The Next Chapter

Chapter 85

Chapter 85

Buffy stood on the edge of the cliff overlooking the quarry. Willow had done a locater spell for Stefan and it had led them to the quarry. It made perfect sense that Silas would dump Stefan here. Now she and Damon had to convince Sheriff Forbes to help them locate Stefan.

"Damon, I know I said that I would help you find your brother, but I can't dredge this entire quarry." Sheriff Forbes said. "It's enormous."

"I'm aware of that." Damon said. "I mean clearly that's why we wanted to dump Silas's body here because it's big and deep and no one would find him here. Now say I'm Silas and I want to take over my doppelganger's life. Why wouldn't I dump him in a place that's big and deep where no one would find him?"

"Damon! I already agreed on holding off telling anyone about the Mayor's death until you've figured this all out. But I can't devote those kinds of resources to finding one person who may or may not be down there."

"He's here." Buffy said, turning around. "Willow's spell said so."

"And Willow's spell could've been manipulated by Silas."

"He's not…. He doesn't have any witchy powers like that anymore." Buffy shook her head and took off her sunglasses. "Liz, look…. If Stefan's down there, drowning over and over again, while his family was out having the time of their lives…. Minus that one little hiccup in Pompeii…. Do I need to elaborate the source of our urgency?" Liz took a breath to say something, but Buffy cut her off. "If it's a money issue, then consider it solved. We'll make a serious donation to wherever you tell us. Please, Liz. Help us find Stefan."

Liz sighed. "I'll get some deputies on it."

"Thank you, Liz." Damon called as she walked away from them. He turned to his wife. "You're good."

"I'm not good. I'm desperate, Damon." Buffy wrapped herself in his arms and looked out over the quarry. "I'm also very, very with the guilty feeling."

"Babe, we didn't know. We couldn't have known."

"We should've helped Stefan dump Silas's body before we ran off to Italy. Maybe then we wouldn't be in this situation. Maybe then…." Buffy's phone ringing cut her off. She pulled it out of her pocket. "It's Jeremy." She answered it and turned it on speaker phone. "Please tell us you found her."

"I didn't, but Matt did." Jeremy said.

"Huh…. How shockingly useful." Damon said.

Buffy rolled her eyes at her husband. "Where was she?"

"She was mid-catfight with some lady who maced her." Jeremy said. "We think Silas might have mind-controlled himself some new friends."

"How exactly did the Gilbert/Donovan brain trust put all that together?" Damon asked.

"Damon, be nice." Buffy said. "Never mind him, Jer. Just hide her, ok? Silas wants her bad enough to sic the whole town on her, then that means that we want her more. And you need to stay out of sight. You're the last person that Silas saw her with."

"Ok. Bye, Buffy." Jeremy hung up and Buffy put her phone back in her pocket.

Liz came back over to them. "The team is on their way. I'll let you know where to send the check."

"Thank you again, Liz!" Buffy called after her as she walked off.

"Think she's mad she didn't get an invite to the wedding?" Damon asked.

"What? No." Buffy shook her head. "Why would she be mad?"

"Well, whenever a founding family member gets married, it's usually a big spectacle. It's kind of a tradition around Mystic Falls."

"And since when are we into traditional?"


"Liz is just doing her job. And we are asking for a lot from her."

"We're paying her for it." Damon looked around and smiled. "Hey, we're alone! We've got this beautiful vista…."

"Damon, really? Stefan is down there somewhere and you're thinking about sex?"

"Actually, I wasn't. We haven't had a lot of alone time. I was actually hoping we could just sit and enjoy some time together."

"You were totally thinking about sex."

Damon smiled slightly. "Can you blame me? You're hot!" Buffy smacked his arm playfully and he caught her wrist, pulling on it to bring her closer. "And I love you."

She smiled and leaned into him, kissing him deeply. "I love you, too."

When the dive team got there, Buffy and Damon were laying side by side on the cliff staring up at the sky and holding hands. They got up to help set up for the search and find out what they needed to do. While Damon helped one man with an inflatable raft, Buffy answered her phone. It was Elena telling her about the weird professor that had kicked her and Caroline out of his class.

"It was mortifying!" She was saying. "We just sat there in silence."

"Need me to beat him up?" Buffy asked.

"Not yet. Whatever he knows, I'm going to get it out of him."

"Did you compel him?"

"No. Because the chances are that if he knows about vampires, then he also knows about vervain."

"How about violence? Did you threaten him?"

"No. I didn't threaten him."

"And you're supposed to be my kid." Buffy tsked tsked. "Have you learned nothing from me?"

Elena laughed. "I'll figure something out. I mean, Willow's here. She can help me."

"I'm really glad she's there so I have someone watching out for you."

"Stefan?""No, not Stefan. Willow."

"Stefan's here. Right now."


"Turn off your phone." Buffy heard Silas say.

"Elena! That's not Stefan! Elena? Elena?" Buffy turned to Damon. "We've got to go!"

"What's wrong?"

"Silas is with Elena." Buffy said as she turned and headed back for the car.

Buffy and Damon burst into Elena's dorm room to find Caroline wrapped in a towel. She turned around, shocked, and yelled, "Oh my god! Towel! Knock!"

"Chill. No one cares. No." Damon snapped.

"Where's Elena?" Buffy asked.

"I don't know. She probably went to the bonfire to get more intel on the weirdo professor."

"Silas is here. He's with Elena pretending to be Stefan. Get dressed."

"I thought that Stefan dropped his body in the quarry."

"Join the club." Damon said, tossing a shirt at Caroline. "Get dressed."

"Oh my god…. Oh my god, Elena was right."

"About what?" Buffy asked.

"She said that all summer she's had this pit in her stomach about Stefan. She said that she had this weird feeling that something is wrong with him."

"Wish she'd have shared that information with us." Damon said.

"Well, anyway, she was right." Buffy said. "Get dressed and meet us out there. We need to find her."

"Willow's class will be letting out soon. You should call her."

"Thanks." Buffy shut the door behind her as she and Damon walked out. As they headed back out of the dorm and onto the quad, Buffy stopped. "Why would Willow's spell stop working?"

"What do you mean?" Damon asked.

"Willow is the one that turned Silas to stone. And now he's not stone. Why did the spell stop working?"

"We can ask her." Damon motioned to Willow making her way across the quad, heading towards the bonfire.

"Willow!" Buffy called.

The red headed witch stopped and looked around. She spotted her best friend and smiled, heading over in their direction. "What are you doing here?" Willow asked, hugging Buffy.


"He's here?"

"He showed up pretending to be Stefan." Damon said. "Elena doesn't know."

"Told you guys you should've told Elena."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Our mistake."

"He still after Katherine?"

"Yes." Buffy said, looking around the quad. "Caroline said Elena was headed for some bonfire. Where is that?"

"Oh, it's this way." Willow gestured down one of the walkways off the quad. The three of them started walking. "It's a big thing around here."

"The bonfire?"

"Yeah. Sunnydale had some cool stuff…."

"Like the Initiative and its crazy science experiments that try to kill off the human race to make a new hard-to-kill Frankenstein's monster race?"

"Yeah! But Whitmore is so…. Homey, down to Earth, small town college."

"Yeah, I don't know what that means. My college experience was marred by soul sucking demons, the government trying to kill me, and that one time where time went all wonky."

"It's great here, Buffy. You should sign up for classes."

Buffy let out a sharp laugh as she continued to look around for Silas. "I don't think so. The whole point of college is so you can get a good job and make a lot of money. I skipped all that and married rich."

"Oh, yeah. I forgot."

"Hey, why did your spell stop working?" Damon asked. "Why is Silas not a stone statue at the bottom of the quarry?"

"I don't know. I channeled Bonnie's connection that she had with him to strengthen it. As long as she's alive, then…." Willow's eyes widened.

"Bonnie's still alive." Buffy said. "She's travelling with her mom."

"Have you talked to her? Like, on the phone? Have you heard her voice?"

"I…. Well…. No. I mean, we're not exactly BFFs. She's sent me a couple of emails, but…. You don't think she's…. I mean…. No."

"Do you realize the kind of power it would take to bring Jeremy back? She doesn't have it. That spell should've killed her. Especially if she didn't have the Urn of Osiris like I did when I brought you back. I've had my suspicions about it for a while. I've gotten some postcards and emails, but I haven't actually talked to her."

"No. I would see her, though. If she were dead."

"You've said yourself that ever since you turned, you haven't been able to see or feel ghosts like you used to. It's kind of a random thing and really only with ghosts that you had a deeper connection together. You know, Lexi and Rose…. And, like you said, you and Bonnie definitely weren't BFFs."

Buffy shook her head. "Why didn't you say anything?"

"I haven't wanted to bring it up this summer because, well, honeymoon. I didn't want to ruin it for you guys. And I wasn't sure. But every day that went by…. I'm worried it might be true."

"Jeremy can probably see her." Damon said. "We can ask him."

Buffy took his hand as she looked at something behind him. "I think we can worry about it later."

"Hello, brother and sister-in-law." Silas said, walking up to them. "But I suppose distant nephew and niece-in-law is probably more accurate." He turned his attention to Willow. "Hello, Willow."

Damon walked up to Silas and wrapped his hand around Silas's throat. "Where the hell's Elena?"

"There's no need for violence, Damon. You'll find her eventually." Silas pulled Damon's hand off his neck. "There you go." He looked over at Buffy. "You're looking lovely today."

"Oh, no. You don't get to compliment me." Buffy said. "The last bad guy that complimented me fell in love with me."

Silas laughed and looked at Damon. "I get why you like her. What I don't get is why she likes you."

"That's cause you haven't had sex with me." Damon said.

"Hmm. Cockiness masking fear. How transparent."

"You expect us to believe you came all this way just to talk to her?" Buffy asked.

"No, that doesn't really make much sense, does it? But if I told you exactly what I did, then it would ruin the fun. Enjoy the bonfire, Damon." Silas smirked at Buffy. "Mrs. Salvatore. Willow." He walked off with a smug step.

Willow turned to Buffy. "What is with you and bad guys? Angelus is obsessed with you. Spike got a soul for you. Dracula walks in and instantly wants to make you his bride. Damon takes one look at you and suddenly he's a reformed serial killer. Klaus is still trying to get in your pants. And now you've got Silas making eyes at you!"

"Yeah, is there a spell to make her not attractive to bad guys?" Damon asked. "I'm not looking to be the traded in reformed serial killer."

"I'm pretty sure you'll never have to worry about that." Willow looked up at the sky. "The bonfire will be starting soon. We should head that way."

Buffy walked through the crowd with Willow while Caroline had met up with them and was searching the party with Damon. Buffy was on high alert. Silas was bad news. Really, really bad news. He may actually be more unkillable that Klaus.

"You know what I don't get?" Willow asked. "I don't get why would Silas want to hurt Elena."

"Because he wants to hurt me…. Or Damon…. Or possibly both of us. I don't know. He's the bad guy. Does he need a reason?"

"As your best friend, I feel that it's my duty to remind you that if you had just told the truth to Elena, all of this could've been avoided."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I told you."

"But you didn't tell Elena and now he's after her."

"So this is my fault?"

"No. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that you left Elena unprepared for this because you didn't want to worry her."

"Thanks." Buffy deadpanned. "Your wisdom is invaluable."

"There's no need to get all pissy with me. Let's just find Elena."

Buffy grabbed a guy drinking a beer. "Hi. Have you seen Elena Gilbert?"

"I don't know who that is, but I'll be Elena if it'll make you stick around." The guy said.

"Keep dreaming."

"Come on, baby, I…."

Buffy grabbed the guy's arm and yanked him close, using her compulsion on her. "Go back to your dorm, sober up, and graduate college with honors. And stop hitting on married women, perv." She shoved him away and he looked at his beer with a look of disgust, tossing it in a garbage bin on his way back to his dorm.

Willow grinned. "I'm not sure whether to tell you to calm down or good job using your superpowers for good."

"Willow, I'm really not in a joking mood anymore."

"So…. calm down it is then."

"Silas turned the entire town square into a hunting party for Katherine. How am I supposed to calm down when every single person here could be working for Silas?"

Willow's grin faded. "Sorry."

Buffy pulled her phone out when it vibrated. It was text from Damon saying that he'd found Elena and was taking her back to her dorm. "Which way is Elena's dorm from here?"

"This way." Willow motioned towards a path and Buffy followed her. It became quickly apparent that the path led into the woods and nowhere near Elena's dorm.

Buffy sighed. "When did Silas get to you?"

"He's good with the mind control. I managed to block most of it, especially the part about killing my best friend, but it seems like the part about separating you from Damon stuck. I really didn't want to."

"It's ok. At least you're not trying to kill me." Buffy gasped. "But I bet that's what Elena's doing to Damon right now."

"I can't tell you where Elena's dorm is. It's part of the compulsion. If you could just knock me out…. Gently…. Then my unconscious mind can get rid of the compulsion."

"You want me to hit you?"

"Yeah. I can wipe out any compulsion in my sleep. It's a witch thing I learned when I sucked up all those books at the Magic Shop. One that, in hindsight, I probably should've taught Bonnie. So…. Hit me. Just…. Not too hard."

"I'd rather do it somewhere that's not in the woods. I'd hate to leave you here. Tell me where your apartment is."

Willow sighed. "It's too far away, Buff. I'll be fine. Knock me out."

Buffy groaned and punched Willow hard enough to knock her best friend unconscious. She caught Willow before she could hit the ground and tossed her over her shoulder. There was no way she was leaving her laying out here for who knows what to come along and eat her. After asking a few people how to get to Elena's dorm and explaining that Willow was just passed out drunk, she finally made it to her destination. Hopefully it wasn't too late.

Opening the door, Buffy found a shirtless Damon tied to a chair and Elena was sitting in a chair with an iron poker in her thigh holding her there. They both looked over at her, startled by her sudden appearance. And by the fact that Willow was unconscious over Buffy's shoulder.

"Hi, sweetheart." Damon said weakly. "Took you long enough. Troubles?"

"Silas got to Willow. You?"

"Silas got to Elena."

Buffy gently laid Willow down on the nearest bed. "I'll let her sleep it off. So, what's going on in here?"

"I was just explaining to Elena what's been happening in Mystic Falls."

Buffy looked at Elena. "How did you get stabbed to a chair?"

"I did it to myself." Elena growled.

"She's been compelled by Silas to try and kill me. Her anger is the trigger." Damon said.

"I just left!" Elena yelled. "What the hell is wrong with you people?"

"You're getting angry again, Elena. Remember: trigger."

"My brother got expelled! You two have got him playing white knight to Katherine, who's tried to kill me…. Repeatedly. Stefan's been…. He's been suffering, for months, while I've been running around Europe with you two, one of which is a self-proclaimed serial killer. Oh, my god. Oh, my god." Elena's anger flared up and pulled the gas line free from the fireplace.

"Whoa! Hey!" Buffy yelled. "That's the gas. Stop." She went over and pulled Elena away from the gas line. "You don't really wanna kill Damon. You need to realize that before you can break Silas' compulsion."

"I can't ok! All I can think about is killing him!"

"Well, you're gonna have to think about something stronger than your desire to kill me, or you're gonna kill us all." Damon said as Buffy went over to untie him. She hissed in pain as she realized the rags binding him were soaked in vervain. Elena grabbed a matchbook from the table she was now sitting by and tried to light one.

Buffy was standing in front of her, taking the matches before she could light one. She grabbed Elena's face and held her head steady. "Stefan. Think about Stefan. Caroline told me you've been worried about him, that you had a pit in your stomach. Describe it, tell me about it."

"What?" Elena asked. "I…. No, I can't…."

"Think about him. Think about the feelings you're getting. Describe it to me."

"It's…. it's like a chill, but I can't explain it…. It's like I can feel him. He's trying to reach out to me, but I don't know where he is, and I can't understand what he's trying to say. All I know is that he's scared, and he's lonely, and he's in a lot of pain. He's in a lot of pain. We have to find him."

"And we will. I promise you that we will. Ok?"

Elena took a deep breath. "The rage. It's gone."

Buffy smiled. "Good." She ripped the poker out of Elena's leg. "No more mutilating my husband or yourself, ok?"

Elena loaded a suitcase into the trunk of Buffy's car with Caroline's help. Buffy and Damon stood off to the side with Willow. There was a large bruise on the redhead's forehead from where Buffy had knocked her out.

"I haven't had a bruise this big since Drusilla put me in the hospital that one time." Willow said, gingerly touching the bruise.

"I really am sorry, Will. I tried to pull the punch as much as I could." Buffy said.

"No, it's ok. I asked you to. I needed you to."

"Are you going to be ok here?"

"Yeah. I've called the coven back in England to get some assist. Hopefully Silas won't be able to pull any more mind tricks on me."

"You're super witch." Damon said. "I'm sure you'll be ok."

"You did keep him from compelling you to kill me." Buffy said. "I mean, of everyone I know, you're the only one who could probably do it."

"Not that I'd want to." Willow laughed. "At least not today, anyway."

"Gee, thanks!"

"You've had your days where it would've been justified. But I'd miss you, so I didn't do it."

Buffy smiled and hugged her best friend. "Stay safe up here, ok?"

"I'll do my best. It's you I'm worried about." Willow looked over at Elena standing by the car with a man. "Oh, hey, it's Dr. Maxfield."


"He's the professor of microbiology."

"Oh, he's the guy that kicked Elena out of class." Damon laughed.

"You heard that?" Buffy asked.

Damon pointed at his ear. "Super hearing, babe."

"I know, but I thought you were paying attention to something else."

"Yeah, you're backside."

Buffy rolled her eyes and kissed her husband. "Come on, let's let Willow get to class and take our kid back home."

Damon groaned. "I knew getting the house to ourselves on a regular basis was too much to ask for."

"And here I thought you were just passionate about microbiology." The professor was saying. "I have office hours tomorrow. Come by, we can chat."

"Um, yeah, I would, but I've got other important things on my plate right now." Elena said.

"Let me know when that plate clears." Dr. Maxfield walked away.

Elena watched him curiously until Damon and Buffy joined her. "Well, I guess that's how a hero would do it." Damon said. "Honestly…. Who'd've thunk it? Aren't you the least bit curious about the whole Nancy Drew and the creepster-professor thing?"

"Caroline'll take over." Elena said with a shrug. "I can't stay here knowing that Stefan's out there somewhere."

"Yeah, well…." Damon pulled a ring out of his pocket.

"That's Stefan's daylight ring."

"Snagged it from Silas yesterday."

"We just need to find him."

"We're gonna save Stefan." Buffy said. "I promised you, didn't I?" Her phone started ringing and she pulled it out of her pocket. "Hello?"

"We found something." Sheriff Forbes said.

Liz, Buffy, Damon, and Elena approached the large safe that had washed up onto land. "We didn't find anything in the quarry, but a deputy found this a few miles away." Liz was saying. "Didn't open it. If Stefan's been in there for three months…. chances are, he's hungry."

"I knew someone who was trapped at the bottom of the ocean for three months." Buffy said. "Hungry doesn't begin to cover it."

"I think you should open it." Elena said to Buffy. "You're the fastest out of all of us." Buffy shrugged and reached down to grab the handle. She lifted the top of the safe open to reveal a bloody corpse inside. "Oh, my god. That's not Stefan."

"Well, you were right." Damon said. "He was hungry."

"I bet he still is." Buffy said, looking out at the woods.

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