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Series 8 Episode 2
"Fire Alarm"

Another coach journey over. Josh was exhausted – he hadn’t slept properly in days. All he wanted to do was get as far away from Crystalshaw as possible. A few coach journeys had landed him in Wayhurst, several hours away from Crystalshaw, where nobody would find him. All he had to do was keep his head down.

There was no way he could face seeing his friends. He wasn’t a hero. He thought he was being brave, saving those he held dearest, but he ended up on the wrong side of a war. He should have saved Dylan. It shouldn’t have gotten that far.

Josh didn’t deserve the love of Ed and Caroline. One day, they would move on and forget the disappointment he was. They were better without him, as was Yasmin. He treated her like dirt when she deserved a prince.

Walking through the streets of Wayhurst, it seemed like a nice place. Josh saw neatly mowed lawns, kids playing soccer outside, and smiles all around. Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to settle here?

Suddenly, Josh tripped. He wasn’t looking where he was going and had collided with a skateboarder.

“Watch it, dumbass,” the girl yelled, “What the fuck?”

“I’m sorry,” Josh sheepishly replied. So much for a friendly neighbourhood.

“You will be,” she hissed.

“Move on,” a voice commanded from behind Josh. A voice he recognised. How, though? He was so far away from home.

Sure enough, Josh turned around to see Drew. He was glowing his eyes, threatening the girl. Without any argument, she scarpered.

“What are you doing here?” Drew immediately questioned, skipping the small talk. He hadn’t changed.

“Dylan’s dead,” Josh uttered those horrible words. Drew stared back in disbelief. Clearly, they had a lot of catching up to do.

Sprinting out of the school gates, Freddie desperately scanned the road. Left and right brought similarly bad luck. Josh had scarpered, but he couldn’t have gone far. Instead, Freddie paid attention to his nose. He knew Josh’s scent better than most, especially after the many search parties he’d participated in.

In a way, Freddie felt a slight relief. This was the first time he’d seen Josh since the explosion. It was good to know he was alive, but Freddie needed more. Josh was his friend, and they were all going through it. He had a support network ready and waiting.

“Where did he go?” Sammi questioned, her and Yasmin catching him up.

“This way,” Freddie identified. The scent trail was recent, so it was clear. Freddie led them left, keeping Josh’s scent at the forefront of his mind. Concentration was key.

Quickly, though, the scent petered out. Freddie immediately noted the house they were stood by. After all, that was the short walk he used to do at the end of every school day. It was his old house. The place he grew up in. His home for his whole life, until a few months ago.

“Oh boy,” Freddie took a deep breath. The scent definitely led there, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to face the house again. Caroline’s house was so homely, but he missed his own home so much.

“Are you okay? You don’t have to go in,” Sammi soothed. Freddie smiled. Though he had been strong for her so many times, she occasionally took the reins to help him out. She was the best.

“Yeah, I do. Josh needs me,” Freddie replied. This wasn’t about him. Besides, he wasn’t sure he was the one who needed the most support. Yasmin hadn’t said a word. In fact, she hadn’t discussed Josh at all, with anyone, at any point, “We got this.”

Tears formed in Yasmin’s eyes. Freddie knew she had put this off for a long time. This was hard for all of them. After all, they were still teenagers in high school, yet they’d seen things that were heavier than most adults would ever experience.

“I got you,” Freddie pulled her in for a tight hug, “Do you want to stay outside?”

“No,” Yasmin wiped her tears, “Like you said.”

United, they approached the front door. Freddie no longer owned a key, so he had to do it the old-fashioned way. Three knocks on the door. No answer.

“Josh, come on, it’s me,” Freddie pleaded. Still nothing. Josh really didn’t want to be found. Freddie needed a better tactic. One that gave Josh what he wanted.

“I forgive you,” Freddie called out. The lock on the door clicked open instantly, revealing a frail-looking Josh inside. They locked eyes for the first time in months. Instantly, Josh broke down in tears, collapsing into Freddie’s arms. It was good to have him back, but they had a lot to talk about.

Another set of tests done; Dylan was relieved. His day of being poked and prodded was over, not that he could let his hair down. He was only one sleep away from the process restarting. The nurse tidied herself up again and prepared to leave.

“What the heck was that?” Liam called over from the adjacent room. Dylan had persuaded him to co-operate – they were in no immediate danger, and it wasn’t worth resisting. Jeremy had told him about how they tamed him on day one – tasers weren’t used conservatively around there.

“You’ll find out soon enough, Mr. Dunbar,” the nurse replied. She turned to Dylan again, “I’ve been thinking about what you said, about your birthday.” Dylan’s ears picked up. He didn’t want to get his hopes up, but this sounded vaguely promising.

“I found this,” she slid a blank key card to him, “It works, I’ve tested it. You’re sweet, Dylan. Get your friends out tonight. Turn right here and head out the back, then keep running.”

Dylan was amazed. Was this a trap? It seemed too good to be true, but surely it wasn’t. The nurse had been so nice to him. She was the only person in that place that seemed to have a heart.

“What’s changed?” Dylan wondered.

“You’re better off not knowing,” the nurse diverted, “Hide the card and wait until lights are out tonight.”

Dylan nodded. He felt a fire lit inside him for the first time in months. There was hope all of a sudden. He slid the card into the white jogging trousers he had been given for night-time.

“What was that about?” Jeremy enquired.

“A way out,” Dylan informed, “Act normal. We can’t let them think anything’s up.” Dylan knew they could talk freely – the security cameras couldn’t have had microphones. He’d sussed that out when the nurse asked how Dylan and Jeremy knew each other, as if Jono and Sammi hadn’t been all they’d talked about most days.

“Scott said you were good,” Liam smiled, “He was right.”

“How long have you known Scott?” Dylan questioned. In calming Liam down, they had missed their chance to get to know each other. Now they had some time to kill.

“Since sophomore year,” Liam replied, “We were on the lacrosse team together. He bit me that same day.”

“This Scott sounds ruthless,” Jeremy commented. Dylan forgot that he had never met Scott – hopefully that would change one day.

“Yeah, at times, but he bit me to save me. That’s what he’s all about. I would have died without him,” Liam explained.

“Like me with Jono,” Dylan pondered. He thought back to the toughest decision he had to make. Jono on that hospital bed was a horrible sight.

“You miss him, huh?” Liam cottoned on, “I get it. I’ve only been here a few hours and I really miss Nolan.”

“Is he a werewolf?” Dylan wondered. He’d never heard of Nolan, but Liam’s face brightened up every time he mentioned his name.

“No, that’s a long story though,” Liam chuckled.

“We’ll help you find him,” Dylan assured. He truly meant that – he knew how it felt to be apart from the one he held dearest.

“I’ve never had a girlfriend,” Jeremy spoke up. Dylan felt so incredibly sad whenever Jeremy opened up about his past – David was beyond cruel to keep him locked away. He deserved a better start to life.

“Your dream girl is out there, Jeremy,” Dylan encouraged. Jeremy was so sweet, he only deserved the best, “Tonight, we’ll be out there too. Just wait.”

Dylan smiled at both boys. This escape plan had to work. He couldn’t spend any longer away from Jono.

The arrival of Nolan had sent Jono’s mind spinning. He had learnt how to put on a brave face at school – life really did have to go on, whether Dylan was there or not. However, whoever this Nolan guy was, he was expecting Dylan. The alpha. Jono couldn’t be that – he had no alpha now, but he seemed to be the next best thing.

Jono ushered Nolan to his car. They had to get away from Oscar’s ears – this was bound to be werewolf-related, and Jono wasn’t letting him hear their truths. Brett joined in the backseat – it was good to know he wasn’t tackling this alone.

“I’m sorry, I just need help so badly. It’s an emergency,” Nolan flustered in the passenger seat.

“It’s okay, we want to help you, but you need to tell us everything. Please,” Jono requested. Step one: be the journalist. Find out the facts from his primary witness.

“Liam and I were on our way home from college for a week off. We pass through Crystalshaw each time,” Nolan explained. His face displayed just how hard his brain was working to figure out the sequence of events.

“Who’s Liam?” Brett jumped in with just the right question.

“My boyfriend. Scott’s his alpha, I’m just human,” Nolan clarified, “We got jumped just out of town. They took him.”

“Who did? Who took him?” Jono continued probing. This was the most vital part.

“The Lunar Sanctum,” Nolan replied. Jono’s stomach dropped. He had heard that name before. They owned the warehouse. He had no idea they were still operational, considering the abandoned state of that place.

“Do you know who they are?” Jono queried.

“Not really, we were following a couple of leads,” Nolan answered. He didn’t make eye contact with Jono at any point. He seemed so nervous and timid.

“Show us where it happened,” Jono started the car up, “Brett, call Ed. I think we may need some back-up.”

Jono knew he was channelling Dylan. He wouldn’t have given up on Liam and Nolan, so neither would Jono.

Josh’s contact with Drew since he left Crystalshaw had been minimal. Drew was never one for chit-chat, which made staying in touch pretty tough. Josh had no idea where Drew had even settled, if anywhere. Bumping into him in Wayhurst was a pretty big coincidence.

Waiting for the right moment to ask the many questions on his mind, Josh followed Drew back out of town. Drew undoubtedly had many questions too, but sensibly, he wasn’t going to ask them in public. Josh trusted his instinct – he didn’t know the area like Drew clearly did.

Drew led him to a small bungalow on the outskirts of town. On the outside, it looked unimpressive and unremarkable. Just another typical house. Just the intention, Josh assumed. The inside was cosy, furnished stylishly, though little on space. How this was the home of five people, Josh couldn’t imagine, though he supposed only three bedrooms were needed.

“Hey Josh,” a delightfully familiar voice sounded. It was the chirpy tone of Noah. If there was anyone else who had been through a lot, it was Noah, and he’d come out the other end in brilliant fashion.

“I didn’t know we were expecting visitors,” a less welcoming Monty mentioned.

“Hey, shut it,” Allyn immediately defended, “Hey Josh, welcome. What brings you here?”

“Oh my god, you’re bleeding,” Kamilah spotted, giving Josh the chance to swerve discussion for a little longer. Josh had hurt himself from the shock of the explosion. For some reason, the cuts on his face hadn’t yet healed. Kamilah dabbed a cloth against it, cleaning the wounds.

“I’m fine,” Josh insisted.

“What’s going on?” Drew impatiently demanded. Of course, he knew that extra crucial fact that the others were yet to find out.

“You were right. David arrived, and he wanted a pack,” Josh recalled, “I did bad stuff, Drew. I joined him, to save Yasmin and Freddie, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted everyone, so…”

Josh stopped. He hated thinking about what happened, even if his mind hadn’t allowed thoughts about anything else.

“…so, Dylan blew the warehouse up, with David inside. Dylan’s dead,” Josh uttered those dreadful words again.

“And you’re here?” Allyn was confused.

“I can’t face them. Caroline, Ed, Jono. I can’t do it,” Josh tried to justify, “I should have done more.”

“Look,” Drew sat down on the small couch. Josh was too anxious to sit, so he was pacing back and forth by the door, “Dylan and I disagreed on a lot, but that kid had balls. He did what he had to, and he’d do it again for you.” A surprisingly good take from Drew, who never exactly had a way with words.

“If I didn’t bite him, he’d still be alive. My bad decisions fucked him up. I don’t deserve to be a part of his family any longer,” Josh continued on his train journey of self-shame.

“Where would you be, then?” Allyn simply questioned, “Dylan forgave you when nobody else would.”

Allyn had a point. Without Dylan, Josh had no idea where he’d be. Dead, probably.

“How did you find me?” Josh changed the subject.

“Coincidence,” Drew replied, “This town has a high amount of unexplained deaths, so we set up camp. I was going to message Dylan to let him know.” Just visible, behind that tough exterior layer, was a devastated ally of Dylan’s. Drew clearly had so much respect for Dylan, “Dude, go home. Look after everyone. Please.”

Josh nodded. Perhaps they were right?

Taking deep breaths in and out, Yasmin wasn’t sure how to react to seeing Josh again. Of course, she had imagined this scenario, over and over again. Would she hug him? Would she unleash her anger at him? He almost killed her, and spoke to her just like she was a piece of gum on his shoe. Instead, though, Yasmin just stood still. She had no idea what she was supposed to feel.

Josh led them inside Freddie’s old house. It was strange to see somebody else’s family photos on display. Yasmin had spent many a night in this house, and it had an instant calming vibe, much like Freddie himself. Sammi kept close to Yasmin, sitting next to her on the couch. It was like she could mind-read. This wasn’t easy for anyone.

“Where have you been?” Freddie took the lead on the questioning, keeping his tone calm.

“Here,” Josh replied timidly, “Most of the time, anyway.”

“Why didn’t you come and see us? We needed you. I needed you,” Freddie continued. Sammi gently placed her hand on Yasmin’s. The support was very much appreciated.

“Because I couldn’t. I was going to come back, but I’m a chicken,” Josh confessed.

“So ignoring us is better?” Yasmin hit out. She had no intentions of holding back.

“No,” Josh replied, more confidently, “I’m embarrassed. You all deserve better than me. I’m sorry for everything I put you through. So much for trying to be the hero.”

Yasmin heard the apology, but she wasn’t ready to accept it. Josh had a long way to go before he was absolved of his sins.

“I miss him too,” Josh added.

“We all do,” Freddie concurred. Dylan was still at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and rightfully so.

“I’ve been watching you guys. From afar. I had to know you were okay,” Josh continued.

“Okay? None of us have been okay in months,” Yasmin unleashed.

“We’d have been a little closer to okay if we didn’t have to worry about you,” Sammi concurred.

“You’re still going, though. All of you. You’re so strong. I’m envious of that,” Josh explained.

“I think there’s someone else who might need you more than us, though,” Freddie mentioned.

“I can’t. I don’t deserve that,” Josh realised.

“Too right,” Yasmin agreed, “But she loves you, Josh, and she’s already lost one kid.”

Josh paused. Yasmin could see the old Josh shining through again, but it was going to take a lot more grovelling to bring him out.

It had felt like a long time coming, but the night had finally arrived. Beyond half-hourly patrols from the security guards, Dylan knew they would be left alone for the best night’s sleep possible.

So far, Jeremy and Liam had done a great job keeping the act up. Nobody else at the Lunar Sanctum could catch wind of what they were doing, because this was their only shot. If they didn’t get out, the Sanctum’s treatment of all three of them would surely get so much worse.

Dylan thought back to his first day after waking up. His chat with Mr. Leadsom on the first day. He so desperately wanted to probe him for answers. How was he so sure that Dylan wouldn’t voluntarily help out if he knew the truth? Clearly, there was something bad going on, and Dylan needed to get out. He only wished he could get out with some answers in his back pocket.

Half past eight. The security guard filtered through as always. Dylan met eyes with Liam – a knowing look that their moment was coming. Dylan had the key card ready in his pocket. He felt sick with nerves, because so much could go wrong.

The guard passed into the next corridor, to Dylan’s left. The coast was clear. Dylan nodded to Jeremy and Liam. This was it. Dylan swiped the key card and sure enough, the door clicked open. For the first time in months, Dylan stepped outside of the lab room he’d been forced to call home. It felt weird and unusual, but liberating at the same time.

Dylan swiped the key card on Jeremy and Liam’s doors too. It felt so good to hug Jeremy – going for months without physical contact was strange, but getting to know Jeremy was such a positive. After all, he was basically family – that was how he considered the Chadwicks anyway.

“Where now?” Liam questioned.

“This way,” Dylan turned to his right. A door blocked the end of the corridor, but that was easily opened once again with the key card. They really did have access all areas.

Dylan was keeping a close eye on his senses as they passed into the next corridor. The scent of coffee filled Dylan’s nostrils. It was an office area. Thankfully, he couldn’t hear any heartbeats. For now, they were safe.

Nobody dared speak a word, though. Too much noise would give the game away, and it wasn’t worth the risk. Dylan was curious, though. He so badly wanted to explore the Sanctum and gather evidence, but it wasn’t the time. They needed back-up first. Alpha or not, Dylan wasn’t sure he’d win in a fight with the Sanctum’s security – they had surely been trained in fighting werewolves.

That said, Dylan poked his head around the open door of the first office – signposted “Mr. Leadsom.” The lights were off, but the computer monitor glared brightly. Dylan couldn’t lose this opportunity to grab some dirt.

“Dude, no,” Liam whispered as Dylan proceeded into the office.

“Ten seconds,” Dylan assured. He didn’t want to take risks, but he couldn’t resist this opportunity to snoop around. On top of the desk was a USB with Leadsom’s name attached on a label. Perhaps it would be useful? Dylan grabbed it and headed back out of the office.

Now they had to find the exit.

With Nolan directing Ed to the scene of the crime in the front of the car, Brett had a rare moment alone with Jono in the back. This was a chance to ask questions while nobody else was listening. No Johnny, no Sammi, no-one.

“So, Oscar,” Brett smirked.

“No, I told you,” Jono immediately batted the topic away.

“You can’t shut romance away forever,” Brett encouraged.

“Like you did when Johnny moved away?” Jono hit out. Ouch. Things had turned surprisingly sour. Jono immediately seemed to regret it, though. The look of embarrassment on his face said it all, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

“I know,” Brett smiled, “I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have pushed you.”

“Oscar’s cute. Really cute, and he’s been the only good part of the past few months,” Jono opened up, “Maybe you’re right, but I don’t want to forget Dylan.”

“You’ll never forget him,” Brett reinforced, “But he wanted you to be happy, remember what Freddie said?”

Jono nodded. In a roundabout way, Brett’s role as cupid had seemingly worked.

“Besides,” Brett continued, “Losing Johnny ruined me. I hated myself and what I was, and it took me two years to open up. Don’t be like me.”

Jono smiled, rubbing Brett’s hand calmly. He knew the best ways of soothing people. It was clear what Dylan and Oscar both saw in him.

“Right here,” Nolan pointed, “They jumped Liam and bundled him into a van.” Nolan seemed sweet and unassuming, but his worry over Liam was clearly consuming him. Brett understood that feeling.

They pulled over at the side of the road. It was mainly empty – very little was in sight beyond barren land and speckles of grass. They were just twenty minutes out of the centre of Crystalshaw town – Brett remembered this route from the journey to the hut. He sort-of missed staying there. He and Johnny had already decided it was where they were spending their summer.

“And you were driving?” Ed clarified, trying to paint the picture.

“We stopped for a quick break. We took this,” Nolan showed them all his phone background. Sure enough, it was a selfie of him and Liam in that exact spot. Brett found it such a cute photo – it was obvious that Liam and Nolan truly cared for each other, their faces said it all.

“Hey, what’s that?” Jono pointed to the background of the photo. A building was there – the only building in the area. Brett spun around. Sure enough, there it was. It was white and looked pretty futuristic, but had no signage to identify what it was.

“Maybe there’s someone there who could help?” Brett pondered.

“Worth a shot,” Ed nodded, ducking back into the driver’s seat. Brett loved how determined they were to find Liam – nobody needed a reminder of the loss each one of them had felt.

Emotions had been running high through the entire pack for a while, and Sammi knew that better than most. She hated being miserable, but it was the only emotion she had left. Though her relationship with her dad had strained, she still had to mourn the father he used to be. Not to mention the discovery and subsequent loss of her twin brother happening in such a short space of time.

Things at home weren’t great, either. Jono had moved out, and Aunt Helen and Uncle Steve weren’t making any effort to reconcile with him or Lily. It was so sad – they clearly had no concept of how short life was. Jeremy taught them nothing.

Therefore, Sammi knew how Yasmin felt seeing Josh again for the first time. She had to face her trauma head on, and Yasmin was the best out of anyone at keeping herself bottled up. She was still doing just that, having escaped to Freddie’s old bedroom to get some space. Sammi needed to be there for Yasmin, just the way everyone had been for herself.

“Hey,” Sammi poked her head around the door. Quickly, a tearful Yasmin dried her eyes, “You don’t have to pretend around me, you know.”

“I was brought up to keep a strong face on in front of people,” Yasmin admitted, “My dad had no time for tears, and my mom, well, she wasn’t around for half of my childhood.”

“That’s wrong,” Sammi wasn’t holding back, “I think we could probably compare notes on bad fathers, but never bottle up how you feel. Let it out. Scream, shout, yell. God knows I have.”

“Josh isn’t dead, though. He’s downstairs, slotting back in as if he didn’t dump me. As if he didn’t almost kill me,” Yasmin sighed.

“I’m not saying you have to be okay with him, but he’s sorry. Don’t lose the chance to make amends, even if things won’t ever be the same as they used to be,” Sammi advised.

“You’re amazing,” Yasmin smiled at her, tears forming in her eyes, “How do you keep being you, despite everything?”

“This is the most I’ve said to anyone except Freddie in months,” Sammi shrugged, “Talking felt pointless. Small talk is a waste of time. Life’s too short.”

Yasmin pulled Sammi in for a hug. They were both sobbing like mad, but Sammi didn’t care. After all, it was so important to let loose and unleash the sadness.

Finally, they were at the fire exit. Dylan wasn’t getting excited yet, though – they still weren’t safe until they were miles away from the Lunar Sanctum. That said, he felt more and more hopeful with every step the three of them took towards the exit.

There was one slight problem, though. The fire door was locked. Dylan was sure that must have been a safety hazard, but more irritatingly, it was the only obstacle between them and the outside world. Dylan refused to be defeated at the final hurdle. He could practically feel the touch of Jono’s hand. It was spurring him on. One last glance at the eternity ring. That was the final burst of motivation that Dylan needed.

“How do we get out?” Liam panicked. He was due his tablet, and was obviously stressing like crazy.

“There must be an override,” Jeremy kept his usual calm exterior.

“God, I miss Freddie,” Dylan sighed, looking at the control panel next to the door. None of it meant anything to him.

“There’s one obvious option,” Jeremy realised.

“Hurry up, I think someone’s coming,” Liam warned, “Like, now.”

Dylan listened. He was right. The stomping of security guard boots was nearby and getting nearer still. This wasn’t on the rota. Had they been noticed?

“What is it?” Dylan frantically asked Jeremy. They needed to act immediately.

“Fire alarm. By the time they filter outside, we’ll be long gone,” Jeremy reasoned, “And they can’t outrun us.”

It was a risky plan, but Dylan knew it was the only one they had. He nodded at Jeremy, before smashing the fire alarm. Alarms instantly sounded, pulsating throughout the building. Thankfully, to Dylan’s relief, the fire door clicked open.

Dylan wasted no time in rushing outside. The waft of fresh air slapped against Dylan’s skin, in the best possible way. It was the first time he had inhaled fresh air in five months, and it was so good.

“Hey!” an angry voice yelled out from behind. The guard had caught up to them. They’d been found.

“Now,” Dylan commanded. He began to sprint, on all fours, with Jeremy and Liam following suit. The three boys powered out of the compound and onto the open road. Now Dylan could begin to calm down. Next stop: Crystalshaw.

Feelings of confusion flooded Jono’s mind as Ed’s car pulled up outside the building. Crowds of staff were gathering outside, and an alarm was sounding loudly and abrasively. It was a fire alarm. Perfect time to ask a few questions, without the risk of a door being slammed in their faces.

“I suppose there’s little point in asking you boys to stay here,” Ed sighed.

“You know us well,” Brett laughed. Jono admired Brett – he’d been the one piece of stability and normality since Dylan’s death.

All four of them approached the group of thirty-or-so workers. Some were dressed smartly in suits, others wore lab coats. Clearly, this was some sort of scientific establishment, but there was no identifying logo anywhere across the front of the building.

One nurse looked panicked. She was being held back by a guard, as if she wanted to go back in. Someone was trapped inside.

“Are you okay?” Jono approached.

“My patients are in there,” the nurse cried. Clearly, she was dedicated to her job.

“Can I help, young man?” a suited white man approached. He was tall and greying, surely in his fifties.

“Hi, I’m here with Sheriff Taylor,” Jono put on his best journalistic front, “I was wondering if you’d heard anything about a young man called Liam Dunbar.”

“And who might you be?” the man asked.

“Jono Chadwick. Please answer my question, Mr…” Jono left a gap for him to fill in his name.

“Jono,” the nurse looked horrified, as if she’d seen a ghost.

“Thank you, Nurse Carver, I’ve got this,” the man continued, leading Jono away, “I’m Mr. Leadsom, owner of this establishment. Unfortunately, I’ve not heard anything about a Liam Dunbar, but I’ll be sure to call Sheriff Taylor if I hear of anything.” Jono sighed. This was no good. Then he caught sight of Leadsom’s key card. The logo was clear – it read “Lunar Sanctum.”

In a hurry, Jono rounded the others up.

“What’s up? Did you find anything?” Nolan nervously queried.

“This is the Lunar Sanctum. This must be their base,” Jono revealed.

“We’ve got to get out of here,” Ed sensibly commanded.

“They might still have Liam in there,” Nolan protested.

“I know, but I have procedure to follow. We can get inside the correct way, to avoid ruffling feathers,” Ed reasoned. He was right – they had to do it properly.

Jono caught eyes again with Nurse Carver. She was looking at him still, as if she knew who he was. Jono was so confused, but they had no more time to ask questions. Whatever the Lunar Sanctum was, he knew it wasn’t good. They needed to get away.

Cosying up in bed, Lily was feeling unusual. Alex had just departed for his bedroom, and it felt lonely. Misha and Sindy were taking at the opposite end of the room, but Lily wasn’t in the mood. All she wanted was some alone time.

“Hey,” Sindy called over, “How was your lecture?”

“It was fine,” Lily smiled, not moving from the comfort of her own bed, “I met your brother, Misha.”

“I told him to look after Alex,” Misha smiled, “Don’t worry, he’s easy to get on with.”

“I know, he seemed nice,” Lily recalled. She wasn’t planning to mention the odd papercut moment. Hopefully Jamal wouldn’t have thought anything more of it, “Thanks.” She smiled at Misha. She seemed so nice. Lily just wasn’t ready for change. She wished Alex could still be there with her, but that wasn’t Misha’s fault.

Lily’s phone rang. Of course, it was eight o’clock. It rang at that same time every single night. Her daily phone call with Jono.

“Hey, what’s up?” Lily began, manoeuvring her body away from the other girls. This required her full attention and a little bit of privacy.

“Hey, how are you?” Jono’s voice sounded a little chirpier than usual. That was a small positive.

“I’ve been better. Alex has to sleep in his own room. I shouldn’t be so upset about that really, I know it was pushing it, but I got so used to it,” Lily opened up. She and Jono had promised to be transparent with each other at all times, so they needed to know every detail of each other’s lives.

“Aw, what? I’m sorry,” Jono understood. In fact, he knew exactly how she felt. He’d spent months now sleeping on his own. At least she had Alex only down the hallway.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get used to it. It just feels like everyone’s deserting me, one by one. George moved away, mom and dad still haven’t returned my calls, Dylan, well…” Lily tailed off, “Anyway, how was your day?”

“Um, weird,” Jono replied, “We found the Lunar Sanctum.”

“Wait, what? Where is it?” Lily was startled. That place had bad news written all over it from the little she knew about it.

“Just outside town,” Jono explained, “One of Scott’s friends showed up. His boyfriend got kidnapped, we went to help.”

“Did you find him?” Lily wondered. She missed being involved in the pack’s action, even if it was both physically and mentally exhausting.

“No, but we’re going to,” Jono sounded determined. He had a motivation that he hadn’t had for ages, and it pleased Lily, “Also, I wanted to confess something.”

“Alright, what is it?” Lily was concerned suddenly. Was this going to be bad?

“You know the boy I told you about. Oscar?” Jono began, “I think I, err…” Jono couldn’t quite get the words out.

“You’ve got a crush,” Lily identified. This was huge progress – the first time he’d shown interest in any guy since Dylan.

“Yeah, but I feel dirty. Like I’m cheating on Dylan. I can’t shake that,” Jono opened up.

“Remember what Freddie said. Dylan wanted you to move on. He’ll be watching you, cheering you on, because this Oscar guy sounds sweet, and you deserve someone who adores you,” Lily encouraged. She was so keen for Jono to be happy.

“Brett thinks he fancies me,” Jono added, “I like him, but I’m scared I’ll hold back.”

“He knows what you’ve been through. He’ll understand,” Lily advised, “If you want my advice, I think you should go for it. Totally.”

All Lily could think about was herself and Alex. She took a leap of faith with him, and it worked. It was about time Jono had a dose of that same luck.

Previous: "New Normal"

Next: "Almost Home"

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