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TRIGGER WARNING: This episode contains themes of self-harm.

Series 12 Episode 5
"Don't Look for Me"

Shivering. Lily had never felt so cold. Her entire body was stiff. Even her face felt numb. There was no way her light jacket was anywhere near the insulation she needed in such conditions. Yet, it was all she had.

So far, Lily hadn’t been caught. She’d ran about as far as she could manage, but she needed to rest. Her stamina wasn’t what it once was, after all. Her wolf wasn’t just supressed, it was on vacation. She felt weak and fragile, and alone.

Regardless, as much as she wanted to, Lily couldn’t go home. She wasn’t safe there. Whatever it was, it was on her case, and it was following her every step of the way. Lily couldn’t run any further, not yet anyway. She needed to rest.

Thankfully, Lily had her phone to pay for a few bottles of water and some snacks at the shop she’d found herself nearby. Where she was, she had no idea. She’d never seen those streets before, and she’d been running for what felt like ages. Her phone battery was dying, but that wasn’t a problem yet. She just had to make it through the night, sheltered under a bridge. Rain cascaded downwards either side of her, but for the time being, she was dry.

There was no comfortable spot, though. No matter how hard Lily tried to find one. The ground was solid and dry, but the concrete was hard. It wasn’t made for sleeping on, but Lily was going to try regardless. There wasn’t a hotel in sight, and besides, she needed to be on the move constantly. A hotel felt too much like a trap.

Lily desperately wanted to see George and Jono. They were the most important people in her life, but she couldn’t risk putting them in danger. This thing, whatever it was, had locked onto her, but not her friends. No matter how terrified she was, nothing would make Lily endanger the people she cared about.

Without a pillow or a blanket, Lily tried to snuggle up, but it wasn’t going to be an easy night. Every time Lily closed her eyes, she saw it. Clear as day. There was no avoiding it.

Even when she was asleep.

Stress levels skyrocketing, Dylan had no time to stop for breath. He’d sprinted the whole way, and it was the last port of call. If his mum’s house wasn’t fruitful, there was no other choice. They’d have to call Ed. It was serious, and Dylan couldn’t have been more worried.

Lily wasn’t at the lakehouse, nor her mum’s. Though splitting up may have helped them check those places quicker, Dylan didn’t want to leave Jono alone for a second. He was beside him every step of the way. Every emotion Jono felt, Dylan could sense too. His worry and terror brushed uncomfortably against Dylan’s skin, and it made him upset. They had to find Lily safe. As far as Dylan was concerned, there was no alternative.

Without even thinking to knock, Dylan barged into Josh’s bedroom. Courtesy wasn’t a priority; when someone was in danger, Dylan was single-minded. Curiously, Yasmin was laid face-down on top of Josh’s bed, while Josh himself was sat at his desk. Depressingly, still no sign of Lily.

“Have you seen Lily?” Dylan frantically questioned as Jono followed just behind. Being human again, he naturally had lower stamina than he used to.

“Lily? Not today,” Yasmin sat up. Her cheeks were bright red and her eyes looked puffy, as if she’d been crying. Dylan wanted to ask if she was okay, but that was a question for later.

“What’s wrong?” Josh immediately identified.

“She’s missing. She was distressed,” Jono spoke through the unavoidable tears, “She went to see Mrs. Johnson but ran off.”

“We’ll find her,” Josh reaffirmed, “Let’s make a plan.”

“We need to tell Ed first. He can pool all his resources,” Dylan advised.

“I’ll call a few people. Jeremy, Felix, Cody,” Yasmin added, “George?”

“Not yet. We’ll call George when we know more,” Jono decided, “The less he worries, the better.”

“She’s got her phone, right?” Josh considered.

“I guess, she’s never without it, but she’s not picking up,” Jono stressed.

“But we can track her location with it,” Josh explained.

“She never leaves the house without it fully charged. If we can track her before it runs out, we’re in with a shot,” Dylan realised, turning to face Jono, “We will find her, Jon. She’ll be okay.”

“What if she isn’t? She collapsed the other day. She was in hospital. She’s a werewolf, Dyl. Her body should have healed. She’s already not okay,” Jono’s worry escalated further.

“Lily is so strong,” Dylan reminded, “She’s been through so much, and she’s become stronger than any of us. Wherever she is, whatever’s happening, I know she won’t have stopped fighting. Our job is to keep fighting for her too.”

“She’s pretty damn badass,” Jono concurred, cracking a smile through the tears, “Come on, let’s find Ed.” Dylan had a fire lit inside him. Lily was his family too, and there was no way he was going home without her.

Racing down the packed hospital corridor, Sammi couldn’t have left school quick enough. Any excuse to get away from the calamity of Crystalshaw High, but she wished it was under better circumstances. Setting cover work wasn’t convenient, but Jonah needed her more, and one of the school’s students was in danger. She had to be there.

At the far end of the corridor, Sammi could see Freddie pacing up and down. Jonah and Leah came into view as she veered closer, both of them anxiously on the edge of their seats. Sammi felt sick. Their faces told the full picture. Nobody was looking at each other or saying anything.

“Hey, what’s the latest?” Sammi urgently enquired.

“Mrs. Johnson went with the doctor to try and explain what he took, but we don’t know anything more,” Freddie relayed, “She thinks he’s going to need a stomach pump.”

“How awful,” Sammi couldn’t pretend it was anything else, “I’ve called his social worker, she’s on her way but it’s going to take her about an hour to get here.”

“Does he not have family?” Jonah asked, worried.

“He’s in care, Jonah,” Sammi shared. He didn’t need to know the details – that was for Ashton to share in his own time, if he wished to – but it was nothing to be ashamed of After all, they all knew Josh’s experience of the care system, Jonah included.

“I barely know him,” Jonah sighed, “I feel bad. He’s a bit of a loner.”

“You weren’t to know, and I don’t think he’d have wanted your sympathy either,” Freddie advised, “But he’ll appreciate some familiar faces when he wakes up. Faces that aren’t his teachers.”

“HI everyone,” Mrs. Johnson paced over with her ever-dominating presence, “Ashton’s stomach pump is happening as soon as possible. I spoke with the doctor, he knows nothing about the mountain ash drug, of course, and he’s asked for a sample.”

“Ed was trying to catch the dealer,” Sammi recalled, “Though I figure he’d have told us if he found anything.”

“There’s bound to be something at the school. We’ve got this,” Freddie concurred.

“Thank you, but be quick. We must act fast. Ashton’s body won’t be able to cope for much longer, and the pump won’t get rid of the mountain ash already in his blood,” Mrs. Johnson encouraged. Sammi nodded. She had to do everything she could. Despite everything happening at the school, her students were her priority, and Ashton needed her help. She was going to leave no stone unturned.

Jono’s idea of returning to Crystalshaw was so glamorous in his head. He had dreamed of it for so many years. Bleak evenings in London always led Jono to daydream about how his life would be if he were ever able to go home. Seeing his family again. The treehouse. His friends. Dylan. It always seemed so perfect.

The reality couldn’t have been more different. Though it felt every bit as incredible as he thought to see Dylan again, their reunion had been bittersweet, and it had been one mess after another ever since he got back. The entity. Harry’s death. The Callahans. Mountain ash drugs. And now, Lily had vanished. Jono’s most valuable connection to home in his time away. He couldn’t settle. Not while his sister was in harm’s way.

Leading the way into the sheriff station, Jono didn’t have a second to waste. Time was precious, and even a minute could make the difference between finding Lily or not. They needed Ed’s help, and all hands had to be on deck.

“Ed, Lily’s missing,” Jono burst into the office with Dylan, Yasmin and Josh following straight behind.

“Wh…what?” Ed was baffled, throwing his jacket sloppily over the coat stand, “I just got back from the school, what’s happening?”

“Lily was at the school. She wasn’t herself, she freaked out apparently, and now we can’t find her. She’s not answering her phone, which isn’t like her,” Dylan detailed far more eloquently than Jono’s mind could manage at that moment.

“She can’t have gone far. She’s an adult, the protocol is twenty-four hours,” Ed explained.

“But this is Lily. She has a history of depression and anxiety, and she’s not been well. Think, Ed. She’s a werewolf, yet she’s been ill. Explain that,” Jono argued. He couldn’t help being defensive. When it came to Lily, it was an impulse, and he knew she would do the same in his shoes.

“Okay, I’ll put an APB out. Is there anything supernatural I need to know as well?” Ed questioned.

“I’m not sure, but this is out of character,” Jono insisted. There was more to the story. There had to be.

“I’ll get on it. In the meantime, call everyone. We’re snowed under here with the school as well. We didn’t catch a dealer, but I’ve stationed some deputies there for the foreseeable,” Ed directed.

“Sammi and Freddie aren’t picking up. Jeremy said he’s coming,” Yasmin added.

“Sammi called me. They’ve been at the hospital. A young werewolf at the school took the drugs,” Ed detailed, “Mrs. Johnson’s on it, but they’re a little busy too.”

“Shit,” Dylan was scared, and for a chance, Jono didn’t know how to console him. Things looked bleak.

“Come on, let’s sweep the forest. We know that place better than any deputy would,” Josh suggested, “I’ll text Jeremy and tell him to meet us there.” Jono nodded. He could barely focus, but he trusted his friends. None of them wanted to see Lily in harm’s way, but Jono in particular knew he wouldn’t settle until Lily was safe. Nothing else mattered until then.

Jeremy’s day seemed to be going from bad to worse, and it was suffocating. There seemed to be no end to the bad news coming his way, and no matter how much effort Felix was putting in to cheer him up, it wasn’t touching the sides.

Regardless, their movie afternoon was scuppered as soon as Jeremy received Yasmin’s call. Lily missing had sent a shiver through his spine. She was family. One of the most reliable people in Jeremy’s life. Part of the family he had always craved so badly. He couldn’t lose her. He had to help in any way he could.

Felix reversed the car directly beside Josh’s, though space wasn’t a problem in the otherwise empty lay-by. Josh was stood watching, with Yasmin, Dylan, and a nervous-looking Jono. He looked broken. Like he’d lost everything. Yet, somehow, he seemed determined. Focused. Like a vicious fire had been lit inside him. Like anyone who got in his way was going to regret it. Jeremy needed that same fire inside him.

“Hey, sorry we’re late,” Jeremy put on a brave face, attempting to pretend the events earlier that day hadn’t happened.

“No worries, we only just got here ourselves. Thanks for coming,” Yasmin smiled sincerely. She was the only other person who really knew how Jeremy was feeling, other than Felix. Her smile meant more than anyone could know.

“The school is just down the road. If Lily came here, she would have had to pass through here. Check for scents and anything that might be a clue. Don’t ignore anything,” Josh directed, taking charge. Surprisingly, he seemed to be the person with the least on his mind, which said a lot given how reclusive he’d been since his return.

“Remember, stay focused. There isn’t any time to waste,” Dylan added, “Jono and I are going straight ahead. Jeremy and Felix, you guys go left. Josh and Yasmin, go right. We’ll loop round and meet at the other end, hopefully with Lily in tow.”

“How do we stay in touch? There’s no signal out here,” Felix queried.

“Easy,” Josh smiled, glaring his bright blue eyes, “Dylan, Jeremy and I can all howl.”

“Why do I find that hot?” Felix smirked, winking at Jeremy. For a brief moment, Jeremy forgot everything else. Felix was the best distraction.

“On that note,” Josh chuckled, “Let’s split up. These two need a forest to themselves.” Jeremy mustered a tiny laugh, but he needed to keep his focus on Lily. Everything else had to wait.

Even though a niggling thought to drive his claws through his skin again was more prominent than ever.

In the years between leaving as a student and joining as a member of staff, Crystalshaw High had changed a lot, but not enough to hinder Freddie’s mission. Carpets had been replaced, walls repainted, and many new teachers had been recruited but some things never changed.

Freddie never considered himself to be the perfect student by any means. He never bunked a lesson – for a reason that wasn’t supernatural, anyway – but it wasn’t difficult to spot the common hiding places. The toilets were the obvious place, but the supply cupboards, the offices and even the basement were popular bunking destinations. If anyone were to hide, that’s where they would have gone.

Depressingly, though, they weren’t proving fruitful. Perhaps it made sense. If anyone had paid for drugs, they wouldn’t leave them lying around, would they? Freddie refused to give up, though. Ashton’s life was at risk, and it was Freddie’s responsibility to leave no stone unturned.

“This is hopeless,” Sammi groaned, checking behind the books on Keisha’s shelves. Her office was their last port of call, short of checking every single classroom.

“There must be something somewhere. It’d help if I had a scent to track,” Freddie concurred, “We don’t even know what it looks like.”

“There’s one other place we can look,” Sammi considered, “Where would you hide something you didn’t want the teachers to see?”

“Somewhere nobody would look,” Freddie replied, confused by the question.

“We’ve tried that. Now we need to look at the obvious. Somewhere nobody could look. I guarantee at least one kid is silly enough to leave a supply for tomorrow in their locker,” Sammi pondered.

“We don’t have time to search every locker. Besides, where do they keep the spare keys?” Freddie was confused. He didn’t understand why Sammi would suggest something so time-consuming.

“We don’t need keys. Dude, you have claws,” Sammi smiled cunningly. Of course, Freddie should have known there would be more to it.

“Wait a second,” Freddie paused. It was the best idea they had, but they had to cover themselves too, “We can’t have anything to prove we were here. Otherwise, they’ll realise their new IT technician is a freaking werewolf.”

“Quick, we don’t have much time,” Sammi hurried. Their energy levels had been revitalised. Freddie wasn’t going to return empty handed. Ashton was relying on them, and they were just one locker door from success.

If putting on a brave face were a sport, Yasmin would have won more gold medals than anyone. Every instinct in her body was telling her to go home and cry, but Yasmin’s brain was stronger. She knew she needed to help find Lily. The tears could wait, but Lily couldn’t. Her friend needed her.

At least she had Josh by her side. If there was anyone who would be sympathetic and gentle on her, it was him, not just because he knew the full story, but because that was his nature. Despite everything, Josh was the most caring person she knew. The complete opposite to what she once thought of him.

That wasn’t taking anything away from Cody, though. It was early days, but Cody was far more empathetic than his reputation suggested. There was a lot more good in him than he chose to let on, and Yasmin admired his vulnerability more than anything else.

“Can you hear anything?” Yasmin made conversation. Neither of them had spoken since splitting up from the group. Perhaps Josh was focusing his attention on finding Lily? It made sense, but Yasmin couldn’t deny the awkwardness in the air.

“Nothing. No scent either,” Josh reported back, not making eye contact.

“Okay,” Yasmin didn’t know what to say. The atmosphere was so tense. A few moments passed without a peep from either of them, but Yasmin couldn’t take it. She had to say something, “Are you mad at me?”

“Me? Mad? No, of course not,” Josh replied, but his tone didn’t match his words.

“Talk to me, Josh. Don’t shut me out,” Yasmin pleaded. He hadn’t said much to her – or anyone – since his return. It wasn’t like Josh. He never shut Yasmin out.

Not unless it was really bad.

“It’s nothing,” Josh insisted.

“It’s clearly not nothing. You used to tell me everything. What changed?” Yasmin probed.

“You changed, Yasmin,” Josh hit back, his temper rearing its ugly head for the very first time at Yasmin. He’d never spoken to her like that.

“What?” Yasmin was taken aback. Why was Josh being so harsh? What was the need?

“Don’t pretend you don’t know,” Josh continued abrasively.

“Cody,” Yasmin figured, “This is about Cody, isn’t it? It’s obvious you don’t like him.”

“No shit,” Josh snapped, “He’s a dick, Yasmin. In fact, he’s more than that. Where even is he? I thought you were calling him to help out. I don’t care how long it’s been. Why are we forgetting what he did to Oscar?”

“Because people change, Josh. You of all people should know that,” Yasmin reminded. Josh hadn’t even tried to get to know Cody. He had no right to be so dismissive, “And he’s at work, he’ll come when he sees my text.”

“We’re not the same,” Josh defended.

“You’re not so different,” Yasmin insisted.

“You know what I’ve been through. You know my story. It’s not the same thing,” Josh’s anger reached boiling point, “He’s a pretty poor replacement.”

“That’s low,” Yasmin couldn’t stop the avalanche of anger coming, no matter how desperately she wanted it to end, “Don’t forget it was you who fucked things up for us.”

“Forget? I wish I could, Yasmin, so thanks for the reminder,” Josh unleashed the sarcasm, “It’s not as if I’ve spent every fucking day since then regretting what I did. Regretting how I treated you. It was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made,” Josh paused. He stood still, collecting himself, catching his breath, “Letting you go.”

“So this isn’t about Cody at all,” Yasmin lowered her voice in response. Finally, they had reached the truth, “It’s about you and me.”

“I just keep fucking up, Yasmin. I can’t do anything right. Even in my darkest days, you found a reason to love me. To see the good in me,” Josh confessed, “And here we are again. You came to me when you needed to talk, but I can’t do that to you. Not any more.”

“Yes you can. Of course you can,” Yasmin hated the animosity. She wanted things to be comfortable and cosy again, like they used to be.

“I can’t, because every time I open up to you, I fall a little bit harder. It was easier when I was in New York. When I had Sarah. I really liked her, I swear,” Josh continued to open up, jumping between trains of thought as tears slid down his cheeks.

“What happened?” Yasmin queried.

“You don’t need to be burdened with my shit,” Josh sighed.

“And you don’t need to be burdened with mine, but you carry it anyway. I can take it. Please, Josh. Don’t shut me out,” Yasmin persuaded. Their friendship, above all else, was too important to lose. Josh sighed again. His posture slumped. He was giving in. The rarely seen angry and intimidating version of Josh regressed into his more natural state: vulnerable.

“I was at work. I loved my job, and I was good at it, too. Engineering work in New York paid damn well,” Josh explained, “But there was this guy. He was new, and on the same job as me. Straight away, he took a dislike to me, and I couldn’t figure out why. I smiled and said hello every day, but he never replied, not even on the first day. Then, one day, he showed me his eyes. Bright red, just like Dylan’s. I was in his territory. He could tell immediately that I was a werewolf.”

“What did he do?” Yasmin probed. Josh had kept silent on that situation the entire time, and still, they were only at the tip of the iceberg.

“He threatened me at first. Said if I didn’t leave, he’d make my life hell. I can take that. I’ve dealt with far worse. Then he started to talk about Sarah. Somehow, he knew all about me. Crystalshaw. Dylan. Libby. You,” Josh vented. He looked relieved to finally be getting it off his chest, but telling the story had triggered a couple of tears. Yasmin could hardly imagine the burden of keeping it secret.

“Fuck,” Yasmin reacted. It was the only word that came to her mind.

“One night, he confronted me. It was just the two of us on a job, and he threatened the lives of everyone I know. I ignored him, but he squared up to me. Gave me an ultimatum. Told me I had to leave that night or risk losing all of you. I couldn’t tell Sarah I’d gone, I just had to leave. Vanish,” Josh continued, “I said no, then he came at me. I moved out of the way, and he fell down the stairs of the basement. He wasn’t moving, but he was alive. I panicked. I phoned the ambulance and ran. I was in such a state, and I couldn’t even tell Sarah what happened. I never told her I’m a werewolf, remember. She couldn’t know, but the police came before long and arrested me. I spent the night in a cell,” Josh shed a tear. He so rarely cried, and it broke Yasmin’s heart.

“I’m so sorry,” Yasmin could hardly find the words to say. Some things were just too bad to sugar coat.

“I lost everything, Yasmin. One night. He saw an opportunity to frame me and he grabbed it with both hands. The investigation was dropped due to lack of evidence, but it was too late. Sarah ended things. Even when I try to be human, I’m portrayed as a monster,” Josh grew more and more tearful with each word he spoke.

“You’re not a monster,” Yasmin defiantly assured, “You’re more human than any of us. You’ve been through hell and back, and you’re still here. You’re the strongest person I know, and that’s the highest compliment I can offer.”

Josh couldn’t keep his emotions back any longer. He ran to Yasmin and wrapped his arms tightly around her in the purest moment. Despite the row, they had each other unconditionally.

Their closeness broke suddenly. Yasmin caught Josh’s eye, both of them sharing the same nervousness in their eyes. It was impossible to miss the terrifying growling sound behind them. The unmistakeable growl of a werewolf. Maybe it was Lily? Yasmin desperately hoped so; it was the only way she could convert that spine-tingling sound into something positive.

Together, Yasmin and Josh trepidatiously turned to face their predator. To Yasmin’s horror, the wolf eyeing them up was a furious-looking Cody. He got the message after all, but this wasn’t him. This wasn’t how Cody was around her. He wouldn’t hurt her.

Would he?

There wasn’t a single detail Dylan’s eyes weren’t taking in. He scanned every corner of the forest as they passed through the uneven footpath created from trampled golden leaves, the beauty of autumn dampened by the sogginess of the mud below.

Depressingly, Dylan wasn’t having any luck. He knew Lily’s scent by heart, but there wasn’t even a hint of it. If she’d been there, there would almost definitely have been a trail. It was a depressing sight.

Whatever Dylan felt was ramped up to eleven for Jono, though. Dylan could feel every emotion radiating off his body. Worry, anxiety and fear were there in abundance, and Jono was as focused as he could be. Nothing was going to distract him when he was on such an important mission, and rightly so.

Though Dylan cherished having Josh and Libby in his life, he missed out on growing up with siblings. His parents were all he had, but Jono was the direct opposite. Jono’s parents were barely present, yet he always had Lily. They were each other’s rock. It was a bond unlike anything Dylan could comprehend.

“Look at this,” Jono yelled out all of a sudden. The anxiety didn’t fade, but a little sprinkle of hope emerged among Jono’s cocktail of emotions.

“What is it?” Dylan pondered. He was looking closely, crouching down beside Jono, but he couldn’t figure it out.

“A footprint. At least, the back half. Look, the shape is there. There must be some more around,” Jono justified, but Dylan was sceptical. There was barely anything in the mud, but how could he delicately explain that? Words didn’t come easily to Dylan at the best of times.

“Are you sure? Are there any others?” Dylan questioned. He didn’t want to rain on Jono’s parade, but false hope was damaging too.

“Well, I can’t see any, but the ground is covered in leaves,” Jono shrugged, “There must be a scent, right? Please tell me there’s a scent,” Jono was desperate for a lead.

“Jon,” Dylan gently placed his hand on Jono’s shoulder, “There’s no scent. That’s not a footprint. She wasn’t here.”

“But she must have been,” Jono couldn’t keep his emotions inside. Tears flooded out of his eyes as Jono visibly hit his breaking point. He’d been so focused on Lily that he hadn’t allowed himself to feel what he needed to feel, and it was too much, “I can’t lose her, Dyl. I just got her back. All of you. You’re in my life again, and I can’t lose any of you. I feel so stupid. So weak.”

“You’re not weak. Don’t say that. You’re so strong, Jon. It’s been a shitty couple of weeks, but we’ll be okay. Lily will be okay,” Dylan reassured. Jono had sacrificed everything he had for seven years. It was a long time to be alone, and he needed his family around him. He deserved it.

“My dad would be ashamed of me. What if I lose Lily so soon after losing him? What am I doing wrong?” Jono spiralled.

“Nothing,” Dylan confidently stated, “Jono, you’re perfect. Perfect to me, anyway. You’re the best brother Lily could ask for, and I know your dad will be urging you on. We can do this. There’s nothing we can’t do together. I might be the alpha, but Dylan is nothing without Jono, and I mean that.”

“I love you so much,” Jono wept, barely able to get his words out, “I just want her back, Dyl. I can’t lose Lily. She’s my sister. We’ve been through so much together. I don’t know a world without her.”

“Then we don’t waste time. Let’s get through the forest and rule it out, by then maybe Ed will have a lead. None of us want to lose Lily. She’s my sister too, sort of anyway,” Dylan assured.

“Please,” Jono nodded. He took Dylan’s hand and together, they stood up, postures slowly growing as Jono matched Dylan’s energy. They still had a way to go through the forest, and it already felt like a dead end, but they had to know for sure. Dylan wasn’t going to let Jono down. He deserved his happy ending. They all did.

“Wait,” Jono halted immediately, sliding his phone out of his pocket, “Signal. I’ve got a text.” He paused for a moment, reading the screen, but his eyes instantly widened. The fear Dylan had felt radiating from Jono’s body was now explicitly visible on his face, “I don’t recognise the number, but it’s Lily. It must be.”

“What has she said?” Dylan needed to know. He couldn’t wait any longer.

I’m okay. Don’t look for me. I love you,” Jono read out, “She’s not okay, though.”

“Let’s show it to Ed. He might be able to trace it,” Dylan suggested.

“What about the others?” Jono wondered.

”They can keep checking the woods, just in case,” Dylan suggested, “Come on, let’s get Lily back.” Dylan led Jono by the hand back the way they came. Every second was vital. Lily was in touching distance.

Everything Freddie was doing went against Sammi’s core instincts as a teacher. She was meant to keep the peace and ensure the upkeep of the school grounds, on top of educating her students of course. Despite that, there was a rebellious satisfaction in seeing Freddie’s claws slicing across the rows of lockers that painted the walls of the corridors. The shocked face of Mrs. Harding the next morning was guaranteed to be a picture.

As the lock on each compartment broke, Sammi quickly searched inside. Though being thorough was essential, time was against them, so Sammi didn’t care if gym shorts and exercise books ended up over the floor. The result was a bombsite, the biggest mess Sammi had ever seen. She felt terribly guilty when thinking of the cleaners.

Nevertheless, Sammi was growing more and more exasperated. The lockers were proving fruitless. Surely at least one student had kept a stash for later. The number of students taking the drug was unprecedented; one single supply had to exist on the premises somewhere, right?

“This isn’t as easy as I thought,” Freddie muttered, examining the state of his claws.

“You’re out of practice. That wolf has gone to sleep,” Sammi raised a smile, though she didn’t let herself get distracted from her task.

“Perhaps we can find other uses for these bad boys,” Freddie winked and smirked. Over the years, but Sammi knew she could always rely on Freddie being his funny, stupid self.

“Ssh,” Freddie quietly nudged Sammi as she threw another locker’s contents onto the floor with a little too much enthusiasm. Sammi raised an eyebrow, wondering what she had been missing for the mood to shift so suddenly.

“What?” Sammi was baffled.

“Someone’s watching us,” Freddie whispered. A chill ran down Sammi’s spine, “Just a footstep, but we’re not alone.” One footstep was all Freddie’s ears needed to notice a sound. The school was otherwise empty, so every sound reverberated, particularly through the ears of a werewolf. Sammi trusted him.

Nervously, Sammi inched towards the corner of the corridor. Who – or what – she was expecting to see, she had no idea, but the feeling of dread in her stomach remained. It could have been anyone, but nothing had ben normal in that school for days.

“They’re running,” Freddie identified, instantly picking up the pace. Sammi followed suit, not that she expected to be able to keep up with Freddie. Around the corner, Sammi saw the suspect running for his life, but it hardly mattered. Freddie was zoning in on him like a predator chasing its prey; there was no chance of getting away.

Reaching out in front of him, Freddie yanked at the man’s hoodie, pulling him violently backwards before he slammed harshly to the floor, grinding to a halt at Sammi’s feed. He winced in pain, not attempting to run, which gave Sammi the perfect chance to take a look at his face. He was a little older than her, rugged and dirty-looking, but she didn’t recognise him. Who was he?

“Sammi,” Freddie called, looking next to the man’s leg where the contents of his rucksack had spilled out.

“Oh my god,” Sammi couldn’t believe it. Spilling out of the tatty rucksack were dozens of tiny bags filled with an unlabelled dark grey powder. Sammi met eyes with Freddie, whose face matched her elation. They’d hit the jackpot. He was the dealer, and those bags were full of mountain ash.

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Next: TBA

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