Chapter Ten: Ivy's Return
Daryl watched as the Goddess of Love appeared before him.
“Senshire.” He said as he stared at the Goddess.
Senshire smiled at one of her favorite creations. “Daryl Kraftman.”
“I thought she was dead,” Daryl said as he scratched behind his mate’s ear. “Scott had said that they were all killed.”
Senshire nodded. “They were. And she was.”
“Then who is Saffron?” Daryl asked.
“Saffron is the name she has gone by for the past six years.”
“What did you do to her?” He asked as he slid his hand down the White Tiger’s back.
“You know as well as anyone, that we try to keep the Fated Mates alive, especially a Kraftman’s mate.”
“What happened?” Daryl whispered. “Where has she been?”
Senshire sighed. “You weren’t meant to meet her forty years ago. If she hadn’t smelt you while you were hunting that hunter, you wouldn’t have known she had been killed. She would just be a girl who hadn’t known she was a Shifter. And she would be her new persona for the rest of her life. But you did meet her, and you called her by her name. And now, she remembers…”
“What do you mean?” Daryl asked, confused.
Senshire looked at the White Tiger. “She’s the last of her kind. That alone kept her protected. But…”
“She’s my mate,” Daryl whispered.
“Why couldn’t you bring her to me?” He asked with a hitch in his voice.
“Because she had to stay hidden until she was activated. As much as we’d like to have control of everything, that is one thing we have no control over. If we could control activations, we would be able to save more of the Fated Mates than we have.”
“I don’t see why you had to hide her from me…”
“Don’t you?” She asked as she watched him. “If she had been raised with you and your brothers, you would have a strong brotherly love for her or a fatherly love, and you wouldn’t love her, the way a Fated Mate is meant to love.”
Daryl closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. “Tell me everything.”
She nodded. “The hunters found Ivy and the others. They all shifted to escape, but there were too many hunters, and they were all killed. They skinned them all, even Ivy. I couldn’t very well bring her back to life and everyone discover what had happened. So, I hid her among the Humans. For forty years she has been perceived as a Human…”
“How is she still so young?” He whispered.
Senshire smiled. “She may smell like a Human, and hasn’t shifted in forty years, but she has always been a Shifter. I hid her smell and turned off her shifting ability. Every ten years, I would change her back story and move her. I made sure she had a good life. No one ever laid a hand on her, and she’s always happy.”
Daryl looked from the Goddess to his mate. “Why would you go to such length for her?”
Senshire tilted her head back as she laughed. “Oh, sweet boy.” She said as she smiled at him. “Ivy is our most special Fated Mate.”
“Why is that? Other than being a White Tiger.” He asked as he rubbed his mate’s side. She purred as he stroked her, and he smiled.
“Because.” The Goddess said as she took a step closer to them. “She was made specifically for the Alpha Shifter.”
Daryl continued to sit against the tree, his mate purring on his lap, long after the Goddess left.
To find out that he was right. Ivy was his Fated Mate…has been mind-blowing.
He’d known there was something special about Saffron that he hadn’t been able to pinpoint. He sighed as he leaned his head back against the tree trunk and closed his eyes.
Daryl opened his eyes when he heard his brother’s voice.
“Holy fucking shit,” Dustin said as he walked through the field of dead bodies. He noticed his brother against the tree and ran to him, then stopped when he saw the White Tiger laying over his brother’s lap.
Daryl chuckled at the look on his brother’s face. “I told you guys she was mine.”
Dustin blinked at his brother, then understanding lit his eyes. “Ivy.” He said as he looked at the White Tiger again.
Daryl nodded. “I will tell everyone everything, once we get out of here.”
“Ohmigod.” Shar hissed as she skidded to a stop beside her mate.
“Shar, can you help me with Saffron?”
Shar blinked, then nodded and ran over to Daryl and his mate.
“So, she’s your missing White Tiger?” Shar whispered.
Daryl smiled at her. He liked that she used the word missing, rather than dead.
“Yes.” He answered, then slowly stood from the ground.
Saffron whimpered and rubbed her head against his leg.
“I know Mafilia.” He said softly as he rubbed her head. “We will help you.”
“She doesn’t remember how to shift back, does she,” Shar said as she watched the beautiful White Tiger.
Daryl nodded. “I think Mom can help her.”
Shar smiled. “She’s the last of her kind, isn’t she.”
Daryl nodded. “I hope our cub is a White Tiger.”
They got the bodies taken care of, and Saffron to one of the waiting trucks. Dylan drove Daryl’s bike, so he could sit in the back of the truck with his scared mate.
When they got to their parent’s house. Amirah was thrilled to discover her new daughter was actually a hidden Shifter. She worked with Saffron, to shift back to her Human form, while Daryl told the others what the Goddess had told him.
Once he was finished, Dustin stood and announced it was time for him to tell them what he had been told by the Goddesses when he had died all those weeks ago.
“They told me that I couldn’t say anything about what they had told me, until after Daryl found the missing piece of the puzzle. I hadn’t understood it at first, but after this, I believe they meant Saffron, or rather, Ivy.”
Shar looked at her mate with puzzlement on her face, and Dustin smiled at her.
“They are trying to replace the Fated Mates we have lost. But it is hard, because so many were either hunted by hunters, years ago, or they’re being hunted now by Dark Witches and Wizards. They know of very few alternative Fated Mates. And they will only activate them if they are absolutely necessary. There are a few more first choice Fated Mates, and then they will start activated second choices. They said, that if they have to get into third choices, the chances of us winning the battle, will be significantly less.”
“That’s why they’ve been targeting Fated Mates,” Shar whispered. “They know the lower the grade of a Fated Mate, the lower the chances of us winning.”
“The first thing I hope our cubs and pups get to do; is finish off what we’d started over two years ago,” Josie said with a growl.
“What if we finish what we’d started?” Josiah asked.
Everyone looked at Josiah.
“That will give our little ones less to worry about when it’s their time to battle,” Maddy said with a nod.
“Daryl,” Amirah whispered as she entered the living room.
Daryl looked at his mother, and she pointed at the kitchen.
“Your mate needs you.”
Daryl jumped to his feet and ran to the kitchen’s door that led to the back yard.
“I guess we’ll take a vote,” Shar said as she looked at her family. “Those who vote that we take out the Dark covens?” She asked as she raised her hand. Everyone in the room raised their hand and she chuckled. “I guess I don’t ask if anyone is opposed.”
Daryl walked outside and found his mate in Human form, standing at the edge of his parent’s yard, looking out into the trees behind his parent’s house. He used to go running through those woods in Cougar form when he was a kid.
“Saffron.” He whispered.
Saffron turned to her mate’s voice and smiled. “Daryl.” She cried as she ran into his arms.
Daryl sighed as he held his mate in his arms. “Ivy.” He whispered as he kissed the top of her head.
“You came back for me.” She cried.
“Of course, I did.” He whispered. “I would have forty years ago, but…”
“I know.” She said with a sniffle. “It’s not your fault. They found us not long after you’d led their leader away. No one knew how many hunters were under him…”
“Shh.” He said as he held her close. “I love you.” He whispered.
She chuckled as she pulled back and looked up at him. “I think I’ve loved you all these years. Only, I didn’t know who it was I was waiting for. Until I saw you behind that bar.”
He chuckled. “I always knew you were meant for me. I thought I had lost my only chance at happiness. Then I saw you. You’re everything I wanted in a mate, and more.”
She smiled. “I think I’m already with cub.”
He chuckled. “I know you are, Mafilia. You stopped being in heat after our first knotting.”
She grinned up at him. “Fourteen.”
He nodded. “What do you say, we get out of here?”
She nodded vigorously. “Oh, yes please.”
He took her hand and led her to his bike.
Once they were home, he pinned her to the wall in the living room.
“So. Now that we know who and what you are. Maybe we can let our cats have some fun together.”
She giggled. “I think my Tiger would like that, almost as much as looking for flowers.”
He tipped his head back and laughed, then looked into her grey eyes. “Your eyes are still gray.”
She smiled. “Do you not like them?”
He pinned her to the wall with his pelvis. “I like them very much.” He said with a growl.
She moaned when he claimed her mouth.
“You’re mine.” He said as he nipped at her bottom lip.
She sighed against him. “Always have been, always will be.”
He lifted her off her feet and wrapped her legs around his hips. She held onto him as he worked his pants to release his cock, then took hold of her jeans and ripped them open at the crotch. She laughed at the sound of her pants tearing, then moaned when his finger slipped past her panties and rubbed her clit.
“I will never let anyone take you from me again.” He said as he played with her pussy and brought her to higher heights.
“You’re stuck with me forever.” She breathed as she came back down from the heavens, her body still shaking from the intense orgasm.
He moved her panties aside and pushed his cock inside her. She cried out as another orgasm ripped through her body.
“Fucking hell.” He growled.
She moaned as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Fuck me.” She mumbled.
She didn’t have to tell him twice.
He took hold of her hips and thrust upwards as she held onto his neck for dear life.
“You feel so good.” He said as he kissed her neck.
“So, do you.” She panted.
He slammed up into her pussy, again and again, making her cum on his cock, several times.
“Daryl.” She moaned as she pulled him even closer, making his cock fill her even more.
“You’re so fucking hot.” He said with a satisfied groan.
She moaned as she tipped her head back against the wall. He licked up her throat and she giggled.
“Tomorrow, we’ll go flower hunting.” He said, then dipped his head down and licked the skin just above her breasts.
She smiled. Her Tiger would like that. And maybe they can have that fun he’d talked about.
When he came inside her and knotted, they used that time to talk about the past forty years.
She remembered all of her different lives. And how she always knew something important was missing from her life. But she was never sad. She always had people who loved her.
He told her about everything he has been doing, how after she’d died, he’d changed his career. How his brothers had found their Fated Mates, and he knew he’d already found his and lost her.
But now, they’re together again.
And nothing, and no one, was ever going to tear them apart again.