Buffy sat in the room that Stefan had deemed hers for however long she wanted it and stared out the window at the sunlight as she talked on her cell phone. "No. I'm ok, Will."
"When are you coming back?" Willow asked.
"I don't know."
"Look…. I like not being the Slayer all the time. I like the freedom having a life offers me."
"We miss you here."
"I miss you guys, too. But this is the path I've chosen and I'm going to keep going. For twelve years, I dedicated my life to being the Slayer. I've killed the love of my life, I've died twice, I've had more miseries inflicted on me than someone three times my age, and I've found out that I'm not getting any older. It's time for me to enjoy me." Buffy noticed Damon standing in her doorway holding two cups of coffee. "Wills, I gotta go. I'll call you later."
"Ok. Bye, Buffy."
Buffy hung up her phone. "You're risking your ass coming in here."
"I know. I know." He offered her one of the cups. "I came to apologize."
"You came to apologize for killing my friend?"
"With coffee." He smiled at her, trying to be charming.
"Are you even trying to be sincere?"
"Hey! I am being sincere." He set the cup down on the nightstand since Buffy refused to take it. "I am sorry I killed her. I liked Lexi. But there's this council of wannabe vampire hunters that were on our trail…."
"Probably because you were, I don't know, killing people?"
"And I had to get them off our backs."
"You couldn't have found another vampire?"
"There aren't any around here."
"You could've just given yourself up."
"Now that wouldn't be very productive, would it?"
"Well, I think I'd rather have Lexi here than you."
"That's because you don't even know me. But I am more than willing to give you the chance to get to know me better."
"I don't think so."
"Who are you going to hang out with? Stefan? He's too hung up on Elena to be any fun. Besides, I'd like to hear more about these miseries you were talking about."
"I bet you would." Buffy sighed. "Where is Stefan?"
"He went to school."
"It's all part of his normal life routine. Crazy, right?"
"I'm not bonding with the guy who killed my friend. I don't like you."
"Most people don't."
"I can understand why."
"Look, I'm trying to make nice here. You're living in the same house as me and I'd like to know you better simply to make the living arrangement more pleasant."
"Well, you're here. So it's not pleasant."
Damon rolled his eyes. "You're not even going to give a little are you?"
"Good. I like a challenge." Damon gave her a wolfish grin and strutted out of the room. Buffy rolled her eyes and got out of bed to slam the door behind him.
Stefan walked into the house to find Buffy sitting in the study reading a book. "Hey."
She looked up at him. "Hey back."
"What are you reading?"
"A biography on Anne Boleyn."
"You like history?"
"Certain parts of it." Buffy shrugged. "Most of the time it's in one ear and out the other."
Stefan laughed. "Did Damon bother you at all?"
"For little bit this morning."
"Don't worry about it. I can handle Damon. I've put up with vampires more annoying than him."
"Is he here?"
"No. He left a while ago."
Stefan's cell phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket.
Stefan and Buffy walked up to Elena's house where she was waiting. "Thanks for coming." Elena said. "Hi, Buffy. I wouldn't have called if it wasn't important."
"I know that." Stefan said.
"He threatened her, Stefan."
"What would Damon want with Bonnie?"
"She has this necklace. Caroline got it from Damon, and she gave it Bonnie, and now Damon wants it back. He's tormenting her."
"Over a necklace?" Buffy asked.
"It's not just any necklace. It has to do with Bonnie's heritage. It belonged to one of her ancestors who lived here during the Civil War. When you and Damon lived here."
"Her name was Emily." Stefan said. "She was Katherine's handmaid and a witch."
"You know? About Bonnie?"
"The first night that you invited me over for dinner, I made the connection."
"Who's Bonnie?" Buffy asked.
"She's my best friend." Elena said.
"And she's a witch?"
"Yes. And now Damon knows that too and for some reason he wants that necklace."
"What does it look like?" Stephan asked.
"It's an antique iron setting with…."
"With an amber crystal. I know it. It belonged to Katherine. Emily gave it to her, which means that…."
"What?" Elena and Buffy asked.
"I don't know, but I'm gonna find out. Let me talk to Damon."
"Will he tell you?" Elena asked.
"I'll get it out of him."
"I can give it a shot." Buffy said.
"No." Stefan shook his head. "I'd like to keep him out of your hair. He's already too interested in you for my comfort."
Buffy shrugged. "How about we tag team it? Two heads are better than one."
Damon was sitting at the bar of the Grill drinking from a bottle when Stefan found him. Buffy had gone to the restroom. "So Stefan…." Stefan said as he leaned against the bar next to Damon. "You know, I've been thinking. I think we should start over. Give this brother thing another chance. We used to do it oh so well once upon time."
"I don't, Damon." Damon countered. "I can't trust you to be a nice guy. You kill everybody and you're so mean. You're so mean and…." He dropped the act. "You're really hard to imitate and then I have to go to that lesser place."
"Can I get a coffee, please?" Stefan said to the bartender. "So what's with the bottle?"
"I'm on edge. Crash diet, and I'm trying to keep a low profile."
"You could always just leave. Find a new town to turn into your own personal gas and sip."
"I'll manage. You don't have to keep an eye on me."
"I'm not here to keep an eye on you."
"So why are you here?"
"He's showing me around the town." Buffy said, walking up to the bar and leaning on it on Damon's other side.
"Well, my day just got brighter." Damon said, grinning at Buffy.
Buffy rolled her eyes and looked at Stefan. "I saw a dartboard over there. You play?"
"Yes. I do." Stefan smiled. "Game on?"
Buffy smiled, ordered a diet Coke, and she and Stefan walked over to the dartboard. Damon followed them. "What are you doing?" Buffy asked.
"I play darts better than Stefan. When he loses to you, then I get to play."
"How about all three of us play?" Stefan asked.
"Sounds good to me." Buffy said.
"Fine." Damon walked over and retrieved the darts. "Ladies first." Buffy took the darts and all four ended up in the bullseye in a matter of seconds. "I'm impressed."
"So am I." Stefan said. Both brothers were staring incredulously at the darts.
Buffy shrugged as she pulled them off the board. "I have really good aim." She handed the darts to Stefan. "You're turn."
"Thank you." Stefan took his shots and they were nearly dead on. Only one strayed.
Buffy tsked. "And here I thought you were a big bad vampire."
Damon grabbed the darts off the board. "No, Blondie. That would be me. Prepare to lose." He threw the darts and two strayed to the outer rings. Damon shook his head. "Lucky shots." He grumbled at them.
"More like a carefully honed skill over many decades." Stefan said.
"You two're beating me."
"Yeah. It's because we're better than you." Buffy smiled and trotted off to the bar to get a round of drinks.
"I'm onto you, Stefan." Damon said. "Reverse psychology. It's a little transparent, but I admire the effort. Especially adding the sexy little Slayer into it."
"You prefer the brooding forehead?" Stefan asked.
"Seriously, what game do you think you're playing?"
"That's a funny question considering the fact that I have been asking you that for months. It's frustrating isn't it?"
Buffy came up with three shots in her hands and handed them out. She turned to Stefan, ignoring Damon, and said, "Ok. Darts isn't your game. What is?"
Buffy followed Stefan and Damon onto the high school football field. "Football? Really?"
"What are we doing here?" Damon asked. "Bonding? Catch? Go on."
"Give it a try." Stefan said.
"Don't forget who taught you how to play this game." Damon winked at Buffy, then threw the ball. He charged after it and caught it on the other end of his throw. Stefan was suddenly there, knocking him painfully to the ground. "That hurt."
"Downside of my diet…. Getting hit actually hurts a little bit."
"I'm impressed, Stefan. Fun with booze and darts…. sentimental with football…. and now a starry night." Damon reached up and pulled Buffy down to the ground next to him. She rolled away and sat up, crossing her legs out in front of her. "What do you want, Stefan?"
Stefan sat up. "It wasn't real, Damon. Our love for Katherine. She compelled us. We didn't have a choice. Took me years to sort that out. To truly understand what she did to us."
"We are not taking that on tonight." Damon said, standing up.
"What do you want with Katherine's crystal?"
"How do you know about that?"
"Come on. You knew Elena would tell me."
"How do you know it was Katherine's? Emily gave it to her on her last night. I was with her and you weren't."
"I was the last one to see her, Damon. Now, what do you want with Katherine's crystal?"
"She didn't tell you?"
"We had other things on our mind."
Damon rushed over to stand toe to toe with his brother. "I could rip your heart out and not think twice about it."
"I've heard that before."
"I have a bigger surprise, Stefan. I'm gonna bring her back." Damon turned and walked off.
Buffy stood up. "Whoa…. Wait…. What?" She and Stefan followed Damon out to the parking lot.
"How can you bring Katherine back?" Stefan asked.
"Before Katherine and the others were killed in the church, you remember what it was like in this town?"
"I remember the fear and the hysteria."
"Townspeople were killing vampires one by one. When they came for Katherine, I went straight to Emily, said, 'I'll do anything. Name your price. Just protect her.' She did."
"She did some kind of spell with the crystal. And while the church was burning, we thought Katherine was burning in it. She wasn't."
"But I saw her go inside."
"There's a tomb underneath the church. The spell sealed Katherine in that tomb, protecting her."
"Are you telling me that Katherine's alive?"
"If that's what you wanna call it. She's been trapped in a mystical holding cell for the last century and a half, but you're an expert on starving a vampire, so how do you think she's doing, Stefan? Did you know that witches can use celestial events to draw energy into their magic? Me either. But in order to give the crystal power, Emily used the comet that was passing overhead, and in order for that crystal to work again…."
"The comet had to return."
"Downside…. Long time it between comets and a couple of hiccups along the way with the crystal but the comet passed and I got the crystal. And then Caroline got the crystal and now Bonnie has the crystal and here we are."
"Why would Emily…. Why would she do this for you?"
"Because she knew they were gonna come for her too and she made me promise that her lineage would survive."
"I remember…. You saved her children."
"It's the only thing keeping me from ripping that little Bonnie girl's throat out to get my crystal back. Well…. A deal's a deal. So…. You wanna go throw some more?"
Stefan's phone rang and while he answered it, Buffy marched up to Damon. "Lexi and Stefan told me about her. Releasing her would be like releasing Angelus."
"How do you know about Angelus?" Damon asked.
"How do you?"
"Every vampire knows about him. He was terrifying. The Scourge of Europe I believe he was called. Now answer my question."
"Remember that love of my life I killed?"
"Angel. He had a soul then…. But I accidentally released Angelus on my 17th birthday and he is not someone I'd like to play with again. Just like this Katherine chick."
"You don't know her." Damon turned to look at Stefan on the phone. Buffy did the same automatically.
Stefan hung up and turned to them. "Where's Damon?"
Buffy looked at the now empty space that Damon had occupied. "He was standing right there."
"He must've heard my conversation with Elena."
"What's going on?"
"Emily is possessing Bonnie. They've gone to this old church…."
"The one where Katherine is trapped?"
"I can't get away from this crap!"
"I'm sorry. You don't have to…."
"Come on. Let's go before Damon does something stupid."
Damon found Bonnie at the old Fell's Church where Katherine was entombed. "Hello Emily." He said. "You look different."
"I won't let you do it." Bonnie/Emily said.
"We had a deal."
"Things are different now. I need to protect my family."
"I protected your family. You owe me."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"You're about to be a lot more than that." Damon went to attack her, but Bonnie/Emily threw out her hand and he flew across the woods and was impaled onto a tree branch. That's where Buffy and Stefan found him a little later. They both reached up and helped Damon down, setting him gently on the ground. "Oh, that hurts! This is why I feed on people."
They looked over to see Bonnie/Emily raking the dirt into a pentagram. She looked up at the three. "Stefan."
"Hello Emily." Stefan said. He blocked Buffy with his body, forgetting for a moment how strong she actually was.
"These people don't deserve this. They should never have to know such evil."
"What do you mean evil?"
"Emily, I swear to God I'll make you regret this." Damon threatened.
"I won't let you unleash them into this world."
"Them?" Buffy looked at Damon. "What part of the story did you leave out?"
"What does it matter?" Damon asked.
"Emily, tell me what you did." Stefan said.
"To save her, I had to save them." Bonnie/Emily said.
"You saved everyone in the church?"
"With one comes all."
"I don't care about them." Damon said, struggling to his feet. "I just want Katherine."
"I knew I shouldn't have believed a single word that comes out of your mouth." Stefan said to Damon. "This isn't about love, is it? This is about revenge."
"The two aren't mutually exclusive."
"Damon, you can't do this." Buffy said.
"Why not? They killed 27 people and they called it a war battle. They deserve whatever they get."
"27 vampires, Damon." Stefan said. "They were vampires. You can't just bring them back."
"This town deserves this."
"You're blaming innocent people for something that happened 145 years ago?" Buffy asked.
"There is nothing innocent about these people and don't think for a second it won't happen again. They already know too much and they'll burn your little grandwitch right next to us when they find out. Trust me."
"Things are different now." Bonnie/Emily said.
"Don't do this." Damon pleaded.
"I can't free them. I won't. Incendia!" The pentagram Bonnie/Emily had been carving into the dirt caught fire and flames roared up around her.
"No! No, please!"
"Bonnie!" Elena cried. Stefan, Damon, and Buffy all looked to where the teenager had suddenly appeared. Stefan ran over and grabbed her before she could reach the witch.
"No!" Damon cried as Bonnie/Emily threw the necklace straight up in the air. It exploded in an impressive light display. Damon rushed over and bit Bonnie when the circle of flames died. Buffy rushed over and threw him off Bonnie, slamming him against a tree as Stefan and Elena checked on Bonnie.
"She's alive, but barely." Stefan said. "I can save her." Elena nodded and Stefan bit into his wrist, feeding Bonnie the blood.
"Her neck, it's healing." Elena said.
"Elena, did you drive?" Buffy asked.
"You need to get Bonnie to the car." Elena nodded and Stefan helped her carry Bonnie to her car. Buffy turned back to Damon.
"Katherine never compelled me." Damon said. "I knew everything every step of the way. It was real for me."
"I'm sorry." Buffy said. She actually meant it. "Was all of this for revenge or for love?"
Damon shrugged. "What does it matter now?"
Buffy put her hands on her hips. "Humor me."
He stared at her for a long moment. Finally he sighed and sat down. Buffy hesitated and then sank down gracefully to sit next to him. They were both leaning against the same tree. "Love. I loved her. I still do. At least, part of me does."
"I can't believe I'm going to say this to you of all people because I really don't like you…. But I understand."
"Why you did everything you did to try and get her back. I've been to that same place. Of course you got farther than me. When I killed Angel…. I just shut down. I stopped caring."
"Seems like it worked out ok."
"It kinda did. He came back from hell a few months later." Buffy paused. "But then he broke up with me before the prom."
Damon snorted. "Sounds like a real catch."
"He was. And in all fairness…. I did send him to hell for a hundred years."
"That's no excuse to break up with someone before the prom." Buffy laughed. "Wow. That's a first."
"Won't happen again."
Damon sighed and stood up. He helped Buffy to her feet. "I'll leave now."
Buffy nodded. "Sounds like a plan."
"How about I take you with me? We can finish what you and Lexi started."
"I think I'd need better company than you."
"Ouch." Damon put a hand to his chest, looking hurt. "And here I thought we were bonding." They both looked over to where Stefan, Bonnie, and Elena were. "He just broke up with her."
Buffy shook her head. "I feel like that's a little bit my fault."
"I told him they were doomed."
"Aren't they? A human and a vampire? They don't work. Unless she plans to become a vampire…."
"Don't even think about it, Damon."