A/N I miss my reviews guys! Let me know what you think. And sorry this one took so long. It has been a CRAZY week.
Buffy, Damon, and Stefan pulled up in front of Buffy's abandoned Mercedes. It was sitting outside of a rest stop. Buffy and Damon had had to wait for Stefan to come to New York and pick them up. Angel had gotten his car back from Spike and it was now in LA and Dawn used public transportation and didn't own a car. The three of them got out of Stefan's car and made their way towards the Mercedes with Damon carrying two large gas cans.
"If they so much as even scratched the paint on my car…." Buffy threatened.
"Well, just be grateful Sheriff Forbes was able to track down the car after you let them, ah, you know…. steal it from you." Stefan teased.
"Remind me to send her some mini-muffins. And I didn't let them steal it."
"Do we really need 10 gallons of gas, or are you making me just lug this around as punishment?" Damon asked.
"Well, they ditched the car after it ran out of fuel. You gotta fill it up. Got a hundred miles before we get to Willoughby." Stefan said.
"I don't remember that name from the list of places I got from New York."
"Oh, the list? The list they stole from right under your nose, after you let your guard down?"
"I remember it." Buffy said. "It was one of the ones I sent to Angel. His contact said that he hadn't heard of Katherine."
"Sheriff Forbes tracked down the car they stole after yours." Stefan said.
"Screw the muffins. We'll get her champagne." Damon said. "If Elena is wherever it may be."
"Willoughby." Buffy said.
"Creamed corn capital of Pennsylvania." Stefan added. "They'll be there."
"Let's just hope we get to them before they get to the cure."
"Ooh, silver lining: if Rebekah takes the cure, then she's mortal and we can just kill her right then and there." Damon said.
"Ooh, dark cloud: Elena stays a vampire forever." Buffy shot back.
"Look, why don't you just table the revenge fantasies for now, and just keep your eye on the prize. Find Katherine, get the cure, get out before you get your neck snapped…. again." Stefan said.
"Believe me, I learned my lesson." Damon said. "Elena without humanity is a stone-cold bitch, and I won't trust her until we get the old Elena back."
"Look at that. We're finally on the same page about something."
"Look at that."
"My revenge is still open for debate, though, right?" Buffy said, not looking up from her phone. "Katherine is one tortured and dead vampire when I get a hold of her."
Stefan and Damon exchanged looks. "She's got the cure, Buffy." Stefan said.
"Yeah. I know that."
"You can't kill her until we know where it is." Damon said.
"Wasn't planning on it."
"So what was your plan?" Stefan asked.
"Find her, torture her, take her to Klaus, torture her some more…."
"Wait, take her to Klaus?" Damon asked.
Buffy looked up from her phone finally. "Yeah. I promised him he could help. He's been looking for her for 500 years and she's terrified of him. Besides, it's just another form of torture." She looked back down at her phone.
"Who are you texting?" Stefan asked.
"Klaus. He's been desperately trying to get me to come back and help him with something, but he won't say what."
Damon's eyebrow lifted as his eyes rolled. "It's probably a booty call."
"Maybe you should see what he wants." Stefan said.
"Wait, what!?" Damon cried."Buffy, you want to kill Katherine more than anything, but we need her alive to find the cure. If you go help Klaus, then we can find the cure ourselves, and bring Katherine to you afterwards."
"Yeah, cause that plan always works." Buffy said. She shook her head. "Klaus can help himself till I get back. I want Katherine and I'm not leaving you two to do the job. She always slips through your fingers."
"I think I'm going to take offense to that." Damon said.Buffy shrugged. "It's the truth, isn't it? Besides, my mind's made up and I've got the keys to my car." She glanced at Stefan's Ford Fusion. "And mine's a hell of a lot faster. I'm up for a race, though." Stefan sighed, knowing he couldn't argue with her. "Good, now that that's settled, can we finish filling my car up and get on the road please?"
Buffy, Stefan, and Damon made their way along the sidewalk in the quaint little town in Pennsylvania that Katherine was supposedly calling home. It was almost like another Mystic Falls. It was pretty.
"Something's not right." Damon said. "Katherine Pierce does not hole up in Hickstown, PA."
"Well, this is definitely the car they stole." Stefan said, pointing out the Porsche. "We're in the right place."
"Points to them for their choice of vehicles." Buffy said.
"So let me ask you something: What happens when we find Elena? How do we get her back to Mystic Falls? I mean, she's not exactly gonna go quietly, and she has an Original vampire as her bodyguard."
"And you have me to kick Rebekah's ass. You two are stronger than Elena. Just snap her damn neck and stuff her in the trunk." Stefan's eyebrows shot up at Buffy's harshness towards Elena. "I don't care what Elena wants right now. She's this close to going off the rails for good and that's not gonna happen."
"So, where do we start looking?" Damon asked.
"The diner." Buffy, Damon, and Stefan turned around and spotted Angel standing there.
"What are you doing here?" Buffy asked.
"Katherine tends to not stay in one place for very long. I didn't know when you guys would show up here, so I came to keep an eye on Katherine. Had Willow use her magic to zap me here."
"She's at the diner?"
"Buffy…." Angel grabbed her arm before she made her way past him. "Elena's not in there."
"Where is she?"
"I don't know. I tried to follow her, but I spotted you guys and lost her. She's imitating Katherine, though."
"Probably meeting someone who knows where the cure is." Damon said.Buffy sighed. "Ok, Damon, you and Stefan go to the diner and keep an eye on Rebekah and Katherine. Please, for the love of my sanity, do not let that evil bitch out of your sight. She is going to pay severely for what she did to Jeremy. Angel, you and I are going to find Elena." Damon started to protest, but Buffy held up her finger. "No arguments. Just get Katherine." Damon sighed and walked away towards the diner. Stefan shrugged and followed his brother. Buffy turned to Angel. "Lead the way."
"She was headed this way." Angel gestured across the street and in the opposite direction of the diner.
"How long have you been here?" Buffy asked as they started their search for Elena.
"A few hours. It didn't take long to find Katherine. I thought it was weird that my contact had never heard of Katherine even though he's lived in the woods near here for the last seventy odd years. She's got the whole town compelled to forget her unless she's directly addressing them. I managed to find Elena and Rebekah at the post office trying to find Katherine's address. I just followed them around."
"I'm glad you're here."
"Yeah, I could use a refresher on some torture techniques."
"Don't. Katherine killed the closest thing to a son I will ever have. I can't get him back. And because of that Elena was so broken the only thing anyone could think to do was have her shut her emotions off. Now she's walking down a path that will wind up turning her into the next Angelus. Katherine has a lot to pay for."
Angel sighed. "The fact that you want me to teach you torture techniques makes me worry about you."
"Don't worry. I'm still a freak of nature. I can't turn my emotions off all the way. I'm part vampire, part Vampire Slayer. My Slayer half won't allow me to stop feeling."
"I take it you've tried?"
"Of course I've tried. I wish I could stop caring about everything and run off with Damon. I'm tired of chasing after Elena because she's gotten herself into trouble yet again. I'm tired of losing people I care about. You know what? I'm just plain tired, Angel. I've been fighting the good fight for seventeen years. I need a vacation."
"You had a vacation with Lexi."
"And I never got to finish it."
Before Angel could respond, she held her hand up to silence him. "I missed you." She heard a very familiar voice say.
"And I've missed you." Elena responded. Her voice was lower, but it definitely wasn't Katherine's.
"This is an interesting little town you've chosen to settle down in. So do you have it with you?"
"Do I have what?"
"Yeah, Elena," Buffy said, stepping out beside the gazebo. "Did you find it yet or was breaking my fiancé's neck and stealing my car a waste of time?"
"Buffy? Angel?" Elijah asked, turning to look at her. "What are you two doing here?"
"Hey, Elijah. You don't call, you don't write…."
"It has been a long time. My apologies. You look lovely."
Elena tried to run, but Elijah grabbed her arm. "Where's Katherine, Elena?"
"Don't worry about, Katherine." Buffy said. "She's safe."
"Oh, I know. Katherine can take care of herself against your Salvatore brothers."
"What about Rebekah? Can she handle your sister? Cause she's here, too."
Elijah looked a bit panicked. "Do you understand how much my sister despises Katherine? I assure you, Rebekah will end her the moment she ceases to be of use. And if anything whatsoever happens to Katherine, I will descend upon Elena."
"Oh, I promise you, something will happen to Katherine because she's owes me her life. And I'll deal with Elena."
Elijah looked between Buffy and Elena. "What's going on?"
"You're both idiots." Elena snapped.
"Ugh! What happened to you, Elijah? I mean, I thought you were supposed to be a man of honor, and yet you've been hooking up with Katherine this entire time?"
"Ew, really?" Buffy said.
"Well, I suppose this man of honor always shared a connection with Katherine." Elijah said with a slight smile. "She contacted me when she learned about the cure. We thought we could be of mutual use to one another."
"'Of mutual use'? Please." Elena said. "You fell for her trap just like every other one of those idiots."
"You underestimate me, Elena. I know who she is. I know what she's done."
"And you think she's changed? She's playing you. She lied to you, Elijah."
"She didn't lie to me about your transformation. You're not just a vampire, though, are you?" Elena shrugged and looked away. Elijah looked over at Buffy. "There's something else. She's not herself."
"Her emotions are turned off." Buffy explained.
"Your girlfriend killed Jeremy." Elijah seemed shocked and Buffy crossed her arms, rolling her eyes. "Of course you didn't know."
"I hate to say I told you so, but…. duh!" Elena snapped.
"And you called us idiots." Buffy said. "You're the one making snide remarks while an Original has you by the arm."
Elijah released Elena and she was smart enough not to try and run again. "I know what it feels like to lose a brother. And I'm sorry for your pain. Both of you. I…. I only hope that you can find your way back to yourself someday, Elena." He said sincerely.
"Just like you hope Katherine will find her way back?" Elena said. "You still think that innocent girl you saved from Klaus ages ago is in there somewhere?"
"I'd like to think so, yes."
"She's not. She's a monster now, Elijah. The sweet peasant girl you fell in love with way back when is dead. And she's not coming back."
"I'm not a fool, Elena. Of course this has occurred to me, but what kind of man would I be if I didn't try to find my Katerina beneath this…. Katherine façade?"
"You boys are all the same. And Buffy, you just go along with them. You all still think that the girl they knew is still in here somewhere, too."
"You can't blame them for having hope, Elena." Angel said.
"It'd be a shame if the world lost a soul as compassionate as yours." Elijah said.
"'Your compassion is a gift, Elena. Carry it with you always and forever.' I remember reading that in a letter once." Elena said.
"Well, the writer sounds positively gifted. I'm sure he meant what he wrote."
"I'm sure he did. And it felt good to watch that letter burn, along with my old life and along with Jeremy's body."
Suddenly someone attacked Elena from behind, snapping her neck. Elena fell to the ground and Katherine appeared. "Sorry. I got held…." She noticed Buffy. "Up." Buffy suddenly had Katherine pinned against the wall by her neck. "Oh, come on. She could use a nap. It must be exhausting trying to be me."
"Exhausted barely describes how you're going to feel when I'm done with you." Buffy growled.
"Elijah!" Katherine cried.
Elijah was crouched over Elena's lifeless form with Angel. He stood up and looked at Katherine, not moving an inch to help her. "You killed Jeremy Gilbert."
"Yes," Katherine's eyes darted between Buffy barely restraining herself from taking off Katherine's head and Elijah with his passive face. "I killed Jeremy Gilbert. A bombshell I'm sure she just couldn't wait to drop on you. Ironic, since she supposedly doesn't care about anything."
"Well, I care and I'm the one that told him." Buffy growled. "He was my kid!"
Elijah walked up and put a restraining hand on Buffy's shoulders. "Do you honestly feel nothing for this girl?" He gestured at Elena. "A girl fated to live the same life that you've endured? And now you've just taken away the last of her family, just as yours was taken away from you. And you of all people know what it's like to have a child stolen from you, yet you put Buffy through it without hesitation. She has spared your life time and time again and this is how you repay her?"
"Why are you guys acting like I enjoyed it?" Elijah started to let go of Buffy and Katherine knew that if he did, Buffy would take off with her and she would die horribly. "Jeremy was collateral damage. I was doing what I needed to do to survive."
"That's not helping your case." Buffy growled.
Elijah kept his hand on Buffy's arm, but it was loose. "Is that what I am to you? A means of survival?"
"Don't let sweet little Elena get to you. She hates me. She wants you to turn against me and convince you that I can't be trusted."
"I asked you a question."
"No. Of course you're not a means of survival. You looked out for me when I had no one. You're giving me a second chance now when no one else will. I love you." Elijah let go of Buffy's arm. "Elijah! You don't believe me."
"I want to. It's my disease. I just keep wanting to believe you, but how can I when at every turn, you give me a reason to doubt you? I don't know you. I don't know that I ever will."
Buffy smiled cruelly. "Awe, poor Katherine. You finally found someone you actually care about and he's walking away." She stepped back from Katherine. "That's the worst torture of all: To be denied the one thing you want most in the world. I think killing you is too kind. I think now…. Now you get to be denied. You get to be denied your freedom and the one person you've ever really loved. Take it from me: the next few years of your life are really going to suck."
"Elijah, you gave me your word that you would talk to Klaus. I…. I can't make a deal without you." Katherine called. She was smart enough not to move while Buffy was so close. The blonde could still change her mind about killing her.
Elijah looked at Buffy for a moment. "The lovely Miss Summers has my brother's ear more than I do. He actually does love her. And I believe that when she asks him, you will never have your freedom. You shouldn't have killed her son. Good-bye, Katherine." He nodded at Buffy. "It's always a pleasure seeing you, Buffy. Until next time." He gave a slight bow before turning and walking away.
Katherine turned to Buffy. "Please, don't do this to me. Talk to them! Please!"
"Why?" Buffy growled. "Why should I help you anymore? Because of you, Elena is emotionless…. Heartless…. You took away her humanity because you killed her brother."
"It's not my fault she couldn't deal with it.""Of course it's your fault! Take some blame for once, Katherine. You ruin lives. It's what you do. Rose and Trevor, Damon, Stefan, Elena, Jeremy…. Countless others that I've never even met…. All those people that were killed because you wanted their identities….. The list is endless! Elijah actually cared for you and you still played him just like you do every other man who actually gave a damn about you. You had to compel a town to like you just so you could have friends. You're over 500 years old, Katherine. Grow up!" Buffy turned and stormed off.
Elena was finally awake and sitting next to Angel in a booth at the diner. Buffy was sitting in the middle of the round booth, watching Elena closely. Angel had grabbed Elena up and followed Buffy when she'd stormed away from Katherine. Rebekah, Stefan, and Damon hadn't been at the diner when they'd arrived. Buffy had texted Damon to let him know she had Elena and they were at the diner. It was after dark when Damon and Stefan walked into the diner and joined them. Damon slid in next to Buffy and Stefan slid in next to him across from Elena.
"Did you have a good day, sweetheart?" Damon asked Buffy.
"It was eventful." Buffy said."Is Katherine still alive?" Stefan asked."Yes. I let her go knowing that when we get back to Mystic Falls, I'll ask Klaus to never give her freedom back to her and that she lost Elijah. It was the worst punishment I could think of."
"Being denied happiness. How devious of you." Damon kissed her neck, slightly glowing with pride.
"You all right?" Stefan asked Elena. Elena just looked at him.
"What's up with the silent treatment?" Damon asked.
"You know I don't want the cure." Elena said finally. "You need to know that I never will and I'm done talking about it. So…. will you accept that and let me be who I am, or not?"
Damon, Buffy, and Stefan exchanged looks. "Yeah…. no." Damon said.
"Elena, this isn't you." Stefan insisted.
"It is now. And you guys really need to accept it. Because if you don't, there will be consequences." Elena took a sip from her mug.
"Are you threatening us, Elena?" Buffy said, her voice getting dangerously lower.
"Listen, I was in the exact same situation that you're in right now." Stefan said, trying to diffuse the situation. "My emotions were off. I wasn't me. And you refused to accept that. You didn't give up on me. You didn't stop until you pulled me back."
Elena set down her mug just as Jolene came back. "Let me just top that off for you." Jolene said.
"Thanks." Elena said with a smile before using her vamp-speed to suddenly snap Jolene's neck. Her body fell to the floor as the pitcher of coffee shattered.
"Elena!" Buffy cried, astounded.
"Like I said: consequences. That's one body you're responsible for. If you keep trying to fix me, there'll be a second, a twentieth, and a hundredth. It's your choice." She started to walk away, but Buffy was suddenly standing in front of her.
"You're not going anywhere." Buffy said before snapping Elena's neck. Elena crumpled to the ground and Buffy looked up at Damon, Stefan, and Angel. "Let's get her tied up in the car and headed back to Mystic Falls before she wakes up."
Buffy walked into Klaus's darkened house and looked around the foyer. "Klaus?" She called. "Where the hell are you?"
"Go away." Klaus said from somewhere in the direction of the den.
"Seriously? After all those messages you sent me?" She headed for the sound of his voice. "I'm not leaving now. Where are you?" She found Klaus sitting shirtless on the floor. He was sweating and looked like he was in some serious pain. "What happened to you?"
"I need more time. Stop hounding me!"
"Seriously? Do you have any idea of the kind of day I've had? Actually, what the last few days have been like?"
"Buffy, is it really you?"
Buffy's eyes narrows. "Of course it's really me."
"Prove it to me."
"I'm not really sure if this is some new way of flirting you've concocted or if you've been haunted by the First today…. It liked to take on my form…. But I have way more important things to do. Like make sure Elena stays drained of all her blood and locked up in my basement after her little stunt in Pennsylvania."
She started to leave, but Klaus held out his hand. "Wait, please…. Silas. He stabbed me with the white oak stake. There's a…. A piece of it stuck inside me."
"Why would Silas attack you? And how does he even have that stake? It's locked up where no one can find it."
"Well, I was in no position to ask questions. Suffice it to say, I'm hurt. So you can understand why I called you."
"Not really, but whatever. What do you want me to do?"
"Well, it's quite simple, really. I need you to cut the stake out of me." Klaus held out a pair of bloody pliers.
"So, you've been here all day and most of the night with the white oak stake almost piercing your heart…. Which, by the way, could kill us all…. And I'm the only one you called for help? I was in another state!"
"You're the only one I…. trust."
"I helped kill your brother. You hate me."
"I…. Thought I did. I tried to, but I just realized that…. You're impossible to hate."
Buffy sighed. "So, you're not over me, then?"
"You have seriously got to find a new hobby." Buffy said as she grabbed the pliers and turned on the lights. "Why don't you hit on Caroline? She's newly single since you ran Tyler out of town."
"She's not you." Klaus braced himself against the piano.
"She's a little taller and a little younger, but she's close enough." Buffy cut open Klaus's back where he'd been digging all day and started to dig out the white oak stake.
"No one comes close to you." Klaus gritted.
Buffy paused, not really knowing how to respond to that comment. She settled for picking on him. "Oh, my god! You do have a heart." She joked. "Oh, no…. It's just a bloody rib."
"Well I'm glad you're finding my misery so amusing."
"I don't think there's anything in here, Klaus. And if you think I'm having fun, you're insane." She dug a little deeper into Klaus' back and he yelled in pain, slamming his hand on the piano top. Buffy giggled. "Oh, never mind…. That's actually quite a lot of fun. Let's do it again!"
"Stop!" Klaus begged. "Just…. Stop!" He turned around and glared at her.
"Ok." Buffy set the pliers down and started to walk away.
"Where are you going?"
"You told me to stop."
"Please…. I can feel the splinters moving towards my heart. Help me!"
Buffy sighed. "Ok, fine. But there's two things I need you to agree to first."
"What makes you think…."
"Fine." Buffy turned and started walking again.
"What are the two things?" Klaus sighed, sitting down on the piano bench.
Buffy smirked before she turned around with a serious face. "First: Katherine Pierce…. Katerina Petrova…. Whatever you want to call her…. She is never to get her freedom from you."
"I never intended to give it to her."
"Even if she bargains you with something you can't resist?"
"You have my word."
"That's never really been good enough, has it?"
"Buffy, you have my word. What's the second thing?"
"Tyler Lockwood tried to kill me!"
"We've all tried to kill you. And you've tried to kill most of us. You can't just be nice to me, Klaus! You want to live in this community…. Be a part of my friends…. Then you have to try."
Klaus stood and approached Buffy quickly. "I will not have my hand forced by you or anyone else!"
"What is wrong with you? I'm actually reaching out to you despite everything that you've done and you still can't get out of your own way. Sometimes I actually feel sorry for you!" She turned away, throwing the pliers to the ground and started to leave.
Klaus rushed in front of her to block her way. "Don't turn your back on me!"
"I should have turned my back on you ages ago! I don't know why I haven't!"
They remained silent for a moment, staring at each other intently before Klaus blinked in surprise. "It's gone."
"The pain." Klaus reached around to his back. "The…. the pain is gone. It was…. It was never there. He got in my head. Silas…. Got inside my head." He gently took Buffy's hand and kissed her knuckles. "You took my mind off it. You brought me back, Buffy."
Buffy took her hand back gently and patted his cheek. "You're welcome…. I guess. But that worries me a little. If Silas can make you, of all people, believe that you're dying…. What can he do to the rest of us?"
"I thought Silas doesn't scare you?"
"No. I'm not scared. I've fought worse. But I am worried. I wouldn't be the best if I didn't worry."
Klaus reached out and touched her hair. "Hey…. Thank you for helping me."
"Yeah." She shrugged. "No problem."
"Are you gonna give me my second request?" Klaus's face fell and he didn't say anything. Buffy sighed and shook her head, moving for the door.
"You might have noticed…." Buffy stopped and turned to face him. "I'm not exactly scouring the earth for him, am I?"
"I'll pass it on to Caroline." She smiled slightly.
"What's going on with Elena?"
"You mentioned you were keeping her drained and locked up."
"She's shut off her emotions and gone crazy. She killed some poor waitress just to make a point. So I snapped her neck…. Twice…. to make a point to her. When she wakes up, she'll be locked in the basement and drained of all her blood."
"Is there anything I can help with, love?"
Buffy thought about it for a second. "I'll let you know." And with that, she walked out of the house.