A Rocky Beginning

“And I’m the rightful king of Scotland.” Jake snorted derisively, looking down at her - or trying, at least. At five foot eight (and a half), Desdemona was taller than at least half the school. “You think I give a shit who your parents are?”

“I think you should know better than to think I’m some weak little girl.” She sank back into a fighter’s crouch, raising her fists. “I also think you’re an asshole.”

He laughed out loud. “Oh aren’t you adorable. Okay girl, you wanna fight over it?” Without warning, he slammed a fist into her face. “Let’s fight.”

Still staggering from the first punch, Desdemona just barely dodged from the sudden flurry of blows, stepping back, back again. He was faster than she’d guessed and it took all her concentration to avoid being trapped against a wall.

Suddenly, she felt herself come up against something– someone, just as Jake stopped. Spinning around, she found herself staring into the lush, predatory smile of a beautiful blonde woman.

“Well hello,” the blonde purred, a thin scaly tail snaking out and gently stroking Desdemona’s leg. “Did you bring me a present, Jacky?”

“No.” Jake sounded sullen, glowering at her. “This one’s mine.”

“Oooh, is she, now.” The woman looked up at Desdemona through thick lashes, lips curving upwards. “But I like her.”

A moment too late, Desdemona felt the tail wrap around her ankle. She kicked away, trying to break loose, and almost tripped into the no-longer-amused Jake. “Let me go!”

“She’s mine.”

“I don’t think so, sweetie.” The blonde smiled again, showing a row of sharp, pointed teeth as she tugged at Desdemona’s ankle. “Hold her still for me, Jacky dear?”

“I said, she’s MINE!” With a sudden enraged roar, Jake violently backhanded Desdemona - sending her flying away from the blonde with unexpected force. There was a brief jerk on her leg and a short curse before she crashed unceremoniously into the wall.

“Jake, you moronic piece of shit,” the woman spat as Desdemona staggered back to her feet. “What the fuck are you doing?”

Before Desdemona could hear what happened next, a searing flash of pain went through her entire body. She screamed, muscles convulsing in places she shouldn’t even HAVE muscles when–

Desdemona stretched and yawned, feeling refreshed but oddly stiff. Stretching seemed to help, especially in her… tail? Wings?

Her last memory finally surfaced - fight, hallway, pain - and she fell back into a crouch, looking around in panic. She was still in the hall, but Jake and the blonde were long gone. The regular lights were on but dimmed - and there was an upperclassman sitting a few feet down the hall, staring at her open-mouthed.

“What?” Desdemona glared at the boy, trying not to be distracted by the weirdness of her new limbs.

“Um.” He gathered his wits back together. “Luke asked me to watch th– uh. You?”

He was cy’Luca, then. She relaxed; her grandfather’s Mentor had good students. The rest of his statement, though…

“What do you mean, ‘watch me’?”

“I dunno, make sure nothing happened to you? Like someone try to steal you, I guess. I’m Tim, by the way.” He scrambled to his feet and held out a hand.

“Desdemona.” She shook his hand, still frowning. “How long was I out for, anyway?”

Tim shrugged. “Twelve hours, maybe? I didn’t see it happen.”

Twelve hours?!” Desdemona’s horror was cut short by the unfamiliar feeling of her tail lashing. “You left me lying in the hallway for twelve hours?”

“You weighed a ton!” Tim sounded defensive. “And Luke was worried about breaking something off.”

“What Tim is forgetting to mention,” said Luke, coming down the hall, “is that you turned into solid stone.”

Desdemona turned and stared at the teacher, speechless.

“You were a pretty scary-looking statue,” Tim added, and she turned her dumbfounded expression on him. “All the claws and the whole… screaming… thing…” It seemed to occur to him that maybe he should stop talking.

Desdemona finally looked down at herself. Her fingers and nails had transformed into sharp talons - and her skin had gone a greenish slate blue. Her feet stood on the shredded remains of her sneakers, each with three (three?!) toes ending in equally sharp talons and bearing no resemblance to human feet whatsoever.

Wings, she remembered in a flash, and quickly craned her head around to see. There were wings, all right; a pair of small bat-like wings which, outstretched completely, barely reached an arms span.

“How are you feeling?” Luke sounded only marginally grumpy, which for him was remarkably cheerful.

“I’m…” Desdemona coiled her tail, experimenting with the new muscles. “Pretty good? Considering I was a statue just a few minutes ago.” She giggled nervously.

“Good. Let’s get you to Caitrin’s, just in case.”

Author’s Note: Tim’s full name is Euthymius