Previously on Rewriting History . . . Damon found out that Rebecca, Chelsea, and Stefan were missing. This is where they are.

Chapter Forty-One

Rebecca woke up on the floor in a house she didn't recognize. There was a pounding in her head and she felt disoriented. The last thing she remembered was being mad at Elena. Elena had driven her home and . . . the rest was a blank.

When she was able to focus she looked around and spotted Stefan on the floor beside her. He had blood coming from his stomach and she assumed the wound had been made by wood. There were four guys surrounding them but she only recognized one. Fredrick, the one that had gotten away the night before. She assumed the other three were from the tomb as well.

"It was almost too easy getting you two here," he stated. "I'm a little disappointed."

"It's been a bad week," Rebecca quipped weakly. "Let us go and try again tomorrow."

"Then I'd lose the element of surprise."

Surprise, Rebecca thought, and remembered. Someone had grabbed her from behind and had smothered her with a cloth that had what she assumed was chloroform on it.

"What d'you want?" she asked. And where's Chelsea, she asked herself. Chelsea had been in her arms when she'd been . . . knocked out.

"Revenge. They killed Bethanne," Fredrick pointed out. "They're the reason we were locked in the tomb."

"Katherine was the reason you were locked in the tomb," Rebecca couldn't help but point out. "And Bethanne was killed because you two broke into their house."

A not-so-light kick connected with her ribs and she curled up against the pain. She grunted but didn't scream; she wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of that. They would have to do a lot worse than that to make her scream. Pain wasn't new to her.

And she really wanted to know where Chelsea was. Had they just left her on the doorstep? Or was she here? Had they hurt her? Were they really monster enough to hurt a defenseless baby? And where was Anna or Pearl? Were they here, allowing this to happen? After everything she had done to help them?

"Leave her alone," Stefan said weakly. "She has nothing to do with this."

"She's the Slayer," Fredrick said as if that were the obvious reason they were doing this to her. "She has everything to do with this. Though her being off her game is kind of sucking the fun out of it."

Fredrick squatted down beside her and gave her a malicious grin. She glared at him defiantly even though she was beginning to panic on the inside. Fredrick was the type who almost always had violence on the brain. She could only imagine what he had in store for them.

"Must be the Cruciamentum. Ever heard of it?"

Rebecca shook her head even though she didn't want to. She couldn't help it; she was curious now that he'd said something about it. The word sounded Latin in origin, but she had no idea what it meant. Mental cruelty, maybe?

"You can thank your Watcher for that. See, what happens is . . . if the Slayer makes it to her eighteenth birthday, she gets put through a test. She has to face a vampire without her strength. If she wins, she passes. If she fails, however, she dies, and the next Slayer is chosen."

Rebecca didn't believe it at first. Fredrick was an evil vampire, and probably a liar too. But then . . .

My birthday is tomorrow, Rebecca thought.

And everything slipped into place. Diana had drugged her the day before, and that was when she'd started feeling weird, during her training. That was why she didn't have her strength and that was why she'd been kidnapped so easily.

Rebecca set her jaw and refused to let herself cry even though she felt a hot, sharp pain at the betrayal. She'd never felt so helpless before. Her hands were bound together so tightly her circulation was being cut off. Things did not look good. And then a banging came from the front of the house. Then a voice . . .

"Pearl, open this door or I swear to God I'll bust in and rip your head off!"

Damon! Rebecca thought, elated. He would do whatever it took to get them out. Even Stefan. Rebecca knew that, even though Damon acted like he didn't care, Damon loved his brother even after 145 years.

Fredrick was the one who answered the door. "Pearl's not home."

Well, that answered Rebecca's question of whether or not Anna and Pearl were just letting this happen.

Rebecca couldn't see Damon since she wasn't in the front room - she was in a sort of game room looking place - but she was still close enough to hear.

"Where are they?" From Damon's voice, Rebecca could tell he wasn't in the mood to play games. He wanted answers and he wanted them now.

"Billy, Jacob . . ." Fredrick called, and two of the vampires hopped to it. One grabbed Stefan, the other, Rebecca, and they dragged the two prisoners out to the front.

There Damon was, and when Rebecca looked at him she saw his eyes flash with concern before they turned cold. His arctic gaze fell on Fredrick and Rebecca knew that her captors would be gone - as in no longer living - before the day was through.

"You are dead," Damon said, trying to reach Fredrick but was stopped.

"Whoa, I'm sorry, but you haven't been invited in."

Oh, this is not my day, Rebecca thought as Fredrick called the owner of the house to the front door and compelled her not to let Damon in. The owner had Chelsea in her arms, and Rebecca struggled just a little. Chelsea was here, Chelsea could get hurt, Chelsea could die. Rebecca had been neglecting her a little lately and now . . . now her sister could die. Rebecca made a promise to herself that if she and her sister got out of this unharmed she would never just pass her around like an unwanted child again.

"One-hundred-and-forty-five years left starving in a tomb thanks to Katherine's fascination with you and your brother. The first few weeks every single nerve in your body screams with fire. The kind of pain that could drive a person mad. Well, I thought your brother might want to get a taste of that before I killed him."

Rebecca jumped as one of the vampires staked Stefan, who then fell to his knees. Rebecca wanted to go to him, help him, but she was being held back by the other vampire.

"And don't worry about your girlfriend. We're not gonna kill her. And you might be able to have her back after we're done. You better hope she knows how to behave."

It wasn't until after Fredrick had slammed the door in Damon's face that Rebecca let herself cry. It was more out of frustration than anything else. She hated feeling helpless; she wasn't that person, not anymore.

Damon couldn't get in, which meant she and Stefan would have to find a way to get out on their own. Unless . . . Unless she could somehow get free and get rid of the owner. But, no . . . she couldn't kill an innocent person; what was she thinking? The owner wasn't at fault here.

Okay, she thought. That's okay. I have a strategic mind, I'm good at this.

It didn't matter how many times she told herself that; she couldn't concentrate. She kept coming back to how this was all Diana's fault. If Diana hadn't drugged her, Rebecca never would've been kidnapped. Or at least if she had been, it wouldn't have happened so easily. And she probably could've gotten Chelsea to safety first.

Chelsea. She just wanted to have her sister in her arms, just to put her at ease. Chelsea didn't know any of these people, and even though the owner - what was her name anyway? - looked like the caring motherly type, Rebecca didn't want a stranger taking care of her sister.

"Take them to the basement," Fredrick ordered; he was clearly the leader. If she could take him out the others wouldn't have anyone to dictate them.

The other vampires were clearly willing to follow Fredrick's orders, so Rebecca and Stefan ended up where the leader wanted them. Rebecca noticed Stefan had a wound on each side of his stomach and he was still bleeding from them. He was going to become even weaker if he didn't heal. Vampires couldn't take major blood loss, not without needing to feed again soon.

The vampire tossed Rebecca to the floor, where she hurt her hands and knees. The wrist she'd damaged a few nights ago gave and she heard a sharp crack. She'd broken it. Tears sprang to her eyes automatically, but her pride wouldn't let the moisture fall.

She watched as Stefan was stripped of his shirt and jacket. He was tied up and strung up, his arms above his head.

"Vervain on the ropes," Fredrick taunted, pulling Stefan up higher so his feet couldn't touch the ground. "That's gotta sting."

Rebecca winced as Stefan started screaming and growling. She placed her hands over her ears so she wouldn't hear as well. God, she was going to remember that sound for the rest of her life. She'd heard stories on TV from soldiers who said that sometimes it wasn't what they saw that kept them up at night but what they heard. She understood that now. There was raw agony in Stefan's voice and she never wanted to hear it again. True, she had caused him pain a few times herself, but never like this. She'd never tortured him. She knew it was the vervain that was doing it. Vervain kept vampires from healing right. And she assumed that was why the wounds in his stomach hadn't healed yet; the stakes had been dipped in vervain before they'd been used.

"Speaking of . . ."

They used a medicine dropper to pour liquid vervain into Stefan's eyes so he wouldn't be able to see clearly. She knew, though, that it also burnt. Like placing fire right against one's skin. And it was getting into his system so he'd be even weaker. They were taking away the one person who was with her that could help her out. They were making Stefan essentially useless.

"This isn't right!" a voice came from the doorway.

Rebecca looked up and saw Harper - a young black man and a vampire - that she recognized from 1864. He'd been a soldier in the Civil War who Pearl had saved for some reason. He'd been loyal to Pearl ever since, and he was showing that loyalty now.

Fredrick looked at Harper angrily. "He killed Bethanne. One of us, Harper. And don't you think for a second he wouldn't kill you if he had the chance."

While the vampires were focused on Stefan Rebecca crawled over to a table and helped herself up. On the table were the tools the vampires were using on Stefan. There was even a bucket full of vervain there, and Rebecca wondered if she could use it somehow.

"Pearl says we're not here for revenge, right? I say that's exactly what we're here for." Fredrick looked at Stefan. "Starting with this. And then his brother. And anyone else that gets in our way."

Harper tried to stop Fredrick again but it only got Harper tied to a chair, with wooden stakes in his legs. It was while the vampires were doing that that Rebecca grabbed the bucket of vervain. Her wrist protested but she had to do it. She tossed the liquid on the ones who seriously needed a reality check. It soaked into their clothes and they all let out groans and screams. They would be occupied for a few minutes, at least.

It was hard undoing the ropes that were binding Stefan when she was bound too, but she managed it. With the vampires preoccupied with their pain, it wasn't hard for them to go around them. Stefan helped her remove the ropes that bound her and she massaged her sore wrist. It was broken, she knew, but she'd have to use it if she was going to help them get out.

She removed the two stakes from Harper's legs, and Stefan removed Harper's ropes even though it burnt him from the vervain. Harper had tried to help them; they couldn't just leave him there to die.

The vampires she'd thrown the vervain on looked like they all had serious skin conditions. Their skin was red and they had sores all over them. Rebecca would've let herself become disgusted if she'd had the time. It was gross.

Jacob was the first vampire she'd come to. It took her three tries to actually stake him; without her strength it was hard to break through bone. But she did it. A small smile came to her lips. She wasn't as helpless as she'd thought she was.

The other two, however, knew she was capable of hurting them now and were on their guard. Billy was easy enough to take out, even with a broken wrist, but Fredrick grabbed her by the throat and Stefan had to help her get free.

That was when more vampires showed up and Rebecca slumped, exhausted, and felt defeat hit her in the chest. There were too many of them. Even if she'd been at full strength, with Stefan and Harper helping, she wouldn't have been able to do anything.

"Don't kill her," Fredrick panted. "We don't want another Slayer popping up unexpectedly."

They weren't going to kill her even after what she'd done? That meant she'd get her strength back soon, and she would actually be able to help them get out. Or at least take out a few more so that Damon would have more of a chance to help when he found a way in. Because he would find a way in. Rebecca had no doubt about that.

"Teacher by day, vampire hunter by night," Damon said.

He and Elena had gone to see the history teacher because he wouldn't need an invitation, exactly, to get into the house. Also, Alaric knew how to take on vampires - sort of, anyway. Damon had had to lie to get Ric to help him, but it was worth it. He'd told Ric that Pearl, the woman who was supposed to have been the leader of all these tomb vampires, could help Ric find Isobel. But who cared if Ric was in search of his dead-not-dead vampire wife, and that Damon had used that to get Ric's help. The end justified the means here.

"I have you to thank for that," Ric said.

"You should thank me. I saved you from a very dull existence."

"Damon, he's helping," Elena chided. "Don't antagonize him."

"But I'm good at it."

Elena rolled her eyes as Ric unrolled a bag of weapons. There were the standard wooden stakes and then there were silver things with needles in them.

"What are these?" Elena asked, gesturing at the silver things while Damon grabbed a stake - there was a reason these were the classic weapon of choice when it came to vampires; they always worked as long as you used them right.

"Tranquilizer darts filled with vervain," Ric answered.

Huh, Damon thought. Smart and innovative. Nifty, even. Once he got Rebecca back he was going to talk to her about making Ric her supplier for weapons.

"Just get me in and I'll get them out," Damon said.

"That's the plan? You're just gonna take them all on yourself?" Elena asked, disbelief coating her voice.

"I'll be a little stealthier than that, hopefully."

He was reckless and impulsive, but he wasn't stupid. He knew he had no chance of surviving if he just started fighting them all. It wasn't like the movies where, if one person was fighting a group, they would come one at a time. No, they would be fighting together and he would lose.

Elena grabbed one of the vervain darts and Damon arched an eyebrow. "What're you doing?"

"I'm going with you," she said, as if it were obvious.

"No. No, no, no, no. No way."

"You need me. I'll get in, you can distract them, and I'll get them out."

Brave words, bad idea.

"You'll get yourself killed, you're not goin' in there," Damon said.

"I'm going," Elena countered.

Instead of answering, Damon chose to ignore the gnat buzzing in his ear. He turned back to Ric. "So, when you get me in, get out as quickly as you can. Because I know how to sneak around where they can't hear me. You'll basically just be in the way."

What Damon wasn't saying was that since Ric was willing to help them out . . . Damon was willing to look after him and not let him get hurt from this . . . adventure.

"Damon, this is not the time to be the Lone Ranger," Elena said stubbornly.

"Fine, Elena. You can . . . you can drive the getaway car," he offered, appreciating Rebecca in a new way for not being such a pain in the ass. At least Rebecca could listen when it was in her best interest to. "But you're not goin' in the house."

"You can't stop me. It's Stefan we're talking about here. You don't understand."

"Oh, I understand. I understand. He's the reason you live; his love lifts you up where you belong. I get it."

He was being a dick, he knew he was, but he was annoyed. Elena wasn't the only one with something to lose here. Stefan was his brother and Rebecca was . . . well, the reason Damon lived. And then there was Chelsea . . . sweet, defenseless, only-a-baby Chelsea.

"Can you just not joke around for two seconds?" Elena snapped.

Damon snapped back. "I can't protect you, Elena. I don't know how many vampires are in there." Damon snapped his fingers. "That's how long it takes you to get your head ripped off. I have to be able to get in and get out. I can't be distracted with your safety. Or this will end up a bloodbath that none of us walk away from, including Stefan."

Damon hadn't meant to upset the girl, but she just hadn't been getting it. Did she need him to get out the finger painting set and draw it out for her? But now Elena looked like she was going to start crying and he felt . . . not guilty, but something close to it, for being the one to cause it.

"I know," he said, more gently now. "I get it. I understand." He was being serious now.

He was vaguely aware that the teacher was staring at them, assessing the situation, and Damon refused to look at him.

"If we're gonna go, let's go," the teacher wisely chose not to verbally acknowledge Damon's outburst. And they went.

Rebecca pulled at her restraints, but it was in vain. Fredrick had ordered she be bound to a pipe near a furnace in the basement. They used shackles - she didn't even want to know where they'd gotten them from. All of her earlier struggles had been for nothing. Stefan and Harper were right back where they'd started, and Rebecca was worse off than she had been before. Every time she pulled, her wrist hurt, and she was concerned she might be damaging it permanently, but if it would help her get them out . . . she knew it would be worth it.

Fredrick came back once he had changed clothing and he was enjoying watching her struggle. Her heart was beating faster from exertion and her side was killing her from where they'd kicked her earlier.

"May as well give up," Fredrick said. "You're not getting out."

She chose not to listen and pulled again. The pain she was causing herself was making her feel sick, but she didn't care. If she stopped it would be giving up, and she refused to do that. It wasn't in her nature; she was innately stubborn, and she only gave in to people she loved. She had no love for the vampire in front of her. Besides . . . if she didn't keep herself busy she would panic, and she couldn't do that. She wouldn't be able to function if she freaked out.

"That was a very brave thing you did earlier. Throwing vervain on us. Would've worked, too, if you hadn't been so worried about getting Stefan and Harper out. You should've saved yourself."

Maybe she should have, but she wouldn't have been able to live with herself if she hadn't tried. Stefan would've tried to help her if the situation had been reversed. And Harper had tried to help them even though he hadn't had to.

"I'm weak now, thanks to you," Fredrick said.

Fredrick leaned into her neck and Rebecca wanted to move away, but there was nowhere to go. She braced herself for the pain that was probably coming and barely even made a sound when Fredrick's fangs broke through her skin. She was aware of Stefan struggling now, when he hadn't been moving before. He was trying to get free, weak as he was, so he could help her.

A few more vampires came in and that was when the real terror started. It was like the two people in the park the other night, only now . . . now she was the main course. One attached himself to her arm, and now they unchained her, now that they knew she couldn't get away. Then to her dismay, to her humiliation, they removed her pants and a vampire latched on to either of her legs.

Finally . . . she screamed.

Ric couldn't believe he was doing this. He couldn't believe he'd agreed to help the man that had basically killed his wife. It didn't matter if Isobel was a vampire, she'd still died. But then again, Ric wasn't doing this for Damon. Or Stefan, for that matter. He was doing it because Elena had asked him to. Elena was Isobel's daughter, which made him her step-father of sorts. Plus, there was Rebecca. She was human and she needed help. Only God knew what these people were doing to her.

It was raining and it was cold, and Ric was standing on the porch thinking about what he was going to say as he knocked on the door and waited for someone to answer it. Then someone did.

"Oh, good. Someone's home. Uh, can I use your phone? My car broke down a few miles up the road and this is the first house I saw."

"Well, lucky you," the man said.

"Yeah, lucky me. It's no trouble, is it?"

"Not in the slightest."

The man moved aside and Ric went into the house, past him.

"Hey, I really appreciate it. It's rough out there."

Ric took in the people in the house. There was the one who had let him in and there was another in the hallway.

"Billy, show our visitor where the phone is in the kitchen. And get me something to drink."

"Yeah, sure."

Ric was led past a game room and there were at least five people in there. Then he was shown the kitchen, where an older woman was chopping up vegetables at the counter.

"Hey, Ms. Gibbons, this man wants to use your phone."

"Oh, sure, honey, it's right there."


The woman had bite marks on her neck and wrists; these people had been feeding from her. When she pointed to the wall on the other side of the room, Ric began walking and let a stake slide down his jacket sleeve. He could feel the man behind him and when he sensed the man - vampire - was behind him he turned and stabbed him right in the heart.

Ric turned the faucet on to block out any noise that was going to be made, and then, for safe measure, turned a blender on.

"What's happening?" Ms. Gibbons said.

Ric grabbed her by the elbow and pulled her along with him, toward the back door. "I'm really sorry, but you're gonna need to invite a friend of mine inside."

Ric opened the door and there Damon stood. Ms. Gibbons looked at him briefly. "Oh, I'm sorry, but he's not allowed in the house."

"You have to make an exception."

"Get her out of the house, now," Damon said. So Ric gently shoved her towards Damon. Damon grabbed her and forced her to look at him. "Ms. Gibbons, now tell me the truth. Are you married?"

"No," she said.

"Parents, children? Anyone else who lives on this property?"

"No, it's just me."

"No?" Damon asked, making sure. "Good."

Ric, who had been keeping watch to make sure no other vampires came into the kitchen, turned as he heard something snap. It had been the woman's neck. Ric saw her fall to the porch floor.

"You were supposed to compel her," Ric seethed, grabbing Damon by his jacket. He hadn't agreed to help Damon kill anyone.

"It doesn't work that way," Damon explained.

"She's human."

"And I'm not. So I don't care," Damon said. "Now get out of here. And get rid of the body."

Ric did leave, but he didn't get rid of the body. What the hell was he supposed to do with it? Grab it and toss it in Damon's trunk? He didn't think so.

He took off and made his way back to the car, which was only about a third of a mile away. When he got there he saw that Elena was no longer in the car.

"Damn it, Elena!" he exclaimed, grabbing his weapons bag and making his way back to the vampire house.

When Damon found Rebecca and Stefan he almost couldn't breathe. There was relief that he'd finally gotten in, which he'd have to admit was thanks to Ric, but there was also renewed anger. Stefan was bound and Rebecca was unconscious. There were bite marks all over her body.

Damon had had to kill his way down here. Two on the first floor, one in the basement. Damon had gotten in because of Ric - and because he had killed the owner of the house. He'd had no choice; she'd been compelled to not let him in, and Damon couldn't reverse another vampire's compulsion unless the vampire was weaker than himself - Fredrick was not weaker.

Everything had gone smoothly until Elena had decided she wanted to be a hero. She was insane; that was all he could guess.

He left Stefan to Elena since all she had to do was untie him, and he went to Rebecca. Her wrist was swollen, probably broken. He'd known it had been sore, anyway, had been sprained, and now it looked like it had a few day ago. There were bite marks on her neck, arms, and thighs. Her jeans were bunched around her ankles and he really hoped that the vampires who had done this were still alive. So he could kick their asses. Slowly.

This was what they'd mean when they'd said they weren't going to kill her; they were going to play with her first. They were going to humiliate her by doing this. They hadn't even thought about compelling her; they'd wanted to hurt her, they'd wanted to cause her as much embarrassment as possible by shedding her clothing and using her, feeding from her. They'd wanted her scared of them.

"Elena, you shouldn't be here," Stefan said weakly, causing Damon to be momentarily distracted by his brother. Stefan had a few cuts on his chest, and Damon could smell the vervain - they'd obviously used a copious amount - in his brother's system.

"She was supposed to stay in the car."

Damon noticed that Rebecca's wounds had stopped bleeding on their own and was relieved. Obviously Stefan hadn't distracted him for more than a few seconds - Stefan wasn't as bad off as Rebecca was. Damon caressed Rebecca's cheek a few times and she woke up easily enough. The relief he saw in her eyes was painful to watch. She was looking at him as though he were her savior. It was then that Damon realized that Rebecca hadn't known how she'd get out of this situation. They had made her give up of any escape on her own.

"I knew you'd come," she said softly.

But she hadn't given up on him, apparently.

He shrugged and smirked, appearing calmer than he actually was. "Can you walk?"

"Uh, help me up!"

Rebecca grabbed at her jeans and slid them up her legs - or tried to. Damon watched as she struggled before doing it himself - why hadn't she just asked for help? He could tell her ribs were bruised from the way she was moving, but he couldn't worry about that now. Now . . . now he had to worry about them surviving, and he was all he had. Rebecca couldn't fight now, and Stefan was too hurt, and Elena was beyond useless - though he had to admire her spunk. Not every girl would've followed him in here, no matter the reason.

Once Rebecca was on her feet she seemed steady enough, he was glad to see, though he could tell she was in a great deal of pain by the careful control she was keeping on her face. She didn't want him to know how bad she felt. He wondered how many times that had happened with her before and he hadn't noticed until now.

"Do you think you can make it to the car?"

"I have to get Chelsea," she said. "But, yeah, to get out of here, I would crawl to the car."

Rebecca was smiling softly even after everything she'd been through. He figured that was from the initial relief she was feeling because she was getting rescued.

"Fredrick's the leader, so kill him a lot," she said.

Kill him a lot? Damon thought, amused. Yeah, one way to put it.

Damon was going to take his time with Fredrick. He had kidnapped three of the people Damon cared about and had tortured two of them. He hoped Chelsea was okay but he couldn't think about it. Until he saw the girl, he wouldn't think about anything bad that could've happened; he had to be able to fight with a clear head.

Stefan helped a vampire who was staked to a chair. The guy had tried helping them, Damon guessed.

"Okay, Elena, you rescue, I'll distract," Damon said, realizing that Elena had said that was how it should've been to begin with. Maybe he should've listened.

"No," Rebecca remarked. "You're coming with us, or I'm coming with you."

"I'll be right behind you. I'll get Chelsea; you go with them."

"There are about nine vampires up there, Damon. You can't do it by yourself. That would be suicide."

"I'll be fine."

Rebecca didn't look like she liked it, but she nodded anyway. It wasn't like they had much of a choice either way. Elena, Stefan, and Rebecca went down the hallway that led to the cellar door that would ultimately lead them to freedom; Damon went the other way. He took out one vampire automatically. She was off by herself. It alerted the others to his presence and they also separated. Easy prey, them going off alone. Damon was making enough noise for them to think he was human - their mistake.

He took care of another one in a game room. Then there was Fredrick. Damon didn't just want to kill him. He wanted this one to suffer because Fredrick had set this whole thing up. It was his fault.

It would've worked, making Fredrick suffer, if two others hadn't come to Fredrick's rescue. They grabbed Damon and threw him to the floor. One of them got a broken leg and a stake to the heart for his efforts.

Ric, who Damon thought had already left, ended up saving him with some kind of stake gun thing. Like Damon had thought before, the teacher was smart and innovative. He was grateful even though he wouldn't say thank you out loud. Though to be fair . . . Damon hadn't killed Ric when he'd had the chance, so . . . the fact that Ric saved his life was only right. They were even now.

"I'm goin' after Fredrick," Damon said before taking off.

Outside, Elena, Stefan, and Rebecca made it to the car and Rebecca pretty much collapsed into the backseat. Elena helped Stefan into the front seat and she got in the driver's side. Elena locked the doors, which Rebecca didn't understand, personally, because, if a vampire wanted in, they would just break the window or rip the door off. It was such a human thing to do. It was in that moment that Rebecca realized she no longer thought like a human. It was a little scary and a little not, which was also scary.

She remembered what she'd told Damon about him coming with them and it occurred to her she'd forgotten about Chelsea for a second - even after promising herself that if she got out of there alive she would never neglect Chelsea again. But all she'd been worried about was getting Damon and herself out of there. It hurt her chest that she was able to put Damon above her sister. She'd known Chelsea was somewhere in that house - somewhere safe, hopefully, and alive - and yet she'd told Damon . . . to leave her there. That was how Rebecca interpreted it anyway. Damon hadn't done it, thankfully, but now she was worried about them both. If Damon didn't survive then Chelsea sure wouldn't, and then what would she do? Who would she have? If anything happened to Damon . . . if he died, she would die, it was that simple.

"Uh . . . guys . . ."

Elena's voice was confused, so Rebecca looked over the front seat to see the ignition had been ripped out. Someone had been in here. The window broke on Stefan's side and he was pulled out. Fredrick was there. Rebecca knew he wanted revenge, but couldn't he just get over it already? It wasn't like someone like him knew what love was, anyway.

Elena was already out of the car before Rebecca could even open her door, but when she did she saw Fredrick was holding Stefan up, getting ready to stake him. Elena plunged something into Fredrick's back. Rebecca wasn't sure, but she thought Stefan passed out then. She hadn't known vampires could pass out from injuries alone.

"What was that?" Rebecca asked as she gingerly made her way to her friends.

"Vervain dart," Elena said. "Mr. Saltzman helped get Damon in."

"Well, where is he?" He hadn't been killed, had he? Rebecca was just beginning to like the guy.

"He was supposed to leave."

Rebecca watched helplessly as Elena tried to wake Stefan up. Whatever they were going to do, they needed to do it fast. The vervain wouldn't affect Fredrick for long, not with so much blood in his system. He was already groaning, trying to get up.

"He's lost a lot of blood, Elena," Rebecca said weakly. "He can't help us. He needs to heal."

"No, no. I can - I can give him some of my blood."

"That's a bad idea, Elena," Rebecca said, recalling Damon's words about what human blood did to Stefan even after 145 years. It wouldn't be pretty.

"Well, I'm not just gonna let him die!"

Elena and Stefan had taken a fall earlier, and Elena had cut her hand. It was still bleeding. Elena pressed her palm to Stefan's lips and he began to respond.

"Elena, please, run," he said, moving his head away from the blood.

"No. My wrist. Take my wrist, you need more blood."

"No. Run."

Rebecca grabbed Elena's wrist and pulled weakly. She found she wasn't even strong enough to move Elena, who was maybe one hundred pound soaking wet.

"Elena, he doesn't want it. Don't . . . force him to drink it."

Deja vu, she thought.

"He'll die without it!" Elena almost shrieked and actually pushed Rebecca away and back into Damon's car.

Rebecca's legs gave out and she landed on the ground. She watched Elena turn back to Stefan.

"I trust you," Elena told Stefan.

Stefan agreed hesitantly and he drank from Elena for about twenty seconds. Rebecca observed the whole time. She didn't care whether her strength was gone or not, if he spazzed, she would stake him. Maybe not in the heart - she loved Damon too much to take Stefan away from him - but she would stab him somewhere.

Back at the house, Damon and Ric were trapped inside. After Damon had realized that Fredrick wasn't there, he'd decided that the best plan was to get Chelsea and leave; Chelsea was fine - she'd been found in what had been the owner's bedroom. But vampires had the place surrounded now.

"So, what you said to get me to do this, about my wife . . . it was a lie, wasn't it?" Ric asked.

"Yep," Damon said, unrepentant.

All was lost until Pearl showed up. When she saw the carnage she asked, "What did you do?"

"Me? Your merry little band of vampires spent the day torturing my brother and sucking the life out of Rebecca, the girl you wanted to coexist peacefully with."

"Trust me, the parties responsible for this will be dealt with." Damon noticed Pearl wouldn't look him in the eyes. "This wasn't supposed to happen."

"Well, it did." He walked by her and toward the door. "If I had a good side . . . not a way to get on it."

He and Ric got out and Damon kept pace with the teacher. He wouldn't thank him, but he would make sure he got back to the car okay. His own way of thanking Ric, he guessed, helping Ric not get killed today.

Damon didn't say anything and neither did the teacher, which was just fine with him. When they reached the car he saw Stefan staking Fredrick over and over again. Rebecca and Elena were standing a few feet away. Rebecca was holding onto Elena, and she looked . . . not well. She was trembling, and she looked like she could fall over at any moment. Damon went to her and she instantly let go of Elena and held onto him instead. She looked at Chelsea with relief, but didn't try to take the girl from him.

"I think . . . I - I think I need a hospital. Fast, please."

That scared him more than he'd like to admit because Rebecca never wanted to go to the hospital. She was breathing shallowly and her whole body was shaking from the whole ordeal she'd been through. She bit her lip and Damon knew the waterworks would come soon. She'd reached her limit. The crisis was over and she could let go now.

"Stefan, he's dead," Elena said, breaking through Damon's thoughts, and he saw his brother had gone crazy.

Fuck, but he'd seen this before. He recognized the insane animalistic look in Stefan's eyes from before; he'd seen it more than once.

Stefan was taking out his frustrations on an already dead vampire, and the only thing that stopped him was Elena's voice. It took him a few seconds to remember himself, though, and he didn't calm down right away.

But it was right then that Rebecca went limp in Damon's arms, so he wasn't really worried about anything else. If Stefan had grabbed Elena to bite her, Damon wouldn't have even noticed.

"Everybody in the car, let's go."

Elena, Stefan and Ric were looking at Rebecca with concern. Elena and Stefan were her friends, and Ric was just concerned because he was good human . . . person.

"Come on, people, move!" Damon snapped. "She'll be fine as long as we get her to a hospital. Elena, call Rebecca's dad and tell him to meet us there."

She did as she was told. Better late than never, he guessed.

Damon was kind of pissed when he found he had to hot-wire his car. There was no longer a spot to stick his key in. He was thankful for the years spent in delinquency.

"I don't understand, why don't you just give her some of your blood," Elena asked.

"The only reason why she's made it this far is adrenaline. She needs a blood transfusion. If I gave her blood to heal her wounds . . . the doctors would have a hard time figuring out how she lost so much blood, yeah?"


Stefan was in the front with Damon - safety precaution. Elena, Ric, Chelsea and Rebecca were in the back. Damon had seen the bite mark on Elena's wrist but he had chosen to ignore it for now. Though he had a bad feeling about it, he had other things to worry about now - like Rebecca living.

Damon paid attention to Rebecca's heart beat; it if slowed down at all he was pulling the car over and forcing blood down her throat. She could hate him for a while if she wanted, but at least she'd be alive to hate him.

When they got to the hospital Damon rushed Rebecca into the ER and called for a doctor. "She been bitten several times; she's lost a lot of blood!" he exclaimed.

"Bring her in here," a nurse who had jumped at the sudden intrusion led them to a space that was surrounded by curtains. Damon placed Rebecca on the bed gently as a doctor came and began asking questions.

What happened? Was she unconscious when you found her? Was she alone?

Damon didn't feel like answering questions, so he said, "Just help her." He said it flatly, staring into the doctor's eyes, compelling him to listen.

The doctor nodded robotically. "You'll have to wait outside while we get her set up."

"Of course."

Damon went back out to Elena and Stefan. He was surprised that Ric was still there. Stefan had a jacket on, so the blood on his shirt wasn't visible. Elena and Ric, however . . . had very visible bite marks - Elena's on her wrist and Ric's on his neck. Damon hadn't realized it before but Ric had been the one to end up with Chelsea duty - Damon had just handed her over to whoever had been closest and he guessed that had been Ric. Ric must've held her on his lap because Damon didn't have a baby seat for the car. They had to switch Chelsea's one car seat every time she switched cars.

Maybe he should consider buying one.

Ric was good with Chelsea, calming, and he seemed to know the bounce move. But Damon wanted her back now. He needed something to keep him from snapping and killing anyone within reaching distance. Damon didn't hurt children, let alone babies, so Chelsea would keep him grounded.

But back to Elena's and Ric's bite marks . . . Elena had given her blood to Stefan. Stefan was alive because of her. Damon figured he should thank her somehow. And Ric . . . Ric had had every reason not to help them at all, and yet . . . Rebecca wouldn't have been here getting the help she needed, she would've still been a chew toy - if she'd survived that long - without the history teacher. Ric had really come through and had had his neck chewed on too, to help get Rebecca and Stefan back.

Damon maybe owed him one now. Ric liked bourbon just like Damon did; maybe Damon would buy him some of the good stuff.

"You guys should go," Damon said softly. "You're gonna draw attention. You can come back after you change."

The three listened and then Damon was alone with Chelsea. Not one of them mentioned that he needed to change - that he had blood on him as well. Not his own, but Rebecca's. Damon wasn't alone for long. Rebecca's dad showed up, along with Tina. Robert was upset but not showing it, and Tina looked anxious. Tina had obviously explained to Robert what was going on.

"How bad is it? Why did she have to come here?"

"She lost a lot of blood," Damon said. "But she'll be okay."

"The ones that did this . . ." Tina started but couldn't finish.

"They're gone," Damon said stonily. "They won't hurt her again."

Relief shined through both Robert's and Tina's faces, and Damon's shoulders released some of the tension they'd been filled with. Even though he didn't admit it out loud, he wanted Rebecca's family to like him for the simple fact that it made his relationship with Rebecca easier. He'd been sure they were going to blame him, but they hadn't.

"Uh . . ." Damon felt awkward, which he hated because he wasn't used to it, but . . . "Do you mind if I wait with you guys? I just, uh . . . I want to be here when she wakes up."

Rebecca had reduced him to someone who was asking permission from her family to just sit with them to wait for her to wake up. It bothered him, it really did; it had been easier when he hadn't cared what anyone else thought.

"Of course you can wait," Tina said, soft green eyes connecting with his blue ones. "You love her, too."

If Damon had been human, he might have broken down at that statement, but, as it was, all he did was smile softly and nod once. He vaguely wondered if maybe he should call Rebecca's other friends but he decided against it; he would leave that to Elena. Caroline would freak out and he didn't really know Matt, and Bonnie wasn't even in town. Elena would probably bring Jeremy back when she came. And Rebecca probably wouldn't want everyone seeing her this way, anyway; he'd wait to see what she wanted when she woke up.

After about two hours of waiting - waiting anxiously and wanting to snap from the strain of not knowing what was going on - the doctor who had taken care of Rebecca came out and told them she was finally stable. Her wrist was damaged pretty badly and they'd had to reset it. She'd been unconscious, of course, but it was fixable. Her ribs were bruised on her right side, the muscles inflamed, but they would heal, too, in time. They were now in the middle of giving her blood, and they could see her after that was done. They would move her to a room.

"Her body, however, is exhausted. We gave her something to keep her asleep. She doesn't need to be moving around much in the shape she's in."

It was around then, too, that Stefan came in, looking not-crazy now, which was a plus. He gestured for Damon to come outside, and he did.

"Where's Elena? You two are usually attached at the hip."

"Elena's with Matt. She got a call about forty-five minutes ago. Caroline found Vicki's body."

"What?" He hadn't expected that, not in a million years.

"Yeah. The storm unearthed the grave. Everybody's over there. I told them I'd call if anything changed. How is she?"

Stefan had led Damon to Stefan's red Porsche, and now Stefan was getting a bag out of it. He handed it to Damon and Damon looked in it to find clothes - some of his and some of Rebecca's. Damon had washed off earlier, because Tina had taken Chelsea from him for that purpose, but his clothes had still had blood on them.

"Thanks," he said before he could stop himself, but then after the hellish day he'd just had, who cared about airs right then, anyway? "And she's stable. Asleep."

As if he didn't have enough to worry about, now Vicki had been found. Jeez.

"Do me a favor and don't tell Rebecca when she wakes up. That's not what she needs to hear," Damon said. Damon remembered how unhappy Rebecca had been when Vicki had been killed - really killed, not just when she'd become a vampire. As weird as it was for a human to think the way Rebecca did, Rebecca hadn't really thought Vicki had been dead until she'd really died when she'd been staked. When Vicki had become a vampire, Rebecca had just thought of it as a change that Vicki hadn't really had a choice in.

"Yeah, sure." Stefan shook his head. "Rebecca's very brave. She didn't stop fighting until he locked her up. Even when she was bound she fought. She killed two of them even without her strength."

Damon, being blunt by nature, said, "You fed from Elena tonight. You're not gonna go off the deep end now, are you?"

"I'm fine, thanks for your concern," Stefan said stiffly.


Damon wasn't so sure, though, because he'd been around when Stefan had human blood in his system. It wasn't pretty, and it never ended well. Then he let himself think about what Stefan had just said. He'd known Rebecca would fight; she wouldn't just sit pretty while they did whatever they did. It wasn't in her nature.

Fury took hold of him, though, when he imagined the humiliations Rebecca must have been put through. He'd found her with her pants around her ankles. They'd bitten her thighs not just to feed, but to violate her, embarrass her. They'd done it intentionally. And their deaths had been fast, over too quickly. They should've suffered more, was his way of thinking.

Sixteen hours, that was how long Damon had been at the hospital. Sixteen hours. He hated hospitals. Full of pain and sickness. Full of people trying to hold onto a life that was hanging on by a thread. Full of humans that he didn't care about moaning and groaning about that final permanent nap.

Humans didn't know how good they had it sometimes, Damon didn't think. They got to grow old with the ones they loved. They didn't have to leave everything behind because they didn't age. They could have kids, leave behind a legacy. Their pain would someday end, naturally. In a human way. Whether it was sickness or old age, even an accident.

Part of the reason Damon hadn't gotten close to people since he'd become a vampire was because he knew that either they would end up leaving him or, because of who he was - what he was - he would have to leave them. It was too painful, watching humans die, the ones he was close to. Because . . . there he was, eternally young and fit, and there they were, getting older with ever passing year.

He couldn't remember how many friends and family members he'd seen buried - some he'd personally taken care of because no one else was around to do it. It tore a hole in his chest every time someone he knew and cared about passed away.

And still . . . Rebecca slept on, despite Damon's distress. Her vitals were strong, but her body had been pushed to the max and so . . . she rested. And Damon was on edge. Just sitting in her room, watching her sleep . . . it was driving him nuts.

Elena and Jeremy were there, they'd come in that morning. Caroline was with Matt, who was at home. Bonnie was still away, grieving over her Grams. Elena didn't want to bother her. Damon knew it was because Bonnie still wasn't accepting calls from Elena. She hadn't been accepting calls from Rebecca either.

Tina had gone home with Chelsea, and Robert, having been assured several time that Rebecca was going to be okay, had left a few hours after Rebecca had been moved into a room. Damon hadn't left all night; he'd barely moved all night - vampires didn't have to move if they didn't want to; it had to do with being a natural predator. Damon hadn't wanted to chance any of the tombed vampires coming here - it was a public building, so no invite was needed to get in.

More importantly, though, was the fact that Rebecca didn't need to wake up alone. Not after what she'd been through. To him it would've been a sort of betrayal on his part if he didn't stay with her, not when he knew she'd need comforting when she woke up.

Liz had shown up after hearing about what had happened, and he'd felt something when she'd said it wasn't business. She cared about both of them and she wanted to know they were all right. Elena was even worried about Damon, and Jeremy, too, which Damon didn't understand because he barely knew the kid. But this was what it meant to have people who cared. It was good but it also made him uncomfortable. It had been so long in between times that he'd had friends that he'd forgotten what it was like. He'd gotten used to doing things on his own because the one he'd been able to count on had been himself.

Not so now. He had Rebecca, and even Elena and Stefan to a certain extent. Liz. And Ric, too, where other vampires were involved.

The room they were in was quiet. A human would've been able to hear a pin drop. It was just about to drive him crazy. It was then that Rebecca began groaning, that her eyes began moving around frantically under her eyelids. She was dreaming, having a nightmare, and he didn't blame her. She'd been strong long enough. If she was dreaming, though, that meant the medicine was wearing off and she'd wake up soon. Then he'd be able to assess how okay she really was.

Okay, so here's the rescue of Rebecca, Chelsea and Stefan!