Disclaimer: See chapter 1. Reviews are welcomed, flames aren't.
Chapter 2: First Blood
Emily Anderson stood outside Lord Charles' office door, glaring at the two burly aurors standing guard who refusing her entry. Behind the closed office door, she heard the raised voices of the minister and Lord Charles as well as a girlish, simpering voice that literally dripped malice.
Suddenly, the door flew open and Minister Fudge and and a disgustingly toad-like woman stormed out. "You will find out who leaked that letter to the Quibbler, Witherspoon or I will have your job. I know of several who would jump at the chance!" Fudge threatened, jamming a green bowler on his head.
Emily was given a curt nod by the aurors as she slipped past them into Lord Charles' office. She found her employer downing a calming draught with a fire whiskey chaser. "What in Merlin's name was that all about?" she queried.
He waved for her to close the door and take a seat. He pulled out his wand and cast a few spells. From what she could see they were anti-spy and silencing spells.
"Well, Miss Anderson," Charles said. "It seems our esteemed minister did not like the fact that someone had the audacity to challenge what is said in the Prophet. When I told him that I had thrown away the letter and that someone must have retrieved it, let's say he wasn't too pleased."
Emily sighed and lowered her chin. "So that means I need to find a new position?"
"Not by any means," he reassured her. "You are one of my best reporters. However, I would steer clear of Skeeter. She's Fudge's favorite muck raker and toady. She'll nail you, as well as me, to the wall if she can."
"Gotcha! So now what?"
Lord Charles winked. "Business as usual, Anderson. Business as usual."
Harry Potter smirked as he read the Quibbler's response to his letter. He was quite pleased with it as it helped explain a few things. So the Prophet had 'sponsors'. Hmmm. He wondered who they were besides the Ministry. Sitting down at his desk, he wrote two letters. The first was to the goblins. Harry would've liked to pay them a visit, but wasn't sure if he could manage it as he was still a prisoner in his relative's house. He refused to call this place his 'home', no matter what the delusional headmaster said.
Harry smiled as he reread the letter to the Goblins. Setting it aside, he looked at the empty perch and cage in the corner. His smile turned to anger. Dumbledore had no right to take Hedwig away from him. No right, at all! It also didn't help that he had as of yet to receive any letters from his friends. He would have thought Hermione at least would find another means to contact him. They had after all, exchanged addresses and phone numbers.
Shaking his head, he reached for another bit of parchment and started to write.
Xeno Lovegood was enjoying his second cup of tea as he read the reader responses to Mr. Twist's letter. Many were good, some were irate and more than a few were howlers. However, howlers weren't allowed in the Lovegood home as it upset Luna. Those were redirected to a chute leading to an underground chamber were they could explode and no one need ever hear them.
A few, he mused, took what was said in the Prophet with a grain of salt, but most revered it as the literal voice of a prophet. 'More fools they,' he thought.
He even received a visit from a Ministry flunky by the name of Percy Weasley. Xeno shook his head. The boy was clearly infested with nargles if he thought the Ministry could dictate what went in the Quibbler! There were only two major stock holders, himself and one other and neither were willing to sell their shares.
Xeno stood with a sigh, "Well tea time is over. Back to work."
Albus Dumbledore prided himself on being a wizard of great wisdom and integrity. He wanted Harry to have time to recover from the harrowing ordeal of seeing Tom come back last spring which was why he was tucked safely away with his relatives. Too bad it wasn't safe to correspond with his little friends, as it would've brought great comfort to the boy. Ah well, it's for the Greater Good, after all.
He started to take a sip of his tea as he picked up the Quibbler, his favorite newspaper. Scanning the letter to the Editor quickly, the aged wizard spewed his tea. What in Merlin's name?
He read then reread the letter and Xeno's response. Granted the man hedged his comments about the Prophet, but even he could read between the lines and see that Xeno Lovegood had no respect for the Ministry controlled rag.
This Twist lad sounded very angry at the world and at the Prophet especially. What was the boy playing at? Daring the Prophet and the Ministry to answer him?
Could the boy be correct in his views about Harry? Granted he wasn't too specific in his details, however, did he really know Harry? Could this have been written by Harry? No. The boy had no way to send anything to the Prophet. Hedwig was being taken care of by Hagrid. Who could this Oliver Twist be? Why did that name sound familiar?
In a dark room with only a rat-faced man for company, a snake-like man was recovering from his rebirth.
The rat-faced man picked up the Prophet and started to read it aloud. Neither wizard read the personal section for the Prophet. So the personal noticed listed there to a 'Mr. Oliver Twist' went unread. Since neither read the Quibbler, they would not understand the notice since they hadn't read the original letter.
As for the other followers, no one felt it wise to inform their master of the letter as it was considered far too dangerous to call his attention to it.
Gringotts' Director, Ragnok, picked up the letter addressed to Family Accounts Department and scanned it quickly.
"To Whom It May Concern,
I, Harry James Potter, son of James and Lily Potter, wish to know who my account manager is. I would like a copy of all my bank statements from the time my parents were killed to present time. I know I am under age but as I will be seventeen in a couple more years, I would like to learn how to manage my own affairs.
Second, I would like to learn about the 'sponsors' that govern the Daily Prophet. I want to know who owns the Prophet. What is written in their charter, who is on their board of directors and their last fiscal report.
Third, I would like a good recommendation for a Barrister. I have a feeling that my rights in the Wizarding World are being denied.
Lastly, my mail is being withheld from me by my Headmaster Albus Dumbledore against my wishes. Therefore I have rented a post box that is maintained by a house elf. I expect that all my business and all contacts with your esteemed establishment will be held in the strictest confidence. Therefore, any correspondence will be forwarded to my post box and not delivered by owl. The post box is under the name of 'Oliver Twist.'
May Your Gold Always Flow and Together May We Gain Much Profit
Harry J. Potter."
Pinching his nose and closing his eyes, the ancient goblin started to swear in gobblygook. Lord Potter should have been receiving bank statements since he was eleven. If he hadn't, where had they gone? This will bear investigation. Heads will roll if he discovers any fraud!
Harry was sitting on his bed, reading a book on Wizarding etiquette and customs Dobby got for him. Something Dumbledore should've given him years ago. He snorted. Yea right, the old coot! Doing anything that made Harry's life easier? Fat chance.
It was only by accident that Harry found out the senile old wanker had canceled the mandatory lessons on Wizarding Customs for all muggle-born students Harry's first year. Professor McGonagall had taught her muggle-born lions on the sly without him knowing. Harry only found out when he heard Dean and Seamus speaking about it in the showers. They hadn't known Harry was in another nearby stall.
It made Harry wonder what game ol' Dumbledore was really playing at? Why did the headmaster find it necessary to keep him in ignorance of the world he had been born into? It was a good thing that Harry was very adept at hiding his intelligence or he could've really been screwed.
Dobby popped in with a stack of mail. "Master Harry, sir. Your book order is done. I'se picked it up for you'se. Also, the Goblins sent you'se an important letter and forms to fill out."
"Thank you Dobby," Harry said, taking the mail. Opening the Gringott letter first, he scanned the cover letter first. 'What the f. . .!' He thought.
"Unto the Heir to the Ancient and Noble Houses of Potter and Gryffindor; Harry James Potter-Gryffindor,
Greetings from Ragnok, Director of Gringotts,
Lord Potter, I will admit that your letter came as an unpleasant surprise. We have been sending you statements since you were eleven. Also we have been sending out requests for a meeting to discuss your future for some time. It has never come to our attention that you were not receiving them. We assumed that your guardian, Albus Dumbledore, had been passing on the information and you were allowing him to handle your affairs.
As per your letter, we have decided this is not the case. Pending an investigation, all of your accounts have been frozen. All keys have been recalled. If you have need for funds, you will have to appear at Gringotts for a meeting as your family's previous account adviser has met with an untimely death. I will be assuming the role myself until such time as we can come to a mutually agreeable arrangement.
As for the Prophet, as of noon yesterday, you are the major stock holder with sixty-eight percent of the shares. Ministry of Magic holds about twenty shares and the rest is owned by the Prophet themselves. The board of directors was appointed by the Ministry after the first fall of the Dark Lord Voldemort. The Ministry currently controls the Prophet through political intimidation.
Lord Charles Witherspoon, the fourth is the current Editor-In-Chief. He was hired by your grandfather, Lord Harold Potter. Lord Witherspoon is a good man, but since the death of your grandfather, his hands have been tied by the Ministry.
Lastly, your family has long retained the services of Lord Peter Flinchly-Addams as their barrister-at-law. We have notified him of your request and he will be contacting you soon. It appears that Headmaster Albus Dumbledore had informed the venerable barrister that his services were not needed as he, as the Supreme Mugwump, would be over seeing your affairs. Lord Flinchly-Addams is most anxious to speak with you.
We, at Gringotts, were deeply saddened by the death of your parents, Lord Potter. They were esteemed and valued patrons as well as honorable warriors.
Rest assured that we believe you when you said that the Dark Lord has returned. We will do everything in our power to assist you in your battles.
We need to speak soon.
May Your Gold Always Flow and Together We Will Make Much Profit
Director of Gringotts
Potter Account Manager"