Buffy sat out in the garden, staring off into space. She was brooding and she hated that, but she couldn't help it. Macon's stare and that whole night had really played on her nerves. Why had she saved Damon? He'd killed her friend. Hell, Lexi had been more than a friend. She'd been like Buffy's older sister. She'd been a Godsend when Buffy had needed one the most.
Damon had killed her and she'd saved Damon.
But Stefan and Lexi were right. She was honorable and she did stick to her word. But now that kept promise was like a virus. It ate at her slowly until she was brooding over every little detail. She was turning into Angel.
Damon was suddenly sitting next to her. "Hi." Buffy stood up and walked away without a word to Damon. He sighed and got up to go after her.
"Just leave me alone, Damon." Buffy snapped, still walking. She was headed for the woods.
"Can't." She didn't answer him as she kept walking. "Buffy…. You saved my life. Why?"
"I wish I knew." She tossed off before going beyond the tree line.
He went after her. "What happened with you that night? You haven't said more than four words to me since we left Atlanta."
"When I know what happened, I'll let you know. But just…. Go away."
"What? You're gonna hide in the woods? I can find you wherever you go."
Buffy stopped and turned to him. "Why won't you just go away?"
"Because I can't. It's just not in my nature. I have to pry and pick until I get what I want."
"And what could you possibly want with me?"
"I don't know. I just know…. For some reason, I don't like it when you're mad at me."
"I'm not…." Buffy groaned and turned, continuing her march away from Damon.
Damon followed still. "Not what?"
"I'm not mad at you."
"Ok, yes. I'm mad at you for what you did to Lexi. She wasn't just my friend, Damon. She was like my sister. She was my savior from a life I was ready to leave and didn't know how. And you killed her."
"You should've staked me."
"But you didn't."
"Because Stefan stopped me."
"And you stopped Lexi's boyfriend."
"His name is Macon."
"What do you want from me? It's not my fault you saved my life."
"I know that! That's why I'm so pissed off. I can't figure out why I saved your life. You're not worth saving."
Damon looked away. "No. I'm not." And with that, he was gone.
Stefan arrived home from school and headed straight up to Buffy's room. He was worried about her. She hadn't been the same since she'd gotten back from Atlanta. Elena had told him everything that had happened and Buffy's sudden change on the way back. She'd also asked Stefan to ask Buffy if she wanted to help Elena get ready for the 50s dance that night. Elena figured that maybe Buffy needed a girls' night away from Damon and her problems.
Stefan knocked on the door and then poked his head in. "Hey." Buffy was laying on the bed staring at the ceiling. Stefan walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed. "Are you ok?"
"Why did I save him, Stefan?" Buffy asked quietly.
"Because I asked you to."
"Macon was so…. I really hurt him asking that of him. After what Damon did to Lexi…. I should've let Macon finish him."
"That wouldn't have been like you at all, then. You can't just sit by and watch a murder."
"Would it have been murder?"
"Yes." Buffy nodded. Stefan sighed and placed his hand on hers. "Well, listen…. Elena wanted to know if you would come help her get ready for the dance tonight."
"What dance?" Buffy asked, sitting up.
"There's a dance at the high school tonight. It's a 50s theme."
Buffy laughed. "Are you serious? Wow, we never had anything like that at my high school." She paused. "That's probably because people kept getting eaten…."
Stefan laughed slightly and took her hand, gripping it tightly. "Well, Elena thought you could use a girls' night and she wants you to come over. I think she ordered pizza."
Buffy smiled. "You know what? Sure. I'll go help."
"I should warn you, though, she also needs protecting."
"That guy she hit?"
"Yes. He called her today."
Buffy nodded. "Do I have to go to the dance?"
"No. You can just come back here and hang out."
"Unless something happens."
Buffy knocked on Elena's door and waited. A young woman with reddish hair answered the door. "Hi?" She said.
"Hi. I'm here to see Elena." Buffy said.
"Hey, Buffy!" Elena said, trotting down the stairs. "Come on in. Aunt Jenna, this is Buffy. She's an old friend of Stefan's."
"Hi." Jenna shook Buffy's hand. "Are you going to school here too?"
"Oh, no!" Buffy shook her head. "Graduated and done with. Never want to go back. Ever."
"I know how you feel." Jenna laughed. She turned to Elena. "Well, I guess I'll see you at the dance?"
"Yup." Elena said.
"It was nice meeting you Buffy." Jenna waved as she shut the door behind her.
"Does she know about Stefan and…. Everything?" Buffy asked.
"No. And I'd like to keep it that way."
"Understandable." Buffy followed Elena upstairs. "My mom found out about everything and kicked me out of the house. Then she ended up under a spell and tried to burn me and my friend Willow at the stake."
"Oh my god!"
"Yeah. It's best if your family doesn't know."
"I'm getting that. Well, this is my room. I share the bathroom with my brother, Jeremy. I don't think he's here right now." Elena grabbed a pocket watch off her nightstand. "Stefan wanted me to show this to you."
"A pocket watch?" Buffy asked, examining it.
"Sorta." Elena pressed the button and the top flipped open. "It tells you when a vampire's near."
"I already have one of these."
Buffy pointed to her head. "It's all installed up here."
"Ok, that's cool."
Buffy shrugged. "It wasn't always."
"So, what's it like being around Stefan and Damon all the time? Is your internal vampire radar constantly going off?"
"I've learned to ignore it with them."
"Well, I've had practice before them."
"Does that have something to do with Angel?"
"How did you…."
"I've heard you talk about some guy named Angel. And the way you talked…. He was a vampire. Who is he?"Buffy had to have a small internal debate about what to tell the teenager in front of her. Finally, she relented. "How much time do we have?"
Buffy smiled. "Ok. Where do I start?"
Elena stared in the mirror as she was doing her hair. She still had tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry." Buffy said, standing in the doorway.
"It's just so sad. You loved him so much and you can't be with him."
"I still love him. I still see him from time to time. But it's just…. Hard. As long as his curse is in place, we can't be together."
"Or the world is doomed. God, I would just…. Give up. Where do you get all that strength? Is it because you're a Slayer?"
Buffy shrugged. "I wish I knew." Her Slayer senses went off and her back stiffened. She ventured past Elena and out into the hall. Elena set down her hair dryer and went into her room. The compass was spinning. Buffy came back in. "Get your phone."
"It's probably just Stefan." Elena said. She grabbed her phone and called Stefan's cell.
"Stefan's phone." Damon said on the other line as Buffy hurried Elena down the stairs. "How may I help you?"
"Where is he?" Elena asked, worried.
"He's on his way to you. Forgot is phone."
"Thank god. This compass was spinning and Buffy's Slayer sense was going off. Stefan must be here. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Tell Buffy I said hi." Elena shook her head and hung up.
Just then, a vampire fell from the ceiling, but Buffy was there to throw him away just as Stefan grabbed Elena out of the way. The vampire stood up and ran out of the house, too fast for the stunned people in the room.
Stefan held Elena tightly. "Are you ok? Are you ok?"
"How did he get in?" Damon asked. Stefan had called him over after the attack. Buffy was sitting on the complete opposite end of the room from him.
"He was invited in." Elena said.
"He posed as a pizza delivery guy last night." Stefan said.
"Well, he gets points for that. Did he say what he wanted?" Damon asked.
"No. He was too busy trying to kill me." Elena said.
"And you have no idea who this is?" Stefan asked.
"No. Don't look at me like that." Damon said. "I told you we had company."
"You think there's more than one?" Elena asked.
"We don't know."
"Guys, he was invited in." Buffy reminded them.
"Then we go get him tonight." Damon said.
"You up for it?" Buffy asked Elena.
"What do I have to do?" Elena asked.
"Let your boyfriend take you to the dance." Damon said. "Buffy and I will attend as chaperones and we'll see who shows up."
"That's a bad idea." Stefan said.
Buffy sighed. "He's right, though. Until we get him, this house isn't safe. For anyone who lives in it. It's worth a shot."
"I'll do it." Elena said. "I'll be with the three of you. I'll be safe."
Elena walked up to Bonnie and Caroline. "Having fun?"
"No, but this took about 2 hours, so I'm at least staying half of that." Caroline said, pointing to her hair. "Who's your friend?"
"Guys, this is Buffy." Elena said, introducing the petite Slayer. "Buffy, these are my best friends Caroline and Bonnie."
"I remember you." Bonnie said.
"Yeah. I'm glad you're ok." Buffy said.
"Thank you for saving me."
"How do you know Elena?" Caroline asked.
"Oh, uh…. I'm good friends with Stefan. I'm living with him and his brother for a little while. Elena spends a lot of time at the house, so we've kinda bonded."
"What's Damon doing here?" Bonnie asked.
"He wanted to come." Elena said. "I promise. He'll behave. Besides, if I'm gonna be with Stefan, then I have to learn to tolerate Damon. It's not like I can kill him."
"There's a thought."
"Mmm. I'll help." Caroline said.
Buffy, Stefan, and Elena walked up from the punch bowl after Damon ran Bonnie and Caroline off. "Where did they go?" Elena asked.
"I don't know." Damon said.
"What did you say to them?" Stefan asked.
"I was perfectly polite. Elena…. Would you like to dance?"
"I would love to." Elena turned to Stefan. "May I have this dance?"
Stefan held his arm out and escorted Elena to the dance floor. Damon turned to Buffy, but she held up her hand. "No."
"Oh, come on!" Damon protested. "One dance.""No. I'm here in a chaperone capacity only."
"Buffy, it's a party and you're standing out like a sore thumb just standing here. Dance. Just once."
"Not if it's with you."
"We had so much fun in Atlanta! Where's that Buffy? I want to see her again." He gripped her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "Playful, fun Buffy…. I command you to come out. I will spike the punch in your honor!" Buffy couldn't stop the smile that took over her lips. Damon smiled triumphantly. "Yes!"
"I am not dancing."
"Then get a glass of punch with me and we'll take it from there." He held out his arm like a gentleman and Buffy relented, looping her arm through his. They strolled over to the punch bowl and Damon poured her a cup of fruit punch.
A tall, handsome man walked over to them saying, "Yeah, I don't recognize you two. How'd you get roped into chaperoning? Alaric Saltzman. I'm the new history teacher."
"Ah, the, uh, cursed faculty position." Damon said.
"So I've been told."
"Damon Salvatore. And this is my…. Friend Buffy Summers."
Alaric shook Buffy's hand. "It's nice to meet you."
"You too." Buffy said.
"Salvatore, as in, uh, Stefan?"
"He's my little brother." Damon said. "I'm his legal guardian, hence the chaperoning. I brought Buffy along to keep me from getting too bored."
"I hear he's very bright, not that I've had a chance to see for myself."
"Well, his attendance record's a little spotty. Family drama."
"Mm, it's just the two of us and Buffy now."
"You, uh…. you live here your whole life?"
"On and off. Travel a bit. I met Buffy here in California."
"Yeah. Seems like forever ago." Buffy said, deciding to play along.
"California's a long way away from Virginia."
Buffy nodded. "I like to travel too. It's a hobby I share with Damon here."
"So where have you two traveled? Around the States?" Damon looked over at Alaric suspiciously. "I'm sorry. I'm nosy. I…. I don't mean to pry. Look, it was nice meeting you two."
"You, too." Damon and Buffy said.
"Enjoy the rest of the dance." Alaric walked off.
Damon looked down at Buffy. "Nice acting skills. I really believed that you liked me."
"Don't push it." Buffy warned, hiding a smile that threatened to show itself.
"Well, I'm going to." He took her cup and set it down on the table. "Come on." Damon grabbed her hand and pulled her out to the dance floor. Instead of dancing normally, he decided make her laugh. He started a dramatic tango walk with her across the dance floor.
As they passed by Stefan and Elena, Buffy heard Elena say, "You really can't take him anywhere, can you?"
Damon stopped being crazy when they reached the other side of the dancers. He took one of her hands in his, wrapping his other around her waist and pulling her tightly against him. They began to sway to the music. "See, this isn't so bad." Damon said after a few minutes.
Buffy sighed. "It would be better if I could ignore my brain."
"That can be arranged. I have a flask…." Buffy sighed, but Damon shook his head. "Nope! No more brooding Buffy. I want you to have fun. Lighten up. Smile."
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
"Because I like you. You're interesting. You're an enigma I'd like to figure out."
"I'm really not much of an enigma."
"But you are. I like a challenge and you, sweetheart, are a brainteaser."
"And I should really be hating you right now."
"You mean you're not?" Buffy suddenly stiffened in his arms. She started looking around frantically. "What's wrong?"
"Damon…." Buffy pulled away from him and turned around.
"What is it?"
"There's a vampire here. Other than you and Stefan. I think there may actually be more than one."
"Buffy! Damon!" Stefan rushed up. "Where's Elena?"
"She was with you." Damon said.
"She was supposed to come find you guys."
"Come on." Buffy looked at an open doorway in the corner. The three of them pushed their way through the crowd to an open door across the room. Once they reached the hallway, they heard a struggle going on in the lunchroom. Buffy burst through the door first, caught part of a broken wooden handle that was flying across the room, and tackled the vampire about to bite Elena. They rolled on the ground and Buffy threw herself on top. She punched the vamp in the face and he threw her off. She landed on her feet like a cat and pounced on him, throwing her legs around his neck. Going with the forward momentum, she landed on her hands and flung the vampire to the ground with her legs, hopping back up a split second later.
"Nice!" Damon and Stefan cried as they watched with wide eyes.
Buffy spun around and pinned the vamp to the floor with her boot. "Stay down, Sparky. Nobody wants to kill you just yet. We just wanna talk." The vampire grabbed her ankle and tossed Buffy away, scrambling to his feet. She flipped, landing on her feet, and buried the stake in the vampire's abdomen just as he stood up. He groaned and fell to his knees.
"Now you feel like talking?" Damon asked.
"Screw you." The vamp growled.
"Wrong answer." Buffy said, pushing the stake further into the vamp's body. "Why are you doing this?"
"Cause it's fun."
Buffy shoved down, sending the tip of the stake upwards. "What do you want with Elena?"
"She looks like Katherine."
"You knew Katherine?" Damon asked.
"Oh. You thought you were the only ones. You don't even remember me."
"Tell me how to get in the tomb. Hmm?"
"No." Buffy pushed the stake further up again and the vampire groaned. "The grimoire."
"Where is it?" Damon asked.
"Check the journal. The journal. Jonathan Gilbert's."
"Who else is working with you?" Buffy asked. "Who else is there?"
"No. You're gonna have to kill me."
"It can be arranged." Buffy knelt down and got in the vamp's face. "Do you know what I am?"
"That's right. And I know a thousand different ways to torture a vampire to get what I want. So…." Buffy pulled the stake out and twirled in it her hand, ignoring the blood that started to coat her hand. "Who else is working with you?"
Buffy suddenly shoved the stake back in, purposely missing the heart. "Who else?"
"Remember, Buffy…." Damon said. "He was invited in."
"Oh, I remember." Buffy took the stake out again and leveled it at the vamp's eye. "One more time, big boy. Who else are you working with?"
Buffy sighed. "Ugh! Fine." She shoved the stake in his heart and stood up.
"What do we…. how are you gonna find the others now?" Elena asked.
"He had to die." Damon said.
"Elena, he's been invited in."
They heard someone walking in the hallway outside and looked up to see Alaric lurking in the doorway. "Go." Stefan said. "I got this."
Damon grabbed Buffy's clean hand and pulled her out into the hallway. Alaric was rushing down the hallway away from them. Damon let go of Buffy's hand and was suddenly blocking Alaric's path.
"Hey." He said.
"What were you doing?" Damon asked, using his compulsion.
"Looking for Ms. Hilden."
"Why are you in Mystic Falls?"
"I got a job as a teacher."
"Do you know what I am?"
"You're my student's brother."
"Is everything you're telling me the truth?"
"Then forget we had this conversation." Damon walked around Alaric and back over to Buffy. As soon as they were out of earshot, Damon turned to her. "You, missy, are brutal."
"I'm sorry Elena had to see that." Buffy said, wiping her hand clean on a papertowel she'd grabbed from the bathroom while Damon had been compelling Alaric.
"She'll be fine." He stepped closer to her, his body barely an inch away. "What about me?"
She looked up at him. "What about you?"
"Aren't you upset that I had to see that?"
"You're more ruthless than me."
"Is that true?"
Buffy held his gaze for a long moment.
"Hey." Stefan walked up to them and Buffy stepped away from Damon. "Elena's going to check on Jeremy."
"Is she ok?" Buffy asked.
"There's no way that idiot was working alone." Damon said.
"You are." Stefan countered. "So the grimoire…. That was Emily's, right? That's what you need to reverse the spell. When the founding families burned her, they took her things, and you were hoping that dad's journal would tell you where it is."
"Look at you putting the pieces together. Good for you. I was half-right. Well, it's out there now. Let the games begin."
"My offer still stands."
"Yeah, with some hidden caveats, no doubt."
"No. Nothing hidden about it. No lies. No deception. I'm there when you open up that tomb, you and Katherine go. And the other 26 vampires die."
"If I agree?"
"I'll help you."
"Why should I trust you?"
"Because I'm your brother."
"No, that's not gonna cut it."
"Because I want you gone."
"Ok." Damon smiled and walked off.
Stefan looked at Buffy. "Are you ok?"
Buffy shrugged. "Felt good to fight. It's been a while."
"Wasn't much of a fight."
"I did kinda wail on him, huh?"
"Well," Stefan put his arm around her shoulders. "You have some pent up anger. It happens."
"For being so kind to me when you didn't even know me."
"Lexi loved you and that was enough for me. Besides, Elena's taken a shine to you and I just don't think that she would let me let you leave."
Buffy made sure Damon wasn't around. "What about the tomb?"
"I can't let him open it."
Buffy nodded. "Good choice. I may be good, but 26 starving vampires may be a little much even for me. So what's the plan?"