The Next Chapter

Chapter 116

Chapter 116

Buffy poured herself and Damon each mugs of coffee and splashed some bourbon in Damon's mug. Stefan was sitting with his brother on the couch talking to him about Alaric. "You didn't compel him to get her drunk." He said disbelievingly.

"No. I compelled him to do whatever it takes, and considering the Ascendant is the key to her psycho brother's weird prison world, I'm sure it's gonna take her a few to open up about it." Damon said.

"You realize he is gonna kill you when he finds out what you did to him."

"My relationship to ruin, thank you. And thank you." Damon said as Buffy handed him his mug and walked into the bedroom to finish getting ready. "I didn't complain when you ruined yours with your sister-in-law."

"I didn't ruin…."

"Yeah. She's perfectly fine. She's only been complaining about you since two minutes after I got back and I've only had to hold her back from hurting you on more than one occasion."

"You done?"

"Careful, Stefan. I know it may seem easy to be the big bad Salvatore, but soon, you'll find yourself lying in the middle of the road, pouring your heart out to a stranger, having an existential crisis."

"Yeah, great. So, uh, when's this grand theft gonna happen?"

"Assuming everything went well, it's already happened, which means…." Damon waited expectantly and right on cue, the door opened and Alaric walked in.

He handed the Ascendant over to Damon. "Here it is."

"Thanks, buddy." Damon handed Alaric a tray with coffee and a bag with muffins. "There you go." He caught Alaric's gaze. "Go home to Jo, be a good boyfriend, forget this ever happened." Stefan's phone began to ring and he answered it. Damon let him talk as he headed into the bedroom where Buffy was standing at the mirror putting on makeup. "You know, you don't need any of that." He wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her neck. "You're gorgeous." He held up the Ascendant. "Look what I got."

Buffy smiled, leaning back into him. "If this works, then we'll get to go home for a little while. I miss our house."

"This place isn't so bad."

She huffed. "It's tiny. Rick can hear everything that we do in here."

"Then let's get our own place until we can go home. Pretty sure we can compel ourselves a nice house."

"Wow…. A house to ourselves? Our own place?"

"Our temporary love nest until we get ours back."

Buffy smiled. "Ok. Let's do it. Let's find a nice little house that we can call ours until Mystic Falls is supernatural-friendly again."

"Great! We'll start looking when we get back from 1994." He kissed her behind her ear, taking a moment to enjoy the smell of her hair, before he let go. "Let's get going."

Buffy and Damon made their way through the woods towards the old cemetery. "What could Donovan possibly need Stefan for?" Buffy asked. Before they'd left the apartment, Stefan had gotten a call from Matt asking for his help. Stefan hadn't explained anything before he'd dashed out.

"I don't know." Damon answered. "It's Matt. Food, money, new social class…. Whatever it is, it better distract Stefan from his sizeable screw-up with you."

"Let's not get me started on that, ok?"

Damon took her hand and brought her palm to his lips. "I know. Sorry."

"There's Liv."

"Hey guys." Liv said. "Thanks for giving me an excuse to get out of that frat house. Way too much boy. Gross. You got everything?"

"Yep." Damon held up a small vial of blood. "Blood from a Bennett…. Lucy to be exact…. and an Ascendant from whatever the hell your last name is." He handed both of them over.

"Parker. So this is the famous Ascendant?"

"Yup."

"Surprised that Jo gave it up. It's the only thing keeping Kai locked in his prison. If he gets out, he's coming after her."

"Well, good old Jo…." Damon let out a small laugh. "Helping us out. Can we do this, please?"

"Whatever. So I'm gonna need the moon to activate the Ascendant. It will be viable for about 8 hours, so once I send you over, the clock's ticking."

"How do we get back?" Buffy asked.

"Drink these." Liv handed them each a vial of blood.

"What is that?" Damon asked.

"It's my blood. It will link you to me so I can find you and bring you back. Give this one to Bonnie, too." She handed them a third vial. Damon sniffed the blood and wrinkled his nose at it. "Are you waiting for a toast? Drink." Buffy clinked her vial against Damon's and they tossed back the blood together.

"Mmm. Bitter. Wonder why. Shall we?" Damon took Buffy's hand again as Liv poured the Bennett blood on the Ascendant and started chanting the spell. A bright white light surrounded them and Liv was suddenly gone.

Buffy looked around. "I guess it worked."

Damon checked for a familiar headstone. "Yup. Elena's parents aren't buried here, so we're in 1994. Let's go get Bonnie. Just keep your eyes peeled. There's a pork rind-munching freak somewhere around here. Ok?"

"Well, we have our protection spells on us from Willow, so Kai shouldn't be a problem."

"True. Come on." Buffy and Damon walked in silence for a few minutes before she let out a small laugh. He looked down at her, confused. "What?"

"In 1994 I was…."

"Thirteen. Yeah. I did the math."

"Actually, I was going to say normal. I was just a normal, thirteen year old girl with a normal thirteen year old life. My biggest problem then was wearing the same dress as someone else to the junior high dances."

"Did you have a date to those dances?"

"Yeah. I think his name was Evan. I wonder if he's still alive…."

"I used to try to make up stories about what you were doing and what you were like in 1994."

"Anything good?"

Damon laughed. "Nope. Bonnie said that you probably enjoyed going to the beach or the mall with friends back then. I tried to imagine going with you, but it just felt creepy."

Buffy laughed and pulled Damon's arm around her waist. "I wasn't very interesting back then. Just a boring teenager with no real aspirations in life."

"Well, I definitely love the modern day Buffy." He leaned down and kissed her. When they broke apart and walked a few more feet out of the woods, the Salvatore Boarding House loomed in front of them.

Buffy smiled brightly and took off, standing at the front door in less than a second. Damon appeared next to her a moment later as she turned the knob and the door swung open. "How does it look exactly the same?"

"It's an old house." Damon said as they wandered into the house. "Bonnie! Get your witchy ass out here! We've come to take you home." When there was no answer, he turned to Buffy. "Where the hell is she?"

Buffy shrugged. "You take upstairs, I'll take downstairs?"

"Sure." Damon headed for the stairs and Buffy started roaming the main level. She didn't find Bonnie, but she did find all the drawn pictures of her. She inspected most of them, appreciating the attention to detail. The only other person that had ever drawn her from memory in such detail was Angel. She'd had no idea her husband could draw this good.

After tearing herself away from the pictures, Buffy headed down to the basement to see if Bonnie was perusing the wine cellar. No such luck. When she came back upstairs, Damon was just walking into the hallway. "Nothing. You?"

"No Bonnie. You don't think that Kai did anything to her?"

"Look, let's not jump to depressing conclusions yet, ok?"

"Do you smell that?"

"Smell what?"

Buffy looked around for the source of the familiar odor. Finally she noticed a pillow with blood on it. "Blood."

"And we're jumping."

Damon turned and went over to pick up the phone. "What are you doing?"

"If Kai has Bonnie, we need to talk."

"Do I want to know why you have the psycho's number? Were you guys buddies?"

Damon shot her a glare. "No. He tried to kill me when I first met him. I'm not friends with people like that."

"I don't know. I tried to kill you when I first met you and you married me." Buffy paused. "Oh no…. Should I be worried that you married Kai?"

Damon threw a pillow from the chair at her head. "Shut up. I'm gonna page him."

"Wow. Pagers. I completely forgot those existed."

"Here we go. 555-HIYA-KAI…."

"Seriously?"

"Did you expect anything different?"

"You know him better than I do."

Damon rolled his eyes at her and dialed the number. He input the Salvatore house phone number and hung up. "And now we wait." He came over and sat next to her.

"So, I had no idea you could draw."

"I don't really like to draw, but I learned when I was younger. And since I didn't have any pictures of you…. I had to make my own." He leaned over and kissed her cheek. "I'm going to fix us a drink."

"Cool." As he headed down to the cellar, Buffy stood up and moved around the living room. She came to a cabinet that usually held glasses, but in 1994 it apparently held random things and a camcorder. She chuckled at the thing and hit play.

Damon appeared on the screen in a room that looked very familiar saying, "Well, I may be in my own personal hell, but there's at least one thing that I can do here that I can't back home."

Damon was suddenly there, snatching the camcorder away and hitting stop. "Hey!" Buffy complained. "I was watching that. What was that?"

"My audition tape for 'Real World: London.' Fingers crossed. I think I'm finally gonna make it."

Buffy gave him a look and he handed her the camera back with a sigh. She pushed play and Damon's video resumed. "I get to see a still-in-existence Sunnydale." He held the camera out and Buffy recognized the Sunnydale High School library. "I'm not sure if this is what you remember, baby, but Bonnie and I are in the library of your old high school."

Bonnie appeared in the shot saying, "I'm not sure what you found so exciting about this, Buffy. It's a creepy library."

Buffy paused the video and looked at Damon. "You guys went to Sunnydale?"

He sighed. "Yes. We went to Sunnydale and to LA. If you watch the whole video…. Which I had planned to bring back with me…. We went to your house in LA and everywhere you told me about in Sunnydale. Bonnie loved The Bronze."

"How did you find my house in LA?"

"Phonebook. Took us a couple of tries, but eventually we found it." He smirked. "You liked Nirvana?"

"Still do."

"It was really weird to see a poster of Kurt Cobain on the wall next to a poster of Nancy Kerrigan."

Buffy smiled brightly and laughed. "I was a weird kid." She held up the camera. "Thank you for this. I can't wait to watch the rest."

The phone started ringing and Damon grabbed it. "Kai, if you so much as hurt one hair on her annoying little witch head, I will kill you and…."

"That was so sweet. Why'd you ruin it by calling me annoying?" Bonnie's voice said on the other end.

"Bonnie?" Buffy said, walking up to Damon and pulling the phone down so they could both hear. He put it on speaker and set the phone down.

"Buffy? Buffy, is that you?"

"Yes! I'm here. Damon and I both here at home in 1994!"

"I can't believe I'm hearing your voice right now. How are you guys here?"

"It's a long story." Damon said.

"Just know that we're here to get you." Buffy added. "Where are you?"

"I'm in Indiana."

"That's very inconvenient. What are you doing there?" Damon asked as he went to find a map.

"Kai kidnapped me. He drove me to Portland. After cooking me Thanksgiving spaghetti and stealing my blood, he left me there. It's been a strange few days."

"Where is he now?" Buffy asked.

"Don't know. I hotwired a car, and I'm on my way back to Mystic Falls."

"You hotwired a car? My husband has been rubbing off on you."

"Who would've thought, huh?"

"Where in Indiana are you, Bonnie?" Damon asked, spreading a map out.

"Muncie."

"Well, Muncie's about 6 1/2 hours away, give or take a knuckle."

"Liv's pulling us out in 7 and a half." Buffy said.

"If you don't stop to use the little witches' room anymore…."

"I can make it in time. I'm going home." Bonnie said.

"We'll see you soon." Buffy said.

"Ok."

Bonnie hung up and Buffy looked up at Damon. "Well, that's not what I wanted to hear."

"Me either." Damon said. "If he's got Bonnie's blood and the Ascendant, he's got everything he needs to get out."

"What if he's already out?"

"Then we've got work to do when we get home." He smiled. "But for right now, we're alone and we've got a few hours to kill."

Buffy smiled and grabbed two fistfuls of Damon's shirt, hauling him to her. "Take me to our room, Mr. Salvatore." Damon wrapped his arms around her and kissed her deeply. She jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist and he rushed them upstairs.

Buffy sat curled up on the couch in front of a fire watching the video Damon had made her. Damon was fixing them pancakes in the kitchen. Bonnie would be home soon and then they could all go home. The sound of footsteps coming from the kitchen made her pause the video and look up. Damon was standing in the doorway with a large silver tray covered in an array of pancake toppings, two plates piled with pancakes, three champagne flutes, and a bottle of champagne.

"Bon appétit." Damon said.

"Where's Bonnie's plate?" Buffy asked as Damon sat the tray down and she set the video camera in her lap.

"One, pancakes don't hold up that long. And two, she's tired of them."

She laughed. "Oh, ok."

He sat down next to her and started putting toppings on one of the pancake stacks. "Are you enjoying the video?"

"I am. I wish we had more time to actually go to Sunnydale. It would be nice to go home for a little while…. Even though I didn't live there in 1994."

"It wasn't too different from what you remember. Your house on Revello Drive had different furniture and some of the rooms were different colors, but it was the same house you remember." He moved his hands away from the pancakes to reveal a smiley face made of two strawberries and lots of blueberries.

Buffy laughed and grabbed the whipped cream can. She added two little vampire fangs to the blueberry smiley face. Damon stared at her, smiling. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing." He reached over and popped the champagne cork out of the bottle. "Let's eat."

As Damon poured the champagne in the flutes, Buffy picked up the paper he'd put on the tray.

"Who mangled the crossword?"

"6 letters, illiterate witch, B."

Buffy laughed and shook her head. "Well, I can't be too harsh on her. I suck at crosswords, too." She spotted the article about the Gemini Coven murders. "Kai and Jo?"

"Yep. Kai's greatest hits staring us in the face every day."

"If Kai has gotten out of here, then he's going after Jo again."

"And if I have my Gemini rules down, he's going to merge with her. Which will most likely result in her death, which I guess is 6 of 1…." Damon shrugged. "Still can't do anything about it until we get back, though."

"I know. I just hope he hasn't had time to get to Mystic Falls if he is out." Buffy cut into her pancakes and ate a few bites. "So, what were you doing on May 10, 1994?" The look on Damon's face told her everything. "Ok, who did you kill on May 10, 1994?"

"May 10, 1994, I had a day. I was mad at Stefan for something. I don't even remember what it was, and in typical Damon fashion, I acted out. People died. A lot of them, and believe it or not, ever since that day, I've felt horribly guilty."

Buffy took his hand. "I believe it."

Damon brought her palm to his lips and lingered there a moment. "I thought that this was my personal hell not just because you weren't with me, but because of that day…. Bonnie didn't believe it though. She had hope for both of us. She's the reason I survived…. The reason I made it out. Who knew? Turns out you spend time with someone and don't kill them, you actually become friends."

"You're preaching to the choir."

Damon laughed, remembering that Buffy had hated him at first and had wanted to kill him. "Yeah. I guess I am."

"You and Bonnie friends? Who would have thought?"

"Don't make this any weirder than it needs to be."

"She's probably passing Whitmore right now."

"If she's not lost. She has a terrible sense of direction."

"Maybe it's a witch thing? Willow does too."

"Wouldn't that be something?"

Suddenly Buffy felt a pulling sensation. "Do you feel that?"

"Oh, no."

Damon and Buffy were suddenly standing in the graveyard of Mystic Falls in their proper time. "No." Buffy spotted Liv and Tyler standing a few feet away. "What the hell did you do? We have another hour."

"Kai is here." Tyler said. "We have to get back to Mystic Falls before he takes any more of her magic."

"No. Send us back." Buffy moved towards them and Liv and Tyler backed up, dropping the Ascendant.

"I can't." Liv said.

"Bonnie was on her way!" Buffy picked up the Ascendant and advanced on them, but they were across the border and she started to burn in the sunlight.

Damon reached over and pulled her back. "You're over the border."

"I'm sorry." Tyler said before he and Liv turned and walked away.

"No! Stop! Show Willow how to do it and she can send us back!" Buffy picked up a rock and threw it at their retreating forms. It whizzed between their heads and they took off running. "Damn it! Bonnie's going to get to the house and she's going to think we abandoned her."

"As long as we have a comet, or a full moon, or an eclipse…. We can go back as many times as we need until we get her back." Damon said.

"Wait. Are you guys talking about Bonnie Bennett?" A new voice asked behind them. "Because honestly, I didn't think she was all that great." Kai used magic to throw the Ascendant out of Buffy's hands. It smashed against a tree, shattering. Buffy went over to pick up the pieces and Kai watched her for a moment. "Your drawings don't do her justice, Damon. Your wife is hot."

"I am gonna enjoy the hell out of this." Damon said, advancing on Kai. Kai lifted his hand to use the witchy migraine on him, but Damon just smiled. "Welcome to my world."

Kai looked a bit panicked as he began to back up. "Phesmatos incendia." The pieces of the Ascendant burst into flame in Buffy's hand. The fire spread up her arm and Damon rushed at Kai who pulled a Gemini disappearing act. Damon listened for a moment before he grabbed a large tree branch off the ground and swung it like a big baseball bat at the air behind him. He hit Kai, who became visible again, and sent him flying back. Kai ended up on the other side of the anti-magic border and the fire on Buffy's jacket arm went away.

"You ok?" Damon asked her.

"No! I really liked this jacket, you sniveling little jerk." Buffy growled at Kai.

"Huh. I guess this is that, uh, anti-magic border…. Which means now there's a psycho loose in Mystic Falls and no vampires around to stop him. Whoops." Kai turned walked away.

Buffy looked up at Damon. "So, that was Kai?"

"That was Kai." Damon confirmed.

"I don't like him."

"Welcome to the club."

Buffy looked down at the ground and realized that the video camera that had been in her lap was now lying on the ground. "Look." She reached down and picked it up, hitting the play button.

Bonnie was on the screen trying to figure out the sound system at the Bronze. "Just use your magic." Damon said off camera. "Oh wait! That's right. You don't have any."

"Shut up. Even if my magic was working, I don't know any spells to make a sound system work." Bonnie retorted.

"I bet Willow could do it."

"I bet she could, too, but I'm not Willow. Oh, here!" She plugged something in and loud music blared over the speakers around the Bronze. "Yes!" Bonnie rushed out onto the dance floor and started to dance. Damon turned the camera around to himself and shook his head before turning it back on Bonnie. "I wish you were here, Buffy! This place is great!"

Buffy hit the stop button. "She sacrificed everything for us over and over again, and then we were supposed to be there for her." Damon said sadly. "She's all alone."

She reached up and gently cupped Damon's cheek in her hand. "I'm not giving up hope. We know where she's at. There's got to be a way to get her back."

He wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Let's go home."

Buffy looked up at the sky to see that it was late afternoon. "We've still got some time. Let's find us a new house."

Damon nodded. "Great idea."

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