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Master by Aurora
Chapter Twenty-Five- Pleasant Surprises
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Chapter Twenty-Five: Pleasant Surprises

Spike remained crumpled on the cold tile floor; his back slumped up against the crumbling wall. Single tears silently trickled down his face as his unfocused eyes stared out into oblivion. He sat directly in the sunlight that poured in from the room’s only window, yet it couldn’t even bring him to squint. Spike’s sudden imperviousness to the sun no longer left him in awe. Instead, he kept an apathetic vigil, but as to what it was exactly that he was watching he was yet to figure out. He didn’t want to move because moving required thought and thinking always brought him back to Buffy. So he stayed completely still. That way it wouldn’t hurt as much.

Spike knew he was being foolish. Damon would be back soon. He knew that after the dark vampire finished licking his wounds, he would without a doubt return for round two and that was something Spike sure as hell didn’t want to be around for. He sneered slightly. Wouldn’t Damon love to find him like this? A total nancy boy, crying on the floor like some poofter. Spike would rather stake himself than give that Judas with fangs that kind of bleeding satisfaction.

Furiously wiping away his last frustrated tears, Spike jumped to his feet. Marching toward the broken window, he stopped abruptly when something caught beneath his boot. His leather-bound journal. Bending over, he picked up the worn book. What was it doing out here? Glancing at the book shelf where he kept his few truly personal possessions, Spike wondered if Buffy had discovered his secret hiding place. He made his way over to the small bookshelf and threw all the books on it to the floor. Pulling out the back of the bottom shelf, Spike found all the photos, letters and drawings he had left there. The only thing that was missing was the journal, which was in his hands. He noticed that his belongings weren’t in the order he had left them in. Spike couldn’t stop himself from smiling. That was his Buffy. Too curious for her own damn good.

Pulling out his things from their safe place, Spike stuffed them into his duster pocket. If he was leaving the house for good, he didn’t want to leave anything behind. Skimming over the dog-eared diary, Spike gradually shoved it in his pocket along with the others. There wasn’t any time to concern himself with what Buffy could have possibly learned about his meekly former self. He could only speculate as to how she had reacted when she had first learned about William. Spike prayed she had found it endearing and that it had not somehow attributed to her only recent bit of rejection.

Spike headed back on his path to the window when something else sidetracked him. In the corner of his eye, sprawled atop the broken bed was his old red shirt, the one Buffy had worn during that brief period of time when all had been right between them. Taking it in his hands, Spike brought the silky fabric to his nose, inhaling deeply the lingering scents of her body and of their love making. His throat tightened upon remembering what they had shared and what he had most likely lost.

Buffy had been so open, if not with her words then with the way she had expressed her feelings. Looking back, Spike could see it now. Simply asking him to make love to her should’ve been enough proof of how she felt.

Spike’s thumb unconsciously stroked the collar of the crimson material as he mentally berated himself for his insecurity. During that short reprieve he had never felt more loved than when he had been in Buffy’s arms. The torture Spike had endured, Damon’s looming threat, his own deteriorating clan had all completely disappeared from his mind in those blissful moments. When he was with Buffy it felt as though the world around them vanished and that he was just a man, locked in the embrace of the woman he loved. Spike choked as he fought back another onslaught of tears. Buffy made him forget he was a monster; she made him feel like a man.

Spike’s fist tightened around the battle worn shirt. Now, because of his own downright stupidity, he might never have that again. Buffy could be lost to him forever and all that he would have left were a few drawings and the shirt he held in his hands.

Bringing the discarded garment back to his nose for one last heart wrenching smell, Spike stopped before the red shirt was in mid-lift. Something else besides essence of Buffy had tickled his overly sensitive nostrils. Dropping the shirt to the floor, Spike concentrated on the foreign scent. He couldn’t put his finger on it but it was familiar. Why hadn’t he noticed before?

The answer was obvious. He’d been too devastated and the only thing his guilty conscience had allowed his mind to register was Buffy’s scent. The sparse indoor fires and the dust and blood all over the house also did little to help in pinpointing the alien smell.

It wasn’t one scent but the combination of many. Mostly human. Mostly. Except for one, very minute trace of demon.

Spike smirked as he strutted to the large, shattered window. He jumped through it, landing two floors below on the bright sunlit street. If his hunch was right, he knew who had taken Buffy and where she was now being kept. A part of him was overjoyed that it wasn’t Damon but the demon inside of him was screaming to take back what was his. He just wasn’t sure if Buffy was his to take anymore.


Buffy mindlessly stared out the living room window as the early afternoon sun filled the room with its bright light. She was still in a bit of shock, what with her sudden freedom and discovering Cordelia had been alive all this time. To be honest, Buffy was feeling a bit overwhelmed. She still felt the urge to go find Spike but her brain was too overloaded at the moment to put anything into action. For now she remained unmoving, waiting for reality to sink in.

Buffy’s hand was clasped in Cordy’s as she sat beside her at the room’s only table, surrounded by many unfamiliar faces. The man she had met upstairs she learned was named Rupert Giles, a retired Watcher.

The three other people in the room were introducing themselves, though they already seemed to know who she was.

The shy redhead sitting across from her was named Willow. Buffy had discovered that the unexpected pjs she had woken up in belonged to the kindhearted, but at times fashionably-challenged girl. Despite her lacking skills in style, Buffy gave Willow a warm and thankful smile, which was enthusiastically returned.

Seated next to Willow was Oz, who by the looks of it was her boyfriend. Not that he was the lovey-dovey, in your face with the PDA kind of guy. Actually, it was quite the opposite. Oz’s impassive face couldn’t mask his feelings for the girl beside him. Though usually expressionless, the young man had body language that simply screamed ‘protector of Willow’. Buffy had seen it before. Spike used to act that way around her all the time. Even with the simplest gesture of resting a comforting hand on her shoulder, Buffy knew the guy cared. Buffy glanced at his hair. Oz was redhead like Willow. Buffy thought that was adorable.

Sitting at the end of the table across from Giles was Xander, a cute guy with chocolate brown eyes who appeared to be the joker of the bunch. Buffy couldn’t help but notice the fleeting glances he was sending Cordelia’s way. She also noticed how Cordy would blush ever so slightly and avert her eyes from his gaze. Buffy smirked knowingly. It seemed as though a few things had happened to her best friend in the months they had been separated. She made a mental note to ask Cordy about it later.

Still gazing out at nothing, Buffy missed part of the conversation that was transpiring all around her. It wasn’t until Cordelia lightly elbowed her, did she snap out of her trance.

“Huh?” she turned to look at her best friend, hazel eyes wide with confusion.

“I was just telling them how we met freshman year and about the road trip,” Cordy reiterated, a little thrown by Buffy’s lack of attentiveness.

Buffy scoffed sadly. “We would’ve probably been in Vegas by now.”

Cordelia nodded, turning in her chair to look Buffy in the eyes. “I should’ve listened to you when you were having doubts about Sunnydale. If I hadn’t been so one tracked mind about having a good time…if we had just left town then…then maybe we would’ve never had to live through this nightmare,” she lamented as a single tear streamed down her face.

Buffy could feel her own tears about to give way. “It isn’t your fault, Cordy. How were any of us supposed to know what was gonna happen,” she reassured. “And it’s okay now. I’m here with you and you’re alive. For all these months, I thought you were dead.”

“I could say the same thing about you,” Cordy replied as she squeezed Buffy’s hand.

Buffy reached over and hugged her best friend. “Hey, I’m all with the living here,” she good-humoredly stated. “Everything’s gonna be alright, Cordy. We survived.”

“It’s a miracle that you did,” Willow broke in. “I mean, you’re both so lucky to have gotten the heck out of the Bronze that night with your lives.”

The girls nodded in agreement before Oz added his own two cents. “Not to mention the fact that Buffy survived all those months while being held captive at Spike’s lair. That’s beyond miracle. I might even wager it’d be deemed a phenomenon,” he commented in his typically stoic manner.

Buffy nodded as her hand unconsciously crept up to the scars on her neck. Brushing the wound lightly, she suddenly wished she could’ve been wearing a turtleneck instead of the black cotton tee she was sporting that did nothing to shield her from curious gazes. It wasn’t that Buffy was ashamed but the knowledge that she had been a willing participant when Spike had bitten her might be a little too unsettling for the group at the table. They might think that her need to find the vampire that had held her prisoner for months was some kind of post-traumatic insanity. Buffy couldn’t risk them finding out and trying to stop her. The ex-Watcher had promised her that they would help her but how was she supposed to know whether or not she could trust them. She especially did not want to tell Cordelia. The brunette might be her best friend but open minded she was not. No. Buffy was going to have to do this alone. She just had to find the opportunity to slip away.

“How did you survive Buffy? Why didn’t they kill you?” Cordelia wondered. It never made sense to her. What the heck would a vampire keep a human around for?

Buffy tried desperately not to blush as she thought of the initial reason as to why Spike had enslaved her. What was she supposed to tell them? What would be believable? She couldn’t tell them the truth. Buffy couldn’t stand to see the disgusted and pitying looks they would no doubt be giving her if they found out. She wasn’t a victim. Survivor most definitely, but never a victim.

As Buffy struggled to enlighten everyone as to what she had endured in the past couple pf months, Xander and Willow exchanged uncomfortable looks. They knew exactly why Spike had held onto her. They weren’t a hundred percent sure about the sex aspect of the relationship but they were pretty certain it had something to do with Spike being in love with Buffy. Xander had chalked the whole ‘vampire in love’ thing up to Spike being one pretty sick and twisted monster who deluded himself in thinking that the girl he kept chained up in his room was actually in love with him. It was the only way the simple minded brunette could live with what he had heard and seen that night he and Willow had played basement night watchmen.

Any other possible explanation was just too much for him to come to grips with. Vampires were supposed to be bad and humans were supposed to be good. As simple as that. To Xander, it was completely black and white. Vamps weren’t supposed to fall in love with their food. His survival instincts had taught him from the beginning that there wasn’t any room for the varying shades of grey when it came to morality. If you second guessed what you were doing, who you were fighting, then you were dead. So Spike was evil, regardless of his uncharacteristic declarations of love. Once a soulless, evil bloodsucking fiend, always a soulless, evil bloodsucking fiend.

Willow on the other hand had a difference of opinion. While Xander lived in his own world of denial and closed-mindedness, the Wicca couldn’t ignore what she had seen that night. There had been something about the way Spike had whimpered over Buffy in his sleep. It had been so sincere, so distraught, just too raw for it not to have been love. Willow knew with every fiber of her being that the vampire had fallen in love with Buffy and that had probably been the reason why he had held onto the blonde girl for so long. The question now was whether or not Buffy felt the same for Spike. If she did, Willow wouldn’t judge her for it. The relationship would be extremely unconventional, but this was Sunnydale after all, where the unusual was a way of life. Discretely eying the girl across from her, Willow couldn’t decipher for herself what the emotions playing across Buffy’s face meant. Sighing, the redhead simply waited along with the rest of them for Buffy’s response.

“I..I..” Buffy began to reply, clearly stumbling over what to say. “I don’t wanna talk about it right now if that’s okay with you,” she covered as her clutched at the front of her t-shirt, trying to hide the bites Spike had adorned her neck with.

Cordelia sympathetically nodded. “Of course it’s okay. You don’t have to tell us anything if you don’t want to.”

The former cheerleader could only imagine what horrors her best friend must have survived during her stay at Vampire Central. She didn’t want to pressure Buffy into telling her what had happened. She still looked pretty upset over the whole ordeal. The last thing Cordy wanted was to make Buffy feel even more uneasy, especially in front of a group of people she considered to be strangers. She patted her best friend’s hand. Cordelia would be there for her no matter what. She knew Buffy would’ve done the same for her. It’s what best friends do.

“Thanks,” Buffy sighed in relief as she stared around the table. Everyone else seemed pretty content with her answer. They were probably thinking the worst, probably jumping to conclusions about torture, rape and her being used as a blood cow. Why else wouldn’t she want to talk about what she had been through?

It wasn’t until her eyes met with the Englishman’s did she realize that not everyone was clueless as to why she did not wish to speak on the issue of her capture. The Watcher knew she loved Spike.

‘Of course he does!’ Buffy inwardly berated herself. How couldn’t he when she had ranted like a mad women the second she had met him, demanding that she be let go so that she could find Spike.

Speaking of finding Spike, Buffy needed to snap out of it and get to it. The shock of Cordelia being alive had brought her to the table but what was keeping her there? It wasn’t the riveting conversationalists sitting all around, that was for sure! Then why was she stalling? Why was she dodging questions and pushing off actually taking Mr. Giles up on his offer about helping her search for Spike? As much as she hated to admit it, she exactly knew why. Buffy was afraid of what she might eventually find.

If she were to discover that Spike had perished during the fight against Damon, then she didn’t know what she’d do. The possibility was just too devastating, leaving her with fearful indecision. The longer she waited, the harder it was to move. Her heart was beating rapidly and her stomach churned painfully at the thought that Spike was gone forever, that there was an actual chance she might never see him again. The room suddenly seemed to be getting small, like the walls were creeping slowly toward her. Her lungs were finding it difficult to draw in precious oxygen. For the first time in a long time Buffy felt as though she could possibly give into a panic attack.

‘Snap out of it!’ the stronger part of her ordered. ‘Get a grip. You need to know what happened to him. He could be out there somewhere thinking you ran away or that you’re dead.” The weaker aspect of her psyche quickly added, ‘Yeah, if he isn’t dead himself.’

Taking in one deep, long breath, Buffy turned back to look at the Watcher. “Mr. Giles…”

Holding up his hand, the older man interrupted her. “Please, simply Giles is adequate,” he informed with a smile. “It’s how everyone around here refers to me.”

“Plus taking off the ‘Mr.’ makes Giles feel like he’s not the old, teacher/mentor, Watcher guy that he really is when he’s around all of us younggins,” Xander quipped.

“Why thank you ever so much for that little bit of vital insight Xander,” Giles sarcastically stated, aggravated by the young man’s distorted sense of humor. “And I am not old,” he finished with a mutter.

“Uh…you were saying Buffy?” Oz chimed in, trying to get the group back on track.

“Yes Buffy, I must apologize for the interruption. Please, continue with what you were about to say,” Giles urged.

Buffy sighed loudly as she bowed her head, avoiding all the intense stares sent in her direction. “Well…like I’d told you upstairs Giles, I think…I think I need to go back,” she told them as she glimpsed up to momentarily see their reactions. Everyone appeared mostly perplexed by what she was trying to say. “There are some loose ends that I never got the chance to tie up before you guys broke me out of there.”

“Is this about payback Buffy? Because as crazy as you sound right now, that’s the only thing that would make any sense,” Cordelia asked, staring at her friend as though she had grown another head.

“No Cordy. This isn’t about getting back at anyone,” Buffy remarked with conviction. “Though I wouldn’t mind seeing Damon hung, drawn and quartered.”

“Then why in the hell would you wanna go back to that haunted house?” the flustered brunette inquired.

“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t understand,” Buffy stated, wishing Cordy would just drop it. The last thing she wanted at that moment was anymore dissuasion. She needed to get to Spike, with or without anyone’s help.

“Then why don’t you at least try to explain it and we’ll see whether or not I understand?” Cordelia irately suggested, bringing forth her inner bitch. She didn’t like it when people kept things from her, especially when said people included her best friend. Traumatic experience aside, Buffy couldn’t simply declare that she wanted to go back to Spike’s lair without giving a good, and more importantly, sane reason as to why.

“It has to do with Spike,” Buffy hesitantly began to elaborate.

Everyone tensed suddenly when she mentioned the name. Buffy knew Spike’s name was synonymous with pain and death to the people sitting before her. She could understand why bringing him up would make everyone jittery.

“I need to find him. I need to know what happened. Giles said you guys would help but if you don’t want to, I understand,” Buffy continued on, still not telling them what her exact plans were regarding the infamous vampire.

“Spike was…I mean…Spike is very important t—” Buffy started to clarify, stopping abruptly as she gazed around the room.

Everyone still seemed pretty on edge but it was beyond mere name association wiggins. They were all wide eyed, trembling with the fear that was clearly etched across their faces. Their gazes were not on her but past her, to something that was standing behind her.

Buffy turned to her side to look at Cordelia. The petrified girl was pointing a shaky hand to something in the hallway behind Buffy, her mouth open as she tried to vocalize some sort of distress call.

Without so much as a second thought, Buffy spun around in her seat. What she saw almost made her cry, scream and faint all at the same time.

“Hello luv.”
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