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.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5554780/1/Poison-Pen

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8. Fall Out

Lord Charles read the latest edition of the Quibbler and smirked. It was the best thing he ever did was passing on Oliver Twist's letter. The Quibbler gave him the chance to ask the forbidden questions the Prophet could not under the political climate at that time. It had been a proud moment when he took over as Editor in Chief of the Prophet, but that moment didn't last long.

With the death of the Potters and their political and financial influence, the Prophet slowly fell to the machinations and power of the ministry. Gone were the tenets and principles espoused by the Potters in all their business dealings. Without their influence as major stock-holders, the Prophet became little more than the Ministry's mouthpiece. Thank Merlin, that has now changed.

When Fudge threatened to shut the Prophet down for not following Ministry guidelines, he was confronted in the atruim of the Ministry by the Prophet's barristers and was slapped with a lawsuit for interfering with a private business. Cornelius Fudge couldn't close down the newspaper as the ministry didn't have controlling shares to do so, nor he prove malfeasance on the part of the Prophet. The rather public confrontation and ensuing embarrassment was enough for Fudge to beat a hasty retreat back to his office, legal papers clutched in a sweaty fist.

Picking up a quill, Lord Charles penned a note to his rival editor, Xeno Lovegood. This Oliver Twist was a breath of fresh air. As the editor of the Prophet, and a journalist to the bone, it was his duty to join the hunt and fan the flames of revolution the Quibbler had ignited.

0o0o0o0

The great hall was buzzing. At the Ravenclaw table, Luna Lovegood passed out copies of the Quibbler to any students who wanted it. All throughout the Great Hall, many were seen reading the strange periodical in one hand and eating with the other. Several scoffed at the rag but more students seemed to be nodding their heads in agreement. If one was paying attention, they would noticed that most of those who were nodding were muggle borns. A couple of the 'Claws had family in management and statistical research. They knew where to find the data needed to prove or disprove Twist's statements. The owls would be busy tonight, that is if the headmaster didn't lock down the owlery.

Harry munched quietly on a piece of toast as he listened to the conversation around him. A copy of the Quibbler was glued to Hermione's face. Thankfully, Dobby knew better than to deliver Harry's copy in front of so many witnesses.

"What! I can't believe this," she was muttering. "This can't be right! You mean to tell me my parents are paying for a second rate education! I could've been prepping for an Uni degree for what they are paying for here!"

"What are you on about, 'Mione?" Ron asked through a mouthful of eggs. "What in Merlin's name are you yakking about now?"

With an angry snap of her copy of the Quibbler, she hissed. "I, for one, was told that Hogwarts was the premier magical school in the world. This says otherwise, and if it is true, Hogwarts misrepresented itself and opened itself up for legal action."

"Harry!?" Ron whinged, spitting bits of his breakfast across the table. "Has she gone mental?"

"How!? How did he know we made prefect?" she stammered. "We didn't know until a week before the train."

Harry leaned back in his chair, brushing off the half-chewed bits. "Leave me out of it, mate. It's getting late. I have to get to class. Ask one of the Ravenclaws if you aren't sure. They get off on such things." Harry shrugged at Hermione as he gathered up his bag. "Maybe he wrote it on the train and saw you two patrolling?"

0o0o0o0

Filius Flitwick was well pleased with his house. Ravenclaws were research driven, but they also knew that logic isn't the be-all and end-all of a problem. Given time, he knew that he would be reading research papers based on today's Quibbler article. He chuckled quietly to himself. They should prove interesting reading.

At the other end of the head table, Severus Snape viciously balled up the Quibbler, crunching it tightly. "How dare they print such blatant rubbish! How dare that impertinent brat infer that instructors of this school are incompetent?" To all seated at the Head Table, it seemed that the potions master took personal exception to the claims in Twist's article.

"Severus, my boy," Albus said, looking up from his morning treat of lemon curds and scones. "What ever is the matter?"

"Have you even looked at this..this..rag Albus? Twist has gone too far! He dared imply Hogwarts gives its students an inferior education!" Severus frothed in absolute rage.

"Oh Severus, calm yourself. I hardly think people will take a child's scribblings seriously." Minerva McGongall said as she looked up from her copy of the Quibbler. "Unless it hit a nerve? Tell me Severus, how many of your little snakes, or their parents, do you think will come to you to complain about the quality of education their children are getting here? Hogwarts has been a world leader among wizarding schools since it was built."

What are you implying?" Severus snarled.

"Only that this is becoming a, 'Tempest in a Teapot', and I hardly think it is worth the energy you expend ranting about it." Minerva huffed, giving her copy a snap with her wrist as she returned to her reading.

"Now, now," Albus interjected. "Classes will be starting soon, don't you think it's time you get to them? Mustn't keep our students waiting in the Halls."

"Hem, hem," a toad-like woman cleared her throat. "Personally, I refuse to read such blatant filth. The Minster is very anxious to discover the identity of this Oliver Twist. His lies are causing problems, and I think the good Professor has every right to be upset," she simpered in a little-girl voice while smiling sweetly at Severus.

"I am sorry my dear," Albus said affably. "We have no clue who Mr. Twist is. We do believe he is either a muggle-born, or has muggle connections. We suspect he is a Ravenclaw but Filius . . ."

"I object, Albus," Filius jumped in, standing. "For all we know he could be a Hufflepuff or Slytherin. I see no reason to accuse my House without proof!"

"None of my Slytherins wrote this garbage," Severus interjected from his end of the table. "Only a Ravenclaw would spout statistics. . ."

Sensing an impending explosion from Flitwick, Madam Sprout broke in, "I wonder if Mr. Potter could have written this?"

Severus snorted. "Please! Potter couldn't write his way out of a cauldron. He is a mediocre student at best and lacks the vocabulary to have written these articles."

'His parents were highly intelligent," Filius muttered as he turned to leave. "As much as I would like to finish this discussion, I have a class in 15 minutes. If you will excuse me. . . "

"He is right," Minerva said, sounding a bit disappointed and a mite sad. "James and Lily Potter were gifted wizards. Harry just doesn't seem to measure up to them."

"Thank Merlin," Severus muttered as he stood to leave.

0o0o0o0

Harry watched the sun sinking into the west as he sat alone by the lake. In his hand was the tiny walkman that he and Dobby had charmed to tape the Head Table during breakfast and lunch. He replayed the professors' conversations and smirked. So far, his plan was working. They were totally clueless, although Professor Flitwick sounded like trouble.

It was too bad that the Wizarding World was so blind and couldn't see their nose to spite their face. Well,I did shake up Hermione's world, maybe she'll come out of her books and shake hands with reality.

He looked up at the glorious colours that painted the evening sky. Lord Peter had come through for him once more. A hearing to sue for Harry's emancipation was scheduled during the Christmas hols. Professor Dumbledore still hadn't a clue about it and Harry hoped it remained that way. A letter would be sent to the headmaster and Sirius at the last possible moment leaving them no time to thwart Lord Peter's efforts. They didn't need any mishaps.

Harry was torn when it came to his friends. Maybe he should forgive them? He was pretty sure he'd be called up to the Headmaster's Office relatively soon, on some pretext, and lectured on the ability to forgive. After all, everyone deserved a second chance, didn't they? Oh yeah, right. He could hear it all now.

Dobby popped in to hand Harry another letter. Seeing it was from Mr. Lovegood, Harry glanced around before he opened it.

"No one is around, Master Harry Potter, Sir," the house elf said. "I'se a good elf and made sure you would not be disturbed," Dobby said with a conspiratorial smile.

"Thank you Dobby. Has my request for more information about Delores Umbridge been delivered to Lord Peter?"

"Yes, Master Harry Potter, Sir. He says he will get back to you'se soon as he can."

"Thank you, Dobby." Harry dismissed his friend and turned his attention to the envelope in his hand. A small note and a larger letter fell from it when he opened it.

"Oliver," the note read, "this was sent to me, asking that I forward it on to you. I have checked it for tracking as well as portkey and hexing spells. It is a legitimate offer. I would advise you to think well on it. -- Xeno Lovegood."

Harry gave a puzzled look at the other letter that had fallen out of the envelope.

Dear Mr. Twist,

Your first column was an eye opening article. In the past, I have been forced to reject many articles written by fellow Ravenclaws. They did not meet the Ministry's enforced mandates and so could not be published. The Ministry refuses to face facts, the world has moved on around us while we stagnate in the mire of tradition and ignorance.

From your letters and article published in the Quibbler, I am assuming that you are a fellow Ravenclaw. Your writings are well thought out and to the point. I have double-checked your facts and, sadly, found them to be accurate.

Now as to why I am writing to you. Recent events have freed some very disturbing restraints that were placed on the Daily Prophet. We are now under new management and the Ministry no longer has complete control on what we may, or may not, publish. Our new policy decrees that, 'all articles written for the Prophet must be backed up with hard core facts and evidence'. Something that has been lacking in the recent past.

Therefore, after reading your first by-line with our competitor and checking with your facts, I wish to offer you a chance to write for us as well. For the same fee and consideration that you are getting from the Quibbler, we would also like to run your articles.

You do not have to answer right now but we at the Daily Prophet would like to hear from you.

Sincerely

Lord Charles Witherspoon
Editor In Chief
The Daily Prophet

Harry read the letter over three times. It wasn't a joke. Maybe his plan would work after all.

0o0o0o0

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