Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any character from the series.
Chapter 1: Couldn't or Wouldn't
Vernon Dursley was angry. That was not unusual by itself. The odd part was that his nephew Harry Potter wasn't the source of Vernon's anger this time. He was angry because his son Dudley's school stated Dudley needed a diet and Dudley's mother was forcing the whole family into the diet as well so their 'Little Dudders' wouldn't feel so bad. Not wanting to subsist on 'rabbit food', Vernon snuck his way for a midnight snack. He didn't fear being caught. If anyone missed the food he ate, he could always blame the boy. Speaking of the devil, when Vernon walked in front of Harry's bedroom, he heard the boy yelling during his sleep. Given Mr. Dursley's motive to stay awake at that hour, he was compelled to ignore the boy in favor of a decent meal but he couldn't ignore what Harry was shouting.
'Please, Minister!' Harry pleaded. 'Sirius is innocent! Peter Pettigrew is alive! Headmaster, there must be something you can do!'
Hearing about Sirius Black, the notorious murderer, being innocent, Vernon Dursley entered Harry's room. "Wake up, boy." Vernon ordered.
"Uncle Vernon?" Harry asked in confusion. "What's wrong?"
"You were having a nightmare, boy." Vernon answered.
"Really?" Harry asked, wondering why his uncle cared.
"Yes, boy." Vernon maliciously answered. "You were shouting something about your godfather being innocent."
Now Harry was worried. If the Dursleys found out Sirius Black was innocent, Harry would no longer be able to use his godfather as leverage. However, Vernon's reaction was far from expected. "If not for the fact that godfather of yours is a wanted fugitive, would he have taken you in, boy?"
"Yes." Harry simply answered, wondering about Vernon's point.
"Good." Vernon replied. "And what's he been charged with?"
"Helping Voldemort to kill my parents and causing a blast that killed Peter Pettigrew and several mu… normal people." Harry answered.
Vernon shuddered at this point. "And what makes you sure he's innocent?"
"I saw Peter Pettigrew alive at the end of my third year at Hogwarts." Harry explained.
"Then who or what makes your lot so sure this Pettigrew fellow is dead?" Vernon asked in confusion.
"Peter Pettigrew left a finger at the crime scene and then everyone assumed Sirius obliterated the rest of him." Harry answered.
"Who else saw Pettigrew alive?" Vernon asked.
"My best friend Hermione Granger and Professor Lupin did it, Uncle Vernon." Harry answered.
"Well, boy, I understand if you and one of your fellow students wouldn't be taken seriously while claiming a person long believed to be dead is actually alive but, couldn't this Professor Lupin confirm it?" Vernon asked.
"Professor Lupin was friends with my godfather and, even if nobody took that in consideration, he wouldn't be taken seriously because of a secret that made him lose his job when it came to light." Harry explained.
"Which secret?" A now worried Vernon Dursley asked.
"He's a werewolf." Vernon was now somewhat relieved. Even that could arguably be more normal than what he was thinking.
Vernon was now thinking about what to do. "Boy, after that incident two years ago, I asked Petunia to tell me all she knew about the laws from your lot and she told me about a Department of Magical Law Enforcement that, as the name suggests, is responsible for making sure your lot's laws are properly enforced. You'll use that blasted owl of yours to send them a message requesting for the records of your godfather's trial. If they're dismissing the new evidence, we'll search through his case to see if the evidence originally presented against him left grounds for an appeal. Given the nature of the charges against him, it's likely the authorities and whoever your godfather relied on for defense didn't think straight back then."
"Why bothering, Uncle Vernon?" Harry asked, not having any hopes. "Professor Dumbledore said there wasn't anything he could do."
"The question is: Was there nothing he could, or nothing he would do?" Vernon maliciously asked.
"Do you think he just pretended to believe me to spare more arguing?" Harry asked, wondering why anyone would think Dumbledore could have helped but lied about it.
"I believe that, regardless of your godfather being guilty or not, Dumbledore would lift no finger to help him so that you'd never leave us until you became of age." Vernon Dursley replied, shocking Harry.
"How dare you?" An outraged Harry asked. "Headmaster Dumbledore would never do anything like that."
"Boy, it's time you know why my wife and I were burdened with you." Vernon replied.
"My parents were killed; my godfather wrongly imprisoned; and you both were my only family left. What else is there to be known?" Harry asked in confusion.
"That madman who killed your parents did what he did because of some stupid prophecy that made him believe you'd have the power to defeat him." Vernon explained. "According to Dumbledore, the madman offered to spare your mother if she stood aside and let him kill you and, when she refused and got herself killed for this, she triggered some ancient magic that keeps you safe from the madman and anybody else willing to follow him." Vernon then gave Harry some time to think about all he's already been told. Harry then remembered the memory the dementors made him see. "Dumbledore stated that ancient magic will keep you safe from them until you become of age but you need to live with somebody linked by blood to your mother until then so this protection won't wear off earlier."
"Even if Dumbledore would still let some mysterious magic make him believe I'd better off with you than an innocent Sirius Black, he'd never knowingly let an innocent man be wrongfully branded a criminal if he could help." Harry defended his Headmaster.
"Fine, let's just say the old crackpot really couldn't do anything to help your godfather." Vernon conceded. "Why should it mean there isn't anyone who can?"
"Well, Headmaster Dumbledore is quite respected in the Wizarding World." Harry said, for the first time ever thinking of his Uncle as actual family. "He's a Grand Sorcerer, the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Supreme Mugwump of the Wizengamot; and Minister Fudge usually asks for this advice, albeit he didn't seem to do it this time."
"And who's this Minister Fudge you speak of, boy?" Vernon asked, wondering if Fudge is the Minister Harry was mentioning in the nightmare.
"The Minister of Magic, Uncle Vernon." Harry explained. "He refused to consider the possibility of Sirius being innocent."
"Harry, with or without the freakishness, this Minister Fudge is a politician." Vernon explained, fighting the urge to rant about freaks in the Government. "Like most politicians, he's probably more concerned about appearances than justice."
Considering what Fudge told Dumbledore and Hagrid to justify arresting the latter last year, Harry was sure his uncle was right. "Harry, Petunia told me about a bookstore where students buy the books they need to attend classes. When possible, go there and buy books of your lot's law." Vernon ordered. "You'll need them to help you adjust to their world even if they don't help you to clear your godfather's name. Also, ask your friends if their lot has anything like barristers or solicitors. If so, we'll hire one to help your godfather. Harry, I usually wouldn't spend a penny of my hard-earned money on your freak stuff but, given the circumstances, I think I might spare a hundred pounds for your law books."
Still not trusting his Uncle to tell him about the gold his parents left him, Harry accepted Vernon's offer.