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Chapter 6

Chapter 6

"Good morning!" Damon said loudly, walking into Buffy's room. She had still been asleep. Buffy grumbled and slid underneath the covers. "Come on. Rise and shine. It's a new day and we have lots to do."

"Go away, Damon!" Buffy said, her voice muffled by the covers.

Damon slid into bed on Buffy's free side. He gently lifted the covers and peeked under. "Hello down there."

"What is the matter with you?" She slid back out and glared at him. "I am trying to sleep in."

"There's no time for that. We have a tomb to open."

Buffy sighed and sat up, leaning against the headboard. She looked down at Damon resting next to her. "Why are you so annoying?"

"Annoying? And here I thought I was being charming."

"You could've at least brought me a coffee.""Did you look on the nightstand?" Buffy glanced over at the steaming mug of coffee. "Not so annoying after all, huh?"

"Thank you."

Damon rolled up and on top of Buffy, holding his weight up with his arms. For a second, Buffy swore he was going to kiss her. "You're welcome." He smiled brightly, rolled away, and stood up. "You should wear that blue shirt I saw in your closet. It brings out your eyes." He shut the door behind him.

Buffy was embarrassed to find that her heart was racing. And what was with that comment about her shirt?

Buffy and Stefan stood in Elena's dining area unpacking some boxes looking for the Gilbert journals. "Do you think Damon really believes us?" Elena asked. "That we're trying to help him?"

"I don't think Damon knows what to believe. Trust isn't something that comes naturally to him." Stefan said.

"You know…. I really think that Damon believes that everything he's done, every move that he's made, he's done for love. It's twisted, but kind of sad."

"There are other ways to get what you want. You don't have to kill people. Damon has no regard for human life. He enjoys inflicting pain on others. For 145 years, every single time that I have let my guard down and let Damon back into my life, he's done something to make me regret that. I'm not going to make that mistake again."

"So what do you think will happen if the tomb gets opened and Damon gets Katherine back?" Buffy asked.

"I think that no matter what Damon promises, a lot of people will die." Elena nodded and looked down at the picture that had fallen out of the album in her hands. "That's Jonathan Gilbert."

"What is this?" Buffy was holding a wooden box that held a contraption that looked vaguely like a muzzle.

"What are you guys doing?" The all turned to see Elena's little brother, Jeremy, walk in.

"Hey. Just going through some stuff. Feeling sentimental. Jeremy, have you met my friend Buffy?"

"No. I haven't. Hi Elena's friend, Buffy." He shook her hand.

"Hello Elena's little brother, Jeremy." Buffy said, smiling at him.

"So, Dad had this whole family journal from years ago. I thought I'd dig it up and show Buffy."

"Jonathan Gilbert's journal?" Jeremy asked.

"Yeah, what do you know about it?"

"I just did a history report on it."

"Oh. So where is it now?"

"I gave it to Mr. Saltzman. He wanted to see it."

Buffy and Stefan walked into Alaric's classroom at the high school. "He's not here." Buffy said.

Stefan shook his head. "I think he is. Just not in…."

Buffy caught the stake out of the air before it could pierce Stefan's back and turned to find Alaric standing in the doorway holding a stake-shooting weapon. He started to reload, shaking frantically, but Buffy was suddenly standing beside him taking it out of his hands.

"You shouldn't have done that." Stefan said. "Have a seat." Alaric sat down while Buffy inspected the weapon.

"What is this, compressed air?" Buffy asked. Alaric nodded. "Bad ass. Did you make it yourself?" He nodded again. "Oh, don't worry. We're not going to hurt you…."

"Unless you try that again." Stefan added. "Who are you?"

"I'm a teacher." Alaric answered.

Buffy sighed, setting the weapon down away from Alaric's reach. "Are we going to have to do this the hard way?"

"I'm also an historian. And while researching Virginia, I…. made a few discoveries about your town."

"So you show up like Van Helsing? Come on. Tell us the truth."

"My wife was a parapsychologist. She spent her life researching paranormal activity in this area. It was her work that led me here."

"Where's your wife?" Stefan asked.

"Dead. A vampire killed her."

"I'm sorry." Buffy said sincerely.

"Where's the Gilbert journal?" Stefan asked.

"What do you want with it?" Alaric countered.

"Where is it?"

"It's on my desk."

Buffy, who was standing next to the desk, took a quick look. "No, it's not."

Alaric took a look. "It was on my desk."

"How long have you been aware of me?" Stefan asked.

"I learned just recently. What about your brother?"

"You met Damon."

"Who do you think killed my wife?"

"Are you sure it was Damon?" Buffy asked.

"I witnessed it."

"Oh."

"If you're here for revenge, this is going to end very badly for you." Stefan said.

Alaric sighed. "I just want to find out what happened to my wife."

"I thought you just said that Damon…." Buffy started.

"Yeah. I saw him draining the life out of her. He must have heard me coming. He just…. Disappeared. So did her body. They never found her."

"Damon can never know why you're here. He'll kill you without blinking."

"I can take care of myself."

"No, you can't. We can help you. If you let us."

"So, you're a vampire too?" Alaric asked her.

Buffy laughed. "No. I'm a Vampire Slayer."

"I heard about you."

"Apparently I'm famous."

"My wife was also looking into Sunnydale and what actually happened there."

Buffy smiled slightly. "Boy, I could've told her some stories."

After they finished up with Alaric, Buffy and Stefan headed over to Elena's house for dinner. To their surprise, Damon had answered the door. Now he, Buffy, Stefan, and Elena were on the porch discussing what had happened at the high school.

"Who took it?" Damon demanded.

"We don't know." Stefan said.

"You know what, it's that teacher. There's something really off about him."

"No, he doesn't know anything." Buffy said.

"Somebody got to him before me. Who else knew it was there?" Stefan looked through the window at Jeremy sitting on the sofa.

"No." Elena said. "Damon, leave him out of it!"

"Why? What's the big deal?"

"Damon!"

They followed Damon inside and he sat down on the sofa next to Jeremy. "So…. I heard you found a really cool journal from back in the day. Who else did you show it to?"

"Huh?" Jeremy asked.

"Don't ask questions, just spill."

"You're kidding me, right?"

"Jer did you tell anyone other than Mr. Saltzman about Gilbert's journal?" Elena asked.

"Why is everybody so obsessed with that thing?"

"Who else did you tell?"

"Just that girl Anna."

"The hot weird one?" Damon asked.

"Yeah."

"Wait, who is Anna?" Stefan asked.

"That's what I want to find out." Damon said. Behind him, Elena went to answer the phone. "How do you know her?"

"I just know her. She wants me to meet her at the Grill tonight."

"Perfect. I'll drive. Come on. Ok." Damon took off and Jeremy followed.

Buffy sighed. "I'll keep an eye on Damon." She followed to two boys out.

"Buffy! Coming with?" Damon asked, smiling brightly as we walked backwards down the steps.

"I think Elena and Stefan were giving each other that look that said 'give us privacy' so I'm tagging along." Buffy said. "Why don't we take my car?"

Damon escorted Buffy to the bar while Jeremy went off to the pool table to wait for the Anna chick. "So, why are you really here?" Damon asked.

"I just couldn't stay away." Buffy said.

"That's bull and you know it. Spill."

"I'm just keeping an eye on you. Nobody trusts you with the safety of Elena's kid brother."

"Ouch."

"You're not stung by it and you know it. So who do you think this Anna chick is?"

"I'm not sure."

"What if she's just some girl interested in Jeremy? It's possible, you know. He's adorable and girls aren't going to miss that fact."

"Got the hots for the kid?"

Buffy smacked Damon's arm. "Ew. No. I'm just stating a fact."

"Got the hots for anybody else?"

"Um…. No. Though that Alaric is pretty yum, Jenna's got her eye on him and I don't mess with claimed men."

"Where's the sport in that?"

"Well, I'm just not a sports type of girl." Buffy glanced over at Jeremy when she heard him talking. "Oh…."

"Oh is right." Damon said, looking a little stunned.

"You know her?"

"Yes. I met her in 1864. She's the daughter of Katherine's best friend Pearl."

"Is Pearl in that tomb?"

"She was one of the 26 other vampires."

"Safe bet that Anna is looking to open that tomb, too?"

"I would say so."

"So, do we follow her, or do we hit some motels and find her?""How are we going to do that?"

"Wait for me outside?" Buffy didn't give him a chance to answer. She strolled over to Jeremy. "Hey, Jeremy, Jenna just called me and asked me to help her with something. Give me a call when you're ready to leave?" She handed him a napkin with her cell number on it.

"Oh, uh…. Buffy, this is Anna. Anna, this is my sister's friend Buffy. She's pretty cool."

"It's nice to meet you." Anna said.

"You too. Sorry I don't have more time, but I've gotta go help Jenna. Later." Buffy waved and walked out.

Damon was waiting for her right outside the door. "What was that about?"

"I've got her scent now. Let's hit some hotels and I'll bet you $20 I can find her before she leaves this place."

"You're on." Damon said, following Buffy to her car.

Damon was walking around the room, checking out what Anna had stashed there. He'd told Buffy about their history while they waited. He'd also given her the $20 he'd owed her. Suddenly, Damon was across the room and pinning Buffy to the wall behind the door with his entire body. Her heart sped up, but he pressed a finger to his lips as the door opened. Anna walked through the door and Damon caught her by the neck, slamming her against a far wall. Unfortunately for Damon, her hand shot out and started to crush his neck.

"Ok, I give." Damon choked out after a minute. They both let go and coughed. "Damn. You're strong for a little thing." Buffy cleared her throat. "So are you."

"I was wondering how long it would take you to find me." Anna said.

"How long have you been here?"

"I arrived around half-past comet watching you screw up every chance you had to open that tomb."

"How did you know about the spell?" Buffy asked.

"I didn't say much back then…." Anna said, looking back at Damon. "Which means I heard everything."

"So if you've been here the whole time, then why are we just crossing paths right now?" Damon asked.

"I like to use others to do my dirty work."

"Like Logan Fell? Oh, yeah, thanks for that, by the way. Little bastard shot me."

"Logan was an idiot. We slipped him some blood when he started getting all poser Slayer with that compass. I needed his family's journal. I couldn't let him die."

"What'd you want with the Fell journal?"

"I thought it contained the location of the witch's spell book. I was wrong. According to her journal, Honorea gave the grimoire to Jonathan Gilbert. And, according to this…." Anna grabbed the Gilbert journal. "He gave it to your father. So now you're going to help me find it."

"Why would I help you?"

"Cause you and I both want that tomb open." She opened it to a certain page and handed Damon the journal.

He read a bit of it, then wrapped the string back around it and tossed it on the dresser. "Sorry. I work alone." Damon paused and glanced at Buffy. "Well, not this time. But she's far more fun than you." He opened the door and let Buffy out first.

"Where are we going?" Buffy asked.

"To visit my father."

"Oh, I was wondering when you were going to introduce me to your parents."

Damon chuckled as he held the door opened for her.

Buffy held Damon's hand as he led her through the woods. They had both stumbled a few times making their way to the old graveyard, so they were relying on each other to stay upright. The night sky was missing a moon, so the darkness that surrounded them was nearly complete. Even with their night vision, they had trouble seeing.

But the firelight ahead was unexpected. They walked closer and discovered Stefan and Elena standing by a freshly dug up grave. "Well, what do you know?" Damon said. "This is an interesting turn of events."

"I can't let you bring her back. I'm sorry." Stefan said.

"So am I. For thinking for even a second that I can trust you."

"Oh. You're not capable of trust. The fact that you're here means that you read the journal and you were planning on doing this yourself."

"Of course I was going to do it by myself. Because the only one I can count on is me! You made sure of that many years ago, Stefan. But you…." He looked at Elena. "You had me fooled. So what are you going to do now? Because if you try and destroy that, I'll rip her heart out."

"You won't kill her." Buffy said.

Damon glanced at her, then was suddenly standing behind Elena, holding her tightly to him. "I can do one better." He forced her to drink his blood from his wrist. "Give me the book, Stefan. Or I'm snapping her neck. And you and I will have a vampire girlfriend."

"Let her go first." Stefan said.

"Drop it."

"I'm not going to give this to you until she is standing next to me."

"Problem is, I no longer trust that you'll give it back!"

"You just did the one thing that ensures that I will."

Damon looked at Buffy, then back at Stefan. "Give it to Buffy."

"Why me?" Buffy asked.

"Because you've actually been a help to me."

Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed. "I'm with Stefan on this. Opening that tomb and releasing all those starving vampires just to get one back is crazy."

"Are you kidding me?"

Buffy crossed her arms. "You want that journal? Hand over Elena."

"You know, I actually trusted you."

"And you still can. I haven't broken any promises I've made to you. I've gone everywhere with you and helped you when you needed it. And you can trust that this journal," Buffy took it from Stefan. "Will end up in your hands as soon as Elena is standing next to Stefan."

Damon stared at her for a long moment. She walked a few paces towards him with the journal. After another minute, Damon let Elena go, ensuring that she was steady on her feet until she was out of his reach. Stefan stared at Damon for a moment, then took Elena and headed out of the woods.

"Why did you help me when you weren't planning to see it through?" Damon demanded.

"Because I don't want anyone to get hurt. I'm a Slayer, Damon. I protect the innocent. You just kill them if they get in your way. This town doesn't deserve that kind of punishment." Buffy stepped closer to him until their bodies were mere inches apart. She handed him the journal, but he just held it, his hand barely touching hers. After a long moment, she said, "There's something I kept from Stefan."

"What's that?"

"If you do manage to succeed in opening that tomb, which I seriously suspect that you will eventually…. being it's your obsession and all…. I want to make a deal with you. Here and now."

"What's that?"

"I'll let you and Katherine live if you get out of this town as soon as you find her. I'll pretend I didn't even see you if you help me put stakes in the other vampires hearts."

"Why should I trust you?"

"Because unlike everyone else, I've never lied to you."

Damon held her gaze for a long moment. He sighed. "Deal."

Buffy nodded. "So, are you just going to stand around here and read by the firelight, or can you help a girl out of these woods before you shove your nose in that thing?"

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