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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31. Life Can Be Funny

Harry walked into the Great Hall for dinner. It had been a week since the Goblin ritual and the removal of Snape's dark mark. Today was the first time he'd been allowed to step foot outside the infirmary and it was his studied opinion that Madam Pomphrey should be declared a Dark Witch for the obvious pleasure she took in 'locking down' her helpless patients.

She'd steadfastly refused to allow either Harry, or Professor Snape, out of her infirmary. No matter how determinedly both had sulked, threatened, and whined, she refused to comply. Poppy had a streak of pure evil, Harry was sure of it.

Harry's mental grumbling halted as soon as he walked into the Great hall. There his eyes, not to mention his ears, met with the strangest sight he had ever seen.

Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger were faced off in the center aisle, toe to toe in a shouting match and the professors were sitting back seemingly enjoying the show! Strange, shouldn't someone be putting a stop to this?

". . . furthermore, just because the pure-bloods have always had a monopoly on all high ranking, prestigious positions doesn't mean. . ." screeched Granger, her face red.

"It's tradition, Granger!" Malfoy snarled, interrupting. " But then, what would YOU know about OUR traditions and culture? You are, after all, an outsider, it is OUR world!"

"Your world? I think Her Majesty might disagree! And as for tradition! Shall we talk about tradition?" Hermione arched an eyebrow smugly. "You value traditions so highly, yet almost all pure-blood families take any squib born to them and cast it out. They deny their own children a family and a name, all in the name of tradition and purity of blood."

"Leave it to you to focus on something so ridiculous. Squib children have no place in our world. . ." Malfoy was stopped abruptly when Hermione broken in once more.

"I was told that pure-bloods value family above all and yet when a newborn fails to prove magical, it is cast out and forgotten. A practice, I might mention, which is still in effect among only the most primitive muggle tribes when the child is female, or not perfect. . . it is not, however, a custom practiced by civilized societies!"

Draco Malfoy shrugged. "This is tradition, it's worked for more than a thousand years. Who are you, an outsider, to question it?"

"I am the daughter of a squib. As such, I feel it is my right to question!" She huffed, then continued. "Has it never occurred to you that the blood a squib carries is the same as that in the veins of its parents and their other, magical children? Why blame a child for lack of magic when it was obviously the parents own imperfect blood that created it? That they are at fault for producing a child with no magic, not the child. Perhaps it is they who should be condemned and barred from reproducing again, to keep their obviously flawed bloodline from spreading!" Hermione's words fell into silence as the students and teachers sat stunned by her logic.

Malfoy stood before her, mouth open in shock.

"It looks to me that the pure-blood 'tradition' of getting rid of squib children is simply a way for them to hide their flawed and weakening blood lines!" She waited a moment for any rebuttal, then continued. "And, just so you know, a squib in a magical family is no different than a magical child popping up in a muggle family...two sides of the same coin!

"And what if Oliver Twist is right? We need the infusions of new blood from muggle-borns and half-bloods to keep magic strong and alive."

With a stubborn tilt of his jaw Malfoy finally spoke. "Well, he can't be right. We would've seen the effect before now."

Hermione snarled. "Perhaps we already have! Of the three most powerful wizards in the world, two of them are half-bloods and only one a pure-blood!" Had anyone looked at the head table, they would have seen Filius Flitwick and Severus Snape struggling to contain their mirth. Unaware of her professors' reactions, Hermione blithely ranted on.

"So then, your answer to all of this is to just bury your head in the sand, maintain the status quo and ignore the problem, hoping it'll go away? Is that what you are telling me? Because, if it is, then you might as well dig that hole longer and deeper and save us the trouble of burying you when the time comes!"

Harry moved to sit with Neville and his friends. Now he understood why the teachers hadn't interfered. They were using this argument to prove a point. He wondered if the professors really understood that point. He glanced over at the Ravenclaw table. Many were listening and taking notes. No, they weren't about to join in, they might miss some important fact.

Harry noted that the twins were quietly conducting business as usual, taking bets and urging their Housemates to join the pool. They weren't having much luck though since the odds-on-favorite was Hermione.

"And don't forget our career discussion with our head of house. Professor McGonagall lied to all muggle-borns when she extolled the virtues of working and living in the Wizarding World," Hermione stated. "I can't believe that a witch of her caliber would so mislead her students unless she was under direct orders to do so. That is NOT the Gryffindor way."

A stunned gasp rippled through the hall as Hermione turned and strode proudly back to the Gryffindor table and her friends waiting there.

With a wide grin, Harry stood and applauded his friend's logic. The rest of the hall, save Slytherin, soon followed.

Minvera McGonagall was too shocked at the turn of the debate to sputter a denial.

0o0o0o0

Croaker sighed as he put down the report he had been reading. The rumors were rumors no longer. The Dark Lord known as Lord Voldemort, was no more. The reports were very vague at the cause of death as no body had been found, only a rotted hand, a desiccated rib bone and a bloody robe.

He recalled Potter reporting after the last trial of the Tri-wizard Tournament that his blood,along with other things, had been used in a foul ritual that brought Riddle back to life. If he remembered correctly, the boy mentioned these elements were used.

Croaker picked up a list of names. 'We are looking at the death of our world if something isn't done and soon,' he thought. The list contained all of the Death Eaters that were now either dead or squibs.

Names from many of the most prominent pureblood families were listed. Some families had more than one member on the list. As it now stood a large number of the old, pure-blood families were without their Paterfamilias. Many also lost their mothers, heirs and other siblings. Voldemort's death had crippled the British Wizarding World's aristocracy.

'I can just see the Wizengamot enacting new marriage laws which will prove disastrous if they pass. With the eye of the crown already assessing our world, we stand to lose everything. Her Majesty will not be pleased if this happens.' Croaker thought for a moment before penning a quick note. He started to chuckle. 'Well, if they do, I can just see it now! Twist will have new fodder for his poison pen.'

Speaking of Oliver Twist, Croaker picked up another note.

Dear Unspeakables,

I wish to inform you as I know I can trust you to keep this quiet. Potter has come into his inheritances and claimed his rings. I saw them as he entered the Great Hall. He was even wearing the Slytherin ring!

No one was allowed to enter the infirmary the week he and Professor Snape were confined by the Dragon Lady for reasons unknown. It did, however, coincide with the strange happenings with the Death Eaters.

I must say Professor Snape is looking better and still has his magic, which makes me wonder how he was missed in the purge.

Look for my next article in the Prophet.

-OT

Croaker's eyebrows shot up. Potter-Gryffindor and Slytherin? Oh Merlin!

0o0o0o0

In the Great Hall, Minerva McGonagall huffed indignantly over her best fifth year student's comments. Filius stopped her with a calming hand on her arm. "Don't Minerva. She's right. You know as well as I that Albus didn't want us to tell the truth. He had his own agenda and truth wasn't part of it."

"But . . ."

Filius shook his head. "She was only saying what everyone is thinking. You know as well as I do that we are losing the best and brightest half-bloods and the muggle-borns every year due to the injustice of the Ministry policies."

"I did not wish to discourage any student striving to achieve. And you well know I had no choice, I had to follow Albus' dictates on these matters."

Filius shook his head. "This has been building for years, if not decades. No. What we need to do is allow this to continue. . ." he held up his hand to stall her protest. "Let me finish. We need to allow this in a controlled environment.

"My little ravens have been debating these issues since Mr. Twist's articles began. I think it's time that we open this school wide. Let's do a round robin debate with teams, rules and judges. Don't you think it's time to return to teaching our students to use their minds to think, rather than to simply repeat empty words and phrases?"

Severus Snape stood. "I agree Minerva. You know Albus didn't like the students questioning him or what he saw as proper. He thought his way was the only way for the Greater Good."

Minerva closed her eyes in thought. "Very well then, I will let you and Filius oversee this."

0o0o0o0

Harry crowed in delight. A school wide debate! He read the list of topics:

Pure-blood vs muggle-born magic: Is there a difference?

Birthrate within the Wizarding World: Why is it declining?

Squibs: Have their birthrates increased over the last century and can they be integrated into Wizarding society?

Careers within the British Wizarding World vs other Countries: Which offers career advancement for all?

Oliver Twist: How accurate are the facts he stated?

"Harry are you going to sign up for any of these debates?" Hermione asked excitedly.

"No, I don't have time, 'Mione," Harry said, turning to his friend. "What one are you going to sign up for?"

"One? All of them!"

Harry's eyebrow disappeared within his fringe. "Do you think that's wise? I know you Hermione. You should only pick one or two. You'll drop with exhaustion researching all of the topics and don't forget you still need to study for our OWLS."

Hermione huffed. "I can do this. Most of them overlap anyway."

Harry shook his head. "I still think you should pick only a couple and sit in on the rest. But it's your funeral."

On Monday morning, Harry walked down to the Great Hall for breakfast. His thoughts were on the debate held yesterday.

The professors had decided to set aside Sundays for debates. The first one, between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, had been interesting to listen to. As it was the first, there had not been time for much research to be done. It lasted for two hours, until Professor Flitwick had called it a draw.

Hermione had ignored his advice as usual and tried to get on many of the teams only to be rebuffed. She did manage to get on two and both were made up with Gryffindors. Her first debate was coming up next week.

"Harry?"

Harry turned around to see Luna standing in a small alcove. "Nice article in the Quibbler today. When are you going to tell anyone. . .?"

"Shh. . . not here," harry said, nervously looking around, before grabbing and pulling her further into the alcove. A quick silencing charm, and Harry looked at his friend with a sigh.

"It isn't easy, Luna. I really don't have plans to reveal Oliver's true indentity. I know several people have figured it out, but they haven't said anything. Are you going. . .?"

Luna gave him a dreamy smile. "Why should I? Who would believe me?"

Harry laughed and hugged his strange friend. "Thanks Luna. I have plans for Oliver and seriously, I need him to be kept a secret from most of the Wizarding World. Those that have figured it out are those that see the real Harry and not the Boy Who Lived."

"The nargles seem to agree with you Harry. I'll keep your secrets as well."

"Thanks Luna."

Inside the Great hall, Harry picked up a copy of the Quibbler and read the newest Twist article.

Life Can be Funny

You know, life has a way of throwing you for a loop, sometimes two or three.

Take for example, the heated argument between Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy during dinner last week. One would think that the professors would be breaking it up as soon as it started. However, in a move very much like our former headmaster, who I am told is on 'stress leave' until further notice, the shouting match was allowed to continue as no hexes were thrown. I firmly believe had there been, the professors would've stepped in.

Although, Miss Granger did bring up one point that does remain worth repeating. "Professor McGonagall lied to us muggle-born when she extolled the virtues of working and living in the Wizarding World," Hermione Granger stated. "I can't believe that a witch of her caliber would so mislead her students unless she was under direct orders to do so. That is NOT the Gryffindor way."

Doesn't the Wizarding World have a back bone yet?

On another note, I am hearing rumblings from the Wizengamot about new and upcoming marriage laws to help with the shortages caused the war of pure-blood lines. Uh excuse me? Didn't we just go through this when Her Majesty came for a visit?

The directive she has issued to everyone was to bring the Wizarding Laws back to British standards set by parliament. She will no longer tolerate any Wizarding laws that discriminate against any race of sentient beings, or those which violate the Laws of the Realm. So, mandatory marriage laws would be considered illegal and a form of marital slavery and would add another nail in the coffin of the Wizengamot.

Wouldn't it be better to offer incentives, such as tax relief for families who have more than one child? How about sponsorships/scholarships to Hogwarts for families with more than two children in attendance? What if squib children were kept and encouraged to marry within the Wizarding world, after all, they do come from proven bloodlines.

Why pass such asinine laws that force people to go against their own free will when the best way is to offer rewards if they comply to the needs of the whole? This makes more sense to me, but then the Wizarding World, as a whole, just refuses to think for themselves. They would seem to rather allow a few to make decisions for them, then complaint about it when things don't go the way they should.

Thankfully, I'm still in Hogwarts getting my education. As for the betting pool that the Weasley twins are still running, well, I am still enjoying everyone's thoughts on who they think I am.

I rather like being in the background, always watching, always pointing out the missteps. Those who have figured it out, please keep my secrets as I am keeping yours. Your silence will allow me to continue to be a voice of reason in an insane world.

-Oliver Twist

-finis -

0o0o0o0

As you all can see this is the last chapter. We hope we tied up all the loose ends. There will not be an epilogue or a sequel. What you see is what you get. It's been a fun ride and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. It was never our intention to reveal who Oliver really was to the Wizarding World. We are sorry for those that had wished to see the reaction this would have caused, but he really served better as the anonymous conscience of the Wizarding World. For those that wrote that they couldn't wait for this scene, we really couldn't write back as it would've given away our story plot.

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