The Next Chapter

Chapter 75

Chapter 75

Buffy, Elena, Willow, Stefan, and Rebekah were on the beach. Elena was on the phone with Caroline. Rebekah stood off to the side watching Elena while Stefan and Willow stood with Buffy trying to calm her down. She was starting to panic because Damon was missing and he was angry at her…. Angry enough that she was sure they were over…. And now she was sure that she might never get the chance to fix things because he was missing and probably hurt.

"Tell me you're not serious." Caroline said over the phone.

"I wish I weren't." Elena said.

"When we got back from looking for Jeremy, Shane and Bonnie were gone too. Willow had been knocked out cold. Shane needs Bonnie to cast a spell on Jeremy's tattoo in order to find the cure and he managed to sneak them both out from under our noses."

"Well, where's Damon in all this?"

"He and Buffy had an argument. She thought he was just taking a walk, but then when we went to the beach, we saw signs of a struggle."

"Meaning what?"

"Meaning somebody probably jumped him and then grabbed him."

"Do you think Shane took him?"

"No, I mean, he's not strong enough to take Damon on even with the element of surprise. He must have someone, or at least a few someones helping him."

"I'm so sorry. I wish I was there to help. How's Buffy?"

"Panicked. She's been crying."

"Is there anything I can do?"

"Well, maybe there's something you can do from home."

"Anything. Tell me."

"So Shane's looking for the cure. We think we can find him. We have pictures of Jeremy's tattoo, but we just can't translate the map."

"Unless you get the Hunter's Sword from Klaus."

"Exactly."

"He'll never give up the sword." Rebekah said. "Not even for his precious Buffy." Buffy growled at her and Stefan hugged her to keep her from attacking the other blonde vampire. "He's terrified we'll use the cure against him to make him mortal, and even if he wasn't, he wouldn't want any of us to derive a moment's worth of happiness from being human."

"Well, maybe he doesn't have to give it up." Stefan said. "I mean, Klaus is stuck in Elena's house by Bonnie's spell. He can't go anywhere. There's only so many places you can hide a three-foot piece of metal."

"I'll find it, don't worry." Caroline said. "Just e-mail me photos of Jeremy's tattoo. I'll find the sword, and I'll call you back."

"Thank you, Caroline." Elena said.

"Bye."

Elena hung up and walked over to Buffy. "Hey, we'll find him. And Bonnie and Jeremy. We'll get the cure and everything will be ok."

Buffy shook her head and walked away from everyone. She headed to the water's edge and stared out at the expansive horizon. She hated water. Usually where there was water, there was trouble. It had killed her the first time. Ever since then she'd tried to avoid it. But now here they were, in a very bad situation and guess what! They were surrounded by water.

Rebekah raised her cellphone in the air again, but she only got a busy signal…. Again. She sighed and gave up. Elena and Stefan were sitting a little ways away, talking. Willow was standing over some sand trying to do a spell, but it wasn't working and she was getting frustrated.

Rebekah looked over at Buffy staring out at the water and walked over to her. "We'll find him." She said.

"Why do you even care?" Buffy snapped.

"We were friends at one point." Buffy looked over at Rebekah. "And you two didn't break up. It would be a lot more epic than him just walking away."

"You have a thing for epic, don't you?"

Rebekah rolled her eyes and huffed. "You love him. He loves you. More than life itself. It's almost disgusting, really. But you've just got to fix it."

Buffy looked away, crossing her arms tightly. "I don't know how."

"Did you ever think that you don't show him enough that you love him? That maybe he feels like he's not enough for you because you don't make him feel like he's enough for you?""Is this your way of begging me to stake you?"

"No. I just…." Rebekah sighed and decided to show her sensitive side. The side that understood being in love and everything that came with it. A side she didn't often show people she was supposed to hate. "Look, all I'm saying is…. Get over your issues with the whole marriage thing already and marry him if that's what he wants. That's how you show him that you want him for the rest of eternity and not my brother." Rebekah gently took Buffy's hand and held it up to show her the sparkling engagement ring there. "You said yes to Damon. You promised him your heart forever. So follow through on your promise." Rebekah started to walk away.

"What if…." Rebekah stopped and turned back. Buffy turned to look at her. "What if I don't get the chance?"

"Buffy, I will make sure you get the chance. I promise."

"Why are you being so nice to me?"

"You've come all this way to help me find the cure…. To help me get my happy ending. The least I can do is give you your happy ending."

"Rebekah…. Thank you."

Rebekah shrugged as she walked away, tossing over her shoulder, "Don't mention it."

An hour later, Rebekah's phone rang. For some odd reason, hers was the only one working on the island. She grabbed it quickly and answered. "Hello?"

"Hey, it's Caroline. We have the translation of the tattoo. We're emailing you pictures of the map and instructions right now." Rebekah checked her phone and after a moment, finally received the email. "Got it. Thanks." She paused. "Nik, you helped?"

Buffy listened a little closer and heard Klaus say in the background, "You sound so surprised, little sister."

"Shouldn't I be? I mean, you don't want me to be human. You don't want any of us to be human. Why would you help us find the cure?"

"Maybe I finally realized the longer I stand in the way of what you want, the longer you'll continue to hate me. Perhaps I want my sister to finally know happiness."

"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me a hundred times…."

"No more fooling. No more games. I hope you get to live, and die, as you wish."

"So do I." Rebekah moved and her movement made too much noise for Buffy to hear what Klaus said. His voice was already distant enough. "Nik. Nik!" She called.

"Rebekah?" Buffy asked.

Rebekah looked over at her. "They sent us directions." She held up the phone to show Buffy and Willow.

"Let's go then." Stefan said.

"What about Damon?" Buffy asked.

"It's an island, Buffy." Rebekah said. "We'll probably find him on the way." She headed off into the woods. Buffy and Willow exchanged looks. Klaus had told her something because she was acting differently. Colder.

"What did Caroline say?" Elena asked as they caught up to Rebekah.

"I don't know. We lost the signal. Come on, this way." Rebekah said as she moved a little faster. After a few minutes, they came to the edge of a cliff. "We need to get down and across. Advantage, vampires: all we have to do is jump."

"Willow's not a vampire." Elena said. "She can't jump."

"I can fly though." Willow smirked and stepped off the cliff, floating in midair.

Buffy smiled slightly. "Cool trick, Glinda."

"See you down there." Willow descended down the cliff and Buffy moved to jump after her.

"Wait, wait." Elena cried. "Um…." She looked at Rebekah. "Maybe you should leave the map behind. In case you fall, you don't want anything to happen to the phone."

"Good idea." Buffy said, looking at Rebekah.

"Are we doing this again?" Rebekah said. "I thought we were a team?"

"Guys, we don't have time for this." Stefan said. "Elena, you and Buffy go next. We'll be right behind you."

Elena hesitated and Buffy took her hand. They both took a deep breath before taking a running leap off the edge. After falling a huge distance, they both landed close to Willow. Elena stumbled slightly, but managed to stay on her feet. Buffy's landing was graceful and quiet.

Willow rolled her eyes. "Showoff."

Buffy shrugged and looked back up the cliff. Stefan was about to jump when Rebekah threw out her arm and stopped him. They had a bit of a conversation which Buffy couldn't hear and that really pissed her off. Then, out of nowhere, Rebekah snapped Stefan's neck and his body fell to the ground.

"No!" Buffy yelled, jumping up and catching a ledge on the cliff. She climbed up, digging her nails and boots into the rock. Elena followed her lead and headed up the cliff. Rebekah was gone by the time Buffy reached Stefan. Elena came up a minute later and Willow floated up to them not long after.

"Where did she go?" Elena asked.

"She's got the map." Willow said as Buffy moved Stefan into a more comfortable position.

"What do we do now?"

"We wait for Stefan to wake up and find out why Rebekah did this." Buffy said. "Then I'll track her and probably kick her ass."

"Sounds like a decent plan."

Elena sighed and sat down next to Stefan and Buffy. Willow moved over and sat down near the edge of the cliff, watching for any signs of Rebekah or Damon.

Damon, still tied up, staggered into the cave with the Hunter named Vaughn behind him. He'd been taken captive by this annoying twerp not long after he'd walked away from Buffy. What a stupid mistake that had been. Damon stopped by the ropes that must have been left by his human friends when they'd gone down into the lower chamber.

"Well, here we are." Damon said. "Looks like someone beat us to the punch."

"That's a shame, Damon." Vaughn said. "I have no use for you anymore. Hate to kill ya."

"Ditto. You know, that pesky Hunter's curse and all. All right. How do you want to do this?"

"I'll make it quick and painless." Vaughn pulled on the rope tied to Damon's neck, but Damon resisted.

He grabbed onto the rope, the vervain socked into it searing his skin. "Wish I could make the same promise." Vaughn cut the rope at his end and flung it toward Damon. Damon pulled the rope off his neck, groaning in pain, before pulling off the ones tied to his wrists as Vaughn prepared a gun. "I'm gonna kill you. And then I'm gonna get to that damn cure, and I'm gonna give it to my fiancée's kid."

"Your attachment to your friends will be the end of you."

They heard footsteps from the cave entrance and Damon smiled. "You don't know my friends…." Rebekah appeared instead of Buffy like he'd hoped. "Or my enemies."

"Hello, Damon." Rebekah said, moving towards him. "Got yourself into trouble again?"

Damon shrugged. "You know me." He looked over at Vaughn. "Are we gonna dance or are we gonna play?"

"You know he can't hurt me, Damon, unless he's got the white oak stake."

"Oh, he doesn't, but he's got other toys." Vaughn said, before shooting Rebekah three times. She rushed at him and grabbed his throat, but Vaughn stuck something into her chest. She looked down to see a grenade with wooden spikes protruding from it. Vaughn held up the pin that he'd pulled out and the grenade detonated, sending the wooden spikes into her body, all the way through to her back. She fell face down in the dirt, neutralized.

Damon rushed at Vaughn, engaging him in hand-to-hand combat. Vaughn withdrew another weapon and fired it at Damon. It threw a lasso-like device covered in vervain and secured Damon by the neck to a pole behind him. Damon groaned and made choking noises.

"Damon!" He heard Buffy yell from outside the cave. That made him smile at Vaughn. "You're in trouble now."

Vaughn grabbed onto a rope, rappelling down into the shaft just before Buffy, Willow, Elena, and Stefan ran in. "Damon!" Buffy cried, rushing over to him with Stefan. They both tried to get the rope off of Damon's neck, but the rope was soaked with vervain and it burned their fingers.

"You're wasting time. Just get the cure. Go." Damon said.

"We're not gonna leave you." Elena said.

"No, we aren't." Buffy said. She looked at Elena. "You and Willow need to go ahead. Will, stop Bonnie from doing anything stupid down there. We'll be right behind you guys." Elena hesitated, but Willow grabbed her hand and jumped into the hole. She looked at Stefan. "You need to go, too."

"I'll help you." Stefan said.

"I've got this."

Stefan sighed and went down into the hole after Elena and Willow. Buffy turned back to Damon and started working on the ropes again. "You found me." He rasped.

"Of course I did. Now hold still." She ordered. After a long moment, Buffy finally managed to free Damon from the vervain rope and he collapsed into her arms. They both sunk to the ground.

"You need to go catch up." Damon said.

"Stefan and Willow are down there. They've got this." Buffy said.

"There's only one dose of the cure, Buff. She needs it. She needs you. Get your ass down the well. Help Elena get the damn thing."

Buffy shook her head. "I'm staying with you." She cupped his face in her hands. "Marry me, Damon?"

"What?""When we get back…. I want you to marry me. I don't even need a big fancy ceremony. I don't need a stupid dress. I just need you."

"What's with this sudden change?"

"I can't stand the thought of never being without you. When you walked away, it nearly killed me. I don't love Klaus. I love you. I don't show you enough how much you mean to me. I don't put you ahead of things that I should. You always put me first and I'm so selfish by taking that for granted. But no more, ok? So will you marry me?"

"Of course I will." He pulled her to him and kissed her deeply, ignoring how badly his injuries stung.

Rebekah groaned nearby as she came to. She looked over at Buffy and Damon and groaned again. "Get a room."

"We've already got one. Get out." Buffy said.

"Where did that Hunter guy go?"

"He went down below." Damon said, still holding Buffy tightly to him.

Before Rebekah could get up, Stefan appeared in the opening. His face was grave as he stood up. "What happened?" Buffy asked as she and Damon stood up.

"It's Jeremy." Stefan said.

A/N So, I'm really not looking forward to writing this next chapter. That episode was utterly heartbreaking and I found myself crying through most of it. It is not going to be fun to climb into Buffy's mind and watch her go through all of it. Poor Buffy just can't catch a break.

On the plus side, my first week on my new job went great! I love it there and I've learned so much. Plus, normal hours! That means more time working on my stories. Hopefully after I write this next chapter, I'll get in that story about Willow saving the day at the high school when Rebekah held everyone hostage.

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