[Damon's soul is currently in his own personal hell in the Phoenix Stone, which has just brought him back to a memory of fighting in the Civil War for the Confederate Army. A landmine has just gone off in the woods where they're fighting, causing several soldiers to be forcefully thrown backward. Damon is laying flat on the forest floor with a large bloody wound on his abdomen from being hit with mortar shells. He groans in pain as he pulls himself onto his feet and looks around in horror as he watches Confederate and Union soldiers alike falling in the battle. Suddenly, a familiar female voice is heard behind him]

LILY: Have a nice nap?

[Damon turns around and is shocked to see Lily, dressed in a blue gown typical of the era and looking at him curiously]

DAMON: [stunned] Mother?

[Before Damon can react further, another landmine explodes, and Damon ducks to avoid the shrapnel. Suddenly, Henry, one of the vampires from the tomb that Katherine turned in 1864, calls out to him]

HENRY: Salvatore, help me!

[Damon, still dazed, turns to find Henry pinned under the wheel of a large cannon]

DAMON: Henry!

[Damon quickly turns back to Lily, only to find that she has completely vanished. It's clear that he's overwhelmed by what he just saw, but Henry's cries eventually snap him out of it]

HENRY: Please! You must help me.

[Damon finally stumbles over to where Henry has been pinned down and starts pushing the cannon off of his friend]

HENRY: [groans in pain] Aah!

[Once the cannon has been moved, Damon bends over to help Henry to his feet]

DAMON: Come, Henry. We are getting you out of here.

[Damon puts Henry's arm around his shoulder and helps him walk away from the battle as landmines continue to go off around them and soldiers shoot at each other with their muskets]

[The next morning, a bugle call is played loudly, which awakens Damon from his sleep. He groans in pain and looks at his patched up wounds before realizing he's laying on a cot at the field hospital. On the cot next to him sits Henry, who is dirty and has a bloody wound on his head but otherwise looks fine]

HENRY: [smiles] Hi there, hero. You've been out a long time.

[Just then, an older soldier walks into the tent with a large bag of mail]

MAIL SOLDIER: Mail call!

[The soldier hands Damon an envelope, and he stares at it for a long moment]

HENRY: News from home?
DAMON: My brother.

[Damon frowns in concern as he opens the letter, and Stefan's voice narrates the message in voiceover]

STEFAN: [voiceover] "Dear Damon. They tell us to only send good news, but I cannot. The days grow darker in Mystic Falls, and my heart darker still. Valerie left and never came back. Father drinks himself to sleep nightly. As the anniversary of mother's death approaches, I find myself unable to sleep, paralyzed by a waking dread that I cannot shake and dare not name. I wish you were here, brother, to teach me how to survive these endless nights."

[Damon, looking even more concerned now, folds the letter in his hands and considers Stefan's words for a moment]

[The scene cuts to the Colonel's tent, where Damon has just walked in to speak with him. He's wearing a clean uniform, and looks nervous to be there]

DAMON: Colonel, sir?

[The Colonel looks up from his desk and stares at Damon]

COLONEL: Lieutenant Salvatore.

[Damon takes a deep breath to steady himself]

DAMON: I would like to request two weeks leave to go home, sir.

[The Colonel laughs in amusement]

COLONEL: You and every man out here, Salvatore. No. Request denied.
DAMON: I fear my brother is in a very bad way, sir. I would not ask if I did not believe he truly needs me. I do not wish to shirk my duties. If there is something you need done, I shall do it.
COLONEL: Anything?
DAMON: [hopefully] Anything. Yes, sir.
COLONEL: All right, then. I've got a mission. Honestly, it's more of a chore.
DAMON: For a chance to see my brother, I will gladly accept it.
COLONEL: There's a farmhouse twelve miles to the east. Rumor is there are Union sympathizers there hiding Confederate deserters. Now, if these rumors are true, I need those deserters arrested and brought back to me.
DAMON: Consider it done. Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir.

[Damon, looking relieved, leaves the tent]

[The scene cuts to the woods, where Damon and Henry are walking away from the camp. Damon has a compass in his hand, and he uses it to point him east toward the farmhouse. Henry is talking to Damon excitedly]

HENRY: Two weeks at home? Can you imagine? How grand. I cannot wait to see my girl Olive. She's a real peach. You have a sweetheart, Damon?
DAMON: [sighs] No, but I have to see my brother.

[Henry, remembering the task at hand, begins to look uneasy]

HENRY: Damon, are you certain about this?
DAMON: About what, Henry?
HENRY: About the mission. These men, these deserters we are supposed to capture, they are just regular fellows who do not believe in the cause. Like me. Like you.
DAMON: It is true. I could give a damn about this war, Henry. To be honest, I only enlisted to please my father.
HENRY: Well, then how can you be fine with rounding up men just like you?
DAMON: It is not my fault they deserted, Henry. They made their beds. But now, they're our ticket home. Come.

[Henry and Damon finally make it to the farmhouse, where they knock on the front door. It is answered by a stern-looking woman in a plain white dress, and Damon smiles weakly]

DAMON: Hello, ma'am. Could you spare some dinner for two hungry soldiers?
WOMAN: No. Sorry.

[The woman is about to shut the door when Damon stops her]

DAMON: I do not need to remind you that quartering is your wartime duty, not to mention the law.

[The woman sighs and reluctantly opens the door wider so they can enter]

DAMON: Thank you, ma'am.

[The three walk into the kitchen, where an older woman, a middle-aged woman, and a young girl are chopping up food. Damon greets them awkwardly]

DAMON: Hello. We are your surprise dinner guests.

[Henry, looking uncomfortable, leans forward to whisper in Damon's ear]

HENRY: Should I check the upstairs?
DAMON: [whispers] Yes, please.

[Henry leaves to do as he's told, and Damon smiles nervously at his hosts]

DAMON: Henry here's going to freshen up. Clean hands, clean mind.

[He turns and looks at the nearby fireplace, glancing around for contraband]

DAMON: I'm sure you're not one of those families hiding munitions from the war effort, but orders being what they are, it is my duty to check.

[Damon opens up a nearby cupboard and finds jars of preserved oranges]

DAMON: I'm glad to see someone takes the warning about the devil and idle hands seriously.
WOMAN: We have a lot of fruit.
DAMON: I see that, ma'am.

[The woman looks back at the young girl, and when Damon goes to check the record player, the girl opens a hidden door in the pantry, and the two deserters rush out with their guns aimed at Damon. Damon quickly pulls out his own pistol and aims it at them, though he looks nervous by the prospect of having to use it]

DESERTER #1: No, no, no, no! Kindly lay your gun down.

[Damon holds up his left hand while he uses his right to slowly put his gun onto the floor in front of him]

DAMON: I do not want any trouble.
DESERTER #1: If you turn around and go right now, you will find none. All we want is is to go home.

[Damon anxiously turns so his back is to the deserters while Henry lurks in the entrance hall with his gun as he prepares to enter. When he realizes Henry is out there, he turns back around to face the men]

DAMON: See, that is the problem. I want to go home too.

[Damon quickly ducks as Henry shoots the younger deserter in the chest, causing the women to yelp in fright. When the middle-aged woman runs to help, Damon, who has picked up his gun, shoots her as well]


[As the woman falls to the floor, her daughter cries out in shock]


[She runs over to their guns, but Damon, who looks horrified, shoots her as well, along with the grandmother when she runs toward him with her kitchen knife]

GRANDMA: Agh! Unh!

[The first deserter shoots at Damon, but he ducks before it can hit him and shoots him in the chest]


[The first deserter falls to the ground, and Damon and Henry, both shell-shocked by what just happened, look at each other in horror]

HENRY: Oh, God!, Oh, God. Damon... What have we done?

[Damon, who is covered in blood, is startled by the sound of a creaking floorboard from behind the pantry]

DAMON: Wait here.

[He walks toward the pantry with his gun raised as he passes through the hidden door into the storage room]

DAMON: Please, enough blood has been shed. Lay down your weapon. Please.

[When he finally turns the corner, he sees that the person waiting in the room is Lily, dressed in the same clothes from the beginning of the flashback]

DAMON: [stunned] Mother?
LILY: Hello, Damon.

[Damon stares at her in disbelief]

DAMON: You cannot be here. You died of consumption. We buried you in Mystic Falls.
LILY: Oh, my sweet, sweet son. I'm dead, all right. You saw to that.

[Damon becomes even more flustered by confusion]

DAMON: You died. I was there. This doesn't make any sense.

[He pauses as his eyes widen, as though he's remembering something]

LILY: But it's starting to come back to you.
DAMON: This isn't real.
LILY: Your spirit is trapped inside the Phoenix Stone. This really happened, didn't it?
DAMON: In 1863. I got a letter from Stefan. He seemed hopeless. I just wanted to go home to him. Even though I had my doubts, I started to round up deserters. It all went so wrong so fast.
LILY: Did you ever take responsibility for the incident?
DAMON: What do you mean?
LILY: You and Henry covered it up and never spoke of it again.
DAMON: How do you know that?
LILY: Maybe it's time to give yourself up.

[She reaches out to caress his face, but Damon swats her hand away and becomes defensive]

DAMON: Why? For what? They were deserters. They ambushed us. I didn't come here looking to kill anybody.
LILY: You had your reservations, but you still marched forward.

[Damon starts to remember what is really going on, and he becomes frustrated and annoyed]

DAMON: [angrily] So hell is being raked over the coals for something I haven't thought about in 150 years? Sorry. You're gonna have to do a lot better than that.
LILY: The longer you keep your trauma at arm's length, the harder this is going to be for you.
DAMON: [smirks sarcastically] Hmm. I see. And this PTSD puppet show wouldn't happen to be, by chance, a ploy to get me to be remorseful for your pointless death? Because it ain't working, Mama.
LILY: This isn't about remorse, Damon.

[Damon hears the click of a revolver and looks down to find that Lily has taken it out of his hands and aimed it at his stomach while he wasn't paying attention]

LILY: It's about punishment.

[Lily pulls the trigger and shoots him]


[Damon has just awakened with a gasp on the pool table in the boarding house's parlor with the Phoenix Stone laying on his chest. He's surrounded by candles, and Bonnie looks shocked to see him alive]

BONNIE: Damon? Hey. Please tell me you know who you are.

[Damon looks around wildly and picks up the Phoenix Stone so he can look at it, but doesn't get up, which worries Bonnie]

BONNIE: Damon, say something.
DAMON: [weakly] I know who I am, Bon-Bon.
BONNIE: Good. Means I actually got the spell right for once.

[Damon sits up, looking weak and troubled]

BONNIE: How do you feel?
DAMON: Like I just spent a day in the life of young Damon Salvatore.

[Bonnie looks at him with concern]

BONNIE: A day? Damon, you've been dead for three months.

[Damon looks horrified by this revelation]



[After the break, the scene returns to Damon and Bonnie at the Salvatore Boarding House, where he's sitting on the pool table while Bonnie pours him a glass of bourbon. She then walks over to him and looks at him with concern]

BONNIE: You sure you're okay? No desire to lash out or break anything?
DAMON: Nope.

[Damon frowns when he notices that blood is starting to pour from her nose]

DAMON: But, you don't look so good...

[Damon points to his own nose and looks at her with concern. When Bonnie realizes she got a witchy nosebleed, she rushes to grab a tissue and dab it away as Damon downs his entire drink in one gulp]

BONNIE: I'm fine. Just, weak. It took three Heretics to successfully find Julian's spirit in that stone, and I did it solo.

[Damon realizes that they're all alone in the house and becomes concerned]

DAMON: Wow. It's not that I was expecting a parade, but where's my parade?
BONNIE: Caroline's at Whitmore, Alaric's at a lecture, and Matt's on patrol. I'm sorry. It's been three months. I... it's not like...

[Damon looks sad by this news, but tries not to show it]

DAMON: Time stood still. I get it. No offense taken. Where's Stefan?

[Bonnie makes a sad face and hesitates for a moment]

BONNIE: You're gonna need another.

[Damon immediately becomes panicked]

DAMON: Where is he, Bonnie?

[Bonnie grimaces before she finally speaks]

BONNIE: When Julian stabbed you, Nora stabbed Stefan, and I... I haven't been able to bring him back yet.
DAMON: You're telling me my brother's still stuck in here and you brought me out first?
BONNIE: [makes a face] That didn't sound even like a glimmer of a thank you.
DAMON: Where is he, Bonnie?
BONNIE: [sighs] He's in his bedroom.

[Damon becomes agitated when he realizes what a bad situation Stefan is currently stuck in]

DAMON: We have to get him out.
BONNIE: [sighs] I will when I can. Damon, it took all of my magic just to pull you out.
DAMON: [angrily] I don't care, Bonnie. Now!

[Damon makes his way up to Stefan's bedroom, with Bonnie following closely behind him. However, Stefan is nowhere to be found, and Damon looks annoyed and frustrated]

DAMON: You store him in the closet?
BONNIE: He was just in here.
DAMON: Well, he's not now, Bonnie, which begs the question-- how do you not see an unconscious vampire walk out the front door?

[Bonnie sighs and frowns when she sees a note pinned to the candle on the nearby table with a dart from the dartboard]

BONNIE: Because he didn't walk out the front door.

[Bonnie rips the note off of the candle, which reads, "WHO'S UP FOR A BARBEQUE?" before handing it to Damon]

BONNIE: Someone took him.


[Damon, Bonnie, and Caroline are in the parlor of the BOARDING HOUSE, where they are all talking to Matt, who is on patrol on the MYSTIC FALLS ROADS, on speaker-phone]

MATT: If Julian were in Mystic Falls, I think I'd know.
DAMON: [sarcastically] Don't you think you're giving yourself a little too much credit there, Donovan?
MATT: All I'm saying is the guy's not shy about making himself known.

[Caroline, who is now very pregnant, sounds frantic as she realizes the implications of this dilemma]

CAROLINE: Matt, if Julian scorches Stefan's body, we can't get him back!
DAMON: No one's scorching anyone, not yet. Listen. Julian left a note. He's clearly luring us somewhere for a reason, guys.
BONNIE: [sighs] I could always try a locator spell...

[Caroline scoffs and gives Damon a look before turning to Bonnie with concern]

CAROLINE: Bonnie, no way! You literally just dragged Damon out of hell. I can't even believe you're standing right now.
DAMON: [annoyed] She wasn't talking to you, Mama Bear.

[Damon turns to Bonnie and looks at her desperately]

DAMON: Think you have enough juice?
BONNIE: Uh, I guess we could find out.
MATT: [frustrated] Bonnie, you've been exhausting yourself every day for the last few months. At least let me check the town surveillance tapes first.
DAMON: [annoyed] You and who else? Unless the Mystic Falls police department's had a hiring surge since I was out...?

[Matt, knowing Damon is right, says nothing, which proves Damon's point]

DAMON: I didn't think so.

[Damon turns back to Bonnie]

DAMON: Can you find him?
BONNIE: [weakly] I'll see what I can do.

[While Bonnie does the locator spell, Damon walks over to pour himself a drink. He looks up at Caroline, who is sitting on the couch with her arms wrapped around her large baby bump, and gestures to the decanter of bourbon]

DAMON: Drink?

[Caroline gives him an annoyed look and scoffs]

CAROLINE: I'm 28 weeks pregnant.
DAMON: [shrugs] Was that a yes or a no?
CAROLINE: [incredulously] What is it like inside your head? I'm genuinely curious because it must be wonderfully liberating to only see what you want to see.

[Damon simply ignores her]

DAMON: You know what I'm curious about?
CAROLINE: [mockingly] Hmm.
DAMON: Why the Phoenix Stone made my mother a character in my hellscape when it had so many other options of torture to choose from.
CAROLINE: [rolls her eyes] And this is why I begged Bonnie to get Stefan out first.
DAMON: Well, why didn't she?
CAROLINE: Because logic prevailed.
DAMON: What the hell's that supposed to mean?
CAROLINE: Nothing.

[Damon, frustrated, walks over to Caroline and stares at her intensely]

DAMON: Blondie, you do not get to make this moment the only time you ever decided to shut up. Tell me. What am I missing?
CAROLINE: Look.... Uh, I don't know what you've just been through, or what it's like in that thing. But the longer that you are trapped, the more your humanity gets stripped away.
DAMON: [scoffs] Well, here I am all full of emotions. The question is, why isn't my brother?
CAROLINE: [exasperatedly] Because we figured if you were gone too long you would come back devoid of humanity, hell-bent on killing Bonnie to revive Elena. God!

[Just then, Bonnie appears in the doorway, looking weak and woozy as blood pours from both nostrils]

CAROLINE: [worriedly] Bonnie?
BONNIE: The spell worked. He's on Route 29.

[Damon looks concerned about Bonnie's condition, but Caroline, whose tone has become somewhat kinder, just gestures for him to leave]

CAROLINE: You go. I'll take care of her.

[Damon downs the rest of his drink before he leaves]


[Damon hesitantly walks into the bar to find Stefan's body laying on one of the tables while Julian eats a steak dinner at another]

JULIAN: Heh. Damon. You're alive! I was half expecting the, uh, cute witch or the, uh, pregnant blonde, but...
DAMON: Well, you're just gonna have to settle for the ornery brother.
JULIAN: Right.

[Damon wrinkles his nose when he walks closer to Stefan's body]

DAMON: What's that putrid smell?
JULIAN: Ah. That. Yes. See, I was at a petrol station earlier, and I got a little bit carried away with the nozzle. I'm afraid your brother is quite soaked.

[Julian gestures toward the table]

JULIAN: Come on. Sit down.

[When Damon remains standing and continues to glare at him, Julian pulls out a lighter and flicks it open]

JULIAN: If you're not gonna join me for the meal, I suppose I could just skip forward to the after-dinner smoke.

[Damon sighs and reluctantly sits across the table from Julian, who looks satisfied. He then starts to dig into his dinner while Damon looks at him angrily]

JULIAN: So, do you want to talk about it?
DAMON: Are we really doing this?
JULIAN: Yes, we're really doing this. You know, I've never had the opportunity to share war stories with another Stone survivor. Come on. How'd you fare? Tell me everything.
DAMON: Gladly. As soon as Stefan's home and his soul sucked out of that rock, we can all sit and pop open a bottle of chardonnay, chat, and eat bonbons 'til the sun comes up.
JULIAN: Heh heh. Hmm. Perhaps I should start. See, upon waking up in that wretched world, I saw your mother... And then I killed her. Every day for over a century, I watched her die. Every day for over a century, I had my heart torn out of my chest. Oh, it was complete and utter misery.
DAMON: I had a slightly different experience. Overall, I give hell one star for horror and two very disappointed thumbs down for clever use of parable.
JULIAN: [curiously] So, it didn't work on you?
DAMON: [shrugs] It was called hell. Let's just say I had expectations.
JULIAN: I think you simply resisted.
DAMON: [laughs sarcastically] Resisted what?

[Julian pulls out the lighter once again and lights it]

JULIAN: You resisted facing the pain you so naturally and willfully push away.

[He then throws the lit lighter at Stefan and sets his body ablaze as Damon stares in horror and rushes over to him]

DAMON: No, Stefan! Stef...

[Just then, Lily appears, just like before, and stops him]

LILY: Damon! It's too late.

[Damon continues to struggle and freak out about his brother's body being destroyed in front of him]

DAMON: No...
LILY: Yes.

[Damon shakes his head in disbelief]

DAMON: This isn't real.
LILY: The pain is real. The feeling is real. As soon as you figure that out, you'll be one step closer.
DAMON: Closer to what? Closer to what?!


[Damon awakens in a cot in the field hospital tent to find he's back in the Civil War flashback. Henry is sitting on the cot next to him and smiles happily. The scene plays out very similarly to the first time Damon lived through it]

HENRY: Hi there, hero. You've been out a long time.
MAIL SOLDIER: Mail call!

[The soldier hands Damon his letter from Stefan, which he opens and reads]

HENRY: News from home?

[Stefan narrates his letter in voiceover as Damon reads it]

STEFAN: [voiceover] "Dear Damon, they tell us to only send good news, but I cannot. The days grow darker in Mystic Falls and my heart darker still..."

[Just like before, Damon walks into the Colonel's tent to speak with him]

DAMON: Sir, w-what would you say if I asked for two weeks' leave to go see my brother?
COLONEL: You and every other man out here, Salvatore. No.
DAMON: I thought so. What if I was willing to help you with your little deserter problem, for example?
COLONEL: Well, now that you mention it, there's a farmhouse about twelve miles east of here. Rumor is there are Union sympathizers there.
DAMON: I'm on it. Just to get the rules clear, I bring these deserters back alive, I go home to see my brother?
COLONEL: Yes. Yes, Lieutenant.
DAMON: All right, then.

[Afterward, Henry and Damon start walking toward the farmhouse together, just like in the first vision]

HENRY: Two weeks at home? How grand. I cannot wait to see my girl Olive. She's a real peach. You have a sweetheart, Damon?
DAMON: Yes. No. I mean... I got to admit, things are a little fuzzy right now, Henry.
HENRY: These men, these deserters we are supposed to capture, aren't they are just regular fellows like you and me?
DAMON: Technically, yes, but I'm starting to think they stand for something much bigger now.
HENRY: Of course they do. They are protesting on behalf of their political beliefs.
DAMON: That they are, Henry, but they're my ticket out of here, and I've got to bring them back alive.

[Damon and Henry arrive to the farmhouse and knock on the front door, where the middle-aged woman answers it again]

DAMON: Good day, ma'am. Could you spare some dinner for two hungry soldiers? And before you say no, I'd like to remind you that quartering is the law in these parts. I also love pie.

[The woman reluctantly opens the door to let them in, and Damon smiles at her fakely]

DAMON: Thank you kindly.

[Once inside, Henry leans toward Damon to whisper in his ear]

HENRY: I'll go check the upstairs.
DAMON: [quietly] Please do not.
HENRY: But there could be people up there.
DAMON: [sighs] There aren't, Henry.

[Damon turns his attention to the elderly woman and the young girl who are chopping up fruit at the kitchen table]

DAMON: Granny, I'm gonna have to kindly ask you set that knife down and stand over here by the table, please. Please, ma'am. You, too, kid. I'm going to have to ask you all to stand here together by the table.

[The grandmother gives them both a cold look, the mother does not look impressed, and the young daughter looks scared, but they do what they're told]

HENRY: [confused] Damon, what are you doing?
DAMON: Trust me. I got this.

[The mother goes to set the dinner table, but Damon stops her]

DAMON: No need. We won't get to dinner.

[Damon walks over to where the women are standing and lowers his voice to speak to them]

DAMON: I know you've got two deserters in the basement. Now, no one has to get hurt. We are simply going to take these men to our camp, and that is that.

[Just then, the deserters burst out of the hidden pantry door and shoot Henry in the leg.


[In the deserters' attempt to shoot Damon, they accidentally shoot the mother, and the daughter rushes over to her in fear]


[Damon and Henry begin to shoot at the deserters, and in seconds, everyone except for them is dead, just like before]

DAMON: No, no, no.

[Damon looks around at all the dead bodies around them and sighs in frustration]

DAMON: Well, that didn't go well.


[Damon has just awakened on the pool table in the boarding house's parlor with the Phoenix Stone on his chest. He looks up to find Bonnie looking at him with surprise and concern]

BONNIE: Damon?

[Damon takes the Phoenix Stone off his chest and looks at it]

DAMON: Oh... Don't worry. I know who I am. I also know you're not real.

[He sits up and hands Bonnie a handkerchief just as her nose starts to bleed]

BONNIE: What is that for? Ugh. I'm fine. I'm just weak. You know, it took three Heretics to successfully find Julian's spirit in that stone.

[Damon, knowing exactly how this conversation will go, stands up and nods]

DAMON: You did it solo. Got it. Good news is I know where Julian's keeping Stefan's body, so you can sit back, relax, and not have to worry about that locator spell.
BONNIE: [confused] What are you talking about?
DAMON: Oh, right. Spoiler alert. When you were working on me, Julian stole Stefan's body. I'm gonna go get it back.

[Damon goes to walk into the next room, only to find a smiling Stefan standing in the doorway]

STEFAN: That won't be necessary.

[Damon looks horrified and confused by his presence]

DAMON: You're not supposed to be here.

[The scene cuts to the parlor, where Stefan is pouring himself and Damon glasses of bourbon. Stefan seems cheerful and happy to see him]

STEFAN: Before you say anything, please don't hold it against Caroline for pulling me out first.

[Damon is still obviously confused, but he goes along with it for the time being]

DAMON: Never even occurred to me. So is this the part where we compare notes, analyze the symbolism, convince each other that we're survivors?
STEFAN: Well, to be honest with you, I just lived 168 years of mistakes, grief, and pain on a perpetual loop, so I'm down to just skip to the part where we get drunk.

[Stefan raises his glass to Damon]

STEFAN: Cheers.

[Damon raises his glass as well]

DAMON: Cheers.

[The two sip their drinks for a moment before Stefan speaks again]

STEFAN: Why? What happened to you in there?
DAMON: It was just a gruesome Civil War saga. Confederate flags, carnage, lots of lives going kaput.
STEFAN: So, it got to you, huh?
DAMON: Some rock's obsession with my personal accountability in a wartime tragedy? Not particularly.

[Stefan looks at him incredulously, which makes Damon slightly annoyed]

DAMON: What?
STEFAN: I mean, you didn't feel anything?
DAMON: Of course. I felt a burning desire to get home to my sad-sack of a brother so I could help him get over a girl he just met.

[Stefan becomes even more exasperated by Damon's blasé attitude and makes a face at him]

STEFAN: So the part with the innocent people bleeding out all over the farmhouse floorboards, that... that did nothing for you?

[Damon's eyes widen in realization, and he groans in annoyance]

DAMON: I knew it.
STEFAN: You knew what?
DAMON: You're not real.

[Damon plunges his hand into Stefan's chest, and he groans in pain]

STEFAN: Unh! Ugh! Ugh!
DAMON: Sorry, brother. Got to hit the reset button.

[Damon rips his heart out]


[Once again, Damon has awakened on his cot in the field hospital tent, where Henry is sitting on the cot next to him and smiling happily. However, before he can say anything, Damon sits up and groans in pain due to his injury before he speaks]

DAMON: Ugh. Get your gun, Henry.
HENRY: [confused] W-why?
DAMON: Because I'm starting to see a pattern, and you and I are gonna solve this little puzzle.


[In the world of the living, Stefan, Matt, and Caroline (who is visibly pregnant, though not as much as in Damon's hellscape) are gathered around Damon's body, which has the Phoenix Stone resting on his chest, while Bonnie casts the spell to return his soul to his body]

BONNIE: [chants] Ababbas dagoineh mateesah elunatan. Damon melunaweh washaset. Ababbas dagoineh mateesah elunatan. Damon melunaweh washaset...

[Matt, Caroline, and Stefan all look restless and worried, and Bonnie opens her eyes and sighs in frustration when Damon's body remains still]

BONNIE: The spell's not working.

[Stefan, too, sighs in frustration and rubs his brow with his hand]

BONNIE: I don't understand. It's like the stone is hiding his spirit.
MATT: [gently] Then maybe you should take a break, all right? You've been trying all day.
STEFAN: [urgently] She can't. The longer he stays in there, the more damaged he'll be when he gets out.

[Bonnie gives Stefan an annoyed look and scoffs]

BONNIE: And who's fault is that? You, of all people, don't get to lecture me.

[Caroline, who is overwhelmed by the tension and is rubbing her pregnant belly, tries to mediate]

CAROLINE: Hey, hey. It's okay. We're all just a little bit stressed right now. Let's take a deep breath, and we can start again when Bonnie's ready.
MATT: [frustrated] I don't get it. We pulled Stefan out no problem. What's different now?

[Stefan gets a haunted look on his face and sighs]

STEFAN: Because he's not ready yet. When I was in there, I could barely remember who I was, and then I was hit with visions and tests. But the worst part of hell isn't what you're going through-- it's the sliver of hope that you can actually get out on your own.
CAROLINE: [confused] How come we had no trouble reuniting your soul with your body?
STEFAN: Because eventually, I submitted to the kind of suffering that just breaks you. Knowing Damon, he'll do anything he can to avoid that kind of pain, which means we may never be able to get him out.

[Stefan gives the group a grim look, and everyone becomes even more worried about their chances of resurrecting Damon]


[Damon and Henry are walking toward the farmhouse where the Union sympathizers are hiding the Confederate deserters. Damon, now knowing how this conversation is going to play out, becomes slightly annoyed at the repetition]

HENRY: Two weeks at home? I can't wait to see my girl Olive--
DAMON: [cuts him off] Bet she's a real peach. And yes, Henry, I have a girl. She's in a Sleeping Beauty spell. Long story.

[Henry gives Damon a confused look, but Damon ignores him and continues talking while they walk]

DAMON: So, here's what I'm thinking-- Why today? Out of all of Damon Salvatore's greatest-hits, this farmhouse kerfluffle was barely a B-side. And then I realized... This was the first time I ever had blood on my hands. I took that mission. I gave the order.
HENRY: [worried] Damon, I don't think you're well. Perhaps your fever is back. Maybe we should turn around...
DAMON: I'm not sick! The point is, that the weeks after the farmhouse massacre, when I was crushed by guilt and self-loathing, do you know the one person in the world that I wanted to talk to?
HENRY: [confused] I don't know...
DAMON: My brother. That has to be the solution to the hell-puzzle, too. We find a way to get to Stefan, we stop living this day over and over and over again. Does that make sense?
HENRY: [concerned] We are returning to camp. I insist. You are not yourself.
DAMON: [sighs] Do you want leave to see your peach of a sweetheart? Do you, Henry? Then follow my lead, Wattles. I'm gonna get this right.

[Damon and Henry have just arrived to the farmhouse, where the same woman answers the front door]

DAMON: Hello, beautiful. What a great smile you have. I'm gonna need you, your daughter, and grandma to come out here on the porch with Private Wattles. Soldier's orders. Come on out, ladies. That's right. Thank you. Right here, just right there on the porch. Very nice. Stay on the porch. It's a nice day.

[Damon goes inside while the others stay on the porch, and he heads straight for the pantry with the hidden door]

DAMON: I know you're down there. I need you to toss out your weapons on the count of three, or I will kill your host family. One... Two...

[Nothing happens, so Damon cocks his gun]

DAMON: Three.

[Just then, the deserters toss out their guns, which slide across the floor and land at Damon's feet]

DAMON: That's good. Now, come out one at a time, arms raised.
DESERTER #1: Okay, okay...

[The men come out with their arms raised, but when Damon backs away from them, the younger deserter pulls the pin out of a grenade and throws it at Damon's feet. Damon looks at them with wide eyes as the grenade blows him up]


[Damon once again awakens on the cot in the field hospital tent, where Henry is sitting next to him and smiling. The scene becomes a montage of Damon's various attempts to beat the "hell-puzzle" by changing the way he reacts]

HENRY: Hi there, hero. You've been out a long time.

[The scene cuts to the farmhouse, where the middle-aged woman has just opened the door to find them on the porch. Damon scowls at her in frustration]

DAMON: Let's try this again.

[The scene cuts to the kitchen, where Damon is aiming his revolver at the pantry]

DAMON: Okay, I know you have a grenade. This time, I need you to gently slide the grenade out to me first. Next, I want your revolvers, and I want all this on the count of three, or I kill your host family. One...

[The pantry door opens, and the inactive grenade slides toward his feet]

DAMON: Two...

[One of the revolvers slides across the floor toward Damon]

DAMON: Three.

[The second revolver follows the first and lands at his feet]

DAMON: Now, come out one at a time, arms raised.

[Before the deserters to come out, Henry's voice is heard from behind him]

HENRY: Damon...

[Damon turns to find the grandmother holding a large knife against his throat while the mother holds Henry's arms behind his back and the young daughter points a gun at Damon]

DAMON: I'm really starting to hate you three.

[Damon lowers his weapon, and the young girl shoots Damon]

[Damon reawakens once again on the field hospital cot, where Henry is smiling at him from the next bed]

HENRY: Hi there, hero. You've been out a long time.

[The older soldier from earlier arrives with the bag of mail and calls out to the injured soldiers in the tent]

MAIL SOLDIER: Mail call!

[Damon receives the letter from Stefan, but instead of opening it to read it, he rips the envelope and letter up into shreds. Henry looks at him with worry]

HENRY: What did you go and do that for?

[Damon, annoyed, grabs a piece of paper and an envelope from the bedside table and narrates his message as he scrawls a note on it]

DAMON: Stefan-- never write me again.

[Henry becomes even more concerned as Damon rises to his feet and holds the letter up]


[Damon reawakens once again on the cot to Henry smiling at him, though he doesn't sit up. This starts a new montage of Civil War flashbacks]

HENRY: Hi there, hero. You've been out a long time.

[The scene cuts to Damon in the Colonel's tent, where he has just requested his two weeks of leave]

COLONEL: And, if you bring the deserters back to me, then you shall have your leave, Salvatore.
DAMON: [curiously] Does the offer still stand if I bring them back dead?

[The scene cuts to inside the farmhouse, where Damon walks into the kitchen and shoots at the pantry's shelf two times. After a moment, the door falls open, revealing that Damon's shot hit both of them in the back of the head. When he sees their bodies, he smiles in satisfaction until he hears a gun cocking behind him]

DAMON: Damnit.

[He turns to find the grandmother with a shotgun aimed at him, and she sneers as she pulls the trigger]


[Damon reawakens on the cot in the field hospital after the flashbacks have reset themselves yet again. Henry smiles at him as he sits up]

HENRY: Hi there, hero. You've been out a long time.

[The mail soldier arrives and walks toward them]

MAIL SOLDIER: Mail call!
DAMON: [annoyed] Screw this.

[Damon grabs his bag, his uniform jacket, and his compass, and starts walking away from the tent as Henry chases after him]

HENRY: Damon, where are you going?
DAMON: You know what the shortest distance between Point A and Point B is, Henry?
HENRY: [confused] What?
DAMON: A straight line. To get out of this hell, I've got to see my brother, so I'm going straight to him. I'm deserting to Mystic Falls.
HENRY: [surprised] Really? Can I come with you?

[Damon walks forward a few steps as he reaches into his pocket, not looking Henry in the eyes]

DAMON: You know how you always say I'm a hero, Henry?

[Damon pulls a grenade out of his pocket and pulls the pin before throwing it toward him]

DAMON: I'm no hero.

[Henry backs away from the live grenade as a man from the camp shouts out a warning while Damon walks away from them]

SOLDIER: Grenade!

[The grenade explodes behind him]

[Damon continues walking through the woods, whistling the Star-Spangled Banner (the United States' national anthem) as he checks his compass to make sure he's going the right way. However, when he comes upon the same farmhouse where the deserters were hiding in the other versions of the flashback, he looks stunned]

DAMON: No way...

[Just then, the front door opens, and Lily walks out onto the porch in the same blue gown as before. Damon looks even more surprised to see her]

LILY: Come in. We've been expecting you.

[Damon reluctantly comes inside and is surprised to find that neither the Union-sympathizing women nor the Confederate deserters from earlier are nowhere in sight]

DAMON: Well, this is different. Where the hell is everybody?

[Lily looks out the window with a grim expression]

LILY: Keep your voice down. I can see them coming in the distance.
DAMON: [confused] Who?
LILY: Confederates are hunting deserters. They will kill you. You need to hide in the cellar.
DAMON: [annoyed] Okay, this whole urgency-thing isn't necessary because this isn't actually happening.
LILY: [frustrated] Damon, you are not hearing me. They are here. Get down to the cellar if you want to live.

[Damon reluctantly does as he's told, and is surprised to find Stefan, in mid-19th century era clothing, waiting for him. He's sitting on what looks like a piece of furniture covered up by a cream-colored sheet]

STEFAN: Brother.
DAMON: Well, well. If it isn't the light at the end of the tunnel.
STEFAN: [smiles fakely] Pretty dark tunnel, this little slaughterhouse. I can see why you never told me about it.
DAMON: I was trying to protect your fragile emotions, Stefan. You're the reason I took the mission to begin with.

[Stefan chuckles patronizingly]

STEFAN: You always have a reason, don't you, Damon? Brother, drinking buddy...

[Stefan bends over and removes the sheet, revealing that Elena's coffin is what was hidden underneath]

DAMON: [scoffs] Elena? You're gonna have to do a lot better than that. Proving that I do bad things for the people I love?
STEFAN: This isn't about what you do in her name, Damon. It's about what you do in her absence!

[Just then, they hear a knock on the door upstairs, and Stefan puts a finger to his lips]

STEFAN: Shhh. Quiet. They're here.
DAMON: [annoyed] What the hell is going on?
STEFAN: You don't get it, do you? You tell yourself that you're protecting Mystic Falls for Elena. You convince yourself that you're keeping her safe by any means necessary. You justify punishing Lily for Elena's sake. Did you ever once think, "What would Elena do?"
DAMON: [angrily] I never got a chance to ask her, thanks to Lily.
STEFAN: [smiles] Ah, so you had to ask! Is Elena's influence on you so weak that you can't tell right from wrong without her holding your hand?

[Upstairs, a Confederate soldier's voice is heard talking to Lily]

SOLDIER: Where are you hiding him?

[Stefan looks at Damon with a smug expression]

STEFAN: Oooh. [He clicks his tongue] It's gonna be a long century, brother. You know, I wonder if she'll even recognize you when she wakes up...

[Upstairs, Lily's voice is heard talking to the Confederate soldier while the brothers talk]

LILY: There's no one here, I promise you. There's no one here!
SOLDIER: Let us inside, ma'am.
DAMON: [frustrated] What?
STEFAN: The man who spit on our mother's grave. The man who lies to himself even now about what happened here today?
DAMON: What are you talking about?

[Stefan glares at Damon as the Confederate soldier and Lily fight upstairs]

LILY: What are you doing? Get your hands off of me! No, no, no! Stop! Stop! No!

[Just then, a gunshot is heard, and Lily screams before she falls to the ground]

LILY: Ahhh!

[Stefan grabs Damon by the lapels and pushes him against the wall]

STEFAN: She's gone!
DAMON: [horrified] What are you doing to me?

[Lily's blood starts to pour between the floorboards of the kitchen and land on Damon's face, slowly coating him with blood]

STEFAN: The mission went sideways. Innocents died, and you walked away with blood on your hands. What did you want?
DAMON: [angrily] I wanted my brother.
STEFAN: What did you want?
DAMON: [louder] My brother.
STEFAN: [aggressively] What did you want?
DAMON: [furiously] I wanted my brother!
STEFAN: [louder] Stop lying to yourself! Who did you want in that moment? Before you buried all your secrets? Before you learned how to hide from your pain?

[Damon, overwhelmed with emotion, struggles to speak]

DAMON: I... I wanted... My mother.

[Stefan finally lets go of Damon and smirks]

STEFAN: Oh. Well, it's too late.

[Stefan throws Damon against the wall]


[Suddenly, Damon awakens on the battlefield at the Confederate front lines, where night has fallen. Dozens of bodies are strewn throughout the forest, and several small fires are burning as a result of landmines blowing up. Damon looks around at all the soldiers moaning in pain and sees that the front of his uniform is also soaked in blood from his own wounds as well. Suddenly, Lily, who is bleeding from her head and who is pinned under the wheel of a cannon like Henry was at the beginning of the episode, starts to cry out for him]

LILY: Damon! Damon, can you move? Please. Please, you must help me.

[Damon rolls onto his side to look closer at Lily, who is struggling to get out from under the cannon]

DAMON: [groans] Why? This isn't real.

[As Damon stands to his feet, bullets start to whiz past him, one of which hits him in the thigh]

LILY: [tearfully] Pain is real. Feeling is real.

[Damon gets hit in the arm with another bullet, and though he groans in pain, he also starts to laugh weakly, which disturbs Lily]

LILY: You love this, don't you? I'm gonna die knowing my own son hates me.
DAMON: Yes, he does.
LILY: Why?
DAMON: Because you tried to take Elena away from me.

[Just then, the cannon wheel collapses, and the cannon pins Lily's legs even harder underneath it, causing her to cry out in pain]

LILY: Ow! Ahh! AHHH!

[Damon jumps in fright from the cannon falling and starts to look worried about her]

LILY: Ohh! Ahhh! Why won't you help me? Please! Oh! Ahhh!

[When Damon just stands there, she looks at him in horror]

LILY: Why? Ahh!

[Damon stumbles over to her and kneels next to her]

DAMON: Because you took the one thing that made me happy. Because you weren't strong enough to leave your husband. Because you got sick and left us. Because you never came back!

[Lily seems somewhat relieved to hear Damon telling the truth, but continues to groan in pain under the cannon]

LILY: UGH! Argh!
DAMON: I hate you because you could've come back so many times, but you never did. I lost you the first time when Father sent you away with consumption, and then we brought you back from this prison world, and then I lost you again to your other family. And now, I'm losing you to death. Three times, I lost you. Three times, I had the chance to tell you everything I want to tell you, and three times I ruined it.

[Lily looks even more relieved and proud to hear this]

LILY: Oh, my... my sweet boy...

[She and Damon both sniffle as they begin to cry]

LILY: There's still time. Tell me. Tell me what you want to say. Tell me.
DAMON: [sobs] Mama, I'm so sorry. Give me the chance to make it right. Give me a chance to let you love me, okay?

[Just then, the life leaves Lily's eyes, and Damon realizes that she's dead]

DAMON: No. No. No.


[Bonnie is holding Damon's hand as she quietly casts the spell in the upstairs living room, when suddenly, he gasps awake, the Phoenix Stone still on his chest. Stefan, Matt, and Caroline, who were silently sitting around on the chairs and couches, look shocked to see Damon awake, but Damon is only thinking about what just happened with Lily and doesn't realize that this isn't a part of his hellscape, but actually real life]

DAMON: No. No. No.

[Stefan stands to his feet and rushes over to his brother, who has just sit up and is panicking about what just happened]

DAMON: No, we weren't done! I gotta get her back. I gotta get her back!

[Damon, still not realizing he's alive again, stands to his feet as Stefan stands in front of him and tries to calm him down, though it's clear that he's worried]

STEFAN: Hey, its me. It's me! You're safe. It's okay. It's okay.
DAMON: [frantically] No. No! One more time. One more time!

[Damon turns around to look at Bonnie, who is seriously weakened as a result of the spell and who is being held up by Caroline]

DAMON: Send me back. I know what to do now.
STEFAN: Damon, it's not real--
DAMON: [cuts him off] I know it's not real. None of this is real!

[Damon, thinking that this is just part of the Phoenix Stone's hell, starts to attack under the mistaken belief that doing so will reset the "test" so he can start over from the beginning. He grabs Stefan by the arm and breaks it before reaching up and snapping his neck. Matt, seriously concerned, stands to his feet as Caroline rushes over to help Stefan]

CAROLINE: Damon, don't--

[Damon smashes a chair and uses the broken chair leg as a stake, which he stabs into Caroline's chest, causing her to gasp in pain. She falls backward into Bonnie's arms as Matt rushes toward them]


[Damon backhands Matt so hard that his neck is snapped as well, and he falls to the ground]

BONNIE: [horrified] Oh, no--

[Damon grabs a fireplace poker and vamp-speeds over to Bonnie, pinning her to the wall by using the poker to press against her throat, choking her. Bonnie desperately gasps for breath and tries to reason with him]

BONNIE: Oh! UGH! Damon-- Ahhh!
DAMON: [frantically] I have to get back to her.
BONNIE: [chokes] Ugh!

[Finally, it appears that Bonnie either dies or loses consciousness, and she falls to the ground. Damon drops the poker onto the ground, but becomes even more frantic when he isn't sent back like he expected]

DAMON: Why am I still here? It wasn't real... This isn't real...

[Damon looks around in horror at Bonnie, Matt, Caroline, and Stefan's bodies all strewn around the room from where he attacked them and begins to panic]


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