Poison Pen

Harry has had enough of seeing his reputation shredded in the Daily Prophet and decides to do something about it. Only he decides to embrace his Slytherin side to rectify matters.



24. A Precedent Is Set

Since Oliver's post came out that morning, the headmaster had been fielding questions about Tom, how Oliver got hold of that information, and why it hadn't been made known before.

Harry was grilled for about an hour in Dumbledore's office, then their attention was turned elsewhere. Yes, he and his friends had never been that quiet about discussing Tom and his merry band of miscreants. Harry repeatedly, and in public areas of Hogwarts, told anyone who would listen his views on the upcoming war. After all, since he had been labeled by the ministry as an attention-seeking prat, why not use it? Most had, over time, shrugged Harry's comments off.

Since he had plans with Sirius and Remus that afternoon, Harry was able to sneak away from the Order meeting before Molly could issue an invitation to the Burrow. He was able to plead the need to use the library to get a start on his homework.

The Order members remained in the Headmaster's Office rehashing over the articles and the identity of Oliver Twist, not realizing that he'd just left the office.

Unknown to all, Dobby had, once more, placed Harry's little walkman under Dumbledore's desk. Harry needed to know if they were on to him yet. He had dropped a few clues in his articles and was surprised that no one other than Professor Flitwick had caught on yet. Or maybe they had, and decided that they just didn't believe it?

Harry went up to the boys' dorm, not to retrieve his book bag but to grab the dress robes that Dobby had purchased for him earlier in the school year. Lord Peter had extended an invitation for Harry to change in his office if he couldn't get away in time.

Both knew that by dropping the bomb on Lord Voldemort's identity, Harry would open speculations that he was Oliver. However, if he had done things right, he would dismissed as usual. Only time would tell. Harry only hoped the information on the heritage books available at Gringotts would prove enough of a false trail to turn suspicion away from him.

He did have an ally in Professor Flitwick who had proof read Harry's articles and added a few details that he had managed to over look. With the professor's help, they didn't look like one of Harry's essays.


Lord Peter was waiting for him in his office. A quick change and the sloppy looking Gryffindor Harry Potter became Lord Harry James Potter. The dress robe had been tailored to Lord Peter's specifications with the Potter, and Gryffindor crests on them. By the end of the day, Harry would no longer be just an heir, but Lord and head of two houses.

The meeting would take place not in the ministry, as originally planned, but in Gringotts Inheritance Office. Both Healer Atwaters and Lord Peter conferred with Gringotts and decided it would be safer in the long run to have the meeting at the bank. Goblin neutrality would be a huge asset in this case. Wizarding Services and Madam Bones, once brought up to speed on the facts, agreed with the choice of venue.

Harry wondered if Sirius and Remus would show. Last he knew Sirius was shouting insults at Snape while Remus refereed in the headmaster's office. Not the ideal image of a guardian in Harry's opinion. He was still looking forward to Christmas Day together, they had plans of spending it away from Hogwarts in Grimmauld Place as a family. That is, if after this meeting, Sirius would still want to be with Harry.

Time alone would tell.

Lord Peter and Harry were ushered into a posh conference room containing a marble table with gold and semi precious inlaid designs. The chairs were covered with deep maroon velvet and were very comfortable.

Madam Bones and another woman sat side by side across from Harry and Lord Peter. Sirius and Remus had yet to arrive. A goblin came in along with Healer Atwaters.

"It is 1 pm. Time to start. Are we all present?" asked the Goblin.

"No sir. Sirius Black, head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black hasn't arrived."

"We will give him ten minutes then we will start without him," said the goblin, sitting at the head of the table, facing both parties.

Harry sighed and tried not to let the hurt show. He had been willing to give Sirius a chance, but once again, the man was putting others ahead of his responsibilities as his godfather. Lord Peter reached for Harry's hand and gave it a squeeze.

At least here was someone that had been there for him for the past six months. The man had slowly worked his way into Harry's life and proved that he could put Harry first. Harry needed that.

Just before the 10 minutes were up, Sirius rushed in along with Remus, Molly and Arthur Weasley, and of course, Albus Dumbledore.

Amelia Bones stood up. "I understand why Sirius Black is here but not you four."

Sirius sat down beside Harry and whispered, "Sorry pup. They weren't going to let me leave the Order meeting unless I told them why."

Harry scowled as the headmaster and the Weasleys sat across from him next to Madam Bones. Well so much for a quiet hearing. Molly's screeching alone would see to that.

"We are here to ask for custody of Harry Potter," Molly Weasley said, triumphantly.

"I'm afraid, Mrs. Weasley. We don't have any paperwork requesting your guardianship. Besides, this isn't a custody hearing," replied the witch with the Wizarding Child Services crest on her robes. "But an emancipation hearing."

"Sirius, you told me it was a guardianship hearing!" Molly accused.

"You can't mean this! I won't allow it!" Albus Dumbledore roared, his blue eyes flashing.

"You sir, have no say in this matter," Lord Peter stood. "By your own admission, you declared Lord Harry James Potter a legal adult at age 14."

"I most certainly did not! And pray tell, just who are you?"

Lord Peter smiled as he pulled out a file. "I have in my hands a copy of the contract that you witnessed and signed, forcing Lord Harry James Potter to participate in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, against his will, this past school year. A contract that clearly states that the participants must be 17 years of age. By approving this contract, you as Headmaster of Hogwarts, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the IWC, declared that the minor, Harry James Potter, was a legal adult.

"You and the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, by also allowing said minor to be tried in an adult venue as an adult, for an underage magical offense did therefore, knowingly and willfully, declared Lord Harry James Potter an adult. Sir, you can not have it both ways. You set a magical legal precedent. Madam Bones, I yield to your ruling."

"I object!" Albus Dumbledore shouted, coming to his feet, once more.

"You can't do this!" Molly Weasley screeched, as Arthur placed a hand on her shoulder to keep her from lunging forward.

"I object also," Sirius said from beside Harry. "Harry? Don't you want me as your guardian?"

Remus placed his head into his hands. "I warned you Siri. James and Lily must hate us for failing Harry."

Before Harry could say anything, Madam Bones cleared her throat. "I have looked over the case for emancipation of Harry James Potter, heir by blood to the Noble and Ancient Houses of Potter and Gryffindor. I find several things in this file to be very chilling."

She cleared her throat. "Molly and Arthur, you may leave. This is not about you. You have never petitioned for guardianship in the past, and I fail to see why you do so now. However, this is not a guardianship hearing but an emancipation hearing. You were not requested to attend, please leave now."

Molly huffed, "Now see here!"

"Molly, please, let's go," Arthur said, pulling Molly away.

"But . . . Harry?"

Harry looked up at the woman who wanted only to mother him and gave her a slight smile. "I'm sorry Mrs. Weasley, but it has to be this way."

"Harry," she sniffed, as Arthur pulled her from the room. Over his shoulder, he said, "You are always welcomed at the Burrow son. We still consider you one of us."

"Thank you, Mr. Weasley."

Madam Bones waited until the door closed before starting in. "As I said, I found several disturbing things about this case. One, the way the Potter will was ignored by someone," she paused, looking at Albus Dumbledore, "who swore an oath to uphold the law of the Wizarding World."

A low growl started in the room until Harry elbowed Sirius.

"Two," she cleared her throat, "the same person forcibly obtained guardianship of the Potter heir, once more defying the explicit wishes of the Potter's will. Three," her glared intensified. "The aforementioned person failed his duty as guardian as required by law in that he failed to check on the well being of his ward and further, failed to teach said ward the customs and duties his heritage dictates—leaving him woefully ignorant of our world. Do you see a pattern here, Albus?" she sniped.

Albus squirmed in his chair. "It was all for the Greater Good. The child needed the blood protection that living with his only blood relative could provide. I knew it wouldn't be a happy life but the child would still be alive."

Harry snorted. Lord Peter placed a hand on his arm, giving Harry a look.

Madam Bones snarled. "You usurped the rights of the child and ignored his parent's last wishes. You further ignored the laws regarding minor magical children. You sealed the will and with the help of someone in the ministry, you kept the WCS from fulfilling their duties. It is a wonder you still have your magic, Albus Dumbledore."

"I only suggested. . .," Albus started to explain.

"And there is the rub," Lord Peter interjected. "Madam, if I may, could you read Healer Atwaters' report to us."

Madam Bones read aloud the report as Lord Peter requested. As each sentence echoed in the silent office, Albus Dumbledore's face paled. Sirius groaned and buried his face into his hands. Remus snarled. Harry remained still as a statue staring mutely off into the distance as a single tear slid down his pale cheek.

"If this is your idea of 'not a happy life,' spare me your idea of a cruel one," Lord Peter said. "I have been in correspondence with Lord Harry since last spring. How we have been doing so, is not up for discussion." Lord Peter stated, stalling the headmaster's questions. "I have been doing what you and Lord Black have failed to do. That is, to teach Lord Harry what it means to be the Head of an Ancient and Noble House. I also will be requesting, if this meeting is successful, that Lord Potter take his seats on the Wizengamot as a full adult."

"You can't do that!" Albus exclaimed, spittle flying. "He is not ready! He doesn't understand the politics involved."

"And who's fault is that?" Lord Peter countered in disgust.

Madam Bones sighed and looked at the witch beside her, who gave her a slight nod. "I, Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, do hereby recognize Lord Harry James Potter, Head of the Ancient and Noble Houses of Potter and Gryffindor, as a full and legal adult with all of the duties and responsibilities entailed. I also do declare that until Lord Potter reaches the age of seventeen he is to have the following advisors, Lord Peter Finchly-Addams and the Goblin known as Ragnok, should Lord Potter need sage advice. So Mote Be."

"No! Stop! I protest!" Albus said, pulling out his wand, standing as a glow of magic shot from Amelia Bones to Harry.

The witch from WCS stood up, "I, Gretta Marchbank, Head of the Wizarding Children Services, do hereby recognize Harry James Potter, Head of the Ancient and Noble Houses of Potter and Gryffindor, as a full and legal adult with all of the duties and responsibilities entailed. I also do declare that until Lord Potter reaches the age of seventeen he is to have the following advisors, Lord Peter Finchly-Addams and the Goblin known as Ragnok, should Lord Potter need sage advice. So Mote Be."

Magic entwined around Harry as he stood straight. He noted the disapproval and anger in the headmaster's eyes and shook his head. "You have never been there for me, Headmaster. Where were you when I was locked in a boot cupboard, crying from hunger? Where were you when my cousin and his gang invented the game 'Harry Hunting'? Where were you when I was forced to compete in the Triwizard Tounament? And lastly, why should I trust you now?"

Harry turned to his godfather. "I'm sorry, Sirius. But I had to do it this way." Then in a small child-like whisper, "Do you still want me?"

Sirius looked up with tears running down his cheeks. He grabbed Harry into a fierce hug. "I know I wasn't there for you, Harry but yes, I still want you."

Harry and Sirius were only vaguely aware when Remus' arms surrounded them both.


The main reason about no articles is that the next few chapters are only days apart in the time line. Harry just doesn't have time to work on them. Sorry. We hope to fill out the characters involved, so please bear with us.

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