Chapter 125 NEW
Buffy pulled her robe around her tighter and opened the front door to find Bonnie standing there. “Bonnie.”
“Hi. Can I come in?” Bonnie asked.
“Uh, sure.” Buffy stepped out of the way and shut the door behind Bonnie. “What’s up?”
“I just wanted to thank you and Damon for helping me find closure yesterday.”
“One, it is way too early for this conversation, but if it’s happening…. Then I’ve got to tell you that that wasn’t closure what you did. It was revenge and it was petty. And two, there's a crazy-lady upstairs who wants to open that prison world up more than anything.”
“We're never going back there, right?”
“We have to.”
“No! Kai deserved what he got.”
“The old Kai deserved that. The new Kai…. He was trying. He wanted to make it right with you.”
“How could you believe that? He was a monster!”
“So was Angelus.”
“He had a soul forced on him.”
“So did Kai! When he merged with Luke, he got Luke’s soul. You know, Bonnie, you are reverting back to your judgy little self that I really didn’t like when we first met.”
“I’m not sure if becoming a vampire was good for you. You’ve really started caring for murderers and psychopaths more than your real friends.”
“Tara once said I see the good in people. Maybe that got heightened when I turned and gave me the ability to be friends with people like Klaus and Elijah and even potentially Kai, but right now…. You’re making it very, very hard for me to see the good in you.”
Bonnie sighed and looked away. “Maybe this will help. I have something for you. A gift from 1994.” She opened up her bag and pulled out a familiar brown wooden box.
“That's not what I think it is.”
“If it wasn't for Damon’s notes on the map of Nova Scotia, I would have never remembered there was magic on that island. There's a good chance that I wouldn't be here today. So, for my 1994 road trip, I got you a little something.”
Buffy took the box and opened it. The cure for immortality from Silas’s tomb lay inside. “The cure.”
“I knew Damon was planning on getting it himself. He had the whole route mapped down to the kilometer. My mom's surprisingly happy as a vampire. You and Damon like being vampires. I have full faith that we'll get Caroline back to normal the old-fashioned way. So….”
“It’s for Elena. Why didn’t you just give it to her yourself?”
“Because you wanted more than anything for her to be human. When she was turned, you were devastated. You almost killed Stefan because he saved Matt and not Elena. Because you still mourn the life that was taken from her. If anyone has the right to give Elena the cure, it’s you.”
Buffy took a deep breath. “Thank you, Bonnie.”
“You’re welcome. Sorry to barge in on you this early in the morning.” Bonnie turned and walked out of the house.
Damon came down the stairs and saw Buffy standing in the hallway. “Hey, babe. I thought you were getting us some O positive.” He saw the box in her hand. “Where did you get that?”
“Bonnie….” Buffy looked at Damon. “She, uh, she brought it from the prison world.”
“Why did she give it to you?”
“So I could give it to Elena.”
“Does Elena even want it? She seems like she’s happy as a vampire now.”
“The cure was taken off the table and she accepted her fate…. But I don’t think she’s ever been happy as a vampire.”
“Are you going to give it to her, then?”
“I’ll give her the option. I’m sure she’ll want to talk to Stefan once we get his humanity turned back on, though. Until then, we’ll keep it safe.”
Damon watched her walk towards the stairs for a moment. “Buff.” She turned and looked at him. “Do you want to give it to her?”
“More than anything, I want her to have a normal, human life. To get married and have babies and grow old with the man she chooses to love for the rest of her life. But all of that means I end up losing her one day. And I’m very tired of losing the people I love.”
He walked up to her and gently took her face between his hands. “I know, baby.” Damon kissed her softly.
“I’m gonna take a shower.”
“I’ll join you.”
“I’d like that.”
After their shower, Buffy and Damon were wrapped in fluffy towels. Buffy stood at the sink and watched the water pour out of the faucet. Damon was over in the closet picking out his outfit for the day. He spotted her staring at the water and not brushing her teeth. With a sigh, he came over and wrapped his arms around her.
“Sorry.” She turned the water off and set down her toothbrush. “I don’t mean to be so sad, but….”
“I’m sad, too. I’m just as tired of losing people as you are.”
“I’m also sad that your mother isn’t who you remembered.”
“That woman in there is just a tool to get Stefan’s humanity back.”
“I know that, but….” She trailed off and looked down at Damon’s arms around her.
He gave her a squeeze. “But what?”
“I wanted to give you more time with your mother. You loved her so much, Damon.”
“I do love my mother. I will always love my mother, but I buried her and said goodbye to her in 1858.” He kissed her shoulder and nuzzled her neck. “I love you so much, Buffy.”
“I love you, too.” Buffy looked up at their reflection in the mirror and smiled slightly.
“That’s a pretty picture.” Damon said, resting his chin on top of her head.
Before she said anything else, the smell of food hit her senses. “What is that smell?”
Damon took a big whiff. “Mom’s cooking.”
“Smells…. Good. And bacon-y.”
“Probably not real bacon.” Buffy turned and looked up at her husband. He gave her a mischievous grin. “It’s probably some baby she abducted from a nearby village.” That made her smile and Damon kissed her forehead. “There’s that beautiful smile.”
“Hopefully I’ll give you more of them once we get Stefan back. He and Caroline are probably fang deep in bodies by now.”
“So, let’s get mom and get crackin.” He kissed her swiftly before they finished getting dressed and headed downstairs.
“I hope you don’t mind.” Lily said as they walked into the kitchen. “I used to love cooking for my boys and I haven’t been able to in a very long time.” She set plates full of food down on the table as Buffy and Damon sat down. Damon picked up one of the slices of bread and took a bite. “This was always Damon’s favorite.” Lily said to Buffy as she sat down with her own plate. “Eggie in baskie.”
“It doesn’t taste like I remember.” Damon said.
“Well, you were human the last time you tasted it. Our tastes change over time. Buffy, did your mother cook?”
“Yes.” Buffy said.
“What was your favorite thing to eat that she cooked for you?”
“I don’t remember.”
Lily took a breath and tried again. “What about you? Do you cook?”
“Damon, you used to like helping me in the kitchen. Do you two like to cook together?”
“Sometimes.” Damon said, taking a cue from his wife’s cold shoulder.
Lily nodded, realizing that she wasn’t going to crack the two in front of her. “So, if I understood correctly, in order to free my companions from the place where I was trapped we’ll need the magical device.”
“Yes. The Ascendant. Where is that?”
“Safe. Very safe.”
“And we’ll also need a celestial event.”
“We’ll have to do some digging, yeah. Be patient. They take time. They’re very rare.”
“There’s a full moon coming up. Will that work? If not, the Lyrid’s meteor shower is in two weeks.”
“Well, look at you. If you’re not a one woman almanac.”
“Actually, I took your advice, Buffy, and I’ve been dabbling on Stefan’s computer. What a wondrous invention! All that knowledge.”
“And videos of cats riding robot vacuum cleaners.” Buffy’s phone started vibrating and she pulled it out of her jeans pocket. It was a text from Elena. Damon leaned into Buffy’s shoulder. “Is everything ok?”
“It’s Elena.” Buffy said. “She says that there’s been a serious spike in vampire attacks at Whitmore. Two guesses who it could be and the first one doesn’t count.”
“One of them is blonde and the other one likes turning people into human Pez dispensers?”
“Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. I think it’s time to enact plan Lily and get Stefan back.”
“Mind if we take my car?”
“Of course not.” Buffy stood up and looked at Lily. “It’s a rule in our house that whoever cooks gets to clean up. I’m sure the internet has instructions on how to use a dishwasher.” She walked out of the kitchen.
Lily sighed and turned to Damon. “She’s the lady of the house. You should probably follow her rules.” Damon said before following Buffy out.
Damon was purposely driving like a bat out of hell while Lily sat in the backseat gripping whatever she could get her hands on. Buffy sat in the passenger’s seat trying to hide a smirk at her husband. She was texting Elena to let her know what the plan was.
“She’s pissed that we didn’t tell her about our plan.” Buffy said.
“Why does she think we always have to tell her what we’re doing?” Damon asked.
“I don’t know. She’s probably stressed from working at the hospital and dealing with her emotionless boyfriend’s wandering teeth.”
“Well, we’re on our way. We’ll find them, you take care of Caroline, and you….” He glanced back at Lily. “You look Stefan right in the eyes and….”
“And I will return him to the man he used to be.” Lily said.
“And once we’ve done that, then we will go rescue my friends?”
“Sure. I know how terribly concerned you are about them.” Damon kept his eyes on the road, trying to hide the brief hurt. Buffy reached over and took his hand, squeezing it slightly.
“How long have you two been together?” Lily asked from the backseat. “You never said.”
“A few years.” Buffy said.
Lily sighed. “I know you don’t like me, Buffy, but I’m trying to have a civilized discussion with you both. I want to get to know the woman my son married.”
“You want to get to know me?”
“Ok.” Buffy turned in her seat and gave Lily an icy
glare. “I am fiercely loyal to my husband and I don’t like anyone that hurts
him. In any way. I once ripped the throat out of someone that
was hurting him.”
“That’s very good to know. Is there anything else you want to tell me?”
“Very well. May I tell you something I learned about you on my own?” Buffy didn’t answer her, so Lily nodded and continued. “You’re an exceptional guardian to Elena.”
“You haven’t even met Elena.”
“No, but I heard you speaking with your friend Bonnie this morning.”
“You spied on me?”
“Well, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop. I’m just not used to hearing other voices. I couldn’t help but listen. And it’s not every day that someone hears something so rare as the cure for vampirism.”
“It is if you’ve been around here the last couple of years.”
“Have you told Elena about the cure, yet?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but no. That’s not something you text.”
“Will you tell her?”
“Of course I will. Eventually. It’s her decision.”
“Even if it means losing her?”
“Even if it means losing her…. Someday.”
“Would you ever consider taking it?”
“You don’t want to be human again?”
“I don’t even remember what it’s like to be human. It’s been over 15 years since I could last be called that.” Damon squeezed Buffy’s hand and she smiled over at him. “I’ve got you to keep me company for the rest of eternity. That’s really a better prospect than being a human for a small handful of years.”
He smiled and brought her hand to his lips. “I agree.”
“If your brother’s on the hunt, he won’t be staying in one place.” Lily said as she followed Buffy and Damon through the hallways of one of the college buildings.
“Well, we have to start somewhere.” Damon retorted.
“Elena said she treated some kid who was attacked coming out of Modern European History.” Buffy said. “And Willow said that class is in this building.” Her phone vibrated and she took it out. She groaned and rolled her eyes.
“What?” Damon looked over her shoulder and read the text. “Well, well…. Mother knows best. Elena says they’re at Skull Bar. Come on.”
“We’ve yet to discuss what we’ll do if Stefan fails to remember me.” Lily said.
“Are you kidding? You’re his mother. Of course he’s going to remember you.” Buffy snapped.
Lily moved towards them looking extremely unsure. “Tell me you can do this.” Damon growled.
“What if I say the wrong thing?” Lily asked. “A century and a half is a long time to be away.”
“You’ll be fine. Just channel whatever you were feeling when you came back to get us.”
“When I came back to get you?”
“Yeah. In 1903. You found out we were vampires, you landed in New York Harbor after a 40 year romp in Europe, and you….” Lily’s face made Damon falter. “You…. Oh. You weren’t coming to get us.”
“No. I wasn’t. I’m sorry.”
Buffy placed her hand on Damon’s shoulder as she stepped around him. Her voice was like fire and ice all at once. “You’re going to try.”
“I’ve been trying! Since I laid my eyes on my son yesterday I have been trying with all of my heart to reconnect with the woman who was his mother.” Lily looked up at Damon and he slipped his hand into Buffy’s, squeezing tightly. “To remember what it felt like to mourn you and your brother after I was banished by your father. After I was turned, the only thing more powerful than the longing I felt for you was the fear of what I would do if I ever saw you again. So I stayed away. I had to find others who could help me find my way back to myself and by the time my new family helped me to do that…. Everything I felt for my old family, for you and your brother…. Was gone. I hate that I can’t make myself feel more. I’m so sorry.” Lily walked past Buffy and Damon down the hallway.
Buffy turned to Damon and looked up into his hurt face. She couldn’t take the tears threatening to spill out of his eyes. Suddenly, Buffy was standing a few steps in front of Lily. Her eyes had turned that supernatural glowing blue as she glared at Lily. “Stop right there.” Lily stopped in her tracks. “You’re not done here. You’re the only solution to getting my brother-in-law back, so you’re going to walk over to that bar and you’re going to put on the performance of a lifetime. You….” Buffy stopped and realized that Lily was staring at her like she was being compelled. “Damon….”
He walked over and looked at Lily’s face. “Are you compelling her?”
“I…. I can’t do that.”
“Apparently you can.” Damon waved his hand in front of Lily’s face, but she didn’t react.
“Damon, I can’t compel vampires. I’m not an Original.”
“But you have their strength. You’re a Vampire Slayer. It makes sense that you’d be able to have some control over vampires with your heightened powers. Finish compelling her and let’s get Stefan.”
Buffy took a deep breath and caught Lily’s gaze again. “You’re going to make sure Stefan believes every word you say. You’re going to tell him that you ran away because you were a Ripper and you didn’t want to hurt him and Damon. You wanted to see him grow up and protect him from his father, but you were protecting him from yourself. You finally got your appetite under control and you were coming back for your sons in 1903 when you were captured by the Gemini coven and banished to the prison world. You’re going to tell him that the only thing that helped you get through all those years of imprisonment was the hope that you’d get to see your sons again. You hated that you abandoned them, but you’re going to make up for it now. You’re going to tell Stefan that his angel has finally returned to him.” She paused and looked at Damon, taking the 1903 Ascendant out of his jacket pocket. “And then you’re going to take the Ascendant for your prison world and get out of Damon’s life. You’ve caused enough hurt for five lifetimes.” Buffy shoved the relic into Lily’s hands and released her from the compulsion.
Damon and Lily followed Buffy out of the building and across the street to the bar. Buffy smelled familiar blood coming from inside. She rushed to the door and opened it. Stefan was sitting at a table near the bar while Caroline sat on the bar with her legs dangling. Tyler was on the floor holding a towel to Matt’s bleeding torso.
Caroline rolled her eyes at Buffy. “Come to lecture us to death?”
“No.” Buffy walked over to Tyler and Matt and knelt down to inspect Matt’s wound. “It’s not fatal. You need to get him to Elena. She’s at the hospital.”
Caroline rushed at Buffy, thinking she might have the element of surprise, but Buffy was so much faster. Caroline landed with a crash behind the bar. Just then, Damon and Lily walked into the bar and Stefan stood up, looking shocked as he recognized Lily. Caroline got to her feet and jumped back over the bar.
“Who’s that?” She asked.
“That’s my mother.” Stefan said, his eyes not leaving Lily.
Buffy helped Tyler get Matt to his feet. “Go.” She got them out the door and shut it behind them.
“So…. You have a mother?” Caroline asked Stefan.
“I had a mom.” Stefan said. “She died. So whoever this is, is Damon and Buffy’s lame attempt to get my humanity back on.”
“Let me guess, then you work on getting my humanity back on. I don’t think so.” Caroline moved to break a barstool, but before she could stab Stefan in the back with it, Buffy was slapping the makeshift stake out of her hand and hauling Caroline off her feet by her neck.
“We’re not here for you, Caroline.” Buffy walked the younger blonde towards the door. “Get out of here and enjoy your year of no emotions.” She let Caroline go and Caroline ran out the door.
“I’m sure you have many questions.” Lily said to Stefan.
“Well, the fact that you haven’t aged a day answers the big one.” Stefan suddenly turned and tried to run, but Damon blocked his exit.
“I’m a Ripper.” Lily said. Stefan turned to her. “All of the guilt that you’ve carried for your lack of control…. It’s my fault. Not yours. You get it from me. That’s why I had to leave. I was so new to the bloodlust. I was afraid I would hurt you and your brother. The last time I saw you was the day of my funeral. You weren’t imagining it. I was your angel. If only I’d been there to see you grow into a young man…. To protect you from your father’s temper…. But I was so ashamed of the things that I’d done. Of what I’d become. By the time I’d gotten my appetite under control and was coming back for you and your brother, I was hunted down and banished to a prison world by the Gemini. The one thing that helped me get through being trapped in that awful place was the hope of seeing my sons again. I know there are no words to make up for me abandoning you, but we have all of eternity for me to try. Your angel has returned to you.” Lily placed her hand on Stefan’s cheek. “I will never leave you again.”
Buffy waited with her breath held as Stefan closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he’d flipped his humanity switch back on. “Mother….” He said before he embraced Lily.
“My sweet, sweet boy.”
Buffy walked over and joined Damon, wrapping her arms around his torso. He kissed the top her head as he held her tightly to him.
Later that night, Buffy and Damon found Stefan staring at a missing person’s flyer in a shop window. He didn’t turn around to look at them, but he said, “How did you find her?”
“On a list of things to be worrying about, she’s not one of them.” Damon said. “You get a night, Stefan. A night to beat yourself up. Do your shame spiral, then you have to come home and be with your family. We have something to discuss with you.”
Stefan turned around, shaking his head. “I don’t need a night. Buffy, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you. We should’ve left Caroline alone.
“We’re still going to leave Caroline alone.” Buffy said.
“Because I broke her control. I set her on a path of destruction. She knows what it’s like to let go now and she likes it.”
Buffy took a deep breath. “Stefan….”
“This is my fault. I’m sorry. I’ll find Caroline and I’ll make this right.” He turned and walked off.
Damon nodded. “That went well.” Buffy shook her head as she and Damon began to walk arm in arm down the street. “Hell of a day, huh?”
“Hell of a day.” Buffy sighed. “We should go let Elena know that Stefan’s back to his normal self. Make sure Donovan didn’t bite it…. Again.”
“Whatever you wanna do.”
They walked in silence until they got to the hospital doors. Buffy stopped and turned to face him before they walked in. “I’m so sorry, Damon.”
Damon shrugged. “It’s fine. 150 years is a long time to care.”
“Says the one who pined for Katherine Pierce for over a century and a half.” She took his hands in hers. “It’s ok to feel hurt and angry. Being abandoned by your parent sucks. And I guess it sucks worse because she’s the second woman to do that to you.”
“Says the woman who’s never done that to me.”
“And I never will. I just wanted you to know that I’m sorry for pushing you into bringing her back. I thought that maybe deep down, she was still your mother and we could all have a happy reunion.”
“Seriously, babe, don’t worry about it. It got my brother back. That’s all I care about. And hey! You can compel vampires. That’s gonna come in handy.”
Damon leaned down and kissed her. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
“Let’s go tell Elena that her boyfriend’s back.”
They found Elena walking out of the faculty lounge as she put on her coat. She spotted them coming down the hall. “Hey guys! How did it go? Did Stefan turn his humanity back on? He hasn’t called.”
“He’s had a lot to process.” Damon said. “But yes, it worked.”
“Good. I should call him.”
“Wait a little bit.
He’s got a mission he’s put himself on.”
“He broke Caroline’s control apparently. So now she’s gotten a taste of the wild life and likes it a lot. He’s going to hunt her down and try to flip her switch back on.”
Elena nodded. “I should still call him. See if he needs some help. Hey, did you guys know that Jo is pregnant?”
“Yes.” Buffy said as Damon said, “No.”
“Wait, you knew?” Damon asked Buffy.
“Alaric told me when I called him yesterday.” Buffy said. “They’re getting married, too.”
“Why didn’t he tell me?”
“You were busy destroying our library. Which…. I should probably call a cleaning service and then see how much repairs are going to cost. Next time, go in the woods and destroy some trees.”
“I wanna throw Jo a baby shower.” Elena said suddenly. “Jo’s pregnancy is the best news we’ve had in a little while…. And I feel like I didn’t react the way I should’ve.”
“Because I think I was…. I don’t know….”
“Jealous?” Damon offered.
“Yeah. A little. I mean, I’ve always wanted a family. Before…. You know…. So Jo’s pregnancy and seeing you guys with Hope…. It was all kind of a bummer of a reminder that it’s never gonna happen for me.”
“What if….” Buffy took Damon’s hand. “What if things
could be different for you?”
“But what if they could be?”
Elena shrugged. “Unless Willow has come up with something new to turn back time or made a new cure, nothing’s changed. But that’s ok.” Elena hugged Buffy tightly. “I get to spend eternity with one of my best friends. We get to see the world together with our Salvatore brothers.” She smiled and stepped back. “I’m going to go see if Stefan needs any help.”
Buffy watched Elena walk away and Damon wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She looked up at him. “That settles it, then, doesn’t it?”
Damon shook his head. “Not necessarily. Maybe you tell her about the cure and she decides that she’d rather have the eternity with her BFF.”
“I have to give her that option, though.”
Before Damon could answer, Jo rounded the corner with her cell phone in her hand. She looked deeply worried about something. “Hey Jo,” Buffy said.
“I was just texting you.” Jo said, putting her phone back in her pocket. “What are you guys doing here?”
“Just letting Elena know that Stefan’s humanity is back on. What’s wrong?”
“So, I called my dad to let him know that Kai is gone. But all he wants to know is where the Ascendant is. We have to destroy it.”
“Why?” Buffy asked. “I mean…. We kind of already gave it to Lily.”
“You need to get it back. Now.”
“What’s going on?” Damon asked.
“Before the 1900s, your mother fell in with a group of witches that were cast out of the Gemini coven. They’re known as heretics…. Siphoners…. Like Kai. But not just that. Lily turned them. Resulting in creatures that are both witch and vampire.”
“Far be it for me of all people to say this, but that’s not possible.” Buffy said. “Vampires can’t be witches.”
“These are witches that only have magic when they siphon power from another source. As vampires….”
“They have a constant source.” Damon said. “They can siphon off of themselves.”
“They were on their way to destroy the Gemini, but the coven got to them first. Put them into exile. Heretics are ruthless. Vampires with witch power…. An aberration of nature. They can never be allowed to escape. Imagine Kai with the bloodlust of a vampire. Now imagine six of them.”
Buffy and Damon exchanged worried looks.
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