11. A Bitter Farewell

11. A Bitter Farewell

A Chapter by Lynaelee

POV Change (continued from previous chapter)

When the sun peeks over the horizon, into his eyes, Buck opens them slowly and glares at the rising ball of light. He looks down at the two sleeping women beside him and sighs. Carefully, he taps Mabel's shoulder with his paw. "Go away," she grumbles and rolls into Clara. Buck smirks and swats her again. "Ugh!" Mabel rolls to her back and looks up at him. "I'm up, Uncle Buck. Hey! You're still a cat. I thought you wanted more time with her. Taking her down the hill in your human form will take longer." Buck grins as he shifts back into his human form. Immediately he shivers as the cool air surrounds them. He pulls Clara closer in hopes that the brisk air won't reach her.

"That may be true, little one. However, I can't carry her as long. Not to mention, we are both without clothes," he murmurs.

"So take her pants. The shirt covers her up. I have this blanket. We'll be covered," Mabel counters.

"You've been a beaver too long, little one," Buck teases as he pulls her hair gently. "You've forgotten all of society's rules. How will Clara feel if she wakes up?"

"Hopefully excited to be in such a great guy's arms," she teases as she sits up with a yawn. 
"It's not the way it works, Mabel," he rebukes kindly. "Besides, it's chilly this morning. The pants will keep her warmer."
"Okay. Do you want elk, wolves, or should I see if there's any more mountain lions in the area?"

"For what?"

"For carrying us down so you can keep holding her. Duh," she giggles. Buck shakes his head, traces Clara's face, and tucks her hair behind her ear.

"No, Mabel. I'll carry you both down in my other form. Does this cool air bother you?"
"No, silly! I like it when it's colder," Mabel giggles. Buck grins.
"Okay then so you'll be plenty warm without the blanket?" He inquires. Mabel nods with a grin. "Good. Let's use it like a cradle. We'll put her in it and tie it around me. I won't run, so I can still take my time and be with her a bit longer. We just have to have her back by the time the sun sets. So what do you say, kiddo? Wanna piggyback ride?"

"Sure!" Mabel giggles as she stands up and lays her blanket down. Buck moves Clara towards the middle of the blanket and looks up at Mabel. Her eyes sparkle as she meets his eyes. "You really like her. She's pretty, huh?"

"Tie it tightly. The closer she is to my body, the easier I can move," he orders with a small shake of his head. He moves to lay down on top of Clara but holds his breath as he freezes and looks at her parted lips and at the hair framing her face. "Kitten, I'm going to be as close to you as possible without actually touching you. I hope it doesn't cause problems. And Mabel is right, you're pretty and I want nothing more than to be able to tell you that often," he thinks as he imagines pressing his lips against hers and stopping the flow of sass that may come out. He pants as the imagery becomes more vivid and wishes it were true.

"Scared, Buck?" Mabel teases, shaking him from his daydream. Buck smirks at her and lowers himself down, propped up on his toes and forearms. "How do you want me to do this?" Mabel asks sincerely. Buck traces his nose down Clara's jaw and feels his heart getting stuck in his throat.

"Around the waist, above the hips. Then one corner over my shoulder, the other under the other side. Keep the knots of my spine and leave very little slack," he orders softly. He begins to pant heavily again as he feels Clara's breath on his face. He looks back at her and smiles as he lowers his head slightly; their lips are just about to touch. Buck knows it is definitely a temptation he wants to taste as his breaths become more shallow and his heart beats faster. "Make it quick, little one, or I'm going to see if I can wake her up," he murmurs softly, making his top lip brush against Clara's bottom lip. Mabel secures the first knot and sits beside him with a wide grin. Buck looks at her with a small glare. She giggles and shrugs her shoulders. 
"Kiss her. You want to; I know it. You might like it. Kiss her!"
"I can't, Mabel. It would be considered immoral of me."

"That's okay. I like her; you do too. If you wake her up, she'll remember us," Mabel retorts in a sing-song voice. Buck sighs and closes his eyes as he faces Clara again. He shouldn't like her; he knows this. However, she pulled him in with her defiance and all he could do now was think of her.

"Tie the knot, little one. We have to get going. Don't be trying to cause trouble. You don't want Laurence cross with you," he replies.

"Fine," the little girl pouts and stands up again. When he feels the second knot is secured, he shifts back into the form that leaves him feeling free. After flexing all his muscles and jumping around a little, he looks over at Mabel and purrs; something that a wild mountain lion cannot do. "Did I do good? Clara is secure and won't get bumped?" Mabel asks cautiously. Buck nuzzles her chin and crouches down so the child can get on. Buck believes both of those questions had the same answer: definitely. Mabel eagerly climbs on and holds onto the tie around his shoulders. "Let's go, Uncle Buck. I'm ready. I'll get us some food along the way," the little girl insists as Buck starts going down the mountain, knowing he can turn a two day trek for a human into less than a half day, but as Talon suggested, he takes his time down the mountain, feeling Clara breathe against him. She doesn't stir or flinch, but he still makes sure he doesn't jostle her too much. He listens as Mabel points out different types of birds as they bring her seeds and berries. 

As he passes the blackberry bush he forced Clara to sleep under, he stops. After making her lay on the ground, he shakes his back and Mabel unties him. He nuzzles the top of the child's head as she kneels beside him. "My turn to eat a full meal, little one. The seeds just weren't enough for me; I'm sorry. Keep her safe. I'll be back soon," he thinks. Mabel wraps her arms around his neck.

"Love you too, Uncle Buck. Leave my bunny friends alone. They're in the field over there," she whispers. Buck shakes his head; he was planning on fishing since that was one meat he didn't actually mind raw. He just didn't want Clara to lay on the sharp, hard, cold rocks by the water. Mabel kisses his chin and pulls back. "We'll be good here. I won't leave and she's sleeping still so she can't leave either." Buck smirks and turns around, making his way down to the water. Now that he didn't have to be cautious, he uses his muscles to the fullest. He doesn't hold back as he speeds down the hill, nor does he avoid going over a rock for fear of bumping or scratching Clara. He twists and turns sharply as he plays along the water. When he feels like he has stretched everything, he catches three fish and eats them on the shore before making his way back up to the girls. "Is she going to be okay?" Mabel asks as he rounds the corner. Buck nuzzles the still sleeping woman and nods as he shifts back into his human form.

"I think she'll be just fine. I'm certain she got hit on the head a few times as the cage tumbled down the mountain and she definitely lost a lot of blood. It's good that she's sleeping so much right now. Come on. Your mom would like it if you stretched and played some. If we follow the stream down, we will be able to make our way to the lake she lives close to and you can swim as much as you would like," he murmurs affectionately. "Just help me make sure Clara stays on my back. So what's with all this Uncle Buck stuff?" He inquires as he lifts Clara up and drapes her over his shoulders.

"You said Mama was like a sister. That makes you her brother, my uncle. Trust me. This would be weird if I was to be walking through the woods with a random man, but if he's my uncle, it's less weird or something," Mabel explains as she leads the way back to the water. Buck grins and nods in agreement.

"Only out here, little one. Where no one else can see us. I'll be your uncle always if you want. Just don't get into the habit of walking around in the buff," he warns as Mabel steps into the water.

"You got it. Will you come visit me and Mama?"

"You bet; you two are family. Shift, little one. We got to keep moving forward. Use all your little muscles and swim until you're tired," he orders as he shifts back himself, making sure Clara stays in the middle of his back. He walks close to the shore, and wades out only to swat at Mabel playfully as she splashes by him. He never crosses more than a third of the stream where the water doesn't touch his belly, but he delights watching Mabel splash around and swim back and forth in front of him. He knows that if he were to go out there to the middle where Mabel swims, he wouldn't be able to touch the bottom. He splashes her as she swims by and she looks up at him. He playfully crouches down some. Mabel chatters excitedly as she takes off down the stream. Buck chases after her at a reserved pace to keep Clara on his back.

As they near the opening of the lake, Talon flies above them. "That was a quick journey; you made it down here before tea time," she remarks. Buck looks up.

"Clara has been moving around a little more often. Figured we should get her back before she wakes up. So I made a game out of coming down here with Mabel. She doesn't know anything is wrong. I want to keep it that way. As for Clara, I don't want to let her go," he states glumly. "I'll walk around the lake with her instead of swimming across. I think the cool water will wake her if she doesn't come out of it herself. She needs a doctor. I did what I could, but I'm not sure."

"Fair enough and wise call on the lake. Waking up Clara now is not an option. I'll let Mabel into our conversation in a minute. Your head is full of how badly you just want to kiss her, well more than just that. Thank you. Much better. Mabel, don't splash Clara. It's time to settle down just for a moment. So Clara's town is in tact. Laurence and I walked among the locals to figure out what happened. They chased the hellhounds away with torches and killed two. Thankfully, no one was injured. They are too scared to see if the hellhounds got Clara or not. Her home on the other hand, it needed some work. Those beasts destroyed it, because I doubt Clara would leave it in such disarray. She must have been up here harvesting some berries because there's a whole mess down below next to her basket and a petticoat. We can make that work for us," Talon explains as she perches on a tree in the line of sight of the other shapeshifters.

"But, Mama! We can't leave her there! You said the locals were afraid of looking for her," Mabel protests.

"I know. Which is why Laurence is working on the town folk now. The doctor and his son will find her as they are collecting supplies from that meadow. Buck, Laurence doesn't want you to go into town at all. You can take her down the path, but that is it. You can see her home from there, but that's as close as you can go," Talon states. Buck snarls as he gently puts Clara down. He paces angrily on the shore trying to figure out a way around this.

"That doesn't ensure her safety!" He snaps. "I could put her in her own bed. I can make sure her doors are locked, that her home is safe. No magic. Not there! They could kill her for it."

"We didn't use magic to fix her home," Laurence pipes up inside all their minds. "But I had to erase any trace of it, including the mess the hellhounds made. You will find a change of clothes for her at the midway point. It would be wise of you to wear the clothes she is currently wearing as you bring her down, lest you be seen. Two hours tops, Mr. Lion. Make your good-bye short." Buck snarls again and Mabel looks at her mom with wide eyes. She waddles over to Clara and nuzzles her cheek.
"Laurence is out, just for right now. I'll put him back in in a minute," Talon warns.

"I don't wanna say good-bye to Clara. She is my friend," her mind cries as the small beaver washes away some of the blood on Clara's temple. Talon comes up beside her and pushes her gently.

"Come along, my dear. Let's leave Buck alone. You're washing away the evidence that will show Clara took a terrible tumble. Buck, Mabel is disconnected right now too. You are still connected to me and will be connected to Laurence in a minute. I don't care if he disputes it, but I'm going to disconnect you completely in your human form. There will be no eavesdropping from anyone. I hope you can say what's really on your mind. Even more so, I hope Clara can hear it somehow. You'll be alone only in human form," Talon promises as she looks at Buck sympathetically. He nods and moves back to Clara with a sigh. Talon squawks, signalling that everyone is connected telepathically again. "Want help or are you changing now?"

"I'll carry her on my back until I get to the path. Then I'll change," he replies harshly. Talon blinks in understanding as she flies over to him and transforms mid-air, landing gracefully beside Clara. With some help from Mabel -still in beaver form- they get Clara back on Buck's back. Talon unties the fabric around her waist and ties it around her arms as they make her hold onto Buck's neck. "Let's get you home, kitten," he thinks as he runs his tongue down her arm. Talon scratches between his ears and looks at him sadly.

"Mabel, show me what a strong of a swimmer you have become," she orders out loud as she chases her daughter into the lake. Buck slowly makes his way around the lake, and at the last minute takes off towards the barley field. There, he collects the shoes Clara left behind and carries them in his mouth. Once he gets back to the path, he shifts back into a human and cradles her tightly in his arms. Her shoes he rests on her stomach.

"Not once did you complain about not having shoes on, kitten. I would have thought for sure you would have said something after that first day. The sharp rocks and uneven ground didn't bother you. You were hurt, but you didn't take advantage of riding me to ease your discomfort. You could have, but you are very stubborn and wanted to do this on your own. I actually didn't mind walking slowly for a change. We never would have seen the honey if you didn't do your own thing; not to mention not one hellhound took that path. It's a wonder they didn't follow you up here. Maybe we should have made camp in a cave by the water; chances are, you would have been much safer. I don't know for sure though. You snuck up on me; not many things -people or animals- can do that," he murmurs as looks at her tenderly and makes his way down the path at a leisurely stroll. He looks up when he should be approaching the tree she flung herself around on the first night, wondering how he can get her around it without jostling her. A large arch had been carved into it and the tree looked ready to decay and fall apart now. He chuckles softly as he studies it.

"No wonder it took so long for them to chase you the first night; they did this the hard way. I would have just cut it down. We'll have have to make it look like it fell over naturally," he breathes as he sets her down and picks up the dress that was waiting for her. He taps the rock face beside him and smirks. "Pure granite. Maybe that's why they didn't dig, kitten. The top of the mountain is shale, and softer and easier to break apart than this," he muses as he looks back at the unconscious woman in front of him. He sighs and quickly undresses her, trying not to make his gaze linger. He is pleased to see that the burn on her chest is practically non-existent and that her shoulder would have almost no scar. He's pleased to see that she isn't suffering from internal bleeding either. He threads her head and arms through the dress and grins. "Talon did a great job making you look like you took a nasty fall!" He praises as he strokes the fabric identical to the dress she was wearing before. A cut in the fabric of the shoulder right where she was pinned with the knife stands out. Buck sighs and picks up a rock and slices her skin some so the injury looks a little more believable. "Sorry, kitten," he whispers as he drops the rock and blood begins to pool on her shoulder again. "You won't bleed out, and it's shallow. I just have to resist making it stop. I don't like seeing you hurt. You have plenty of bruises which will give the illusion that you really did topple down the mountain," he whispers as he strokes her jaw. Clara moans and shifts her head. "Hold still, kitten," Buck pleads as he holds her steady and straddles her hips until she stops moving all together. Then he threads the pants off her and puts them on himself. He picks up some dirt and rubs it on her face, next to the injury on her forehead. Nodding in approval, he moves down her body, carefully prodding down her arms for any sprains or tears he may have missed. Then he checks her legs. Again, he finds nothing and he lets out a sigh of relief He rips the bottom part of her dress to make it look like it was stepped on or snagged by something. Then he unwraps her ankle knowing she may not have a plausible excuse as to why she twisted it to start off with. He groans as he studies her swollen ankle and the bruise that climbs up her calf. "Good news, you didn't break it. Bad news, you'll have to try and stay off it for approximately two weeks now. I hope that your town doctor can find you some crutches or something. I hope it won't take away from your work load either. However, you are a determined girl and I know you can handle this. Just stay safe, kitten." Finally, he puts the shirt on, collects her shoes, and cradles her in his arms again. "Remember me. Come find me," he pleads softly as he kisses her forehead and holds her tight. With a heavy heart, he stands up, sighs, and takes the rest of the path in silence. Clara shifts and moans in her sleep again and Buck has no choice but to run. Laurence is waiting at the bottom of the hill, tapping his foot anxiously.

"Cutting it close. We have ten minutes to arrange her and get out of sight. Lay her there," he orders as he points to how he wants her sprawled out. Buck follows directions silently. Then he rubs some more dirt around the cut on her forehead to make it a little more believable, since it did look like it was cleaned and like someone took care of her. He takes some of the wet blood off her shoulder and drips it on her head. Laurence waves his hand and the blood clots and dries, making it look like it was there for a few days. Then tucks some over ripened blueberries around her and throws her shoes next to the basket to make it look like she was carrying them instead of wearing them. "That is all, Mr. Lion. Thank you," Laurence remarks. Buck pauses and looks at Clara again. "Get!" Laurence barks. Buck nods and goes back up the path. He finds the place that she hit her head the first time coming up the hill when he first met her. He makes the blood spot a little bigger so it looks like she stumbled here. He places a shred of her dress on a rock, hanging over the cliff and runs up again. He pauses at the tree arch and looks towards the town. From here, he can see the doctor and his son making their way through the meadow.

"Take care of her," he pleads softly as he wipes away a tear and hides in the tree; he can't be seen. He stays there until he sees them carry her back to town, then he takes care of the tree, making it topple over the cliffside and take part of the path with it so it looks natural. Then he sprints up the path. At the top, Talon and Mabel wait in their human forms, fully clothed. Both embrace him, and the three of them fall to their knees and weep.

"What's with the crying?" Laurence demands as he huffs up the hill. "This is for the best. Good work on the accident scene, Mr. Lion. You did well. Go home. I don't want to see any of you in this area. Ladies, your feelings for her will disappear in three months. Mr. Lion, six months. You'll forget all about her and you can move on. As a family; just the three of you. That's all you will ever need."

"I don't wanna forget Clara. I like her," Mabel cries. 

"Magic and non-magic beings cannot be together," Laurence snaps.

"You're right, Laurence. We will forget her," Buck remarks as he makes eye contact with Talon. She nods subtly -saying she'll disconnect everyone but the two of them- and looks down at her daughter who gives Buck a confused look. She turns into her mother and weeps. "We can grow as a family. I will have all I need," Buck remarks and meets Laurence's eye as he mentally adds, "my sister and my niece. Notice how you aren't a part of that family. Clara - can be; I want that."

"All we need," Talon corrects out loud. "Take your time to heal. That girl messed with your emotions all because she needed to be saved. We'll be waiting." She leans over and kisses his cheek as she adds mentally, "always waiting and supporting you, brother. I don't want you for a mate; my Ricardo may yet come home. His body was never found. I have to believe he's still out there. Buck, I have you as a brother and that's good enough for me. I have never looked at you in another light, even if we both have been fully exposed to the other. I will protect this secret too. I can see how much she means to you. I'm locked into her mind. Eventually I'll need to know why if I am made to forget. A matchmaker he is not. We can overcome his mind magic. We won't forget the girl who accepted us so willingly. You need her." Buck pulls her in for a warm embrace and looks back at Laurence.

"Don't need us for your own vendetta again. The hellhounds are defeated. We broke the prophesy. We are through. Take away the nightmare of Mabel having to be inside their minds, but let us remember that we stopped them," Buck demands. Laurence nods.

"We are through. I'm not sure there's much use for us any more. My magic has started to work in your minds. Since you are not as pliable as a true human, forgetting will take time. You will remember defeating the hellhounds on the blood moon, but the cursed men, Clara, and the demon lord will be forgotten in due time. You are banned from this land. I can do that now," he confirms. Buck snarls as he shifts into a mountain lion, shredding the clothes he was wearing, and takes off up the hill, not looking back or giving Laurence the chance to use his magic against him. His home is three ridges over then exactly twenty-two miles away from the base of the mountain, but it's the last place he wants to go. He ducks into the enemy camp, tears it apart, and finds a picture that was drawn of Clara next to a younger looking woman that resembles her too, but there are subtle differences too. The shape of the eyes, the roundness of the cheeks and the hairline are roughly the same, but Clara's nose is thinner, her lips are plumper, and overall her face looks leaner. The second woman has a small but noticeable mole by the corner of her eye. Buck can see where Clara got her beauty from. If he didn't know better, he would think they were the same person. Buck collects it and takes it to the cave where he truly held her in his arms for the first time. He shifts into his vulnerable form, holds onto the dress they left behind, and studies the picture closely.

"Clara Hatten, I will see you again. You snuck up on me and that can't be forgotten. I will find a way to remember. But first, I'm going to find a way to preserve this picture. Laurence may have magic that can make me forget, but he can't read my mind. Luckily, he can't access this cave easily either. Thank you, Miguel. Thank you for your sacrifice. Isidora, please don't let me forget your daughter. Your husband said you were a protector. Protect this memory," he whispers into the empty air, trying to remain hopeful.

© 2017 Lynaelee

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Added on August 8, 2017
Last Updated on November 22, 2017



Sometimes I feel like I need an outlet to express myself. I have never been good with verbal communication, but I have always found an out in writing. I hurt. I bleed. I make mistakes. I cry. Yes,.. more..

If only If only

A Book by Lynaelee

1. *Prologue* 1. *Prologue*

A Chapter by Lynaelee