Damon finished boarding up the window while Buffy, Stefan, and Elena looked at him. "I say we go to Pearl's, bust down the door, and annihilate the idiot that attacked us last night." Damon said."Yeah. And then what?" Buffy asked. "We turn to the rest of that house of vampires and say, 'Oops. My bad?"
"I can't believe you made a deal with her." Elena said.
"It was more like a helpful exchange of information. And it's not like I had a choice." Damon said. "She's…. scary. Besides, she's gonna help me get Katherine back."
"Of course she is." Buffy said, rolling her eyes.
"You don't have to be snarky about it."
"I woke up this morning to the fact that all the vampires you promised to help me kill have been released from the tomb. I've earned snarky."
"This isn't being very productive." Stefan said. "We're gonna figure out a way to deal with Pearl and the vampires. Yeah?"
Damon rolled his eyes and left the room. Buffy threw a book after him, hitting the wall just after he'd gone through the door next to it. "I'm sorry." She said. "He just makes me so cranky."
Stefan gripped her hand with a slight smile. "I know. He makes everybody cranky."
"So, what are we going to do?" Elena asked.
"Buffy, Damon, and I are gonna handle everything, I promise." Stefan said.
"Well, what about me? I can't just sit here and do nothing."
"That's exactly what you're going to do." Buffy said. "Because that's what going to keep you safe."
"Which means nothing if you guys aren't safe, too."
"What do you mean? We're perfectly safe." Stefan said.
"Yeah. We have Damon, the self-serving psychopath on our side." Buffy said.
"Well, that's comforting." Elena said.
Buffy shrugged and then groaned. "I'm going to have to tell Dawn not to come down until this is finished."
"Oh, that sucks!"
"Yeah, but I'm not putting her in harm's way…. Again." Buffy sighed and grabbed her cell phone.
Buffy walked into the library just as Stefan was heading out. "Hey, where are you off to?"
"Hunting." Stefan said.
"Good idea. Hey, you think Damon will let me wail on him to make sure I'm not too rusty for our big fight." Buffy smiled brightly at the thought.
"Go easy on him, Buffy. He needs his strength too." Stefan smiled and kissed the side of her head. "See you later."
Buffy rolled her eyes when she saw Damon stepping away from the grandfather clock. "Well don't you just look ready for a fight?" She was wearing faded jeans, thick black Harley Davidson boots with thick 1-inch heels, and a long black tank top that was loose fitting and flowy. "I'll spar with you."
Buffy walked over and grabbed her black leather coat. "I'd win and we'd be down a fighter. And I would hate to take the fun away from those other vampires."
"Ouch. Put your claws away kitty."
"How long is Stefan going to be?"
"The squirrels don't put up as much of a fight as humans do, so I'm going to imagine…. Not long."
"I'll be up in my room. Tell Stefan to come get me when he's back." She turned on her heel to leave.
"Buffy…." Damon started. She turned to look at him expectantly. "I'm sorry."
"For whatever it is you're pissed off at me for. I'm not sure what I did exactly, but…. I'm sorry."
"Thanks. But I'm not pissed at you. I'm just…. Annoyed in general."
"Why do I doubt that?"
Buffy shrugged. "Don't know." She turned to leave, but Damon was standing right in front of her. "Damon…." He reached down and kissed her, pulling her tightly to him. Buffy moved away from him. "Why did you do that?"
"Because I don't want to be just friends and I'm pretty sure neither do you."
"Damon…. I don't want to be your girlfriend."
"I don't want you to be my girlfriend. That term is so…. Binding."
"And that's exactly why I don't want to be your girlfriend."
"Listen, we can be friends but have some fun. There's no harm in it."
"There's plenty of harm in it."
"You can't fight it forever, you know."
"Oh but I can." Buffy walked away.
Buffy knocked on Elena's door and waited. Damon had tried calling her, but the phone had been sent to voicemail. He'd come up to Buffy's room only an hour after Stefan had left and had said that there was something wrong.
Elena opened the door and Damon walked right in. "You're ignoring me."
"The 6 missed calls? Sorry." Elena said. "My phone's dead. Hey Buffy.""Is Stefan here?" Damon asked.
"No. Why? Something wrong?"
"He went out to the woods and didn't come back." Buffy explained. "We can't get him on his phone. Damon figured he was here with you."
Elena picked up her phone and called Stefan. "It's going straight to voice-mail. Where could he be?"
"You're not going to like what I'm thinking." Damon said.
"I'm not either." Buffy said. "I'm going to go find out."
"I'm coming with you."
"No. Guard Elena. If they have taken him, they could come after her."
"25 vampires now at full strength against just one of you?" Damon shook his head. "It wouldn't end well for you. You're not going alone. I'm going with you. End of discussion. Let's go."
Damon banged on the door to the house where Pearl was staying. "Pearl! Open this door. I swear to god I'll bust through and rip your head off." He yelled.
The male vampire that had attacked at the house opened the door. "Pearl's not home." He looked outside. "Hmm. Beautiful weather. Not a ray of sun in the sky."
"Where's my brother?"
"Billy." The vamp got out of the way to show Buffy and Damon a beaten Stefan being dragged into the hallway.
"You're dead." Buffy growled. She and Damon started to attack, but Damon slammed into the barrier. He grabbed Buffy before she could go in alone.
"Whoa. I'm sorry. You haven't been invited in."
"I don't need to be." Buffy said, low and dangerous. Damon refused to let her go.
"Yes, Frederick honey?" Miss Gibbons said, walking in.
"Never let these bad people in."
"I'll never let them in."
"You can't stop me." Buffy said.
"145 years left starving in a tomb, thanks to Katherine's infatuation with you and your brother." Frederick said to Damon. "First few weeks, every single nerve in your body screams with fire. The kind of pain that can drive a person mad. Well…. I thought your brother might've wanted to get a taste of that before I killed him. Billy." Stefan cried out as Billy shoved a stake into Stefan's side.
Buffy let out a growl and tried to pounce, but Damon held her back. "Stefan!"
"You have a nice day." Frederick shut and locked the door.
Buffy wheeled on Damon. "I could've saved him."
"You would've died." Damon said, pulling her off the porch and out into the rain. "They're all in there and they all hate me and my brother. Seeing as how you're with us, you're under that little hate umbrella." Buffy yanked away and tried to go back, but Damon appeared in front of her and blocked her path. "They'll rip you to pieces."
"We've got to do something!"
"We can't let them hurt him anymore. We've got to get him out of there."
"I know." Damon gently held Buffy's face in his hands, moving her wet hair out of her face. "Buffy, I know. But I don't know how to get him out without getting you killed. I won't risk that." Their eyes met and she calmed down a bit.
"We need a plan."
"Now you're talking."
"The school teacher?"
"He's got the best arsenal around."
"What about yours?"
"Oh, we're stopping by the house so I can get my little toy." Buffy turned and they headed back to Damon's car where Elena was waiting.
Buffy found Alaric walking down a hallway at the high school. "Alaric." He turned around. "Hey."
"Listen…. We need your help."
"Who's 'we'?" Buffy gestured to the history classroom where Alaric taught.They walked in where Elena and Damon were and as soon as Alaric saw Damon, he shook his head and started to walk out. "No way."
"Stefan's in trouble." Elena said.
"What?" Alaric stopped.
"The vampires are out of that tomb." Buffy said. "They've got a house just outside of town and that's where they're keeping him. Damon's a vampire. He can't get in. And unfortunately he's right. I can't go in there alone. Elena can't go because, no offence Elena, you're just a human. We need you Alaric."
"I'm sorry, Buffy. But it's not my problem."
"That's a shame." Damon said. "Because the woman in charge of the crowd can help you find your wife."
"Am I? Why don't you ask her yourself? Coward." Damon stood up. "Ladies…."
"All right! Wait. I'll go."
Buffy sighed. "Thank you."
"What do you need?"
"Weapons. I've only got the one." Buffy hefted her bag and pulled out her scythe.
"Whoa!" Alaric shook his head and Elena took a couple of steps back. Damon just stood there and smirked.
"Yeah, it's not exactly as stealthy as a stake," She smiled. "But it kills strong bodies three ways and I'm not looking to show any mercy today."
"That thing is…." Alaric ran his hand down the blade. "Wow."
"So, I've showed you mine. Now you show me yours."
"God that's hot!" Damon said as Alaric walked out of the classroom to get his weapons.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "What is that thing?" Elena asked, still keeping her distance.
"It's a scythe. I King-Arthured it out of a rock. It belongs to the Slayer…. In this instance, me…. And Willow used its essence to turn all the potential Slayers out there into actual Slayers."
"Well, I needed an army and the potentials were ready. They just didn't have the strength to take on the army of Neanderthal vamps we were fighting."
"That is a long story. One I promise I will tell you if we get out of this mess alive."
Alaric walked back in and laid out his stash of weapons. "Teacher by day, vampire hunter by night." Damon said.
"I've you to thank for that." Alaric said.
"What are these?" Buffy asked, eyeing some wicked looked darts.
"Those are tranquilizer darts filled with vervain and holy water."
"Just get Buffy and I in." Damon said. "We'll get Stefan out."
"That's your plan? You're just gonna take them all on yourselves?"
"Well, we'll be a little stealthier than that, hopefully."
Elena grabbed one of the darts. "Whoa. What are you doing?" Alaric asked.
"I'm going with you guys." Elena said.
"Nope." Buffy said.
"No way." Damon agreed.
"You need me." Elena protested. "I'll get in. You guys distract them and then I'll get Stefan out."
"You'll get yourself killed." Buffy said. "You're not going in there."
"So, when you get us in, get out as quickly as you can." Damon said to Alaric, ignoring Elena. "We know how to sneak around where they can't hear us. You'll basically just be in the way."
"Damon, now is not the time to be the lone ranger."
"I won't be. Buffy will be in there with her shiny toy to slice and dice anyone that gets near us. Elena, you can drive the getaway car. But you're not going in the house."
"You can't stop me. It's Stefan we're talking about here. You don't understand."
"Oh, I understand. I understand. He's the reason you live. His love lifts you up where you belong. I get it."
"Can you just not joke around for 2 seconds?"
"We can't protect you, Elena." Buffy said. "We don't know how many vampires there are in there." She snapped her fingers. "That's how long it takes you to get your head ripped off. Damon and I have to be able to get in and get out. We can't be distracted with your safety. Or this will end up a bloodbath that none of us walk away from…. Including Stefan." Elena looked crestfallen.
"If we're gonna go, let's go." Alaric said.
Buffy and Damon waited on the back porch for Alaric. Buffy was swinging her scythe around in a deadly arc, keeping herself limber.
"You're making me nervous with that thing." Damon said.
"Don't worry, Damon. I won't chop your head off on accident." Buffy grinned at him.
"That's the part that worries me."
Alaric opened the door to let Damon to in, but Miss Gibbons said, "Oh, I'm sorry. They're not allowed in the house."
"I know that." Alaric said. "But you gotta make an exception."
"Get her out of the house." Damon said. "Now!" Alaric helped Miss Gibbons out while Buffy walked in. "Miss Gibbons, tell me the truth. Are you married?"
"Parents, children, anyone else who lives on this property?"
"No. It's just me."
"Damon, no!" Buffy cried just before he snapped her neck. "You were supposed to compel her."
"It doesn't work that way…."
"She was human." Alaric said.
"And I'm not! So, I don't care. Now, get out of here. And get rid of the body!" Damon turned to Buffy. "I'm sorry. My compulsion didn't work on her. She's too far gone by the others' compulsion."
"You didn't have to kill her."
"How else am I getting into the house? We're wasting time. Let's find Stefan and get out of here."
"Billy, what's the holdup?" Frederick yelled from another room.
"Someone's coming." Buffy grabbed Damon and pulled him into the pantry. He smirked at her but she held up the scythe and he looked at it nervously. She waited for a moment, letting the vampire get right in front of the pantry door before she kicked it open, smacking the vamp in the head. He fell away and Buffy swung the scythe around to use the wooden end to stake the vamp.
"You're kinda turning me on right now." Damon said.
Buffy rolled her eyes and kept moving. They found an entrance to the cellar and Buffy made her way down. There was a vampire down there guarding a door and Damon took out a vervain dart, stabbing it in the vamp's neck. A movement caught their eye and they both turned, ready to strike. But it was only Elena.
"Are you insane?" Damon demanded.
"I can't just sit around and wait." Elena said.
Buffy sighed. "She's here now. We'll just have to deal. Let's go." She gestured to the door the vamp had been guarding. Elena went in first followed by Damon and then Buffy.
"Elena…. You shouldn't be here…." Stefan said."She was supposed to stay in the car." Damon said. He got ready to stake the other vampire staked down to a chair.
"No. No. No. Not him."
"Whatever. Let's get you down." Damon started to grab the ropes.
"There's vervain on the ropes." Stefan said.
"Elena, pull that." Damon went over and caught Stefan as Elena freed the ropes.
"All right, let's go." Buffy said.
"Wait." Stefan said.
"What? Guys, come on. We have to get out of here."
Stefan pulled the stake out of the other vampire's left leg.
"Come on, we gotta go." Damon said.
"The other one." Stefan pointed at the stake in the vamp's right leg. Elena pulled it out, a little reluctant at first.
"Can you get him in the car?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah." Elena said.
"All right, go."
"What about you two?"
"We're going with your plan now. You rescue, we'll distract. Go." She disappeared back up the stairs with Damon not far behind.
"All right, Rambo, what's your plan?" Damon asked.
"Personally, I really want to kick that guy Frederick's ass. Anybody else is just bonus points."
"Ok. Whoever has the most points when this is over gets a night at the Grill all expenses paid by the loser."
"You're on. Let's say 20 points for females and 10 for males?"
"Wait, wait, wait. Why are females more?"
"Because they're craftier and harder to kill."
"Good point. Hey, wait…. We've got to even some odds here. You can only use the stake end of your scythe since I've only got a stake to work with."
"Except on Frederick. He gets the big business end." Buffy nodded at the blade.
"So, let's start at the back and work our way up." Buffy moved off in one direction while Damon went the other. Buffy took out five vamps, three males and two females, when she met up with Damon. He was taking on Frederick, but two male vamps came up and started to wail on him. Buffy took one of them out so Damon could defend himself against the other. She looked around for Frederick, but he was gone. One last vampire appeared and Buffy put the stake through his heart before he could get to Damon.
Damon finished off his vampire and turned to her. "I got four. One female and the rest males."
Buffy smiled. "Dinner's on you. I got seven. Two females and the rest males."
"Damn. You're good."
"And now I'm going after Frederick."
"Not without me." Damon said, following. They searched the entire house, but Frederick was gone. They returned to the foyer where Alaric was standing over yet another vampire body. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for Elena." Alaric said.
"She's got Stefan. They were headed for the car." Buffy said. "And Frederick is gone."
"Let's get out of here."
"I'm gonna kill him." Buffy hefted her scythe as they walked out onto the front porch. They stopped dead when they saw the small army of vampires approaching them.
"How many of those vervain darts you have left?" Damon asked.
"Not gonna be enough."
Buffy started to attack, but Damon grabbed her arm as they retreated back into the house. "Hey!" She protested. "I could've taken them."
"What? You think our bet's over? I'm not about to let you take them on without me."
Buffy shot him a playful glare. "You still owe me dinner."
"Guys…." Alaric started. The banging started on the porch as the vampires tried to get in through the locked door. "So, what you said to get me to do this, about my wife. It was a lie, wasn't it?" Alaric asked Damon.
"Stop. What's going on here?" Pearl demanded outside. The door opened and she took in the bodies strewn around the house. "What did you do?"
"Me?" Damon said. "Your merry little band of vampires spent the day torturing my brother."
"Trust me. The parties responsible for this will be dealt with.""Our little arrangement doesn't work unless you learn to control them."
"This wasn't supposed to happen."
"Well, it did. If I had a good side…. Not a way to get on it." Damon opened the door and turned to look at Buffy.
Buffy stepped up to Pearl and looked her in the eyes even though the vampire was taller than her. "One more incident like this and the rest of you will find out how well I can use this weapon. Got me?" Pearl nodded, showing the first inkling of fear.
After dropping Alaric off at the high school, Damon drove himself and Buffy back home. "So, when am I paying for tonight's loss?" Damon asked.
"I'll let you know. Right now…. I think I might order a couple of pizzas. I'm starving! I forgot how much Slaying makes me want to eat."
"Isn't it? My mom used to have this array of food on the kitchen counter on the nights she knew I was out patrolling. I'd come home and we'd just pig out. She always said the calories didn't count if they were mom-made."
"You were close with your mom?"
"The closest. My dad wasn't…. still isn't a big part of our lives. I don't think I've talked to him in almost a year. Last I heard he was in Peru with his new secretary."
Damon opened the front door and held it for her. "Dads…. Who needs them?"
"Yeah. I definitely don't." She turned to set her bag down, but found her lips suddenly pressed to Damon's. He wove his fingers into her hair on either side of her neck and she wrapped her arms around his waist, kissing him back.
After a long, breathless moment, Damon pulled back. "Thank you."
"For helping me forget her."
"Are you saying the obsession thing is over?""For now."
Buffy nodded. "Let's go check on Stefan." They headed upstairs to Stefan's room. The door was open so they walked in and stopped dead. Emptied blood bags were strewn everywhere. Their eyes came to rest finally on Stefan sitting on the ground drinking one of them.