Chapter 1

Rita Skeeter was sitting in the back of the Transfiguration classroom, chewing on the end of an acid green quill.

Her blonde curls were bobbed to her shoulders and her long black and green robes were slightly rumpled. A green and silver tie was knotted loosely around her neck, and the top button of her white blouse was unbuttoned. The pleats of her gray skirt were un-ironed. A pair of wire-rimmed spectacles perched of the end of her nose.

Though she was pretending to listen to Professor McGonagall she was really staring into space. Transfiguration was neither her favortite subject nor her best subject. She had barely managed to scrape an Exceeds Expectations in her O.W.L's and now she was at N.E.W.T level it had become ridiculously hard.

She was only doing the damn subject in the first place because her mother wanted her too. Samantha Skeeter didn't take her daughter's dream of being a reporter seriously. As for Rita's Father… being a muggle he didn't have an opinion about it one way or the other. And though he supported his daughter's right to choose what ever career she wanted he would never say as much to his wife. He was too scared of her.

She sighed, resting her head in her hands. Something hit her arm with a very soft thump. She looked down and saw it was a piece of paper, screwed up into a ball.

Rita looked in the direction the ball of paper had come from. A petite girl with a heart shaped face and a creamy complexion was looking her way. Long dark waves of hair framed her pretty delicate features. Her large dark eyes glittered and her full lips were curved in a mischievous grin.

Bellatrix Black.

At seventeen she was a year older than Rita. She was 7th year and a prefect of Rita's house. Slytherin. As far as the teacher knew she was a model student – polite, hardworking and intelligent. She was Seeker on the Slytherin Qudditch team and one of the most beautiful, charismatic girls in school.

However she was also one of the ringleaders of a clique that had a dark glamor within the castle. A group of pure-blood witches and wizards who it was rumored sympathized with the Dark Lord's aims. A group who it was rumored were behind several strange and nasty incidents that had happened over Rita's years at school.

Rita had never said two words to her. She found her both fascinating and intimidating. She certainly wasn't unpopular but she had a very small group of friends. By contrast the haughty yet mischievous Bellatrix seemed to have a large group of friends. And she excelled in pretty much every subject… without trying particularly hard.

If all those things weren't enough she was beautiful. She had a dark sensual allure that drew boys like a magnet. Rita suspected if Bella broke up with Rodolphus she'd be swamped with male attention. Not that she showed any signs of breaking up with him. They had going out for over a year now.

Rita often found herself sneaking glances at her. She more than suspected she liked women. There had never been a boy she had been interested in. Girls were so much more interesting and attractive. She loved how pretty and soft they were. And Bella… Bella was the kind of girl you couldn't take your eyes off.

She glanced up to make sure the indomitable red-haired Transfiguration teacher wasn't looking, leaned down and picked up the ball of paper.

'Is it just me or the old cat talking purr-fect nonsense?' said the note in Bella's elegant yet spidery handwriting. Rita had to put her hand over her mouth to stifle a giggle. She grinned at Bella, green eyes clearly showing her amusement.

When McGonagalls eye flicked to Bella, she appeared to be attentively listening to her but as soon as McGonagall turned away she winked slyly at Rita.

She scribbled on the note. 'It's not just you. Miaowing would make just as much sense to me'. Then she balled it up and chucked it to Bella. Bella couldn't help a stifled giggle.

"Is something funny Miss Black" McGonagall snapped, shipping around to face her. Bella smiled blithely. "No nothing" she said sweetly, giving her a carefully innocent look. McGonagall gave her a skeptical look beore going back to what she was talking about.

Bella and Rita shared a conspiratorial look.

They spent the rest of the class passing notes under the teacher's nose.

Rita left Transfiguration with a smile on her face.