I don't own The Vampire Diaries.

The Solution

Chapter 98

Damon set up the two travel cribs and they put the twins down for a sleep. Caroline mentioned a couple of food items to Damon then he took off in the car to Brindisi while Caroline explored the house with a notepad. Damon was back about two hours later and Caroline was surprised to see a small van parked next to him. He carried in the fridge first and plugged it into the wall – he'd taken the other one with him when he left and got rid of it – then set the groceries into the fridge since the cupboards needed to be cleaned.

"Who are they?" Caroline whispered.

"A cleaning company. It's like five people with big machines and stuff to get the place spotless." He remarked and she nodded in understanding. "We can go out to lunch and pick up the stuff on your list while they do that." He offered.

"Okay." She agreed. They set the twins into the car then Damon drove them out of the estate while the cleaners went into the house.

"I compelled a plumber and electrician, they'll be by this afternoon to install a washing machine, dishwasher, oven and stove as well as checking all of the plumbing and electrical points in the house." Damon advised.

"Are you going to compel the deliveries of the appliances?" She queried and he nodded.

"I don't want the kids sleeping in that house if it's not clean and fully functional." Damon replied and she giggled.

"Okay." She agreed. "Are you going to put beds in all of the rooms?" She asked.

"Yeah, I figured that everyone might as well have their own room. I doubt this will be the last time that they come here, so…" He shrugged and she smiled – he didn't say it but she knew that their little group was important to him.

"Where do you think everyone should sleep?" She asked.

"I thought that Liz could sleep in one of the secluded rooms in the middle of the house, since she's used to her privacy. And Ric and Katherine could stay in the cluster of rooms between the library and the middle, because I'm sure after this baby, they'll be shooting them out like we are." Damon smirked and she laughed. "So, that leaves the cluster of rooms at the start of the house to Stefan, Brent, Allan and Jeremy."

"What about the other secluded room?" She enquired.

"I thought that if Hilda comes for a visit, she could stay there. Also means I won't have to hear it if Stefan sneaks in there." He smirked and she giggled.

"I already want him with this Hilda person. I just want him away from Rebekah already." Caroline muttered and Damon smirked.

"Caroline, I know you don't like Rebekah, but Stefan was with her for three years in the 1920s. He knows her well and the way she behaved after her dagger was pulled out, isn't how she is. Stefan said that she can be incredibly decent and he had real fun with her. You have to remember that her brother daggered her after she'd spent nine centuries with him. She was hurt then she wakes up thinking that she's still together with Stefan and finds out that Klaus has him hostage and he's not in love with her anymore. She was hurt and wanted revenge on both her brother and Elena. Stefan rejected her then I got wasted and slept with her. In the morning I practically tossed her out of the door because in sobriety, I sure as hell didn't want her. She kind of made friends with Elena because Elena was manipulating her then Elena literally stabbed her in the back. Rebekah hasn't had it easy." Damon explained and she sighed because she felt kind of bad.

"But if Stefan goes out with Rebekah, the Originals will always be in our lives." Caroline said sadly and Damon took her hand.

"Caroline… they're always going to be in our lives anyway. The world is a small place. Having Elijah as an ally would probably be a good thing. Regardless if he's only human at the moment, he has so much knowledge and tons of connections." Damon replied. "It might… not be such a bad thing to have Stefan and Rebekah together." He added and she gaped at him.

"But that means that our children will be around her." Caroline said nervously.

"And when I turn her back I'll compel her to never do them any harm." Damon countered. "Maybe you should try to get to know her." Damon suggested and she shot him a look.

"Why would I do that?" She asked annoyed.

"Because you love Stefan and he wants to be with her?" Damon replied and she scowled at him for using that card. "You know, there was a time you hated Katherine." He pointed out. "And now you adore her and miss her when she isn't around all the time."

"That's different." She muttered and he snickered.

"Katherine did far more harm to everyone than Rebekah did, but you still gave her a chance." Damon said.

"And that was hard, Damon. It was really hard to comprehend the fact that I cared about her so much despite the fact she'd done so many terrible things." She said.

"What about me? I probably did more bad things than Katherine did in Mystic Falls." He pointed out.

"And that was hard too." She admitted. "Why can't Stefan go out with some normal girl?" She asked annoyed.

"Because what normal girl is going to be able to be with him when she finds out that he used to be the Ripper of Monterrey?" Damon asked and she was stumped because she knew that wouldn't be possible. "He's a vampire, darling. He needs to be with someone that knows that darkness. I mean, I sometimes find it hard to be with you because you're so innocent in comparison. You don't have any darkness. I've just travelled the world and killed thousands of people. My turning them will result in millions of deaths. It's beyond awful to have that on my conscience." He confessed. "Stefan said that in the 1920s, being with Rebekah was a relief because he could finally be completely himself and she just accepted it and loved him anyway." Damon explained and she felt kind of bad.

"Fine, I'll shut up about the skank." She grumbled and he snickered at that. "But her introduction to our group has to go slowly. She isn't going to all of a sudden be around my kids." She cautioned.

"That's fine." Damon agreed because it was better than nothing. He just wanted his brother to be happy but he knew that Stefan wouldn't go there with Rebekah if he didn't have her blessing.

"What time will it be there now?" She asked.

"Just after 7am." Damon replied and she sighed and got her phone out and dialled.

"Hey! I miss you already!" Stefan answered happily and Damon saw her wince with guilt and he was highly amused – she was so stubborn in so many ways, but at the end of the day, she just wanted those that she loved to be happy.

"Hey, I miss you too." Caroline replied. "Listen, are you by yourself?" She asked.

"Yeah, I'm just up. Why?" Stefan asked and she sighed.

"Damon explained the situation and while I'm not going to apologise for calling her a skank, I will be tolerant and attempt to like her if you want to date Rebekah." She said and Stefan went quiet.

"Really?" He exclaimed in shock and disbelief and Damon snickered amused.

"Yes, really. However." She said holding up one finger even though he couldn't see and Damon smirked amused at her being a bossy boots. "She's not allowed around the children until I am satisfied that she isn't a threat to them, capisce?" She said and both Damon and Stefan laughed at her using the Italian word for that.

"Yes, completely. Thanks, Care." Stefan said and Damon could tell that Stefan was grinning like a madman on the other side of the phone. "So, how are you liking Italy? Have you seen the house yet?"

"It's great!" Caroline grinned. "I love the house. I swear I want to live there." She said.

"Yes, but that's not happening now." Stefan directed and she giggled while Damon chuckled.

"I know, Stef. Maybe after Virginia's over with." She smiled. "Does that mean that you don't want us to invite Hilda over?" She asked.

"I was holding off asking Rebekah out because you disliked her so much but since you're okay with it, I will. So… it might be kind of awkward having Hilda there." Stefan explained.

"Okay. Though, Damon still wants to see her, so we'll invite her over in January or February or something." Caroline said.

"Why does Damon want to see her?" Stefan asked sceptically.

"They're friends, apparently." Caroline said.

When Stefan finished talking to Caroline, he got dressed then hurried out of the house straight over to the apartment that Rebekah was staying in. She didn't want to live in the Gilbert house with Elena and Elijah and she didn't want to live in Klaus' house, so she'd gotten an apartment overlooking the town square. Stefan hurried up to her door and knocked, moments later a sleepy Rebekah opened her door in her pyjamas and smiled at the sight of Stefan.

"Good morning." She smiled.

"Morning." Stefan smiled back.

"What are you doing here so early?" Rebekah inquired.

"Well, I know we've been hanging out… but… I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me tonight?" Stefan asked surprising her and she smiled widely.

"I'd love to, Stefan." Rebekah replied.

"Great." Stefan smiled. "Is 7.30pm okay?" He asked and she nodded.

"Yes, that would be lovely." She agreed.

"I'll see you tonight." Stefan said pleased then kissed her cheek and she smiled, hoping very much that things would work out this time, because it had been wonderful when they were together before.

Damon and Caroline went to lunch then bought several appliances including smaller ones like a kettle and toaster, ordered comfortable beds, Caroline bought tons of bedding specifically with everyone in mind so that they'd like everything and they got proper cribs for the twins. They had everything delivered that day and once they got home, the house was spotless. Damon paid the cleaners and set up a deal with them so that they would come back one day a week to keep the place clean. They had the appliances installed, the plumbing and electric checked and by bed time, all of the rooms had beds, blankets and bedding and they were ready to live in that house for a while.

On Sunday the 16th, Ric was having dinner in the Grill with Elena and Jeremy since he wouldn't see Elena for a few weeks. She wasn't particularly happy about Jeremy going to Italy but he was 17 and a vampire, so if he wanted to, there wasn't much that she could do about it.

"What day do you get back again?" Elena asked then took a bite of her burger.

"The 6th of January." Ric replied. "Are you going back on the 3rd with Liz and Stefan or the 6th with me and Katherine?" He asked Jeremy.

"I don't know yet. I have an open return. If it's fun, school doesn't start back until the 14th, so I might stay longer than you guys." Jeremy said surprising them both.

"There's tons to do in southern Italy and Damon and Caroline are going to be driving around in January, so you could go with them for that. That would be good for you." Ric approved.

"When are they coming back?" Elena queried.

"At the beginning of February. Brent and Allan are going to be in Italy, so they'll probably come back right after Brent and Allan leave again." Ric answered. "How far along are you now?"

"32 weeks on Tuesday. He's getting heavy now." Elena said putting one hand on her bump. "Stefan told Rebekah who told Elijah who told me that Katherine's pregnant." She said – it was obvious that she wasn't pleased about it, but she was accepting Ric and Katherine despite that. Ric wasn't going to tell her that the baby was technically Damon's. He knew that Jeremy knew but Jeremy understood why it was better for the world not to know about it. He knew that it was really tearing Damon up.

"Yep. She's twelve weeks yesterday." Ric nodded with a smile – because despite the fact the baby wasn't his biologically, he couldn't help being excited about it.

"Congratulations, Ric. You'll be an amazing dad." Elena said sincerely and he smiled at her fondly.

"Thanks. That means a lot." He acknowledged.

"Care's pregnant too." Jeremy smirked and Elena looked surprised.

"Really? Already?" Elena asked.

"That's not even the biggest shocker." Jeremy replied amused.

"Then what is?" Elena asked confused.

"Twins again." Ric smirked and her jaw dropped.

"Holy moly." Elena said wide-eyed. "Is she freaking out?"

"Nah. Damon's like the happiest guy in the world because it's twins again, so I think it's rubbing off on her." Ric chuckled as did Jeremy.

"Really? He's happy about it?" Elena questioned.

"I don't think that there's a guy in the world who loves being a dad more than Damon does." Jeremy commented.

"That's true." Ric smiled. "It would not surprise me one bit if after these twins, Damon tried to talk her into more kids before she turns back." He smirked and Jeremy and Elena laughed.

"That's crazy." Elena said amused.

Caroline had been learning Italian since February, so she was understanding almost everything and Damon thought that she was speaking quite well too. Caroline asked Damon to only speak to her in Italian when they were out because she thought immersion in the language would make her learn the rest much quicker and he happily agreed. He was so touched that she'd taken the time to learn his native language, it really meant a lot to him.

During the day, they travelled around the small villages, went down to the coast, ate in restaurants, went for walks and Caroline was in heaven having such intimate and quality time with Damon and the children. Damon was thoroughly enjoying being 'home' and loved that his family was getting a chance to experience it too. This was the last really personal part of him that Caroline had to discover and he was happy to share it with her.

On the 17th, it was their last day of being alone as Damon was heading out to pick Katherine and Ric up that evening and he wanted to do something romantic with Caroline. At lunch time after the twins were fed, they put them down for a nap then Damon took her hand and led her down the olive groves until they came to a small picnic that he'd set up next to a large tree and Caroline grinned at him for being sweet and gave him a kiss. They were only a minute away from the house and Damon was periodically focusing his hearing to make sure if the kids were still sleeping and they were. He'd made ciabatta sandwiches with Italian cheese and prosciutto ham. They ate and drank then when they were finished, he cleared the blanket and they lay down looking up at the sky. Caroline curled up next to him and he held her close.

"This couldn't be any more perfect." Caroline whispered and he smiled then kissed her cheek. "When I turn back, I want it to be right here in this spot." She said.

"Why here?" He examined.

"Because this has just been the perfect couple of days and I want this to be the spot where you turn me to be with you forever." She said and he kissed her.

"Then it will be." He said softly stroking her hair. "Are you sure that you want to be a vampire?" He asked and she nodded.

"No doubt in my mind. When I first turned, my main problems with it were no children and being seventeen forever. When I turn back, we'll have five children and I'll be nineteen forever like you." She smiled.

"You'll be twenty." He pointed out.

"Yeah but I was frozen at seventeen for like eight months. So, I'll biologically be nineteen forever." She said and he chuckled.

"Okay." He nodded.

"Are the kids still sleeping?" She asked and he focused his hearing.

"Mmhmm. Like logs." He replied.

"Want to make this spot memorable for another reason?" She wiggled her eyebrows and he chuckled then rolled on top of her with a smile – he swore being with her was like being in heaven. He was just so happy all the time.

"Don't you think you'll be a little cold?" He asked while stroking his fingers down her cheek.

"You are well aware that you can heat me up like a furnace." She winked and he laughed then kissed her.

"Okay." He smiled then went back to kissing her. Her hands slipped up his t-shirt and he helped her to pull it off then her hands wandered over his toned skin. Damon unbuttoned her blouse then unclipped her bra and was so happy to finally have access to her breasts again after her feeding the twins for so long, so he took his time and paid special attention to them while her fingers wove through his hair. He kissed down her stomach while she kicked off her shoes then unzipped her jeans and carefully tugged them off along with her underwear. He got his own boots, jeans and boxers off then crawled back up her body and they were kissing again. "I love you." He declared softly while he lovingly kissed her cheeks and neck and she smiled as her hands explored his sides and back.

"Anch'io ti amo." Caroline replied and he smiled then kissed her deeply while her legs straddled him from below then he moved forward. She sighed happily into his mouth at the feeling of him inside of her as they continued to lovingly caress each other. They didn't often have the loving emotion-filled sex, so when it happened it was wonderful for both of them. Caroline didn't like the term 'making love' but she did understand why people used it because that's what it felt like. They took their time because they were in no rush to finish but when they did, Damon pulled her into his arms and she cuddled into him closely. "Definitely in this spot." She said and he chuckled then kissed her.

"But if you like this spot, why would you want it as the place where you die?" Damon asked her softly while running his hand up and down her back.

"Because it's not dying, Damon." She said softly. "Turning to be with someone forever is the most romantic thing in the world because it means one life time with that person isn't enough. That is how I see it. I don't see it as dying. I see it as starting an eternal future with the love of my life." She explained tenderly and his stomach fluttered because he hadn't looked at it that way. He'd been feeling like he was robbing her of a human life.

"Okay." He agreed. "Do you know when?" He asked and she nodded.

"I want it to be like this but on December 31st next year just before midnight. That way, when I wake up, it'll be January 1st, starting a new year and our forever." She said and he smiled then kissed her.

"You're quite the little romantic." He teased and she smiled.

"I know. But you love it and you know it." She teased back and he chuckled.

"I do." He agreed. "Rad's waking up." Damon said and she nodded.

"At least we weren't mid-lovin'. That would have been a buzz-kill." She smirked and he laughed…