When Noah goes missing, Freddie enlists Drew to help him track the rabid beta down, unaware of Drew's own diminished abilities. Meanwhile, Dylan and Josh figure out how to move forward now that Caroline knows their secret.
Making amends, Dylan and Josh settle into their new normal at home, while Drew starts to figure out how to get his abilities back. Frightened while looking after Noah, Lily calls Dylan for a hand, but has she unwittingly led him into a trap?
1: Heal Written by MarthaJonesFan
Noah was immediately disorientated. He felt like he had been asleep for a long
time, but there was no way of knowing just how long. The unfamiliar room he was
in didn’t have a clock. It was decorated with gaming posters and messy all
over, and he wasn’t restrained. He couldn’t remember how he got there, but he
knew it couldn’t be all that bad. He was comfortable at least. He reached into
his pocket for his phone – it as still there, much to his relief. The time said
08:37. Monday morning. How the heck was it Monday? The last thing he remembered
was Friday night. He leapt out of bed, his lengthy auburn locks resting messily
part-way down his chest. He saw himself in the mirror next to him. His eyes
glowed a deep, dark shade of red. Then he remembered. The Téras. Dylan’s
bedroom. A bite from both alphas. Noah agreed to it – he couldn’t be surprised,
but his eye colour scared him. It was a way darker colour than Dylan’s own
eyes. He checked his hands – no signs of any wounds. Did they heal already? He
ran downstairs terrified, noticing Freddie in the living room.
“What’s going on?” Noah queried, distressed.
“You’re okay, you’re safe, don’t panic” Freddie encouraged, “You need to keep cool or this is going to be more difficult than it needs to be.” Noah felt anything but calm. He had to get fresh air. Noah ran for the front door, feeling the need to escape the confines of the walls. He couldn’t focus his mind, everything in front of him looking way more distorted than they should be. He had to get home, to safety, and fast.
The atmosphere could be cut with a knife. Dylan felt so embarrassed. His mum had seen Chase’s Tumblr post – she knew everything. What made it even worse was the awkward silence. Everyone else at the table knew already – Jono, Lily, their parents, Ed and Josh. She was the last person to find out, and this was not the way Dylan wanted it to be.
“It can’t be true, it’s ridiculous. There’s no such thing as werewolves” Caroline nervously laughed. Nobody said a word.
“I think we had better go home” Ed intervened.
“No, I think we need some answers” Caroline looked around, “Why am I the only one surprised by this?”
“Not here” Ed said more firmly.
“It doesn’t seem to be any sort of secret” Caroline was getting frustrated. Dylan hated it. He wanted the ground to swallow him up. Jono squeezed his hand, sensing his discomfort, “Come on. Give me answers.” Dylan glanced to Josh. He looked just as flushed as Dylan felt. They couldn’t escape. Dylan gave in; standing up and letting his inner wolf display itself.
“Mom, this is me” Dylan looked into her eyes, not hiding any of his wolf aspects. Glowing red eyes, fangs, claws, extra hair across his face. All of it was on show. He knew he looked ugly. This was never going to be welcomed with open arms. However, Dylan was never one to be ashamed of his identity. He knew who eh was, and never felt like he should hide it from anyone. Why should this be any different? “I am a werewolf.”
“Me too” Josh shifted too. The two of them stood side-by-side at the top of the table. Caroline was stunned into silence. Dylan watched as a tear slid down her cheek. She ran out, too scared to face her sons any longer. It broke his heart.
Beep beep beep. The alarm sounded. Dylan was already awake though. He hadn’t slept much over the weekend. He’d been lying in bed, playing out the events of Saturday night on repeat in his mind. He wished he wasn’t dwelling, but he couldn’t help it. Things at home couldn’t have been much worse; his mum hadn’t said a word to him or Josh the whole weekend. In fact, she had barely left her bedroom. Ed had tried to talk her down, but she was distraught. Dylan tried talking to her from behind the door, but he got ignored. Never had he felt more distant from his mum. She reacted similarly to her dad’s death, but she never shut him out – quite the opposite in fact. Dylan rolled out of bed. He was so not ready for school. He ruffled his hair, not really caring about the end result, the mane was messy at the best of times anyway. He flung some clothes on and headed downstairs. The spring in his step had gone on vacation. Ed was making breakfast, but Dylan wasn’t hungry.
“Are you sure you’re up to school, kid?” Ed questioned.
“Nothing will be achieved here” Dylan sighed.
“She’ll come round, I’m sure. It’s quite a shock” Ed assured. Maybe he was right, but it felt like Dylan’s entire relationship with his mum was reset to step one. It felt horrible.
Coming back to school was disorientating for Lily. George had picked her up, thankfully, but she didn’t really feel like interacting with anybody else. All she could see was Taylor, her pretty face becoming a pile of dust at the hands of the Téras. Her potential vanishing in an instant. Furthermore, she had no idea what sort of reception she would get. It was fair to say her classmates weren’t exactly nice to her or the rest of the pack. She looked at George – he seemed so chilled. Nothing seemed to phase him. She wished she could be a little more like that. As soon as they arrived, they want to their usual bench. As always, Yasmin was there already.
“You look how I feel” Yasmin said as soon as she looked up.
“Is it that obvious?” Lily nervously laughed.
“Come on, most people will have forgotten everything by now. Mrs. Johnson’s coming down hard on anyone who says a word anyway” George reassured. He was so optimistic. Nothing was ever that easy. Lily didn’t want to talk about it anymore though. It had been on her mind all weekend, now she needed some normality.
“Hey, where’s Freddie?” Lily wondered.
Noah. He’s been out stone cold all weekend” George informed.
“That’s not a good sign, surely?” Lily wondered.
“Dylan recovered way quicker” Yasmin added, “I’m kinda worried. There’s a chance he might not make it. He becomes a werewolf, or he dies.”
“It’s been three days though. If he was going to die, surely he would have by now?” George reasoned. All of a sudden, Lily heard a bang, and jumped out of her skin. Drew had slammed his textbook down on the table in front of her.
“You’re a bit jumpy today” Drew remarked, as insensitively as ever.
“Don’t you dare” Lily scolded, before storming off. She wasn’t in the mood for smug comments like that. It was making her difficult day way worse than necessary.
Driving like crazy, Freddie had to get to school. Noah could easily have been heading that way, or if not, he would be able to recruit some help in finding him. Freddie remembered the way he felt as soon as he had been bitten. He had an uncontrollable feeling of rage running through every fibre of his body. Noah was surely feeling the same. Although he now knew he would be able to defend himself, putting some of his worries to bed, he was still a loose cannon. Considering those feelings, he would likely have gone somewhere familiar. Somewhere safe. It felt like a secret mission for Freddie; he had to make sure no teacher saw him. He had phoned in sick to keep an eye on Noah, and to keep Dylan from worrying any further. He had heard about Caroline finding out – Josh had been ranting and venting to him – and to hear that Noah was missing was the last thing either of them needed. He parked up his car and ran straight for the bench.
“Have you seen Noah?” Freddie asked, flustered. He was still wearing his dressing gown, and could see Drew was trying not to laugh. He and George were the only two there, so at least his embarrassment was limited.
“Isn’t he with you?” George wondered. A stupid question.
“Do you think I would be stood here looking like a twat if he was?” Freddie sighed.
“Come on, we’ve got to find him” George stood up, with Drew reluctantly following. Freddie knew exactly where to check next: Noah’s house.
Although he was more than content to walk to school, Dylan was waiting for Jono to arrive and give both he and Josh a lift. He had insisted on taking them in, quite why Dylan didn’t know as Jono was well aware of how much he enjoyed his walking. Either way, it was a nice sentiment and one he very much appreciated. He and Josh sat side-by-side on the doorstep. Nether had said a word, but they knew how each other felt. Dylan felt sorry for Josh – just as he had found a happy home it all came crashing down. He couldn’t catch a break.
“I’m sorry” Dylan uttered. He felt a sense of responsibility over Josh.
“It’s not your fault, shut up” Josh replied instantly. He paused for a few seconds, “It’s more my fault than yours.”
“Give over” Dylan instantly replied.
“It is though. I bit you, you wouldn’t have this problem without me” Josh sighed. Dylan felt awful. In a way, he wasn’t wrong, but he never for even a second blamed Josh for what happened.
“You could never have known this would happen” Dylan consoled, “And I have no regrets.”
“But she’s your mom” Josh added. He wasn’t seeing Dylan’s point of view very easily.
“Now she’s yours too” Dylan reminded, “You’re just as much a part of the family as me.”
“If they still adopt me, that is” Josh groaned. Dylan knew his mum. She worked so hard to ensure she could keep every promise she made. There was no way she would go back on her word.
“You’re my brother. That will never change” Dylan put his arm around him for a hug. Although he and Josh were only a matter of months apart in age, Dylan took his role as big brother seriously. Jono’s car pulled up on the curb outside the house just as they broke up the hug. Dylan headed round to the passenger seat, while Josh hopped in the back.
“Hope you’ve got your walking shoes on!” Jono grinned devilishly.
“Huh? You’ve picked us up dude, we don’t need to walk” Dylan replied, trying to decode what Jono said.
“You guys need a break. Call it a favour” Jono smiled. Dylan really was not in the mood for school, so he wasn’t going to complain at a little detour.
Frustrated, Lily ran and sat inside the newsroom. She wanted to be on her own. She couldn’t cope with school after all. It was too much. She pulled the blinds down and made sure nobody would spot her in there. It was too soon for her to go back after all. Lily looked up, sitting herself down on the floor against the far wall, facing the door. Her eyes shot around the remarkably tidy newsroom, undoubtedly kept tidy by Dylan rather than her messy brother. Then she spotted, in front of the door. Taylor. Her silky blonde wisps of hair looked as flawless as always, resting elegantly on her shoulders. How was she there? She looked ghostly, white and pale. Lily knew it was her mind playing tricks on her. It had to be. She looked so real, though.
“It’s all your fault” Taylor said to Lily, her voice echoing.
“No, I couldn’t have saved you” Lily yelled back, feeling sick.
“It’s all your fault, Lily Chadwick” Taylor repeated. Lily closed her eyes, curling up into a ball on the floor.
“No, no” Lily kept saying to herself. She couldn’t let herself take the blame, but why did she feel so guilty?
“Lily?” she heard a voice ask. It sounded like Yasmin. Another figure of her imagination? She felt a soft hand being placed on her shoulder. Lily glanced up. Yasmin was right by her side. Taylor was gone.
“Where did she go?” Lily worriedly questioned, looking all around her.
“Where did who go?” Yasmin gently asked.
“Taylor. She was here, I promise” Lily knew she sounded crazy, but she had to tell Yasmin the truth.
“I believe you” Yasmin reassured, “What did she say?”
“She said it was my fault” Lily admitted, “If that’s what she’s thinks…”
“No” Yasmin interjected immediately, “It wasn’t your fault, and don’t think for a second that it was.”
“I should have stopped it” Lily cried. She felt incredibly overwhelmed by everything in her head.
“How? You couldn’t have broken a grip that strong” Yasmin reminded, “You need to forgive yourself. That might take time, and school’s probably not the best place, but I’m here for you. We all are.” Lily nodded. Perhaps it was too early for school. She wasn’t quite as strong as she thought, and that was okay.
Bursting through Noah’s front door, Freddie was nervous. There were no cars outside, so at least his dad wasn’t home, but worryingly, it seemed to be pretty quiet all round. Where had Noah gone? If he wasn’t here, Freddie was out of ideas. He didn’t know Noah well enough to guess where else he could be.
“I’ll go upstairs” Drew decided. Freddie used his nose to guide him. Noah’s scent was definitely there, but it was weak. He hadn’t been at home in a few days.
“Can you get a scent?” Freddie called up to Drew.
“No” Drew replied, strangely delayed. It was unlike Drew not to reply straight away, he was usually on the ball more than anyone.
“He’s not here, we’ve got to get back out there” George hurried.
“But where? We could search the whole of Crystalshaw and still never get to him” Freddie reminded.
“Maybe he’s okay. He might have needed a breather” George pondered.
“You didn’t see him. He looked out of it, just like me when I got bitten” Freddie recalled.
“I guess I didn’t notice” George’s body language regressed, as if he felt guilty.
“I didn’t exactly make it obvious” Freddie admitted.
“I know, but mom would have noticed in an instant” George sighed.
“You’re not mom, and that’s okay” Freddie replied, “You’re only a year older than me, dude. Everything you do for me is super cool.”
“Things are kinda tight, I won’t lie” George admitted.
“I better start job-hunting, then” Freddie smiled. He had been meaning to suggest this before. Now was the perfect chance.
“You’re the best, bro” George pulled him in for a hug.
“Back at ya” Freddie smiled, “Don’t expect any more compliments this year, though.” George chuckled.
“At least someone’s having a nice time” Drew muttered as he bounded back downstairs, “We’ve got to go. Now.” Freddie knew better than to argue with Drew.
Shoving the driver door shut, Jono was pretty satisfied at how well he had parked. The space in the forest car park was pretty narrow, but he navigated brilliantly with the help of his glamorous assistant Dylan. The two of them made for the best team going. Josh sort of ruined the dynamic, commenting on Jono’s parking ability, but Jono was used to his style. As for their day out, Jono didn’t have much planned; he’d packed some snacks and drinks but otherwise, he had only planned to chill and take a quiet, calming stroll in the forest. Dylan and Josh needed a distraction from everything going on, so school could wait. As much as Jono was often a model student, even he knew it wasn’t always the best place for a positive state of mind. He had charged his phone to one-hundred percent, ensuring it could play songs from Spotify all day long without running out. Feeling suitably planned, Jono led the way into the forest, venturing along one of the pedestrianised routes.
“Do you have any idea where you’re going?” Josh laughed.
“Not really” Jono admitted, “But the keyword of the day is spontaneity.” He styled it out well. Dylan quietly laughed at his geeky big word moment. Jono desperately wanted to plant a huge kiss on his lips, but had to make sure that Josh wasn’t feeling left out. Somehow, he didn’t think Josh would be into the kissing part anyway.
“So, we’re just gonna be walking…and walking…and walking” Josh exaggerated, trying to sound dramatic. He wasn’t really grasping the concept of the day.
“No, we’re going to an arcade. You know, the magic one in the middle of the forest” Dylan teased.
“Hey” Josh chuckled, “I was being serious. What are we actually doing?”
“I figured you
guys needed a diversion” Jono explained.
“You weren’t wrong to be fair” Dylan added, “I mean, it’s not exactly been my favourite weekend ever.”
“It’s not exactly been my favourite life ever” Josh added, “That doesn’t quite make sense, but you get my point.”
“It’s not all bad. I mean, look at us now” Dylan reminded, “I’d have laughed at the idea of even being friendly with you not long ago.”
“Probably not long until I’m shafted across LA again” Josh sighed.
“That won’t happen” Dylan assured, “I won’t let it, and Ed won’t either.” Jono felt awful for them. His own parents seemed to take the news of their werewolf secret better than Caroline had. Maybe it’s different when it’s your own kid.
“Do you remember when you first told me?” Jono tried to shift the topic away slightly.
“I think I’m still drying off from that rain” Dylan laughed, “How could I forget? One of the scariest moments of my life.”
“When I kissed you that night, I pledged a commitment to you. I didn’t care that you were a werewolf. I just cared that you were honest” Jono replied, “Your mom will realise that. Even if I have to tell her myself, but it won’t come to that.”
“I hope you’re right” Dylan sighed, “I never thought this would feel worse than coming out.” Dylan had a point. Either way, neither fact changed who Dylan was, but they had shaped him into becoming the fine lad he was now. The sooner Caroline realised that, the better.
Travelling in the passenger seat of Freddie’s car, Drew was feeling uncomfortable. Freddie was capable of tracking scents, but he was well aware that Freddie knew Drew had the better sense of smell. The problem was that it was past tense. Drew could barely smell what was directly in front of him. He didn’t want the others to know about his loss of werewolf powers; it would be a weakness and they would surely see him as disposable. He was the most distant in the pack at the best of times. Some of it was his own doing though. Large social groups weren’t really his thing. Even his basketball friends didn’t really gel with him on a deeper level.
“Let me know if I’m veering off track” Freddie requested. Drew opted not to reply. He wasn’t into making promises he couldn’t keep. He couldn’t get their hopes up. On the bright side, obviously Lily hadn’t told George. At least she was trustworthy.
“You think he’s in the forest?” George did not sound optimistic, “We’ll never find him there, it’s like a maze.” Drew never usually doubted his abilities, but he was actually concerned for Noah. A brand-new werewolf running about in public. It was a recipe for disaster. He had to trust in Freddie. The car pulled up at the side of the road by a clearing in the forest.
“This way” Freddie directed, seeming quite comfortable in his leadership role.
“Maybe we should split up?” George suggested.
“No, we’ll get lost. Better together” Drew quickly replied. He couldn’t be expected to look after himself against a werewolf. Not until he had worked out a strategy as a human. Everything felt so oddly quiet, too. No far-away sounds. It was like his ears, and his nose, had been chopped off. Every scent was unbelievably diluted. This was going to take some getting used to.
“I think I’ve got him” Freddie added, “Straight ahead.” Drew looked on. The trees were leaning over, blocking the sunlight from creeping through between the trees ahead. The forest should feel safe for Drew. His reaction time would usually keep him safe. However, that had slowed significantly. As he approached the darker area of the woods, he felt a tingle running through his spine. He felt unsafe. Unprotected. Wham! Drew smacked down to the floor. Noah had landed on top of him, his sharp fangs open wide.
Parking at a picnic bench in a clearing of the forest, Josh was pleased to be resting his legs. He wasn’t expecting to do any walking, so wasn’t prepared for Jono’s so-called “spontaneity”. His converse were filthy, and very uncomfortable on his feet. His jeans were getting ruined, too. Typical. Not that these were especially pressing concerns of his. His whole life was up in the air again. If Caroline didn’t go through with the adoption, he might not even stay in Crystalshaw. It wouldn’t be the first time he had been relocated. The system didn’t care. Everything he had achieved in Crystalshaw would be for nothing. All his friendships, and the home he had found, would be worthless. Dylan had helped him become a better person, He wasn’t sure who he was without Dylan. It scared him to think of what bad werewolf influences were in other places. Josh glanced at Jono, sat next to him and opposite Dylan. He was his best friend. Jono had been kinder to him than he deserved. After all he’d put up with, he wouldn’t have blamed Jono if he never spoke to him again, especially after biting Freddie. Everything he did was to try and make it up to both Freddie and Jono, and to show his gratitude in some way.
“You’re unusually quiet” Dylan commented. Josh had zoned out. He and Jono had been talking between themselves but Josh didn’t catch a word of it.
“Sorry. Alone with my thoughts” Josh smiled.
“Everything okay?” Dylan queried. He seemed to have a sixth sense for detecting sour moods.
“Depends how you define okay” Josh opened up, “I keep worrying about what’s going to happen to me.”
“You’re not going anywhere” Dylan reiterated, “Please try not to worry about it.”
“Besides, if Caroline doesn’t foster you, I darn sure will” Jono lightened the tone. He always knew what to say to brighten Josh’s mood.
“I don’t think I’d forgive her if she went back on her word” Dylan confessed. Josh had seen just how close he and Caroline were. It meant a lot to hear that, but he wouldn’t dream of coming between them.
“We need to make the first move” Josh suggested, not wanting it to get to that point.
“I mean, she has had quite a while to get her head around it now” Jono concurred.
“I guess we could try” Dylan shrugged. Josh knew it was the right decision. He couldn’t risk Dylan and Caroline’s relationship being ruined. He owed that to them at the very least after all they had done for him. Suddenly, Josh picked up on a lot of noise coming from the distance.
“Can you hear that?” he queried to Dylan.
“It’s Drew, I’ve got his scent” Dylan replied, “Come on.”
Arriving back at Lily’s house, Yasmin didn’t want to leave her alone just yet. Taylor’s death was clearly playing on her mind, and she needed a friend to help her through. The house was otherwise empty; both her parents were at work and would be for hours, so they had free roam of the living room.
“Does George know about any of this?” Yasmin questioned.
“Can’t we talk about something different?” Lily sighed.
“I mean, if you want to bury your head in the sand, that’s your call” Yasmin responded, “But from my experience, that’s never solved anything.” Lily didn’t reply. She knew Yasmin was right.
“He doesn’t know. We both saw it but we’ve not said a word to each other” Lily admitted.
“Maybe talking to him will help? You’ve been through it together. You can come out the other side together too” Yasmin encouraged.
“He seems okay though. He’s always okay. It’s just me who’s an emotional wreck” Lily opened up.
“Or he’s better at putting on a front. Just cause he’s a boy, doesn’t mean he isn’t feeling the same” Yasmin reminded.
“What about you and Freddie?” Lily diverted the chat. Yasmin was caught off guard, “Don’t think I didn’t notice that you’ve not told your mom who he is.” Damn. Nothing got past Lily.
“I’ve got a reason for it” Yasmin tried to justify, “I mean, I still barely know my mom. I hadn’t seen her since I was a kid. What if she’s like my dad? He hid it damn well. I want to protect Freddie.”
“Are you sure that’s all? Really sure?” Lily probed.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t it be?” Yasmin was taken aback.
“You were apart for months. Don’t think I haven’t noticed a difference between you two. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t one” Lily observed. Yasmin considered. She was right – things were different. Being honest with herself, Yasmin knew she’d been avoiding thinking about her situation with Freddie for a few days now.
“Do you still like him?” Lily continued.
“Yeah, I’ll always like him” Yasmin admitted.
“But it’s not enough, right?” Lily realised.
“He deserves the world” Yasmin sighed. She still adored Freddie, but the magic wasn’t there anymore. She had a lot of thinking to do.
Fumbling around, Drew was doing his best to fight a vicious Noah off. His hands were keeping Noah and his dangerously sharp wolf fags away, but his claws kept swinging towards Drew’s face. He tried his best to dodge them, but it was difficult. Swish! Another attempt. This time, Drew felt a burning sensation skid across his cheek. Noah had succeeded. Now Drew and his lack of healing powers were exposed. Freddie lunged for Noah, but got hit back by his ferocious opponent. Drew was on his own. Before he could make his move to fight back, a rapturous roar filled Drew’s ears. Noah looked up and to his right – Dylan was there. Noah was responding to the call of his alpha. He shifted back, his innocent-looking human face staring down at Drew. Josh rushed over and gave him a hand up.
“Why aren’t you healing?” Jono questioned, noticing the blood seeping out of the claw marks on Drew’s cheek. He didn’t know how to reply. The secret was out. There was no place to hide.
2: Adjust Written by MarthaJonesFan
The meeting was finally here. Josh had never been so excited for a meeting with his social worker. In fact, he usually dreaded them. However, things were finally looking up. After four previous failed foster placements, Josh had found a new one all on his own, and he was ready to make it official. Dylan had been nagging his mum Caroline to cave in and foster him. Josh didn’t want to be a burden, but when he met Caroline and her partner Ed, he instantly felt more welcomed than he ever did anywhere else. He was determined to make this foster situation work, so that he could finally call somewhere home. Never had Josh wanted anything more.
“Here are the papers” Josh’s social worker handed them across the table to Caroline and Ed. Josh couldn’t believe this was going to be his family. He sat next to Dylan further down the table, both of them watching on excitedly.
“All done” Ed handed them back, having signed everything necessary within a few seconds.
“Alright. I just need to get this filed and approved, which won’t be an issue, your licenses are perfectly in check, then I can drop Joshua to your place later” the social worker explained.
“Can’t he come with us now? Save you the trip” Caroline wondered.
“Better to be safe than sorry. I don’t want to jinx anything” she reasonably answered. They had done all they could. Now Josh was excited to go home.
awake, Dylan wasn’t pleased that his sleep had come to such a rough end. He
slowly crept open his eyes, blinded by the light blaring through the windows.
The curtains had been pulled back, making it way lighter than usual at that
time in the morning. He looked to Jono, who was stirring next to him in much
the same way, Somehow, an early morning always felt better when Dylan got to
see Jono first thing. Summer was fast approaching, and he knew they would be
spending every second of it together. He wanted to think of some activities for
them both to do, though normally he would ask Caroline for inspiration.
“It’s time, guys” he heard Josh’s eager voice.
“Now?” Dylan sighed, still trying and failing to keep his eyes open for more than a few seconds.
“She’s downstairs, come on” Josh tugged at Dylan’s arm. Reluctantly, Dylan grabbed a t-shirt off the floor, and threw another one to Jono. He had to quickly rehearse what he was going to say in his head, but all he had was a blur. He was too sleepy.
“Are you sure you want me there?” Jono queried.
“I always want you by my side” Dylan replied without even thinking. He needed Jono more than ever. He was family now, anyway, so it concerned him too. Now reasonably decent, Dylan followed Josh down to the kitchen. The sound of the kettle was filling his ears. Usually a sound he loved in the morning; there was nothing better than a cup of mum’s tea first thing.
“Morning” Josh kept cheery as he took a seat at the dining table. Dylan watched as Caroline made five cups of tea – one for each of them, plus Ed as well. She didn’t reply, though. In fact, she avoided eye contact entirely.
“Mom, we need to talk. It’s been long enough” Dylan decided. Caroline carried the mugs over on a tray and sat at the dining table.
“I’m trying so hard” Caroline admitted, “I’m learning that my kids are totally different to what I thought. That’s not easy.”
“I’m still me, mom. I always will be” Dylan reminded. He felt his eyes filling with tears, his vision clouding.
“I know, sweetie, but there’s more to you now. Why didn’t you tell me?” Caroline was just as upset as Dylan.
“I wanted to” Dylan confessed, “I was scared.”
“Listen here. I don’t care if you’re a werewolf, or gay, or even an alien from the planet Zog. You’re my boy, and I love you. I just need you to be safe. Both of you” Caroline confessed. She turned to face Josh, “Ed said you were worried about the adoption. Don’t think for a second we’re ever letting you go again.” Dylan felt exceptionally relieved. Josh was speechless – something that occurred very rarely. Dylan felt Jono’s hand on his leg. Somehow, everything had turned out okay. Dylan hugged Caroline, thrilled things were okay between them. He still felt like the kid who once clung onto his mum for days when they lost his dad. Some things never change.
Glancing over and watching Noah sleep, Lily was in awe of how peaceful he seemed. The werewolf world was still new to him. He barely had any idea about what was still to come. Even Lily had seen her whole life flip on its head, and she wasn’t a werewolf. It wasn’t all bad; Dylan was the best thing that had happened to Jono. He had always hated living in that big house. He spent his nights in the smaller, cosier treehouse on his own. Now he had someone who loved him irrespective of his background. Dylan understood Jono in a way even Lily couldn’t, despite how close they were. She looked to her right. George was lying peacefully and still in her lap. She wasn’t sure if he was awake or not, but she was okay watching Noah on her own. They were in George’s bedroom, on the small couch while Noah took the bd. She didn’t mind the quiet time. It was just what the doctor ordered after everything that had gone on. However, the sun was coming up. George would be going to school soon. Lily wasn’t ready for school still – she had offered to look after Noah for the day instead. He was still erratic and unsafe for the uninitiated to be around. Drew had blown his cover, too. So much for that big secret. At least Dylan knew, now. They always had an immense respect for each other. Dylan never stopped until everyone in his pack was safe, and that’s what stopped Lily from losing her mind.
“You’re quiet” she heard George mutter.
“I thought you were asleep” Lily replied, keeping her voice low to avoid waking Noah.
“I can’t settle. What if he escapes again?” George wondered.
“Are you sure that’s all that’s bothering you?” Lily probed, acting on Yasmin’s advice. George was silent, as if he had been caught out.
“I guess it’s not just me who sees Taylor every time I close my eyes” George opened up.
“I see her even with my eyes open” Lily confessed.
“We should have saved her. We saved Matty, why not her?” George ranted at himself.
“Listen, all we can do is move forward and make sure there are no more Taylors” Lily encouraged him, “We can’t save everyone, but maybe we need to try.”
“I don’t want Dylan to bite me” George quickly refused.
“No, dumbass, we don’t need to be werewolves to save people’s asses” Lily explained, “We need to learn self-defence.”
“Are you for real? What idiot’s gonna take us on?”
“Ed’s a cop, and he’s in-the-know. And definitely not an idiot. Come on, unless you’ve got any better ideas?” Lily smirked. She knew she was winning the battle. Yasmin had helped her to realise that the only way to overcome her fears was to tackle them head on.
Dylan never thought he would willingly go into school early. However, the incentive of Jono’s basketball practice was too good to refuse. Though there was a whole team of good-looking guys to stare at, he was only interested in Jono. His basketball shirt. His shorts. His curls bouncing as he jogged across the court. Dylan was also keeping a close eye on Drew though. The scratches were still present on his cheek from Noah’s claws. It was unusual to see him with any injuries. His body healed super-fast usually. Dylan hadn’t had a chance to speak to him about it yet, he had scarpered from the forest too quickly the night before. Dylan now blocked Drew’s way back into the changing room though; there was no way to avoid it this time.
“I thought I’d find you here” Freddie came and sat next to Dylan on the stand.
“I’m not that desperate for eye candy” Dylan defended himself, smiling.
“I thought you’d be here for Drew, but hey, I’m not judging” Freddie laughed.
“Did you wanna ask something, or just fire cheap shots?” Dylan enquired, keeping the banter going.
“It’s about Noah. When I was bitten, was I that erratic?” Freddie wondered.
“We all were, to an extent” Dylan recalled, “He seems worse though, right?”
“You took the words right out of my mouth” Freddie replied. Noah wasn’t just adapting, he was rabid in the forest. Way more feral than Freddie was, or even Dylan himself. Something wasn’t right, and they had a full moon approaching too. That could prove dangerous for Noah.
“We need to keep a close eye on him” Dylan suggested, “But I don’t know why he’d be different?”
“Maybe it’s like his body’s rejecting it, like in transplants” Freddie suggested. It wasn’t a bad thought, “Unless…” Freddie tailed off.
“Unless what?” Dylan needed to know.
“Unless it’s because he got bitten by two alphas, not just one” Freddie continued. Dylan hadn’t even considered that, but Freddie had a very good point. Noah was bitten by both Dylan and Scott at the same time. Entirely different to the usual one alpha bite.
“Maybe we need to do a little digging” Dylan considered. He noticed the basketball game wrapping up, as the team filtered into the changing room. Drew and Jono approached together. This was Dylan’s moment.
Feeling antsy, Josh wasn’t sure he’d be able to concentrate during biology. He could finally focus fully on the adoption, and boy, was he excited. No more being removed from foster homes at short notice. No more living with people who only cared to foster for the money they received for it. Finally, Josh had a place he could settle. No need to worry about being taken away again before his eighteenth birthday next year. Josh had never felt more at ease.
“Josh?” he heard Yasmin call from next to him.
“Sorry. I was miles away” Josh replied, “What’s up?”
“You’ve not written anything yet” Yasmin notified. The perks of sitting next to every teacher’s favourite student.
“Oh” Josh realised, “Sorry.”
“Anything you wanna talk about?” Yasmin offered.
“Caroline and Ed are adopting me” Josh delightedly revealed, unable to hide the smile on his face. He could hardly sit still, his mind tucked up on cloud nine.
“For real?” Yasmin beamed, “Congratulations. I think this calls for a celebration. Does Dylan know?”
“Yeah, this wouldn’t have happened without him” Josh noted.
“I guess Caroline’s okay with the werewolf thing, then?” Yasmin considered. She must have heard about that from Dylan.
“She’s taking it all in. I’m glad she’s not changed her mind about me, though” Josh admitted.
“You’ll have to call her mom now” Yasmin added.
“Really? Okay” Josh hadn’t considered that. The words “mom” and “dad” carried so much weight. He had never had the privilege of using them to anyone in his life. It felt pretty momentous. He looked to Yasmin. Her insight and intelligence always had him in awe. She was pretty amazing. Freddie was a lucky guy.
Making some lunch for herself, Lily was finding her way around George’s kitchen. It was nowhere near as organised as she would have liked, but despite her temptations, she realised George probably wouldn’t appreciate his kitchen being rearranged. Nevertheless, she was starting to locate all of the utensils she needed.
“Got anything to drink?” Lily jumped, startled, as she heard Noah’s voice from the doorway.
“Err, water” Lily replied, checking the fridge, “Milk. No actually, that’s out of date. Yuck.”
“I’ll stick to the tap water” Noah laughed.
“How are you feeling?” Lily questioned.
“Like I’ve been swallowed by a whale and vomited back up” Noah replied, “How long have I been out?”
“All night” Lily replied, “Do you remember last night?”
“Only when I saw Dylan” Noah recalled, “He was kinda sketchy on the details.”
the best” Lily replied, handing him his glass of water. He guzzled it down in
an instant. Smash! The grass crashed to the floor, smashing on the hard-tiled
floor. Lily jumped back, her reflexes protecting herself. What was going on?”
“Can you hear that?” Noah whispered. Lily listened. She couldn’t hear a thing.
“No, what is it?” she asked, confused.
“Something’s outside. We need to hide” Noah suggested.
“What’s outside?” Lily was worried, but she didn’t know why. Noah was being very vague, and she wasn’t sure if there was an actual threat or if his mind was playing tricks on him.
“I don’t know. It’s different” Noah replied even more confusingly. He was evidently still getting used to his increased sense of smell. Lily had always wondered what that was like – smelling details you had never experienced before.
“Let me go and check” Lily decided.
“No” Noah tried to resist, “I don’t know what it is, but it’s not safe. I just know.” He didn’t know what it was, but Lily knew werewolves could sense emotions with their noses too. Dylan would hopefully be schooling him on all of these new skills.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going outside” Lily reassured. She needed to take a look for herself, “Stay down. I’ll be okay.” Lily wasn’t sure she believed herself, but as long as Noah was convinced, all was good. She put her eye up to the peephole in the door. Nothing was in sight. She examined all she could of the road through the tiny window.
“It’s all clear” Lily notified. However, she jumped back onto the floor instantly after. A wolf-like creature had pounced up at the door. Like it knew she was there. Noah came and helped Lily up, assisting her towards the kitchen.
“We gotta call Dylan” Lily decided. She had no idea what that was, but it definitely worried her.
Darn. Drew had been trying to avoid Dylan, and had so far succeeded. He knew what Dylan was going to talk to him about, and quite frankly, he couldn’t be bothered. He wanted to skip the details and head straight for a solution. He would be on his ow way to solving the problem by now if it wasn’t going to cause more hassle when Dylan eventually found out he’d been side-lined. Drew had got his heart pumping blood all around his body. That was always good; keeping active to outrun any opponents. That said, for the first time in a long time, he felt a pain in his side. He had a stitch. Usually, Dew’s body recovered too quickly for stitches to be possible. His body was different in ways he hadn’t even considered before.
“We need to talk” Dylan said, joining Drew and Jono on the way into the changing rooms.
“What about? The weather? It’s pretty hot, right?” Drew facetiously replied.
“You should have told me” Dylan continued.
“I’m not an invalid” Drew hit back, “I don’t need to be treated like a baby. I’m not a werewolf anymore. The Téras took that from me. What more do you want?” Dylan looked on silently, nothing more to say in response.
“Awkward” Freddie remarked, he and Jono exchanging glances behind Dylan.
“I didn’t mean to…” Dylan tried to apologise, tripping over his words.
“I know” Drew raised as much of a smile as he ever did. Although he didn’t need interference, he knew Dylan only ever did his best for him.
“Has this ever happened to anyone else?” Jono’s journalistic mind questioned. A good question to start figuring out a solution.
“Not to my knowledge” Drew replied, “But I think I know someone who will.” Dylan’s phone buzzed. He moved away to take the call for a few seconds, before returning to the group.
“It’s Lily. She says it’s urgent” Dylan relayed, “You guys go find out more, I’ll check she’s okay.”
“I’m coming too” Jono decided, leaving Drew with only Freddie for assistance. He prayed this would be fruitful, as it was his only real idea for a way to reclaim his status.
Halfway through. Though she had studied exceptionally hard for the forthcoming biology exam, Yasmin was finding the practice essay in class rather boring. For whatever reason, she couldn’t quite focus on the question. She had made it to the halfway point of the word count, but any further ideas were like pulling teeth. For whatever reason, all she could focus on was Dylan’s house. His bedroom as clear as day in her mind. It was like she had an irresistible urge to get there. Without even looking at Mrs. Johnson, Yasmin stood and walked briskly out of the room.
“Yasmin, wait” she heard Josh call after her.
“Come with me” she commanded. Yasmin recognised this feeling, and new it was best to let it take control. The nix inside had picked something up. Something was definitely wrong, and it was trying to warn her.
“Hey, what’s up?” she heard Freddie’s voice. She saw him coming into focus with Drew down the corridor, but she couldn’t stop.
“Can’t talk” Yasmin rushed away. Josh kept following though, just as she asked. She had to follow wherever her mind was supposed to take her. Rushing towards her own car, Yasmin managed to retain her logical thinking mind without losing sight of her vision.
“Can you drive?” she asked Josh.
“No, I mean, I can barely afford a bar of chocolate, let alone lessons” Josh replied, “Why can’t you drive?”
“You’ll end up in hospital if I drive with a premonition, I’ve got no idea what I’m doing” Yasmin warned.
“Alright, I’m good. Where are we going?” Josh queried.
“Your place” Yasmin replied. Josh looked terrified, but Yasmin couldn’t stop. She began walking out of the school grounds. Her mind was more focused on Dylan’s room than ever. Something had happened, or was going to happen, and needed to figure out what.
Freddie was pretty baffled by Yasmin’s behaviour in the corridor. He had a job to do with Drew, and they couldn’t delay speaking to Mrs. Johnson, but it did get to him and he couldn’t deny it. It wasn’t the first time she had acted unusually towards him since she got back to Crystalshaw, either. Everything involving her mum felt shifty, as if she were ashamed to show him off. Freddie knew he would be showing her off to his mum if he could. Entering the classroom, Freddie’s heart dropped. He had forgotten they were supposed to be in that biology lesson. It was too late to back out now.
“Nice of you to join us” Mrs. Johnson barked, her voice rupturing through the silence in the lab.
“Can we have a word, please?” Freddie queried.
“You better have a darn good excuse” Mrs. Johnson sighed, following them outside. When she shut the door, she didn’t drop the mood. In fact, it got worse, “I’ve taken a lot from you guys. I’ve been exceptionally lenient and understanding, but your exam is next week. You could at least try to care for a few days.”
“I’m not a werewolf anymore” Drew simply stated. Mrs. Johnson was stunned into silence.
“We came to ask if you had heard of this happening before, or specifically, a way to reverse it” Freddie added.
“Erm” Mrs. Johnson tried to gather a sentence together, “I’m afraid I haven’t. I’m sorry. I wish I could be more help.” Freddie noticed Drew’s face drop. As if he’d lost his last hope. It was unlike him to give up.
“Alright” Freddie replied on Drew’s behalf, “Thanks anyway.” As he turned to walk away, Mrs. Johnson interrupted.
“Hold on” she called out, “I can’t promise anything, but I may have a contact who can help you.” Drew looked up, the glimmer of hope returning to his eye.
“Where can we find them?” Drew instantly questioned.
“Let me write down the address. He might have something to help” Mrs. Johnson replied. Freddie felt relieved – Drew still had a chance to become himself again.
Hiding behind the dining table, Lily was feeling pretty terrified. Whatever the wolf was – it certainly looked like a wolf in the brief glimpse she got – it was something she hadn’t seen before. It was way bigger for a start. She didn’t manage to see its eyes, but Lily knew it was a fair bet that it was more than just a normal wolf. The door opened. Lily ducked out of sight, Noah doing the same next to her.
“Lily?” she heard a familiar voice frantically call out. It was Jono. What a relief. Lily leapt up and went to meet him.
“I’m so glad you’re here” Lily hugged Jono, gripping him tightly, and then did the same to Dylan. She was completely relieved that she wasn’t fending for herself anymore.
“What did you see?” Dylan questioned.
“It was huge,
and it knew we were here, Dylan” Lily explained, “It wasn’t random.”
“What was it?” Jono queried.
“A wolf” Noah responded.
“One like I’d never seen” Lily continued, “And it can’t have just gone. It was right outside.”
“Unless it’s waiting” Jono thought.
“For what? What’s the point?” Lily was confused. Why had it not just attacked already if it were going to?
“Waiting for me” Dylan realised. Lily’s stomach turned. This was a trap all along, and they had walked right into it.
Using his key to unlock the front door of his house, Josh was feeling concerned. Yasmin’s premonitions only ever meant something bad. The fact she was drawn to Dylan’s room gave Josh more than a little cause for concern. Perhaps it was obvious that he was the target – he was the alpha after all – but Josh couldn’t deny that he was scared.
“Hello?” he heard Caroline call out. Drat. He forgot she had just finished work.
“Hi, it’s me” Josh called out while Yasmin ran upstairs, “I’m just picking up a book for math.”
“Okay sweetie, be quick” Caroline continued, not moving from her comfy armchair in the living room. Phew. Although Caroline was in the loop now, Josh didn’t need to alarm her at this point. It would only have caused panic. Josh went to join Yasmin upstairs. She was looking around Dylan’s room aimlessly. Nothing seemed out of place. Certainly, nothing had changed since that morning. The curtains were still lazily drawn from when Josh himself opened them earlier. Unusually for Dylan, the bed hadn’t been made, owing to the rushed manner in which Josh yanked him out of it.
“What am I missing?” Yasmin was being hard on herself.
“Don’t force it” Josh reminded, “These things seem to come on their own, right? Just let it come to you.” Yasmin closed her eyes, blocking out distractions. A few moments passed, nothing of note happening. Josh wasn’t sure whether to wait a bit longer, or to interrupt. However, Yasmin snapped out of it of her own accord.
“Nothing” she disappointedly confirmed.
“We tried. We’ve just got to be wary” Josh replied. Yasmin nodded. It was all they could do now. Ignoring the warning would be idiotic; they had to be prepared.
Typical. Dylan shouldn’t have been surprised that this creature was after him, but he should have seen this trap coming a mile off. It only scared Lily because it knew she would call Dylan for help. Now he was probably trapped inside George and Freddie’s house. It was no good. He had to fight back. The issue was his lack of back-up. Noah was the only other werewolf around, and he was way too untrained to fight. Meanwhile, Jono and Lily were both human. He wouldn’t risk putting them in the firing line.
“I need to go out there” Dylan decided.
“You’ll be ripped apart” Lily immediately contested. Dylan primed his claws.
“It can try” he smirked, before heading out of the front door. It was broad daylight, but nobody else was around. Pure silence. Eerily silent, in fact.
“Come on then” Dylan yelled, tempting the creature out. Silence resumed after. Dylan sighed. Maybe it had gone?
Dylan collapsed to the ground. He heard a snarling growl as the weight of something heavy landed on top of him. It clambered off, everything happening so fast that Dylan couldn’t take in any details. He felt winded, but his body was healing quickly. He stood up just as a horrific-looking wolf creature lunged towards him. Dylan shifted fully, holding nothing back. The creature pounded into him but Dylan fought back, shoving its weight backwards. The wolf’s eyes flared a deep red, much darker than Dylan’s own eyes. He had no idea what it was, but it seemed to want to hurt him. Why? What had he done? Its claws swiped at Dylan, making a cut in his neck. It hurt, but Dylan didn’t let it distract him. Ready to fight back, Dylan howled, but it had already scarpered. Was that all? Dylan paid attention to his nose – no trace of its scent any more. It gave up after a single scratch.
Jono was exceptionally relieved when Dylan came back inside with no more than a scratch. All was good, and the threat had gone, for now anyway. Jono always admired his bravery in sticking up for the pack. He wished he was able to return the favour. Jono wanted to be able to protect Dylan in the same way that Dylan did for him, but he knew he never could without that level of strength. Nevertheless, Jono enjoyed the rest of the night with Dylan, at his place once again. This time, however, they were both in a much happier mood now Caroline and Dylan had spoken and made up. Now Jono was stirring, waking up to the ferocious sound of the alarm. Jono smiled. He loved that he got to see Dylan’s beautiful face first thing every morning for the rest of his life. Nothing could make him love Dylan any less.
“Morning” Jono casually spoke, not moving an inch. Dylan jolted up, as if he’d been frightened by something. He met eyes with Jono and shot out of bed in an instant. Jono was baffled, “What’s up Dyl? Bad dream?”
“Who the hell are you?” Dylan asked, sounding terrified. Jono’s heart shattered into a million pieces. What the heck was he playing at?