Harry Potter and the Poison Pen
Summary: 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.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter's cast and crew belong to JKR. Frau and I don't own them. However, if you don't recognize the character then it's a good shot that it's an original character that Frau and I created to help with the story. There will be some statistics that were created through artistic license. This full disclaimer will only appear on the first chapter and you will be directed to it often.
Pairings: There will be no pairings in this story as of right now and may be subject to change as the story unfolds. Reviews are welcomed, flames aren't. All suggestions will be taken under advisement and may or may not be used. –GF and Frau
Chapter 1: Dear Editor
Daily Prophet Reporter Emily Anderson was walking into the office of the Editor-In-Chief, when a balled up bit of parchment went sailing past her.
"What's up Lord Charles? Another complaint?" The slender brunette asked as she bent to retrieved it. Unfolding it, she hummed as she read.
I have been reading the Prophet all summer and I am confused. Are you a newspaper or a gossip rag? Do you enjoy printing articles that make no sense? Where is your professionalism and pride in reporting news accurately?
Why am I asking somewhat impertinent questions? Well, all this on going smear campaign against a teenager has me wondering. What are you and the Minister of Magic so afraid of? I mean, come on, Harry Potter is only fifteen years old. I see less negative news concerning He Who Must Not be Named than you print about Harry Potter.
Are you and the Minister that insecure? Where are the facts? The solid news reporting? All you are printing is hear-say and conjecture that runs the gamut of making a saint of Harry Potter to making him as reprehensible as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. You really can't have it both ways. Where in Merlin's name are you getting your information, or are you just making it up as you go? If that's the case, don't libel laws apply here? If you were writing about me, my parents would sue you! Just because Potter has no one to stand for him doesn't mean he's fair game. If you were to print half as much hearsay about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, you probably wouldn't have a paper to print.
Has anyone really asked Potter what his side of the story was? All you've reported was "Mr. Potter is unavailable for comment." That's the easy way out. Where are those that are reputed to be his associates and friends? Why haven't you interviewed them? Is the Ministry afraid of what they might say? Do you run your newspaper or does the Ministry? Is the term, 'a free press' a myth?
Well, as a student of Hogwarts, let me tell you something about my observations of Harry Potter. I have had some classes with Potter and let me tell you, the Potter you portray in your articles and the one I see around Hogwarts are totally different.
So please tell me, are you really printing the truth as a reputable newspaper is obligated to do? Or are you printing the truth according to the mandates of the Ministry?
As for the whole debate of whether He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back or not, I'm neutral. This letter isn't about that but more about the misuse of the power of the press. I guess what I am asking is, are you printing the news necessary to keep your readers informed of current events, or are you pandering to the lower standards of the gossip mongers seeking their daily titillation.
I dare you to print this letter. If you don't, I'll know just how scared of the truth and the powers that be you really are.
"You know, the kid has a point," she said, looking up at her boss.
Lord Charles Witherspoon the fourth, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Prophet, snorted, "And if I printed that letter, Old Fudge would shut us down. We can't afford to antagonize him. Look, Anderson, I know that you spent two years over the pond, but I keep telling you, we run things differently here."
"Don't I know it!" she sighed, rolling her eyes. She'd had run ins with the stodgy minister before. "Well, can I keep this? I just may have an idea on how to answer this kid's questions and get us off the hook." She thought for a moment, rereading the letter. "Any chance this could be Potter, himself?"
Lord Charles shook his head. "By all accounts, Potter's a mediocre student with average intelligence. Which is strange in and of itself, as his parents were both exceptional wizards."
"Right, thanks Lord Charles. So who do you think wrote this?" She asked.
Lord Charles shrugged. "Twist isn't a pureblood name, so it was probably a muggle-born or half-blood with muggle ties."
'Idiot.' Emily rolled her eyes. She grinned to herself, 'then again maybe he's right, most purebloods don't seem to be able to think for themselves and few know their Dickens.' Walking back to her desk, she tapped the letter against the desktop thoughtfully. 'However, I know just the person that may want to see this.'
Xeno Lovegood was busy working on his latest fact finding results on the sexual exploits of the Crumple Horned Snorkack, when there was a knock on his office door.
"Oh? Why good day Miss Anderson," Xeno said as he ushered the brunette reporter into his office. "How may I help you?"
"I have a letter that Lord Charles was reluctant to print and thought you might like to see it?"
Now Xeno Lovegood may appear eccentric to many, but the one thing he was good at was knowing a good story when he saw one. One of the reasons he started the Quibbler was to be able to print the truth in its many forms as well as to be able to say what he wanted to without censorship.
As he read the letter, he lifted one eyebrow, then the other. 'My oh My,' he thought. 'This will set the kneazle among the puffskeins!'
"So the Prophet was asked the hard questions and reneged on their responsibility to the public," he chuckled.
Emily Anderson grinned. "I thought you might see it my way."
Harry Potter was pissed with the Wizarding World in general and Dumbledore in particular. The headmaster, in his infinite wisdom, had decided that Harry would be safer with his relatives yet again this year.
'And Let's not forget good old Fudge, who refused to believe Voldemort was back. Yeah, right,' Harry thought as he glared at his locked bedroom door. It was, of course, locked on the outside with him inside. 'Then Dumbledore decided that it wasn't safe for me to get the news and canceled my 'scription to the Prophet. Way to go, Dumbledore! Let's keep the Golden Boy ignorant! It's not as if I need to know what's going on. After all, it's not as if I have a Dark Wanker out there who wants to kill me.'
A slow, evil grin appeared on Harry's face. Too bad the old arse hadn't realized he'd had found a way around all the restrictions. Before he left Hogwarts, the Golden Boy of Gryffindor pulled a tactic worthy of a Slytherin. He asked for help from the one being in Hogwarts that was loyal to him alone – Dobby. The house elf, now secretly bonded with him, would do anything to help his most favorite hero and master.
So this summer, when Harry wasn't working as a house elf himself, Dobby made sure that all of Harry's personal needs were met without the Ministry or Dumbledore finding out. It seemed that house elf magic was under the MoM's radar and not restricted by any wards.
When Dobby had used the hover charm in Harry's second year, he'd made it mimic Harry's magical signature, thus laying fault on Harry for the deed. Now however, he was masking the magic he used at Privet Drive for which Harry was eternally thankful. Harry hadn't missed a meal since he left Hogwarts and Dobby helped with his many chores around the house as well. His relatives weren't even aware of Dobby's presence, much to Harry's relief.
Harry now had a way to get the news and to communicate when he chose. So what if he was a semi-prisoner living in one room, if one could call it living, in the same house with three very magic-phobic muggles. With Dobby's help, Harry was able to come and go as he pleased and no one, magical or muggle, was the wiser.
"Master Harry Potter, sir," came a high-pitched squeak near his waist.
Harry smiled as he looked up from doing his potions homework. Another thing he had to thank Dobby for; strange how things didn't seem to stay in a locked trunk when there was a house elf around. "Yes, Dobby?"
"The newsy didn't print your letter. They'se did send a reply."
"Oh?" Harry took the newspaper and scanned it. A slow grin formed as he read. "This is perfect!"
A small advert in the editorials read: "To Oliver Twist. We have taken your questions under advisement. We hear that the Quibbler is looking for interesting articles like yours, therefore we forwarded it on to their staff. –the editorial staff of the Daily Prophet."
"Dobby, I need you to get a subscription to the Quibbler for me, under the name of Oliver Twist. Have it delivered to my private post box for now. I'll set something up with the Goblins in the future," Harry ordered, setting the newspaper aside.
"Dumblydore is watching your mail still?" Dobby asked, wringing his fingers.
Harry sighed and nodded. "He's even keeping Hedwig at Hogwarts. Says it isn't safe for her to travel."
"Dumblydore is being bad, Master Harry Sir."
"That's why I had you set up the post box. You still have the key to it?"
Dobby's head bobbed rapidly. "Yessir, Master Harry, sir. Dobby keeps it safe."
Harry grinned. "Perfect."
Ever since Primary School, the young wizard had hidden his true nature and potential from the world. The Dursleys hadn't liked him out-shining their precious Dudders, so Harry had to go underground as it were. It so happened that Dudley and his gang had an allergic reaction to libraries and books which made them Harry's favorite hide-outs. So books became the friends Dudders denied him.
Of course, when he finally thought he was free from such oppression, he found he was just as trapped by the Wizarding World's perception of him. So Harry decided to keep his true talents hidden from them as well.
He didn't think either Hermione or Ron knew how intelligent he really was and as much as he loved his friends, he couldn't let them know. Hermione prided herself on her knowledge and being first, he knew she would resent him doing better than her. Ron, on the other hand, was a jealous prat to start with and wanted nothing more than to goof-off. So Harry decided to use Ron's level of ability as a gauge to go by and avoid conflict.
So what if he turned in mediocre essays, what did it matter in the long run? He wasn't sure that he would live to be an adult, all things considered. Between Dumbledore's asinine testing of Harry's self-preservation skills, Snape's hostility and old Tom's determination to kill him, Harry's life span didn't look to be too long or too pleasant!
That's why he wrote to the Prophet. He was tired of that gossip rag dragging his reputation through the mud. If he was an adult, he would be suing the rag for libel. He was not as stupid as people thought, he knew if he had signed his own name, he would have everyone under the sun jumping down his throat for such cheek. Thus proving the Prophet right in the eyes of the Wizarding World.
Emily smiled as she read the next issue of the Quibbler. Oliver Twist's letter appeared as a front page editorial. Xeno Lovegood printed the teen's letter word for word and his answer was priceless.
"Dear Mr. Twist,
Unfortunately, our esteemed competitor, The Daily Prophet declined to print your letter for reasons of their own. Only they can reply to your probing questions, I am afraid I can not speak for them.
However, I am more than happy to try to address the more intriguing questions. I may fail to address them fully, but I will try.
Truth, I am afraid is a relative term in the Wizarding World. One man's truth is, sadly, another man's lie. The Prophet must cater to authority, while I cater to those who seek the truth. Although, my reader base is fewer, I hope they are more open minded.
Your comments about Harry Potter mirror those of my daughter's, who it so happens is a year behind him at Hogwarts. According to her, Harry Potter cares more for Quidditch and his friends' safety than calling attention to himself. If anything, Mr. Potter tends to try to hide from the crowd rather than seek attention for himself.
As far as I know, we of the press corps, have been asked not to seek out Mr. Potter as he is currently enjoying the summer with his family. So unless we hear directly from him, we have no recourse but to say, "Mr. Potter is unavailable for comment at this time," for it is true.
Only in America can you find true freedom of the press. As I understand it, it is one of the many basic privileges guaranteed by the laws of their land. I will have to look into it but I think the Prophet is a privately sponsored newspaper and must therefore answer to their sponsors. If the sponsors have no objections to what is written, then you can be assured it will appear on their pages.
Your questions, Mr. Twist, come at a time when we must review many of our beliefs and loyalties. I hope I have answered a few of them to your satisfaction. If not, I would invite you to write back and institute a dialogue between us.