For Jake Long, the worst thing about being a dragon was not just the shedding skin once every ten years. Or the bad breath caused by his fire-gland thingies maturing. Nope. It was nesting.

Nesting, for a dragon, was a very important practice that starts when they reach maturity age. Or from Jake's understanding, puberty. Shortly after his dragon powers started to emerge, he fretted over his bed. Specifically where his bed was and how much stuff was on it. Too much or too little, it needed to be perfect. Even now, as he tore off the sheets and rearranged them, he grew more frustrated with the mini wrinkles spread across the cream-colored fabric.

"Ah!" Jake screamed, fire blowing out of his mouth, nearly torching the place. Thankfully he managed to reel back before it got out of hand. Again.

Sadly, his annoyance didn't go unheard, because a minute later there was a tender knock on the door. "Jakers?" His dad called, "You okay, bud?"

Jake winced, his face growing hot at being caught in such a strange predicament. Despite his dad knowing about their family being dragons, Johnathan was still getting used to it. So Jake was hesitant to explain his feelings at the moment.

"I'm fine, Dad." He said back as calmly as possible, before returning to his mission. The bedspread wasn't cooperating with him.

Another knock came, "Jake, can I come in?"

Knowing there was nothing he could do about the bedspread, the young dragon sighed in defeat and nodded, "Sure." The door opened and Johnathan stepped in. The moment he did, he jumped in alarm at the state of his son's room. "So um... you doing some redecorating." It was more of a question than anything else.

All around there were different sheets on the floor, blankets, and pillows. Johnathan noticed one pillow in particular that stuck out since it was the only pink thing in his son's room. It was square-shaped with hand stitched laced bordering it. Johnathan gently picked it up, noting the darker shade of pink that stood out across the lighter background. In a flowery design, the lace read "Rose" with embroidered red roses all over the pillow. Why was this in Jake's room?

"Put that down!" Johnathan yelped and dropped the pillow as if it were on fire. Seeing his son's fierce stare and angry growl, he immediately backed away; the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. For just a split second he didn't see his son, but a predator ready to attack if he so much as breathed wrong.

Jake's sneer vanished instantly with panic replacing his expression. "Shit, I'm so sorry, Dad! I don't know what came over me." He clawed his fingers through his wild black and green hair. Frustration tears misting his eyes.

Johnathan felt that and immediately wanted to comfort his son. "Jake," he reached out to gently grab his son's shoulder, "Son, why don't we talk to your mother about this? She might have better answers than me."

Jake cringed at the suggestion, "No offense Dad, but I don't think Mom would understand."

"You be surprised," Johnathan chuckled, "Come on, I promise she won't judge you. We're your parents, it's our job to teach you about things you don't fully understand. I don't understand this, but I'm sure your mother does."

"Yeah..." He sighed, then nodded, "Alright." Hesitating, Jake followed his dad downstairs where Susan Long was in the kitchen preparing mushroom caps for an upcoming catering gig. Both Jake and his dad stood in the entranceway, waiting patiently for Susan to notice. Jake honestly hoped she would just continue to ignore them until they both ran out of patience, but then Johnathan had to go and call out to his wife.

"Honey, can we talk to you for a minute?"

"Just a second, hon." She responded, sliding a tray into the oven and setting the timer. After tearing off her oven mitts and wiping the sweat from her brow, she turned to smile at them. Her lips immediately fell upon seeing Jake's crestfallen face. "Sweetie, what's wrong?"

Johnathan gave Jake a gentle nudge with his elbow, nodding in encouragement. All Jake wanted to do was melt into a puddle and drip beneath the tile cracks. He reached back to scratch the nape of his neck. "Well... um..." He tripped on his words a lot, spitting out word vomit that soon meshed together into an unintelligible mess. "I'mfeelingreallyweirdlatelyandIcan'tstopnesting!" By the time he finished his face felt like it was on fire. His cheeks were redder than a fire hydrate.

Susan stared for a moment, processing what her son had just said. Finally, after about a minute she cocked a brow and asked, "You can't stop nesting?"

"Y-Yeah.." Jake was forced out. He just wanted to curl into a ball and die. What on earth was wrong with him? Nesting had never been this bad before.

"Oh Jake," his mother cooed gently. She immediately hugged him, "There isn't anything to be ashamed of. You're just growing into an adult, that's all."

"Honey, I don't mean to interrupt your and Jake's bonding moment, but what's going on?" Johnathan asked, hoping he could understand and offer the same level of comfort as Susan.

Susan smiled at him, "Well, it's a dragon thing. Dragons, when they reach Jake's age will start to prepare their nest for their mates. Since Jake already found his imprint, he's trying to make it comfortable for her too."

"What!' Jake yelled, his face now entirely red. Steam could be seen shooting out of his ears. He stumbled back, ready to run and hide and never face the world again. But no, this was worst, he'll never be able to look at Rose the same way again. His girlfriend, who was visiting for the summer, will probably think he was some kind of pervert. She'll never want to be with him and his weird dragon habits. She'll move back to China and marry some Chinese guy, or worse Brad! And he'll never be able to see her ever again. "My life is over..." He groaned, feeling completely humiliated. Hailey will have to take over as the Am Drag because he couldn't bare to step outside his home ever again.

"Now Jake, it's okay, like your mother said, there is nothing to be ashamed of."

"Says you!" Jake snapped, "You're not the one with crazy magic lizard instincts!" He couldn't bare to stand there anymore. He had to leave. Quickly, Jake raced back upstairs to his room, ignoring his parents, and slammed the door shut.

Johnathan and Susan were both disheartened, seeing their son so conflicted and upset. Susan could understand her son to a degree, she was still a dragon; just a dragon trapped in human form. It's a hard process and she knew from personal experience that parents getting involved didn't help all that much.

A thought struck her and she immediately went to the phone.

"Are you calling your dad?" Johnathan asked.

Susan shook her head, "No, Dad is terrible with these things. It took him ages to finally explain to Jake about imprinting. I think we better call someone who can actually help Jake."

"Who?"

Susan gave him a knowing look.


Jake had been laying in bed for two hours. He would occasionally look at the photograph of him and Rose during their school dance. He whined to himself, dropping his head into the pillow to scream. It just wasn't fair!

Another knock on his door made him groan, "Go away, Dad. I don't want to talk. Or Mom, whoever it is. Leave me alone."

"Jake, it's me."

Ice ran through his veins. Jake screamed and started rummaging through his bedding, "Rose, uh, w-what are you doing here? Don't come in!"

The door handle jiggled and Jake immediately dove beneath his mountain of blankets to hide.

"Jake, it's okay. Your mom called me and said-"

"She what!" He poked his head out and yelped seeing Rose standing in his mess of a room. There were so many pillows, blankets, sheets, and bedspreads. Jake's head was so hot he was sure it'll explode at being caught in this embarrassing moment. He wanted to die. The love of his life was here and he couldn't bare to let her see him like this. He pulled himself back in the covers. "Please, Rose, go away." It hurt to say that to her. Tore him up inside.

"Are you sure? Because I brought you some of your favorite tacos. I hate to eat them by myself." She giggled, holding up the bag of fast food. "Come on Jake, at least try some. They're good."

Unable to ignore her plea, Jake reluctantly climbed out from his safe haven and sat on the floor, keeping his eyes on the ground, looking anywhere but at Rose. His girlfriend sat down next to him and reached into her bag for a taco.

Minutes passed as the two ate in silence. Jake had so many questions to ask, but couldn't bring himself to. Afraid he'll ruin the moment and she'll run away forever. Finally, when it became too much, he asked, holding back his massive cringe," Are you not creeped out by all this?"

"Why would I be?"

Jake laughed nervously, his face growing hot again, "B-Because, this-this isn't normal! I'm acting all weird and creepy... And I can't believe my mom called you to talk to me about this-!" Rose touched his arm and smiled kindly. "Jake, it's fine. Don't forget I've been studying dragons for years, I know all about nesting and imprinting." She shifted to sit closer to him, making Jake forget how to breathe just for a moment, "I'm not creeped out at all. I love you and this is all part of you."

"Really?"

She nodded, "Of course!" Rose glanced off to where the same pink pillow Johnathan had found earlier was and noticed her name embroidered on its surface. Knowing how to protect dragons were over their nests, Rose asked Jake, "Can I help you make your nest?"

Prrrrrr

It took Jake a moment to realize what that sound was. It was coming from his chest. He squeaked and struggled to find some kind of off switch. Since when did dragons purr? His mind ventured back to when his grandfather gave him the dragon version of the "talk" and mentioned purring. Apparently, it was a thing dragons do around their mate or something.

Regardless he was both happy and embarrassed at the same time. Yet, Rose's loving and understanding look made him feel relaxed. He no longer felt shameful. "S-Sure." Getting up, he and Rose worked together to fix the blankets, put down the pillows, and made sure it was perfect. Rose took the pillow he made and set it in the center of it. Rose smiled at their handy work and turned to Jake who had his head down, his face redder than his dragon scales.

"Jake?"

"I-I'm fine, it's just..." He paused, struggling to say what was on his mind. The nest looked amazing, better than he could have guessed since Rose was there to supervise and arrange it the way she liked. The nest was made to make her happy in some weird dragon logic. Jake will never understand why he needed to impress her with this, but thousands of years of dragon instincts didn't just go away. They will always be there.

Rose already knew what was on Jake's mind. Since she was a baby (at least in another alternate timeline) she had been studying magic creatures, especially dragons, and understood their habits as any good hunter should. She reached out and took Jake's hand in her own, startling him.

Without uttering a word she sat down in the nest and gave his hand a gentle pull. Jake sat down beside her and Rose leaned into him. "You made a great nest," She said, "I really like it."

Jake instnatly relaxed as if her words cut the strings holding him taunt. Relief and pure happiness reflected in his dark eyes. "Thanks Rose, you have no idea how much I wanted ot hera that." He leaned in and they shared a sweet kiss, Jake purring all the while.

Unknowest to either of them, the door to Jake's room was slightly opened, allowing Johnathan and his wife to peek in. Of course, neither parent was going to allow their son to be alone in a room with his girlfriend. However, they both were pleased to see how understanding and supportive Rose was.

"She'll make a really good daughter-in-law," Susan whispered excitedly to Johnathan, wishing she had her camera to capture such a wonderful moment. She'll definitely save this story for her and Johanathan's future grandkids.

Her husband nodded in agreement before ushering her away before they could be spotted.