Summary: [HG/SS] AU ("Obviously" in Snape's voice) Hermione wakes to find herself in a place she's never been before. Slowly she starts to realise she's definitely not in Britain anymore. And just what the hell is the bloody Weyland-Yutani Corporation?
A/N: Someone (I think it was pianomouse) requested Hermione and Severus in space… and well you should know by now that I don't write if there aren't monsters to love in them LOL
Beta Love: The Dragon and the Rose, Hollowg1rl
Rating Warning: This is M for maturity and gore. Given the theme of aliens, this should be given, but this is a warning, none the less.
In Space, No One Can Hear You Cast FiendFyre
My mommy always said there were no monsters,
no real ones... but there are.
Hermione woke to find herself in a glass tube, or it seemed. She was surrounded in similar tubes, each with people inside— none that she recognised. She could tell most of the tubes were shattered, and as she felt her body being released from the chamber, she had the immediate desire to hurl.
But there was nothing in her stomach to hurl, so she only dry heaved, crumpled against the metal deck of this place she was trapped in.
She examined herself— only a slip of clothes remained on her person, but her magical bracelet that had been and was her wand remained with her. Deciding to feel out what she had left to her possession, she cast a quick transfiguration spell on her slip, and it immediately reformed into the more comfortable robes she was used to. She looked around, eyes narrowing.
Where the hell am I? She asked herself, not expecting an answer.
She looked at the tube she had fallen out of, and the small screen next to it lit up with information, barely. The panel was old— worn.
Granger, Hermione Jean
Frozen by Weyland-Yutani Research Division X1F2-A
Experiment # 42-B-AQI-71C
Date of experiment: 16.02.2197
Status: FAILED, RETURNED TO CYRO
Age in Cyro: 26
Date of Release: Emergency thaw auto-authorised 09.12.2415
Hermione frowned. Experiment? Failed? What experiment? What did she fail at? The last thing she could remember was a having a nice dinner with Severus over the success of their brand-new potions business. That date could not be right. Not even close. There was no way it was the year 2414. Impossible!
She cast a Tempus charm and frowned.
Okay, so maybe it was possible, however improbable.
Screams came from somewhere, and Hermione was instantly alert— far too many years of war had transformed her into a hair-triggered human stress ball, even after many years of cognitive therapy. Part of her wondered how she was even able to stand— having been frozen in a tube for however long it had been. Science had apparently improved since her time— society, apparently, had gotten worse. Any society that allowed some company to come in and kidnap people for human experiments definitely did not care one iota about morals or ethical research.
She narrowed her eyes. Someone had kidnapped her out of Diagon Alley in the middle of the Leaky Cauldron surrounded in people and taken her, who wasn't anything short of hair triggered, and Severus, who was probably the most paranoid man on the planet— by surprise.
Flashes of memory flickered across her mind. One of the Order had sent out a secret code via Patronus indicating that they were in distress— but everything was all jumbled up and blurred together. Ron? Ron had been the one in trouble? Was that before or after the dinner at the Leaky? Confused, Hermione idly rubbed the space between her eyebrows.
"She and other one, 71D, absorbed the entire mutagen, but nothing happened, sir."
"What do you mean, nothing happened?"
"I mean it went into their bodies but nothing happened."
"Nothing, not even a side effect?"
"No, sir. I think they are somehow immune. Remember they were taken from Britain under the old collecting system. Sold out by their own people, heh."
"Stuff it, Conners, I'm fully aware that those freaks came here from some random robe-wearing convent," the other voice hissed. "Inject them again."
"But sir, that's all the DNA samples we have left from that alien beast we pulled up from the Antarctic Sea!"
"Then you had better make them count," the other voice growled.
Hermione clutched her head, groaning as the conversation surfaced without her permission. She was filled with a kind of burning rage over her situation— but something else too. Hate, unlike anything she'd ever felt before, sang hot in her veins.
She looked around, and many of the tubes around her were broken or empty. Bodies, unlike hers, that had not survived the thaw. Some looked like something horrific had burst up out of their ribcage in some twisted parody of an autopsy.
Nasty, she thought to herself, appalled that part of her mind was somewhat fascinated by the sight even as the rest of her wanted to hurl again. It must have hurt like hell— the faces were all twisted in a rictus of agony as their deaths suddenly came upon them, freezing their last expression on their faces, a look of perpetual terror.
Unable to tell if the screaming she heard was in her head or actual, Hermione staggered out of the chamber into a hall— and the lights were flickering creepily like a bad lamp.
Why do the scary places always have flickering lights or total darkness? She pondered that thought as she stuck close to the shadows. Maybe there were Death Eaters in the future, she had no idea. She'd rather not find out due to setting herself up for a killing curse to the face.
Her hand touched something on the wall and she slipped against it—
She stared at her hand in the dimness. Some kind of thick, transparent slime dripped from her fingers, like she had just touched an irritated hagfish.
She should be disgusted, but—it seemed so familiar. She put her face down, smelling it, her nostrils flaring. There was something strangely familiar about it that she couldn't quite place. Calming even.
Wiping her hand back on the corridor side, she rid herself of the slime, trying to dismiss the strange jolt of familiarity.
Wires sparked above her, and she sidestepped them. A slime-covered— was that a gun?—lay in the middle of the floor, but she didn't pick it up. Guns were not her forté, and she wasn't about to start now just because it was sitting there.
There were a multitude of odd pock marks on the corridor walls… the metal was— partially dissolved? What in the hell could have done that?
As Hermione walked by a door, it slid open automatically, and she jumped back in surprise. When nothing came out, she looked inside, and found herself peering at a very expansive high-tech laboratory. Strange metallic containers with multi-legged "things" floating within, suspended in some sort of blue-tinted liquid. Screens upon screens of data surrounded her, all detailing something called the "xenomorph."
Somehow she doubted if it had anything to do with Xenophilius Lovegood gaining an Animagus form.
There was a body lying on a surgical bed— or so it appeared. The room was surrounded and isolated, closed off if but for a joystick series that had apparently been designed for controlling some sort of operation robot— a DaVinci robot taken to extremes.
The patient, however, had been left on the table, their chest cracked open— this time surgically— yet the victim had apparently died anyway.
Large red letters flashed continuously on the computer monitors set above the viewing window.
Warning: Contamination breach of surgical area.
Warning: Xenomorph escaped containment. Security lockdown in effect. All escape pods deactivated until Xenomorph has been contained.
Hermione blinked. "So, you ruddy bastards have some sort of science experiment running loose that bursts out of people's chests, and you shut down your own escape until it's contained? Who does that shite?"
She looked at all the screens, shaking her head in disgust. "Four hundred-odd years in the future and people are still doing incredibly stupid shite for even more bloody stupid reasons."
She took a deep breath. "I really hope you're not alive to see this world, Severus. I'm about ready to knock a few heads together, and I've only just woken up."
Hermione squinted as she saw a corroded hole in the floor of the operating room— acid had burned through it.
So, these xenomorphs had acid either as a defense or offense. Either way, it let whatever came out of that chest escape a place it shouldn't have been able to— or so they thought.
What was that quote from Jurassic Park? Life finds a way? Life breaks free? Your scientists were so worried about if they could— they didn't stop to think if they should.
Hermione was starting to think there was no cure for humanity. Humanity would be its own end, just by doing really stupid things to itself. "What could happen, yeah?"
The world really was filled with bloody idiots like Ronald Sodding Weasley. Her lip was twitching now along with her eyebrows.
She rubbed her arms, feeling like the world was closing in around her. Her skin seemed dry, and she wondered what other side effects of cryosleep she was bound to feel. She also wondered if it was really called cryosleep, or if that was just some science fiction term that leapt to mind. Hell if she knew.
The area was strangely quiet now, and she found herself wondering if the screams had been entirely inside her head rather than real. She passed her gaze over the readout panels one last time before heading out of the room. So far, everywhere she looked there were no windows. Could she be somewhere underground?
As she stepped out in the corridor again, she found herself face to face or rather face to gun as a man dressed in what appeared to be military fatigues regarded her with nothing short of suspicious terror. She could see the tremor in his hands, and that did not bode well for the trigger of his rifle, which was trained squarely on her face.
"Who are you!" he demanded. "Why aren't you with the other crew members containing the alien?!"
Hermione tilted her head slightly, rolling his accent around in her head. There was the Gryffindor way or the Slytherin way to handle this— and she carefully weighed each option before saying anything.
"I'm sorry, but I have no idea where I need to be," she said. It was true and honest, and that was what had gotten her out of a great many jams without actually revealing what she knew. Everyone knew she was utterly pants at lying, which was why the art of telling half-truths had become her secret amusement.
The man curled his lip at her. "You have one of them inside you!"
Hermione puckered her lips. "Have a what inside me?"
"One of those horrible THINGS!" he spat, thrusting the muzzle of his rifle into her neck.
Ah, so that's his worry. That one of those xenomorphs would come erupting from her chest— though from the little she had gleaned from the readouts in the laboratory, if she was going to have an alien burst out of her ribcage, it would have probably done it like it had for the others in the cryo tubes near hers. Hermione pondered as he looked like he wanted to kill her just in case.
"And can you prove that you aren't carrying one of those 'things' inside you?" she accused him, getting him to sputter.
"Of course I'm not carrying one inside me!"
"Well, I don't think I'm carrying one inside me, either, but you're right standing there holding a gun to my face," she said.
The man seemed a little more unsure now, his hands trembling a bit more as he leveled the rifle to her face.
Suddenly the man's body jerked, and Hermione dove to the ground as his rifle went off multiple times, pinging off the corridor walls as the weapon slowly sank to the floor. They hung, suspended in the air, impaled by what looked like a tail or a really disturbing organic spear crafted in a nightmare mating between dinosaur, crocodile, and something distinctly "other."
The man went limp, blood trickling down his face and body, as the tail exited the man's chest with a wet shhhhhlucking sound.
The body hit the floor, and before she could get a proper visual on what exactly had been connected to the tail in question, the rest of the alien was gone into the darkness.
Had it not attacked her because she didn't have a gun in her hand? Or was it something else entirely?
She stared down at the crumpled body, trying to feel something, anything, but no emotion came. The man had pointed a gun at her and repeatedly threatened her life—
Yet still no emotion came. That was even more frightening to her than the gun and she shivered. What was this place? Where was she? And what—
What had been the experiment she had evidently failed without even knowing about it?
And what were these… creatures, these xenomorphs?
Facts swam around in her head, gleaned from the many, many computer monitors she had seen. But none of them, facts or otherwise, really explained what they were to her. The files said they were designed to be a weapon; they said they were built to survive— the ultimate survivor.
But no, "ultimate survivor" just didn't quite cut it. There was something about these creatures humanity wanted to emulate— only they seemed to not believe in natural self-improvement and evolution. They wanted serums and mutagens. The quick-fix, instant gratification. Human-alien hybrids created on an assembly line with military precision. It made her sick.
Her stomach crawled as she thought that the Dark Lord could have easily been just as bad, had he had access or believed in such things— trying to purge his weaker humanity for purity of his own mind. Hermione shuddered. People who did amazingly stupid, selfish things to get an advantage over someone else was not a new concept, but the extent if seemed to be far beyond what she'd ever expected.
She stared down at the man who had almost killed her in his paranoia, and there was still nothing. Had the war changed her so very much? Or had it been her unsuccessful attempts to change things in the Ministry— all of which had fallen on deaf ears.
Her attempt to free the house elves. Failed. Failed because she hadn't realised in her knee-jerk reaction against slavery that house elves literally lived to serve— and if they didn't serve, they died.
Died because of her.
Died because of her blind ignorance.
"Are you happy now, Granger?" Draco had hissed.
By the time she had found Ron having coffee with Lavender, their small touches of hands and the soulful, meaningful looks passing between them, her heart had closed off, perhaps permanently. She had felt nothing as she handed Lavender her key to the shared flat after swiftly packing up her things.
Lavender had tried to tell her that she never meant for her to find out like that—
But Hermione knew their relationship had been on the rocks when she'd refused sex… and he'd stormed off to "be with his mates that understood a man had needs."
As if she, as a woman, didn't have needs of her own?
That had always been the dealbreaker in many a relationship— magical or Muggle, it never changed. War never changed, nor did the reasons that people went to war. It all came down to power— and the relationship "war" was no less brutal than wars fought for any other reason. But Hermione had wanted none of it. She was not the type to believe she had to fight tooth and nail for a mate when it was crumbling all around her. If he and Lavender had the passion, then they could bloody well have each other.
Apparently, that hadn't been what Ron had wanted to hear. He had cornered her as she left the flat for the last time, yelling that she should fight for him. Fight for "them."
Hermione had leveled her chin at him and given him a chilly smile. "Are you saying that you deliberately used a witch who obviously loves you just to get me to "fight" for you, Ronald Weasley?"
She had left him, gaping, his mouth gaping open like a fish out of water, even as the sound of Lavender hexing him silly while screeching followed in her wake.
Hermione hadn't meant to inform Lavender— she hadn't really thought about her listening to them as she left— but that had been the end of much of her capacity for emotion for quite some time. Until Severus, anyway. They had become quite close in their newfound partnership, and that had led to a number of quiet dinners together.
She wondered if he thought she'd abandoned him— if her abrupt disappearance had been glossed over by Skeeter as some sort of callous scheme to break his heart. She wondered if he had found someone else to share his life with. She had wanted to share her life with him, and she believed he'd wanted he same thing, but— being kidnapped into the future wasn't going to be something anyone would have thought possible.
He probably thought she'd abandoned him— just like Lily.
Damn if that didn't sting— even knowing it wasn't her fault. The thought of him suffering for her sake, made her angry.
Touching, Miss Granger, but if you could kindly focus some of that justifiable anger into releasing me from this prison, I would gladly exchange my current frustration with relief that you are alive and— relatively well. Severus' voice was very dry and quite distinctive, even in her mind.
Obviously, his reply came, not lacking any of the bite she remembered.
Where are you? she asked immediately, savouring the strangely natural communication.
Somewhere very dark. The lights went out. I can see, but some things are— quite strange. Severus' voice was so distinctively him that she couldn't help but sigh with relief, despite herself. I think I was asleep, but then I smelled something. You.
I'm not really sure how to take that, Severus, Hermione admitted.
Well, I should bloody know what you smell like, woman, considering how many times you have accosted my person and infested my face with your nigh-sentient hair, came his caustic reply.
Hermione snorted. Definitely Severus. No doubt at all.
I— his voice trailed off. I killed some things. Angry— things. Lots of teeth and— They're dead now, but there is quite a large hole in the floor. They seem to be rather acidic. And very, very, angry.
His voice abruptly cut off with a mental groan of agony. Something is happening to me. It's extremely painful. Aghk!
Severus? She could smell him now— suddenly that familiar scent she had smelled earlier parsed into that scent of parchment and herbs.
Hermione closed her eyes, concentrating, trying hard to get a feel for where he was just as a wave of pain hit her and drove her to her knees.
Her back was on fire. She screamed, and it was a high-pitched agonised screech as fire poured like molten lava through every vein in her body. Her back burned and ached viciously as it arched up, and her robes tore as a number of sharp black spikes erupted from her spine like a series of jagged spears. She shrieked again and again, her jaws tightening and spasming. She clutched her head as her body dropped to the floor, body jerking uncontrollably. Her skin seemed to crawl, as if something was moving under it. She panted, a thick, clear drool pooling from her mouth onto the floor.
As she caught her breath, her hands twitched, dark claws having sprouted from the tips of her fingers like her fingers were merely the sheath for something much bigger and more monstrous.
Hermione pulled herself up, panting, her eyes wild as she could think of only one thing: Severus.
She had to get to Severus.
Severus felt the echoes of her agony, and his own paled in comparison. She was hurting. She was in desperate pain, and she was calling out to him.
It didn't matter that his body felt dreadfully twisted and foreign. It didn't matter that the corpses of a hundred and some "things" lay around him, attracted by some sort of invisible signal that drew them to him to fight.
It didn't matter that he had torn them apart as his skin seemed to molt right off of him. It didn't matter that he no longer looked like he "should", nor did he ponder what had been done to him that such a thing was even remotely possible.
All that mattered was to get to HER— the one being all the world that still mattered to him. With each attack, he was growing stronger and stronger, and their acid attacks melted away more of his human flesh, exposing new, black and glistening skin underneath. His hands twisted into gnarled and elongated, bony things he could hardly recognise. He tore into wave after wave of hissing, snarling beasts, even as a crest tilted his head back as his jaw cracked, shifted, twisted—
An inner mouth propelled forward as if on a spring as his hands took both jaws of one interloper and snapped them apart— yet even as he did so, his magic was still with him, and it seemed to crackle down his body.
A jolt of magic charged down his tail (I have a tail?!) and he used it like a whip to swat the line of charging aliens. The moment it touched them, they burst into flames, screeching as their bodies crumpled and flew away from him before crashing against the far walls. Their guts spilled out in a slimy pile on the gangway, and the acid ate through the floor like it was nothing but onionskin parchment.
Severus let out a roaring hiss-scream as the large, elongated crest completed to shield his brain and his mouth opened in a crystalline snarl as his inner mouth snapped forward.
I will kill every single one of you to get to her, you bastards!
His screeching roar was met with the badda-badda-badda of gun fire as others found his antagonists with human weapons.
Severus' lips pulled back from his many, many crystalline teeth.
Thank you for making my job a little easier.
"Captain, 71-D is free!"
"The aliens attacked the containment unit! I think they were trying to kill him?"
"No, that's simply not possible," one of the scientists said importantly. "The only thing that could possibly cause a praetorian molt is if there was an active queen!"
"What are you talking about, Connelly?"
"We don't have an active queen on this ship!" the scientist said. "Only dormant DNA taken from the corpse of the queen found in Antarctica!"
"Didn't you inject those plebs with that DNA hoping one of them would take to it in your fucking experiments?" the irritated soldier asked.
"That's just it, Captain, none of them ever took. It killed most of them!" Connelly exclaimed. "There was just the three that seemed somehow immune, and those were kept in cryo for future experiments!"
"Well, something is happening other than your utter failure to contain your damned specimen to the labs!" the captain snarled at the scientist. "I can't believe you thought putting thousands upon thousands of your failed experiments on ice in the very same damned ship where you store all the live face-fuckers!"
"Th-that wasn't my decision!"
"Of fucking course not. Who are you going to blame, the ones back there that you left to die as you closed the goddamned doors on them?"
The marine stormed off to the other side of the secured room, throwing up his hands in his disgusted anger. He disappeared around the corner as the hidden facehugger launched itself from the bookshelf onto Connelly's face with a disgusting shhhllorp sound.
Connelly bucked violently and tried to pry the thing off his face, his body beginning to succumb to the paralytic agent even as the alien's proboscis was thrust down his unwilling throat.
Hermione poked the spider-looking thing with a nearby glass rod, curiosity and disgust mixing in equal amounts. It looked somewhat like a crab with more legs than a spider and a long, almost rubbery tail. The underside looked slightly perverse, looking like a woman's privates with the addition of some sort of proboscis in the middle. It was almost as if someone had put it together by committee that'd been doped up with LSD.
Ron would probably run screaming, she thought to herself. The thought amused her, even as she knew other more obvious reasons would make any sort of reunion with him nigh impossible. Like having unforeseen spikes sprouting out of your back and your hands twist into— whatever the hell she was turning into.
She stared at her hands— and they were barely hands. They were more like talons, complete with hardened nails. And she had thought having bushy hair was a problem before. Hah!
She seemed to have gained a finger, bringing her total to six on each side. Her knuckles were knotted, and her tendons seemed to stick out. Her fingers were ribbed in places, looking a bit like barnacles on the surface of a whale's skin. She felt like she should be freaking out over the abrupt and unanticipated changes, but— again the emotion wasn't there. The closest thing to emotion she felt was the drive to find Severus, now that she knew he was alive.
The rest of her, for some reason, wanted to find someplace dark, warm, and humid, a startling contrast to what she had always desired before. She idly scratched her skin, her claws tearing at the pink flesh that was clinging to her. It was drying itchily, and it bothered her.
She heard the roaring screech resonating from somewhere— the sound distorted by walls and convoluted corridors. She closed her eyes, her head bobbing slightly as she felt a shudder of pleasure at the sound.
He was looking for her, just as she was seeking him. It comforted her, the closer he got the more at ease she felt despite all that was going on.
She wove her head back and forth, tilting it from side to side as she expanded her senses. She wasn't sure how she knew, how she even had such senses, yet the more she used them, the more right it felt, as if she should have had such things all alone and just hadn't been wise enough to know she could.
Given her hostile approach from the soldier— she took a moment to hide her newly-grown back spikes with a glamour as well as her disturbingly inhuman hands, at least she figured they were disturbing to most others. She personally found them oddly— comforting.
Her magic was still with her, and that was even more proof to her that things were not a nightmare, trapping her in an unknown space with nothing familiar to comfort her. If anything, she felt her magic even more clearly than ever, running through her body like a tangible pulse.
The lights were flickering or dead in almost every corridor, but Hermione didn't mind. She felt comforted by the dark. The light was too garish and annoying for her preference. War had taught her that. New instincts just reinforced that bit of hard-won wisdom.
She heard distant screams far away, but they were mere echoes that had traveled far to get to her. The old Hermione would have quickly run the other way, but she—
Severus was closer. She would not give up. She wanted to call out his name, but she didn't want to either warn others or distract him— and even that wondrous mental speech could delay him from responding from something fatal. She didn't want that. She would wait as she worked her way slowly towards his welcoming presence.
She wiped a bit of drool from her mouth. What was with that? She never had a drooling problem before. Now it was like she was a leaky kitchen faucet, and her drool was a lot like— well, slime. Even more strangely, it eased her intensely itchy skin, and she began to use it as a soothing balm to keep her from scratching herself raw.
She pressed her face against the metal wall, her mouth parted slightly as she rolled the scent along her tongue and towards the back of her throat. Scent tickled her there— and she smelled him: fresh herbs and that tinge of warm wool that she'd always thought was just his robes. Mixed within was a singular scent she couldn't quite place, but it moved her in lower places and made her wish to close the gap between them sooner rather than later so she could rub herself all over that exceptionally appealing scent.
Really, Hermione? You suddenly wake up in the rather distant future, genetically tampered with, and you want to go pounce Severus' bones?
No one said libido had to die just because you were cryofrozen before you could actually do anything about it. Gods only knew they had wanted to jump each other for quite some time, and things just kept getting in the way. Besides, he had been just as if not even more frustrated than she had been. Just when things would get to the point where she wanted to pull him down on top of her and scream for him to lose the robes— the store would send an urgent Patronus. Harry would want her to look over something for the Aurors. Ron would show up at her door to beg for yet another go and her poor abused libido would instantly tank to sub-zero no matter how hot it had been only moments before his arrival.
There was only so much the poor man could do to pique her interest after that trauma, and usually it was a just a tender cuddle as they watched Muggle movies at her PARENTS' place— the only place no one else would think to bother them. Needless to say, nothing hot or steamy was going to happen there, right in front of her parents. Cripes.
Gah, she was drooling again, a dribble of her slime leaking across the metal as she sniffed, practically rubbing her face against the wall.
Pull yourself together, Hermione!
Her eyes darted about, checking to see if anyone had seen her lapse into lust-fueled wall rubbing. How embarrassing.
A flash of silver caught her eye, and she followed the blur into the next room. The door was cockeyed and hanging off only one hinge. She eyed it somewhat suspiciously. She pressed her nose to the cold metal; there was no otherly scent to it. It was human and machine, like oil. She looked at the floor around the door and saw bent pieces of metal. Was it to keep the door open or keep it shut? Whatever the reason— it seemed to be failing at its job of being a opening and closing device.
There was another human body lying on the floor with its chest blown out, bits of gore around a vast hole where the sternum should be. It was not the way she ever would want to die, not that she'd ever get to pick her poison, as it were. Her ever-curious mind, however, wanted to know exactly where that creature was implanted— and why it chose the chest. Using the ribs as a natural defence until it didn't need them anymore?
Oh, hey, thanks for gestating me! I'm going to chew my way out now. No hard feelings!
A quick look around found a number of victims to the birthing of the newborn alien— and she frowned as the one on the table looked somewhat familiar. Curling dirty blonde hair and pale skin, oddly pink lips and empty blue eyes that stared out in absolute terror, even in death. She looked up on the flickering monitors.
Procedure: Implantation of alien embryo with injected mutagenics to encourage maximum absorption of xenomorph DNA
Experiment # 42-B-AQI-71F
Procedure: Removal of live embryo from ovomorph before facehugger released.
Experiment # 88-32-FQX-23R
Hermione's eyes flicked across the monitors. Lots of experiments had happened in this particular lab, more so than the first room she had been in. Her gaze hardened as she realised that Lavender Brown had not been spared both kidnapping and forcible experimentation on her person. Despite their history, Hermione had not had hard feelings against Lavender. Lavender had truly loved Ron, and had Ron not repeatedly used the girl to get a rise out of Hermione, she could have seen them together for real, making a slew of pale-skinned, ginger-haired children.
She hadn't deserved this, however.
She wondered if Ron was somewhere here too, tubed away in cryosleep— experimented on for the future's biowarfare weapons of mass destruction.
She picked up a scattered folder from the floor, thumbing through it.
The test subjects from the Weasley batch (the Brits) are all reacting very strangely to the experiments. As you know 71C and 72D showed no sign of mutation at all, save for not responding to the mutagen and DNA injections. 71E showed bizarre mutations when exposed to Rutherford's cat, and she escaped the lab when the alarms first went off. I told you doing simultaneous testing on the same day was a bad idea! 71F had some sort of violent reaction to the mutagen after the implantation process. Everything seemed to take well for the first day, but then she birthed the damn chestburster. We managed to contain the creature in the preservation fluid, but that trigger-happy moron, Gunther, went and shot it up and got four other people acid burned— and some of it got on the locking mechanism for the eggs. Gunther says he's handling it, and he locked us all in the lab. If you get this, I hope your piss burns like sulfuric acid for an entire year.
Hermione tilted her head. The drama in this ruddy space opera just kept getting better and better. She pulled a sheet over poor Lavender's body, closing her eyes in respect for her death. While her emotions might be broken, she had never wished for Lavender to die to an alien birthing itself through her ribcage.
Something hissed behind her, and she whirled to see a sleek black alien hissing at a very familiar silver tabby with a distinctively not-so-feline black, alien spade-tail. They seemed to be in a kind of stand off— the much larger xenomorph looming over the smaller un-cat. The larger alien snapped, its inner mouth coming inches from the un-cat's face. The almost-feline hissed in response, its smaller secondary mouth snapping outward in a defensive snarl.
It was such a familiar response sans the second mouth—
"Minerva," Hermione called softly, and the silver tabby alien jerked her head, looking up at her with very wide eyes.
The other alien hissed, looking like it was going to take advantage.
"STOP!" Hermione said, but it came out as a sort of low-grade snarling hiss instead of words. Her jaw cracked as it lowered and her tongue was replaced by a rigid inner mouth. Her magic flared around her body, arcs of lightning dancing across her skin. Her glamour dropped as her rage distracted her from maintaining it, and her body lurched as her anger fueled whatever mutations were taking over her body. She felt her teeth jutting outward, yanked from their roots as they reformed. Her jaw cracked and dangled as drool dripped, fibrous tendons closed the gaps between her upper and lower mandibles like sleek bands. Her gums pushed outward as her teeth twisted up and out from the roots into clear, vicious daggers. Her wild, bushy hair fell out completely as her skull seemed to move, grow, crack, and reform into the beginnings of an elongated crest.
She roared at the one who would dare challenge her authority, the very walls vibrating with her anger.
The drone flattened itself fully against the ground, hissing as its lips quivered across its transparent teeth. It drooled and simpered, extending its inner mouth in a soft clack, clack, clack of begged apology.
Hermione cupped the small feline in one six-fingered hand and pulled her close to her chest, hissing a clear warning at the drone. She very purposely drool-rubbed against Minerva, getting her scent all over her. Minerva seemed to instinctively understand the gesture, and she rubbed against her back, helping the process along. The physical contact sent a rush of pure pleasure through Hermione and her body quaked as her head crest grew even longer, expanding like a shield to protect her brain. Curving spikes grew from her elbows as more of her abused human skin and flesh fell away in a slough.
Understanding passed between them without words. Hermione knew that Minerva now knew everything she did— but she also saw where the feline-alien mutant had been keeping herself for weeks— slinking around in the darkness, relatively safe in the Animagus form that had now become more than just her Animagus form.
The drone crawl-slithered up to her, rubbing against her. It hissed, rubbed, slathering its own slime against her, its hands cautiously stroking her back in appeasement.
It rubbed and crooned and begged its forgiveness as it devoted itself utterly to her service.
Hermione felt a peculiar sense of… rightness about it. Belonging. Unquestioned loyalty, unfettered by power struggles or politics of any kind.
Or die, a small part of her old self whinged.
Is that not what evolution is? she asked herself, to which she got no answer.
Her newfound instincts had no room left for such selfish, petty human thoughts as to whether or not it was forgivable simply to survive. She was a survivor, and she would survive this. She had a right to long before this— company—decided to take her life and attempt to shape it into something for their benefit.
She hissed, a strand of transparent drool dripping from her mouth as her blackened lips quivered over her crystalline teeth. They had wanted her to become their weapon, and she was indeed a weapon. First she had been forged into a weapon of magic, and now she becoming the very beast they sought to tame.
The very things they wanted to instill in their warriors was by its very nature too intelligent to accept the yoke of some commander that had no investment in the species on a genetic level. The aliens survived because they lived and died for the next generation, the ultimate route to true immortality. If they had been human, this philosophy would protect the women and children— and even that humanity had seemed to screw up through various events in history. Why would the future be any different—
As the mutilated bodies of both women and men littered this place—
And children, her memory reminded her. There were even children trapped inside the cryotubes.
Hermione hissed, and her knowledge went to Minerva and the drone— to Severus— to the alien beast that had protected her from the soldier. Where she had been, what she had seen, things she had smelled. All of it flowed from her to hers, like blood to her organs. She cradled Minerva and transferred her to her shoulder, and the xeno-cat perched on her back between her back blades, her tail twitching back and forth like a whip.
"Warning, emergency landing sequence engaged. Atmospheric protocols enforced. Caution: immediately put on respirators and strap yourself into the landing harnesses. Warning, emergency landing sequence engaged…"
The detached female voice flooded and echoed through the rooms and corridors.
Hermione lowered her head, her lips quivering over her teeth. We're on a ship. Out in space.
Hermione hissed, and the drone next to her promptly leapt into action, diving out of the room and through the door in a flash of sleek black. Her fingers flexed and curled one by one as her neck extended. The soldiers, scientists, and other survivors would be leaving the ship soon— and most likely setting it to flames the very moment they left, burning all the evidence of their mistake.
They could certainly try.
What did Alastor used to say? The truth will out?
Hermione looked at the changed monitors on the walls— all of them happily displaying the detailed blueprint layouts of the ship and how to get to the evacuation point.
She grinned, tilted her back her head, and let out a long, piercing screech.
"What the fuck was that?!" the man screamed as he held his head. The sound was like a scream or a screech, but it seemed to sound off everywhere at once— as many voices joined into the sound, from everywhere at once.
The entire ship jolted as it shuddered through the atmosphere, and the soldiers tightly gripped their guns even as the straps held them fast against their seats. The panicked science staff could only hold on to their straps and pray that they made it through and that the ship didn't have any flaws that would cause the entire ship to explode during the process of going through the atmosphere.
They all shook and gasped together as the ship violently lurched and bucked, and they all felt their ribs try to crush themselves against the straps. The soldiers released themselves first.
"Come on, let's move out!" the leader barked, cutting the straps of the people who were taking far too long to get themselves out or where the straps had malfunctioned due to their landing, fusing the mechanism.
"Let's go, let's go, get moving!"
They staggered out the pressure hatch, the last one slamming their hand on the switch to shift the pressure and open the door to the outside.
Steamy jungle humidity greeted them and they rushed forward—
Only to have the port door slam shut.
"Mother, open the emergency doors!" someone yelled.
"Unable to comply," the female computer voice announced. "All doors have been sealed due to alien infestation protocol 15-A-24-B. Doors will remain sealed until infestation is removed."
"Mother! OPEN THE GODDAMN DOORS!"
"Unable to comply."
One of the soldiers let out a panicked yell and started shooting repeatedly at the door.
"What the FUCK, man?!"
"There's one of those things out there!" The leader pushed the soldier aside and peered out the viewing portal.
Multiple rows of dripping crystalline teeth were all he saw. The alien's head pulled back, exposing the distinctive high crest of the praetorian xenomorph— the elite guard that guarded the queens. The alien pulled back further, standing just far enough to—
"That fucker just waved at me!"
"Impossible. Beasts do not wave!" They looked out the hatch door as the massive bulk of the praetorian was met by the terrifying shape of the alien queen mother, her body glistening as the drones rubbed up against her and the praetorian— countless in number. In their arms were the limp bodies of the cyro-victims, all removed from their sleep.
The alien queen snarled ferociously, her inner mouth extending in silent menace as she retracted her inner mouth and very deliberately held up one hand, two fingers lifted in a very distinctive V. As she turned and walked off into the misty jungle, her praetorian following in her wake, the drones descended upon the ship and began to cover it completely in resin, ensuring that the infestation protocol was never lifted.
"No, Nathan," the wizened old man said, putting his hand on the young boy's shoulder. "We do not ever pass the river."
"But grandfather, why?" the boy complained. "I saw the deer cross the river."
"We do not intrude upon the domain of the black ghosts, Nathan. They protect us from harm, but we must obey their rules. Those who cross the river will not return." The old man looked at the boy sternly.
"But nothing ever happens here, grandfather," Nathan whinged.
"It is a gift that this is so," the old man reminded him.
"But I have never seen any of the black ghosts," the boy complained. "How do we even know they are real? Besides, Annie crossed the river and she came back okay!"
"She is but a young child, and She-Who-Survives knows the difference between innocent children and the defiant youth," his grandfather warned. "And you are certainly old enough to know to listen to your elders."
"You talk about that ghost like she's some kind of goddess," Nathan said. "Gods aren't real." He stuck out his chin, crossing his arms stubbornly.
"It would be a shame to see your parents' hard work in providing you with a nice, long childhood, only to see you taking your first steps towards adulthood by embracing death, Nathan. Now, hunt on this side of the river and bring some food back to your family."
Nathan frowned and said nothing, but he jerked his head once in response.
He watched his grandfather walk slowly back to the village— back to the peaceful life that held no excitement for him anymore. Nathan desperately wanted to see what lay beyond. The old tales said that the black ghosts were lead by a creature that had carved apart a sky ship and helped the original survivors build their village. The tales said the ship had carried the original victims of a great and greedy corporation, a sort of big business with way too much money and power, and that the black ghosts willingly gave the lush and more fertile side of the river to the colonists to build their family farms on. Meanwhile, the supposed dense and inhospitable jungle on the other side was very much off limits.
Nathan fidgeted. If a deer could go across, well, then so could he.
He made sure his grandfather wasn't still on the trail, and he hopped the larger river stones to get to the other side. Grandfather didn't have to know which side the deer had come from.
He followed the trail easily, having always been a good tracker, but the deer seemed to have sped up instead of slowing down, dragging him father on the trail than he would have liked.
He wasn't really sure how much time had passed, but the twin suns had gone from high in the sky to low enough that he could no longer see them through the dense jungle foliage.
He was so focused on following the trail that he literally tripped over the deer he had been tracking. Its chest had— exploded outward, bits of blood, gore, and pulverised organs oozing out of the massive hole. He stumbled backwards, horrified, feeling his stomach lurch just before he threw up all over his shoes.
He'd hunted for years now, but—
Never, never had he ever seen such a violent, explosive death in an animal. He always shot to kill as cleanly as possible. Predators that stalked the rainforest jungles tended to go for the throat, but this—
This looked like something had burst out of the poor creature from the inside.
The shadows moved and shifted in the dense foliage, and there was a low hiss. Nathan stumbled backwards, and he slipped in a patch of highly slick slime. He stared at his soiled hands in terror, frantically trying to wipe the viscous goo off just as quickly as he could.
The low hiss became louder, this time from multiple sides. Dark, glistening shadow-things stepped out of the shadows. They crouched like a man, but they were not men. Drool ran from their mouths as their jaws parted exposing a second, fanged mouth. Their heads were elongated back, and their backs had perplexing tube-like formations. Long, sinuous tails whipped behind them, bony ridges linked together by some unholy combination of ligament and flesh that looked a merging of mechanical and organic— like it shouldn't exist at all.
Nathan screamed, and he ran.
He ran and kept running even when his lungs screamed at him to stop and his legs tried to give out. He tripped, slicing up his skin, but he pulled himself up and ran again, crying, wailing, gasping for breath as he ran.
His lungs burned.
His body was on fire.
But he couldn't stop running.
When he ran back into the village, his body torn up and bleeding as he locked himself away in his room, his grandfather walked down to the river, carrying a deer over his shoulders. He walked across the cold water and lay the deer down on the opposite bank.
He lit a stick of incense, sticking it carefully into the arrow hole so it would not set the forest to flame.
"Thank you, She-Who-Survives, for letting my foolhardy grandson learn humility," he said closing his eyes.
When he opened them again, the dark, shiny jaws of the xenomorph stood before him, body oh-so-dark and malevolent-looking as the day he had first seen them— a day much like today for his grandson when he had not believed his father, either.
The xenomorph hissed lowly, grasping the food offering in its arms, and dragged it away, leaving him standing alone.
He swallowed hard and took in a deep breath. "And thank you for my life as well."
Severus growled and rubbed up against Hermione, his body moving to embrace his mate, and she hissed in pleasure as he stroked her body with his.
Did you scare him adequately? Hermione asked, a chuckle in her mind voice.
Do I ever disappoint you? Severus said, rubbing his muzzle against hers with a hiss.
Never, my love, she replied, enjoying his attentions.
He hissed, growling when some of the drones got a little too close to his queen when it was his time with her. They skittered hurriedly out of the way, hissing apologies, wishing only to reinforce her scent upon them— her claim upon their very existence.
Minerva bat-bopped Severus on the crest, giving him a playful hiss, and the praetorian growled, managing a rather impressive alien "scowl."
Hermione scooped the xeno-cat up in her arms and pet her sleek, black body— her transformation having erased the silvery fur and replaced it with pure xenomorph skin.
Minerva seemed to exude an air of utter smugness, knowing that because Hermione favoured her, even Severus couldn't admonish her cheek.
The un-cat jumped down, disappearing down the tunnel that led out of the queen's chambers, leaving them alone.
Severus crooned lowly, realising Minerva had sensed other things were on the venue, and the other warriors and drones vacated the premises as he rubbed up against her, his body sliding against hers with a sensuous vibration.
Hermione pouted. "You just like my ovipositor," she complained.
"I like you filled with our children, yes," he confirmed. "As you like having me fertilise you, my beautiful mate."
His inner mouth slid out, sliding against her as his hands stroked her back in just the right places.
She shuddered, letting out a blissful hiss. "Most females would ask their mate if they would still love them if they were fat— or at least think it," she said.
"And what does my mate wish to ask of me, hrrrrrmmmm?"
"Will you love me when my body is connected to a giant egg-spewing ovipositor?"
Severus nuzzled her, hissing in pleasure. "Always."
A/N: Glory to Dragon and the Rose for staying up past her expiry date to beta this fic!
As for where this fic came from… Pianomouse challenged me to put our favourite couple in space. My brain said there had to be monsters. Monsters + space = Giger Aliens. Hissssssss.
I hope you liked it, pianomouse!