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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29. Well, I'm back. Miss me?

The first Monday morning after the new year, Vernon Dursley felt like his heart would stop. The auditors had been busy for the last several weeks and now the results were due. All management personnel were required to present themselves in the board room today to hear the auditors findings.

He'd seriously considered packing his clothing and leaving town Friday night, but a quick glance at their savings account balance had convinced him that was not a good option. He couldn't even blame the freak for this mess. The boy had himself emancipated. No, he was on his own. Damn the freak!

"How the hell did they figure it out? The scheme was foolproof Parker said!" Vernon fumbled for the keys to his new car, praying as he did so that Parker was right.

The office was eerily quiet as he entered. Sweat dampened his shirt despite the cold that blew in with him. Was it an omen? He shuddered and plastered a ghastly smile on his pasty face. "Morning Eliza. Cold out there today." He greeted the receptionist with false cheer as he strode quickly past her towards the boardroom beyond. "Everybody here today?"

"Yes Mr. Dursley. They're waiting on you." He watched as her hand pressed a button on her intercom and her head dipped as she spoke quietly into the machine.

"Ah, finally. Take a seat Dursley." Mr. Grunning, himself, sat at the head of the table.

Vernon nodded briefly and took the only empty chair available, next to Parker.

"I shall begin then," said a thin, balding man as he stood and began his report. "After a complete audit of all management personnel my company has found only two major discrepancies." He paused to take a sip of water.

Vernon became conscious of the squirming man next to him. 'Damn, Parker, sit still and stay cool. Your nerves will hang us yet!'

"The majority of departments show some slight mishandling of funds, mostly due to clerical and mathematical errors. These have been pointed out and corrected. Those responsible have been taught the proper procedures to assure accuracy in the future. . ."

The auditor's droning voice seemed to go on forever. Vernon sat in a haze as sweat soaked his underarms and trickled down his back. 'Dear God, is this what it's like waiting for the axe to fall?' He wondered as he fought for control of himself.

Then, suddenly there was a deafening silence and his heart stuttered as a grating order from Mr. Grunnings startled him to awareness.

"Thank you, all of you except Dursley and Parker may return to work."

The door shut quietly as the last person left. "Tell me Vernon, did you think you were underpaid? Did you, Parker? Couldn't the two of you wait for honest promotions? Or perhaps it was the thrill of it all?"

Vernon's hope died as the door opened again and four uniformed officers entered.

"Take them away, I cannot abide thieves! Oh, and I should probably warn you two, neither does the Office of Inland Revenue!"

Vernon only distantly felt the cuffs click home on his wrists. Everything was a blur as he was walked down the hall and out the front door by two of the officers. His mind never registered it as he was placed in the back of a cruiser and taken away. His life, his comfortable life, was over.

0o0o0o0

"Are you Mrs. Petunia Dursley?" A uniformed officer asked her when she answered the insistent knocking on her front door.

"Yes, I am . . . Oh no! Has something happened to my Dudders?" She screeched in dismay. "Why are you here?"

"No Mum. I have no idea who this 'Dudders' is. I'm hear about your husband. . ." the officer started to explain, only to be interrupted again.

"A car crash? Heart attack, what?!"

"No Mum, he's been arrested," the officer tried to explain once more. "I'm here to collect all bank statements, savings account information and all personal effects pertaining to his work and finances."

"Wha. . .?"

His reply left her speechless. "I have a Magistrates order to that effect," he continued, handing her an official looking paper, "I'd appreciate it if you'd step aside so I can finish this as quickly as possible?" A numb and shaken Petunia stepped back to let him enter.

0o0o0o0o0

Hermione watched as Harry left for his meeting at Gringotts. She was of two minds about Harry's new independence. On one hand, she was glad he didn't have to return to his dreadful relatives and was free to make his own decisions. On the other, she didn't feel comfortable about him shutting out the adults that cared about his safety and well-being. She just could not believe that Harry managed to keep this all a secret from her.

Even Ron was pissed that Harry went around behind everyone's back and got emancipated without telling a soul, especially him. He felt he was still Harry's best mate despite their differences. Why keep it a secret? What was Harry trying to hide?

She sighed as her mind drifted back to their conversation on the train after she'd told him about being related to someone in the Wizarding World.

"Not a muggle born? Wow! That's. . .strange." Harry replied to Hermione's enthusiastic news on the train. "I wonder how many others found out similar news?" He frowned in thought. "I guess this means that you can get a better job than you thought, eh?"

Hermione looked at the boy she had called her best friend for almost five years. She recalled all the good times they had spent together. He was her best friend and her blind faith in authority figures had led her to betray his trust. Her mother's words had been like a glass of ice water in the face. It was time she apologized.

"Harry? I . . . I want to tell you how sorry I am that I let the Headmaster control me this past summer." She hung her head briefly, then raised her eyes to his. "I was a fool and, even worse, I broke a promise to my best friend. I wasn't there for you when you needed me the most. Can you ever forgive me?" Her eyes shone bright with the tears she was fighting.

"Hermione, I. . .I'm not," he stuttered.

Her shaking hand on his arm stilled him. "I know it will take time, and I know we may never be," she paused to swallow a sob. "We may never be as close as we were. But, do you think maybe we could try to start again, please? Because I miss you, Harry. Without you I'm alone, and I don't want to be alone anymore." She crumpled against his shoulder as the tears fell.

Harry reached out and circled her shoulders with one arm. "I don't know if I can trust you like before, 'Mione. It hurt so much when you left me lost and alone for the whole summer. I needed you and I don't ever want to feel like that again."

Her muffled sobs shook both of them. "I promise, Harry. I swear I'll never hurt you like that again. I'll even take a witches' oath on my magic!" She managed to choke out.

"No, 'Mione! Don't you see? If I asked for your oath it would mean that I couldn't trust you. We will just have to see if what's broken can be mended — or else we'll have to try to start again." Harry pulled out a clean hanky and offered it to her.

His kind smile drew a watery one from her as she mopped her face. "Hello, my name is Harry Potter, what's yours?"

As the memory ended, she wondered when Harry would be back and if he was ever going to tell her about his business at Gringotts.

0o0o0o0

Albus Dumbledore was having his own problems. A school board meeting had been called and he wasn't invited. He had hopes to spend the first week of the new term trying to convince Harry to give up his emancipation and allow him to continue to guide him.

The board was meeting even now on something they simply told him was a matter of utmost importance. Just what had been in that report that Poppy submitted? He felt fine, never better. If it had anything to do with his check-up it just had to be a mistake. That's right a mistake.

0o0o0o0

"We bring this meeting to order!" The harsh sound of a gavel striking stone silenced the board members. "A matter of grave concern has been brought to our attention by the Medi-Witch and Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts."

Mutters and whispers broke out once more, and once more the gavel silenced them.

"It would seem that the Deputy Headmistress has noticed some rather disturbing behavior on the part of Headmaster Dumbledore of late. Her report describes an obsessive interest in one particular student. Obsessive to the point that he has put the rest of the students in danger to guarantee the safety of said student. He has also taken it upon himself to try and control all of this student's actions, both at school and at home."

"We always suspected he was barmy, too damn many lemon drops! Get to the gist of it Malfoy!"

"Very well. It is with the strongest recommendation of Madam Pomfrey, Medi-Witch of Hogwarts, that the Headmaster be remanded to St. Mungo's for a full medical and mental examination. She has tentatively suggested he may be suffering from a long term and untreated condition similar to Battle Fatigue and may be suffering from delusions.

"In her own words, 'The Headmaster has been living on a full alert, battle ready status for the last thirty-five years and it has taken its toll on his mind and body. . .' and she goes on to further request that we make this examination mandatory, as he will not voluntarily accept it." There was a satisfied glint in Lucius Malfoy's eyes as he finished quoting from the file in his hand.

"Well, I for one, think we should bow to her request. Can't endanger our children. I vote we do as the Medi-Witch suggests, all in favor. . ?" A chorus of 'Ayes' was heard.

"All well and good, now how do we get him there for this check-up?" Augusta Longbottom sniped.

0o0o0o0

Harry sighed as he put down his copy of the Quibbler. Let the interrogations begin.

Well, I'm back. Miss me?

To recap one of my earlier articles, I made a trip into Gringotts over the holidays. The goblins are now considering me an asset, as I made 'much profit' for them! Close to a thousand muggle-borns within the British Isles have taken the heritage test and all have passed with interesting results.

Many of them have claimed, by right of blood, idle vaults that had been frozen for years, if not centuries, waiting to be reclaimed. The Goblins are happy that this idle wealth, that had been laying around collecting dust, is once more being put back into circulation and earning the customer and the bank interest again.

Speaking of muggle-borns, I have to say that some of the more archaic pure blood beliefs are now a bit useless. Don't get me wrong, as I said in the past, the government is run on the closed circuit, you do for me and I'll help you, system. . .all tied in to pure blood status and Family Alliances. Now that some of these muggle-borns can trace their blood lines back to many of the ancient and noble houses, things should prove interesting.

I caught the British Prime Minister's speech in front of the Wizengamot the other day. I must say I was impressed. Red and purple look horrid on some people, especially those that are 'called on the carpet,' as the muggles like to say. Who knew our leading wizards could turn so many colours? It took real courage, and a sharp tongue for the PM to stand before armed wizards and call the leaders of the Wizarding World -- "unruly children who could not 'play' well together."

I, for one, was very thankful to hear that spell casting was not only illegal within the Great Meeting Hall but also down right dangerous. At least the Prime Minister was able speak for Her Royal Majesty without being hexed to death by irate representatives.

Lastly, I had a chance to communication with Lord Harry Potter. He contacted me through Gringotts. He has been kind enough to answer a few questions I had for him and generously gave me permission to print the answers so long as I quoted him verbatim.

LP: I really liked your articles, Mr. Twist. They're spot on, and from the checking I've done are brilliant. It's about time somebody stood up against the injustice that runs crazy throughout the Wizarding World. I say good on you, mate, and hope you continue to write the truth. Merlin knows someone has to.

OT: Was it true that you defeated Lord V as an infant?

LP: I will only say that there is always a bit of truth to every myth. The problem is finding that bit of truth.

I'm told that I'm 'The Boy Who Lived.' Odd isn't it, few ever ask me how I did it. All they have ever asked was to see the scar. I don't know, I was a baby when it happened. Yet everybody thought I killed V. I think it was my parents who died protecting me that made it possible for me to live. Does anyone but me think about my parents' sacrifice? No, all they ever see is this ruddy scar.

OT: It is rumored that because you are a parselmouth, you are going dark. Is it true?

LP: If being ridiculed one moment, praised the next, and growing up in the Muggle World doesn't makes me dark, then I doubt being a parselmouth will. I'm just trying to find my place in a world that threw me away and now wants me to be their savior. Fat chance.

OT: What do you see in your future?

LP: As of right now? I'm not sure my place is here, in the Wizarding World. I've never felt that it is my home. I'm dragged out to perform my duties, fight your battles, and when I'm done, you return me to the muggle world like a kid's broken toy. So don't blame me for the state of the Wizarding World. I didn't do it, you did long before I was born. Clean up your own mess.

OT: Thank you Lord Potter.

My brief interview with Lord Potter leaves many unanswered questions. One thing that did come up, Lord Potter has claimed his inheritances and his Wizengamot seats. Perhaps this indicates his willingness to give the Wizarding World a chance. We hope so.

Oliver Twist

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