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Series 7 Episode 5

Scanning the area, Dylan was amazed at just how many people there were. He knew Crystalshaw had more werewolves than he’d ever come into contact with, but there must have been at least a hundred stood in front of him. He wasn’t prepared to speak in front of so many people. In fact, it made him feel super nervous. Public speaking was always his greatest fear.

Thankfully, he had his guardian angel on his shoulder. Jono linked hands with him, urging him on, reminding him that they were in it together. Anything could be accomplished when Jono was by his side.

“Everyone, can I have your attention please?” Dylan raised his voice over the ambient, patient chatter, “Sorry to drag you out here, but our community is under attack. A virus is infecting werewolves, and we’re all at risk. I wanted to warn you all. My pack is looking into where it came from, and how to cure it.”

“How can we trust you?” one called out.

“Who even are you? You’re just a kid,” another yelled. Dylan wasn’t sure what to say. They had no reason to trust him, after all.

“His name is Dylan Drummond,” Josh intervened, “You’ve heard of that name, haven’t you? He’s the one who’s saved your asses time and time again. I know he’s saved mine. We didn’t have to give you a heads-up. It’s time for a little gratitude.”

Approaching the front, clapping slowly and loudly, David joined them at the foot of the Nemeton. He was smirking, his demeanour reeking of arrogance. He knew more than he was letting on.

“Inspiring speech, boys. I’m almost proud to call you family, honestly. However, I’m afraid your little plan isn’t quite as easy as you thought,” David spoke, turning towards the crowd, “In fact, you’ve been rather helpful, but not to them. You’ve been helpful to me.”

“What is going on? Uncle David?” Jono’s voice quivered. Dylan was scared, too. They had suddenly entered unknown territory where they were no longer in control.

“All your new friends here are currently being infected by your virus, thanks to a couple of super-spreaders among the crowd,” David casually explained, “I say your virus, it’s actually mine.”

Panic hit everyone in the face – Dylan included. His stomach dropped. He knew the virus was highly contagious. Any of them could have it by now. It was too late to avoid it.

Brett’s emotions were running wild across his mind, scattering themselves everywhere in a frantic frenzy as he attempted to process what was going on. It had been over three years since he last saw Johnny, and those three years had been pretty monumental for him. He had achieved so much, and most importantly, discovered an awful lot about himself. He wasn’t the same kid who was banned from seeing his closest friend because occasionally they got a little too close.

It was obvious that so much had changed with Johnny, too. There was no way he could’ve been a werewolf when they last saw each other – they told each other everything, something that big would never have been kept from him.

“Who is he?” Yasmin impatiently queried.

“An old friend,” Brett replied, keeping mum on any further details.

“Friend? Come on, dude,” Johnny protested.

“Shut up,” Brett demanded. Johnny wasn’t allowed to waft back into his life and start spilling his secrets.

“Can you get off me? I’m not trying to hurt you, I promise,” Johnny begged. Brett caved in and released his grip.

“That’s some level of trust,” Freddie observed, “For someone who was spying on us.”

“Calm it pretty boy,” Johnny’s mannerisms hadn’t changed at all. He remained borderline cocky, and easily the most upfront of the two of them. Undoubtedly, it was part of his appeal, “I wasn’t spying on you, I was spying on him. The kid from LA.”

“For who?” Yasmin demanded, “I mean, you’re clearly not the brains of this operation.”

“Wow Brett, your new friends are so sweet,” Johnny commented, “Annoyingly though, she’s right. My alpha sent me to check he’s okay.”

“Why? What’s so special about him?” Freddie questioned.

“He’s…he’s a friend. And my alpha asked me to,” Johnny protested.

“Who’s your alpha?” a worried Sammi questioned. She sounded extremely concerned – as if she knew something nobody else did.

“David,” Johnny replied, “He said people would be familiar with him, so I needed to keep my distance from, well, anyone really.”

“He’s infiltrating,” Sammi realised, “My dad. He’s plotting, and he’s using you.”

Brett’s heart sunk. He knew this reunion was far too good to be true. Johnny was their opposition.

Breaking up the interrogation, a rip-roaring howl soared through Brett’s ears. He didn’t have to be a werewolf to know that this was urgent.

“That’s Dylan,” Freddie immediately identified.

“Go, we got this,” Sammi urged, placing a cute peck on his lips.

“What about me?” Johnny couldn’t stop himself butting in. Brett had gone from overjoyed to frustrated in a heartbeat.

“You’re with me,” Brett held his hand out to haul Johnny off the ground, “I think we need to talk.”

Feeling productive, Lily had kept herself busy over the afternoon. Her bedroom wall had become a crime board, much like the one in Ed’s office back home. She had organised all of the information they had found out so far, and Lily was taking great pride in how efficient it was. It helped to take her mind off the Nicolas drama, at the very least.

“Wait, your boyfriend is human?” Alex questioned, lying on top of her bed while Lily pinned another post-it-note up. He had been asking her questions the entire time, keen to know more, which was no bad thing in Lily’s eyes. The more knowledge he had, the better chance he had of surviving in the supernatural world, “What if you bite him by accident?”

“Biting? What do you think we do?” Lily winked, “Don’t worry, only alphas can turn people, and I’m not even a full beta.”

“Does he care that you’re part-werewolf?” Alex continued.

“George is the most easy-going guy I’ve ever met. He’s really understanding. Besides, his brother’s a werewolf too, he’s not really got a choice,” Lily detailed.

“Lucky him,” Alex chuckled. There was something so effortlessly sweet about Alex – they seemed to have a mutual understanding of each other.

“Tell me more about yourself, then,” Lily requested, “After all, you know all of my deepest and darkest secrets.”

“There’s not much to tell. I come from a typical conservative family, cute childhood, but it went downhill the second I came out as trans,” Alex revealed, “It’s still an obstacle. They refuse to call me Alex, I still get called my birth name.”

“I’m so sorry,” Lily’s heart broke. For all the criticisms she had of her own parents, at least they were loving and accepting – of both her and Jono.

“It’s okay,” Alex replied. He looked like he was trying desperately to keep himself together, “It’s hard, but I’ve got hope. Hope that one day, they’ll accept me for who I really am.”

Lily wiped a tear from her cheek. She felt so moved by Alex’s story. He was so strong and courageous. Her admiration for him grew by the day.

“Hey, why don’t I make us both a cup of tea? I think we need a break,” she offered. Somehow, persevering with the detective work felt inappropriate for a short while.

With a nod of approval from Alex in tow, Lily popped next door to the kitchen. Nicolas was already there – she had been swerving him since he listened in on their chat earlier. It wasn’t the first time she had caught him listening. It must have been him in the café. He was spying on her, and she had to say something.

“Saw you at the door earlier,” Lily initiated the interrogation, skipping the pleasantries, “How long were you there for?”

“Lily, I live here too, don’t act surprised,” Nicolas rudely replied.

“Don’t play dumb,” Lily wasn’t standing for it. He knew stuff, and she needed to find out why he was so interested, “Tell me what you know and this will all blow over.”

“But what if I don’t want it to blow over?” Nicolas hit back, “Face it, Lily, you lost because you made a dumb mistake and now, I know who you really are. Now you have to trust an unknown quantity. Crystalshaw will seem easy in comparison.

Nicolas left the room, blocking Lily’s chance to probe further. She felt shaken and worried – who was he? She knew something about him didn’t add up, but what did he want?

There was one sound Freddie could always identify, no matter how far away it was. Dylan’s howl was embedded in him, lodged at the forefront of his brain, like it was part of his biology. It was like his brain was programmed to recognise the howl of every pack member, even if he’d never heard it before.

The howl gave directions, too. Hearing it once was enough for Freddie to be able to track the howl, and find exactly where Dylan was. Either Dylan was in trouble, or he was summoning Freddie. The howl was a hugely important tool.

Freddie traced it through the forest he had come to be so familiar with in recent years. He knew most of the forest by heart now, it was bread and butter to him. He reached a clearing, one that was instantly familiar. The realisation of where he was sent a shiver straight through Freddie’s body. He was uncomfortable.

Visible through the clearing was the Nemeton – the supernatural beacon that drew so many dangerous creatures to their town. As long as the Nemeton was active, Crystalshaw was unsafe.

Before stepping through the clearing, Freddie spotted Dylan, flanked by Jono and Josh at the foot of the tree. A large crowd surrounded them both, and it seemed like chaos. Shouting. Screaming. Dylan looked helpless.

“Don’t come any nearer,” one woman warned Freddie just as he was about to step through. He paused. What was happening?

“What’s going on?” Freddie queried, but it was too late – she had moved away to yell at another woman. This was bedlam, and Freddie had no idea what he’d missed. He needed to speak to Dylan. WHAM! Freddie smacked against… thin air. He couldn’t get inside the clearing. Instinctively, Freddie pulled out his phone.

“Hey,” Freddie blocked one ear as he held his phone to the other. Dylan was on the other end of the line, and he needed to focus.

“Freddie, I can see you,” Dylan waved in Freddie’s direction, “You need to get out of here, it’s not safe. David spread the virus, we’re all risk of infection. I think the Nemeton’s quarantined everybody inside.”

Instantly, Freddie’s heart dropped. He backed away from the clearing without a second thought.

“What do you need?” Freddie queried. If there was any way he could help out, he had to take it.

“We can’t go anywhere, so at least it’s contained. Find out everything you can from the kid we found in LA, the fact he’s still alive must mean something and I think he’s the key to this,” Dylan directed.

“Sure. Be careful,” Freddie warned.

“We’ll try,” Dylan replied before ending the call. Freddie couldn’t help feeling guilty. He was the lucky one, and now the lives of his friends were on his shoulders.

Passing Johnny his coffee over the hospital canteen table, Brett was ready for some answers. The kid he knew and adored was still there, but things had changed. He was on the wrong side, but still divulged information. Brett had to figure out exactly where he stood.

“I’ve missed that face,” Johnny smiled, “Haring your voice, playing with your hair, all of it.”

Brett didn’t know what to say. He was so unprepared for this moment, even if he had dreamt of being able to see Johnny again for so long.

“I looked for you. First day of high school finished and I went to your house to try and sneak in, but you’d left. The house was empty,” Brett recalled.

“You know what my dad was like. Ever since he caught us, you know, he barely spoke to me. He moved us away and signed me up for conversion therapy,” Johnny recalled.

“I’m sorry,” Brett’s heart broke. If only they had been a little more careful. He couldn’t bear to think how that experience felt for Johnny.

“It’s alright. I mean, I’m okay now that I’m out the other end, and David helped me,” Johnny explained.

“David’s dangerous, Johnny,” Brett protested. He had never forgotten the stories Drew told him. David sounded nothing short of vicious.

“Is he? A werewolf killed my dad last year. David saved me from almost dying too by biting me,” Johnny reasoned, “I owe him my life. For real.”

“Yet you spilled everything to us at the first chance you got,” Brett reminded.

“I spilled to you,” Johnny corrected, “I told David that I needed to get back to you, he said he’d help. That’s why I’m here. It was the plan all along. You’re still my number one, B.”

Brett’s heart melted. Johnny always called him B – nobody else got that honour. He had missed it so much.

“I’m just so glad to have you back,” Brett justified, “I don’t want to risk losing you.”

“You won’t, I promise,” Johnny held out his pinky finger. Brett linked his own pinky with Johnny’s, just as they always did to secure a promise. They had each other forever, “So, I’m guessing with all the secrecy that you’re not dating anyone else?”

“It’s not exactly easy when you’re the captain of the basketball team,” Brett opened up.

“Maybe they need to see you with a super cute boyfriend on your arm?” Johnny smirked cheekily, “No pressure. In your own time, I’m here for you either way.”

Brett nodded. The thought of Johnny on his arm made things feel a little easier.

“About the boyfriend thing,” Brett picked up on Johnny’s word choice. After all, they had never made it official.

“Oh, did you like the sound of that?” Johnny smirked playfully.

“I mean, if you’re sticking around,” Brett toyed.

“I suppose you’re probably the best I’ll get,” Johnny teased, “Come over here, pretty boy.” Brett didn’t need to be asked twice. He went and sat on Johnny’s lap, immediately embracing him in a gentle kiss. This was it. This was what he had longed for. It was the best.

Feeling repurposed as a babysitter, Yasmin was keeping a close eye on the lad they found in LA. Ed had called her to give an update – the facial recognition software failed to bring up any matches. He was still an unknown entity, but David appeared to be more than a little protective over him. He had to be involved somehow, and Yasmin was feeling impatient waiting for answers.

Inadvertently, she had also ended up babysitting Sammi. Of course, she knew Sammi well by now – though she was naïve, she was one of the most determined people Yasmin had ever met. In spite of everything she had been through, Sammi was kind, strong-willed, and a keen fighter for what she believed in. A woman after Yasmin’s heart.

“How long do you think it will be before he wakes up?” Sammi questioned, also watching the lad as he peacefully laid flat on the hospital bed.

“The doctors don’t know. I guess they’ve never had to deal with a virus like this before,” Yasmin explained, “We just need to hope that he does actually wake up.”

“This is him, it has to be, right?” Sammi thought. Yasmin immediately knew who she was talking about – he was bound to be the only thing that’s really on her mind.

“That depends on whether or not you believe in coincidences,” Yasmin swerved giving her a direct answer. Family matters were complex, after all.

“Do you?” Sammi enquired.

“I prefer to look at the facts and apply logic,” Yasmin justified, “As for your dad, his timing is undoubtedly suspicious, and the virus? Well, he has form.”

“I should have known,” Sammi sighed, burying her face in her hands. Yasmin stood up and perched on the side of her armchair to comfort her.

“You could never have known. Never expect the impossible of yourself,” Yasmin advised. Sammi felt like the little sister she never had. She needed protection and guidance.

“Um, where am I?” a deeper, distinctively male voice interrupted. In amazement, Yasmin spun around to see the lad awake and making eye contact with her.

“Hey, you’re in hospital, take it easy,” Yasmin got back up to reassure him.

“You’re one of Dylan’s friends, right?” he mentioned. That was one positive – he recognised her, despite them only briefly meeting before.

“Yes, that’s right. I’m Yasmin and this is Sammi,” Yasmin spoke gently, “Do you remember what happened?”

“I remember feeling like shit,” he replied, “Wait, what was your name again?” He was looking at Sammi like he’d seen a ghost.

“Sammi,” she confirmed.

“Short for what?” he queried. Yasmin was confused, and unsure of where this was going.

“Samantha. Samantha Chadwick,” Sammi replied, sounding just as baffled as Yasmin was.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t recognise you before, but it’s just clicked,” he oddly continued, “My name is Jeremy. Jeremy Chadwick. I’m your brother.”

Both Sammi and Yasmin were stunned into silence. This posed more questions than it answered. Yasmin could tell Sammi was going to need her a whole lot more.

No matter how hard he tried to deny it, Josh simply couldn’t ignore how he felt. David hadn’t even been gone an hour, but he was already beginning to feel unwell. His throat was sore, his head was foggy, and the wolf inside was becoming more and more difficult to keep down.

Scattered around the clearing, it looked like all of the other werewolves felt the same. The arguing and blaming had stopped – nobody had the energy for it any longer. The Nemeton had sealed the clearing, protecting every other werewolf in the world. All they had to do now was die, and Josh was starting to accept that. If he was going to die, he’d have preferred a heroic, honourable death, but Josh couldn’t stop the inevitable.

“Hey, sit down,” Josh called over to Dylan, who was nervously pacing around the trunk of the Nemeton. He wasn’t taking this so well, and even with Freddie on the case, Dylan felt helpless.

“I can’t, not when we’re all dying. I feel like shit,” Dylan’s voice quivered. He was on the verge of tears.

“And we can’t do anything about it. Sit down dude, please,” Josh requested. If there was one thing he could do, it was to make this time a little easier for Dylan to process.

“How are you so calm?” Dylan sat cross-legged next to him. Jono sat on the other side of Dylan, which pleased Josh. If this was the end, they needed to spend it together.

“I’ve swerved death more than once. After a while, you start to accept that what will be, will be,” Josh reasoned, “Freddie’s doing all he can, but if he can’t, we’ve got each other.”

“I feel okay,” Jono mentioned, “By the looks of things, I’m the only one who feels okay.”

“Lucky you,” Josh smiled. Dylan’s phone rang before Josh got to ask any more questions. This could be their beacon of hope. Dylan answered it, putting it on speakerphone for everyone to hear.

“Freddie, please tell me you’ve got good news,” Dylan began. Josh was hopeful, but ready for disappointment. Their odds felt low.

“Maybe,” Freddie replied, “He’s awake, and all symptoms have subsided.”

“Okay, what does that mean for us?” Jono queried.

“Here’s the tricky part,” Freddie explained, “He told us his name.”

“Yeah, and?” Josh was impatient. This seemed to be leading somewhere. Somewhere vaguely optimistic, too.

“His name is Jeremy Chadwick. He says he’s David’s son,” Freddie revealed.

“My cousin,” Jono looked stunned. His face gave no expression away. He was baffled, “Wait, I don’t feel ill at all. It’s not affecting me.”

“That was my question,” Yasmin’s voice replied over the phone, “I think your blood is the key. If David engineered this virus, he would’ve protected himself first and foremost. We tested it on the girl from our class and she’s healing too. Your blood is the cure, Jono.”

“But how? There’s at least a hundred wolves here, and it won’t take just one drop of blood each, right?” Jono sounded worried. Josh felt hopeful, though. This was their way out. There was a saving grace after all.

“The Nemeton,” Dylan realised, “The Nemeton is connected, somehow. It knew to quarantine us in here. Perhaps it can transmit the cure?”

“Best idea we’ve got,” Josh quickly concurred.

“Try it, call us back,” Yasmin suggested, “Good luck. See you on the other side. Josh, behave yourself.” Josh chuckled. He loved hearing her voice. It was the first time he’d heard from her since before quarantine. It was true – absence really did make the heart grow fonder. She had the voice of hope. The voice that persuaded him to keep going. To keep fighting. To keep living.

Using every ounce of strength to stand up, Josh led the way to the trunk. Jono looked terrified, but he was keeping it together. Dylan held Jono’s hand, proving they were in it together every step of the way. Josh could feel how determined Jono was. That was the kid he knew. The kid that fought for him in his darkest hours.

“Here goes nothing,” Jono bared his fangs and bit into his wrist, wincing as the pain shot back through him. Droplets of blood trickled down the trunk, settling on the roots.

Immediately, the leaves began to rustle. The branches shook violently, like a child trying to guess its Christmas present by the noise it made. Something was happening. Josh could feel it inside him, too. It was like he’d been topped up with petrol. He had energy again. He felt well.

“Did it work?” Jono nervously questioned as the branches becalmed once again. Josh looked around. The other werewolves were standing up, talking again. They were healed.

“You’re the best,” Dylan smiled at Jono, placing a proud kiss on his lips.

“He’s right,” Josh agreed, “But don’t worry, no kiss from me.” Jono laughed. Josh could feel the relief in the air. They had survived, but it wasn’t over yet.

“Okay, my mom just got back to me,” Sindy excitedly burst into Lily’s room. Lily was all ears. She had been nervously waiting all day for news from the hospital. This could piece everything together.

“Oh boy, I cannot wait for this,” Alex sat up on the bed like a child about to receive a chocolate bar.

Lily glanced at the crime board. She had a picture of the victim, and some notes she had made. It all felt circumstantial and flimsy so far. She needed some concrete evidence to tie it together, and if her suspicions were right, Nicolas was caught right in the middle.

“She had signs of a virus in her system, but not one that’s ever been recognised,” Sindy fed back.

“What does that mean?” Lily pondered. A virus that nobody knew about? That could only be bad news.

“It could be man-made,” Alex suggested.

“You read too many conspiracy theories,” Sindy rubbished the idea, “But here’s the weird part. That’s the only case outside of one hospital, a few hours away from here.”

“Don’t say it,” Lily could already tell what was coming.

“Crystalshaw,” Sindy revealed. Lily’s stomach dropped. No matter where she went, Crystalshaw was following, and that could only be bad news, “Lily, you need to speak to your brother. By the sounds of it, he’s dealing with this virus too.”

As much as Lily hated to admit it, Sindy was right. This was too much for her to handle alone.

“I’ll be right back,” Sindy abruptly added, leaving the room in a surprising hurry.

Lily turned her attention back to her crime board. Things were beginning to fit together, but she suspected Jono could provide the information she really needed.

“Hey, are you okay?” Alex checked. It was sweet of him to look out for her.

“Yeah,” Lily replied. She was coping surprisingly well, all things considered. She was proud of herself, “Thanks.”

Lily sat down next to Alex on the bed. She had been batting away everything she felt towards him for a few days now, but it was becoming more and more difficult. She couldn’t do that to George, though. It was tough, and the awkward silence ensuing was only making matters worse.

“Look, Lily,” Alex broke the silence. He sounded serious, “I know you have a boyfriend, but I have to say this. I’m crazy about you, and…”

Lily didn’t allow him to go any further. She made her decision, planting her lips on Alex’s. It felt so right, like everything had built up to this.

“Oh my god,” Sindy yelled, her voice piercing through the bedroom wall. Breaking up the kiss in an instant, Lily sprinted into the living room. There was a shocked and horrified Sindy, staring down at Violet’s dead body, “She just collapsed, I couldn’t do anything.”

Lily wasn’t stupid. She could smell the cologne in the air.

Nicolas had declared war.

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