"You're very sneaky." Buffy said, bending over to check the peach cobbler in the oven.
Damon was behind her and his arms snaked around her waist and pulled her upright and against him. "Well, there's only one surefire way to be sure about Mason Lockwood. And hey…. Bonus? You're baking."
"My mom used to bake this a lot. I hope I can get it right."
"I'm sure it'll be delicious." Damon grabbed a left over peach slice and popped it in his mouth. "Did you hear that Katherine was in the house this morning?"
Buffy looked at him sharply. "I did not. I was a little busy."
"So was I." Damon smirked. They'd been in the shower together. "But Stefan filled me in when I was getting dressed."
"She's really after him, isn't she?"
Before Damon could answer, Jenna walked into the kitchen. "That smells delicious."
"Thank you." Buffy smiled slightly. "I just hope I did it right. This was my mom's recipe and I never really got the chance to actually watch her make it before she died."
"You know, Elena mentioned that your mother had passed away. Do you mind me being morbid and asking how did she die?"
"It's ok. She had a brain tumor…. Cancer. The doctors removed it, but they left an aneurism behind. It burst while I was out with some friends and when I came home…. She was just lying there. Everyone assures me it was painless."
"It's ok. I've come to terms with it. But there are moments when I feel like she should be here. And me baking? That's always one of them."
"Well, from the smell…. She would be seriously proud of you."
"Oh! I forgot the vanilla ice cream!"
Damon smiled. "I'll go out and get it. Keys." Buffy got in her purse and tossed him her keys. "Thank you." He kissed her and headed out.
"You've made him bearable." Jenna said.
"It was always under there. I just held out until he showed it."
Jenna laughed. "Well, keep it up." She went to answer the doorbell.
"Hey Buffy." Elena said, walking into the kitchen.
"Hey, where's Caroline?" Buffy asked.
"She's upstairs. The teens always get separated from the adults."
Buffy laughed. "Then maybe I should head up there with you guys. Sounds like more fun than Damon's little sting operation."
Buffy leaned in and whispered, "He wants to prove Mason is a werewolf, so he's planning to slip him some silver."
"That's the reason behind this whole barbeque?"
"Come on in." Jenna said to Mason. "Mason, this is my niece Elena and this is our friend Buffy. Alaric is out back working the grill like a manly man and Damon went out to fetch ice cream."
"Damon fetches?" Elena asked, obviously surprised.
"He's on good behavior." Buffy said. "Hi Mason." She shook his hand.
"Hi Buffy. It's nice to meet you. All right, I've got a surprise. I just need some glasses. You mind?"
"Be my guest." Jenna said and Mason ran off.
"Thanks for letting me invite Caroline." Elena said. "She could use a day of distraction."
"She should come down for the party."
"She will. She's just trying not to call Matt."
Mason came back in just then. "Good news! I found the shot glasses!"
"That would be my exit." Elena grabbed some grapes and left.
"You're here for 10 minutes and I'm already back into the bleachers of the pep rally." Jenna said.
"Like old times, huh? Only I didn't swipe this bottle from my old man."
Alaric walked in. "Oh, the expensive stuff! I like you already." He said.
"Just happy to be invited." Mason replied, looking at Jenna.
"Thank Rick." Jenna said. "This was his idea.""Really?" Mason asked.
"Yeah, you know…. I thought it would be nice to meet some of Jenna's high school friends. Dig up a little dirt." Alaric said.
"I've got dirt. I've got dirt."
"I have no secrets." Jenna proclaimed as everyone grabbed a shot glass. "Only dirty shame."
"To dirty shame." Alaric said and everyone clinked glasses and threw back their shots.
Damon walked back in with a carton of ice cream in a bag. "Hey."
"Welcome back." Buffy said as Jenna took the ice cream from Damon and put it in the fridge. Damon wrapped an arm around her waist.
"We were just doing shots." Alaric said. "Let me give you a shot glass, buddy."
"We haven't met." Mason said, shaking Damon's free hand. "Mason Lockwood."
"Oh sure." Damon said. "Damon Salvatore."
"I know. I've heard great things about you."
"Really? That's weird. Cause I'm a dick."
Buffy rolled her eyes and bumped Damon's hips. "Shut up and drink."
"What is that smell?" Mason asked.
"Depends. Is it a good smell or a bad smell?" Buffy asked.
"Good. Definitely good."
"Then that would be the peach cobbler I'm burning. Excuse me." Buffy took the oven mitts Jenna offered her and went to check on the cobbler.
Mason leaned into Damon and asked, "Girlfriend?"
"Yes." Damon said, his eyes narrowing slightly.
"How long have you known her?"
"A long time. She was a friend of my brother's best friend and we just kind of hit it off."
"And Buffy is doing an amazing job of domesticating Damon." Jenna announced loudly for Buffy to hear.
"Thank you." Buffy said, fanning her mouth. "So, the cobbler's not burnt. It is just right, but we need to wait a while before we try to eat it. Ow."
"Did you burn your tongue?" Damon asked.
"If I say yes, will it make me less Susie Homemaker?"
"Then yes. I burnt my tongue." Mason laughed and handed her a cold, bottled beer. "Why thank you. Just what the doctor ordered."
Damon was at the board playing Pictionary. He was working on a drawing of a wolf with a tutu. "Dress! Ballerina!" Jenna yelled.
"Puppy!" Caroline yelled. "Puppy with a tutu?"
"No, no." Damon said.
"A dog! Hound-dog!" Jenna said, then started singing Elvis's Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog.
"'Dances With Wolves'." Mason said.
"Mason wins…. Again." Damon said.
"How is that a wolf?" Jenna cried.
Buffy shook her head at Elena as they got the cobbler ready for everyone. "Jenna is getting tipsy." Damon said
"Will you stop plying her with alcohol?" Elena asked.
"I want her to like me."
"How is operation Lockwood?"
"He's my new BFF."
"I think he's getting suspicious." Buffy said. "Maybe you should reel in the wolf puns for a while."
Jenna danced in and smiled at Elena. "There you are. Isn't this fun?"
"Yes, thank you so much for inviting me." Damon said.
"Well, you were Buffy's plus one."
"I know what you must think about me."
"No, you don't. You've never dated you. I have dated many yous."
"I'm a work in progress." Damon kissed Buffy's cheek.
"She has been good for you. You're at least bearable now." Jenna took the cake knife from the silver set Elena had brought out.
"These are fancy." Buffy said, eyeing them.
"Thanks. My mother's silver set."
Elena looked at Damon as he took a knife from the set. "She's kinda crazy when she's tipsy."
Buffy laughed. "It's kinda fun." She looked at Damon as he took a knife from the set. "I wouldn't suggest stabbing him in front of everyone."
"I'm not. I'm going to let him cut into the cobbler." Damon said.
Mason walked in with Alaric. "So, is dessert ready?" Mason asked. "I have been dying to try that since I first smelled it."
Damon put the cobbler dish on the table in front of Mason with the silver cake knife in it. "Mason, why don't you start this off?"
"Sure." Mason took a slab of cobbler out with his hands and not with the knife. Everyone stared at him. "I apologize. I'm an animal."
"So Mason, you and Jenna never dated?" Alaric asked.
"She was always lost in Logan Fell land." Mason shot at Jenna.
"My first mistake." Jenna said. "Mason was a catch. The girls lined up."
"Really? I always pegged you for a lone wolf." Damon said. Buffy rolled her eyes.
"I'm sure I wasn't half the lady killer you were." Mason said with a pointed look at Damon. Buffy's eyes widened and she turned to look at Elena. "How about a toast? To new friends." Mason raised his glass and everyone else did too.
"Oh! I have an awesome idea!" Jenna grabbed Alaric and ran out of the kitchen.
Mason shook his head. "There's no telling what she's come up with." He followed her out.
"He didn't use the knife." Damon hissed."Well, if it's harmful to him, then of course not." Buffy said.
"Jenna just brought out Guitar Hero." Mason said, walking back in.
Damon smirked. "Well, I just happen to like Guitar Hero. So you, my friend, are barking up the wrong tree."
"Ok. Enough with the implies. You win. You're hilarious."
"Come on, man. You don't think I know what this barbecue is about?"
"How did you know about me? Your brother was completely clueless."
"It doesn't matter. I'm not your enemy, Damon."
"You tried to kill my brother."
"That was a mistake."
"I was confused. I couldn't chain myself up in time. I have no control once I shift."
"What, no obedience school?"
"I'm serious. Let's not spark some age old feud that doesn't imply us."
"You expect me to believe that you are in Mystic Falls planting peace trees?"
"I lost my brother. My nephew lost his father. I'm here for my family. Let's be above this." Mason held out his hand and Damon reluctantly shook it. He turned his gaze on Buffy. "So, what are you? You're more than human but you're not a vampire and you're not a wolf."
"Slayer." Buffy said.
"Wow. I've never actually met one. I've heard about them, though. That's impressive. I hear they don't live long."
"So you're new at this?"
"Only if you count new as being fourteen years and counting."
Mason's eyes widened. "You look so young!"
"Apparently Slayers don't age."
"In so many words, yes. The longer a Slayer lives, the harder she is to kill. I'm very hard to kill."
"I'll remember that."
"If we ever become enemies, it would serve you well."
"I don't want to become enemies."
"Good. Neither do I. So let's don't."
Mason nodded his head as Jenna walked in. "Well, I'm headed out."
"What? No!" Jenna protested. "We have Guitar Hero!""Hey, I don't want to miss last call at the Grill." He winked at her. "Plenty of lonely girls look for a tanned young piece of meat."
"You can come with me." Jenna thought about it, then shook her head. "No takers for some more drinks at the Grill? It's like I'm with a bunch of adults here!"
"I prefer the term 'role model.'"
"Ok. Well, thanks for having me, it was awesome. Alaric, I'll catch you at the game next week?"
"Yeah, I look forward to it." Alaric said.
"You know, we should probably head out too." Damon said to Buffy as Mason left.
"We should?" Buffy asked. "Jenna and I were going to go crazy with some Guitar Hero."
"Yeah!" Jenna cheered.
"You know what, sweetie? Stay and play Guitar Hero with Jenna. I don't want to spoil your fun. And I will see you at home?"
"Are you sure?" Buffy asked.
"On one condition." Buffy cocked an eyebrow and waited. "You walk me to the car."
"Oh…. Who's going to drive me home?"
"I've got that." Alaric said.
"Thank you, Rick. Jenna, you are a wonderful hostess." Damon said, kissing her hand.
"And you are a terrible artist." Jenna said.
"Is that the only thing that makes me terrible?"
"I'm still deciding."
"Good enough for me. Alaric, let's not catch that game next week."
"I'll…. Be right back." Buffy followed Damon out to the car. "What are you plotting?"
Damon produced the silver knife. "Werewolf hunting."
"Damon, drop it. Please? He doesn't want trouble."
"Right. I'll believe that…. Never. Besides, it's just for protection."
"Please just leave it alone and come play games with us. It'll be like a double date."
"You know once I've got an obsession…."
"You don't give it up until you've spent at least 145 years on it. Don't do anything stupid."
"Like?""Start a feud that doesn't really exist here between you two."
"I'll try not to. Kiss?"
"Do you deserve one?"
"I've been a good boy."
"Yeah, yeah." Buffy kissed Damon sweetly. "See you later."
Buffy walked into the house and called out for Damon. When he didn't answer, she made her way up to her room. He wasn't there either. She had a sinking feeling that something was wrong. When she found him lying in his bed staring at the ceiling, the sinking feeling sank completely.
"Damon, what did you do?" Buffy asked, putting her hands on her hips.
"You know me. I couldn't resist." Damon sighed.
"You killed Mason?"
He sat up. "No! I tried…. But did you know silver doesn't affect him?"
"He's a werewolf. It has to." Buffy found herself completely distracted from her anger by the sudden confusion of the revelation.
"Nope. He pulled it right out."
"So silver works for the werewolves that are bitten but not born. So…. What is his weakness?"
"I don't know. But I intend to find out."
"Damon….""I know. I know. I should've dropped it liked you asked. It was wrong to try and kill him. Blah blah blah. Shut up and kiss me. I need comfort."
"I feel like I'm not living up to my best self. I tried to kill a werewolf and I failed. It makes me feel less manly."
Buffy shook her head. "I should make you suffer some more."
"That would go against your good nature."
"Don't use that against me."
"Are you saying you want to bring out your bad nature? Cause…. I can help with that."
"I'm sure you could. But let's leave bad Buffy locked in a cage for now."
"And good Buffy?"
"Is going to kiss you and hope that makes you shut up." Buffy closed the distance between them and pushed Damon back into his mattress.