The Next Chapter

Chapter 95

A/N I'm gonna go a little Joss Wheadon on you for a little bit. Don't kill me. It's not permanent.

Chapter 95

Stefan and Buffy were sitting in the living room talking. Damon had apparently woken up in a good mood that morning. Buffy had woken up to a rose on her pillow. He hadn't been in the house, though, when she'd gone looking for him. Elena had apparently gone back to the dorms with Willow, Caroline, and Bonnie, so it was just Buffy and Stefan in the house. Jeremy had sent Buffy a text saying he was going with Bonnie.

"So, you and Elena are officially back together?" Buffy asked.

Stefan shrugged. "Yes and no."

"It can't be both."

"We're taking it slow. Day by day. It was my idea. I really hurt her and she really hurt me, so…."

"Slow seems good. I'm happy for you guys."

The front door banged open and Nadia marched in. "Where is she?"

"Your mother? She's dead finally." Buffy said. "So, that means you get to go bye bye now. Bye bye."

"Not without her body."

"Why do you want her body?"

"So I can give her a proper burial."

Damon walked through the front door whistling and carrying a shovel. Buffy and Stefan exchanged glances and walked over to him. Stefan said, "Where you been?"

"Just out." Damon said, stomping mud off his boots.

"Define 'out.'"

"One who hovers and sticks his nose in other people's business. Oh! Sorry. I'm defining 'annoying.'" He smiled at Buffy and kissed her cheek. "Did you get my present?"

"I did." Buffy said. "Thank you. It was beautiful."

"Sorry I wasn't there when you woke up, but Katherine's rotting corpse was stinking up the house."

"Is that where you were?"

"Yup. I got rid of it."

"Could be a bit of a problem…." Stefan said.

"Why is that?"

"Because I'm here for Katherine's body." Nadia said.

"You're out of luck. You ain't getting it."

"My mother asked to be buried with her family in Bulgaria."

"And nothing gives me greater joy than denying her dying wish."

"Damon…. who cares?" Stefan said. "Katherine's dead. Just give her the damn body."

"That bitch ruined our lives. Nadia has known her what, 5 minutes?"

Nadia rushed toward Damon to grab him by the neck, but Buffy was much faster and Nadia found herself pinned face first against a wall. "You know what? I'm with my husband on this. The nicest thing that Katherine Pierce will ever do is feeding the maggots that are now feasting on her flesh. Now get the hell out of my house. You're not getting her back." Buffy yanked on Nadia's arms and hauled her to the door that Damon held open. He shut it behind her.

"You two are being a little over the top about this." Stefan said.

"Come on." Damon said. "Katherine is exactly where she always belonged. We're not giving the body back."

Stefan sighed. "Well, I'm glad to see you guys in harmony again."

"Just a little hiccup, right babe?" When Damon went to kiss her neck, Buffy gave Stefan a worried glance. He gave a subtle shake of his head back. "So, what's on the agenda today?"

"Agenda?" Buffy asked.

"Yeah. You. Me. Fun to be had?"

"Oh, uh…. I hadn't thought about it."

"That's ok. We'll figure something out." He took her hand and kissed her palm. "Are you hungry? I could make us some brunch." Damon headed for the kitchen. "We haven't broken out the waffle maker in a long time. I think we've got some blackberries and strawberries I can put on top."

"That sounds good." Buffy said to his retreating form. She hung her head. "He's so happy."

"Yes he is." Stefan said. "Because he knows that you love him. And as long as he remembers that, you won't lose him."

"I feel so guilty."

"Yeah. But you two love each other more than anything and you'll make it through this."

Buffy walked over and sat down on the couch. "There's a part of me that wants to pretend it never happened. The big part of me, actually. But that tiny moral voice that's starting to sound a lot like Willow is telling me that secrets hurt relationships. And she would be right. She almost lost Tara because she hid things from her. I kept secrets from Riley and I destroyed that relationship."

"Well, in all fairness, the secret he kept from you was what destroyed that relationship."

"It didn't help it."

Damon walked back into the room carrying two champagne glasses filled with orange juice and champagne. "Mimosas. I hear that's a big brunch thing." He handed Buffy one of the glasses and looked at Stefan. "I didn't know you'd be joining us."

"Don't be rude." Buffy said offhandedly.

Stefan shook his head. "It's ok. I've got some stuff to do anyway." He leaned down and kissed Buffy's forehead. "I'll see you later. Call me if you need me."

Damon watched his brother leave and then looked at Buffy. "What are you two conspiring about?"

"We're not conspiring about anything. Just talking."

"Should I be worried?"

Buffy looked up at Damon. "Why?"

"Well, Stefan said about somebody keeping secrets and destroying a relationship."

"He was talking about Riley."

"Soldier Boy? You never talk about him."

"I know. We were talking about him and Elena before that. He's turning over a new leaf with Elena. No more secrets. No more lies. On both their parts."

Damon took a sip of his mimosa. "Not all secrets need to be told.""What do you mean?"

"I mean, secrets can be a good thing. They can destroy relationships, like Riley demonstrated, and they should just stay buried. That's why I never told you about that whole Augustine thing and what I did to the Whitmore family. I really thought you would hate me for it."

Buffy stood up and moved over to Damon, wrapping her arms around his waist and pressing herself against him tightly. "I love you, Damon. Deeply. You've weaseled your way into my bones and if anything ever happened to you…. I would wither away to nothing."

He kissed the top of her head as he held her close. "I would flip the switch and never flip it back if anything happened to you. There isn't one centimeter of me that you're not a part of. You are literally the best person I've ever known and for me to think I could change you gives me way too much credit. And you not nearly enough. You are the best influence on me. I need you. You are the good…. And I need a little good in my life. Because without it, there's an awful lot of darkness."

Buffy smiled against his chest and wished she could get closer to him and never let him go. Unfortunately, the smell of burning waffles wafted in from the kitchen. Damon cursed and let her go, rushing back into the kitchen. She shook her head and headed out to the gazebo. Sitting down on the day bed, she looked around at the scene of her crime.

Telling Damon that she had feelings for Klaus and had kissed him just the day before would destroy him. She couldn't do that to him. She couldn't do that to them. So, Klaus was over and done with. He wasn't coming back. And she wasn't going to tell Damon about what had happened. She made up her mind that Damon was right. Some secrets needed to stay buried. So she dug deep within her psyche, made a hole, and buried her feelings about Klaus and the memory of that kiss in that hole before covering it up for good.

Damon found her lounging on the daybed a little while later. He was carrying a tray piled with waffles, fresh fruits, bacon, sausage links, scrambled eggs, a bottle of champagne, and a pitcher of orange juice. Buffy smiled brightly at him. "You spoil me." She said.

"That's the plan." Damon set the tray down on the glass table and climbed on top of Buffy, kissing her deeply.

Buffy woke up wrapped in Damon's arms and looked around the gazebo. At some point, one of them had hit the button to turn the gazebo into the private oasis. And at some point, it had gotten dark. She laughed slightly and kissed Damon's bare chest.

Damon let out a happy little groan and wiggled against her. His hand ran up her bare back and up into her hair, letting out a laugh. "I think a cat died on your head."

Buffy felt her hair. "You killed the cat."

"Damn right." Damon reached down and pulled her mouth to his.

"We didn't eat our brunch." She said after a long, breathless moment.

He looked over at the untouched tray and frowned a bit. "I worked really hard on that."

Buffy laughed. "Come on. We can go make dinner together."

They got dressed and headed into the house hand in hand. When they walked into the living room, they found Enzo propped up on the couch. "Enzo…." Damon said.

"Hello, Damon." Enzo said, standing up. "We've got a bit of business to attend to." There was a bit of blood pooling at the side of his mouth.

"You missed a spot."

Enzo turned to look at Buffy. "We haven't been properly introduced. I'm Enzo."

"I got that." Buffy said.

"You are exquisite, darling. I see why Damon fell head over heels."

She noticed a body bag laying on the ground. "Yeah, thanks…. Um, why is there a body bag on my living room floor?"

Enzo turned to the fireplace where he'd built a nice roaring fire. "God. I love a good fire." He rubbed his hands together. "Oh. That's so wrong, isn't it? Since you left me to burn alive in one, Damon."

"Didn't we already do this?" Damon said, his grip tightening on Buffy's waist. He was nervous. "You tried to make me feel guilty, I saved your life. We're even." Enzo just laughed.

"Enzo," Buffy said. "I know you've been out of the civilized world for a very long time, but when someone asks you why there's a body bag on the floor of her living room…. It's polite to answer."

"I apologize. It has been a very long time since I've been in the world." Enzo said, turning back to them. "Since you and I last spoke, Damon, I've done a bit of soul searching…."

"And took a much needed trip to the salon." Buffy added.

"That I did. And I did a little research…. Which revealed to me that your boyfriend…."

"Husband." Damon and Buffy said.

Enzo waved them off. "Killed almost every member of the Whitmore family in the years since he escaped…. Leaving just one alive each time to carry on the family name…. Producing a whole new generation of victims for you to slaughter." He gestured at Damon. "Exactly as you said you'd do back when you and I were cellmates."

"Well you know me," Damon said. "I like to keep my promises."

"And it's occurred to me that perhaps I wrote you off too quickly. That, in fact, the Damon Salvatore I remember is alive and well. I have a present for him." Enzo went to open the body bag, revealing that he'd brought Aaron Whitmore with him.

"You brought me Aaron Whitmore." Damon paused for a moment to listen for a heartbeat.

"He's alive." Buffy said.

"He's the last of the Whitmore clan." Enzo said. He held up Aaron's wrist. "Do you remember this vervain wristwatch? Dr. Whitmore never took it off even when he was rooting around in our chest cavities. How fitting that Aaron should die while wearing it too. So…. Do you want to kill him, or shall I? Because as much as I've enjoyed your quality bourbon, I feel confident our next drink will taste better with young Aaron's dying screams ringing in our ears. And your final act of revenge will bring us both closure and a new beginning."

Buffy took a step forward, casually putting herself in front of Damon. "This sort of goes back to that whole civilization thing I was talking about just a few moments ago…. But do you ask all of your friends to prove their loyalty by killing someone over drinks?"

"His grandfather split our eyes open with a scalpel. Your husband has taken it out on everyone else in the Whitmore family. I thought he'd want this."

"Would you believe he's a friend of a friend?" Damon asked.

"No because that would force me to believe that you've gone soft, when you and I both know that your first impulse when I presented him to you was to rip out his throat. Show me my old friend is still in there someplace. End this…. for both of us."

"Look, I'm all about holding some grudges." Buffy said. "But the Damon you knew is gone. This is my Damon, now, and as much as we'd both like to see this little twerp get what's coming to him, we don't go around killing the friends of my kids…. Anymore." Her phone began ringing and she yanked it out of her pocket. "Bad timing, Caroline. I'm dealing with a blast from my husband's past."

"Where have you been all day? I've been trying to call you."

"I've been occupied."

"Yeah? So has Elena and Stefan. Look, can you deal with your whatever quickly and get your ass over to Tyler's, please? There's a party here and I need some womanly advice."

Aaron made a noise and Buffy glanced down at him. "It looks like he's coming around." Enzo announced. "It's time to come to a decision, Damon. Do you want to kill him, or shall I?"

"I'll call you back, Caroline." Buffy hung up and was suddenly standing over a broken-necked Enzo. "Sorry, babe, but he was very rude."

Damon shrugged. "It's ok."

"I didn't see that one coming." Aaron said.

"We can't kill you."

"Because Elena would hate you guys for it?"

"Pretty much." Buffy said. She grabbed Aaron's wrist and ripped the vervain watch from his wrist. Grabbing his head, she forced him to look her in the eyes. "Go back to college and pack up your entire life. There's one road that heads out of town. I want you to take it north until you hit ice and don't ever come back."

Aaron nodded and ran out. Damon waited until the door was closed before turning to Buffy and saying, "So there's a party at the Lockwood house?"

Buffy and Damon arrived at the party hand in hand. They'd left Enzo laying dead on their living room floor. Hopefully when he woke up, he would get the message that he wasn't wanted and disappear. The two of them walked up onto the porch and were prevented from entering the house by an invisible barrier.

"I forgot we haven't been here since Matt signed the deed." Buffy said.

"Donovan, are you in here?" Damon called into the party. After a few more minutes, he shrugged. "I'll go around back and see if I can find him."

"Ok." Buffy said. He kissed her quickly and walked towards the back of the house.

Of course, that's when Matt walked by. "Hey, Buffy. I didn't know you were coming."

"Caroline called me." Buffy said. "Do you mind?"

"Oh, sorry…. Come in."

Buffy stepped over the threshold. "Thanks."

"Caroline is around here somewhere."

"Would you mind heading to the backyard and inviting Damon in? He's back there looking for you."

"No problem." Matt turned and headed to the back door.

Buffy spotted Caroline walking down the stairs. She waved and the taller blonde walked over to her. "There you are! I've been calling and texting."

"I told you…. I was occupied." Buffy said. "What's up?"

"It's Tyler."

"He's back, I know."

"I think he wants to get back with me."

"Honestly, Caroline, I had no idea you guys were actually broken up."

"Really?" Buffy shrugged. "Well, yeah. He got all obsessed with taking out Klaus and chose that over me. It was at the Whitmore Historical Ball."

"I've been a little…."

"Occupied. I know."

"So, what's the problem exactly?"

"What do I do? Do I take him back?"

"That seems to be the thing to do these days." Buffy said, spotting Elena and Stefan walking up. "Hey, you two."

"Hey back." Stefan said. "Where's Damon?"

"Wandering around the backyard looking for Matt. I sent the quarterback out to find him. It's probably a really funny sight by now."

"What are you guys talking about?" Elena asked."Man trouble." Caroline said.

"Oh, you mean Buffy told you about kissing Klaus yesterday?"

Buffy's eyes widened and she looked at Stefan. "You told her?"

Stefan shrugged apologetically. "I'm sorry. I didn't think you would mind. It's only Elena."

"Wait, what!?" Caroline asked. "You kissed Klaus?"

"There's a bigger story to that…." Buffy said.

"Ew! It's Klaus!"

"How was it?" Elena said.

"What?" Buffy asked.

"Elena…." Stefan started, but Elena didn't hear him as she said, "You know, the hot make-out with Klaus yesterday? How was it?"

"What?" Damon asked, standing behind Buffy. Buffy turned and looked up at Damon. "What is she talking about?"

"Elena, what is the matter with you?" Stefan asked.

"What? I thought you said she was going to tell him." Elena's eyes widened. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't know you hadn't told him."

"Buffy, what the hell are they talking about?" Damon demanded.

"I…." Buffy started.

"Don't even think about lying to me."

"I wasn't…."

"Maybe we should take this somewhere more private." Stefan said, gesturing towards the office nearby. He steered them in that direction and closed the doors behind them, leaving Elena and Caroline to stand outside.

"Why was Klaus even here?" Damon asked.

"I called him." Buffy said. "I thought he would like to gloat about Katherine…."

"Are you seeing him behind my back?"

"No! God no!"

"You kissed him!?"

"Yes…. But…."

"There is nothing you can say to me to make that ok!"

"He said he would leave and never come back if I would kiss him."

"You didn't have to kiss him! You could've told him no. You could've kicked his ass and told him to leave."

"I…."

"You lied to me."

"No!"

"You told me you didn't feel anything for Klaus."

"That's not true! I told you he was my friend. I…."

"Friends don't go around kissing each other!"

"It was only twice!"

"Yeah, that makes it so much better." Damon rounded on Stefan. "And you knew about it all and didn't say a damn word!"

"Damon, calm down." Stefan said.

"I won't calm down! My wife has been seeing someone else behind my back!"

"No I haven't!" Buffy cried. "He kissed me once a long time ago and I kissed him once yesterday and that was the end of it. He will never bother us again now."

"There's always a catch with that guy."

"That was the catch! If I kissed him, then he would leave for good. Leave us alone."

"This is exactly what he wanted to happen." Stefan said. "He wanted you two to fight about it because he expects Buffy to come running to him. But you two love each other."

"He's right." Buffy said. "I love you. I turned down Klaus time and time again because I love you. I'm so, so sorry."

"Just…. Stop. Stop talking." Damon said. "I can't even look at you without seeing him kissing my wife."

"Damon…."

"Just calm down and think about this, Damon." Stefan said.

Damon looked at Stefan coldly. "Why are you even here? This is between me and Buffy."

"I'm here to help you see reason." Stefan took a step towards his brother and gestured at Buffy. "She's here, Damon. She's not in New Orleans with Klaus. She's in Mystic Falls…. With you."

"How sad for her." Damon looked at Buffy. "Because I'm about to not be in Mystic Falls." He turned and stormed out the side door.

"Damon!" Buffy cried, but he dashed off into the night. "Damon!" Buffy felt the entire world shift and she started to collapse.

Stefan caught her and sat her down, holding her tightly. "He'll be back. He just needs time to process and cool off."

"What have I done?" Buffy said, her voice barely audible.

"You told the truth and now he knows, but Buffy…." Stefan smoothed her hair out of her face. "You love Damon and he knows that. He'll calm down and he'll remember that. He'll remember how much he loves you."

Caroline knocked on the door before walking in. "Hey…." She noticed the open door and Buffy's stricken face. "Oh no! He left?"

"Where's Elena?" Stefan asked.

"She got a phone call and left. Said she'd be back." Caroline walked over and hugged Buffy tightly. "I'm sorry, Buffy. He'll come back. He always comes back to you."

"Maybe we should get you home." Stefan said.

"That's a good idea. Come on, I'll make some tea and we'll wait till Damon comes to his senses and comes home."

Buffy shook her head. "I just…. I need to get some air. I'll see you later." She got up and walked out the side door.

Caroline looked at Stefan. "We need to fix this. Damon is a much better person with her in his life. We can't let anything happen to them."

"I agree, but I know my brother. He needs time to sort this out. We can't force him to…."

"Yes we can! I may be conflicted about my lack of relationship with Tyler, but I'm not conflicted about those two. Buffy and Damon belong together and I won't just sit by and let them destroy their marriage over some stupid kiss to get rid of Klaus!"

"I thought you hated Damon."

"You know what? That's not even the point. The point is…. They give me hope. I figure if they can make it work…. Two people who are almost complete opposites…. Then I have some hope of finding something good in my life."

Stefan smiled slightly. "Ok. What's your plan?"

"Well…. All I've got at this moment is: kidnap Damon, lock in him your cellar, and kick his ass until he comes to his senses. But I think I can do better, so we should make that plan B. Give me a night to think about it?"

"All right. I'll see what I can come up with, too."

"Yes! Two heads are better than one. Good thinking. Ok, we need to find them and we can regroup in the morning." Caroline turned and headed out.

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