The Next Chapter

Chapter 22

A/N Hey guys! Thank you for all of your reviews. I'm really excited about this chapter, so please enjoy and send me lots of reviews!

Chapter 22

Caroline was sitting on the couch looking at Damon and Buffy. Damon gave her a glass of blood. "Here," He said.

"I'm still shaking." Caroline said.

Stefan walked in. "What happened?"

"Go ahead, tell him." Damon said to Caroline. "You're gonna love this."

"I saw Katherine today." Caroline said.

"Where?" Stefan asked.

"At the grill. I just stopped by to gawk and…. Quasi stalk Matt. He was bussing tables and he looked so cute and I couldn't help but stare and then he asked if I needed a table. God, he's so mad at me!"

"Skip the teen drama and get to it." Damon said.

"Then I had to pretend to use the bathroom even though I didn't really have to go because I'm a doofuss. As I'm washing my hands, Katherine just appears. I totally knew it was her, but I wanted to make her believe that I didn't so maybe she'd leave me alone. She asked me about Matt and I played along and after I'd dried my hands, I tried to rush past her, but she blocked me. And she asked me to give you guys a message."

"What was the message?" Stafan asked.

"'Tell Damon and Stefan and their little pet Slayer that I want the moonstone or I will rip this town apart until it rains blood.'"

"Tell him the rest of it." Buffy said.

"Tonight…. At the masquerade ball."

"She wants to do it in public. Killing Mason threw off her guard."

"She's running scared." Damon said. "What she did to Jenna was desperate. She's out of tricks."

"We can't underestimate her." Stefan said. "We have to play this smarter than her."

"Can we just give her the moonstone so she'll leave?" Caroline asked.

"No, Katherine's not getting dick." Damon said. "Buffy and I are gonna go to the masquerade ball and I'm gonna kill her…. Tonight."

"You're not gonna kill her." Stefan said.

"Don't give me that goody goody crap."

"You're not gonna kill her."

"Really?"

"Because I am."

"You guys aren't going to succeed unless we all work together." Buffy said. "And we're in luck because I already have a semi put together plan." The doorbell rang and Buffy smiled. "Right on time."

"Who's that?" Damon asked.

Buffy went to answer the door. "All right, you dragged me all the way out here for some witchy help and to bring the rest of your weapons and I don't even get a squeal and a hug when you answer the door?" Willow asked. "Xander gets all that good greets. It's because he has a patch, right?"

Buffy smiled brightly and hugged her best friend tightly. "God, it is so good to see you. I missed you!"

Willow hugged her back. "Xander had to help me load up all of your weapons and my books."

"Is he here?"

"Nope. That's why you and your guys need to help me unload them. And speaking of…." Willow raised her voice playfully. "Where's the hottie boyfriend you've described numerous times but never sent me a picture of to ogle?"

Buffy shook her head. "Not like you would really ogle. You're gay."

"Oh, crap. I forgot." Willow smiled and followed Buffy into the foyer where everyone had gathered to see who the new person was.

"Who's this?" Caroline asked.

"Guys, this is my best friend Willow." Buffy said.

"The all-powerful witch?"

"The very one. Willow, this is Caroline."

"Newbie vamp. I'm so sorry." Willow said, giving Caroline a hug. "Buffy told me about everything."

"Thanks?" Caroline said.

"Down Willow." Buffy joked.

"Sorry." Willow said. "Everything you've said…. I just feel so awful for her. Is everything ok with your mom?" Caroline nodded.

"Wills, this is Stefan."

"Hi. Buffy talks a lot about you." Willow shook his hand.

"She talks a lot about you too. It is very nice to finally meet you."

"Definitely." Willow looked at Damon. "And this must be…."

"The hottie boyfriend she's described numerous times and never sent you a picture of?" Damon said. "In the flesh."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "And that's Damon."

"Ok, I may be gay…. But wow." Willow looked at Buffy. "Wow. Why is that you get all the hot ones? I mean, they just fall at your feet. I bet if Bradley Cooper walked through here, he'd be putty in your hands. Thank goddess you're not gay, cause I'd have zero chances against you."

Buffy shook her head at her best friend. "Let's get my weapons in here and get you and your books all set up. You got here just in time because Katherine's threatening mayhem tonight."

Caroline opened the door to Bonnie. "Hey, come on in."

"I got Stefan's message." Bonnie said.

"Hey, you brought the grimoire, thank you." Stefan said when he saw her.

Bonnie saw Buffy, Damon, and Alaric talking over a serious cache of weapons on the table. "What's going on?"

Jeremy walked in. "We're gonna kill Katherine."

"I can explain." Stefan said.

"Please." Bonnie pleaded.

"We're gonna kill Katherine."

Buffy was showing off a few of her niftier weapons. "This is a wrist stake launcher. The trigger mechanism is here, so all you have to do is flip your wrist and the stake ejects into your hand." Buffy handed it to Damon. "It fits nicely under a jacket sleeve. And since I'm not wearing a jacket…."

"I get the wrist stake thing." Damon said.

Willow walked in carrying one of her books. "Is the other witch here yet?" Buffy nodded at Bonnie. "Oh, hi. I'm Willow. Buffy's best friend and witch extraordinaire."

"It's nice that you finally admit that." Buffy said.

"If you got it flaunt it."

"That's Xander's line."

"Well, he's not here." Willow turned back to Bonnie. "So, I need to see your grimoire and that spell to trap vampires."

"That spell is dangerous." Bonnie said. "Are you guys planning to lock Katherine in that tomb?"

"We're planning to lock her in a room at the Lockwood mansion tonight and kill her there." Buffy said. "Willow needs to check out that spell."

"I can do it." Bonnie said.

"Right. Because that spell didn't kill your grandmother." Damon said. "And you too, almost."

"I've gotten better."

"But you're not even one, one hundredth as powerful as I am." Willow said. "Therefore I will be doing the spell. But I don't mind assistants. And since you're experienced enough…. Well, maybe you could learn a thing or two."

"I really approve of your friends." Damon said to Buffy, causing her to smile brightly.

Buffy, Damon, and Stefan were on the back lawn of the Lockwood estate looking at the party goers. It was hard to tell people apart since they were all wearing masks. Buffy and Damon and positioned themselves higher up on the stairs and Stefan was further down from them. Willow was with Bonnie and Jeremy.

"I have to say," Damon said. "I know I'm supposed to be looking for Katherine, but you…. You are just a mouthwatering distraction."

Buffy's hair was curled and up in a loose ponytail with wispy tendrils falling around her face. She was wearing a black, strapless cocktail dress that was form fitting all the way to her knees and had an empire waist that was a thick, white band. The best part in Damon's eyes was the slit that went dangerously high up her thigh. She was wearing simple black high heeled sandals with a small strap across her toes and a strap around her ankle. Her makeup was subtle like it always was except for the crimson lipstick she'd chosen. The mask she was wearing was a black, intricately beaded eye mask with a beautiful and delicate jeweled butterfly sitting on the top right of the mask by her temple.

"Where do you find these amazing dresses at?" Damon asked.

"The internet." Buffy said as they started down the stairs to Stefan. "Hey. Do you see her?"

"Nope." Stefan said. He looked at Damon. "You're sure you can do this?"

"Who are you talking to?" Damon asked.

"Oh, I had the chance to kill her and I hesitated."

"Well that is the fork in the road between you and me my friend. I don't hesitate."

"You spent 145 years loving her. It could happen."

"I won't hesitate."

"Ok." Stefan walked off.

"Is there food at this party? I'm kinda hungry." Buffy said.

Damon held his arm out to her. "Let's go see, shall we? So, I have a question. Where in the world are you hiding your weapons?"

Buffy smiled. "You don't wanna know."

"That's kinda hot."

She shrugged. "A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do."

Willow walked up to them. "Why didn't Sunnydale have anything this cool? I lived there my whole life and the only thing cool about it was the Bronze."

Buffy laughed. "Awe! I miss the Bronze."

"I do too. I actually miss Sunnydale. I kinda wish we hadn't turned it into a crater." The two were silent for a moment and then both started laughing. "Yeah, never mind. Must be the champagne and the after effects of the spell making me loopy."

"You guys finished the spell?"

"Yeah. Piece of cake. That Bonnie's got some power, but she doesn't know how to wield it very good."

"She can make my brain feel like its melting." Damon said.

"Oh, yeah. That's a parlor trick. Nothing special."

"It sure feels special."

"Hey, Buff, what did you say to her because she really doesn't like you."

Buffy shrugged. "She whines too much. Like I told Damon, she can go whine to someone else. I've lived through worse."

"You've died through worse."

Buffy nodded. "This is true."

"We were headed to get food." Damon said. "Would you care to join?"

"Sure. I'm starving. I've managed to snag some fruit walking around on trays but I need something like…." They'd made it to the dining room where an elaborate food display was set up. "Oh, finger sandwiches." Willow was like a heat seeking missile towards the sandwiches. "Wow. These people go all out."

"Calm yourself, Wills." Buffy laughed.

"You know how slaying makes you hungry? Well…. Magic makes me hungry." Willow grabbed a plate and started making her way around the room.

Damon wrapped an arm around Buffy as he grabbed a plate for her. "You know, I was looking forward to spending the night dancing with you."

"We still could." Buffy said, putting some vegetables on her plate.

"It just wouldn't be the same. We'd both be too preoccupied with looking for Katherine."

"We won't be the ones to find her. Stefan will."

"Why's that?"

"She's avoiding you because you're with me and she knows I can kill her. She's only ever come around you when she knows I'm not around."

Damon thought about that for a minute and realized she was right. "Huh. That makes me all tingly inside to know you're more badass than Katherine is."

"Buffy's more badass than a lot of vampires." Willow said. "She always has been."

"Willow, I may have to get you to go to dinner with me so I can pick your brain about my girlfriend."

"You want dirt? I got plenty of it." Willow smiled at Buffy's playful glare.

"Honestly, Willow, it really is good to finally meet you. Buffy can't say enough about you and she's so much more at ease now that you're here."

Willow shrugged. "She's my best friend. We have that effect on each other."

Damon's phone went off and he pulled it out. "Uh oh."

"I hate uh ohs." Buffy said. "What's wrong?"

He sighed as he put his phone back in his pocket. "Katherine's killed someone and left the body with Stefan."

"Does that mean it's showtime?" Willow asked.

Buffy, Stefan, and Damon waited in the room that Willow had cast the binding spell on. Willow had gone to find Bonnie and Jeremy and let Jeremy know he had to lure Katherine to Caroline. "I put the body in the trunk for now." Stefan said.

"We'll dump her when we get back." Damon said.

"This is exactly what I didn't want, Damon."

"Stefan, it's collateral damage." Buffy said.

"Right, which is why we need to call it off."

"What?" Damon demanded. "Who's hesitating now? Hey! Don't do this! That woman ruined our lives. She destroyed us! Tonight it ends. We can do it together. All three of us. We've got your back. All right?"

Stefan sighed. "All right."

"Guys…." Buffy stood up. "I hear Caroline and she's with Katherine."

"Showtime." Damon said. He and Buffy retreated into the bathroom while Stefan hid in a corner. Buffy grabbed Damon's shoulder for balance and removed her shoes.

He looked at her questioningly and she shrugged, setting her shoes down. "I don't want to ruin them."

"Why do you keep dragging me into this?" Caroline wept. "I don't want any part of it."

"Shut up!" Katherine said. "Which room is it?"

There was a moment's silence before Caroline said, "It's that one."

Katherine threw open the doors to the room and walked in. "Where is she?"

Caroline began to laugh. "I did it. I really didn't think that I'd be able to fool you but I did it!"

Katherine rushed over but she couldn't leave the room. "What the…?" She sighed. "Stefan?"

Stefan stepped out of the corner with a stake in his hand. "Hello Katherine."

"Goodbye Katherine." Caroline waved and walked off.

"You don't really think that you can kill me with that now, do you?"

Buffy was suddenly standing behind Katherine holding a stake she'd produced from inside her dress. "No," Stefan said. "But she can." Buffy shoved the stake into Katherine's back, purposely missing the heart. She wanted to make this vampire suffer for all the pain she'd put Damon and Stefan and Elena through. Katherine stumbled forward and Stefan rushed over, driving his stake through her arm.

That just pissed Katherine off and she went to attack Stefan, but Buffy was there, tossing her across the room. The two women faced off while Damon and Stefan stood ready to jump in. "Let's play a game, shall we?" Buffy taunted. "It's one I bet you've never played. It's called Vampire/Vampire Slayer. You can be the vampire and I'll be the Slayer."

"Vampires kill Slayers." Katherine growled.

Buffy laughed. "Right. If they're tough enough. Are you?"

The two started ripping at each other, but Katherine was having a hard time gaining the upper hand. Buffy was just that much faster and that much stronger. The Slayer got Katherine down on her knees and delivered a vicious kick to the brunette's face, sending her sprawling face first on the floor. Buffy pounced and flipped Katherine over, holding her down as Stefan moved in for the kill.

Jeremy ran in suddenly yelling, "Stop! You're hurting Elena! Everything you're doing to her is hurting Elena!" Damon stopped mid swing and looked at Jeremy.

Katherine used the surprise to her advantage and squirmed away from Buffy with a smile, standing up. "You think you three are the only ones with a witch on your side? Wrong. And something tells me that my witch is better than your witch." She took the stake from Damon's hands.

"Jeremy, go check on Elena." Stefan said. "Make sure she's ok. Go!" Jeremy ran out.

"Let's all make sure poor Elena is ok. Just a little bit of pressure." Katherine cut her hand with the stake. Buffy slapped Katherine's hand and knocked the stake on the floor.

Katherine grabbed another stake and was about to drive it through her stomach. "This is really gonna hurt."

"Wait!" Buffy cried.

Katherine sat down on the couch. "Ok. So, how about that moonstone?" When no one answered, she sighed. "The three of us together just like old times. Well, except the Slayer here. She's just an annoyance." Katherine looked at Damon. "The brother who loved me too much…." She looked at Stefan. "And the one that didn't love me enough."

"And the evil slut vampire who only loved herself." Damon shot back.

"What happened to you Damon? You used to be so sweet and polite."

"Oh that Damon died a long time ago."

"Good. He was a bore."

"Oh, why don't you two stop antagonizing each other?" Stefan snapped.

Katherine rolled her eyes. "Where is the moonstone?"

"What do you want with it?"

Buffy heard Willow's voice in her head telling her that she'd broken the binding spell on Elena. "Katherine?" Buffy asked. The vampire looked at her. "Do you really think my witch can't break your witch's spell?"

Katherine laughed. "Please. Bonnie isn't powerful enough."

Buffy smiled. "Who said anything about Bonnie? I didn't." She looked at Damon. "Did you?" He shook his head and Buffy looked at Stefan. He smiled slightly and shook his head. "Yeah, see…." Buffy leaned down and got in Katherine's face. "Again with the 'I'm more powerful than you' thing." She grabbed Katherine's throat and hauled her up, slamming her against a wall. "My witch created thousands of Slayers around the world. Can yours do that?"

"You can't hurt me."

"Sure I can. And Elena? She's fine." Buffy started squeezing Katherine's throat. "So…. Mason? That has me a bit confused. Why a werewolf? The moonstone can break a curse that would help them destroy all vampires. So what's in it for you?" Katherine couldn't answer because of the pressure Buffy was putting on her throat.

"Sorry about your pet wolf." Damon said. "You should have been sure to keep him on a tighter leash."

"I'll have to remember that for next time." Katherine choked out. Buffy eased up a little to let her talk. "He's not the only wolf in town."

"Stay away from Tyler." Buffy warned.

"How about your friend Oz? Think he's available?" Katherine laughed at the shocked expression on Buffy's face. "I know a lot about you, Buffy. I do my homework."

"Well, I am pretty famous." Buffy said, recovering from her shock. "Dracula wanted to hang out with me."

"Don't worry about your little werewolf friend. He's not covered by the curse, so he's no use to me."

"You bargained the moonstone." Stefan said suddenly.

"What are you mumbling about over there?" Damon asked.

"When you shopped a deal with George Lockwood to help you fake your death, you told me that you gave George something he needed. It was the moonstone, wasn't it?"

"Good for you, Stefan." Katherine said. "2+2…. And it would have worked except that people found out that I wasn't in the tomb." She looked at Damon. "Thanks to you by the way. Have I mentioned how inconvenient your little obsession with me has been?"

"You and me both, honey." Damon said.

"Apparently one of you is over it." Buffy said, smiling slightly at Damon.

"Why do you need it back?" Stefan asked Katherine.

"I love you in a suit, so dashing." Katherine said. Her words were choked off by Buffy's hand tightening around her throat.

"What were you doing with it in the first place?"

"You're wasting your breath, Stefan." Damon said.

"Unless it wasn't yours to begin with." Buffy said, catching on. "In 1864 you faked your death. Who were you running from, Katherine?"

"Why would I even tell you?" Katherine croaked.

"Because I'll let you live."

Katherine noticed Damon pouring himself a glass of scotch. "We're missing the party. I'll have one of those."

"Right away, Miss Katherine." Damon said sarcastically.

Willow walked upstairs. "Hey guys! Having fun?"

"What took you so long?" Buffy asked.

"Sorry, had to make sure Katherine's witch was subdued. That one had some serious power, but once again…. I'm better." Willow turned her eyes on Katherine and they were suddenly completely black. Katherine suddenly started choking and clawing at her throat. Buffy wasn't choking her, so she knew it was Willow and let go of Katherine. After a long moment, Katherine collapsed.

"What did you do?" Stefan asked.

"Well, I made it feel like there were about a thousand boulders pressing down on her. Kinda like the old fashioned torture they did to witches during the witch trials." Willow said. "She was around back then. Probably helped them out to save her own hide."

"Is Elena ok?" Stefan asked.

"Oh, yeah. She's fine. All healed up." Stefan ran out of the room. Willow looked down at Katherine. "What are we going to do with her?"

"I have an excellent idea." Damon said with a smile.

Katherine woke up in a dark and dirty cave. The moonstone was on the floor next to her. She picked it up and walked around. When she made it to the door of the tomb, she slammed against a barrier.

Buffy was perched on a stone a little ways away and Damon walked over to the door. "Hello Katherine."

"Where am I?" Katherine asked.

"Where you should have been all along."

"You should have killed me."

"Death would have been too kind." Damon went towards the door to close it.

"No, Damon, don't! Damon, don't! You need me! Elena's in danger."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "From whom?" Katherine didn't answer.

"You're lying." Damon said. "You're always lying."

"Why do you think I haven't killed her? Because she's the doppelganger. She needs to be protected."

Damon looked at Buffy questioningly. "Then I'll protect her." Buffy said. "Damon, Stefan, and I will all protect her while you rot in hell."

Damon closed the door while Katherine started screaming, "Damon, don't! I'll do anything, please! Damon! You need me! You need me!"

As soon as they were out of the tomb, Buffy turned to Damon. "Feel better?"

"Much." Damon said, pulling her to him. "Bitch got what she deserved." He looked down at the entrance to the tomb.

"She was probably telling the truth, you know?"

"Why do you say that?"

"She's a lot like Angelus. He lied with the truth. And she was desperate enough down there to start spouting some serious truths."

"Then…. Like you said…. We'll protect Elena." Damon said seriously.

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