Thanks so much to all of you who've stuck with this story over the years, it's finally time for the final chapter! :D I hope you enjoy it… I certainly did.

This is set at an indeterminate point after the end of season three, in a rather rose tinted future of what I hoped we'd see in seasons four and five. Not only does this snippet star my eternal favourites Alaric and Bonnie, but yes, after all these chapters of lustful, unfulfilled longing, we're finally going to get some pay off.


Rick was tucked away by one of the fire exits, watching the milling couples being painted in scattered colour by the disco lighting. He drifted in a sort of melancholy contentment to the soft rock ballad of the band. Ridiculously, his deceased status hadn't prevented Sherriff Forbes from nagging Jeremy to ask him to be here. Couldn't a dead guy get a break? He was supposed to be retired. He was supposed to be dead.

But Jeremy had asked him to be here, so of course he'd said yes. And so here he was, chaperoning the Senior Prom, despite the fact that the vast majority of students couldn't even see him. Why couldn't he just be one of those normal dead people who stayed in their graves and didn't float around as a stupid apparition the whole time?

Rick spared a glance over to Damon and Elena and immediately wished he hadn't. Urgh. So much tongue. Was that even legal? He needed to delete this image from his memory with a large swig of – oh wait – he couldn't.

The worst thing about being dead was the lack of alcohol.

He kept the couple in his sights, however. He was still a chaperone, even if being dead made him a fairly useless one.

'Hey, what's up?' It was Jeremy, anxious smile in place.

'Not much.' Thank god. Someone he could actually communicate with. 'Being dead means the librarian doesn't keep trying to dance with me this year, which is a plus. Where's your date?'

Jer snorted and leaned back against the wall beside Rick. 'Girly trip to the bathroom. I wasn't invited.'

'I see. How's that working for you anyway?'

Jer gave a half smile and fiddled with his lapel. 'I dunno. It's actually a little awkward. I think she might be planning to dump me first and spare us both.'

Rick wasn't sure whether to congratulate or commiserate, so he made his acknowledging grunt as ambiguous as possible.

Rick saw Jeremy's eyebrows rise slightly, and followed his gaze over to where Damon and Elena were, well, dancing.

Jer pulled a face. 'Jeez, that's so gross.'

'You approve?'

'Um.' The boy grinned. 'She's happy, so I guess.'

Damon span Elena away from him and back to his chest, and she laughed loud and clear. They were both oblivious to the completely different tempo being played by the band. Rick felt a bubble of fondness swell up in his chest and swallowed it down. Just because he was dead didn't mean he could be embarrassing.

'How's chaperoning going?' Jer asked.

'No-one's been murdered yet, so I'd say pretty successfully so far.'

'Could you not tempt fate?' said Bonnie, appearing beside them, and stunning in a silky purple dress with a v-cut neckline.

Rick stared. 'You can hear me?'

She raised an eyebrow. 'Witch. D'uh!'

Rick opened his mouth to reply, but had his attention caught by a figure who'd appeared among the dancing couples. 'Hang on – is that Stefan?'

Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

But Stefan had barely spared a glance for Damon and Elena. In fact, he had swept Caroline into a waltz, and she beamed up at him. Was Rick seeing things?

'Yeah. That happened.' Bonnie cleared her throat. 'She was trying so hard to convince us of his sainthood that we figured it was only a matter of time.'

'Doesn't stop it being weird,' muttered Jer.

'To be honest, this school's totally incestuous anyway,' remarked Bonnie. 'Like, I can't even think of any couple combinations in our year who haven't dated.'

'Well, I always thought you and Car would be hot together.'

Bonnie gave Jeremy a playful slap, and Rick suddenly felt terribly, depressingly old. Bonnie gave him a soft smile. 'Hey, I tried something out earlier.'

She held out a solo cup, and Rick looked at her in confusion. 'You know I can't take that. I can't touch any material objects.'

Bonnie merely raised an eyebrow and shook the outstretched cup. Rick reached out… and his fingers closed around shiny plastic.

'So now,' Bonnie grinned, 'You can drink. Just a little something I've been practising.'

'Damn it Bonnie, that's - ' Rick didn't know what to say, so instead took a slurp from the cup, ' –cranberry juice?'

Jer snorted. 'Dude. This is high school.'

'Oh, piss off you two. Go make out in the toilets or something.'

Jeremy shifted. 'Actually -'

'No,' said Bonnie, 'It's fine.'

'You sure?'

'Absolutely.' She leaned in and gave Jeremy a quick peck on the cheek. They hugged, and Rick couldn't help noticing that they both looked relieved.

'Now if you'll excuse me,' said Bonnie, 'I have a cute sophomore I promised the next dance.'

She disappeared off into the crowd, and Rick laughed at the expression on Jer's face.

'Why does she always have to get the last word?' The boy shook his head in consternation.

Rick didn't clap Jer on the shoulder for fear his hand would go right through him, but he couldn't supress another chuckle. 'I need to go stop Damon before he rigs the vote to get himself elected Prom King. And you need to stop talking to an old dead guy, and go find some girls to dance with. Preferably non-vampiric ones.'

Jeremy laughed, and peeled away from the wall. 'See ya, Rick.'

'Oh,' Rick called after him as he disappeared into the crowd, 'And take this damn cranberry juice with you!'


Once again, thank you ever so much for reading. Please leave one final review and make my day. :D Be sure to follow me if you want to stick around for another Delena fic I'll be posting in future.