The Next Chapter

Chapter 35

A/N I like the cliffhanger on this one. I think I'll upload it too. :)

Chapter 35

Damon walked downstairs to the cellar and found Buffy sitting outside the door to the room where Angelus was locked up. He'd expected her to be watching over Dawn. "Hey." Damon handed her a hot cup of coffee and sat down next to her. "He awake yet?"

"No." Buffy said, leaning against him.

"You did beat him pretty badly."

"I was angry."

"Don't apologize. It was interesting to see you let go completely and just fight."

"I don't like being that angry…. That out of control."

Damon moved her hair away from the side of her face and she turned her head to look at him. "It's ok, Buffy. He hurt your sister."

"Willow's working on a way to get around or break the spell blocking Angel's soul and the spell on Dawn. I was hoping to get some information out of Angelus…. See if maybe he could lead me to something that would help."

"He's not exactly cooperative."

"I know. But I can't just sit around and stare at Dawn hoping something goes right. It'll drive me crazy."

Damon grasped her hand and she leaned her head on his shoulder. "Where are Stefan and Elena?"

"With Willow and Elijah in the library, I think." There was a groan that came from inside the cellar room and Buffy and Damon shot to their feet.

Angelus was rolling painfully to his side and coughing up some old blood. "Damn, Buff…." He said, his voice cracking. "Didn't know you had it in you."

Buffy stayed a good distance from the door as she asked, "How do we break the spell on Dawn?"

Angelus stood up completely and glared at his surroundings. "But it's so much more fun to watch the pain on your face at the thought of your precious little sister dying right alongside your Watcher."

"What's the purpose of her dying?"

"Use your head, kitten."

"She's a distraction?" Angelus just grinned at her. "Giles? Was he a distraction?"

"You know the answer to that one." He smiled. "Had any good dreams lately? I mean, it's not the first time you've shared dreams with me."

"The First is back?"

"Don't worry about the First. You made sure to put that thing down for a long time if not for good."

"Can you tell me how to break the spell on Dawn?"

"Actually, I can. Klaus hasn't compelled me not to. In fact, he really wants me to."

Buffy and Damon exchanged worried looks. "That doesn't make any sense." Damon said.

"Sure it does." Angelus laughed. "You just have to know what I know."

"Then share." Buffy said.

"Remember way back when…. Your little sister was known as the Key and you had to protect her."

"What does that have to do with now?"

"Those monks made her out of you. You've been connected ever since. Klaus's little pet witch used that against you. You want to save your sister? Well, only one of you can be alive now. Just like that time you threw yourself off a tower…. For Dawn to live, you need to die."

"Buffy…." Damon started.

"Don't try to be her little knight in shining armor." Angelus taunted. "She likes the role of martyr. Don't you, Buff?"

"Why her?" Damon growled.

"Because she's the best. Klaus is actually worried about her stopping this sacrifice."

"He told you to say that." Buffy said.

"No. That part I figured out all on my own. It's really not hard to see. Just look around, cupcake. It's why I'm here. It's why Giles is dead. It's why Dawn is on her way out the door. And it's why you have to choose between your life and hers. Don't you get it, Buff? You're the wild card. Always have been. That's why I like you so much. You're dynamic! I don't want to kill you. Never have, really. I want to change you. You're a lot of fun and if you were on my team…."

Buffy stopped listening and turned and walked away. Damon glanced at Angelus before following her. "Buffy…." He stopped her at the top of the stairs and shut the door. "You can't seriously be thinking about offing yourself."

Buffy sighed. "Actually…. I'm not."

Damon looked surprised. "You're not?" He shook his head. "Are you sure? I mean, the martyr bug has been going around lately."

"Willow will figure out how to fix this and both Dawn and I will still be alive in the end."

"And what if she can't?"

Buffy shook her head. "I'll deal with that later. Right now…. I want to see what Elijah and Willow have come up with." Buffy turned and they headed for the library.

"Tonight is the full moon." They heard Elijah say. "We should assume that Klaus is prepared to break the curse."

"Elena said that the Sun and the Moon curse is fake?" Stefan asked. "That it's actually just a curse placed on Klaus."

"Klaus is a vampire born of a werewolf bloodline. The curse has kept his werewolf aspect from manifesting. But if he breaks it…. He'll be a true hybrid."

"Then why are we letting him break the curse?" Damon asked as he and Buffy walked in. "We can kill him today. With Bonnie and Willow."

"Damon…." Stefan started.

"No. Bonnie can't use that much power without dying." Willow said.

"I'll write her a great eulogy." Damon snapped.

"It's not an option, Damon." Elena said.

"Then Willow steps in. She's got that much power and won't die."

Willow looked away. "Will?" Buffy asked, knowing that guilty look.

Willow sighed. "Buffy…. I'm not sure right now. These spells on Dawn and Angelus…. They're pretty powerful themselves. It's going to take a lot to break them. I'm not sure if I have enough to break them and take down Klaus."

"All right, then…. Plan B needs to be placed in the planning category. How do we break this curse?" Buffy asked.

"Well, the ritual itself is relatively straightforward." Elijah said. "The ingredients, so to speak, you already know."

"The moonstone." Stefan said.

"A witch will channel the power of the full moon to release the spell that's bound within the stone. After that, Klaus, being both werewolf and vampire, will sacrifice one of each."

"And where do I fit into it?" Elena asked.

"The final part of the ritual." Elijah took a wooden box from the shelf. "Klaus must drink the blood of the doppelganger…. To the point of your death." Buffy and Damon looked at Elena as Stefan took her hand. Elijah opened the box and pulled a jar from it.

"And that's where you come in." Willow said, looking at the jar.

"This is an elixir that I acquired some 500 years ago for Katerina." Elijah said, holding the jar up. "It possesses mystical properties of resuscitation."

"So I'll be dead?" Elena asked.

"And then you won't."

"That's your plan?" Damon scoffed. "A magical witch potion with no expiration date?" He looked at Elena. "You want to come back to life, what about John's ring?"

"Those rings only work on humans." Elijah explained. "The doppelgänger's a supernatural occurrence. Odds are, the ring won't work."

"I'll take those odds over your elixir. What if it doesn't work, Elena?"

"Then I guess I'll just be dead."

Damon looked at Stefan, but his brother just shrugged. He looked at Elijah and stormed out. Buffy looked at Stefan apologetically. "Information overload." She explained. "He's not in a good mood."

"May I see this elixir?" Willow asked, holding out her hand. Elijah handed her the jar.

"Do we know if Klaus has everything he needs to do this?" Buffy asked. "Does he have a werewolf?"

"Klaus has been waiting to break this curse for over a thousand years." Elijah said. "If he doesn't already have a werewolf, my guess is by tonight, he will."

Buffy nodded. "Ok. Well, I managed to get some information on the spell that's on Dawn."

"You did?" Willow asked.

"From who?" Stefan asked.

"Angelus." Elijah guessed.

"Klaus is worried about me." Buffy said with a nod from Elijah. "I'm a wild card, apparently. His witch put a spell on both Dawn and I. For Dawn to live…."

"You have to die." Elijah finished.

"Yes."

"Buffy…." Elena started."Don't worry. The only martyr in this room is you, Elena."

"This does narrow down the kind of spell I need to find to break the spell on Dawn." Willow said. "And you, apparently." She added.

"Exactly."

"What about Angelus?" Elijah asked. "Klaus will use him to distract you, Buffy. It's the whole reason he's here. It's imperative that we restore his soul as quickly as possible. Otherwise, he could wreak havoc on all of our plans."

"Do you have any idea what kind of spell he used?"

"Actually, I may have an idea. The book I believe it came from is hard to find, though. There are only three in existence."

"What is it?" Willow asked.

"The Anima Compendium."

"Got one." Elijah looked at her with surprise. "Well, my best friend's ex is a vampire with a soul. The Anima Compendium is all about souls, so…." She stood up with a shrug. "Let me get some things together and I'll summon it to me." Willow smiled at Buffy and walked out.

"She is quite remarkable." Elijah said, looking after Willow.

"She's also quite gay." Buffy said, eliciting quiet laughs from Elena and Stefan. "So, your chances with her are already at an all-time low. Add to that you're a vampire? No chance."

Before Elijah could respond, a noise out in the hallway followed by Jenna yelling pulled their attention away. Everyone ran out into the hallway where Jenna was holding a crossbow toward Alaric. Damon was walking in from the other side of the hallway.

"Jenna, put the crossbow down, ok?" Alaric said. "It's me."

"Stay away from me!" Jenna said.

"What's going on?" Elena asked.

"It's me, Elena, I swear, ok?" Alaric said. "He let me go. Klaus let me go."

"Prove it." Damon said.

Alaric looked at Jenna. "Ok, uh, first night you and I spent together, Jeremy walked in right when I was about to…."

"It's him." Jenna cut him off and put the crossbow down.

"Why did he let you go?" Stefan asked.

"He wanted me to deliver a message. The sacrifice happens tonight." Alaric said.

Buffy walked upstairs to Damon's room and found him staring out the window. "Are you ok?"

Damon turned to look at her. "Willow's not going to have time to break the spell on you and Dawn before the ritual."

"Probably not."

"If something goes wrong…."

"You sound so sure of that happening."

"Buffy, I'm not joking. If something goes wrong…. I know you. You'll allow yourself to die to save Dawn."

Buffy shrugged. "She's my sister. Wouldn't you do the same for Stefan?"

"Oh, please. I promised him…."

"Blah, blah, an eternity of torture, blah." Buffy laughed. "I haven't seen it, though. Damon, you love your brother just like I love my sister."

"I will not watch you die."

"Then don't."

"What does that mean?" Buffy sighed and sat down on the bed. She looked out the window at the sunlight for a long moment. "Buffy?"

"If it comes down to it…. You can turn me."

Damon shook his head. "Wait…. What?"

"You can turn me. Look, I'm going to live forever anyway…."

"It's forbidden to even give a Slayer vampire blood. To turn you would be…."

"Like making an Original."

"How long have you been thinking about this?"

"Since you gave me your blood to heal me. The power boost alone was incredible, but just imagine what I could do…. Who I could help…. If I could have that power all the time."

"I think that power boost part is why it's forbidden to change a Slayer."

"And since when have the rules ever stopped you?"

Damon sat down on the bed next to her. "Are you sure about this?"

"Yes. Like I said, it would be the last resort, but…. Damon, I don't want to die. I won't admit this to anyone but you…. But the idea of living forever…. It appeals to me. It used to scare the hell out of me, but now…. I don't know what changed."

"You found out you were going to live forever."

Buffy nodded. "Lexi really sold me on the idea, so I guess I came to terms with it."

"Well, I for one like the idea of you living forever…. As a vampire or as a Slayer. You're way too interesting to die. And as a Slayer/vampire, you'd be impossible to kill."

"There you guys are." Elena said, appearing in the doorway. "You disappeared."

"I didn't want to hear anymore." Damon said.

"I needed to talk to Damon." Buffy said.

"I just wanted to make sure you guys understand why I'm doing this." Elena said.

"Why? It clearly doesn't matter what we think." Damon snapped.

"I'll be fine, Damon. I'll drink the elixir, Willow and Bonnie will kill Klaus, they'll fix Dawn and Angel, and then all of this will finally be over."

"If it works."

"It will work."

"You think it will work. You want it to work. Why am I the only one who's convinced it won't? There has to be another way."

"There isn't."

"And you're going to die, Elena."

"And then I'll come back to life."

"That is not a risk I'm willing to take."

"But I am." Elena took Damon's hands. "It's my life, Damon. My choice."

"Do you know how much loss Buffy has endured? Her sister is laying in there dying. She can't lose you, too."

"She won't. Buffy, I'll be fine."

"Damon…." Buffy warned as Elena went toward the door but Damon intercepted her.

"There is another way." He said.

"Damon…." Buffy tried again, but he ignored her.

"What are you…." Before anyone could even blink, Damon bit into his wrist with his fangs and put the bleeding wound to her mouth so she could drink his blood. It was obvious she didn't want to. Stefan arrived at the same time Buffy did and they both grabbed Damon and hauled him away from Elena. Elena fell on the floor with blood in her mouth.

"What did you do? Huh? What did you do?" Stefan screamed.

"I saved her life." Damon said.

"That's my way out, Damon. Not hers." Buffy said, moving between him and Stefan.

"She's so bent on dying, at least this way you know she'll come back."

"As a vampire!" Stefan yelled. "She'll come back a vampire."

"It's better than nothing else."

"How could you, of all people, take that choice away from her?"

Damon looked at Elena. "Go ahead. Wish me an eternity of misery. Believe me, you'll get over it."

Stefan rushed at Damon and pushed him across the room. "Stefan!" Elena and Buffy yelled.

Damon broke his coat rack and used it to shove Stefan against a wall with it. "Admit it. You just wish you had the balls to do it yourself."

Stefan punched Damon in the face several times in a row. Damon fell to the floor with blood on his face. Buffy moved to intercept Stefan, but Damon was somehow quicker. When Stefan attacked Damon, Damon used the broken rack as a large stake and drove it through Stefan's abdomen. Elena rushed over to Stefan and pushed Damon as Buffy went to Damon's side to hold him back.

"Get out of here!" Elena yelled at Damon.

Alaric and Jenna arrived just then. "What the hell's going on?" Alaric demanded.

"Just get him out of here!" Elena screamed.

Buffy helped Damon up and walked out of the room with him. "What is the matter with you!" Buffy said, blocking his exit on the stairs.

"You gave me the idea." Damon countered.

"For me, Damon! It's my way out. Elena's seventeen years old! She doesn't want to be a vampire."

"She doesn't have a choice now."

"That was the stupidest thing I think you've ever done, Damon Salvatore." Buffy allowed him to pass and he went to the library to pour himself a drink.

Elijah was there, closing the wooden box with the elixir. "Well, it sounds like you won't be needing this anymore." He said. "Feeding her vampire blood rendered it useless. Tell Elena I'll be back before nightfall. We'll proceed as planned."

"We both know that elixir wouldn't have worked anyway." Damon said.

"The problem, Damon, you talk a good game but you don't actually know anything. She'll never forgive you. And never for a vampire…. It's a very long time." Elijah nodded at Buffy as she entered the library and he exited.

Damon rolled his eyes when his girlfriend appeared next to him. "Come to yell at me some more?"

"No. I came to ask if you wanted to join me for some food at the Grill." Buffy said.

He looked at her with mild surprise. "Why?"

"Because I'm hungry and we don't exactly have a lot of food around the house at the moment. And I really don't feel like cooking even if we did." Buffy stepped closer to him and rested her chin on his shoulder, putting her mouth close to his ear. "Just because I might be pissed at you for what you did to Elena, doesn't mean that I want to end everything right now." He turned to look at her. "I'm not that type of person, Damon. You screwed up. Everyone does."

Damon wrapped his fingers in her hair and pulled her closer to him. "Why are you so good to me?"

Buffy shrugged. "I don't know." She kissed him gently. "But you should consider yourself lucky cause otherwise, you'd be dead."

"Is anyone else joining us?"

"No. Willow's busy on the spells, Stefan and Elena are planning to go out somewhere, Alaric is doing the nasty with Jenna, and Angelus just doesn't make good company."

Damon nodded. "Let's go." He downed the rest of his drink and followed Buffy out.

Buffy watched Damon pick at his food, but not eat it. She knew he was feeling guilty about what he'd done to Elena. With a sigh, Buffy got up and moved over to Damon's side of the booth, sliding in next to him. She set her chin on his shoulder and looked at him.

"Don't start with that creepy little stare of yours." Damon said.

"Then stop pouting." Buffy said.

"I'm not pouting."

"You're so pouting."

"Go eat your food."

"I'm finished." She grabbed a French fry off his plate and popped it in her mouth.

When she went for another one, Damon grabbed her hand and pulled it to his lips to kiss her fingertips. "Stop eating my food."

"Someone's gotta do it." She grabbed another fry with her free hand and ate it. Damon smiled slightly and shook his head.

"Well, aren't you two just adorable?" Buffy and Damon's attention was suddenly on the newcomer sitting across from them in Buffy's vacated seat.

"Ugh." Damon groaned. "Klaus, I presume."

"In the flesh." Klaus said.

Buffy grunted in surprise. "Wow, didn't expect you to look so…. Handsome."

Damon shot a glare at her and Klaus smiled. "Careful, Buffy. Your boyfriend's got enough jealousy to deal with. How is Angelus, by the way? He hasn't come back to me yet."

"He's locked up nice and tight." Buffy shot back, taking Damon's hand under the table. "So, other than the jealousy ploy, is there any other reason you stopped by to say hi?"

"Just thought I'd remind you all to not do anything you'll regret with my doppelganger."

"Ha!" Damon laughed. "Thanks for the advice. I don't suppose I could talk you into a postponement, by any chance, huh?"

"You are kidding." Klaus looked at Buffy. "He is kidding, right?"

"No, not really." Buffy said.

"I mean, come on, what's one month in the whole grand scheme of things?" Damon asked.

"Let me be clear…. I have my vampire. I have my werewolf. I have everything I need. The ritual will happen tonight. So if you want to live to see tomorrow, don't screw it up." Klaus smiled at Buffy, taking her free hand and kissing her knuckles as he stood up from the booth. The gesture caused Damon to glare at him and almost growl, but Klaus left the Grill before Damon could do anything stupid.

"That was fun." Damon said.

"You're going to screw it up, aren't you?" Buffy asked.

"You think if we took his werewolf out of the equation, she might…. Get over the fact that I tried to turn her into a vampire?"

"I think it won't matter, because we'll be dead."

"But without the werewolf, he can't perform the ritual tonight, which means we would have bought her one month before the next full moon."

"But we'll still be dead."

"Are you gonna help me or what?"

Buffy sighed. "What do you want me to do?"

"Besides not flirt with the bad guy?"

"I was not flirting with him. But you have to admit the guy looks pretty good." Damon shot her another glare. "Trust me, I think you're way hotter. In fact, if we weren't going on whatever suicide mission you've got planned and my sister wasn't lying on her death bed and my ex wasn't a homicidal maniac…."

"Point?"

"I would totally drag you in the bathroom." She smiled sweetly and Damon had no choice but to smile back. "So…. What are we doing?"

Alaric opened the door to his apartment and found Katherine looking through the fridge. "Look who's dumb enough to come back." She said to him.

"Well, somebody had to invite him in." Alaric said. "Damon. Would you like to, uh, come in?"

Damon walked into the apartment with Buffy right behind him. Katherine rushed over to him and shoved him back saying, "Are you trying to get me killed?"

Buffy grabbed Katherine's throat and shoved her against the far wall. Damon followed at a leisurely pace. "I gave you vervain." He said. "Now I'm here to collect. We got it from here, Rick."

"You sure?" Alaric asked.

"Yeah, only one of us needs to get blamed for this. Get back to the house. Keep Elena from handing herself over."

"Ok." Alaric left with a glance at Buffy still pinning Katherine to the wall by her throat.

"Get blamed for what?" Katherine asked.

"We need to know where Klaus is keeping his werewolf." Buffy said.

"Why? What are you two going to do?"

"Dead werewolf equals no ritual." Damon said.

"No. You can't interfere. Klaus will kill you and everyone you've ever met."

"We just need to delay this thing."

"No. No way."

"You should like this, Kat." Buffy said. "It's going to buy another month of your pathetic life."

"Right. Except that I'm not the vampire he's planning on sacrificing."

"What?" Buffy let Katherine go and the brunette vampire walked away from her.

"Yeah. He's got Caroline Forbes and Tyler Lockwood. Therefore, I'm in the clear."

"And where'd he get that idea from?" Buffy moved towards Katherine threateningly.

"Hey! Hey, hey, hey, I'm just trying to stay alive long enough to get myself out of here."

"What if I told you Elena had vampire blood in her system?" Damon asked.

"What?"

"Imagine how much fun that will be competing with Elena for Stefan's love for, I don't know, forever."

"The tomb. He's got them in the tomb."

"Thank you." Damon took Buffy's hand and they walked out.

Damon and Buffy arrived at the tomb and were just about to go down when a muscular man stepped out of the trees. "Which one are you trying to save? The blonde or the wolf?" He asked. "Did you really think Klaus would leave them unprotected?"

"Wishful thinking." Damon said before rushing over to the man. He pinned him on the ground by his neck, but the man was a witch. He used his powers and threw Damon across the clearing. As he stood up, the witch used his powers to provoke the mind numbing headache on Damon. Damon screamed and Buffy attacked the witch. She wouldn't allow him to get his hands up to use his powers on her, but he managed to get in a headbutt and Buffy stumbled back. Suddenly there was a gunshot and the witch fell to the ground. Damon raised his head and saw Matt with a gun. After helping Buffy up, Damon went over and snapped the witch's neck.

"Matt, what are you doing here?" Buffy asked.

"Where's Caroline?" Matt asked.

"Not a good time to play the hero." Damon said.

"Where is she? And what did he do to her?"

"We're just here to rescue her." Damon rushed over him and took Matt's gun, hitting him upside the head with it. Matt fell to the ground, unconscious. "You're lucky I already screwed up once today or you'd be dead."

"Damon." Buffy said in an exasperated tone.

"What?" Damon held up the wooden bullets he'd extracted from the gun. "He's got wooden bullets."

"Wait…. He knows?"

"Caroline's got some explaining to do." Damon headed down into the tomb with Buffy right behind him. Together they moved the heavy stone door out of the way and walked into the tomb.

"Buffy!" Caroline said. She and Tyler were chained to opposite walls.

"Your boyfriend's outside with a rifle loaded with wooden bullets." Damon said, going to Caroline and breaking her chains. "You have some explaining to do."

"What, Matt?"

"Matt knows about you?" Tyler asked.

"No, I…."

"Stop." Buffy said. "This is tomorrow's problem. We've got bigger fish to fry." She turned to Tyler. "It's the full moon tonight and it's getting dark soon. How fast can you get the hell away from here?"

"I need to get to my family's cellar." Tyler said. "I can lock myself up."

"I'll help." Caroline said.

Buffy broke the chains holding Tyler. "Don't make me regret this."

"I'll try not to." Tyler said, standing up.

They walked out of the tomb and found Matt was starting to wake up. Caroline rushed over to him. "Hey, Matt! Hey. Did you hit him?"

"Did you already forget the part about the gun with the wooden bullets?" Damon snapped.

Tyler growled and held his chest. "Tyler?" Buffy asked.

"It's starting." Tyler said, obviously in pain.

"Great! Caroline, grab Matt and let's go."

"Come on." Caroline said.

"Wait, we're not going with them." Damon said.

"We're not leaving Caroline alone with a werewolf whose bite is not kosher to her health, Damon." Buffy said. "We'll make sure Tyler gets to his cellar and then we'll go help Elena."

"If he…."

"He won't." Buffy turned to Tyler. "Lead the way."

They ran through the woods and about ten minutes into the trip, Tyler yelled and dropped to his knees. "What's happening?" Matt asked. "Is he ok?"

"He better not wolf out on us." Damon said.

Buffy's phone rang and she yanked it out of her coat pocket. It was Stefan. "Bad time, Stefan."

"What are you doing?" Stefan asked.

"Trying to save the day. Just tell Elena to stay put."

"She's already gone, Buffy."

"What?"

"Klaus came. He took her."

"We'll take care of it."

"There's more." Stefan called before she could hang up.

"You know I hate those words, Stefan."

"Angelus is missing."

"What! Missing how?"

"I think Klaus let him out."

"Klaus can't get in the house. He's not invited."

"I don't know, Buffy. He probably compelled a human. But Angelus is not here."

Buffy sighed. "I'll take care of it. Is Willow working on a way to get his soul back?"

"She's close."

"Good. I'll be in touch." Buffy hung up and turned to Damon, but before she could say anything, Tyler screamed and fell on the ground.

"Tyler!" Matt cried.

"I don't know if I can hold it off." Tyler said. "Get out of here."

"Tyler, it'll be ok." Caroline said.

"Go!"

"You've got time. We're almost there, just…."

"It's happening faster."

"Tyler, it's ok."

Tyler's eyes were yellow and he rushed at Caroline but Damon intercepted him. Tyler managed to land on top and Damon fought to keep Tyler's mouth away from him. Buffy grabbed Tyler's waist and hauled him off, throwing the transitioning werewolf a few feet away. She turned and helped Damon up.

"Damon…." Buffy started.

"I'm fine." Damon said, waving her protests off.

"Get out of here!" Tyler cried.

"Get to the Lockwood cellar." Buffy said. "If it held him in, it'll keep him out. If it doesn't…. Use these." She produced the wooden bullets from Damon's coat pocket and handed them to Matt. "It'll buy you a couple of seconds. Go. Go!" They left and Buffy and Damon ran in the opposite direction. When she thought it was safe, Buffy stopped them. "Damon, Angelus escaped."

"What? How?" Damon asked.

"I don't know, but he's out there. I've got to track him."

"What about Elena?"

"Klaus has her. We've got to split up. Go to Klaus and let him know we got his vampire and werewolf. Buy time. I've got to find Angelus."

Damon grabbed her arm before she could run off. "Buffy…. Be careful."

She smiled slightly. "Nothing but."

"I mean it." He leaned down and kissed her gently, holding her face for a long moment and moving her hair behind her ears as he looked into her eyes. He smiled slightly before turning and disappearing into the woods. Buffy sighed and turned to head back to the house to track Angelus.

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