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.



9. Fools or Slaves?

Dolores Umbridge quickly established her power base within the school. Everyone was terrified of her, even the professors seemed to fear for their jobs. They seemed to be oblivious to what was going on, but Harry doubted that. Come on, from what Harry knew the portraits and ghosts were terrible gossips. All one had to do was listen.

Harry knew, with his continuing insistence on Voldemort's return and the Ministry's strident denial of the same,it would only be a matter of time before she tried to have him expelled.

She'd had him in detention for over a week now and term had just started. His hand really hurt. The quill she made him use to write his lines didn't use ink. It actually gouged the lines into the back of his hand magically as he wrote on the parchment, causing the words to appear in his own blood. The writing was now etched so deeply into the back of his hand that Harry left each detention with a bloody rag tightly wrapped around it, trying to stem the flow of blood until he could get to his dorm and bandage it properly.

Harry knew he wasn't the only one to have detention with her and he was furious to think that other, possibly younger, students were being tortured as well. She seemed to be targeting anyone who wasn't a pure blood. Well, he would see about that. He needed to do some very discrete research before he could take steps.

'Wonder just what the wizarding world would think?' he mused painfully. 'A Ministry appointed teacher using an instrument of torture on sweet, innocent students? Maybe Oliver will have to question it.' His smirk was hidden by the shadows in the hall as he made his way to the Gryffindor dorm.


Three weeks later, he was in the back of the library, beside him was his invisibility cloak and the Marauders map. Harry was in hiding. Since the first day of the new term almost a month ago, someone was always with him. He rarely got any time to himself and the only way he could was to sneak away.

It was only very late at night or when he could sneak away that he could work on some papers that Lord Peter had sent him, plus look over his bank statement from the Goblins. Like he was doing tonight. He really wished he didn't have to sneak but what else could he do? His 'minders', usually Ron and Hermione, stuck to him like lint on black wool. It was driving him crazy, and if they thought their clinging presence would drive him to forgive them, not bloody likely! If anything it was pushing them even farther apart. Still, there was an upside....he had a ready made alibi when people went looking for Oliver Twist! One supplied by the Headmaster himself!

Harry knew his mail was being screened. Thankfully, he had arranged that mail drop with Dobby as courier last spring. Harry would've been screwed otherwise.

He was still peeved that Dumbledore was keeping him ignorant of Wizarding Customs. However, the young wizard was no fool even if he was forced to play one. Lord Peter was filling that gap in Harry's education quite nicely. The Sorting Hat knew what it was doing when it said Harry would do well in the House of the Snakes.

It was going on midnight when Harry finished up his paperwork. He just had one more thing to do. Rubbing gently across his freshly scarred hand, Harry wrote a complaint to Lord Peter and one to the Goblins. It was illegal to use a dark artifact, such as a blood quill, on anyone under the age of 17and even then it was only used to sign very important documents. Madam Dolores Umbridge was a Ministry Official and as such she should know the law better than most. Harry also provided date, time and incident documentation to further his complaint.

Picking up another blank parchment, Harry began to work on his column for this week. He was thankful his column came out only once a week. He didn't think he could, at this time, handle a daily one -- too many ways for him to get caught. Thankfully, his deadline was Tuesdays, with a copy of the column from Xeno going to the Prophet for publication a day later.

He'd signed a contract with the Prophet, at the beginning of the school term, allowing them to carry his columns. However, while they were his secondary publisher, they would have to print the columns one day later as the Quibbler had an exclusive contract. The contract called for the same fee from the Prophet as that paid by the Quibbler. Harry enjoyed the fact that he was paying himself and not getting caught!


A week later, after breakfast, Dolores Umbridge was enjoying a second cup of tea in her office. Dozens of pictures of cats in all forms and sizes lined her office walls, most were dozing peacefully. One or two were slowly stretching and yawning. The toad-like woman smiled at her treasures. Everything pointed to it being a good day.

Last night had proven most satisfying as well, due to the fact she'd had that awful boy in her office doing lines. Dolores giggled. 'I made sure he got the point of the exercise,' she reflected. She'd made sure it was a very sharp and painful point. Her grandfather's pens really did come in handy. She had been surprised she'd been able to bring them to Hogwarts. So much for the vaunted wards Dumbledore touted.

The morning post arrived along with her copy of the Quibbler. She didn't have the clout just yet, but soon she would see about banning this rag! It was responsible for this whole mess. She would deal with the post first. She wasn't going to fritter away her good mood on that disgusting waste of print.

A few minutes later she was flipping through the Quibbler when she found Twist's article on the second page.

Is the Charter of Hogwarts Being Ignored?

In my foraging for an essay for my charms class, I came across an interesting book. It was a slim, worn and ragged volume tucked away and hidden on a shelf of forgotten volumes. It had been hand written by Helena Ravenclaw, the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw, imagine that! One would think the school would take better care of its heirlooms.

To get back to the topic at hand. Did you know that she states the charter of Hogwarts has three basic mandates and they may never be over ridden or changed? According to the charter, if these mandates are not met, control of Hogwarts reverts to the founders' heir(s).

These mandates are:

1) No student, no matter how prestigious the blood line, pure, half or muggle born, shall be denied an education. Education is a right, not a privilege.

2) All instructors shall not, regardless of house affiliation, blood status, or familial relationship, favor one student over another. All students are equal while attending Hogwarts.

3) The Headmaster and the school instructors shall teach all aspects of their subject, be it Dark or Light Magic. Magic is about intent, and any magic can be used to harm. Teaching students to know that it is their intent which makes magic 'light', or 'dark' dispels misconceptions and separates myth from fact.

I have to wonder. How has Hogwarts drifted so far from these ideals? I mean, look at how the feud between the Gryffindors and Slytherins is so out of hand. It has reached the point where hexes are not uncommon in the halls between classes. And the tension is only escalating, what with the Headmaster putting these two houses together in class after class in a futile attempt to "promote inter-house unity". The professors are doing more refereeing in class some days than teaching if their complaints are any indication.

Also, since when are dark artifacts allowed in the castle to be used on students for punishment? I would not have known about it if I hadn't walked into two students rubbing their bloody hands and crying. They had deep gouges on the backs of their hands that were dripping blood. When asked, they said they had detentions with a professor and this was the result. They were too terrified to give the name of the instructor, but it wasn't hard to figure out if one just followed the drops of blood to the source. It would seem this professor has detention students write lines with a 'special' quill.

What is most surprising is that the Headmaster is allowing this, in the -- " Safest place in wizarding Britian". Especially since his golden boy, Potter, seems to be getting an excessive amount of detentions this year with particular professor. I've even seen the Gryffindor rub his hand a few times. Surely these students are writing home about this? I know if my parents found out that someone was using a dark object on me, they would be up in arms.

Don't believe me? All you have to do is check the message boards in the common rooms. They list all detentions, time, student and with whom it must be served. And what makes things worse, why aren't the Heads of Houses doing something about it? According to the rules, they are to be notified when one of their students gets a detention.

Again, I am not naming names, libel laws and all. Wait! Are there libel laws in the Wizarding World? From some of the articles I've seen in the Prophet, libel is a foreign word to the Wizarding World.

However, getting back on topic, I have compiled a list of students that have had detentions this term. It lists the infraction, student name, professor involved and date and time of detention. If there is enough of a demand I could supply this list to the Quibbler and the Prophet. I will leave it up to more mature heads to decide if it gets published or not. Write and let me know.

Lastly, I don't know how much longer I will be allowed to write this column. A movement to suppress the Quibbler, and therefore me, is being conducted here at Hogwarts. I know I now share my column with the Quibbler and the Daily Prophet, so while I must be getting on someone's nerves, they'll have to go after the Prophet as well.

I guess what the muggle Claude Adrien Helvetius says is true. "To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves." Don't know who Helvetius is? Ask a muggle born. They had to study him in primary school.

--Oliver Twist


The noise in the hallway outside Madam Umbridge's office came to a completely halt when a very loud screech echoed along its walls.

Severus Snape who happened by on his way to the Great Hall for breakfast paused. Madam Umbridge wrenched open her door and stormed past him not even acknowledging his presence. The imposing professor raised his eyebrow but said nothing as a small smirk ghosted along his lips. He didn't like the toad woman. Anything to ruin that woman's day just made his. He continued in her wake with a lighter step.


Great quote wasn't it? I wanted to use Winston Churchill but couldn't find one that fit. Frau even loved it.

The reviews are great and the suggestions are wonderful. We must caution everyone, this story is already written in rough draft. All it needs is touching up and correction.

This is a narrowly focused story about Harry's Slytherin side and people's impressions on Oliver Twist's written words. There won't be a lot of action, romance, or blood-shed. This is a study in character-development.

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