For England, as Ed had learned, the absence of rain and/or fog automatically classified it as a spectacularly nice day. He was immensely grateful- even with his automail replaced by flesh, he still hated trudging about while soaking wet.
He didn't know what a Privet was, exactly, but if it had any relation to the pedantic and borderline obsessive orderliness on its namesake street, he never wanted to come across one. They'd only turned onto the street a few minutes ago and he was already eager to be on his way- the bag full of groceries he'd been carrying was getting heavy.
Al, on the other hand, was a different story altogether. He'd been back in his body for a month or so now, but that didn't stop the younger Elric from still ogling over every meal, nap, scent, and tangible object in his path. Ed wasn't about to stop him- of all people, Al certainly deserved this.
"Brother, I told you already. I'm fine! You can go ahead and I'll catch up later on. I can tell you're anxious to get back to the hotel; not that Winry coming over tonight has anything to do with it..." It was nice to hear the metallic echo gone from Al's voice (no matter how teasing Ed's younger brother was).
"No way, Al. I'll just stick with you, and, uh, walk. You know, you shouldn't have even gone out with me today. It was just a trip to the store for some food- people who had health... issues like yours should be recuperating slowly." Ed wasn't about to leave his brother alone, especially not now and especially not on this street (he shuddered at the mental image of Al coming back to their hotel room wearing a button-down, suspenders, and loafers with his hair cut military-regulation length and talking in that annoying accent that all the Englanders had).
"Did you just quote Granny? I think she said the same thing to you when you'd just finished your automail surgery. If that didn't stop you, I'm not going to be stopped, either." Ed sighed, knowing that such an argument would go nowhere.
"Besides, I needed to go with you to make sure you got the right apples. Winry said she's making pie tonight and I haven't gotten to try it yet, but if you'd gotten rotten appl-" Al stopped in the middle of his sentence.
"Al? You alright?" The older brother spun around to see Al, frozen in the middle of the street. His eyes were glued to something on the side of the road. Curious and a little cautious, Ed followed the line of vision and cursed when he saw the only out-of-the-ordinary thing there was to be seen on Privet Drive.
Sitting on a fencepost was a cat.
Of all the animals out there, Minerva was glad her animagus was a cat. They had a certain presence, silently commanding respect and intimidating man and animal alike. But she'd never been treated in such a way before.
The two boys walking down the street were loud and definitely not residents of Privet Drive- besides the fact that their accents weren't at all English (German or American, maybe...), they seemed much too full of life to live on a dull street such as this one. She herself was the model of focus and determination when it came to completing tedious tasks, but if she heard Mrs. Dursely "cuddle her widdle Dudder-wudders" one more time, she was going to go mad.
The prospect of examining these strangers seemed much more appealing, and she needed to stretch her legs, anyways. The almost anorexic-looking one was staring at her intensely, his golden-hazel eyes wide. The short one was farther up the street, but had turned around and was now muttering as he walked back towards who she presumed was his brother.
They looked alike but very different in the same way. The short one was older-looking in the face, and had a deeper voice. His hair was gold, pulled back in a braid except for the heavy bangs that obscured his golden eyes. The other brother looked like he'd just been brought back to life- his skin was milky white, clearly showing each bone in the poor boy's body. It was a wonder he was even able to walk around in such a condition. His hair was styled in a similar manner- sandy blonde with bangs and a shaggy ponytail.
The younger boy smiled, and Minerva couldn't help but creep a little closer. If seeing a cat cuold make such a sick-looking boy so happy, she was more than willing to oblige. The older one spoke again.
"Al, I know you love cats, but we really don't have a place to keep it in the hotel. Plus, it looks like it belongs to someone- see? Its fur isn't scraggly at all." She didn't know whether to feel complimented for her fur or offended for being called and it- three times.
"But Brother! Why doesn't-"
"We've talked about this, Al. Den and Black Hayate both hate cats, so Winry and Hawkeye can't take it. Mrs. Hughes and Elysia have enough on their plates, Furey's allergic, Fallman, Havoc, and Breda would accidentally starve it or step on it or something, and can you imagine Mustang with a cat? Unless you want to condemn it to like with Armstrong-" Al quickly shook his head, "-who else do you possibly know that would want a cat?" The short one's hands were on his hips now.
"...What about Teacher? I bet she'd like a cat!" Al said a bit reluctantly. There was a pause, and they both shuddered.
"No. Definitely no." Al amended. His brother could only nod, but quickly recovered.
"Besides, Al. It looks like it has a home- speaking of which, that's where we should be heading now." He gestured down the road. Al sighed.
'Fine, Brother. But can I just...?" The other brother (Minerva hated not knowing his name; it was annoying to keep referring to Al's brother as such) sighed.
"Fine. I'm going to go get that bag of groceries I set down, and if you're not following me by the time I get to the end of this damn street-"
"I get it, Brother. Go rush home so you can primp for Winry." For someone so sickly, Al made a pretty good kissy-face. The other's face turned a wonderful shade of crimson and he stormed off.
"She's my childhood friend and was my automail mechanic! N-nothing more! You of all people should know that, Al. I don't l-love her! Why does everyone say that, dammit?!" She could still hear the string of rants and curses as he disappeared down the block. The neighbors were most certainly not going to like this.
Minerva turned her green gaze back to Al, who was kneeling and holding out his hand patiently.
"What a cute kitten- you almost look like you're wearing glasses!" he smiled, reaching out to pet her. The only part worse than the incompetent Durselys on this mission was the 'undercover' aspect. For now, she was technically a cat. No one should have reason to suspect that there was a human mind inside the feline frame. She sighed but still padded over slowly to the waiting boy.
She'd admit it; the boy had a way with cats. He stoked her ears as if he'd never felt anything softer. After a few minutes, there came a loud shout of, "AL!" (she had the faintest idea who that could possibly be, of course) and the boy in question looked up, alarmed.
"Well, I've got to go. Bye, kitten!" He picked himself up slowly and took one last glance at the cat, seeming to make a decision in his mind.
He turned his head, making sure no one else was around, before kneeling down again. He took out an old strip of bandage from his pocket, set it on the ground, and clapped his hands.
Maybe it was the sunset that distorted her eyes, but there was a flash of electric blue light and the boy took off running, waving goodbye to her as if she were a real person. She was flabbergasted, and for a normally calm, collected professor and witch, that was huge.
"Minerva," Dumbledore nodded to the tabby sitting by the window. In a fluid motion, a middle-aged woman stood where a feline had been only moments before.
"I must say, I'd never thought I'd see the day. But the bow looks nice, Professor." Albus smiled that knowing smile of his, and she couldn't tell whether he was joking or not as she frantically pulled the red shiny ribbon from her neck. She could only presume that her cheeks were the same color as the bow.
"I believe we have more important matters to attend to, Headmaster. Where is the boy?"
"With Hagrid, Minerva. They should be arriving any minute now. In the meantime, would you like a lemon drop?"
Yeah... I don't really know where this came from. Hope you liked it and thanks for reading!