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.



10. Like Mother Like Son

An emergency staff meeting was held that Wednesday evening after dinner. Everyone attended except Dolores Umbridge, who had spent the day at the Ministry trying to mollify Fudge and get the Quibbler banned.

"Albus? Could this Twist be right? Is someone using a dark artifact on our students?" Pomona Sprout asked, looking warily at Minerva McGonagall, who was sitting beside the Headmaster, stewing over what was printed about her.

"I am not sure. The wards for the school should make that impossible without warning me at the very least." Albus said, with a sigh. "Mr. Twist made it quite obvious at whom he was pointing the finger of negligence."

Severus Snape sneered. "Just how did Mr. Twist find a copy of Helena Ravenclaw's book? I seem to remember it was reported missing over five years ago."

"Well, it looks like it has been found, doesn't it?" Filius asked, sipping his tea. "And if it was found where he claimed, then one must really wonder just how many other historical volumes have been, 'lost'

or misplaced."

"Where is Dolores? Shouldn't she be here?" Pomona asked barging into the conversation.

"Poppy? How many students came to you after her detentions?" Albus asked, ignoring her question for the moment.

"None, Albus," Poppy reported. "Although Hermione Granger did come to me asking for essence of Murtlap last week."

"Did she say who it was for?" Albus frowned over his teacup at her.

"No, but then she didn't have to. I knew it was probably for Mr. Potter. Poor child, he hates coming to me for anything."

"Well, can you blame him?" Pomona snorted.

"Did he come to you about his detentions Minerva?" Albus asked with some concern in his voice.

Minerva sighed. "Yes, he did, but only on one occasion."

"Well? What did he say, and how did you handle it...?" Albus quizzed.

"I didn't give him time to say much of anything. I had been dealing with another one of the twins' pranks and he caught me at a bad time," Minerva said, trying to excuse herself. She didn't look happy.

"I simply told him to keep his head down and try to avoid further conflict with Madam Umbridge."

"So you dismissed his complaint out of hand?" Severus sneered. " And here I thought you treasured your 'Little Lions', especially Potter!"


Dolores look smug when she returned to Hogwarts late well after the staff meeting had ended. She'd just spent all day with Cornelius. He'd been easy enough to convince that the mad ramblings of disgruntled student should be ignored. After all, she'd noted with a simpering smile, any reply by the Ministry would only lend credence to Twist's drivel. He had nodded his agreement and reassured her that she was still his right hand at the school and would soon be promoted to High Inquisitor, giving her the power to make a difference.

Even Lucius Malfoy had reassured Cornelius that this insanity would come to nothing when queried about the article. It would die down in a day or so, he was sure of it The Wizarding World was far too intelligent to believe the, 'verbal tantrums' of Oliver Twist.


As the students of Hogwarts were sitting down for a quiet breakfast the next day, Cornelius Fudge was getting howlers, mail and visits from very irate parents. They were screaming about not only the safety of there children, but about having to pay for a second-rate education. Many had pureblood ties and had supported him in the last election. It would seem many students had taken Twist's advice about the detentions and sent letters, as well as photo evidence, home. Dolores and Albus had forgotten to have the owlery sealed before she left for the day.

Amelia Bones along, with several Aurors stormed into the Ministers office that afternoon. "Cornelius. A word."

Cornelius reached into his desk and pulled out a calming draught.


That evening, Amelia Bones, along with a team of Aurors and several parents with their family solicitors, apparated to Hogsmeade and descended on Hogwarts.

Dinner was just ending when they marched through the great hall doors. A startled Albus Dumbldedore stood to address them. "May we help you Madam Bones?" He asked, blue eyes losing their customary twinkle.

"Yes, Headmaster, you may. I have a warrant for the arrest of Dolores Umbridge. . . " Amelia started to say when the student body broke into a chorus of cheers and whistles. Madam Umbridge stood up, her face red with fury. Her loud throat clearings was effectively drowned out by the students.

A loud crack and flare of magic startled everyone into silence. "Pray continue, Madam Bones," Albus said.

"As I was saying,I have a warrant for the arrest of one Dolores Umbridge, for the torture of students under her care. Several parents have filed complaints about the the use of a dark artifact on their children. So, I would like all students who have had detentions with her to stand. . ." Amelia ordered as many students, in all houses except Slytherin, stood up. She and her aurors counted over 20 and noted that Harry Potter was among them.

"For Merlin's sake! Tell me Albus how did you not know what was going on? You are supposed to be the greatest wizard of our time and Master of the Wards of Hogwarts! How could you not know?" Amelia sputtered as her Aurors took Umbridge into custody while several parents and their Barristers began to pull individual students away to question them.

Albus Dumbledore wisely kept his mouth closed


"Mr. Potter," Filius called from on top of his stack of books as the Charm class was letting out. It was a week after the article about the use of blood quills

at Hogwarts. The ensuing furor it caused had finally died down a bit and now it seemed that everyone was holding their breath—waiting for the next shoe to drop, as it were.

"Yes sir?" Harry looked up, startled..

"There is something I wish to discuss with you. Can you meet with me after your last class this afternoon?"

"Yes Sir," Harry said, a puzzled frown on his face as he packed his books into his bag.

Late that afternoon a nervous Harry knocked on the Charms Professor's door. Thankfully he had managed to slip away from Ron and Hermione after their last class. He surely didn't want them waiting for him to 'discuss' whatever Professor Flitwick had to say.

"Come to in to my office, Harry, this shouldn't take long," invited the Charms Professor's squeaky voice.

Harry entered the cluttered office and smiled. This room had Professor Flitwick's personality all over it. It was scaled to his small stature, though it did contain chairs for his more normal sized visitors.

With a wave of his hand, Filius Flitwick closed his office door and Harry felt a powerful privacy ward go up. "There, we won't be heard. Have a seat, Harry, or should I say Mister Twist?" Filius smiled, going around to the chair behind his desk.

Harry flinched slightly. He continued his study of the office walls with their rows of dueling plaques and trophies. He wondered how he was going to bluff his way out of this. "I don't know what you are talking about, sir," he said slowly turning to face his professor.

"It is a known fact, Harry," Filius explained as he leaned back into his chair, steepling his fingers, "that a truly competent teacher can, over time, recognize the writing style of their students. No matter how well disguised said student thinks it. Style, tone and even the rhythm of a student's writing can be recognized, thus identifying them. This talent is most useful as it helps cut down on cheating during exams."

"And how does that make me Oliver Twist?" Harry asked causally, leaning against the book case, but inside he knew he was dead. The game was up, he was going to be in so much hot water! He knew that several people wanted his head as Oliver not to mention as the Boy Who Lived as well.

"Have a seat Harry," Filius offered.

Harry took the offered seat with a pained groan and did the only thing he could do, wait for the axe to fall.

"I knew your mother well and was in fact, her mentor and Charms Master when she apprenticed under me. She had a brilliant mind," the small professor said wistfully. " I will admit I was looking forward to teaching you, until I saw your first essay homework. Your handwriting was atrocious, and your execution of thought on paper was very slip-shod. I was horrified that someone as brilliant as Lily Evans could produce such a mediocre child. . ."

"But sir. . ." Harry protested.

"Let me finish, child," Filius said, holding up a hand. "Then, after I found a rough copy of one of your assignments on the floor and compared it to the finished product you handed in, I realized that you were dumbing down you homework! Imagine my surprise when later in the year you let slip a few other things that caught my eye. It seemed odd that a child who was intelligent enough to use magic as well as you do would be so lacking in other areas. It just didn't add up. Surely, I thought, you do have a brain. Why weren't you using it? Then I realized that you were, just not in the way we expected! I am well aware of the fact that your friend Miss Granger prides herself on being top student, and Mr. Weasley has a problem with jealousy." He continued with a heavy sigh. " I came to the conclusion that their friendship means more to you than academic excellence. This is why I haven't pushed you to do better in my class."

Harry hung his head and waited. His heart was pounding. He just knew he was going to be expelled. Dumbledore had all but promised he would do so if he ever caught the one known as Oliver Twist.

"I have watched you child ever since you arrived here. When I realized what was going on, I couldn't say anything as no one would have believed me. You have covered your tracks well, too well in some cases. The other professors had already formed their opinions of you and they seemed more or less set in stone."

Harry peeked through his bangs at the professor and found only concern and a bit of amusement. "What do you mean sir, why have you kept my secret?" Harry asked.

Filius sighed and shrugged. "You must realize that Albus only keeps me on as I am a very renown Duelist and Charms Master. Add to that my connections to Gringotts. The ministry can not dismiss me, even if they wanted to, it would cause all kinds of headaches between them and the Goblins as I've been here long enough to have tenure."

Filius paused for a moment looking at his student. Harry looked up into the professor's eyes with dawning hope.

"I think you were sorted into the wrong house, Mr. Potter," Filius said with a smile, changing the subject. "I believe Severus would've been horrified at a Slytherin Potter, but that's besides the point, you show the best attributes of that house. I believe you would have made an outstanding Slytherin or perhaps, a Ravenclaw. I applaud you on your abilities. With the courage of Gryffindor, cunning of Slytherin and intelligence of Ravenclaw, you will make a fine duelist when you come of age."

"You mean if I survive to come of age, don't you?" Harry asked with some bitterness.

Filius paused, then nodded. "Quite right, my boy. Quite right." The professor sighed, bringing the conversation back around to the topic at hand. "Now about these articles. Like I said, a good instructor knows the writing style of his student. I must admit it did take me several reads of various letters and articles before I was sure it was you.

"I've had Ravenclaws in the past who tried to protest through the printed word, but failed. There is something about the Ravenclaw mentality that drives them to put too many dry facts and numbers in their writing, almost as if they wish to cram the facts down their reader's throat in one large lump. They don't seem to understand that not everyone loves dry statistics, that they should try a trickle, and not a flood."

The diminutive professor nodded his head. "You have a good grasp on giving your facts and statistics in smaller, more easily absorbed morsels that the average witch or wizard can comprehend. Your first simple letter came at the right time, with just enough impact to make people take notice. I salute you, Mr. Potter," Filius said, rising from his chair to bow to the astounded boy before him.

Harry blushed. "I uh what happens now?"

"Nothing as of yet," Filius said with a smile, returning to his chair. "I know for a fact that no other instructor has figured it out." He chuckled quietly. "In fact, they are taking bets on who it is and your name isn't even in the betting pool. No Mr. Potter, your secret is quite safe. Now then, the reason why I asked you here. I will be giving you some additional help with statistics and little known facts as you need them . . . in secret of course."

"But why?" Harry looked up, stunned. He knew he couldn't trust his Head of House. She had never been there for him, even when he went to her for help. Last week he went to complain about his detentions and she simply told him to, " Keep your head down, Mr. Potter and avoid detention." And Snape? he snorted in his mind.

"For your mother's sake and for yours, child. There have been too many secrets hidden for far too long. It's about time someone opened the curtains and let the light in."

Harry came away from the meeting with Professor Flitwick with hope. It was too bad that he hadn't approached this professor years ago but he hadn't known who to trust then as well as now. At least, now, he would give the man the benefit of a doubt.

So they were taking bets on who Twist was? Harry almost cackled with glee. He wondered if the twins were taking bets among the students as well. Anything for a quick quid, hey?


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