The Next Chapter

Chapter 80

A/N Sorry it took me so long. I've had the craziest two weeks! My boss was on vacation, so I was having to do his job on top of training for my new job. I got a promotion, but I can't officially step into the job until they hire someone to replace me. Hopefully that will be today and she can start next week. Cross your fingers for me!

And as always, let me know what you think. Sorry Buffy's so harsh in this. She's still pretty upset about the whole situation and she's just trying to make it through.

Chapter 80

Buffy sat in the living room flipping through a magazine while Damon and Stefan stood on either side of the room tossing a football back and forth. Angel sat across from Buffy reading a book. Willow was out with Bonnie making sure her powers didn't go haywire or she didn't try to tear down the fabric of reality and bring back every dead supernatural that had ever walked the earth. She'd set herself on fire the night before and had gotten so scared, she'd called Willow.

"How long has it been?" Damon asked. "Eight…. nine days?"

"Yeah, eight or nine days." Stefan said. "I don't know. I lost count."

"We lost count for the consecutive days in which Elena Gilbert is not killing anyone."

"It's been seven." Buffy said, not looking up from her magazine. "And it's because she's locked in the basement."

"Buzzkill." Damon shot at her. She just shrugged. Angel chuckled slightly.

"So, what? We're just going to throw the football around for another hundred and fifty years until Elena gets her humanity back?" Stefan asked. "Cause I'm cool with that."

"That's the plan." Buffy said. She looked up from her magazine. "Elena will stay down there, drained of her blood and living on a diet of one tube of blood per day, until she realizes that she isn't going to get away with being a conniving little bitch."

"I'm surprised Rebekah hasn't tried to break her out." Angel said.

"Rebekah's scared of Buffy." Damon said. "She's smart enough to stay away."

"So, we keep her locked up and powerless, but how do we make her flip her humanity switch?" Stefan asked.

"We make her want it." Buffy said.

"How are you gonna make an emotionless vampire want anything?" Damon asked. "Pull a Lexi? Bombard her with emotions so one of those sticks."

"Sounds about right. I was hoping she would be annoyed enough that we're keeping her locked up, but so far that's a no go. So, Senior Prom is tonight. I know I was an emotional wreck dealing with it since I had a dress to worry about and a psycho nerd to put down and hell hounds to kill and…."

"Oh! Stefan!" Damon said. "You should take her in the sewers and break up with her."

Buffy laughed. "That really got my emotions spinning."

"You guys are hysterical." Angel said, deadpan. "What happens when she gets slammed with every emotion she's repressed since Jeremy died?"

"Then I will be right by her side ready to help her through it." Buffy said.

"All right," Stefan said. "You're her mother figure. How do you wanna do this?" Stefan asked.

Buffy stood just inside the open door to the cell in the basement. Stefan and Angel stood guard at the top of the stairs and Damon stood guard at the bottom. Elena probably wouldn't get past Buffy, but no one wanted to take any chances.

Elena was lying on the cot staring at the ceiling. She rolled her eyes and said, "Oh good. The warden's here with my breakfast."

"Nope. We're going shopping." Buffy said. Elena sat up and looked at Buffy. "Your Senior Prom is tonight. I don't want you to miss out just because you're an emotional retard."

"I'm not taking the cure."

"And you're not killing anyone else just because I want you to have it."

"Think you can stop me?"

"I know I can. The fact that you've been in this cell for seven days proves that. But if you want to go up against me, then by all means, enjoy that snapped neck again. So, here's the deal. We'll go dress shopping. We'll find something nice to wear to the big dance. You'll go with Stefan as your date. I've already signed up as chaperone along with Damon, so we'll be there too. Angel is going to be around the building, maybe even inside. Who knows? The point is: someone will be watching you every step of the way. And any wrong move that you make, you will end up right back in this cell with only half a vial of blood a day."

"You don't scare me."

"I'm not trying to scare you, Elena. I'm trying to prevent you from doing something dumb so when you do finally turn your emotions back on, you'll have a hell of a lot less to deal with."

"I'm not turning them back on. You might as well just leave me here."

Buffy suddenly had Elena up off the cot by her hair and pressed against the wall. "Get upstairs and get presentable. We're going out." She released Elena harshly and walked out of the cell.

Buffy sighed as she listened to Rebekah tell Elena about her deal with Elijah. She wanted to be human so bad that Elijah was considering giving her the cure. But she had to live like a human for a whole day. When Rebekah had called to ask if Buffy would go dress shopping with her, Buffy was looking at it as a chance to possibly take the cure from Elijah so she could shove it down Elena's throat. If at all possible, she was going to stick close to Rebekah the next few hours.

"You're gonna fail." Elena said. "You should be locking yourself inside all day, not shopping for prom."

"Name me a more human experience than the prom." Rebekah shot back.


"Why should I listen to you? You don't even have your humanity."

"You realize you won't even be able to compel yourself a date, right?"

"Can it, Elena." Buffy snapped. "At least Rebekah is trying to be decent."

"Ok, you want decent?" Elena looked at Rebekah. "I'll come with you to prom. I'll keep an eye on you to make sure that you pass Elijah's test. As soon as you've gotten the cure, it'll be gone for good and no one will be able to use it on me."

Buffy rolled her eyes at Elena. In truth, that made her life a little easier. If Elena was sticking close to Rebekah, then she could keep an eye on both of them without worrying about Elena wreaking havoc. Rebekah wasn't going to wreak havoc. She seemed to really want to be human. It almost made Buffy feel bad about taking that chance away from her.


The door jingled as they walked into the shop. Bonnie, Willow, and Caroline looked up from Caroline's dress. Their smiles faltered when they spotted Elena.

"Hey, Bonnie." Elena said, walking over to them. "Heard you got your mind wiped. That sucks. Pretty dress, Caroline."

"I know. You helped me pick it out months ago when we were friends." Caroline said. "Before you tried to kill me.

"I thought it looked familiar."

Caroline looked at the store clerk. "Can you press this for me? I'll pick it up later." She looked at Buffy. "How are you?"

"Good. Your dress is gorgeous." She was wearing a blush pink strapless mermaid gown with pearls everywhere in intricate designs.

"Thank you. So what are you up to?"

"Dress shopping for Elena and Rebekah." Buffy glanced at Rebekah and Elena moving around the store.

"What about your dress?" Caroline asked.

"Oh, it's at home. I ordered it a while ago. Elena needs one because she set her house on fire and her dress was in there." Buffy looked at Willow. "Are you coming tonight?"

"Bonnie wants me to." Willow said.

"I think it would be a good idea." Bonnie said. "She's been helping suppress my powers when they get out of control."

Caroline gave a grimace and suddenly turned around and headed for the fitting room. Buffy looked over to see Elena walking up. "I want to go to Rebekah's tonight to get ready." She said to Buffy.


"I promise to keep an eye on her." Rebekah said.

"You're supposed to be playing human."

"I'm not going to do anything." Elena protested. "I'm going to get ready and go to prom. That's it."

"Willow?" Buffy turned to her best friend.

"I'll make sure that's what happens." Willow said, smiling brightly at Elena.

Buffy walked into the house and Damon walked over to her. "Hey." He said, kissing her quickly. "Where's Elena?"

"At Rebekah's. Willow's got a tracking spell on her. If she leaves Rebekah's house," Buffy held up a purple crystal. "This will alert me."

"I love a girl with brains." He kissed her forehead. "So, time to get ready for the dance?"

"Yup." She unraveled herself from his arms and headed upstairs. When she opened up the closet to get her dress out, the bag was empty. "What…." Buffy looked around, thinking maybe Damon had laid it out for her and she just missed it, but the dress was gone. "Damon!" He appeared in the doorway a few seconds later. "Where's my dress?"

"It's in the closet."

"It's not in the closet."

Damon went in to check and came back out with a confused look. "Where's your dress?"

Buffy sighed. "I'm going to bet that Elena has it. She didn't get a dress at the shop. She told me not to worry about it because she had her eye on something already and that I would love it."

"Well, there's always that sexy purple number."

"Have you ever seen me wear something twice?" Buffy sighed. "I'll be back. Gotta go rustle up a dress." She headed back out to her car and drove down the road. At the last second, she turned onto Klaus's street. He always had something pretty to offer. And it would be a hell of a lot prettier than anything in a store these days. She didn't bother to knock, just walked on in. "Klaus?" She found him standing and staring at the fireplace in the den. "Hey."

"A personal visit?" Klaus said with a smile. He placed his hand over his heart. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Elena stole my dress for this evening and I need your help."

"A dress? For what?"

"Prom." Klaus started to chuckle. "Don't laugh. I'm going as a chaperone."

"How kind of you." He said as he was still trying to suppress his laughter.

"Not really. It's to keep Elena from killing anyone else."

He walked closer to her. "She's still threatening that?"

"Well, she's been locked up and drained, so she hasn't really been able to talk much the last couple of days."

"Yet she stole your dress…."

"I wanted to see if the nostalgia of her Senior prom will kickstart that switch flip."

"And what of the cure? Elijah has it and he's not giving it up. I tried."

Buffy shrugged. "I've got the most powerful witch of pretty much all time on my side. If Silas can do it, then she can too. We'll figure something out."

Klaus smiled slightly. "Your optimism is almost infectious. So, a dress?"

"You've got this creepy yet fascinating trophy case of family collectibles and I thought maybe…. You could dig me out something spectacular."

His smile brightened. "I believe I have something perfect for you. But…." He leaned into her side. "I'll only give it to you if you model it for me."

Buffy looked up at him. "Ok, fine. Lead the way."

Elena descended the steps of Rebekah's front porch, wearing Buffy's red dress. Buffy watched from inside the limo as it drove up. Damon sat next to her looking dashing in his tux. Stefan sat next to the door with Angel. When the limo came to a stop, Stefan got out with a bouquet of flowers.

"I don't need a babysitter." Elena said.

"Really? Because the last time you were out and about, you snapped a waitress' spine." Stefan said.

"Got you to stop your search for the cure, didn't it?" She started walking away but Damon and Buffy were suddenly there to block her way.

"Not really." Buffy said. "We're still looking, but tonight we're just here to make sure you don't have a stupid moment and kill someone else. So, don't eat the prom queen."

"Beautiful dress." Damon quipped.

"Thank you. I stole it." Elena said with a sneer at Buffy.

Buffy shrugged. "Mine's prettier." She was wearing a high necked white dress with cap sleeves; black appliqué running around the neckline, down the sides of the dress, and circling around the bottom of the skirt; and a small train that flowed out from the trumpet skirt. It clung to her body, accentuating every curve, and it flowed like water when she walked. The back was high necked, but there was a large keyhole opening from the base of her neck to the middle of her back. Along the appliqué were tiny crystals that Klaus said were real diamonds.

Elena shrugged and climbed into the limo. She looked at Angel. "You're not dressed for the occasion."

"I'm not going to prom." Angel said. "I'm just sticking to the shadows and keeping an eye on you."

"You're only here because you're in love with Buffy and when her and Damon don't work out, you'll swoop in and…."

"Elena, seriously, we get it." Buffy snapped. "You don't have any tact along with emotions. But all I hear out of your mouth now is blah blah blah because you're a broken record. Find something else to yak about."

Elena glared at her and sat back. Score one for Buffy. Everyone else wanted to kill her with kindness and try and turn back on her compassion. Buffy was going a different route. If she could make her annoyed or angry, those were emotions that would lead to the rest of them coming back in.

When the limo stopped, Angel got out and headed out into the woods. Stefan got out and helped Elena before Damon and Buffy got out of the limo. The red carpet leading to the prom was lined with screens playing slideshows of photographs.

"Where's the disco ball?" Damon asked.

"Caroline's been working on this for a while." Buffy said. "It's a photo-yearbook of the senior class." She sighed. "I wish my senior prom had been this cool."

"Just be glad you're not fighting hell hounds in that dress." Stefan said as they stopped in front of one of the screens. "Isn't that photo from, ah, the first day of freshman year?" It was a picture of Elena and Matt smiling.

"My mom took that when she dropped us off at school." Elena said. Buffy and Damon exchanged glances. Slowly the picture faded into a different picture. It was Elena and Jeremy, both of them smiling. It was one that Buffy had taken. It shot a stab of pain through Buffy's heart, but she didn't let it show on the outside. Hopefully it stirred something inside of Elena.

She started removing her jacket as she said, "I'm gonna get a seizure if I keep staring at these screens." She walked off quickly. Stefan glanced back at Buffy and Damon. They both just shrugged. Inside, everyone was dancing. Buffy spotted Elena going to take a sip from a flask but she swooped in, snatched it from her, and proceeded to take a sip herself.

"Sorry, kiddo." Buffy said. "You're underage."

"You're overage, and honestly, it's kind of creepy." Elena said.

Buffy laughed as Damon and Stefan joined them. "Oh, come on, Elena. What badass senior's complete without a prom date that's slightly too old for high school?" Damon said.

"Please don't refer to yourself as my date."

"Sorry, honey, I didn't." Damon wrapped an arm around Buffy's waist. "My date's right here. Yours is right there." He pointed at Stefan.

"I'm not doing this."

"You're not gonna deny that he's your date, now, are you?" Buffy asked. "I mean, no one else is clamoring to volunteer for that position."

"What are you three doing? Trying to stir some feelings in me?" Elena looked at Damon. "Ironic, since you, my sire, are the one who had me turn them off."

"Yeah, well, hindsight is almost a bigger bitch than you." Damon shot back. Elena rolled her eyes and walked off. Damon looked at Buffy. "I think I like your plan better than Stefan's."

"If that was normal Elena, I would feel bad." Buffy said, stashing the flask in Damon's inside jacket pocket. "But screwing with this Elena is kinda fun."

"This should be interesting." Damon said.

Buffy followed his line of sight where Elena had just run into Matt, Willow, and Bonnie. "Uh-oh. Friend patrol." Elena said.

"Hey." Bonnie said. "I know we haven't really talked since…. everything. But I just…. I wanna say that I miss you."

"Me too." Matt said. "And we wanna help you."

"What are you gonna do, get me a job at the Grill?" Elena quipped.

"I don't want you to look back and realize you missed out on the best part of senior year."

"Spare me, Matt. If you had the choice, you would have turned your emotions off the second that Vicki died."

"Hey." Bonnie said. "You shut it off because all you could feel were the horrible things happening to you. You still have friends who love you."

"I thought you were gonna bring Jeremy back, but it turned out you were just a brainwashed crazy-person, so technically you're a walking reminder of all the horrible things that have happened to me."

"Hey, maybe Bonnie has a use after all." Buffy said as Elena marched off from them.

Bonnie looked tense and she seemed to be struggling to contain herself. "I need some air." She said.

"Bonnie, wait…." Matt started.

"Caroline's right. Elena's gone." Bonnie rushed outside.

Willow sighed. "Let her be." She said to Matt. "She needs to cool down so she doesn't set this place on fire." She walked over to meet Buffy and Damon. "You look so pretty!"

"Thank you!" Buffy said as she hugged her best friend. "I really like your dress." Willow was wearing an emerald green, one shouldered, empire waist, chiffon gown with flower accents on the shoulder strap and an intricate metallic design around the waist.

"I think I like this dress better than my senior prom dress. Besides, my hair choice this time around is much better." She had opted to straighten her auburn hair and pin half of it back with a big white rose.

"Oh yeah!" Buffy started to laugh and Damon looked confused.

"I had cornrows and this weird twisty bun thing on top of my head." Willow told him. "I thought it was fashionable. And maybe in 1999 it was, but…." She shuddered. "Eep."

"It was cute." Buffy said.

Willow shrugged. "So, Elena's wearing your dress."

"She stole it. But that's ok. This one is much prettier."

"Where did you find it?"

"Klaus." Damon choked a little on the flask he was drinking from. "He gave it to me."

"You didn't tell me that." Damon said.

"Yes I did."


"When we were getting ready."

"I didn't hear that part."

"Then you weren't listening."

"You do know Buffy has him wrapped around her little finger, right?" Willow asked.

"I wish I didn't know that." Damon said.

"If I had Klaus wrapped around my finger then Caroline would be here with Tyler right now." Buffy said, glancing over at Caroline standing alone and looking around at the dance she put together. "She looks miserable."

"It's not your fault. You talked to Klaus and Tyler could come back, but he's choosing not to." Willow said. "I guess he doesn't believe Klaus."

Stefan walked up just then after Elena walked away from their dance. "Hey." Buffy said to him. "You making any progress with the dress thief?"

"I don't know. I think it's affecting me a lot more than it's affecting her."

"What do you mean?"

"Every time I tell myself that I'm moving on, there's this part of me that just can't seem to shake her."

"That's normal, Stefan. You guys were in love, and that doesn't go away just because you declare that you're moving on."

"Well, then how does anyone ever seem to move on?"

Buffy snuggled in closer to Damon. He wrapped his arm around her and she looked up at him adoringly. "Someday, you'll meet someone new and you'll fall madly in love, whether you want to or not, and you'll have moved on without even realizing it."

Stefan smiled slightly. It made him happy to see his brother happy and in love with someone as amazing as Buffy Summers. They gave him hope. If they could find love after everything they'd both seen and done, then he could too.

"Uh oh." Damon said.

Buffy looked over to where Elena had April pinned against a wall and Rebekah standing off to the side. She was suddenly across the room and yanking Elena away. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" April rushed off. Smart girl.

"I was keeping Rebekah from compelling her." Elena said.

"I was not going to threaten her." Rebekah protested.

"Remember that time you tortured me until I told you how to find the cure? You ruined my relationship with Stefan and then you trapped us with a werewolf?"

"Yeah. So?"

"So you're not a good person. You're not gonna win this cure by being yourself. So just stand there and refrain from talking, ok?" Elena walked off and Buffy rolled her eyes.

"She seriously needs her humanity back." Buffy said. She looked at Rebekah. "Look, don't listen to her, ok?"

"Why not?" Rebekah said. "She's right."

"She's not." Buffy led Rebekah over to a table and sat down. "Rebekah, I've seen someone who enjoyed torturing and maiming human beings make a complete 180 and he's now one of the best men I've ever known."

"Angel doesn't count. He was forced to get his soul back."

"I'm not talking about Angel. I'm talking about Spike. He fought to get his soul back. He fought to be a good person. I think you can do this. I think you can become a good person."

Rebekah looked at her, tears shining in her eyes. "Really?"


Matt walked up just then. "You guys haven't seen Bonnie, have you?"

"She's probably in the bathroom." Rebekah said. "Every other girl is."

"Matt, will you dance with Rebekah?" Buffy asked.

"I don't think so." He started to walk off, but Buffy was suddenly blocking his way. "How do you even do that in a formal dress…. With a train?"

"Look," Buffy said, ignoring his question. "It's a girl's worst nightmare to be alone at prom. Trust me on that one. It sucks. Don't let Rebekah's first prom experience be ruined. Please?"

Matt sighed. "Ok. Fine." He held out his hand to Rebekah. She smiled, mouthing a thank you to Buffy, and let Matt escort her onto the dance floor.

Buffy stood up and made her way over to Caroline. "Aren't you on 'Save Elena' duty?" Caroline asked.

"I'm taking a little breather to check on my friend." Buffy said, nudging Caroline gently with her shoulder. "You ok?"

Caroline nodded as she took a deep breath. She crumpled, though. "This prom sucks. This is our last dance together and it's awful. This is not how I wanted to remember this night." She let out another huff. "If anyone asks, I'll be at the after-party."

Buffy watched Caroline turn and march off. When she turned back around, Damon was walking over to her with some red punch. She smiled and took the drink. "Not sure I should be drinking something red with my white dress."

"Eh…. It's Klaus's, so spill away." Damon said.

"It's mine now and I'd like to keep it free of stains. I might actually wear this dress again." She set the glass down. "Dance with me?"

"Of course." He set his glass down and led her out onto the dance floor. He twirled her out and then into his arms, holding her close as they swayed to the music. "So, is this a better prom than your last one?"

"Hot date that didn't break up with my in a sewer? Check. Stunning dress? Check. Cheesy yet somehow good music? Check. Great friends? Double check." She pulled him tighter against her. "This is much better."

Damon smiled and laid his head down on top of hers as she snuggled her head against his chest. He closed his eyes as he breathed her in, enjoying every moment. They swayed to the music, held tightly together, letting everything around them fade away. That was until Bonnie and Angel came rushing over, interrupting their quiet moment.

"We have a problem." Bonnie said.

Buffy turned in Damon's arms and sighed as Damon said, "Of course we do."

"It's Silas." Angel said. "He's here."

Buffy and Damon exchanged glances. "We should get Stefan and Willow." Buffy said. They found them standing near the exit and Bonnie proceeded to tell them what had happened. Silas had shown up as Jeremy in a tux and tried to convince Bonnie to help him.

"It's like Jeremy was there." Bonnie said. "I could talk to him, feel him."

"Bonnie, that's what Silas does. You can't let him get to you again." Willow said.

"Yeah, because you all crazy and brainwashed is just not a good look." Damon said. Buffy smacked his arm. "Ow!"

April took the stage and began to speak from a podium on the stage. "Hey. Ok, the ballots have been tallied, which means it's time to announce this year's prom king and queen."

"Look, one of us should take her home." Angel said, gesturing at Bonnie.

"No." Buffy said. "She's safer here in public around all these people. There's no way Silas can make everyone see the same thing all at once."

"Actually, if he's as powerful as everyone says he is, then we should probably all go hide somewhere." Willow said. "I mean, he did get to Klaus and that's impossible."

"It's not impossible." Buffy shook her head. "I'm not hiding from this guy."

"Ok, so how do we look out for a guy that can appear as anyone?" Matt asked.

"All right, your prom king and queen are…. Matt Donovan and Bonnie Bennett." April said on stage. The crowd cheered as a spotlight shined down on Matt and Bonnie, interrupting their conversation. They both looked shocked as Buffy pushed them towards the stage.

Buffy glanced around for Elena. "I don't see my psycho child."

"Let's split up." Stefan said. "Make sure she's not killing anyone."

"Good idea." Buffy said. They all moved off to find Elena while Matt and Bonnie went to get their pictures taken.

Rebekah walked up to Buffy and pulled her aside just as she spotted Elena watching Bonnie get her pictures taken. "You need to get the witch off the stage." Rebekah said.


"You didn't hear it from me, but Elena's up to something." Rebekah walked away and Buffy turned to look for Elena. She was walking through a beaded curtain where Bonnie had just disappeared.

"Congratulations, Bonnie." Elena said.

"What do you want?" Bonnie snapped.

"For you to stop being a problem." Elena vamped out and snarled. She went to grab Bonnie's shoulder, but Buffy was suddenly there, holding her back.

"I told you not to eat the prom queen." Buffy said. She slammed Elena's head down onto the table in the little room hard enough to knock her out.

Matt rushed in just then. "What's going on!?"

"Buffy just saved me from Elena." Bonnie said.

"If I were you, I would clear out of here before she wakes up." Buffy turned and headed out to find Damon. He was standing outside talking to…. Her. It was Silas disguised as her. Before Silas could stab Damon with the hidden stake, Buffy was suddenly in front of Damon, taking the stake in her stomach.

Silas laughed. "You are fast."

Buffy yanked the stake out of her abdomen and shoved the stake in Silas's stomach before anyone could blink. "Yup. Now get out of my face." She shoved him backwards and he disappeared. Buffy groaned in pain, and Damon held onto her, leaning her against his chest. "Ow…." She complained. "It was soaked in vervain."

"Are you ok?" Damon asked.

"I'll live." She looked down at her ruined dress. "That freak owes me a dress."

Willow, Stefan, and Angel came running out. "Buffy!" Willow cried.

"Are you all right?" Stefan asked."What happened?" Angel asked.

"Silas happened. And I'm fine." Buffy said. "Just royally pissed about my dress." Willow waved her hand and the jagged hole and large amount of blood disappeared. "Wow! Thanks."

Willow shrugged. "I really liked that dress, too. It would've been such a waste."

Suddenly car alarms started going off in the parking lot. And it wasn't just a few, but every car with an alarm was going off. A moment later, the wind picked up and Bonnie screamed, "Get out of my head!"

"Well that doesn't sound good." Damon said as they headed over towards the parking lot.

Suddenly everything stopped. There was barely two seconds before Bonnie yelled in pain. Buffy rounded the corner first to see Elena attacking Bonnie. Before she could move, though, Elena stopped and started making choking noises. Buffy watched as Elena started vomiting blood while the wound on Bonnie's neck healed supernaturally fast. Almost as fast as Buffy's wounds healed.

Elena continued to choke and Bonnie rose up from the ground. She used her magic to break Elena's bones in her arms and legs. Elena shouted in pain and Buffy rushed over to her.

"Bonnie, stop!" Willow cried. "Bonnie!"

Buffy crouched down by Elena protectively. "Buffy, help me." Elena cried.

"Bonnie, you're killing her!" Buffy yelled.

"I know what I'm doing." Bonnie said.

"That's the magic talking." Willow said. "Look at her! That's your best friend."

"Damn it, Bonnie!" Damon said.

Elena clung to Buffy in pain and managed to look up at Bonnie, blood dripping from her nose. "Bonnie…. Please."

Willow clapped her hands loudly behind Bonnie's head and a shimmering wall flew out from them and surrounded Bonnie in a whirlwind. Elena stopped crying out. The whirlwind disappeared as quickly as it had appeared and Bonnie turned on Willow. "What did you do?"

"Stopped the flow of your magic." Willow said. "You were killing her."

"I almost died. The shell of my best friend almost killed me!"

"That doesn't give you the right to use that magic on her! She's not herself."

Bonnie turned and stomped away. Buffy helped Elena to stand, saying, "I got you." She staggered weakly, holding on to Buffy. Stefan stepped in to help and before she had a chance to fully recover, he jabbed her with a syringe filled with vervain. Elena fell unconscious into Buffy's arms.

"I think plan A was a better choice." Stefan said, picking Elena up in his arms.

"Yeah. This was just an experiment." Buffy said. "She failed. Let's get her home."

Stefan laid Elena's unconscious body on the cot in the basement cell where she'd spent the seven days prior. Buffy and Damon stood in the doorway while Angel leaned against the wall behind them. Willow stood off to the side near the stairs. Stefan turned around and joined them.

"She might not feel much, but she's gonna feel that in the morning." Damon said.

Stefan looked at Buffy. "So what's the plan?"

"The same as before." Buffy said. "Any emotion possible." She took a deep breath, not liking the next part. "I'm thinking that the quickest way, though, is through fear. When Bonnie was whaling on her tonight…. Elena thought she was gonna die. She was terrified."

Damon nodded. "Last time I checked that's one of those pesky human emotions."

"So plan C…. Make her life a living hell." Stefan said.

"More like plan A, section B." Buffy said.

"What about our other problem?" Angel asked. "You know, the one that can be anyone, anywhere, anytime?"

"Silas still needs Bonnie." Willow said. "She's not much of an easy target anymore and she's not gonna let him manipulate her. At least not anymore. I'm thinking about binding Bonnie's powers temporarily until we can figure out how to kill Silas and not tear down the walls between here and the Other Side."

"That may not work. I wouldn't underestimate his talents."

"He had me fooled." Damon said. "Until my girl showed up and fed him his stake."

"After he staked me." Buffy complained."Well, it was intended for me. You just appeared and startled us both."

"You hurt him?" Stefan asked.

"He ruined my dress." Buffy said. She looked up at Damon. "What was he saying to you, anyway?"

"He was pretending to be you talking about Klaus. Trying to make me jealous."

"Did it work?""At first." Buffy started to protest, but he held his hand up. "Buff, I'm starting to get it. You love me. You chose me." He smiled. "You want me." Damon kissed her gently. "And I love you, too."

"I thought you two were past that lovey dovey phase." Willow said teasingly, smiling at her best friend.

Buffy shrugged. "I don't know about anyone else, but I am seriously craving waffles. Does the waffle maker still work after Jeremy…." She paused, a flash of pain and sadness crossing her face.

"Why don't we go out for some?" Damon suggested. He gestured at the cell door. "The door's locked up tight and she's going to be out for a while. We've got time."

"Sounds great to me!" Willow said brightly.

"Me too." Stefan said, wrapping an arm around Buffy's shoulders.

Angel shrugged. "I'm in."

Buffy nodded. "Ok. Yeah. That sounds fun." She glanced at the locked door as Stefan and Damon led her out of the basement. The next few days, maybe even weeks, were going to be hell.

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