Mari moved faster than either of the magicals. Whap! The sound of her hand connecting with Petunia’s echoed into the sudden silence. “How dare you!” she seethed. “My sister has been presumed dead for nearly fourteen years! And you have the audacity to reveal that there may be a way to communicate with her, and then try to swan out of here unscathed? You selfish, cold, unfeeling, mean, vicious bitch!” Vernon, Dudley, get out.” She snarled when her brother in law began to sputter. “Petunia is going to stand right here and tell us everything and then we might return her – if we don’t have her arrested and convicted for withholding evidence from a crime.” She smiled coldly when the other woman paled. “All Muggleborns- all magicals who interact with the Muggle world – are considered missing persons if they are killed by magical means. It was the only way to explain all the murders of innocents during the first wizarding war. Lily Evans-Potter is also the daughter of a high ranking Muggle diplomat who was very widely respected in this world. Her death in particular made headlines in both worlds, magical and Muggle. Her cold case is still used as an example for many criminology classes at the local universities.” Her smile widened into a shark’s grin, hungry and cruel. “There were many who already considered you a suspect, Petunia, because of your petty jealousy and greed. How easy would it be now if I supplied them with evidence that actually linked you to the crime? What do you think your odds are of walking out of this unscathed?”
Petunia threw herself at the other woman’s feet, sobbing. “Please! I didn’t know it was so important! I’ll do anything! Just, please, Mari!”
Mari kicked her away in disgust. “Remus, obliviate Vernon and Dudley of any memory of their darling wife and mother, and send them on their way to Marge with not a single red cent to their name. Give them a cover story that Petunia ran off with all of their money and belongings – I’m sure the old bitch never liked my stepsister anyway, so she’ll probably just say good riddance.” Petunia sobbed harder, as Harry snorted in agreement. “As for you, you evil little twat, you are going to get exactly what you deserve. I wish I could send you to Azkaban and let the Dementors have you, but they feed on positive emotions and you have nothing but bitterness and envy in you, you dried up old cow. Instead, you are going to the police station and confess to money laundering and fraud, and let them do what they will with you.” Her lip curled in digust.
It broke Harry out of his shock, and he threw open the cupboard door, grabbing his wand before racing towards the back of the house with Hermione hot on his heels.
“Alohomora!” He jabbed his wand at the door he had always assumed was a spare closet, used for Dudley’s excess junk or the good linens for when Marge came over. Marge had made such a fuss about ‘the whelp’ putting his tainted hands all over her sheets and blankets that it had become the one place where Harry was not allowed to get into. Now he knew that Petunia had used Marge as an excuse, to keep him away. He stared down into the darkness, breathing hard.
“Lumos.” Hermione said from behind him, holding her wand up. “Be careful, Harry.”
Remus and Mari had appeared by this point as well, and the werewolf nodded grimly when the teen looked back at him. “Go ahead, pup. We’re with you.”
Taking a deep breath, Harry unconsciously squared his shoulders, lifting his chin slightly in defiance. Hermione lightly nudged his right shoulder with her left, reminding him that she was there, at his side as always. They moved together, years of practice under the invisibility cloak making their movements natural and seamless, even down rickety stairs.
The cellar was surprisingly sparse, and clean, although Harry thought that he probably should’ve anticipated that much – Petunia hated any sign of uncleanliness, even though it had meant her cleaning down here herself. Shelves lined the walls, with boxes, all neatly labeled.
Hermione slipped past him to get a closer look, moving down the line. “Harry.” Her voice floated out of the darkness. “Here.”
At the end of the shelving unit, there were a bunch of frames, all stacked facing the wall. Harry carefully moved the stack, flipping through until he found the one he sought.