I don't own The Vampire Diaries.
A/N: So, this is the last chapter of The Solution. I will have a short continuation story just to wrap up the plot, but I thought that it would be good to end it how it started ;)
Stefan knew just as much about southern Italy as Damon did so he drove Liz and Ric around the area on the 23rd and 24th while Damon, Caroline and Katherine prepared for Christmas. Damon and Caroline found it kind of weird spending two days without the twins as Liz had taken them because she'd missed them. On the 23rd, Caroline and Katherine were decorating the living room while Damon painted the walls as he didn't want the old and cracked paint to be seen in the zillions of pictures that Caroline would no doubt take.
"Caroline?" Damon asked just as he finished and she turned to look at him, her face was slightly concerned considering he'd used her name.
"What's wrong?" She asked and he smirked.
"Nothing. I was just wondering why you don't wear your engagement ring anymore." Damon remarked surprising Caroline and Katherine that he'd noticed that.
"You know that I love that ring, but it's a little big and heavy for everyday life. I wear it if we go out." She said and he nodded as his eyebrows furrowed. He knew that she loved it but he hadn't anticipated that it was a bit flashy and bulky for every day. "What's that look for?" She asked.
"I'll get you another one." Damon said surprising them.
"You don't have to do that." Caroline said confused.
"Yeah, I do. It hadn't occurred to me that it would be too big to wear every day. I'll get you an every day one." He said and both she and Katherine giggled – they understood that he clearly wanted her to wear an engagement ring.
"What are you going to get?" Katherine asked.
"Any ideas?" Damon asked the two of them.
"I love my ring. Maybe a smaller version?" Caroline suggested.
"So, still blue diamond?" Damon tested.
"It's my favourite." Caroline smiled.
"Is that what you want though? It can be different. What other stones do you like?" He asked.
"Damon, you've practically bought me every stone that exists." Caroline smirked and he and Katherine chuckled. "I love the blue diamond. In my mind that's my 'engagement stone'." She said.
"Alright." Damon agreed.
"What would you want?" Caroline asked Katherine – Damon was trying not to all out grin at his plan working.
"I think I'd like a red or green stone, like a red garnet or a ruby or an emerald. Something maybe a little different than just a plain round white diamond." Katherine replied and Damon planned to report that little piece of information back to Ric as soon as possible.
"That does sound nice." Caroline smiled.
"When are you going to meet Ric's mother?" Damon asked surprising them.
"I think he wants to go in March. He told her that I'm pregnant, so she's excited about that." Katherine replied.
"Why isn't he going to see her over Christmas?" Caroline queried.
"She went on a Polynesian cruise with his step-dad." Katherine replied. "She's back at the beginning of January, so he wants to go see her and do a late Christmas with her in either February or March and wants me to go with him."
"Why Polynesian?" Caroline asked.
"He told her about the Polynesian night in Florida and apparently she looked into it and thought that it sounded fun." Katherine replied amused and Caroline giggled.
"That'll be great though. I'd love to meet Ric's mom." Caroline remarked.
"He said that she's going to visit after the baby's born." Damon commented.
"I hope she comes before that, or I'll be house-sized and stationed on the couch." Caroline smirked and they laughed.
"What are we going to do about names?" Katherine asked Damon.
"I looked into another couple of Slavic names and I like Mila and Draga for a girl and Veles and Dimitri for a boy." Damon replied and Katherine grinned.
"I love Dimitri." Katherine agreed. "I don't like Veles but Mila and Draga are great." She said.
"What do you think?" Damon asked Caroline.
"I don't like Veles either but the other three are awesome." Caroline agreed.
"So, are we decided on Dimitri for a boy then?" Katherine asked.
"Don't you want to ask Ric?" Damon asked.
"No, he wants you to choose the first name since the baby will have Saltzman as a surname." Katherine replied.
"Alright. Dimitri." Damon nodded.
"Can I request Mila for a girl? I love that." Caroline piped up.
"I don't think it is a girl." Katherine replied amused.
"What was your father's name?" Damon asked.
"Krasimir." Katherine replied.
"You want to make that the middle name if it's a boy?" Damon asked and she smiled surprised.
"Is that okay?" She asked.
"If I'm choosing the first name and he's getting Ric's surname then it's only right that the middle name be chosen by you. Figured that you'd want to name him after your father." Damon shrugged.
"I would really like that." Katherine agreed.
"He could be Krasimir Dimitri Saltzman if you want." Damon suggested.
"Dimitri is better for the given name." Katherine countered. "Dimitri is a well-known name but Krasimir is a little too Slavic for a child growing up in a non-Slavic country." She said.
"So, Dimitri Krasimir Saltzman?" Damon asked.
"I really like that." Katherine smiled.
"You like that?" Damon asked Caroline who smiled and nodded. "Alright." Damon agreed. "What was your mother's name?"
"Svetlana." Katherine replied.
"Mila Svetlana Saltzman if the baby is a girl?" Damon asked.
"Perfect." Katherine agreed with a smile.
"See if the baby is a boy, can we still use Mila? I seriously like that." Caroline said and they chuckled.
"Mmhmm." Damon nodded. "I like it too." He agreed.
"Are you going to find out the sexes this time?" Katherine asked.
"Yeah, but not until 20 weeks." Caroline replied.
"Have you registered with a clinic here?" Katherine asked.
"Yeah, a small clinic in Brindisi. They're doing the dating scan on the 7th of January." Caroline replied.
On the morning of the 24th, Damon disappeared with the car early in the morning and came back just after 11am. He'd been out looking for a blue diamond, figuring that he could give it to her on Christmas Day again along with the eternity ring. He managed to find one that he really liked, it was still a good sized stone but the ring itself was delicate and lightweight, so she could wear that every day. After he got back, Stefan, Ric and Liz took the twins and left for the day again while the other three prepared the food for the next day. Stefan had brought in a Christmas tree the night before, so all of them were going to decorate it when they got back in the evening.
They had a nice traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner together then they decorated the tree as a collective and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the happy occasion. They put their wrapped presents under the tree and were highly amused by the fact that Caroline seemed to be bouncing up and down in anticipation. The group went to bed early because they knew that Caroline would get them up at the crack of dawn.
On Christmas morning, Caroline was grinning from ear to ear as she dressed the twins in their Christmas morning clothes. She'd gotten Conrad a little white and red striped onesie with a Christmas tree on the front and a red and white Santa-like top with a hood for Sessily with matching red with white polka dot bottoms. Once they were dressed, she happily took them downstairs where Liz was already waiting for her with a mug of hot chocolate. Stefan was up too and he grinned when he saw the kids.
"Aww, they look so cute." Stefan remarked happily.
"Just wait until you see their Christmas dinner outfits." Caroline grinned and he chuckled. "Thanks, mom." Caroline said when her mother set down the hot chocolate in front of her.
"Merry Christmas, sweetheart." Liz said kissing her cheek then each of the twins.
"Merry Christmas." Caroline grinned.
It wasn't long before Caroline corralled everyone around the tree for presents and they were highly amused by the cute little blonde.
"As requested, I'm the parent today, so go wild." Damon winked at her and they all laughed. Conrad was sitting between Ric and Liz and Sessily was sitting between Katherine and Stefan on the other couch. Caroline handed out a present each because she was so excited. Damon opened his and found the new locket. It was a large antique oval black onyx locket and he carefully opened it and saw the pictures. He gave Caroline a kiss and she grinned at him because it was obvious that he liked it. Caroline opened her gift from Katherine and she couldn't help letting out a happy squeal, which made everyone laugh, at the sight of a pair of beautiful cornflower blue satin Badgley Mischka open-toe 'Wanda' pumps. She gave Katherine a hug and Katherine was pleased that she liked them so much. Katherine opened her present from Stefan and found YSL black patent leather platform calf length boots with a zip up the side. She grinned widely and gave him a hug and a kiss to thank him because she loved those. Liz opened her present from Ric and found a brand new high quality Sony camera which she loved because her camera was old and she'd been meaning to get a new one to take lots of pictures of the twins. She gave him a hug to thank him and he was glad that she liked it. Stefan opened his gift from Damon and found a brand new Apple MacBook Pro which he was really happy with as he needed a new laptop for college. Ric then opened his gift from Caroline which was a stunning pair of white gold cufflinks with a mother of pearl face adorned with a black diamond in the centre and he loved them.
The gift giving continued and Damon gave Katherine black satin Prada Mary Jane flower heels – everyone knew that Caroline had clearly instructed that one – which she loved, he gave Caroline her blue diamond eternity band and second engagement ring and she adored both of them along with a Chanel coin purse that she'd wanted, he gave Ric a new phone and Liz an antique rosewood jewellery box that she thought was exquisite and was very happy with.
Stefan gave Ric an iPad2 which Ric was very happy with as he'd wanted one for a while. He gave Liz a pink pearl earring and necklace set and Liz loved it. She was touched at the gift as she'd mentioned once after Caroline and Damon's wedding that she'd always wanted her own pearls and Stefan had remembered that. Stefan gave Damon a rare old book that he'd managed to get a hold of and Damon was very pleased with it and finally, he gave Caroline the matching YSL navy blue patent platform ankle boots to Katherine's black ones and though she loved them, she commented that if she wore them she'd be taller than Damon – Damon said that it didn't matter horizontally, so what did he care? Caroline smacked his arm for saying that in front of her mother while everyone else laughed.
Ric gave Stefan an HD video camera and Stefan couldn't wait to film the twins, he gave Caroline a purple leather Versace handbag and she grinned and hugged him – everybody knew that Katherine had directed that purchase – but Caroline was still thrilled with it. Ric gave Katherine a beautiful white gold bangle adorned with sapphires and diamonds and the inside was engraved with 'Merry Christmas, I love you, from Alaric' and Katherine kissed him deeply because she loved it. Finally, Damon opened his gift from Ric and found two stuffed toy dogs and everyone laughed. Ric said that it was going to be the new tradition then told him that he'd actually gotten him a bottle of whiskey and it was in the house in Mystic Falls because he didn't want to risk it breaking because it was old and Damon was looking forward to seeing what it was when he went home.
Katherine gave Stefan a Fendi leather wallet, Damon a Hugo Boss black thigh length smart cashmere coat – which Damon oddly really loved – and she gave Ric a dark grey Hugo Boss suit that Caroline's cufflinks were a match to. Katherine thought that Boss clothes looked amazing on guys, hence why she'd gone for that and both men really liked their gifts. Katherine got Liz a Gucci navy blue silk shift dress and Liz was stunned at how gorgeous it was and was very thankful for it.
Liz got Stefan an iPod because Caroline had told her that he really wanted one and he was very happy with that. Liz gave Ric a silver hip flask with his initials engraved on it and she gave Caroline a white gold bracelet with an ornate heart shaped locket that had 'Love from Mom' engraved on the back of it and Caroline loved it and was looking forward to putting pictures of the twins in it. Katherine was beyond touched because Liz gave her the matching necklace to Caroline's bracelet that also had an ornate heart locket attached to it that had 'Love from Liz' engraved on the back and it really meant a lot to her that they'd gotten so close. And finally, she knew that Damon wasn't really into expensive gifts, more things that meant something, so she gave him a very old pocket watch that had been her father's and his father's and his father's before – Damon was kind of emotional at that because he understood that she was saying that he was her family – like her son – and it really meant a lot. He promised to give it to Conrad one day and that put a big smile on her face.
Caroline gave Stefan Hugo Boss jeans – it was obvious that she and Katherine had gone shopping together for everyone's gifts – and she also gave Damon Hugo Boss jeans and a shirt and they liked their gifts. She gave her mother a silver engraved photo album that she'd put pictures of herself, the twins, pictures from the wedding and pictures of Caroline and Liz when Caroline was little – Liz was really touched and loved it. Caroline also gave her a pair of navy blue satin Manolo Blahnik's with a crystal buckle on the toes to go with the navy silk shift dress that Katherine gave her and Caroline told her that Carol Lockwood could eat her heart out at the next event when Liz turned up looking like a model – they all laughed and thought that she was so cute. Her final present was to Katherine and the brunette was shocked when she opened the box to find brand new 2008 Dior Cruise collection bubble heel sling back metallic cream and gold platform sandals – Katherine had wanted those shoes for ages but hadn't been able to find them as they'd been for sale in 2008 and had since been discontinued. Katherine asked her how the hell she managed it and Caroline said that it was great having a vampire husband that could compel the Dior store to find a pair – they all laughed and Damon gave her a wink.
Everyone got the twins assorted clothes and toys and they'd been sitting playing with the wrapping paper while everyone else opened presents. Caroline was sitting in her pyjamas and she pulled on her YSL boots and they chuckled at her being cute. Damon stood up and Caroline was like two inches taller than him and she told him that it was totally weird, Damon told her to stop worrying so much and just wear whatever the hell she wanted. Ric tested out his iPad2 while Stefan installed his laptop and they generally had a really great Christmas morning together.
Bonnie had Christmas morning with her mother, father and Jamie then she drove over to the 24 hour shop about ten minutes away to get milk as they'd run out. On the drive, she couldn't help thinking that she wished she was in Italy with her 'friends'. She wasn't sure if they were really friends anymore. She knew that she was still friends with Katherine as she spoke to the brunette on the phone for over an hour at least once a week, she still spoke to Caroline and Damon but it wasn't the same. Things were still awkward. She'd called them when she woke up and wished everyone a Merry Christmas – she really missed them. She picked up the milk then drove back to her mother's house. She parked her car then walked inside.
"Mom? They didn't have the 2% milk." Bonnie called as she kicked off her shoes and hung up her jacket. She was confused as to why her mother hadn't responded. "Mom?" Bonnie called. No answer. "Dad?" She called. No answer. "Jamie?"
Nothing. She felt a chill go up her spine because she couldn't hear anything in the house. She hurried through to the kitchen and panicked when she found blood on the kitchen floor.
There were drag marks from the kitchen through to the living room and tears streamed down her face as she followed the marks to the living room. She was so afraid and she felt like her heart was thudding through her chest as she crept through the house. She followed the trail and it went right out the back door.
Tears were flowing freely down her face and she was so worried. She took a deep breath and stepped outside and saw blood through the snow leading away from the house. She took another step then was sure that her heart stopped beating at the sight of the man she never thought that she'd see again.
"Well, hello there, Bonnie." He smirked.
Thank you so much to every single one of you who read this story :) I hope that you enjoyed the journey as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know its really long but the story just kept coming to me, so I couldn't help it.
The continuation will be up soon as I have the next sixteen chapters written on paper but the second part of the story won't be as long and it'll be a bit different as it'll time jump.
Thanks again and take care!