The Next Chapter

Chapter 102

Chapter 102

Buffy and Damon got out of the car outside of Matt and Tyler's house. "He better be here." Damon said.

"He's not answering his phone." Buffy said, hanging up again. They marched up the stairs and opened the front door, walking in. "Matt!"

Matt popped his head out from the living room holding a pair of old, smelly boxers. "Tyler?"

"That's what I thought." Damon said."Where's the Traveler knife?" Buffy asked. "Hand it over."

"That's gonna be a problem." Matt said, tossing the boxers away.

"Five words that make me want to vamp-toss my keys into your chest cavity." Damon said.

"Why is it a problem?" Buffy asked.

"I can't find it." Matt said.

"As in you lost it?"

"As in it's not here."

"It's not here?"

"Tyler said he hid it in the piano."

Buffy sighed and Damon groaned. "And when was the last time you heard from Tyler?" Damon asked.

"Yesterday when we were out looking for Travelers."

"Ok, Matt, you get to stay here and keep away from Tyler. He's probably been possessed." Buffy said. "Damon, we're going to hunt down a Traveler and see if we can find Tyler…. Or the knife. Or if we're lucky, both."

Damon followed Buffy out. "Here's a kooky idea. Let's get some help finding us a Traveler."

"From who?"

"Enzo." Buffy cocked an eyebrow at Damon. "Come on, babe. You promised to lighten up on him."

"I know I did."

"Then what's the problem?"

Buffy sighed as she sank into the passenger's seat, letting Damon drive. "He's a loose cannon."

"I was a loose cannon until the right woman came along."

"Yeah? Well, I can't be the right woman for Enzo, too. Pretty sure that's not how it works."

Damon chuckled. "I know, but I'm the only one who's actually given him the benefit of the doubt since he got out of Augustine hell. Maybe if someone else…. Someone as amazing as my wife…. Gave him a real chance, then he'd reign it in." He turned the key in the ignition and headed down the driveway.

"Maybe if he found his Maggie that might help."

"Then let's get some help from Willow."

"I've already asked. She needs something personal of Maggie's."

"She's a seriously powerful witch. You're telling me she can't find one little…."

"Woman who she's never met, doesn't have a picture of, and doesn't even know what her last name is?"

Damon paused. "Ok, touché. So, we're back to…."

"Fine. Call Enzo and see if he'll help."

He smiled. "I'm driving, sweetheart. That's dangerous to make calls when you're driving. Maybe you should call him." Buffy sighed and pulling out her phone, dialing Enzo's number.

"And to what do I owe the pleasure, Mrs. Salvatore?" He answered.

"You don't happen to know where I can find a Traveler, do you?" Buffy asked.

"You know Travelers: vagabonds and the like. Haven't seen any. Why?"

"I've got a hijacked hybrid and a bonehead quarterback that can't put two and two together."

"Don't envy you there, love."

"So, I was wondering, would you like to go on a field trip with me and my husband? I'm sure there's some salvage yard we haven't toured yet."

"Sadly, I've got to take a rain check. I'm late to meet some people."

"Oh. Well…. Another time then."

"It would be my pleasure." Enzo hung up and Buffy looked at Damon.

"No?" He asked.

"He's meeting some people."

"Maybe he's on the trail to finding Maggie."

"Maybe."

"Guess we're on our own in the Traveler hunt, then."

"I guess so." Buffy smiled at her husband and took his hand. She couldn't shake the feeling that Enzo was up to no good, though. Her instincts were rarely wrong, but she didn't want to disappoint Damon. Enzo was the first person that Damon cared about outside of their little family, so she was determined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Buffy opened the front door and shook her head. "Seriously, how hard is it to find a possessed person?"

Damon's phone rang and he looked at it. "It's Enzo." He answered it as he shut the door. "How is it Travelers are everywhere until you actually need to find one?"

"Hunt going poorly then?" Enzo asked.

"That's what we get for working with the Hardy Boys."

"I take it you don't have Stefan's diaries handy. I need you to check his journal for an entry on November 8, 1960."

"Stefan burned his journals a while ago. He was in a mood. Why?"

"Well, just trying to settle a little debate. No matter. I'm right."

"Damon!" Elena cried in the background.

"Elena?" Damon asked. Buffy's head whipped around and she looked at Damon. "Why are you with Elena?"

"And Stefan, too." Enzo said. "But not for long. I reckon one will be dead soon. Eye for an eye and all that."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Enzo. You have your murder voice on. I need you to speak very slowly and calmly and tell me what the hell the problem is."

"The problem, if you must know, is that my girl Maggie, the one who got away, it turns out she didn't get away for long. Your ripper of a brother took a big bite out of her neck membrane in the sixties."

"Sixties? Stefan wasn't even…."

"Got to jet, mate. Nothing personal, just a bit of revenge, you understand?"

"Enzo?" Damon looked at his phone. "He hung up."

"Why in the hell does he have Stefan and Elena?" Buffy asked.

"He thinks that Stefan killed Maggie."

"Why would he think that?"

"I have no idea."

"Stefan wasn't a ripper in the 60s. Lexi had fixed him long before that."

Damon sighed. "We need to solve Maggie's murder before Enzo kills my brother." Buffy nodded and pulled out her phone. "Who are you calling?"

"Liz. If Maggie was killed in Mystic Falls, then there'll be a record and Liz will have access to it."

Damon and Buffy sat on the hood of his car outside the sheriff's office. Buffy was leaving a voicemail for Caroline. She'd been calling around trying to figure out where Enzo had Elena and Stefan. "You're the only one unaccounted for and I don't know where Elena and Stefan are. Call me back." Buffy spotted Liz walking up to them. "Or at least call your mother."

Liz walked up to them with a few large files in her hands. "Why the sudden interest in Mystic Falls history?"

"You know when your brother kills your only friend's girl and you're stuck in the middle?" Damon asked.

"No."

"Well, then don't ask."

"Ok." Liz looked at Buffy and she just shrugged. "1960, there was a mugging reported November 9."

"No, no, no. It has to be the eighth. He was very specific about the eighth."

"Ok. Well, that would be Maggie James." Liz sorted through her files and pulled one out. "Died November 8, 1960, unresolved homicide, possible serial killer." She handed the file to Buffy.

Buffy opened it to find pictures of a decapitated woman lying in the street. Damon made a noise and Buffy looked up at him. "What?"

"Stefan was right. He didn't kill Enzo's girl." Damon said.

"How do you know?"

"Because I did." Damon sighed. "I didn't know who she was."

"Would you have cared? Your emotions were off." Buffy shut the file and looked at Liz. "Thank you for this."

"Do I want to know what's going on?" Liz asked."Nope." Buffy and Damon said. Buffy handed Liz the file back, thanking her, and she and Damon got in the car.

"So, where the hell do we find them?" Damon asked.

"Well, I know that Elena was supposed to be studying today and Stefan was planning on helping her. Let's ask some college kids where students like to study at on campus."

After walking around campus for twenty minutes, Damon and Buffy finally narrowed down what seemed like the cool place to study. It was Whitmore Restaurant. Damon held the door open for Buffy and she walked in. The place was like a coffee shop merged with an old library and a bar. Stefan and Elena were tied to a chair while Enzo stood in front of them.

"Well, this is depressing." Damon said behind her. "Stadium seating really necessary? These people are starting to creep me out."

Enzo turned around. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say that was a veiled attempt to get to release the damn hostages."

"Oh, I'm sorry. Was that veiled? Release the damn hostages."

"Whose side are you on?"

"There are sides now?"

"You were there with me in Augustine. Look. Don't tell me you've forgotten what it was like to cling onto the one thing that kept you from feeling pain!"

"Enzo, I get it. The prospect of seeing Maggie again was your safety line to the outside world, the one thing that kept you from shutting it off. There's probably a chapter in Elena's psych book about it." Damon glanced at Buffy and she took his hand. "The thing is…. I didn't know she was your Maggie."

Enzo turned around slowly and looked at Damon. "What are you talking about?"

"She didn't tell me her name when we met."

"And when exactly was that?"

"November 8, 1960. I'd gotten a message at the house saying a lady wanted to buy me a drink. Naturally, I was curious. She, uh…. She said she wanted to interview me for some article for the Whitmore College Alumni Gazette. We made small talk and then she tried to hit me with a vervain shot. I didn't have my emotions on and I was a monster. I squeezed her neck until her head popped off. And just because, I set her head down with the body like she was just laying there. Had she gotten me with that vervain injection, things would have been very different. She didn't stand a chance against me."

"And you made it look like I did it?" Stefan asked.

"Maggie was the hope Enzo clung to. You were mine, and when you didn't notice that I was missing for five years, let's just say I held a grudge."

"You killed Maggie." Enzo said.

"I didn't even bat an eye." Buffy moved a little closer to Damon and squeezed his hand. Damon obviously felt bad for what he'd done. "My switch was off, Enzo. But I didn't do it to make your life miserable from every angle. I did it because I didn't care. Just do whatever it is you got to do. You want to kill me, you want to hate me, do it. This is between us."

"Well, that's the problem, Damon." Enzo was fighting back tears. "I don't want to hate you. Because if I hate you, then I have nothing left." He took a deep breath. "There is another option." Enzo closed his eyes

Buffy realized before anyone else what Enzo was doing. She was suddenly standing in front of Enzo, holding his shoulders and shaking him. "Don't you dare! Enzo!"

He opened his eyes and smiled. "There we are." Enzo looked over at Damon. "You're right! I don't have a care in the world." He threw an arm around Buffy's shoulders and grinned at her. "Can I buy you a drink, love?" Damon took Buffy's hand and pulled her away from Enzo. Enzo just shrugged and went behind the bar. He poured himself a drink and tossed it back. After pouring a couple of more, he dropped the glass to break on the floor. "This is fun, not caring." He tossed a bottle in the air and it crashed on the ground.

"Yep. Emotion-free." Damon said. "Bye-bye humanity."

Buffy moved towards Stefan and Elena, but Enzo held out his hand. "No, no, no, Mrs. Salvatore. They stay put." He lifted another bottle in toast. "To Maggie James for whom I feel absolute and blissful detachment."

Buffy looked back at Damon. "Hey, we should get out of here."

"Right!" Damon said. "You said you wanted to go somewhere…. Where was it? Cape Town?"

"Cape Horn." Enzo said.

"Even better." Buffy said with a bright smile. "I've never been there."

"All right. Everyone's free to go!" The students in the place all stood up and started to file out. "Show's over! Don't worry. I compelled you all to think you spent the day studying like the good, little students you are." Bonnie and Liv made their way down from the second level and Liv tried to sneak out the back. "Except you. Stay. I want to test something." Enzo attacked her, drinking from her neck. Bonnie screamed and he let Liv go. "Look at that. I don't even feel obliged to say thank you."

Damon went to attack Enzo, but Enzo broke a bottle and stabbed Damon in the neck. "Damon!" Buffy screamed. She snapped Stefan and Elena's ropes before rushing over to her bleeding husband. Stefan ran and jumped to come down hard on Enzo with his fist. Enzo grabbed his jug of vervain water and threw its contents at Stefan. Elena went to attack Enzo, but he threw a barstool at her and knocked her back a few feet. Buffy stood up and Enzo threw her over his shoulder. She didn't fight back, though. She just let him rush out of the bar with her.

He was half way across campus before he realized she wasn't fighting him. "What are you doing?" He asked.

"What are you doing?" Buffy asked. "You know that you're not gonna kill me."

He set her down. "Well, the way I figured it, I would take something of Damon's that he loves."

"Well, that's gonna be a little tough considering I'm very hard to kill." Buffy gripped his shoulders. "Enzo, he didn't know. He would never have killed her if he'd have known it was your Maggie."

"He still killed her!"

"Buffy!" Buffy and Enzo turned to see Willow running up. "Sorry I missed your calls. You are never going to believe…." She noticed that Buffy was with Enzo and not Damon. "Uh…."

"Enzo is having an existential crisis. I'm trying to snap him out of it." Buffy said. "Where have you been?"

"I've been offered a job! Here at campus. When I graduate, they want me to take over the occult studies program and teach…."

Suddenly Enzo was standing behind Willow and Willow was collapsing to the ground with a broken neck. "Perfect timing, Red. I killed two birds with one stone. I took something Damon cares about and I took care of the promise I made Markos for the information on Maggie."

Buffy's eyes widened as she realized what had just happened. Stefan suddenly appeared and attacked Enzo away. Buffy dropped to her knees and pulled Willow to her. "Willow…. Come on!" She bit into her wrist and tried desperately to get her best friend to drink the healing blood, but the redheaded witch that had been Buffy's best friend for the last sixteen years was gone.

Buffy heard a loud crash and then Enzo say, "Ouch. Hope it's insured." She stood up and followed the sounds of the fight. Stefan was sitting on the ground, beaten down, while Enzo stood over him. "Bet you wished you'd murdered me back when you had the chance, but Damon would have been furious. I think it's time we both stopped coddling him." Enzo punched into the car, creating a hole from which gasoline began to leak out of. "Now where is my lighter? Maggie's lighter, I should say. I wonder what she'd think of all this. Of course, who knows what lies in the great beyond for a mere human like Maggie James? Probably nothing. It's probably just as well she's not watching this. I believe it might upset her." Enzo flicked the lighter on, but it was suddenly snatched from his hand and he found himself flying across the parking lot and smashing into an SUV. Buffy was on Enzo before he could stand up, lifting him up by his neck. Enzo laughed at her vamped out face. "Aren't you a scary little thing?" He choked out.

"Buffy…." Stefan said, struggling to his feet.

"I was willing to give you a chance." Buffy growled. "I was willing to see the good in you that Damon sees."

"Awe…. Did I just ruin my chance to be redeemed?"

"Yes." Buffy's free hand shoved through Enzo's chest and gripped his heart. "Any last words?"

"Won't it be a sweet piece of revenge when Damon finds out you killed his best friend?"

"I'm sure he'll understand." She shoved him away while still holding his heart. He began to desiccate as Stefan ran up to her.

"What did you do?" Stefan asked as she crushed Enzo's heart and threw it at his body.

"He killed Willow." The grief hit Buffy and her face reverted to normal as she began to cry. "He killed…. He…." Stefan pulled Buffy to him and held her tightly as she sobbed.

Damon suddenly appeared looking shocked and distraught. He spotted Enzo's body laying a few feet away. "What the hell happened?"

Stefan looked up at Damon. "He killed Willow to get back at you. He killed your wife's best friend because you killed his girlfriend!"

Damon pressed his hands to his heart. "I am so sorry Buffy. I had no idea he would do anything like that…."

"I don't blame you." Buffy said through her tears. She let go of Stefan and moved into Damon's arms. "What Enzo did to Willow…." Her voice hitched at saying her best friend's name. She looked up at her husband. "I know he was your best friend and that he was there for you when you were at your worst, but I'm not sorry I killed him." Damon nodded, holding his wife tightly as she began to sob.

Damon sat in front of the fireplace in the library back home staring at the fire as he drank his bourbon. Buffy was upstairs asleep. She'd cried herself to sleep about an hour ago. Stefan had taken Willow's body to the cemetery and buried her next to the Salvatore crypt. Elena had volunteered to call Xander, Dawn, Angel, and Faith to let them know what had happened to Willow, but Jeremy had stopped her. He'd informed them that Bonnie was working with Liv to be able to come back from the Other Side before it imploded and that meant Liv may have a way to bring Willow back with Bonnie.

Stefan walked in the door and sat down next to Damon. "How's Buffy doing?"

"She's, uh…. She's not good. My best friend killed her best friend…. And she in turn killed my best friend." Damon took a long sip. "It's almost poetic justice, isn't it? After all…. I killed Lexi."

"Damon…."

"I'm not mad at her. I would've done the same thing."

"I know."

"Once again, I found a way to accidentally hurt my wife. If I hadn't killed Maggie, this whole stupid situation….""This isn't your fault. I'm sorry for what I said. Enzo spent too much time being tortured. He wasn't worth saving anymore."

"You don't know what you're talking about, Stefan."

"Really?"

"Yeah, because you know what you never knew? The whole time I was in that cell, every time I'd say something terrible about you or blame you for not coming to rescue me, Enzo would bring me back from the edge."

"I know you guys were close…."

"Enzo reminded me that at least I got to grow up with a family. At least I had family still out there, which was more than he could say for himself. Said he envied me for having a brother."

"Even a crappy one like me?"

"Even a crappy one like you. He defended you, Stefan, even though he didn't know you. Said it was good that we had people on the outside, people just living their lives free and clear of our Augustine hell, people worth holding on to our humanity for because we loved them. And all that time as a prisoner, every time I wanted to give up on you, Enzo stopped me from hating you."

Stefan sighed. "I'm sorry, Damon. I really am." He patted Damon's shoulder. "You should get up to your room and be with Buffy. She's going to need you. Especially if Liv doesn't find a way to bring Willow back."

Damon nodded and set down his empty glass. He dragged himself up off the couch and towards the stairs. Liv better damn well find a way to bring Willow back or Damon was going to have a hard time keeping Buffy from killing her. Of course, he wasn't sure that he cared enough. He had loved Willow, too.

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