The Next Chapter

Chapter 45

A/N Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2012 is good for you. I've made my New Years Resolution! Good luck to me!

Chapter 45

Buffy leaned over Damon sleeping in bed and kissed him gently. He groaned and opened one eye. "You're dressed." He said.

"Yeah." Buffy said, straightening up.

"What time is it?"

"4:45."

"AM?"

"Yup."

Damon groaned and rolled over. "Why are you awake, you crazy insomniac?"

"I have something to do. I'll be back later."

"Love you." Damon drifted back to sleep, cradling her pillow.

Buffy kissed the side of his mouth and headed out the door. She stopped in her training room and grabbed the bag of weapons she'd left just inside the door. Quietly, so as not to wake Stefan or Angel, she shut the front door behind her and trotted to her car. Elena had asked Buffy to train her how to fight vampires. Buffy had, in turn, enlisted Alaric's help. The Slayer didn't really know how to train a human to fight and she was worried she might hurt Elena.

Using the key to Elena's house, Buffy opened the front door and headed to the kitchen to start the coffee pot. Elena's alarm clock was just going off upstairs, followed only five minutes later by Alaric's. By 6am, they both came down the stairs. Alaric was obviously not a morning person as he attacked the coffee.

Buffy leaned against a tree and watched Alaric show Elena how to use the stake launcher attached to his wrist. He'd set up a dummy that Buffy had brought from her training room. There was a target painted on its chest.

"The pressure of your punch ejects the stakes." Alaric explained.

"Easy enough." Elena said, gearing up to punch the dummy. She punched, but nothing happened. "That's weird." She punched again, but still nothing happened. Elena smacked the stake launcher. "It must be jammed or something." Alaric shot a glance at Buffy.

"You're not strong enough." Buffy said. Elena turned to look at her. "You need to start lifting some weights and getting some muscle built up. Since you're just human, you need some meat on those bones."

"Thanks for not sugar coating it." Elena shot back. Buffy shrugged.

Alaric held up a grenade. "You know what this is?"

"A vervain grenade. I've used one before."

"Then you know that the element of surprise is your only advantage when it comes to a vampire." Alaric pulled the pin and tossed it to Elena. "Surprise."

"Omigod!" Elena cried. She panicked and threw the grenade in the air. The thing went off, sending vervain holy water everywhere. Elena glared at Alaric. "This isn't a joke to me, Rick."

"And you think I'm joking?"

Buffy rolled her eyes and moved away from the tree. "Elena, vampires will take whatever they want. They will hurt whoever they want. And they'll do it without remorse. It's their nature."

"You don't have to use pronouns. You can say Stefan." Elena said.

"I'm not just talking about Stefan." Buffy took Elena's shoulders gently. "I get why you're here. Stefan hurt you because I wasn't around and you don't want that to happen again."

"You think that I'm crazy to believe that I can protect myself from a vampire who's flipped the switch on his humanity."

Buffy shook her head. "Elena, I think that you found a way to ask me for help. And you found a way to get out of bed this morning when the odds are stacked against you. That makes you one of the strongest human beings I know." Elena smiled slightly. "I also know that you can do pretty much anything you want to."

"How?"

"Well, Xander fought by my side for years and he's just human. My friend Cordelia was just human…. For a while…. And she fought by mine and Angel's side. Willow was just human before she found out she was a witch. So, I've learned that being just human isn't a limitation unless you make it one." Buffy took the stake launcher from Alaric. "Try again."

Buffy leaned against her car sipping a coffee and watching Elena, Caroline, and Bonnie. The girls were staring at the school on their first day of Senior Year.

"Here we are." Caroline said. "Senior year."

"Does anyone else think that this should feel slightly more empowering?" Bonnie asked.

"That's a myth." Buffy said. "It's just another year of teachers, books, and dirty looks."

"Thank you Dr. Seuss." Caroline said, shooting her an annoyed look.

"Don't worry. Just remember you don't have to ever do it again. Unless you fail. Or decide to go to college."

"You're not helping." Elena said.

"Ok, so prank night was a bust." Caroline said. "But we are accepting it and moving on."

Buffy laughed. "Have a great first day girls. Go get 'em!" Elena shot her a glare as the Slayer got in her car. After their training session, Elena had insisted that Buffy go pick up Caroline and Bonnie and drive them to school. Ever since the incident at the high school, Elena had been stuck to Buffy like glue. She would've stayed over at Buffy and Damon's house if it weren't for Stefan.

When Buffy pulled up in the driveway, Angel was speeding out with his tires spinning and throwing gravel everywhere. He was obviously pissed about something.

Damon was probably awake. The two were definitely at odds with each other. But when she opened the door, loud music and the smell of blood greeted her. Obviously Stefan was awake.

"Hi sweetheart." Damon said. Buffy turned to see Damon stepping over two dead girls at the foot of the stairs.

"I warned him." Buffy growled, dropping her bag in the hallway. Stefan was sitting in the living room playing a bloody game of Twister and feeding from one of the three girls on the board.

Stefan glanced up. "Uh oh…." He taunted.

"Good morning, Stefan." Buffy crossed her arms and looked at the girls. "Get out."

"We don't have to leave unless Stefan says so." One of the girls taunted.

Buffy sneered and her eyes seemed to darken from blue to a midnight blackish-blue. "I said, get out. Now." The girls panicked and ran. Damon made sure to compel them to forget everything on their way out.

Stefan glared at Buffy. "You're no fun."

"Nope. I'm not. What did I tell you about this?"

"So, stake me little Slayer." Buffy crossed her arms. "That's what I thought."

"Hey, the two brunettes on the staircase owe me a Persian rug." Damon said.

"You mean, they owe us a Persian rug?" Stefan asked. "It's my house too, brother."

"Actually, it's my house. My name's on the deed." Buffy reminded him. "In fact, you were the one who came up with that idea."

Damon smirked slightly before asking, "So is this what Klaus had in mind when he compelled you to protect Elena?"

"Those ladies were helping me be all that I can be." Stefan said.

"And you can be all you can be while you clean this mess up." Buffy said.

"Yes, mother dear." Stefan mocked.

Before Buffy could walk over and punch Stefan's teeth in, there was a loud knock on the door. Damon turned and walked over to it, opening it. On the other side was a girl with long blonde hair and a puckered mouth that made her look like a brat. She had a bunch of shopping bags in her arms.

"Where's Stefan?" She asked.

"Who the hell are you?" Damon asked.

"He left me here!" The girl pouted when she spotted Stefan walking up. "My brother actually left me here."

"Oh, I'm sorry. Your tone implies that I'm actually supposed to care." Stefan said, standing behind Buffy.

"You're Klaus's sister?" Buffy asked, moving closer to Damon and away from Stefan.

"Rebekah. Pleasure, I'm sure." She tried to walk into the house, but she wasn't invited. "Um…. Invite me in."

Buffy laughed. "Oh, I really don't think so."

"I'm an Original, little girl."

The Slayer rolled her eyes. "What's your point?"

"I will kill you without even batting an eye."

"You can't get to me." Buffy moved right up to the threshold and stopped.

"You can't stay in there forever."

"Nope." Buffy stepped over the threshold and stuck a hand out. Rebekah went flying through the opening of the porch and landed hard on her back in the grass. "Sure can't."

After collecting herself and he things, Rebekah marched back to the door. "How did you do that?"

"That's for me to know and you to never find out." Buffy shook her head. "Do you actually have feather extensions in your hair? Seriously?"

Stefan walked up to Buffy. "I'd let her in if I were you."

Buffy looked up at him. "Why?"

"Because she's a brat and will get whatever she wants eventually. She'll probably start killing people until you relent."

Buffy glared at him and Rebekah said, "So, which one's my room?"

"If you don't like her, then why are you telling me to let her in?"

"Because she'll find a way to annoy us all to death." He turned and headed off.

"Invite me in." Rebekah said.

"There's a nice bed and breakfast…." Damon started.

"Invite. Me. In."

"Same rules apply to you. No more bodies in here or you'll find yourself one of them." Buffy said.

"Whatever."

"I think I like Klaus better."

"Good. Because he sure likes you."

Damon growled and marched off. Buffy rolled her eyes and followed, calling an invitation over her shoulder and groaning about way too many vampires in her house. She headed upstairs to Damon's room and shut the door. Damon moved into his bathroom and turned on the shower.

"I'll be in there in a few." Buffy said.

"What are you doing?" Damon asked.

"Making a desperate phone call." Buffy dialed Katherine's number and put the phone to her ear.

"What?" Katherine demanded.

"What do you mean 'what'? I've been calling you for two days."

"Odd. That's exactly how long I've been ignoring you."

"Jeremy and Angel told me that you found Mikael."

"Sort of. He's a little bit out of commission. He won't eat and I've tried everything. Gravediggers, mourners, mice, rats, bats…. He's just not interested."

"Try harder. We need him to kill Klaus so we can de-Rip-ify Stefan before he destroys my house."

"Fine. I'll give it another shot." Katherine hung up on her.

Buffy rolled her eyes and dialed Elena's number. She should be changing classes. "Are you checking up on me? Cause I'm fine." Elena answered.

"Actually, I just wanted to tell you that you might not want to come here for a while." Buffy said. "We have a new house mate. Barbie Klaus."

"Rebekah? She's living with you now? Why?"

"Well, she's stranded. Apparently Klaus left her in the dust when Damon and I name dropped Mikael."

"What about Stefan? What is he up to?"

"Oh! Pretty!" Buffy heard Rebekah call from the vicinity of her room.

"Speaking of Barbie Klaus, I think she just found my closet. Gotta go!" The Slayer hung up and rushed out.

"Is she serious?" Damon asked.

"Well, yeah." Buffy said, standing outside the door to her training room. Elena was inside lifting weights by the sound of it.

"Are you sure that's a good idea with Klaus and his bratty sister nosing around here?"

"Yes, actually. She's gotta learn some time."

"She's not a Slayer."

"I know that. But that doesn't mean I can't train her like one. I just need your help. Angel didn't answer…."

"You called Angel first?"

Buffy shrugged. "I was trying to apologize for yelling at him."

"You had a right to. He was sticking his nose where it didn't belong."

"But I was still a bitch about it."

"He still deserved it."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Damon, will you help me or not?"

He sighed. "Fine." Damon opened the door to the training room and sure enough, there was Elena lifting weights. "What? Are you going to bench press a vampire?"

"Do you want to hear what's happening now?" Elena asked. "Stefan called me a human blood bag. He's a completely different person." Elena struggled to lift the bar, but Damon had grabbed it and was holding it down. "What are you doing?"

"Helping you out." Damon said.

"Damon!"

"Come on, Slayer Jr."

"Stop it!" Elena relented and let go. Damon easily lifted the bar and put it back in its place. "Like one obnoxious Salvatore isn't enough."

"Sorry." Buffy said, glancing at her boyfriend playing with a stake from the shelves. "I just figured an actual vampire would be good for training."

"I want to do something."

"About?"

"Stefan."

"What's your plan, oh warrior princess?" Damon asked.

"I want to lock him up. At least until this Mikael guy comes, kills Klaus, and the compulsion breaks."

Damon looked at Buffy and she nodded. He was leaving this part to her. "Compulsion or not, Stefan's high on human blood."

"We've gotten him off of it before."

"This is different. It's not a stint in rehab, Elena. His humanity's gone."

"Then do it for me. Every single time I look at him, I feel like I'm gonna break and I'm not gonna give him that satisfaction."

Buffy nodded. Elena was going through the same thing she'd gone through when she was 17. And with her recent trip to that time in her life, the memories were all too clear. Angel had been gone and Angelus had been tormenting her. Now Stefan was gone and he was tormenting Elena. The 17 year old Buffy cried out for the 29 year old Buffy to understand Elena's desperation and help her out.

"Ok." Buffy nodded. "We'll lock him up."

"Really?"

"Yeah. You got a plan?"

"Sort of."

"Sort of?" Damon asked.

"Well, I'm not exactly the expert on crazy, Ripper vampires."

"But I am." Buffy said. "Tell me what you've got and I'll fill in the holes."

Elena stood in front of Buffy, Damon, Caroline, Alaric, and Angel in Alaric's classroom. The bonfire was going on and Elena said that Stefan had planned on going. "I'll lure Stefan away from the bonfire. Then when he's distracted…."

"I'll shoot him." Alaric said.

"Can't Bonnie just juju him or something?" Damon asked.

"I'm trying to keep Bonnie out of this. I don't trust that Stefan won't hurt her."

"Caroline, are you covered?" Buffy asked.

"Yes. I will make sure the old Forbes' jail cell is prepped and ready."

"You're forgetting a key player here." Damon said. "Rebekah. Wherever Stefan goes, the blonde ponytail tends to follow."

"Which is why it's your job to keep her away." Buffy said.

"How? She's an Original. Last time I checked, we're out of daggers."

"Yup. You're going to preoccupy her with your charm."

"We might have better luck finding the dagger." Alaric said.

"Are you ever not going to be mad at me Rick?" Damon asked.

"Doubtful."

"Anyway!" Buffy said. "Damon, you'll flirt with my clothing thief and I'll pick a fight with you."

"Can we have makeup sex?" Damon asked.

"As loud as possible and keep everyone up and miserable if they insist on living with us."

"Ew." Elena and Caroline said.

Tyler strolled in. "Sorry I'm late. What's going on?"

"We need you to raid your mom's vervain supply. Enough to keep Stefan down for a while."

"You can't do that to Stefan."

"Why not?" Caroline asked.

"Trust me, Tyler. It's in his best interest." Elena said.

"Yeah."

"It's not in Klaus's." Tyler said.

Buffy and Damon exchanged looks as Caroline said, "But Klaus is the bad guy, Tyler. And why are you acting like some freaky, hybrid, slave-minion?"

"Uh oh." Buffy said.

"What?" Alaric asked.

"Klaus made me who I am, Caroline." Tyler said. "I owe him everything."

"Oh boy." Damon said."Ok, can we cool it on the commentary please?" Caroline snapped.

"What is going on?" Elena asked.

"I'm just gonna go." Tyler said, turning to the door.

Buffy was across the room in a heartbeat and Tyler fell to the ground with a vervain dart in his back. "What are you doing?" Caroline cried, rushing to her boyfriend's side.

"He's been sired." Damon said.

"What?" Alaric asked.

"Sired." Buffy said. "He feels loyal to Klaus because Klaus's blood created him."

"Loyal how?" Elena asked.

"He seeks acceptance from his master. It's actually really rare, but I guess not so much in hybrids."

"So how do we fix him?" Caroline asked.

"Get a new boyfriend." Damon said.

Buffy stood back and watched Damon stroll over to where Rebekah was sitting alone roasting a marshmallow. He stepped over the log she was sitting on and took a seat next to her.

"What? No friends your own age?" Rebekah asked.

"Oh, like you can talk." Damon said.

Rebekah blew out the burning marshmallow and looked at Damon. "This is supposed to be fun. I've been through ten of these."

"No. You're just looking at it all wrong. It's a little rough on the outside." Damon pulled the burnt shell off the marshmallow to reveal the gooey center. "But on the inside. Yum." He held the melted treat up to her mouth and she ate it off the stick.

"Mmm…. It's good."

"Yup."

Buffy looked away. This was really starting to annoy her. She turned around to find Angel standing behind her. "What's going on?" He asked.

Buffy shrugged. "Just a lovely little plan to capture Stefan."

"Why is your boyfriend flirting with that girl over there?"

"That's Rebekah. Klaus's sister."

Angle nodded, getting what was going on. "He's distracting her."

"And annoying me."

"Was that his idea?"

"No. Mine." She glanced back at Damon. "I have to pick a fight with them."

"Doesn't seem like that'll be too hard."

Buffy ignored his comment. "Where were you headed all pissy this morning? You left skid marks in the gravel."

"Stefan made me angry."

"He's doing that to everybody."

"How much longer is this going to go on, Buffy?"

"Angel, we're working on it. Ok?"

"I know you love Stefan, but…."

"I'm not going to kill him." She shook her head and gave him a disgusted look. "I gave you the same courtesy." Angel looked away, chastised. "He can be saved, Angel. We just have to…. Wait."

"Don't wait too long."

"Did you come here to be Captain Obvious?"

"No. I came here looking for you." She gave him a questioning look. "You called earlier."

"Oh. Yeah. Never mind now. I needed someone to help me train Elena. Damon helped me."

"Train Elena to do what?"

"Fight vampires." Buffy turned back to Damon and Rebekah, waiting for a good moment to barge in.

"I can't believe you've never had one of these before." Damon said, handing Rebekah a s'more.

"Well, I've been in a casket for ninety years."

"That's no excuse."

Rebekah looked over at Damon. "Why are you being so nice to me? You hate me. You should be mean." She glanced around. "And where's your girlfriend? Lost her to my brother already?"

"Hardly."

"You're distracting me. Why?"

"Just trying to be a good house mate."

Rebekah leaned in to Damon and whispered something to him before walking off. Buffy looked back at Damon and realized that the stick Rebekah had been using was protruding from her boyfriend's abdomen. "Damon!" She rushed over to him with Angel right behind her. "Hold on." Looking Damon in the eye, she silently mouthed, "One, two…." And on three she pulled the stick out.

He groaned and leaned over, sitting down as he held his stomach. Buffy held her wrist out to him, but he shook his head. "What happened to our fight?"

"I'm sorry. I couldn't pick the right moment and I got distracted."

"Sorry." Angel said. "Didn't mean to ruin your plan." He didn't sound sorry.

Buffy sighed. "Where'd she go?"

"I'll track her." Angel moved off, blending into the shadows in his special Angel way.

"Distracted, huh?" Damon asked, looking at his girlfriend. "Should I be picking a fight right now?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Only if you want to lose."

"What were you two talking about?"

"That he's getting on my nerves with his attitude towards me."

Damon looked surprised that she'd been arguing with him. He smiled slightly and said, "Kick him out. Revoke his invite to the house."

Buffy sighed. "I can't do that, Damon."

"Why not?"

"Because…. I just can't be that mean to him."

"I can."

"Please don't. Just…. Let it go, ok? I'm with you. I love you."

"You love him, too."

Buffy shook her head and took Damon's face between her hands, making him look at her. "I don't want him." She scooted closer to him. "I want you."

Damon looked at her for a long moment before reaching up and brushing her hair behind her ear. "I want you too."

"You've got me. All of me." She leaned in and kissed him gently. "Maybe…. I should ask him to find a place of his own if he's going to stay in Mystic Falls."

"I think he should move in with Alaric. They're both so judgy, they'd be perfect roommates. They can judge until their eyeballs fall out."

Buffy shook her head. "Speaking of Alaric, let's go find him and Elena and see if they need our help."

"Why didn't we just beat the crap out of Stefan, again?"

"Because Elena doesn't want to see him dead or hurt. Just locked up." Buffy let Damon help her to her feet and they moved off.

Buffy and Damon worked on rolling up the ruined Persian rug in the hallway. Elena had nearly been burned alive in Alaric's car when it had blown up. Stefan, who'd been knocked out, managed to kick the backdoor of the SUV off. Elena had saved Stefan before the car had completely exploded. Buffy had administered first aid to Elena before sending her home. To her surprise, Elena had punched Stefan in the gut with a stake launcher and got him with the two stakes.

"I'm proud of her." Buffy said.

"She did give it to him pretty good." Damon agreed.

"I think she's going to be pretty good at training."

Before Damon could respond, something flew past them and a vase shattered on the ground. Buffy and Damon exchanged glances and stood up. Another knick knack smashed somewhere else in the house.

"Keep it up, Stefan." Damon called.

There was more smashing glass around the house. Damon rolled his eyes and bent over to pick up a piece of the smashed vase as Buffy moved down the hall to see what else had broken. Suddenly, Damon was thrown out into the hallway from the living room.

"Damon!" Buffy rushed over to him. "What happened?"

"This is going to be fun."Buffy looked up to see Mason Lockwood walking towards them.

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