Disclaimer: It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a Zero Sum game - somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred - from one perception to another. Like magic.

- Gordon Gekko

To The Letter

Part 05 of GLGG: Odd Ideas 190-193

Gilderoy didn't outwardly react to the fact that he'd been ushered into a strange office with a strange person when he'd arrived at his publisher to drop off his newest bestseller; Harry Potter and the African Adventure.

"Gil," the man said with a wide fake smile. "Glad to finally meet you."

"You are not my usual editor," Gilderoy stated.

"Poe au Feu. I'll be taking your account from now on," the man replied cheerfully. "Come in to drop off your latest manuscript? You can leave it with my secretary on your way out. Reason I called for you is to discuss your contract. I really can't see keeping you on at your current rate. No aspersions cast on you, of course, but the Boy-Who-Lived novels are getting a bit . . . stale. I was thinking that we could bring in some fresh authors with new ideas to take some of the load off of you. We'd still sell them under your name of course and you'd still get a portion of the royalties, but you wouldn't have to do so much work. Better for you, better for us. What do you say? I've got a contract here, five seconds to sign it and we can have this whole matter behind us."

"I see." Gilderoy took the contract off the man's desk and gave it a quick perusal. "So, if I am reading this correctly, you propose a ninety five cut in my share of the royalties. In return you will bring in ghost writers to take over my books and in return I still have to do publicity events at my own expense?"

"That rather oversimplifies it, don't you think?" the man said with a wide smile. "You're understating the benefit of receiving revenue for almost no effort. A better deal you won't get, Gil. I understand that this all comes as a bit of a sudden shock, but I think you'll see the benefits to going along with it. I hate to mention the possible consequences for saying no, such as the fact that you'll never sell another manuscript again if you do or the fact that your expense account will be frozen, because I would hate to see it get to that point."

Gilderoy placed the contract back on the man's desk. "I think we're done," he announced as he turned to leave the office.

"I know it seems bad, Gil, but it's the best I could get for you," the man said desperately. "I want you to know that I fought for you, I really did, no one could ever have worked harder for you than I did. But management just didn't want to play ball."

Gilderoy shut the door in the man's face and calmly walked out of the publisher's office. Sic the lawyers on them first or find another publisher? Lawyers, he decided. Worse came to worse it could be useful to have an example to hold up to drive home exactly how seriously he took his contracts when negotiating a new one with a new publisher.

The goblin at the front desk was confused at why Gilderoy thought he, a human, would be permitted to hire a goblin firm until Gilderoy explained exactly who he was. He was ushered into the offices of the senior partners shortly after that.

"I'm Gripsack," the left goblin introduced herself. "This is my partner, Twist. I understand you're acquainted with our niece?"

"If you mean Stabby, then yes," Lockhart agreed. "She's my ward's best friend."

Twist snorted. "In my day, good goblin girls didn't associate with humans."

Gripsack snorted in return. "In our day there wasn't any such thing as a goblin princess and we didn't have half so much fun making up ancient goblin traditions or watching humans try to follow them."

Twist gave a toothy grin. "True. So tell us about these humans you want us to screw."

"Same ones that publish young Stabby's books," Gilderoy stated. "They want to screw me we can be damn sure that the bastards will try to screw her next. So I thought to myself, who do I know that would take as much offense to that as I would that would also take an inordinate amount of pleasure making an example that will drive fear into the hearts of any that might think to do us wrong in the future."

"So you came to us," Gripsack sighed. She turned to her partner. "Why don't you say things like that to me anymore?"

"Still trying to calm down after that last case where you made their lead council cry," Twist replied. "It was all I could do not to ravish you on the judge's desk right there in open court."

"We'll take the case," Gripsack stated.

"In an hour or two," Twist added. "You can show yourself out."

Harry immediately noticed that something was wrong when Gilderoy got home later that day and demanded to know what it was so he could go solve it. Little guy was shaping up to be quite the man of action.

"It's already been handled, champ," he assured the boy. "Stabby's aunt and uncle are taking care of it."

"But what is it?" Harry asked. "You didn't say."

"New guy at the publisher thinks he can throw his weight around," Gilderoy explained. "He can't and he's about to learn just how bad he stepped into it. Nothing you need to worry about."

"What about you?"

"Nothing I need to worry about either now that Stabby's aunt and uncle are on the case," Gilderoy replied. "All you need to do is to focus on thinking what you want to learn next or where you want to go next. South of France is lovely this time of year if you want a suggestion."

"Okay," Harry agreed brightly. "France sounds nice."

"I'll look into getting a language course and some guide books for us tomorrow," Lockhart promised. Topless beaches, ahoy. "Now, on to more immediate matters. What do you want for dinner?"

The boy gave a solemn nod. "Do you think Pepper knows how to make curry?"

"We'll send out if she doesn't," Gilderoy promised the boy. "Why don't you go ask her?"

It turned out that their house elf did not know how to make curry of a quality she saw fit to serve to her charge which led to the creature demanding they go to India to give her a chance to study to cuisine at its source. It wasn't that he had a problem with the idea of touring the subcontinent, it was that that doing so would delay his trip to French beaches but the traitorous creature would hear none of his arguments. Her Harry wanted Indian food and she was determined to give it to him and there was nothing more to be said.

Gilderoy awoke the next morning to familiar voices in his sitting room.

"Who did you say you were again?" his ward asked suspiciously.

"I'm Gilderoy's editor, Ambrose Cuff," the man introduced himself. "His real editor rather than the idiot he told you about. You can call me Brose if you like."

"Uncle Brose?"

"You can call me that too," the Chief Editor agreed. "I'm here to explain what happened and to see if I can't smooth things over."

"Well?" Gilderoy announced his presence, striding into the sitting room and flopping onto his favorite chair. "Why don't you."

"Power play. Idiot you met was the son of the majority owner." The Chief Editor sighed. "Former majority owner I should say. Senior told me to give the bastard a do nothing job and enough pay to make him look respectable."

"And?" Gilderoy prompted.

"And he thought he could edge you out and pocket the savings by bringing in cut rate ghost writers," the Chief Editor replied.

"I wouldn't let anyone but Gilderoy write about me," Harry said firmly. "Well, him and the others like Stabby that have their own books but their books are about them and I just appear in them sometimes."

"Thank you, Harry," Gilderoy said with a grin. "He have an answer for that?"

"Stupid son of a bitch thought that you made everything up. Didn't think you actually had Harry and was half convinced that Harry didn't exist. Thought you were just some fiction writer that he could bully in court if you weren't stupid enough to sign that moronic contract he waved at you.

Gilderoy snorted in amusement. "What now?"

"Former majority owner is gone. Forced him to sell his interest in the company to avoid getting lynched by the rest of the board of directors. Board then threw stocks at everyone involved to make the problem go away.

"To whom?"

"In order of who got the biggest slices of the pie; Harry, you, the staff pension fund, me, and the goblins. Small slice for the other authors but that only amounts to about four percent of the total distribution." The Chef Editor's grin turned feral. "Makes the lot of us the majority. Former board of directors just wants the money train to come back, doesn't even care that they aren't calling the shots anymore."

"Alright," Gilderoy agreed. "Sound good to you, Harry?"

"Yeah," Harry agreed. "We're in charge now, right, Uncle Brose?"

"Right," the Chief Editor agreed. "Staff voted to give me their proxy, means the three of us are the ones who get to decide everything."

Harry's stomach growled loudly, announcing to all that it objected to its breakfast being delayed by talk of business.

"Why don't you see Pepper about getting something to eat, Harry," Gilderoy suggested. "We've covered the important bits so all that's left is the details."

"Okay," Harry agreed. The boy hopped off his chair and darted out of the room.

"Good kid," the Chief Editor complemented their golden goose. "You've done a good job with him."

"He's done a good job with himself," Gilderoy corrected. "Thought kids were supposed to be difficult but he practically raises himself."

"Good on him then," the Chief Editor corrected. "Any thoughts on your next destination?"

"I was thinking the South of France but-" the man looked like he'd bitten something sour.


"The elf is insisting on India," Lockhart said sourly. "Traitorous creature has turned Harry against me."

"You're kidding."

"I'm not," Gilderoy stated. "Harry wanted a curry and the house elf decided she couldn't cook it to a high enough standard to serve to him. Insisted on going to India to investigate the origins of the dish."

"I-" the Chief Editor was interrupted by the arrival of the elf in question. Dressed in a black dress topped by a white lace apron, she stood straighter than any house elf he'd ever seen and met his eye with a gaze filled with confidence. "Pepper, I presume?"

"You presume correctly." She curtsied. "I felt it best to present my proposed travel plans to you personally rather than trust Master Harry's Valet to get it right." She snapped her fingers and a thick envelope landed on the Chief Editor's lap. "I have also included notes on the minimum standards I expect from any houses of lodging."

"I see." The Chief Editor placed the envelope into his leather attache case. "Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"

"I will allow it," the house elf stated.

"Why are you wearing a uniform rather than a tea towel?"

"Master Harry instructed me to provide myself with appropriate attire," the house elf replied. "Pointing out correctly that my appearance reflects on him."

"Is that the same reason you talk back to Gilderoy?"

"I am Master Harry's Governess, Housekeeper, Chief Maid, Head Cook, cordwainer, bespoke tailor, and head of servants." The house elf sneered. "He is Master Harry's valet. A position which he performs to a level that would see him dismissed if not for Master Harry's fondness for him. My position is higher than him and as such it would be improper of me to listen to his orders."

The Chief Editor fought down a grin. This was potentially gold. "What about the way you speak?"

"I am Master Harry's Governess. I am responsible for Master Harry's education. Do you think it appropriate for Master Harry to speak in house elf patois?" the house elf demanded. "The answer is no if your brain is not sufficient to produce the correct answer."

"Would you like me to provide you with a full staff?" The Chief Editor asked, ignoring Lockhart's look of horror at the thought of being saddled with more of the creatures.

"You may provide the funding but I will be responsible for the selection." The elf shot Gilderoy a withering look. "Proper house elves all of them, I dislike the results of your experiment with human servants. You may save expense but you more than pay for it in terms of quality."

"One last question," the Chief Editor said quickly, sensing that the elf's patience was wearing thin.


"Any interest in writing a few books?"

"What sort of books?"

"Off the top of my head?" The Chief Editor grinned at the thought of all the gold the house elf was going to make them. "Cookbooks and proper house elf etiquette. Compare how most house elves act to yourself, wouldn't the world be better if they knew the proper way to behave?"

"House elves act the way they do because it is the way their humans want them to act," Pepper sniffed. "It is the humans that do not know the proper way elves should act."

"To educate humans on proper elf behavior then," the Chief Editor corrected.

"Fine," Pepper barked. "You will send your contract through Master Harry's goblin solicitors." Deciding that she'd wasted far too much time dealing with the two humans, the house elf disappeared with a pop.

"Quite the unique elf you've got there

"You're the one that picked her out

"I'm the one that made the order. Extraordinary creature, I've never seen an elf with that kind of attitude towards humans

"She states that her social position is derived from Harry's and that Harry sits above all others," Gilderoy complained.

"Still hold out hope for a trip to France?"

"I will not be denied my dream of lazing about on topless beaches on your expense!" Gilderoy said passionately.

"You usually take a bit of time between trips. Why not combine business and pleasure? Bookend India with France and do a bit of writing while you're at it. Everyone wins."

"Especially you since you get two books out of me in the time I normally give you one," Lockhart said sourly. "No, this is a question of wills. A question of whose is stronger; mine or that damned elf's."

"Portkeys to India for all of you then?"


Law firm provided by Jeff Marcum

Omake: The Beach

"Excuse me," a female voice caught Gilderoy's attention. "Do you happen to have a moment to discuss something of great importance."

Lockhart's eyes opened to find themselves staring at four of the most perfect sets of breasts that they'd ever had the opportunity to behold with four equally impressive veela attached to them. "Sure," he agreed. "What can I do for you?"

"I say, old chap, you don't happen to speak French do you? I'm afraid that none of us are particularly proficient in your language."

"Ai do, though ai weehl warn you zat mon francais eez not la best," he switched to their mother tongue. "How mai ai 'élp you?"

"We wish to be seen as maire than mairé sex objects!"

"We think yur harry pottair books can 'élp us accomplish zat wish."

"Zat weehl not be éasy," Lockhart cautioned. "You are all zum of la most beautiful womén ai 'ave evair 'ad la pleasure to behuld."

"We weehl be 'appy if you can convince la idiots zat waire are maire than maire bimbos."

"Maire sex kittens availabuhl to saté zeir désiyaires!"

"Zat eet eez not acceptabuhl to paw us. Zat zey should not bé surprizéd whén we tak offense et retaliaté! Zat zey should éxpect punishmont if zéy are stupid enough to think zat eet eez acceptabuhl to tréat us as if we are public conveniénces."

"Let us talk abut zum of yur fami-lee membairs et ancestairs," Gilderoy suggested. "Any war hairoés? Famous détectives? Infamous criminals?"

The three veela shared uncertain glances. "Mon grandmothair was een le Maquis, le reseestan," one ventured.

"Pairfect! Téll mé all abut hair," Gilderoy said with a grin.

To Lockhart's joy, the grand dame in question was alive, spoke perfect english, and was blessed with a granddaughter just a few years older than Harry who'd quickly claimed the boy as her new playmate. To his disgust, the old hag didn't understand the importance of marketing or the fact that a good story trumped a boring history every day of the weel.

"My code name was la rascasse, not the terror of Marseille," the woman said dryly.

"The Terror of Marseille was what the germans called you, not your code name," Lockhart said desperately. "The thought of you brought terror to even the most hardened SS man."

"I did my very best to make sure none of them knew I existed," she countered. "Had they known, they'd have devoted considerable resources to my capture. I did not wish to be tortured and repeatedly defiled so I did my very best to avoid being known. Being notorious would have been a death sentence, they'd never have permitted someone so infamous to live."

"You don't understand," Gilderoy said in frustration. "The public needs heroes, I want to make you one."

"You don't understand that it was a dirty secret war," she replied. "Flashy heroes like the ones in uniform have their place, but-"

"Wait." Lockhart held up a hand. The dirty secret war?"

"Yes," she agreed cautiously.

"Would you agree that it was a shadow war?"

"I suppose that is one way it could be described."

"What skills can you teach Harry about how to fight and survive a shadow war?" Lockhart demanded.

"Aside from how to live in an occupied country? I can teach the boy a little about planting explosives and silent killing But it was your countrymen that taught me the same skills. Wouldn't it be better to find one of them?"

"No," Lockhart said absently. "I can see it, war has two sides: The light side, the heroic side fought by armies and the dark side, the dirty side, fought by shadow warriors. I brought Harry to France to learn from one of the best-"

"I was hardly-"

"One of the best!" Lockhart said firmly. "La rascasse, one of the resistance fighters that ensured the enemy couldn't relax for fear that the next moment could be their last. The Terror of Marseille."

"Fine," the woman huffed.

"He learns these skills along side the woman's granddaughter, who-"

"She's never shown any interest in learning," the woman interrupted. "I have no objection to teaching her but I will not see her forced into anything."

"Of course not," Gilderoy agreed easily. "She and Harry are fast friends. Mark my words, he starts learning and she's going to want to learn right along side him."