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Master by Aurora
Chapter Twenty-Two-If You Were Meant To Be My Lover I Wouldn't Have To
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Chapter Twenty-Two: If You Were Meant To Be My Lover I Wouldn't Have To

July 19, 1879

At times I feel like the world has turned against me. That the beauty I used to find in all of God’s creations has now not only lost its innate luster, but has transformed into a repulsive shell of its former self. I fear that at times I am alone in my view of the world and that it is only the naïve ramblings of a wishful man that I put down on paper.

I know what they think of me, those uncultured brutes. They claim my works of poetry are nothing more than mere travesties of art, yet they themselves, who are so forthcoming with their criticisms, would not recognize true art even if the Muse Erato herself struck them over the head with it. I am not an angry man and I surely do not hold onto grudges. Those sentiments only poison the soul. It is difficult however to remain positive when the world around you has turned itself against you. If it was not for mother and her genuine encouragements, I fear my scribblings would have been put to an end ages ago.

I am faithful in my obligations. I do what is expected of me in this day and age, yet I find no pleasure in any of it. I am trapped in this existence and my only solace is here, in my bed, by the sparse light of a candle, with this journal in my lap, its pages open to me so that I may pour my heart out into it. My duties have imprisoned me; my responsibilities have become a cage upon my life. I am trapped and no one truly knows the loneliness I must endure.

Buffy closed the leather-bound journal, unable to continue on to the next entry. Tears threatened to spill once again down her face. Despite the disbelief that these words were actually those once written by Spike, Buffy couldn’t help but relate to the feelings they evoked. Though the circumstances were completely different, William felt stuck, helpless to everything that was going on around him. Just like how Buffy was feeling.

Sighing, she slipped William’s journal underneath her pillow before gently resting her head back down on its downy softness. Buffy didn’t want to think about what was bothering her but she couldn’t help it. She was still angry with Spike but if anything it was just an extension of what she really felt. A big old heaping bucket of disappointment.

Spike had denied her freedom and with that had completely botched whatever potential exchange of ‘I love you’s that were heading their way. Buffy knew that her refusal to reciprocate his declaration of love was most likely the reason why he hadn’t let her go. It didn’t change how she felt, though. If he loved her, he would stop being selfish and grant her her freedom. And there was that disappointment again.

Maybe she should tell him. Then he could stop being such a butthead and finally let her go so they could go back to the kissing and the loving and forget about the whole stupid ‘who shoulda said what’ mess they were currently in. If only it were that easy. As much as she hated to admit it, she had her pride to consider. Spike had failed the test and Buffy wasn’t about to go on bended knee to proclaim her love for him just to be liberated from the prison he had created. She wasn’t even completely sure that if she did actually say those three little infamous words that Spike would actually be able to push his own pride aside and let her go.

So what did it all mean in the long run? The hell if Buffy knew. The only thing that was for certain was that Spike’s love was conditional and that he still saw her as his possession.

God, why did he have to be so stubborn? After what they had shared? How couldn’t he know how she felt? Why couldn’t he just trust her? Frustrated tears finally began to cascade down her cheeks, further wetting the already damp pillow beneath her flushed face.

Spike couldn’t possibly think that things between them would return to the way they were just hours before. ‘He better not,’ Buffy bitterly reflected as her heart ached. She wanted to love him so much, she just couldn’t.


So here he was again. Outside her door, alone in the dark hallway, his hand tentatively placed on the brass doorknob. Nothing but a little bit of history repeating. The only difference was that he wasn’t hesitating because he was nervous. Though Spike did feel a little guilty, he was not the wrongful party this time around. Or so he firmly convinced himself.

The day had been spent in preparation for what was to come at dusk, leaving the house in a state of pure pandemonium. The number of vamps that had returned from all over town was less than what Spike had been expecting. Apparently, after Spike’s unanticipated return, the fugitive Damon had not only fled with half of the house’s resident vamps but had intimidated every single vampire he had encountered to pledge undying allegiance to him. For those who had refused, the pillock had actually staked them, strategically increasing his numbers while figuratively fucking Spike right up the ass. The vamps that had come back to home base had been the lucky few who had not bumped into Damon and his recalcitrant vampire brigade.

It was almost show time; Spike could smell the sun settling below the horizon. He figured he should tell Buffy about what was going on. But that’s all he was there for, nothing more and nothing less. There wasn’t going to be any heartfelt pleas of forgiveness and there sure as hell wasn’t to be any going back on what he had said. Spike had no intentions of freeing her, especially since she clearly didn’t love him. Not in the way he thought she did.

Those few hours of heaven they had spent together that very morning would have pushed Spike to the conclusion that Buffy did in fact love him. He knew she was going to say it too if not for her noisy stomach. Spike let out a disappointed snort. Saved by her own gastrointestinal tract. That was definitely a new one. Spike would’ve understood if Buffy had told him she was scared, if she was unsure about loving him but the bint hadn’t said a word. Instead Buffy had bloody well gone and demanded her freedom.

Had she ever really cared about him? Or were the past few months just an act to get in his good graces so that he would set her free? He could have sworn Buffy loved him. Spike had seen it in her eyes when she had tenderly asked him to make love to her. Why would Buffy even request such a thing if she didn’t love him?

Spike’s unbeating heart sank a bit more as realization pulled the metaphorical veil from his eyes. A menacing growl escaped his lips. ‘You were takin’ for a ride mate,’ he thought furiously, his jaw instinctively clenching, nostrils flaring with rage. ‘Been nothin’ but a fucking act!’ The knob in his hand suddenly crushed under the pressure he was unknowingly exerting. ‘We’ll see who’s played the fool.’

Squaring off his shoulders as he stood up straight, Spike roughly turned the misshapen handle and shoved the heavy door open, storming into the barely lit room. Buffy was in the exact same place he had left her, on the bed, laying curled up on her side, her back purposefully turned to him. She didn’t stir at all; leaving him unsure as to whether she was asleep or simply just ignoring his presence. With a searing fury and newfound determination, Spike marched over to her side of the bed, his boots pounding against the tiled floor. Ready to grab his slave by the throat and tell her to shut up and spread ‘em, his voice faltered at the sight of Buffy’s face.

Tear tracks were visible down her reddened puffy cheeks; her hazel eyes were filled with sheer misery. Had he done this to her? Christ, Spike hated it when he made her cry. It made his gut twist and churn and brought back the ugly memories of when she had openly despised him. Maybe he had been wrong. Maybe he had inadvertently hurt Buffy when he hadn’t sincerely considered or even really listened to her plea for freedom. Could it be that she had been holding back, waiting for him to at least say he’d let her go before she would voice her feelings for him? Spike mentally shook his head. He couldn’t risk it. What if Buffy was really playing him for a fool and flew out of the room the second he decided to giver her the choice to leave? Not only didn’t Spike want her walking the streets of Sunnydale all alone and unprotected, he didn’t want to let Buffy go. What if he never saw her again? Spike just couldn’t bear the thought.

“What?” Buffy huffily sniffled, furiously staring up at him.

Spike’s expression of concern instantly turned impassive, his soft blue eyes transforming into cold orbs devoid of all emotion. “Something’s come up,” he said callously. “Damon’s run off and he’s got most of the clan with ‘im. He’ll be back after sundown.”

Buffy sat up suddenly, clasping the bed sheets to her chest. “What’s going on?” she asked apprehensively, panic quivering her voice.

“Damon’s gonna come back and try to take over the clan,” Spike somberly explained, trying to ignore the automatic feeling he had to comfort Buffy, to run to her and wrap her up in his arms.

“What?!” Buffy gasped, her eyes wide with trepidation. She could still feel the dark vampire’s cool breath on her neck from when he had tried to rape her. What if he succeeded the second time around? What if she ended up being a spoil of war? What if Damon killed Spike? The last thought suddenly made Buffy feel very nauseous. “What’s with this guy? Why does he hate you so much?” she wondered, trembling slightly.

Spike released a ragged exhale. “Goes back to before I even stepped foot in this town. After the Master got dusted, his clan was up for grabs. Both Vincent and Damon were contenders to be the next head honcho. Problem was I stepped in, took all of it from right under their feet.”

Buffy just stared at him puzzled. “So they just handed it over to you?”

Spike shook his head, turning his gaze to anywhere else in the room other than Buffy’s distraught face. “I did something that set me apart from the rest of ‘em. Skyrocketed my status is what it did. Vincent never really cared but apparently Damon’s been in a huff ‘bout the whole thing ever since,” he clarified, censoring exactly what it was he had done to get mostly every vampire in Sunnydale to fall in line.

Buffy picked up on the blatant omission but didn’t bother to pursue the issue. She was upset enough as it was with Spike. She didn’t even want to imagine what possible atrocity he had committed that would’ve been considered vile enough to gain the respect of the town’s vamp population. Buffy decided to remain quiet. She didn’t know what else to say.

Spike continued to speak, needing to fill the silence, petrified of what would happen if he stopped talking. “The git failed before and he’s gonna fail again,” he remarked confidently.

The chill that was making Buffy uncontrollably shiver wouldn’t seem to go away. Spike’s haughty statements didn’t reassure her at all. The thought of Damon returning, along with other vivid recollections of his unwanted touches and forceful advances, made Buffy tense with dread. Just when she thought they were out of the woods, clear of whatever danger Damon had posed, this had to happen. Now he was back and she was going to have to return to being in a constant state of fear.

Buffy whimpered. She was simply too emotionally exhausted to deal with the threat of Damon’s looming retaliation. She had experienced every possible human emotion in the past twenty-four hours, everything from the highest peaks of joy to the lowest recesses of sadness. If anything else were to happen, Buffy wasn’t sure if she’d be strong enough to survive it.

“What should I do?” she asked meekly, twisting the sheets tighter around her small body.

Spike’s azure gaze reluctantly returned to hers; he didn’t want to see the despair in her eyes again. Luckily for him, her head was bowed, her golden hair shielding him from whatever expression was on her face. Inhaling unnecessarily, Spike patted himself down, searching for his pack of smokes. Pulling one out, he lit it up and took a long drag before answering Buffy.

“You’re not gonna do anything, pet, besides getting dressed. Tash’s gonna stay up here with you the whole time. You’ll be safer that way,” he told her as he released the gray smoke from his dead lungs in a single stream through his nose.

‘I’d be safer if you’d just let me go,’ Buffy crossly thought but still kept her line of sight away from his. She said nothing, not even coughing when the foul scent of tobacco smoke assaulted her nose.

Spike knew there was nothing more to be said. Without a word, he marched toward the door, about to exit the room when he abruptly stopped short of walking through doorway. He could see her in the corner of his eye, her blond head curiously lifting up to watch him leave. Keeping his focus out on the hallway, Spike began to speak.

“I know you must bloody well hate me for keepin’ you ‘ere but I can’t just let you go. ‘Specially not when Damon’s out for blood. ‘m not gonna let anything happen to you, luv. All hell’s gonna break loose and ‘m gonna need to know you’re safe. Don’t know what I’d do if I lost you,” he hoarsely finished.

Buffy said nothing, her gaze transfixed on her folded hands.

Spike nodded. He hadn’t expected her to respond. With one last glance he made a move to step out into the hallway, abruptly stopping to a complete halt when he heard Buffy’s low, bittersweet voice.

“Just don’t get yourself killed, okay?”

Though the words seemed casual, they were in fact tense, laced with worry and even minute traces of –dare he say it?—love.

Spike smiled sadly. “I’ll try.” It was his only reply before disappearing out of the room, locking the wooden door and heading downstairs to an unknown fate.

A/N: The Muse Erato is one of the Greek Muses. She's the Muse of romantic poetry.
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