She'd always liked that word. The way it sounded when she spoke it; the precise manner in which her lips formed around her teeth the make the "v". It even looked nice on paper.

But then again, she was rather fond of all words. Words were, after all, her business.

She, Rita Skeeter, had discovered her love for writing as a third-year Ravenclaw at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There had been an assignment in Potions she had to complete: write a story to remember the ten basic ingredients of a standard age-defying potion. Most people in her class, which she shared with the Hufflepuffs, complained that the homework was dumb, but she found it much more interesting than what they usually did.

That night, she was awake until three in the morning working on her project. Few actually completed the assignment, and when they did it was a few lines such as, "One day Wolfsbane went to Eye of Newt's house for breakfast". All of them regretted their hasty works, however, when they received their grades. Rita's was the only perfect grade in the class. And to her surprise, next to her score was a small note from the teacher, encouraging her to see the editor of the school newspaper for a job.

Everyone knew that the editor of the school paper, The Hogwarts Weekly, was a nasty sixth year Slytherin by the name of Severus Snape. She'd never approached the pushy sixteen year old before, and had hoped she could go without ever encountering him, but now that she had a taste for writing, she wasn't about to give it up just because she was scared to death of him.
The next day, she waited outside the potions classroom before lunch. It was a well-known fact that Severus was the Potion teacher's apprentice. Apparently, he was very talented. Bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet nervously, she cast a glance down at the paper in her hand, her story, then to the corridor to her right. If he were coming from the Great Hall, then he'd be approaching from that way.

That's why she was so surprised to find him standing right in front of her, clearing his throat impatiently. Startled, she jumped slightly. "Where'd you come from?"

Looking at her as though she were the biggest idiot he'd ever seen, he motioned the opposite direction from which she'd been watching. "Slytherin Common Room." He gazed over her shoulder, then back at her disdainfully, "May I pass, or do you have any more idiotic questions?" He tried to move around her, but she put her arm across the doorway, preventing him from entering.

The way he glowered at her was terribly unnerving, but she did not move. "The latter, actually," ignoring his melodramatic sigh, she continued, "I'm interested in a position on the school paper, and-"

"All of the positions have been filled, sorry." His frosty tone implied that he was not sorry in the least, "Perhaps next year." Again, he tried to push his way around her, but her arm still barricaded the entrance.

"Perhaps you ought to listen to me," she replied stonily, shoving the story into his hand, "This is the only thing I've ever written, but I'd appreciate it if you just looked at it," she paused, and then added, "Please."

Rolling her eyes and muttering something about being 'grotesquely late', he stood back and skimmed a few lines, trying to hold back an impressed look. The truth was, the girl could write well. Handing the paper back to its owner, he gave a reluctant sigh. "You're good."

Not bothering to suppress a gleeful expression, she grinned. "Thank you, Severus."

"We have a meeting next Tuesday, this room at 7:30. Don't be late." He stopped, then also said, "You will also address me as 'sir'."

She nodded, "Tuesday at 7:30. Got it." She removed her hand and began to walk away, when she paused. "Oh, by the way."

Growling impatiently, Severus barked out, "What?"

"I will never call you 'sir'." Then she turned on her heel, and left a very bewildered Severus Snape behind her.

She'd attended the meeting on Tuesday, but found it to be unbearably boring. It was mainly Severus droning on about articles no one cared about, and assigned articles no one wanted. She stuck around long enough to find out what feature she was supposed to do, an interview with the new Headmaster, Professor Wood, and at what time the meeting with him was scheduled. As soon as she had all the information she needed, however, she left; making sure the entire staff heard her call him "Severus" instead of "sir".

The following night, she found herself in a high backed chair, casting an eye over the disorderly Headmaster's office. Wood, a middle-aged, nervous looking man, drummed his fingers against his desk as he thought about how to answer young Rita's questions.

Shifting embarrassedly in his chair, Professor Wood avoided Rita's eyes. "Is this necessary?" he mused, more to himself than anyone else, "I mean, why do the students need to know where I stand with the rising of some silly dark wizard who will be gone in six months?"

Tapping her quill thoughtfully against the side of her face, Rita gave him an appraising look. So far, he'd refused to answer anything that was beyond a 'yes' or 'no' question. The man was being extremely difficult. "The students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are exceptional, are they not?"

His fingers drummed faster. "Well-"

"Exactly!" she interrupted, leaning in toward the professor. "And because of this, they deserve more than the inane crap that's being printed in The Hogwarts Weekly now!"

His intimidated demeanor only grew. "But-"

"Their minds are being wasted! Surely, you as well as the staff know the need to challenge them, mold them, make them great!"

Realizing he losing an argument to a thirteen-year-old girl, Wood attempted to control the situation, "Miss Skeeter, this is a school paper, not the Witch Weekly! Surely, the basics will be sufficient!"

"So you don't care about your students?" she asked innocently, yet her eyes betrayed her true intentions.

Knowing the entire ordeal had been blown way out of proportion, he sighed, "Miss Skeeter, this interview is over, kindly report back to your dormitory."

Standing haughtily, she turned and left the office. Yet once she was safely out of earshot of the nervous old professor, she began to think.

There was no way she could print what she had gotten out of the man; it was all far to boring. She almost considered going to Severus and asking for a different assignment, but there was no way she wanted to seem like she couldn't handle her first one. This was her big chance, her moment to shine, and she was not going to blow it because the man didn't like the kids in Hogwarts!

Then it came to her. She smiled sinisterly and ran as fast as she could back to her dormitory. That man was going to learn a very important rule; no one cuts an interview with Rita Skeeter short!

She'd stayed up all night working on her article, getting maybe a half hour of sleep, yet as she read over what she'd written in the morning, she decided the all-nighter was definitely worth it. Immediately after breakfast, she approached Severus and handed him her article. He'd given in a wary eye, but told her it would probably be printed.

It was printed, on the front page, in fact. "Professor Wood: Foe of the Students" was a real hit. Not only did it criticize the man for the lack of a will to nurture his students, but also it mentioned that he'd refused to comment on the rise of some dark wizard, whom everyone was talking about. It hinted that there might have been ties between them.

When Professor Wood went off to spend Christmas with his family, like many of his students, no one really minded. When he didn't come back after break finished, very few were surprised.

That was the year that Hogwarts got rid of the school paper.

Now Rita, older and wiser, had a new mission: make the one who'd humiliated her pay for her actions!

Her plan was flawless. She cackled as she poured different ingredients into a cauldron, reciting an old story to help her remember the correct elements. Only one sentence came to mind.

"Watch out Hermione Granger!"

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I'd think of a more clever way to say it, but I just had a four-hour dance rehearsal and I can barely think properly, let alone be witty.

A/N: I've always liked Rita Skeeter; she amuses me. This story is dedicated to my great and wonderful beta, Aria (Elluxion)! It's not fluffy, but it's happy, and that's definitely a step in the right direction. Next chapter will be out sooner or later. I rather like this one, so please review. :DD