Vernon and Petunia Dursley v Harry Potter
MARCUS ALBUS FLINT
The Wizarding World was hidden from the larger Muggle one, but that did not mean there was NO interaction between them. In particular, when one had a grievance with the other. And there were ways that Muggles who were aware of Magicals could tell the right people to talk to. The Dursleys were sitting in the office of one such. Marcus Flint was one such. A defense attorney who recently set up his own practice. His record in Criminal Courts was impeccable. This is not to mean his clients were not found guilty, but he argued expertly for the least sentence possible. Now as a Civil attorney, he'd won every lawsuit in the past year.
"Remember, Vernon, this man IS one of Potter's kind." Petunia hissed at her husband "But we need him. Be respectful! At least PRETEND he is normal."
Vernon grumbled at his wife through her entire spiel, and now he got his say "I know perfectly respectable normal solicitors through Grunnings."
"Who cannot be involved because of the very circumstances…" Petunia began, wearily. This was at least the umpteenth time they had the same argument. But was interrupted by the secretary.
IMELDA UMBRIDGE the nameplate proclaimed, was a young woman. Not unattractive, but her job wasn't to look good. Marcus Flint, Esq. wanted talent to match his and paid for talent not beauty. His wife was his trophy. Her phone buzzed, she pressed a button, spoke, listened, and nodded. Then smiled at the potential clients "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley? Solicitor Flint will see you now."
"Thank you." The Dursleys nodded politely and followed.
The solicitor managed to look haughty and servile at the same time "I appreciate you coming to see me." He said "Sir, Madam. Welcome and please be seated. Miss Umbridge, refresh their beverages please."
The secretary nodded and left to return with a coffee pot. "That is a fine suit, Mr. Dursley, if you don't mind my noticing your husband, ma'am." Imelda offered "I am sure it is a credit to your tastes."
"Why, thank you, dear!" Petunia beamed.
Vernon grunted slightly, but swelled "I was looking around while we waited. You have what seems to be a substantial collection of books."
"Yes, Mr. Dursley." Marcus nodded "And I assure you, it is a working library. I expect to wear out reference material before it goes out of date."
Petunia took the topic that would most irritate her husband "The reason we sought your representation is the situation involves a wizard."
"You and your husband dislike magic?" asked Imelda. At least she made it sound like a question.
Petunia subtly kicked Vernon under the table and replied "Not as such, Solicitor. We were put upon by your world. I had prior distasteful involvement with magicals through my sister. As a child. More recently, we were guardians of a wizard who-"
"He embarrassed us MULTIPLE TIMES!" Vernon cut in "With his-"
Petunia loudly, but smiling "Abilities! I am sure you understand, the underage…Before you go to that school."
"Accidental magic." Marcus supplied, hiding his distaste for them. Their distaste was obvious on the very surface of their minds. He was barely using the Legilimency that helped make him so successful.
Vernon gruffly acknowledged "Yes, that."
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, let me be blunt." He said, setting down his legal pad "Ministry rules are very liberal regarding accidental magic. We simply have no punishment for it. And, in truth, no reason to. It falls into the same category as …ahhh…. A toddler breaking crystal because he stumbled."
Petunia put in "He was tried by your court for using …m…m…magic…just the year after he started school."
"Seems excessive for some underage wizardry." Imelda commented.
Vernon gave a sour look and growled "It was not a first offense. The boy was a repeat offender."
"Interesting and relevant even." Said Flint "But let's get specific. In order to justify a monetary settlement you would need to supply detailed expenses and/or damages that you incurred. The expenses must be significant. And, of equal importance, would be the wealth of the defendant. Could he…or ahh…she… pay a large judgment?"
Both Dursleys smiled, their expressions showing pure…or rather, decidedly impure… greed. Petunia answered "He is one of your Houses."
"And consider we never got so much as a Farthing!" Vernon jumped in "And not so much as a by your leave!"
A pureblood wizard, raised by Muggles? The legal pair exchanged perplexed looks. But Flint's mind was on a careful cost/benefit calculation. Could a payout be large enough to offset the risk of offending a member of the Wizengamot? "The initial stages of a case are likely to be the most time consuming." He began, cautiously "I would probably want to argue that it be heard in Muggle court. A House is likely to have allies on any tribunal, so you wouldn't get a fair hearing. So I can consider options…exactly which wizard are we discussing?"
"Harry Potter." Replied Petunia with some trepidation.
Marcus sat back in his leather chair. This was a greater risk than he'd thought. Did he have anything personal against Potter? Not really. Yes, losing Quidditch to a First Year was embarrassing, but he could equally lay the blame on the Malfoy brat for replacing him Seventh Year. Besides, it almost directly led to redirecting himself to the success he currently enjoyed.
Imelda meanwhile held her wand out in her sleeve silently cast "Legilimens!" She signaled with a high pitched cough. Once, twice….a pause…then a third. Nothing a client would suspect. Especially Muggles with no Occlumency skills.
"You should know, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, in the interests of full disclosure, Harry Potter and myself were opponents frequently on sporting fields. There was enmity as a result. However, given our age difference, we had little contact. That said, I think you have a claim and would like to represent you." And concluding his speech, Flint left his chair, walked around the heavy oak desk and offered a hand.
Vernon shook the bare minimum that courtesy allowed. Petunia pumped the hand vigorously.
Imelda waved an arm, offered "If you will wait outside for a moment, I will take your paperwork. Then explain the first stages of your case. There are also fees and expenses that I must go over with you." She shut the heavy wood door behind the Dursleys.
"They both hate magic." The solicitor observed "Him much more than her."
The secretary shook her head "No. His is a surface distaste. She is the source. And it runs straight to her core. But they share one trait with us that will benefit the case. Greed."
"Ah." Flint acknowledged with a nod "And you're certain about them?"
She nodded "Absolutely. They are not lying. They believe everything they said. And they are a bit desperate. I get the sense we are not their first stop."
"I see." He grinned "Go for the gold."
She showed the Dursleys a professional smile and waved them to a semi-private alcove "First, if I can have any records you brought to support your case, I'll make copies. But please preserve your originals. We recommend a secure lockbox such as a bank."
"Of course, here you are." Replied Petunia. She handed over a substantial stack of papers.
Imelda thanked her "This is an impressive file ma'am. It will go a long way in our case."
"My wife is most detailed." Vernon commented. He watched, rather pleased to witness a perfectly normal office copier in operation.
Imelda pushed over a single sheet form and said "This designates us as your legal counsel. Both sign at the bottom, please." Brought out a thick packet "These are basic declarations. You are both citizens of England, the UK, the EU. To the best of your knowledge, your nephew (as defendant) is the same. You have suffered real physical and/or financial harm as a result of your nephew's placement. You will both need to initial at every green tab and sign at the red tabs."
"Can we add severe hand pain?" Petunia quipped some ten minutes later. And they still weren't finished.
Imelda had heard that joke a lot. But, she chuckled along with the clients as if it was original. Then she switched to a serious face and said "Now comes the least pleasant part of the meeting. Expenses. To start a case against one of our Ancient and Noble Houses will be costly. The last judgment was in excess of five millio-"
"WHAT! BLOODY-" Vernon turned purple and all but had a stroke right then.
Smiling inside, the secretary offered a cup of water "I did not mean to imply that as our fee, sir. Please excuse me. But starting a case, getting even a first hearing, might easily cost £20,000."
"Th-that i-i-is…" gulped Petunia.
The house was paid for. The car, almost. The emergency fun…well, Vernon gripped his wife's hand "Well, Miss Umbridge, we might not be able to do that right up front. Would… £15,000 be an amount I could pay immediately? Another £15,000 in a couple weeks."
"Marcus trusts my judgment." Imelda said after idly tapping her chin with a pen. "I am fairly certain we can get started under those terms. After all, we are beginning a long term relationship. You do understand that? Mr. and Mrs. Dursley? Good, final provision. Our ultimate compensation will be the greater of £350 per hour or 35% of your judgment."
They both nodded. Vernon scratched vigorously in the checkbook and ripped off a single paper that now represented a sizable amount of money. After receiving copies of everything, the Dursleys left the three story office building. Outside, he sighed "That was not nearly as bad as I thought. Lawyer! PAH! Bloodsuckers! The lot of them!"
"It amazes me that six of them wouldn't even consider the matter." Petunia replied "Grandfather Evans always spoke prosaically about justice for the little person."
Vernon laughed rather greedily "Hurting that boy! Dragging his scrawny carcass into court is just as important to me. I will enjoy seeing him squirm."
"I hope you will keep that opinion out of sight in THEIR company." Warned Petunia. To which Vernon only grunted and waved his key for her to get in the car.
After pointing the Dursleys to the elevator, Miss Umbridge sat at her desk filled out a deposit slip, pulled her jacket and purse and laid them on her desk. She tapped on the inner door and opened it "Mark." She said, casually "I'll need an hour to stop at the bank. Here's the Dursley agreement."
"You think it's worth an hour?" he sneered slightly at her.
She grinned, nodded and held up the check "Fifteen with another fifteen in a week. Win lose or draw, this could be big."
"Take a bonus for yourself, Mel." Replied Flint. He allowed a flicker of a smile to show on his not unattractive face.
She grinned. She knew all the secrets. Knew he engaged in the usual file padding. Figured what amount she would question, added 25%, and departed "Early start tomorrow, boss."
Madam Elise Edgecombe Wizengamot Speaker