A/N Fun fact about this chapter, I wrote this while visiting "Mystic Falls" and "New Orleans". I took a trip to Covington, GA and Conyers, GA this weekend where The Vampire Diaries and The Originals are filmed. My friend and I took the tours that are offered and it was really awesome to be surrounded by these places while I was writing about them. We ate at The Mystic Grill (yes, the food was amazing) and got pictures with Alaric's barstool. We saw Elena's, Caroline's, Bonnie's, and Grams' houses. We got to tour the "Lockwood Estate" and it is as gorgeous in person as it is on the show. We saw the Salvatore Estate from the 1800s, but not the Boarding House because it's a private property and the owners aren't fan friendly. There was a lot more that we saw, but I don't want to bore you too bad. Enjoy this chapter!
Buffy sat in the living room by herself. Damon was in the library destroying things with a crowbar. Elena had called and filled her in on everything that had happened last night. Caroline had captured Sarah Salvatore, who was supposed to have died with her mother, but Stefan had saved her and hidden her away for all of these years. She'd used Sarah to get Stefan to turn off his humanity as a retaliation for him and Elena trying to get her to flip her switch back. Buffy had been so angry, she'd hung up on Elena.
This was absolutely the worst thing possible. Damon was already losing it over finding out his mother was a vampire ripper. Now his brother was well on his way to following in his mother's footsteps again. For the first time in a very long time, Buffy had a massive headache threatening to turn into a migraine.
The door opened and Elena walked in. "Has Stefan come home yet?" She stopped dead when she saw Buffy's face. "You look really angry."
"Oh, I'm beyond pissed." Buffy said, keeping her voice low and even. "Didn't I tell you to stay out of it? To let Caroline handle it her way?" A resounding crash came from the library. "But you and Stefan just couldn't let it be. You couldn't just leave Caroline to deal with her grief. And now she's pissed off and Stefan is walking the yellow brick road to Ripperville!"
Elena looked down and took a deep breath. "You were right. We were wrong. We should've just let Caroline deal with it her way." Another crash came from the library. "What's going on in the library?"
"That's none of your concern right now." Buffy stood up. "Elena, you need to fix this."
"This is yours and Stefan's mess. You need to clean it up. I've got an upset husband to deal with right now."
Elena looked thoroughly chastised. "Do you think I could borrow some weapons?"
"Yes. You can borrow some weapons." The door opened and Alaric walked in. "And you can borrow his help."
"You called Alaric?"
"Of course I did. I need someone with a brain to help keep this from spiraling more out of control than it already is."
Elena sighed. "Fine." She walked upstairs to get weapons from Buffy's training room.
Alaric looked at Buffy. "Are you ok?" Another crash came from the library. "Never mind. You don't have to answer that."
"Hey, congratulations on your big news." Buffy said, giving Alaric a hug. "I'm really happy for you."
"Thank you." He gripped her shoulders as another crash came from the library. "Ok, what's going on?"She heard Elena coming back down the stairs. "It's a very long story. One I promise to catch everyone up on once I get Damon calmed down and back in his right mind and Stefan with his humanity back on and Caroline…. Well, calmed down and not pissed off and trying to kill family I didn't know that I had." Another crash came from the library. Buffy sighed. "Ok. Keep me posted on everything. I'm going to go deal with Damon now."
"Buffy." Elena said, stopping Buffy in her tracks. "I'm really sorry we didn't listen to you."
"I know. Now go get Stefan under control." Buffy took a deep breath and headed into the disaster area that was the library. She leaned her arms against the railing and watched her husband beat the stuffing out of the leather chair. "I thought you were going to find a healthy outlet for your rage."
"Haven't. Found. It. Yet." With every word, he hit the chair. Damon turned and took out a lamp. "Stefan without his humanity is one artery away from Stefan the Ripper. And every day that goes by is one year of guilt waiting for him on the other side."
Buffy walked around the railing and he held out the crowbar to her. "No thanks."
"Well, take it away from me, cause I'm seconds away from using it on this." Damon grabbed the video camera with the video of his mother.
Buffy relented and took the crowbar. She saw that the camera was paused on the frame with a clear picture of Lily and a thought occurred to her. "Oh, brain…. Sometimes I wish you didn't work."
"What are you talking about?"
She sighed and set the crowbar down on the destroyed chair. "You and Stefan were close with your mom. Especially Stefan."
"Yeah. He was always such a mama's boy. He would've hanged himself with our mother's apron strings if it meant her approval." He shook his head. "We both would. We loved her. She was our world." Buffy nodded and waited for Damon to catch on. "What?" She made a face at him. "No. No way!"
"Your mother might actually be the quickest and easiest way to getting Stefan to flip his humanity switch back on. She is definitely a huge emotional trigger for him."
"Buffy, this woman killed so many people that a coven of witches built her a permanent time out and a Watcher was so scarred by what happened to her Slayer at Lily's hands that she killed herself. You don't fix one ripper problem by unleashing another ripper."
"No, of course not, but…."
"But what if she's not a ripper anymore?"
"I love you, but you seem to have misplaced your sanity somewhere."
"You said yourself that we can't let her out."
"I know what I said. But I also know that Stefan was a ripper once and he got better. Why can't she have gotten better? I mean, she's in a world where there are no people. Just butcher shops. She's had to have learned moderation after all this time over there. How about we go over there and talk to her? See what she's like now." Buffy walked over to Damon and wrapped her arms around him, laying her head on his back. "You can't tell me that you're not even a little bit curious to meet her."
Damon let out a breath. "I might know a few witches that can help."
Bonnie tried to slam the door in Damon's face. "I'm not helping you!"
Damon stopped the door with his foot. "Ow." He complained.
"I hate Kai! You know that! And the first thing you did when I got back was throw him in my face to fake apologize."
"Then I real apologized for being a dick!"
"And here you are, less than twenty four hours later asking me to work with him."
"Bonnie, we need Kai to get to 1903." Buffy said calmly. "And we need Bennett blood to do the spell. Otherwise, we would've asked Willow to do it. Granted, we would've had to call her and Tara back from their spring break in LA…." She shook her head. "Look, we're just going to go in, grab my mother-in-law, she'll flip Stefan's switch before he goes all crazy Ripper Stefan, and we save a lot of lives."
"If I give you my blood, will you just…. Get out of my face?"
"Oh, come on, Bonnie. Don't even try to tell me that you're not the least bit interested to see two Mrs. Salvatores in the same room. Every movie ever made involving in-laws is either a comedy or a horror. And my mother-in-law is literally a movie monster. Not even Hollywood could come up with this storyline!" Buffy gave Bonnie a grin and Bonnie sighed.
"Fine. I'll come with you."
"Great! Thank you."
"Does Kai have the Ascendant for that prison world?"
"I don't know."
"We haven't talked to him yet." Damon said. Bonnie nodded. "Maybe you could ask him? He's more likely to say yes to you."
"I don't want to spend a second more than I have to with him."
"Think of him kind of like Angel." Buffy said. "He sort of got a soul and now he's actually trying to atone for his sins with you. I mean, he apologized to Jo and apparently did a really good job. He was the one that broke the news to her that she and Alaric are expecting a baby."
"Yeah. And getting married."
"Good for them. And Jo bought his apology?"
"Yeah. Well, I mean, she's still got some anger issues…. He did cut out her spleen and all…. But he's actually really sorry for it."
"And right now, you're all he can talk about." Damon added. "He really wants to make amends with you."
Bonnie rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'll talk to him."
Buffy grabbed her burgundy suede coat with the black fur along the cuffs of the sleeves and the neckline. Bonnie had warned them that it was freezing and snowing in the 1903 prison world. She and Kai were downstairs preparing the spell. Damon walked into the room and nodded his appreciation at the coat.
"Pretty." He said, kissing her cheek.
"Thank you." Buffy handed him his coat and scarf. "Are you ok?"
She slipped the scarf around his neck and pulled him closer to her. "Don't lie to me, Damon."
He shook his head. "I'm fine. Really. I just want to get this over with."
"Ok." She accepted his kiss and they headed downstairs.
"Crocodile Dundee called. He wants his knife back." Kai was saying to Bonnie.
"You know, he's no longer a thing and neither is that joke." Bonnie retorted.
"Are you guys done?" Buffy asked. "I have a mother-in-law to meet."
"You're very excited about this." Kai remarked.
Buffy shrugged. "Even if she's a psycho ripper vampire, she's still the woman that gave birth to the man I am deeply, madly, completely in love with." She shot Damon a smile and he shook his head, smiling back. "I'd like to thank her for that."
"Right." Bonnie said. "Shall we?"
"Fine." Damon took Buffy's hand. "Let's go get mom." Kai started to chant with Bonnie's blood on the Ascendant. Buffy put her free hand on Bonnie's shoulder and a bright light shone around them. Suddenly they were no longer in the warmth of the Salvatore Boarding House, but standing in a snowy forest. "Well isn't this a picturesque place in hell?"
"You guys go ahead." Bonnie said to Buffy and Damon. "Kai and I will start the locater spell for the Ascendant."
"You guys just had the Ascendant." Buffy said.
"The Ascendant can't travel between worlds." Kai said. "Which means we have to find its mirror image here in 1903."
"Page ten of the world jumping rule book." Damon quipped. He looked at Buffy. "Shall we?"
"We shall." Buffy allowed Damon to lead her away from Kai and Bonnie. "So, our house wasn't built yet?"
"Not till 1914."
"Where are we going, then?"
"We are going to the house that I grew up in. It's the most likely place where she'll be if she's here in Mystic Falls."
"The one that's just a pile of stones and some stairs in the woods now?"
"The very one."
Buffy smiled. "I know your mom might be crazy and we've got a lot of problems to deal with back home, but is it crazy that I'm kind of giddy to see where you grew up?"
Damon smiled. "It's not crazy. I mean, I made a cross country road trip just to see the house where you grew up."
She snuggled in closer to him and he wrapped his arm around her as they made their way through the woods. "I'm pretty sure there aren't going to be any posters on the wall of Nirvana here."
Damon laughed. "No. My old bedroom was pretty boring. Yours was much more exciting."
They finally made their way up the path to the old Salvatore estate. Damon pointed out a few spots in the front of the house that he thought might interest his wife. Buffy seemed to really love the place and it made Damon happy that he was able to show her this house. They made their way up to the front door and pushed it open. They separated for a moment as Damon walked around the hallway.
Buffy spotted pictures on the fireplace mantel and went over to them. "Baby Stefan or baby Damon?" She asked as Damon joined her.
He took the picture and examined it. "That's baby Stefan." Damon reached around her and picked up the other picture. "This is baby me." He was sitting on his mother's lap and staring straight at the camera. Damon ran his thumb across the picture, a sad look coming across his face. After a moment, he handed her the picture. "We're not here to socialize. We get the Ascendant, we find my mother and after she flips Stefan's switch, we figure out what the hell we're going to do with her."
Buffy sighed and slipped both the pictures into her coat pocket. "Damon…." She walked over to him and took his hands. "Your mother is alive. Granted, she's a vampire and one that murdered thousands of people, but she's alive. And she's here somewhere. Can't you at least admit that that's a little bit exciting?"
"From 1858 to 1903, Lily was blood binging through Europe while Stefan and I carried the loss. Not exactly maternal. As far as I'm concerned, my mother died when we buried her empty coffin. What we're looking for is just a tool to get my brother back." He leaned his head down and placed his forehead against hers. "As far as I'm concerned, you're the one and only Mrs. Salvatore."
"Damon?" A woman's voice said behind him.
Damon froze and looked at Buffy. She pulled her head back and looked around him. Lily Salvatore stood in the doorway holding firewood. Finally, Damon turned around and looked at his mother's stunned face. "Hello, mother."
"How are you here?"
"Magic. I have some witch friends that helped us out."
Lily looked at Buffy still holding her son's hand. "And who are you?" She asked kindly.
"I'm…." Buffy glanced up at Damon. "Well, I'm your daughter-in-law."
Lily's eyes widened further and she looked at Damon. "You're married?"
"Yes." Damon said.
"For almost two years now." Buffy added.
Lily smiled brightly. "Oh, that's wonderful. And you're so lovely!" She set down the wood and walked up to Buffy. "I'm Lily Salvatore." Lily reached out and hugged Buffy tightly.
"I'm Buffy Salvatore." Buffy said, looking up at Damon with a shocked expression.
"What an interesting name." Lily pulled back and looked at Buffy, nodding. "Please, you must join me for some tea. I'll put the wood on the fire and heat the water in the kettle." She left the room and Damon looked down at his wife.
"What the hell was that?" He asked.
"She doesn't seem so bad." Buffy said, handing Damon her coat. He rolled his eyes at her as he took his coat off, tossing them both over the back of the couch. "Don't roll your eyes at me."
Damon sat down and looked up at her. "I get to roll my eyes all I want. This was your idea, not mine."
Buffy sat down next to him. "And so far it seems ok." Damon made a 'pft' sound at her and shook his head.
Lily came back into the room with the firewood and carefully placed it in the fireplace. They caught fire after a moment and she put the kettle on to heat the water inside. "My eldest son is married. Oh, I've missed so much." She took her coat off and placed it over the back of a chair before sitting down. "There was a time when I marked days on a calendar. I gave up after a few years, but judging by your bizarre attire…."
"You've been in here for over a century." Buffy said.
"Yeah, I would've come by sooner, but I thought you were safe and sound in the family crypt." Damon said. "My bad."
"Technically I did die in 1858. After a nurse in the TB ward fed me vampire blood."
"And you never thought to stop by and clear things up?"
Lily looked hurt by Damon's words. She stood up and went to check on the water. "How did you end up here…. Mrs. Salvatore?" Buffy asked.
"Mrs. Salvatore?" Damon asked incredulously.
Buffy shrugged. "That's who she is."
Lily laughed and turned back around. "Please, call me Lily. It was October 31st, 1903. I had just arrived in New York Harbor. The night sky was alive with this beautiful, shimmering light. And out of nowhere, a coven of witches attacked….. When I awoke, they were gone. Everyone was gone. That night, the sky danced with colors again and it's done so every night since."
"It's called prison." Damon said. "You must've pissed off a lot of people."
Buffy looked at Damon disbelievingly as Lily looked down, seemingly ashamed. "That life seems like forever ago." Lily set down a jar of blood and a small dropper. As she turned to get the tea cups set out, Damon picked up the dropper.
"You on a diet?" He asked.
"I depleted every slaughter house within walking distance and every butcher shop along the hellish trek from New York to Mystic Falls." She picked up the jar. "This is the last of the blood here. Two drops a week just to stay awake."
"That sounds…. Miserable." Buffy said.
Lily smiled kindly at her. "I manage." She looked at her son. "I hear you and your brother turned during the war."
"Mmhmm." Damon said.
"Your father must've been horrified."
"He was. And then Stefan ripped his throat out."
Lily giggled and almost dropped her tea. "I apologize. That's cruel to laugh, but…. Good for Stefan. I truly hated that man."
"Oh, I know you did. So much so that you left your kids with him, faked your own death, and went out to join the Ripper Coalition." Buffy reached over and pinched Damon's leg. He turned a withering glare on her. "Ow!" The glare had no effect on her. She gave him a reproving look right back.
"Well, it's nice to see that you've grown into yourself, Damon, and that you've found someone who obviously suits you very well." Lily looked at Buffy. "Damon was never fond of the girls that had no backbone. He always complained that they were boring and simple and that when he finally married, it would be someone that would challenge and stimulate him."
Buffy smiled and glanced over at Damon. "Oh, I love to challenge him." She looked back at Lily. "And he loves to challenge right back. We keep each other on our toes."
"That's absolutely wonderful. And are you a vampire as well?"
"Well, sort of…. I mean, technically I'm a hybrid of sorts. I was a Vampire Slayer and when Damon turned me, I didn't lose any of the powers I'd already had."
Lily grew very still. "A Vampire Slayer?"
"And don't worry, we know all about what you did to poor little Daniella." Damon said.
"I am very sorry for that." Lily said to Buffy.
"I am, too, but facing vampires is what Slayers do." Buffy said. "And all of them that came before me died the way most of us are supposed to die. In battle."
"And you chose to die and become a vampire. Why?"
"It's a very long story, but it wasn't the first time that I died. It was actually the third."
"Third? How is that possible?"
Damon let out a loud breath and said, "This is all well and good that my mother and my wife are chatting, but I have a brother to save."
Lily looked at Damon. "What's happened with Stefan?"
"Our friend Caroline just lost her mother at a very young age and she couldn't take the grief that comes with losing her mother properly, so she flipped her humanity switch. She was doing just fine until Stefan and his girlfriend interfered and pissed Caroline off. She made Stefan switch his humanity off in retaliation and when his humanity's off, he takes after you and turns into a blood thirsty ripper."
"That's actually why we're here." Buffy said. "He needs an emotional trigger to turn his humanity back on."
"And you believe that I can reconnect Stefan with his humanity." Lily said.
"The last memory Stefan has of you is a vision of an angel telling him that everything is going to be ok."
"So, you're going to be an angel again." Damon said. "He doesn't need to know how screwed up you really are."
Lily glared at Damon for a moment before softening. "Of course I'll help. I'd love nothing more than to see him again."
Damon stood up. "Pack your bags." He held his hand out to help Buffy up.
"Wonderful." Lily stood up. "I'll alert the others."
Buffy and Damon stopped in their tracks and turned back to Lily. "You'll alert who now?" Damon asked.
"You knew so much about me, I assumed you'd heard of my traveling companions."
"What traveling companions?"
Lily gave them a small smile. "Come. I'll show you." She grabbed an oil lamp and led them out of the room and through a back door. They were outside for a few moments before walking into a cave. They followed her through the winding tunnel until they came to a large opening where six desiccated vampires were sitting at a table. They were set up like they were ready for a tea party. "Everyone, meet my son, Damon, and his wife, Buffy. They're here to take us home."
Damon turned his head to look at Buffy with a disbelieving look on his face as Lily began lighting the other oil lamps in the room and cranking up a phonograph to play music. Buffy took his hand as she said, "These vampires have been trapped with you the whole time?"
"We went everywhere together. They happened to be on the boat that night, poor souls."
"These poor souls don't happen to have the same affinity for rolling heads, do they?" Damon asked.
"On the contrary. These people saved me from that part of myself. I was banished here because I was a monster. I drank with no remorse from whatever human I could sink my teeth into. But locked in this cage, I was forced to confront the animal that I had become. And as we ran out of resources, my friends sacrificed their rations for me and I knew if I drank everything as every bone in my body demanded, there wouldn't be enough to wake them. So, I learned to control my blood lust…. for them. These people made me feel human again." Damon's hand tightened on Buffy's. "I'll fetch the last of the blood so we can revive them." Lily stepped past Buffy and Damon and headed out of the cave.
Damon pulled Buffy to him, noticing that the desiccated vampires' eyes followed them. "Not only is she a ripper, she's an insane ripper." He whispered to her.
Buffy shrugged. "Maybe she feels responsible for them."
"Are you kidding me? She has a vampire dollhouse!"
As Buffy looked over at the desiccated vampires and the creepy display that Lily had set up with them, she noticed a familiar figure sitting next to the phonograph. "Damon…." Buffy walked over and picked up the 1903 Ascendant. "Oh, you've got to be kidding me."
"What?" Damon walked over and looked down at the Ascendant. "Oh…."
"Bonnie's not looking for the Ascendant. She's looking for revenge."
"We've got to go." Buffy nodded her agreement as she turned and rushed out, heading for the house. Damon caught up to her as she opened the back door. Lily was already in her coat and was holding the jar of blood. He grabbed his and Buffy's coats and said, "Your vampire menagerie is gonna have to take the next train out. We're down a witch."
"You want to leave them behind?" Lily asked. "No, Damon, you can't save me without saving them."
"We'll come back for them. Promise. Let's go."
Buffy moved towards the window and looked outside. "The aurora borealis is in the sky now."
Bonnie came through the door. "Also known as our ticket out of here. You got it?"
"What did you do to Kai?" Buffy demanded.
"Let's not worry about that now, babe." Damon said. He turned to look at his mother, but she was gone. "You gotta be kidding me. Go. Start the damn spell. I'll go get her."
"Yeah, I don't think so. Bonnie, we'll meet you where we came in at." Buffy turned to her husband. "The last time Bonnie started a spell and you ran off, you didn't make it back. I'm going with you and the Ascendant comes with us. Insurance policy." She followed Damon out and they rushed down to the caves. Lily was feeding one of the vampires a dropper of blood. Damon grabbed her and pushed her against the wall. The jar flew out of her hands and shattered against the floor.
"No!" She cried.
"I said they're not coming." Damon said.
"What have you done?"
"We'll see them at the reunion. Let's go."
"You don't understand, Damon. I will not leave them."
"They are my family." The words struck Damon and his grip on Lily relaxed. She yanked her arm away from him. "These people are my family."
Now Buffy was mad. The stricken look on her husband's face was too much. She walked over and grabbed Lily in a vice grip. "Ok, now I get to be the bitch that married your son. These freaks may be your family, but Stefan Salvatore is ours and if you don't want to help him, then you're welcome to stay here and rot." Lily shook her head. "We're leaving now and you're coming with us." Buffy pulled Lily along, using her immeasurable strength to keep her under control. Damon followed them to where Bonnie was waiting. Buffy tossed her the Ascendant and Bonnie cut open her hand and began the spell. As the white light flared, they heard Kai scream Bonnie's name. Bonnie gave a sadistic smile in his direction just before the light faded and they were standing in the Salvatore Boarding House in present day.
Buffy walked up the stairs to find where Damon had gone. They'd put Lily in Stefan's room since he obviously wasn't using it. She decided that's where she might find her husband, so she made her way upstairs. Damon wasn't there, but Lily was sitting at the computer staring at the screensaver. She briefly thought about walking away, but Lily knew she was there.
"The whole world runs on those things." Buffy said. "It would be a good thing to learn if you plan to stay here in this time."
Lily looked over at her. "Maybe you and Damon could teach me."
Buffy shook her head. "I'm not very good with computers and neither is Damon. Stefan, weirdly enough, is. You can ask him after we get him back." After a moment, she started to leave, but Lily's voice stopped her.
"You must not think much of me."
Taking a deep breath, Buffy turned back around. "Do you know one of the things that Damon and I first bonded over? You. We talked about how much we loved our mothers. How wonderful they were. How much they cared about us and how we lost them before we were even close to being ready. I got to spend one more day with my mother and it was amazing. And when the opportunity arose for Damon to actually get to spend more than just a day with his mother…." She trailed off, reigning in her anger. "I get that those people meant a lot to you, but Damon is your flesh and blood. He's your son and he was begging you to help his brother, but you were more worried about people you met while you were off living it up ripper style. I made excuses for you. I wanted Damon to have his mother back. But the sad truth is: You abandoned your sons. So, no. I don't think much of you anymore, but Damon and Stefan love you and I love them. And that's the only reason you're here."
Lily nodded, looking away from Buffy for a moment. "I do love them. You and Damon may not believe it, but I do. The night of my funeral, an angel did visit Stefan. Me. I had just turned and I wanted to see my boys. But when I leaned down to whisper in Stefan's ear, the hunger surged. All I could hear was the pulse in his veins. All I could smell was the blood. So I fled. For the sake of my boys. And no matter how deeply Damon or Stefan felt my absence, it is half as deep as I felt theirs."
"Then maybe you should've put your blood lust aside and gone to them before you were imprisoned."
"Perhaps you're right." Buffy nodded and turned away. "I'm glad you're the one the mantle of Mrs. Salvatore was passed to, Buffy."
The blonde Vampire Slayer vampire paused only for the briefest of moments before walking out of the room. She found Damon sitting in their room staring at the fire in the fireplace. He looked up and smiled at her. "Hey."
"Hey." Buffy went over to him and leaned her knees against the edge of the bed between his legs, resting her arms on his shoulders.
He was holding the picture Buffy had grabbed of him as a child with Lily. "You kept this."
"Of course I did. It's the only baby picture of my husband in existence."
Damon set the picture down on the nightstand and wrapped his arms around her, pressing his cheek against her chest. "Did you talk to Rick or Elena?"
"Nope. I've been busy elsewhere."
"Yeah. I heard you talking to her."
"She's just a means to get Stefan back."
Buffy nodded. "I know."
"Thank you. For what you said up there." He looked up at her and she leaned down to kiss him. Suddenly, Buffy was underneath Damon, pressed into the mattress. He moved the hair out of her eyes, staring deeply into them. "God I love you."
Buffy reached up and ran her fingers through his hair. "I love you, too."
Damon closed the distance between their lips, kissing her passionately.