Chapter 14

Disclaimer: I don't own the Vampire Diaries. I'm just borrowing.

Note: Previously, in "Freedom isn't Free," Elena gives birth to the twins, which she names Christian and Anastasia, and it is discovered that Caroline is pregnant with Stefan's child.

Thank you so much for your support with this story! It is fans like you that make a story like this worth writing. No spoilers, except the action takes place ten years later.

Damon & Elena's House – 10 Years Later...

There was definitely a cause for celebration as the twins' tenth birthday was in full swing. Granted, this was just a family party, because Christian and Anastasia would celebrate it with their friends at a later date, but it was what they had all agreed on. Elena almost couldn't believe just how fast ten years had flown by. It seemed like only yesterday that she and Damon brought them home from the hospital and now, they were ten years old and growing up fast. God, how she wished she could just freeze frame this moment and keep them as children forever. Of course, she knew that she couldn't do that and that's what stung the worst.

"God, Damon, I can't believe our children are growing up so fast," she said as she put the candles on the cake. "It seems like I just gave birth to them and now they're no longer the little babies that I held in my arms ten years ago."

Damon nodded. "I know, I feel the same way. The thing I'm not going to like is when Anastasia starts dating. Can you begin to imagine how many boys are going to show up on our door wanting to take her out? That's a scary thought."

"Please, I don't want to think about that right now," said Elena. "It's bad enough that they're ten years old. I don't want to think about when they're teenagers, even though that will happen sooner than we think." She put the last candle on and sighed. "Of course, when they are teenagers, I'm hoping that they won't rebel against us."

Damon smiled and went over to his wife, hugging her to them. "We'll take it one day at a time and see what happens." He kissed her softly. "Come on, let's get these candles lit and bring the cake out before the natives start to get restless."

Elena nodded and returned his kiss before lighting each candle. The cake was a chocolate layer cake with ballerinas on one side for Anastasia and football on the other side for Christian. Once the candles were lit, Damon lifted the cake and Elena turned off the lights.

"Okay, everyone," she said as they walked into the living room. "Time to sing Happy Birthday to our guests of honor."

Stefan, Caroline, Elisabetta, and Cora, the twins' nine-year-old cousin, all joined in singing "Happy Birthday" as Christian and Anastasia looked at the cake that was being set before them. Once the singing was done, both children blew out the candles as everyone applauded. Elena smiled as she took a picture of them to commemorate the occasion.

As the cake was being cut, Caroline noticed a report on the news. "Guys, look at this. They're talking about this murder that took place the other day."

"I know, Elena and I are working that case." Damon was now a detective and he and Elena worked cases like this one. "The suspect we're looking for is a guy that apparently goes only by Silas. No one knows what he looks like, not even his victims."

"No one?" said Caroline. "So, how are you going to stop him? Especially before he kills again?"

"Elena."

"You're going to stop him using Elena?"

"No, there's someone Elena knows that can help us with Silas," said Damon. "Someone that she has never told anyone about, not even me. Her twin sister, Katherine. Katherine is serving a life sentence in a woman's prison and Elena promised that she'd help get her a reduced sentence, possibly even early parole, if she did us a favor. To be honest, I think it's risky, especially we don't know if Katherine is going to double cross us once she gets what she wants."

"Does Elena trust her?" said Caroline. "I mean, her sister is a convicted murderer. What's to stop her from helping Silas once you catch him?"

"No, I don't trust her," said Elena, having heard what they were talking about. "In fact, I'm already regretting reaching out to her, given how much she hates me for putting her away." She sighed. "But, for right now, she's our only hope of stopping Silas."

Caroline nodded and was about to answer when Cora came over to her and said, "Mom, hurry up, Christian and Ana are opening up their presents."

"I'll be right there, sweetie," said Caroline. "I'm just talking to Uncle Damon and Aunt Elena about something. Go see if Daddy and Grandma need help with the paper, okay?"

Cora nodded and went to see if Stefan and Elisabetta needed any help with the bag they were putting the leftover wrapping paper in. Caroline excused herself and joined them by Christian and Anastasia. Once Caroline was gone, Elena looked at Damon.

"I have a bad feeling about this," she said. "Silas is making a mockery of us every day that he's able to wander around and find another victim. We can't let him win. We've defeated Klaus, Rebekah, Kol, and Mikael, but Silas is proving to be a lot more formidable than all four of those assholes combined."

"I know, I don't like it any more than you do," said Damon. "I just hope Katherine lets go of the grudge she has against you long enough for us to finally close this case."

Elena nodded and went over to her husband, hugging him again, depending on him to be her rock and give her the strength to weather the storm that was brewing around them.

~ FIN

Note: Hope you guys enjoyed the story. I've decided to do a sequel to "Freedom isn't Free," which I'd like to call "Hunter's Moon.," and it takes place around the same time as the ending of this story.

That being said, thanks for reading and stay tuned for the sequel!