Ky’s stared blankly up at the ceiling where he was lying in bed. The gargoyles leered down at him from between his dark strands of damp hair. His towel was strewn beside him, and he hadn’t bothered to dress. He didn’t feel like moving, didn’t feel like getting up, didn’t feel like anything. He didn’t know where Lovely and Feral were. He wasn’t sure if he was pissed off they disappeared when he had so many questions or if he was glad to be alone.
Probably the latter. It was too much of an effort to talk while he felt like this.
Everything was a mess. His mind was a dark buzz of something bordering misery if he could find the energy to feel even that. The fucked up thing was it had nothing to do with Tobias. It should have. If he had a fucking soul, he would feel something for helping to take a life. When he searched within, the most he felt was resigned.
It had to be done. Tobias did worse—so much worse—and would have continued to. Death came to everyone whether they were good, evil, or a fucked up sorcerer who killed the majority of the demons he summoned. If anyone was overdue to die, it was Tobias Godwin.
Ky’s melancholy had everything to do with his mountain of fuck-ups, the biggest on the pile being Magnificent Night. With a sigh, he touched his collar and the links hanging there. There were so many now. It hadn’t been long when was surprised to have Lovely’s jewel on the smooth leather. Now there were seven lives connected to him. Seven trapped souls were stuck in his care, and he had no fucking clue what to do.
He was so naive. Dumb, really. He was so fucking dumb. How many times had he nearly gotten himself killed just this fucking week? He trusted too easily and with beings who had no reason to return his trust. Anselm studied Magnificent Night for at least 200 years. He was chained for 200 years. For all the good Ky wanted for the Relics, really, why should they trust him? He was lucky Magnificent didn’t break his neck the first moment they met. He could have. He could have killed him and drained him as easily as any rat. Freed, a Requiem had the ability to take on an Overseer and win. He could have killed him, but Magnificent chose to feed from him instead.
The sex, the perceived affection; what did it mean to Magnificent? Ky might as well have fallen in love the moment he saw the beautiful Requiem. He sure as fuck lost his mind, if not his heart to a demon who refused to talk to him. It couldn’t have been the same for Magnificent Night. What was sex to a creature like him but a manipulation? A meal. It was much worse since being chained for 200 years. An obligation.
Screw the stupid baby sorcerer so he’ll set him free. Fuck him so he won’t leave him to die alone in the basement. Fuck him so he won’t beat him, or starve him, or kill him.
Ky sighed and rolled to his side. He threw his arm over his face to block the light from his eyes.
God, he was a monster. He was a fucking naive child and Magnificent saw it clear enough. Hell, he couldn’t even be angry about it; Magnificent deserved to be free. Not chained, enslaved or tortured by that Overseer Demencious. As for Lovely and Feral? It was probably the same, right? Why would it be different? Lovely made every move from the beginning. He needed power, he needed a sorcerer to help him kill Demencious, and Ky was the only one there.
What was he really expecting from beings so much stronger, faster and smarter? Relics lived far longer and saw so much. Who was he to such perfect beings but a nuisance at best? A slave owner at worst. They must laugh at him every moment he wasn’t around.
Probably now. He was just the idiot who thought he was in love with strangers from another world. Three. Love for three, but he’d fuck any of them who showed an interest. He was the idiot for thinking he was more than food and a path to safety for a bunch of abused and frightened beings. He was such a fucking fool.
All the Relics wanted was to be free, and he chained them because of Magnificent’s power. It was just another sign of his weakness. Even when he tried to do his best, he just destroyed lives.
Ky sat up slowly and reached for the towel. He ruffled his hair to get the last of the water out as his thoughts continued their dark spiral. He needed to find a way to remove the bonds without harming the Relics or himself. There had to be a way. Tobias removed Liem’s link to Brave. There had to be a way to free them all from him. He’d find a way to break Magnificent’s chains, free the Relics from his collar, and they could go live their lives.
Maybe Lovely, Feral and Magnificent would want to live with Brave’s group. They could all have a home in Tobias’s mansion free of any humans telling them what to do.
Ky stood and slipped into a pair of fresh underwear. He went to the wardrobe and pulled out an only mildly slashed pair of black jeans. His fingers sought the holes, his eyes unseeing as he stared at the floor.
It would be best. He wasn’t cut out for this. Dumb. He was always so dumb. He hated it. If he were smarter, he’d be doing something real with his life instead of wasting it on an art degree. Maybe he would have already started in a field where he’d be making money so his parents wouldn’t be struggling. They were paying for his college when he hadn’t even tried to get a job. He had to be a total asshole to think that a degree at a community college was somehow going to propel him to artistic stardom.
Ky sighed dejectedly as he pulled his jeans on. These thoughts weren’t necessarily new, but he couldn’t remember ever feeling them quite this completely. It was like his optimism and joy for life drained from him the same moment he discovered what the power Magnificent Night gave him really did. It made Relics think he was someone trustworthy, someone attractive, sexy, irresistible. And if they were foolish enough to have sex with him, they ended up bonded to him, trapped. Another link on a sorcerer’s collar.
Monstrous. Every Relic he went near became a puppet to his new power. Ky could only hope if he did find a way to unlink Magnificent Night, the ability would leave him as well. No one as dumb as him should be allowed to have such an awful power.
Ky reached for a shirt the same moment he felt a strange flare shoot through the soles of his feet. “What the…?” He blinked down, then stumbled back as Feral and Lovely burst through the wardrobe.
“Someone has crossed the wards.”
Ky looked at Lovely in confusion and then his gaze fell to Feral who looked a mix of fierce and afraid. They were both so beautiful. Warriors designed for better things than this. They deserved so much, and he was holding them back. He was keeping them trapped.
Lovely touched his shoulder, his gaze piercing. “Ky, the wards are breached.”
It took him a moment to remember what a ward was, and then another to realize the repercussions of having someone cross through. Fuck, even now he was just an idiot. Ky shook himself as the seriousness of the situation sank in. “An Overseer?”
“Sorcerer. He’s crossed the wards but didn’t destroy them. It’s a show of ability.” Lovely’s claws were extended and his fangs sharper than before. His cat-like ears twitched as he tilted his head and listened to the noises of the house. “He’s downstairs with your parents.”
Fear stabbed through Ky, deep past his depression and apathy. Demencious targeted his parents last time; would a sorcerer do the same? Tobias hadn’t seen demons as human and had no problem killing them because of it. He admitted to wanting to see the Relics kill Ky through the black link when he was a sorcerer. When faced with powerless humans like his mother and father, Ky doubted such a man would hesitate to kill if it got him what he wanted.
Ky didn’t bother with a shirt as he whirled from the wardrobe and ran to the dresser. He tucked Tobias’s wand in his back pocket and brandished Anselm’s in hand before he stalked to the bedroom door and threw it open.
Feral stopped him at the door frame. His brows were knit together, golden eyes stormy. “What are you doing, whelp? Thornes and I…”
“He broke into our house.” Ky pushed past the coyote demon and headed for the stairs. “If you don’t kill him, I will.”
“Right, an accident that burned half my hair off! How convenient you suck at magic, you shifty little fox!”
Dorian sighed and rubbed his temples as Fox and Vincent continued arguing in the hallway like five-year-olds instead of going to Dr. Rob’s like they were supposed to.
“It wasn’t half your hair!” Fox’s tanned face was flushed red from yelling and covered in soot. His left arm was bleeding and he was completely oblivious as he waved it at the currently smoking head of the sorcerer before him. “Just… Well, it’s a lot of your hair,” Fox snorted. Vincent growled angrily. “Just spell it proper and stop yelling at me. I said I was sorry.”
“I can’t spell it right, idiot.” Vincent pulled at his once beautiful silky, blue-black locks and shoved the singed curly edges in Fox’s face. “It’s organic material. You can’t just make hair grow back! And your sorries aren’t worth shit! All you say is sorry instead of actually paying the fuck attention and choosing not to blow everything up. This is the second time today! In the same fucking class!”
“Shit, just chill out! Glamour the fucking thing. Sure, it won’t be fixed, but it will look just as fine. Shit, why do you have to be so fucking vain, Vince? No one cares how you look. It’s just a bunch of guys here.”
“Stop,” Dorian warned when he saw a familiar glint in Vincent’s eye. Vincent looked ready to hex Fox into a tree, one likely miles away and full of wasps. “Come on, you two. Fox, you’re bleeding all over the floor. Vincent, your hair is smoking and you’re going to set off the sprinklers. Both of you get your asses to the hospital before I have to spell you there.”
“I’m not sharing a fucking hospital room with him,” Vincent insisted grumpily.
“Fine, you go find a fucking hospital in the middle of nowhere,” Fox retorted smugly. “Dr. Rob likes me. He gives me lollipops when I get hurt.”
“Then you must have fucking diabetes, you’re so accident prone.”
Dorian was ready to kill the two of them. One bonfire and Vincent admitting he wasn’t really a bigoted asshole had done nothing for the pair’s fighting. If they didn’t absolutely hate each other, he would almost suspect they actually wanted to fuck. But Vincent really, really hated Fox. “Hey! I said no hexing!”
He stomped up to the two of them, and grabbed Fox before Vincent could curse him. “So help me, if you two don’t grow the fuck up this second… What?” he trailed off. Vincent and Fox stared behind him with suddenly nervous expressions. “What are you looking at?”
A warm tingle shot down his spine and his breath quickened. Wylie. Dorian glanced over his shoulder. Wylie was nearly on top of him, he was standing so close. How the hell had he…?
Dorian closed his eyes. Wylie’s low, hoarse voice was absolutely maddening. He hadn’t seen him in three days. It gave him plenty of time to think, plenty of time to know exactly what he wanted. Plenty of damn time to miss him until one fucking word out of Wylie’s mouth made his knees weak.
Fuck, he hated love.
Wylie stepped closer. He hissed low notes as his breath curled over the nape of Dorian’s neck. Dorian shuddered and his fingers started to spark. Fox jumped back before he was shocked. Hell, Wylie didn’t even have to touch him and he sparked.
He forced his eyes open when he heard Fox gasp. Dorian found the two gaping wide-mouthed and still staring behind him. Aw, crap. He dared another peek over his shoulder and groaned when he saw Wylie in his dragon form. He was long horns, sleek wings, sinewy tail and glowing eyes. All combined with a wicked fanged smile that promised to eat him alive.
Hah, maybe that wasn’t too far from the truth. Dorian turned and took a cautious step backward. His eyes went wide when Wylie hissed again.
His shirt was torn from his transformation and Wylie pulled it carelessly from his torso to reveal black sleek scales over hard, toned muscle. Dorian’s eyes moved down and he swallowed with difficulty when he saw that Wylie was hard already. He could almost feel those scales under his hands. His mind strayed to just how big Wylie felt inside him the last time.
More sparks flickered off of him and Dorian took another shaking step back. Wylie grinned fiercely and surged forward. He slammed him up against the wall and pinned him while Dorian gasped.
“Fuck, Wylie, it’s a fucking hallway,” Dorian moaned. His heart pounded in his ears. Wylie didn’t seem to care and he bent down to kiss him. His strong hand cupped the side of his face as hot lips crushed his. Dorian groaned and opened to the demanding tongue. Wylie explored his mouth as if they’d never kissed before.
“Need you,” Wylie said hoarsely before he nipped at his bottom lip. He wrapped an arm around Dorian’s waist and pushed up tight against his lithe body. Dorian moaned as his shirt was torn from him with an impossibly fast move. Wylie’s erection ground against his hip. His hot leg then pushed between his thighs to rub against his hardening dick.
More sparks shivered over his skin. Wylie’s tongue lapped out and followed their trail as he kissed roughly down his throat. “I woke up and you weren’t there.” Wylie ran his fangs over Dorian’s neck and followed with his tongue. “Need to smell you. Taste you… claim you.”
“But… it’s a hallway.” Dorian tried to get him to see reason. Wylie only hissed again and Dorian clutched the wall behind him to keep from falling when a tongue teased over his nipple. “Class is going to get out and… and god, do that again,” he whispered hoarsely. His head fell back heavily against the wall as fire shot across his skin.
Wylie grinned at Dorian’s surrender and slid down to his knees. His tongue moved down Dorian’s taut stomach as he tore his fly open.
Dorian cracked his eyes open at a noise to find the two idiots had managed to stop fighting, but only because they were staring at him and Wylie. “Fuck off or I’m going to hex you across the damn Academy.”
Vincent huffed and turned. His cheeks were slightly flushed. “Like I want to see you two?” He grabbed Fox by the arm when he made no move to leave.
Fox grinned widely when Dorian moaned. Wylie’s tongue slid down his navel as he pushed Dorian’s pants down. “Quit it, man, I want to see my boy’s moves,” he growled when Vincent tugged on his arm harder.
“You’re a degenerate.” Vincent scowled and pulled him away harshly. He made sure to dig his nails into the wound on Fox’s arm. “Now move.”
Dorian had no problem ignoring the bickering brats. Wylie’s tongue finally found his dick and slowly traced long lines up and down his shaft. He kept kissing his flesh. His lips were warm, wet, and firm as Wylie worshiped his cock. “Oh fuck,” Dorian gasped. His hands grasped Wylie’s hair when he parted his lips and took his cock in deep. Damn, he looked good on his knees.
He moaned and was unable to stop his hips from bucking into Wylie’s hot mouth. Dorian stared fixated on his face. Wylie’s mouth was open wide to take all of him in. Saliva dripped down his chin, and his cheeks were flushed beneath the transparent scales on his face. “God, you’re good at that,” he whispered. He jolted forward when large hands rubbed possessively over his ass. Each touch was a burning fire to his senses. It was like every burst of magic that would have sparked free was welling up inside him, and was trying to drive him fucking crazy with need.
“Wylie—hell, wait—hell!” His head slammed back against the wall. Dorian could only pant when Wylie pushed his leg up over his broad shoulder, and tongued lower until he was teasing around his entrance. He would have been fine with it except he was practically naked in a fucking hallway feet away from the class he was supposed to be in. Dorian gave a hard pull to his hair but Wylie just groaned from the pain and drove his tongue deep into Dorian’s entrance. “Fuck!”
Fine, he was just going to have to kill Wylie later. Preferably after he got him off. Dorian whimpered as Wylie’s tongue plunged in and out of his tight flesh in erratic strokes. He grabbed for his horns for balance. A thick finger joined his tormenting tongue to breach Dorian slowly and stretch him open.
“Damn it… A desk, a bed… something, Wylie,” Dorian demanded breathlessly when Wylie stood after a final lap to the tip of his throbbing dick. Wylie’s lips were swollen. His chin was wet and eyes burned with sex. “Four fucking walls,” Dorian finished weakly as he stared. Wylie’s pants had been lost somewhere. His hard cock was dripping and pointed right at him. Dorian licked his lips as his knees threatened to give out. Dear fuck.
“Next time,” Wylie rasped out. His gaze moved over Dorian intently. “Need you, Dorian. Need you to be mine.”
With a groan, Dorian conceded he was about to be fucked in a hallway. Wylie was just too determined and far too sexy for his own good.
His knee was pulled up and Wylie pinned him hard against his body. Dorian gasped as two fingers found his hole and thrust inside. He clawed at Wylie’s sleek shoulders, and did everything to keep from shouting. The last thing he wanted was someone to come looking to see what was going on. Sweat dripped down his neck. Wylie’s mouth and tongue followed as he fucked him with his long fingers.
Dorian licked up Wylie’s jaw with his trembling tongue. Small broken cries kept breaking free as Wylie’s fingers stretched him wide and drove in and out in maddening strokes. “Another,” he whimpered desperately. He dug his fingernails into Wylie’s hard biceps. “Want to feel you.”
With a heated growl, Wylie plunged three fingers deep into his mate. Dorian sobbed and gasped uncontrollably. It was so much, his channel agonizingly full. Wylie was relentless, and pumped into him while Dorian moaned. He wasn’t sure if he could take much more. His body remembered well enough and hips bucked as he tried to get Wylie deeper.
Wylie’s tongue extended slowly and traced over Dorian’s gasping red lips. He smirked at how wanton he looked. “You’re so fucking hot like this, beautiful. So sexy. So desperate for more. Anyone seeing you right now would know you were meant to be fucked.”
The world rocked when Wylie stroked his prostate. Dorian tried really hard not to imagine how the two of them looked at that moment, with Wylie like some winged demon ravaging him in the hallway. “God, Wylie, please… please, just…” He needed it. Needed it so bad. He needed Wylie to take him, have him and he didn’t fucking care about anything else.
He groaned when Wylie’s thick fingers slid from his passage. Wylie moved against him. Their bodies were slick with sweat, and his breath was strained as he panted in Dorian’s ear. Dorian’s eyes opened to find him staring down at him. Wylie was bent close to tease his tongue over his bottom lip. There was something in his ice-blue eyes asking permission. Something Dorian readily answered even as he blinked the sweat from his lashes.
Wylie’s large hands grabbed his ass, pulled him up and pinned him to the wall. Dorian’s legs wrapped tightly around his waist. He gripped Wylie by the shoulders and his breath halted; Wylie’s expression was so intense he felt lost in it. It wasn’t until the hot tip of Wylie’s dick pushed between his cheeks that the spell was broken. Dorian shuddered and held him tight.
“Slowly,” Wylie hissed. He pressed his face to Dorian’s neck and with restrained force began to push into the tight heat. “Fuck.”
With his lips parted, Dorian’s silent cries became gasping moans as Wylie’s cock stretched his entrance wide. It pushed unceasing pressure forward until his body had no choice but to relent and open. Wylie’s fingers bruised into his hips but Dorian barely felt it. All his focus was on that hot, thick flesh, and how it stretched him open, filled him, and melded them together. Wylie held so much back to keep from hurting him and he could only feel the perfect agony of their joining.
“Tight… so fucking tight, Ri,” Wylie grunted under his breath. He sheathed the last inches into Dorian’s hot channel. Wylie held his shaking body in his strong embrace to help Dorian grow used to the sensation, but there was no getting used to such insanity. Dorian moaned with each heated throb of the thick member inside of him. There was no inferno of fire or hailstorm of bullets and still, being joined with Wylie was unbearably intense.
With a growl, Dorian gripped Wylie tighter. He used his magic to grow his nails into claws. “You don’t need to hold back.” He nipped Wylie’s ear a moment before he slashed down his back.
“Fuck!” Wylie howled and slammed forward. He buried into him as Dorian arched and cried out. Dorian’s fingers gripped the nape of his neck. Wylie stared with glowing eyes, then brushed their wet lips together heatedly. Dorian heaved soft gasps for air. His hazel eyes widened when he felt Wylie begin to swell inside his flesh. The extra girth stole his mind in a dizzying heat of pure sensation and need.
“So beautiful… Doing so good, baby.” Wylie’s lips moved over his cheeks with soft kisses. He moved down his jaw and pecked his lips all while he thrust slow, desperate jolts into his gripping passage. Dorian was so slick inside and already wet from his precum. The thickness of Wylie’s shaft created a perfect friction between them. “My mate… God, you’re my beautiful… fucking sexy mate,” Wylie murmured hoarsely. His voice was full of emotion and need.
“Oh fuck…” Dorian’s cries grew even more intense in volume when he felt Wylie swell larger, and his passage stretched so wide. “God, please, I need it,” Dorian babbled mindlessly. His teeth bit at Wylie’s jaw to distract from the overwhelm of sensation. “Please, Wy, fuck, please don’t stop.”
“God, I’m not going to stop.” Wylie slammed forward again when Dorian’s passage clenched around his cock.
“Harder… Need it harder,” Dorian pleaded breathlessly. His thighs were tense and shook from the position. He wanted to be Wylie’s. He wanted to feel that same crazed feeling of being filled as last time. Wylie was his mate and he needed to hurry and mate him.
Wylie responded to Dorian’s raw need and stopped holding back. He surged forward while holding Dorian’s hips firmly, and fucked him with hard, rough strokes. He thrust in deep and stayed. The base of his dick grew so large it lodged tight inside him.
It was too much for Dorian. His entrance was stretched so wide he didn’t even know who he was anymore. He came with a sob and clawed at Wylie’s shoulders as he spurted streams of cum between the crush of their hot bodies.
Wylie kissed him fiercely. He slammed Dorian a final time against the wall. His own orgasm was pulled free with how hard his mate’s channel gripped his cock. He pumped load after load of his seed into the moaning sorcerer. Dorian’s heavy eyelids were slit open to meet Wylie’s gaze and watch his fierce, possessive expression as he claimed him.
Wylie’s hips began to slow their rapid pumps but he still held Dorian tight. The last of his cum filled his channel. His kisses turned gentler. Wylie’s tongue was languid and slow as he tasted Dorian’s sweat and skin. He nipped at the thin flesh of his throat.
Dorian was beyond sated. His limbs were loose, his head heavy, and smile lazy. His body was alive with contentment and his magic was a soft bubble in his core. He fluttered his lashes open, and fixed the smug shifter with an exasperated yet halfhearted glare. “Damn it, Wylie. A fucking hallway?” he trailed off and groaned when Wylie found his nipple and rolled it between his fingers. “Mmm.”
Wylie nuzzled against Dorian’s neck and sighed deeply. He was still buried deep in his passage and had little interest in leaving. He wanted to hold Dorian forever. Be entwined forever… Or at least, until he got hungry enough to move.
He lifted his head and his eyes trailed over Dorian’s face. He memorized all that he found. Wylie moved his hand up to push his dark, sweaty locks from Dorian’s forehead. “Ri, you’re mine… Right?” His expression turned sober with eyes full of uncertainty. “Tell me you’re mine. My mate.”
Dorian didn’t answer. He was fixated on the nickname Wylie gave him. He never had a nickname before. It always seemed to be something for happier, easier-going people than he was ever going to be. But he wasn’t tied to his parents anymore. He wasn’t trapped in a body with too much magic anymore… Well, not fully.
Dorian’s silence stretched on too long. Wylie extracted from his entrance and lowered him to his feet. He cupped Dorian’s face and tried to read his expression. Dorian opened his mouth to speak but Wylie held his finger to his lips.
“It’s okay. I’ll convince you that I’m good enough for someone like you, Dorian.” Wylie’s expression was serious and intent. “Whatever it takes. I’ll get good at magic if that’s what you need so your family doesn’t just see me as a shifter. I can get a job—”
“Shit, shut up, idiot,” Dorian interrupted with a growl. He grabbed Wylie’s scaled wrist only to pause when he didn’t resist. All the dragon’s strength and he still just let him push him around. “It’s just a lot to think about. I never had a real boyfriend but… But I want to be your mate.”
Dorian bit his lip and glanced away for a moment as he tried to remember all the things he planned to say to Wylie while he slept. Now that they could finally talk, everything slipped from his mind.
“It’s not just because you fix my magic. You need to know that—although, fuck, it’s just perfect that you do,” he added with a dazed smile. “It’s like you’re meant for me or some crazy, sappy shit like that. I mean, you’re just fucking perfect.”
“I’m certain we’re made for each other, Ri. My dragon thinks so and I think so. Not that it didn’t take some damn convincing.” Wylie frowned at his own stubbornness. His expression softened as he touched the edge of Dorian’s ear. “If I couldn’t fix your magic, I just would have found some other way to be an important part of your life. We’re meant for each other.”
Dorian couldn’t stop his blush. He peered up through his lashes. Yeah, sappy as fuck; Wylie was lucky he was hot. “You’re going to be here five years, right? Well, we can, you know, see how things go. I mean, there are a lot of complications with my magic problem and, well, I don’t really know what all this mating business is actually about.”
“Neither do I,” Wylie admitted softly, with his eyes fixed on his red lips. “I just know you’re mine and nothing is going to keep me from you.”
Dorian ran his palm over the transparent scales of Wylie’s jaw. He leaned forward and kissed him. “We’ll figure it out. We have plenty of time. Just… Just don’t think you have to be different. That shit I said about shifters I said to, well, get you to give up on me. I’m not like my family. I don’t think that about anyone, and I really don’t give a fuck about how my parents think about anything. You’re my mate,” he said with another blush and a tentative smile. “What other people think doesn’t fucking matter.”
Wylie beamed. He rubbed his cheek against Dorian’s and sighed. “You smell like me.”
Dorian rolled his eyes and snorted, but couldn’t stop a grin from breaking free. “You’ve got issues, Doe. You can’t just run me down whenever your dragon starts hissing.”
Wylie nodded in agreement, but when he opened his mouth his words didn’t match. “I need to. I need to make you mine. I need to make sure everyone knows you’re mine and only mine. My mate.”
Yeah, fucking issues. Dorian wasn’t sure how he was going to train this particular problem out of Wylie, but he would figure it out. He was not one for being run down and fucked in public.
He wrinkled his nose when he felt the trickle of cum slide down his thighs. Dorian waved his hand and spelled himself clean. With another wave he was fully dressed and back to his immaculate self. Wylie just stared at him in confusion. His nostrils flared and he eventually reared back with a glare.
“Hey, I just spent a lot of time and effort getting you all dirty with my scent. You can’t just spell that all away.”
Dorian hid a smirk and just raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Don’t know what to tell you… but apparently I can.” He smiled sassily, turned on his heel and headed down the hall. Two seconds later and Wylie grabbed him from behind. His hungry hiss made Dorian shiver hotly.
“Gorgeous, I’m just going to have to cover you to mark you as mine.”
“Damn it… Fuck, Wylie.” Goddamn, fucking sexy, possessive dragons. Dorian exhaled shakily and arched into the hands running down his torso. Fingers sought a way under his shirt. Before he could get lost in Wylie’s touch again, Dorian forced himself forward. He refused to look back until he got to the corner where the hallway connected with another. Wylie stared after him with a look of determination and want. He was also still completely naked in rainbow black scales.
“A bed, idiot,” Dorian prompted when Wylie seemed content to stand and stare at him. “You know, in a room I can fucking lock people out of.”
His expression grew intense and Wylie stalked toward him. Dorian felt a wave of heat shoot through his body. Wylie was oblivious to his nudity or just how damn sexy he looked.
Fuck, okay, he might have some issues too. Dorian grinned wickedly. He ducked around the corner and broke into a sprint when he heard Wylie follow. He nearly got to the end of the hall before Wylie caught him. Wylie lifted him off the floor in a dizzying spin.
“Hell.” His heart was pounding in his chest. Dorian gasped when he found his arms and legs wrapped around Wylie’s sweaty, muscular form. Wylie’s wings were stretched out behind him to keep them from being crushed. “You’re fast.” Strong too, no matter how gentle Wylie was when he touched him.
Wylie grinned in triumph and went to kiss him but Dorian covered his mouth with his hand. Wylie was undeterred and his tongue teased out and licked between his fingers. “Bedroom,” Dorian insisted hoarsely. He beamed when Wylie started walking them to the dorms even as his lips still moved over his hand and wrist.
Mate. He had a dragon shifter for a mate. A strong, sexy, fearless man who got him on a level few did. Dorian thought for the longest time he was cursed with his magical disorder. At such a young age he saw his future turn from bright to bleak overnight. Now he was grateful for the struggle and the chain of events that allowed him to meet and love Wylie Doe.
Wylie watched the even rise and fall of Dorian’s chest. He was napping after a rather strenuous weekend of being fucked senseless. Wylie wasn’t sure exactly how he was expected to behave when Dorian was so gorgeous, sexy, and in possession of such a terribly wicked tongue, but Wylie thought he was trying. Given his exasperated expression right before falling asleep, Dorian didn’t agree.
He was back in his human form when Wylie fished around the floor for a pair of jeans. He pulled them on before snagging a cigarette from Dorian’s case. When he wandered shirtless out into the lounge, he ignored the catcalls he got from Forest and Fox. Dorian was apparently loud during sex; something he warned the guys not to mention unless they were looking to get hexed by his grumpy mate.
Dante appeared at his side, and immediately grabbed his hand like he owned it. Wylie sent a small smile down at his bowed head and led them to the outer door so he could smoke. The mid-afternoon sun was warm even though the air was growing chiller with winter fast approaching. Wylie stared out at the fields and forest before them. He felt more content than he could ever remember.
Dante loved Will and Christopher’s room. The tree inside a building was amazing to the small boy. But he refused to sleep there. No, Wylie ended up asking for an extra bed to be put in his and Fox’s room so Dante could sleep next to his big brother. Dante was the one to start calling him his brother and Wylie couldn’t, for the life of him, find a reason to disagree.
He’d never had a little brother but that didn’t mean he was opposed to the idea. Not when Dante clearly needed him as much as he did. The more the two talked, the more Wylie discovered just how much the kid was in desperate need of someone to care about him.
Dante only dropped hints here and there but as each new piece of information came to light, Wylie could see the grim picture it revealed. Dante lived with relatives but they hadn’t cared about him. They barely fed him, and had little interest in talking to him or playing. Dante was looked on as a curse on the family. One they hoped to cure when his uncle found a sorcerer to sell him to.
Dante didn’t remember a lot of things. His memory fuzzed out on moments not worth remembering. But there was a lot he didn’t remember and Wylie was left with a fierce need to make sure Dante’s current days were worth being present for.
Collin came back with the final word that Dante wouldn’t be sent back to Italy. The slavers the Salvadors sold him to would find him immediately, and his home situation was unfit. Dante needed structure and the right people to show him how to use his powers safely. There was no better place than the Academy for that.
Dante watched when Wylie blew a smoke ring. He looked up and made the ring twist into a spiral. With a smirk, Wylie blew another ring only to have it transformed into a somewhat blobbish ladybug. The masters let Dante out of the null-collar during the day when Wylie was around to be a pacifying presence. They hoped eventually Dante wouldn’t need the instrument at all as long as he was on the Academy grounds.
Wylie’s next smoke ring turned into a long string of Italian text. He blinked down at Dante’s innocent looking face. “How old are you again?”
Dante shrugged and smiled to himself. They weren’t sure exactly how old he was, but Dante’s relatives insisted they’d been taking care of him for years. Like, thirty. And no, they weren’t on drugs when Michael interviewed them.
It took some sweet words and strong arms on Michael’s part to smooth things over, but the Academy came to an arrangement with Dante’s guardians. They promised not to have the family arrested if the three signed Dante over into the care of the Academy.
Wylie wasn’t sure just how much Dante understood of everything going on around him. He was silent most of the time and rarely reacted to what people said. But he liked hugs, human contact when he had a choice in the matter, and to know Wylie was around. All things Wylie found easy enough to oblige.
Dante glanced up at him and asked quietly, “Are you going to marry Dorian?”
“Jesus!” Wylie nearly spit his cigarette out as he coughed. He covered his face with his hand. Okay, maybe the kid was paying attention to shit after all. “I dunno, D. It’s really fucking early to be thinking about stuff like that.”
Dante leaned against Wylie’s side, with his head still turned upwards. “My mom got married when she was thirteen… but she died really young too.” His face was an expressionless mask when he added, “You love him.”
Wylie grunted in confirmation and chose his next words carefully. “Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you need to marry them, D. Love doesn’t come in the same package every time. Families are all different and you don’t need some ceremony or a priest or shit to tell you you’re a family.”
Dante nodded to himself and held Wylie’s hand tighter. He was silent for a long time as he watched him smoke.
“I want you to be my family.”
Wylie stared down at Dante’s sleek, dark locks, while he wondered the best way to answer something like that. Family didn’t mean living in the same house. It didn’t mean sharing blood or even the same magical powers. It was a choice built on bonds. You could choose to strengthen them or let them decay, but it was still a choice.
“You are my family, Dante,” Wylie finally answered. “No matter what. I’ll be there whenever you need me.”
A small smile broke across his normally impassive face. Dante rubbed his forehead against Wylie’s side. He looked at the scenery and the way the smoke drifted up. “Dorian too?”
Wylie nodded. “Pretty sure.” Dorian was in need of a proper family no matter how many people were waiting for him back at his mansion.
Dorian was clear he didn’t want Wylie to change for him, but Wylie was still determined to make something of himself. He fucked-up his life enough. Sure, it was some messed up, backward rebellion against the world which took so much from him, but he was the only one getting hurt. At the time, the idea of destroying his life felt more controlling than letting absolute strangers destroy him. Growing up, that was how it felt; like people were trying to break him at every turn. He was done with it.
He didn’t need to live his life in reaction to how others treated him. He just needed to live his life.
In the last month, Wylie learned to control his shift, found an amazing mate he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, and even gained a group of friends so strong he could call them his pack. He wanted better for himself. If it made him a better person in Dorian’s eyes as well, that was just a damn fine extra perk.
Wylie was pulled from his thoughts. He blinked down as a glow of magic flashed and faded. With a tilt of his head, he stared at Dante in confusion. “Did you just grow a foot?”
Dante shrugged. His hair was now down to his shoulders. “All the guys keep making fun of me for being so little.” His voice sounded stronger and accent less pronounced.
“How old are you?” Wylie had a feeling this was going to be a very familiar unanswered question. Dorian said that Dante was very special and to expect odd things you wouldn’t see with normal sorcerer kids. He hadn’t said anything about instant growth spurts.
Dante wiggled his longer fingers and smiled slightly. “I dunno, it’s hard to keep track of after a while. My parents got married in ’62.”
“1962 and your mother was thirteen at the time?” His jaw dropped and Wylie tried to keep the shock out of his voice.
Dante shook his head and watched his bangs float across his eyes. “1562.”
“Son of a bitch.” Wylie sucked down the rest of his cigarette and wished to god he had another one. Dante didn’t do magic like the other sorcerers did and he might just be a couple hundred years old. Like almost 500. “Fucking shit.”
Dante tilted his head up. He looked closer to twelve now as he blinked bright green eyes up at Wylie. “You’re still going to be my big brother but… I’m probably going to be taller than you.”
“Oh really?” Wylie glared down at him and gave a ruffle to his dark locks. He was unable to stop his grin. “Good luck to that, pipsqueak.”
Fuck, he couldn’t call him gramps. Dante still looked and acted like a kid even if he was older than dirt. Wylie glanced over when Fox and Forest bounded out of the double doors of the Academy. “Wanna go chase Fox around the lawn?”
Dante nodded quickly. His eyes followed the two laughing shifters as they morphed into their animal forms and began to wrestle on the golden colored lawn. Wylie scooped Dante around his waist and carried him giggling to the pile of fur where he placed him down to play.
At five hundred years old and able to take out five guys with one spell, Dante still managed to fall on his ass and get a split lip in under a minute. Wylie shook his head and wondered if anything would ever be ‘normal’ at the Academy.
After a moment, he decided he really didn’t want it to be. He joined in chasing Forest’s leopard form up a tall tree. As homes went, his new one was perfect. Weirdness and all.
Thanks for reading Demon Arms. All the guys from the Paranormal Academy For Troubled Boys return in the sequel, Sorcerer Slayer, which is currently being written. Subscribers can read updates in the Library now. Fox and Vincent get a turn at driving each other crazy (and maybe falling in love <3) and we meet Raider, an anxiety ridden, raccoon shifter who wants to be anywhere but at the Academy.
Dorian woke slowly to the sounds of snickering. Living in a dorm full of magic-charged patients warned him how dangerous a noise that was. Still, it was hard to pull himself awake. He was exhausted and his bed wonderfully warm.
He blinked up at the sunlight flooded ceiling he couldn’t quite place and focused on the person standing over him.
Fox peered down at him and grinned a wicked fanged smirk. “Hey there, sleeping beauty. Find yourself a nice pillow?”
It was way too early for riddles. Dorian turned over, determined to ignore him, only there was an elbow in his way. An elbow not connected to him. Wylie was stretched out underneath him. His chest moved in a slow, even rhythm as he slept. “Yeah… A damn nice pillow.”
Fox barked in laughter. He chuckled as he bent over. Dorian sighed. Crap, he was so never going to hear the end of this.
Once his laughter was under control, Fox pointed to the open door to his dorm room. “Thought you two might want to get a room, like, literally before all the guys get up. Unless you want to hear months of just how cute you two look cuddled up like kittens?”
With a faint blush, Dorian glared halfheartedly at the snickering shifter. “Thanks.” Fox broke into another laugh at Dorian’s grim tone. Damn, the happy little brat.
He pushed up from his very warm nest of Wylie, and tried to straighten his hair into some sort of order. If he was going to endure being laughed at, he was going to have perfect hair at the time, damn it.
Dorian got to his feet unsteadily and grabbed the couch to keep from falling. His body felt bruised all over as if he survived a car crash. It happened the last time he’d lost control of his magic; the current moved through him so intensely it fried a bit of his flesh as it flowed. He’d heal after a day or so but for the moment he could barely walk. His thighs and ass… Right.
Dorian blushed scarlet and glared at the still sleeping Wylie. There was no way in hell he’d ever let him fuck him in his dragon form again. Some things were not meant to come in such large sizes no matter what nature provided.
“Everything okay?” Fox noticed the large streaks of dried blood on Wylie’s arms, and his nose picked up the scent of smoke and char. “One of you didn’t end up in the bonfire after we went to bed, right?”
“Let’s just say it was a rough night.” Dorian shook his head slowly. “Wylie can tell you if he wants. It’s kind of some heavy shit and I don’t think it’s my right to tell it.”
Fox yawned widely and stretched. His t-shirt rode up on his narrow frame. “Hey, just as long as you guys are okay. I was half expecting you to either kill each other, or totally fuck after the shit you said last night at the party.”
Dorian frowned grimly. Fuck. The bonfire felt like a week ago. Everything seemed so certain then. He tried to push Wylie away by showing how shifters didn’t belong in his family’s world. It made so much sense at the time. Now… Now he just felt unbelievably lost.
He turned his gaze back and Dorian couldn’t help but notice Fox didn’t seem to hate him as much as his words had warranted. “I’m sorry about that, Fox. It was a shit thing to say and wasn’t meant for anyone else to hear. You know I don’t think of shifters that way even if some people in my family do.”
“Hey, I know, but don’t think you haven’t fucked things up for yourself, man.” Fox shoved his hands into his pockets and rocked on the heels of his bare feet. “You’re going to have to get our resident werewolf the most awesome, never before heard CD ever if you want that kid to say two words to you again.”
Damn, Justin was so sensitive. He was probably more upset to think Dorian was arguing with Wylie than anything else. He had some bridges to unburn and magic wasn’t going to be able to help.
With a sigh, Dorian turned back to the couch. Wylie managed to have a furrow in his brow even in sleep. He didn’t remember how he ended up sleeping next to him, not that he was complaining. But it was getting close to breakfast and there was no way he was going to let himself get caught in such an embarrassing position.
Dorian leaned down and ran his fingers through Wylie’s short, white-blond locks. The blue hair dye was completely faded now. “Come on, Wylie. Your back is going to kill you if you sleep out here.”
He was out cold, likely regenerating from his eventful evening. Dorian cast a spell to imbue his body with greater strength, then leaned down and lifted Wylie from the couch.
Fox stared at him wide eyed. “When the hell did you get so strong!”
“It’s magic, dolt.” Dorian grinned wickedly. He stepped around Fox and nearly knocked him down with Wylie’s long legs. “Remember it the next time one of you loud asses decides to stay up all night howling at the moon.”
A month at the Academy and Wylie’s side of the room was still so sparse. Wylie already had such an impact on the guys around him, yet he looked ready to leave at any moment. It was sobering and Dorian carried him the rest of the way in silence. He spelled the blanket aside before placing Wylie on the bed.
Wylie went full dragon last night with his first successful transformation. The Academy fixed him like it fixed everyone Dorian had watched come in and then move on. Surely Wylie would be moving on like all the rest.
“Hey, if you want to stay and sleep, I won’t say shit,” Fox said from the doorway. His voice was free of laughter.
Dorian straightened and shook his head. He pulled the blanket up over Wylie’s sleeping form. He wanted to be alone. So much had changed in the matter of a night and he didn’t know where he fit anymore. Wylie found a way to help him fix his magic levels only to be well enough to leave for good.
It was all just so fucked-up.
Dorian was tired and he stumbled to his own bed. He patted Fox on the shoulder in passing. Vincent was still asleep. Dorian kept as quiet as possible as he kicked off his shoes and slipped under his blankets. His bed felt as good as it always did, but this time too large, too empty.
He didn’t want to think about losing Wylie. He had just found him; he didn’t want to lose him.
It was the day after Wylie fell asleep and Collin McPherson came down to talk to Dorian. They sat in the lounge while the others were in their classes. Wylie slept all of yesterday away and was still sleeping. Michael assured Dorian he was just in a healing sleep but it didn’t make it any less frustrating.
Dorian was both relieved Wylie was still sleeping so he could avoid talking about him leaving the Academy, and frustrated his magic had already surged back to full power and was threatening to overwhelm him. He could feel his magic bubbling strong in his core again. It was a wealth of power waiting for his guard to slip so it could escape and wreak havoc. It was just so hard to think properly about Wylie when his magic wanted to explode every time he had an emotion.
Dante wandered over to where Dorian was sitting on a large, cushy couch and climbed up next to him. Collin was welcoming enough but Dante was very withdrawn and quiet without Wylie. He kept hovering by Wylie’s bed while he slept. Fox managed to supply Dante markers, crayons, and a very elaborate coloring book full of huge-eyed unicorns he would not disclose the origins of no matter how many people tried to guess.
Collin was sitting across from them in the comfortable setting. His blue eyes looked particularly sharp. It was his game face, and the man’s wide shoulders were tense, with his jaw set. Dorian could only assume things weren’t going so well with the search for Dante’s family since the owner of the Academy insisted he be present for the meeting as well.
Collin looked at the small boy who was leaning lightly against Dorian’s shoulder, and confirmed his suspicions. “Michael is talking to your relatives now, Dante. He ported overseas to find them personally. I’m afraid it’s as bad as we suspected.”
“They sold him?” Dorian couldn’t keep the disbelief and anger out of his voice.
“Well, nothing is fully confirmed just yet, but a large amount of money showed up into one of the Salvadors’ bank accounts a half hour after Dante was taken. We don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
Dorian was appalled. He’d hoped against hope it was just a misunderstanding, that Dante confused things when being stolen away. But no, his relatives actually sold him.
He wrapped his arm around Dante’s shoulder. Dante rubbed his forehead into Dorian’s side and refused to speak. “He doesn’t have to go back there, right? They’re clearly unfit to keep him.”
Collin nodded in agreement but his expression was sober. “We’re working on it. These sorts of matters are very tricky. For one, we can’t find any record of Dante’s birth. We’re looking for records of his parents, but those are missing as well. Usually, there’s something to trace to help us determine just what he might be.”
“He’s a sorcerer,” Dorian said automatically. He looked down at Dante’s bowed head. “Right?”
Collin’s expression said otherwise. “Dante is something more than a sorcerer. Dr. Rob can’t pinpoint it, but he isn’t fully human. That his eyes turn black when he was using his magic suggests, well…” He spread his hands out wide. “You know why your eyes turn black when you lose control, Dorian. It’s a very species-specific trait.”
Dorian inhaled sharply and didn’t answer. He instead pulled Dante tighter against his side. He might be some sort of demon hybrid. And if he was, there was no way anyone could be allowed to know. Demons were slaves to sorcerers with no rights. They didn’t even exist in most people’s eyes, including the law’s. No, there was no way Dante was leaving the Academy when there was a sorcerer out there who expected to pick him up at the wharf.
“Will the Academy take him in?” Dorian asked quietly. For the first time he had to wonder. Shifters and sorcerers were dangerous enough, but a demon?
“He’s young. Possibly too young to consider the dangers around him and realize he’s hurting others.” Collin sat back with a troubled expression still on his face. “He could be uncontrollable.”
Dorian stiffened at the suggestion and looked down at Dante again. If Dante was listening to a word, he didn’t reveal it. He kept his head buried into Dorian’s shirt. “If the Academy can’t take him, I’ll speak with my parents. I come from a long line of sorcerers with demonic blood and I can trust them to do right by him. They might even know of a way to help contain his outbursts.”
Collin smiled gruffly. Dante’s small fingers coiled around Dorian’s wrist. “Yes, well, Dante might not give us a choice as to where he wants to be. I was told he’s very attached to Wylie and clearly he’s taken to you as well. I expect we’ll be housing him for the next five years as long as we can ensure his previous guardians don’t interfere.”
Dorian met his gaze in confusion. “Five years? Why five?”
“Because that’s how long Wylie will be in our care. I suspect his shadow is going to wish to be wherever Wylie is.”
Dorian must have misheard. “Hold on, just… Wylie is going to be at the Academy for five years? But he already fixed his transformation problems. Why would he stay an entire five more years if he…?” No, it didn’t make sense and he was confused as hell.
“The conditions of Wylie’s stay here are a bit unique, but let’s just say it has to do with how I met him.”
“You mean when you were shot,” Dorian blurted tactlessly. “Is that why? Did you, like, adopt him or some shit?”
His eyes widened and Collin coughed. “No, nothing like that. Wylie’s far too old, I’m sure, to want something like that.” He swiped at his brow and added gruffly, “Wylie is welcome here for as long as he chooses. But for now, he is court ordered to stay for at least five years.”
Five whole years? It felt like the world flipped all over again just in the matter of one sentence. Dorian must have been squeezing too tight because Dante squirmed out of his hold. He landed on the floor and wandered towards Wylie’s closed door.
“Is this bad news?” Collin’s eyes sparkled with hidden mirth when Dorian continued to stare at him with a befuddled expression. “Would you prefer I ship him out? Maybe some sort of military school—”
“No! Not funny, you old bastard.” Still, Dorian couldn’t stop his smile. Hell, he might have to get a collar to handle this news.
Five years with Wylie. Five years to figure out their shit and see how it would work between them. Five years without having to worry about holding Wylie back from going off and doing his own thing while he was stuck at the Academy. Not that Wylie couldn’t just port to a job or something… Hell, if they got things right, Dorian might be able to actually leave the Academy for good one day. Wylie could siphon his excess power so he wasn’t dangerous, and he’d be able to fucking live an actual life.
He realized too late just what the hell he was doing. He was sitting and planning their life together like some crazy, lovesick moron. Dorian immediately stood. He hadn’t even talked to Wylie yet. Fuck, he’d have to tell his parents. Oh, god, what the hell was he thinking?
And seriously why the fuck hadn’t Wylie told him? Idiot!
Collin watched with a small smile as Dorian got up and began to pace around the lounge while he muttered under his breath. He picked up the bottle of water he left at his feet and took a long drink. Dorian made two more rounds until he came back to stand in front of him.
“Definitely five? He’s not, like, going to get to leave early cuz of good behavior or community service or anything?”
“Definitely five,” Collin replied, as straight-faced as possible.
“Yes!” Whirling, Dorian looked around the room until he found Dante. He was staring at Wylie’s closed door while he fiddled with the null-collar around his throat. Dorian crossed the distance and opened the door. He kept it spelled shut just in case a particular lion happened to try and sneak in and maul the sleeping Wylie while he was in class.
Dante stepped into the dim room. The shades were pulled down to keep the sun out while Wylie slept. He immediately walked up to the bed, crawled up, and snuggled up beside Wylie. It was adorable as fuck but Dorian couldn’t help the small stab of jealousy with Dante being in the exact spot he wished he could be. Little brat.
He was smiling again, he realized and sighed in exasperation. Idiot. He was being a total idiot.
Wylie’s feet just hit the tile of the Academy floor, when he jolted to discover they weren’t alone. Theodore and Michael stood in the arrival chamber as if they’d been waiting. The two looked pissed.
“Shit.” He adjusted Dante in his arms while he tried to come up with what to say. Was he going to end up in Daiker over this? Five dead at the pier. Fuck, probably. Fuck.
Dorian stepped up beside him and fixed the two instructors with a bored look. “Wylie, could you take the kid to your room and get him cleaned and in a change of clothes? We’ll meet you in Master Howld’s office.”
Wylie blinked and looked to Theodore questioningly. His teeth grit, Theodore nodded his consent. “We’ll talk once you arrive. Bring the kid.”
The three left and Wylie stared after them in confusion. Dante shifted in his arms and he glanced down to meet his sleepy green eyes.
“Um… I really don’t have anything your size.”
There was no way Wylie was letting the small kid go until he was clean of the days of filth and dusty crate clinging to him. Dante grumbled the entire time he was scrubbed down while determinedly trying to fall back asleep. Why Dorian couldn’t have just cast a cleaning spell was beyond him, but Wylie suspected it was so he could talk to Michael and Theodore alone. What they were talking about Wylie was dying to know.
He was right; he owned nothing that would fit Dante. Staring in frustration at his bureau after throwing a clean shirt on, Wylie eventually turned, and fixed his sights on the sleeping fox shifter he shared a room with. Fox was half a head shorter than him. He wasn’t as small as the diminutive Dante, but a lot closer than he was. He tiptoed to his dresser and pulled out the first warm sweatshirt he found. He tossed it and a pair of clean boxers at Dante, who was watching curiously from the bathroom doorway. Fox wouldn’t mind. Probably.
Wylie grinned at just how ridiculous Dante looked in the sweatshirt that reached down to his knees. He held his hand out and Dante quickly took it.
He led him down to Theodore’s office; the dragon shifter preferred the lower levels of the Academy. Dante peered into open doors curiously and only swayed a little as he fought off sleep. The building was quiet but the peace didn’t last when they pushed into Theodore’s room.
“I don’t need a fucking collar,” Dorian said tightly to Michael, who continued to hold a null-collar up in front of him. “You’re supposed to be monitoring me. Can’t you tell? My magic is fine!”
Michael stepped back at Dorian’s tone and raised his hands defensively. But of course, no sparks followed. Dorian just glared. Michael exchanged a look with Theodore and then took a seat on a black-leather chair.
“Sit,” Theodore ordered Wylie when he insisted on hovering in the doorway. “I want an explanation for whatever the hell has happened tonight.”
Wylie sat on the couch next to Dorian. Their eyes caught when he looked at him sideways. They hadn’t discussed if they were going to hide anything about what happened. It seemed pointless given Theodore’s ability to force the truth out of anyone. Dante tried to climb into Wylie’s lap. He failed twice before Wylie picked him up. Theodore and Michael both watched the small boy with twin looks of concern on their faces.
“It’s my fault,” Wylie finally said. “All of it. Dorian followed me but he couldn’t have known what he was getting himself into.”
“And what exactly would that be?” Michael pressed. His anger was more than evident as he turned his glare to Dorian. “We could feel your energy across the state! Do you even understand the risk you caused to yourself and to so many others—to the Academy—by leaving without a collar? If even one person died from your power outburst, we could be looking at a judge deciding the Academy isn’t equipped to help you guys anymore.”
Dorian glared back and only sat up straighter. “They were going to kill Wylie. What the hell did you want me to do? Let them?”
Michael growled and snapped his mouth shut. He folded his arms over his broad chest. His handsome features were currently red with anger.
Theodore leaned against his desk, and spoke when Michael seemed at a loss for words. “Are any of you hurt?”
“No,” Dorian snapped, only to reconsider and look at Wylie and Dante. “Wylie was shot a couple times but he healed himself. The kid needs help. He was locked in a crate for who knows how long. He’s a long way from home and I’m sure his parents are worried.”
Wylie leaned down when Dante whispered against his shoulder. He looked up and met Theodore’s gaze. “Dante doesn’t have parents. He was living with some relatives in Italy when his uncle took him away and told him to get in a car with some foreigners. He didn’t want to. He tried to run away but a man got a nullifier wrapped around him. They locked him up in a cage for a long time, then they put him in the crate. He’s not sure for how long.”
Michael was already reaching for his cell phone. He was well aware of what needed to be done next. “What’s his last name?”
“Salvador.” Wylie leaned down again. Dante’s voice was soft and full of sleep. “He lives with his uncle and two aunts but he’s not sure if they’re actually related to him.”
“Do you know how long ago this happened, Dante?” Michael asked while flipping through his contacts. “What’s the last date you can remember when you were home?”
It took a long time for Dante to answer. He breathed quietly against Wylie’s shoulder. “The seventh.”
“That’s nearly a month,” Wylie whispered. He unconsciously held Dante tighter.
“Well, it’s something to go on.” Michael got up and headed for the door. He glanced back with the phone up to his ear. “Make sure he gets to Dr. Rob if I’m not back in time.”
“Wait,” Dorian called. Michael stopped and held his hand over the receiver. “The kid took out five guys at the pier. Dead. One spell.”
“Fuck.” Michael nodded sharply and slammed the door as he left.
“Probably should have started with that,” Theodore observed blandly. He gave Dorian an assessing look. “Is there a particular reason you’re able to sit here with your magic in perfect control after I’m certain every magic user in the state felt your power flare?”
Dorian shrugged. He bit his lower lip and glanced hesitantly at Wylie. “I’m not sure, actually. Something happened and… well, I don’t know what. I don’t even know why it worked and…”
“My dragon ate his energy,” Wylie broke in. He met Theodore’s gaze challengingly. “Not all of it, just the extra power to keep him from being taken over.”
His expression blank, Theodore was silent for a long minute. “How, exactly, did your dragon do that?”
“By mating with him.” Wylie ignored his exasperated growl. Theodore threw himself back into his chair.
“Of all the foolish, selfish, inconsiderate—”
“I don’t care what you think,” Wylie growled with eyes narrowed. “He’s my mate. I knew it the second I met him. And apparently my dragon can help him with his power.”
“For how long?” Theodore gritted out. “Do you think magic runs out when you use it? His power will just grow back to the same dangerous levels. Given Dorian’s strength, it will be only hours from now. What are you going to do, mate him every time he’s out of control?”
“So what if he does?” Dorian snapped. He glared at the both of them. Theodore and Wylie seemed very comfortable talking about mating him like this wasn’t the first time. It was annoying as fuck to not be included in such a conversation when he was the one being mated.
Wylie shrugged and pursed his lips. He wasn’t willing to state such a claim to fixing Dorian’s energy until he had a chance to discuss it with him first. “Maybe.”
Theodore sighed in exasperation and waved his hand. “I want to hear about what happened tonight from the beginning.”
Wylie shifted Dante when the kid slumped sideways. He was fast asleep, with his head now heavy on his shoulder. He wasn’t sure how much to tell Theodore. He trusted him. Not because he had to but because he’d grown to respect him. But Dorian was there and Wylie felt awkward about many of the things he didn’t know about him yet.
There was no point hiding anything if he was serious about mating Dorian. He was. To see Dorian follow after him blazing with power, so emotional when he thought he had died…
Wylie had never felt more serious about anything in his entire life.
His decision made, he raised his head. Theodore’s violet eyes bored into him. “I got an email from Adam.”
“Yeah, the one I was with when I robbed McPherson’s house a month back. The kid that got us through the gate. Turns out he can use magic.”
Wylie was exhausted by the time Theodore determined Dorian and his account of the events were complete. Tiredness hit him quickly. His body was pulling him towards sleep in a way he’d never felt before. He still had to get to the hospital and Dr. Rob. Dante was a thin drooling lump in his arms, who breathed evenly against Wylie’s neck while he walked through the empty halls of the Academy.
It was strange; he hadn’t held someone like this since he was a kid. Sarah used to cuddle, with sticky fingers and soft blond hair every night when they all watched TV together. It was so long ago. He spent his years after the Andersons hating touch. He was afraid to be hurt, and afraid to hurt others. Something changed in him recently and holding Dante felt comfortable, not awkward.
There was something familiar about Dante he couldn’t help but respond to. Maybe it was the absolute need in him. Dante was lost and alone. His own uncle had sold him. It didn’t matter that Dante had killed those men, amazing as it was to have so much power at such a young age. He was still just a kid in a terrible situation and Wylie was going to do everything to help him out.
Dr. Rob was up and waiting for them. His easy smile dimmed when he took in Dante’s frail form and shallow breathing. “Leave him on the bed, Wylie. How are you feeling? Theo told me you were shot.”
Wylie carefully arranged the small boy on the bed and straightened. “I’m fine, really, just really tired. I think my dragon form is fixed, actually.”
“You had a full transformation? Is that how you healed?” Dr. Rob bent over the sleeping Dante. His hands hovered above him while he read his energy.
“Yeah. I thought I was dead,” Wylie admitted, but his yawn muffled the seriousness of his words.
“Well, you’re probably going to sleep like the dead.” Dr. Rob glanced over his shoulder to look at Wylie. “Healing wounds like that can take a lot out of a body, as can your first full transformation.” Turning back, he carefully pulled back the collar of Dante’s shirt and found red splotches on his pale skin. “This looks like it was made with a nullifier.”
Wylie peered down at him and exhaled heavily when he saw just how raw Dante’s skin was. “I found him wrapped in a chain made of that stuff. He was in it for as long as it takes for a boat to get from Italy to here, plus however long he was on the wharf.” His expression was grim. “Is he going to be okay?”
“It’s hard to say,” Dr. Rob answered honestly. “He’s young and young people tend to bounce back faster. But he’s been through a lot. He’s very thin and that just doesn’t happen in a few weeks. Theodore told me he’s been killing with his magic?”
“Yeah. He took out five guys with one hit.” It seemed unbelievable that anyone had captured Dante now that Wylie understood how powerful he was.
“It sounds like an emotional disturbance. Magic responds to its wielder. Dante didn’t choose to incapacitate or push away; he was so afraid that all he could do was kill.” Dr. Rob walked over to the glass cabinet and pulled a null-collar free. He returned to Dante’s bedside. “It’ll take some time to see if he can learn to keep from killing, but he might end up in a null-collar for the rest of his life. It depends on if he can distinguish between everyday stress, and life and death circumstances, and act accordingly.”
Wylie hadn’t realized just how sophisticated the null-collars were. He had no fear that the collar would burn Dante’s flesh like the pure metal had as he watched Dr. Rob click one around his narrow throat. He was grateful. He knew Dante was going to be scared enough when he woke up without his magic again. At least he wouldn’t be in pain.
If Wylie learned anything the last month, he knew the Academy would do right by Dante. He had faith in Dr. Rob and the master sorcerers and shifters, and he was certain the small boy would learn to trust them as well.
A sudden yawn interrupted his thoughts. Wylie’s body again demanded he sleep and soon. Dr. Rob looked at him sympathetically. “Better hurry off before you pass out on your feet.”
“Right.” Wylie turned to go, but stopped before he reached the door. “Call me if he needs me. I don’t care how tired I am.”
Dr. Rob smiled to himself and just nodded. There was no way Wylie would be up at all the next few days. He’d learn soon enough.
Wylie shuffled down the quiet halls. When he got to the lounge he found Dorian curled up in his favorite chair. Damn, he was beautiful.
He crouched down when he got to Dorian, and whispered in his ear, “Come on, gorgeous. You need to get to bed.”
“Was waiting for you,” Dorian mumbled. His arms slipped around Wylie’s neck and he leaned against him. “Wanna be with you.”
Wylie’s eyes closed at the words and his breath came out in a sigh of relief. He’d been brutally honest about his connections with Roth and the gang. He even worked in how Diego, the same guy who threatened Beck, was also the one to shoot McPherson. Wylie revealed everything about the terrible incident yet Dorian wasn’t running from him. His chest felt tight just thinking about it.
Wylie knew he was tired when he lifted Dorian and nearly fell sideways. There was no way he was going to make it to his dorm room and bed. He picked the nearest couch, and pulled his groggy mate down on top of him. Dorian was quick to wrap his arms around him. He settled half on Wylie, half in the nook of his arm. It was another thing Wylie wasn’t used to but felt oddly comfortable with as Dorian nuzzled against his side.
Beck always wanted him to be the cuddling type but Wylie could never feel comfortable. He told himself he was just afraid to wake up and find his scales sprouted and Beck bleeding, but the truth was he just couldn’t stay still long enough. He never truly felt comfortable except when alone. He was always waiting for the moment to sour with Beck. For some reason that feeling was gone when it came to Dorian.
Dorian mumbled something and his head tilted up toward him. Wylie bent down and kissed his sleepy pout gently. He sighed when Dorian pressed back.
He combed clumsy fingers through Dorian’s hair while his tired mind clicked things together. It didn’t matter how hard things got, how complicated it might get with Dorian’s parents or their different pasts. None of it mattered. He was going to pursue him properly. No more holding back.
He had been. Wylie thought it was because he didn’t know what he really wanted but his dragon was quick to point out that lie. He knew he wanted Dorian the second he saw him. Denying it was just telling of how much he denied all the many things in life he wanted. He pretended he didn’t want family and friends and a place to call home. To lose those things was to hurt all over again. It was easier to never dare want and chase after his dreams than risk feeling that pain.
He’d been afraid to break his heart. It wasn’t an irrational concern; it would be so easy for Dorian to break him. Dorian understood him. He saw him when so many others only saw his fucked-up demon arms. It would be so easy for Dorian to hurt him because Wylie didn’t know how to shield himself from the beautiful, brilliant, damn amazing sorcerer. Dorian could destroy him and he didn’t care one bit.
He loved Dorian Black and he wasn’t going to shy away from it anymore. Even if it hurt. Even if he failed. For once he was going to hold onto the things he wanted and not let them slip passively through his fingers.
In the darkness, Wylie found his dragon. The creature was longer here, with pure sinew muscle and sharp, deadly edges coated in a black rainbow of scales. Its eyes glowed an icy blue with teeth long and sharp as it glared back at him from beneath heavy horns.
It was Wylie’s first glimpse of the beast inside. He could taste blood. Somewhere metal liquid dripped from his lips. He wondered blearily if he was dying.
Do you accept me?
He stared into the glowing eyes. It took long moments for him to understand the creature’s words. “Accept?”
The dragon uncoiled and rose up. It was sleek, shimmery and far larger than Wylie had ever conceived. Its talons were out, scales puffed and dangerous, with limbs tight with restrained force. It towered above. He could see its wings now; they were thin black membrane stretched over hollow bones that the beast flexed.
I asked you once before, human. When I awoke from the darkness, I asked for you to join me. You refused.
Wylie could vaguely remember ten years ago. He fainted moments before attacking the revolting man who hurt his sister. There was something in the darkness behind his eyes. Something with glowing white glare and frightening teeth.
Had he not accepted? Was that his problem all along? Was it why other shifters were taken over by their beasts while he couldn’t fully transform? He didn’t remember refusing the dragon, but still, he remembered his fear.
The dragon was still terrifying even now so many years later, but Wylie was no longer afraid. He had met other shifters who lived with their beasts. Theodore, who housed just as dangerous a dragon inside, helped people every day. He met Dorian, who fought a magic inside him so powerful, it would make him a killer if he ever let it loose.
If he was going to die, Wylie wanted to be whole for the first time.
He reached his hand out to brush razor sharp scales. They smoothed at his touch. “I accept you.”
Wylie awoke to a terrible pain, not in his chest but his head. Black bone pierced through his skin, twisted up and wrapped back. He could feel the dragon claw through him and reform his body from the inside out. His back gave a terrible crack. Wings slick with blood tore free while he screamed. His tail swiftly followed. The new limb thrashed on the ground as Wylie twitched in pain. The darkness loomed and threatened to drag him back down.
“Fuck.” His back twitched again. Fluffy, pure white hair itched as it grew down his spine from his head all the way to the tip of his tail. He stared blankly at his hand; his talons looked more deadly than before and covered in his own blood. Surely now his demon arms were complete and the rest of him was just as terrifying to match.
Warmth slowly teased through him. The pain abated with each stronger breath he took. He raised heavily to his hands and knees, with head bowed to watch the holes in his chest change. Two small, bloodied slugs pushed free from his flesh and scales and glinted as they clattered to the ground.
What the fuck? Wylie tried to remember what Theodore told him about dragons. He must be a self-healer. He wasn’t just capable of healing others with his saliva but could regenerate his own flesh.
He groaned as he pushed himself to his feet. Wylie stumbled sideways for a moment until he found his balance. His tail kept sweeping behind him, determined to distract him with the fact he had a fucking tail. God, that couldn’t be good.
He took a few steadying breaths only to break into coughs as thick smoke filled his lungs. “Holy fuck,” he whispered as he took in his surroundings. The wharf was on fire.
“Dorian!” Every other thought pushed to the back of his mind. Wylie searched frantically for Dorian, terrified of what he might find. The smoke was so thick and everywhere was an orange glow. It would be so easy to get confused and lost. Dorian, for all his power, was still just a human.
Wylie stepped through a wall of fire and barely felt the heat. Through the smoke, he could see a figure. It was the right height and shape, but he was standing there, not looking to run, not looking to escape.
“Dorian?” Wylie whispered. His presence pulled Dorian around the moment he recognized Wylie’s energy.
Dorian looked up and tears welled in his dark eyes. “You… You’re alive?”
“I’m fine!” Wylie shouted to be heard over the roar of the flames. “Dorian, you need to stop. The place is going to burn down.”
“I…” Dorian looked around with strangely blank eyes. “I can’t. I can’t control it. I let out too much and it’s only growing.” He turned back to Wylie and slammed both hands on his chest. “Run. Fucking run before I kill you too!”
Tears flowed freely down Dorian’s face and something inside Wylie wrenched. His dragon responded to his mate’s need. He held the hands trying to push him away, and pulled Dorian hard against his chest. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“You idiot! It’s not safe. Fuck.” Wylie cut him off, surged forward and dragged him into a deep kiss. Dorian tried to struggle, tried to explain he wouldn’t be harmed by his own magic. Wylie’s mouth was hotter than the flames around them and far more destructive to his senses.
“I’ve got you.” Wylie curled talon-free fingers into Dorian’s hair and pulled him closer. “I’m going to help.” His dragon wanted to eat his energy and it wasn’t going to hurt Dorian to do it. No, the damn beast had known all along how to help his mate. Wylie was just too disconnected from the dragon to listen.
He wrapped an arm around Dorian’s waist and walked them to the nearest firm surface. It was a wall of metal crates Dorian was quick to spell cool to the touch. He sealed their lips together again and crushed Dorian back against the wall. He drank as much of his energy as he could. Dorian held him tightly around the neck and kissed back just as hard.
His dragon roared inside. Dorian’s energy burned like an electrical current; wild, destructive and full of power. It was all Wylie could do to hold back. Each new spark grew his dragon until he was full of the beast’s demand.
Mate. His dragon wanted to claim his mate. As much as Wylie tried to hold back, the beast was just too strong.
“Aw, hell.” Wylie ran rough hands down Dorian’s sides. His hissing compelled while he nipped down his neck. The dragon was thundering in his ear and Dorian tasted so good, so perfect. His. Dorian was his and he had every fucking right to have him.
Dorian groaned. He tilted his head back and observed Wylie through half closed lashes. He took in his new horns, wings, and rippling muscles. Ice blue eyes pierced his and Dorian’s breath caught. Wylie looked like he was about to eat him alive.
“You need to run.” Dorian gasped when Wylie found the waistband of his burnt jeans and tore claws through them. Wylie pulled the material off with a sharp tug, and the flat of his palm cupped Dorian’s erection immediately after. “Oh… hell.” His knees went weak and Dorian clutched his broad, scaled shoulders. He cried out when Wylie began to stroke him.
With a hungry growl, Wylie released him. He spun Dorian around and pushed him chest first against the wall. “Spread, beautiful.”
“Fuck! Here?” Wylie had to be out of his mind!
“Yeah, baby, right fucking here.” Wylie fumbled with his jeans. He wrapped around Dorian’s bare back, probed claw free fingers down and pushed demandingly into his entrance.
“Wylie… God… It’s not safe…” Dorian couldn’t find the right words, not with Wylie’s fingers thick and long and stretching into him without restraint. It was all he could do not to fall, and Wylie was the reason he hadn’t yet, his strong arm wrapped around his waist.
“A dragon never abandons his mate.” Wylie groaned and thrust his dick against the smooth flesh of Dorian’s ass. “You’re mine. Beautiful, powerful, smart with a wicked sense of humor… Going to make you mine.”
“Wylie,” Dorian whimpered. A third finger pressed into his hole and his passage clenched before he opened to the long digits. His legs were trembling and all he seemed capable of was pressing his face against the metal wall and gasping. “Don’t… don’t want you to die.”
Wylie slid his fangs slowly over Dorian’s neck. “Baby, you’re not sparking anymore.”
“I’m not?” Dorian attempted to catch his breath, and focused on his magic for the first time. He was distracted by the thick fingers pumping into his entrance in a tormenting rhythm. He wailed as Wylie’s fingers withdrew suddenly, and his hot, blunt cock head pushed against his hole. “Fuck, oh fuck.”
“Relax,” Wylie hissed. The sound made Dorian shudder. “Need to claim you… Can’t stop. Need to be inside you.”
Dorian moaned lowly. He reached behind him and held onto Wylie’s hip when he pushed forward. He closed his eyes and exhaled shakily as Wylie began to breach him, his aching flesh opening to his large length. Wylie’s dick felt slick, sleek and so wet, and was already coated in precum. Dorian remembered just how big he was when he had covered him in cum. Right now, he was sure Wylie was even bigger; the dragon had more height, more muscle, more everything.
Wylie held his mate’s hips in a steel grip, and hissed from the heat of his entrance. “Tight… Fuck, you’re tight,” he groaned. He did everything he could to not surge forward. Dorian was gasping wildly. His perfect body was sweaty and shook as small, choked sobs escaped him. “Hold on, beautiful. Going to go slow.”
“Can’t… Fuck, it’s so much,” Dorian gasped out. “Please… please, Wylie… Need it…but it’s so big,” he babbled uncontrollably. Dorian reached his arms up and back and clawed at Wylie’s hair as he arched. So big inside. It was so big and it was making him crazy. He gasped when another thick inch sank into him. Dorian’s nails bit into Wylie’s neck and held.
“Fuck.” Heat flooded his entire body from the feel of Dorian scratching him. Wylie surged forward and buried himself with one hard thrust.
Dorian sobbed loudly from being filled so completely. His passage was stretched unbearably wide with Wylie deep inside. He came seconds later, with his muscles so tight and face flushed as he struggled with the overwhelming sensations.
“Oh god… Oh, fuck, Wylie,” Dorian mumbled weakly. Cum dripped down the wall in front of him. The fire inside wasn’t subsiding, not with Wylie so thick in his already sore passage. He groaned as Wylie slowly pulled back, and clenched around the hot cock rubbing his inner walls. Wylie wasn’t close to done with him, and he thrust deep once more. Dorian cried out as he was filled again.
“God, you sound good like this,” Wylie whispered hoarsely. He held Dorian with an arm around his chest. His other hand gripped his hip. “You’re so fucking tight, baby. So tight and mine.” He pressed his lips to Dorian’s cheek, and tried to keep his thrusts slow. But his dragon was crazed by all the energy it siphoned from the sorcerer and it would only find release in filling his beautiful mate.
His dragon knew even though Wylie had done his damnedest to ignore it. Dorian needed release. A release of all the magic inside him, a release of all his many worries and guilt, a release of the need he showed every time he looked his way. Wylie was more than happy to give Dorian all the release he needed.
“Oh fuck! Fuck!” Dorian wailed as his prostate was rubbed. He clutched Wylie’s arm harder. It was so much. His nerves felt frayed and each sensation was amplified with every slick, hard thrust. He couldn’t understand how he was hard again but it felt like a fire had taken his body, and was growing hotter every second. Wylie kept hissing in his ear. He sounded more dragon than man as he tormented him with his unceasing thrusts.
“W-Wylie… I don’t think I can… God, it’s so much,” Dorian moaned out. He arched as his prostate was hit again.
“You can take it,” Wylie hissed, and tightened his arms around him. “You’re the mate of a dragon. You can fucking take it.”
He moaned weakly to realize Wylie was actually claiming him as his mate, not just fucking the sanity out of him. Dorian curled his fingers and dug his short nails into the dragon’s scales. “Do it, Wy… Fucking claim me. Show me I’m yours… God, please… Fill me.”
“Mine,” Wylie snarled. His thrusts grew more erratic as he got close. “Never going to let you go. You’re mine.” His hand moved over the slick of Dorian’s sweat and Wylie found his mate’s hard cock and stroked it heatedly.
“Oh… Oh, wait,” Dorian gasped. Wylie’s dick swelled inside him. Fuck, he was getting bigger. Dorian sobbed from the sensation. He held himself impossibly still when Wylie slammed into him a final time and buried as deep as he could get. The base of Wylie’s cock still grew, and stretched Dorian’s hole even wider as he felt the scales flex and lock Wylie deep inside him.
Dorian had a moment with Wylie breathing heavily on his neck to understand what was about to happen. Mate. The dragon was actually trying to breed him.
“Oh hell.” Dorian gasped loudly at the first splash of cum. He wasn’t surprised when more hot, wet fluid followed. Wylie held his hips and humped forward shallowly as he filled him with spurt after spurt of his seed.
A cry caught in his throat and Dorian came again. His hips bucked with his release as he clenched around the spasming flesh filling him with cum.
Wylie kept pumping into his tight channel. He supported Dorian when he swayed. “That’s it, Ri. God, you’re mine. My mate.”
Dorian couldn’t stop moaning. His passage was stretched so wide. His hole ached and limbs shook and dripped sweat. “God… Just, god.” He closed his eyes and his head hung down heavily while Wylie continued to pump shallowly into him. He was making sure to fill him with everything he had.
“My mate,” Wylie murmured in his ear then nuzzled against his neck. “My beautiful mate.”
The darkness spun around him. Dorian’s heart hurt too much to comprehend. “Yeah, babe. Yours,” he rasped out.
Wylie groaned at the confirmation and pushed them forward. Dorian ended up flat against the wall with Wylie around his back as he unloaded the last of his seed inside him. He could feel it dripping out as Wylie’s dick began to return to normal proportions. His thighs itched as the thick fluid trickled down and he couldn’t suppress his aching whimpers.
His. Wylie was his.
“Err… sorry to interrupt and all, but we seriously need to get out of here.”
Dorian started at the sound of Beck’s voice. Beck stepped up hesitantly with his shredded and burnt jeans.
Wylie growled half-heartedly. His mouth was on Dorian’s shoulder, and body was still pressed up tight against his. He didn’t want to move. He didn’t want to do anything that involved not being flesh to flesh with his mate at the moment.
“Come on, Wylie,” Beck snapped when he saw he wasn’t going to move. “You know Roth will be back with bigger guns if the fucking cops don’t get here first. We need to leave now.”
Wylie glared. He slowly pulled himself from Dorian’s hot flesh. His eyes were drawn down to where his mate was still wet and dripping with his seed. He couldn’t stop from sliding his hands up Dorian’s inner thigh where his fingers sought out and probed into his slick entrance.
“Wylie,” Dorian groaned. “No more.”
Wylie turned Dorian to face him and was unable to stop staring once he was in full sight. Dorian was flushed. His golden skin nearly glowed and his lips were swollen and parted with each heavy breath he took.
“Get lost, B,” Wylie said distractedly. He stroked down the back of Dorian’s thigh and went to pull the toned limb up around his waist. His mate was beautiful and deserved another proper fuck.
“For fuck sake!” It was Adam, who ran up to them angrily. “Move your fucking ass. We have five dead bodies and I don’t want to be added to them.”
That got Wylie’s attention. Dorian’s eyes widened when he looked behind him. Wylie turned, and took in his surroundings for the first time since his dragon tasted Dorian’s wild energy.
The fire was out. Blue-gray smoke and black char was all that remained. There was a glitter of bullet casings on the ground and as Wylie searched, he found the bodies Adam mentioned. Five armed men were grouped around the magical barrier that had locked Dante and Beck in the crate. Dante was sitting on the ground a few feet away from them. He looked tired but not injured.
“What happened?” Wylie turned to Beck questioningly. “How did you get out of the barrier?”
“Put your damn pants back on and I’ll be happy to tell you,” Beck said with a small scowl. Wylie had never lost it like that over him, had never wanted him so much he’d fuck him out in the open, and he couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. “The fire went out when you two were, well, you know. Most of the gang was gone by then. I tried to keep him with me, but the kid just stepped forward and walked through the barrier.”
“There wasn’t a lot of air in there.” Wylie gruffly zipped his fly. His jeans were ruined but Dorian just waved his hand at him and the material repaired and was clean again. Wylie looked over at him, and regretted it immediately when he caught sight of Dorian’s swollen lips and shirtless form.
“Yeah, well, Diego saw the kid, realized he was what was in the crate, and he told who was left to grab him,” Beck continued, his voice pitched lower. “Cept, it didn’t quite go that way.”
How it went Wylie didn’t get a chance to hear. Dorian caught sight of Adam and glared at him warningly.
Adam took a stumbling step back, with his hands held up. “I’m sorry. I never wanted anyone to get hurt.”
Beck snorted and pulled a crushed cigarette from his back pocket. “Like fuck. You were the one who told Roth about the crate.”
“Yeah, but it was, like, right there! It was just sitting there, giving off huge amounts of magic,” Adam said defensively.
“You were also the asshole that called me down into this,” Wylie pointed out.
“Only because you’re a dragon! You were the only one I knew who’d be able to get through the barrier!”
“Yeah, but did you also know they were going to fucking kill me!” Beck shouted. His anger was free to rage now there wasn’t a gun pointed at his head. “They were going to kill Wylie too. Why? Did you tell them to kill us!”
“Shit, chill. Of course not!” Adam yelped and stepped away from Beck’s angry form. “I found out about Wylie being a dragon when I went online to see if they arrested him. I was just trying to figure out if he gave my name to the cops. I swear, I didn’t know they were going to kill you after,” he promised Wylie. “You saved all our asses. If that guy had died back at the house, we would’ve been picked up for murder.”
Wylie looked at Adam calculatingly. He had no idea if he was being truthful or not. “What about the crate? How did you find out about it?”
“Like I said, I sensed the crate, that’s all. Last Thursday, Roth had us all come down for a shipment and I sensed the magical barrier. It was so strong, I couldn’t not. I didn’t know what was in it. I told Roth about it and he went digging. He called me all excited and wanted me to open the thing.” Adam sighed heavily. “But I wasn’t strong enough. I read about dragons and thought maybe Wylie could get in. Seriously, I didn’t think it would go wrong. Roth said that we were all going to make a fortune on what was inside. I still don’t know what was in the stupid thing.”
“A kid,” Beck growled. “A fucking kid. Some freaks stole him from his home and were trying to sell him to some fucked-up sorcerer who would probably drain him for his power. So, for real, Adam, are you like that too? Do I have to worry about you trying to hunt kids down to drain them of magic? Are you going to go after Wylie?”
“Geez, no. I’m not fucked-up.” He huffed at the suspicious glare Beck was shooting and glared right back. “I was just hanging with the gang cuz I’m tired of being walked on. I can only do a little magic. I’m not some damn monster! I came back to help!”
Wylie didn’t really give a fuck at the moment. He walked around the arguing two and went to Dante. They needed to get the hell out. Dante looked so small and weak where he was hunched on the ground.
“I don’t feel good,” Dante whispered once Wylie reached him.
“Don’t worry about it. I know a guy who’s going to patch you up and get you back to feeling good.” He held out his hand and the small boy clung to it readily. Wylie scooped Dante up and straightened. He tried to dismiss just how frail and light he was. Dr. Rob would know what to do. He really hoped.
“You’re really strong.” With a sigh, Dante rested his head on Wylie’s scaled shoulder. “I wish you had been there when they took me away.”
His heart wrenched. Wylie combed fingers through Dante’s hair. “I’m here now. You’re not going to be alone. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”
He carried him back to the group. Wylie caught Dorian staring at him with a funny look in his eye. “What?”
When he found Wylie staring right back, Dorian glanced away with a blush. “Fucking cute,” he muttered under his breath. Wylie raised his brow when he heard.
“I want to take Dante to the Academy. McPherson will know how to find his parents.”
“Good thing I’m here then, huh?” Dorian said flippantly. “I only came so you could portal back to the Academy. I didn’t want you walking; you know how dangerous that can be.” He kicked a bullet casing aside and winced when it hit the leg of a corpse only a dozen feet away. “Can we get the fuck out of here already?”
It was Diego. Wylie stared silent at the gangster’s slack features. He wasn’t even scorched. He’d hated Diego from the moment he met him but Wylie took no pleasure in seeing him dead. Instead, all he saw was a path he could’ve easily taken if he hadn’t turned back to try and save McPherson’s life.
Beck saw where Wylie was staring and stepped into his line of sight. “He took them out in under five seconds.”
“What?” Wylie looked at him in confusion.
“The small fry.” Beck tilted his head at the sleepy Dante in his arms. “Diego told him they were going to take him away and they raised their guns at him. The kid’s eyes turned black the same way your boy’s did. All five guys dropped dead. Just like that.”
A shiver ran down his spine. Wylie peered into Dante’s perfectly blank cherub face. He was breathing shallowly even though they were out of the thin air of the crate. Wylie had demon arms but he never hurt anyone he didn’t intend to. He was pretty sure Dante was the same way. All the more reason to bring him to the Academy where he’d be safe from the things that made kill.
Wylie patted Dante’s head and followed Dorian, who had a waiting portal in the auto shop. The walking was precarious. The entire wharf was seared from the fire even though Dorian had only sparked among the metal crates. Wylie stepped carefully around smoking debris and questionable spots in the wood. Dante slept on his shoulder; his breathing was too quiet to be reassuring.
The auto shop was empty. All the occupants had fled when the fire started. Beck and Adam hovered in the doorway while Dorian summoned the mirror to him. The piece of glass floated in midair.
“You wanna come, B?” Wylie asked. “Just to get the heat off of you for a while with Roth and the gang.”
Beck shook his head and grinned. “Seriously? Except for them threatening to kill me, I had things pretty good with Roth.”
“Beck! Are you fucking crazy?” Wylie gaped at him in shock. “You can’t seriously be considering going back to those asses? They were going to kill the fucking both of us!”
“Relax.” Beck rolled his eyes. “I’m just going back home, idiot. You really think Roth is going to give a fuck about me when he has five dead guys and way more wounded? He knows what’ll happen if he fucks with you now.” He shot a smirk Dorian’s way. “It’s sweet to have badass friends.”
Wylie shook his head and sighed in exasperation. “Be careful, B. Email me if you find yourself in trouble.”
“Yeah, yeah…” His expression turned soft and a sad smile twisted Beck’s lips. “At least we can say goodbye properly this time.”
Wylie nodded as he thought back to their last goodbye. Diego had been alive and everything so uncertain. Wylie went to hug Beck but paused when he realized Dante was definitely in the way. He glanced over to a very tightlipped Dorian, who held his arms out so Wylie could pass the sleeping kid over. Given Dorian’s expression, he had a feeling if his hands went anywhere below the belt on Beck he was going to be hexed into next Tuesday.
This time when Beck went to hug him, he stopped and stared worriedly at Wylie’s scales. It was his first time seeing them when Wylie could control the dangerous blades and he was rightfully wary. Wylie pulled his scales back and slowly shifted to his smooth, human form. Beck beamed up at him but Wylie only felt more awkward.
He wasn’t good at goodbyes. Not since the Andersons and trying to say goodbye to Sarah. She cried so much and he did everything to look big and brave even at eight so she wouldn’t worry. Wylie had moved through plenty of foster homes since then but hadn’t bothered to get to know anyone well enough to want to say goodbye. Beck was different and he didn’t know what to do.
“Thanks for saving my life, Wy.” Beck threw his arms around his shoulders. “You came back for me even though it turned out to be a trap. I know you’re happy where you are, I can tell, but that still means a lot to me.”
Wylie hugged him tentatively and pat Beck’s back. “You sure you’re going to be okay?”
Beck snickered and pulled away. He quickly wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. “I may not be as street smart as you but I know enough not to get myself into this kind of gang shit again.” He glanced over at Adam, who looked small and bedraggled in the cold autumn air. “Hell, I might play bodyguard for the nerd. Who knows?”
“You can always email me, you know,” Wylie reminded when Beck’s eyes turned watery.
Beck wouldn’t though; Wylie could tell. Maybe it hurt too much. Wylie turned and scooped Dante from Dorian’s arms. He didn’t have time to interpret the return of the funny look Dorian was shooting him.
“Uh, before you go.” Adam waved his hand briefly. “I really am sorry about the email and about dragging you into this, Wylie. And I wanted to thank you for saving that old guy. And, well, the kid. You’re an upstanding guy, and I’m sorry I was so scared of you before.”
“It’s cool, Adam.” Wylie meant it. He didn’t have any anger left for the tech wiz or Beck or even Diego. He had a home to go back to at the Academy and he was just starting to understand the truth of it.
Dorian grabbed his arm and tugged Wylie towards the now glowing mirror. “The kid is wiped. We need to get him to Dr. Rob.”
“You guys better run before the cops show.” Wylie gave a last look to Beck, who was having a terrible time fighting back tears. Fuck. He couldn’t seem to do anything right by anyone.
At Dorian’s insistent pull, he turned back and met his hazel eyes. “You ready?”
“Yeah. Let’s go.” He wasn’t going to miss it. Going back to his old life only pointed out to Wylie just how little he was truly alive back then. When the portal showed the arrival chamber at the Academy, Wylie stepped through with Dante in his arms. He didn’t look back.