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An Attractive Alternative

By Richard Kirk

Humor / Fantasy

An Attractive Alternative

1981.

Lord Voldemort was gone.

For now.

Many had paid the ultimate price in the fight against The Dark Lord. Not least of which James and Lily Potter.

Both dead.

Killed by Lord Voldemort.

But their son, Harry, had survived. For the time being that would remain a mystery, but what was definitely a reality was the fact that there was now a baby without a home. Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, was in the process of finding just such a home for the baby Harry. A place where he would be safe.

Dumbledore stood quietly in the shadows of Privet Drive, waiting. He pulled an intricately ornate and complex-looking pocket watch out of his robes and briefly checked the time. Any minute now, he thought to himself. As if on cue, a low rumbling sound began to fill the air. Looking to the sky, Dumbledore spotted a dark shape that was growing as it drew nearer. He replaced the pocket watch and plunged his hand into a different recess of his robe, this time bringing out the Put-Outer. He clicked it several times to extinguish each lamppost in Privet Drive. One by one, the luminous balls of light shot from their respective lampposts and were consumed by the Put-Outer. The last orb had disappeared from view as an enormous motorcycle, ridden by an even more enormous man, thumped on to the road and skidded noisily to a halt.

Dumbledore scanned the street with one sweep of his twinkling, blue eyes, but he knew that no one would have heard the monstrous grumble of the motorcycle’s engine. A well-placed silencing charm cast upon his arrival had ensured that whatever Dumbledore did in Privet Drive that night would not be overheard by any of its normal inhabitants. He smiled to himself and strode out from the shadows to meet the man on the motorcycle.

‘Ah, Hagrid,’ he said, warmly. ‘Smooth sailing, I trust?’

‘Evenin’ Professor Dumbledore,’ said Hagrid, as he tugged a shaggy forelock in deference. ‘No, no trouble at all. Thought I might have had a couple of Death Eaters on me tail at one point, but it turned out to be geese.’ Hagrid’s tone was light, but the quaver in his voice and the redness of his eyes told Dumbledore that the tragedy of the night had not been lost on him.

‘Very good,’ said Dumbledore, calmly. ‘This boy does not need anything else to go wrong tonight.’

Hagrid let out a guttering sigh that signalled he was clearly fighting back tears.

‘I know, Hagrid, I know,’ said Dumbledore, patting his massive companion on the shoulder. ‘James and Lily’s death is a loss that none of us will soon get over, but let us honour their memory by protecting their most treasured gift.’ Dumbledore indicated Harry with his eyes and Hagrid burst into tears.

‘It’s just so sad,’ he wailed. ‘A finer witch and wizard you couldn’t hope to meet. I know it’s good that You-Know-Who’s gone an’ all, but…but…’

‘I share your pain, Hagrid,’ said Dumbledore, solemnly. ‘However, there is a duty to be done, and James and Lily will rest easier with their son in safe hands.’ Dumbledore turned to face Number Four Privet Drive. He bundled Harry up in the blanket he was sleeping soundly in and stepped briskly over the garden wall.

‘Erm, professor?’ said Hagrid, a look of puzzled concentration on his face.

‘Yes, Hagrid?’ Dumbledore turned to look at the Hogwarts Gamekeeper.

‘I was thinkin’. James and Lily both had Mums and Dads, you know? Harry could just as easily go and live with his grandparents. I’m sure they’d be happy to have him.

A moment’s silence passed as all things changed.

‘Capital idea,’ said Dumbledore, brightly. He walked back over the garden wall of Number Four Privet Drive, never to return there again. ‘I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ve been watching this house all day. Bunch of tossers, if you ask me.’

- August 2014

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