Chapter 1: In His Arms
Derek leaned back into Chris’s arms with a sigh. He and Chris had just celebrated their second month together in the most spectacular way. Derek smiled at the older man and was rewarded with a kiss on the forehead. Derek could hear Jettie and Yaris cuddling in the large Queen’s chamber down the hall and knew that for all four of them, it would be a relaxing evening that would help ease his mating flight, which Chris estimated would happen in only a couple of months now. It was midway through spring semester and she should have her flight around the start of summer. He just hoped the other council members would accept Chris as their leader without any qualms and it wouldn’t resort to violence.
There were problems not having a strong enough council on campus here in Spokane, but generally the men, women, and students who had transferred to the new school policed themselves. At Derek’s mating flight, however, when it was the council members who would lose control, there would almost certainly be problems. He just hoped the lust that they experienced and weren’t able to release wouldn’t be inflicted on students. Otherwise Jamie and Scott might have to come to campus again and the sight of those two, so happy together, was always a blow to Derek, who still had plans to make Scott his.
He knew he was in charge of this campus – Jamie had told him as much when the campus was founded – but sometimes he suspected Jamie had only sent him here to keep him away from Scott, Jamie’s beautiful and sexy boyfriend and mate. Derek had his own lover, of course, and Chris was certainly desirable, but even he paled in comparison to Scott. It might have been because Scott was Derek’s first, or because Derek had lusted after Scott for so long, but Scott was the ultimate prize in this game that he and Jamie were secretly playing.
Derek relaxed against Chris in the bed and felt a little guilty for thinking about Scott while lying in bed with another man. But he had confessed his feelings to Chris once and Chris hadn’t belittled them; in fact, Chris had said that as the partner to a Queen dragon, Derek shouldn’t lock himself into the conventions of a single mate. Queens often took multiple mates, Chris explained, and he shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about lusting after multiple people. It was his dragon’s nature showing through.
Chris ran his fingers across Derek’s shoulder and followed his touch with kisses. Derek wondered what his mating flight would be like, and how it would be different from their lovemaking. He knew that the longer the flight, the better, but he also knew that committed pairs tended to have shorter flights. He was determined to lay as many eggs as Marisol, however. He would hate for Marisol to be better at him in this as well as everything else.
Derek fingered the long scar on his belly that was exposed as he lay naked with Chris. His father’s friend Alan had tried to kill him because he couldn’t bond with Jettie the way that Jamie and Marisol were bonded, because, as Alan said, he was a queen and not a Queen. He was still sensitive to everything that proved Alan right.
Chris’s hand hovered over his.
“Thinking about that again? You shouldn’t worry so much. You and Jettie are exactly what this campus needs.”
Derek relaxed against the older man.
“Just wondering about her mating flight, and how many eggs she’ll lay.”
“The main campus will always have more because they have the old hatching grounds,” Chris pointed out. “They don’t even really need Marisol’s eggs. Jettie’s eggs will matter much more than Marisol’s do.”
Derek smiled. It was true; Jettie’s eggs would bring life to the campus while Marisol’s were only making life a little easier for a few students on the main campus. Chris always knew what to say. He gazed up at the muscular man behind him, caught again by his blond hair and blue eyes, so beautiful in the moonlight. He was so different than Scott. Scott was dark, with hazelnut skin and black hair and eyes. Scott was the type of man Derek usually went for, but Chris was different. Chris always seemed to know what to say to him, how to reassure him and inspire him. Chris was always there for him.
His smile faded. There was a subject both of them had been avoiding the past few weeks, claiming that they needed to get the school settled before they took any action on it. After all, the chaos of getting an entirely new school set up might account for the strange incidences. But the school was running smoothly now and they had to deal with it. There was no more putting it off.
Dragons were disappearing. At first it was one upperclassman immediately upon arriving at the school and everyone assumed his dragon had flown out of the mist and been killed. Then nothing for a week, then another dragon vanished without a trace and everyone assumed she had also strayed too far. No one knew what the mist did to dragons who didn’t remain within its protective borders; it was reasonable to assume that dragons couldn’t survive without the mist on this strange new campus. But adults came and went from the campus freely; there had to be something else at work.
When the third dragon vanished, it became clear that this was a problem, not just a quirk of the mist. There was no indication of what happened to the dragons, just that they vanished, but it was clear that they died shortly thereafter because their humans, who they inevitably left behind, soon went into a panic and had to be subdued. Two of them lost their minds from grief. Everyone was on guard but still a fourth dragon vanished and Derek knew something drastic needed to be done to take care of this situation. After all, this campus was his concern and he needed to deal with it. But he had already taken every step he knew how to take, and dragons were still vanishing. There had to be something else he could do.
Chris sighed and rolled onto his back as if he knew that the time for cuddling was over and Derek was ready to talk business. He sat up and began to dress. Derek did the same, somewhat reluctantly. He knew he could pull Chris back into bed and lose himself in another pleasurable night, but something had to be done about the dragons. He was in charge of this campus now; it was his responsibility.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Don’t be,” Chris replied gently, reaching out to stroke his shoulder. “I know this has been weighing on you.”
“It’s just, we don’t know what happens or why certain dragons are targeted. If anything were to happen to Jettie-”
His voice caught and tears filled his eyes. He would die if anything happened to Jettie. One of the girls had died after losing her dragon, and the ones who survived only did so physically, not mentally.
“Nothing will happen to Jettie,” Chris said firmly. “She’s protected at all times by at least two other dragons. The other dragons were always alone when they vanished.”
Derek nodded and took a deep breath. Of course nothing would happen to her. He was letting his fears get the better of him.
“However,” Chris continued, “We may have to tell Jamie what’s going on. Perhaps he can speak to the dragons and find out what’s happening.”
Derek pouted. He hated allowing Jamie any power over the Spokane Academy. It was yet another reminder that Jamie had more power than him, and that Jamie had Scott.
“Maybe I could ask Scott to come investigate,” he said, brightening at the thought. “Since Marisol just laid her eggs and isn’t able to leave Portland.”
Chris smiled. “Why don’t you? I think that’s a wonderful idea.”
“You won’t mind?”
“Of course not. You deserve to have whatever you want,” he murmured, kissing Derek’s cheek.
Derek flushed. Chris was so understanding. Even though they were lovers, Chris never grew jealous of Scott and Derek’s fixation on the man. He encouraged it, even, as he was doing now. He was exactly the type of man Derek needed and Derek was thrilled beyond words that Chris had been bold enough to approach him that long-ago day after his father had been killed. He couldn’t imagine his life without Chris and Chris’s always sage advice.
“I’ll do that then,” Derek announced, feeling a weight lift off his shoulders.
The disappearing dragons wouldn’t be his problem alone anymore, now he could share them with Scott. And with Jamie, even. He flashed a smile at Chris.
“Well, now that that’s decided,” he said, extending a hand to Chris, “I don’t much feel like getting up after all.”
Chris laughed and began pulling off his clothes as Derek did the same, his breath quickening in anticipation as he saw the firm muscles he loved running his hands over. He adored Chris’s body and the instant they were naked together Derek put his hands on Chris’s shoulders and shoved the man back into the bed. Chris grinned and held out his arms as Derek straddled him. Though Derek was usually the bottom in their relationship, he was frequently on top in their foreplay and he liked it like that. He loved the feeling of power he got from straddling a man and feeling his arousal harden and strengthen below him as he played with his body. He only wished this was Scott beneath him.
Derek leaned down and kissed Chris again and again on the lips, then let his kisses trail against the hard stubble of Chris’s jawline to his sensitive neck. Chris moaned and shifted underneath him, eager for more as Derek allowed himself to suck gently on Chris’s neck, tasting the sensitive flesh as he sought the most erotic spots to make his lover hard. One of Chris’s hands tangled in his hair and pulled him close as his lips and tongue worked their way down to his collarbone and struck a particularly sensitive spot. Chris was panting now, hard against Derek as Derek leisurely took his time playing with his chest, letting his hands trace the contours and come closer and closer to his nipples without ever touching them.
Then he lowered his head and sucked hard on one of his nipples and Chris arched his back and cried out in pleasure. Derek twirled his tongue around the nub of flesh and nibbled gently, then went to the other nipple as Chris started humping against him. Chris was more than ready and Derek sat up and examined his lover, breathless and flushed with arousal. It was time. Derek scooted next to him and lay on his back and in an instant, Chris was above him, pressing his legs to his chest and pressing his cock to Derek’s entrance. He barely hesitated before plunging into Derek’s willing body and Derek let out a pleased grunt at the pressure.
He shut his eyes and imagined this was Scott. A smile curled his lips as he remembered to breathe. He wrapped his arms around the man over him and opened himself fully to the experience, inviting the pain as well as the pleasure, soaking up every inkling of their lovemaking: the sweat on his lover’s brow dripping onto his, his lover’s mouth covering his in desperate kissing, the constant thrust against his most sensitive parts. Pure pleasure, and soon it would be Scott above him. Chris moaned and thrust sporadically as he came, and Derek wasn’t far behind him.
They lay in the bed together, gasping for breath and slowly recovering from the strenuous activity. Chris ran a hand across Derek’s cheek and kissed his forehead.
“My lover,” he whispered.
Derek cuddled against him in return. He was Chris’s lover now, but soon he would be Scott’s. Nothing would prevent him from making that happen.