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27 November 2007 @ 02:29 am
Skeeter and Stories  
Today I finally got around to answering some emails, including one to a friend of mine who shares my taste in books.  Last year I converted him to Terry Pratchett and he's just finished reading The Truth (which has reformed vampires and potato religions and  humorous vegetables).  In true fan fashion we then mentioned all the times we could think of when fun characters from The Truth turned up in other Discworld books, with much 'squee' and 'lol'.

Then came the Midnight Hour accompanied once again by a Strange Idea, this time in the form of an insistent plot bunny for journalism in the Harry Potter 'verse.  (Rita Skeeter was not sure that she agreed with William de Worde's idea of truth in journalism and Hermione frowned at the idea of journalists descending after the war.)

So, with warnings for Capital Letters, some swearing and Quick Quotes Quills I present you with fic:

 

 

Title: Publishable News  

Rating: PG13 (some swearing)

Length: 1,320

Characters: Rita Skeeter, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter

Summary: The war is over and the press descend, including Rita Skeeter.  Everyone wants to talk to the Boy Who Lived but Hermione lays down the law – one question each.

AN/Disclaimer: everything Potterverse belongs to JK Rowling, Deathly Hallows/canon compliant.

 

Publishable News
 

Everyone wants to talk to Harry Potter.  Tomorrow the headlines will scream ‘Boy Who Lived Lives Again’, ‘Boy Who Lived Kills Dark Lord’ and maybe even ‘Harry Potter: Enough Said’.  Every newspaper, journal, magazine and man with a printing press is represented in this room.  Tonight people will fight for the front page and the second page and the third, and every page will be about Harry Potter. 

 

At the front of the crowd are the true professionals with their Quick Quotes Quills to hand, blocking the way for anyone else.  Towards the back the Lesser Beings of the industry will clamber over each other for the scraps thrown their way, hounding the non entities of this epic event for facts and quotes and emotional outpourings, but unless the talk is of Potter tomorrow it will not be published.

 

Harry Potter Kills You-Know-Who is the News.  Perhaps next week there will be time for Tragic Tales Of War Torn Families and other such stories, but for now nothing else matters.  Every piece of paper will be full of praise for the glorious victor.

 

It makes Rita Skeeter sick to her stomach.  She leans back against a stone wall, her quills and notebook out of sight in the large handbag slung over one shoulder, blowing effortless smoke rings. 

 

Harry Potter saving the day is not news.  She will concede that it is a fact, but facts do not make news.

 

News is the unusual, the out of place, the eye-grabbing.  News is the facts from a new perspective.  News is stories.

 

The world knew You-Know-Who was dead before this crowd of so-called journalists arrived.  Information like that travels by osmosis, drip fed into the grapevine until everyone knows everything there is to be known.  By the time the owls drop off the newspaper the next day information like that is old and old is not news.

 

Praise of the Boy Who Lived isn’t news either.  Decimation of the boy’s character has been done before as well, which was news when she first reported it, but the minute something like that becomes mainstream it stops being anything but repetitive. 

 

Everyone will be praising Harry Potter in print now, so doing otherwise would be different. 

 

Unfortunately it would also be unpublishable.

 

No one has trusted the Ministry-sanctioned sources of news (and Ministry-subsidised sources of news) for some time now and they are eager to gain that trust back, which means telling the public as much truth as possible.  It means telling the public happy, cheerful ‘the war is over and we won’ stories.

 

The war is over.  No shit.

 

Rita taps her cigarette holder against the wall and inspects her chipped red nail polish as Hermione Granger walks into the room.

 

There is a sudden hush, then a mass of questions blurring into unintelligible noise.  Rita smirks as the girl casts a sonorus on herself before telling them all to be quiet in no uncertain terms.

 

Once the Harry Potter Love has died down there will be at least one Plucky Muggleborn Heroine story.

 

Rita will not be the one to write it.

 

“I’m sure you all have lots of questions and I’m sure most of them are for Harry,” Granger says.  “That’s an awful lot of questions for someone who’s as tired as he is right now, but it’s been a long week for all of us - it’s been a long few years – and he’s willing to speak out.  However, all of you descending on him at once is out of the question.”  Something lights up in the back of her eyes and Rita is reminded of a cocky fourth year and blackmail.  “You will all – all of you – be allowed to talk to Harry individually and you may all ask one question.  One.”

 

The noise starts up again as people scrawl ideas in ring bound notepads, try to cut deals with their neighbours so as to get more than one piece of information and ask Granger if ‘one question’ includes a photograph.  The queue that forms at the door is not a line but a narrowing of the crowd at one end.  Granger and a tall red head with a scarred face stand either side of the narrowest point like sentries.

 

Feature articles on Living With War Wounds probably won’t appear until next month at least.

 

Rita flicks the still smouldering cigarette filter out of the holder and rubs it into the ground with a stiletto heel.  She needs to ask a question that no one else will ask, but with everyone else thinking the exact same thing are the obvious questions going to become original?

 

She needs an angle.  She needs a story.

 

Rita has not been published properly in years.  First she was blackmailed, then she was blacklisted for disparaging Potter and in the last year she’s been blacklisted because in the past she’s praised him.

 

Rita needs to be published.  She’s itching to write and bills need to be paid.

 

She remembers an interview in a pub with three teenagers and talk of Voldemort.  She thinks of an unbreakable glass jar and clandestine meetings to gossip about teenage love lives.  She wonders if a speculative piece on Potter’s sex life counts as praise.

 

She wonders what questions she could ask that he will answer.

 

“Bitch,” a skinny blond says as Rita pushes her way into the crowd near the front of the so-called queue. 

 

Rita just smirks in reply.  It’s friendly rivalry.

 

Granger watches her with narrowed eyes when it’s her turn to pass through The Door Of Opportunity, but she doesn’t say anything.  She probably thinks that’s a smart thing to do when surrounded by journalists.

 

Rita smiles sweetly at her as she walks by.  Down a corridor, a left turn and in a small alcove is Harry Potter.  Well, Harry Potter and Fierce Looking Entourage, but Rita Skeeter is a woman with a quill. 

 

“Good afternoon Harry,” she says.

 

The Boy Who Lived nods at her.

 

One question,” another red head snaps with an air of repetition.  Potter’s male best friend.

 

Rita smiles again.  She hopes her lipstick is not smudged, or that if it is that it at least looks as if it was smudged in a wantonly sexual act and not rubbed off by a cigarette.  She has a reputation to maintain.

 

“Tea or coffee?”

 

Harry and entourage blink.

 

“Which do you prefer Harry, tea or coffee?”

 

She can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he tries to figure out an ulterior motive behind her words, as if ‘tea’ and ‘coffee’ are metaphors for You-Know-Who and the Minister of Magic.

 

“Um, coffee.”

 

“Thank you Harry,” she says before being ushered away by anonymous faces with suspicious expressions.

 

She doesn’t take a photograph.  She already has plenty of photographs of Harry Potter.

 

She already has lots of stories about Harry Potter, bright and unfurling inside her mind.

 

The following day the Daily Prophet, Witch Weekly, the Diagon Gazette and even Which Broomstick will have banner headlines declaring the obvious.  Potter will be praised, heroic pictures will be printed and people will daringly begin to publish the name ‘Voldemort’.  They will report the bravery of the Boy Who Duelled Voldemort Single Handed And Won.  They will compare it to Dumbledore’s defeat of Grindelwald and talk about ‘Order of Merlin, First Class’.

 

The Quibbler will report how ‘Harry Potter Is Secretly American: Coffee Love Revealed’ and the publication that has been the most trusted source of news since it published ‘Harry Potter Speaks Out At Last’ in March 1996 is read by almost everyone in the nation.  Rita Skeeter is read by almost everyone in the nation. 

 

Of all the articles published that will be the one that people remember.

 

To a certain group of people that will be ‘the one Skeeter wrote that Harry laughs about'.


 
 
feeling: sleepysleepy
 
 
 
Somewhat Purplesomewhatpurple on February 5th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
So funny :D I just loved Skeeter's logic here.
inkvoicesinkvoices on February 5th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. Heh, and Rita is fun to write.
kerosinkanister on February 5th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
That was pretty funny! I was trying to imagine what she could possibly ask him that was suitably Skeeter-esque.

I also liked Rita's description and remembrances of Hermione.
inkvoicesinkvoices on February 5th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it!

Rita is fun to write, but I got to the point where she finally gets to ask her one question and though 'oops, not thought this far yet...' Where the coffee/tea idea came from I have no idea, which is why I said Harry looked at her as if trying to figure out if she was really asking if her preferred Voldemort or the Ministry, because who on earth would think she'd ask about tea and coffee? (Heh, I think she might secretly have become a bit fond of Quibbler-type reporting.)
secretsolitairesecretsolitaire on February 10th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
here via kaalee's recycled fic thingie
This was quite original -- enjoyed it, thanks!
inkvoicesinkvoices on February 10th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Re: here via kaalee's recycled fic thingie
Thank you! I think 'original' is one of the best compliments you can get. ;o) And I'm glad you liked it!
esty1111 on February 19th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
wow this was great very original and her question was great. I love how you wrote from her perspective I've never really read anything like it. Great job!
inkvoicesinkvoices on February 19th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I hadn't, and still haven't, seen many stories focussed on or around Rita, or the news at the end of the war, so I was curious and ended up writing something myself. Rita was fun to play with - I'm pleased you thought it worked, and thanks for commenting :o)
Alejandra (was here): gaspthat_september on March 9th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
This is why I kind of enjoy Rita Skeeter. Like, a lot.

Excellent. There needs to be more Rita fic like this.

'Harry Potter Is Secretly American: Coffee Love Revealed’. *giggles*
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 9th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Rita is just interesting to play with, maybe because she's a person with plenty of faults, but really career driven...

And glad to have amused :o)
Grand High Supreme and Mighty Empress Connieconuly on March 21st, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
*giggles*

Well, she wants to be infamous again...!
inkvoices: hp:luna_quibblerinkvoices on March 25th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
*grins* I think Rita's the type of person who'd rather be infamous than famous, the latter being the ones she hunts kind of thing.
lee: Fleursnegurochka_lee on March 21st, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
Hee, lovely! I'm with Rita: Harry is not news. :)
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 25th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Heh, and of course he isn't. Harry always defeats the bad guy, so what's new about that? *grins*
Feather Quill: Rita beetlefeatherxquill on March 22nd, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)

Hee, this is so awesome. I love her way of thinking! :D
inkvoices: hp:ritainkvoices on March 25th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! *grins* I had fun trying to get inside her head.

And I like your icon! Fun :o)
(Deleted comment)
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 25th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad it made you laugh :oD
heir transparent: disney :: andalasia dreamingtulleskirt on March 22nd, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
Fabulous! Tightly written and clever as hell.
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 25th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks! *happy dance*
Charlotte: quick quotes quillenchantedteacup on March 29th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I loved this! I like how you've captured her snarky voice. The descriptions were fantastic too. Well done! :D

♣ enchantedteacup
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 31st, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thanking you! I'm glad it works and happy you enjoyed it :oD
Diana: [Harry Potter] Rita Skeeterberryswirl on August 21st, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Much love for your story - I was craving for some Rita-fic, and I'm glad it was this one I stumbled across. :)
inkvoices: hp:ritainkvoices on September 4th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm pleased you liked it and happy to fill the Rita need :o)
Cara: miranda: all for lovecaramelapples11 on April 26th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Loved this! :) Rita Skeeter is one of my most favourite characters in the books/flims. ♥