The Next Chapter

Chapter 60

Chapter 60

Buffy opened her eyes slowly and stared painfully around her. The sun was way too bright. She groaned and rolled over, hiding behind her hair with her face to the ground so she could get her bearings. She felt Damon laying, still unconscious, next to her where he'd fallen. The last thing she remembered was Bonnie walking towards her and Damon as they stood outside the crypt where Alaric's body was. Alaric….

Buffy was suddenly on her feet and inside the crypt. There was no Alaric, but Bonnie was lying unconscious on the floor and bleeding from a large tear in her neck where Alaric's fangs had ripped into her. She was nearly dead. "Crap!" Buffy knelt down, bit into her wrist, and put it to Bonnie's lips. "Come on, drink up, Bonnie."

"Ugh…." Damon said from behind her. "What happened?"

"Wake up, Bonnie." Buffy watched as Bonnie's wounds healed. She pulled her wrist back and the wound on her wrist disappeared in an instant.

Bonnie gasped and sat up, moving away from Buffy. Her head swam and she sagged. "Oh…. What happened?"

"Where's Rick?" Damon asked, looking around.

Bonnie gasped. "Oh no! Alaric!"

"Bonnie, what the hell happened?" Buffy asked.

"The witches…. Esther…. They brought me here to complete Alaric's transition. Oh god…."

"Where's the stake?" Damon asked.

Buffy patted her jacket and reached into the pocket she'd hidden it. "It's gone!"

"Great!"

"Come on. We need to warn the others." Buffy stood up and helped Bonnie up. Bonnie swooned, but Buffy held her up as they walked to Buffy's car. "I swear, if you do that migraine thing to me again, I'm binding your powers."

"I'm sorry. It wasn't me."

"I know. I've still got a headache, so I'm a bit on the cranky side." Buffy looked at Damon. "Can vampires take aspirin?"

"You'd need a large dose of it to even get any kind of effect and even then your body would flush it out too fast to do any good. At least that's what it does to me. You probably wouldn't even notice you'd taken it. I'll get you some morphine." Damon said. "So Alaric's a vampire now?"

"Yeah."

"This isn't good."

"Nope." Buffy helped Bonnie into the backseat of her car before dashing over and getting in the driver's seat. Damon hadn't even gotten his door shut when she peeled out, spinning tires and throwing dirt.

"Where do you think he's gone?"

"I have no idea." Buffy's cell phone started ringing and Damon grabbed it out of her jacket pocket for her.

"It's Willow." He hit the answer button. "Hey Big Red."

"Damon?" Willow asked. "Where's Buffy?"

"She's driving like a bat out of hell. And trust me…. Even with the super-super powers…. Her driving hasn't gotten much better."

"Is everything ok?"

"Uh…. Not really." Buffy held her hand out and made a gimmie motion. "Hold on." Damon handed Buffy the phone.

"How fast can you get here?" Buffy asked.

"By plane, a couple of hours. We're in Florida visiting some of Kennedy's family."

Buffy glanced at the clock and then looked at Damon. "The sun's only just risen and he doesn't have a daylight ring."

"That gives a good amount of time." Damon said.

"Buffy, what's going on?" Willow asked.

"Esther turned Alaric into a psycho Original vampire bent on destroying the vampire race. She even gave him a special stake to do it with."

"Why would Alaric let that happen? That requires participation."

"Remember those black outs I mentioned? His alter ego is the one who agreed to everything. When he came back from the dead last night, he decided not to complete the transition, but Bonnie got possessed or something by the dead witches and Esther and got past Damon and me. Hey, is there any way to block a witch from doing that brain splitting open spell? Cause that sucks."

"I can look into it."

"Please do."

"Ok. I'm gonna grab a couple of things and hop on a plane. I'll call you when I land."

"See you soon." Buffy hung up and turned onto Elena's street.

"My brother's here." Damon said. "Wonder if he ever went home…."

"I'm glad he's here."

"I've got Bonnie. Go get Stefan." Damon stopped her before she got out of the car. "Don't scare Elena and Jeremy."

"Wasn't planning on it. They've been through enough already." She got out of the car and was through the front door a heartbeat later. The smell of wet paint was permeating the house and she heard Stefan, Dawn, Jeremy, and Elena upstairs talking.

"We're fine." Jeremy was saying. "But, if you are trying to be the good guy again, why don't you do the right thing and give us one day? Just one day without any vampires in it?"

"Does that include me, Jer?" Buffy asked.

"Buffy…."

Buffy gently touched his arm. "I know how you feel about vampires, but not all of us are out to get you. Some of us became this way to protect our loved ones."

"I know, I just…."

"It's ok. I get it." She looked around the room. "What are you guys doing in here?"

"Painting." Elena said. "We've gotta keep moving."

"I take it green was the only color you had in the house?" Elena shrugged. "You guys keep going. It looks good."

"We can choose another color." Elena offered. "I mean…. It'll be your room."

Buffy nodded. "We'll talk about it later."

"Where have you been?" Dawn demanded. "I've been trying to call you all night?"

"My phone wasn't on me. Stefan, can I talk to you for a minute downstairs."

"Everything ok?" Jeremy asked."I want to talk to him about moving out and everything." Buffy smiled and kissed Elena's forehead before walking out with Stefan. Dawn followed close behind, but Buffy didn't argue. She needed to hear the news too. Downstairs, Damon had brought Bonnie into the kitchen and sat her at the table.

"What happened?" Stefan asked.

"Alaric's been turned." Damon said.

"What do you mean he turned? I thought you two were standing guard!"

"Don't blame us! Blame Bonnie the blood bank. She fed him."

"I had no idea what was happening." Bonnie defended. "Ok, the witches led me there. They wanted him to feed so he would turn."

"So where's the stake now?" Dawn asked.

"Oh, you mean the white oak one? The one that can kill an Original and wipe out an entire line of vampires? We don't know."

"If you guys are so upset with me, why did you feed me your blood to save my life?" Bonnie snapped.

"Because we do stupid things, Bonnie. We do things like let our friend die with dignity when I should've just killed him."

"Chill." Buffy said. "Back to your corners. Bonnie, despite how much you hate us…. I do still consider you my friend. If I have the power to save your life, then consider your life saved."

Bonnie nodded. "Thank you."

"All right, so how do we kill him?" Stefan asked.

"Hopefully we'll have that answer soon. Willow's on her way." Damon said. "She called Buffy back."

"While Buffy was talking to her, I was thinking about a way to fix this." Bonnie said. "A witch can't truly make an immortal creature. There's always a way to undo a spell."

"So, what's the witchy work around?" Damon asked.

"That's the problem. I don't know."

Buffy nodded. "Esther said that Willow was just as powerful as she was. Maybe Willow will know something. Until then…. We need to warn Klaus and Rebekah."

"What? Why?" Damon demanded.

"Because they're Alaric's main targets. He kills them, we're all dead! And I'm pretty sure him randomly showing up not dead will distract them long enough for him to jab his pretty little stake through their hearts. I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to permanently hang out with Rose and Lexi." The doorbell rang and Buffy heard Jeremy stop on his way down the stairs to answer the door.

"What the hell do you want?" Jeremy asked.

"Klaus." Buffy was suddenly gone from the kitchen. Damon and Stefan followed her to the door while Dawn stayed with Bonnie.

"Now is that anyway to treat a guest?" Klaus said."What are you doing here, Klaus?" Buffy asked, moving Jeremy behind her.

"Well for starters, young Jeremy here could show some manners and invite me inside."

"Jeremy, go up to your room please." Buffy said.

"Now." Damon said forcefully when Jeremy didn't listen.

"Poor lad." Klaus looked at Damon standing at Buffy's back. "Loses one father figure only to be replaced by the likes of you."

"Yeah, about that…. Something happened." Damon said.

"Oh, I know all about my mother's little invulnerable little creation and that's why I'm here. I'm leaving town…. Just need to pick up a little road trip necessities. Spare tire…. Flashlight…. Doppelgänger."

"Can't help you there." Damon and Stefan moved back, pulling Buffy with them, and Damon slammed the door in Klaus's face.

Buffy turned and rushed upstairs. "Elena?" She found Jeremy alone in the room they were painting. "Where's Elena?"

"I don't know. She was just here a few minutes ago." Jeremy said.

"You've got to be kidding me." Buffy turned and walked down the stairs where Stefan and Damon met her.

"Where is she?" Damon asked.

"She's not here."

"What do you mean 'she's not here'? Where did she go?"

"If I knew, I would be there too."

"What's going on?" Dawn asked as she and Bonnie walked into the hallway.

Damon walked over to the window. "Klaus wants in. I'd like to keep him out. Duck!" Everyone hit the floor except Buffy. She stood in the middle of the living room and caught the newspaper in her hand easily, glaring at it in annoyance.

"I think you're probably going to want to let me in!" Klaus yelled.

"Not in a million years!" Buffy called back as she threw the newspaper back, smacking Klaus in the chest and knocking him back a few feet. He rolled his eyes and marched off.

Damon, Stefan, Bonnie, and Dawn stood up as Jeremy came down the stairs. "What's going on?" Jeremy asked."Your sister's gone missing…. Again." Buffy said.

They all went to the kitchen and Stefan went to a window. "Elena's car is gone."

"Why wouldn't she tell anyone where she was going?" Bonnie asked.

Just then, the door burst open as Klaus hurled a soccer ball through it. The ball bounced off Damon and he straightened up just in time to almost get hit by a flying picket fence spear. "Get down!" Stefan yelled as Damon called, "Missed me!"

Damon broke off a chunk of the fence that had lodged in the wall and hurled it back at Klaus. Klaus easily ducked it and broke his second spear, hurling it through the door at them. Buffy swatted it to the ground and rolled her eyes at Damon as he called out to Klaus, "Missed me again!"

Buffy grabbed her ringing phone out of her jacket pocket. The number was not one she wanted to see. "Alaric."

"Did I catch you at a bad time?" Alaric asked.

"Not at all. Do you have Elena?"

"Of course I do. You should really keep a better eye on her, mother dearest. If you want her and Caroline back, Klaus needs to turn himself into me."

"I'll see what I can do." Buffy looked up to see Klaus walking up with a flaming newspaper and a propane tank. "Oh! Seriously!" She marched out onto the porch. "Would you put that out?"

"Make me." Klaus challenged.

Buffy rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "Elena's not here, you dolt. Alaric has her and Caroline and he's going to kill them if you don't turn yourself over to him." Klaus blinked in surprise. "Yeah, though that might catch your attention."

Klaus tossed the newspaper and tank aside. "Now I know you're not asking me to walk into a certain death."

"Why ever would I do that?"

"Finally come around, love?"

"If Alaric kills you, then there's a one in four chance that we die too." Buffy uncrossed her arms and put her hands on her hips.

"I'll take those odds." Damon said, walking out onto the porch and sliding an arm through one of hers and around her waist."And a 100% chance that Tyler dies." Stefan reminded him.

"Good with that too."

"Damon!" Buffy rolled her eyes and shook her head. "How about we figure out a way to put Alaric down instead of throwing things at each other? It's much more productive while we wait for Willow to get here."

Klaus sighed and moved away. "Ok, how about Damon sneaks in and distracts Alaric while Stefan walks in and carries Elena to safety?"

"Oh, that's a great idea!" Damon said. "What's to stop me from getting killed instantly?"

"Nothing."

Buffy's fist shot out and blood ran down Klaus's nose from her punch. "That's my 'no' vote to that plan in case you weren't clear."

"I might have an idea." Bonnie said. "My mom used a desiccation spell on Mikael that immobilized him for over 15 years. If I can get it, I might be able to use it on Alaric."

"If and might." Klaus said. "Your words inspire such confidence."

"I'll get it. But even with the spell, we'll need a lot of vampire muscle to take him down. Including yours."

Klaus sighed. "Just so we're clear, the sun sets in about eight hours. We don't succeed before then, Elena will be dead, I'll be gone, and the rest of you will be left to fend for yourselves."

Stefan, Klaus, and Buffy pulled up to the high school in Klaus's SUV. Damon had taken Bonnie in Buffy's car to their house to wait for Abby and Willow. Willow had managed to send a text from the airplane before they'd all gone their separate ways saying she was about an hour away from Richmond. She should be arriving in Mystic Falls soon. Dawn had stayed behind with Jeremy.

As they climbed out of the car, Stefan looked at his text messages. "Abby just showed up." He said to Buffy.

"Good." Klaus said, walking around to the front of the car. "Perhaps this plan won't be an epic failure after all." He looked at Buffy for a long moment before looking away.

"What?" She asked.

"You know if this does go off and we drop the history teacher in the Atlantic…. I'm still leaving with Elena."

"Over my dead body."

"In case you forgot, dearest, your body is dead."

"You're not taking Elena."

"She's my doppelganger."

"And I'm her legal guardian, therefore she's my daughter. Daughter trumps doppelganger."

"One way or another, I will take Elena with me. I will make your lives a living hell until she willing hands herself over…. Which you know she will because she's self-sacrificing that way."

Buffy sighed, knowing Klaus was right. She glanced at Stefan before saying, "Then I'll go with you."

Stefan whipped his head around to look at her in surprise. "What?"

"What's the catch?" Klaus asked.

"There's no catch." Buffy said in exasperation. "I would do anything to protect Elena. I turned into a vampire to protect her from you. Do you honestly believe I would let you just disappear into the horizon with her?"

"What about your beloved Damon?"

Buffy looked away for a split second. "He'll understand."

"I don't think he would. And you know he wouldn't be allowed to join us."

"Then I'll come." Stefan said, stepping up next to Buffy.

"Why would I even let you come after everything you've done to me?"

"Because Buffy is family and you're all about family, aren't you Klaus? You once said we were like brothers."

"That still doesn't tell me why I would let you come."

"Buffy leaving behind her family would make her unhappy. You want Buffy to be happy, don't you? I mean, you supposedly love her and all."

Klaus looked at Buffy. "I can't wait to see the two of you tell Damon you're leaving him behind to come with me." He smirked and leaned against the car.

Damon and Willow made their way back upstairs from the basement. Damon was carrying a glass of blood for Abby. Willow had arrived only a few minutes before. She'd met Abby, but Bonnie hadn't told her about the spell she wanted to try. Only that Abby was the only one who knew it.

"Why didn't I have to be invited in?" Abby asked."Only vampires live here." Bonnie said.

"We had signed over the deed to Buffy," Damon said. "But she kind of became a vampire herself, so…. The seal broke. Long story." He held out the glass. "Blood?" Abby just glared at him. "Oh, come on. Think of it as a peace offering." Abby still made no move for the glass. "Fine. More for me." Damon looked at Willow and rolled his eyes. Willow didn't say anything. She knew what had happened with Damon and Abby.

Damon sat down and motioned to Bonnie. Bonnie sighed and said, "We called you here because I need help with a spell. Esther created a vampire that can't be killed. I want to desiccate him like you did to Mikael."

"Didn't that spell strip you of your powers?" Willow asked Abby.

"Yes." Abby said. "It's too dangerous for you Bonnie."

"Maybe not for me." Willow offered.

Abby shook her head. "A witch's magic comes from the earth. It's pure. This spell asks you to tap into dark places. Places of temptation. Places neither of you could handle."

"You turned your back on me for 16 years." Bonnie said. "You have no idea what I can handle."

"Gotta say I'm team Bonnie on this one." Damon said. "How hard can it be to parch a vampire?"

"The spell allows you to stop a vampire's heart." Abby said. "The blood will stop flowing and his body will desiccate."

"That's exactly what we want to do." Bonnie said.

"So, what do we do?" Willow asked.

"To stop a vampire's heart…. You need to find a balance among the living. Can either of you handle that?"

Willow backed up a step. "I can't."

Bonnie looked at her. "What do you mean?"

"I can't do that again." Willow shook her head frantically.

"What?" Damon asked. "What does that balance thing mean? I don't speak witch."

"You have to stop a human heart." Bonnie said. "I don't understand, Willow. Why can't you…."

"Bonnie, don't push it." Damon said, standing up and moving over to Willow. Buffy had told him about Willow's stint with the dark magics and what she'd done…. What that had done to her. He wrapped a protective arm around Willow's shoulders. "It's ok. You don't have to do anything you don't want to."

"What's going on?"

"The last time I tapped into dark magics…. The kind that Abby is talking about…." Willow took a deep breath. "I killed a person…. A human…. And I lost control. I almost ended the world. I don't trust myself with magics that dark anymore."

"Oh."

"Ok, Abby you tell Bonnie the spell, Willow you see if there's anything you can do to help that you feel comfortable with, and I'll call Dawn and let her know what's going on." Damon said.

Buffy and Stefan stood a little ways away from Klaus while they waited on the others. "Are you sure you want to go with him?" Stefan asked quietly.

"He'll never leave Elena alone and you know he's right about Elena going willingly to protect us." Buffy said. "At least if I'm with them…. I can moderate what happens."

"What about Damon?"

"We'll figure something out."

"You don't sound so confident about that."

"Yeah, well…. You know Damon as well as I do. This whole thing will probably lead to one massive fight."

"They're here." Klaus said. Buffy and Stefan looked over to see Bonnie, Willow, and Damon walk up to Jeremy. Dawn had brought him only a few minutes before saying that Bonnie had asked them to come.

"Look at this." Klaus said as he, Buffy, and Stefan walked up to Damon and the others. "One big happy family.""Hey Wills." Buffy smiled slightly and hugged her best friend tightly. "You ok?"

"Yeah." Willow smiled, keeping a hold on Buffy's waist. Damon had texted Buffy what was going to happen and why Willow wasn't doing the spell.

"Drink this." Bonnie said, holding out a vial of blood to Damon. "It's my blood. It bridges us all together so when I stop Jeremy's heart…. You'll have the power to stop Alaric's. You need to make a physical connection to his blood stream…. A vein…. Artery…. Something connected to his heart."

Damon took a sip of the blood and passed it to Stefan before looking at Buffy. "You're the strongest, babe. Best chance we've got."

"Don't leave it all on Buffy's shoulders, Damon." Stefan said, taking his sip. "If one of us gets a clean shot, take it…. The other three can hold him down." He handed the vial to Buffy and she sipped it before passing it to Klaus.

"Before we all walk through these doors, let's get on the same page, shall we?" Klaus said. "I was the one who created your vampire bloodline and therefore I am responsible for your lives…. And Tyler's life…. And Caroline's life…. And of course Abby's life….. Should anything go wrong."

"Or you're just lying to save your ass." Damon said.

"I'm not lying. But go ahead…. Call my bluff. Let the teacher kill me. You'll all be dead soon thereafter." Klaus shot back the last of the blood.

"Let's just get this over with, shall we?" Stefan said, heading for the school.

Buffy gave Willow one last hug and then followed Stefan with Damon. Klaus brought up the rear. Once inside, Buffy heard Elena and Alaric talking. Suddenly Alaric started screaming. Buffy moved into action. She pointed Damon and Stefan one way and pulled Klaus in another direction. Their best chance was surrounding Alaric.

As they rounded a corner, Klaus grabbed Caroline and pulled her out of the hallway. She started to struggle, but Buffy appeared in front of her. Caroline let out a sob and fell into Buffy's arms. "Shh…." Buffy hugged her tightly. "It's ok." She pulled back to look at Caroline. "We'll save Elena. I need you to go home, lock up, and don't come out until I call you. Ok?" Caroline nodded. "Go."

Buffy and Klaus disappeared down the hallway. She heard Alaric shove Elena against a locker and grabbed Klaus, stopping him. "I'll go in first." She whispered.

"He could kill you." Klaus said.

"I've always been the better fighter."

"Buffy…."

"I've got this." She started to move off, but Klaus grabbed her and pulled her to him. He brought her lips to his and kissed her passionately.

After a long moment, he pulled away. "Be safe."

Buffy looked at him and then nodded, disappearing.

"You don't deserve to live." Alaric said.

"So then why am I still alive?" Elena asked. That stopped Buffy from bolting around the corner and attacking. "There's obviously no humanity in you, so what's stopping you Alaric? If you want me dead, then kill me. Do it! Kill me!"

Buffy stepped around the corner, understanding Esther's spell. "He can't."

Alaric's and Elena's heads whipped around to look at her. "Hello Buffy." Alaric said.

"Elena, get out of here." Buffy said.

"Buffy…." Elena started.

"Don't worry about me. Alaric's a newbie at this. I've got some more experience with this Original power thing." Alaric laughed and stepped towards her. Elena took off running down the hallway. Buffy heard Damon and Stefan moving towards her from around another corner and Klaus wasn't far behind from another hallway.

Alaric attacked and Buffy feinted easily. She grabbed his head and slammed it down onto her knee. While he was still bent over, she kicked out and sent him flying into the lockers. He rolled to his feet and threw one of the locker doors at her. Buffy ducked, barely missing getting hit in the head, and dropped to the ground as Alaric charged. She rolled under him, but he grabbed her foot and pulled her back. Buffy turned and kicked up, nailing him in the face with the heel of her boot. He let go of her foot and she jumped to her feet. Alaric was faster than she anticipated, though. He'd grabbed the locker door and swung. It connected with her torso and she went flying back through a classroom door, landing painfully among the desks.

Damon and Stefan rushed in, each grabbing an arm. "Do it now!" Damon yelled. Alaric tossed him against the lockers and broke Stefan's back. Buffy came out of the classroom just in time to see Alaric snap Damon's neck. She growled, her eyes changing, and threw herself at Alaric. Her fury was palpable as she beat him down. Before he knew what was happening, Buffy's nails pierced his chest and her fingers touched his heart. Alaric screamed in pain. It took him a few seconds to get his bearings, but he reached up with large knife he'd stashed in his coat and shoved it through Buffy's abdomen. She dropped to the ground, releasing her hold on his heart, and Alaric viciously slammed her head into the lockers, knocking her unconscious.

Klaus suddenly appeared, shoving his fingers into the holes Buffy had made. Alaric tossed Klaus away and attacked with the stake. He managed to pin Klaus down and had the stake pointed over his heart. The only thing stopping Alaric was Klaus's struggling arms. The stake was getting closer and closer to his heart.

"Stop!" Elena demanded. "Let him go or I'll kill myself."

Alaric looked from Elena to Klaus and back. "Put it down Elena."

"Why? Because you still need me alive? There's a reason why Esther used me to make you, isn't there? She didn't want you to be immortal, so she tied your life to a human one. Mine. That way you only have one life span to kill all vampires and then you'll be gone. So when I die, you die too. Buffy was right. You can't kill me."

"You're both wrong."

"Are we?" Elena drug the knife through her neck, digging in.

"Stop! Stop! Stop!"

Klaus shoved Alaric off and disappeared out from under him. When Alaric got his bearings, the only ones in the hallway were the unconscious Damon, Stefan, and Buffy. Klaus and Elena were gone. Alaric went after them, but he was too late. He couldn't go out into the sunlight.

Buffy came to and looked down at her stomach. The large knife was still there. With a groan, she pulled the knife out and set it down next to her. Alaric was gone, but he was still in the building. Buffy moved over to Damon and Stefan. Damon's neck had already healed and his head was facing the right way. He was still unconscious though. Stefan's back seemed ok, but he always had healed slower than his brother.

"Get up." Buffy looked up to see Alaric standing there.

"Screw you." Buffy growled. She shook Damon gently. "Wake up, Damon." He groaned.

"I said get up!"

Buffy surged up, throwing Alaric down the hall. "And I said screw you."

"Why am I still alive?" Damon moaned. Next to him, Stefan started to come to.

Alaric walked down the hall, back towards Buffy. She tensed for a fight, eyes changing, but he stopped. "Klaus is going to kill Elena.""What?" Damon asked.

"What are you talking about?" Stefan asked as Buffy helped him and Damon up. "Klaus needs Elena's blood to make hybrids. She's the last person that he'd kill."

Buffy sighed. "Esther's spell bound Alaric's life to Elena's. She dies. He dies."

"Klaus figured that out and now he's taken her." Alaric said. "Now I'm trapped here until the sun goes down, so you three better get to doing what you three do best: Saving Elena's life." He turned and walked down the hallway.

Buffy grabbed Damon and Stefan and pulled them out of the school. "I know what to do."

"What do you mean?" Damon asked.

"We have to stop Klaus."

"We can't kill him! He's the creator of our bloodline."

"We're not going to kill him. We're going to desiccate him."

Stefan sighed. "What about Alaric?"

"We've still got Willow. She can work something out."

"She won't do that spell." Damon said. "It freaked her out to even think about doing dark magics."

"I know, but…. She's powerful enough that I don't think she needs to worry about the difference between dark or light magics anymore. If Bonnie loses her powers, Willow's our backup."

"What if she won't do it?" Stefan asked."If she's our only hope…. She'll do it. Willow always comes through in the end."

"What about Klaus?" Damon asked.

"I'll do it. I'm the last person he'll expect to do anything like this to him."

"Are you sure about this?" Stefan asked."Yeah. It's our only option right now. Damon, go let Bonnie know what's happened and what I'm planning. Stefan, you're with me." Buffy turned to leave, but she turned back and grabbed Damon, pulling her to him for a fiery kiss.

"I'm not complaining," Damon said, a little breathless. "But what was that for?"

"I love you. When this is over, we're going away for a vacation. Somewhere secluded." And with that, Buffy was gone. She cut through the woods by the school, heading for Klaus's house. Stefan was behind her a little ways back trying to keep up with her. Tyler's car was parked outside the house and Buffy heard a yelling match inside between Tyler and Klaus. When Buffy burst into the room, Klaus had Tyler pinned against the wall and Elena was unconscious on the floor.

"Goodbye Tyler." Klaus raised his arm to strike Tyler's death blow, but Buffy was suddenly there, twisting his arm.

Klaus turned around and Stefan and Tyler each grabbed an arm as Buffy shoved her fingers into Klaus's chest, touching his heart. He looked up at her in surprise as he screamed in pain. Buffy's betrayal hurt him as he understood what she was doing to him. He felt his heart slowing rapidly and looked up at her.

"I'm sorry." Buffy said before she could stop herself. "I'm sorry." Klaus started to desiccate before her eyes, a tear sliding down his cheek as he held her gaze. In that moment, Buffy finally admitted to herself that she had felt something for Klaus. Even though he had been an evil bastard, he had still loved her and she had returned a small amount of those feelings.

And then she had betrayed him.

It was almost poetic that she had to hold her hand against his heart, her gaze locked with his, until he withered and collapsed.

Tyler and Stefan lowered Klaus's body to the ground and Buffy yanked her hand away. She turned and walked out of the room, silent tears falling down her cheeks. Tyler made sure Elena was ok and Stefan followed Buffy outside. He pulled her to him as she started to cry.

"It's ok." Stefan whispered soothingly. "Shh…."

"Klaus was evil." Buffy choked out.

"Yes, but he actually cared about you. In his own way, he loved you and as much time as you had to spend with him…. It's understandable that you felt something towards him. But none of it makes you love Damon any less."

"Damon…. What am I going to tell Damon?"

"Nothing. You don't have to tell him anything. Your feelings for Klaus aren't enough to hurt your relationship with Damon."

"I feel like I've betrayed him."

Stefan shook his head. "You can't help that you felt something for Klaus. Would you have left Damon for him, though?"

"Of course not."

"Then you haven't betrayed Damon."

"I kissed him." Buffy blurted. "Well, he kissed me, but I didn't stop him."

Stefan looked a little shocked, but he quickly recovered. "Stop. Stop beating yourself up over this. It's over. Klaus is gone and you will never have to deal with him again. You can live and love with Damon for the rest of eternity without any interference." She started to protest, but Stefan held up his hand. "Stop. Stop."

Elena and Tyler walked out of the house and Buffy walked over to her. "Are you ok?"

"He took a lot of blood from her." Tyler said. "She was almost gone by the time I got there."

"Thank you, Tyler. You need to get somewhere safe. Once the sun goes down, Alaric is free to roam anywhere. Elena, we're taking you to the hospital."

"No. I'm fine." Elena said.

"Elena…."

"I promise I'm fine. I just have a bit of a headache is all. Probably from that fall. I just want to go home."

Buffy glanced at Stefan. "Are you sure, Elena?" He asked.

"Yeah."

"Ok." Buffy still wasn't convinced, but she let it drop as Stefan said, "We'll take you home. We've just got to grab Klaus's body before Rebekah shows up."

"What are you going to do with him?" Elena asked.

"Put him in one of his coffins and drop him to the bottom of the Atlantic. And since the sun's about to go down and Rick's gonna terrorize the streets any minute…. We'll head out tonight."

"Just be careful. Both of you. Is Damon going too?"

"I doubt he'd want to miss it."

"Let's get you home." Buffy said, opening the passenger's door to Klaus's SUV.

"I'll stay here and guard." Stefan said. "You get Elena home safe and pick up Damon." Buffy nodded and climbed in the driver's seat.

Damon turned around in his seat and patted the coffin with Klaus in it. "Yeah…."

"What?" Stefan asked from the driver's seat. Buffy sat in the back seat staring out the window.

"How many desiccated hybrids does take to screw in a light bulb?"

"You're in a good mood.""Yeah I'm in a good mood. Klaus is dead, my brother's half way sane again, and my fiancée is still the most gorgeous woman in the world." Damon reached back and squeezed Buffy's hand. "Give or take in an immortal hunter that wants to kill us…. We won, Stefan. Say it. Say it!"

"We won."

"Once more with feeling."

"We won!"

"Thank you."

"You know what, thank you. Turns out we make a pretty good team, huh?"

"Well it only took a century and a half." Damon turned to look at Buffy. "You're pretty quiet back here."

Buffy shrugged. "Long day."

"I think we should head to Italy when we're done dumping Klaus…. Rent a villa on the beach…. Just the two of us….."

Stefan glanced at Buffy in the rearview mirror. No matter what anyone said, she would still feel guilty for Klaus. But to his surprise, a smile spread across her face as she looked at Damon and she scooted up in the seat to lean in and kiss him. "I think I love that idea almost as much as I love you." Buffy said. She gently stroked his cheek with her thumb, never losing eye contact with him.

A/N Sorry this took so long to post. Busy week last week. But holy crap! That season finale! I hate that we're going to have to wait until the fall to start up again. I'll post that chapter sometime next week once I've got it all sorted out and I'm happy with it. Any ideas for filler chapters while we wait? Maybe a spin off/prequel with the adventures of Lexi and Buffy?

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