Huntress of the Moon
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Wolf
Her name was Artemis Moon.
Her life was an ordinary one—she was your typical seventeen-year-old girl, she was simple in looks with brown hair and brown eyes, but she was great in heart. She had a best friend known as Stiles, she lived alone with her divorced mother in the little town called Beacon Hills, and worked part-time to help pay for the bills, and she had goals and dreams for her life. She sold handmade jewelry online during school holidays, and during the semester, she worked part-time at the local vet clinic. She liked to play lacrosse for her high school, but frequently got benched. This year, all of that was going to change, she just knew it.
On the last night of summer vacation, right before the start of her junior year of high school, she was mending her lacrosse net when she heard a noise. Because of the late hour and because her mother was currently working the graveyard shift at the local hospital, Artemis felt slightly afraid. She grabbed her baseball bat and quietly snuck down to the porch, fully prepared to give whatever burglar was sneaking around a good whacking, when Stiles suddenly appeared, hanging upside-down from the roof. They both ended up screaming for a few moments until they realized who they were screaming at and just stared at each other.
"Stiles, what the heck are you doing?" yelled Artemis.
"You weren't answering your phone!" said Stiles. He stared in confusion at her baseball bat. "Why do you have a bat?"
Artemis sighed in exasperation. She'd turned off her cell phone because she'd been charging it, and then he'd snuck in and scared her half to death. Why did he think she had the bat? "I thought you were a predator!" And why the heck hadn't he just called her house phone?
Stiles just laughed. "Me? A predator? Seriously, Arty?"
Artemis narrowed her eyes. Stiles may have been her best friend since kindergarten, but that didn't mean he didn't occasionally get on Artemis's nerves. She put down the baseball bat, reached over and smacked the back of Stiles' head with her hand.
"Ow! What was that for?" asked Stiles.
"For scaring me half to death, you idiot," she snapped. "Now, get down from there before you fall and give yourself a concussion." He'd better have a good reason for this or I'm going to kill him.
Stiles climbed down from the roof.
"Now, what are you doing here?" she asked.
"I thought you might like one last summer vacation adventure," said Stiles, looking excited. "I saw my dad leave twenty minutes ago." Stiles' father was the town's sheriff. "Dispatch called. They're bringing in every officer in Beacon Hills and even state police. Two joggers found someone in the woods."
"And by someone, you mean that the person is—?"
Stiles nodded. "Dead as a doornail. They don't know much yet, other than it's a girl in her twenties. But that's not the worst part. They didn't quite find all of her, if you get what I mean."
Artemis grimaced. She got it. "And let me guess, we're going?" As if she needed to ask.
"Duh," said Stiles, grinning. "Come on. Get your coat and grab your flashlight. We're going."
Sighing and yet smiling, Artemis grabbed her coat and then followed Stiles to his jeep. Soon, they came to the woods and parked just outside of it. They then got out of the car, switched on their flashlights and began their trek through the forest.
"Remind me again, why we're doing this?" said Artemis, as she zipped up her coat and put on her hood to block out the chilly autumn air and rainfall.
"You're the one who's always complaining that nothing ever happens in this town," said Stiles.
"You say that too," said Artemis. "Besides, I was trying to get a good night's sleep before practice tomorrow."
"Right, because sitting on the bench is such hard work."
"Well, maybe I'll get to actually play instead of being benched for once," said Artemis. She and Stiles had been benched in lacrosse during both freshmen and sophomore year. Artemis wanted to change that and actually play. Lacrosse in Beacon Hills was like basketball in New York. "I want to try and make first line."
"Well good for you, Arty. Everyone should have a dream, even a pathetically unrealistic one," said Stiles, jokingly.
Artemis rolled her eyes, but she chuckled. "You never know. If I get on first line, maybe you'll actually go to the Winter Formal with Lydia Martin for once." Lydia Martin was their school's Teen Queen—beautiful, popular, intelligent, a total snob and girlfriend of the lacrosse captain. Stiles had had a crush on her since elementary school. Why, Artemis had no idea. "Oh, and just out of curiosity, did it never occur to you that whatever killed that girl might still be out here?"
"Nope," said Stiles.
Artemis chuckled again as they climbed up one of the hills in the woods. "It's comforting to know you've planned this with your usual attention to detail."
"I know," said Stiles, excitedly.
"Stop for a second, I need to catch my breath," said Artemis. She was finding it hard to breathe and needed a rest. She leaned against a tree before pulling out her inhaler, shaking it and then taking her asthma medication. Artemis had had severe asthma for years, which was part of the reason she rarely played lacrosse for her team, despite her efforts to do otherwise.
"Feel better?" asked Stiles, after a few moments.
She nodded and then her eyes widened in slight fear. "Uh, Stiles, we'd better hide."
"Why? What's the—oh," said Stiles. He turned around to see the police with flashlights and dogs not too far away. If they were caught, Stiles would be grounded for life or locked up in prison. Sometimes it stunk having a cop for a dad. However, instead of hiding, Stiles actually just looked excited. "Come on, Arty!"
"Stiles, wait up!" said Artemis. She struggled to keep up with him as he took off. She ended up hiding behind a tree when Stiles got startled by a dog and caught by a cop and his dad. She listened in on their conversation and kept hoping she wouldn't be caught too. If it was just Stiles, the sheriff would be merciful. Two delinquents and he'd be mad as a bull that saw red.
"Hang on, hang on, this little delinquent belongs to me," said Sheriff Stilinski.
"Hi, Dad, how're you doing?" said Stiles, trying to sound casual, as though this was completely unexpected.
Sheriff Stilinski wasn't fooled, though. "So, do you listen in on all my phone calls?"
"No. Not the boring ones," said Stiles.
Not the boring ones? Stiles, seriously! thought Artemis. You couldn't think of a better excuse than that? We're so busted!
"And where's your usual partner in crime?" asked Sheriff Stilinski.
"Who, Artemis? She's at home. She said she wanted to get a good night's sleep before the first day back at school tomorrow," said Stiles. "It's just me out here."
I owe you one, Stiles.
As if he was checking for proof, Sheriff Stilinski aimed his flashlight and yelled out against the rumbling thunder, "Artemis, you out there? Artemis?"
"Dad, I told you. She's at home," said Stiles. "Artemis is not here."
"But you are. And you, young man, are going to walk with me back to your car and when I get home tonight, we're going to have a long talk about invasion of privacy," said Sheriff Stilinski.
Artemis could hear him being dragged away almost kicking and screaming. She so owed Stiles for covering her like this.
As soon as the coast was clear, Artemis began heading home. She shivered, but whether it was from cold or fear, she didn't know. She hated these woods at night as it always made her think of the scary movies she and Stiles watched on Halloween. Why had she let Stiles talk her into going out on one of his crazy adventures? Oh, that's right. Because he was her best friend and practically her brother and they always stuck together.
Still, the sooner she was out of the woods, the better. Feeling frightened, Artemis put her flashlight in her pocket, pulled out her inhaler and one of her anxiety pills (Artemis had panic attacks) and after swallowing the pill dry, she was about to take another breath through her inhaler when suddenly, she heard a loud rumbling and it wasn't thunder.
Before Artemis could react, she found herself dropping her inhaler as countless deer ran all over. She was caught in the middle of a stampede and tried not to get herself killed until it ended. Her heart was pounding as she shakily stood up and began looking for her inhaler.
Instead of finding her inhaler, she found the poor dead girl. Artemis let out a startled scream before she backed up in fear and tripped. She fell down a hill and ended up with some bruises as she hit some trees on her way down.
That's it. The next time Stiles asks me to go with him on one of this crazy stunts of his, I'm telling him no. I'm going to need therapy and sleeping medication after this.
She dusted herself off and tried to go on her way, only to stop in her tracks when her blood ran cold at the sound of something behind her growling.Against her better judgment, she turned around and was shocked by what she saw.
It was a wolf. Not the kind she'd seen in animal documentaries and books, but the scariest type of wolf she'd ever seen. It was huge with black fur, dripping fangs and glowing red eyes. Worse, it was headed straight for her.
Oh, crap. Oh, crap!
Before she could run, the wolf leapt onto her and bit her side before taking off into the woods. She managed to run a short distance before the pain became too much for her to bear and she collapsed to the ground.
The last thing Artemis saw before succumbing to unconsciousness was a face she hadn't seen in six years before he took her into his arms and hearing a wolf's howl in the distance.
When Artemis woke up, she was in her room, on her bed. Surprisingly enough, her bite wound was bandaged, and there was a note sticking out from under her pillow that read the following.
Just to keep you from freaking out, I thought I'd let you know that I found you in the woods after you passed out and I took you home. Your wound will be fine. Don't worry. Your mom doesn't know anything, and I'm watching over you. Take care of yourself, Huntress of the Moon. See you soon.
Artemis couldn't help but smile. Her old friend had come back, just like he'd promised. Though they'd kept infrequent contact through e-mails and phone calls, she'd missed him greatly.
Quite happy and even a bit excited, she quickly got ready for school. After adjusting the necklace he'd given her for her birthday years ago that she'd never taken off, which was a simple crescent moon with diamonds and sapphires and a tiny star, before she headed out for the day. She met up with Stiles after parking her bike outside of the school.
"Hey, Arty!" said Stiles.
"Hey, Stiles," said Artemis. She tried to restrain a wince when the school's number one jerk, Jackson Whittmore, bumped into her on her purpose and hit her bite wound and failed miserably. Jackson was the guy all the girls wanted at school—popular, good-looking and lacrosse captain. But to those who were lower in the school's caste system, he was a complete jerk and not to mention, a total idiot in Artemis's opinion.
"Jackson didn't hit you that hard," said Stiles, looking concerned. "What's with the wince?"
"I got bit by an animal last night and that jerk just hit it," said Artemis, sounding irritated as they walked up to the front steps. "I was on my way back when a stampede of deer nearly hit me, I dropped my inhaler and while I was looking for it, I saw the body."
Stiles looked excited. "You saw the body? Are you kidding me?"
"I wish. I'm going to have nightmares for a month. I was so freaked out when I saw that poor girl that I only looked at her for a second before I fell down a hill," said Artemis. "That's when I saw the thing that bit me."
"And what did bite you?"
"It was pretty dark out, but I'm pretty sure it was a wolf," she admitted. "It was huge with these freaky eyes and it bit me before it took off. I even heard a wolf howling."
Stiles just laughed. "A wolf? That's impossible, Arty. There haven't been wolves in this state in over sixty years. There's no way you were bitten by a wolf, much less heard a wolf howling last night."
Artemis just shrugged. She was sure it was a wolf, but if Stiles was right, then maybe she was mistaken. "Well, whatever it was; it sure as heck wasn't friendly. I didn't even do anything to make it mad and it attacked me."
"Animals are crazy. And anyway, considering what you saw and you got jumped, you're in an awfully good mood. So, 'fess up, what else happened last night?" asked Stiles.
"Oh, well, Derek's back," said Artemis, smiling.
Stiles' eyes widened as he stopped in his tracks. "Derek as in Derek Hale?" he said. "He's back? Are you serious?"
"As a heart attack," said Artemis. "I woke up this morning in my room with my wound bandaged and I found this under my pillow." She handed him the note. "Apparently, he found me and took me home last night."
"So, you got attacked and rescued by your Prince Charming," teased Stiles.
Artemis turned red. "Shut up," she said. The bell then rang. "Come on, let's get to class. I'm buying us both some pie at lunch today since you covered for me last night."
Stiles looked quite happy. "Let's hope it's apple they're serving today. Apple's my favorite."
"And if they're not serving it for lunch, then I'll buy us one big apple pie on Friday and we'll split it," said Artemis. Friday nights were reserved for movies and studying at either Stiles' or Artemis's house with junk food and fun.
"You're the best, Artemis," said Stiles, as they went to class.
During class that day, Artemis quickly discovered something was either really wrong or completely impossible, she wasn't sure which. She was hearing sounds she shouldn't have been able to hear like heartbeats and the school's new student, a very pretty and nice young girl, talking on her cell phone outside before she met with the principal came into the classroom.
After class, Artemis was at her locker when she heard the new girl struggling to open hers. Artemis walked over to her.
"Excuse me, do you need some help?" she asked.
"Yes, actually, I do," said Alison.
She stepped back, Artemis gave the locker door some quick knocks and then it opened.
"Thanks. How'd you do that?"
"I had this locker last year. It can be pretty stubborn sometimes, but if you knock on it in the right places, it cooperates," said Artemis. It was a piece of junk, and Artemis had no idea why the school principal wouldn't just replace it.
"Well, thanks. I'm Alison Argent," she said. "I just moved here from San Francisco."
"Nice to meet you. I'm Artemis Moon," said Artemis. Alison seemed really nice. Artemis thought she might actually gain a female friend her own age for once. Being one of the school nerds, Artemis's only friend in the school was Stiles. "So, what brings you to our little town of Beacon Hills?"
"My family moves around a lot for work. This is our latest stop," said Alison.
"Cool," said Artemis. She always wondered what it was like to travel so much. "Well, Beacon Hills isn't quite like San Francisco, but it has its moments. I think you might like it here."
Just then, Lydia came up to them, or rather she came up to Alison and looked longing at Alison's leather jacket.
"That jacket is killer," said Lydia. "Where'd you get it?"
"Hi, Lydia," said Artemis. "Alison, this is Lydia Martin. Lydia, I assume you've already know who Alison is?" Not only was Lydia the school's Teen Queen, but she was also the biggest gossip and the nosiest person Artemis knew of.
Lydia barely gave Artemis a second glance. "I'm not talking to you, Moon. So, Alison, where did you get your jacket?"
"My mom was a boutique buyer in San Francisco," said Alison.
"And you are my new best friend," said Lydia.
Why does that not surprise me? Having known the girl for years, Lydia just proved to Artemis that she was a total self-centered and shallow twit who cared more for her popularity and what people thought of her that actually compassion and kindness. To make things all the more perfect, Jackson came up and quickly pecked Lydia on the lips before turning to Alison.
"Hey, there's a party on Friday. Want to come?" asked Jackson.
"Friday? Sorry, I can't. It's family night on Friday," said Alison, apologetically. "But if I do manage to come, can I bring Artemis?"
"Yeah, sure," said Jackson. But the look in his eyes said otherwise. "So, hope to see both you lovely ladies then. Come on, Lydia. I've got practice in a few minutes and I want you to watch."
Artemis was glad when they both left.
"Holy crap. They were…are they always like that?" asked Alison, as they walked down the hall.
"Pretty much. Lydia's a gossip and kind of stuck-up. But she's nice to those she likes, which will include you. Jackson's captain of the lacrosse team. Lacrosse is this town's main sport. We've won the state championship for the last three years because of him," said Artemis. "Jackson's a big jerk to those he thinks are beneath him, myself and my friend Stiles being some of them."
"Thanks for the warning. I'll stay away from him," said Alison. "Do you actually want to go to that party?"
"Not really. I've heard what they say about parties like those. Besides, Stiles and I have plans. What about you? Was family night a lie or do you actually have plans then?" asked Artemis.
"Family night was a total lie, but I didn't know what else to say. I don't want to go either," admitted Alison. "Anyway, since lacrosse is this town's sport, do you play lacrosse?"
"I'd like to play here, but I keep getting benched. If I'm lucky, I might be able to change all of that this year. If not, I'll just keep Stiles company on the bench," said Artemis. "Do you want to watch? Practice starts in a few minutes."
"Yeah, sure," said Alison. She looked almost excited. "You know, Artemis, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship."
Artemis smiled as they headed out.
At practice, Stiles kept trying to talk to Artemis about her desire to play while she was trying to quell the butterflies in her stomach she had from nervousness. Coach Finstock had just told her what to do in practice and now she was completely dreading it as she'd never done it before.
"But if you do end up playing, I'll have no one to talk to on the bench," said Stiles.
"Stiles, relax. I said I was going to try to make first line, that doesn't mean I actually will. Besides, you might get a shot at playing this year too," said Artemis. "I've got to go. Coach Finstock wants me to be the goalie to give the boys a confidence boost." Sometimes being the only weak girl on a team full of strong boys really stank.
She went over to the goalie's net, fully equipped and prepared for anything, except for how painful the sound of Coach Finstock's whistle was to her ears. She was cringing in agony. What was with her today? In her pain, she failed to pay attention to her surroundings and managed to catch the first ball with her face, much to the team's amusement.
Deciding not to let that happen again, Artemis took a defensive stance and prepared for the target practice. Much to her surprise, everything seemed to slow down. She could see every movement perfectly and somehow had enough time to catch every single one of the balls that came her way, whether they came from a high angle or low. She even caught the ball that Jackson tossed at her with a running stance. That earned her a loud round of applause and a whooping cheer from Stiles who yelled out, "That's my best friend! Go, Artemis!"
Artemis felt excited and even a little proud of herself.
Later that day as she and Stiles went through the woods to find her inhaler, she told him what it had been like for her.
"It was completely amazing. It was like that scene in the Spider-Man film, you know, where he's fighting Flash Thompson? Suddenly, I had all the time in the world to catch the balls," said Artemis, as they crossed the forest stream. "And that's not the only weird thing. I can hear, see and smell things that I shouldn't be able to."
"Like what?" asked Stiles, curiously.
"Like, I heard Alison talking on her cell phone to her mom before she came into class today and I can smell the mint gum you've got in your pocket," said Artemis.
"What are you talking about? I don't have any—oh," said Stiles. He'd just checked his pocket and found a spare strip of his favorite mint gum, just as Artemis had said. "This is weird, but the good kind of weird, because you were awesome in practice today. First line's definitely yours, I know it."
Artemis just shrugged. "Thanks, but I won't know for sure until Coach decides after practice tomorrow."
"Don't even worry about it. You've got it," said Stiles, firmly. "So, all this started after you got bit last night, right?"
She nodded. "Part of me is glad this is happening, and the other part of me is really freaked out. What if this is just some kind of infection from whatever bit me and I'm just full of adrenaline until I go into shock or something?"
"I highly doubt you're going into shock or whatever. But I think you do actually have an infection. I've heard of it before. It happens once a month and it's called lycanthropy," said Stiles.
Artemis just rolled her eyes. "Very funny, Stiles," she said. Lycanthropy was a term for the curse of the werewolf.
Stiles made a little wolf howl and laughed as they walked. "It's true, Artemis, you're a freaking awesome werewolf! Good thing I've got lots of silver to melt down, because Friday's a full moon."
Artemis laughed too, but she still shook her head. "You're crazy. Now, help me find my inhaler. It costs eighty bucks and I'd rather not have to tell my mom I have to buy a new one." She frowned when they began rifling through the leaves on the ground, but found nothing. "I could've sworn I dropped it around here." Had she been mistaken? After all, it had been a dark and stormy night when she'd dropped it.
"Why am I not surprised to find you here, Huntress?" said a voice.
Artemis spun around to see that standing before her, was Derek Hale. He looked older, but that was only to be expected. It had been six years, after all, and he was a bit older than Artemis. He was a little taller, his black hair was untidy, he had stubble, and he was completely decked out in black. He even wore a black leather jacket. He was incredibly handsome and the sight of him made Artemis's heart pound.
"Derek? Holy cow, it's great to see you," said Artemis, smiling as she hugged him.
"Likewise," said Derek, returning the smile and the hug. He nodded stiffly at Stiles. "Stilinski."
"Derek," said Stiles.
Stiles and Derek had never been terribly good friends, even though Artemis was good friends with them both. The only reason they even made an effort to even try to get along was because of their shared friendship with her.
"Down boys. Thanks for taking me home last night, Derek. But why didn't you tell me you were coming back?" asked Artemis. "Did you just get into town?"
"It was a spur of the moment decision and I just got here late last night," said Derek. Concern crossed his incredible blue eyes. "How're you feeling, by the way? You were pretty banged up last night when I found you."
"I'm fine. I'm feeling a lot better. We're just looking for my inhaler. I dropped it last night before you found me. Have you seen it?" asked Artemis.
Derek handed Artemis her inhaler after taking it out of his jacket pocket. "I found it this morning. I was on my way to give it to you."
Artemis sighed in relief as she pocketed it. "Thanks. I owe you one."
"Not a problem," said Derek.
"So, are you here long-term or are you just visiting?" asked Artemis.
"Long-term, hopefully. It depends on if my plans pan out," said Derek. "Are you busy Friday night? Perhaps we could catch up then."
"Stiles and I have our movie night on Friday," said Artemis. "But you can come if you want."
"I'll swing by when I can," said Derek. He handed her a slip of paper with a phone number on it. "You can reach me at this number. I'll see you later, Huntress."
"Wow," said Stiles, after Derek had left. "He really is back and he's given you his cell phone number after more or less asking you on a date. I wonder why?"
"Shut up. He was not asking me out. I'll have to ask him about why he's back later, because I've got to get to work," said Artemis, as she stored the number on her phone's speed dial. "Come on, let's go. I don't want to be late for work."
At the vet clinic's that night, after Artemis had fed the animals and the vet's was closed for the day, she was staying behind to lock up as a favor. She'd just finished sweeping the floors and locking the doors when she decided to redress her bite wound in the bathroom. But when she lifted up her shirt and pulled off the bandage, she was stunned.
"What in the heck?" she muttered.
Her wound was healed. No, not healed, gone. There wasn't even a mark, which was completely impossible. What was going on? Could Stiles be right about the lycanthropy?
A frantic-sounding knock on the door snapped her out of her thoughts. She went to the front door to find Alison in hysterics and soaked from the pouring rain of that evening.
"Alison, what's wrong?" asked Artemis.
"It was an accident. I took my eyes off the road for two seconds to change the song on my iPod and this dog just came out of nowhere," said Alison, hysterically.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Alison, calm down, it's okay," soothed Artemis. "Slow down and take a deep breath. Do you have the dog with you or should I send Animal Control to find it?"
"Yes. No. It's in the trunk of my car," said Alison, after she took a moment to calm down.
Artemis followed Alison to her car where she opened the trunk. Inside was a beautiful grey and white wolf-like dog with a blue collar and nametags that was barking and snarling at them. Alison pulled back in fear, but Artemis didn't. Having worked at the vet's for a number of years, she knew how to handle dogs like this.
"It's okay. She's just scared," said Artemis.
"That makes two of us," said Alison.
"Well, let me see what I can do," said Artemis.
Artemis approached the dog and then without even realizing it, her brown eyes flashed gold, making the dog back down and submit. Carefully, Artemis carried the dog inside and placed it on a table and examined it. "She's got a broken leg. My boss taught me how to do splints. I'll give her some painkillers and then make a splint for her leg. She'll be just fine."
Alison sighed in relief. "Thank heavens."
"Hey, if you're cold, the heater's over there and I've got some spare clothes in my bag you can borrow and you can change in the bathroom," said Artemis, noticing Alison kept shivering. Her mom always insisted Artemis pack a change of clothes before she went to work at the vet's.
"You sure you don't mind?" asked Alison, hesitatingly. "I don't want to trouble you."
"I wouldn't have suggested it if I minded. Go right ahead," said Artemis.
"Thanks," said Alison, gratefully. She took out Artemis's spare shirt from her bag and went into the other room to change. A few minutes later, she returned and by then, Artemis had finished treating the dog's leg. "Thanks for doing this. I feel really stupid."
"How come? It was an accident," said Artemis.
"I know, but normally I'm not so reckless and I break down like that. I thought I was tougher than that," said Alison, softly.
"Well, accidents happen and as I once read, 'people don't cry because they're weak. They cry because they've been strong for too long,'" said Artemis. Because of her panic attacks usually left her a weeping mess, she tried to live by that everyday. "If it helps, I'd probably be a bigger mess if I was in your shoes. Besides, any girl that keeps moving around every few months is pretty strong. I don't think I could do it."
"And yet you play lacrosse which can be pretty violent, deal with people like Jackson and handle frightened dogs," said Alison. "Maybe you're stronger than you think."
"Maybe," said Artemis, shrugging. She seriously doubted it, though. "I know you are, though." Artemis then carefully scooped up the dog into her arms. "Come on girl, we're going to put you somewhere comfortable to sleep and then call your owners in the morning to come pick you up."
Alison followed Artemis to a comfortable cage where she placed the dog and left it some food and water before locking up the cage.
"I'll pay whatever the bill is for helping her, since it was my fault," said Alison. "Hey, are you going to head home now?"
"Yeah, why?" asked Artemis, as she grabbed her keys and bag.
"Can I give you a lift? I noticed you don't have a car and it's still pouring out," said Alison.
"Sure, that'd be great," said Artemis, gratefully.
They ended up singing along to some of their favorite tunes on the radio on the way to Artemis's house and their friendship continued to grow.
That night, Artemis didn't sleep well.
When she wasn't having nightmares over the night she'd gotten bitten, she ended up sleepwalking through the forest and into a neighbor's pool. The experiences left her with a bad panic attack and she took another anxiety pill before she returned to her house with barely enough time to get ready for school and arrive in time before the bell rang.
The worst was yet to come, as just before practice, Jackson cornered her after she was nearly done changing into her gear.
"Hey, Moon, we need to talk," said Jackson, gruffly.
"Talk about what?" asked Artemis, as she fastened on her glove. She didn't want to talk to Jackson about anything as she didn't like him one bit.
"I want to know where you're getting your juice," said Jackson.
For a brief moment Artemis was confused until she caught onto what Jackson meant. "Jackson, despite what you may think, I'm clean. I don't do that kind of stuff." Typical Jackson. Someone was a little better at him at lacrosse and he automatically assumed it had to be done by a chemical boost. But then again, considering what Artemis was now capable of, she couldn't really blame him for thinking that, now could she? Artemis tried to leave for the field, only for Jackson to let out an angry yell and pin her to a locker.
"Don't lie to me!" he yelled. "There's no way a weak little freak like you is suddenly doing well at lacrosse without some kind of chemical boost! What are you dealing?"
"I'm not!" she yelled. "Get off me, you jerk!" She yanked herself free of him and glared at him. She didn't know what was going on with her, but she was not doing anything illegal and he had no right to accuse her of this when he had no proof. "Believe whatever you want, Jackson, but unless you have proof that I'm doing something wrong, just leave me the heck alone and stay out of my life. I've already had one panic attack today; I don't need another, especially from you!"
Without waiting for a reply, she left the locker room and went to lacrosse practice, trying to ignore the butterflies in her stomach. If she didn't make the cut, she was likely to be benched for the rest of the season again. If she did make the cut, she'd be playing. With her fingers crossed and her heart pounding, Artemis plunged into the game.
She caught the ball a few seconds into it, and began to run, only to be rudely knocked down by Jackson, who just looked both mockingly and smug at her. Feeling seriously angry, Artemis grabbed the ball again at her first chance and began running towards the goalie. She ran faster than she ever thought she could and gracefully avoided the other players in a way she never thought possible. She even did an impressive jump over three of her teammates before she made the shot.
Everyone cheered her on and her teammates all gave her friendly pats on the shoulder while congratulating her success.
"Moon, get over here now!" yelled Coach Finstock.
He didn't sound pleased, which made Artemis wonder if she was in trouble. She ran over to him.
"Yes, Coach?" asked Artemis, bracing herself for a yelling.
"What the heck was that, Moon? This is a lacrosse field! Are you trying out for the gymnastics team?" demanded Coach Finstock.
"No, I was just trying to make the shot," said Artemis, wincing. Had she done something wrong?
Coach Finstock's face lit up with a smile. "Well, you made more than just the shot, Moon. You've made first line!"
Artemis's heart leapt as people cheered her on. She'd just made first line. Things really were going to be different after all. She looked at Stiles in the bleachers, expecting him to look pleased or at least that he'd come congratulate her, but Stiles just looked petrified and even worried.
The following evening was Friday night movie night and it was held at Stiles' house.
Artemis arrived with the promised pie and ice-cream along with their movies for the evening. She found Stiles holed up in his bedroom, looking over a website on werewolves on his laptop and there were papers on werewolves all over Stiles' bedroom. What was all this about?
"Hey, ready for our movie night? Derek's coming by in half an hour and I've got the pie that I promised you," said Artemis. She frowned at his research. "Should I have brought a werewolf movie?"
Stiles immediately shut off his computer. "No, and we're going to have to cancel tonight's plans."
"Cancel? Why?" asked Artemis, surprised. She'd been looking forward to their weekly tradition as a way of celebrating her getting first line.
"Remember that joke from before? It's not a joke anymore. The coroner says a wolf did kill that girl and after everything I've been reading in these books and on the internet, I seriously think you're a lycanthrope," said Stiles.
Artemis rolled her eyes. Seriously, he was going to do this? "I'm not a werewolf, Stiles. How much Adderall have you had today?"
"Artemis, think about it! You were bitten on a full moon, your bite's completely healed, you're doing impossible things, you don't need your inhaler anymore. A wolf howls to signal the rest of the pack and you heard a wolf howling! I saw you on the field today and what you did wasn't just incredible, it was impossible! Your speed, your moves, your reflexes are not something that happen overnight!" said Stiles, insistently. "And it's not just the moon that'll cause you to change, anger and a high heart rate triggers it too!"
"Stiles, do you even hear yourself right now?" said Artemis.
Apparently he didn't. He tried to snatch her cell phone away from her, but she stopped him. "What're you doing?"
"We've got to tell Derek not to come tonight and get you somewhere safe. It's full moon tonight!" said Stiles.
Now Artemis was angry. She couldn't believe he was acting like this. First Jackson thought her success was because of something unnatural and now Stiles thought the same? And he was her best friend! Was it really so hard for people to believe she could succeed at something without illegal or supernatural help?
"Stiles, you're completely insane. There's no such thing as werewolves! You know, I can't believe you're doing this. Everything's going great for me for once and you're being completely childish and beyond rude. I'm not a werewolf and this is all insane. I'm going home. You can talk to me when you've grown up," said Artemis, furiously.
"Artemis, wait, just listen to me!"
But Artemis wasn't in the mood to listen. She just grabbed her things and left Stiles' house in a huff, angry and hurt by her best friend's actions.
Since her mom was doing a late-night shift at the hospital, Artemis ended up calling Alison to vent and talk about her problems as she really needed someone to talk to or she was going to go nuts. Since her problem related to guys and Derek didn't really like Stiles, she didn't think it best to talk to him about it, other than telling him the movie night was canceled. While Artemis didn't tell Alison that Stiles thought she was a werewolf, (as that was just completely insane) she did say they'd gotten into a big fight. Alison was sympathetic and a good listener.
"…and to top it all off, Jackson thinks I'm playing juiced. Can you believe that?" said Artemis.
"What a jerk," said Alison, sympathetically.
"I know. I mean, I practice over the summer, get a few lucky shots in and finally make first line, and he acts like I'm stealing the spotlight from him, even though he's still the captain and the school's favorite whereas I'm just a girl who got lucky. And I don't know what I'm going to do about Stiles," said Artemis, sighing. She and Stiles had never fought like that before and she hated it.
"Look, don't worry about Stiles. Give it a day or two and I'm sure you two will be back to being best friend again," said Alison. "As for Jackson, just ignore him and if he harasses you, tell someone about him."
"I will," said Artemis. She already had half a mind to complain to Sheriff Stilinski about him. "Hey, thanks for listening to me. It means a lot."
"It's not a problem. Besides, you helped me out when I was in hysterics over hitting that dog. It's what friends are for," said Alison.
"Thanks," said Artemis. She sighed again. "I hope you're right about Stiles. I'm just so mad at him right now. I…" Artemis stopped when she began to feel very strange in ways she couldn't explain. She felt as though something was seriously wrong. "Alison, I've got to go. I'll call you back."
She quickly hung up the phone and ran into the bathroom as pain such as she never knew threatened to swallow her whole.
Much to her horror, her fingernails were turning into big, sharp, yellow claws. Fangs were growing in her mouth and her eyes were turning gold. She could feel herself changing, she felt her anger and pure instincts start to take over and she began to lose herself as she changed from human to something else entirely. Stiles was right. She wasn't human anymore.
"Artemis!" yelled Stiles, as he pounded on her bedroom door.
Stiles. She couldn't let him in. She felt like a pure animal. She felt like killing something. She felt like a monster. What if she hurt him? She opened the door the smallest crack. "Stiles, what're you doing here? You shouldn't be here."
"I had to see if you were okay! Come on, let me in," said Stiles, as he struggled to open the door. But Artemis kept him firmly out.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you and didn't believe you, but I can't let you in. You need to stay away from me," said Artemis.
"Our fight's not important and I'm not leaving you alone, Arty," said Stiles, firmly. "I trust you, even if you don't. Let me in!"
"Stiles, if you want to stay alive, you'll stay away from me!" yelled Artemis. She shut the door and locked it before she fully wolfed out and saw red—almost literally. She then leapt out of her open window and ran out into the woods.
She wasn't simple sweet Artemis Moon in that moment. In that moment, she was just an animal with little thought as to what she was doing. She felt free, she felt powerful, she felt strong in ways that she never thought she could. She kept running, enjoying the exhilarating feeling of freedom and speed until she stopped in her tracks. Derek's jacket was hanging on a tree branch.
Memories of Derek flashed through her mind and she began to relax a little. She thought of all the good times they'd shared together and the fantasy of her protecting him or him protecting her like in the storybooks. Derek was everything to her.
Suddenly, she was grabbed from behind and held tight. She struggled until a voice hissed, "Calm down, Huntress, it's me!"
Artemis stopped struggling and relaxed. "Derek?" she said. What was he doing here? She could tell he was just like her, judging from his scent, but unlike her, he seemed to have perfect control. He was still in human form.
"You've got to relax and be quiet, Artemis or you're going to get us both caught," said Derek, as he released her. He faced her and his eyes briefly flashed bright blue. Suddenly, he sniffed the air and let out a growl. "It's too late. They're already here. Run!"
Artemis had no time to question him or react before they both took off in separate directions, only for Artemis to get caught when she was hit by an arrow in the arm. She let out a cry of pain as she tried to undo the damage. She could see three figures in the dark. Two of them had shotguns and the third was aiming a crossbow at her.
Artemis braced herself for an attack, only to be both shocked and relieved when Derek returned. He flung two of the men into trees, which distracted the third before he freed Artemis.
They then took off into the woods and only stopped when Artemis tripped and fell into Derek's arms. He held her close as she shifted back into human form and comforted her as she shook from fear. Who could blame her for being scared? She'd just turned into a monster and people had tried to kill her! She felt like she was going to throw up, but Derek managed to help her.
"It's okay, you're okay now," he murmured, as he stroked her hair. "I've got you. You're safe."
Artemis just buried her face in his shirt as she slowly calmed down. She felt better with Derek there as somehow, Derek always made her feel safe.
"Who were those people?" she asked. "Why were they trying to kill me?"
"They were hunters," said Derek. "They've been hunting our kind for centuries."
"Our kind?" she whispered. Please, don't say it. Please don't say that we're what I think we are.
"Werewolves," said Derek, confirming her worst fears. "You're just like me now."
Artemis's blood ran cold. She couldn't deny it anymore. Like it or not, she was a lycanthrope. She was no longer human. "Why me? I didn't want this."
"It's not that bad, Huntress," said Derek. "You can see better, hear more clearly, move faster than any human ever could hope. You've been given a gift. I'll help you learn how to control it. But we've got to stick together. Understand?"
Artemis nodded. She understood perfectly.
"Good. Now, come on. I'll take you home. You should be able to sleep now."
Derek took Artemis back to her house and stayed with her until she fell asleep.
The next day after Artemis's mom had left for work, Stiles came over to check on Artemis and she told him what had happened the previous night during her first full moon. He found Artemis's lycanthropy the coolest thing since Star Wars and was also concerned for her.
"So, you think Derek's the one that bit you and killed that girl?" asked Stiles.
"I don't know what to think," she admitted. She didn't want to believe Derek would do this to her. His werewolf eyes had been blue, not red like the eyes of the wolf that had bitten her, but he was the only other werewolf she knew of. What else was she to think?
"You know what scares me the most?" asked Artemis. "Part of me liked it all, what I was capable of, what I was thinking of doing." That terrified her, knowing she'd enjoyed being a mindless freak for a little while.
"That's because you weren't really yourself last night. But we'll find a way to get past that. If Derek can be in control on a full moon, then so can you. Heck, if I have to chain you up myself on full moons and feed you live mice, I will. I had a pet snake once, I can do it," said Stiles, squeezing her shoulder.
In spite of it all, Artemis smiled and laughed, feeling a little better. "Stiles, have I ever told you that you're the best friend anyone could ask for?"
Stiles smiled back. "Not as often as I'd like. But you make it up to me by splitting that pie you got for our movie night and having a Saturday movie morning to celebrate your lycanthropy and lacrosse success."
"Sure," said Artemis. She rose up to get the pie and get some movies ready to play, only to go to the door when the doorbell rang. "Alison, hi. What're you doing here?"
"I wanted to see if you were okay. You never called me back and you sounded awful on the phone," said Alison, looking concerned. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm okay. Let's just say my dinner didn't agree with me," lied Artemis. She couldn't tell Alison that the real reason she'd hung up so abruptly was because she'd wolfed out for the first time. "I'm sorry for not calling you back. I just didn't feel well and pretty much passed out afterward."
"I understand," said Alison. "Well, I've got to go. My dad's waiting for me in the car. So, I'll see you at school on Monday?"
"Yeah, of course," said Artemis.
"Okay, then. Bye," said Alison.
Artemis watched Alison get into her car and her heart skipped a beat when she saw the driver and recognized Alison's father as the hunter who'd shot her with a crossbow.