Jaz had two new instruments waiting for them when Draco and Harry returned a week later. The potion master was off doing other things. Harry begrudgingly came into Snape’s office while warily watching Draco the entire time. Draco was quiet in a way that unsettled him. He wasn’t sure if Draco was plotting, or if he gave up. Neither option was gratifying. Harry wavered many a time as he followed Draco around and watched while trying to understand.
Something was changed in Draco. It was an odd stillness that quieted every level of him until Harry wondered if Draco wasn’t the one out of phase with the world. Blaise had nearly broken down on seeing him the first morning in the Great Hall. Pansy, normally restrained, started swearing up a storm. They both haunted Draco along with Harry now and followed him class to class. They tried to get him to talk late into the night with games or whatnot; Harry never saw what they did. He refused to stay in the same room as Draco as much as possible.
Draco being fucked up did nothing to stop the fire inside Harry and that was probably the worst of it all. He wanted Draco even when he was broken. Harry didn’t know if coming back to reality was the answer no it was clear he was completely deranged and would fuck the walking dead just so long as they looked and smelled as good as Malfoy did. Draco seemed dead, his eyes empty, muscles loose with body refusing to eat.
“Mr. Potter, let’s start with the pen.” Jaz picked up a muggle style ballpoint pen and held it out to where Harry was standing. Draco was between them. Harry chose to walk around the edge of the room and come around the other side of Jaz to pluck the pen from his clawed fingers.
It felt like a regular pen, solid to his hand and lacking all the blushes and quick breaths he grew to love from his favorite quill. “Alright, a pen. And now you can know where I am.” Harry watched Draco’s eyes slide away from where the pen was floating in mid air to his perspective.
“And the second instrument. This one still needs a little tweaking.” Jaz pulled out a pair of gold rimmed round glasses. “With the help of Mr. Malfoy’s ring and his blood, I’ve determined where you are. Hopefully. The glasses are keyed to the potential dimension and now it’s just up to us to see if you’re there.” Jaz took off his own dark frames, his face oddly predatory without the rectangles to obscure his sharp, cat-like eyes. He slipped on the new glasses and hummed as he turned in Harry’s direction.
Jaz’s expression stilled and grew serious. He snapped his fingers and his notebook flew into his hands. He quickly turned through the pages and sometimes scribbled in the margins all while he kept glancing up at Harry. “You’re in a lot of trouble here, Mr. Potter. I assumed you were just ungrounded but seeing you now, it’s clear this situation has occurred from your battle with the Dark Lord. You’re wounded and unraveling. The results of the attack are slowed by the nature of being outside of the normal flow of time. You are reaching the end of your life and there isn’t much time left.”
Harry wanted to be surprised but he wasn’t. The sparks had increased in intensity and frequency until he felt more a walking electric socket than anything else. He moved to Snape’s desk, clicked the pen and wrote out his questions on a waiting piece of blank paper.
Will you bury me, even if you can’t bring me back?
“I’ll do it,” Draco whispered. They were his first words to Harry since they argued days ago.
Thank you. There really didn’t seem much else to say about it. Harry walked back to the wall to put as much space as he could between him and Draco’s scent.
“Mr. Potter, normally in a situation like this I would find the dimension, key a portal in and physically reach in and get you. But that spell will take too long,” Jaz said evenly. He turned to follow as Harry leaned on the wall. “I’m going to speak with Dumbledore about lending the phoenix to help. If the beast is willing, we can bond the two of you and it should be enough to tip you into reality once again. Once here, you’re wounds will be extensive and require immediate healing. I cannot guarantee you will survive.”
Harry shrugged and waved his hand in an assenting manner just to end the conversation. Jaz didn’t take offense. He switched his glasses and left the new frames on the desk. “I’ll be back shortly. We’ll know soon if we have a working plan or not.” Jaz left with long strides that revealed the urgency his tone of voice refused to show.
Harry watched, his dread building as Draco inched fingers toward the discarded glasses on the desk. The idiot just fucking loved to punish himself. Harry regretted it all; when he touched Draco’s hand in the Great Hall, followed him, kissed him, wanted him. Made Draco want him back. Whatever happened to him, Draco shouldn’t have to see it.
Draco slipped the glasses on and settled them on his face before he slowly turned to where Harry was standing. He inhaled sharply as his eyes widened. “Shit, Harry. You’re not black, you’re fucking burned.” He stepped closer and ignored how Harry flinched away. “The glowing light is your normal color.” He reached a hand up and probed the top of Harry’s head where his hair was tousled. “You had some sort of horns once but they’ve snapped off. And your energy keeps fluctuating like mini explosions.”
Harry turned his face away, unable to meet the intensity of Draco’s stare. Draco pulled him back. He wrenched Harry’s hair and glared up at him challengingly. “They’re the same… the same damn green.”
“Just take the fucking things off and go away, Malfoy,” Harry growled. He put his hand on Draco’s shoulder to keep him from moving closer. “I’m dead. Burned, like you said. What the fuck is the point of doing this to yourself?”
Draco’s eyes strayed to where Harry’s lips moved like he was trying to read them. Moment later, he pulled Harry down and kissed him hard, desperate. He held him by the hair when Harry tried to pull away.
“Idiot. Malfoy!” Harry grabbed both of Draco’s shoulders and pushed him away to arms length.
“What? Am I supposed to bury you now, Potter?” Draco scowled, his cheeks flushed. “Now that I can fucking see you, and know where the fuck you are, and what it looks like when you look at me? Why the fuck should I?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Because I’m a goddamn dying monster on this plane, apparently. I don’t want you to see me like this.”
Draco ignored him, not able to understand what Harry was saying anyways. “You’re likely dead. Fine. I’m getting married. Fine. Do you need to hurt me more by pulling away as well?”
“You ass, it’s to keep you from hurting more!” Harry was frustrated and consumed with the need to kiss Draco again. Instead he pulled from his hands and crossed to Snape’s desk so there would be a barrier between them. He used his new pen to write out his thoughts while Draco glared.
It hurts. Seeing you hurting, hurts me.
Draco huffed. He crossed his arms over his chest and bowed his head. “Who the fuck cares? You’re dead anyways. Suck it up and hurt. It’s going to be worse for me anyways and you don’t hear me bitching about it.
Harry shook his head in exasperation. You’re out of your fucking mind. Rational people don’t think like that.
“So?” Draco scoffed. “Who the fuck are you to judge? You’ve never been rational a fucking day in your life. You’re walking around in a lost dimension for months, hanging on to life while half dead and you want to judge me for being irrational?” Draco slammed his hands down on the desk and glared into the wild green eyes he missed so much. “Com on, you hotheaded, Gryffindor imbecile. Where the hell did your love for doing the impossible go? Be impossible with me.”
Harry swallowed hard, lost in the glaring silver eyes behind round glasses. He slowly reached across and touched the side of Draco’s face. Draco’s gaze stayed on him instead of straying like he used to. He was fucking beautiful.
They were interrupted by the door opening. Dumbledore, Severus and Jaz stepped in. Fawkes was on Dumbledore’s shoulder, the phoenix resting with ease while while Dumbledore stood next to Draco. Draco flinched when Severus walked right through Harry to sit at his desk but Harry didn’t seem effected by it at all.
“May I, Draco?” Dumbeldore held his hand outstretched. With a sigh, Draco relinquished the glasses but only after a final glance at Harry. Dumbledore slipped the golden framed on. His expression grew grim and a frown deepened his normally cheerful expression. “Hello, Harry.”
Harry met the twinkle free gaze and nodded. Sir, he wrote out on the paper before him.
“Jaz has caught us up on your condition. Unfortunately, nothing can be done for you while you’re split between dimensions. I’ve asked Fawkes to help and he has agreed.” Dumbledore didn’t look happy about it and instead his frown grew. “Harry, whether it was right after the attack or now, how you appear once back will be the same. You will be injured. Possibly dead. There may be little we can do to help you. We might be killing Fawkes by making the attempt.”
Then it’s not worth it. I don’t want anyone else to die.
“Bullshit!” Draco snarled, uncaring to the fact he was swearing in front of his professors. “The bird wants to do it. They come back to life, anyways. At least try!”
“I have to agree with Malfoy, Potter,” Severus spoke up, his long fingers arched on his desk. “You’ve given up enough. Let us at least attempt to help you.”
Harry me Albus’s ever watching gaze. He couldn’t remember ever seeing him this serious. What aren’t you telling me?
“We’ve figure out what you are. McVicar recognized you immediately even with the damage to your body.”
Is it bad?
“It is difficult,” Dumbledore answered tentatively as his fingers fell into his beard. “Creatures like you don’t exist, Harry. They can’t handle the modern world, and the world can’t handle them.”
“You’re a Kalistar, Mr. Potter. It’s a demon with antlers and large wings. They’re aggressive, dangerous and down right murderous toward humans.” Jaz turned to Draco with a raised eyebrow. “That means you are most likely their kin, the Vesper.”
Draco shook his head, his eyes narrowed. “He’s burnt, not black.”
“He’s damaged. The black pigment comes up with the excessive blood flow. They turn color when enraged, in love, in hot temperature and injured,” Jaz explained as he ignored the anger in Draco’s voice. “That it is patchy suggest it’s from damage more than anything else. Likely Voldemort knew what Harry was and made to attack him on his own plane to make sure he was destroyed. His wings are torn off, along with his horns. His body is a bruise of wounds and if the removal of his wings doesn’t drain him of all his blood, it has likely put him into shock.”
“They’ve died out. My father told me,” Draco insisted. He couldn’t seem to handle hearing about Harry’s condition and instead fixated on what he was supposed to be. “They were good, kind creatures who kept the others safe and in line.”
Dumbledore held his hand up while still looking at Harry. “All we know of the Kalistar is they exist with the Vesper, they are gone, and any time one has been sighted a human was torn to pieces. Sometimes many humans.”
Draco scoffed. “It’s fucking Potter! If they were so hateful, no human would have survived to mate with the damn things. If my father is a Vesper then he would bloody well know more about it.”
“Your father is beyond communication.” Dumbledore finally turned his piercing gaze from Harry. He blinked and removed the glasses when Draco’s glowing form came into view. “Lucius has been separated from the rest and put into isolation. His transformation left him maddened and violent among humans. He’s already killed two of the other prisoners.”
Draco bit his lip and exhaled slowly from the news. “It doesn’t mean Harry is going to start killing people if you bring him back. You’re assuming because you don’t know enough about his kind. You’re going to let him die because you’re scared of what he is. I’m telling you, he’s not how you think.”
Jaz took the offered glasses from Dumbledore and exchanged them for his own. “Mr. Potter, you have been extremely aggressive concerning Mr. Malfoy.”
“You’re fucking shitting me,” Draco muttered and glared at the man. “You can’t compare the mating urge to…”
“Please, this is something I need to present to Harry,” Jaz said sternly. “Harry, your reaction to scent has been uncontrollable, wouldn’t you say? Have you smelled any humans since being in that realm?”
Harry slowly shook his head once he understood what Jaz was getting at. If I can’t control my reaction to Draco’s scent, who is to say I won’t go into a murderous rage around human scent. Right?
“That is our concern,” Dumbledore said tighly.
“Their concern,” Severus broke in. “I have no question you will be anything but yourself if you survive the return, Potter.”
Harry looked down at Snape’s bowed head in surprise. Severus was not one for defending him, seeing as they were hardly friends. Sighing, Harry reached past his potions professor to write.
It is your decision. The risk is all on your shoulders, from the other students to Fawkes. I will not ask you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with.
“Damn it, stop being so fucking selfless!” Draco snarled and threw his hands up in exasperation. “He killed Voldemort—You all have no right to not even try!”
Draco, it’s more than that and you know it. Surviving doesn’t justify putting others in danger.
“Bloody bullshit. You didn’t just survive. You saved.”
It doesn’t matter.
Severus spoke up before Draco could start shouting. “As I have already told Albus and McVicar, I’m willing to create a space free of all scents for your potential return, Mr. Potter. We could even go so far as to eliminate your ability to smell altogether, if we find that you are as driven as they fear. I would need your consent, with you understanding if the madness does take you I will administer the potion against your will.”
Harry considered long minutes while he watched Draco twitch in irritation. A lifetime without smell. Would it effect his sense of his beast body when it came to Draco? Did it matter in the long run when he considered Dumbledore wouldn’t allow him to return if he refused? He saw it in his headmaster’s eye, the steel determination to ensure the students of Hogwarts were protected from monsters. One monster had been Tom Riddle. Today it was him.
I give you my consent.
“And if it doesn’t work?” Draco asked, already knowing the answer given his glower. “Are you going to let them kill you, Potter?”
Harry shrugged and met Jaz’s gaze. They have my consent for that as well. Although, if I am as they say, I likely will not make it easy for them.
“Thank you, Harry,” Dumbledore said and bowed his head. “I will leave Fawkes in the hands of these good gentlemen. We will do the best we can to return you safe and sound.”
Draco hissed and glared at everyone. “Right, until they bloody stab you in the back.”
Harry didn’t have anything to say. Draco would never understand and he didn’t really care. Draco was Draco, and he was Harry. Draco would have to accept his decision the same way he accepted when Draco decided to kill himself.
Dumbledore left quietly. Jaz and Snape started going over the spell that would be done and the preparation needed.
Harry would need to practice controlling his magic so that he could affect the normal realm. The last part of the spell would require his focus to reach to Fawkes since it was unlikely the phoenix would have enough power to connect to him alone. He had three days. Hopefully all the necessary preparations and instruments would be taken care of by then.
Draco waited for a bit while pacing agitatedly. Finally he gave a great sigh and sought out the pen Harry was using to get an idea of where he was. “Potter, you don’t need me for this anymore. I’m going back.”
“He says goodbye,” Jaz said. Draco shrugging unconcernedly as he left. Harry stared at the closed door and his frown grew.
“Potter, you’re a bloody idiot when it comes to that boy,” Severus drawled while he shook his head slowly. “He’s the only one really fighting for you. He’s asking for nothing in return except you stand up for yourself as well.”
Severus snorted. He held his hands out for the glasses Jaz was stubbornly wearing. Severus placed them on his nose and took a long look at Harry’s form. “You look like some wild, terrible beast, broken and scarred. Your back is an absolute mess, the skin torn to shreds. You do look burnt, every wound a damn ripple on the char black skin. But to see the way Draco looks at you, I thought you must be some damn Adonis hero.”
Severus stood and folded his arms over his chest. He looked oddly owl like in the round glasses. “Life is not given, Potter, it’s fought for. Every day we battle; predators, the elements, other human beings and our own twisted nature. Here, at the cusp of death, you should be screaming a warrior’s call for life. You shouldn’t be letting someone already as broken as Draco have to raise the energy for you. That he does it at all is amazing enough.”
Harry’s nostrils flared and hands tightened into fists as anger slowly curled around him. Severus noticed, the energy visible with the glasses.
It is not his battle, nor is it yours. I will do what I must, because that is how the situation has made me. I don’t want to hurt anyone.
Severus wasn’t impressed. “Sometimes you have to hurt to survive. You did it with Voldemort. You do it every day when you kill to eat, whether it is ever by your own hands or not. The natural order demands lesser beings fall to stronger ones. Like it or not, you are the stronger, Potter. Not acting it will kill off what is left of your bloodline.”
Harry didn’t care about his bloodline. His parents were dead, as were the Dursleys. If another Potter existed out there, he didn’t know about it. He didn’t owe anyone for the life he struggled with his short years and he wasn’t going to start now.
It’s better if this creature doesn’t continue on. Clearly the Kalistar aren’t good.
“McVicar, I blame you for this,” Severus growled and turned on Jaz who was flipping through notes. “Demonizing him. You of all people should be more accepting.”
Jaz’s tongue twitched over his sharp fang as he nodded thoughtfully. “I accept Mr. Potter for how he is; a potentially dangerous, berserker creature with more power than he will ever know what to do with. I don’t hold it against him but I certainly don’t want to be the one carrying him back into this realm either.”
Snape glared and turned back to Harry. “They’re cowards, Potter. Selfish cowards who fear power they can’t control. You should not let them sway you. If someone like Draco can see, surely you must know it’s true.”
Harry sighed and looked away from his professor’s stinging gaze. What the hell do you want from me, Snape? I’m tired of all this. What say do I have? My life is in their hands.
“That doesn’t mean you don’t speak up for yourself. It’s not an excuse to let Draco think you’re not fighting to stay. He’s falling apart. He needs you to be strong right now.” Severus was quiet in his plea, intent and soft spoken. It very much reminded Harry Draco cared for him.
Harry grumbled to himself and then nodded at Snape. He turned on his heel and out the door to find Draco.
He didn’t pass many in the hall. The hour was late and Harry nothing more than a floating pen to most. He clicked it unconsciously as he twitched with pent up energy.
There was no good news today, just layer after layer of shit problems to pile on his shoulders. He survived Voldemort but apparently not by much and god knew for how much longer. He didn’t remember being injured while battling the stain of a man, but then, Harry didn’t feel much of anything beyond the roar of power singing in his ears as he destroyed Voldemort. There was nothing else but power and light and victory.
Somehow, Voldemort still took his revenge. Harry was on the precipice of death, waiting to see if he would fall in this echo of life or be brought back to his own realm where the pain would be felt. He wasn’t really rushing for either.
Except, he had to, didn’t he? Time was ticking down and Draco, the glorious bastard, was waiting for him. It didn’t matter he was tired, drained and powerless in the face of so much he had no control over. Draco was depending on him to be strong.
Harry stopped in the hallway. He tapped his hand on the wall to remind himself he was real as power shot through him in painful bursts. It was a chain reaction lately, not one spark but many.
Somehow Draco found a way to control him. He took the wild mating call and wrapped it around his elegant pale fingers to turn it into something bearable. Harry had no excuse in it anymore, no way to justify giving in to the urges without the drive pounding in him to push him forward.
Stupid Malfoy, wanting him to be impossible with him. Right now that would mean to be back in their realm, alive and not a wild beast. Somehow it seemed a damn fucking lot to ask for, even for Draco’s standards.
Harry stared at the pen. He began to click it repeatedly again as he continued walking to Draco’s room.
“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.
Wylie couldn’t sleep. The bonfire ended an hour ago and the others were all settled and asleep in their dorms. Wylie crept into the lounge, no longer able to listen to Fox’s even breathing. He secretly hoped Dorian might wake up and talk to him, but he remained stubbornly asleep and in bed.
He was unwilling to turn the TV on and wake anyone, so Wylie powered on one of the computers instead. He hadn’t checked his email since getting to the Academy and apparently Vincent’s invite was as racist and welcoming as you could get.
Wylie never got to Vincent’s email. His attention caught on a heading dated nearly a week ago.
Beck’s In Danger
“What the fuck?” He glared at the computer as if he could get the information that way. Wylie hesitantly clicked the link. His dread grew. It was from Adam, the little tech genius that got them past security during the initiation. “Fuck… Fuck, come on!”
Wylie snarled. He stood so quickly his chair clattered to the ground. His heart pounded in his chest.
Diego pinned everything on him. He said he shot the guy and ran with the cash. Since they couldn’t take revenge on Wylie, Beck, as his boyfriend, was going to have to take the heat for it. Adam was pretty sure that meant death. Roth was in a foul mood and he hated disloyalty above all else.
Fucking Diego, the worthless piece of trash. He should’ve killed the gangster. It would’ve been nothing to let his claws cut too deep and tear that idiot’s throat out. Fuck… Fuck!
Wylie looked at the email again and found the address Adam left him. It was the warehouse on the pier Roth owned. They were doing it at midnight. Fucking midnight tonight. If he waited just one more day to check his email, Beck would’ve been toast.
Fuck… They were going to kill him.
He shut the computer down. He began to pace as his mind whirled.
It was 11:20. He’d never get there in time. The Academy was a fucking three-hour drive from the city. The warehouse was by the docks and added another half hour to the drive.
It was all his fault. He was the reason B got into the gang. Wylie made Beck feel invincible and promised to watch his back through everything. He was his shield so no one in the gang messed with the idealistic kid. Then he just left him high and dry, and ran off to live in the fucking lap of luxury at the Academy. He hadn’t even fucking thought of B since getting there.
One month was all it took for him to become a complacent little shifter who fucked around with magic, and transformations, and some fantasy of Dorian Black. All the while, Beck was terrified, interrogated and beaten. God, he was the fucking worst. B never made him feel less, never showed any reluctance to his fucked-up demon arms. He didn’t care about his poverty or lack of parents. Not only had Wylie wronged him, he lacked the decency to realize it.
He knew he wasn’t in love with Beck, not after the heart-wrenching shit he was going through with Dorian. It didn’t mean B deserved to be punished only because he left to play hero. If he’d gone back to Beck that night, just got in the fucking van and sped away from the stranger he wasn’t responsible for, his life would be completely different. For the first time, Wylie questioned if he made the right choice.
Midnight. By midnight, Beck would be dead.
Dorian was having trouble sleeping. His words at the bonfire ran through his head like a song on repeat. There wasn’t any other option. It was the only way. He kept telling himself every time the misery welled too strong. Saying the worst was the only way Wylie would finally get a clue. They couldn’t be together and it was time to get over this shit already. He destroyed what little foundation he had with Wylie—but why couldn’t he just stop thinking about it? He did what needed to be done. Now he needed to get the fuck over it.
There was a click from his door handle opening. Dorian turned his head and watched as light spilled into the dorm. Wylie’s form was silhouetted in the doorway. Damn it. Damn it, why did his heart have to race so fucking fast?
Dorian schooled his features and fought the anticipation tingling through him. He’d yell the fucking Academy down until Wylie got it through his thick skull they were never going to be anything. He slid out from under the covers and crossed the room, only to pause from his intended rant when he caught sight of Wylie’s expression. There was no softness, no desire. There was nothing but a tight frown to his mouth and something damn near desperate in his eyes.
“I need your help.”
He glanced back to where Vincent was sleeping. Dorian quietly closed the door and followed Wylie out into the dimly lit lounge. “What?” He watched nervously when Wylie began to pace.
“I need you to show me how to use the portal.” Wylie pointed toward the arrival chamber where the large mirror kept for travel was located.
“What… Now?” Dorian looked at him in disbelief. “It’s the middle of the night.”
“I need to get somewhere, asap, and I can’t figure out how to turn the fucking thing on,” Wylie snapped. “I wouldn’t have bothered you otherwise. I can’t trust anyone else to not tell the masters.”
Dorian blinked dumbly and stared up at him. How the fuck could Wylie still trust him? He was an absolute asshole. That Wylie was just talking and hadn’t punched him was a feat all its own.
Dorian was completely thrown. “Where do you need to go?”
“It’s not important.” Wylie briskly walked away. “I just need you to turn the damn thing on.”
Dorian shook his head and quickened his pace to catch up to Wylie’s strides. “I don’t actually care; I just need to know where to key in. You can’t just turn a portal on. You need to use magic to reach another mirror closest to your intended destination.”
Wylie shot him a sideways glance full of wariness and gave him the address.
“I need more than that. A description would be best.” They reached the portal. The large mirror took up most of the wall in the foyer and was designed for many to travel at once. “Tell me as much as you can remember and that will help me key in.”
Wylie seemed even more resistant and his words came out haltingly. “It’s a warehouse. It’s worn down. The red brick is crumbling in spots, and the wood rotting in others. There’s a stack of crates, wooden, that are new by the entrance.”
“What’s in them?”
Wylie glared through the mirror and met Dorian’s gaze challengingly. “Is it important?”
It wasn’t, but Dorian was growing more and more curious as to what Wylie was porting into. “Very.”
Wylie huffed and squared his shoulders. “Mostly computers. Small, high-priced tech you can resell on the street without people looking twice at you.”
“Guns?” Dorian ignored Wylie’s warning glare.
“Probably, but not in the crates. That shit doesn’t hang around long. It’s by the wharf.” Wylie tried to get things back on track. “There’s an auto place next door that chops cars. It has heavy machinery running all hours of the day.”
“Why do you feel the need to go to this place in the middle of the night again?” Dorian’s question came out much harsher than he intended. He wasn’t supposed to give a fuck about what Wylie was doing with his life, even if guns and a fucking chop shop were involved.
“I just do,” Wylie gritted out. He refused to meet his gaze. “I owe a friend.”
Anger hit Dorian in a sudden wave and spurred him to action. He keyed the portal as close as he could to Wylie’s intended destination. The drop point ended up in the auto place next door. There were plenty of mirrors for repair, and some large enough for transport.
“You know I can’t leave it open. Once you cross, the portal closes and you won’t be able to get back.”
“Fine,” Wylie said curtly and took a step towards the portal. Dorian quickly jumped in front of him and blocked his path.
“You’re coming back, right?”
Wylie inhaled sharply. He eventually shrugged and kept his expression cool. He was either going to have to beat the fuck out of Roth, or pay off what the gangster thought he owed for bailing on the McPherson job. The Academy wouldn’t want him back after that kind of fuck up. “It’s not important. Just go back to bed and pretend none of this happened.”
“Like fuck!” Dorian pointed at Wylie’s chest. His face was clouded with anger. “This place is across the fucking state. What if you get hurt? How are you going to find your way back? You don’t know how to portal!”
Wylie glared him right in the eyes and growled out quietly, “What does it matter, Dorian? It’s not like I have parents waiting up to give a shit. Right?” He pushed past and stepped into the portal before Dorian could reply.
The image of the warehouse dimmed. Dorian was faced with his own angry, wide eyes staring back at him.
Was Wylie leaving because of what he said? Had he hurt him that fucking much? Wylie was tough; not the type to cry over shit like…
Dorian sighed and combed through his hair brusquely. No, at the bonfire he chose his words well to hurt Wylie as much as possible. He meant it to hurt. Of course it had.
Fuck. Dorian scowled at his reflection as the familiar feeling of self-loathing threatened to consume him. Somehow his resolve was breaking. It was almost as painful as what it cost to build it in the first place.
Wylie didn’t want his help. He hadn’t asked for it beyond getting the portal to work. For all he knew, he’d just get in the way if he tried to follow after him. He should go to bed. He should forget any of this happened and think of a plausible lie by the morning for why Wylie wasn’t at the Academy.
Dorian stared at his reflection. He was unable to meet his own eyes. It would be nothing for him to port in and port out. Wylie might not know how to summon a mirror, but it was easy for him. It really would be nothing…
Except it would be giving in after he promised himself not to.