Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any of the characters from it. I make no money from this work of fiction.
To Ms. Rowling or her agents, should you ever stumble across this small farce, I beg your indulgence and appreciate your continuing to allow Ms Rowling's true fans to explore the realm and characters she has generously shared with the world.
Readers: Why, yes, this is satire. Consider yourself warned.
This is set near the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
"Well, we know it was all fiction anyway, so I don't see the harm."
"Oh, honestly." Harry walked around the corner, half curious and half willing his friend not to see him. Every time she came across a group doing this, she explained things from her perspective. The problem as he perceived it was not that she was lacking in a cogent argument. Rather the issue seemed to be the muggle concept of copyrights. Harry tried to tiptoe past the group. Unfortunately, Hermione had an uncanny ability to know when he was near, and snagged his robes before he could make an escape.
"Harry, what am I saying that's unclear?"
"Look, Hermione. The man's in Saint Mungo's. He will be for the rest of his life. So I have to kind of agree with them. Where's the harm?"
"Where's the-! Honestly!" She spun on her heel and marched off. Harry shook his head, giving the gaggle of girls a crooked smile as he shrugged one shoulder.
As it turned out, that was not the end of Hermione's crusade. She had stormed away and – as usual – headed directly to the library. Where she would often avoid Madame Pince, on this particular occasion she had approached the librarian. When she sat down next to Harry with a plate full of his favorite treats – courtesy of Dobby – later that evening, he realized he had considered it settled far too soon.
"Unless it's life-threatening, I'd rather not lend out the cloak just now."
"I don't want the cloak."
He turned to face her slowly, curiosity warring with his sense of self-preservation. He slowly chewed a piece of the food she had brought to bribe him. She gave him a bright smile.
"Will you write a letter to Lord Malfoy for me?"
Harry nearly choked on the morsel in his mouth. Once he had managed to swallow it, he stared at her for a moment before answering.
"He's not a school governor anymore, 'Mione."
"I know that." Her words were clipped, and she held up a hand while taking a deep breath. "I'm sorry. But he won't talk to me, because of my lineage. Still, I need a question answered, and Madame Pince suggested he would at least know to whom I should direct my inquiry."
"I'm not going to ask." Harry shook his head, grabbing more food from the tray. "I'm not. Just tell me what you want me to ask and ..." His voice trailed off as he saw the gleam in her eyes. "Oh, no. Not that."
"Oh, yes, Harry. Someone has to stop it. Bad enough what that poor man did to himself. Now he has no one to defend him or his rights. I'm certain that whoever is in charge of his estate is not aware of what's been going on."
"Hermione, why does it bother you so much?"
Taking a deep breath, she exhaled slowly, closing her eyes briefly to gain her composure.
"Because they're preying on him. Yes, I believe that he was wrong in what he did. He certainly should never have used memory charms in that manner, and he will be punished for the rest of his life for his actions. Isn't that enough?"
Harry sighed, rubbing his temples. He nodded, cringing slightly as his friend squealed and launched herself at him. "What exactly do you want me to ask him?" Harry was unsurprised when Hermione produced a quill and parchment so he could take down her dictation.
He had sent the owl off a week prior, and Hermione had been biting her nails every day awaiting a response. When one finally came, Draco's surprise as seeing his father's owl land in front of Harry Potter could be clearly heard across the Great Hall. Harry had scooped up the missive, pushed his half-eaten breakfast to the owl telling him to eat his fill, and left the hall among catcalls and insinuations.
Hermione gathered her things as quickly as possible, intent on being present when he opened the letter. As she approached the doors, however, Draco stepped into her path. Her unexpected halt caused Ron to crash into her back.
"Oi! Sorry, 'Mione, but why'd you stop like that?" He looked up from the food he'd grabbed in a napkin and was dutifully shoveling into his mouth. "Oh. What do you want, you slimy git?"
"Ron," Hermione hissed. The red-head shrugged, matching Draco's glare before the blond turned his attention back to the bushy-haired crusader.
"Why, mudblood, is my father's owl coming to visit your friend?"
"How should I know, Malfoy? I was off to find out when you stopped me, you know." Cold, grey eyes narrowed as Draco moved slightly to the side, forcing Hermione to squeeze her way past him. She managed without touching him, but Ron took advantage of his broad shoulders and forcibly bumped Draco from his path. The Slytherin sneered, but said nothing.
"Did you have to do that?" Hermione's voice was slightly higher in pitch than usual, and Ron cringed in anticipation of a tirade.
"I don't suppose I had to, no. That doesn't mean he didn't deserve it."
"I can't believe you!" It was the shriek he had been expecting, followed by her stamping her foot then turning on her heel to find her way to wherever Harry had managed his escape. Ron was cursing his appetite, and mentally swearing that he would rise at the same moment Harry did in the future, and leave Hermione to handle the likes of Malfoy on her own.
They found Harry in the common room, eyes wide as he read over the missive he had received. Hermione dropped her books – to Ron's shock and dismay, as he tripped over them and landed face-first on the stone floor – and rushed over to Harry.
"Erm. You're not going to like all of it." Her shoulders slumped slightly and her smile dimmed a bit, but she encouraged him to continue. "He says that Lockhart's not the best subject for your crusade –"
Hermione did not wait for him to continue, snatching the parchment from his hand, her eyes roving quickly back and forth across the page.
I'm certain that you can clearly understand why it has taken me so long to compose a response to your query.
I was quite reasonably surprised when I received your missive, not expecting someone who had recently taken it upon himself to free one of my servants to have the audacity to contact me.
Setting that aside, however, I will address your questions, to wit:
I do not believe it would be in your best interests to pursue any action on behalf of Mr Lockhart. Public sentiment being so clearly negative with regard to recent revelations, I doubt even his barrister should wish to pursue any matters on his behalf.
Should you find another author whose works have been so abused, I would direct you first to their publisher and secondly to their barrister to resolve any problems.
I trust I shall not hear from you again on this matter.
"Well, that's that," Ron said, having read it over Hermione's shoulder. "Not entirely sure what half of what he said meant, but I did get the bit about not going after anyone doing this to Lockhart."
"First of all, Ronald, Lord Malfoy is not Lockhart's barrister. I've sent him an owl myself, only just this morning. Besides which, he also clearly said that if I find it happening to anyone else, I should contact their publisher about it. Well, I did find where those girls were doing it to someone else's works."
"Bloody hell, Hermione! Do you go looking for these things?"
"When there is injustice, I feel it imperative to confront it."
Harry sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose just above his glasses. "Alright, Hermione. Who are we going after?"
"Whom, Harry. And I do believe you mean to ask to whom our next missive will be composed." Harry waved his hand impatiently. "Why, to M.L. Books, of course."
Bathilda Bagshot was an elderly witch. Had she been a muggle, she would clearly have been dead by this time. As a witch, though, she could still be described by some as spry. At the moment she stepped foot into Hogwarts that day, she could only be termed a force of nature.
As she brushed past Draco and his coterie, she sneered at several of them. The Malfoy scion took her attitude to be in response to recent events at the school, so was affronted on behalf of his friends. Only Marcus' hand on his arm stayed his wrath.
"Find out what it's about first, Draco. Getting emotional is a Gryffindor and Hufflepuff trait." Nodding at the advice, the younger Slytherin followed behind the irate witch silently. He nearly gave his presence away when, upon reaching the guardian of Dumbledore's office and not knowing the password, she simply blasted the gargoyle to bits in order to reveal the staircase.
A hand on his shoulder stopped him from following. He looked up into the eyes of his head of house who simply squeezed once before releasing his hold on the boy and following the witch up the staircase. Draco made himself comfortable against the wall facing the headmaster's stairwell, practicing transfiguration on the small stone chips that had not been completely obliterated by the witch's spell.
"And I won't just sit down and shut up! I'm not in the mood for your pandering, you geezer! How dare these students of yours do this! It's unconscionable! I checked with my barrister once my publisher sent me Ms Granger's letter and attachments. It turns out that I'm not the only one! They've done this to Lockhart as well. Granted, that man was an idiot and a fraud, and everything he wrote was fiction. How ever were you bamboozled by him, Albus?
"But to wholesale publish sections of my book under their name and claim that they're doing it because they're a fan – as you can see, upset is too plain a word for my state!"
"Apparently," Albus began gently, "it started as a hope that learning the material would be easier if it weren't Professor Binns reading it to them."
"Can they not read for themselves? Must they pretend someone is reading it to them? The Goblin Wars are hardly bedtime reading, Albus! Pretending some muggle character is telling them about wizarding history is preposterous on its own, but having Nearly-Headless Nick included in this chicanery?
"Did you ask him how he feels about this at all, Albus? Is he even aware of how his name is being besmirched?
"Everard's hairy bollocks! Even basic school children in the muggle world know what these miscreants have done is wrong! Can't be bothered to just learn the material, so they have to go and do this.
"Forgetting the fact – for a moment – that they're stealing my writing, why in Merlin's name did they think they'd get away with publishing it on a press and charging companies for advertisements to help pay for their printing costs?"
Severus leaned against the door post, arms crossed as a small smile flitted across his lips. He may never have been one of Bathilda's students, but he would certainly use this instance to remind the children he was not the scariest thing out there. He fought laughter as she continued to work her way through the alphabet in her cursing. He considered, for a moment, assigning Granger on her next detention to alphabetically detail the injustices she perceived in the magical world. She certainly would never expect it of him, and it would be far more amusing than her regurgitated treatises on the properties of goosegrass and its application as a possible natural coloring agent.
Decision made, he tuned back in to the conversation just as the witch was winding down. "What are you going to do about this atrocity?"
Albus sighed, his fingers steepled, and rose from his chair. Rounding the desk, he leaned back against it, letting his aged appendages fall to his waist. "I imagine you have already consulted with your barrister on your options?"
"Oh, you had better believe it! At the least I can have them expelled from this school. But that wouldn't teach them anything. No, I think it better to impress upon them just how truly repulsive this action was." Albus nodded, keeping silence as Bathilda finally took a seat in front of his desk. After several moments, she turned slightly towards the door. "If you're quite finished hovering, young man, I'd like for you to gather the miscreants responsible for my outrage."
Severus had raised his eyebrow at being addressed, but nodded and gave a bow as he left, knowing full well to which students she was referring. When Hermione Granger convinced Harry Potter to send out owls, Albus Dumbledore made sure the faculty knew about it. He had told Albus that giving them the free time during what would have been their DADA classes was a grave mistake. He could only hope the headmaster would listen to him in the future on these matters.
The student body had been surprised to find themselves released from classes and directed to the Great Hall before lunch time the following Tuesday. Hermione had been slightly smug, and Ron had simply shaken his head before turning to Harry.
"There will be no living with her, you know. Once she's proven right about something, she'll never let it go."
Harry had shrugged, but moved along with the crowd, taking their seats at the Gryffindor table as usual. Ginny slid in beside him, with Neville nudging Pavarti down the bench so he could sit next to Hermione. He and Ron had decided after they had sent the owls off that she would need protecting from herself in the future, but since this was done, they would make certain no physical harm came to her as a result. Neville had nodded his assent, and Seamus was obliged to aid as well so they had determined the best course of action between them should something like the meeting they found themselves attending occur.
Dumbledore called the hall to order, the students taking their seats quickly. It was only after everyone was seated that they realized that several students were among those on the daïs. Several chairs had been conjured for them to be seated, and behind each child, at least one parent was present.
"I'm certain that you are all aware," Dumbledore began, "of recent events regarding a newsletter that was passed around the school to 'aid in learning the history of magic.' That newsletter will no longer be printed." Murmurs and whispers went through the assembled. Dumbledore held up his hand, waiting on silence to return. "After consulting with Madame Bagshot's barrister, the following terms have been reached to settle this claim and prevent a Ministry hearing.
"Item the first. Each student who printed the paper will be responsible for reimbursing the advertisers a share of the funds provided for the printing of the paper. That is to say, if a company provided four hundred galleons in exchange for their advertisement being printed, that cost shall be split equally among the students who produced the publication.
"Item the second. The same amount as is paid to all advertisers in total shall be paid to Madame Bagshot as recompense for the theft of her work. Reparation of this amount shall be split equally among all students involved in the publication.
"Item the third. All copies of the publication are to be destroyed. Immediately.
"Item the fourth. All students involved in these publications may not, at any time now or in the future, seek to publish any work which shall be made available to students in the magical world, nor in the muggle world of Great Britain. If publishing internationally, they shall not be permitted licensing rights to distribute in Great Britain. They shall take all foreseeable measures to ensure that their works are not found in Great Britain through import of any means. As we are magical beings, we do have greater ability to ensure this clause can be upheld.
"Item the fifth. Any being whose name, voice, or likeness was used in the publication of this work can make a claim for monetary reparation." Nearly-Headless Nick's voice could be heard loudly giving approval to this clause. The scowl on Professor Snape's face indicated he had not been aware of his inclusion in the publication until the matter had begun to involve barristers. Stating he was displeased at the revelation would be a gross misrepresentation of the facts, as all of his students could readily attest. He had been especially hard on Ravenclaw, as the majority of the offenders were from that house.
Once he had finished reading the settlement agreement, Albus waved his hand and a single desktop appeared, parchment, inkwell, and quill clearly visible. It floated down the line in front of them, each student signing, then their parent as they were generally underage. When the students were dismissed, the Gryffindors stayed in the hall until the Ravenclaws had all left, knowing the ire over the matter – even though they were in the wrong – would be vast.
"I think it's great that their parents can't pay the reparations for them," Pavarti said as they finally stood. "They wouldn't learn anything that way."
Hermione nodded. "No, they would only learn that mommy and daddy can buy them out of trouble."
"And what's so wrong," a familiar drawl began, "with having your parents get you out of trouble?"
"This isn't a case of spilling a potion and turning someone's robes orange, Malfoy." The pale boy blanched a bit at Potter's remonstrance, recalling how atrocious he had looked in that color.
"Touché." He stepped back, allowing the Gryffindors to pass through the doors of the Great Hall first before calling out again. "Potter!"
"Was this what you wrote to my father about?"
Harry did not answer, only allowing a silent smile to play on his lips. If Malfoy wanted to bring the anger of the perpetrators his way some, Harry certainly was not going to object.