Damon pulled up to Whitmore University with Buffy in the passenger's seat and Elena, Willow, and Bonnie in the back. They'd taken Buffy's car since it had more room than Damon's. As they got out of the car, Elena looked at Bonnie and asked again, "Are you sure you're ok with this?"
"If I could spell you out of wanting blood, I would, but I can't, so…. Better you learn this now than at freshman orientation." Bonnie said.
"Something tells me that college isn't in my future anymore."
"Oh, stop with the pity party." Damon said. "If I can go to college, you can go to college."
"You went to college?" Bonnie asked incredulously.
"Sure. Plenty of times. Always had a thing for sorority girls." Damon noticed Buffy glaring at him and he wrapped an arm around her. "But not anymore. Strictly a one Slayer man now."
"Considering how many Slayers are out there now, that's a wise choice." Buffy retorted, slipping her fingers through Damon's and wrapping her free arm around his waist. She looked over at Willow. "Hey, Will, you're drooling."
"Sorry. It's just been so long since I've stepped foot on higher education grounds." Willow beamed. "I'm so excited!"
"Why don't you go back to college?" Bonnie asked."I've been thinking about it, but no one has a good occult studies program."
"Is that why you came today?" Buffy asked. "Cause of the occult studies here?"
"Bonnie showed me some of her grandmother's old curriculums and they're pretty nifty. If this new guy sticks with them, then I may consider coming here to finish out my college degree."
Buffy shook her head as they headed for the occult studies classroom. "Schoolwork always gets Will's blood pumping."
"When I say the word 'witch', what pops into your head?" The professor asked at the head of the classroom. The lights were off and the screen projector was showing an old wood carving. He started flipping pictures as Buffy, Damon, Willow, Elena, and Bonnie sat down. "Halloween costume? Villain of a fairytale? Maybe an ex-girlfriend? Well, whatever it is, it's probably not Tanelle Souso."
"Is that him?" Elena asked.
"Yeah." Bonnie said.
"He's kinda…." Buffy said.
"Hot?" The girls chuckled and Damon and Willow rolled their eyes.
"Now in reality…. Or this reality at least…. Witches have appeared in every culture in history. They're the architects of the supernatural. Responsible for everything that goes bump in the night." Willow and Bonnie exchanged looks and Buffy snickered slightly. "From ghosts, to vampires, to doppelgangers…."
"What is this guy? Witchipedia?" Damon quipped. Buffy giggled and Willow smacked her leg.
"Now skeptics would call that a coincidence. But if you're a true believer…. But you know what? There really is no such thing. Scares the crap out of us."
"What if I'm a ripper?" Elena suddenly asked.
"You're not a ripper." Buffy said.
"What if I am?"
"Well then pick someone and we'll find out." Damon said. Elena glared at him for a moment and then looked around. She stopped on a chubby guy in a flannel shirt. "Stoner guys are no good to grab. They're too paranoid and you don't want the extra buzz." Elena's gaze moved to a nerdy girl. "Now she is fun sized, but too hard. Geeky girls are inherently suspicious of anyone who's nice to them. What you want is the little blonde, pretty girl, self-absorbed, easily flattered…. You just have to separate her from the pack and make your move."
"Am I interrupting you guys?" The professor asked. Elena's and Damon's heads whipped around and Buffy snickered slightly. "Or is it maybe the other way around?"
"Sorry." Elena said.
"Oh, I was just saying how much I love witches." Damon said.
"Yeah…. You and me both, brother." The professor nodded. "All right, we should probably talk about the reading."
Damon smirked and wrapped and arm around Buffy's shoulders. He leaned in and nuzzled her neck. She smiled and stopped his hand from sliding any higher up her thigh. "Pay attention." Buffy hissed. "We don't want to get kicked out of class."
"Maybe you don't." Damon sat up and kissed her cheek. "But I'm thinking of finding an empty dorm room and having some fun." She shook her head at him, still smiling, as Elena rolled her eyes and groaned slightly.
Buffy, Damon, and Elena followed the blonde girl Damon had picked out across the school's expansive lawn. Willow and Bonnie had gone off to meet the professor. Buffy had picked out one of the jocks leaving his classroom across the hall from occult studies and had shown Elena how it was done. Now it was Elena's turn.
"She's young and healthy. She'll heal up like a charm. Just keep your eye on the ball." Damon said.
"It's not a game, Damon." Elena said.
"Ok. It's not a game. It's a high stakes, dangerous maneuver. Now just go. Just like Buffy showed you."
Elena nodded and moved forward. "Hey!" The blonde girl turned around. "You were in my anthro class, right?"
"Uh, yeah. I guess so." The girl said.
"I totally spaced and forgot to get the reading list. Do you have it?"
"Sure. Let me check." The girl started scrolling through her phone and Elena moved in, grabbing the girl's wrist and catching her eye.
"This isn't going to hurt. Please don't scream." Elena looked at the girl's wrist and caught sight of a picture on the phone. "Who's that?"
"It's my little sister."
"Get out of here. Go back to class."
Damon huffed and Buffy placed her hand on his chest. "Calm down." Buffy said. "Everything ok?" She asked Elena.
"I just…. I saw the picture and I…."
"Everybody is someone's uncle or father or camp counselor or bible study teacher, Elena. You don't know these people." Damon said. "Why do you care?"
"I care because I'm still me. I still have the same feelings, Damon. Sorry if that spoils your master plan to turn me into a super vampire."
Damon shook his head and moved away. Buffy sighed and turned to look at Bonnie and Willow walking up to them. "What's going on?" Bonnie asked.
"Nothing." Buffy said.
"Elena's just educating me on the importance of feelings." Damon snapped.
"Did you talk to the professor?" Elena asked.
"For a second. He found some stuff of my Grams' in his office and he's gonna dig it up for me. Oh, uh this…." Bonnie held up a flyer that said Murder House, Come as your favorite victim or killer!
"Oh, nice." Damon said. "The answer to all of our problems. A frat party. Douche central." He rubbed his hands together. "Which is why we will be eating very well tonight. So what should we go as? Victims or killers?"
Buffy and Damon led the group into the Sigma Kappa Beta house. Damon was dressed as Jack the Ripper and Buffy was dressed as one of his victims complete with a bloody neck and chest wound. Willow, Bonnie, and Elena had dressed up as the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus. Damon had said that they weren't killers, but Buffy had pointed out that they killed children to keep them young.
A drunken frat boy with a Bloody Mary cocktail in his hand bounced up in front of them. He handed them each their own cups from a tray by the door. "Hey! I'm Frankie." He eyed Damon. "I'm assuming serial killer."
"I'm Jack. This is the lovely Buffy that I just…. Rippered." Damon said.
The boy eyed Willow, Bonnie, and Elena. "And you are?"
"The Sanderson Sisters." Elena said.
"From Hocus Pocus? They're not scary."
"They murdered children for their souls to stay young and beautiful." Willow said, offended.
Frankie nodded. "Ok. Welcome to the murder house. Bloody Marys free till midnight. Enjoy yourselves." He bounced off.
"Well, hats off to these idiots." Damon said, tipping his hat and looking around. "Oh look! Professor Creepy!"
"His name is Professor Shane and he's not creepy." Bonnie said. She noticed the professor nodding his glass towards her. "I'm gonna go talk to him."
"You do that." Damon said, taking her drink as Bonnie walked away.
"I should probably go with her." Willow said. "He does give off creepy vibes." She waved and headed off to follow Bonnie.
Damon shrugged and looked around. "Inebriated sleezeballs all covered in blood. All right, Elena. Pick one."
Elena searched the room and spotted a guy tossing a roofie into a girl's drink. "I think I found one."
"Roofie guy?" Damon asked. "Nice choice. Go get him." He turned to look at Buffy, but she was across the room chatting up a handsome jock. Damon sighed and decided that Buffy had it and Elena didn't. He went after Elena as she led her guy into another room. She was already feeding on Roofie Guy. "Now remember, the idea is not to kill him." Elena didn't budge. "Elena, step away from the ledge. Elena!"
Elena pulled back, blood dripping down her chin. She caught the guy's eyes and said, "Leave and forget about this." The guy nodded and walked out, almost bumping into Buffy on the way.
"Mine tasted funny." Buffy complained.
"Probably steroids." Damon said, wrapping an arm around her. She looked sexy with the little drop of blood on the side of her lip. He looked over at Elena. "How do you feel?"
"I feel good!" Elena said. She laughed and looked around. "I want some more."
Damon looked at Buffy. "Let's go party." She said. Elena squealed and rushed out ahead of them.
Damon kissed Buffy, tasting the jock's blood from her lips. "Let's find someone that tastes less doped up." He led her out onto the dance floor behind Elena and they started dancing together. He spotted a young girl dressed as a victim eying him and waved her over. She wedged herself between Buffy and Damon, grinding against them, and Damon smirked at Buffy. He glamoured the girl and he and Buffy sunk their fangs in on each side of her neck.
They went through two more girls and a frat guy before they moved back towards each other covered in blood. Damon kissed her deeply and she crushed him to her. His fingers tangled in her hair as they moved together. Things were really getting heated between them when Willow and Bonnie walked into the room. Elena panicked and rushed over towards them and out the door.
Bonnie glared at them as Willow headed out after Elena. Damon sighed and Buffy groaned as Bonnie turned and marched out. "Fun time's over." Damon said.
Buffy huffed. "Party pooper." He laughed and kissed her again. "Let's go tend to Elena's guilt and Bonnie's guilt trip."
Outside, Elena was making her way across the lawn in a panic, wiping at the blood on her chin. "Who am I? Why am I acting like this?"
"Because you listened to Damon and Damon makes everything he wants sound like a good idea." Bonnie said.
Willow sighed. "Stop it. I know you hate Damon, but he's right. They're vampires. They drink blood. But they are not evil." She looked at Elena. "You are not evil and neither are Buffy and Damon. No one died in there. You can't beat yourself up for being a vampire."
"I should be here with Stefan." Elena said. "I should be going through all of this with Stefan."
"Guess I'm chopped liver." Buffy said.
Bonnie walked over to Buffy and Damon. "You were supposed to help her and you let her get completely out of control."
"Can it, Bonnie." Buffy snapped. "No one was out of control."
"She's acting like a different person! And so are you!"
"They are different people!" Damon said. "They're vampires. We're a predatory species. We enjoy the hunt, the feed, and the kill. When the guilt gets too bad, we switch off our humanity and we revel in it."
"Is that what you want? For both of them to be like you?"
"They already are like me. And you know what makes me able to drink my fill and leave someone breathing and not rip their head off like my brother is that I can revel in it. I can make it fun." Damon marched past Bonnie and headed for the car.
Buffy looked at Elena and shrugged. "Willow's right. No one died. They're all in there having the time of their young lives. They danced with three real vampires and they'll never know it." She looked back to Bonnie. "I've felt guilty for one thing or another my entire life. I've let people make me feel guilty. But not anymore. And especially not about this. I chose to become a vampire to protect my family. And learning to control myself like Damon does is the only way to do that."
"He's a monster." Bonnie said.
"He's a vampire! And he's good at it." Buffy looked back to Elena. "Stefan doesn't have any control. He becomes a Ripper because he's unwilling to learn how to be a vampire. I'm not making that mistake and neither should you." Buffy walked past Bonnie and gave a hug to Willow. "Thanks for sticking up for me."
Willow shrugged. "That's what best friends do."
Keeping her arm wrapped around Willow's waist, Buffy held her hand out to Elena. Elena looked at it for a moment, contemplating Buffy's words, and then took it. The three of them followed Damon to the car. Bonnie followed behind them after another minute.
Damon, Buffy, and Elena made their way up to the front door of the Gilbert house. Willow had asked to be dropped off at the boarding house and Bonnie had been dropped off at her house. Elena went to the front door, but turned around. "Guys…. I'm sorry. Things got a little heated at the party and I shouldn't have let that happen. It's just that I…. I feel like…. When you tell me what a vampire should be…. Deep down, I believe you. I think that you're right and I hate that feeling. Because I don't wanna be….""You don't wanna be like me." Damon finished.
Elena looked away and Buffy reached out and gripped her shoulder. "Elena…."
The door opened and Stefan was suddenly standing there. "Hey." Elena said.
"Hey." Stefan said, joining them on the porch.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was just hanging out with Jeremy. We had a couple of things to talk about."
"Any news on the hunter?" Damon asked."No. No, nothing new."
"Well, then today was a bust." Damon wrapped his arm around Buffy's shoulders. "Elena's all yours. We're staying at our house tonight." In the car on the way back, Damon noticed Buffy staring out the window. "Hey, earth to Buffy." She looked over at him. "Please don't tell me you're starting to feel guilty about tonight."
"No." Buffy shook her head. "No. I'm just worried about Elena. She really freaked."
"She's new at this. Give her time. You were a wreck the first couple of weeks, remember?"
"Yeah, but…. The first time I fed on an innocent and maybe not so willing human…. I didn't feel guilty at all. And I didn't get high on it. I wasn't even really high tonight. I'm just wondering if this all might be too much for Elena." Damon didn't respond. He was a bit worried that she was right.