None of the characters intruduced in this story so far belong to me; I'm just borrowing them for a little bit. Promise to put them back.

As this is the first chaptered story I have attempted, I would appreciate any constructive criticism you have to offer. Thank you, and please enjoy.

Minerva McGonagall circled the small house carefully, looking around for the best vantage point. A tree in the yard looked promising, but it was somewhat too far from the occupied part of the house to allow easy eavesdropping. A window ledge was regretfully discarded as being too obvious if it became necessary to remain for a while. In the end, she settled on the stone wall running beside number four, Privet Drive.

It took only a few minutes of listening to realize that Petunia Dursley had heard nothing concerning her sister. Minerva found that a source of hope, as the Ministry was always very careful to notify any relatives in the event of a violent death. Maybe, just maybe, the Potters hadn't been involved after all, and Hagrid had been mistaken on that point.

Hours passed, and Minerva grew steadily more annoyed with Petunia. The woman had absolutely no idea how to take care of a child. And her son was just the type of boy to take advantage. By lunchtime, Minerva was openly considering switching back to her human form long enough to Conjure a pair of earmuffs. In the end, the only thing that prevented the deed was the fact that anyone with the brains to fill a thimble would think a cat with clothing unusual. Minerva growled deep in her throat and took a savage pleasure in watching young Dudley shower his mother with his lunch.

Vernon Dursley came home during the heat of the afternoon, with a somewhat distracted look on his face. While he seemed to listen to his wife's monologue on the day's happenings, Minerva couldn't help but notice that he didn't seem to be taking in anything that Petunia said. The observation became all the more firm when it took Vernon several minutes to notice that Dudley was ramming a large toy truck into his father's leg.

The evening news turned out to be very interesting, with the Muggle commentators discussing everything from meteor showers to flocks of owls. From what was said, Minerva rather suspected that nearly the entire wizarding world was involved in one giant celebration. She shook her head in frustration. Yes, You-Know-Who might actually be gone, but that didn't mean there weren't others waiting to take his place. And probably half mad, to boot…. She forced her thoughts onto a more cheerful track.

Night fell, and still no sign of anyone out of the ordinary. Minerva rocked back and forth slightly in an attempt to ease some especially stiff muscles. For Merlin's sake, she was going on seventy; why on Earth was she perched on a wall next to a house where absolutely nothing was happening? She might as well head back to Hogwarts where she was supposed to be, and where Albus was probably wondering where she had gotten off to. And then there was a soft popping noise down the street.

Albus Dumbledore gave the area a cursory glance, then proceeded to put out the lights overhead. Finished with that, he calmly walked over and sat down next to her. Feeling oddly annoyed, Minerva changed back to human, wincing slightly at the pain the shift in position offered. Much to her further frustration, Albus only seemed interested in chit-chat, which offered no clue as to the worries that had plagued her all day. In the end, she brought it up herself. "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?"

The very fact that Albus was refusing to meet her gaze alarmed her even more. Oh, please; not them, not them. Afraid of what she was about to hear, she pressed on. "What they're saying, is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are…" she couldn't make herself say it, "that they're--dead."

Albus bowed his head. It was all the answer she needed. She closed her eyes in pain. That young pair, so happy, so in love, and they were gone, just like that. An odd numbness spread through her as she questioned Albus further, confirming everything that had been whispered about by people who hadn't known the couple. And then he said something that shocked her out of her trance.

"You don't mean-you can't mean the people who live here? Dumbledore-you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son", she was unable to keep the contempt out of her voice at this point, "I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"

Yet in the end, nothing that she could say would change his mind. And before she could marshal a second round of arguments, Hagrid quite literally dropped out of the sky with Harry. Yet that shock was nothing compared to her first look at the boy. His peaceful face was a direct contrast to the raw cut on his forehead. She felt an angry desire to heal it properly, to do away with it altogether. Harry had suffered enough, did he have to grow up dealing with the teasing and staring that would inevitably occur?

And yet she did nothing aside from gently touching his cheek before Albus laid Harry down on the doorstep. Minerva's face twisted slightly as she stared at the letter tucked next to the boy, as if anything it said could possibly explain what all had happened. She forced herself not to think of how Petunia Dursley would react the next morning. Tears threatened to spill down her cheeks.

When Albus finally spoke, his voice sounded tired. "Well, that's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations." She nodded in answer, not trusting herself to speak. Transforming back into her cat shape, she turned and slowly glided away, trying not to listen as Hagrid kicked the motorcycle back to life, perhaps somewhat harder than he would ordinarily have. Even as she rounded the street-corner, she heard the soft sound that meant Albus had left. She slammed to a halt, every instinct in her body demanding that she go back and rescue Harry from the people he had been left with, people who probably wouldn't even try to protect him if the need arose. Turning, she stared back at the house, her eyes burning with the desire to do something.

Obedience finally won out, and she slumped in her place. Then a thought struck her and she sat up. Changing one more time into a woman, she liberated her wand from underneath her robes. A thought and a sharp flick of her wand sent a soft yellow light in the direction of the house, causing it to glow for a couple seconds. A watery smile tugged at the corners of her mouth, then she turned on the spot and vanished.