Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. No claims of originality are made and there is no expectation of material gain. The rights to all recognizable characters and the general Harry Potter universe are retained by J. K. Rowling and her publishers, Bloomsbury Books and Scholastic Press. Does this satisfy everyone?
The Misplaced Potter
In which Harry is left on a doorstep
A grief stricken Albus Dumbledore suddenly appeared on a well-lit street named Privet Drive. He briefly squinted at the unexpected brightness of the streetlamps. He pulled from his robes a small device that resembled a cigarette lighter but when he pointed it at the nearest streetlamp, the lamp immediately went dark. He proceeded to turn off every streetlamp on Privet Drive.
It was only when the street was in near total darkness did Dumbledore survey his surrounding. He peered intently over half-moon spectacles searching for one individual.
"I'm over here, Headmaster," Minerva McGonagall called from down the lane. In the quiet of early morning, Dumbledore joined her beside a low brick wall in front of a rather ordinary house. A shaggy brown dog watched them from under a bush where she was contentedly chewing on a piece of rope.
"Is it true?" Professor McGonagall asked. "Even from here, I have heard some of the celebrations but I still can not believe it to be so. Is he gone?"
Dumbledore sighed deeply. "Yes," he said sadly. "It appears that Voldemort is gone. His attempt on young Harry's life destroyed him."
"And what they are saying about James and Lily?"
A sob escaped Dumbledore. He quickly reached into his robe pulling out a large pale green handkerchief. Minerva placed a gentle hand on his shoulder as he wiped his eyes.
"Yes," Dumbledore said thickly. "Voldemort killed both of them. Two more souls freed from their bodies. Too many. Too, too many friends I have lost because of Tom's lust for power."
"Where is Harry now?" Minerva asked.
"We got him from the rubble of the house before anyone else got there," Dumbledore said. "Hagrid is watching over him, at the moment. That brings me to your task. What have you observed?"
Minerva shrugged. "They are more than pleasant enough. They are obviously in love with each other. A little older then I expected especially the husband. He scratched my head as he left the house this morning. He returned within two hours so I believe that he is retired. The wife gave me a saucer of milk and a piece of bacon and shooed the dog away when it barked at me."
Despite his grief, Dumbledore had to chuckle. Only an animagus could speak so causally about being in another form but the small smile that came to his lips quickly fell away. Something did not seem right but he could not put a finger on just what was bothering him.
"Where are we exactly?" he asked.
Professor McGonagall peered at her friend and colleague intently. "We are in Little Whining in Surrey. This house is number fourteen Privet Drive."
"This is where I sent you?"
"Yes, Albus. Here is the note you handed me," she replied pulling a piece of parchment from a pocket. "Are you feeling well?"
Albus Dumbledore stared at the piece of parchment. His own neat spidery handwriting clearly spelled out the address in Surrey where they were standing. He shook his head and dismissed his misgivings as grief and fatigue.
"I'm sorry, Minerva," Dumbledore said. "I didn't mean to question your word."
"No need to apologize, Aldus," she replied. "It has been a rough day and a half for you. Have you slept at all?"
"No, I haven't," Albus admitted.
Minerva did not want to express her misgivings about the enterprise to the Headmaster when he was clearly under much strain but it would soon be too late.
"Are you certain that leaving Harry in the care of muggles is wise?" she asked. "There are dozens of wizarding families who would gladly take young Harry in. I would myself. There would be worse places to grow up than Hogwarts."
"Undoubtedly, you would make a fine mother, Minerva," Dumbledore said. "But if he grew up in the wizarding community, he would have to deal with his fame from this day forward. It would be too much to handle and would likely turn his head. No, its best he grew up in anonymity. Besides, they are his family. The only family he has left."
Minerva McGonagall nodded her acceptance of the Headmaster's decision although she was not fully reconciled with his choice. Yet, she had never known him to be wrong on any important matter. Inwardly she sighed and then frowned.
"What is that noise?" she asked.
They turned to westward. A dark figure was falling from the starry sky accompanied by an increasingly ear splitting racket. The brown dog jumped to her feet and barked twice. Then she turned and run to her backyard.
Rubeus Hagrid, astride an enormous motorcycle, dropped to the street and skidded to a halt in from of Dumbledore and McGonagall.
"May I suggest a fanfare of trumpets for your next arrival?" McGonagall said archly.
Dumbledore looked about him at the windows of the nearby houses. He saw no moving curtains nor did any lamps shine from any room.
"No harm done," he said. "Do you have him, Hagrid?"
Hagrid reached under his coat and extracted a large basket. An infant slept contentedly in the folds of a wool blanket. He looked peaceful despite of a raw livid lightening bolt-shaped scar on his forehead.
"The killing curse left its mark," Dumbledore said when he noticed the horrified expression on McGonagall's face. "He'll wear that scar for his lifetime but he is alive."
"Why would anyone try to kill a baby?" McGonagall asked mystified.
"Tom had his reasons but this is not the place to get into them," Dumbledore said briskly. "Hagrid, do you know where to find Sirius Black?"
"This is his bike," Hagrid answered him. "I have to return it to him."
"Good," Dumbledore said with satisfaction. "Do so now and tell him to come to Hogwarts immediately. Tell him that it is my order. If he balks, kindly knock him out and haul him to Hogwarts personally."
"Yes, sir," Hagrid said kicking the motorcycle back into life. With a roar, he quickly rose from the ground and disappeared into the dark sky.
"I fear that Sirius will attempt something impetuous and we are going to need every remaining member of the Order in the next few weeks," Dumbledore said as he and McGonagall slowly walked up the drive of number fourteen.
"But with you know who gone, where is the danger?' McGonagall asked.
"There are still many death eaters on the loose," Dumbledore said. "They will go mad with grief and strike out like a molting snake. The next few months will be dangerous ones which is all the more reason to have Harry out of harm's way."
Dumbledore's eyes carefully ensured that the door's swing was inward and then placed the wicker basket down gently on the doorstep of number fourteen. He placed in the basket a large envelope.
"That will explain all they need to know," Dumbledore said as he straightened up. "It lacks a certain courtesy but it is best to limit our contacts with the average muggles."
He and McGonagall stood in silence for a few moments staring at the sleeping infant. Each of them wondering about the baby's new life and remembering his parents. The brown dog peered cautiously around the corner. She waggled her head at the unfamiliar scents but the fright she had received kept her from approaching the humans. Finally, Dumbledore sighed audibly.
"There's nothing more to be done here," he said. "We might as well join the celebrations."
"I don't feel like celebrating anything," McGonagall replied sadly. "And you need to get to sleep. Return the streetlamps to working condition and let's go home."
Dumbledore clasped McGonagall's hand and the walked out into the middle of the lane. He pointed the device at each streetlamp in turn. When Privet Drive was fully ablaze with light once again, the couple disappeared.
Seeing that she was alone, the brown dog slowly approached the basket. She sniffed at Harry and his blanket. Slowly the dog walked around the basket. Her eyes rested on the envelope. After another precautionary sniff, she grabbed the envelope in her teeth and trotted back to her favorite spot under the bush by the walk.
The dog spent the next half hour slowly shredding and chewing the heavy parchment until there was nothing left save a soggy mess well beyond anyone's ability to read.