Okay! Whoo! Been a crazy few months im sorry this chapter is so late I did my best haha. I didn't really totally proof-read this much cuz I wanted to get it out, but there's a good bit in here. Sorry, trying to get back into the writing groove lol.
Warning: Prick Ron, G!P Artie, femslash, future polyam relationship(s?)
Noctis glanced up from the end of the bed as he felt his person twitch. Seeing the lion twitch in her sleep was far from unusual. It was two weeks into the school year and the nightmares were beginning to come back. The panther had no idea of course why, but he knew his person needed him. Which is why he was confused when she twitched even harder when he crawled up, effectively kicking the cub onto the floor. Moonlight poured in from the window, causing Noctis' fur to shine despite the fact that they were under the lake, but the moment it hit Artemis's exposed foot, she screamed, her back arching and roars of pain echoing through the thankfully soundproofed rooms. Noctis huddled under the desk and watched the girl's body twist, arch, and change. Sheets shredded beneath her claws as bones snapped and reshaped, already long canines grew several inches as her face got longer, whiskers spreading over her chin and face. A scream morphed into a roar as she twisted, falling off the bed and more fully into the moonlight, causing another scream that shook the window. Another twist and her mangled body was on its side, growing, shifting, until finally one last roar tore from her throat and Noctis whimpered, unsure whether he should reveal himself or not.
Upstairs in the Ravenclaw common room, Hermione's dorm mate was frantic, unsure why the young bookworm was in seemingly such intense pain.
"Hermione!" the brunnette screamed, shaking and reeling back when her touch made the woman scream more. Frantic hands grasped at the sheets beside her as she searched for something. What was missing? She let loose another scream of pain as phantom knives sliced into her very bones. Just when the young Ravenclaw was about to search for help, their prefect suddenly burst through the door, cradling an equally screaming Luna in her arms. She moved quickly, settling her on the bed beside Hermione cautiously, as if unsure this would help.
"I couldn't get anything out of her," Lisa whispered, brown hair framing her face as she watched them both settle, if only slightly. The Prefect sighed, watching as they settled slightly, though still thrashed now and then. "All she was able to get out was 'At' over and over again and I couldn't connect what she needed. I just… don't fully understand what's going on."
The redheaded Prefect sighed and stepped back, watching them through a curtain of red hair as she set a hand on each of their foreheads. "I have an idea, but more research is needed." She thought hard a moment and sighed. "For now all we can do is wait, and pray they are fine."
"Shouldn't we take them to the hospital wing?" Lisa whispered, but the older witch shook her head.
"It would do no good. If I'm correct, there is no spell to soothe this pain. It's not physical, it's soul deep.
They waited together until their screams died down and they settled, clinging to each other.
Crazed black eyes opened as screams echoed through the cells. Normally she would attribute it to the torture that often happened, or the wolf changing under the full moon, but the rain beating down on the stone walls of the prison, blocking out any moonlight they may have had. Once full curls hung in dead black waves of grease down her back, sticking to the thin gown that clung to her ribs as the witch struggled to her feet. The werewolf down the hall never screamed unless one of his children were changing. As if her thoughts summoned him to speak she heard him pant out "I-impossible. All my children have changed…" before another scream tore his throat. The hate she felt for the man died slightly as hope bloomed within her.
Next month marked thirteen years…
Her baby was alive, and she was changing.
For the first time in twelve years, a sound echoed through the prison that left guards and fellow prisoner alike shaking, wondering what could possibly bring the witch to cackle in such a manner once more.
For the first time in twelve years, Bellatrix Black was letting loose a battle cry that left them asking why.
Bellatrix Black was… delighted… and they were all frightened.
The small panther cub watched hot air puff from the creatures mouth, causing a fog in the cold air. The creature that his person had become. He wanted to believe he was in no danger, but instinct told him to wait. Artemis was massive now, even hunched and kneeling down she was easily bigger than the bed. All around her lay the shredded remains of her night clothes, looking more like rags than clothes. Finally her back paws flexed, tail twitching and swinging slowly to the side. Slowly, ever so slowly, she stood. Her mohawk of hair now stretched down between her shoulder blades and looked nearly like a true mane, more waves than curls. Feet that looked more like paws led up to muscular bowed legs, flexing as the lion shifted side to side. Clawed hands, somewhat paw-like but much less so than her feet, flexed, claws extending and retracting briefly while every muscle in her long arms shifted and flexed. True to her species, Artemis had a completely flat torso, the fur there a lighter grey rather than the deep black and red hues that laced her coat elsewhere. Finally Noctis found the courage to look up, taking in the far more feline face of his owner, whiskers twitching as a large nose scented the area. Her canines extended past her bottom lip, nearly coming down to the bottom of her jaw. Fast enough to startle the panther cub, yellow-green eyes flew open and locked on the cub. She sniffed his direction a moment before her head shot up, brushing against the ceiling, and her eyes found the window. To the utter shock of her companion, Artemis shot through the window, which magically repaired before more than a couple gallons of water could drench the floor, and began to swim furiously. A lion. A feline. One that swam so fast in that moment that before Noctis could fully process what happened she was out of sight.
If he could curse, Noctis would. He just lost a whole ass Were-lion.
Artemis didn't know what was going on. She was bigger, faster, and every instinct screamed for her to run to the other side of the castle as she burst out of the water and took in lungfuls of air. Her sensitive ears picked up screaming, pained screaming, and her legs propelled sent her propelling forward with a speed her mind and body couldn't fully process. Pure, unexplainable need fueled her movements as she skidded to a halt underneath what a part of her mind supplied as the Ravenclaw dorm rooms. The screaming died down a little, but both voices sounded pained, distressed, and a whine slipped from the lion's mouth as she dug her claws into the stone, scaling the wall with little effort until she could peek into the room. There were four girls in the room, two on the bed and two standing by them. For a moment Artemis felt rage fill her soul, thinking the two standing were harming those on the bed, but she listened in and calmed herself.
"It's better than before, but they're still in pain. I don't understand…" the smaller one, a man-cub, whispered.
"It should pass soon. If we knew who they're connected to, we could attempt to bring them here. Proximity after the first change soothes the soul deep pain."
Artemis tuned the rest out, focusing on the blonde and brunette women on the bed. They whimpered, clinging to each other and now and then a scream rang out. Green-yellow eyes kept watch until the other girls left, then carefully pried the window open, bending back the metal but somewhat uncaring as the lion had a mission.
Her soul screamed, her beast rearing its' head as a single word seemed to boom through her being. Mates.
The massive lion managed to squeeze her way into the room and the closer she got to the clearly unconscious girls, the more their whimpers settled. Tenderly, far too much so for a creature so big, the lion leaned her head down and rubbed her head over the smaller girl's back, simultaneously marking her with her scent and soothing the burn. The second her fur touched her skin the blonde settled. Artemis did the same with the older girl, rubbing her cheeks over her sides and relief washed over her as a sigh escaped the older girl. Their bodies relaxed and before Artemis could pull away two hands fisted in her fur, different sizes but both just as intent. The lion glanced outside, seeing the moon was still high, and relaxed. Careful of her two much smaller mates, she curled around them on the bed,surrounding them in a blanket of warmth. She didn't realize Hermione's eyes open for a moment, her breath catching as she looked at the massive beast that was… protecting them. Her sore and tired body however, forced her eyes closed again, sleep claiming her as the soreness began to ease.
Artemis groaned, her eyes slamming shut once more when the sunlight invaded her sight, obscured by the lake. The draft from the castle walls cooled her overheated skin and she sighed in relief before realizing something important. If she could feel the air, she was naked. A breeze hit her again, making her aware of her morning issue. Her eyes shot back open and she sat up, looking around. Her sheets were in ruins, as were her clothes from the night before. Her tail whipped side to side as she took in the room. Her window was… different than before. Almost like it had been repaired. With a frustrated groan, Artemis silently searched the room for Noctis, and a sigh of relief left her as the cub happily jumped into her arms. He was getting bigger, and now laid over her shoulders more than on her head. Tiny spikes were showing through his fur along his spine, but no other noticeable difference was present to prove he was anything but a normal panther. Artemis sighed and held her familiar close, both of them purring to comfort the other. It was during this time that memories from last night began to flood back to her. Her first change, the few minutes it took to gain some control back, and then it was all instinct. She vaguely remembered coming back to her room sometime before the sun rose, but that was about it.
Reluctantly, Artemis set her familiar down and headed to her wardrobe, pulling on a more casual pair of clothes. Her body was sore, and pulling the black skinny jeans (a gift from Hermione) and Navy blue shirt (Mrs. Granger had a hand in that one) on were nearly complete torture. Noctis draped himself over her shoulders, providing a warm sense of comfort while she walked down the stairs to join her peers. It was saturday morning and Artemis had every intention of spending it with Hermione as planned.
The fact that she now knew they were mates was irrelevant. Though she did wonder if Luna would like to spend some time with her as well. What the lion hadn't realized was that overnight she had changed. Her face was slightly sharper, build more lean, toned, though the changes were just subtle enough that only someone who was truly looking at her would notice. Draco gave her a searching look before tilting his head when he saw her. With her ring in place, her glamour seemed slightly different. He couldn't place it though. Shrugging it off, they walked together to breakfast. Halfway there Hermione damn near tackled Artemis, wrapping her arms tight around the lion's waist and sighing as she relaxed. Hermione had had a rather odd awakening, having been holding Luna protectively while her window was busted open and the sheets smelled strongly of… something. It was a familiar smell, but she couldn't place it. Now though, in her lion's arms, she could relax, knowing no matter what odd happenings went on the night before, Artemis would protect her. The lion smiled softly, wrapping her arms protectively around the bookworm before guiding her gently to the great hall. Luna danced over, smiling dreamily at the group of Slytherins and Hermione, now seemingly in the process of finding out her chances of becoming one with the lion. Hermione, for her part, was pressed firmly into Artemis' side, occasionally pausing in her eating to turn her head into the lion's shoulder and taking a subtle, deep breath of the other girl's calming scent. Spotting the energetic blonde, Draco slid over so she could sit between him and Artemis, who was happily eating with one hand if it meant Hermione was snuggled against her like this. Feeling the warmth of another body beside her, Luna's honeysuckle and jasmine scent washing over her. It was a strange combination, yet mixed with Hermione's scent, it created a calming cloud around the were-lion, easing the residual feeling the change left in her body.
"Mione," Luna's voice filtered into Artemis's ears and she tuned back in, bringing herself out of a mate-induced relaxed daze. Hermione hummed, and Artemis noticed she was frequently closing her eyes with a grimace. "How are you feeling?" She received a soft groan.
The blonde girl slid a little closer to the lion and Draco noticed the three of them seemed to relax a little more with the proximity. "Better than I thought I would."
"What do you mean, what happened?" Draco cut in gently, a brotherly concern coating his voice as Harry come to sit across from him, instantly listening to gain information and try to catch up.
"Hermione and I were experiencing some rather… intense pain last night." Luna supplied softly, unconsciously playing with Artemis' fingers now that she had finished eating. Noctis, ever the loving creature when it came to Artemis' circle, crawled into the blonde's lap and happily accepted the scratches that luna gave, purring softly.
"Before you ask, Harry, no, we don't know why. It was the strangest thing, but it's over, and I fully intend to relax for the day." Hermione's words actually left everyone shocked. Artemis smiled softly.
"Not even going to hit the library?" she joked gently, and her best friend huffed.
"Do you intend to carry me there?" Hermione joked back, and was only a little surprised when the lion simply shrugged and nodded.
"If that's what you want. Or I could carry you back to your dorm, whichever."
Hermione lifted her head from the taller girl's shoulder and smiled softly. "My hero."
Harry laughed and reached forward to steal a piece of Artemis' bacon. "I think she aspires to be everyone's hero."
The lion raised a sharp eyebrow at the scarred boy and smirked. "Says the golden boy." Harry huffed and reached forward to punch the Slytherin Prince in the arm, generating a laugh from those around them. Draco soon turned to ask Harry about his red-headed best friend (apparently they were on the outs again), Vince and Greg spoke amongst themselves about one thing or another, and Artemis turned her full attention to her mates.
"You both seem a little… off? It isn't so noticeable that others would say something but I'm concerned." Hermione closed her eyes and sighed, resting her head on the lion's chest while Luna deflated slightly, seeming to give up some of her forced pep. Artemis could tell how badly last night weighed on them, and slowly they opened up to her, recounting what they remembered from the night before. Apparently Hermione's pain had begun just as her transformation did, causing the intelligent young woman to wonder if she herself was somehow a werewolf, but believed that was impossible. She stated beyond the blinding pain she didn't remember much, just that when it finally died down she could only register feeling warm, thick fur around her (not as if she had her own fur, she specified, but like cuddling something furry), and seeing glowing eyes. Luna's experience was similar, though the pain began later and she didn't remember the eyes. Just not wanting that warm presence to leave. Artemis was struck with the memory of hearing the Ravenclaw prefect say proximity to their mate helped after the first change, and decided on a plan.
"Well, how about this then? I can carry you both out to the Black Lake and we can laze around in the sunshine."
Finally a small giggle erupted from Hermione. "How do you intend to carry us both?"
"Simple." Artemis stood, with some gentle coaxing to get Hermione to sit up. She crouched down a little and grinned at Luna. "Hop on." Luna, quirky as she was, couldn't help it as she covered her mouth with her hand to giggle, but still happily climbed onto her friend's back. With little warning, Artemis stood and picked Hermione up bridal style on her way up, causing a squeak from the bookworm and a few chuckles from the head table. Luna blushed, able to feel the subtle muscle tone of the lion's back as she moved, while Hermione had no problem at all resting her head on her friend's chest and enjoying the feeling of safety and protection that always came with being in Artemis's arms.
"You look different," Hermione mumbled after a bit, causing Artemis and Luna to realize she had been looking up at the lion the whole time. They passed through the doors and out into the sunshine, the sunlight warming all three girls.
"What do you mean?" Though her tone was an easy and laid back one, Hermione noticed a flicker of worry in her eyes. Her eyes had been taking in the changes, her sharper jawline, how her eyes were more yellow now than before, though kept the mixed hue. How her pupils were slightly less rounded than before though it would not be noticeable normally. Or, Hermione acknowledged with a faint blush, that the woman's muscle tone had improved, the shirt she was wearing showing off the lines those muscles caused in her skin.
"You just look… older?" It was the best way Hermione could describe it. Artemis seemed to have simply lost all her baby fat overnight. Luckily they had reached the lake so Artemis let it go, the three of them settling on the lakeside. The year so far had been overall uneventful, but it was a matter of time before things went wrong. They had been relaxing by the bank for nearly an hour before the lion's ears twitched, hearing someone approaching them. She looked up to see none other than Gilderoy Lockhart walking toward them.
"Ms. Black, I was wondering if I might have a word with you?" he stated firmly, standing tall and gazing down at the girls. Hermione sighed beside Artemis and her beast twitched.
"Regarding what, Professor?" she stood, speaking politely but internally she just wanted him to go away. He made her nose burn and she didn't much like the reaction he got from her mate. "Surely my grades are acceptable?"
"Of course, Ms. Black, of course. I simply have a proposition for you that you may enjoy. Strictly speaking I'm not supposed to speak of it with anyone but you, however…" he glanced at the other two girls and shrugged. "The headmaster has allowed me to open up a sort of dueling club. I believe it would be a good idea that you all be ready should something happen." Hermione fought not to laugh, remembering their summer dueling lessons. "I was wondering if you would like to be the student captain. Professor Snape spoke of your talent, and I myself have noticed you're quite the bright young woman. Gifted with your magic."
"I… would rather not be captain. I'm only a second year, there must be another student who has more knowledge to share than I do." Lockhart seemed displeased with her answer, but left it be, even insisting to let him know if she changed her mind. She sighed and flopped back on the grass, soon forgetting about the odd encounter when Luna started absently playing with her fingers and Hermione leaned into her side.
So that's a thing that happened...
Raingirl49th: No need to beg lol here you go
Alkeniw Andilite: It's all good, she didn't pay for moms new one, she did get herself a van, and promptly wrecked that too DX I worry about the child lol\
Until next time, drop your questions, comments, and all that!