Work is hell, my sister wrecked the car, and we had to get a new one! But! Hey! I got a short chapter out!

I don't own Harry potter, that honor goes to our queen and savior, J.K. Rowling. I just enjoy the sandbox

Warning: Prick Ron, G!P Artie, femslash, future polyam relationship(s?)

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A few weeks later found Hermione following Artemis and Draco onto the Hogwarts Express. The two Purebloods were dressed smartly, Draco sporting his usual black suit, though with a Slytherin green tie, while Artemis wore something similar, though once again had a silver bow tie instead and matching vest, contrasting her black shirt and pants nicely. Hermione followed in a flowing white skirt and blue shirt as they entered their compartment. Artemis scratched absently at her arm, the Glamour becoming rather irritating and itchy for her now, but she endured easily enough. It surprised Draco that she was willing to tolerate it for so long, as usually while home she walked freely in her true form, but it didn't surprise him when Artemis plopped down on the bench seat, Noctis jumping down from her head to lay in her lap while Hermione leaned back into her side. The young boy chuckled and sat across from them, stroking his owl's feathers gently.

"I'm excited to go back," Hermione smiled, unconsciously snuggling further into Artemis' side. The werecat, who had already pulled out a book, slipped an arm around her friend without thinking and Draco raised an eyebrow, looking between them as the Ravenclaw closed her eyes and relaxed more.

No bloody way… he thought to himself before rolling his eyes. Why is this surprising me?

"I am, too," he smiled, relaxing back into his seat. "Hopefully we can get through this year without Artemis ending up in the hospital wing." Artemis lowered her book enough to glare playfully at him, narrowing her eyes when he grinned at her innocently. To throw her off, he flicked his eyes to Hermione, allowing the other Slytherin to realize her arm was around her friend. With a blush she began to pull it away, only to be stopped when Hermione grabbed her wrist and pulled it back around her.

"No, this arm is mine now," she mumbled, seemingly starting to drift off. Draco burst into laughter and Artemis even chuckled, getting more comfortable and shifting so Hermione could lean more into her front than her side. Noctis made a grumbling sound at the movement and moved to curl up in Hermione's lap. Artemis and Draco shared playful banter for a few minutes while they waited for the train to fill up, and just as the train began to move their compartment door opened and Harry dropped into a seat beside Draco, letting his head fall back against the seat. Draco elbowed him.

"Tired, Potter?"

"Shove it, Malfoy," Harry yawned, laughing weakly. "Ron snores so loudly I couldn't sleep." The Golden Boy opened his green eyes a moment and glanced at Draco, then his lap, and shrugged, turning onto his back and plopping his head on the blonde boy's thigh, yawning and closing his eyes as he stretched out over the bench. Draco looked at him with wide eyes before shrugging and starting to play with the boys messy black hair, gently using his fingers to untangle it. Artemis snorted from her spot across from him and Draco narrowed his eyes at her.

"What?"

"Gaaaaay," Artemis laughed, grinning behind her book. Draco sniffed and crossed his arms until a hand grabbed his wrist, similar to how Hermione had done the same to Artemis, and set his hand back on the bespeckled boy's head. "You would know, Black," Draco grumbled, grinning somewhat.

"You're right, I would."

Harry opened his eyes in surprise and turned to look at his friend, noticing Hermione had woken a little as well. "You're gay, Artie?"

Artemis felt a slight bit of nervousness, but shrugged. "Yeah, I am. I've known for about three years, I think."

"How did you know?" Hermione asked through a yawn and Artemis relaxed when she realized she hadn't pulled away from her.

"Girls are hot, boys are immature. I don't know, honestly, I'm just not attracted to boys." Plus, I have a dick so that complicates things a bit…

"Oh, okay," Harry shrugged and relaxed his head back onto Draco's thigh. Their door opened again and Ron looked around, a mix of nervous and grumpy, though Hermione and Harry had no reaction. Artemis peered at him over her book and he rubbed his neck.

"Can I sit with you guys?" He asked, already searching for an empty seat, hopefully beside Hermione. The muggleborn didn't budge, but Harry shrugged and lifted his legs up, offering Ron the seat. The redhead hesitated before sitting down, jumping when his friend's legs fell down across his lap. "Uhm…"

"Just go with it," Artemis chuckled behind her book and Ron sighed, resigning himself to be Harry's leg rest for the rest of the trip.

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Dressed in their robes, the small mismatch group of friends finally arrived at Hogsmead and followed some of the older students to the line of carriages that seemed to be pulling themselves. Artemis knew they were being pulled by Thestrals, having read about them and her slowly improving senses could actually smell them. She was surprised, however, when Hermione looked at the carriages then to her.

"What are they?"

"Self-pulling carriages," a fifth year scoffed, walking away when Artemis glared at him.

"What do you mean, 'Mione?" Harry frowned.

"The things pulling the carriages?"

Artemis felt her heart drop, knowing only those who had seen death could see them. "They're Thestrals, 'Mione, they can only be seen by people who've seen death…"

A confused and thoughtful look overtook her friend's face and Hermione frowned. "I… don't remember ever seeing someone die, though…"

The group fell silent and Artemis helped Hermione into a carriage before she and the boys piled in. The Ravenclaw was playing with her fingers, frowning as she looked at them, but was stopped by a larger, warm hand covering her own. Looking up to meet Artemis' soft smile and warm eyes, she felt reassured and calmer and sighed, leaning back into the older girl as they traveled. The feast passed in a blur, everyone having to stay in their own houses, though Artemis could already sense that something was amiss. Once they got to their dorms, the lion closed the door. She had the same room as last year, and had no problem locking it before slipping off her ring and sighing. Her mane was beginning to thicken, though still a mohawk of curls it now stretched down between her shoulder blades and nearly reached each side of her head. Her ears had become slightly more pointed and she shook out her fur a moment before searching through her trunk, sighing in relief when she found the diary her uncle had given her to protect. The leather was old, cracked in some places, showing it should have been filled completely, but the pages were all blank. Artemis sighed, shaking her head and searching her room for the perfect place to hide it. Finally she tilted her head, nodding and lifting her mattress, hiding the book in the middle of box spring. Finally sure it was safe, the lion took a quick shower and went to bed.

XxXxX

The next morning found Artemis once again preparing for classes. Noctis was beside her, eating a healthy portion of meat for breakfast while she fastened her cloak on and checked her appearance. Her pants were pressed and had a perfect crease on them, her shirt pristen and tie perfectly aligned, while the green lining of her cloak had a slight shine to them. A soft burp made the lion look down to see Noctis cleaning his paws and she laughed before lifting him up and heading down to the common room. The cub purred and relaxed in her arms for a bit before climbing up to lay on her head again as she reached her cousin.

"You know, one of these days he's going to break your neck," Draco laughed and Artemis stuck her tongue out at him.

"He's my baby and will always be my baby. Suck it, Draco." Vincent and Greg both burst into laughter at this and Draco huffed and rolled his eyes. "Cat people."

"Yep. Kitties rule!"

They joked and goofed off until Snape came to give them their schedules, then headed to the Great Hall. It was when they were about halfway there that they found a Ravenclaw first year with long blonde hair looking rather lost. Artemis frowned and stopped, catching her attention.

"Hey, do you need some help?"

The girl smiled at her and a familiar feeling overcame the Slytherin, one she remembered happened when she first met Hermione. "Oh, no, I'm just a bit lost. I lost my classmates, they all ran ahead and I can't seem to find the Great Hall."

"Well, follow us, then, we're heading there anyway."

Her baby blue eyes lit up and she smiled dreamily. "That would be wonderful, thank you…?"

The lion chuckled and nodded her head for the girl to follow her. "Artemis Black, and this is my cousin, Draco, and our friends Vincent and Gregory."

"Nice to meet you all. I'm Luna, Luna Lovegood." She gazed up at Artemis as they walked and smiled. "Oh, he's lovely. What's his name?"

Noctis gave a small yawn/purr and Artemis smiled, reaching up to scratch his ear. "This is my familiar, Noctis."

"Hmm… I've never seen a Water Panther in person, he's gorgeous."

Draco frowned and looked at the girl as they entered the hall. "Water Panther? He's just a panther cub."

"Oh, they're usually only found in America. The Native Americans talked about them in legends, but you're right, he's just a cub now. I suspect his wings will grow in in a few months, and when he gets bigger he's going to probably get his horns and spikes. His tail is prehensile, right?" Artemis stared at the girl with wide, shocked eyes, before snapping out of her stupor.

"Would you like to sit with us? I would like to hear more about this." Luna smiled and agreed, following the group of Slytherins to their table. It was moments after they sat down that Hermione dropped into the seat on Artemis' right side and leaned heavily into her friend.

"Hey, 'Mione, you alright?" The lion asked her friend softly, draping an arm around her waist. She didn't miss her friend's dark circles or apparent lack of sleep.

"Just tired…" she mumbled, relaxing more when a hand began to run through her bushy hair. "Who's this?" Hermione asked, registering the new addition to their group.

"Oh, Hermione, this is Luna Lovegood. She's a first year in your house." Luna smiled and waved shyly.

"Oh, right, Luna! I remember you from last night. How did you settle in?"

"Quite well. Though I had some trouble sleeping last night." She leaned in to whisper to them. "I suspect the Wrackspurts are at fault."

Draco mouthed "Wrackspurts?" to Artemis, who gave him a look. Most of the wizarding community didn't believe in most creatures, claiming they don't exist, but muggles say the same thing about unicorns and centaurs. Why couldn't many other things be real, even if not discovered?

Thankfully, Hermione just smiled and laughed a little. "Maybe they got me, too, then."

The rest of breakfast was spent inspecting Noctis, finding that he did indeed have tiny, almost invisible wings that had begun to come in but were hidden by his thick fur, and a row of spikes that were barely visible, even when his fur was parted. Hermione found another Ravenclaw first year that had memorized the way to their classes already and they agreed to walk Luna to her classes, to make sure she didn't get lost, before they headed to class themselves.

XxXxX

Sorry, short chapter, but the second year has begun! Luna is introduced, and Hermione apparently loves cuddling her lion. Where the fuck is Harry, though?

Anybody catch my lesbian jokes? Lol

Why is Hermione swooning for Lockhart?

Eh. yeah. Listen, I hate it but I needed this for the plot lol