Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Searching for Disaster

Chapter 4: Social Havoc

by Shadow_Rebirth 18 reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Published: 2008-08-06 - Updated: 2008-08-07 - 4336 words

Title: Searching for Disaster: Social Havoc
Author: Shadow_Rebirth
Rating: T/PG-13
Warnings: language, adult themes, spoilers
Word Count: 3,685
First Written: July 14, 2008
Last Edited: August 6, 2008
Posted: August 6, 2008
Summary: Owls, cauldrons, and pointed hats? Harry Potter was not amused. And he still wasn't entirely sure that his human trafficking theory had been wrong. Warning! Features a very cynical Harry. AU, no pairings.


Searching for Disaster

Chapter 4
Social Havoc


The days following Halloween were completely hectic. Though the teachers had caught the troll without any problems or even any property damage, the students had woken up the next morning to find reporters crawling all over the school.

Even though they had classes that day, Harry took refuge in the library directly after breakfast. He had no interest in being bombarded by reporters---he'd seen the articles that the Daily Prophet had written following his start at Hogwarts and he shuddered to think of what they would write if they managed to get an "interview" with him.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans.

"Excuse me, kid, but could I possibly speak with you?"

Harry froze in his seat, surprise taking over his features. Of course, since his back was to the reporter who'd just approached him the man didn't notice. That itself was the only good thing about this situation; since the reporter couldn't see his face, he didn't know who he was.

"Why?" Harry asked cautiously without turning around.

The man chuckled. "Well, I'm l looking for someone with an interesting opinion and I believe I'll find it in someone like you rather than with one of the kids scrambling to speak with a reporter."

"...What paper are you with? The Daily Prophet?"

Again the man laughed, but this time it sounded mocking. "The Prophet? That propaganda gossip rag? Certainly not. I'm a reporter for the London Wizarding Post. We only report hard news, which is why we're interested in this incident with the mountain troll."

Harry relaxed back into his seat. Not the Prophet, then? Well that was good at least. He was marginally surprised that there were so many other newspapers other than the Prophet, but when he really thought about it, it made sense--what kind of a world would have something like the Daily Prophet as its main paper? It was a disgrace to the definition of journalism. He'd probably seen it around Hogwarts so much because children were interest in the sort of gossip that that paper had.

Harry sighed inaudibly and leaned further back in his chair. He still didn't turn to face the reporter.

What is it you'd like to know?" the young wizard asked finally. It seemed that there was no getting out of this. At least the man still didn't know who he was...

"Well, to start of with," the reporter began with a smirk, "What's your take on what happened? How do you, as a student, feel that the school handled this incident?"

"Ah, now that's a loaded question," Harry replied with a chuckled. "Hmm, the incident. Well, it certainly seems to me that the school wasn't prepared for any sort of an emergency. Headmaster Dumbledore separated the students up and sent them of into the castle with no protection. At the very least one of the teachers should have been sent with each house, in case they ran into the troll, but the best solution would probably have been to keep everyone in one place, where they could be on guard. Divide and conquer and all that, but in the troll's favor.

"Did you know that muggle schools generally have plans for emergencies? Why doesn't a wizarding school, which has the possibility of many things going wrong, have anything like that?

"The main question though, is how the troll got into Hogwarts in the first place. Mountain trolls are supposed to be fairly common in Scotland, right? So why wasn't the school prepared to keep them out? How can the security here in the supposedly safest place in Britain be so weak that a toll, one of the least intelligent creatures, is able to get inside? My opinion of this incident is that the school clearly has some problems with the way it's run. I shudder to think of what would happen if something smarter and more dangerous than a troll decided to try to get into the school."

For almost a minute after Harry finished his monologue there was nothing but silence between Harry and the reporter. Then the man began to snicker, quietly at first, but before long it became full out laughter.

"Heh, I think I like you, kid," the reporter said once he'd calmed down. "That was a very succinct answer. Tell you what, I'm looking for a good contact inside Hogwarts and you seem to fit the bill. All you'd have to do is keep in contact with me, telling me about what's going on inside Hogwarts and give me your opinions--the opinions of a student. So what do you say?"

To Harry's surprise, he found himself seriously considering the man's offer. It'd be interesting, certainly, but...Too much work.

"Nope, sorry," Harry replied with a shrug. "I would be willing to speak with you again if anything interesting came up though. But even that would be under one condition."

"Oh? And what might that be?"

Harry hesitated only for a moment before half turning around in his seat so that his face was exposed. "That my name is not revealed."

The man literally gaped at Harry, instantly recognizing the boy. The reporter, it turned out, was a man in his early forties with dark hair that was speckled with gray and equally dark eyes. He was tall--at least six feet--and had a square jaw that had short scar running along its length. The man stared at Harry for several long moments before finally breaking out of his stupor and shaking his head in amusement.

"Harry Potter? Now this is a surprise."

Harry quirked a grin. "Expecting someone else?"

"Hmm, perhaps not," the journalist mused. "You created quite a stir you know; people have been saying that you're nothing like they expected.

Harry's grin widened so that it was all teeth and no humor. "And why would I be anything like you all expected, hmm? Anyway, do we have a deal or not, Mr...?"

"Johns. Richard B. Johns. And yes, I do believe we had deal. "

Richard extended his hand and, after only a second of hesitation, Harry firmly clasped it. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Johns."


As it would turn out, Harry's second strange meeting would also occur in the library, only a few days later. By this time all of the reporters had finally left the school, although the magical world was still buzzing with news of the "attack". Harry was just glad that he'd managed to stay out of the limelight. Unfortunately, his peace was not to last.

Harry had been reading. He'd been sitting in the library, minding his own business and reading a book about high level hexes. And then suddenly someone was sitting across from him. They didn't say anything and in fact seemed to be ignoring him, but it was incredibly annoying nonetheless.

Finally, after several minutes, Harry slammed his book down onto the table and glared at the person across from him. "What the hell do you want?" he snarled.

Then he paused, surprised. It turned out that the person across from him was a first year girl with long, straight black hair and striking blue eyes. A Slytherin badge was displayed proudly on her robes. At his outburst she barely even glanced at him before her eyes fell back down to the book before her.

"Well, I was sitting here reading," the girl replied dryly. "Does that bother you? And yet somehow I just can't seem to bring myself to care. Pity."

Harry stared at the girl, surprised by her sarcasm. But then, she was a Slytherin and sarcasm seemed to be a common trait among Slytherins--though whether that was from their personalities or from stereotypes, Harry wasn't quite sure.

Harry leaned back in his chair and wordlessly studied the girl before him. More likely than not her Slytherin ambition and sneakiness had caused her to decide to get close to him. This should have greatly pissed him off--he was a human being, dammit, not some figurehead!--but he actually found himself feeling rather neutral towards her. When he thought about, she wasn't really bothering him, nor even attempting to say anything. Plus, sarcasm from someone her age was quite refreshing.

Finally, after several minutes, Harry picked his book back up and continued reading. Hidden behind the pages, he allowed a smirk to come onto his features.

He had a feeling that this was going to be quite...amusing.


The next few months of school passed by rather quickly and without any noticeable disturbances. He'd spoken to the girl from the library--Daphne Greengrass, apparently-- a handful of times since their first meeting. She was one of only a few people that he'd found he could stand and she too was a bit of a loner. From what Harry had seen in his classes, she didn't not get along with people, but she made no effort to reach out to them either.

Well, except for him of course.

It was only when Christmas break came that Harry found himself faced with a dilemma: Whether or not to go "home". He definitely didn't want to stay in the wizarding world any longer than necessary, but then again, did he really want to go back to the Dursleys? It seemed that he was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In the end Harry decided to stay at Hogwarts. As strange and completely insane as he found the place, it was infinitely better than the Dursleys--even if he would probably just lock himself in his room for the duration of his stay and never see his relatives more than once or twice. And upside to staying was that all of his roommates and most of his House had left, giving him some much needed peace.

On Christmas morning Harry honestly wasn't expecting anything. He and his relatives had never been in the practice of exchanging gifts, and he didn't exactly have any friends. Thus it was a great surprise to Harry when he awoke on Christmas morning to find a massive pile of presents lying at the foot of his bed.

"What the hell?"

For a minute all Harry could do was stare. Who on earth had sent him presents? Why had anyone sent him presents? If this was someone's idea of a joke, heads were going to roll.

Hesitantly Harry crawled to the end of his bed and picked up the first of the presents: a small box with a note card attached. The young wizard flipped open the note, scanned over the words, and promptly went pale. Harry didn't notice when the box dropped from his limp hands; he was too busy staring in horror at the rest of the presents.

"You've got to be kidding me!"

Almost desperately, Harry dove at the pile and quickly began reading through all of the notes attached to them. His horror grew with each one and finally he threw himself back against the wall of the dorm and buried his face in his hands. He refused to look at the pile of presents, hoping against all hope and rationality that if he ignored them long enough, they'd go away.

Every single one of the presents was from fans. Fans! People that he didn't know! Random strangers were sending him Christmas presents. "Savior" or not, there was something seriously wrong with that.

Eventually--Read: After a long period of denial--Harry drudged up his courage and got around to opening up all of the presents. Most of it was junk, candy, and other stuff that a "normal kid" would probably like, but there were a few good jewels among them. One such jewel was an old, yellowed book on Ancient Runes. Harry's attention instantly gravitated to it and he placed it aside to read later.

To Harry's surprise, he actually received two gifts from Daphne. He momentarily felt guilty about not getting her anything, but the feeling passed just as quickly as it'd come. It wasn't as if he'd known she was going to give him something, and even if he had he didn't really have any way of getting something; he had no owl and no money with him.

The first of Daphne's gifts was a book titled /The Rises and Falls of Dark Lords of the Twentieth Century/. The notes attached to it simply said /Thought you might like this/. Harry cocked and eyebrow, but only moments after flipping through the book, he figured out what she'd meant: There was an entire chapter in the book dedicated to him, Voldemort, and his parents.

The other gift was a small device that looked somewhat like a gyroscope. Harry was puzzled at first, but the note attached to it explained that it was a sneakoscope and that it would give off a whistling sound when someone untrustworthy was around. Harry couldn't help but smirk at the device; it seemed that Daphne had caught on to his more than slight paranoia.

By the time Harry was done unwrapping and sorting through all of his presents it was almost noon. He'd just finished stacking them all and was about to get up to go get lunch when he noticed that there was one last wrapped package that had been half pushed under his bed. With a weary sigh the dark haired boy pulled it out and took a glance at the letter attached to it. And then promptly did a double take. The letter read:

Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well.

A Very Merry Christmas to you.

Harry's brow furrowed in confusion and a frown stretched across his face. There was no signature on this present and nothing pointing to who might have given it to him besides the reference to his father. Who had known his father well enough to be in his trust? And why would his father leave an item with someone anyway?

For once Harry cursed his lack of knowledge about anything to do with his parents.

Frown still firmly in place, the young wizard picked up the present and found that it was surprisingly light. He unwrapped it and instantly something fluid and silvery gray went slithering to the floor, where it lay in gleaming folds. It was also strange to the touch, Harry noticed as it picked the shining cloth up off the floor, almost as though water had been woven into the fabric.

Harry draped the material over one arm to get a better look at it and immediately went very still as his arm and the cloth around it literally disappeared. He knew what this was; he'd read about it while researching a disillusionment charm. It was an invisibility cloak.

Now the only questions were why his father had had one, why he'd given something so valuable to someone else, and why that person had now sent it to him even though they could have kept it without anyone being the wiser.


After Christmas Harry had carefully hidden the invisibility cloak away at the bottom of his trunk. He told no one about the gift--not that he really had anyone to tell it /to/, but that was beside the point. Harry actually pushed the cloak and questions surrounding it to the back his mind for the time being. It wasn't like he had any reason to use it, after all.

The following months flew by rather quickly in a blur of magic and activities. Harry thought the rest of the year would be pretty peaceful, all up until one day in the end of March when Hagrid finally managed to drag an agreement out of Harry to come down to his hut on the edge of the forbidden forest.

As such, Harry was cold and somewhat miserable when he knocked on the door to Hagrid's house one Friday evening following his last class of the day. Instantaneously he heard a frantic scrabbling from inside and several booming barks. Harry jumped slightly in surprise; he hadn't known that Hagrid had a dog.

"Back, Fang--/back!/" Hagrid's voice rang out. Then his big, hairy face appeared in the crack as he pulled the door open. "Hold on. Back, Fang."

Eventually Hagrid let him in while struggling to keep a hold on the collar of an enormous black boarhound. As soon as Harry stepped inside and the dog got a good look at him however, the beast suddenly went still. Then it jerked out of Hagrid's hands, ran into one corner of the hut, and hid under Hagrid's bed, leaving the two humans staring after it.

"Strange," Hagrid muttered. "Fang's a bit of a coward, but he's never done that before. Anyway, make yerself at home."

It seemed that Fang had better self-preservation instincts than Hagrid gave him credit for.

As the tall man turned and began rummaging through one of the cupboards, Harry scanned the small, one-room hut. It was stifling hot inside, so much so that Harry wasn't sure how Hagrid could stand it. Hams and pheasants were hanging from the ceiling, a copper kettle was boiling on the open fire, and in the very heat of that fire, underneath the kettle, was huge black egg.

Harry stared at it.

"Er, Hagrid?" he said hesitantly. "What's /that/?"

Immediately Hagrid beamed. "That's a dragon egg. A Norwegian Ridgeback, to be precise. They're rare, them. I won it las' night. I was down in the village havin' a few drinks an' got into a game o' cards with a stranger. Think he was quite glad ter get rid of it, ter be honest.

"I keep the egg in the fire, 'cause their mothers breathe on 'em," Hagrid continued blithely. "An' when it hatches, I'll feed it on a bucket o' brandy mixed with chicken blood every half an hour. I've bin doin' some readin', see. Got a lot o' books outta the library on dragons and how ter raise 'em."

For several minutes Harry just stared at Hagrid, uncomprehending. He had a dragon egg. One that he was going to hatch and raise. Harry may not have known much about dragons, but he did know that they grew to be quite large and were illegal to raise. Plus, Hagrid lived in wooden house and dragons, even baby ones, breathed fire.

Harry turned around and walked out of the hut.


"That is it, Mr. Potter! This is the last straw!" Professor McGonagall raged. "I've let you get away with this backtalk for long enough!"

Harry sighed and tuned out the older professor's ranting as she stood over his desk after the rest of the class had left. Honestly, he couldn't see what the problem was. It seemed that some people just didn't appreciate the finer subtleties of sarcasm.

"Are you even listening to me?!" McGonagall asked shrilly. It kind of reminded Harry of his aunt.

"No," Harry answered honestly with a bored shrug of his shoulders. Unfortunately for him, honestly apparently wasn't a virtue in McGonagall's book.

"Ten points from Hufflepuff and detention!" she snapped. "Tonight with Filch! Be there at nine o'clock or I will be going to the headmaster about this!"

Harry sighed a second time and then shrugged. Oh well, there went his evening. Hopefully a magical school's detentions wouldn't be as boring as muggle ones though.

Harry wouldn't know until later just how true that was, and by then he'd be desperately wishing to take the statement back.


Harry's first hint that something was wrong was the demented smirk on Filch's face when he met the man at his office that evening. The second hint was the one that sent alarm bells ringing in Harry's head as the squib lit a lamp and began to lead Harry through the castle.

"I bet you'll think twice about breaking a school rule again, won't you, eh?" asked Filch, leering at him. Harry privately hoped that the man had no track record as a child molester. "Oh yes...hard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me...It's just a pity they let the old punishments die out....hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I've got the chains still in my office, keep 'em well oiled in case they're ever needed..."

Harry stared warily at Filch from the corners of his eyes. Was it safe to keep a man like this in a school filled with children? Just what kind of people did Dumbledore employ? Strict--and often creepy--teachers were one thing, but leering, bitter old man was quite another. What would happen if Filch snapped one day?

To Harry's ever increasing dread, Filch led him out the school and off into the dark grounds. Ahead, Harry could see the lighted windows of Hagrid's hut. Then they heard a distant shout.

"Is that you, Filch? Hurry up, I want ter get started."

Harry's heart instantly dropped into the pits of his stomach. He was going to be serving his detention with Hagrid? Just what were they going to be doing, and outside too?

His horror must have shown on his face because Filch suddenly let out a maniacal laugh. "That's right, boy," he said. "It's into the forest you're going and I'm much mistaken if you'll come out in one piece."

Harry gaped openly at Filch. Were there people completely insane? Scratch that, he already knew the answer. This only proved it.

He'd heard storied about the forest, and understood perfectly well why it was off limits to students and staff alike. Yet despite this they were sending a first year into it at night. And with a man without a wand as his only protection, if he was not mistaken. Were they trying to kill him? Harry may have done a lot of studying in his free time, but he knew perfectly well that he was no where near good enough to protect himself yet.

He just knew that this wasn't going to end well.


A/N: I officially hate Really. I have my stories posted on there as well, but apparently has decided that it doesn't like me, and is not letting me put new chapters up. I can still upload chapters, but when I get to the page to put the chapter up, the page just comes up blank. I can't even get to the page where my stats are. Completely and utterly frustrating. So, for the time being, I'll be ignoring and posting only on FicWad. Yay you.

Anyway, I was honestly surprised by the response to Hedwig's death in the last chapter. Seriously, I expected everyone to see that coming considering the mentions of Harry's...unique abilities...with pets. I have nothing whatsoever against Hedwig, and in fact like her character, but she really doesn't fit Harry's character in this story. Speaking of which, I was glancing through "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" the other day when I was suddenly struck with realization: I know the perfect pet for Harry. Unfortunately, Harry probably won't get it until the summer after first year. Anyone who can guess what the creature is before then gets digital kudos.

As for the whole Christmas thing, well, it would make sense to me for Harry to receive a bunch of presents like that. He's the so-called "savior" after all, and it's his first year back in the magical world. It always seemed a little strange to me that people seemed to praise the ground Harry walked on, were so excited to meet him, and yet never actually did anything. ...That and the presents give me an excuse to give Harry some things he would otherwise be unable to get, such as that book on Ancient Runes.

There's also very slight reference to the movie Pitch Black in this chapter (which, by the way, if a fucking awesome movie). I'll be surprised if anyone picks up on what it is though.

Please review!



Rant #3: The Daily Prophet really, really pisses me off, particularly because I did a little bit of journalism both in Junior High School and High School. I don’t understand what Rowling was thinking when she wrote about them and their reporters. The entire point of journalism is to write facts from an unbiased point of view, but Rowling completely stomps over that. The Prophet would torn up, chewed, spit out, and then most likely sued many, many times over in the real world, not only because it isn't journalism but instead completely opinion, but also because it's illegal to write untrue slander--or slander at all, really--about people. Maybe things are different in the magical world, but that doesn't make much sense to me.

For those of you who don't know too much about journalism, there are three main types of articles: news, features, and editorials. News articles are, obviously, about events. They are not supposed to include the writer's opinions about what happened, just the details. Features are just about everything else, from interviews about people, articles about vacation destinations, to how-to articles. Editorials are usually letters from the editor, giving their opinion on some subject. They are also the only articles allowed to have any opinion whatsoever in them. As I said before, Rowling basically completely stomps all of this, and has the Prophet add opinion into Every. Single. Fucking. Article.

But maybe that's just me. And yes, I do feel insulted by the Prophet; it's beyond frustrating, it's almost disgusting.
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