“This isn’t going to work if you keep growling,” Theodore said coolly. He and Wylie were alone in the Body Magic classroom. The group class was finished for the day but Theodore pulled him aside to go over his transformation. Wylie couldn’t stop growling. Theodore stood calmly with arms folded over his chest and leaned his hip on the large teacher’s desk.

“Sorry.” Wylie was trying, he really was. His dragon, on the other hand, could now fully sense Theodore’s dragon. Something it was very upset about along with a long list of grievances.

Life had turned weird once his null-collar was removed after the twenty-four hour waiting period. Wylie’s dragon woke up agitated and looking for both Leo and Dorian. One to beat the fuck out of, the other to thoroughly fuck. A little over a week later, the beast was still upset. Including Theodore’s inner dragon into the mix wasn’t helping matters.

“He’s really pissed.” Wylie kept his distance with chairs and desks placed between the two of them. “Being collared upset him. He felt like he was taken from his fight.”

Nodding, Theodore made no other move. “Is he aware he’d already won the fight? I made sure. You asked for the collar; it wasn’t forced on you.”

“He gets it,” Wylie muttered. He raised his head to meet Theodore’s gaze. “But he’s still upset. He didn’t know the collar was going to knock him out.” The dragon felt betrayed. Nothing had ever forced it to sleep before and it was mistrustful of the sorcerer who had the ability.

“I can wait as long as it takes.” Theodore was unfazed. “Your dragon’s had it pretty damn easy so far, kid. No fights, no hunts, no running for its life. That’s going to change now it’s been named and added to the Registry. It’s going to have to toughen up and join the real world, which means being knocked on its ass once in a while.”

Wylie licked his fangs and didn’t reply. He kept his thoughts to himself while his dragon sulked. A lot of things had changed for them the last weeks. Huge changes they were spinning from. The dragon wasn’t used to being welcomed out in the open. It wasn’t used to being addressed at all. It liked the changes that came with the Academy but the dragon was also kind of fucked-up. It was used to being hidden away and feared. Wylie was pretty sure the damn thing was going through an identity crisis.

You know, as much as a dragon tied to his soul could, anyways.

The beast was both ecstatic and miserable when it came to Dorian Black. His mate had accepted them, only to immediately duck out and refuse to say two words to Wylie since. The dragon was hurt, confused, and Wylie wasn’t doing much better.

He understood, as best as he could. Dorian was in a precarious situation with his magic. Even if he wanted touch, he didn’t think he could have it safely. That was shit Dorian had to figure out on his own, including if he wanted to risk a relationship. It didn’t make waiting around for his decision any less difficult for Wylie. Not after he had touched him, tasted him, seen him come.

He wasn’t blind to the possibility that Dorian might have already decided. It would explain why he refused to talk to him the last week. It sucked, plain and simple. Wylie and his dragon agreed on one thing; Dorian should be his.

“You asked for my help,” Theodore reminded. His violet eyes glinted in the dim light of the shielded room. “Leo could’ve been hamburger. If not for your control over your dragon, the lion would’ve been killed. There is no guarantee you’ll be so lucky next time. You need to gain control your transformation.”

Wylie snapped back to reality and the reason he was there. He inwardly prodded his sulking dragon. They wanted to learn how to transform without being a killer. The dragon wanted to safely touch his mate, and Wylie didn’t want to continue associating his shifter form with a death machine.

Wylie looked over to Theodore and cautiously edged a step closer. This time he didn’t growl.

Theodore held his hand up before he went to cross the space. “Let me show you what a proper transformation looks like. It’s better if you’re not too close until your dragon gets used to me. They can be territorial on the best of days.”

Wylie nodded in understanding and remained where he was. He watched, eyebrows raised when Theodore stripped off his shirt and revealed his compact, lithe torso to the cool air of the basement room. Theodore without his stylish clothes managed to be even more beautiful. Not that he was doing anything to try and look attractive as he stilled and summoned his dragon forth.

“Holy fuck,” Wylie whispered. He unconsciously took a step back when Theodore shifted and red scales erupted over his flesh. Because of their rarity, there were no pictures to depict what an actual dragon shifter looked like. Wylie had seen a huge lion and bear transform right before his eyes; they were nothing compared to the winged Theodore.

He should have been monstrous. Theodore was covered head to toe in a shimmer of red and purple scales. His blood-red hair no longer stood out as a contrast with his new vivid coloring. His violet eyes were entrancing as they glowed from his still pale face. Translucent scales coated his face and made a long line down his throat and chest. Thicker, dense scales armored his arms and sides. On the top of his head, long, elegant curls of black horn twisted up and behind. Wylie’s gaze followed, his attention drawn to the black and purple leather like wings that stretched out twice as large as the man they supported. Theodore was still a man beneath those scales, in form and demeanor, even though his tail, scarlet and tipped in black, swished in small arcs on the floor behind him.

Wylie stared, at a loss for words. Theodore stood patiently and let him take in his regal appearance. The dragon shifter was stunning, beyond beautiful, and Wylie had a momentary thought. Just how obnoxious was Theodore to be still single at his age?

“Are you calm?” Theodore’s voice was lower and sounded like pure silk. “I want to show you my aggressive form and how I move from one to the other.”

“Okay.” Wylie winced when his voice cracked. Fine, Theodore was intimidating and entrancing all at once and it was a lot to take in. It got worse when a ripple went through him and Theodore gasped and crouched forward. His sleek muscles puffed up, sharp long spines tore out from his back and his talons outstretched. His scales shifted and turned. The color darkened and completely covered him with iridescent red and purple armor. The edges were sharp, deadly and an absolute threat. Wylie was certain of the danger since his own dragon was freaking the fuck out. It growled as it debated running away or fighting the red dragon across the room.

Theodore straightened. His gaze was bland from eyes now alarmingly pale amidst his richly colored scales. “You’ve been alone. You’ve never known another of your own kind.”

Wylie nodded and covered his mouth to stop the incessant growls that kept breaking free.

“I had a father, a brother, an uncle. Even still, it was sometimes hard to be around them with the dragon’s personality. You will learn to trust me.” Theodore raised his hand and Wylie’s dragon became hyper alert for any potential attack. “Just watch. I’m going to shift back to the less aggressive state. Your dragon must learn this.”

Wylie stepped close when he realize just what Theodore was about to show him. He and his dragon watched intently. The beast wanted to know the answer to their deadly scales just as much as he, and it was willing to risk Theodore’s dangerous state to observe.

Red scales flexed like petals ruffling in a breeze. Theodore’s arm turned sleek and metallic again and his claws not only blunted but completely retracted. There was no sharp edge left on the man. Wylie’s dragon crooned at the realization. He could be safe for his mate. Although Dorian was powerful, he was soft and fragile compared to the dragon. This proved Wylie could be gentle if he learned.

Theodore watched Wylie from the corner of his eye. He flexed his scales again. The edges turned out, puffed up, and then quickly sealed flat into the metallic sheen. “Try it now. One arm to start.”

Wylie swallowed down his nerves and forced himself to focus on his arms. A part of him was terrified he wouldn’t be able to do it. His dragon had been awake for ten years now and Theodore flexing his scales looked easy as fuck. How had he not been able to grasp something so simple? Sure, he barely shifted because he used to be afraid of his demon arms. It still felt too obvious a solution to have missed. Theodore made it look so easy to flex from aggressive to calm.

Wylie shook his head to push away his doubts. He let his dragon take over. Black scales erupted out of his flesh and covered him from claw to shoulder. They reached higher than normal; the scales teased at his shoulder blades and collarbone this time. Wylie held his hand up and focused on the ruffled, deadly scales of his forearm. He glared along with his dragon at the scales that wouldn’t move.

“How?” Wylie looked to Theodore in confusion.

“Press them to your bare flesh. Your dragon will feel how your scales move when they do so innately.”

Wylie stared at the shifter with brows furrowed. In this form, he could sense so much more. Theodore’s scent was different, very different from his own dragon.

“Don’t,” Theodore snapped. He held his hand up before Wylie could touch his face. “I might be able to defend a clawing, but blood is not something I want to add to this already precarious meeting.”

“You’re different.” Wylie wasn’t really sure why he tried to touch Theodore. His head tilted curiously as more scents and information filtered through.

“I’m from a completely different dragon species than you.”

“No.” Wylie knew that wasn’t it, especially when Theodore huffed and stepped away from him. He didn’t know much dragons but he knew the red dragon was beyond different in the big scheme of things.

“Ignore it and let’s get on with the lesson,” Theodore demanded. His flashing eyes left no room for argument. “Your scales. Part of why you may not be transforming fully is because your dragon is in a mindset of aggression every time. Transforming straight into an aggressive form is difficult. If you can smooth your scales down you may be able to push more free.”

With a final suspicious look at Theodore, Wylie brought his attention back to his task. He took his clawed hand and pressed it to his throat. His talons blunted and scales flattened automatically to keep from injuring his flesh. Wylie removed his hand, then moved it back and forth a few time to distinguish what muscle in his body was doing the work. The problem was, he couldn’t tell. It was as if the change was happening somewhere else, likely where the dragon dwelled. Wylie had no control over the scales movements.

His dragon, on the other hand, was learning.

“There you go.” Theodore watched as Wylie’s arm smoothed down this time before he brought it to his unprotected flesh. “I think your dragon is learning to do more than just react.”

“Will I look like you when I transform fully?” Wylie asked. His eyes were caught on the way his black scales ruffled and shook as his dragon fluffed them up and then down.

“It’s hard to say. You’re not from the same dragon line. There aren’t a lot of black dragons… Not a lot of dragons left at all.” Theodore shrugged it off. He pointed to Wylie’s talons and urged him to try and retract them fully.

It was a reminder of all the warnings Theodore gave about dragons being hunted. “Have you had to worry about that?” Wylie wasn’t sure if Theodore would be upset by the question. “Being hunted?”

Theodore grunted and nodded sharply. “I lost my father to sorcerers. A group of them hunted him down and tore his body apart for their dark sorcery.”

Wylie blanched, his mouth gaped open. “Like… pieces?”

Theodore expression was blank but his eyes burned. “I killed them. With my brother dead, it was up to me. I found each one—six in all—and killed them so the dragon could have its revenge.” His lips pulled down at the ends. “Not that it mattered. Revenge didn’t bring my family back. My mother was heartbroken to have lost so much and died shortly after, still a young woman. She never saw the laws change or shifters band to fight against the demented sorcerers.”

Wylie’s mind whirled. “Just how old are you?”

“Older than I look and that’s all you need to know,” Theodore warned with a glare. “The Academy is a safe place for our kind. It made sense to stay and help those who were strong enough to seek it.”

Wylie’s talons were almost retracted. They were now just black, inch long nails. “Getting revenge… Did it fix your dragon? Keep it from getting angry all the time? Is that the answer for my shifting problem?” He had no idea why his dragon was fucked-up except when it came to Sarah. Maybe the only way to fix things would be to hunt down the man who had attacked his sister. Wylie didn’t want to be a killer. At the same time, he was certain if face to face with the rapist, he’d find a way to do what needed to be done. His dragon wouldn’t hesitate.

Theodore studied the ground in silence for a moment. “Your dragon was birthed during a moment of fear and anger. My grandfather would have said it’s cursed to forever live that moment, hence your scales cutting all they touch. But that’s bullshit from the old ones who don’t understand the simple matter of facing your demons and dealing with your shit.” He shrugged and his gaze raised to meet Wylie’s. “How you fix it will depend on you. Your dragon needs to realize the world is not the same one he was birthed into. Life keeps going.”

Starting, Wylie closed his eyes, then focused on his dragon curled within. Did the creature not know that the man who attacked Sarah was gone? Even though they hadn’t killed him, they had defeated him; he was never going to rape another little girl again. Did his dragon not know that Sarah was gone, as were the Andersons and the old house on Oak Street? He had lived ten full years in another life; how could the dragon not see everything had changed?

“How?” Wylie finally asked, his expression full of confusion.

“No clue. Like I said, the old ones called it a curse because they didn’t know how to cure it. The brain is a messed up place, kid, but it’s also elastic. We’re going to help you figure out how to unravel the problem. It just may take some time. Seeing as your dragon has grown active, there’s a good chance of getting it to start looking around.” Theodore combed his hair back and gave Wylie a calculating look. “Maybe you can help the creature fixate on something besides the wish to kill.”

Wylie pondered. The only new things the dragon had shown an interest in was blood and Dorian. Hunting down animals seemed dangerous when he was trying to avoid the whole killing thing. But Dorian… he didn’t know.

Dorian was avoiding him. Maybe he didn’t want anything to do with him at all. Fuck, he hated this shit. Wylie just wanted to march up to him and lay it all on the line. He hated games, hated tiptoeing around shit. But at the end of the day, it was up to Dorian if he wanted anything to do with him.

It wouldn’t hurt to ask about the transformation, though. Maybe. If there was anyone the dragon was willing to transform for, it was Dorian. Maybe Dorian would be willing to help.

Dorian sat in the reflection room amidst a pile of soothing blue and tan pillows that littered the shining hardwood floor. It was a large room and always full of sun and warmth with windows frosted to give the occupants privacy. It was his personal room of sanctuary in a lot of ways; no one else needed meditation as much as he did.

In his hand was a null-collar. His gaze was tight on the metal as he ran sparking fingers above the surface. He couldn’t remember the last time he needed to wear the collar while actually in the reflection room. He could feel it, though. His magic was looking for escape. It was rising up and seeking death. He’d been too lax and the magic was winning.

He lifted the collar to his neck. Unclasped, the cool metal rested heavy on his flesh. It was a mistake. Touching Wylie… Being touched.

“Fuck.” He hunched forward. He couldn’t stop thinking of it. Couldn’t stop feeling it. It was a ghost of a memory but his body burned at each spot, each phantom kiss. Even now, over a week later, Dorian could not stop thinking about Wylie’s touch no matter how hard he tried.

He wanted Wylie and he couldn’t get his face out of his mind. Like his intense stare or the way he grinned at something stupid Fox said. Even when mistrustful of his surroundings and out of place, Wylie was damn hot. It was so unlike Dorian to be this way and he didn’t know how to deal with it. Half the time just thinking about Wylie got him sparking now. Crazy. He was crazy to think it could ever work.

Wylie made him feel amazing and that was just too dangerous. It was too difficult to feel and stay in control. It was one or the other. He could have Wylie and feel so fucking good while living in a damn null-collar for the rest of his life, or he could get the fuck over it. Now, before it hurt too much. It already hurt too much, but letting it grow would lead to misery.

Dorian didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to be in a collar for the rest of his life. He had no interest in giving up his magic for anyone. Not when he finally regained some control over it. Living without magic was an empty existence. He had no purpose, no skill, no value. Yes, his magic was dangerous but it was still him. As long as he was always in control, he didn’t have to fear hurting anyone.

But he couldn’t do that and be with Wylie.

Dorian wasn’t even sure how it became an issue. He promised to never fall for anyone again. Fuck, after Alastor, there wasn’t anything left inside to feel.

Alastor was just like him, another rebellious product of too much money and power. If his name alone wasn’t reason enough to be an asshole, Alastor’s father was a bigot who hated everything, including the homosexual son he didn’t know he had. Alastor spent his life living a lie at home and being a total hooligan when out with his friends.

They fell for each other fast. Alastor was hot, powerful, with a dark tortured soul Dorian just couldn’t resist after being surrounded by the typical unfeeling WASPs and yuppies of his home. Actually, he couldn’t even remember if he liked Alastor. It might have just been the relief to finally find someone who hated his life just as much as Dorian hated his. His memory wrapped the kid in such a fucking perfect fantasy of love or some shit as if that somehow made it better. Alastor was fun—a total ass at times—but sure as fuck wasn’t boring to be around.

Dorian didn’t pay a lot of attention to the people following him around and trying to get with him back then. He was consumed with learning the next big spell which would finally make his grandfather stop referring to him as a washout. Not that he wasn’t good at magic. Just, his focus was like any other teenager’s. His grandfather thought he was too soft and spent what felt like hours lecturing him. Dorian didn’t give a fuck. The best thing about joining the Academy was never having to listen to that shit again. No one cared if he was perfect, they just didn’t want him blowing people up.

Fuck, he used to be such a stupid little punk. The first time he agreed to go out with Alastor, Dorian was in the middle of breaking up the pavement of the mall parking lot. He made cracks and breaks so deep, the entire thing ended up being torn down and replaced. It would have taken nothing to repair it with magic, but he left it that way and claimed some sort of ‘artistic divinity’ or some shit. What the fuck Alastor saw in him he still didn’t understand. But then, Alastor ended up helping spell the huge hole at the mall entrance. The destruction of public property was always extra satisfying because of the wide audience to the aftermath. The town would buzz with the new, strange occurrence and very few knew that a bored teenage sorcerer was behind it all.

He must have liked Alastor. Enough that when he woke up the first morning with his magic swirling and rolling powerfully, Dorian confused it for anticipation. When he started sparking over those first touches, it was exciting. Alastor pulled him into his bedroom and kissed down his throat. It was something new compared to the boring, numb shit of before. There was even a touch of forbidden because he knew just how much Alastor’s dad would flip if he discovered what they were doing in his house.

It hadn’t been worth killing over. No amount of kisses were worth Alastor’s life.

Regret and guilt clawed at his throat, and fire sparked over his skin in a sudden wave of magic. Dorian gasped and clicked the collar shut. His power flatlined immediately even though his emotions still overwhelmed him. He folded forward and held his knees tight. God, what was he doing? Why the fuck was he doing this to himself? He needed to let this go before someone else died.

Tears stung the corners of his eyes and blurred his vision. He wanted Wylie. Touching him had been so good. It had felt hot, intense. Right. Not just because of the sex. Maybe if it had only been that, he wouldn’t be feeling so crushed right now. He’d never touched anyone and felt like they could see into him the way Wylie did. He wanted him there, that very moment, arms wrapped around him tight. He wanted to be held until the pain inside stopped.

Fuck, he was so fucking dumb. So, so stupid. Weak. But it didn’t stop him from wanting.

Wylie made him feel precious, important just as he was. As much as he hated it, he wanted to be Wylie’s. And he did hate it. He hated wanting, hated feeling so hurt, so weak, so fucking needy for another human being outside of himself. But it didn’t make it stop being true.

“God, I’m so fucked,” he whispered. Dorian pressed his forehead heavily against his knees. He fought with his eyes until he finally got the threat of tears to abate. The last thing he was willing to do was cry. Fucking lame ass bullshit. He refused to cry. So what if he was destined to be alone his entire fucking life? Crying wasn’t going to fix a fucking thing about it.

There was a sudden rap on the door. Dorian stiffened and raised his head to glare. Michael rarely disturbed him when he was meditating and he was barely willing to see the instructor, never mind anyone else. There was another persistent knock, and he sighed. Dorian unfolded his legs and checked his face to make sure no wetness had gotten past his guard.

It was Vincent. The long-haired sorcerer pushed the door open before he got to his feet. Dorian bit his tongue the instant his gaze fell on him. “What? You know this is the last fucking place to bother me.”

Vincent tilted his head at the angry tone. “You have your collar on. Can’t be that much of an issue at the moment.”

“What do you want?” Dorian’s anger grew. Fine, he might just hate the stupid sorcerer, and not for any of the right reasons. Mostly because Vincent was totally chasing Wylie. Right now all Dorian could think was how easy it was for Vincent to do simple fucking shit, like touch people and not worry about things exploding.

His expression only grew more closed off in the face of Dorian’s anger. “I want the dorm for a few hours tonight. Alone.”

It was the first time Vincent asked for anything like that and Dorian was feeling beyond suspicious. “Why?”

Vincent raised his eyebrows in surprise at the question. He hesitated in answering. “There’s no privacy in this damn place. I want to have someone over and I don’t want to be disturbed.”

Dorian knew about a half dozen spots you could hide away with someone in the Academy if you didn’t want to get caught. None of which he was willing to share with Vincent. Not when he knew exactly who he wanted to be alone with.

Dorian pushed himself up to his feet and stalked to where Vincent was standing. He glared into his obnoxiously beautiful gray eyes. “You need to stop your game now.”

“What?” Vincent raised his chin defiantly. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Wylie,” Dorian gritted out. “Stop chasing him. That’s who you want in the room, right?”

With an annoyed huff, Vincent glanced away for a moment to collect himself. “Why the fuck do you care, Black? I can talk to whoever I want.”

Dorian wondered just what the fuck was wrong with him as well. He would love to be able to blame the possessive, aggressive feelings on some weird creature blood his family might have gotten wrapped up in back in the day, but the null-collar was securely on his neck. He couldn’t blame it on any inner demons. No, he was apparently just really fucking jealous.

“Wylie’s mine,” Dorian finally grunted, his hands clenched into fists at his side.

His eyes narrowed challengingly. Vincent snorted without mirth. “Yours? What the hell would you even do with him? You have too much magic to use the dragon’s power, and you sure as fuck can’t be his boyfriend. What, you want to keep him around for fireworks or some shit?”

Dorian had never wanted to kill someone quite this much, and in the reflection room, at that. Since he was the one in a collar, he was vulnerable to any spell Vincent might throw at him. But there was no logic in Dorian’s mind, just anger and bitterness. “I’m telling you now, Frost, back the fuck off of Wylie. Or I’ll fuck you up once my collar comes off.”

Vincent seemed to take his threat seriously enough. He stiffened and edged backward. “I’ll tell the masters.”

Dorian’s smile was chilling. “Oh, did you actually think you’d be able to fucking talk once I’m done with you? You never struck me as naïve.”

Growling under his breath, Vincent whirled with a final glare. “You’re a psycho, Black.”

“Guess we have more in common than I first thought.” Dorian slammed the door loudly the moment Vincent left.

He probably shouldn’t have done that. He probably should have kept his fucking mouth shut and not tried to make an enemy of his fucking crazy ass roommate. Fucking Wylie Doe. The guy was fucking up his entire life.

With a grunt, Dorian slumped back to his mound of pillows. He stretched out, not even pretending to meditate anymore. He just kept fucking up. The moment he started thinking with his dick he ruined everything.

It didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to let Vincent have Wylie. He might not be able to have Wylie, but he sure as fuck wasn’t going to let Vincent have him. Fuck that.

Dorian considered if he was calm enough to get up and get his collar removed when there was another knock. Assuming it was Vincent back with a magical retort, Dorian growled as he got up and cross the room. He threw the door open angrily.

“Uh, I can come back later.” Wylie stared with a mix of surprise and wariness.

Dorian was startled to find him there. He blushed and his shoulders slumped. Not Vincent but still not someone he wanted to see. Unfortunately, his body disagreed and fire was now rushing through him hotter than his anger. “What do you want?” he asked gruffly. He was unable to meet Wylie’s intense pale eyes for longer than a few seconds.

Wylie didn’t answer right away as his gaze moved over Dorian like a touch. He took a step back, muscles tense like he was ready to go dragon. Dorian waited patiently while inwardly cursing the part of him begging for Wylie to lose his shit and jump him.

“The dragon is learning how to not be so aggressive,” Wylie said carefully. “But we need some help still. Theodore said I should find something the dragon likes and won’t want to hurt. And, well, that would definitely be you.”

Dorian licked his lips. The meaningful look Wylie sent him made his mouth dry and head spin. All he could think about was the last time he and Wylie were alone. It was over a week ago but it felt like only moments.

“I understand if you don’t want to. I didn’t know you were relaxing. Meditating,” Wylie amended as he peered behind Dorian into the reflection room. “Sorry. Fox said you hang out in this room a lot, so it’s a good place to find you. He didn’t mention what the room was for.”

Before he realized what he was doing, Dorian opened the door wider and stepped back so Wylie could enter. “So you’re getting better? So soon.” Wylie was barely there a month and already gaining control of his dragon. At that rate, in a few months he’d probably be gone.

With a shrug, Wylie turned from his study of the serene room to look at Dorian. “I’m really motivated…” he trailed off awkwardly and looked away. “Sorry. The dragon is fixated. I… I have no expectations from you.”

Dorian wondered just how in sync Wylie and his dragon were. When they were together in the hospital, Wylie was collared and definitely interested. But even then it was him going to Wylie. Each time Dorian sought him out, not the other way around. Maybe Wylie had some reservations about the whole thing as well.

Maybe he wasn’t even that interested.

“Well, show me then,” Dorian demanded abruptly as his stomach twisted. “If it’ll keep you from slicing people up, I don’t mind helping.” He tried to push the painful thoughts from his mind.

A shudder moved through Wylie’s body. He held his arms open as black scales erupted from his flesh and coated both limbs. Transformed, he immediately hissed, then turned away right after so Dorian couldn’t see his face.

“Sorry about that,” Wylie muttered as he glared at the ground. His speech was more hissing than anything else. “I just… Just need him to get used to your scent. He, uh, missed you.” He winced at his own words and hunched forward even more.

Yup, Dorian had totally fucked everything up. Wylie couldn’t look him in the eye and… Fuck. Well, fuck.

Dorian found Wylie’s back particularly uninteresting. He forced his feet forward and stepped around him until he was facing Wylie. “You still look pretty spiky,” he said while determined to ignore everything else. Wylie’s arms still looked ready to slice anything they touched.

“Oh.” He followed to where Dorian was looking. Wylie raised his hand and the scales flexed slightly. He glared. He brought a long talon up to his face and touched deliberately. The claw blunted and then fully retracted. Wylie sighed in relief and met Dorian’s gaze. “It’s different now. I just don’t know if it’ll work on anyone else.”

Dorian slipped closer and peered at Wylie’s finger with interest. “It’s very different.” He gingerly reached up and pressed cautiously on the tip of one of his claws. The talon blunted but didn’t retract. The material was like hot, smooth glass beneath his fingertips. “It doesn’t hurt, at least. Your scales look smoother but they’re not fully flat. Maybe your dragon doesn’t trust me?” He refused to meet Wylie’s ever-watching gaze as he ran another finger over his claw.

“He trusts you, Dorian. He’s trying. I can feel it.”

Wylie’s voice was a low rumble that sent shivers through him. He probably shouldn’t have let him the room. Not while he was in a collar. Not after the last time he’d been in a collar.

Swallowing hard, Dorian traced down the back of Wylie’s finger and over a smooth knuckle. He grunted in pain when his flesh caught on the edge of a sharp scale. “Shit.” He went to pull away but Wylie hissed and Dorian found himself stock still, with eyes caught in his burning stare.

Wylie bent down. His tongue lapped out and ran hot over Dorian’s bleeding finger to heal the small wound. Dorian watched dizzily when Wylie unexpectedly shuddered and gasped. A moment later his scales flattened into a glassy surface of black and his talons retracted completely.

“What just…?”

“I guess it needed your blood.” Wylie stared at his arms in confusion. “The taste. He knows you by the taste of your blood.”

“Knows me?” Dorian was damn sure he’d yet to meet a dragon, especially one living inside a guy his own age.

“My mate,” Wylie said thoughtlessly. He winced at his own words. “Shit. Ignore that, okay? That sounds totally crazy and I don’t even know you. Fuck.” His cheeks flushed red and Wylie went to pull away. He was done embarrassing the fuck out of himself for the day.

“Wait.” Dorian grabbed his arm before Wylie could leave. He wanted to tell him to stop being such an idiot but the words caught in his throat. The scales beneath his hand felt so strange. They were smooth, hot, and sleek. Staring intently at the shiny limb, Dorian noticed his breath grow shallow. He didn’t know just why the fuck Wylie’s scales were so sexy, but the knowledge they could flex at any moment and tear his flesh added a level of excitement to touching him.

Dorian wet his lips and pulled Wylie’s hand close until he could press his face against it. He breathed in deeply, filling his senses with the scent of Wylie’s flesh. A wave of dizziness hit him when Wylie hissed and pulled him against his chest. Scaled arms circled around him and surrounded him in heat. Lips descended to his and Dorian gasped from the rush of fire that moved through his body. “Wylie…”

God, how the fuck did he do this to him? Every damn time. Teeth nipped at his bottom lip, urged him open, and Dorian could not, for the life of him, remember why he had been avoiding Wylie. Everything about him was so fucking perfect. Lips, tongue, hands… God, those freaking hands.

“I want you to be mine,” Wylie whispered. He held Dorian possessively by the nape and stroked his tongue into his mouth. “I’ll do anything, baby. Anything to have you. I’ll be strong… fierce. I’ll even give you my scales, if you’ll be mine.”

Dorian closed his eyes and moaned. The world rocked when one of Wylie’s strong hands cupped his ass and pulled him tight to his hard body. Teeth clamped onto Dorian’s jaw with fangs dulled to keep from slicing. It was definitely the dragon talking, not just Wylie.

Fuck, he was losing it. “I don’t… don’t need your scales,” Dorian whimpered. He was supposed to be meditating, not— “Oh, fuck.”

His knees gave out. Dorian groaned when he was pushed down onto the pillows, and Wylie’s lips immediately sealed to his. He arched back, and pulled at Wylie’s shirt so he could get to the hot, smooth flesh just beneath. Just a little, just once more and then he’d be good. He’d meditate till he was fucking blue in the face. Wylie’s hand rubbed over his jean covered erection. Dorian gasped before he melted back onto the floor. His eyes cracked open to meet his gaze.

“You’re so beautiful.” Wylie stroked him through his pants. “I want to mark you.” His eyes moved down his disheveled form. He pushed Dorian’s shirt up to reveal golden skin flushed with a sheen of sweat. “I want to mate you. Claim you. I want to make you mine.”

“Seed?” Dorian asked hoarsely. His vision was hazy and his body was so hot just thinking about Wylie claiming him. If Wylie fucked him so thoroughly he would belong to him and no one else. Shouldn’t—he should shut it all down. He was leading Wylie on and they both had to know at this point. But he just couldn’t find the resolve to let him go. He’d given up on so much in his life. It was the one thing he just couldn’t do.

Reaching between the crush of their bodies, Dorian found Wylie’s waistband. He undid his fly and wrenched his jeans down. “Do it.” He ground up against Wylie’s hot flesh. “Cover me.”

Wylie hissed. He kissed him bruisingly back into the pillows, and thrust his hips against his rhythmically. He fumbled with the sorcerer’s jeans until Dorian kicked them down his legs and off. His socked feet slid on the hardwood floor when he raised his knees and wrapped a leg around Wylie’s waist.

“I want you to enjoy it, beautiful. Going to get you off. Make you beg to be taken.” Wylie didn’t hesitate. His blunt finger found and probed into Dorian’s entrance. Dorian groaned when he felt just how thick his fingers were with the added girth of his sleek scales.

Dorian’s head fell back on a pillow while loud pants escaped him. His hips rocked with every stroke inside his tight flesh. “Wylie… God, yeah. Like that.” There was a desperateness to Wylie, which hadn’t been there last time. It was an aggressive, wild roughness that stole his breath and made him clench in want. Part of him was certain Wylie was seconds from rolling him over, slamming into him, and fucking him within an inch of his life. God, and that part of him was really hoping for it.

He cried out as two fingers stretched into him. Dorian grabbed Wylie by his hair and yanked him down so he could kiss him again. Ice-blue eyes met his a moment right before Wylie found his prostate. Dorian sobbed and arched back.

Wylie couldn’t take his eyes off of Dorian, who was quickly becoming undone. He bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. “You don’t even get how much I’m… I’m holding back.” He bent closer and his parted lips met Dorian’s tongue. “You’re so fucking beautiful. Not just to the dragon. I want to be inside you so bad. I won’t. It’s too soon. Too fucking crazy. This entire thing has been so crazy.”

Dorian wrapped an arm around his shoulders and moaned loudly when Wylie’s fingers spread wide, opened him and plunged in deep. God, yes. Crazy seemed like the right fucking word for it all. “Please… Just, just more,” he whimpered and bucked into Wylie’s maddening thrusts.

Wylie hissed in his ear. He nipped his jaw, then moved down his throat with heated, wet bites. He pushed Dorian’s shirt up higher, and twisted the material so he could get at his nipple. Wylie laved thorough strokes to the bud while he continued to fuck Dorian on his fingers. “Want you, baby. Need you… Fuck, I need to be inside you so bad.”

Dorian was ready to roll onto his knees if it would get Wylie to just fuck him already. His mix of sentiment and need created such an intense effect until all he wanted was to give Wylie everything he could. Fuck… Fuck, he was so screwed.

Fumbling with shaking hands, he found the back of Wylie’s head, and pulled him down. He kissed Wylie hard to keep from saying something stupid like how he really wanted to belong to the dragon shifter.

Wylie rumbled against his lips. He added a third finger into Dorian’s tight hole and drove relentlessly at his prostate. Dorian gasped wildly. He came with a sob. His body was clenched tight and muscles burned so hot.

“So gorgeous,” Wylie whispered. He watched Dorian arch and stream his cum onto his navel in a low arc. Wylie collected the seed with his fingers and slicked it over his own hard cock. He stroked slowly; his orgasm was already close. “You’re sure about this?”

Dorian cracked his eyes open. His hazel orbs moved down Wylie’s strong body to find him touching himself. “Do it,” he said hoarsely. He licked his lips while watching every stroke to Wylie’s long dick. With a tug to his hair, Dorian pulled him close enough so he could kiss his neck. “Cum on me. All over.”

“Ah, fuck.” Wylie gasped when Dorian sank teeth roughly into his throat. He groaned as heat spiraled through him, and his entire body jerked. His first stream of cum hit along Dorian’s stomach, who moaned from the feel of the hot fluid. Wylie pulled back and stream after stream followed, painting Dorian’s flesh in what felt like an unceasing wash.

Dorian couldn’t stop his moans. He gasped breathlessly as he realized just how much fucking cum Wylie was coating him with. He threw his head back with face flushed. A part of him wondered if he wasn’t going to orgasm again from how impossibly hot he felt.

“Wylie?” Dorian gasped out weakly, only to groan when he felt another splash of cum. God, it was so much. Looking down, he whimpered when he discovered Wylie’s cock had changed. Even bigger than before, it was swollen and angry looking with black translucent scales at the very base of his shaft where he pulsed. Dragon… Was that what a dragon dick looked like?

The room spun when Dorian was suddenly rolled onto his stomach. His flesh slid wetly on the hardwood and the pillows fell away. More semen streaked across his shoulders and the dip of his waist. A stream moved over his ass and then down his thighs. He moaned weakly. Dorian spread his legs, and rocked back when he felt Wylie’s hot dick slide between his cheeks. Seed dripped wet down his crack and against his hole. “Yes… God yes.” He wanted Wylie inside him. So bad. He didn’t even care if it hurt. It would be worth it.

Wylie wrapped Dorian tight in his arms and leaned against his back. He thrust gentle, controlled strokes between his cheeks. Hot drops of cum spattered down Dorian’s crack. “You okay?” Wylie asked breathlessly. Dorian’s only response was another moan. “God, you do something to me. So fucking crazy.” Wylie buried his face into the nape of his neck. He kept spurting cum; the dragon was determined to coat Dorian from head to toe.

“Y-Yeah… Just so much.” Dorian swallowed hard. “Your scent… God, you really… You really just covered me in cum.” He was beginning to worry he might faint. He was shaking uncontrollably while panting on the floor. So good. Crazy good. Going to lose his mind good.

Wylie held him closer. He kissed down the side of Dorian’s neck while he crooned a strange animalistic noise. “Promised you’d like it. Going to make you mine. Everyone will know you’re mine.”

Yeah, if anyone fucking saw him like this it would be pretty damn clear something had claimed him. Dorian’s eyes fixed unfocused at the floor and he sank into the feel of Wylie touching him. He loved the perfect mix of soothing shivers and tingling fire, and hated that it was coming to an end.

With a wiggle, Dorian flipped onto his back. Wylie pushed himself up to keep from squishing him. Dorian didn’t want him to leave. He grabbed him by the waist and pulled Wylie down until his weight was crushing him just right. “You know I’m going to have to shower, right? I can’t just go walking around dripping in your cum, dragon boy.”

Wylie’s head tilted and strange white eyes glared down at him. He shrugged. “It’ll just make me want to do it again. The dragon wants to mark you as mine.”

Dorian couldn’t stop his hungry whimper. His lashes fluttered shut. Fucking sexy, crazy ass shifters.

“You can wash it off right now if you want.” Wylie ran his teeth over Dorian’s jaw. “I can go with you. Cover you again. Tie you up so my scent has some time to sink in and get into you deep. You’d like that too, pretty sure.”

“Fuck, Wylie,” Dorian gasped as his hips rocked up. “How can you even have anything left after all that?”

Wylie grinned down at him. “For you, I apparently can do a lot of crazy stuff.” He held up his hand which was still free of deadly claws and the scales smooth and flat. “You must be magic, beautiful.”

Damn. Dorian stared at Wylie’s hand and couldn’t answer. It hit him like a stray spark of magic and his eyes widened in shock. His heart was a hummingbird threatening to escape and leave him crushed with the fathomless emptiness that was welling up inside him.

Fucking whore. Was he in love with Wylie?

Dorian dared to meet his eyes. Wylie stared back silently. He looked gorgeous, rumpled, and terribly sexy. The feeling in his heart only grew worse now staring into his wild, beautiful eyes.

“Okay?” Wylie combed back Dorian’s mussed locks.

“Sure,” he lied quietly. “I’m fine.”

Fine as fucking doomed.

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