Finding Love Ch. 02bydurablue©
A very big, very huge thank you to sleeplessgurl for offering to edit, and for telling me like it is! Thank you to ~L for proofreading for me.
I want to take a second to say thank you for the comments and emails on chapter 1. Plus a very grateful thank you to JazCullen for what she did, also. I hope everyone enjoys chapter 2! And I want to apologize for the delay with this chapter; everything that could go wrong... well, it did. I'm hoping now that things have been straightened out there won't be such a delay again.
I'll update my bio page when chapters are coming, also.
This is a copyrighted work of fiction by the author durablue. All rights reserved.
"My name is Daylon..."
The whispers were gaining in strength as Ivy struggled with what was happening around her. Who was this male that could bring everything to a stand-still like this; who inspired such fear in the others? Finally the name that was being whispered so fearfully penetrated Ivy's mind...
"I'm the Alpha of the Wolfland Pact."
That was the last thing Ivy heard as darkness swept over her.
* * * *
Moving swiftly, Daylon caught Ivy as she collapsed. Concerned, Daylon wondered briefly if Ivy was afraid of him. Was she overwhelmed by the things she had possibly heard about him? For once Daylon wished his reputation wasn't quite so... dark. Their one encounter left him with the impression she was strong and spirited, so why had she passed out?
Cradling her against his chest he vowed that she would come to know him, the real person. Her pack cleared out quickly, rushing to get away from the notorious Alpha of the Wolfland Pact, leaving only warriors and Ivy's mom in the Inner Chambers. Sam and Holland stood near Daylon, ready to defend their Alpha's back.
Daylon knew that each man was battle ready, but Sam seemed more... tense, more controlled than usual. Ivy's father, snarling in anger, remained along with several others. Every line of his body showed his anger at Daylon's interruption of the mating ceremony. Tension, thick as a low hanging fog, air hung in the air.
"I deny your claim," Dolmas shouted, causing Daylon's warriors to tense. "I call death challenge!"
Dolmas didn't have the right to deny anything. Nothing stopped a wolf from claiming his mate, nothing... except death. And Daylon had no intention of dying in a challenge, especially to such an ass like Dolmas O'Farrell. He'd warned the old man, had hoped he would listen, but apparently his own self-serving purposes ruled his mind.
"You old fool," Daylon said quietly, his voice all the more frightening for its softness.
"Dolmas, let it be," Mary pleaded, her face stripped of all color.
"Out with you, woman!" Dolmas growled. "This is men's business."
"Please, Husband," she begged, "please, stop this."
"Get. Out. Now." Dolmas, his anger saturating the room, snarled. "I'll deal with your disobedience later."
Daylon was amazed at how Dolmas spoke to his mate, but was even more amazed at the low growl that came from Sam. Women of his pack would have skinned their mates for such blatant disrespect. The males of his pack were dominant, true, but never would they speak thusly to a woman. His own mother would have smacked his father's ears if he spoke to her in such a way, publicly or privately. Hell, she popped his a few times, too.
"Kern, my eldest, will be my Champion," Dolmas growled, interrupting Daylon's musings.
Disgusted, Daylon realized Dolmas didn't intend to fight the challenge; he planned to use his eldest son in his stead. Out of the corner of his eye Daylon saw the fearful look that passed over the other man's face.
Once nominated as Champion Kern had to fight or lose all standing in his pack. Dread made his movements slow as he stripped off his clothes. Kern took a deep breath, and began the transformation process. Shaking his head, Daylon shifted Ivy's limp body to Holland.
"Guard her well," Daylon said to Holland.
Quickly he shed his clothes. His body surged with power as Daylon dropped to his hands and knees as the change roared through him. Thick, coarse hair covered his body as man gave way to beast. His mouth elongated into a muzzle that held sharp, deadly teeth. Daylon shuddered as power flowed through his body from the tip of his snout to the end of his tail.
His bones snapped and popped, rearranging to support the frame of his wolf. Within seconds a huge, muscular black wolf waited where the man once stood. Bright yellow eyes, with a black outer ring, narrowed as he watched the other wolf ready itself to attack. Kern circled Daylon, snarling, snapping, and putting on quite a show.
Unimpressed, Daylon watched... waited. Focused on his opponent, Daylon looked for weaknesses. Watching Kern's eyes, he searched for a sign that would betray... ah, there it was; a quick look down toward Daylon's front legs. Quick as a lightning strike, Kern lunged, his massive jaw aiming for Daylon's forepaw. Reading his intent clearly Daylon surged forward, head butting Kern, making him stagger back.
Loud, horrible growls echoed around the room from both packs as Daylon leaped at the other wolf. Teeth slashed as both their muzzles collided again and again. Daylon used his superior strength to test Kern's abilities, temperament, and control. Within minutes, Daylon knew that this could end up a bloody mess if he wanted. Kern, in desperation, was taking chances that left him open and vulnerable. A slight tickle at the back of his neck indicted that Sam was linking with him mentally.
Jesus, Daylon, our youngest pups fight better than him. What the hell kind of training do they put their youngster's through?
Moving quickly Daylon used his weight to push Kern on his back.
Thank you Captain Obvious.
Using his larger body, Daylon pinned Kern on the ground. Head whipping back and forth, Kern snarled in frustration, unable to dislodge Daylon as they fought.
Oh for god's sakes. Stop playing around with him. He's no match for you, Daylon. You're just screwing around now.
Using his paws, Kern attempted to push Daylon off him, which resulted in a deafening scream of loud growls, harsh barks, and sharp nips.
Sam, in case you failed to notice I'm in the middle of a death challenge. Go bug someone else for Christ's sake and get the hell out of my head!
On his back, unable to regain his footing, Kern was trapped by Daylon's weight and strength. A sharp whine sounded from Kern as Daylon stood over him. When the other wolf struggled, Daylon snarled and used his teeth to nip the other wolf, drawing more blood, and cowing him back down.
After several minutes of squirming, snapping, and snarling, Daylon had had enough. If Kern had submitted, Daylon would have ended the fight. As the winner it was his choice to let his opponent live, or not. But the more Kern struggled, the shorter Daylon's temper became. Then Kern managed to get lucky. He jerked his paw up aiming at Daylon's chest, intending to push him away.
His paw missed and swiped Daylon's muzzle. The sharp claw cut into the skin, narrowly missing his eye. Deep scratches dripped blood down Daylon's muzzle and a red haze exploded in his mind. Baring his teeth, Daylon lunged forward, burying them in the throat of his enemy. Kern froze under Daylon, his cry high pitched and fearful.
Daylon snarled, low and fierce, shaking his head with his teeth embedded in Kern's throat. A loud, frantic yip from the other wolf signaled he submitted. The need to kill, to crush his enemy's windpipe bloomed in Daylon as blood seeped into his mouth. He bit down harder, enlisting a frightened whimper from the other wolf.
"Daylon, my Alpha, let him go," Holland spoke softly. "You won. You defeated him and he's submitted. Your mate needs you, Daylon."
The words of his second in command penetrated his mind, backing him off his blood lust. Daylon didn't want to begin his mated life with the death of her brother between Ivy and him. He released the other wolf and howled in victory, his warriors picking up the call. Muzzle bloody, eyes narrow, he stalked to Dolmas and snarled. A flash of blinding light consumed him and the man was once again in control.
"I have given your son his life, Dolmas. Cross me again, and I won't be so generous. Ivy is the only reason you and your pup live."
Daylon picked up his clothes and dressed quickly. The Alpha of Ivy's pack stepped forward, waiting until Daylon was dressed. "My name is Surlak. Young Daylon, your reputation precedes you. It is said you are blood thirsty, with little regard to life, but I saw control that signifies a true leader. You have Ivy with my blessings, not that a wolf needs such when he finds his mate. Rest assured that no more problems will come from my pack."
"My patience will only stretch so far, and her father has had more of a warning than I usually give. Third time's the charm. If Ivy so desires I'll bring her back later to visit, once she has adjusted to my pack. Would you tell her mother of this?"
"It will be taken care of," Surlak replied. "Dolmas will want to deny Ivy the right to see her mother, but I will grant permission. The best Dolmas can do is bar Ivy from his home."
Dolmas, turning on his heel, stormed out of the Inner Chambers, leaving his son to be cared for by other pack members. Kern lost a lot of blood, but Daylon made sure that his injuries were not life threatening. Even though Surlak said there would be no more problems from his pack, experience told Daylon that he hadn't heard the last from Ivy's father. Holland shifted Ivy back to Daylon and they left the Inner Chamber.
"Gather our warriors and meet me at the vehicles," Daylon told Holland.
* * * *
Ivy swam through the layers of consciousness, struggling to break the surface. She was aware of strong arms holding her body gently against a broad chest. The smell of man mixed with the natural scent of wolf made her snuggle further into the body that held her so securely. That smell, dear god that smell! It made her think of fires crackling quietly in a fireplace, soft light from candles, peaceful evenings, a soft bed and... a mate. A shiver raced up her spine.
Oh lord, and that voice. It called to her; a gentle but commanding request that demanded she pay attention. Ivy frowned slightly. She didn't want to answer the summons she heard in that voice because...
"My mate, open your eyes for me. It's time to go home."
Ivy eyes snapped open. She was held in his arms, her head resting on his shoulder... Daylon, the Alpha of the Wolfland Pact.
"Ivy?" he asked again.
Ivy raised wide eyes to Daylon's, fear and confusion showing clearly. "Y-yes? What happened? Where are we? Why are you-"
"It's okay, my beauty."
"What's going on? And dear god, is that blood?"
There were long scratches gouged into Daylon cheek, but they were healing quickly. There was blood in the corner of his mouth, too.
"Your father and brother didn't agree with my claim on you. We fought."
"You fought both my father and my brother?" Ivy whispered, horrified.
"Hell no. Your father tried to deny my right to claim you as my mate. He called death challenge. Kern stood as his champion."
"Is he-did you...?"
"He lives only because of you. I didn't want to start our life together with the blood of your family on my hands."
"Thank you for that. It would have destroyed my mom losing her first born," Ivy said.
Daylon took note that Ivy said her mom would be upset with Kern's death, not her.
"Please, I'm okay now; let me down. The males don't think much of the women of my pack, but I don't want to be viewed as weak. Well, weaker than what they already view me since I fainted."
Daylon placed Ivy on her feet. "Fuck. Look, I know this has been sudden. But Ivy, you're my mate. Do you doubt that? Is there any question in your mind that we belong together?"
"I just... I never dreamed you would find me in time. I mean, really, what were the odds of that happening? Daylon, I know you're my mate. I sensed it in a dream, and I hoped, somehow, to find you... But, I don't know you beyond your reputation, which, frankly is..."
"Are you afraid of me?" Daylon demanded, the concern in his eyes touching Ivy's heart. "Is that why you fainted? Sweetheart, I would never hurt you; I couldn't! I know what they say about me, and yeah, most of it is true. But you... you are the other half of me. I could no more hurt you than I could hurt myself. I'm capable of many things, Ivy, but hurting you isn't one of them."
Ivy closed her eyes for a moment, debating on how much to tell him. "My father restricted what I ate until the mating ceremony. I've only had bread and water for the past two days, Daylon. It was another mind game of his to make me submit. I didn't want to be mated to Zan, and I fought my dad as best I could. Christ, the rumors about him and what he likes to do to his partners... and, well... then to hear the name of your pack, I guess stress and hunger got the better of me. I'm not afraid of you, but the rumors about you and your pack are-"
"He did... what!" Daylon exclaimed, his eyes lightening to yellow.
"That's the least he... uh, well, that is to say," Ivy hedged as Daylon growled softly. "Maybe we should just leave, Daylon. Can we go, please?"
"What else, Ivy? What the fuck else did he do to you?" Daylon's voice was deadly. "Tell me. Did he do this?"
Daylon ran his finger across Ivy's cheek, his touch light. There, on her cheek, was a mottled mess of reds, purples and yellows. The contrast against her fair skin and the dark bruises were startling. On her upper arms were perfectly round bruises that could be nothing else but finger marks where someone had grasped both her arms. Ivy raised her eyes to Daylon, filled with tears.
"It doesn't matter now. What was done was done in the past, before you showed up."
"I should have killed him. Jesus, Ivy. Has it always been like this?"
"Yes, but it doesn't matter now. He's out of my life, and I never want to see him again. Mom is the only one I care about."
So, Daylon thought, Kern is on her shit list, too. Wonder about the younger brother.
"I'll bring you back to see her if that's what you want. I'd like for you to get settled with my pack first."
"Dad won't allow her to see me, trust me on this," Ivy said.
"That man," Daylon hissed, "is in need of killing. Don't worry about it, Surlak granted permission. You may have to meet her somewhere else though."
"She won't do it. She won't risk angering my father. Can we just go? I'm tired, hungry, and Daylon? You need to know that I haven't gone through the Rite of Passage. I haven't transformed into my wolf shape yet. My father skipped that ceremony so he could get the mating ceremony done."
"Ah god," Daylon said, running a hand through his hair. "How could he deny you that? Okay, we'll do it with my pack in attendance. I know it's not the same, but-"
"It's fine. But that needs to be done before you mate me. Since you are Alpha of your pack I need to prove I can transform."
"Oh my beauty, I can't wait to see you in our Circle of Stone, and watch you transform. You're going to make a beautiful wolf."
Before Ivy could answer, Holland walked around the vehicle. "We need to get her stuff and get going, Daylon. I want back on our territory."
"Yeah. You, Sam, and I will escort Ivy to her home," Daylon said.
"There's not all that much to get," Ivy sighed.
"Huh? Every woman I've never met has closet full of clothes!" Holland said, confused. "And shit, more shoes than you can shake a stick at. My sisters took over the house with their clothes, hair gels, jewelry and don't even get me started about certain other things that roll around once a month! You need your clothes, and personal stuff... don't you? Don't you have some sort of Hope Chest or something, too?"
"I'm going to tell Tara and Jade what you just said," Sam grinned.
"Look, old man-"
"Settle down," Daylon snapped. "Ivy? What do you want to do?"
"I don't have much, just a few things that my granny left me. The chest isn't half full. Daylon, I'm really tired. Can we do this tomorrow?" Ivy asked.
"Yeah, that may be a good idea," Sam said. "Let the waters calm down some before we stir them up again."
"But she don't have anything to wear," Holland pointed out, still reeling that Ivy wasn't demanding her clothes and other things. His sisters would have rather walked barefoot through shards of glass before leaving without their stuff.
"Ivy? Would you mind borrowing something of my mom's until tomorrow? She's about your size," Daylon asked.
"That's fine, I really don't care. I'm hungry enough to eat a horse; can we grab something to eat, too? I don't think I can wait."
"Load up everyone," Daylon said, the decision made. "My mate wants to eat, so get a move on."
The rest of the warriors returned to their vehicles'. Shaking his head, Sam walked to the driver side of the third Escalade. Maybe because he was older-his family was grown and gone-he understood the hidden message in Ivy's words. He hoped that Daylon didn't get upset when he realized how bad Ivy's life was up to now.
* * * *
"There's a service station about five miles down the road on the left. An older human couple runs it, and they're really sweet. They make a chicken salad sandwich that's to die for. Could we stop there?" Ivy asked once everyone was settled.
Holland drove and another warrior sat in the passenger seat. Daylon and Ivy were in the middle seat. One of the warriors hunted around in the back until he found a blanket that Daylon folded up and used for a pillow. Ivy curled up on the seat, and rested her head in his lap while they drove.
"No problem," Daylon said. "Anything else? What do you want to drink?"
"Just some chips and a Dr. Pepper," Ivy replied. "Daylon? Tell me about yourself."
Daylon ran his fingers through her long, soft hair. "Well, let's see. I'm twenty-seven, and yeah, I know that's young to be Alpha. My dad, Rigor, stepped down five years and I took over. He became an Elder, and he and the other four Elders helped me for the first couple of years while I learned the ropes. Our pack was strong under his leadership, but I moved us into the technical age."
"No, just me. And I'm close to both my mom and dad. Kiara is my mom's name, and she's going to go nuts over you, sweetheart. She's been complaining for years that she was outnumbered by us males. And believe me, she's been known to tell my dad what's what, too. God, she's a hoot."
"Your dad is okay with that?" Ivy asked, surprised.
"Ivy, not every pack is run like yours. The males of my pack are confident in their masculinity. Having our mates tell us that we're..."
"Acting like a blockhead," Holland said from up front. "Heard that many times out of his mother's mouth. It's aimed at Daylon as much as it's aimed at Rigor."
"Rigor is my dad. Mom doesn't pull her punches. Holland has been on the receiving end of Mom's sharp tongue, too. Don't let him fool you."
"Oh yeah, she's got me a few times," Holland said. "Hey, we're here. Daylon, do you want me to run in and get the stuff so you can stay with Ivy? Is that okay?"
"Yes, go ahead."
In a few minutes Holland returned. Ivy ate, wondering why Holland asked Daylon if it was okay for him to get her food. Lying her head down once more in Daylon's lap she drifted off to sleep from the gentle motion of the vehicle.
"I hope she sleeps the rest of the way," Daylon said when he felt her breathing level out. "She's so tired, and man, she looks so frail."