Previous: "The Test"

Series 10 Episode 8

Car journeys with Jono were usually when Dylan felt most happy. With Jono in the driver’s seat, Dylan took on DJ duties, carefully selecting the most feel-good, singalong tracks, or handpicking the best playlists to shuffle. They would sing along at the top of their lungs, and it created some of the best memories Dylan had.

This car journey was different, though. The radio was on, but neither of them felt like singing. Too much was on both their minds. All that mattered was that they reached their destination safely and quickly.

Dylan’s feelings were conflicted. Though he adored Jono with all his heart, and nothing would ever change that, he couldn’t help feeling a little uneasy. Jono was something different now, and it had become increasingly obvious that he was no longer in control.

That was why they needed help, and quickly. Things were more severe than Dylan had realised, and they needed an expert. Someone who knew the supernatural world better than anyone. Someone who could take at least one problem off their plate.

“Do you think she’ll ever forgive me?” Jono broke the silence. He sounded vulnerable and weak, quite unlike his usual chirpy self. It broke Dylan’s heart to see him so worn down.

“Of course,” Dylan replied optimistically, “She’s your sister. You know what Lily’s like.”

“But I…” Jono protested, beating himself up.

“Jon,” Dylan interrupted, “It wasn’t you. It was the wolf.” It was his job to soothe Jono’s pain, and if he couldn’t manage it, nobody could.

“Then why do I feel so terrible?” Jono sighed. His cheeks were a bloodshot red and his eyelids were heavy. He hadn’t slept a wink.

“Because you care. As long as you continue to care, you’ve got a fighting chance at winning,” Dylan reminded. The wolf’s weakness was humanity – it was how he conquered it in the first place.

“I couldn’t live with myself, Dylan,” Jono confessed, “If Lily dies, it will be my fault, and I think that would break me.”

A chill shot through Dylan’s body. Jono was dangling off a cliff, and he wasn’t sure how he could pull him back up.

Speed-walking through the hospital doors, Sammi’s heart was running a marathon. Things only seemed to be going from bad to worse, and now, Lily was injured. For the first time, Sammi was pessimistic – the pack were drowning, and there was only so long they could tread water for.

Seeing Lily wheeled into the hospital on a stretcher broke her heart. Though they were cousins, Lily felt a lot more like the big sister Sammi never had. She could tell Lily anything and she knew she’d get good advice and comfort in return. Losing her wasn’t an option, but things weren’t looking good.

The story still wasn’t clear in Sammi’s mind. All she knew was that she’d woken up to a panicked phone call from Alex explaining the situation. Explaining Jono’s involvement. The mental picture of Jono stood over a lifeless Lily was horrific for Sammi to imagine; similarly, Jono was like her big brother, and she was terrified about what had happened to him.

“Hey,” Alex took the lead, heading to the reception desk on their right. Sammi had driven him the whole way – he was in no state to drive himself. Crystalshaw General was no good, so Freddie’s technical skills had secured Lily a bed in the place she needed to be: Beacon Hills.

“Are you family?” the nurse at the front desk immediately replied.

“Boyfriend,” Alex replied.

“And I’m her cousin,” Sammi added, backing him up.

“Please wait here, I’ll update you as soon as we know more,” the nurse replied.

“We need Melissa McCall,” Sammi insisted. Dylan had told them to specify her name – apparently, she’d be able to help, and that’s all Sammi needed to hear.

“You can’t make requests. Rest assured, she’s in the best hands,” the nurse batted away, much to Sammi’s frustration.

“Did you say Melissa McCall?” a second nurse arrived. She had gorgeous dark curls cascading part way down her chest, and she made the blue scrubs she was wearing look hotter than anyone Sammi had ever seen, “I must warn you, I’m coming to the end of a twelve hour shift and I’m severely lacking in caffeine.”

“We’re part of Dylan Drummond’s pack. He said you know Scott,” Sammi explained.

“You could say that,” Melissa chuckled, “He’s my son. He mentioned Dylan before, you’ve come to the right place. What do you need?

“My cousin Lily just got taken through there. An alpha attacked her last night. It’s a long story, I’ll tell you the whole thing later, but she’s a newly converted werewolf and she’s not healing.”

“Okay, I’ve got an idea. Follow me, guys,” Melissa nodded efficiently. Sammi was impressed already. Melissa knew what she was doing and was remaining effortlessly calm on their behalf.

“I’ll grab coffee,” Sammi offered, letting Alex tag along to remain close to Lily. She was starting to feel a little more at ease – perhaps they still had a fighting chance?

To Dylan’s relief, the car journey had been as smooth as he’d hoped. The roads were clear, as expected at such an early time in the morning. It felt comforting to know they were so close to finding help.

Now, they had to navigate a town they’d never seen before, and they only had five of them to cover the whole of Beacon Hills in the shortest possible time. With Lily’s life on the line, and Jono now a ticking time bomb, they couldn’t let a single second slip between their fingers.

“Okay, what’s the plan?” Jeremy asked. He’d driven Felix and Yasmin; they all knew Dylan and Jono needed space to talk on the way, and it meant a lot to Dylan to know he had their support.

“Split up,” Dylan instantly replied. He had an idea mapped out in his head already – the silence of the car journey was good for something,” Jeremy and Felix, you guys investigate the high school and surrounding area. We’ll go to the animal clinic.”

“The animal clinic? Why there?” Jono wondered.

“You remember Dr Deaton, right? He was a vet, and if I’m right, that’s where we’ll find him,” Dylan explained.

“Make sure your phones are on,” Yasmin advised, turning to Jeremy and Felix, “Let us know if you find anyone.”

“Got it,” Jeremy nodded. He and Felix headed off, leaving Dylan with two of the people he held dearest. Jono looked frail and exhausted, and Dylan simply felt sad. He was motivated to do everything he could to help him.

“You really think Deaton’s going to know what’s going on?” Yasmin queried. She didn’t sound like she had much faith in the plan, which was the last thing Dylan needed to hear. He was relying on it working.

“Do you have any better ideas?” Dylan snapped. Immediately, he regretted it. His brain felt like a volcano beginning to erupt, but that wasn’t Yasmin’s fault. She didn’t deserve that.

“Dyl,” Jono spoke calmly, “I’m going to be okay. We’ve got this. No matter what, we still have each other.” His reassuring words always hit the right note.

“I can’t lose you, Jon,” Dylan wept. He didn’t cry very often, but he was losing his mind with worry.

“You’re not going to,” Jono insisted, “I promise.”

“Pinky promise?” Dylan mustered a little smile.

“Obviously,” Jono chuckled, wrapping his pinky finger around Dylan’s without a second thought. That was all Dylan needed. Now he could focus again. Now, he could get the job done.

“I’m sorry,” Dylan said to Yasmin, meaning it sincerely.

“We’ve all been there,” Yasmin smiled kindly, far more kindly than Dylan deserved. Quickly, her attention shifted, swatting away some sort of fly. A glowing fly.

A firefly.

More swarmed around the trio; tons of fireflies circled them, almost enclosing them in some sort of bubble. No matter how hard Dylan tried to brush them away, it was no good – more kept filling the space.

Catching Dylan’s ears off guard, the loudest, most high-pitched scream sounded like a siren. Strangely, it was as comforting as it was painful, because he knew that scream. He’d heard it before.

As a result, the fireflies scarpered. They were right to flee, too, because Dylan saw the best possible vision of hope in front of him. Not only was Lydia – the banshee – coming to their rescue, but Malia, Stiles and Scott too.

“Something wants us all here,” Scott immediately said. Something was up, but Dylan felt optimistic again, for the first time in a while.

The last time Josh had been in Wayhurst was one of the darkest times of his life. He was defeated, and he’d lost everything through David’s command over him. Nothing had been the same for Josh since, and he still wasn’t sure he’d forgiven himself for what he did to his friends.

Being back there was somewhat triggering. Flashbacks ran through Josh’s mind from his previous visit. The feeling of uncertainty as he contemplated a life without his friends and family. Not knowing where to go or what to do when he was a small fish in a big new ocean. Of all the strange, scary emotions he’d experienced in his life, that was undeniably one of the worst.

At the same time, Wayhurst was a reminder of second chances. If Josh hadn’t ended up there, he wouldn’t have run into Drew, who gave him the pep talk to return home. Strangely, that brief, uncomfortable visit was the reason he was still in the pack. It was the reason he still had his friends.

This time, Josh was able to take the lead. Drew was terrible at keeping in touch – it was difficult enough when he lived down the road – so neither Freddie nor Brett knew where he lived now, and Oscar had never met Drew full stop. Josh just about remembered the location of the cosy bungalow himself. It was on the outskirts of town and completely normal, boring even, to the naked eye. Even the front garden was entirely uneventful. It wasn’t overgrown and ignored, nor was it beautifully designed and eye-catching. Everything was plain and very easy to ignore; Josh admired to dedication to remaining hidden.

Pressing the doorbell, Josh felt slightly nervous. The last time he’d seen Drew was over a year ago, at one of his lowest points He felt like he had a lot to prove. Much to Josh’s relief, Freddie lined up by his side – without saying anything, Freddie always seemed to know how he felt. He knew when Josh needed space, and when he needed support, and this time, it was the latter.

“Hey guys,” an excited face greeted them behind the dull blue door. It was the kind smile of Noah, one of the purest souls Josh had ever known. He’d been through so much, and now he’d found a pack and a lover of his own – Josh had one out of two, at least, but he wanted that full house badly, “Come in, please.”

The group filtered into the far-too-small house that somehow accommodated five people. Inside, it seemed to be business as usual. Though the interior remained glamorous and polished, any free wall space had been turned into a crime board. The most prominent one was in the living room, and it triggered the most surreal flashback for Josh. The scientists felt like such a long time ago, yet one of them was still out there; Drew’s mission still wasn’t over. Suddenly, the world felt a little less safe again.

“She’s giving us the run-around, Drew appeared, almost out of nowhere, noticing Josh observing the board “But she knows we’re onto her. She knows any murder brings us one clue closer.”

“But this was years ago,” Josh recalled.

“The fight goes on,” Drew replied, “As it does in Crystalshaw, I hear. Tell me everything.”

Josh hardly knew where to start, but he knew Drew was one of their best shots. He needed every detail.

Jeremy had no real idea of where they were heading, but he didn’t care. Amongst everything going on, he still had Felix, and somehow, nothing else mattered any more. He was the calm in the middle of the storm, and Jeremy was clinging on for dear life.

The truth was, Jeremy was trying desperately not to think about his father. He’d long since attempted to bury his demons and move on from the trauma of his upbringing. It was never really gone, of course – Jeremy could never completely get away from how the first part of his life was spent much like a prisoner, but he’d made steps towards moving on, and David’s return was only going to jeopardise that.

Therefore, Jeremy had chosen not to think about it. One thought spiralled into the next, and he wasn’t prepared to go there again. He had to be strong, to protect Sammi and to protect Felix. They were the most important people in his life, and whatever David was planning, he wouldn’t be able to take them away from him – for a second time, in Sammi’s case.

“It’s just down the road,” Felix informed, checking the maps app on his phone, before pointing to a tall, multi-storey building towering over the surrounding houses, “Guessing it’s there.” Sure enough, it looked like the sort of building that could be a school. Jeremy wasn’t sure why Dylan wanted them to investigate a school in the early hours of a summer holiday morning, but if Beacon Hills was anything like Crystalshaw, the high school was probably a Nemeton of its own.

“I thought we were done with school,” Jeremy made conversation. It was strange to think high school and graduation had already been and gone. It felt like he’d cheated slightly, particularly when he’d only actually been in school for a couple of years.

“Trust me, I’d be happy if I never have to step foot in one ever again,” Felix laughed, “Is there anywhere with a higher concentration of homophobes? Not to mention the additional people who don’t understand how bisexuality works.”

“I think our sexuality was the least of our worries,” Jeremy noted, “Me being a werewolf was a bit of a sore point.”

“If you told me a year ago that I’d be dating a werewolf, I’d have laughed in your face,” Felix mentioned with a knowing look, “Now it’s an actual part of my life, and it always will be.”

“Damn right,” Jeremy smiled. The duo paused outside the school gates for a quick kiss. Jeremy had been surprised by how quickly he’d gotten used to the sensation – just a year before, he’d never kissed anyone, and he remembered how scary the thought of it was.

“Remain still,” a voice commanded from behind. Blue lights illuminated the pair. A shiver went down Jeremy’s spine. What was happening? Cautiously, he and Felix turned around to face a tall, male deputy, handsome and surely no older than thirty, “I’m taking you in.”

“Why?” Felix demanded.

“Don’t think we’re not onto your vandalism. We’ll talk at the station,” the deputy replied.

“Okay, okay, we’ll co-operate, Deputy…err…” Jeremy agreed.

“Lahey. Deputy Lahey,” he replied. Jeremy nodded, but inside, he was furious. This was bound to be a case of crossed wires, but delays were the last thing the pack needed.

Slamming the door shut, Dylan felt relieved to be inside. The animal clinic had become their refuge because the fireflies didn’t stop for long. They kept coming, like magnets attracted to the pack. What was causing it, Dylan didn’t know, but it was terrifying.

“Everyone okay?” Scott immediately checked. A series of nods followed, but everyone was too busy catching their breath to reply properly.

“What the hell was that?” Jono panted.

“That was the worst outbreak yet,” Lydia said, glancing worriedly at Scott.

“You can say that again, I’ve never seen fireflies with separation anxiety before,” Stiles added.

“Outbreak?” Dylan was confused, “This has happened before?”

“I thought you knew,” Scott was taken aback.

“Knew what?” Dylan was growing more concerned. What could the fireflies mean, and how did Scott know more?

“Scott,” a voice came from further inside the clinic. The voice Dylan was hoping to hear from: Deaton, “You need to explain.”

“I’ll explain,” Malia casually piped up.

“No,” Lydia quickly said, “Allow Scott. He’s more…gentle.”

“I can do gentle,” Malia protested.

“If a sledgehammer’s gentle, yes,” Stiles replied.

“It’s fine,” Scott spoke up, “Come through.” Scott led the way into the main vet surgery. The group circled around the operating table, on which was the most gruesome, saddening sight. A dead wolf, cleanly severed in half, its insides staring Dylan in the face. He felt sick – gore wasn’t his best friend.

“What happened to it?” Yasmin questioned.

“Look at it,” Dylan observed, “Nothing cuts anything in half that cleanly.”

“Exactly,” Deaton continued, “Except the fireflies.”

“How can fireflies saw a person in half?” Yasmin wondered.

“They’re not normal fireflies,” Deaton clarified, “They’re linked to the Nemeton, a force for the supernatural.”

“That doesn’t explain why they cut a wolf in half,” Jono noted.

“We still don’t know either, but it must have had a reason,” Scott insisted.

“It did have abnormal DNA, though,” Lydia added, “It matches more closely with the DNA of a coyote than a wolf.”

“But it’s clearly a wolf,” Dylan struggled to comprehend. Everything everyone was saying was making him more and more baffled.

“It’s an experiment,” Jono realised, “Dyl, the scientists, this is exactly what they did.”

“Oh my god,” Dylan realised, horrified. He hadn’t considered the lasting effects of the scientists’ experiments on the supernatural.

“What scientists?” Malia impatiently wondered.

“Two humans who poked and prodded at the supernatural, before reprogramming the Nemeton to wipe us out entirely,” Dylan explained, “One of them is still out there.”

“Did you test DNA from both halves?” Yasmin wondered.

“No, why?” Lydia queried.

“Because I’d bet on them being different,” Yasmin considered, “The scientists experimented on humans and animals. I’m betting there are two sets of DNA.”

“A chimera,” Scott realised.

“Except this is a freak of nature,” Yasmin continued, “The fireflies separated the DNA into opposing ends of the wolf’s body and severed it, keeping them apart permanently.”

“If this is true, the Nemeton has unprecedented power,” Deaton pondered, “Even greater than we realised.”

“Then why are they coming for us?” Dylan still didn’t understand, “We all have the same DNA.”

“Dyl,” Jono worryingly spoke up, “Maybe not all of us.”

“But you’re okay, you don’t have two types of DNA, an alpha is still a werewolf,” Dylan reassured.

“Hold up, Jono’s an alpha? My head’s hurting,” Stiles was just as confused as Dylan and the whole pack.

“I guess,” Jono shrugged, “But it feels wrong. It came out of nowhere. I didn’t earn this.”

“A freak of nature,” Lydia realised, “No offence.”

“But how? How can someone become an alpha without earning it somehow?” Scott was stumped.

“Jono, has anything unusual happened to you recently?” Deaton enquired.

“Define ‘unusual’,” Jono said with a self-deprecating laugh.

“More than normal,” Deaton clarified.

“Well, there was Ranulf,” Jono remembered, “The spirit of an alpha called Ranulf possessed me, but we sent it back. That was months ago.”

“Do you think there’s a link?” Dylan eagerly questioned.

“It’s an after effect,” Deaton realised, “Ranulf may be gone, but your body’s adapted. He’s left an imprint on you, and it made you an alpha, but against the will of the supernatural.”

Dylan was listening intently, but he wasn’t sure he understood. He already knew that whatever was happening to Jono wasn’t good, but his biology being changed? How could that even happen?

“The fireflies are coming for me,” Jono realised solemnly, “And you’re all in danger.”

Watching Lily lying lifeless broke Alex’s heart. Nobody was livelier and bubblier than her, so to see her unconscious was a contrast Alex never wanted to see again. He needed her to get back to her usual self as soon as possible.

Maybe that was a selfish thought, but Lily really meant so much to Alex in a way that was hard to describe in words. When his faith in humanity was draining away, Lily was a shining star of hope. Losing her would mean losing the life he’d built for himself since then, and that wasn’t an option.

Lily’s life being in the hands of a complete stranger was far from reassuring, too. Alex knew that Lily trusted Dylan implicitly, and most of the time, that was good enough for him, but he barely knew Melissa. In fact, he didn’t know her at all, yet she had become Lily’s only hope. It was disconcerting, and only amplifying Alex’s concerns.

“She’ll be okay,” Sammi reassured, handing Alex a coffee from the hospital machine. He wasn’t sure he could stomach a hot drink, but he wasn’t one to be ungrateful.

“I’m glad you think so,” Alex admitted, “I’ve never heard of this woman before. She could be anyone.”

“But she’s not. She’s Scott’s mom, and she’s on our side. Have faith. Lily’s in safe hands,” Sammi assured.

“I’ve never even met Scott,” Alex sighed.

“Me neither,” Sammi confessed, “I couldn’t pick him out in a crowd, but Jono sings his praises all the time. That’s all I need.”

“That’s some faith you’ve got,” Alex realised, “I think my parents destroyed any faith I have left.”

“I’m sorry,” Sammi sympathised. After all, she was far from inexperienced when it came to parental problems.

“It’s okay, it’s nothing new, but Lily helped change that. I can’t lose her, Sammi,” Alex admitted. He felt desperate.

“And you won’t,” Melissa joined the room, wheeling in a trolley carrying ten jars and a conical flask.

“What’s this?” Sammi wondered, seemingly as confused as Alex was about the array of unlabelled herbs in the jars.

“Werewolves have claws, banshees can scream,” Melissa explained, “Me? I’ve got the nine herbs.”

“Why are there ten jars?” Sammi noticed.

“Honey works as a binding agent. A shot of this should trigger the healing process, but if I mix it wrong, things won’t be looking so rosy,” Melissa continued.

“Wait, what? Could she die?” Alex was horrified.

“Kid, this isn’t my first rodeo,” Melissa reassured. Slowly but surely, Alex was being won over. Melissa knew her stuff, and that was all Alex needed to know.

“Here’s what I don’t get,” Alex mentioned, “She’s a werewolf. She should be healing. That’s never been a problem before.”

“We’ll worry about that later. Right now, I need to treat her,” Melissa decided.

“Guys,” Sammi nudged, “Maybe we should shut the window.” Alex, confused by her worried quiver, spun his head round to look. Bafflingly, a couple of fireflies had made it inside. Usually, Alex would have called them pretty, but this was different. Through the window, a swarm was on its way.

It was heading straight for them.

Of all the things Jeremy was anticipating in Beacon Hills, a trip to the sheriff station was not one of them. They hadn’t officially been arrested, but to Jeremy, it felt like they had. They couldn’t just leave, no matter how claustrophobic Jeremy felt.

After all, Jeremy had spent far too long locked inside. Going back there was his idea of hell. There was no way he was going to spend more time hidden from the world for something he hadn’t done.

That was the most baffling part. Quite why anyone thought Jeremy and Felix were vandals was beyond him. They’d only just arrived in town and were minding their own business, so it must have been a case of mistaken identity, right? That didn’t stop it frustrating Jeremy, though. He’d seen enough crime dramas to know justice didn’t always happen.

“Have you called yet?” Felix nagged. Deputy Lahey was typing away at his computer, almost oblivious to their presence. All Felix had asked for was one phone call to Dylan; that way, the entire thing would be cleared up within seconds. Instead, Jeremy’s frustrations were growing. Time was being wasted.

“Names,” Lahey demanded.

“Don’t tell him anything,” Felix commanded just as Jeremy went to open his mouth, “Not until we get our call.”

“Fine. I can wait,” Lahey decided. Jeremy sighed. This wasn’t working. They needed a plan B.

“If we can’t call Dylan, then maybe you can call someone. Scott McCall. Phone him and he’ll vouch for us,” Jeremy bargained. After all, neither them nor Dylan were from Beacon Hills, so perhaps there might be some more weight in someone who was?

“Wait, you know Scott?” Lahey recognised. Felix smiled proudly at Jeremy. Finally, they were making progress, “Hold on, you said Dylan, do you mean Dylan Drummond? Scott told me about you guys. I’m so sorry. I’m Isaac,” Lahey glowed his eyes, revealing the truth – he was a beta too.

“Deputy,” an older man stormed over, lowering his voice as he approached, as if he were revealing a secret, “What the hell? Quit the eyes.” Jeremy noticed the shiny sheriff badge proudly displayed on his shirt.

“It’s okay, they’re in Dylan’s pack,” Isaac defended.

“I’m Jeremy, and this is Felix,” Jeremy smiled his kindest smile, “I’m a beta too.” Jeremy glared his eyes as proof.

“Well, why didn’t you say? Sheriff Stilinski,” the Sheriff introduced, shaking both of their hands, “If you know Scott, I assume you know my pain-in-the-ass son, Stiles.”

“We’ve not met either of them, actually,” Jeremy admitted, “But Dylan has, and we all need your help. Please, I think there’s been a case of mistaken identity. We’re no vandals. We’ve not even been here an hour. Scott can vouch for us.”

“The last I heard, Scott’s out of town. I know who else we can call, though. Come on, let’s step into my office and clear this up for good,” Stilinski suggested. Jeremy felt comfortable in his presence – Dylan was right, Scott and his friends were the right people to trust in.

Oscar hadn’t uttered a single word since arriving at Drew’s. He didn’t know what to say – he’d never met Drew before and knew nothing about him. In fact, all he’d really heard was that Drew was somewhat blunt and frosty, though very knowledgeable. It wasn’t the best pitch he’d ever heard.

There was never really a moment where Oscar felt like an outsider in the pack; even when they’d kept him in the dark about the supernatural, they’d never excluded him from the group. This was different, though. Freddie, Josh and Brett knew Drew. Quite why they’d insisted on him coming to Wayhurst as well, Oscar didn’t know. He wasn’t any use to anyone.

“Everything okay?” Brett came and sat against the hallway wall beside him. On paper, Brett had so little in common with Oscar, but since his return, Brett was the person he felt most comfortable with. The high school basketball jock stereotype was easily subverted by his gentle nature and open mind. If Oscar could be half as confident in himself as Brett was, he’d be more than happy.

“I feel like a spare part,” Oscar sighed, “I should have stayed at home, or gone with Dylan. I’d have been more use.”

“You’re plenty of use,” Brett assured, though Oscar didn’t get where he was coming from.

“How?” Oscar enquired.

“You’re the person I trust the most here. Josh and Freddie are great, and I’ve known Drew a long time, but you’re the one who’s seen me at my lowest. You looked after me when I needed it the most. I wanted you here, Oscar, because I knew Drew and the others are going to ask about Johnny, and I don’t know how I’m going to cope with that. I don’t know how strong I am,” Brett opened up, “You’re my comfort blanket, I suppose.” Oscar’s heart felt full. Nobody had ever needed him like that before.

“Losing someone you care for is hard,” Oscar acknowledged, trying to overcome the unavoidable sensation of butterflies overrunning his stomach. He knew exactly what that feeling meant – he felt it when he first met Jono. He was feeling some type of way for Brett but acting on it would have been the most insensitive thing he could have done in that moment. The urge to place his hand on Brett’s leg was strong, but he was resisting.

“That’s where you are,” Allyn spotted, summoning Drew to the corridor, “We were worried.”

“No need,” Brett reassured, “This one’s looking out for me.” He gently placed his hand on Oscar’s leg. Oscar’s mind was blown. That was his signal. He followed suit, putting his hand comfortingly on top of Brett’s. It felt just right.

“Looks like you’re in safe hands,” Drew acknowledged, “Thanks for looking after him, Oscar.”

“It’s nothing,” Oscar downplayed. His feelings were all over the place, but finally, he knew where he stood in that moment. He’d connected with Drew, in even the tiniest way.

“Freddie said you know Cody,” Drew mentioned, catching Oscar off guard with his rapid change of subject. As if his feelings weren’t confused enough already.

“That’s one way of putting it,” Oscar scoffed.

“Wait, you know Cody, Drew?” Brett queried.

“I did, once upon a time,” Drew replied, “Come on, let’s talk in here. The couches are far more comfortable than the floor.” Oscar nodded. Quite what he felt about Cody, he didn’t know any longer, but Oscar was keen to arm himself with as much knowledge as he could.

The penny had dropped, and Jono had ever felt more uncomfortable in himself. He was the reason they were under attack. The fireflies were coming for him. He was something that wasn’t meant to exist, and his mere existence was putting them all in danger.

Jono wasn’t sure what to do. This was completely unlike any situation he’d ever been in before, but he knew one thing for certain: he was the problem. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Jono needed to remove himself from the situation, but how could he do this without being sawn in half? The mere thought of it was enough to make Jono shudder.

Jono figured it probably didn’t matter, though. It wasn’t about him. It was about protecting the others at all costs. Protecting Dylan at all costs. As long as he wasn’t endangering those he loved, Jono knew he could find a way to keep himself safe.

“What do we do?” Dylan stressed. It broke Jono’s heart to see him so scared. He desperately wanted to soothe his pain and tell him it was okay, but Jono couldn’t lie to him.

Before anyone could answer, a phone rang. A typical, more bog-standard ringtone than Jono’s jovial tune of choice. Yasmin slid her mobile out of her pocket and perused the screen. Her expression visibly dropped like a lead balloon was tied to it.

“It’s Ed,” she explained with a quiver in her voice, “I need to take this.” She slipped back into the lobby for some privacy.

“What I don’t get,” Jono pondered, trying to work every solution out in his mind, “Is why we had no fireflies attacking us in Crystalshaw.”

“I suppose you’re not close enough for the Nemeton to reach you,” Deaton figured.

“We have our own Nemeton in Crystalshaw, though,” Jono considered, “I was there yesterday, right next to it. It did something to me, but I don’t know what.”

“Our Nemeton is just a stump, it’s practically dormant,” Lydia explained, “It might not have the capabilities of a fully powered Nemeton, so this is the best it can do.”

“It would help if any of us actually knew anything about the Nemeton and weren’t just guessing,” Stiles added.

“Guys,” Yasmin tentatively re-entered the room, “My dad escaped. He’s out of jail.”

“Shit,” Dylan was terrified, and so was Jono. Forsyth was the last thing they needed, and they knew what bad news he was.

“Another hunter on the loose? Oh boy,” Stiles remarked.

“I know who can help. An insider on hunters, if you like,” Scott assured, “We’ll help as much as we can when we’re out of here.”

“You guys go,” Jono decided, “They’re after me. You guys can get out of here. There’s no point wasting time.”

“No,” Dylan immediately refuted.

“You have to. The others need you. Find a way to save me while you’re out there, yeah?” Jono persuaded.

“I’ll stay,” Malia nodded, “I can help.”

“Okay,” Scott nodded, “The sooner we go, the sooner we can get back. Dylan, you in?” Jono glanced at his fiancée and nodded his approval. Dylan needed to get out, or there would be no point in their entire trip to Beacon Hills.

“You better be in one piece when I get back,” Dylan commanded.

“I’ll try to be,” Jono raised as much of a smile as he could. Dylan rushed to kiss him, and it was just the lift Jono needed. Every moment their lips were touching was precious to Jono, and nothing could take that from him. Regretfully, though, Jono broke the kiss, and Dylan followed the others out of the back door. As the door clicked shut, Jono glanced at Malia and Deaton either side of him. None of them knew what was coming, and Jono had never felt so unsettled.

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