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Chapter 27

A/N Sorry it's taking me a while to update. I've got a lot to do at my house to get ready for the family coming for the holidays and my dad's having 3 different surgeries and on top of that, it's my birthday next weekend and I've got two parties to put together (it's also my friend's birthday), so my week and weekends are pretty well booked solid. I'm going to try and update one more time this week.

Chapter 27

Buffy made her way downstairs and headed for the kitchen. She heard movement in the library and walked in to find Rose sitting on the couch staring at the empty fireplace. "Hey." Rose didn't move. "Everything ok?" Buffy walked over to Rose and realized that she was a grayish color. "Have you eaten?" Rose shook her head slightly. "What's wrong?"

"The legend is true."

"What?" Rose moved her shirt away from her shoulder to reveal a nasty looking infection on the skin. "Oh my god! Rose…."

Damon walked in. "Good morning…. What's wrong?" He'd stopped in his tracks at the look on Buffy's face.

"It's like a poison." Buffy said softly, glancing at Rose's shoulder. Damon moved closer and looked at the infection. He glanced at Buffy and then walked out of the library. "Where's he going?"

"I was born in 1450." Rose said quietly. "That makes me 560 years old. So I can die. I've lived long enough."

"You know," Damon said, walking back in with a bag of blood. "If you're gonna be mopey, I'm just gonna kill you myself just to put me out of your misery." He poured some blood into a glass. "Come on, it's just a little werewolf bite."

"Just a lethal, fatal-to-a-vampire werewolf bite." Rose retorted.

"Well, according to a legend which is a notoriously unreliable source. Drink up." He handed her the glass of blood. "Blood heals."

Rose took a slow drink. "Yeah, it does feel like it's working."

"Let's have a look." Buffy said. "Let me see." She inspected the wounds on Rose's skin, but the infection looked about the same, if not a little worse than a few minutes before.

"How is it?" Rose asked hopefully.

"Definitely better. Right, Elena?"

Elena was standing in the doorway and seemed shocked by Rose's wounds. Rose looked at her expectantly. "Uh, it's not bad." Elena lied.

"Where's Stefan?" Damon asked.

"He left. I need you guys to talk to him. He's convinced that he has to find Isobel but I think that's gonna upset Elijah."

"No can do. I'm with Stefan on this one." Damon looked at Buffy and Buffy nodded her agreement. "But if you could play nurse for a little while…."

"It's not necessary." Rose protested.

"It is necessary. Elena is a do-gooder. It's in her nature, she just can't resist." He walked out behind Buffy.

Elena looked at Rose and joined them in the hallway. "Is she gonna die?"

Buffy looked at the door sadly and lowered her voice. "Probably. The wolf bite caused some kind of infection and it seems to be getting worse."

"Like poison?"

"I'm not an expert in the field, but it looks like it."

"I'm sorry."

Buffy nodded and walked down the hall. Damon looked at Elena and lowered his voice. "Death happens. We come, we go. The sooner she dies the better. It's gloomy as hell in here." He turned and followed Buffy out.

Jules was sitting at a table at the Grill eating when Buffy and Damon found her. Buffy looked at Damon. "Would you let me do the talking?"

"Why? She tried to kill me." Damon said.

"Because she's scared of me." Buffy turned to walk over to Jules, but Stefan was suddenly there.

"What are you doing here?" Damon asked.

"I was waiting for you. Didn't expect Buffy to be here." Stefan looked at her pointedly.

"Hey, that bitch…. Pun intended…. Tried to kill my boyfriend and instead has poisoned my friend." Buffy said. "She's going to give me a cure or I'm going to rip her tongue out."

"There's a lot of people here."

"Yeah, duh. I wasn't going to do it here."

"Listen, I know you're upset about Rose…."

"Yes, I am. But right now? Right now I'm gonna have a friendly chat with lady wolf. Excuse me."

"She's pretty pissed." Damon said, watching his girlfriend.

"Don't let her do anything stupid." Stefan said.

Damon rolled his eyes. "She's smarter than the both of us combined. There's no 'stupid' in her." He walked over and sat down at Jules's table with Buffy.

"Well, if it isn't the one I meant to kill." Jules said. "I'll have to get that right next time."

"Yeah. There won't be a next time." Buffy said. She leaned in close. "You won't live to see another full moon unless you tell me how to cure a wolf bite and then I won't kill you."

"Promise?"

"Well, no. But I'll at least give you a head start."

"Bite me." Jules got up, but Buffy caught her arm in a vice grip. "I'm not afraid of you."

"Really? Cause I'm about to snap your arm like a twig with one hand. And I'm not even breaking a sweat or a nail. If you're not afraid, then you're very, very stupid."

"How's your friend? Rose, is that her name? Have the chills started? The unbearable pain?"

Buffy growled. "If there's a cure, you will tell me or you can start watching your body parts come off slowly one by one. Your choice."

"Did I mention the dementia? It'll eat away at her brain. Soon she'll be rabid."

Buffy squeezed a little harder and Jules winced. "You're not very good at that whole Let's Make A Deal thing are you? I'm a Slayer, which means I don't really kill humans. But lucky for me, you're not human. You don't even smell it. Are you catching my drift, Fluffy? Cause you're in for a world of pain if you don't give me a cure."

"You want a cure? I'll tell you the only cure that exists: take a stake and drive it through her heart."

Buffy stared at Jules for a long moment. She finally decided that the wolf was telling the truth and let her go. Jules dashed for the exit and Damon scoffed. "You let her go?"

Buffy shrugged. "She doesn't have a cure."

"How do you know?"

"Well…. That bruise is gonna be there a while since it's on the bone and all." Buffy sighed. "Hey, I'm starving. Let's grab some food and head back to check on Elena."

Damon smiled. "You just threatened to dismember a wolf and now you're worried about food? I knew there was a reason I liked you."

Buffy, Elena, and Damon headed to the school. Damon and Buffy had returned home to find Elena gripping a stake and Rose missing. Buffy had gotten a call from the sheriff saying that a body had been found and she needed to get to the school right away.

"Hey." Buffy said, walking up to Liz. Elena hung back while Damon stayed close to Buffy.

"Thanks for coming so quickly." Liz said. "Hello Damon."

"We were close by." Damon said.

"Liz, what happened?" Buffy asked.

"A vampire. Luckily one of my deputies discovered the body before anyone else saw him." Liz said.

"You have to secure the area."

"I'll take the east side of the school, you two go west?"

"Sure. Liz, be careful. You're not as strong as me."

"If I see anything, you're the first person I'll call." Liz headed off.

Buffy and Damon went to collect Elena who was leaving a message on Stefan's voicemail. "Hey, Stefan, it's me. I don't know where you are but please call me. It's important." She hung up and looked at Buffy and Damon. "Have you heard from him? Do you know what he's up to?"

"My baby brother is not exactly our priority right now." Damon said.

"Here, take this." Buffy said, handing Elena a stake. "I want you to stick close to Damon, ok? If Rose has completely lost it, then she's got more strength that she's not holding back on. Come on, let's go."

"How are we going to find her?" Elena asked.

"Me. I can track her." Buffy reached out with her senses and "looked" for Rose. She felt the presence of a vampire who wasn't Damon and followed it to another parking lot. Just as they arrived, a girl let out a scream that was cut off. Buffy ran full tilt towards the scream and found Rose feeding on a young blonde woman. "Rose, stop!" Rose turned on Buffy and rushed towards her, but Buffy was stronger and faster. She flung Rose away and slammed her into another car. Rose was back up in an instant and Buffy rolled to the ground with her, pinning the taller woman under her. "Rose! Rose! It's me! It's Buffy! Stop!"

Rose stopped struggling and her face returned to normal. She looked up at Buffy first and then her eyes found the dead girl's body. "Did I do this?" Rose asked pitifully. "I never meant to hurt anyone. I never wanted to hurt anyone."

"I know."

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"

Buffy stood up and tried to help Rose up. "Come on, let's get you home."

"No, I don't have a home. I didn't have a home in so long…." Rose sobbed. "Make it stop! Please make it stop!"

Buffy looked at Damon helplessly. He came over and scooped Rose up into his arms and looked at Buffy to lead the way. She took Elena's arm and they started walking back to the car.

Rose was in Damon's bed sleeping. During the car ride home, she'd passed out. Damon had wanted to put her in another room, but Buffy wanted her to be comfortable. Her bed was out of the equation seeing as how that's where Rose had been and her sheets were stained with blood until Buffy could put some new ones on.

Damon walked in and sat down next to Buffy on the bed. "Hi there."

Rose opened her eyes. "I'm sorry."

"You went on a murderous rampage. It happens."

Elena entered the room quietly. "I'm sorry, Elena." Rose said. "I don't like taking human life. I never have."

"You shouldn't be here." Buffy said to Elena.

"It's the worst part about it: the hunt, the need to kill, the thirst, the pleasure it brings you afterwards. I wasn't meant to be evil. It hurts."

"Stop talking about it." Damon said. Buffy smacked his thigh.

"Damon's a lot like me. He wants to care but when he does he runs away from it. I'm sorry for what I've done today."

"I know." Elena said.

"And you need to fight. I know you're scared but you have to do it anyway." Rose started to cough and Elena came closer, putting her arm under Rose's neck. Buffy wanted to keep the teen away, but Rose seemed too far gone now. Damon seemed to sense Buffy's sadness at that thought and he took her hand.

"Why are you so nice to me?" Rose asked.

"Us humans." Elena responded.

"You can't ever forget it: what it's like to be human. It haunts me. It's the only thing that keeps me going. It doesn't hurt much anymore." Suddenly Rose curled in on herself and gripped her abdomen with a scream. Buffy and Damon were on either side of her in an instant.

"What do we do?" Elena asked.

"Go." Damon said.

"Damon…."

"Elena, go." Buffy said. "We've got this." Elena nodded and left.

"Oh god! Make it stop, make it stop!" Rose cried. "I can't take it anymore, make it stop!"

Buffy held onto Rose as she struggled against the pain. She looked at Damon for help, but he didn't know what else to do. It seemed like an eternity before Rose finally started to calm down. Buffy stroked her hair as she passed out.

"I'm going to go get some towels for her." Damon said. "Will you be ok?"

"I'll be fine." Buffy said.

Damon walked out and Rose sighed. "Who would've thought he'd be a nice guy?" She said.

"I knew." Buffy whispered."Of course. You don't like anybody who's not." Rose looked up at Buffy from the Slayer's lap. "You've got so much love and light in you."

"I've heard that before."

"Because it's true. You shouldn't be afraid of that. You shouldn't be afraid to open up to Damon. I know how badly you've been hurt in the past, but he loves you. Whether he admits it or not, he does. And you love him too."

"Rose…."

Damon walked in with a towel. "Here." He handed it to Buffy as he climbed into bed next to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and gently touching Rose's hair. Rose fell asleep after a minute. "I wish I could show you what I'm showing her."

"You can compel her?"

"I can compel her dreams now that she's so weak." He handed Buffy a stake. "She can't suffer anymore."

"I know." Buffy took the stake and looked at it sadly. "I'm not a very good Slayer if I feel bad for killing vampires."

Damon smiled slightly. "You're the best and that's one of the reasons why. On the count of three, ok?" Buffy nodded, tears falling from her eyes as she positioned the stake above Rose's heart. "One. Two."

Buffy shoved the stake in before he said three. She stared at Rose's body as it began to wither. "What kind of person am I to be able to kill my friends?"

"It was a kindness, Buffy." He held her chin and made her look at him.

"Kindness. I hate that word right now because there's nothing kind about killing someone. I hate that stupid wolf."

"You should hate me."

"Why?"

"Jules was coming after me because I provoked her. I got Rose killed. And I killed Lexi. And…."

"I know." Buffy sat up. "But I don't hate you."

"Why?"

"Because I don't. What more of a reason do you want, Damon?"

He sighed. "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For everything. For killing your friends. For not being the hero you think I am."

"You don't know what I think."

"We've got to get rid of the body and take care of Liz's vampire problem. I'll do it. You just stay here." Damon was up and out of the room with Rose's body before Buffy could blink.

He'd heard Buffy and Rose's conversation about him loving Buffy. And he'd heard the protest in Buffy's voice when Rose had said that Buffy loved Damon. It had hurt him and that had made him angry. His emotions were suddenly at war with each other. He did love Buffy, but she didn't love him. She didn't return the feelings because he wasn't some do-gooder. He was just a fling in her life. Unless he became the hero she wanted. And that wasn't him. He wasn't a hero like her. He was a killer.

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