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.



6. Trust Issues?

Emily Anderson blew out her cheeks and huffed in frustration. She'd spent the past three days wading through mountains of files in the Daily Prophet Archives as well as the Ministry Hall of Records.

The tip from Lovegood was a good one. He'd been right on target. The ministry was trying to bury their mistakes with Sirius Black. According to Fudge, Black was being blamed for everything, from being a Death Eater to being responsible for the nasty, over-flowing urinal in the men's loo. Anything and everything, the minister was trying to pin it all on the escapee from Azkaban. According to public opinion it was working.

When Lord Charles came out of that fateful meeting with the barrister last week, he announced that the Prophet was under new management. The ministry no longer had any real say on what was, or wasn't, printed. Also, under the new policies, all news stories had to be backed up with solid facts, and hard core evidence. No more quick quote pens were allowed. If you couldn't back it up, then the story, no matter how exclusive, would not be printed. Several reporters already had turned in their resignations, unfortunately Rita Skeeter wasn't one of them.

Which is why Emily was digging in the files. Lord Charles had given her a week off, with pay, to do some dirt digging. Since the day that Lord Flinchley-whatever came into the offices of the Prophet on behalf of the primary stockholder, Lord Charles had been looking more like his old self. Emily was quite pleased with the shake up since Rita was demoted to the garden columns. The news reporting was now less biased towards gossip and dealt more with the real issues.

Rita was finding herself with more and more trivial garden club assignments than actual hard core journalistic stories. The rumor mill had it that Rita was out for blood, anyone's blood. If it was Harry Potter's, even better. She didn't like her new assignments, even if they were more her style of writing.

Which is why Emily was now digging in the Hall of Records. She was looking for everything pertaining to the Potters and Blacks that wasn't classified. So far, she was coming up with nothing. No will was on file for the Potters. Strange, as the Potters, a wealthy ancient and noble house, knew that the Dark Lord was hunting them so they had to have a will made up to protect the interests of their infant son, Harry. There wasn't even proof of guardianship arrangements for their son that she could find.

All this smacked of a cover up, but how to go about proving it?


Harry was getting used to the small amount of sleep he'd been getting since his return to the Wizarding World. At least once a week, around midnight, he would port-key to Gringotts for a meeting with his advisers, Lord Peter and Director Ragnok. Both were very helpful in their advice on Harry's legal and financial dealings.

Harry however, had been looking over some law books and had a question for both. Tomorrow would be his fifteenth birthday. So he felt it was only fitting to ask this question.

"So hypothetically," Harry queried in the meeting the night before his birthday, "If three government bodies declared, for legal purposes, a minor to be an adult in such a way that it became public record, would said minor, due to the precedence set, be considered an adult in the eyes of the law?"

"What do you mean, Lord Harry?" Lord Peter asked, a bit stunned by the question.

"Well, let me put it this way," Harry said. "Say a fourteen year old boy's name came out of a magical artifact that had a magical age restriction of seventeen on it, and yet said authority figures in charge required said underage teen to honor the magical contract without the written permission of parent or guardian–would that constitute acknowledging the teen in question as a legal adult? Then, the same fourteen year old boy, was brought before the whole Wizengamot for violation of underage magic use and was tried as an adult. Would this mean said fourteen year old could be considered an adult in the eyes of the ministry? After all, the Supreme Mugwump and member of the ICW, the Minister and the Wizengamot themselves, acknowledged said fourteen year old as an adult in their eyes."

Harry looked at both men, as they sat frozen in stunned silence. As he leaned back in his chair, he wondered if he had broken them?

Lord Peter looked at Harry then over at Ragnok. Stroking his chin, the aged barrister pondered for a moment. "I would have to double check your findings but I would say it would be a fair assumption. However, I would caution you, neither the Minister or the Headmaster would allow you to be emancipated so easily."

Harry gave a nod of agreement. "Honestly, if people keep putting me in adult situations, don't you think I should have the right to be considered an adult in the eyes of the law and all that it would entail such as protecting myself with magic if necessary? That is why I would like both you, Lord Peter and Director Ragnok, to be my guardians and or advisers until I reach adult age even if I am emancipated."

"Lord Harry," Ragnok interjected. "If you give up your minor status, you could lose certain privileges as a minor. You would have to accept all the consequences that went with being an adult."

Harry snorted. "Being a minor didn't help me much last year, now did it? I still had to compete in that bloody tournament. And I still got slapped for defending myself and my cousin from those bloody dementors which just 'happened' to wander away from Azkaban."

"True," Lord Peter said. "But why Ragnok and myself? And not say -- the Weasleys? Or your godfather, Sirius Black?"

"I have given this much thought over the summer, as I had nothing else to do while at my relatives," Harry explained, rubbing a hand across his forehead. "Sirius is still on the run from the Ministry. Although with the last few articles and probes from both the Quibbler and the Prophet, that might soon change," Harry sighed, still running a hand through his already messy hair. "Arthur and Molly Weasley are too much under Dumbledore's thumb. No. They all expect me to fight their battles for them, but I need someone that will fight for me and only for me. No one else ever has until I met you both."


Hermione was frustrated. Harry had changed. She could see it but she couldn't quite put her finger on what was wrong. Couldn't he understand that Dumbledore himself, told them not to contact him because it wasn't safe? It had been for his own good, but Harry refused to see that Dumbledore was only trying to protect him.

Harry's birthday party was a noisy explosion of fun, laughter and mayhem. Now that the party was over and everyone had gone, Harry had retreated into himself once again. So it wasn't any surprise she found Harry sitting in the library, reading. Ron and the twins were off somewhere doing something for Molly.


"Yes Hermione?"

She sat down beside him. "What's wrong? You've been avoiding Ron and me since you got back."

Harry sighed and closed his book. Turning to face his friend, he said, "Nothing is wrong, Hermione."

"But we are your friends. You shouldn't shut us out."

"Shut you out? Don't you think you've got it backwards?"

"What do you mean?"

Harry shook his head. "I was stuck at the Dursleys, Hermione. Dumbledore took Hedwig away. He said it wasn't safe. My friends decided I wasn't worth the trouble it took to write. You didn't even try to keep in touch with me, forgot how to use a phone? Do you know how that made me feel?"

"Oh Harry," she said, rolling her eyes. "Not this again."

Harry sighed, slamming his book closed, and stood. "Yes, this again. So tell me Hermione, which is more important to you, doing what is right or what is easy?"

"And what is right, Harry? Dumbledore said it wasn't safe to contact you."

Harry sighed and shook his head. "If you say so, Hermione. I thought you were my friend. Tell me, are you telling him everything I do? Do you report when I eat, sleep and go to the loo, too?"

"Harry James Potter!" She shouted indignantly. "I would never spy on you!"

"But if you thought I was holding back information that Dumbledore wanted, you would tell him. All for the Greater good, right?" he snarled.

She huffed, standing.

"Right Hermione?"

She let out a growl and stomped off.


Sirius Black was feverishly writing a letter that he hoped would free him, at Harry's urging. Since the Quibbler was doing so many pieces on his lack of trial record, he had been corresponding with Madam Bones' office, through Gringotts. The goblins were well known for their neutrality. He wasn't completely insane, no matter what the Prophet had written about him in the past.

It hadn't taken much to send certified copies of pensieve memories of himself, Harry's and Hermione's memories along with sworn blood oath statements about his innocence. This last letter was a gamble.

Gringotts had offered a private room as neutral ground. Sirius would give himself up to Goblins only if the trial would be held under their supervision. It would cost him a pretty knut, but was well worth the effort if he could win his freedom. Gringotts' well-known neutrality would work in Sirius' favor. He was too afraid that Fudge and his administration would sabotage the deal and bring in the dementors before he could open his mouth. He was well aware of Fudge's mandate to be Kissed on capture.

Sirius could only thank this Oliver Twist and the Quibbler for this chance. He didn't know who this student was and wondered if had been Harry, the boy was the son of a Marauder after all. However, all of the evidence pointed to a Ravenclaw with a bit of Slytherin in him or her. Who cares? He would name his first born after this kid if he got free!


Albus Dumbledore sighed as he pondered this latest development. He felt bad that he'd been a party to sending Sirius to Azkaban without a trial, but all the evidence pointed to his guilt. For the Greater Good, it was necessary to get Sirius out of the way as the man would not go along with his plans for Harry. As head of the Wizengamot, Albus could've pushed for a trial last year when new evidence was uncovered but he still needed Harry with his relatives for the boy's own safety. Now this push for Sirius' acquittal was threatening to undo years of hard work.

His thoughts turned to this Oliver Twist. Just who is this boy? He had to be a muggle born student. Maybe Ravenclaw by the writing. There were muggle borns in that house that had, in the past, loudly questioned how the Wizarding World ignored basic tenets of British law. Dumbledore would have to ask Filius when he returned to Hogwarts. 'Perhaps,' Albus mused, 'he will have some thoughts as to who this student could be.'

It was surprising to him just how many were reading that rag and believing the letters. Most people usually dismissed the Quibbler as Xeno usually focused on the absurd. The aged headmaster couldn't forbid his staff or the Order members to read the newspaper. Xeno was very good at printing Death Eater activities as well as passing messages to allies in code for him. Plus the crosswords were ingeniously clever, and made a good lining for Fawkes' perch.


Dobby popped in silently as Harry was reading while Ron slept nearby. "Letter for you's, Master Harry sir," he said quietly, handing over an envelope with Xeno Lovegood's seal on it.

"Thanks Dobby. Remember, you can't be seen," Harry whispered, looking nervously over at Ron.

"No worry, Master Harry, sir," Dobby reassured him. "Your Wheezy won't wakes. Dobby makes sure that." Harry smiled and thanked his friend.

Dear Mr. Twist,

I am writing to you personally to let you know that my subscribers list has almost tripled since you started writing to me. Although it is more work than I can possibly handle alone, I am pleased that so many are now enjoying my humble publication.

Therefore, I wish to offer you gainful employment as a regular columnist with your own by-line. Also, I wish to pass on the many responses I have received from your delightful letters. Be assured, no howlers will be sent to you. I have wards that destroy any howlers before arrival without harm to myself or any owl that has the unfortunate task of delivering one.

I also reassure you that your privacy and anonymity will be respected. If you are interested, please contact me and give me the name of your account manager so that I can set up an account in your pen name.

As always, I look forward to your next thought provoking letter.

Xeno Lovegood
Quibbler Editor-in-Chief


Frau and I are still very stunned at the reviews and hits on this story. As one reviewer pointed out, yes we are trying to fill the holes we see in canon. Although, we feel we aren't always successful but we do try.

As for the trust issues, Harry doesn't have any. Everyone in our opinion has been hand-picked by Dumbledore to have a part in Harry's life. He will be placing more and more trust in Lord Peter and Ragnok as they haven't lied to Harry yet.

Lastly, as for pairings. As far as we can tell, there will be no pairings as of yet. That is a subject for a later date.

And as for Sirius, keep reading.

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