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Chapter 71

A/N Sorry if it sucks. I worked on it all day today. I feel like it's kind of all over the place, but I'm not sure. I'll let you guys decide.

Chapter 71

Buffy sat out on the dock and stared out at the water. The day was beautiful around her. It wasn't too cold, but then again she was dead and the weather had never really been that much of a problem. She'd gotten the call from Liz that Carol Lockwood was dead. They were ruling it an accident in the official report, but Liz made it very clear that she'd been killed. The bad thing was, Buffy knew who had killed her.

Klaus had killed Carol Lockwood and she hadn't been there to stop him. Even worse, he'd told her he was going to do it. Picking up her phone, she replayed Klaus's message.

"Why am I calling you? Why do I want you to not be angry at me for what I had to do? My hybrids betrayed me. Tyler betrayed me. And I feel like you knew all of this. I feel like you should've told me about everything. Why didn't you tell me my hybrids were going to betray me? Or did you not know? Too far up Damon's ass to care, I wonder? Now they're all as good as dead and when I find Tyler…. He's going to suffer. Even if I have to kill everyone he loves before I kill him. And I see exactly who I'm going to start with right now. Mummy dearest…."

Buffy looked at her phone and played it one more time before setting it down and hanging her head. She hadn't told Damon about the voicemail. Since listening to it, she hadn't really had much to do with anyone. She was seriously slacking in her duty to Jeremy.

Damon had decided to call Matt up to help Jeremy. He swore that Jeremy wasn't ready to take on a real vampire yet. They were up by the house sparring while Damon looked on. He was distracted by Buffy's melancholy mood, though, and found himself staring at her. Carol had been their friend, but she was taking it hard. Harder than he'd expected her to react. She'd barely slept a wink in the almost two weeks they'd been up here and she hadn't eaten since before they'd arrived at the cabin. Her usually glowing blue eyes were now cloudy and dark.

Damon ignored Matt and Jeremy and headed down to sit with Buffy. "Hey."

"Hey." She said without looking at him.

"Buff…."

"I'm fine."

"And I'm the Queen of England."

She set a steely glare on him. "Nice to meet you, Liz."

"Buffy, what's wrong?"

"He killed her, Damon."

"Yeah. After his crazy little massacre of his hybrids, I'm pretty sure Klaus is the one that killed Carol Lockwood."

"And I should've stopped him."

"You couldn't have known he would do it." She huffed and looked away again. Damon sighed and took her hand. "Even if you had known…. Elena and Jeremy are more important. We were here for our family."

"Yeah. Of course."

"Look, if you want to go to the memorial at the school today, then go. I've got Jeremy covered up here."

"I don't care about the memorial."

"That's a lie."

"Whatever. What are Jeremy and Matt doing? Playing?"

"I think they're supposed to be sparring."

"That's not sparring. That's playing." She rolled her eyes at them and looked back out at the water. "Sometimes I wish that we had left Mystic Falls when we had the chance."

Damon looked over at her. "I thought you loved it here."

"I do. But bad things follow me everywhere I go. Elena's a vampire. She's sired to you. Jeremy's a vampire hunter that, up until a week ago, wanted to kill me even though I'm on his side. Willow's broken up with Kennedy she's planning to move to Virginia. Klaus is on a rampage…. I feel like this is all my fault."

"It's not. Really it's not. If you weren't here, things would probably be a lot worse than they are. Elena would probably be dead."

"She is dead."

"You know what I mean. You're a huge part of everyone's lives around here and you only make things better." Damon stood up and held out his hands to her. "Let's go make Jeremy better. Honestly, I've exhausted my knowledge of fighting. It's time the pro took over."

Buffy looked at him for a moment and sighed. "Fine." She took his offered hands and stood up. They walked over to Jeremy and Matt and sat on the picnic table. Buffy took her melancholy and filed it away for a while so she could concentrate on Jeremy's moves.

"Go ahead. Make your move." Jeremy taunted.

"I drove up here to be your wing man, not to kick your ass." Matt said. Jeremy swung a punch at Matt's hand mats and Matt shrugged. "All right." He attacked, but Jeremy overpowered him and slammed him to the ground, pulling his shoulder to the point of popping it out of socket. Matt tapped out. "Ok! I get it! I get it!" Jeremy let him go. "You're a bad ass."

Jeremy looked up and noticed Buffy sitting with Damon. "Buffy! Hey! Did you see that?"

"I couldn't really miss it, Jer." Buffy said. "It was in slow motion."

"Then teach me something useful! That's what you promised. We've been here for days and all you've done is sulk while Damon barks orders."

"Ok, fine." Buffy hopped off the picnic table and grabbed a stake. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

"Hit the bench, quarterback." Damon said to Matt. "The Karate Kid wants a shot at the title."

"Jeremy, you're not ready for this." Matt insisted.

Buffy ignored Matt and tossed Jeremy the stake. Jeremy caught it with a twirl and charged at Buffy. He looked around, confused when he realized she wasn't there anymore. Suddenly he was caught in a headlock with his own stake pressed against his heart and Buffy's hand around his throat. "I've got two ways to kill you now and I barely batted an eye." She applied pressure to both areas. "Tick tock goes the clock for little Jeremy Gilbert. I haven't fed in days, so I'm not at 100%."

"You're also a super vampire." Matt said.

Damon smirked slightly, but a pizza delivery truck pulled up. "Really? Again?"

Jeremy tapped out and Buffy released him just as the cute delivery girl walked up. "Double pepperoni three days in a row. You guys eat anything else?"

Damon was suddenly standing behind her with a wad of money. "Why? Are you offering?" She turned around and looked up at him. He handed her the money. "It's a little something extra to cut off the pizza pipeline for a couple of days. No matter how much they beg, don't come back."

The girl looked at Jeremy and Matt apologetically. "Sorry guys." She headed back to her truck and drove off.

"What? You're going to starve us now?" Jeremy asked."If that's what it takes to make you a hunter." Damon said. "Now run around the lake. Twice."

Jeremy looked at Buffy, but she shrugged. "Sounds like a good idea. Get that muscle and endurance built up." She looked at Matt. "You should join him."

"Why?" Matt asked.

"Because you'll get pizza when you get back." Damon said, waving the box at him. Matt threw down his hand mats and took off after Jeremy. Damon turned to Buffy. "Not a bad start to your half of the training. Might I suggest a blood bag?"

"I'm not hungry." Buffy said.

"Buffy, you almost took a chunk out of Jeremy. You haven't eaten in almost two weeks and you haven't touched a bottle of alcohol to curb the cravings. I'm surprised the quarterback isn't a dried up husk somewhere at the bottom of the lake."

"I'm just…. not hungry."

"Is this some sort of guilty Stefan-like thing?"

"No!"

"It is! What are you feeling this guilty over? Carol Lockwood's death?"

Buffy sighed and sat down heavily on the picnic bench. "I knew that Klaus killed Carol before Liz even called."

"How?"

"Because Klaus left me a message telling me he was going to kill Carol."

"Why would he call you?"

"Because he was angry with me for knowing about Tyler turning his hybrids."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because you hate anything having to do with Klaus and his feelings for me."

"You could've told me."

"And what would that have done? I still feel guilty…."

"You shouldn't feel guilty."

"Maybe if I hadn't ignored Klaus's phone call, I could've talked him out of it."

"He was angry. There was no talking him out of it."

"Then why did he call me? He said he didn't want me to be angry at him. He wanted me to understand why he did it."

"Why he went psycho and killed all of his hybrids and then took out Tyler's mother to boot?"

"I feel guilty because…. A small part of me actually feels like they may have deserved it." Damon started to protest, but Buffy cut him off. "I've been there too…. Once…. And I actually do understand why he did it. I've been betrayed by people who were supposed to be loyal to me. My best friends…. My Watcher…. My little sister that I died so she could live…. They all kicked me out of my own house."

"You didn't murder them all for it, though."

"No. But I was pissed…. And hurt…. And I did feel like walking away and letting them all burn with Sunnydale."

"But you didn't."

"Cause I had someone to talk me back from the ledge. I would've done that for him, Damon. I should have! He was calling me to talk him down from the ledge and I ignored him."

"So what you're saying is that you consider Klaus a friend?"

"Maybe…. Yeah…. No…. I don't know! He does have feelings, though…. Granted, they're a little misplaced sometimes, but they're there and…."

"Do you have feelings for him?""No."

Damon stood up and moved away from her a few steps. "Don't lie to me."

"Damon, I love you. I want to marry you. I said yes to you. It doesn't matter what Klaus says or does, nothing will change that."

"That's not answering my question."

Buffy sighed. "All the times I was pushed on him because he had feelings for me…. He's not all bad. In fact, he could be a very valuable asset if we let him."

"It's a yes or no question, Buffy. Do you have feelings for Klaus?"

"No."

Damon sighed and moved towards her. "Are you sure?"

Buffy stood up off the picnic table and moved closer to Damon. "I love you. Nothing will ever change that. Angel came back into my life with a permanent soul. Do you know how many times I dreamed about that? And I told him no…. For you."

"I love you." He grabbed her and kissed her passionately, pulling her tight against him.

"Get a room." Jeremy called as he finished his first lap around the lake.

Buffy shook her head in disapproval. "I don't like this."

"It'll save his life. He's not exactly the Flash." Damon argued. Jeremy was sitting in front of him loading wooden bullets into a gun clip.

"You know how I feel about guns."

"You would think with that pretty scythe of yours that you would consider upgrading the rest of your weapons collection."

"One: Guns are stupid. Stakes, knives, swords…. That's how you kill vampires."

"If you're a Slayer and have superpowers to be able to wield them properly."

"I have super powers." Jeremy said, putting the clip in the gun and handing it to Damon.

"Not like hers." Damon took the clip out and dislodged all the bullets.

"And two," Buffy added. "That scythe is older than Klaus. It's not modern."

"It looks a lot more modern than your sword collection." Damon looked at Jeremy and handed him the empty clip. "Now do it like your life depends on it. Cause it does."

"Don't act like you care about my life." Jeremy said, standing up. "You care about the hunter's mark and you care about curing Elena so she's not sired to your ass."

"Both require you to be alive. Which is why I've updated our relationship status to 'it's complicated'."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Jeremy, Damon actually does care about you. He's just too stubborn to admit it to anyone but me." Damon glared at her. "And I care about you being able to defend yourself. You do have a minuscule amount of super strength to you now and I can show you how to use it."

"Then show me! You keep talking about it." Jeremy said. "Do something!"

"It takes time and patience. I didn't become the best Slayer out there by walking into a vampire nest and getting myself killed right off the bat. This kind of skill takes time to build up to. My first group of Potentials didn't get to fight a vampire until almost a month after starting their training with me."

"We don't have a month."

"Elena's a vampire with a lot of witchy protection around her. She's really not going anywhere anytime soon." Jeremy smirked slightly. "Glad I can still make you smile."

"Yeah. Yeah."

"I'm sorry, am I interrupting playtime?" Klaus asked, walking up to them from the woods.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Jeremy asked.

"I'm simply appreciating the sights and smells of nature. Neither of which presently include rotting vampire flesh, so I'm a bit concerned. How many vampires has he killed?"

"I'm not throwing my kid out into the world halfcocked, Klaus." Buffy said, crossing her arms defiantly.

"Still not hearing a number. Twelve. That's a number. That's how many of my hybrids that I slaughtered with my sword. Three. That's how many days it took to quell the urge to kill your brother after he knowingly watched as I walked into a death trap. One. That's the number of purposes you serve." He advanced on her and Jeremy backed up. Buffy didn't budge an inch. "You are here to grow Jeremy's mark. So, I'll ask again: How many vampires has he killed since he's been here?"

Buffy shrugged. "Zero."

"That's a pity. I'm going to need that cure sooner rather than later. Hybrid shortage and all." Klaus stepped back from Buffy. "How can I help?"

"You know…. Now that you mention it…. Jeremy, watch and learn." Damon suddenly had the gun loaded and shooting at Klaus's chest. He got off three shots before he dropped his arm. Klaus growled in pain and leaned against a tree. "That was for Carol Lockwood." Damon tossed the gun on the picnic table and walked off towards the house. "I'm going out to get you some blood, Buffy. You need to eat."

"Jeremy, go with him and take Matt?" Buffy asked.

"You gonna be ok here with him?" Jeremy asked.

"I can handle him." Jeremy nodded and headed after Damon. Buffy continued to stare at Klaus.

"Gonna shoot me too, love?" Klaus asked.

"I'm sorry."

Klaus blinked at her. "What?"

"I said I'm sorry." She walked over to him and helped him to sit on the picnic table.

"Your boyfriend shouldn't have shot me."

"Oh, no…. He definitely should have. I mean, he really had every right to shoot you because Carol was his friend, too. But that's not what I'm apologizing for." Klaus looked at her and waited. "I'm sorry for ignoring your phone call."

"That's nothing new. Why apologize now?"

"You were calling me to talk you down from doing something crazy. Like killing Carol Lockwood."

"Wrong there." Klaus winced as she yanked a bullet out of one of the wounds.

"Oh please. You don't call looking for my approval ever. You were looking for a friend.""I don't consider you a friend."

"That's a lie." She ripped another bullet out and tossed it away. "I think I'm the only friend you've got."

Klaus stopped her hands from ripping out the last bullet and held them. "You consider me a friend?"

Buffy sighed. "A dysfunctional, kinda creepy, definitely annoying friend. But…. Despite your flaws…. You were right. You're not that bad." He moved in to kiss her, but she pushed him back. "Except when you do that."

"It wouldn't be the first time you've kissed me."

She rolled her eyes. "You kissed me."

"You kissed me back."

Buffy reached in and yanked the last bullet out, causing him to yelp in pain. "As far as I'm concerned, it never happened."

Klaus smirked. "Still haven't told Damon that you kissed me?"

"I'm not getting into this with you."

"Would you like me to tell him?"

She smiled. "Yeah. See how well that goes over." Buffy stood up and headed for the house.

Later that night, Damon was sharpening stakes by a fire in the woods. Buffy was lounging by the fire, watching him. He had brought her several bags of blood and she'd downed about five of them before she was full. Now she felt so much better and Klaus had disappeared.

"You're doing your creepy stare again." Damon said, glancing at her.

She shrugged. "It's not creepy. I'm just watching you."

"Analyzing what I'm doing wrong."

"Nope. Actually, I was just wishing you had your shirt off while you were working. The show would be so much better."

Damon smirked and stopped whittling. "Someone's feeling much better."

"I get cranky when I'm hungry."

"And sexy when you're full." He set down the stake and crawled over to her. "This is kind of romantic." Damon started kissing her neck. "Just the two of us by a fire in the woods." His lips moved up her jaw line. "The only thing between us is our clothes."

"That can be remedied." Buffy said, sliding her hands up his shirt."Is this a private party, or can anyone join?" Klaus asked, suddenly appearing by the fire.

"Seriously!?" Damon growled. "It's a private party. Go away." Klaus ignored him and sat down on the log that Damon had vacated. Buffy and Damon sat up and looked at Klaus. "If you're here for pay back go for it. Then you would be suck babysitting the little hunter that could."

Klaus inspected the stake Damon had been working on. "You know if you adjust your angle a little bit, you'll find a shaper edge."

"I know how to whittle thanks. Now I know why those hybrids hated you. You're annoying."

"Actually I'm just perplexed as to why Jeremy hasn't killed any vampires."

"He needs to know how to protect himself before we hunt down his first vampire nest." Buffy said.

"He's not a potential Slayer. He's a Hunter. So…. Let's play a little game, shall we? Jeremy needs more victims and there's a whole town just down the road with people waiting to be turned into vampires for the slaughter."

"You don't think that occurred to me Klaus?" Damon asked.

"Tragedy is Damon: It did occur to you. You just chose to ignore it. My guess it you did it to impress your fiancée."

"It's called sparing lives." Buffy said. "You should try it sometime. That kind of thing always impresses me."

"Well, I've already made the necessary corrections."

"What did you do?"

"Don't worry. I didn't touch Matt, but his little pizza girl might…."

Buffy was out of the woods and running into the house just as Jeremy staked the pizza delivery girl. She helped him out from under the now dead and decaying vampire and Jeremy held out his arm. The tattoo began to grow, filling in and resembling Connor's.

Damon rushed in just then. "What happened?"

"Jeremy's just grown his mark." Buffy said, examining it. "Are you guys ok?"

"Fine." Matt said.

"Jer?"

"I'm good." Jeremy said.

"Was she always a vampire?" Matt asked.

"No." Damon said. "Klaus turned her and sent her to Jeremy."

"That guy is nothing but trouble." Jeremy said.

"I know." Buffy said. She sighed. "We need to get rid of her before someone realizes we were probably her last delivery. Hopefully we weren't, but I don't want to be caught with a body."

"I'll bury her." Damon said.

"I'll help. Jeremy, Matt…. Stay inside and don't invite anybody else in. Ever."

"Got it." Jeremy said.

Damon grabbed the pizza girl's body and hauled her up over his shoulder. Buffy followed behind him, looking for any sign of Klaus. "Did you honestly think about turning people in town?" She asked as they drove away.

"The thought crossed my mind." Damon said. "But we should probably try and do this the legit way." Buffy was silent and Damon looked over at her. "What? You actually thought about it?"

"The thought crossed my mind." She sighed. "What's happening to me? I never, ever, ever think like that. Lining innocents up for the slaughter…. All for a cure?"

"A cure for Elena." Even to Damon that was starting to sound like a weak excuse. Elena was doing fine as a vampire. She was a lot more indestructible than before, too, so Buffy didn't have to worry about her as much.

"Is it a vampire thing? Not caring about the human race as much as I used?"

"A little bit."

Buffy nodded. "Well, that kinda sucks."

"It's an instinct. They're just food…. Most of them. When you live forever, a human life is so fleeting and who wants to make a human friend or a lover and watch them wither away and die?"

"I was going to live forever before I became a vampire."

"So, be honest with yourself…. Did you feel like you were better than most humans even before you became a vampire Vampire Slayer?"

"That's one of the reasons my friends kicked me out of my house before Sunnydale was destroyed. They said I felt like I was better than them."

"Did you?"

"If I'm being 100% honest…. Yeah."

"And you are. You're better than every one of them."

"Who says?"

"Fate. Destiny. Whatever it was that made you the amazing Slayer you are. Buffy, you are better than every one of us because you have died so many times for the people you love. You became a vampire to protect the ones you love. If that's not enough of a good excuse for feeling better than humans…. Even your best friends…. Then I don't know what is."

Buffy shrugged. "I guess."

"I know." He stopped the car and got out. "Maybe we should just let Klaus go through with his plan. Let him turn all those humans into vampires."

She shook her head. "They don't deserve that."

"Who says?" Damon said as he grabbed the shovel and the body from the trunk.

Buffy shot him a glare just as her phone started ringing. She plucked it out of her pocket. "Hello Elena."

"Hey Buffy." Elena said.

"I hope your day's going better than mine."

"Not really. Rebekah kind of kidnapped us today."

"She did what? I'm going to kill her."

"We're all ok. Willow saved us, but that wasn't until after I told Stefan I wasn't in love with him anymore."

"Elena…."

"It's not about Damon. I promise. So much has happened over the last year and seeing him as the Ripper…. Especially when he almost drove me off Wickery Bridge himself just to prove a point to Klaus…. It changed my feelings for him. I still love him. I always will. I'm just not…. In love with him anymore. You get what I'm saying, right?"

"I do. Yeah. But I'm guessing he didn't take it well."

"He asked Rebekah to erase me from his memories."

"Extreme."

"She didn't. She wanted to make him suffer."

"I'm so sorry, Elena."

"How's Jeremy?"

"He's good. Learning quickly."

"Thanks for looking out for him."

"It's what I do."

"Listen…. I really miss you guys."

"I miss you, too, Elena.""Can I come up for a visit? Just a quick one. After everything that happened today…. I need to get away for a little bit."

Buffy glanced at Damon for his thoughts on the subject. He paused in his digging and shrugged. "I suppose. Bring Willow."

"I will. Thank you! I'll see you soon."

Buffy hung up and looked at Damon. "I should call Klaus and tell him to do it."

"What?"

"Elena needs this cure. She's miserable as a vampire. She just told Stefan she doesn't love him anymore.""Are you sure?"

"No. But how else are we going to get this stupid cure?" Buffy hit the call button on her phone.

A/N 2: When I get time, I'm going to elaborate on the "Willow saved us" line with a chapter in Footnotes. As I was watching the episode, I saw Willow coming in and being a badass towards Rebekah and scaring the pants off her and maybe Kol, Bonnie, and Shane as well. Could be fun.

A/N 3: And I really wanted to thank you guys for being so awesome. Your thoughts and kind words really helped me out this week after losing Tucker. His sisters are making my family smile. They've got a serious sibling rivalry happening that's keeping us entertained. Whoever said that dogs don't have human emotions should be taken out and beaten with a really big stick for being so stupid. Galway and Ireland (yes, I have a thing for the country and named my two girl dogs after the country and one of its counties) are so jealous of each other, it's ridiculous. Best thing I've seen yet: Ireland took over Galway's bed, so Galway went and left Ireland a present on hers. *Smh...*

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