Chapter 11: Aunt Marge's Visit
"Black?" Vernon Dursley asked upon hearing the news. "Can they be talking about Sirius Black?"
"I don't think so, Vernon." Petunia answered. "Sirius Black is rotting in Azkaban and nobody escapes from there. Albeit I wouldn't blame any inmate for trying. All those dementors."
"Mum, Sirius Black never had a trial. Do you think he's really guilty?" Dudley asked.
"I'm not sure, Dudders." Petunia replied. "And, at this point, I'd not be surprised if he wasn't either."
"Aunt Petunia, would you sign our permissions to visit a magical French village?" Harry asked.
"Have you and Dudley already finished your summer homework?" Petunia asked in reply.
"Yes, Mum/Aunt Petunia!" Both Dudley and Harry answered.
"Then I'm going to check." Petunia said. "Then I'll sign."
Vernon would say something but then an owl brought him a copy of The Daily Prophet. What he read there shocked him. "WHAT?"
"Vernon, what happened?" Petunia asked.
"Sirius Black had indeed escaped!" Vernon explained and then showed the article to his family. According to it, Sirius Black became the first Azkaban inmate to escape. The Ministry doesn't know how he did so but the main theory is that he learned some particularly Dark Art from Lord Voldemort. Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, notified the Muggle Prime Minister, which caused him to be criticized by the International Confederation of Wizards. But it was another decision of Fudge that made the Dursleys feel outraged.
"How dare that man place those things near children?" Petunia angrily asked. "Guilty or not, Sirius Black is less of a threat than those things!"
"I agree." Vernon added. "Besides, if they didn't keep Black from breaking out of Azkaban, they probably won't keep him from breaking in Hogwarts, which makes me even gladder neither Harry nor Dudley attends Hogwarts. But I still would like to know how he escaped."
"Maybe he's an animagus." Dudley suggested. "Dementors can't feel animals or wizards and witches on their animagus forms."
After being given a brief explanation about what animagi are, Vernon gave his opinion. "Animagi must register themselves in the Ministry. They would know how to stop him from escaping and the process to become an animagus doesn't sound like something one can learn inside Azkaban."
"Maybe he's an unregistered one." Harry suggested. "Not everyone bothers to abide the law that requires registration, I suppose."
"I've heard of a Remus Lupin who used to be friends with your father and Sirius Black." Petunia said. "Maybe he would know."
"Let's send him an owl." Vernon suggested. "But first, I have something to tell you all. My sister Marge is coming to visit us." This caught the others' attentions. "Marge doesn't know about magic and thinks Beauxbatons is just a French boarding school. I'd let her know the truth but I think you'd need to perform magic to make her believe and if either of you gets in trouble because of the decree Dumbledore might use it as an excuse to hold some sort of control and that's a risk I'm not ready to take. Is that clear?"
"Yes, Dad/Uncle Vernon!" Both Dudley and Harry answered.
"Then I'm going to the train station to pick up Marge." Vernon said. Once he and Marge returned, she complimented Petunia and Dudley. "I see you're still here, boy." She said to Harry with a sneer.
"Yes, Aunt Marge." Harry happily replied. "Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia are great parents."
"They must be to make Little Dudders such a fine young man." Marge replied. "And you're at least grateful that his parents didn't dump you at some orphanage like I suggested, you runt. I don't understand why my brother speaks so well of you."
"Marge, I'm glad you came to visit but I must ask you to refrain yourself from speaking ill of the children." Vernon rigidly asked.
"Vernon, I'd never speak ill of Dudley." Marge replied. The five of them then started dinning. "Dudley, how are things at this, what's the name of that French school?"
"Beauxbatons, Aunt Marge." Dudley answered.
"That. How are things there?" Marge asked. "Stealing the hearts of several French girls?"
"Harry and I are doing fine, Aunt Marge." Dudley answered, not wanting to discuss that topic with his Aunt.
"Hmpf. I bet they only put up with him for the money my hard-working brother gives them." She replied with disdain. "Why else would they accept the son of a… what did James Potter do for a living, anyway?"
"He didn't need to work, Marge." Vernon replied, not wanting to think of a muggle way to describe James Potter's auror job. "He was rich."
Marge Dursley then gave the impression we could see pound signs instead of her eyes. "Really? You know, I've always thought of the boy as the son I never had."
"And that's why I never told her before." Vernon whispered to Petunia.
"Vernon, what kind of control you have over Harry's money?" A greedy Marjorie Dursley asked.
"His parents set a trust fund to pay for his education." Vernon truthfully answered. "Until he comes of age, the bulk of his money stays in a bank account untouched."
"Do you have a copy of their will, Vernon?" Marge asked. "We can hire a solicitor to allow us to touch that money."
"Marge, I will not steal from the boy." Vernon said.
"It won't be stealing, Vernon." Marge replied. "Sure, you're not paying for the runt's education but he still owes you for housing and feeding him."
"We're family, Marjorie." Now Marge knew she was stepping too far since her brother called her 'Marjorie' instead of 'Marge'.
Meanwhile, an owl dropped a message to a very surprised Remus John Lupin.
We don't know each other but my nephew, Harry Potter, is the son of your old friend James Potter. Would you know if your other former friend, Sirius Black, is an unregistered animagus? We think so, since we can't come up with a more plausible theory on how he managed to get past the dementors and escape from Azkaban. Please answer as soon as possible.
P.S.: Do you believe Sirius Black is guilty of the crimes he was convicted for? We're not sure since he never had a trial.