The Next Chapter

Chapter 77

A/N Sorry this took so long. I wanted to watch the next episode and see how I could work everything out. Thanks VD's writers, BTW! You just had to throw the Lexi line in there like THAT didn't you!? Just when I got Buffy and Damon to a good place and was hoping to keep them there for a while. Buttheads. I'm gonna spend the next week trying to figure out how to get them back to their happy place.

Enjoy!

Chapter 77

"We're going to lose her." Stefan said, following Buffy and Damon into the living room.

"She needs time." Damon insisted. "It's only been a couple of days."

"Her humanity's off. She's basically numb to everything that makes her who she is."

"She's a vampire. The off switch is one of the biggest perks." Damon smirked as he poured himself a drink. "If being undead gets you down," He snapped his fingers. "Voila! Vampire Prozac."

"She burned down her family home with her brother's dead body still inside." Stefan turned to Buffy who had moved over to the window and was staring outside. "Help me out here, Buffy."

Buffy sighed, but she didn't turn around. "It actually saved us the trouble of doing it ourselves."

"Are you being serious right now?"

"What do you want me to say, Stefan?" Buffy turned around. "I've halfway flicked my switch because I'm feeling just as overwhelmed! The only son that I will ever know has been killed and the only daughter I'll ever know has no feelings whatsoever because she broke so hard no one knew how to fix her. She didn't even bat an eye when she burned down the family home! Oh, and the vampire that had a hand in killing Jeremy is still out there while I while away my hours here waiting for a clue to her whereabouts to magically appear."

Damon walked over and handed her his drink. "You need this more than me." He turned and looked back at his brother. "Look, Stefan, worst case scenario: I'll invoke the sire bond and tell her to turn it back on."

"Her brother just died." Stefan said. "If you force all that grief on her all at once, it's going to overwhelm her. We need to give her a reason to want to turn it on."

"The way things are going around here, I can't blame her for not wanting to turn it back on." Buffy said.

"Oh…. Someone's testy." Damon quipped.

"Yes, Damon, I am very testy." Buffy sat down on the table and set her drink down. "I want to kill someone. And, honestly, not just a Katherine someone. The entire town has been drinking vervain so all I've got is blood bags and that supply is limited at the moment because there's not one, not two, not even three, but four vampires in this house who all need some, too. I'm starving for real blood! The kind that comes straight from a vein."

"Ok, I know what we all need. We need to have some fun." Stefan started to protest, but Damon waved it away. "I know it's controversial, Stefan, but people actually like to have fun."

"You really think that's going to work?" Stefan asked.

"There's only one way to find out." Buffy said, marching past them. "Elena! We're going out!" She yelled.

Elena slowly made her way down the middle of the road while Damon and Buffy stayed hidden. Damon had demonstrated how to get random passerby to stop for them. Buffy was letting Elena go first just to see how the outing would work.

Elena stopped and looked around her for a minute before lying down in the middle of the street, her arms spread out and her eyes starting to shut as she waited. She didn't have to wait long. A car approached the spot where Elena was lying. The woman driving saw her lying there and stopped her car a few feet away from her. She got out of her car and ran over to Elena.

"Are you all right? Was there an accident? Where are you hurt? Are you in pain?"

Elena opened her eyes. "I don't feel anything."

"I have a blanket in my car. Try not to move. I'll call for help." The woman got up from her crouch and trotted to her car. Elena remained on the pavement for a moment longer before standing up and moving with her vampire speed to stand behind the woman. The woman opened the trunk of her car and retrieved the blanket. When she turned around, she was startled to see Elena standing right behind her. "What are you doing?"

Elena vamped out and growls viciously as she bit into the woman's neck. She held the back of the woman's head as she fed from her. Damon sighed. "She apparently missed the part about not killing." He walked over to the car. "That's enough." Elena ignored him and continued to feed. Damon grabbed her arm and pulled her off the woman. "I said that's enough. We agreed no killing."

"This is the first person I've seen in days whose body isn't laced with vervain and I'm hungry." Elena argued.

"If you leave a trail of bodies, people are gonna start asking questions."

"I don't care." Elena turned away and began feeding on the woman again.

Buffy was suddenly there, grabbing Elena by the arm and yanking her harshly away from the woman. "Show a little restraint."

"I thought this was supposed to be fun." Elena threw the woman aside and walked away with blood staining her mouth.

Buffy and Damon watched her walk away. After a moment, Damon sighed. "I guess it's up to us to fix this."

"I'm still hungry." Buffy grumbled as she helped Damon put the woman back in the car. "And when did I become the cleanup crew?"

Damon chuckled at her. "When you signed those papers to become her legal guardian."

"Hey…. She's eighteen. She should clean up her own messes." Buffy watched Damon wake the woman up, heal her, and compel her to drive home and forget the encounter.

He turned and looked at Buffy. "Glad she didn't kill her. Your fingerprints are still in the system and I would hate having to bust you out of jail."

"I'm wearing gloves." Buffy held up her hands to show she was wearing black leather gloves with her black leather coat. "It's cold outside and the humans are wearing them, so I thought I should too." Damon looked over at her and studied her for a moment as they headed back towards the woods. "What?"

"Did you mean what you said earlier today?"

"What did I say?"

"That you'd half way flipped your switch."

Buffy sighed. "You were right. It is a good part of being a vampire that you can just turn it all off. I'm actually jealous of Elena right now."

"Why?"

"I am so tired, Damon. I'm tired of feeling sad and guilty and angry and…. I'm tired of feeling all of the negative things going on in my life because there's just so many! I just want to be happy. I just want something to go my way for one stupid time in my life. We were supposed to come back here to Mystic Falls, drop off Jeremy and a cured Elena, and then run off to Vegas to get married! Instead I'm babysitting Elena…. Again…. And dealing with the loss of yet another one of my family members." Buffy started to cry and Damon folded her into his arms. "My heart hurts."

"I know, baby." He kissed her hair and held her tightly to him. "I know." They stood there like that until Buffy finally calmed down. Damon held her gently and kissed each of her wet cheeks and then on the lips. The kiss escalated and Buffy pushed him back against a tree, cracking it slightly. Damon groaned and flipped them, pushing her up against the tree as she struggled to get their clothes off. They both tumbled to the ground, not losing contact with each other for even a moment.

Afterwards, they laid on the ground tangled up in each other. Damon laughed slightly. "What?" Buffy asked.

"We haven't done that in way too long." He said, kissing her hair.

"I feel a little less cranky now."

"Let's keep going, then." He rolled so he was on top of her. "Let's keep the cranky away and get out of here."

"And go where?"

"Anywhere. Everywhere." Damon smirked as he kissed her collarbone. "Vegas."

"But what about…."

Damon pushed into her and cut her words off. "Stop caring about it."

"I can't just…."

He shoved into her again. "Don't think about it."

"Damon…." She groaned.

"Just you and me." He said as he began a slow rhythm. "Feeding, loving, enjoying life. We're vampires. Let's be vampires. Together."

"God, Damon…." She turned them so she was on top. "Let's do it. Let's get out of here." Damon smiled and sat up, crushing her lips to him as she rode him.

Buffy and Damon were making their way around their room collecting clothes and toiletries and packing them away in suitcases. Willow was sitting on the bed watching them and helping them fold clothes to put in the suitcases. "Are you sure about this?" Willow asked.

"More than." Buffy said.

"What about Elena?"

"She'll be fine. Stefan's here to watch over her." Damon said.

"Besides, we'll be back soon enough." Buffy added.

Willow sighed. "When you ran off with Lexi, you said those same exact words and we didn't see you again until you'd settled in Mystic Falls over a year later."

"I just need to get away for a little while. Clear my head. Be with Damon. And at some point, hunt down Katherine so I can rip her limb from limb. Slowly."

"I get it. I'm just not sure now is the best time to be leaving."

Stefan knocked on the door and stuck his head in. "What's going on?" He walked in and looked at the two packed suitcases. "What are you doing?"

"What's it look like, Stefan?" Damon said. "We're getting out of here."

"Looks like you're not planning to come back for a while."

"That's the plan." Buffy said. "Well, that and find and kill Katherine."

"So, you're really just going to leave? What about Elena?"

"Keep her busy."

"How?"

"I don't know! Take her back to school?"

"Really?" Damon asked. "That's the plan? You're gonna take her back to school?"

"Well, the fun route didn't exactly pay off, did it?" Stefan retorted.

"I don't know." Damon looked at Buffy. "We had fun." She smirked at him and laughed slightly.

Stefan, though happy to see Buffy smiling after everything she'd been through, was still not entirely pleased with the plan. "Look, do you honestly believe I want to go to school and play chaperone?"

"It's not like any of us can go. We're not students. I'm sure you'll be fine, Stefan." Buffy said. "Look, we're going to be looking for Katherine, who, by the way, has the cure. It's not just a relaxing getaway. It's for Elena, too. She needs the cure now more than ever. And I need to kill Katherine in the worst way possible. So it's a relaxing revenge getaway."

Caroline walked in wearing a bath robe. "Not that anyone asked me, but I think taking her back to school is a great idea."

"Why are you here?" Damon asked.

"I told her she could come." Buffy said. "Our fancy water filters makes us the only vervain-free showers in town."

"Oh, yeah. The mayor put vervain in the water supply. So many people to kill."

"Yeah, my mom says it's about to get worse, so she could use a little help."

"That's all yours, Stefan." Damon said. "We're going after the psychotic doppelgänger. Blondie, you get to take Elena to school."

"Sounds like fun." Elena had appeared in the doorway completely naked. Stefan and Damon openly stared at her body, while Caroline averted her eyes. Buffy sighed and covered Damon's eyes while Willow tried not to stare.

"What? It's nothing you guys haven't seen before." Elena wrapped a towel around her body, covering herself up.

"I know there are at least four people in this room who haven't and didn't want to." Buffy said.

Elena shrugged. "Whatever. And as for the, uh, going to school idea…. I've got nothing better to do."

Stefan cleared his throat and looked over at Damon, motioning toward Elena with his head. Damon rolled his eyes and walked towards Elena. "Elena, it would make me very happy if you went to school today. And studied hard…. You know, get involved in whatever activates…. And please, for me, no matter what, don't eat anyone. Ok?"

Elena nodded understandingly. "Have fun on your trip," She tossed over her shoulder as she walked out.

Klaus opened the door of his mansion to find Buffy standing outside. "Huh, what an unpleasant surprise."

"Now you know how I feel when you randomly show up around me." Buffy said as she pushed past him.

"Where's your fiancé?" He asked, closing the door behind her and following her into the parlor.

"In the car. He doesn't like you very much."

"I guess he's learned to trust you, then, since you're in here all by your lonesome."

"Ok, so I'm done with the small talk. I've come to some realizations about you that I'd like to share."

Klaus smirked slightly. "Go on."

"You're not very good at some things. Along with the horrible timing of your come-ons, you really suck at finding Katherine. Like, ever. You also suck at covering up your secret phone conversations with the slutty werewolf, Hayley. So, I need to know where she is and what she knows about Katherine."

"I should help you? After you lot killed my brother and imprisoned me in the Gilbert living room?"

"Look it was your brother or my kid. Obviously that doesn't matter now." She sighed. "Klaus, you have much bigger problems. Katherine has the cure. My guess is she wants to cram it down your throat. I really can't blame her, but I can blame her for what happened to Jeremy. If you help me find Katherine, I'll get the cure, I'll give it to Elena, and everybody wins. Hell, I'll even let you help me torture Katherine for your effort. Just let me question Hayley."

Klaus smiled and walked towards Buffy. "Can't help you, love. Hayley's off limits."

Buffy moved closer to Klaus, purposely flirting with him as she leaned into him. "Come on, Klaus. I know you can do better than that."

Klaus looked at her suspiciously, finally noticing the difference in her clothing. She was wearing leather pants, a much more revealing top than usual, stiletto boots, and a leather jacket. Her eyes were also a bit harder. Her vampire side was showing. "What's gotten into you? You're different."

"I've decided that being a vampire has some serious perks. One of them being shutting off my emotions."

"You haven't shut them off."

"No. Not entirely. But I'm tired of things not going the way I want them to go. So, I'm going after what I want. And what I want is to rip out Katherine's heart and make her eat it. Or something equally as brutal. I'm up for suggestions." She ran her hand up his chest and then poked him above his heart. "But I need your help in doing that."

Klaus smirked. "Hayley's still off limits, love. But I did have a run in with a vampire who may know where Katerina is. Though, I did sort of bite halfway through his bloody neck, so he probably won't have much time for chit-chat."

"I don't care that he's dying, Klaus. I would've killed him anyway. I just need you to tell me where he is."

Damon and Buffy made their way around a truck stop where Hayley had supposedly met up with Klaus earlier. Damon was on the phone with Stefan at the moment. "What do you mean, she fed? I specifically told her 'no feeding'. The sire bond should make her listen."

"Right. That's what I'm saying." Stefan said. "The sire bond isn't working."

"That's not possible."

"Think about it. Elena's sire bond stems from her feelings for you, right? With her humanity off, she has no feelings."

"All I wanted was to break that damn bond. You're telling me now this whole time all she had to do was turn it off? What happens if she turns it back on?"

"I don't know, but more importantly, where are you right now?"

"Buffy and I are at a truck stop in the boonies looking for a dead vampire that might lead to Katherine and the cure."

Buffy took the phone from Damon. "Just grab her and get her home. Have Willow work some magic to keep her in line." She hung up the phone. "And no, we're not going back to babysit. I haven't changed my mind about getting the hell away from Mystic Falls for a while."

"Glad to hear it." Damon smirked and pulled her to him. Someone cleared their throat behind him and Buffy groaned slightly.

"I thought you were still vacationing on Numbskull Island." Buffy said to Rebekah.

"Well, I was looking for answers, and all I found was your Professor Shane, dead, and with him, anything anyone knows about the cure." Rebekah said.

"Guess you won't turn into a real girl after all." Damon said as he and Buffy turned and started to walk away.

"Oh, I'll get the cure. I just need Katherine, and I'm betting you two can help me find her."

"Why would we help you?" Buffy snapped. "You have a penchant for turning coat."

"True, but," Rebekah held up a vial of blood. "I was smart enough to bring a pinch of my brother's blood. How else would you interrogate a vampire who's practically dead from a wolf bite?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Fine. Come with us. I think I know where to look."

"Why are you dressed differently?" Rebekah asked after they'd piled into Buffy's car. She leaned up poked Buffy's pants. "You never wear this much leather."

"I'm not complaining." Damon said.

"I'm sure you're not." Rebekah looked back at Buffy. "So, why the new look?"

"I forgot I owned them." Buffy said.

"Have you turned off your humanity? I think I'd like you a lot more if you have."

"Says the girl who's dying to have hers back." Damon quipped.

"I haven't turned it off." Buffy said. "I can't turn it off. Not completely anyway."

Rebekah nodded knowingly. "Probably not. You are still a Slayer, after all. How does that even work? You're a vampire and a Vampire Slayer."

"I don't know."

"You're as weird as my brother."

"Please don't compare me to Klaus."

"It's true, though. You're a hybrid like him. Two halves that shouldn't work together, but by some weird, magical confluence…."

"I get it, Rebekah. Now please…. Shut up." Buffy turned the radio up the rest of the way to Grove Hill. They got out at the hospital and Damon led the way to the blood storage room.

"Why exactly would you think a sick vampire would check into a hospital?" Rebekah asked.

"See that big bright thingy in the sky?" Buffy said. "It's called 'the sun'. He needs to avoid it or he goes poof. The hospital's open 24/7 and has a full stock of blood bags." Buffy followed Damon into the blood supply room with Rebekah right behind her. Damon opened a cooler to find it was empty. Confused, he closed it and went to the next one. The trays were labeled with the blood types that were supposed to be there, but they were all just as empty as the first.

"Impressive. You're like Sherlock Holmes with brain damage." Rebekah quipped.

Buffy and Damon checked the rest of the coolers, but they were all empty. "Stefan said the Mystic Falls Hospital had its entire blood bank raided, too." Damon said.

"It looks like our vampire gets around." Rebekah said.

"No." Buffy shook her head. "The guy's dying of a werewolf bite. He wouldn't have time to steal from both hospitals. This is someone else."

"Who?"

"That's another problem for another day. But if our guy did by chance come here, he's got nothing, which means he's nearby and he's hungry." Buffy headed for the door, but Rebekah moved to block her way.

"This better not be a wild goose chase."

"Do you really want to stand in my way? I'm kinda jonesing for a fight. I'm looking for Katherine, but you'll work for now. Think you could take me?" Rebekah blinked and moved out of the way. "Thought so." Buffy brushed past her and Damon moved around a stunned Rebekah to catch up with Buffy.

Damon wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "I've got a plan."

Damon was feeding on a hospital employee later that evening while Buffy leaned against her car next to them and watched. They'd gone out to find someone to feed on before coming back to the hospital. Rebekah found them in the parking lot and walked up to them, shaking her head. "Well, nobody could ever mistake you for subtle." She said.

"You have to take pride in your work." Damon said. He turned to the woman he was feeding on. "It's ok. Come here, come here. Now. I want you to walk very slowly to your car. Off you go." The woman walked away slowly.

"You know, I just don't see how this increases our odds any."

"I've been on the other side of a wolf bite. First you get really sick. Then you get really hungry. Since the sun's gone down, I'm imagining he's gonna be looking for his last supper. I just laid out a 3-course, 115-pound meal for him."

"It's a good plan." Buffy said, leaning into Damon's arms.

The woman was stumbling toward her car when the dying vampire appeared several yards away from behind a tree. Buffy and Damon rushed over to the vampire and Buffy pinned him against the tree. Buffy was about to swing at the guy, but Damon grabbed her hand, stopping her.

"Damon?" The vampire asked when he noticed Damon.

"Will?" Damon asked.

"You know him?" Buffy asked.

"Hey, buddy." Will pulled his collar away from his neck as Buffy stepped away. His bite wound looked worse than Damon's had. "I think there's something wrong with me. I need help."

"Yeah, it's ok. I know what to do." Damon plunged his fist into Will's chest and pulled out his heart. Will dropped to the ground and Rebekah rushed at them before Buffy could say anything.

"What the bloody hell are you doing?" She demanded.

"He was too far gone. I put him out of his misery." Damon took Buffy's hand and walked away, leaving Rebekah to stand looking at the dead vampire.

Buffy climbed in the passenger's seat and looked at Damon. "Wanna tell me what just happened?"

"When we get back." Damon said.

"Back where?"

"We're going home for a little bit. I need to get something."

"What's going on?"

"It's a long story. One that I promise I will tell you on the way."

"Home?"

"To New York."

"We're going to New York?"

"Yes. After we stop at home first."

Buffy and Damon gawked as they pulled into their driveway. Cars were everywhere. The doors and some windows were open and loud music spilled out along with an innumerable amount of teenagers. Buffy's face went blank and Damon knew someone was in trouble.

"Hey." He said, stopping her from getting out of the car. "It's just a little party."

"Elena's already wrecked one house." Buffy snapped. "She's not getting this one too."

"Stefan won't allow that to happen."

"No, I won't." Buffy got out of the car and stormed into her house. She started taking bottles away from people and telling them to get out.

Damon sighed, shaking his head as he watched his fiancée go fifty shades of pissed off on the partygoers. He took a bottle out of someone's hand and took a swig. "Thank you." He rolled his eyes when he noticed Rebekah behind him. "Will you please just take a hint and leave us alone?"

"What are you hiding? I know you knew that vampire." Rebekah accused.

"I know a lot of dead people."

"You killed him to prevent me from finding Katherine to keep me from getting the cure."

"Do you really want the cure? I mean really?" Rebekah didn't respond, so Damon pointed out two girls on the stairs that Buffy hadn't gotten rid of yet. She was still working on the living room. "Look. Let me give you a little bit of advice. See these girls? They look happy, now. In five years, they're gonna settle for a mediocre starter-husband and a mind-numbing career, and about that time, they're gonna realize something you're never gonna have to learn."

"And what would that be?"

"Life sucks when you're ordinary. And what makes you exactly not like them? You're a vampire. You take that cure, become human…. Well, you're no one. Nothing. Trust me. Losing this cure is the best damn thing that ever happened to you."

"Where are Willow and Stefan?" Buffy demanded, walking up to Damon. "There's no one here!" She yanked away another bottle from another teenager and told him to get out as she pulled her cell phone out of her coat pocket. She turned it on and sighed. "Of course." Damon read the text from Stefan. Elena's AWOL. Need help.

"I'll finish ending the party." Damon said. "Go get your girl."

Buffy disappeared faster than anyone could register and was out into the woods after Elena. It didn't take her long to track her. She found her fighting with Caroline.

Caroline struck out Elena, but Elena grabbed her fist. "You fight like a girl." She went to break Caroline's arm, but Buffy was suddenly there throwing her back and impaling her against a tree limb.

"Lucky for you, I don't." Buffy snapped. "Caroline, are you all right?" Caroline nodded, looking stunned at Buffy's sudden appearance and violent attack on Elena.

Elena worked to wriggle her way off the limb, but Buffy grabbed her throat and pushed her back. "Let's get one thing straight."

"Let go of me!" Elena growled.

"I don't think so." Stefan appeared suddenly with Willow close behind. They ran over to Caroline as they watched Buffy with Elena. "I don't really care about your wannabe badass 'tude that you've got going on. I've seen way worse rebellion phases. I've done way worse. But I will not hesitate to drain you and leave you locked up down in the basement if you don't calm down. Damon's sire bond may not work on you, but I'm your legal guardian. I'm your family. The only family you've got left. And I will invoke that." Elena stopped struggling and looked at Buffy. The blonde was pleased to see some fear creeping into Elena's cold eyes. "If you lay another hand on Caroline or Stefan or…. Really anyone for that matter because I heard about your little incident at the cheerleading thing today…. You will end up down in that basement drained of all your blood and left weak and depending on the kindness of others until I can find the cure for you or you turn your emotions back on and deal with your life. Got me?" Elena nodded. "Good. Now apologize to Caroline."

"I'm not…."

"Ah ah ah! Basement."

Elena sighed. "Sorry, Caroline." Buffy let go of Elena and let Stefan come over to help her off the branch.

Caroline walked away with Willow and Buffy. "Thank you for coming back." She said to Buffy."Actually, I didn't mean to. I still need to figure out what's going on with Damon's little planned side trip." Buffy said.

"What side trip?" Willow asked.

"Oh, he killed a vampire tonight that he apparently knew." Buffy waved away the arguments. "He was dying of a werewolf bite anyway. It was a mercy. But now, apparently, we're going to New York." She looked at Caroline. "Seriously, though, are you all right?"

"You mean besides the fact that my best friend tried to kill me?"

"It's not really her." Willow said. "With her emotions off, she's the worst version of herself."

"So how do we get her back? Or what if we can't? Why would she choose to turn her emotions back on? Technically, she's an orphan. She just lost her brother. Her life sucks. So why would she come back to us?"

"I don't know." Buffy said. "I can understand why she wouldn't want to. But…. She's got Stefan. Even at his worst, Elena didn't give up on him. So no one's giving up on her." Buffy smiled as they made their way across the lawn. "Good. They're all gone."

"Sorry about the party." Caroline said sheepishly. "We kind of got carried away."

"That's ok. You guys can get carried away cleaning up." Buffy smiled as she disappeared into the house. She found Damon upstairs going through a big wooden chest filled with papers and photographs.

"Get your girl?" Damon asked.

"And put the fear of me in her." Buffy snaked her hands around his torso as she knelt behind him and kissed his shoulder blade. "What are you looking for?"

"A photograph."

"Of?"

"Days gone by." He turned his head to look at her, kissing her swiftly. "I promised you I would tell you on the way to New York."

"Can I go?" Elena asked behind them.

Buffy stood up and turned to Elena. "I don't know. Do you still want to kill your best friend?"

"Are you judging me?"

"Yeah. A lot."

Damon snickered and Elena rolled her eyes at him. "Oh please. You don't get to throw any judgment around. How many times have you tried to kill Stefan?"

"This isn't about him." Buffy said. "This is about you acting like a psycho."

"Because I'm bored…. And hungry. And you can't act like you don't know how I feel. I heard you talking yesterday before we left to go on our little supposed-to-be- fun trip."

"Elena, look…."

"Don't. Every time someone starts with 'Elena,' I get some stupid lecture. Everyone just needs to stop telling me that I need to feel. I do feel, Buffy! I feel amazing."

"You're not acting amazing."

"Neither are you, but I'm not judging you for it."

Buffy scoffed. "I'm acting the way a grieving Slayer should. I'm going after the vampire that helped kill your brother. I'm pretty pissed off about the whole situation and I could definitely be a lot worse about it. But I'm not out there trying to kill my best friend. I'm not throwing crazy parties and attacking the Sheriff. What I am doing is trying to help you and take care of you…. Despite the fact that you don't care. You're my family, Elena. I love you…. And I want you to be happy."

"Do you think I was happy being the scared little girl who couldn't admit what she wants? Is that how you'd prefer me to go back to being? Or wouldn't you much rather prefer someone you didn't have to babysit constantly and risk your life trying to keep alive?"

Buffy sighed. "Something tells me that last part isn't going to stop any time soon."

Damon was driving with Buffy in the passenger's seat and Elena in the backseat. She was grinning ear to ear, happy to be leaving Mystic Falls. Damon let out a sigh when he saw who was calling him.

"Hey."

"Where the hell are you guys?" Stefan asked.

"Out for a drive. Remember, my girl and I had a trip planned.

"Well, we got a little problem. You said blood was stolen from Grove Hills Hospital? The sheriff said there's been reports of six other blood bank thefts all within 30 miles of Mystic Falls. Somebody's stockpiling blood. It wasn't Elena, and it's not us."

"Ok, so…."

"I think Silas followed us back from that island. He hasn't fed in 2,000 years, so he would need to gorge on blood. It explains the thefts."

"You know, I'm really not in the mood to Scooby-Doo our way through the case of the stolen blood supply, so why don't you hold the fort down until we get back and and we'll be in touch, brother." Damon hung up and dropped the phone in his pocket.

"He's gonna hate you for that." Buffy said.

"Yeah, well, emotions are overrated."

Buffy rolled her eyes at him as Elena asked, "So where are we going?"

"A place every newbie vampire should go at least once in their life: New York." Damon smiled mischievously at Buffy. "The city that never sleeps."

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