Chapter 2 Harry and the Adults Vent
Thanks go to darrelldeam and alix33 for looking this over. All mistakes are my own.
Fair warning this is only two chapters long.It is a rewrite of a one-shot in 'Little of this, more of that' called 'The Mistake of Harry Potter and Snape.' This was actually hard to rewrite, I had a lot of long paragraphs that needed to be split up. I hope you enjoyed the changes.
I was amazed at how popular the first chapter was, not since my story 'A Brand New Start' have I had so much email, though 'Harry's Propaganda' came in a close second. Now that that self-promotion is over, I tried to get back to all of you, but it was a bit overwhelming. Thanks for all of your support.
If you received two notices that this chapter had been posted, it was because I had to delete it and re-add it. There was a glitch and a missing link to the second chapter, for some, which means your reviews and favs and follows were also deleted. Sorry for the confusion.
When Harry reached the Gryffindor common room, Hermione ran to him and asked him, "Oh, Harry, did you get in too much trouble? You should not talk about the professors that way. You could be expelled," she fretted as she worried her lip and rung her hands together. She didn't want to lose her new friend; she had been having a hard time connecting to the girls in her dorm room.
Because Harry really didn't know this girl all that well, he figured that he would try to make her understand, rather than blow up at her. "Hermione, were you not in the same class I was? If you wrote to your parents and told them that one of your professors was calling you names and not teaching you, what do you think they would say?" he asked softly, and then paused to hear her answer.
"I'm not sure," she fibbed. She was still debating on whether to write them or not. She didn't want to be pulled from the school. It had taken a lot to get her parents to agree to let her come, because she had been accepted into a prestigious school for gifted children. She had had to debate with them for weeks, and if they knew how she was treated now, well…
"And if you told them that you went to your Head of House and told her what happened in that class, then were told there was nothing they could do about it and that it was probably your fault anyway, what do you think they would say?" he asked, trying to keep a calm voice, still feeling the sting of that particular incident.
She shook her head and said, "I don't know, but Harry…"
The messy-haired wizard held up his hand and continued a little more loudly, "If you wrote your parents and told them that on your first day in Hogwarts, you were told that you could meet your death by going down a corridor; do you really think that they wouldn't complain or try to pull you from the school? I would hope that your parents care for you better than my guardians care for me—they don't care whether I live or die, but I know most parents do care for their children."
Now this Hermione knew her parents would pull her for. She hung her head a bit and didn't answer.
By this point, Harry had the entire common room listening and thinking about what he was saying. They gathered around the first year boy and some nodded their heads in agreement, while others protested.
Harry jumped on a chair to be heard and loudly stated, "Now, I just came from the Headmaster's office and was basically told to sit down and shut up, because they're not going to listen to me anyway. I was told that I would have to keep the points reduction, which I didn't deserve, and that I would have to serve the unfair detention. Not only was I told that I cannot leave this school, but also that I should not expect my money to pay for a quality education. So, essentially, they are robbing you and your parents blind. Think about it, guys, especially you Muggleborns, would a teacher in a state school be allowed to teach this way? If a state school, which is free, has standards is it unreasonable that we should expect higher standards because we are paying?" he ranted, his hands waving in the air.
"That's right," Dean Thomas said loudly. "I know for a fact that Snape would be fired quickly."
"Now, I am letting all of you know, right now, that I don't give a damn about the point system. So, if these professors take points off me for standing up for my rights, then so be it." He nodded to his dorm mate. "From this moment forward, I am protesting my captivity." He folded his arms and glared.
That caused some gasps and objections, but Harry held up his hand and explained.
"I have morals, and I will defend my rights, no matter what. I also told the Headmaster that I'll not be attending any of the detentions that I don't deserve. Because I haven't broken any rules, I'm not serving detention with Snape. I told that barmy old man that I will be sending weekly reports to the Board about what is going on in this school, and I encourage all of you to do the same. It's up to you guys if you want to stand up for your rights or if you write to your parents, because I don't know about you, but I don't want to be wasting my time or money on a poor quality education," the angry young wizard stated firmly.
"But, Harry…" came the remonstrance from Hermione, which the boy ignored.
"I would like to know whether or not the Wizard World has to live by the same rules as the Muggle World. Judging from the lack of support I've received so far, I'm thinking no, but I am hoping that those of you that have parents working in the Ministry can give me a better answer. Also, I am being held prisoner here on my own dime." At the confused looks of the pure-bloods, Harry clarified, "It is a Muggle term. Basically, what I'm saying is I'm paying to be forced to stay here against my will." He looked at all the thoughtful faces and said, "I'm going to bed." He jumped off the chair and made for his dorm, leaving a bunch of confused and angry students in his wake.
The Headmaster really should have closed the owlery that night. Hundreds of owls cluttered the sky to get their missives off to unaware parents.
Word spread as gossip was wont to do in Hogwarts. By the end of the weekend, everyone knew what Harry had said in his common room. Letters were sent to parents and the Board. Parents sent letters to the Board and the Ministry. Owls flew all weekend long. In the Muggle World, phone calls were made.
During his day-long sit-in, Harry simply stayed in the Gryffindor tower and had one of the other students bring his meals. He did not do his homework. He did not serve his detention. He did not do anything but read Muggle books.
When the teachers came and tried to make him attend dinner, he asked if his demands had been met. When he was told no, he said he was staying there, and unless they want to add assault to his grievances they'd do well to leave him alone. They left.
Hermione tried to get him to do his homework, but he told her that he was protesting and would not be swayed "But Harry, what if you are expelled?" she asked in exasperation. She was getting tired of trying to make him see her way.
"Good. I have already made it clear that I don't want to be here. I'm pretty sure that I've said that more than once. I don't understand why you're not hearing me," Harry said calmly, continuing to read his book.
To Hermione, getting expelled was a fate worse than death. She couldn't see why anyone would want to leave the school. And, while she did agree that Hogwarts could probably do better, she didn't think it was her place to say. And she told Harry so.
Harry looked up from his book and said, "Um, Hermione, how are the adults supposed to know if we don't tell them? They need that type of information to make an informed decision." He tilted his head to the side, as if looking at a strange bug. How could she still not understand?
The bushy-haired girl just looked at him, her mouth shaped like an O. From the looks on the faces of some of the students in the common room, they hadn't either.
Monday came and with it breakfast time, and Harry decided to see what the other Houses were saying, so he went to eat with Ron. There was a lot of support for him throughout the student body. Many young witches and wizards came up to the Boy Who Lived and told him that they wrote their families. Harry was proud of them.
About halfway through the meal, the doors to the Great Hall slammed open and admitted what looked to be about twenty adult witches and wizards. Eight of them had blue robes on. Four of them had red robes on. The rest were in various styles and colors.
The Headmaster rose and greeted the guests, "Ah, Governors, Amelia, Minister and the rest of you ladies and gentlemen. What can I do for you today?" he folded his hands over his beard and gave them an inquiring look.
A pudgy man with a lime green suit and bowler hat stepped forward. "Albus, why have I been receiving owls all weekend complaining about the teachings at this school? The portrait in the Prime Minister's office is telling me he has been receiving felly-tone calls from parents all weekend, as well. I am sure I don't have to tell you that we don't want the Muggle government poking their noses into our business." He twisted his hat around in agitation. That was the last thing he wanted.
"Now, Cornelius…" the old man started, only to be interrupted.
"And I am sure that the good people behind me are wondering what in Merlin's name is going on," the now named Cornelius stated with a glare. "I am getting complaints about abusive professors, authority figures not doing their jobs and students feeling that they are not receiving the education their parents are paying for. Some are saying that Harry Potter is being held prisoner here against his will. What in Merlin's name is going on here? The school has only been open for a week." He put his bowler firmly on his head.
Harry looked on, content; feeling like it was about time someone listened to him. It also answered a few of his questions, like the one about the Prime Minister. He figured some of the Muggleborn/-raised parents had been sending those in. He wondered how they knew that the Prime Minister knew about the Wizard World. They must have been older students, perhaps it is something they learned in History?
The Headmaster with his twinkly eyes and grandfatherly face looked at the crowd and stated, "Now, Cornelius, I am sure it is all a misunderstanding. I am sorry that your time has been wasted in coming down here. I can assure you that all is quite well within Hogwarts." He made a grand gesture with his arms, as if to give the whole school a hug.
A stern looking woman with a monocle stepped past the sputtering Minister. "No, Headmaster, all is not well. I have received no less than 100 letters stating that the students were told to stay away from the third floor corridor on the left side—if they did not want to face a gruesome death. I don't know about some parents, but my niece goes here, and if there is something that will cause her death in this school, then, by Merlin, I will have your job. What the hell are you playing at, Albus?" she asked, looking like she would explode any minute.
"The students are perfectly safe," Dumbledore assured her, making calming motions with his hands, but his eyes betrayed his worry. He never wanted anyone outside the school to know about those traps. They were there for one purpose only— to test Harry Potter. He was berating himself for not closing down the owlery. Now all his plans might come crashing down on his head, it was like watching a train wreck.
"And, another thing," the witch snapped as she removed a letter from her robes. "I also received a letter from my niece informing me that Professor Snape, in his first class, caused two girls to cry, because he yelled at them and called them names for not completing a potion correctly, which she also told me was not taught to them. Throwing directions on the board and telling the students to get started is not teaching. I am not paying you to keep that… bully in this school. I don't give a damn what he did for you during the war. If you want my niece to remain here, you will dismiss that Death Eater at once," the woman stated in a very loud voice that carried across the hall, which caused many to gasp that they were being taught by one of You Know Who's minions.
"Severus has my complete confidence, Amelia," the old man stated, with a grandfather smile.
"Well he doesn't have mine," she retorted. Other adults nodding with her, but kept silent and let the officials handle this. Amelia then turned to the wizards in red robes. "Go to the third floor corridor on the left hand side and find out what is so dangerous that it would kill a student. Conclude what safety measures are in place. If it is something you can remove, do so. And find out if there is anything else up there that we should be worried about," she ordered as she placed the letter back in her robes.
The men gave salute and left to do as they were ordered.
Before the Headmaster could protest, one of the men in blue robes came forward. "We, the Board of Governors, would also like to know what you are playing at, Headmaster. We have been sent ultimatums from parents all weekend, ordering us to either improve the school or they will also pull their students out. That is over 200 students, more than half of the student body. I don't have to tell you that that would close Hogwarts for the first time ever. You had better have a damn good reason for all of this," he finished, straightening his robes in an important manner.
"I am sure this will all blow over soon, Patrick," the now sweating Headmaster said.
"We had to call an emergency meeting yesterday," the man said, his eyes narrowed at the Headmaster, "and it was decided that all professors will be evaluated for the period of one month, and anyone not teaching correctly or bullying their students will be dismissed at once. The point system and detentions will go through the Board for that month. If we find any professor showing favoritism toward any group of students, that professor will be suspended from giving any disciplinary action without the consideration of the student's Head of House." He looked at the teachers, and many of them shrunk back, while a few preened with hope.
That caused an excited murmur among the students.
"The students will all be interviewed," the man continued, making a sweeping motion with his arms to encompass the whole student body, "with a Head of House present; about how they feel about the education they are receiving here. The monitoring of the professors will begin next week." He looked to the teachers and evaluated how they were reacting.
"I am sure that that will not be necessary. I can assure you that all my professors have my deepest trust," Dumbledore said as he raised his hands in a manner meant to placate. He knew for a fact that this was going to be bad.
"And, another thing," Patrick plowed on, as if Dumbledore had never spoken. "If the Aurors find that you are keeping something in that hall that really can kill a student, you will be dismissed," he barked and pointed his finger at the old man. "This is a school, Headmaster Dumbledore, not your personal playground. This is not a place to play your games or keep your pets," he stated with a loathsome look to Snape, who sneered back. "Parents pay tuition to make sure that their child is highly educated and safe. From the letters I have been receiving, this is not the case. I can tell you that we cannot afford to lose half of the students. In case you don't remember, Headmaster, we are your bosses, and you answer to us. We are the ones who pay your salaries. It would do you well to remember that."
Harry looked at the Head table. Some of the professors looked smug, while others looked very worried. Professors Snape and Quirrell took on pasty complexions, though both men had calculating looks in their eyes.
The rest of the adults there had not said anything, though they did look like they agreed with everything that had been said, judging by the bobbing of heads and the whispers. Harry figured that they must be parents of students.
The man who had spoken went up to the Head table and, turning to the students, cast the Sonoruscharm, and then said, "Students, I am Patrick Wallis, I am the Head of the Board of Governors. Now, when you have finished your breakfast, I would like all first and second years to remain seated. All other students may do as they please. Classes are canceled for this week," that caused some cheering, "and I suggest that you take that time to do some studying," and then some moaning.
The students immediately started whispering, only to be quieted when Mr. Wallis raised his hands.
"Tomorrow, we will talk to third and fourth years, and so on. If anyone would like to have their parent or guardian here while you are interviewed, you may have a professor help you get in contact with them. For those not able to use the Floo, you may send an owl and will be interviewed this Friday. If your parents are Muggles, we will provide travel for them. All Heads of Houses will also remain. The rest of the professors may find it helpful to reflect on their teaching methods. Thank you for your time, and please forgive us for interrupting your meal." He stepped down and went back to the other governors.
The parents, who had been quiet through all of this, went to join their children. They ate breakfast with them and then went home, after getting the students' stories. As they left they took their time to go and verbally slap either the Headmaster or Professor Snape. Harry watched on with a glint in his eyes.
Breakfast finished, and all the students in third year and above left the hall. There were two Governors for each table. The Heads of Houses were told to pick a different House than their own. Gryffindors got Professor Flitwick. Harry had to wait for a while, as they were going in alphabetical order.
While Harry was waiting, he saw one of the men in red robes re-enter the room and go to the woman with the monocle, then speak in to her ear. When the man was finished, she looked very livid, if the fierce look in her eyes and the redness of her face was any indication. Madam Bones went to Mr. Wallis and whispered in his ear. They, in turn, went up to Professor Dumbledore and cast a spell. Harry couldn't hear what they were saying—all he could see was a lot of arms thrown in the air and the Headmaster trying to keep them calm— but things didn't look good for the old man. Harry smirked.
Then it was his turn to be interviewed. The witch and the wizard introduced themselves as Madam Frostly and Mr. McCarthy. All three adults had parchment in front of them; Professor Flitwick seemed to have more than the other two. Well, he was Head of Ravenclaw.
Madam Frostly started the interview with, "Mr. Potter, we received your letter first. At first, to our shame, we did not really regard it as something we should take notice of. You are only a first year, albeit the Boy Who Lived, but still just a child."
Harry opened his mouth to protest, but she raised her hand, so he waited.
"Then we started receiving many other letters over the weekend. I would like to ask you, before we get started on the real questions, why did you write to us? It states in your letter that you went to your Head of House first, and she told you that there was nothing to be done. Why did you not accept her word? What made you pursue it further?" she rambled on. In all of her career on the Board, they had never received so many complaints. And it all started with this boy.
Harry sat back and thought about how best to word this. "In my Primary school, there was a new teacher who would scold the children harshly. When she made one of the girls cry in class, that girl went home and told her parents what had happened. The parents went to the principal and asked him what was going on. When the principal didn't help, they went to the PTA—Parent Teacher Association," he clarified at their confused looks. "It is a Muggle group of parents that watch the school to make sure that it runs smoothly and that all of the children are treated equally."
The three adults nodded, jotted down some notes and Madam Frostly waved him to continue.
"Anyway, when the chairperson of the PTA confronted the principal, they were blown off again. So, the PTA went to the Department of Education, who then looked into what was happening, which is a body much like the Board of Governors, only they are run by the government."
That got a few more nods and Professor Flitwick was taking notes.
"That teacher was then put on probation. A week later, after her attitude didn't change, she was fired. If a state school, that is, a school that is paid for by the government and is open to all students, requires fair treatment to all students, I felt that a school being paid for by the parents should demand the same. Now, I don't have guardians that pay for this school, but I do and I'm not made of enough money to be throwing it away on such a poor establishment. So when my Head of House blew me off, I went directly to you, as I don't believe there is a PTA for this school, though you might want to go to a Muggle school and check it out. I think it would benefit Hogwarts to have one," Harry explained. Then he looked at the two blue robed people in front of him closely. "I would like to ask a few questions myself," he added, folding his arms in a petulant manner.
"Since you are the one who started all of this, go ahead, but be warned we may not answer," Frostly stated, tapping her finger on the table.
"Okay, I am new here, and even in this first week, we were told by the upper years that Professor Snape was not one to get on the bad side of. We were told that he yells and berates in his class. We were warned to make sure we read our books two chapters ahead. Now, my questions are, has anyone before me complained? Because I find it hard to believe in the ten or so years I am told he has worked here that no one has complained about him. And if there have been complaints, why is he still here? And let's not even get started on the History of Magic professor. Why should we pay for a class that is basically nap time to all but a few? Or the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor who stutters so badly that we can't understand him and seems to be afraid of his own shadow? That is three professors out of six in our first year. And if there is a curse on the post of the professor teaching the Defense Against the Dark Arts class, why has it not been removed? Or do you really have to have the threats of parents removing their children from Hogwarts to get you people to do your job? It is our tuition that pays your salaries. Sorry if you find my questions rude, but I've been brushed off and more or less told I'm being held prisoner in this school. So if you will excuse me, please. I have had a bad week, due in large part to the lack of support from the staff," Harry ranted; he really had had a bad week. He then took a sip of pumpkin juice, his throat dry after such a long speech.
The two Governors looked shocked at being spoken to in such a way by a child; their faces took on a completely affronted look. They did have to step back and consider the child's questions, though.
Of course they received complaints every year for the first month or so about at least two of the professors that Harry had named. However, they were told every year by the Headmaster that he would have words with Snape, and they always accepted that answer. With the first month of the school year being a busy time for the Board, they usually took the Headmaster's word that it was being taken care of. Now they had to wonder where the complaints went after that first month. It would be another matter they would have to address.
They kept Binns, the History professor, on because they felt it was tradition. He had been teaching here for over fifty years, living and dead. But did they really want people pulling their children from school to keep up with tradition? Was the Board ready for change?
They had all heard rumors about there being a curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts class, but they had brushed it off as superstition. Because they left the hiring of the professors to the Headmaster, they had never really paid any attention to it.
They might want to think about forming a committee to take over the hiring of professors and to investigate complaints. The committee could also assign mandatory inspections if the complaints amounted to more than ten. They also might want to get the committee to look into the wards, as well. If they were letting something dangerous into the school or were keeping a curse from being noticed, it might just be time to find out why and to update them. Perhaps this… PTA the boy spoke about? Something else to look into.
Turning back to Harry, Madam Frostly said, "I am sorry to hear that you have had such a bad start at our school. We will, of course, take your words under advisement."
"Thanks, that's all I ask," Harry said as he perked up.
"Now, for the interviews, here are the questions we are asking everyone." She pulled a list of questions out and then proceeded to ask baseline questions like, "What do you think of your History Class?" and "How do you like your common room and dorm?" and "Do you feel that the professors or your Head of House are there for you when you need have a question answered?" just about everything that had been in Harry's letter. Harry preened.
When he was asked what he thought would be needed to improve the school. Harry gave the same answers that he had given Dumbledore.
After the interview, Harry went to his common room and played chess with Ron and talked to Neville.
"Hey Neville," he asked as he moved his pawn, and Ron's bishop captured it, "what is a magical guardian? Dumbledore says he's mine, but I've never met him before yesterday."
"Well, I am not completely sure what it is to the Muggleborn or –raised, 'cause Gran is my legal and magical guardian. I do know they are responsible for what happens to you while you are in the Wizarding World, though," the sandy-haired boy replied, rubbing his chin in thought.
"Oh, just what are they supposed to do for the child?" Harry asked as he watched another pawn get cremated.
"Well, say you need to get supplies in Diagon Alley. It is up to them to make sure you are safe and get everything you need. My Gran told me that the purpose or the responsibilities of guardians are to make sure you get to the healers to get all your shots and to keep records straight. Plus, help you get your yearly physical and all that. It's because Muggles can't find our hospitals, it is up to the magical guardians to do so. That is the whole reason for them to be assigned in the first place. Muggles can't get around in the Wizarding World without escort, so the magical guardian is supposed to do what a Muggle legal guardian would do if they could," the shy boy stated with a shrug of his shoulders.
"Yeah, and they make sure you have money," stated Ron as he moved his knight into position to capture Harry's rook. "My dad is our magical guardian; I think McGonagall is Hermione's. So she would have been the one to go to her house and tell them about magic and take them to Diagon Alley. I'm not sure how they are assigned though," he added, rubbing his nose.
Harry looked at them, trying not to convey his confusion. Hagrid, nice guy that he is, was the one to take him around, on Dumbledore's orders. "Huh, thanks, guys. I wonder if there are any books on magical guardians in the library. Want to come with?" he asked both boys.
"What about our game?" Ron said, looking over the board.
Harry grabbed his king and set it before Ron's queen. "You win," he stated and then got up to head to the library.
"That's not how you play," Ron protested, but Harry walked on. So, the two boys got up to follow.
"If there aren't any books there, I can ask my Gran if she knows where there might be some," Neville said as they caught up.
"That'd be great," the messy-haired boy enthused and they continued on their way. They searched for hours and only found a pamphlet, which pretty much said what the two wizard-raised had told him. Harry was very disappointed.
The next morning, Harry noticed that neither the Headmaster nor Professor Quirrell were at the Head Table, though the eight Governors were there and looking pretty grim. He let his eyes wander the table and noted that a lot of teachers looked worried, though a few looked smug.
Professor McGonagall stood and tapped her glass to get everyone's attention. "Attention, everyone. I am sorry to say that Mr. Dumbledore is no longer Headmaster of Hogwarts. I am temporarily Headmistress until the Board decides otherwise. A letter has been sent home to your families to let them know. I would also like to say that the third floor is safe again. Professor Quirrell has also resigned for health reasons. We are hoping that by the end of the week we will have a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor for you. Thank you. You may return to your meals." She sat back down and glared at one of the Board. She was on probation for her lack of understanding. The only reason she was temporary Head was because she was next in line; however, everything she did had to go through the Board. She was not a happy kitty.
Whispers flew around the room; everyone wondered what had happened.
The next potions class was just as nightmarish as the first, though it wasn't Harry's. He had only heard rumors when the man disappeared. It seemed that Professor Snape firmly believed that he was still in his rights to abuse the students. He was dissuaded of that right quick, when a disillusioned Board member appeared and told the class to leave.
By the end of the week, both Professor Snape and Binns were fired, and a Gringotts' employee was hired to try and break the curse on the DADA class. Ron was heard saying he was glad it wasn't his brother.
Dumbledore was hired on to take over the Potions class, as he was qualified to do so. Harry wasn't sure at first what to think about it, but was informed that the man was no longer in control of anything but teaching. There was no way he was ever going to miss that slimy grease bat, though he was always leery around that twinkly-eyed old man. Harry had never been happier; he was finally learning potions, which was all he wanted in the first place.
History was canceled until a new professor could be found.
The Board looked outside the castle for a new Headmaster and hired the Londoner, Paul Signet, for the job, as well as Jessie Princeton as Deputy Headmistress. They found new Heads of Houses, leaving professors as just teachers so that they could focus on their classes.
The committee was formed to study the Muggle PTA and see if it could be adapted to Hogwarts. It would be tricky given the bias of many parents against Muggles. However, they were hopeful.
Because the school looked to be shaping up, Harry decided to stay on. He would give it until the end of the year, and then see if it was worth his money. Headmaster Signet said that there would be new classes next year, and he was looking forward to that. If not, he could look into other schools.
Because this Headmaster did not care where the students spent their summers, Harry decided that he would see if one of his friends could put him up. He still needed to find out what a magical guardian was. He was informed that Dumbledore was no longer his, and that he had a godfather in prison that was still on the books as his magical guardian.
But that is another story.
Okay, I did warn you that this would only be two chapters. I might, might, come back to it. Remember it started as a one-shot. If anyone wants to take it and run with it, be my guest. Just shoot me a link, my email is on my profile, since ffn pms don't allow links. I really hope someone does, it has great potential.
I've always felt that Snape got away with far too much shit and that Dumbledore had far too many responsibilities. I think Harry's school years would have been much better without Snape. I hired Dumbledore back on as a professor because he needs to be in the castle, just not in charge. Quirrell/Voldemort left because the stone was returned to its owner, and he didn't need to be there anymore. Neither the Aurors nor the Board knew he was possessed.
Don't forget to check out my profile, I usually have a poll going. That and I have tons of stories, just begging to be read.