Hey, avid readers that aren't really that avid! Here's the last, final, ultimate chapter. =claps happily=

DISCLAIMER: No. No, I don't. You know what I'm on about.

Epilogue

During all of this, Ivy had still been nagging at the back of Chicory's mind.

"Where's Ivy?" she burst out suddenly, causing everyone to stare at her in mild surprise. Only vaguely did Chicory notice that once, this would have made her exceedingly embarrassed.

Chance flicked her tail. "They took him back there and gave him a shot of something-"

"They shot him?"

"No, no!" Chance assured her quickly. "They just gave him a quick injection. To help him. They always do that, and the cats always get bet-"

"Where in the name of all the stars am I?" A yowl, loud, confused, and angry, rose from somewhere.

Pine squeezed his eyes shut and winced. "I think he's awake," he muttered unhelpfully.

Flashing him an annoyed look, Chicory twitched her ears and pinpointed the source of the howl before setting off towards it. She could hear the medicine-Twoleg - the vet - behind her. His steps were heavy, but he didn't seem at all panicked by the fact that Ivy had woken up.

"Ivy!" the pale-striped she-cat gasped, spotting the tortoiseshell lying in an ungainly heap atop a raised, bright white surface.

At once, Ivy raised his head. "Chic?" he meowed, sounding a lot happier. His mew was a little throatier than usual, but Chicory was delighted that he was alive. She bounded up onto the white surface and buried her nose in his fur.

He was purring. Chicory could tell, at once, that he was loving every moment, but for once she didn't care. Ivy was alive, and that was all that mattered.

A loud, significant cough behind them broke the moment. Chicory swiftly withdrew her nose from Ivy's pelt and stepped back a few paces, her face flooding with heat.

"Um, Chicory? Save it for when you're in private, please," mewed Pine loftily, obviously the cougher.

With a slightly wistful sigh, Ivy grumbled, "This was private 'til you lot barged in."

Trying not to imagine why that sigh had come into existence, Chicory flicked Ivy's muzzle with her tail. "Stop it," she scolded, but her tone was tinted with amusement.

The medicine-Twoleg had also entered the room, which Chicory had missed. His mouth pulled up at the corners, he walked quietly - by Twoleg standards - over to Ivy and Chicory and gently lifted Ivy up.

Ivy looked confused, but Chance quickly mewed, "Don't worry - they won't hurt you." When Ivy gave her a disbelieving glance, she went on, "It's all part of your treatment. I promise."

In badly-covered alarm, Ivy gazed around at everyone in turn. His eyes rested on Chicory for a heartbeat before the Twoleg started to move. The heartbeat he was nearly out of the sector of the nest, Ivy yowled at her in what seemed to be a spontaneous manner.

"Be my mate, Chic!"

###

"Are you two going to act like a couple now? Oh, yuck, yuck, yuck."

"We didn't ask you to be here, you know. You could just as easily have gone home."

"Oh - no! You know I'd never have done that!"

"I guess I shouldn't have got my hopes up."

"Aww, be nice, Ivy."

It was sundown. Ivy, Chicory, and Snapdragon were indulging in an activity that could only be called den-hunting. So far, however, they had found nothing close to Pine's new Twolegs that could have been described as 'homely'.

Pine had insisted that Chicory leave Chrysanthemum with the Twolegs, where she was. She seemed happy there, he reasoned, and they could keep an eye on her from that nest. Chicory had agreed, but she had thought it was strange that Pine had seemed so eager to share quarters with Chrys - at points, he had seemed inclined towards getting rid of the Twoleg kit. He almost seemed to be trying to make up for something... but what?

There was no use fretting about it, Chicory reasoned. All she wanted now was to enjoy her new life with Ivy, and now, apparently, Snapdragon. The ginger kit had insisted on coming to live with them, not that Ivy had been impressed.

"How are you feeling?" Chicory breathed into her new mate's ear, ruffling the downy fur there.

Ivy twitched his ears. "As long as I'm with you, my Chic, I feel the best," he purred.

Idly, Chicory realised that she wasn't feeling the regular swell of embarrassment that would have come with a comment like that.

"Oh, shut up, you stupid furball," the white she-cat mewed affectionately instead, twining her tail with Ivy's.

Snapdragon wrinkled his nose.

"Yuck!"