In the darkness, Wylie found his dragon. The creature was longer here, with pure sinew muscle and sharp, deadly edges coated in a black rainbow of scales. Its eyes glowed an icy blue with teeth long and sharp as it glared back at him from beneath heavy horns.

It was Wylie’s first glimpse of the beast inside. He could taste blood. Somewhere metal liquid dripped from his lips. He wondered blearily if he was dying.

Do you accept me?

He stared into the glowing eyes. It took long moments for him to understand the creature’s words. “Accept?”

The dragon uncoiled and rose up. It was sleek, shimmery and far larger than Wylie had ever conceived. Its talons were out, scales puffed and dangerous, with limbs tight with restrained force. It towered above. He could see its wings now; they were thin black membrane stretched over hollow bones that the beast flexed.

I asked you once before, human. When I awoke from the darkness, I asked for you to join me. You refused.

Wylie could vaguely remember ten years ago. He fainted moments before attacking the revolting man who hurt his sister. There was something in the darkness behind his eyes. Something with glowing white glare and frightening teeth.

Had he not accepted? Was that his problem all along? Was it why other shifters were taken over by their beasts while he couldn’t fully transform? He didn’t remember refusing the dragon, but still, he remembered his fear.

The dragon was still terrifying even now so many years later, but Wylie was no longer afraid. He had met other shifters who lived with their beasts. Theodore, who housed just as dangerous a dragon inside, helped people every day. He met Dorian, who fought a magic inside him so powerful, it would make him a killer if he ever let it loose.

If he was going to die, Wylie wanted to be whole for the first time.

He reached his hand out to brush razor sharp scales. They smoothed at his touch. “I accept you.”

Wylie awoke to a terrible pain, not in his chest but his head. Black bone pierced through his skin, twisted up and wrapped back. He could feel the dragon claw through him and reform his body from the inside out. His back gave a terrible crack. Wings slick with blood tore free while he screamed. His tail swiftly followed. The new limb thrashed on the ground as Wylie twitched in pain. The darkness loomed and threatened to drag him back down.

“Fuck.” His back twitched again. Fluffy, pure white hair itched as it grew down his spine from his head all the way to the tip of his tail. He stared blankly at his hand; his talons looked more deadly than before and covered in his own blood. Surely now his demon arms were complete and the rest of him was just as terrifying to match.

Warmth slowly teased through him. The pain abated with each stronger breath he took. He raised heavily to his hands and knees, with head bowed to watch the holes in his chest change. Two small, bloodied slugs pushed free from his flesh and scales and glinted as they clattered to the ground.

What the fuck? Wylie tried to remember what Theodore told him about dragons. He must be a self-healer. He wasn’t just capable of healing others with his saliva but could regenerate his own flesh.

He groaned as he pushed himself to his feet. Wylie stumbled sideways for a moment until he found his balance. His tail kept sweeping behind him, determined to distract him with the fact he had a fucking tail. God, that couldn’t be good.

He took a few steadying breaths only to break into coughs as thick smoke filled his lungs. “Holy fuck,” he whispered as he took in his surroundings. The wharf was on fire.

“Dorian!” Every other thought pushed to the back of his mind. Wylie searched frantically for Dorian, terrified of what he might find. The smoke was so thick and everywhere was an orange glow. It would be so easy to get confused and lost. Dorian, for all his power, was still just a human.

Wylie stepped through a wall of fire and barely felt the heat. Through the smoke, he could see a figure. It was the right height and shape, but he was standing there, not looking to run, not looking to escape.

“Dorian?” Wylie whispered. His presence pulled Dorian around the moment he recognized Wylie’s energy.

Dorian looked up and tears welled in his dark eyes. “You… You’re alive?”

“I’m fine!” Wylie shouted to be heard over the roar of the flames. “Dorian, you need to stop. The place is going to burn down.”

“I…” Dorian looked around with strangely blank eyes. “I can’t. I can’t control it. I let out too much and it’s only growing.” He turned back to Wylie and slammed both hands on his chest. “Run. Fucking run before I kill you too!”

Tears flowed freely down Dorian’s face and something inside Wylie wrenched. His dragon responded to his mate’s need. He held the hands trying to push him away, and pulled Dorian hard against his chest. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“You idiot! It’s not safe. Fuck.” Wylie cut him off, surged forward and dragged him into a deep kiss. Dorian tried to struggle, tried to explain he wouldn’t be harmed by his own magic. Wylie’s mouth was hotter than the flames around them and far more destructive to his senses.

“I’ve got you.” Wylie curled talon-free fingers into Dorian’s hair and pulled him closer. “I’m going to help.” His dragon wanted to eat his energy and it wasn’t going to hurt Dorian to do it. No, the damn beast had known all along how to help his mate. Wylie was just too disconnected from the dragon to listen.

He wrapped an arm around Dorian’s waist and walked them to the nearest firm surface. It was a wall of metal crates Dorian was quick to spell cool to the touch. He sealed their lips together again and crushed Dorian back against the wall. He drank as much of his energy as he could. Dorian held him tightly around the neck and kissed back just as hard.

His dragon roared inside. Dorian’s energy burned like an electrical current; wild, destructive and full of power. It was all Wylie could do to hold back. Each new spark grew his dragon until he was full of the beast’s demand.

Mate. His dragon wanted to claim his mate. As much as Wylie tried to hold back, the beast was just too strong.

“Aw, hell.” Wylie ran rough hands down Dorian’s sides. His hissing compelled while he nipped down his neck. The dragon was thundering in his ear and Dorian tasted so good, so perfect. His. Dorian was his and he had every fucking right to have him.

Dorian groaned. He tilted his head back and observed Wylie through half closed lashes. He took in his new horns, wings, and rippling muscles. Ice blue eyes pierced his and Dorian’s breath caught. Wylie looked like he was about to eat him alive.

“You need to run.” Dorian gasped when Wylie found the waistband of his burnt jeans and tore claws through them. Wylie pulled the material off with a sharp tug, and the flat of his palm cupped Dorian’s erection immediately after. “Oh… hell.” His knees went weak and Dorian clutched his broad, scaled shoulders. He cried out when Wylie began to stroke him.

With a hungry growl, Wylie released him. He spun Dorian around and pushed him chest first against the wall. “Spread, beautiful.”

“Fuck! Here?” Wylie had to be out of his mind!

“Yeah, baby, right fucking here.” Wylie fumbled with his jeans. He wrapped around Dorian’s bare back, probed claw free fingers down and pushed demandingly into his entrance.

“Wylie… God… It’s not safe…” Dorian couldn’t find the right words, not with Wylie’s fingers thick and long and stretching into him without restraint. It was all he could do not to fall, and Wylie was the reason he hadn’t yet, his strong arm wrapped around his waist.

“A dragon never abandons his mate.” Wylie groaned and thrust his dick against the smooth flesh of Dorian’s ass. “You’re mine. Beautiful, powerful, smart with a wicked sense of humor… Going to make you mine.”

“Wylie,” Dorian whimpered. A third finger pressed into his hole and his passage clenched before he opened to the long digits. His legs were trembling and all he seemed capable of was pressing his face against the metal wall and gasping. “Don’t… don’t want you to die.”

Wylie slid his fangs slowly over Dorian’s neck. “Baby, you’re not sparking anymore.”

“I’m not?” Dorian attempted to catch his breath, and focused on his magic for the first time. He was distracted by the thick fingers pumping into his entrance in a tormenting rhythm. He wailed as Wylie’s fingers withdrew suddenly, and his hot, blunt cock head pushed against his hole. “Fuck, oh fuck.”

“Relax,” Wylie hissed. The sound made Dorian shudder. “Need to claim you… Can’t stop. Need to be inside you.”

Dorian moaned lowly. He reached behind him and held onto Wylie’s hip when he pushed forward. He closed his eyes and exhaled shakily as Wylie began to breach him, his aching flesh opening to his large length. Wylie’s dick felt slick, sleek and so wet, and was already coated in precum. Dorian remembered just how big he was when he had covered him in cum. Right now, he was sure Wylie was even bigger; the dragon had more height, more muscle, more everything.

Wylie held his mate’s hips in a steel grip, and hissed from the heat of his entrance. “Tight… Fuck, you’re tight,” he groaned. He did everything he could to not surge forward. Dorian was gasping wildly. His perfect body was sweaty and shook as small, choked sobs escaped him. “Hold on, beautiful. Going to go slow.”

“Can’t… Fuck, it’s so much,” Dorian gasped out. “Please… please, Wylie… Need it…but it’s so big,” he babbled uncontrollably. Dorian reached his arms up and back and clawed at Wylie’s hair as he arched. So big inside. It was so big and it was making him crazy. He gasped when another thick inch sank into him. Dorian’s nails bit into Wylie’s neck and held.

“Fuck.” Heat flooded his entire body from the feel of Dorian scratching him. Wylie surged forward and buried himself with one hard thrust.

Dorian sobbed loudly from being filled so completely. His passage was stretched unbearably wide with Wylie deep inside. He came seconds later, with his muscles so tight and face flushed as he struggled with the overwhelming sensations.

“Oh god… Oh, fuck, Wylie,” Dorian mumbled weakly. Cum dripped down the wall in front of him. The fire inside wasn’t subsiding, not with Wylie so thick in his already sore passage. He groaned as Wylie slowly pulled back, and clenched around the hot cock rubbing his inner walls. Wylie wasn’t close to done with him, and he thrust deep once more. Dorian cried out as he was filled again.

“God, you sound good like this,” Wylie whispered hoarsely. He held Dorian with an arm around his chest. His other hand gripped his hip. “You’re so fucking tight, baby. So tight and mine.” He pressed his lips to Dorian’s cheek, and tried to keep his thrusts slow. But his dragon was crazed by all the energy it siphoned from the sorcerer and it would only find release in filling his beautiful mate.

His dragon knew even though Wylie had done his damnedest to ignore it. Dorian needed release. A release of all the magic inside him, a release of all his many worries and guilt, a release of the need he showed every time he looked his way. Wylie was more than happy to give Dorian all the release he needed.

“Oh fuck! Fuck!” Dorian wailed as his prostate was rubbed. He clutched Wylie’s arm harder. It was so much. His nerves felt frayed and each sensation was amplified with every slick, hard thrust. He couldn’t understand how he was hard again but it felt like a fire had taken his body, and was growing hotter every second. Wylie kept hissing in his ear. He sounded more dragon than man as he tormented him with his unceasing thrusts.

“W-Wylie… I don’t think I can… God, it’s so much,” Dorian moaned out. He arched as his prostate was hit again.

“You can take it,” Wylie hissed, and tightened his arms around him. “You’re the mate of a dragon. You can fucking take it.”

He moaned weakly to realize Wylie was actually claiming him as his mate, not just fucking the sanity out of him. Dorian curled his fingers and dug his short nails into the dragon’s scales. “Do it, Wy… Fucking claim me. Show me I’m yours… God, please… Fill me.”

“Mine,” Wylie snarled. His thrusts grew more erratic as he got close. “Never going to let you go. You’re mine.” His hand moved over the slick of Dorian’s sweat and Wylie found his mate’s hard cock and stroked it heatedly.

“Oh… Oh, wait,” Dorian gasped. Wylie’s dick swelled inside him. Fuck, he was getting bigger. Dorian sobbed from the sensation. He held himself impossibly still when Wylie slammed into him a final time and buried as deep as he could get. The base of Wylie’s cock still grew, and stretched Dorian’s hole even wider as he felt the scales flex and lock Wylie deep inside him.

Dorian had a moment with Wylie breathing heavily on his neck to understand what was about to happen. Mate. The dragon was actually trying to breed him.

“Oh hell.” Dorian gasped loudly at the first splash of cum. He wasn’t surprised when more hot, wet fluid followed. Wylie held his hips and humped forward shallowly as he filled him with spurt after spurt of his seed.

A cry caught in his throat and Dorian came again. His hips bucked with his release as he clenched around the spasming flesh filling him with cum.

Wylie kept pumping into his tight channel. He supported Dorian when he swayed. “That’s it, Ri. God, you’re mine. My mate.”

Dorian couldn’t stop moaning. His passage was stretched so wide. His hole ached and limbs shook and dripped sweat. “God… Just, god.” He closed his eyes and his head hung down heavily while Wylie continued to pump shallowly into him. He was making sure to fill him with everything he had.

“My mate,” Wylie murmured in his ear then nuzzled against his neck. “My beautiful mate.”

The darkness spun around him. Dorian’s heart hurt too much to comprehend. “Yeah, babe. Yours,” he rasped out.

Wylie groaned at the confirmation and pushed them forward. Dorian ended up flat against the wall with Wylie around his back as he unloaded the last of his seed inside him. He could feel it dripping out as Wylie’s dick began to return to normal proportions. His thighs itched as the thick fluid trickled down and he couldn’t suppress his aching whimpers.

His. Wylie was his.

“Err… sorry to interrupt and all, but we seriously need to get out of here.”

Dorian started at the sound of Beck’s voice. Beck stepped up hesitantly with his shredded and burnt jeans.

Wylie growled half-heartedly. His mouth was on Dorian’s shoulder, and body was still pressed up tight against his. He didn’t want to move. He didn’t want to do anything that involved not being flesh to flesh with his mate at the moment.

“Come on, Wylie,” Beck snapped when he saw he wasn’t going to move. “You know Roth will be back with bigger guns if the fucking cops don’t get here first. We need to leave now.”

Wylie glared. He slowly pulled himself from Dorian’s hot flesh. His eyes were drawn down to where his mate was still wet and dripping with his seed. He couldn’t stop from sliding his hands up Dorian’s inner thigh where his fingers sought out and probed into his slick entrance.

“Wylie,” Dorian groaned. “No more.”

Wylie turned Dorian to face him and was unable to stop staring once he was in full sight. Dorian was flushed. His golden skin nearly glowed and his lips were swollen and parted with each heavy breath he took.

“Get lost, B,” Wylie said distractedly. He stroked down the back of Dorian’s thigh and went to pull the toned limb up around his waist. His mate was beautiful and deserved another proper fuck.

“For fuck sake!” It was Adam, who ran up to them angrily. “Move your fucking ass. We have five dead bodies and I don’t want to be added to them.”

That got Wylie’s attention. Dorian’s eyes widened when he looked behind him. Wylie turned, and took in his surroundings for the first time since his dragon tasted Dorian’s wild energy.

The fire was out. Blue-gray smoke and black char was all that remained. There was a glitter of bullet casings on the ground and as Wylie searched, he found the bodies Adam mentioned. Five armed men were grouped around the magical barrier that had locked Dante and Beck in the crate. Dante was sitting on the ground a few feet away from them. He looked tired but not injured.

“What happened?” Wylie turned to Beck questioningly. “How did you get out of the barrier?”

“Put your damn pants back on and I’ll be happy to tell you,” Beck said with a small scowl. Wylie had never lost it like that over him, had never wanted him so much he’d fuck him out in the open, and he couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. “The fire went out when you two were, well, you know. Most of the gang was gone by then. I tried to keep him with me, but the kid just stepped forward and walked through the barrier.”

“There wasn’t a lot of air in there.” Wylie gruffly zipped his fly. His jeans were ruined but Dorian just waved his hand at him and the material repaired and was clean again. Wylie looked over at him, and regretted it immediately when he caught sight of Dorian’s swollen lips and shirtless form.

“Yeah, well, Diego saw the kid, realized he was what was in the crate, and he told who was left to grab him,” Beck continued, his voice pitched lower. “Cept, it didn’t quite go that way.”

How it went Wylie didn’t get a chance to hear. Dorian caught sight of Adam and glared at him warningly.

Adam took a stumbling step back, with his hands held up. “I’m sorry. I never wanted anyone to get hurt.”

Beck snorted and pulled a crushed cigarette from his back pocket. “Like fuck. You were the one who told Roth about the crate.”

“Yeah, but it was, like, right there! It was just sitting there, giving off huge amounts of magic,” Adam said defensively.

“You were also the asshole that called me down into this,” Wylie pointed out.

“Only because you’re a dragon! You were the only one I knew who’d be able to get through the barrier!”

“Yeah, but did you also know they were going to fucking kill me!” Beck shouted. His anger was free to rage now there wasn’t a gun pointed at his head. “They were going to kill Wylie too. Why? Did you tell them to kill us!”

“Shit, chill. Of course not!” Adam yelped and stepped away from Beck’s angry form. “I found out about Wylie being a dragon when I went online to see if they arrested him. I was just trying to figure out if he gave my name to the cops. I swear, I didn’t know they were going to kill you after,” he promised Wylie. “You saved all our asses. If that guy had died back at the house, we would’ve been picked up for murder.”

Wylie looked at Adam calculatingly. He had no idea if he was being truthful or not. “What about the crate? How did you find out about it?”

“Like I said, I sensed the crate, that’s all. Last Thursday, Roth had us all come down for a shipment and I sensed the magical barrier. It was so strong, I couldn’t not. I didn’t know what was in it. I told Roth about it and he went digging. He called me all excited and wanted me to open the thing.” Adam sighed heavily. “But I wasn’t strong enough. I read about dragons and thought maybe Wylie could get in. Seriously, I didn’t think it would go wrong. Roth said that we were all going to make a fortune on what was inside. I still don’t know what was in the stupid thing.”

“A kid,” Beck growled. “A fucking kid. Some freaks stole him from his home and were trying to sell him to some fucked-up sorcerer who would probably drain him for his power. So, for real, Adam, are you like that too? Do I have to worry about you trying to hunt kids down to drain them of magic? Are you going to go after Wylie?”

“Geez, no. I’m not fucked-up.” He huffed at the suspicious glare Beck was shooting and glared right back. “I was just hanging with the gang cuz I’m tired of being walked on. I can only do a little magic. I’m not some damn monster! I came back to help!”

Wylie didn’t really give a fuck at the moment. He walked around the arguing two and went to Dante. They needed to get the hell out. Dante looked so small and weak where he was hunched on the ground.

“I don’t feel good,” Dante whispered once Wylie reached him.

“Don’t worry about it. I know a guy who’s going to patch you up and get you back to feeling good.” He held out his hand and the small boy clung to it readily. Wylie scooped Dante up and straightened. He tried to dismiss just how frail and light he was. Dr. Rob would know what to do. He really hoped.

“You’re really strong.” With a sigh, Dante rested his head on Wylie’s scaled shoulder. “I wish you had been there when they took me away.”

His heart wrenched. Wylie combed fingers through Dante’s hair. “I’m here now. You’re not going to be alone. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

He carried him back to the group. Wylie caught Dorian staring at him with a funny look in his eye. “What?”

When he found Wylie staring right back, Dorian glanced away with a blush. “Fucking cute,” he muttered under his breath. Wylie raised his brow when he heard.

“I want to take Dante to the Academy. McPherson will know how to find his parents.”

“Good thing I’m here then, huh?” Dorian said flippantly. “I only came so you could portal back to the Academy. I didn’t want you walking; you know how dangerous that can be.” He kicked a bullet casing aside and winced when it hit the leg of a corpse only a dozen feet away. “Can we get the fuck out of here already?”

It was Diego. Wylie stared silent at the gangster’s slack features. He wasn’t even scorched. He’d hated Diego from the moment he met him but Wylie took no pleasure in seeing him dead. Instead, all he saw was a path he could’ve easily taken if he hadn’t turned back to try and save McPherson’s life.

Beck saw where Wylie was staring and stepped into his line of sight. “He took them out in under five seconds.”

“What?” Wylie looked at him in confusion.

“The small fry.” Beck tilted his head at the sleepy Dante in his arms. “Diego told him they were going to take him away and they raised their guns at him. The kid’s eyes turned black the same way your boy’s did. All five guys dropped dead. Just like that.”

A shiver ran down his spine. Wylie peered into Dante’s perfectly blank cherub face. He was breathing shallowly even though they were out of the thin air of the crate. Wylie had demon arms but he never hurt anyone he didn’t intend to. He was pretty sure Dante was the same way. All the more reason to bring him to the Academy where he’d be safe from the things that made kill.

Wylie patted Dante’s head and followed Dorian, who had a waiting portal in the auto shop. The walking was precarious. The entire wharf was seared from the fire even though Dorian had only sparked among the metal crates. Wylie stepped carefully around smoking debris and questionable spots in the wood. Dante slept on his shoulder; his breathing was too quiet to be reassuring.

The auto shop was empty. All the occupants had fled when the fire started. Beck and Adam hovered in the doorway while Dorian summoned the mirror to him. The piece of glass floated in midair.

“You wanna come, B?” Wylie asked. “Just to get the heat off of you for a while with Roth and the gang.”

Beck shook his head and grinned. “Seriously? Except for them threatening to kill me, I had things pretty good with Roth.”

“Beck! Are you fucking crazy?” Wylie gaped at him in shock. “You can’t seriously be considering going back to those asses? They were going to kill the fucking both of us!”

“Relax.” Beck rolled his eyes. “I’m just going back home, idiot. You really think Roth is going to give a fuck about me when he has five dead guys and way more wounded? He knows what’ll happen if he fucks with you now.” He shot a smirk Dorian’s way. “It’s sweet to have badass friends.”

Wylie shook his head and sighed in exasperation. “Be careful, B. Email me if you find yourself in trouble.”

“Yeah, yeah…” His expression turned soft and a sad smile twisted Beck’s lips. “At least we can say goodbye properly this time.”

Wylie nodded as he thought back to their last goodbye. Diego had been alive and everything so uncertain. Wylie went to hug Beck but paused when he realized Dante was definitely in the way. He glanced over to a very tightlipped Dorian, who held his arms out so Wylie could pass the sleeping kid over. Given Dorian’s expression, he had a feeling if his hands went anywhere below the belt on Beck he was going to be hexed into next Tuesday.

This time when Beck went to hug him, he stopped and stared worriedly at Wylie’s scales. It was his first time seeing them when Wylie could control the dangerous blades and he was rightfully wary. Wylie pulled his scales back and slowly shifted to his smooth, human form. Beck beamed up at him but Wylie only felt more awkward.

He wasn’t good at goodbyes. Not since the Andersons and trying to say goodbye to Sarah. She cried so much and he did everything to look big and brave even at eight so she wouldn’t worry. Wylie had moved through plenty of foster homes since then but hadn’t bothered to get to know anyone well enough to want to say goodbye. Beck was different and he didn’t know what to do.

“Thanks for saving my life, Wy.” Beck threw his arms around his shoulders. “You came back for me even though it turned out to be a trap. I know you’re happy where you are, I can tell, but that still means a lot to me.”

Wylie hugged him tentatively and pat Beck’s back. “You sure you’re going to be okay?”

Beck snickered and pulled away. He quickly wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. “I may not be as street smart as you but I know enough not to get myself into this kind of gang shit again.” He glanced over at Adam, who looked small and bedraggled in the cold autumn air. “Hell, I might play bodyguard for the nerd. Who knows?”

“You can always email me, you know,” Wylie reminded when Beck’s eyes turned watery.


Beck wouldn’t though; Wylie could tell. Maybe it hurt too much. Wylie turned and scooped Dante from Dorian’s arms. He didn’t have time to interpret the return of the funny look Dorian was shooting him.

“Uh, before you go.” Adam waved his hand briefly. “I really am sorry about the email and about dragging you into this, Wylie. And I wanted to thank you for saving that old guy. And, well, the kid. You’re an upstanding guy, and I’m sorry I was so scared of you before.”

“It’s cool, Adam.” Wylie meant it. He didn’t have any anger left for the tech wiz or Beck or even Diego. He had a home to go back to at the Academy and he was just starting to understand the truth of it.

Dorian grabbed his arm and tugged Wylie towards the now glowing mirror. “The kid is wiped. We need to get him to Dr. Rob.”

“You guys better run before the cops show.” Wylie gave a last look to Beck, who was having a terrible time fighting back tears. Fuck. He couldn’t seem to do anything right by anyone.

At Dorian’s insistent pull, he turned back and met his hazel eyes. “You ready?”

“Yeah. Let’s go.” He wasn’t going to miss it. Going back to his old life only pointed out to Wylie just how little he was truly alive back then. When the portal showed the arrival chamber at the Academy, Wylie stepped through with Dante in his arms. He didn’t look back.

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