The Next Chapter

Chapter 98

Chapter 98

Buffy leaned against the doorframe at the top of the stairs overlooking the living room and crossed her arms, glancing at her watch. Matt, Caroline, Bonnie, Tyler, Stefan, Willow, and Jeremy were sitting around the living room all processing what Buffy had figured out. Katherine in Elena's body wasn't there. She'd asked Stefan to take her back to her dorm on their way home last night before Buffy could tell Stefan about her theory. Now she wasn't answering any of their calls or texts. Damon was chained up downstairs like he'd requested.

"Hang on here…. Katherine's still alive?" Matt asked. "How is that possible?"

"Remember that time Nadia's ex, Gregor, hitched a ride in your head?" Caroline asked. "Yeah, well, it's kind of the same thing. Katherine is a passenger in Elena, except it's worse because none of us seemed to notice!"

"She was at my house." Tyler said. "How did none of us figure it out?"

"Because it's Katherine and she's smart." Buffy said.

"And conniving and sneaky…. and…. we're the worst friends ever." Caroline said.

"This makes no sense." Jeremy said, trying to call Elena's phone. "She saved my life. She gave me CPR when Enzo tried to kill me. Katherine would never do that."

"That's what made her so believable." Buffy said. "She played Elena to a tee. If she let you die, her cover was blown."

"She didn't count on you having such keen powers of observation." Willow said.

"I was sleeping three feet away from her!" Caroline cried. "She picked out my Bitter Ball dress. And I let her use my toothpaste."

"Well, did she lure you into a hotel room to make out with you?" Stefan asked.

"She's the reason Damon found out about you and Klaus." Bonnie said to Buffy. Buffy sighed and looked away, biting her tongue against saying something snappish at Bonnie's stating the obvious and rubbing salt in the wound.

"So, how do we kill the bitch?" Tyler asked.

"Well, passengers can be expelled from the host." Stefan said. "I saw it happen with Matt. Gregor died and Matt lived. All we have to do is stab her with the Traveler knife."

"I still have the knife Nadia gave me." Matt said.

"Go get it." Buffy said.

"Wait, you guys!" Caroline said. "This is Katherine we're talking about. She's going to see a sneak attack from a mile away. We've got to get her to come to us. Get her guard down, corner her."

"Fat chance you'll be seeing her today." Tyler said. "I'm pretty sure I bit Nadia."

"What do you mean, you bit her?" Matt asked.

"I mean, she was attacking Caroline and I might've nipped her a little."

"And you're just mentioning this now?"

"Focus." Buffy snapped. "Tyler's right. Katherine's not going to leave Nadia's side unless not leaving compromises her identity."

"We've got to invite her to something that Elena can't say no to." Willow clarified.

"Like what?" Tyler asked.

Buffy turned and headed for the cellar. They didn't need her help coming up with a plan. She had other things to attend to. She grabbed one of the little cups Stefan had filled up and went to visit her husband. "Hey."

"Hey." Damon said, smiling slightly.

"Brought you a gift."

He took the cup, popped the lid off, and gulped down the contents. "I need more. That was nothing."

"I know. Sorry. When you were out killing vampires, you said one vampire kept you good for eight hours, so Willow did the math and she came up with four ounces, three times a day should be just enough to help you manage the hunger."

"Manage me?"

"So you don't rip anyone's head off. More specifically mine." Buffy walked over and unlocked Damon's chains.

"What are you doing?"

"You and I are leaving." She held out a piece of paper that Willow had given her. "It's where Wes is hiding. While they're working on getting Katherine out of Elena, we're going to be getting some answers from the good doctor."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure that he better have a cure." Buffy led the way out of the cell, grabbed a couple of the cups that Stefan had filled up, and headed for the other side of the cellar where an exit to the backyard was.

"Sneaking out?"

"Willow knows we're leaving. Everyone else might try to stop us."

"You don't want to help get Elena back?"

Buffy sighed and looked up at Damon. "Elena has plenty of people helping her out right now. She doesn't need us." She gently took Damon's face in her hands. "You need help just as much, if not more than Elena. And I'm going to help you." She kissed him quickly. "Not to mention that I've had an itch to torture Maxfield since he tried to turn me into patient zero. Going after you and hitting you with the Ripper virus was the last straw."

"Let's go, then." Damon said, holding open the cellar door.

Buffy walked across the room and sat down on the desk behind Wes Maxfield. He hadn't heard her silent approach and didn't turn around. Damon made a little more noise on his way to the other side of the room and Wes turned. He jumped at Buffy's sudden appearance.

"I'm not a fan of people named Wes." She said, crossing one leg over the other. "I had a Watcher once whose name was Wes and I didn't like him very much. He kept getting in my way…. Telling me what to do…. You kinda remind me of him."

"How did you find me?" Wes asked, pulling out his phone.

Damon appeared behind Wes and grabbed the phone, crushing it. "A witch did a spell."

"Not possible. The Travelers cloaked my location."

"They cast shoddy spells." Buffy said.

"Got to say…." Damon said. "Long way off the tender track, huh. I take it the Augestine socitey hit a bit of a rough streak."

"There is no Augestine society, Damon. It's just me." Wes said.

"Well then I guess you're my guy. My wife and I have some making up to do and we don't have a chance in hell at doing that if I'm lusting over her blood, you follow?"

"Even if I did cure you of this virus, what difference does it make? So you stop feeding off your friends and you go back to feeding on innocent people. Is that really going to impress Buffy Summers the Vampire Slayer? I did some research on her and…."

Buffy grabbed Wes by the back of his neck and hauled him up. "You don't know me at all, little man. That girl that you did so much research on? She's long gone." She slammed him down on a nearby operating table. "You tied me up," Damon grabbed the restraints on the table and locked down Wes' arms. "You drained me of my blood," Buffy took one of her nails and ran it hard down Wes' forearm, making him bleed. "You pumped me full of vervain and experimented on me."

"And look at me!" Damon said "You did this to me."

"I didn't do this to you." Wes said, struggling to get out of his restraints. "You are this. I simply held up the mirror."

"Well, now it's time the tables were turned." Buffy said as she grabbed the table and spun it, causing a loud screeching noise as the metal legs scraped against the ground. "Now you're going to know what it's like to be the frog in science class." Buffy shoved her hand inside Wes's abdomen. "And what sucks for you, Wes, is that I skipped that day. I have no idea what I'm doing."

Damon reached for the scalpel. "I do." He leaned down and cut out one of Wes' eyelids. "Wouldn't want you to miss a thing because you have the desire to blink."

Buffy and Damon walked hand in hand back to the house. They'd had to stop and buy new clothes because both of them had been covered in blood. Damon pulled on Buffy's hand and she stopped. "Are you ok?" She asked.

"Are you ok?" Damon asked. "What we did back there…. It was pretty brutal."

"Yes. It was. And about ten years ago I would've been appalled at what I did. But in those ten years, I have been through so much and have changed so much…. That girl is gone. She's never coming back."

"Well, if it's any consolation…. I love this woman standing in front of me."

Buffy reached up and touched Damon's cheek. "And I love this man standing in front of me."

He leaned down and kissed her gently. Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck, but he pulled back. "I don't want to lose control and end up hurting you."

She sighed. "We really need to get this cure." They walked up to the front door and it opened up to reveal Katherine getting ready to run.

"Hello, Katherine." Buffy said. "You didn't think we'd miss this, did you?" Stefan had texted Buffy to let her know that they had managed to lure Katherine to the house. Nadia was dying from Tyler's bite and they'd brought her to the house.

"Ok." Katherine said, backing away into the house. "So…. who's got the knife? Which one of you is gonna get to kill the elusive Katherine Pierce once and for all? What? Suddenly everyone's speechless? When I was on my deathbed you all had plenty to say. Is it you, Tyler? Because I triggered the werewolf curse? Gave you an identity and made you matter?"

"You've done nothing for me." Tyler said.

"Oh please, Tyler. If I hadn't walked into your life you just be a wasted nobody with a boozy mom and a temper problem."

Tyler took a step towards Katherine, but Caroline stopped him. "Hey, don't. Don't."

Katherine set her sights on Caroline. "And you. I'm not worried about you offing me. Because we both know I made you better by making you a vampire."

"Goodbye Katherine."

"Bye, bye Caroline." Katherine walked over to Matt. "The one girl here who actually appreciates how beautiful you are. You wouldn't stab me in the heart, would you, Matty Blue? No, I don't think so. You will definitely go down as the best night I never had. Oh, well…."

"Oh, well." Matt said.

Katherine walked over to Jeremy. "Well, little Gilbert, it was nice to have a brother for a second there…. When you weren't being so damn annoying!" She turned to look at Willow. "Big Red, I will definitely not be missing you one bit. I mean, I couldn't care about you one way or another."

"I could give you another taste of being crushed again." Willow retorted. "That was fun for me."

Katherine rolled her eyes and walked over to Bonnie. "Bon Bon, no need for goodbyes. I'll see you on the flip side." She made her way over to Damon. "Damon. How you would love nothing more than to drive that blade right through me."

"We've already done that, Kitty Kat." Damon said. "I've said all I needed to say."

"I know but I never got to say what I needed to say to you. I'm sorry. You blame me for who you are. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I turned you. I'm sorry that you didn't get to die as a forgotten nobody on a bloody battlefield and your father didn't get to live another day to be disgraced by you. Damon, I'm sorry that I gave you a life purpose. Passion, drive, desire. I'm sorry that you are who you are, because I'm the one that taught you how to love."

"Pretty sure that was me." Buffy said.

"Ah, Buffy. Now you…. I know you want me dead and gone more than anyone here. But I've never actually done anything to you directly."

"No. You just attacked everyone that I loved because you were too scared to go up against me yourself. But you see, I got what you always wanted and could never have." Buffy took Damon's hand. "I found love and a family. And I have friends that I didn't have to compel to like me."

Damon brought Buffy's hand up to his lips and kissed her knuckles. "We'll see you in hell, Katherine." He said.

Katherine turned to Stefan. "Stefan. You know, I've always wondered how it would be like to be loved by you. You've gotta admit, for that one fleeting moment…. Your feelings were real. It truly has been the role of a lifetime. Stefan, I love you. And I've always loved you."

Stefan didn't say anything as he handed the knife to Buffy, never breaking eye contact with Katherine. "It was always gonna be me, sweetheart." Buffy said, walking up to Katherine and grabbing her neck. She leaned in close and whispered in Katherine's ear. "And before you go, I thought you should know that I could've cured Nadia." Buffy shoved the knife in Katherine's stomach. "Klaus gave me his blood just in case something like this happened to one of my loved ones." Buffy pulled back and looked Katherine in the eyes. "But now you know what it's like to have your kid taken from you in such a cruel way." She pulled the knife out and felt a prick in her stomach. Buffy looked down to see Katherine inject a syringe of something in her.

"And now you'll know what it's like to rip one of your precious family member's heads off." Katherine fell to ground and closed her eyes. When she opened them, they were solid black. She closed them for a long moment and when she opened them again, they were normal. She fell back against the couch and passed out.

Buffy looked at the syringe in horror. "Please tell me that's not what I think it is." Damon said.

"What happened?" Caroline asked, walking over.

"Katherine injected Buffy with the Ripper virus."

"Oh my god…." Buffy shook her head and took a step back from everyone.

"Don't panic." Stefan said.

"Don't panic!? Do you realize what this means?" She took another step away. "I am like an Original that now feeds solely on vampires. None of you are safe."

"It's ok, Buffy." Willow said. "We'll chain you up and…."

"Chains won't hold me. I'll just break them. I…. I need to be far away from you guys."

Willow walked closer to Buffy and held out her hand. "Let me see the needle." Buffy handed her the syringe and stepped away. "There's still a little left in here. I'll go to Maxfield's lab and find his notes on how he made this virus. Maybe I can find an antidote for you guys."

"I'll help." Caroline offered.

"Thanks. Ok…. Stefan, get Elena upstairs and keep her comfortable till she wakes up. Damon, you and Buffy head down to the cell in the cellar and I will put up a barrier so you can't go anywhere…. Or get to each other. Tyler and Matt, bury Nadia in the woods. Bonnie and Jeremy…. Um, go back to school." Willow turned back to a worried Buffy. "We'll fix this, Buff. I promise."

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