[Stefan, wearing a green hoodie, a tan jacket, jeans (not the clothing he was wearing when Rayna stabbed him with the Phoenix Sword in the previous episode), awakens with a gasp to find himself laying flat on his back in the middle of an unknown. He's all alone, his hair is mussed up, he has a bloody gash on his forehead, and he's missing a boot. Stefan grunts and breathes quickly as he takes in his surroundings, and his eyes widen in horror when he sees shattered glass covered in blood that leads to the site of a gruesome car accident. The door of a Jeep has been ripped off, and the bloody, battered body of a middle-aged man hangs from the driver's seat, only kept in by the seat belt he's wearing. In front of the wrecked car is a school bus that has apparently hit the Jeep and is currently being consumed by flames, and Stefan scrambles to his feet before rushing toward the inferno]

[Once he gets to the bus, the sound of a screaming man and woman startles Stefan into action, and he shoves at the school bus door with all of his strength and looks confused when it doesn't budge]

WOMAN: Help!
MAN: Help! Help...
WOMAN: Help! Help! Help!

[Stefan shoves his shoulder into the door over and over again until it finally busts open, and he wastes no time getting inside and helping a young, injured woman out of the bus while the others yell in fear. Once he's safely deposited her onto the ground outside of the bus, he runs back inside to help a young man out, accidentally tripping and causing them both to fall onto the pavement just as as sirens are heard approaching them. Stefan stands to his feet and looks concerned as three police cruisers with their lights flashing drive up to the crash site, sighing in relief as help arrives]

[After the others have been rescued, Stefan sits on a nearby stretcher, covered in a warm blanket and with an oxygen mask over his face, while a female paramedic checks him out]

PARAMEDIC: Easy. Breathe slow. Dizzy is normal. And keep your foot off the ground, we're in a cold snap. Weather folks say temperature's a record low. What's your name?
STEFAN: [frowns] I don't remember...
PARAMEDIC: Let's take a look at you.

[The paramedic takes out her pen light and frowns when she notices a large gash on his right shoulder blade. She winces sympathetically as she pulls his collar aside to get a better look]

PARAMEDIC: Ooh, wow. Whoever you are, you are one lucky SOB. You're the first person I've met to survive a gash to the carotid.

[Stefan winces as the paramedic puts a gauze bandage over his wound, but he's quickly distracted by the sight of a dead victim being wheeled away on a stretcher in a body bag, which causes him to look upset. The paramedic notices this and gives him another sympathetic look]

PARAMEDIC: Hey... Take it from me-- even heroes can't save them all.

[Stefan frowns in confusion at this statement]

STEFAN: What'd you just call me?
PARAMEDIC: [slowly] A hero? That's what those cheerleaders are saying, anyway. I'm keeping them at bay until I've ruled out concussive amnesia.

[Stefan's brow furrows in concentration when he finally remembers who he is]

STEFAN: My name's Stefan Salvatore.
PARAMEDIC: And there we go! Do you know where you are, Stefan?

[Stefan's demeanor becomes defeated when he remembers what has happened to him]

STEFAN: Yes... I'm in Hell.



[Night has fallen, but Damon is still sitting on the ground next to Stefan's body at the airfield, where he is looking sadly at his "dead" brother]

[Meanwhile, Valerie, who has just found Nora and Mary Louise's bodies and has wrapped them in sheets to be burned in the middle of a huge field near the airfield, is holding Rayna's sword in her hands, staring at the now-broken Phoenix Stone with a devastated expression while crying for Nora, Mary Louise and Stefan. After a moment, Damon slowly approaches her from behind, and Valerie's expression turns stony as she addresses him, not even bothering to turn around to face him]

VALERIE: They didn't know... that Rayna had stabbed Stefan. That his spirit was already trapped in the Phoenix Stone. They probably thought they were doing the world a favor.
DAMON: [sarcastically] Well, that's awfully generous. Of you, not them. Considering they never gave a damn about anyone else other than each other. So, if you're done mourning Thelma and Mary Louise, I think we should get out of here.

[Valerie finally turns to face him with angry tears in her eyes as she starts in on him]

VALERIE: I'm not going anywhere with you. You could have prevented this. All you had to do was take Stefan's scar and put your brother first, for once in your life.
DAMON: Hey! I'm trying to make it right, which is why we have to find Rayna and get Stefan's soul back in his body.
VALERIE: The Stone is destroyed, Damon. And Stefan with it.
DAMON: We don't know that.
VALERIE: Yes, we do, if we have logic, and a sense of reason, and a brain.
DAMON: I see it differently, okay? If Stefan's dead, then I'm responsible. Which means I'm going to spend the rest of eternity haunted and doing penance and seeing my own self-loathing reflected in everyone else's actual loathing. And, I'm not ready for any of those things-- ergo, he's not dead. Try it my way. It's less depressing.
VALERIE: I see I've been charitable in assuming you have a brain...
DAMON: You can keep being a Debbie Downer, or you can do a locator spell and help me find Rayna. What do you say?

[Valerie turns and walks away, and Damon looks annoyed]

DAMON: Where are you going?
VALERIE: To do what you just told me to do-- without you. Invisique.

[Valerie vanishes as her cloaking spell takes effect, and Damon scoffs in frustration]

DAMON: Really? Really?


[Back at the car accident site, Stefan is still confused about what is happening and assumes that he's trapped in the Phoenix Stone]

STEFAN: I don't get it. My failed attempt at being a hero, the dead bodies... What's the lesson here?
PARAMEDIC: [confused] I'm not sure I'm following you.
STEFAN: I remember being stabbed by the Phoenix Sword, which means this is all some sort of looping nightmare, custom-made from my own psyche.
PARAMEDIC: [concerned] Maybe I was a little hasty in my check-up. Can you look straight ahead?
STEFAN: [frustrated] I think I'm fine. I'm just... I'm not in the mood for charades, all right? Can we just skip to the torture please?

[Stefan calls out to the cops nearby]

STEFAN: Hey, officers! Why don't we just get on with it, huh?
PARAMEDIC: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Sit down. You are not making any sense.

[One of the officers walks toward them as the paramedic takes a wallet out of Stefan's jacket pocket and looks at the driver's license inside to get his information]

OFFICER: Marty Hammond?
STEFAN: No, but okay...
PARAMEDIC: That's what it says on this license.
STEFAN: I believe you, but that's not my wallet.
PARAMEDIC: [concerned] Possible memory loss.
OFFICER: Have you been drinking, sir?
STEFAN: Oh! I get it. I'm a vampire with control issues, and alcoholism is a metaphor for my bloodlust. See, now we're getting somewhere!

[The paramedic and police officer seem to be getting more worried and confused with every statement Stefan makes]

OFFICER: Sir, could you stand up for me?
STEFAN: Are we going to a warmer hellscape?
OFFICER: Maybe... First, I'm gonna have to ask you to walk in a straight line.

[Stefan frowns and looks around at the scene in confusion]


[Matt is sitting at the bar at the MYSTIC GRILL when he suddenly gets a phone call, which he quickly answers]

MATT: Hello?

[Matt is shocked to hear that it is Rayna who is calling him]

RAYNA: Matt? I need help...
MATT: Rayna?
RAYNA: You're the only person that I trust.
MATT: You put Stefan back in the Stone?
RAYNA: Yes, but--

[Matt cuts her off as he picks up a bottle of liquor from behind the bar and uses it to pour himself another drink]

MATT: Then we have nothing to talk about. I did my part. I'm out.

[Rayna groans as if in pain and taps the payphone against her temple in frustration before she replies]

RAYNA: You don't understand! Those bitches destroyed the Stone! He's free. They're all free.
MATT: [shocked] Wait-- what are you talking about?

[Matt becomes even more concerned when she doesn't respond]

MATT: Rayna? What do you mean, "free?"

[When the scene cuts back to Rayna, it is revealed that Valerie has appeared and is now holding Rayna in a headlock, though the phone is still pressed to her ear]

VALERIE: Well? Go ahead and answer him. What do you mean, "free?"

[Rayna gasps for breath due to the strength of her choke-hold and drops the phone]

[Meanwhile, back at the DALLAS AIRFIELD, Damon has just returned to find that Stefan's body has vanished. The scene cuts to Damon's car, where he's speeding down the road as he tries to call Valerie, though it goes straight to voicemail]

VALERIE: [voicemail greeting] This is Valerie. And now, you speak.

[The voicemail beeps as Damon leaves her a message]

DAMON: Valerie, I don't know why you took Stefan's body, but if anything happens to...

[Damon slows down and stops talking when he sees someone walking toward him, and when he sees that it's Stefan (wearing the same clothing he "died" in), Damon's voice becomes confused]

DAMON: ...My brother? Never mind.

[He hangs up the phone and pulls up next to where Stefan is standing and watching him curiously]


[The scene cuts back and forth between the Stefan at the car crash site at ROUTE 70, Rayna and Valerie at the PHONE BOOTH, and Damon and the Stefan on the road near the DALLAS AIRFIELD]

[The other Stefan from ROUTE 70 is doing a field sobriety test while the police officer watches him walk in a straight line away from him]

OFFICER: Nice work, Marty. And back to me.

[Stefan rolls his eyes and turns to walk back to the officer]

[Meanwhile, at the PHONE BOOTH, Valerie is holding a knife to Rayna's throat as she questions her]

RAYNA: I can hear them... All the voices...

[Valerie keeps her hand around Rayna's neck, but spins her around so she can face her, the tip of the knife still pressed to her throat]

VALERIE: What are you talking about?
RAYNA: [dazed] They're coming from everywhere.

[Back at ROUTE 70, Stefan has just finished his field sobriety test and looks at the officer with annoyance]

STEFAN: What is this supposed to prove?
OFFICER: That you were under the influence when you were driving the bus.

[Stefan looks shocked by this remark]

STEFAN: What did you say?

[Over at the PHONE BOOTH, Rayna and Valerie are still talking, and Rayna looks completely overwhelmed]

RAYNA: When you destroyed the Phoenix Stone, all the souls inside escaped. Scattered. And I can hear them. Alive. Every one of them.
VALERIE: [horrified] You're saying that every vampire you ever killed with that sword is now wandering the earth?

[At ROUTE 70, the officer is now questioning Stefan]

OFFICER: What the hell happened to you?
STEFAN: [confused] I'm not sure... I woke up in the middle of the road, and I saw the bus on fire.
OFFICER: [sarcastically] Yeah, you're a real hero, Marty-- saving half the kids from the accident you caused.
STEFAN: [frustrated] Why do you keep calling me "Marty?"

[Rayna and Valerie continue their conversation at the PHONE BOOTH, where Rayna is genuinely terrified about what is happening]

RAYNA: I burned all their original bodies, which means the Stone's prisoners are in random corpses. Vampire, human... it doesn't matter. The spirits fled, scatter-shot into the first dead piece of flesh they could find.

[Meanwhile, the other "Stefan" is now riding in the passenger seat of Damon's car while they drive]

DAMON: Remember anything?
"STEFAN": No. Nothing.

[He frowns and looks at Damon for a moment]

"STEFAN": I'm sorry, do I know you?

[Damon looks at Stefan with wide, shocked eyes]

[Valerie is becoming very impatient with Rayna at the PHONE BOOTH]

VALERIE: I don't give a damn about a bunch of old vampire souls! Where did Stefan end up?

[At ROUTE 70, the officer has just handed the increasingly-frustrated Stefan/Marty a breathalyzer machine]

OFFICER: Here you go.
STEFAN/MARTY: And what if I refuse to take the test?
OFFICER: Then you're not giving me much of a choice.

[The officer grabs Stefan/Marty by the lapels and turns him around before pushing him against the side of his police cruiser to prepare to handcuff him]

[Back at the PHONE BOOTH, Valerie has just grabbed Rayna by the front of the shirt as well and speaks in an impatient voice]

VALERIE: Rayna-- where did Stefan go?
RAYNA: He could be anywhere. He could be anyone.

[At ROUTE 70, the officer has just handcuffed Stefan/Marty as he tries to read him his rights]

OFFICER: Marty Hammond, you're under arrest for driving under the influence--

[Stefan/Marty struggles against him]

STEFAN/MARTY: My name is Stefan.
OFFICER: Stop. Calm down!

[When Stefan continues to struggle, he catches a glimpse of himself in the side mirror of the cruiser and is shocked to see not his own reflection, but that of the human vessel his spirit inhabited when he left the Phoenix Stone]

[After the break, the dashboard camera of the police cruiser is recording Stefan/Marty struggling against the officer]

OFFICER: Calm down, Marty...
STEFAN/MARTY: My name is Stefan, damnit!
OFFICER: All right, you asked for it--

[The officer attempts to use force against him, but Stefan/Marty rushes away, running into the woods with his wrists still handcuffed behind his back as the officer calls after him]

OFFICER: Hey! Get back here! Stop! STOP!

[Stefan/Marty continues to run through the woods, eventually tripping on an exposed tree root and falling onto the ground. He grunts in pain for a moment, but eventually manages to pull himself to his feet and continue fleeing the scene]


[Alaric is in his kitchen, where he's watching the news on the television]

NEWS BROADCASTER: [on screen] Turning now to a breaking news story. Reports coming in of an accident on Route 70, near Glenwood, Arkansas involving a Dallas student charter bus. At least four dead, with more injured...

[Just then, Alaric's phone rings, and when he sees it's Matt, he answers with an angry and overwhelmed tone of voice]

ALARIC: What the hell do you want?
MATT: I'm calling to warn you--
ALARIC: [scoffs] Oh, it's a little late for that, don't you think? I mean, seeing as you seem to be working with that psycho who took my fiancée hostage.
MATT: I know you're gonna find this hard to believe, but I made sure that Caroline was safe.
ALARIC: [angrily] Safe? Rayna shot a stake through her ribcage, Matt. Listen to me-- we were out. Three years. Three years-- no stabbings, no hostage swaps, no supernatural threats breathing down our neck, okay? We are getting married in a month. We have got kids that we need to take care of.
MATT: [sighs] Look, Caroline was bait to draw Stefan out. That's all.

[Alaric is absolutely appalled by this response]

ALARIC: What the hell happened to you, man?
MATT: Look, something bad happened, and I'm calling to warn you that I sent some visitors your way.
ALARIC: No! No, listen-- Caroline is in hiding with the girls, waiting for me.
MATT: [exhaustedly] This affects everybody, Ric. And I'm three states away.
ALARIC: [annoyed] I'm hanging up right now.

[Just as Alaric hangs up the phone, his doorbell rings, and he sighs before opening it to find Jo and an unconscious Rayna on his front step. He sighs once again before stepping aside to let them in]

[Inside, Alaric is sitting at his kitchen table, Josie and Lizzie's stuffed unicorn and teddy bear laying on the table top where Alaric left them when he stopped packing, while Valerie explains the situation to him. It's clear by the stony look on Alaric's face that he's not at all impressed or amused by any of this]

VALERIE: It's like what happened with Jo, only more random. All the vampire souls from the Phoenix Stone have found fresh corpses to inhabit. Some vampires, some not.

[While Valerie talks, she walks around the kitchen, taking note of the photos of Caroline, Josie, and Lizzie spread in picture frames on the table and attached to the front of the fridge]

ALARIC: [annoyed] And why is this my problem?
VALERIE: Stefan is among the missing, and something tells me that your household has a vested interest in whether he lives or dies.

[Alaric, still not at all pleased by this plan, considers this for a moment before he sighs in defeat]

ALARIC: Okay. What do we need to do?

[Just then, Rayna, who has been chained to a chair in the connected living room, speaks up]

RAYNA: We have to hunt them all down.
VALERIE: [quickly] No. No, Stefan has to be our first priority.
RAYNA: Your boyfriend should be the least of your concerns.
ALARIC: [frowns] What do you mean?
RAYNA: You think I spent my life chasing harmless do-gooders? That stone was made for the worst of the worst. I've put down some of the most evil vampires of the last two hundred years.

[Valerie sighs when she realizes just how huge of a problem this is]


[Damon and "Stefan" are still driving in the Camaro when Damon reaches back into the back seat of the car and pulls out one of Stefan's leather-bound journals from his duffle bag]

DAMON: Here. Flip through that.
"STEFAN": What is this?
DAMON: It's your journal. See if anything jogs your memory.

["Stefan" opens the journal and begins to read aloud]

"STEFAN": "Day 57 of being pissed off at my garbage-heap of a brother..."
DAMON: [impatiently] Just... just go ahead and read it to yourself.

["Stefan" continues to read, and Damon gulps nervously before he speaks again]

DAMON: Look, the most important thing is, man-- you're not in that Hell, all right? This is real.

["Stefan" suddenly gets a look at himself in the passenger side-mirror, and he touches his face as his eyes widen in horror and confusion]

DAMON: And look, man, the truth is, you have every right to be pissed at me, okay? I screwed up bad, and when you remember why, I do not blame you--
"STEFAN": [cuts him off] Damon...?
DAMON: Yeah?
"STEFAN": [smirks] I'm famished.


[It is daylight now, and the real Stefan, in Marty's body and with his wrists still handcuffed behind his back, is stumbling through the woods of Arkansas. After a moment, he begins to retch and falls to his knees before vomiting profusely on the ground. He continues to cough and hack, groaning in pain, until he sees a cabin nearby and sighs in relief]

[When he rushes over to the cabin, he walks onto the porch and tries to look through the windows, only to find that they've been boarded up. He turns to try to use his handcuffed hands to open the door, but the door is locked and the knob won't turn. Finally, he uses his cuffed hands to pull off the board over the window, though it takes most of his human strength to do so, and once the window has been uncovered, he kicks his leg through the window and shatters the glass before carefully shoving himself through it, landing on the leather couch under the window and subsequently rolling off of it and onto the floor, groaning in pain upon impact. He then forces himself into a seated position and takes a look around the cabin, which is small but well-furnished, He uses his feet to open the various drawers in the kitchen in hopes of finding something to break out of his cuffs, but when his efforts yield no results, he sighs in frustration]

[He glances out the window, where he sees a shed behind the cabin and decides to make his way there. Inside, he finds a slew of construction tools, including a vice, which causes him to sigh in both relief and in annoyance at the effort it will take to break through his cuffs. He arranges two cinder blocks on the floor to stand on so his hands will be level with the vice, and he slowly uses his bound hand to turn the stile to widen the vice enough to use it to make the cuff wider, allowing him to slide his hand through it and free himself, though it causes him obvious pain to do so]


[Inside a country-style TEXAS RESTAURANT that is empty of people, save for a cook, a waitress, Damon, and "Stefan," a waitress has just come to the boys' table with a plate of steak and fries for "Stefan" and two beers for him and Damon. She smiles widely at "Stefan"]

WAITRESS: Okay, there you go. Need a refill?
AMBROSE: [smirks] Please! And thank you.

[The waitress, who has clearly been compelled prior to this scene, cheerfully holds out her wrist, into which "Stefan" immediately sinks his fangs and begins to feed. Damon frowns and watches "Stefan" suspiciously for a moment as he moans in pleasure and drinks his fill until finally, Damon intervenes]

DAMON: Okay, I think that's enough, Stefan.

["Stefan" ignores him and continues to feed, and Damon rolls his eyes before stopping him]

DAMON: That's enough.

["Stefan" sighs in annoyance before stopping and giving Damon a mischievous look]

AMBROSE: Care to take her for a spin?

[Damon is clearly more suspicious of him than ever, but he covers it up with a chuckle]

DAMON: Better go make a quick phone call.

[Stefan seems suspicious of him as well as Damon gets up, puts a quarter in the jukebox to play a song to cover up his phone call, and then pulls out his cell to call Alaric, who is still at ALARIC AND CAROLINE'S HOUSE with Valerie and Rayna]

ALARIC: [tiredly] Damon.
DAMON: [quietly] When did you realize Jo wasn't Jo?

[Alaric realizes that Damon's current situation is the same as what Valerie and Rayna have just told him and becomes alarmed]

ALARIC: Listen, are you with your brother right now?
DAMON: [frustrated] That's what I'm asking--
ALARIC: [cuts him off] Okay, Damon, listen to me very carefully. That is not Stefan, all right? We don't know who that is.

[Valerie speaks up so Damon can hear him]

VALERIE: Keep him close. We're going to need his body.
DAMON: [anxiously] So, where the hell is Stefan??
ALARIC: Uh, you know, it's not easy to pick him out from hundreds of Twitter reports about the zombie apocalypse, okay? We're working on it.
DAMON: Work harder. I don't want to spend the rest of my life babysitting a cheap knockoff of my brother.
ALARIC: Oh, trust me, it's not gonna be the rest of your life. Jo's body started to break down just as soon as that vampire soul inhabited her body.
DAMON: [panicked] What are you saying?
ALARIC: [sighs] I'm saying that if Stefan's in a human body, he's got about three days to live.


[Stefan/Marty, who still has his handcuffs bound to one wrist but has otherwise been unrestrained, has walked back into the cabin, where he's looking at his/Marty's reflection in the mirror. He notices that he has a huge gash on his forehead and has a bruise blossoming around his right eye and becomes incredibly concerned before seeing a roll of duct tape and ripping off two pieces before grabbing a spoon to use as a splint-- he wraps the smaller piece around his right thumb and the round end of the spoon before wrapping a bigger piece of table to secure the spoon on his right wrist, bracing his injured hand from pulling it out of the handcuff]

[He then rushes over to the nearby landline telephone, groaning in frustration when he finds that there's no dial tone. He slams it back in the cradle before searching through the cabin, starting with the fridge, which is empty. He tries to turn on the faucets, but there's no running water, and he becomes even more frustrated when he finds that there's no electricity, either]

[Outside, he finds a truck in the car park next to the cabin, and when he looks behind it, he is relieved to find a generator. He unscrews the cap on the top and peers inside to find that there gasoline inside of it]

STEFAN: Ah, yes!

[He pulls the cord to start it several times, each one of them failing, but finally, he manages to get it to start and weakly pumps his fist in triumph]

STEFAN: Ah-ha!

[He then goes inside and tests the generator, finding that the lights will now turn on when he flips the light-switch by the door. The small, old television on a nearby dresser also turns on, though the screen shows nothing but static. He adjusts the antenna on top and flips through the channels until he finally finds one that will decently come in, which, fortunately for him, is also a news station that is currently in the middle of reporting breaking news]

NEWS BROADCASTER: [on screen] For more on this story as it breaks, stay tuned. The latest from Arkansas, where, in the middle of an extreme weather warning, a manhunt is underway near the Ouachita National Forest. Marty Hammond has fled authorities after allegedly causing a major accident on Route 70.

[Stefan looks horrified as the reporter cuts to an interview with the same police officer who Stefan encountered earlier]

POLICE OFFICER: [on screen] Suspect has a previous DUI. We don't expect him to get too far. He's a known drunk. With his medical history, if the cold doesn't take him down, I'm betting detox will.

[Stefan's eyes widen in shock as he lifts up his/Marty's hand, which is beginning to shake due to tremors from alcohol withdrawal, while the officer continues. On the top of his hand, between his index finger and thumb, is a blue-black tattoo of an anchor]

POLICE OFFICER: [on screen] But, we've got our best men on it, so people should just stay calm and report any suspicious activities. We're also taking volunteers to work our phone bank, so if you're interested, please contact the Glenwood YMCA and lend us a hand. Thank you

[The news report cuts back to the news broadcaster, who wraps up the story with a photo of Marty Hammond in the background as Stefan begins to panic while he processes this new information]

NEWS BROADCASTER: [on screen] Hammond, a former merchant Marine, has been working for a charter bus company...


[The exact same news report is playing on the television at ALARIC AND CAROLINE'S HOUSE, where Alaric is making a list of possible vessels for Stefan while Valerie brainstorms a plan for when they find him. Meanwhile, Rayna, who is still chained to the chair and looks extremely overwhelmed, glares at them]

NEWS BROADCASTER: [on-screen] They have yet to release a statement. But, as news of Hammond's substance abuse continues to unfold...
RAYNA: [annoyed] Turn that down. My head's about to explode.

[Alaric rolls his eyes and picks up the remote to mute the news as Valerie breaks out of her reverie and turns to face Rayna]

VALERIE: Tell me... What are they like? The voices?
RAYNA: [exhaustedly] Confused. Hungry. Angry.
VALERIE: [curiously] But do you see them? Like, with actual visions?
RAYNA: [shrugs] Pieces. All at once, overlapping.

[Valerie gets an idea and turns to Alaric]

VALERIE: Do you have any pictures of Stefan?
ALARIC: [exasperatedly] Why would I have a picture of Stefan?
VALERIE: Not you. Caroline. Now, don't tell me she hasn't got some bloody sentimental keepsake.

[Alaric is obviously annoyed and growing tired of this situation, but he reluctantly drops his pen on the table and goes to search for the photo while Valerie begins to light more candles for a spell]

RAYNA: [confused] What are you doing?
VALERIE: Giving you something to focus on while I help you sort through the noise.

[Valerie picks up a dish of salt and begins to sprinkle it in a circle around the candle as Alaric comes in with a framed photo of Caroline and Stefan together]

ALARIC: Here. Will this do?

[Valerie takes the photo in her hands and looks at it. The sight of Caroline and Stefan smiling together in the photo clearly bothers Valerie, which doesn't escape Alaric's notice, though she does her best to conceal it with a weak smile]

VALERIE: It's perfect.

[Valerie walks toward Rayna, who is looking at them both suspiciously as Valerie hands her the photo, though the chains around her arms prevent her from holding it up very high]

VALERIE: Here. Look into his eyes. Concentrate.
RAYNA: [scoffs] How is this supposed to--

[Valerie comes up behind Rayna and puts her hands on either side of her head, and Rayna immediately jerks upright and groans in pain as she gets a vision while Valerie speaks to her in voiceover]

VALERIE: [voiceover] Focus on Stefan.

[Rayna first gets visions of the vampires being tortured in the Phoenix Stone before she starts to get flashes of Stefan, beginning with the burning bus, followed by Stefan running through the woods toward the cabin. Valerie seems to be seeing the same flashes that Rayna is seeing]

VALERIE: [voiceover] Come on, Stefan, where are you?

[The vision cuts to when Stefan made the splint for his injured hand out of duct tape and a spoon, followed by a flash of Stefan holding up his shaking hand and noticing the tattoo by his thumb. Rayna screams in pain as she is overwhelmed by the vision and Valerie's magic, bringing both to the present. Alaric looks at both women in concern as Rayna seemingly faints]

VALERIE: [pants] I saw trees, blood, fire, and an anchor...

[Alaric's interest seems piqued by this revelation]

ALARIC: Wait, an anchor?
VALERIE: A tattoo on his hand. He's hurt. He's scared.

[Alaric gets an idea and picks up the television remote, using his enhanced DVR to rewind and replay the news broadcast about Marty Hammond]

NEWS BROADCASTER: [on screen] Hammond, a former merchant Marine, has been working for the charter bus company. They have yet to release--

[Alaric pauses the DVR, and Valerie gasps as she puts it together]

VALERIE: I saw a burning bus. A merchant marine tattoo, a guy who saves a bunch of kids and then goes on the lam... I think this Marty Hammond is our guy.

[The scene cuts to shortly afterward, where Alaric is calling Damon to fill him in on what they've learned]

DAMON: Arkansas? What the hell's in Arkansas?
ALARIC: Miles of national forest, dozens of pissed-off state troopers, and a rapidly approaching blizzard. How soon can you get there?
DAMON: Well, that depends on how cooperative my passenger's gonna be.
DAMON: All right, brother. Time to go.

[Damon looks around and finds that the few employees in the restaurant have been killed by Stefan and are laying bloodless around the room]

AMBROSE: Not a minute too soon! This place is dead.

[Damon sighs impatiently]]

DAMON: Yeah. Come on.


[Stefan/Marty is muttering to himself while he tries to get the truck in the car park to run by hot-wiring it]

STEFAN: Oh, of course. Of course I'm stuck in the body of an addict. Didn't need a damn Hell-stone to hammer that irony home, did we, Marty? You know, Marty, I spent the last three years knowing my life span was tied to Rayna's. After the initial shock wore off, I actually started to enjoy it. I had an expiration date. That's as close to being human as I was ever gonna get. I guess I forgot how much being a human actually sucks. How everything hurts... all the damn time.

[He tries to start the car, but the engine won't turn over]

STEFAN: Ah, come on... Ugh, come on!

[Finally, the engine starts, and Stefan looks triumphant]

STEFAN: Yes! Yes! Suck on that, you miserable drunk.


[Damon and "Stefan" are driving to Arkansas while "Stefan" continues to read the real Stefan's journal. After a moment, he speaks up]

AMBROSE: Yes. Yes, I think it's starting to come back to me. The pain, the doleful humdrum of my eternal curse. And yet, here and there, moments of hope. Glimmers of humanity. I may have forgotten what you've done, Damon, but I do remember this-- you are my blood. I love you, brother.
DAMON: [scoffs] Cut the crap, buddy. I know you're not Stefan.
AMBROSE: Oh, that's a shame. I was just warming up!
DAMON: I give you points for being a quick study.
AMBROSE: I can't take all the credit. You did give me the handbook. In all seriousness, though, your brother truly, truly hates you. Listen to this-- "I have resigned myself to never seeing Damon again in my now-finite lifetime, and I have never felt so unburdened." Oof! Sounds like he doesn't care if he ever sees you again. Which is perfect, because I don't plan on giving up this body.
DAMON: Well, fair warning, that hair requires a tremendous amount of maintenance.
AMBROSE: [nods] Indeed it does. Better than nothing, though. How far is Memphis?
DAMON: [scoffs] Memphis? [He gasps mockingly] Please tell me your name was Elvis. It would explain a lot.
AMBROSE: You seem like an entertaining fellow, Damon. Well... When this is all over, we should go carousing together. Deuces.

["Stefan" throws himself out of the moving car and vamp-speeds away as Damon hits the brake so hard the tires squeal as he tries to stop him]



[After the break, Damon is once again on the phone with Alaric to inform him of what has just happened while Valerie and Rayna listen on speaker]

ALARIC: [exasperatedly] What do you mean, you lost me?
DAMON: [frustrated] I mean, he figured out Stefan's body is a time-share, and he ran. He asked about Memphis...
ALARIC: Memphis? We're two states away from Memphis.
DAMON: And I have to rescue the real Stefan from a manhunt. You have a Heretic and a Huntress. Use them.

[Damon and Alaric, both of whom are incredibly frustrated, hang up their phones at the same time as Alaric gives Valerie an exhausted look]

VALERIE: It's okay. I can track Stefan's body.

[However, Rayna looks horrified as she finally speaks up]

RAYNA: Did you say Memphis? We have to catch him.
ALARIC: [annoyed] Well, that's the point, isn't it?

[Valerie starts to look even more unhappy when she realizes what Rayna is implying]

VALERIE: And then what? And then kill him? That's what you're not saying. Who is he?
RAYNA: Just another serial killer that cannot be allowed to walk this earth. He should be staked and burned and sent to oblivion.
VALERIE: Well, he is walking this earth in my boyfriend's body, so we're not killing anyone.
RAYNA: Then this is where we part ways.

[Rayna musters all of the strength she has to leap into the air and fall backward onto the floor, breaking the wooden chair to which she is chained into pieces and allowing her to slip out of the chains. She hesitates a moment too long, allowing Valerie to vamp-speed toward her, but Rayna kicks her in the leg, breaking it and causing her to fall onto her knees and giving Rayna the chance to grab her in a headlock. Alaric, looking alarmed, moves toward the counter where a black plastic case is sitting, but when Rayna snaps Valerie's neck, he freezes in place, afraid of what she'll do to him]

RAYNA: [panting] I'm dying to know what's in that case you keep inching towards.
ALARIC: [sighs] It's a dart gun.

[Surprisingly, Rayna seems intrigued by this statement]

RAYNA: Think it'll help?

[Alaric rolls his eyes and reluctantly puts his hands up in the air in a non-threatening gesture so she can take the case]


[The truck Stefan/Marty hotwired has just begun to run out of gas, and the engine sputters as he's forced to pull over. He sees a woman in the middle of changing a flat tired on the side of the road, and he pulls up behind her before getting out]

STEFAN: Excuse me, miss? Do you know where we are?
WOMAN: Are you lost?
STEFAN: [embarrassedly] Yeah. And out of gas. And naturally unlucky. Do you mind if I borrow your phone? It's just one quick call.

[The woman hesitates for a moment before heading to the front of her car to get it]

WOMAN: Hang on.

[However, as she's getting the phone, she hears a news report on the radio]

NEWS REPORTER: [on the radio] The man is considered dangerous. Residents in and around Ouachita are advised to report any suspicious activity.

[The woman, realizing that Stefan is the Marty Hammond the news is talking about, starts to panic and close the door, and Stefan wedges himself in between the door and the inside of the car to stop her]

WOMAN: Get away from me!
STEFAN: [overwhelmed] I just need to use your phone. Please.

[The woman elbows him in the face, sending him flying onto his back on the ground and allowing her to shut her door and speed away. Stefan looks devastated and defeated by this outcome, which only becomes worse when snowflakes start to fall, indicating that the blizzard is about to start]


[Damon has just entered a building that is full of police officers from the state highway patrol and the local station, along with volunteers to help track down Marty Hammond. Trying to put out an air of confidence, Damon makes his way through the crowd to find those in charge]

DAMON: Pardon me. Excuse me. Officer coming through.

[The police captain is giving instructions to some other officers]

CAPTAIN: I need you to call these four guys back for another shift. I need the manpower.

[The captain sees Damon heading toward them and frowns before heading over to talk to him]

CAPTAIN: Hold on, I'll be right back.

[The captain approaches Damon, looking at him warily]

CAPTAIN: Sir? Sir? Who are you?

[Damon smiles fakely at him]

DAMON: I'm a volunteer. Deputy Matt Donovan, Mystic Falls. A friend to my brothers in blue.
CAPTAIN: [suspiciously] I've never heard of Mystic Falls. Never heard of you. Where's your badge?

[Damon, realizing that this is otherwise going to be very complicated, decides to resort to compulsion to get his way and stares the captain in the eyes]

DAMON: [compels him] You don't need to see a badge, because Matt Donovan is the finest, bravest, least stupid cop you ever met. And, if anyone asks, that's the lie you tell them.

[The captain's expression changes to one that is much kinder and more inviting]

CAPTAIN: Glad you're here, Donovan. We're lucky to have you.

[Damon smiles and nods politely before getting to the point]

DAMON: So, what's the status?
CAPTAIN: Well, Hammond is screwed any way you cut it. We got the forest surrounded. Boys just raided a cabin. Found traces of blood, but no Marty, which means that...
DAMON: [horrified] He's alone in those woods.
CAPTAIN: And nobody can survive these temperatures overnight. We're just laying low. Gonna wait for nature to do our work for us.

[The captain starts to eat a doughnut, and Damon's expression becomes grim]


[Stefan/Marty has just used up the last of the gas in the truck to keep the cab heated, and he groans in fear when the cold starts to seep back in. The snow is falling even harder now, and Stefan desperately tries to roll up the driver's side window, only for the turnstile to break off in his hands. He's looking pale and weak, and he's shaking both from withdrawal and from the beginning of hypothermia. After a moment of gasping and shaking, Damon appears in the passenger seat next to him, which surprises Stefan]

DAMON: Didn't think that one through, did you, brother? What do you say we get out of here, get you back in your own body? Let's go.

[Damon makes to leave, but Stefan just stares at him incredulously. Damon gives him a look]

DAMON: What? What's wrong?
STEFAN: This. You. If you're here, then I'm safe, and I owe you one.

[Stefan looks away from Damon as tears fill his eyes]

STEFAN: But, if you're a hallucination, then I've entered the delirium phase of my withdrawal, which means I am officially and royally screwed.

[When Stefan looks back at the passenger seat, Damon has vanished, and Stefan nearly breaks down in sobs before he suddenly starts to retch and gag, forcing him to open the car door so he can vomit into the snow. However, he's so weak that he tumbles out of the car completely, landing on his hands and knees on the snow-covered ground. Once he's finished, he sighs and closes his eyes before falling back on his bottom and leaning his back against the side of the truck, closing his eyes]


[A TV news reporter from KAQR Channel 3 is standing in front of the headquarters as her report is recorded on camera]

NEWS REPORTER: 12 degrees and dropping fast. With snowfall of a foot or more projected, road closures and downed power lines should be anticipated.

[Inside the building, the police captain is questioning the girl that Stefan ran into earlier, who is visibly shaken from the encounter, while Damon, now wearing a state trooper jacket, eavesdrops on their conversation from outside of the room]

CAPTAIN: All right. Try to calm down and tell me what happened.
WOMAN: I saw him. He attacked me.

[Damon walks over to them to "help"]

CAPTAIN: Hey, you're safe now, ma'am.
WOMAN: [nods] Thank you.

[Damon affectionately pats the Captain on the back]

DAMON: If it's okay with you, Captain, I'd like to question her myself.

[The captain looks slightly confused, but eventually smiles and nods at him]

CAPTAIN: All right.

[The captain raises his voice to talk to the others]

CAPTAIN: All right, everyone. Matt Donovan's got this.

[Damon kneels in front of the woman and looks her in the eyes]

DAMON: I need you to tell me exactly where you saw him.
WOMAN: Yeah, it was an access road off of 274. It was north of Oden. There's an outlook there.
DAMON: And you're sure it was north?
WOMAN: [nods] Yeah.

[Damon stands to his feet to make an announcement]

DAMON: Okay. All right, boys. He's south of Oden. Let's pull all troops down to that area, okay?

[The woman frowns in confusion]

WOMAN: Wait, that's not what I said...

[Damon once again crouches in front of her, only this time he stares her in the eyes to compel her]

DAMON: [compels her] It is now. You saw him south of Oden.

[Damon stands and goes to walk away, and the woman calls out to him]

WOMAN: Hey, let me know if they find my phone.

[Damon stops in his tracks and turns to face her with a serious expression]

DAMON: What did you say?
WOMAN: My cell phone...


[Stefan/Marty is dozing, still sitting in the snow next to the now-dead truck, but he jerks awake when he hears the sound of a cell phone ringing nearby. He sees a patch of snow is glowing and desperately crawls over to it to answer it, having not realized that the woman dropped it during their struggle. On the other end of the line is Damon, who is driving his Camaro through the snow in an effort to find Stefan]

STEFAN: Hello?
DAMON: Wow. Marty's voice is, uh, huskier than I imagined.

[Stefan is both relieved and annoyed to hear his brother's voice]

STEFAN: Damon?
DAMON: Sure picked a great night to get lost in the woods.
STEFAN: Yeah, well, at least I'm starting to warm up. Which, in case you didn't know, is a bad sign.
DAMON: [concerned] You gotta move, okay? Just pick a direction, start walking.
STEFAN: [weakly] I can't. I can't even feel my legs. At this point, I can't tell if the tremors are from my withdrawal or from me freezing to death.
DAMON: [frustrated] Stefan, just get up! This is not how you are going to die, Stefan Salvatore.

[Stefan can't help but chuckle and sniffle at this remark]

STEFAN: Alone in the wilderness, trapped in the frozen corpse of an alcoholic murderer? Uh, I don't know... Seems kind of fitting to me.
DAMON: [groans] Come on. Give me something to work with, here.
STEFAN: Day late and a dollar short. You suck at playing hero, brother.
DAMON: Well, I guess I'm just not used to you being such a damsel in distress.
STEFAN: Should I list all the ways in which this mess is your fault?
DAMON: [rolls his eyes] Sure, Stef. Go for it. I'm not doing anything important right now.
STEFAN: You bailed on me, Damon.
DAMON: [interrupts] Listen, Valerie and I were literally just about to do the transfer spell--

[Stefan cuts him off]

STEFAN: Even before that. You bailed on me when you decided you'd rather live in a coffin than own up to your mistakes.

[Damon's eyes widen in shock at this remark]

DAMON: No. No, no, I was trying to prevent myself from making mistakes, Stefan.
STEFAN: And why is that so hard for you, Damon? Don't say "Elena." You lived 160 years before you met her. I got ripped out of hell and thrown into a dead man's body, and do you know what my first thought was when I came to? "I need to save those people on the bus." I didn't know who I was, I didn't know where I was... it was my instinct. What are your instincts, Damon? What does the voice in your head say?
DAMON: [sighs] You want me to say what we both already know? Fine. I'm selfish. I'm angry. I am impatient. And yes, until I met Elena, I wasn't interested in doing the right thing for anybody.
STEFAN: [rolls his eyes] Your brother included.
DAMON: My brother included. You mad?
DAMON: You resent me?
DAMON: Good. Then get up and come kick my ass yourself.

[Stefan sighs and does as he's told, groaning as he struggles to pull himself to his feet. Damon sounds concerned by the sound of his panting]

DAMON: Stefan...?

[Stefan continues to groan as he finally gets to his feet and slowly starts to put one foot in front of the other to make his way down the road]

STEFAN: I'm walking.

[He pauses for a moment before he continues]

STEFAN: You want to know why this is so hard?
DAMON: Because Marty Hammond is a total train-wreck?
STEFAN: [sighs] Because eventually, I'm not going to be able to go on. And when that happens, I don't believe you'll be there.

[Damon looks devastated by this comment, and Stefan continues to slowly limp down the road]


[Valerie and Alaric are seated at a booth by the window in a 24-hour diner and are staring out at the falling snow. Both of them look anxious and annoyed about the day's events]

VALERIE: [impatiently] Must we wait this out?
ALARIC: [scoffs] Well, unless you want to end up in a ditch off the freeway, we're gonna spend the night right here.
VALERIE: How convenient for you.
ALARIC: What's that supposed to mean?
VALERIE: Well, if this ends badly, you emerge the victor. Stefan dies through no fault of your own-- less competition for your fiancée's heart.
ALARIC: Oh wow. How insecure do you think I am?

[Valerie gives him a knowing look]

VALERIE: Don't pretend it hasn't crossed your mind. I am very familiar with the sensation of watching Stefan and Caroline from the outside.
ALARIC: [sarcastically] Well, except for the part where Stefan ditched Caroline to travel around the world with you.
VALERIE: You see, I never fooled myself into thinking that what I had with Stefan would last. But you? You put a ring on it.

[Alaric becomes more and more annoyed with this conversation by the second]

ALARIC: Yeah, I proposed to Caroline, because I fell in love with her. And she said yes because it made sense for the kids. So yeah, Stefan coming back might ruin my perfect little life. So what?
VALERIE: [shrugs] Well, for what it's worth, I'm rooting for you and Caroline.

[Alaric can't help but chuckle despite himself as he rolls his eyes]

ALARIC: Why, how selfless of you.


[Damon and Stefan are still on the phone while Stefan slowly walks down the access road and Damon drives in search of him. Stefan's entire body is trembling from hypothermia as he limps]

DAMON: Ah, don't tell me you don't appreciate the irony of this? You being human?
STEFAN: Well, safe to say I do not appreciate it at this particular moment.
DAMON: Tell me, though-- what's the worst part about being human? Is it... Is it leg cramps? Is it sniffles? Frostbite? What is it?
STEFAN: How about the inability to compel people?
DAMON: Ooh, yeah! Yeah, that's a big one. Sucks having to play by the rules, doesn't it?
STEFAN: [laughs weakly] Like you would know. Hey... You remember playing hide-and-seek when we were kids?
DAMON: You bring that up because you used to cheat?
STEFAN: [scoffs] I did not!
DAMON: Absolutely, you did. You used to hide in Father's office, even though we weren't allowed to be in there.
STEFAN: Once, maybe.
DAMON: No. All the time.
STEFAN: Then why was it so hard for you to find me?
DAMON: 'Cause I was scared. I didn't want to break the rules.
STEFAN: Maybe you were hoping Father would catch me and punish me.
DAMON: No. I wasn't scared I'd get caught-- I was scared for you, Stefan.

[Damon pauses for a moment before he continues]

DAMON: Why do you bring up hide-and-go-seek?
STEFAN: [defeatedly] Because you're never gonna find me.

[Just then, Stefan is hit with a coughing fit so strong that he falls to his knees before keeling over, landing face-first in the snow and dropping the phone. When Damon doesn't get a response after that, he frowns in concern. Stefan/Marty's body is still laying in the snow when bright headlights illuminate his face as the Camaro pulls up to where he fell. Damon walks toward him and gently grabs him by the shoulders to flip him over and pull him to his feet]

[Some time later, Stefan/Marty awakens in the passenger seat of the Camaro, and Damon looks relieved. However, when Stefan turns to face Damon, Damon seems a little unnerved by his brother's words coming out of Marty's mouth]

STEFAN: Damon...? What's wrong?

[Damon shakes off his initial shock at seeing Stefan in his new/temporary vessel]

DAMON: Nothing. It's all very normal.

[Stefan notices a box of doughnuts laying between them on the seats]

STEFAN: Are those...?
DAMON: [nods] Cop-approved.

[Stefan wastes no time tearing into the box and shoving a doughnut into his mouth, moaning in pleasure at the first bit of food he's eaten since awakening in Marty's body]

STEFAN: Mmmmm... You asked me what I missed most about being human? The ecstasy of eating this... incredibly crappy doughnut.

[Damon seems relieved by this response]

DAMON: So all's forgiven?

[Stefan shakes his head as he continues eating his doughnut]

STEFAN: Not by a long shot.

[Damon nods, seemingly understanding this response, but he and Stefan both become concerned when Stefan suddenly groans. Blood drips profusely from his nose and lands on one of the doughnuts in his lap before Stefan reaches up with his hand to try to staunch the blood flow]

STEFAN: [confused] What is that?

[Damon, remembering what Alaric told him about vampire souls that are improperly placed in human bodies]

DAMON: About that... I'm afraid Marty's not gonna make it.

[Damon gets a determined look on his face and turns back to the road as he accelerates]

DAMON: Buckle up. We have less than 48 hours to track down your real body.


[Alaric and Valerie are still sitting at the booth in the DALLAS DINER when Valerie's eyes suddenly widen as she gets a vision of some kind. Alaric looks at her with concern]

ALARIC: Are you still tracking Stefan's body?
VALERIE: [nods] Whoever's in him just stopped... in Memphis.

[Valerie closes her eyes to focus on the vision from her locator spell]

VALERIE: I can hear music. It's... a fraternity house.

[Alaric looks shocked by this news]

ALARIC: Wait, a-a vampire just bee-lined to Memphis and went straight to a university?

[He's suddenly hit by a dawning revelation that makes him rise to his feet]

ALARIC: Okay, we gotta go.
VALERIE: [confused] Why? What's going on?
ALARIC: [frowns] It's something that Rayna said. It reminded me of an old wives' tale about a string of murders that happened in the 1880s.

[Alaric continues the story in voiceover as the scene cuts to the University of Memphis fraternity house (specifically Alpha Rho Tau), where "Stefan" is walking up to the door of the house with a six-pack of beer in his hands]

ALARIC: [voiceover] Apparently, he was a serial killer before he became a vampire. He would stalk sororities and fraternities and murder for sport.

[One of the fraternity brothers answers the door and looks pleased when he sees "Stefan," who holds out the beer]

AMBROSE: Libations?
FRAT BROTHER: Nice! Come on in, man.

[Stefan nods, and the camera pans down to his feet as he's able to cross the threshold after being invited in by the fraternity member. As he enters the house, he looks around at his new environment, taking note of how things have changed since the last time he was alive. On the staircase, another "frat bro" is chugging beer from a Solo cup, while a young couple makes out in a corner]

ALARIC: [voiceover] As the story goes, he wouldn't just kill. He would force his victims to murder each other.

["Stefan" smiles at the sight of two girls giggling and dancing with each other as he walks over to the fireplace and grabs a poker]

ALARIC: [voiceover] And they would tell the story, but nobody would believe them.
["Stefan" walks over to the front double doors and uses his vampire strength to bend the poker around the doorknobs so that everyone is locked inside]

ALARIC: [voiceover] Eventually the burden would drive them mad.

[Back at the DALLAS DINER, Alaric finishes the story in a quiet voice]

ALARIC: They never caught the killer.

[Valerie's eyes widen in horror at the thought of the chaos the vampire possessing Stefan's body could cause. Back at the U of M FRATERNITY HOUSE, "Stefan," thrilled to be back at his job as a serial killer, closes his eyes, lifts his hands in the air, and sighs in pleasure]


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