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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12. On A Mission

Tom Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort, was holding court in the Grand Ball Room of Malfoy Manor. Clutched tightly in his shaking hand was a copy of yesterday's Prophet.

"Luciusss, my faithful follower. Why wassss I not told about this Oliver Twisssst and his malisssssoussss writimg?" the Dark Lord hissed angrily. "How long hasss he been writing to the Prophet, and why wasssssssn't I told?"

Lucius Malfoy, Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Malfoy, wasn't a stupid man. He knew there was no way he could put the blame on anyone else for this lapse in information, nor could he safely direct the Dark Lord's attention away from him since he was the only other person in the room.

"My lord," Lucius said humbly, hoping that he could appease his lord. "This Twist hasn't been writing for the Prophet long. His articles, until now, were only published in that nuisance rag The Quibbler. When I saw his column in the Prophet, I checked and found they are under new management. The people we have on the staff there have their hands tied. They have to do what the owners wish or risk exposure. . ."

"Crucio!"

0o0o0o0

Hogwarts was in turmoil. No one knew who Oliver Twist was. Many rumors were floating about his identity as well as demands that he give himself up. The Weasley twins were running a betting pool. The odds were currently favoring some bloke in Ravenclaw. Harry Potter's name wasn't even in the running.

Harry snickered to himself as he relaxed into the overstuffed chair he was sitting in. He had sequestered himself in the Room of Requirements. Dobby had shown Harry this room when he asked him for someplace to hide from everyone. It was a lot better than trying to hide out in the library where anyone wandering through could stumble on him.

No one would believe that any of the disparaging remarks made about him in the articles were actually penned by Harry himself. It was a brilliant bit of subterfuge. The only reason Professor Flitwick managed to figure it out was because he recognized Harry's writing style.

Speaking of the Charms Professor, Harry had to hand it to him. He had pointed Harry to the whereabouts of The Booke of Detentions and it hadn't been hard to find.

The library book was officially only available for seventh years, something about being available to aid in filling out job applications. Harry had managed to use his invisibility cloak and the Marauders Map to locate the book after curfew.

One pile of parchment and a quick copy spell (taught by the Charms Professor) and Harry was set. Professor Flitwick then generously added the self-updating charms and keyed Harry into it. Viola! No one thought to check to see if anyone had removed it from the library until after the column was published. By then it was too late.

Harry chuckled as he flipped through the book. It was amazing how often students at the school got up to no good. He found some of the reasons given for detentions and taking points very amusing.

"Master Harry Potter, sir," Dobby's voice broke into Harry's thoughts. The ever eager house elf was holding up the little walkman. "They's done with the staff meeting, Master Harry Potter, sir. Dobby done what you's ask and placed the talkie thing under the table before the meeting and tooks it after the professors was gone."

"Thanks Dobby, you did great!" Harry laughed at his hyper friend as he turned the little machine on.

Dumbledore's voice started the recording. "Now that we are all here. Does any one have any idea on how Mr. Twist found a copy of our detention records?"

"Is that all you are worried about Albus?" came McGonagall's voice. "We all know that a self-updating copy is available in the library, and only the seventh years have access to that part of the restricted section. No, the question we must address here is how did things get so out of control?"

"That's easy, Minerva," came Snape's voice. "We all know that our illustrious headmaster has always favored the bloody Gryffindors. Ever since they arrived here first year, Potter and his cohorts have ruled the roost, just like the brats' father and his pack before him."

"Beware, Severus, I checked the facts before this meeting," Flitwick said. "and Mr. Twist is quite correct in his figures. The point system here at Hogwarts has been a laughable exercise in futility for years. It only works if students care enough about house pride. If it is abused it loses its effectiveness and becomes divisive. It only serves to create and maintain house rivalry."

Professor Sprout broke in, "If Minerva isn't taking points off the Slytherins, its you doing it to the other houses, especially the Gryffindors. With Minerva, points she takes are reasonable, yours aren't. Points off for breathing too loud? Really Severus!"

Filius sneered. "Honestly Severus, for all your bitter protests about what unholy terrors James Potter and his friends were, you seem to be returning tit for tat to his son! In my opinion, you've become what you most hate, a bully!"

Harry snickered. Way to go Professor! He could picture the small being standing rigidly on his chair as he delivered his rant.

"People please! Filius sit down. Severus, enough!" roared Dumbledore's voice.

A silent pause then the headmaster spoke, "I must admit I am as worried about this as you are. Mr. Twist likes to air our failings in public. These attacks on the school have to stop! And I want Mr. Potter kept out of the press for his own safety."

"And what does Mr. Potter have to say about all this?" came Professor Sprout's voice.

"Surprisingly very little," McGongall sighed. "He refuses to speak to me on any matter aside from class work. He said I had my chance to stop his 'torture.' The day after they took that woman out of the Great hall, Harry told me he would be speaking to a barrister about possible charges against both the school and the Ministry."

"Minerva! Stall him! He mustn't . . ." Dumbledore gasped.

"Any why not? It is his right," interrupted Flitwick's squeaky voice. "Or are you saying that Mr. Twist is correct in his assumption and Mr. Potter's rights are to be trampled upon at will?"

"No, no! Nothing like that!" The Headmaster hurriedly declared. "I meant it would look bad for the school if Mr. Potter involves a barrister and the court in internal matters, after all, the problem has been solved."

"You mean it would look bad for you as Headmaster and Head of the Wizengamot if Mr. Potter's barrister files charges?"

'Interesting,' Harry mused. 'Dumbledore seems more worried about me contacting a barrister than he is about the fact that his school is falling apart.'

"Are there any clues on who this Oliver Twist is? What do we know so far?" asked Professor Sprout once more interrupting several minutes of garbled arguing.

"Well, we know he is very intelligent and very logical in his thinking," stated Professor Flitwick. "And so far he has stuck to facts that are provable."

"He has proven he is cunning, protecting himself by stating what is rumor and what can be substantiated as fact," said Snape. "He could well be a Slytherin with his subtle approach. And he hates Potter."

"No, he doesn't. He may poke fun at Potter's perceived image, but not at Mr. Potter himself," McGongall snapped. "I would say Mr. Twist could be in any house, even Hufflepuff."

"Why do you say that, Minerva?" asked Professor Sprout.

"Look at his pointing out fair play. And his quote by that muggle person, about limiting freedom. That is a distinctly Hufflepuff trait. So he's as logical and intelligent as a Ravenclaw, cunning as a Slytherin in not using his real name, he's all about fair play and equality, as a Hufflepuff and he's bold and daring like a Gryffindor. Did I miss anything?" McGongall asked.

"And lets not forget he's probably a muggle born. The way you talk it sounds like there might be more than one person writing," Professor Flitwick stated.

"I'm coming to the conclusion that just maybe there is," Minerva agreed.

"Then do you think that Mr. Twist is a male or female or both?" Dumbledore asked.

"That I could not say," Minerva replied.

Harry crowed with laughter as he shut off the tape. This was just too brilliant!

0o0o0o0

Hermione was on a mission. Harry wasn't really speaking to her this year, he seemed to like to go off on his own more and more. This was so like Harry. Well at least like the Harry she had built up in her mind. She was determined to get to the bottom of it. Sure, she knew he was still peeved about not contacting him over the summer, but it's not like she could disobey a direct order from Albus Dumbledore. He had said it wasn't safe and Harry could've, should've been able to contact her. Shouldn't he?

Was it possible Harry was still reeling from the Tournament? But that was last year! Of course, Cedric did die. Ron said that Harry suffered from terrible nightmares all the way up to the Leaving Feast. She frowned. Ron hadn't mentioned that Harry was still having them. Maybe Harry's relatives got him the help him needed? She sure hoped so, but she doubted it. The few times Harry let scraps of information slip about his relatives, it hadn't been good.

She needed to find out what and where Harry was hiding. She needed to get him to start talking to her. She felt like she had lost something very precious to her over the summer. And Merlin take it all! She was going to get it back!

She would make him talk to her, if it was the last thing she ever did.

"Hey Ron," she called to the red head as he entered the Common Room. "Have you seen Harry lately?"

"No, Hermione, not since lunch, the prat," Ron said plopping down on the couch facing the fireplace beside her.

She sighed, hugging a throw a pillow to her. "I wonder where he disappears to. This so like him to push us away."

"Well, it's no use trying to get the Map. He keeps it on him all the time, the bloody git," Ron replied, rubbing his chin. "I tried following him once but he gave me the slip."

Ginny came over and sat by her brother's feet on the carpet. "Are you talking about Harry?"

"Yea," Ron said, looking down at his sister. "'Mione's worried about the bloody arse. He doesn't hang around us anymore."

Ginny shrugged. "Well considering how we treated him over the summer, I can't blame him."

"What do you mean how we treated him? What about how he's treating us!" Hermione exclaimed.

Ginny shrugged. "I was thinking about that. He didn't have Hedwig. So that means we couldn't receive mail from him."

Hermione interjected, "There are muggle ways, after all. His relatives wouldn't take his post, would they? I did give him my parent's address."

"He was feeling pretty down about Cedric," Ginny muttered. "but he refuses to talk about it. We weren't there when he needed us. We were suppose to be his friends."

"But Dumbledore said. . . " Hermione started to say.

"And we all see how well that turned out, don't we?" Ginny snapped, turning her head to look up at Hermione.

"He's an adult and he cares about Harry's well being," Hermione argued. " He was trying to keep him safe!"

"Really? Or does he care more for the fact that Harry is the Boy-Who-Lived?" Ginny countered, angrily. "Something is off. If Dumbledore cared so much, why did he put Harry in with his relatives without any means of communication? How safe was that?"

Hermione snapped her mouth shut. She didn't have answers to these questions as the argument she had with Harry at Grimmauld's Place replayed in her mind. She still felt she hadn't done anything wrong.

Ginny shrugged. "I can't blame Harry. He has never trusted adults and has always gone with what he felt was right. We betrayed his trust and you know Harry, he doesn't give his trust easily, or often."

Ron nodded, looking a bit forlorn. "I know. Remember last year? I betrayed him and he's forgiven me for that, but I think it'll be a long time before he forgets. I mean, he still hangs around me, it's just not the same between us anymore. I don't think he's talked to me about anything outside class work since then."

0o0o0o0

Severus Snape was in a royal snit as he paced back and forth in his office like a caged animal. Ever since this Oliver Twist wrote that blasted article about house points and teaching abilities, he was now interrogated by the other heads of houses as to his policy for administering points. It seems they all blamed him for making the point system a laughable waste of time and effort.

Even Albus was questioning him more. This had to stop! He had enough on his plate without having his judgment questioned by such ridiculous slander.

He had even fired off a letter to the Twist brat, threatening to sue for libel. The reply that was sent back told him to go ahead. All he had to do was to prove one unauthenticated, and thereby slanderous, remark was made. Of course, he couldn't. In fact, the article in question had complemented him on his skills as a Potions Master. The reply also stated Twist had only printed the facts from Ministry and ICW records.

Picking up his tea cup, Severus Snape pitched it across the room, watching as it shattered against the far wall.

"Severus, have I caught you at a bad time?"

Severus swirled around. "Albus! You know better then to sneak up on me. What if I had been brewing?"

"Ah, but you weren't, my boy. So, have I come at a bad time?" Albus asked, stepping into the potions master's office, surveying the damage.

"Oh no, headmaster. Come in, make yourself comfortable." Severus Snape snarked sarcastically.

"Why thank you I will, my boy," Albus said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, making himself comfortable. "I have need to ask you if you have any ideas on this Twist situation."

A roar of rage echoed through the dungeons, causing many of the Slytherins to freeze shivering in mid-stride.

0o0o0o0

Frau and I are so glad you all enjoyed the last chapter. We do feel like we have to mention a few things from the reviews.

We are NOT bashing anyone. We are trying to portray the Golden Trio as teenagers with the exception of Harry, who is more mature than some of his teachers. We aren't trying to split the Trio, we just find it hard to understand why they are still together after they abandoned Harry after the Tri-Wizzen.

This isn't an evil Dumbledore or a manipulative one, just senile and too set in his ways, believing in his own press releases.

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