Lina: Hey...where's Kitty? Isn't she supposed to be leading into this whole thing?

Yugi: Neko-chan's feeling a bit ashamed. Last chapter she ranted and angsted about how much of a baka she was...and she only just posted another chapter again. (to audience) BUT LISTEN, PEOPLE. SHE HAS A REASON.

Noa: It's a very, very serious reason, you see. Kitty...has been kidnapped.

Lina: WHAT?

Atem: That's right. We've been negociating with her kidnapped trying to get her back, but he's one angst-loving loser.

Lina: And...who is this kidnapper?

Yugi: (very seriously) Herr Drosselmeyer.

(Silence. Crickets chirp.)

Lina: You mean as in that creepy old man from the Nutcracker?

Yugi: Well, sort of. He's better known from that...Neko-chan was kidnapped by him after watching the anime series he's in...a very underrated but wonderful show called Princess Tutu.

Lina: (nose scrunches up in disgust) Feh. Sounds floofy to me.

Atem: You're right, we thought so too...but it's actually really good! Anyway...Ahiru and Fakir, two of the main characters of the show, have been trying to help us out...but unfortunately so far it's been unsuccessful.

(Enter Fakir and Ahiru.)

Yugi: So? Any news?

Fakir: Well...he won't let her leave from his gap in time. But the good news is...I think I've made a way of how to contact her. With the power we received from reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I was able to write a stanza that will allow her to visit here in spirit, since her body's trapped with Drosselmeyer.

(A see-through version of Kitty appears next to Fakir and waves at them excitedly.)

Kitty: Hey guys! I've really missed you! I still need to write back to Claire-chan! (pouts)

Atem: That's brilliant, Fakir!

Yugi: No, it's not! My Neko-chan's a ghost? (begins to cry)

Ahiru: (rushes to comfort the poor Yugi)

Fakir: (snorts derisively at Yugi) Baka, she's not a ghost. She's not dead.

Kitty: (makes the ballet mime for "love" to Yugi) My poor Yugi-chan...don't worry, darling, I'll be back soon! Someone's going to get me out!

Yugi: And who's that?

Kitty: Teddy Lupin! (very happy grin, turns to the audience) Well, don't worry, everyone! When Drosselmeyer wasn't controlling my muse, I was able to write this chapter for you...and now I can finally post it! I hope you like it, guys and gals!

Ahiru: (hesitantly, looking at Fakir questioningly) Um...R&R?

Fakir: (rolls eyes) Yes, moron, that's how you do it.

Ahiru: Oh, okay, good. R&R, everyone!


Chapter Twenty-Three:

From the Quill of Rita Skeeter

Rita Skeeter's article about Diana seemed to have spread like wildfire through the media. Apparently quite a few parents had sent letters to Dumbledore, either to ask to withdraw their children from school or to chastise him for allowing a "danger" like Diana to study amongst other students. Despite the Ministry's most determined efforts to try and ease concern about Diana's ability to restrain Artemis, there were still enough people concerned to persuade Madame Pomfrey to hold Diana in the Hospital Wing a little longer than normal to try and reassure the magical community.

Even in the Hospital Wing, though, Diana couldn't escape the barrage of fuss. She had learned to throw any unidentifiable mail she received immediately away, as all of them had been scathing letters filled with nasty curses and insults toward her family. One had even insulted Cedric, saying he should've been smart enough not to "fall prey to her bullying," and gone with someone else; Diana had watched that letter curl into flames in the fireplace wishing she was the fire to consume and destroy the person's hurtful words.

Hermione and Ginny visited Diana the following day, and they too were very angry.

"That Skeeter woman is the limit," Ginny growled furiously. "She didn't even bother to mention that Malfoy provoked you!"

"And Artemis was a very powerful Dark witch," Hermione pointed out furiously. "All those people are acting like having to restrain her solely with mental energy is nothing!"

"Of course they are," Diana sighed, sorting through a pile of letters and throwing all those with unfamiliar addressees into a trashcan. "It's not like any of them have had someone besides themselves in their heads. Besides, with me being an uncontrollable monster, it makes my life a more exciting story in the Daily Prophet."

Ginny scowled. "It's disgusting, I know."

There was a sudden creaking noise around the door that made all the girls turn around, just in time to see a red-haired, freckly face switch his expression from concerned to angry and then whip out of sight.

Ginny glared at the doorway. "That git."

Diana noticed Hermione looking down at her hands in her lap in a mixture of guilt and anger.

"What's up with Ron?" Artemis's Heir asked.

"He's jealous," Ginny answered at once.

Diana blinked. "Jealous?"

"He's mad that I went to the Yule Ball with Viktor," Hermione corrected Ginny bitterly, her cheeks pink with anger.

"What?" said Diana, her blue eyes narrowing. "I don't know what he's complaining about, it's not like he was without a date. And it's none of his business who you decide to spend time with."

"That's what Kara said," Ginny snorted in agreement. "It shouldn't be, you're right…but it seems Ron believes it is his business."

Diana glared at the doorway Ron had been standing just as Ginny had.

"Really…if he wanted to go out with you, Mione, he should've asked."

"Dare!"


Upon leaving the Hospital Wing, Diana was aware of being on the receiving end of more scathing and fear-filled looks than before. She wondered if everyone at school read Rita Skeeter: even some of those students who disbelieved the article about Harry seemed convinced of Diana's possible danger. Of course, Diana couldn't blame them…she probably looked terrifying at the Yule Ball. She felt awful that she scared everyone so much.

Oddly enough, out of all of the Slytherins teasing her, Draco Malfoy was not one to join in the fun. Marik told her he'd been very quiet and reclusive since the Yule Ball, rarely speaking and instead having his silence be "translated," by his girlfriend Pansy Parkinson.

"It's weird, isn't it?" murmured the Egyptian thoughtfully. "I mean…I would've thought he'd been delighted to be able to ruin you so much."

"Well…it might not just be Artemis making Malfoy a little bit quieter," Yugi stated, a wry smirk winding onto his face.

"What do you mean?" asked Hermione.

Yugi laughed. "Neko-chan gave him a lesson about the consequences of teasing an ex-biker-chick…I think he got the message."

The others roared with laughter. Even Diana felt a little happier than she'd had most of the week.

The Japanese Muggles had been allowed to stay at Hogwarts until the end of January after Dumbledore had received a request from the Muggle Studies teacher to have them visit her class to help in some of her lessons. Of course, the Muggles were very honored by the request. Kara was getting a lot of attention for being a Muggle celebrity, but most popular of all was Joey. He really loved teaching the magical students how to use Muggle technology, even if it took a lot of time for some of them to understand that there were only buttons, and no incantation, to turn on a TV.

As soon as December was over, Diana noticed that the deadline for the Triwizard Second Task had almost magically appeared closer than it had before the holiday. What concerned her was that Harry still had no idea about how the golden egg from the First Task was supposed to help him in the Second. Harry hadn't told anyone this, particularly not the perfectionist research fiend Hermione, but Diana knew Harry well enough to tell he was a little stressed about it.

One day when Harry, Hermione, Ron and Diana accompanied Seto, Marik and Yugi in their Hogsmeade tour for Melisanne, Kara, Joey and Kitty, Seto voiced Diana's concern for the first time.

"Harry-kun…how has your research on the golden egg been going?"

"Oh," said Harry, taken aback by the suddenness of the question, "it's, uh…it's going fine! It's great. I…think I've nearly got it!"

He gave a smile that Diana saw as slightly forced; Seto likely saw the strain as well, but he seemed to think that if Harry wasn't going to ask for help, he wouldn't try and force it on him, and so accepted the answer. Kitty holding onto Yugi's arm, however, didn't seem to agree, and was about to open her mouth and pursue the topic, but their entrance into The Three Broomsticks had prompted a voice to call out,

"Harry!"

Ludo Bagman got up from one of the tables, where he'd been sitting with a tight-knit group of goblins, and moved toward Harry with a large grin on his boyish face.

"Harry, how are you? I'd been hoping to run into you…perhaps I could have a quick word?"

"Um…okay," Harry answered awkwardly, before practically being pulled into a more crowded part of the pub away from the others.

"Seems awfully interested in Harry-kun, doesn't he?" inquired Kara, her dark brown eyebrows very high on her tanned forehead.

Joey frowned, not liking the look of the menacing goblins Bagman had been sitting with.

"That bunch he's with don't seem very trustworthy to me, Yug…are you sure he's a good guy?"

"Bagman-sama?" recurred Yugi, slightly surprised by Joey's distrust of him. "Oh, he's fine, Joey-kun…he's a pretty nice man."

"A little too fond of gambling and of not-so-innocent company, maybe," a voice agreed, "but otherwise good-natured."

Ryou and Luna apparently were also journeying the streets of Hogsmeade together; the albino's face were rather pink, but smiling, and Luna's grip around Ryou's arm did not go unnoticed by any of them.

"Hi, Ryou-kun," greeted Kara, before noticing Luna. "Oh, and you are…?"

"Luna," Ryou introduced his blond companion to the others. "I believe you know everyone, Yue-chan?"

"Oh yes," Luna assented, peering around at all of them with her wide blue eyes. "Yugi and Katherine have such bright hair…they, Seto and Melisanne and Marik and Takara are so loud behind closed doors…Ron and Hermione have such a track record of fighting…and Diana and Harry are both so loved by the media…it's rather impossible not to know them."

Ryou, Diana, Harry, Joey and Marik laughed. Seto had turned very red at Luna's comment about him and Melisanne, and was currently trying to place his face into shadow so his embarrassment wasn't as apparent. Yugi and Kitty, who were also quite red but not bothering to hide it, grinned in response.

The group sat down at a large table toward the bar, and Marik ordered drinks from Madame Rosmerta. Seto and Melisanne shared butterbeer from a bottle with two straws; Joey teased Seto about learning his romance from cheesy Muggle chick flicks, and Seto gave him a very sharp, icy glare for it.

Finally Harry was able to pull away from Bagman and rejoin the party. He looked a little bothered.

"What did he want?" asked Ron at once.

"He wanted to help me with the golden egg," Harry replied.

Kara raised a dark brown eyebrow in confusion. "Help? But isn't he a judge for this tournament you're in? And you said you're already nearly done working it out, ne?"

"Er…nearly," Harry assented awkwardly, but no one really paid a mind to his unease.

"Dumbledore-sensei wouldn't want you to cheat, Harry-kun," Yugi said firmly. "I'm really surprised Bagman-sama would offer something like that."

Hermione nodded, casting a reproachful look in Bagman's direction. "I hope he's offering Cedric, Fleur and Viktor help too, at least."

"Who cares about Krum?" demanded Ron.

At once both Hermione and Diana gave the Weasley such fierce looks, he deflated and hastened to change the subject.

"Those goblins don't seem like a good lot, do they? Did Bagman give a reason why they're here, Harry?"

"He said they were here looking for Crouch," Harry responded. "Apparently he's gone missing…Percy said he was ill and he's been sending instructions by owl…but the Ministry's been keeping it quiet."

"Is that what everyone in power does?" Kitty laughed darkly. "Keep unsavory information under-wraps as to keep their public so uninformed they'll vote for them on the quality of their toupee instead of their policies?"

"Hear, hear," Luna agreed dreamily, raising her glass. "It really is tragic how corrupted governments can be…why, only just this morning, I was reading the Quibbler's latest article on Cornelius Fudge and his funding toward programs that would pay goblins in Every Flavor Beans-"

Unfortunately at the moment before Luna could finish, the door opened, flooding the pub with a blast of cold snowy air, and Ron muttered an "uh oh" at who entered.

Rita Skeeter, in robes of banana-yellow and with nails painted a bright pink clutched over her crocodile-skin handbag, swept into the pub, accompanied by a paunchy photographer with a huge black camera around his neck. She strode toward the bar toward their table, talking very fast in a self-satisfied tone of voice.

"…Didn't seem very keen to talk, did he, Bozo? Now why would that be, I wonder? And what on earth is he doing with a bunch of goblins, I wonder? He's always been a bad liar, 'looking for Mr. Crouch,' indeed… Think we could do a bit of digging? 'Disgraced Ex-Head of Magical Games and Sports, Ludo Bagman'…that's snappy, we must find a story to put that in-"

"Trying to ruin someone else's life, are you?" Harry snapped loudly, surprising Diana at his left by standing.

Several people turned around; Rita's eyes widened gleefully behind her jeweled spectacles when she'd turned to the source of the voice.

"Harry!" she greeted brightly, as if she couldn't be more delighted. "How lovely! Why don't you come and join-?"

"I wouldn't come near you with a ten-foot broomstick, Skeeter," he interrupted, his cheeks red with righteous anger. "What'd you write that stupid article about Dare for, anyway?"

"Harry," Diana took his hand, trying to persuade him to sit back down and forget about it, "don't try to-"

"Our readers have a right to the truth, Harry," Rita responded, her heavily penciled eyebrows raised high. "I'm merely doing my job."

"What, writing a bunch of crap to ruin someone's life?" Joey demanded, his voice like one picking a fight. "I would think you'd be ashamed to have that as a profession."

"Joey-kun, iie-" Yugi dissented, he and Kitty also trying to make Joey cool down and not start a brawl.

"Who cares if Dare's got Artemis in her?" Harry shouted at Rita, despite Diana trying to pull him back down into his chair. "It only happens once a month, and she's locked away during it! She's the best friend any of us have ever had, it's all Malfoy's damn fault that she-"

"Harry!" reproached Diana quite loudly, standing up beside him and tightening her grip around his arm. "We don't have to defend ourselves to this cockroach. It's not worth it."

Rita's smile flickered ever so slightly; then she snapped open her crocodile-skin handbag, pulled out a bottle green Quick-Quotes Quill and answered in a less loud but still carrying voice.

"How about giving an interview about the Diana Randall you know and love, Harry? The girl behind the monster? Have you already thought of when you'll propose if you survive the Tournament, after your graduation from Hogwarts, perhaps? Have you worried about her aggressive nature possibly overpowering your future role as man of the house?"

Marik opened his mouth to speak, looking furious. Hermione's brown eyes flashed, narrowing into slits. Bakura shot into control and Luna had to practically stand on his foot and pull his arm to the floor to keep him from beating Rita to a pulp. To everyone's surprise, however, the one who looked angriest and responded to Rita was the normally quiet and calm Melisanne.

"You cruel woman," the Chinese woman murmured in a voice so quiet and yet succinct it was obviously dangerous. "You don't care about anything, do you? As long as you have your story, you don't care who you hurt, just because you can. Taking advantage of readers by giving them a discrediting rag masquerading as truth, not bothering to think that the people you're writing about have plenty of other things to be concerned with!"

Rita's dark-lined eyes flared as they lay on Seto's girlfriend. "Muggles without knowledge of the needs of the magical community shouldn't go mouthing off about things they don't understand. And I've heard you Chinese are supposedly so respectful. Not all of us can try and seduce a rich CEO to be his next trophy wife…so just bow out, little china doll, and don't reprimand me."

Seto raised a wand ready to hex the reporter, and Kitty moved forward preparing to punch her; Melisanne, however, raised her hands to stop both of them.

"Rita Skeeter, I'm afraid the most polite thing I can say to you," she answered in a steady voice, her crystal blue eyes as cold as Seto's quite often were, "is an old Chinese proverb… 'If your strength is small, don't carry heavy burdens; if your words are worthless, don't give advice.'"

Hermione, Kitty and Joey laughed; Rita looked like she'd been slapped in the face, and was momentarily left speechless; Seto looked down at Melisanne in a fierce sort of pride, and offered his girlfriend a hand.

"Come on then, Crystal," the CEO said, not bothering to hide a sneer in Rita's direction, "we still have quite a bit left to see of Hogsmeade."

Melisanne gave Seto a happy smile, wrapping her arm around his as they swept past Rita and her photographer Bozo and out of the Three Broomsticks, followed closely by their friends.

"Melisanne, you are the greatest," Diana told her, grinning broadly.

Seto smiled down at his girlfriend, kissing the top of her head. "That she is."

Melisanne blushed.


Fakir: The end?

Kitty: Of the chapter, anyway, yes.

Fakir: (sweatdrop, testy) Are you telling me that this story of yours has more of these stupid chapters?

Kitty: Why, yes. You as a writer must have written things with chapters.

Fakir: Baka, I write fairy tales. I have no need for chapters.

Kitty: (glares) Well, I can write fairy tales too! Watch this. "Once upon a time there was an ungrateful jerk who was in love with a duck who had once been a girl. One day an authoress decided to be nice to this jerk for reasons she did not understand, and she wrote her fanfiction, Swanheart. The end."

Fakir: (glares, blushing) You just have to bring up Swanheart, don't you?

Kitty: (smirk) Of course. Or do you want Ahiru to have never turned back into a girl?

Fakir: ...I hate you so much.

Kitty: (happy grin) Love you too, Fakir-senpai!

Fakir: (clearly very irritated as he wraps a protective arm around a clueless Ahiru)

Yugi: Oh, just as a reminder, everyone...if you want us to reply to your reviews and you don't have a fanfiction account, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE include an email address to write to you at! But yes...R&R!