This one has been kicking around in my head for a while. I am finally writing due to a desire to write something that doesn't go to the trash bin every time J.K. Rowling writes another book.
Update: Yay! I can keep this one out of the trash bin! Hopefully, now, this story will go full steam ahead.
Disclaimer: If I was as good a writer as J.K. Rowling, I wouldn't be writing here. Most of the ideas shown here belong to J.K. Rowling.
Early one Tuesday morning a tabby cat could be seen walking down the sidewalk. It seemed to be in a hurry. It reached the street corner and paused, glancing around. A map appeared out of thin air on the ground in front of the cat, and it leant over, examining the map closely.
The sound of a motor made the cat look up sharply. A car had stopped at the corner. The map vanished at once.
The man in the car stared at the cat. The cat met his gaze unblinkingly. Then the car tuned the corner and drove away.
The cat glanced at the signpost, which read Privet Drive, then continued on down this street. At the second house from the corner it stopped, looked at the house, then jumped onto the low stone wall surrounding the garden. The lawn was neatly mowed, the flowerbeds were weeded to perfection, and tidy rooms were visible beyond the immaculate curtains. The only things differentiating this house from any other on the street were the brass number four on the front door and the sound of a small child throwing a tantrum from the open window.
"Duddy,"a woman's voice crooned, "it's all right, don't cry..."
The cat remained on the wall for hours. Around noon, a thin blonde woman came out of the house carrying the little boy, who was having another tantrum.
"NO!" he shrieked. "I wanna lollypop! I wanna lollypop!"
"Diddy, you already had a chocolate bar, you can have a lollypop after lunch," the woman protested.
"No!" wailed the boy. "I wanna lollypop now!"
And the woman strode off down the sidewalk, while the boy shrieked and wailed, fists flying, feet kicking, drowning out his mother's voice.
They returned fifteen minutes later. The boy was now quiet, sucking on a lollypop.
Later that afternoon, the boy was playing in the backyard while his mother tended the flowerbeds. Suddenly, there was the sound of a door slamming and raised voices – but for once, it did not come from number four.
"You were out with that boy again!" stormed the woman from number six. "You told me that you were at Cheryl's house, but when I ran into Cheryl's mother at the market–"
The teenage girl in number six shouted a muffled reply.
"Well, you shan't go out with that boy again, and you shan't visit Cheryl, and you shan't use the telephone, and you shan't drive the car–"
An outraged reply from the girl cut her mother off.
Outside in the garden, the boy laughed and said, "Shan't! Shan't!"
The blonde woman, who had been peering over the fence, listening to the neighbours' argument, gasped, whirled around, dashed over to the boy and scooped him up. "Oh, Dinky Diddydums!" she cried. "You learnt a new word! Do you want some ice cream?"
The woman carried her son into the house.
Later in the day, a car came down the street and pulled into the drive. The driver got out. It was the same man that had stared at the cat that morning. He looked rather annoyed to find the cat sitting on his wall.
"Shoo!" he shouted.
The cat glared at him. He gave up, looking somewhat discomfited as he let himself into the house.
Hours later, the living-room light came on as the man entered the room and sat down. The television came on, showing the evening news.
"–and finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation's owls are behaving very unusually today. Although owls usually hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern. Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going to be anymore showers of owls tonight, Jim?"
"Well, Ted, I don't know about that, but it's not only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they've had a downpour of shooting stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early – it's not until next week, folks! But I can promise a wet night tonight."
The cat stood up and walked down the length of the wall away from the house. It sat down and stared at the corner of Privet Drive. Muffled conversation was now issuing from the window, but a few minutes later, the woman, her lips pursed as though she had been sucking on a lemon, shut the window and drew the curtains. One by one, the lights in the house went off as the family went to bed. The only light now came from the streetlamps and the full moon overhead.
The cat sat on the wall, absolutely still, for some time. A couple of owls swooped over, but it did not move. It was nearly midnight before something happened.
On the corner of Privet Drive, the same corner that the cat had been watching so intently, a man appeared out of thin air. The cat twitched its tail. The man dug in his pocket for something. All of a sudden he looked up sharply. When he saw the cat, however, he chuckled and returned to searching his pockets.
When he found what he was looking for – a silver object that looked like a cigarette lighter – he held it up in the air and clicked it.
The streetlamp nearest to him plunged into darkness. He clicked his device eleven times more, and each time another streetlight went out.
When the whole street was in darkness, he slipped the silver object back into his pocket, walked down the street, and sat down on number four's garden wall next to the cat.
"Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall."
There was a pop and the cat turned into a black-haired woman wearing spectacles in the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes.
"How did you know it was me?"
"My dear Professor, I've never seen a cat sit so stiffly."
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day."
"All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here."
Professor McGonagall gave an angry sniff. "Oh, yes, everyone's celebrating, all right. You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no – even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news."
With a jerk of her head to the house behind her, she continued on. "I heard it. Flocks of owls, shooting stars... well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars over Kent – I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense."
"You can't blame them. We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years."
"I know that, but that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the street in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumours. A fine thing it would be, if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles find out about us all. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?"
"It certainly seems so. We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a sherbet lemon?"
"A sherbet lemon. It's a Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of."
"No thank you. As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone–"
"My dear Professor," interrupted Dumbledore, "surely a sensible person such as yourself can call him by his name? All this You-Know-Who nonsense... for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort."
Professor McGonagall flinched visibly, but Dumbledore ignored it and went on. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who'. I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name."
"I know you haven't. But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know– oh, all right," she conceded, "Voldemort – was frightened of."
"You flatter me. Voldemort had powers I shall never have."
"Only because you're too... well... noble to use them."
"It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs."
Professor McGonagall gave him a sharp look but changed the subject. "The owls are nothing to the rumours that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?"
She glanced at Dumbledore. He was pulling apart a couple of sherbet lemons. "What they're saying," Professor McGonagall went on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumour is that Lily and James Potter are – are – that they're – dead!" She gasped as Dumbledore bowed his head. "Lily and James – I can't believe it – I didn't want to believe it – oh, Albus..."
"I know... I know..." Albus Dumbledore murmured he patted her shoulder.
Professor McGonagall continued on in a trembling voice, "That's not all. They're saying that he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But – he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows how, or why, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter,that Voldemort's power somehow broke – and that's why he's gone."
At Dumbledore's nod, she said, "It's – it's true? After all he's done, all the people he's killed... he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?"
"We can only guess. We may never know," Dumbledore replied as he pulled out a golden pocket watch. Professor McGonagall pulled a handkerchief from her pocket todry her eyes.
"Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?"
Professor McGonagall had composed herself. "Yes. And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?"
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now."
At this, Professor McGonagall jumped to her feet. "You don't mean – you can't mean the people who live here!" she cried, pointing to the dark house, in which three disagreeable people undoubtedly slept. "Dumbledore," she insisted, "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 – I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"
"It is the best place for him. His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he is older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" Professor McGonagall asked disbelievingly, sitting back down. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous – a legend – I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name!"
"Exactly. It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can't you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?"
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth to make further argument, changed her mind, and closed it again.
"Yes – yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?" she asked, with a sharp look at his cloak, as if afraid he'd brought the baby with him.
"Hagrid's bringing him."
"You think it," Professor McGonagall asked doubtfully, "wise to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?"
"I would trust Hagrid with my life."
"I'm not saying his heart's not in the right place, but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to – what was that?"
A rumbling noise had split the quiet of the night and was growing steadily louder.
Dumbledore and McGonagall searched up and down the street for the source of the noise. There was nothing on the street, but as they both looked up in the air, a motorbike dropped out of the sky and landed in front of them.
The man on the motorbike was huge. He had long, tangled black hair and beard which obscured most of his face. He was carrying a bundle of blankets.
"Hagrid. At last. And where did you get that motorbike?" asked Dumbledore.
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir," answered Hagrid, climbing off the bike. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir."
"No problems, were there?" Professor Dumbledore asked him.
Hagrid replied, "No sir. House was almost destroyed but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."
McGonagall and Dumbledore moved closer to look at the baby in the blankets. "Is that where–"
Professor Dumbledore answered the unfinished question. "Yes. He'll have that scar forever."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"Even if I could," he replied, "I wouldn't. Scars can come in useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well, give him here, Hagrid, we'd better get this over with."
Hagrid passed Harry to Professor Dumbledore, but as Dumbledore turned to the house he asked, "Could I – could I say goodbye to him, sir?" Hagrid leant over the blanket bundle and gave Harry a kiss. Then, losing his composure completely, he let out a loud howl.
Professor McGonagall instantly hushed him. "You'll wake the Muggles!"
Hagrid pulled a large handkerchief from one of his many pockets and sobbed into it. "S-s-sorry... but I c-c-can't stand it – Lily and James dead – an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles..."
McGonagall patted Hagrid gently on the arm and whispered, "Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found." Dumbledore carried Harry up to the front step and laid him there. Then he drew out a letter and placed it next to Harry before rejoining Hagrid and McGonagall on the pavement.
It was a while before any of them said anything. They stared at the bundle of blankets outside number four, Hagrid's shoulders shaking.
At last, Dumbledore broke the silence. "Well, that's that. We've no business staying here. We might as well go and join the celebrations."
"Yeah," answered Hagrid, his voice heavy with grief. "I'll be takin' Sirius his bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore, sir." Still crying, he climbed on the motorbike and flew off into the night.
Professor McGonagall had got her lace handkerchief out again. Dumbledore said, "I shall see you again soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," but she could not trust herself to speak, and blew her nose instead.
Dumbledore turned and walked back to the street corner. McGonagall tucked her handkerchief away, and then turned back into the tabby cat. She slinked around the opposite corner just as the street once more glowed with light. They were gone, leaving no trace that they had ever been there – except for the baby left outside the door of number four, Privet Drive.