The Devil's Valentine

Entry for the one-shot competition.
Acquired permission to use flashbacks within the story.
Mentions of suicide and adultery; major character death.

{William T. Spears x Reader}
Characters © Yana Toboso
Reader © Oneself
Story © APH_I_Died_For_Him

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1. The Devil's Valentine // Regrets //

"None of you should bother me unless in the extreme case of an emergency." William warned his workers on his way to his office, turning back from the door towards the cubicles to add something to his request. "Sutcliff having a meltdown does not count as one." Casting a sharp glance at the reapers, Will finally entered his office which provided him some kind of privacy and the possibility to focus on his paperwork better, only this time it wasn't the case. Being it the day he came to despise, the head of department had no intention to burden himself with paperwork, clearing up his subordinates' mistakes. Upon closing the door, he took off his jacket, hanging it onto the coat rack he rarely used and walked to his chair, loosening his tie, another sign that something was really unlike than an average day. Being a reaper for longer than he liked to remember, William met the most curious people and cases, even if he liked to seem indifferent towards any.

However, there was one he'd never forget, not in a million years, to which he honestly had chance to live. Taking out the small key from the pocket of his vest, William's unoccupied hand pulled open the lowest drawer on his desk. Using the key to open the secret panel, he was finally able to retrieve the little booklet, leaving the forever unopened box resting there. Softly turning the pages, he started to read with a gentle expression on his usually emotionless face. The words appeared in his mind as if he was watching a film, though the imagery version of the cinematic records were never retrieved.

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

A female, not older than fourteen, was riding home in a fancy carriage, her pretty face twisted into an annoyed grimace. Her governess stayed silent, displeased by her outrageous behaviour at the Earl's manor on their visit. She was over at the neighbouring lord to meet his son, the future heir she was supposed to marry when they become of age. However, [name] was disgusted by the idea. Being young, her problems weren't against the controlling nature of the tradition, but simply the young lord, who was childish and barbaric to her liking. It was then as they crossed the nearby village, that her gaze was caught by a gang of boys, older than her, picking up on one who seemed to be her age.

"I want to stop." At her request the coachman stopped the horses and with the butler escorting the women, they walked to the group once she explained her reason. The governess turned to her surprised.

"Why exactly you want that boy to join us?" It was like she expected him to be a secret lover of hers which, obviously, was a ridiculous idea.

"Papa said I have to find a boy of my age to train him to be my future butler. He can't give me away without a proper staff of my own." [name] silenced her with her finger pointed at her, the men returning with the little, beaten boy.

"Milady, I don't advise to let him ride inside." She shooed the butler with a simple shake of her hands, patting the place next to herself for the boy to sit.

"I'm [full name with titles]. And what's your name?" The boy lifted his brown eyes at her, still under the shock from the happenings.

"Will. My name's William T. Spears." She smiled and held out her hand for him to shake.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Will."

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

William gulped to keep his feelings at bay, turning a few pages at once. At that time, he didn't know how much that simple meeting would change his life and he still couldn't decide if it was for the better or worse. Of course, he shared a pleasant time with her or else the little box wouldn't be sitting in his drawer. A soft and sad scoff left his lips and he shook his head gently, unable to forgive his biggest mistake.

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

A few years has passed and [name] grew into a gorgeous and smart woman, who was admired by many, William not being an exception. Although he knew very well that someone from the low level he came from can never have the chance to court a girl like her, especially that it was not a year until her organised marriage taking its start, he still had the infantile hope of 'what if'. Ever being treated no way else but kindly by [name], William couldn't help but care and feel dearly for her. Being on the edge to complete his training, lately he had less time for idle chat with the girl and, even if he'd never admit it, he was upset by the fact. Seeing her every day did nothing to ease his longing for a day when he could be equal with her, for a day on which he had enough bravery to confess his feelings until came a day he thought of as his happiest by that point.

Someone was knocking on his door, by the way of the sound, someone with delicate hands and William has proven right when he found [name] at his door. Letting her in and closing the door quickly, he was met with a tight embrace from her. Surprised to no ends, he managed to put his arms around her smaller body. Not knowing the reason of her behaviour, he still had the instinct to calm her and thus he started stroking her back tenderly.

"What's wrong, milady?" Too much used to this way of speech, he forgot to address [name] by her actual name, something she insisted on at times only the two of them shared.

"Don't milady me! You know I hate it Will." Loosening on her hold, [name] sighed out in frustration. "I'm sorry, it's not you I'm angry at." Guiding her to the fairly comfortable but nowhere near luxurious bed, William softly held her, cupping her cheeks in his hands.

"Do you want to talk about it...[name]?" Hesitant, Will pressed a kiss to her forehead, hoping to calm her before she started to cry. She nodded softly and blinking back her tears, she moved closer to rest her head on William's shoulder, never outraged by the thought to have physical contact with her personal butler.

"Father and I just found out that my fiancé had numerous affairs in the past year. But our fathers still want to go through with the deal. How could I marry him when I know this is what waits for me? And he was never the one I loved in the first place." William listened to her attentively, not stopping with the caresses for a second, and gulped a little too audibly in his nervousness when [name] said she loved someone else.

"May I ask who is your chosen one?" He was obviously curious, his hopes higher than ever before. [name] moved away from him with a soft scoff which made a little contrast with her tone the next second.

"It's you, William, you idiot. It was you all along. How c-" But she couldn't finish as a pair of soft lips silenced her with an inexperienced kiss. Pulling away quickly upon realising his mistake, William's usually pale face had a faint blush.

"Excuse me, I shouldn't have done that." Looking away from [name] on whose lips a tiny pout has formed, William felt troubled at the situation. A soft hand turned his face back and her eyes bore into his with a loving glint.

"Yes, you should've. And much sooner." Gently, she pulled his face back, kissing him sweetly on his lips even if she knew it was forbidden. Having a warm smile, [name] moved closer to his body, snuggling against him gently. "I don't want you to ever leave my side. Promise me you won't leave me." Looking up at William, she wrapped her arms around him tightly, waiting for his response with a certainty that he will keep that promise.

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

But he couldn't keep his word and ran away. William still remembered how he felt at that time. He knew it was wrong what they did, even if the kisses shared in secret, the touches no proper butler could let himself to do and just the time they spent together were joyful for both. She was already promised to someone and even if he hasn't tainted her innocence, it was not something they could or should have kept up. William ran away, leaving behind a letter and he wasn't seen for a few years. A few years in which he became the way he was now, strict, respecting rules and a reaper. Being weak, scared and hating himself for what he did was one of the worst mix of emotions William could feel and he wasn't proud of his choice to throw away his life, unknown to the bitter reality what greeted him instead of the simple calmness of death. Taking off his glasses, William looked down at himself, disgust in his eyes and voice once he spoke to himself. "Look at what you did. You're not better than that demon scum who took her from you." Shaking his head, he knew the words were true and what happened after his leave was all his fault, something he still couldn't forgive himself for.

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

It was relatively early in the afternoon yet the city was starting to get darker on the late winter day. Snow was softly swirling on the streets and it was hard to see with the lamps not yet lit everywhere. [name] was on her way to the city estate his husband had, being out on her own to buy a meaningless and symbolic gift for Valentine's Day. Coming by an unlit alley, she perked up at the sound of noise and soon her eyes were scanning the darkness even if she had the feeling she should ran as fast and as far she could. The first thing she noticed was a pair of amber eyes, a little lighter shade than the man's she still didn't forget and loved.

"William?" She asked when a little more was visible from the stranger but not enough to make sure it was him. Not getting an answer, [name] took a few steps closer to the seemingly familiar person, albeit hesitant. Instead of a gentle touch she'd expect from her past lover, a tight grip on her neck greeted her once she was within reach. At once grabbing his wrist to break free, [name] could feel that she was lifted off the ground with ease.

"Foolish human. You don't have the power to defeat me." The cold and monotonous voice was unlike any she heard before. Panic slowly rising in her, she tried to scream without a result, her voice too weak from the choking hold on her throat. "No one is going to save you. What a feast your soul will be." Looking up from the still overshadowed face, [name] seemed to notice a person on the edge of the nearby roof but she couldn't be sure of it for she lost consciousness from the other's grip.

"I could smell your stench from a mile off, demon." Jumping off the roof, the newly arrived male landed with relative ease, ready to fight. Casting his gaze to the limp body of the girl, which now slumped against the alley's wall, he was quick to confirm his worries. It was his dear [name] he abandoned and William attacked the nameless spawn of the devil.

"Why do you care for her? She's not on your miserable list." The demon sneered, easily dodging the inexperienced reaper's tries. Only finishing his training a couple of months before, William had little to no skill in how to fight, not to mention, against a moderately powerful demon.

The demon seemed to be bored by the fight, the reaper unable to even scratch him and getting fed up with the tedious fight, he effortlessly got hold of the scythe, twisting it out of his hands. Weapon- and thus defenceless, William backed away slowly, knowing that the demon possessing his scythe had the chance to kill him. Stumbling over his own leg, which was quite unusual for a reaper with the ability to move with the skill of a cat, William slid down against the wall, not too far away from [name] whose consciousness was returning at a slow pace. Scooting over to hold her softly, William was surprised the demon hasn't attacked him yet but glancing up he could see the evil glee on his face. Waiting for the perfect occasion, the scum of Hell stepped by their side, towering over the two cowering figures.

"You will witness how I devour your pathetic lover’s soul before I kill you. But first, I make sure you stay put and on the ground where you belong." Holding up the scythe as if he was some kind of higher being with the authority to bring justice down on the sinners, making the already twisted scene grotesque. Realising that it will be in any way her last thing to do, using the last of her strength, [name] scrambled over William, barely in time to save the man she loved.

For a moment, everything seemed to stop. The scythe, wielded by the demon was nothing more but a mere end to kill and thus the soul could not be harvested yet it was lost, never to be retrieved or devoured. Seeing that his efforts failed, the demon left to search for a new prey. Devastated, William gently lifted her head, life scarcely glimmering in her eyes.

“No, [name]. Why had you throw your life away?” On the brink of tearing up, William caressed her cheeks tenderly, as if he wasn’t in a dirty alley with his love dying in his arms but just waking up with her on the first morning of their marriage.

“Because I love you…William…”

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

He was so quiet that William didn’t even notice until he heard the voice, way softer than usual.

“Are you crying, Will?” His gaze snapped to the reaper who just spoke, his vision even weaker with the tear prickling his eyes, but from all the red and black he could undoubtedly confirm who the invader was.

“I said no one should bother me, Sutcliff.” William growled at him, quickly making himself presentable but two soft tearstains remained on his once again emotionless face. Putting his glasses back on, now he could see the confused and worried mix of expression on the red-head’s face but it still wasn’t enough for him to excuse his neglect towards his earlier warning. “Out!”

Scurrying out of the office, William was left alone with his thoughts and miseries. Closing the book with a soft sigh, he slipped it back to where it was and made sure the secret panel was hidden. He’d never want anyone to found out about his human life and his biggest mistake ever.

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