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Once Upon a December

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This story is a inspired by, and is a rewrite of the cheesy holiday romance movie “The Spirit of Christmas.” Obviously, rewritten in novelization form, and rewritten to include Bonnie Bennett and Damon Salvatore. Some things from the movie are the same, and other things have been changed. I do not own The Vampire Diaries, or The Spirit of Christmas and no copyright infringement is intended, this story is not being sold or monetized; however, this story itself is copyrighted by me, so I ask that no one re-post my story as their own.




A/N: This story is meant to be cheesy, quirky, and romantic, like the film; however several things that are different from the movie that will be in this story fall under mature content. So this story is rated Mature.

I would also advise that you don't go watch the movie before reading this story if you haven't seen it. Because even though there are different things, going into this story blind, so to speak, would be the best. However, it's your choice.




Prologue

December, 1920

The faint but precise ticking of a clock had been heard in between whispers of snow scattering wind as a man opened a golden pocket watch in his left hand. The look on his faced was nervous, all except for the glimmer in his eyes that gazed upon the clock face of the pocket watch in his hand. Those eyes shot up to view the front of a white building decorated in red and green festive garlands, ribbons, and lanterns. The light from inside the house cast a glow onto the snow covered land in front of it, but did not reach to the man, nor allow his shadow to be revealed. The moons light, heavily clouded.

He stood there for several moments, as though he was waiting for something. Biting at his bottom lip for a second, the front door of the large house opened, and he closed his pocket watch. Just as his leg was about to move forward to walk, a woman came out onto the porch, but she wasn't alone. The man blinked, knowing exactly who the woman was, and his face became stricken with confusion and pain when he watched the woman lean forward, and hug the man on the porch. The man on the porch wrapped his arms around her, then leaned to kiss her.

“Katherine?” The man standing in the snow whispered.

Suddenly, a figure whose shadow could also not be cast, struck the man on the back of his head bluntly. Falling backwards to the ground into the snow, the man couldn't talk as everything went black, and the coldness of the winter lulled him into a quick death as blood soaked into the snow, and he died silently.


Part 1 

December 2016.

 

“Bonnie...” A word was spoken from the other side of the booth, as a couple sat face to face. Wine glasses and plates of food between them.

“Yes, Ben?” The woman, Bonnie, smiled very softly, letting the man taking her hand on the table.

“You are...incredible.” Ben told her, with a nervous look on his face, “I knew when we met, the man who won you would be beyond lucky.”

Bonnie shifted in her seat uncomfortable, pursing her lips and lifting one of her hands to her chin.
“Um...” she started, as crinkled formed on her forehead, and every single molecule of air around the two of them was shaking with uncomfortable tension. She felt her mouth and throat get dry, but Ben cut her off before she could say anything.

“That man...just isn't me.” Ben said quickly, his thumb still running over her hand in a tender and comforting way.

Bonnie blinked, her body going still in confusion. “I uh...What?” she asked him.

“You are stunning, and smart. I know that there has to be something deep inside you, that screams love, and affection; but...” Ben paused, and Bonnie pulled her hand from him as he was talking, “...I don't see that in you, and you don't show that to me.”

“Are you breaking up with me?” Bonnie asked.

“Yes.” Ben replied.

Bonnie's shoulders suddenly lowered as though a thousand bricks had been lifted from them, and she sighed with not sadness, but relief.

“Thank God.” she whispered loud enough for Ben to hear, and grabbed a bread stick from the middle of the table. Ben's hand still lying on the table where they had been holding hands.

“Huh?” Ben asked, and watched her pick up a glass of white whine, and lean back in her seat.

Bonnie took a large drink of the wine, then a breath, and spoke. “I thought you were proposing.”

She took another drink of the wine, set it down, and started to rip apart the bread stick, eating it while Ben began going on about why he was breaking up with her, and how sudden he knew it must be.

“Let me guess, I am an emotionless workaholic, and you don't feel you're a priority?” she asked, mostly rhetorical.

“I feel...you are incapable of expressing some emotions yes. And, being a lawyer is hard work, I'm not a priority of yours.” Ben responded.

Bonnie raised her brows for a second, casually with seemingly no emotional turmoil what so ever, eating. “No, you are not.” she agreed, and as a waiter came around the corner with several carry out boxes, she leaned over, grabbed three of them without asking.

“But you know, I'm not going to pretend to feel something that I don't.” Bonnie added, as she started filling the boxes with food, and then stacking them on top of one another.

“Are you going to drink that?” she asked Ben, who looked confused, but she grabbed his glass of wine, and downed it anyway before picking up her purse, the boxes of food and sliding out of the booth.

“You're just going to leave?” Ben asked, giving her a look of disbelief.

“Hey, I do you the favor of not crying and making a scene, and you pay the bill. Sounds fair, right?” Bonnie told him, and with that she turned on her heel and made her way out of the restaurant.




Friday morning right on time for work before the holiday vacation, Bonnie knew there was bound to be something that came up at the last minute. She was perfectly fine with this. Everyone else at the office was talking in front of doorways, gabbing about their Christmas plans, trying to prank each other with mistletoe, and giving each other presents. Bonnie had to admit the firm was friendly, and like family, for most people; but, on this morning she was typing at her laptop vigorously to get in last minute transcriptions for a client. Technically, they weren't needed until mid-January, but, she couldn't keep herself from getting it done.

Just as Bonnie was finishing up, a file folder was slammed onto her desk by her boss, Mr. Liam Waye.
“Lilian Salvatore finally died.” the man said casually, and she looked up at him while turning in her chair.

“And good morning, Liam.” Bonnie said quietly, tapping her fingers over the file for a moment.

Liam looked completely un-amused. “It was. Then the visions of my Bahamas vacation was replaced by this news. You know what isn't a fun pass time on a Bahamas vacation Bonnie?”

“Taking care of Lilian Salvatore's assets?” She asked, picking up the file and flipping through it's contents too quickly to get a look at anything.

Liam smiled a bit, “Exactly. I knew there was a reason I came to you first.”

“That, and I never have Christmas plans.” Bonnie said looking down to get a more careful look at the first page in the file.

“Well, yes, that also.” Liam admitted, shoving his hands in his suit pants pockets, “It's a simple execution of her will, mostly.

“How many assets?” Bonnie questioned, flipping through another page.

Liam paused for a moment, “Just the one.” he said rather suspiciously, and stepped closer. The tall gray haired man turned Bonnie's laptop towards him, “I've already sent you what else you need in an email.” He explained, before opening the Gmail app on her laptop, seeing his email first, clicking on it, and scrolling a new times before turning the laptop towards her.

“Mystic Inn.” he told her, waving her fingers over a picture of a large white Victorian era house, with a very large drive way, and newer makes of a concrete entrance, with enough room for several dozen people in front of the house, and stairs leading down to the driveway. To the left of the photo was a sign that said in festive lettering, “Mystic Inn.” there were painted mistletoe on the sign as well.

“Nice huh?” Liam asked, and Bonnie nodded sheepishly.

“So, who is it going to?” She asked, her arms crossed below her bust.

Liam tapped on the chest twice, “No heirs, so, to the trust. They want it sold quickly. Before they get hit with taxes.”

“By when?” Bonnie inquired, grabbing a pen to write a note on the first page of the file which contained information about the house.

“Before New Years.” Liam said casually.

Bonnie sat up straight, looking at the man like he was crazy, “That's in three weeks.”

“I know, I know... Between you and me Caroline just got a new gig in Toronto. That means the senior associate position here will be up for grabs. I can't make any promises, but I can go to bet for you.” Liam told her.

“That's...” Bonnie started, her eyes showing excitement, and her lips pulling up at the corners but she quickly blinked, and went into a neutral expression and tone of voice, “That's great. Thank you, Liam.”

“It's selfish, you know that. You work harder than anyone here, and makes things easier on me.” Liam smirked at her, and she chuckled softly, giving him a firm nod.

Bonnie looked down towards her laptop. “Well, I will get the business evaluations done right away, read the books, hire a local appraiser...”

“That is oddly, not as easy as it should be.” Liam said, flipping through some papers in the file before pulling a paper-clipped ones out. “I've already hired two local companies, both bailed.”

Bonnie looked at him confused, but then looked down at the paper he was showing her. It was a newspaper article, with a photo of Mystic Inn, the headline reading: HAUNTED MYSTIC INN.

“Oh, you're kidding me.” Bonnie scoffed at him.

“I know...but 45% of the population believe in ghosts, and as it turns out, so do 100% our appraisers.” Liam told her, with an equal look of annoyance at the situation. “I've hired a third man for the job. Mr. Murray will be at the Inn on the twelfth, and so will you.” He pointed his finger at her brielf.

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “You want me to hold his hand?”

“Pretty much.” Liam replied, “Don't worry, you've got this. You'll have it done in no time. You always do.”

Bonnie nodded a bit, and watched as Liam turned to walk out of her office. Licking at her hips, she tapped on the newspaper article before rolling her eyes and shoving it into a folder. There was no way, she was going to be scared out of going to this Inn, and she wasn't going to let the grown man appraiser, bail either. She found it hard to believe that the other two appraisers had bailed, over a haunted inn myth?

Shaking her head, she pulled her laptop closer to her on her desk, and finished up her work she had been doing before. At least now she had a new project, one that she was certain wouldn't last barely a few days. Then what was she going to do until vacation was over?




Three days later the Mystic Inn sign came into view as Bonnie grove into the snow covered driveway. As she pulled to a stop, she could see a man, likely the appraiser hurrying through the entrance of the Inn and to his car. She watched him confused, until she realized he was leaving, looking frightened.

“Hey...” She said, and then took her seat belt off, opening the car door, “Hey, wait!” She yelled but the man had already gotten into his car, and was taking off at a dangerous speed for an icy road. Having drove three hours to get to the Inn, Bonnie was not appreciative of being there alone with no appraiser.

“What the...” Bonnie whispered to herself, “We had a meeting...seriously.” She sighed, and stepped back to turn off her car, grab her keys, and files, and head to the entrance of the Inn.

As she walked, she eyed the house, there were chips, and long lines of the white paint on beams of the entrance and siding of the house pealing off. She noticed these things out of habit, she'd recommend they get the place repainted before selling. Then, Bonnie noticed one of the double doors into the house was open. Likely from Murray running out of them. Two holiday wreaths hung on them.

Looking curiously at the doors, she looked up as a crow cawed and then used her hand to push the door open the rest of the way. Walking inside, she closed the door behind her. The Inn was even bigger inside than it looked from the outside. Her eyes widened a little at it's beautiful décor and structure. A large dark oak staircase leg upstairs, with garland fastened up the rail from the first step to the last. Her heeled boots clicked on the wood paneled flooring as she stepped further forward.

“Anyone else here?” She called out, just in case the man she'd seen leaving wasn't the appraiser. She could only wish, right?

Stepping to the right into a parlor room, she walked along a shelve holding picture frames, and elegant vases. Her eyes scanned grayed and sepia pictures of older and younger women, several men. But the one she picked up, was of a tall, dark haired man looking directly at the camera. His expression was actually sort of hard to read. Bonnie couldn't tell if he was upset, or if the sun was in his eyes. Her eyes trailed the dark coat he was wearing. He looked interesting this was certain, and beyond handsome.

“Excuse me?” A mans voice came from behind her.

Bonnie jumped, nearly squeaking, and turned around to face a gray haired older man, dressed in a blue sweater. “I...I'm sorry the door was open.” she explained.

“It isn't, actually. I'm in the middle of closing up for the holiday.” The man explained.

Bonnie blinked, “Closing?” she questioned, “Isn't Christmas like high season for this place, why would you be closing now?”

“Tradition.” The man replied, with a slight smile on his face and extended a hand towards her, “I'm Walter Rafferty.”
“Oh..” Bonnie said quickly, and remembered her manners. She slid one of her gloves off and reached to shake his hand.

“I take it you're Ms. Bennett?” Walter inquired.

“Bonnie, with Patton and Turner. I'm here for the property appraisal.” she explained, removing her hand from his after their greeting.

Walter nodded, “Yes... Mr. Murray arrived early. Left early too.”

“What happened?” Bonnie asked, raising one of her brows.

“Ah, it was probably the ghost.” Walter told her.

Bonnie's eyes practically glazed over at this sentence, and any interest she had suddenly went straight to her feet and through the floor. Leaving her entirely.

“The ghost...right.” she said slowly, looking to the side, and pulling up her shoulders awkwardly.

“It usually is when this happens. Though, Damon's never hurt anyone, every once and a while he does...assert himself.” Walter said casually like it was a normal conversation.

Bonnie nodded slowly, still looking over to the side every few seconds and licking at her lips.
“Damon...mhm..You're on a first name basis with the ghost?”

“Oh well, when you've worked here as long as I have...” Walter said with a chuckle. Bonnie smiled a fake uncomfortable smile, and kept her shoulders nearly at her ears. “Damon Giuseppe Salvatore. He once owned this Inn a long time ago. It's of the utmost importance to him. Well, I'm sorry your trip has been a waste of time.”

Walter grabbed the photo from Bonnie's hands, placed it back on the mantel, and started for the door.
Bonnie looked at him confused, and walked forwards, placing a hand on his shoulder for a second.

“Oh, I'm not done. There has to be some appraiser somewhere who can help despite some...childish ghost story.” Bonnie said with a chuckle wiggling the fingers of her right hand. There was a thump from the floor upstairs. “Sorry....Damon.” she said with faux sincerity.

“Where do you plan on staying until then?” Walter asked her.

Bonnie gave the man a strange look, “Well...this is an Inn, isn't it?” she pointed at the floor with one of her red painted nails.

“Not happening, we're closed until December 26th,” Walter informed her, “The staff is already gone, and I'll be leaving within the hour.”

“Yeah, well, as executor of the estate, I have a set of keys. So, it is happening.” Bonnie informed him.

She couldn't believe she was having such a hard time with just an old Inn. How was anyone possibly falling for Walters little ghost myth he was clearly going along with and spreading? Granted, he seemed to have it very well thought out, she didn't believe it for a second. Bonnie was positive the only reason he was closing the Inn before Christmas was because he was going on vacation and didn't trust her to take care of it.

“Inadvisable.” Walter said slowly. “I'll be leaving soon. You will be alone.”

“Why? Because of a ghost? Trust me, I'm a big girl, I can handle myself, Mr. Rafferty.” Bonnie told him, more or less passively going along with what wheel this man was spinning. “It's just for one night, I'll lock up the place when I leave. You could stay here with me, if that will make you feel better.”

“Not at all. I'll be gone as I always am, by December 13th.” Walter said positively, and started to turn around to walk away from Bonnie.

Bonnie started following after him again. “Why December 13th?”

“Tradition.” Walter repeated an earlier answer. Then he walked off, and Bonnie turned around walking over to the pictures again, and looking at them idly. Wondering how long the strange owners, and family that revolved around Mystic Inn had been spinning the ghost story, and why Mr. Rafferty, seemed so absolute in his decision to leave, and do the same thing every year – so he claimed.

A little while later, Bonnie was standing in the bedroom she had chosen for herself. She was gazing out of one of the windows, pulling the powder blue curtain to the side with her fingers. She watched as Walter Rafferty opened his truck door, looked at the house before shaking his head, and then getting into his truck and driving off.

She sighed, slipping off her coat, gloves, and hat lying them on the bed. It was a King sized bed, with beautiful cream and blue colored bedding. Four posters, and a canopy the same blue color as the curtains, but more sheer.

Pulling her cellphone out of her pocket, she pushed Liams contact numbers and waited for him to pick up.

“Your new appraiser was a failure.” Bonnie said as soon as he answered.

“You're kidding.” Liam said from the other line.

She shook her head as though he was there. “Nope. He was running to his car when I pulled up.”

“So, what's your plan?” Liam questioned.

“Well, when I get home to Richmond, I'll hire one of the appraisers we've already used so they don't get caught up in the myth of this place, and fly them out here. With as much trouble as the others have given us, it's worth every penny.” Bonnie told her boss.

Liam chuckled, “Well, are you staying there tonight? Have you seen anything...spooky?” he asked teasingly.

“Don't even start.” she rolled her eyes, walking into the hallway, and stopping near a picture frame that held the haunted news paper article, and a picture of the tall dark haired man, the same one from downstairs. She walked past it, her heels clicking on the floor.

“You'll survive.” Liam told her.

“And you'll get the update when you get back from the Bahamas.” Bonnie reminded him, as she headed down the stairs, to the front door, and pushed in the code for the security system. “Goodnight, Liam.”

Bonnie hung up the phone, and headed back upstairs. She'd already put her suitcase and all her files into the bedroom. The sun had already set, and the moon was barely peaking out from the clouds in the winter sky. Stripping off her business clothing, she pulled on a pair of gray sweat pants, and a dark red colored tank top, pulling her curly brown hair into a pony tail, and slid into bed. Before she knew it she was four episodes into her favorite murder mystery series. Thankfully, the Inn's wifi, wasn't horrible like she assumed it would be.

As she was waiting for a fifth episode to load on the screen, the chiming tune of the clock in the room startled her. Bonnie took a deep breath, and saw that it was midnight. Though she could've saw that on her tablet as well. Shutting her tablet screen off, she set it to the side, leaned over to turn off the bedside lamp, and lay down in bed.

Not a single minute later, Bonnie was almost certain she'd heard the floor downstairs creaking; but, it was an old house, so settling wasn't uncommon. She closed her eyes again, and took a slow breath to relax; but, when the creaking turned into definite footsteps, Bonnie saw up in bed, and turned the light right back on. She grabbed her phone from the bedside table, but it wasn't working for some reason. The door to the bedroom opened quickly, creaking and hitting the wall before bouncing forwards half way. The light across the hall was on too.

Bonnie's heart beating harder in her chest, her first thought wasn't ghost, but robber, or someone trying to scare her. She grabbed the only weapon she had, a small pocket knife, and walked slowly out of her room with her phone in her other hand. Making her way down the stairs, she swore she saw someone move into the living room.

She turned to go into the room, walking by a book shelve that had one shelve of it made entirely for heavy vases and bowls. Bonnie swallowed hard, actually a little scared.

“You're trespassing.” A male voice came from behind her.

Bonnie gasped, and hurried to turn around, when she did she knocked into the bookcase, a heavy ceramic vase falling into her head. She stumbled, also hitting her head on the bookcase itself before falling to the floor. As everything was going blurry and dark, she saw the shadowed and dark man lean over her.

Chapter Text

A/N: I just want to let everyone know I am changing the title of this story to Once Upon a December as of this chapter, so you aren't confused.





Part 2

When Bonnie woke, she woke with a headache, and lying in an uncomfortable position on the sofa in the parlor, a colorful hand made quilt placed over her body. She slowly sat up, wondering if everything had just been a weird dream, and she'd sleep walked downstairs. Touching the back of her head, she winced, but didn't see any blood on her hand when she looked at it. Suddenly, she started registering the sound of the song 'Twelve Days of Christmas' being played on a piano.

Bonnie slid off the vintage sofa, and started slowly walking out of the parlor, and into the dining room. As she turned a corner, the song got louder, and finally she made it to the doorway of another room, where a man sat at the piano. She eyed him for a moment. He was wearing brown pants, a white long sleeve shirt, and a black vest. He looked dressed almost perfectly for a holiday, and fit the dapper vintage feel of the Inn.

“How is your head?” the man asked, and she remembered his voice from before she passed out.
Her heart beat harder in her chest, but she didn't freak out.

“Sore.” Bonnie replied cautiously.

The man continued to play as he turned partly to look at her. “Understandable. You are, thankfully, not any worse off.” he told her, watching her stand with her hands behind her back. “Which means....you can leave at once. Your things are by the door.”

“Uh, I'm not the trespasser, you are. You leave.” She told him, stepping forward closer to him putting a hand on her hip. He didn't exactly look like the kind of trespasser who would murder her. He was playing the piano. If anything he worked there.

“A man cannot trespass on his own property.” The man said to her, standing up from the piano. He stood a foot taller than her. Her eyes darted along his face for a moment, she could swear she recognized it.

“This Inn belongs to the Salvatore Trust, so you should leave before I call the police.” Bonnie said looking up at him sternly as he placed his own hands behind his back and gave her a completely uninterested look.

They continued looking at each other for several moments, her stern expression, his uncaring and mature expression. This expression quickly turned to slight amusement on his face when suddenly the man rushed forward, picking Bonnie up off the floor, tossing her over his shoulder.

“Hey!” Bonnie yelled, and swung her arms. “Put me down!”

The man quickly carried Bonnie to the front door, opened it, and dropped her onto the snow covered porch. As she was getting up off the floor, the man went inside, closed the door behind him, and locked it. Bonnie growled in frustration, and looked at him through the glass for a moment as he walked away.
She grabbed the door handle and jiggled at it pointless for a second. She saw the man coming to the door again, he unlocked it, opened it, and tossed the quilt she'd been covered in previously right into her face before closing and locking door again before she could do anything about it.

Huffing, Bonnie realize she had her phone, and thankfully it worked. Dialing for the police, she requested the sheriff, whom she knew personally, and stood waiting for them to get there. By the time the police cruiser rolled up the driveway, Bonnie was shivering, wrapped in the blanket, standing straight at the entrance on the bottom of the stairs.

“Bonnie Bennett.” Sheriff Forbes said as she walked over to her briskly. The woman was in her late forties, but her blonde hair which was vibrant, and her brilliant blue eyes matched Caroline Forbes, an associate and sort of friend,of Bonnie's, exactly. Her eyes flickered along the brown skinned woman that was Bonnie.

“Sheriff Forbes, thank you for coming.” Bonnie said trying not to stutter her words. Her breath created a cloud in front of her face.

Liz Forbes smiled softly at Bonnie, and showed her a set of keys to the Inn. “You're very welcome. Can you tell me what is going on here?”

Bonnie nodded as she turned to lead the sheriff up the stairs to the front door. She shivered and scampered as Liz opened the door with her set of keys.

“I heard foot steps...I..c-came downstairs, and heard a voice. But I didn't see him until after I woke up from being hit in the head.” Bonnie told Liz.

“He hit you?” Sheriff Liz asked, ready to write that in the report. “Are you okay?”

Bonnie blinked, and closed the door with her foot. “Oh! No, a vase fell on my head. I'm fine, I'll be great once he gets out of here though.”

Liz stared at her for a long moment, and Bonnie knew what she was explaining seemed strange by the look on the Sheriffs face; but, eventually the Sheriff evaluated the downstairs, and saw nothing. Finally she gave Bonnie her nightstick, and headed up the stairs to check the second, and third floor. When Liz came back down, she had a doubtful look on her face, but it still held sympathy, and bravery.

Bonnie knew that the man had been in the house, and considering he had locked her out, there was no way he would've just went through all that trouble just to high tail it out. He was adament about getting her out, while he stayed in.

“There is no one in this house but you, Ms. Bennett.” The Sheriff assured her, “It was likely just a drifter who came in to get out of the cold and ran out back when he saw me.”

Bonnie looked to the side then back at Liz. “He...He was dressed awfully nice for a drifter. He was wearing a tie.” she told the sheriff skeptically.

“Some do, I will check around the perimeter though.” Sheriff Liz told her, “You should remember to use the alarm system.” She motioned towards the wall with the keypad that was unlocked, even though Bonnie hadn't pushed in the numbers.

“I did, I set it before I went to bed I'm sure of it.” Bonnie explained, furrowing her brow, “When I woke up, he was playing the piano.”

Liz chuckled, and shook her head. “Look, set the alarm, and if he gets in again, it'll go off.”

Bonnie sighed, nodded, and watched the Sheriff leave after listening to her talk about how it was a shame her daughter and Bonnie weren't going to be working together anymore, and she was going miss Caroline when she was in Toronto. Finally, Bonnie closed and locked the door, walked over to the alarm system and pushed in the damn code hard, and exact. She listened to it beep indicating that the system was armed.

“Drifter..” she mumbled to herself, and reached behind her head to touch the small bump there. It still hurt, but what was giving her more of a headache was not knowing where the man had went, or why he'd been inside the Inn.

Walking up the stairs, she went into her room, closed the door, locking it with the large key, and then set her phone down on a dresser near the bathroom door. Leaving the blanket that had been wrapped around her on the floor near the bed. She needed to leave later that day to go see Murray and get him back there to do an appraisal. This meant getting dressed and made up.

She locked the bathroom door too, and was grateful she'd placed some clothes and her make up in the bathroom. While refreshing her hair, getting changed into a pair of dark wash jeans, and gray sweater, as well as doing a natural make up look, Bonnie tried to remain calm, and breath. Nothing else bad had happened at the Inn, certainly not any ghosts. What was a a one time intruder? If he actually hurt her, she could defend herself, then sue the hell out of him. Messing with a lawyer was a poor idea, he'd find that out for sure.

When Bonnie was done, she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders. Opening the bathroom door, she planned on getting her heeled boots on, and hitting the road.

“Shit!” Bonnie gasped. In the room leaning his back against one of the tall beams of the canopy bed, was the very same man from before. This time she had time to take in his pitch black hair, and his black and crimson colored tie.

“This is my Inn. I have all of the keys.” he said calmly, lifting a ring of keys, and then lowering them back down to hold his hands together in front of pelvis. “I have no wish to do harm on you. I simply want my solitude, which requires your departure.”

To this, Bonnie responded by rushing forwards, grabbing her phone off the dresser, and moving backwards into the bathroom, slamming the door. Dialing the sheriffs number again, she insisted that there was someone in the Inn, the very same man.

“He has keys to the Inn, I'm serious.” Bonnie relaid how important this was, and much to Liz's liking, the Sheriff agreed to come back.

Fifteen minutes later, Bonnie had her ear up the bathroom door trying to listen. She heard footsteps, then a knock at the bathroom door. She slowly opened the door to see Liz standing there with a thoroughly un-amused look on her face, tossing her set of police keys up and down a few times.

“Downstairs, now.” Liz told her in a stern voice, and Bonnie nodded a little, and followed her quickly down the stairs.

“The alarm did not go off, which means he was still in here when you left.” Bonnie said in an accusing tone, which didn't go over well with the sheriff.

Liz looked at the alarm, “That alarm did not go off when I unlocked the front door, it wasn't armed.” she pointed as she spoke to Bonnie. “I checked everywhere again, there is no one in here. How is your head?”

“It's fine! I'm not hallucinating, there was a man here. He had keys to every room, he keeps saying this is his Inn, and trying to get me to leave!” Bonnie huffed exasperatedly. She was getting tired of this man messing with her, and even tired of not being able to find him, and drag him out when she needed to. Maybe, she was going to have to kick him out herself.

“Well, either he's a ghost, or he's not here anymore, Bonnie. You really should lay down and rest.” Sheriff Liz suggested, teasing her softly, but her eyes showing she was annoyed. Bonnie could understand the feeling.

Bonnie sighed, and watched Liz leave the house for the second time through the side door, and locking the door behind her. She stepped up to the door to watch the sheriff get in her patrol car and drive away. Suddenly she heard the beeping of the alarm system and whipped around with a quick breath.

“I know the alarm code.” The man said, standing at the alarm seemingly from no where, having just put in the code and armed it.

“Are you seriously going to keep appearing, and disappearing?” Bonnie asked him, her head spinning with confusion as she stood two yards away from him.

The man crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall next to the security keypad.
“Are you going to keep calling the Sheriff?” He inquired in return. “I am certain he thinks it is all in your head. Did you hit it too hard?”

“Is this? Are you just in my head?” she asked, though this seemed like a ridiculous concept. The only thing making her dizzy, and agitated was this intruder of a man.

“I don't know, you tell me. It is your head after all.” The mans lips pulled up at the corners as he spoke.

Bonnie took a slow breath and blinked a few times. “I...think you're real.” she said, and nodded, “Yes. You clearly picked me up earlier.”

“True; but, what exactly is real?” He asked, and then turned, walking, and disappearing around the corner into another room.

Bonnie quickly walked after him, her hands in fists at her side. She was beyond frustrated, and starting to think this was a game the universe was playing with her. When she got into the foyer to the front door, he was no where to be found, disappearing. Again.

“Cut that out!” She yelled, her forehead creasing. Walking to the door, she looked to the side into the living room, sighed when she saw no where in there, and then turned to head forward again. This time she stopped at the photo frame on the wall, with a news paper article and a photo. This time she noticed it wasn't the newspaper article about the Inn being haunted. Instead, the paper said,

DAMON SALVATORE
MISSING; FEARED DEAD.


Her eyes shifted to the picture, and though in her eyes, and brain she could see the man in the long coat in the picture looked strikingly like the man in the Inn, she shook her head.

“That's impossible.” Bonnie whispered.

“Unfortunately, it's very possible.” Walters voice came from the left of her. When she looked, there he was, in his coat, taking off his gloves. He had come in through the side door. Bonnie without a word, followed him into the dining room. Walter took his coat off, and placed it on the back of one of the chairs.

Bonnie gave him a baffled look. “You knew this would happen, that's why you didn't want me staying here?” she asked, mostly rhetorically.

“I knew it might, or that you might leave.” Walter said matter-of-factually, and turned to face her.

“He wants me to leave.” She said, crossing her arms over her chest.

Walter nodded, and gave her a serious look, but it was also so casual that Bonnie was having a hard time taking anything seriously, and believing it was real. She still had no idea what was actually going on. “You should leave.” he agreed.

“Oh, yeah, and what exactly would I tell my boss? Odd things are happening at Mystic Inn, and I couldn't get it appraised?” Bonnie asked, sarcastically, feeling more and more flustered by the second. “I have a promotion, that counts on me getting this done.”

“Mystic Inn should not be sold.” The mans voice came from behind her, and Bonnie gasped, turning around to see the man walking into the room, again from seemingly nowhere. Cutting slices off with a knife an apple and eating them.

She inhaled deeply. “Okay! Can we please, dial down on the whole scaring Bonnie thing you two seem to have going on?” Bonnie touched her head, “I have a minor head injury, and also, explain to be how he is a ghost.”

Bonnie stepped backwards a little closer to the man. “He doesn't look like one, and...” she turned, reached back, and grabbed one of the mans hands, and pulled it toward holding it in the arm halfway, “...see, you can't touch a ghost.”

The man looked down with an intense look in his sea blue eyes at her holding his wrist. Finally she let go of it when Walter looked at her, and then at the man behind her.

“So, we're telling her then?” the man asked Walter.

“Seems beyond escaping.” Walter said rationally.

Bonnie pursed her lips, “One problem, why would I believe you?” she asked, “I wouldn't for a second.”
She could believe that this man's name was Damon, she could believe he was an intruder, and she could believe he looked a lot like the Damon from the picture, but she could not believe he was a walking, talking, apple eating, peeping tom ghost.

“What do you know about the supernatural?” the man asked, the sound of his knife sliding across the apple was a smooth one.

“At the moment...Damon is not a ghost.” Walter said, waving his hand around, “But, when the clock strikes midnight on December 24th, he will be again.”

Bonnie furrowed her brow, “How does that even work?”

“A curse.” Damon said casually, but in a deeper tone than Walters voice.

“A curse?” Bonnie asked, turning around to face Damon, “You just said 'a curse' out loud and literally meant it.”

Damon put his hands down at this sides. “How exactly would you explain this?”

Bonnie rubbed her forehead lightly, and bit at the inside of her cheek. “Right now I am leaning towards cerebral edema, but I am seriously hoping I'm wrong. Okay, listen, I am not going to deny that there is a striking resemblance between you and the dead guy in the picture; but, there had to be some other explanation. There's just no such thing as ghosts.” She turned her head to look at Damon and Walter in between her talking, and then Damon leaned forward, and extended a hand out to her after putting the knife, and apple down.

“I'll prove it to you.” The dark haired man said to her, with a mischievous and prideful look in his eyes, a slight curve of his pink lips. Bonnie looked at Damon's hand, then at Walter who nodded at her with a small smile himself.

Damon grabbed her hand, and started walking, or more truthfully, pulling Bonnie out of the house via the side door. Bonnie shivered just being outside for a second, but continued to let him pull her around the house. She had a thought for a split second as they were reaching the corner of the Inn that he was taking her there to murder her.

“Where are you taking me?” she asked, but Damon didn't reply. She saw the open gates to the entrance that had been used for carriages, and horses. The pathway beyond the gates was snow covered except for a two small paths that curved around a frozen foundation, and then ended at a large square arch. Supported by six white beams, and surrounded by the forest.

Bonnie breathed heavily and started jogging when Damon was down the pathway to the arch. They stopped just at the arch, and he turned around, still holding her hand.

“I don't understand...” Bonnie spoke breathlessly.

The man just looked into her eyes, his cheeks a little red from the cold, and gave her a devious smile.
Suddenly he step backwards into the arch, still holding her hand as he stepped. On the second step, he was pulled backwards with a rush of colors, and then disappeared entirely like the air had swallowed him whole. Leaving Bonnie to fall backwards and into the snow.

 

Chapter Text

A/N: Sorry for the delay, I've been sick.




Part 3

Hurrying up onto her feet from the snow, Bonnie then stood staring into the space between the top of the arch and the ground. Damon was definitely not here, but, what exactly had happened? Was he sucked into some other world like a vacuum, or...just, gone? Bonnie shook her head, she was certain that Damon wouldn't have gotten himself lost to the world just to prove himself. Taking several steps forward, she walked into the same space he had been standing in, and waves her arms around a few times. Just in case whatever supernatural gateway this was wouldn't affect her. Thankfully, she felt nothing but air. Blustery air.

Bonnie shivered, and turned around, hurrying back down the path Damon had dragged her. When she opened the side door, breathing heavy cold breaths, her lips pulled up at the corns just slightly.

“Do you believe me now?” Damon asked, and her gaze moved to the ghost...man, ghost-man, sitting on the stairs once again eating an apple. Bonnie now knew that he'd been displaced, she wasn't certain of the details, but, she imagined it was as though if he went over the border of the land, he was sucked up, and thrown back into a different location in the permitted of the Inn's land.

“Of course,” Bonnie huffed, her palms against the door behind her, “But, if you think I'm leaving now, you're crazy.”

Damon's eyes fell from a lighter glimmer to a darker one, and his shoulders sunk with his next breath, while his lips curved downwards softly. He flicked his wrist weakly downwards, the apple in his hand dropping to the stairs, and he looked to the wall beside him. Bonnie watched as the apple rolled in bumpy line down the stairs, thudding until it came to a top at the edge of the bottom stair. Bonnie could tell he clearly wasn't pleased with this new outcome. He'd been hoping he'd scare her enough to get her to leave. Before, she'd been uncertain, and in the dark. Now...she was even more levelheaded. He'd only given her an answer to what she needed to do to get her job done.

“Stubborn woman.” Damon muttered. Lifting his left hand which held the small knife he'd been slicing the apple with, he flicked it downwards and it stabbed into the wooden stairs. He stood, and stepped down the stairs, leaving the half eaten apple on the floor and heading into the kitchen.

Bonnie shook her head. Her heart was beating fast, and her head was spinning, yes, but she wasn't afraid. Alright, maybe a tiny part of her was frightened of the idea that she might one day be a ghost, trapped on the earth...but, she wasn't frightened of Damon being a ghost. Especially since at that moment, he was technically...a...ghost-man. Dead, but, currently residing with the living. If he was a floating head, green, and oozing, and rattling chains, she'd be afraid; but, he was tangible, and looked perfectly normal. Despite his attire, and patter.

A few moments later, Walter came into the room, seeing Bonnie still leaning against the side door.
“Have you eaten today?” the man asked Bonnie. She shook her head no, and realize she hadn't eaten anything since lunch the day before. It was almost noon. Her stomach growled at the perfect time, and Walter gave her a soft smile before motioning her into the kitchen.

In the kitchen there was a strange vargiety of foods laid out on the counter. Several grilled cheeses, a turkey, a ham, pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausages, biscuits, strawberries, cookies. Bonnie eyed the counter for a moment, but then grabbed a few pancakes, busuits, ham, and eggs, as well as a cup of coffee, and headed into the dining room. Her eyes shifted to Damon sitting at the table as well. She sat two seats from him, and Walter sat between them. As Bonnie ate, she noticed Damon was silent, and focused on eating his food; which after looking at his plate, explained the array in the kitchen. Even after Bonnie was done with her delicious meal, Damon was still eating. That is how full his plate was.

“He sure eats a lot for a ghost.” Bonnie said to Walter as she leaned her elbows on the table, her eyes on Damon.

Walter tilted his head to the side, “He says it's for the taste. His senses are heightened more and more each time he comes back.” He explained.

“Yeah, but, grilled cheese, and pancakes?” She asked putting her chin in the palm of her right hand. Just watching the ghost-man eat all the things together on his plate, sometimes several different foods in one bite, made her stomach ache. Then again, Bonnie figured Damon didn't gain any weight. Though, he had to have went to the bathroom... Thinking about that private thought made her shake her head quickly to forget.

Bonnie shrugged, “I think if I ever came back from the dead, I'd want something more fancy.” she said thoughtfully.

“I can hear you.” Damon said before taking another bite of a grilled cheese, sausage, pancake fork ka-bob.

“At least a chicken and broccoli penne pasta bake. Not that fancy, but, fulfilling. Oh, maybe a chicken vindaloo.” Bonnie mused, and tapped a finger on her chin. Walter nodded, seeming to agree in one sense or another. “Hey, Damon did they have vindaloo when you were...” she started, but Damon got up from the table suddenly, and aggressively. His chair legs scraping against the floor.

“...alive.” Bonnie finished, watching Damon grab his plate and silverware, and walk away from them.

Bonnie blinked a few times. “Jeez, is he always this grumpy when he comes back?” she asked Walter. Damon had moved to another seat at the table further away from them.

“I don't know, other than our first encounter years ago, our interactions have been brief, as he wanted them to be.” Walter explained.

Bonnie nodded, and got up from the table, but Walter grabbed her plate before she could.
“Yeah, he doesn't seem chatty.” she commented.

I can still hear you.” Damon said in a slight growl of a tone as Walter got up to take Bonnie's plate to the kitchen. Bonnie walked over to the seat next to Damon and stood looking at him. When he didn't say anything, she rolled her eyes, walked back over, and grabbed her coffee empty coffee cup.

Damon also got up a moment later to take his dishes to the kitchen. Bonnie got herself a soda from the fridge, and watched Walter doing the dishes, and Damon walking right out after setting his dishes down. He was clearly annoyed by both of their presences during this time. Sighing, Bonnie pulled her phone out of her jeans pocket, and called her boss while she stood leaning against the counter next to the fridge.

“Hey, Liam. I'm going to need a few more days.” Bonnie told him.

“A few more days? I thought you said you were coming back to hire a new appraiser.” Liam inquired, with a hint of curiosity in his voice.

Bonnie glanced out of the doorway into the dining room, Damon wasn't in there. “I know, but, just trust me. I have some things to get figured out, and I'll be back.” she assured her boss. He sighed, and a few seconds later the call was over. Bonnie hoped she was right in staying there, as opposed to simply going back to Richmond. After having shoved her phone back into her pocket, Bonnie made her way out to the dining room, not seeing Damon there anymore. She walked into the parlor, and her eyes shifted to the dark haired man sitting in a dark red lounge chair, staring out a window into the snow.

“I'm no curse theorist, but this one seems strange.” Bonnie said to him, crossing her arms over her chest as she stood several feet from Damon's residing chair. “You're a ghost, except for two weeks out of the year...why?”

Damon looked over at her for a moment with a dull look.

“Did you insult a witch?” she teased him.

He rolled his eyes. “There's no such thing as witches.”

“Oh, yeah, because that would be weird.” Bonnie chuckled, and stepped even closer to Damon who had turned his head to look back out of the window at the drifting snow.

“I came back ninety six years ago for twelve days, and have ever since. That's all I know.” Damon told her quietly, and tapped a few of his fingers on his leg. Bonnie eyed him curiously, thinking back to when he had disappeared outside.

“So, you can't leave here?” She asked him, but he didn't answer. Instead Walter stepped in, replying for him.

“He's restricted by the Inn's property line.” Walter said.

Bonnie furrowed her brow. “Okay, there are way too many rules for this to be random. There has to be a purpose behind it.” she looked at Walter, and then at Damon again, “Don't you want to find out?”

“No.” Damon said casually, not moving his gaze from the window.

“If it were me...stuck in this situation, I'd spend all of my free time back here researching until I found out this is happening to me. Maybe then I could...break the curse.” Bonnie spoke, slowly putting her hands on her hips.

She stepped over to the side in front of his chair to try and force him to look at her. “Don't you want to try and break the curse?”

“No.” He repeated, and she flailed her arms out to the sides quickly for a second. “Why?” Bonnie asked. This man was possibly one of the most stubborn men she'd ever met, well, maybe the second most...and she'd only just met him. Regardless, she needed to get the Inn evaluated, and that meant a walking talking fleshy ghost man couldn't be wandering around the place, especially if they sold it. How would the new owners react? Not well, most likely.

“Because there is no point, and I want you out of here. Both of you.” Damon replied, his eyes shifting up to Bonnie, then to Damon.

“Please at least listen to me.” Bonnie huffed.

Damon sighed, “I have a limited period of time here, and I am not willing to waste it on theories, and hunches.”

“Have you ever even tried to find out why this happens to you?” She questioned him, and seemed to hit a little bit of a spark inside him, as he sat up straighter, and looked at her fairly dead on. Though his expression was still of annoyance.

“I have wasted more time on it than you can possibly imagine.” Damon told her, placing his hands folded on his lap.

Bonnie lifted a brow, “Have you ever had anyone to help?”

“Yes. My half brother Zachary. He was proprietor of the Inn when I first returned.” He explained, “As you can see...I'm still here.”

Bonnie sighed, crossing her arms over her chest again, and pacing along the front of Damon's chair.
The was one thing Bonnie was serious about and that was work, and since getting Damon to peace or wherever the dead was supposed to go would greatly benefit her job, she was serious about it. Regardless of if Damon wanted to cooperate.

“Well, that was a long time ago,” she started, “We have a chance now to find out how you died, and see if that's what's keeping you here.”

Damon leaned back in the chair, “Then what?” he asked, tilting his head to the side, giving her a look of boredom and not a single ounce of support.

“Then I think you'll...crossover, go into the light.” Bonnie tried to say this confidently, but the slight shrugging of her shoulders didn't help.

“You think?” Damon nodded with a bit of an amused look in his eyes. He didn't believe in a single thing she was saying.

Bonnie lifted a hand in frustrated and waved it, “I don't know! How could I possibly know? But, finding out serves both our interests. Don't you want to move on?”

“More than you know.” He said softly, and took a slow breath. “Fine.”

Bonnie's eyebrows shot up. “Really?”

“Yes, really. We can attempt to bring my memories of my death back, and get information.” Damon agreed, and stood up form his chair walking towards the parlor room. Bonnie and Walter both followed him, Bonnie hunting around quickly for some paper and pen with Walters help. When they both arrived into the parlor, Damon was seated on the couch, having poured himself a glass of bourbon. Bonnie's skin was tingling with how excited she was to get this going. Hopefully, within the next few days, Damon would be -poof- out of there, and she'd have the Inn up for sale. Her new placement in the company and the huge bonus check would be the best Christmas gift she could possibly get.

“Alright, most obvious question first. How did you die?” Bonnie questioned Damon as he drank, pacing behind the couch while Walter sat in a chair across the coffee table from Damon.

“I seriously don't remember.” Damon replied, crossing his legs.

Bonnie shook her head, “There has to be something, I mean, were you sick before you died?”

“His body was discovered near the woods, right out there.” Walter explained, pointing towards the window, “Seemed like foul play, but, being the time it was, nothing was ever proven.”

“Hmm, so homicide.” Bonnie scribbled on her notepad, and continued pacing. “What were you doing as your last memory?”

Damon took a drink before speaking, “Returning home...”

“From?” She asked, raising a brow.

“Montreal.” He said slowly, looking down and away from both her and Walter.

Bonnie stopping walking for a moment so she could get down everything he said to look over it later if need be. “What were you doing in Canada?” she inquired. This felt like a, an interview with a living ghost.

“It...wasn't honorable.” Damon replied, looking to the side, his posture seeming to get uncomfortable.

Bonnie chuckled, “I'm a lawyer, we don't do honor.” Damon shook his head a bit.

“Are you familiar with the Volstead Act?” He asked her, tapping a few fingers on his glass, and then leaning over to set it on the coffee table, seeming suddenly disinterested in it's contents.

“There was a law passed before my death that banned the sale of Alcohol in America.” Damon continued.

“Sort of... Yeah, Prohibition.” Bonnie said with a shrug, walking around to the side of the couch to look at Damon, whose shoulders were more tensed, and hands in his lap.

Walter leaned forward a bit, “What Damon is trying not to say, is that he was a bootlegger.”

“I prefer the term 'rum runner'.” Damon mumbled.

Bonnie blinked, “But I thought you owned this Inn?”

“It became mine after the death of my parents, after I returned from battle.” he explained.

“And Stefan's...it was his too.” Walter reminded Damon, who seemed to be annoyed by this.
Damon sighed, and gave Walter a slight wide eyed look.

“Who is Stefan?” Bonnie questioned, writing down everything she'd been told quickly.

Damon got up from the sofa and started toward a window, where he seemed to always spend his time. Dragging his fingers across the back of a wooden chair. “My brother... If it were up to him, this place would have been sold at the heels of my parents demise.” He said to both of them, though mostly Bonnie. “But, I kept it going...with the help of Zach.”

“Well, that's...lovely, Damon..but, I still don't understand the bootlegging.” Bonnie said, stepping a few feet closer to him, and tilting her head to the side.

“Rum running, was the means to an end.” Damon said slowly, turning his head to look at Bonnie, “The end was...as it so often is...a woman.”

Bonnie nodded slowly, and smiled a little, starting to understand. At least she thought. She put her pen to the paper, and waited for Damon to continue, so she could get all of his story down. Whether he thought it was important or not, she was certain that all information would get her somewhere. Any anywhere was better than stuck at the beginning. She looked over at Walter who was still sitting and listening. She realized, he must have been hoping for this information too for quite a while.


“Between influenza, and the economy, it was a miracle anyone was venturing out at all, much less too the Inn. I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep the Inn afloat. About a year before my death, I expressed my concerns to Zach, he told me about the rum running, but I wasn't interested. That same night...a woman and her family came to stay at the Inn until the light when they could get their things in their home.” Damon explained, his eyes turning back to the window, “Katherine Pierce. She instantly caught my eye, of course, I charmed her, but, she charmed me just as much. I always had a feeling she went to me because of my standing with the Inn, I was presumably wealthy, and good on my feet; but, you have to understand, this was normal then, and I did not mind...”

Bonnie nodded a little, “So, she was your sweetheart?” she asked slowly, writing everything he was saying down, and swaying a little on her feet to keep them from going numb from standing.

Damon took a slow breath, “She was...” he started, his jaw setting, “Until she betrayed me with my brother... That much, I remember quite well.” He turned and started out of the room in a distressed manner.

Bonnie's hand with the notebook moved down to her side, and she furrowed her brow as she watched him leave the room.