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Series 9 Episode 9

Dylan had seen many things that had frightened him. He was only eighteen, yet he had seen the most ridiculous, unexplainable things – stuff most people wouldn’t see in their whole lifetimes.

However, nothing terrified him more than the blank, expressionless look of his boyfriend’s body being used as a vehicle for a destructive, threatening alpha. It looked like the person he loved. The person he’d spent years caring so deeply for, but he was gone. It was jarring, and it broke Dylan’s heart.

There was no time for worrying, though. Ranulf and Summer were stood just metres away in the dorm living room, and they were ready to fight. Dylan knew he had to stop it in some way, but how?

“Where did Oscar go? He was here too,” Freddie whispered in Dylan’s ear. Behind them, Lily was tending to an unconscious Alex. A quick getaway was out of the question.

“If he’s not here, he’s safer than we are,” Dylan quietly replied. He was more focused on the pure hatred in Summer’s face, and the glaring red eyes of Ranulf shining harshly from Jono’s body.

“It’s been a long time, Ranulf,” Summer grimaced.

“You won’t kill me,” Ranulf growled. The voice was deep and gravelly; the compete opposite of Jono’s soft tone. Dylan missed him so much.

“Oh, I will,” Summer smirked, “I’ve already killed your son, and your grandchild.”

Suddenly, everything clicked for Dylan. The professor that drowned. The student that was murdered. They were Ranulf’s descendants. Summer had killed the bloodline.

“Summer, that’s Jono, we need to save him,” Dylan reminded. He couldn’t let Jono get caught in the crossfire.

“Sorry Dylan, your precious boy isn’t my concern,” Summer bluntly said, before firing a huge blast of water at Ranulf. Dylan winced as Jono’s body flung violently backwards against the door.

“No,” Dylan was furious. Freddie was eight. Summer was trouble. He had to intervene. Abruptly, Summer shot a blast at Dylan, sending him flying harshly backwards. The full force of the far wall shot across Dylan’s back before he collapsed down onto the floor.

Dylan glanced up. He felt weak, and his back hurt like hell. He needed time to heal. Ranulf had vanished, and Summer dashed out of the dorm after him. They needed to follow, but Dylan was struggling to get up.

“Dylan,” Freddie panicked, kneeling down next to him, “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

“I’ll heal,” Dylan assured, “I’m sorry, dude, I should have believed you. Summer is just as bad as Ranulf.”

“It’s okay,” Freddie nodded, raising a kind smile, “Can you stand?”

“I think so,” Dylan attempted to heave himself upwards, “We need to stop them. Both of them.”

Oscar felt disorientated. He wasn’t sure what was going on. The living room had gone silent, and that couldn’t have been good. He’d heard Summer and Ranulf attacking each other. He’d heard Dylan’s body slam cruelly against the wall. Now he heard nothing. The coast was clear.

Cody wasn’t convinced, though. Every time Oscar tried to open the door, Cody grabbed his arm to stop him. Oscar was confused as to what his intentions were. He could have actually cared for Oscar and wanted to protect him. It was the best-case scenario, but Cody’s threats earlier that day said otherwise. Oscar knew he was likely a pawn in whatever game Cody was playing.

“What’s the deal?” Oscar finally broke the silence.

“Keep your voice down,” Cody hissed, putting his finger on his lips.

“Nobody’s there, remember I’ve got wolf hearing too,” Oscar felt a little insulted. Cody was acting like a snob about any werewolf not in his own pack, and it wasn’t a cute look.

“Excuse me for keeping you safe,” Cody hit back.

“You can’t blame me for being sceptical after our so-called date,” Oscar couldn’t hide his frustration any longer.

“Okay, it’s true. I’ve got a pack to protect, Oscar. They depend on me. If I risk their lives, I am letting them down. Do you understand?” Cody defiantly justified.

“Yes,” Oscar insisted, “My pack saved my life. Literally. I know how it feels to be protective too. I owe them.”

“Then you understand why I need you to leave,” Cody wasn’t giving up. Oscar appreciated his reasons, but there was no element of fairness there.

“You can’t live like that, Cody,” Oscar picked his words carefully, “Other packs exist, and not all of them are dangerous. My alpha is Dylan Drummond, I assume you’ve heard of him.”

The Dylan Drummond?” Cody looked awestruck.

“He’s the alpha that bit me, and he’s not the werewolf you or your pack need to worry about,” Oscar persisted.

“He’s a legend. They talk about him all over the country, you know. He’s up there with alphas like Scott McCall and Deucalion, for better or for worse,” Cody was amazed.

“So, please, reconsider?” Oscar pulled his best innocent puppy face. Cody paused, clearly thinking it through. All Oscar could do was hope.

“On one condition,” Cody proposed.

“Anything,” Oscar replied. He was all-ears to whatever Cody had to say.

“You leave Dylan and join my pack,” Cody bargained. Stunned into silence, Oscar wasn’t sure what to say. That wasn’t the deal he anticipated. What was he supposed to say?

Barely being able to stand up wasn’t going to be a barrier for Yasmin. Nothing was going to stop her getting out of that hospital. Sitting around wasn’t doing her any good, and it was time to take matters into her own hands. It really was a case of life or death.

Her arm was around Josh’s shoulders, propping herself up. She wanted to look convincing in case any of the doctors or nurses questioned whether she should be leaving. With Josh’s help, Yasmin had shed that disgusting hospital gown and changed back into her own clothes, perfect for blending in.

No matter how hard Yasmin tried, though, she was finding it difficult to act normal. She had so little strength in her body. Her mind was foggy. She’d never felt so weak before. She was struggling to keep going.

“Keep going,” Josh encouraged, “You’ve fought demons worse than this, Yasmin Forsyth. If anyone can get through this, you can.”

Josh was right, too. Yasmin could get through this. Losing hope wouldn’t do her any favours, and she could be the solution to save the whole pack. Whatever it took.

“Yasmin,” a voice called out. A voice that wasn’t Josh, but one she recognised. One that made her feel comfort and dread at the same time.

“Did you hear that?” Yasmin questioned as she looked frantically around the busy hospital corridor.

“No. Another vision?” Josh immediately knew. Yasmin wasn’t sure she was ready for another vision. Not this vision. Her body was still shaken from the last one, and she already knew what this vision meant. That voice was bad news.

“Yasmin,” the voice called out again. Yasmin stopped moving and spun around. There he was. Directly behind her.

“Jono,” Yasmin was gobsmacked.

“What?” Josh heard. Yasmin grabbed his hand, bringing him into her vision. The people in the corridors vanished out of sight. It was just them.

“The vision was right,” Yasmin felt numb. The only people she’d seen in her visions were dead. Her premonition had come true.

“No,” Josh was in disbelief. Yasmin’s grip on his hand was just as much for support as it was to maintain the link.

“The alpha, Ranulf, is in my body,” Jono looked scared, understandably so, “And while he’s in there, I’m in here.”

“We can help, can’t we?” Josh was tearful. Not much moved him, but his bond with Jono had always been tight. They’d always had each other.

“Yes,” Yasmin decided, “Jono, don’t worry. We’ll get you out. I promise.”

“Thank you,” Jono raised a worried smile, “Go on, I’ll be okay. Don’t waste your energy. Tell Dylan I love him.” Yasmin nodded as the vision faded. That was the last bit of motivation she needed. She had to figure out what to do, and fast. It wasn’t just her life on the line.

Locking the cubicle door, Sammi needed some privacy. The school day still wasn’t over, but the newsroom was getting to her head. A white lie about a bathroom break had given her the chance to slip out, and she needed some advice.

There was one problem. She hadn’t actually told Dylan, Freddie or any of the pack that this had happened. She felt embarrassed to have let the side down. She couldn’t turn to them now. Furthermore, Crystalshaw town had diminishingly few people for her to turn to. Thankfully, Sammi still had two people she could easily turn to. Two people who would understand.

Of course, Sammi could see how Jeremy felt about Felix. The only thing missing was Cupid’s arrow. It warmed her heart to know Jeremy was falling in love for the first time. After all, she remembered how she felt about Freddie when she met him. How she still felt about him. That love never goes away.

Despite that, she was finding it so difficult to get past what Felix did. She couldn’t help thinking that Jeremy deserved better than the idiot who outed him just to spite Sammi. It was the lowest of low blows and it was going to take time for Sammi to get over what he did.

“Sammi, hey.” George greeted through the phone. It felt so good to hear his voice, just for some level of comfort among the madness of her day, “Is everything okay?”

“I…I don’t know,” Sammi felt flustered.

“Hold on,” George fell silent for a couple of seconds, “Okay, you’re on speaker.”

“Hey Sammi,” Mia joined in, “What can we do?”

“It’s about Jeremy,” Sammi began.

“Is he okay?” George worried.

“He’s in love,” Sammi replied.

“That doesn’t sound bad,” a confused George replied.

“Shut it,” Mia scolded, “Who’s the lucky girl?”

“Oh, it’s a he,” Summer corrected, “I probably shouldn’t have said that, he should have told you himself.”

“I didn’t know he was gay,” George thought aloud.

“I don’t actually know that he is,” Sammi said, “I’m not sure he’s anything, not yet anyway. He’s still figuring himself out.”

“We won’t say anything to him, promise,” Mia assured, “Who’s the lucky guy, then?”

“Felix,” Sammi regretfully stated.

“Wait, Felix as in…the guy you dated?” Mia spotted. She was an amazingly attentive listener. Just the right person to get advice from.

“Just the same,” Sammi confirmed, “He’s trouble, and I worry Jeremy’s going to get burned.”

“He’s got to make his own mistakes, Sammi,” George advised, “It’s his life. He needs to learn what being let down feels like. I know you want to protect him, but he won’t learn if he doesn’t experience it himself. I learnt early when my dad left. Freddie doesn’t remember him, but he still felt the loss of his dad, and he had to get through that himself.”

“George is right,” Mia concurred, “If Felix is trouble, Jeremy will learn one or way or another. In the meantime, all you can do is show support.”

Sammi paused for thought. They were right, and she knew it. Jeremy needed her acceptance at every stage, and anything less would be a let-down. She couldn’t do that to the person she was closest to in the whole world.

Looking around the campus, Dylan didn’t know what to do. The usual hustle and bustle of students filled the college street, making it difficult to see or even catch a scent. Summer and Ranulf had vanished. Jono’s Snapchat location had disappeared. Ranulf was onto their plan.

Dylan’s optimism was starting to fade. He didn’t know where to start. They could be anywhere by now, and even if he, Lily and Freddie split up, they still wouldn’t necessarily find them on campus. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but with a ticking time-bomb ready to blow for good measure.

“Where did they go?” Freddie followed Dylan out.

“No idea,” Dylan panicked, “Can you get any scents?”

“Nothing,” Freddie sighed, “They can’t have gotten far.”

“But in which direction?” Dylan stressed. He was out of ideas.

“Guys,” Lily called out, following them outside.

“Is Alex okay?” Dylan checked. He wouldn’t forgive himself if Alex ended up in danger as well.

“He’s fine, he’s awake,” Lily said, “Look down there.” Dylan followed her direction as she pointed to the ground. There was a distinct water trail leading out of the apartment.

“That could be anything,” Dylan replied pessimistically. The water could have come from anything or anywhere.

“It’s been nearly ninety degrees all week, Dyl,” Freddie mentioned, “That’s got to be new. We can’t ignore it.” Dylan knew Freddie was right. This was the only lead they had.

“Okay,” Dylan conceded, “This has to work.” Together, the trio proceeded along the narrow trail of water, heading further into the campus. Dylan didn’t take his eyes off the trail for a single second, instead using his hearing to navigate successfully through the busy crowds. He was clinging on to every little piece of hope that he could find, but the worst-case scenario still flooded into his mind. What if that was it? What if he had lost Jono for good? Stopping Ranulf wasn’t a guarantee that Jono would come back. The unknown terrified him.

The lead continued for a couple of minutes, taking them into the most central area of the campus. Dylan’s lecture theatre was directly ahead, with a small shop and café to the right. Terrifyingly, this was where the lead stopped.

“No,” Dylan cried out, equally in both anger and despair. Not even a single drop of water was visible in any direction. Quickly, Dylan was losing hope.

“Hey, Dylan, are you okay?” a familiar voice approached. Alora. Dylan took a deep breath, composing himself. The last thing he wanted was for Alora to ask questions – they were best kept out of it.

“Yeah, all good,” Dylan lied, putting on a brave face. He was sure his cheeks were as red as his wolf eyes, but he had to remain focused. This was the perfect opportunity to get some intel, “Have you seen Jono?”

“He just passed through,” Alora explained, “I said hi but he ignored me. He went in there.” They pointed to the right. Dylan would recognise that place any day. It was the restaurant. The location of the freshers’ party. The night Summer killed Ranulf’s son.

“Thanks,” Dylan smiled at Alora before dashing straight off towards the restaurant.

“Dylan, wait,” Lily called out after him, “You can’t just go straight in there.”

“Watch me,” Dylan defiantly shouted. He was ready to fight.

“I’ve got a better idea,” Freddie suggested. Dylan stopped in his tracks. He was all-ears, but this had to be a guaranteed success.

Pacing back and forth, Oscar was conflicted. Cody had given him the most impossible decision to make, and he wasn’t sure how to feel. He was angry that Cody has pushed him into such an impossible position. There was no good result here.

After all Dylan had done for him, leaving his pack would be the biggest kick in the teeth. Oscar felt safe with Dylan, and most importantly, he trusted him. Already, he had several reasons not to trust Cody.

On the other hand, perhaps leaving was the best thing to for Dylan’s sake? He knew little about Cody and even less about his pack, but he was clearly sneaky, and he knew how to get his way. Dylan’s life could be in danger, and Oscar wasn’t going to risk it.

“So?” Cody broke the silence. Clearly, he wasn’t used to being kept waiting.

“Tell me one thing,” Oscar pondered, “Why me? What’s in this for you?”

“Are you serious? Oscar, I’m mad about you. Sure, you’re Dylan Drummond’s beta, and that would work wonders for our pack’s status, but that’s completely secondary,” Cody opened up.

“What?” Oscar was taken aback. He wasn’t aware Cody actually felt any particular way about him. In fact, he thought quite the opposite after their date turned into a disaster.

“You’re special, Oscar. I don’t want to lose you,” Cody continued. For the first time, Oscar felt like he was talking to Cody the human, rather than Cody the alpha. Emotion made the difference, and somewhere along the way, Cody had forgotten that.

“So, the date,” Oscar thought back.

“Was genuine,” Cody explained. Oscar wasn’t sure what to think. This could be an easy bluff, “I hope you can consider giving me a chance, Oscar.”

“No. I can’t leave the pack, they’re my friends,” Oscar decided, “And if you care for me like you say, you’ll respect that.”

“My pack won’t be happy, you know,” Cody insisted, “They’ll expect action, and I can’t protect you or your friends.” Oscar couldn’t help reconsidering. He didn’t want to join the pack, but he had to protect his friends. Putting them in danger wasn’t an option.

“Promise you’ll protect them if I join,” Oscar demanded.

“I promise,” Cody approached, standing just a few inches away. Oscar could see his beautiful blue eyes up close, contrasting perfectly with the bright red curls that perched on his shoulders. He felt warm inside, though he wasn’t sure he wanted to feel that way, “And I’ll protect you.”

Cody leaned in slowly but brazenly, his lips gently colliding with Oscar’s. Oscar reciprocated. His gut told him to keep going. He wanted it. He wanted Cody.

His decision got a whole lot harder.

The piercing ring of the school bell came as more of a delight than Jeremy expected. It had been the day from hell, and he couldn’t wait to get home and collapse on the sofa. A relaxing evening of Netflix and music was all Jeremy wanted.

Firstly, though, he had to get out of the building. Everyone crowded out of the school as soon as the bell rang, as if they had a rocket up their backside, so all Jeremy had to do was wait a few minutes for the coast to be clear. That way, he’d have a clear route out.

“Are you going home?” Felix queried as they packed their books away.

“I guess,” Jeremy replied sheepishly. He didn’t really feel like doing anything else.

“I could, you know, come with you?” Felix suggested, “Sorry, I just invited myself round to your house. I’d ask you round mine, but I don’t think my mom would approve.”

“No, that sounds great,” Jeremy smiled. Felix actually wanted to spend more time with him. He felt excited and nervous in equal doses, “We can use the treehouse.”

“Sammi said that was Jono’s,” Felix recalled.

“It is, but he’s at college, so we can make it our own,” Jeremy thought. It was the perfect space, allowing for just the right amount of privacy, “Hey, the coast sounds clear. Let’s get out of here.”

“After you,” Felix grabbed the door with a playful grin, chauffeuring Jeremy out. Jeremy felt like royalty; he could get used to that treatment. He grabbed his bag and strolled out, feeling like he was on cloud nine.

“Here he is,” the loud, terrifying voice of Tommy boomed. He’d been waiting to the side of the newsroom door. Waiting to finish what he started, “The little werewolf.”

“Leave it, Tommy,” Felix immediately leapt to Jeremy’s defence. Sammi hadn’t returned from the bathroom yet, so they were a man down. Felix felt more exposed than ever.

“What are you going to do?” Tommy scoffed.

“Whatever it takes,” Felix stood firm. Tommy wasn’t intimidated, though. He threw the first punch, wiping Felix sideways with one hit to his face. Blood splattered to the floor just before Felix crashed down himself.

“Just you and me, wolf boy,” Tommy grinned.

“Do your worst,” Jeremy had conquered this bully before, and he could do it again, but it was time for a new approach. He was sick of hiding in the shadows. This was his chance to write his own story.

Jeremy scanned Tommy’s posse. A crowd was watching them, and it was growing in size. A load of over-excited teenagers that were desperate for drama. This was the sink or swim moment.

“But first, I need to help my friend.”

Jeremy knelt down next to Felix, who hadn’t moved since the punch. His mouth was swelling. His cheeks were pure red. The pain was obvious even before looking into his eyes.

“Where does it hurt?” Jeremy asked.

“Hurt? I feel great,” Felix still managed to joke, but Jeremy knew he was putting on a brave face. Decisively, Jeremy took Felix’s hand, and let his instincts do the rest. He watched on as his veins ran black; an unusual sight for the kindest act he could perform.

“What was that?” Tommy impatiently yelled. It was obvious he was losing control.

“You took my pain,” Felix was awestruck, “My cheek feels fine.”

“Yeah,” Jeremy smiled. He was sure his own cheeks were blushing. Without another word, Felix leaned forward and locked lips with Jeremy. He wasn’t sure how to react, but he knew he enjoyed it. The gentle, soothing sensation of Felix’s lips on his was the best feeling he’d ever experienced.

Behind them, the baying audience erupted into applause. Their allegiance had shifted. Tommy’s supporters were no more. Jeremy had won, and he felt so relieved. Regretfully breaking the kiss, Jeremy looked around. Tommy had skulked off, but Sammi had arrived, and she was cheering the loudest. She smiled proudly at him, mouthing “I love you.” That was all Jeremy needed. She had seen him win, and she accepted him. He was on cloud nine.

Heart pounding like never before, Freddie was dreading coming face-to-face with Summer. He’d tried to have as little to do with her as possible since she kidnapped him. Being alone with her was his worst nightmare, and he was about to face it head-on.

Freddie felt somewhat relieved that Summer had shown her true colours to Dylan. He was right all along, but bragging wasn’t on his mind. He was pleased because it meant the pack wasn’t going to trust her any longer. It was dangerous for all of them, and Dylan realising that was the final straw.

The restaurant had an incredibly eerie vibe to it. His first visit there remained so vivid in his memories. The party. The break-up with Sammi. The first time he saw Summer. Freddie knew he couldn’t let himself get reeled back in by those memories; Summer’s powers were strong, and even his memories were tainted by her influence.

“I knew you’d follow me,” Summer voice called out. The restaurant’s lights were out and it was almost pitch-black inside, so Freddie couldn’t see Summer. Of course, he could use his wolf eyes, but they were basically glow-in-the-dark targets. The lack of light could be played to his advantage as long as he remained smart.

“Give it up, Summer,” Freddie called back.

“Too late, sorry. I know Ranulf is here, and it’s time to get what I came for,” Summer explained. Freddie listened intently to her voice, or more specifically, the direction it was coming from. He could track her before she found him if he paid enough attention.

“You came for death? What do you get out of that?” Freddie interrogated.

“Status. I want to be the alpha. I deserve to be the alpha,” Summer continued, “Nothing else matters.”

“Did I matter to you?” Freddie asked. He knew the answer, but keeping Summer talking was the plan. One question at a time.

“You were just the pawn. The first move in my plan,” Summer revealed. Every word she said was adding some more detail to her location. Freddie carefully swerved the dining tables to move further inside, certain he was getting closer.

“Do you do that often? Manipulate people into falling in love with you?” Freddie kept going.

“You’re not my first,” Summer bragged.

BANG! Something landed on the table behind Freddie with the almightiest thud. The scent was obvious without being able to see who it was. Summer had found him.

“Sorry Freddie,” she taunted, the bright sea blue glare of her eyes lighting up harshly against the dark background, “Dylan and Lily, you can show yourselves, too.”

Darn. The plan was a bust. Summer had found them all. Sheepishly, Dylan and Lily emerged from the entrance.

The lights flickered on. Freddie’s eyes quickly adjusted to the intense lighting change. Stood proudly in the centre of the room was Ranulf, and he was baring his fangs.

He was ready to fight.

Glaring his eyes, Dylan was ready to get his boyfriend back. Freddie’s plan, whilst good, hadn’t worked, so there was only one option left, and that was to fight. Freddie and Lily knew the drill – proceed with caution because no matter how strong Ranulf was, he was using Jono’s body, and they had to be extra careful.

Naturally, Summer was the first to launch an attack. She shot a blast of water at Ranulf, who dodged it with absolute ease. Both of them had to be stopped, and it was time for plan B. After all, Dylan knew better than to come without a back-up.

“Now,” Dylan signalled to Lily. She ran forward, sprinkling a handful of mountain ash over Ranulf, locking him in a round, closed cell. His reaction could hardly have been more furious. He banged on each side, desperate to get out, but it was impossible.

There was only one problem: Ranulf was now vulnerable to Summer. This was where Dylan came in. He pounced onto a desk, blocking the front exit from Summer while Freddie brought up the rear. She was cornered.

“You can’t win, Dylan,” Summer still wasn’t giving in.

“I think he can,” a new voice entered the room. Dylan couldn’t help smiling, because he knew that voice anywhere. Yasmin had arrived. Whether she should’ve been out of hospital or not, Dylan wasn’t sure, but that wasn’t important. Yasmin could have been the key.

“Oh, this will be fun,” Summer grinned. Josh bared his fang by Yasmin’s side. They were joining the fight. Josh led the way forward, swinging at Summer, but she swerved impeccably out of the way. She remained focused on Ranulf, landing right next to the mountain ash cell he remained trapped in.

Yasmin ran forward, preparing her own blast of water, but Summer was too fast. She grabbed Yasmin by the wrist with one hand and wrapped her other arm around Yasmin’s throat.

“Nixes and sirens are remarkably similar, you know,” Summer threatened, “I know just how to block your powers. Now, if anybody moves, I will slit her throat, and I don’t need claws to do that.”

“Listen to her,” Josh suggested. Dylan felt uneasy. This was Summer’s opportunity for an open shot against Ranulf. She couldn’t penetrate the mountain ash, but her blast of water could.

“You might want to reconsider holding my hand,” Yasmin mentioned. Her voice sounded weak, but her tone was confident. Dylan should have known. Yasmin had a plan. She always had a plan. She never let him down.

“What?” Summer looked furious. Before she could let go, Yasmin grabbed Ranulf’s hand too. Of course – mountain ash didn’t stop harbingers of death.

“If you want to fight, I’ve got somewhere you can fight, and you don’t need to ruin other people’s lives to do it,” Yasmin said. Dylan understood – she was taking them into her visions, and leaving them there.

A flash of lighting blasted out of the trio, sending a shockwave through the room. Dylan shielded his eyes from the painfully bright light.

A few seconds passed. Carefully, Dylan opened his eyes. Yasmin, Summer and Ranulf had all collapsed. Panicked, Dylan ran over to check on them.

“Lily, break the barrier,” Dylan commanded. He needed Jono’s body out of that cell. While he waited, he checked Yasmin’s pulse. To his relief, she was alive. Summer, on the other hand, had no pulse at all. The plan had worked.

Lily swept the mountain ash aside and Dylan immediately crawled over to Jono, pressing two fingers against his wrist. No pulse. Petrified, Dylan tried the other wrist. Nothing.

“No,” he cried, “This can’t be it.”

“Don’t say it,” Lily stood behind, her voice quivering.

“No,” Dylan couldn’t and wouldn’t accept it, “Not without saying goodbye.” He checked the pulse again, and again, and again. Jono had to come back. He simply had to.

Then it came. Dylan’s prayers were answered. The pulse returned.

“Did I miss anything?” Jono muttered, opening his eyes as if he’d just been in a deep sleep. Dylan could only laugh. Jono was alive, and he’d never felt so relieved.

Feet up, drink topped up, Yasmin felt better than she had in so long. Her mind wasn’t foggy any longer. She could think clearly and process her thoughts. Physically, she felt stronger and had more energy. She’d forgotten how good it felt to be normal – by her own definition, anyway.

Not only had she succeeded in banishing both Summer and Ranulf, and rescuing Jono, the intense visions had slipped away entirely. The doorway had gone. Her mind was free from the ghosts and deranged alphas, and she hoped it’d stay that way forever.

Though Yasmin never wanted to feel that week ever again, she was enjoying being waited on hand and foot by the rest of the pack. The sofa had been her best friend for the evening, and she could get used to that easy life.

“Oh, this episode is the best,” Josh laughed. They were watching their seventh episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that night, and it wasn’t getting even a little boring.

“This one? Really?” Freddie frowned. The three of them had spent the evening together, and Yasmin truly appreciated the company, “I mean, it’s good, but there are better ones.”

“I wouldn’t know, you two keep talking over it,” Yasmin interrupted.

“I think this pampering is going to her head,” Freddie joked.

“Hey, I’m not completely powerless. I’ll just be praying, for a forecast of your death,” Yasmin jested.

“Harsh,” Freddie chuckled.

“Deserved,” Josh winked. Silence followed for a few seconds.

“You know,” Yasmin thought, “It’s been a while since I last laughed like this.”

“Same,” Freddie concurred, “I don’t think I’ve laughed much since we got here.”

“College hasn’t been up to much yet,” Josh added. He was right – they’d been so consumed in themselves that the college experience had been neglected.

“Then let’s change that,” Yasmin decided, “Let’s make college what we want it to be.”

“You’re right,” Josh nodded, “Let’s go out. Get drunk. Meet girls.”

“Or no girls,” Freddie corrected.

“Don’t inflict your relationship on me,” Josh joked. Yasmin laughed. She felt so comfortable. She’d forgotten how good laughter felt. How much she loved spending time with her friends. Now, she had the brain capacity to make herself the priority again, with no strings attached.

“Hey,” Yasmin changed the subject, “Has anyone seen Oscar?”

“Nope, I’ve not heard from him since this morning,” Freddie replied.

“Me neither,” Josh shared a worried look. Maybe it wasn’t time to relax just yet.

Since he returned, Dylan hadn’t left Jono alone for a single second. He’d experienced what it felt like to lose him before. For a few seconds, he truly believed Jono was dead, and that small amount of time was enough for a reality check.

Dylan had never made a secret of how much he adored Jono. He told him daily and proved it in any possible way, but he still didn’t feel like it was enough. He was prepared for decades more by his side, and when that vanished in the blink of an eye, Dylan felt empty. His entire life plan disappeared. Losing Jono would have meant losing himself.

Now, it was important to make every second count. Make plans. Make memories. Take steps towards their shared future, because although life was short, Dylan wasn’t going to risk spending a lifetime without his greatest love.

“Are you sure there’s nothing else you need?” Lily stood up from the bed. She and Dylan had been keeping Jono company all evening, but now it was time to settle down.

“I’m sure. Go on, go check on Alex. I think his head aches more than mine,” Jono insisted. Lily smiled and left the room. Now it was just the two of them – the only company Dylan needed. He snugged up by Jono’s side, making himself comfortable with his head on Jono’s chest.

“I could lay like this forever,” Dylan reflected. He wasn’t exaggerating, either. As long as he was in Jono’s arms, Dylan would never ask for anything more.

“I think my arm would go stiff,” Jono laughed. Dylan chucked too, before a few moments of silence passed. That was one of the best things about their relationship. They didn’t need to talk to each other all the time, they could just exist in each other’s company, and it felt so beautifully comforting.

“What was it like?” Dylan questioned. For all their time spent together that day, they hadn’t talked about Ranulf, or Jono being pushed out of his own body.

“It didn’t hurt. It felt empty, in the vision world. The only people I saw were Yasmin and Josh, and it took me ages to find them,” Jono explained.

“Yasmin said she saw loads of ghosts. People we knew,” Dylan mentioned.

“More than your dad?” Jono wondered.

“Worse. She saw Leadsom, Clara, Dami…” Dylan explained. Names he’d hoped never to hear again.

“David?” Jono added.

“She didn’t mention him, but probably, I guess,” Dylan thought, “Let’s forget about them. The visions are gone. All I want to think about is you and me.”

“That sounds good to me,” Jono grinned, “Thank you, for saving me. I was so worried that, you know, that I’d never see you again.”

“Me too,” Dylan snuggled in closer, “Don’t leave me again, please.

“Deal,” Jono chuckled. As long as they were together, Dylan knew they could conquer anything.

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Next: "Welcome Home"

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