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.

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