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.



18. The Clock Is Ticking

Just where was this Oliver Twist getting his facts? That was on the mind of Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic. His plans for Hogwarts were in jeopardy. The whole fiasco with Umbridge was now proving to be his undoing. He should've sent someone with more Defense knowledge than Delores but no one was more loyal to his cause than her.

With Delores now in Azkaban for torturing students with a dark artifact, Cornelius just wanted to destroy someone, anyone. He fantasized about Potter's head, along with Twist's, on a plate, prominently displayed in the Atrium of the Ministry. How dare they question his authority!

"Sir?" A red-headed aide stepped into the office nervously.

"Yes, Weatherby?"

"The Department Heads Meeting is ready, just as you ordered, Sir," Percy Weasley said with a slight frown. He hated being called Weatherby but he was tired of correcting the Minister. There were times when he wondered if Fudge deliberately used the wrong name out of spite.

The meeting dragged on as Cornelius had expected. He demanded to know the makeup of each departments staffing, asking in particular for a break down of each position by blood status. He sent Weatherby out in the middle of the meeting for more tea, a calming draught as well as a headache potion.

Every department, it seemed, was headed by a pure blood with one exception. Dirk Cresswell, Head of the Goblin Liason Office, who had claimed to be a pure blood had just been found to be muggle-born. Needless to say, he was sacked and imprisoned for falsifying his family tree. However, not many wanted the position anyways, dealing with the goblins was considered beneath most pure bloods.

Each department had muggle-borns holding some positions, but nothing above the minor clerk and secretarial level. A press release was hammered out stating that all Ministry employees were hired according to education level and competence. Satisfied with their efforts, everyone went their way.


Arthur shook his head as he entered the loo. He understood what Oliver Twist was trying to do with his articles and he was very impressed with the way Twist was trying to promote change within their world. However, everyone knew it would take more than just mere words in a newspaper to bring about true change.

He looked down at the sealed file that hadn't been in his hand when he entered. "Looks like another special delivery to the Goblins for Twist," he sighed. He quickly and silently cast a wandless disillusionment spell on the file before he left the stall.

Arthur had been shocked the first time he'd been ordered to handle such a delivery. It wasn't difficult, nor even dangerous, simply a ministry employee stopping off on his way home for a withdrawal. After his withdrawal a brief stop at the local market and then home. The disillusioned file was casually left behind for the Goblin teller and Arthur was home free. He did, however, wonder what Croaker was sending Twist. No, not something he was going to dwell on . . . sometimes it was better to remain ignorant.


Rita Skeeter was also wondering where this Twist brat was getting his information. She would love to strangle the boy, but not before she'd wrung all the juicy information about his sources from his mind! Her thoughts turned to another annoying brat. She still owed Potter and that mud blood bitch that held her captive for so long. She shuddered at the memory of being trapped in that glass jar.

With great care, Rita slipped into her boss' office. She knew she would be fired if she was found going through his desk. She just had to get his notes and files on Twist now that the brat was writing for both papers. Ol' Fudge would pay her double her salary if she could get any dirt on the rabble-rouser.

Rita also had a score to settled with Anderson. She couldn't believe the yank bint got her old job so easily. Rita was sure the yank was sleeping with Charles, if only she could prove it, then she would be top reporter again.

Not to mention, ol' Cornelius was counting on her to get the dirt. He was in a precarious position right now. It looked like Umbridge was going to take him down with her, heads were going to roll! She carefully opened Lord Charles' desk, wary of any wards he might have used.

Nothing! There was nothing here! Rita searched everywhere, even Anderson's desk. There was nothing to go on. Not even a scrap in the bins that mentioned Twist. What in Merlin's name was she going to do now?

She'd have to see if either of them took the files home. She wasn't going to give up, she couldn't! This would be the story of a lifetime. She would write an exposé that would reveal Twist to the world! She, Rita Skeeter, was going to have her former position of top reporter back and nothing, not even the truth, was going to stand in her way.


Albus Dumbledore staggered from Gringotts bank in shock.

The past three hours had shaken him to the core. Ragnok and seven other high ranking Goblins had grilled him mercilessly about his withdrawals from the Founders Vault.

Fortunately he had been able to provide enough evidence to prove that he had used most of the monies he withdrew for school expenses and for funding the Tri-wizard Tourney. Hogwarts had hosted two other schools, thereby incurring higher than normal costs.

The remaining monies, some 30,000 Galleons, he could not account for as he had used them to fund the Order. He was therefore required to repay that amount to the Founders fund from his own vault. Albus shuddered. Goblins, hardly the friendliest of beings at the best of times, were absolutely terrifying when angered. He stopped for a bracing whiskey at the Leaky Cauldron, or possibly two. When he felt settled enough he apparated back to his office. A poorer but wiser man.


Filius Flitwick found his seat at the weekly staff meeting. He looked at his fellow professors. Just about everyone was counting down the month to the Christmas hols. He had been fielding questions and angry comments from his students for the past few days.

Albus sighed as he stood to start the meeting. "With all the uproar that the Quibbler and Twist have started, I've come across some disturbing news. Hogwarts' charter is at risk."

"And just why is the charter at risk?" Minerva demanded.

"Hogwarts will close if we can not maintain the mandates of the Founders. If we lose the muggle-borns and the half-bloods, we will be in violation of one if not, two of the mandates of our charter. If that happens then Hogwarts will revert back to the heirs," Albus said, closing his eyes for a moment. "And we are already in violation of the third mandate due to ministry interference. "

"But the Board of Governors? Cornelius Fudge wouldn't stand for Hogwarts closing," Minerva insisted.

Albus sighed. "Nothing the Board or the Ministry can say or do can prevent it. And as it stands, the Ministry is part of the problem."

"Are there living heirs?' Minerva asked, concerned.

"There are two. Harry Potter and Tom Riddle."

"Impossible!" several of the staff exclaimed.

"Afraid so," Albus said, in a tired voice.

"Does the Potter brat know?" Severus asked, leaning back in his chair.

"Fortunately for us, no he doesn't. He hasn't been to Gringotts lately," Albus confirmed. "Which is a good thing."

"Why is that Albus?" Filius asked. "Don't you think that the boy deserves to know his heritage?"

The Charms Professor sat quietly fuming inside. He didn't like what he was hearing. Albus was putting the whole school at risk with his games. He had remained in the background quietly for years and watched the aged wizard play his many mind games, some were for the betterment of the wizarding world and some not. Filus was furious about the games the headmaster was playing with the life of the Potter boy.

Remembering back when Lilly's son first entered Hogwarts, the charms master had been appalled at his first view of the child. Harry was the shortest in his year and looked like an unmade bed. His clothes were several sizes too big and terribly worn. The boy was almost skeletal, but most just saw the baggy clothes, not the body beneath them. He had never agreed with the way Albus had handled the boy's placement or, education.

Albus' philosophy of throwing the boy into the deep end and watching to see whether he sinks or swims was wrong. Anyone with half a mind could see that the boy was drowning in a world he knew nothing about. How long before he buckled under the weight being placed on his thin and undersized shoulders?

Albus sighed, turning to the rest of the staff. "Anyone have any idea who this Oliver Twist is? Are we no closer to finding anything out?"

"Have you any thoughts on who Mr. Twist is? Severus? Someone with your observation skills surely must have noticed something by now?" Pomona Sprout stated.

Severus hmphed and sneered. "I have narrowed it down to three possibilities. The person is either a Ravenclaw or a Slythern."

"Oh? Why is that? I would have thought Miss Granger would be a candidate? The twins have her down as the odds on favorite," Filius asked, intrigued.

Severus sneered. "Well, since Twist has been delighting in tweaking Miss Granger's nose lately, I would have to say she is the wrong gender to begin with. No, for all of the bravado and daring that Twist is showing in publishing his articles, he will not found be in the Lion's House." Severus replied with an arrogant sneer.

Minerva huffed and started to speak but Filius wasn't finished. "Indeed Severus. I found several in Minerva's House quite capable of such enterprise."

"Name one," Severus sneered as Minerva lunged up with her wand in hand.

Filius stood with a huff of indignation, eying his two fuming colleagues. "Albus, I have lessons to grade. If we are going to go over old ground, I'd rather be doing something more useful with my time."

Albus blinked as if called back from whatever musing he was contemplating and nodded. "Quite right. Quite right. I was just wondering what else will our Mr. Twist be writing about for his next column?" His face creased in a worried frown, stroking his beard.

Filius agreed. " We are all wondering as well. I cannot wait!"


Lord Peter looked over the legal brief he had just been handed. Both he and Lord Harry had been wondering when the man would get off his bum and file the necessary paperwork. Although Sirius Black is now a free man, Head of an Ancient and Noble House and Lord Potter's godfather, Lord Peter knew the man wasn't fit to be a parent. The reports of his doings since being declared a free man were proof enough of that.

No. Sirius Black would be in for a rude awakening at the hearing if he thought Harry would tamely allow him to have custody after his recent lack of concern.

The stack of files that dealt with the young Potter heir was growing as more information came to light. Albus Dumbledore had a lot to answer for. The number of laws he had broken, Wizarding as well as Muggle, was staggering.

How could someone with that much power, politically and magically, justify what he did to an innocent baby, a child?

One thing was sure, he would have his chance to explain his actions soon. . .in court.


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