Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, or any of the characters. Upward of sixty posts in this fandom, and FF.N still hasn't got the picture.
Summary: Because leaving a toddler on a doorstep in November couldn't possibly go wrong…
For once, a long flight delay was a good thing, even if it hadn't seemed so at the time.
In this instance, a six-hour-delay was the reason that Natasja Rose was driving through Little Whinging at one in the morning, grumbling to herself about stupid excuses. Yes, she admitted to having made up some pretty out-there reasoning in her life (usually to explain a lack of homework – her art teacher had been convinced that Natasja's dog was some weird breed that lived off paper instead of dog food), but being delayed by a shower of shooting stars?
It was probably just some computer-savvy idiot who belatedly realized that they had missed Halloween and decided to make up for it by a particularly large prank.
As it was, Natasja was relying on caffine and large amounts of sugar to keep her awake until she reached a motel of some kind. She was jolted back to full awareness quite suddenly when she slammed on the breaks, put the car in park, and ran to the other side of the road, where an infant was determinedly starting to make their way across, trailing a small blanket.
Deciding that visiting the police and lodging a furious complaint could wait for an hour or two, at least until she got the baby warmed up, Natasja swept him into her arms, ignoring the crinkle of paper as she re-wrapped the blanket around him. The poor boy was freezing cold, and snuggled into her. Thanking whoever might be listening that she was wearing a coat with a zipper, Natasja wrapped him inside it. Her foot brushed against something, but it was only a bit of paper, so she ignored it in favour of getting back into the car, where it was warm.
Honestly, who left a baby outside in November? The weather was cold enough that an adult could have died from exposure, never mind a baby! He was clearly old enough to walk, and therefore wander off! What were his parents or guardians thinking? If someone had gotten it into their head to act out some fairytale where the future hero is abandoned at a stranger's doorstep (suburbia couldn't really be considered a forest of mountainside), there was going to be trouble.
Resigning herself to a sleepless night, Natasja cradled the Baby in one arm and pulled out the road directory with the other, awkwardly trying to locate a police station.
Whatever the reason for this whole fiasco, the people responsible for leaving a child on a doorstep in the middle of the night were going to pay! Even if the letter was a prank, Natasja did not find it amusing.
The constables didn't find it amusing, either, and Natasja very carefully didn't hear a rookie ask a superior about letting the culprits resist arrest. Another was grumbling about the number of complaints they had received about people acting strangely, or celebrating Halloween a day late, and the number who had gone away for the weekend as a result. If the baby had been left on a doorstep, who knew if the occupants were even home?
The emergency medic was downright furious when they explained it to him, ranting about exposure and how the baby could have frozen to death if Natasja hadn't found him. As it was, he was suffering from mild frostbite, exposure, and would be spending at least a few days at the paediatrics IC ward.
The only good part was when they examined the baby's pajamas, with the name 'Harry' carefully stitched into the collar, and the blanket, which had a family crest, complete with motto, embroidered at the corners. A quick search revealed that it was the crest of the Potter family, but that the only Potters on record likely to have it stitched onto a baby blanket were an elderly couple, whose only children were teenagers.
Natasja would need to remain available for questioning for at least a few weeks, but since her new job as Administration Staff and part-time Invigilator at a nearby Tertiary Institute didn't start until the New Year, that wasn't a problem.
Actually, it turned out to be something of a good thing, as Children's Services had been overwhelmed with terrorist attacks from the past few years, and someone willing to assume even temporary care, after a background check and meeting the necessary qualifications for foster care, was a blessing.
Her new house wasn't far from the Station, either, which certainly made things easier for everyone. After a quick trip to a second-hand store for a cot, high-chair, clothing and toys, then the local shops for baby supplies and food, Natasja was carrying Harry into her new, two-bedroom-plus-study house.
"Welcome home, Harry Potter."
A/N: This was inspired by a discussion on a VENOM thread at Fiction Alley Park, and by Lucinda's collection 'Pottery Shards'. There are heaps of stories where something changes during Harry's years with the Dursleys, but what if things went wrong from the start. Virtual cookies for anyone who feels like pointing out all of the other ways leaving a baby on the front porch in a UK winter was a bloody stupid idea.