older than he already is. She thinks that, when he's not grimacing
with punk angst, his mouth looks very soft. Very tempting.
Then they both
look away, clear their throats and fidget. The television provides a much-needed
"How about those infomercials, huh? she says quickly.
"Nobody gets abs like that with a three minute workout."
yourself, he thinks, but says, "Yeah, well it's better than watching reruns of
'I Love Lucy'."
They sit and watch TV for a bit, making the occasional
hmph-ing noise of disbelief. It's almost comfy and domestic - they could almost
be two friends relaxing in the living room in front of the tube. If they weren't
a vamp and a slayer, on a stolen couch in a cold corner of a crypt.
sun's getting close to rising now. He yawns - getting sleepy - and she notices.
She thinks reluctantly that it's getting time to go. It makes her sigh, knowing
that this has been nice, almost easy - and that next time they meet anything
He picks up on her touch of melancholy, but he wants to end
it on a good note. He raises his mug for a toast.
"So - to
She grins. "To detante."
They clink their mugs and sip.
The wine is cooling now, but all in all - still sweet.