Note: Every italic word in this chapter is directly taken from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling. The missing pieces of the original text are not shown. I wanted to show how the well-known scene differ if there was an AU factor.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE DETAILS OF THE STORY CHECK OUT MY PROFILE PAGE. THOUGH, IT MIGHT CONTAIN SOME SLIGHT SPOILERS.
– CHAPTER 1 –
"Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall." With the person she has been waiting for arriving and her disguise gone she changed back into her human form.
"How did you know it was me?" she asked quite curiously, though this was Albus Dumbledore she was speaking to, the greatest wizard of the century and also her mentor. It was him after all, who helped her master this ability. It shouldn't have surprised her that even after so many years he could still recognize her animagus form easily.
"My dear Professor, I've never seen a cat sit so stiffly." That and he probably recognized the marking around her eyes, she decided.
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor McGonagall. Now that she said that, she was curious what he has been doing all day. Just this morning he left Hogwarts without a word and he told her and the rest of the staff that all lessons were cancelled – something that has never happened since she started teaching.
"All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here." Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. What did he even mean by that? Surely, he could have just Apparated even if this was a Muggle neighbourhood. However, that wasn't what made her angry – no, she was used to Albus being far from direct or saying hazy things. She was angry because of what others have been doing. If everything she has heard was true she wanted to cry and not celebrate.
"Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "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." She jerked her head back at the Dursleys' dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls... shooting stars... Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent - I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense." She didn't mean all that, not really. Dedalus was a nice fellow – a bit overexcited surely, but a good man. However, she needed a way to get it all out of her system. She could hardly care less about the Statue of Secrecy than at that moment, but it was better to be angry about something so small than to focus on what mattered. She was not ready for that.
"You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years." Of course she knew that. It wasn't like she didn't take active part in the war while she tried to keep up normality at the school to shield the young of the brutality of what was going on.
"I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumours." She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. She needed to know the truth. She had to know what was real and what wasn't. With so many wizards and witches gossiping she couldn't know. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?" Well, if he was playing then so would she. While she respected Albus and loved him as a friend and mentor, he could irritate her to no end. He knew exactly – well, not exactly, but that wasn't the point – why she was there, why she has been sitting there all day and yet, he pretended to be absolutely clueless.
"It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?"
"A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of." Of course she didn't want to taste some Muggle candy at that moment. Dumbledore was supposed to be the wisest of all and yet, he behaved like a child who didn't know what was going on half of the time. She supposed it was a good tactic, pretend to be less than you are, but she wasn't his enemy. (Though, if he kept this laughable conversation up and didn't tell her everything he knew she might just change her mind.)
"No, thank you," she answered coldly. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone –"
"My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like 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." She flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice.
"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," said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of." Yes, the exact reason why she has been pretending to be a cat all day – which was a lot more tiring than one would expect. He was the only one she trusted to know the truth. Hell, he always seemed to know everything. She needed to know what was going on and some rumours wouldn't do. She wanted him to say that only bits were right, that You-Know-Who was gone, but the Potters didn't die. They couldn't have...
"You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have." Again, he was pretending to be worse than he was. Nice tactic, Albus, she had to admit. However, if she wanted the truth she had to emphasize that she knew his abilities and that she trusted them.
"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." That wasn't exactly what she wanted to hear. So, another approach then.
Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumours that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?" Great, it didn't seem to work. Albus was once again focusing on his Muggle candies and didn't answer her. "What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are - are - that they're - dead." She could hardly say those words. But they were just stories, they couldn't have been right, could they? Still, saying the name 'Lily' and the word 'dead' in the same sentence felt awfully wrong.
Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped. No, she must have worded it wrongly, he must have misunderstood her. "Lily and James... I can't believe it... I didn't want to believe it... Oh, Albus..." Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. It was hardly enough – not that he could know, he thought that she just lost two of her favourite students, but it was much worse than that. However, it wasn't the moment to break down. She had to know what was true from all those stories about Harry. If he was alive and defeated You-Know-Who then she had to be there for him, which was what Lily would have wanted. She had to be strong for him.
"I know... I know..." he said heavily. Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. She had to continue it no matter how hard it was to even form a coherent sentence and not just cry for hours until no more tears were left. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But - he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke - and that's why he's gone." Dumbledore nodded glumly. "It's - it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "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?" Harry. Harry was alive. He was alive. Lily's little boy was alright and breathing.
"We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know." She was sure that he at least had some theories – he was after all Albus Dumbledore and it was a universal rule that he always knew everything. However, she was just too damn tired and exhausted emotionally to start a quarrel with him. She knew that there would be more to come – she knew Albus and she also undesrtood that she would have to tell him everything. She would need him on her side and knowing him he had some plans for the future of that little boy already.
Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles. Now that she knew that Harry was alright (if she didn't count losing his parents and being targeted by an evil megalomaniac and defeating the aforementioned lunatic) she has lost her control. Lily. Lily was dead. Her little boy was an orphan.
"Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?" Well, he didn't react to any form of her trying to make contact – no response to the owls, not finding him anywhere, no answer to her patronus message – so, she was desperate. After running away like that was he surprised that she needed to find a way to contact him? Especially after everything that has been said that day.
"Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?" She had a very good idea, especially now that she knew that Harry was alive, but she didn't like it one bit. If everything turned out as she feared she would have to tell him her most guarded secret as well - one that she has never shared with anyone before.
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now." Of course she was right, but the Ravenclaw part in her didn't gloat. No, she wanted to be wrong this one time.
"You don't mean - you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four.
"Dumbledore - 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!" No, not Harry Potter. Lily's baby boy – he couldn't live with people like the Dursley family. She knew enough about the relationship between Lily and her sister to know that it wasn't a good idea.
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "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 the future - there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will know his name!" It was only part of her problem of course, but she would have to tell him everything for the rest to make sense and she wasn't sure that she was ready at that exact moment. She has been keeping this secret for twenty-one years – it wasn't something she could just share over some lemon drops. Maybe in a few days or weeks when she was a bit emotionally more stable.
"Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "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?" He was of course right in that part. She remembered James Potter, the sole heir of the wealthy pureblood family all too well when he arrived to school. But James turned out more than alright and Harry was half Lily as well. Also, she didn't mean to place Harry with people like the Malfoys, but more along the line of the Weasleys or the Longbottoms. Not to mention that no one would even have to know who he was. They could always say that Harry was in the Muggle world.
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, "I still don't think that this is the right way to handle the situation. Weren't you the one to tell me that Lily's sister has written to you? That she wanted to attend Hogwarts? Maybe you don't know, but I have found Lily not once in tears with letters from home telling her that her sister hated her because she was a witch," she stated firmly. If this whole situation wasn't such a personal matter to her she probably would have agreed with Dumbledore - Petunia Dursley was after all little Harry's aunt. Dumbledore studied her with those unnerving blue eyes and he seemed somewhat surprised that she was not agreeing with her.
"I am afraid, Minerva, that this is the only possible solution," he stated and she looked outrageous. She had at least a dozen ideas, so why would it be the only solution?
"What about James Potter's friends? What about the Longbottoms? Isn't Alice Harry's godmother? The Weasleys? The Diggorys? Or any other respectable and unquestionable family who has been never associated with You-Know-Who and have children around Harry's age? A few well-placed wards are the only thing needed and to make sure that the family understands that Harry has to keep a low profile at least until Hogwarts," she ranted. A shadow crossed Dumbledore's face and at that moment she understood that she was still missing some important pieces of information. "Why? Albus, why?" she asked softly. He casted a wandless spell to ensure their privacy.
"Lily died protecting Harry. Probably without even knowing she tapped into the oldest magic, love. Her sacrifice shielded him from Voldemort. If I am right that's the reason why young Harry survived the previous night. Harry needs to stay with Lily's blood relatives for the magic to continue to guard him," he stated and her head started seriously throbbing. Lily's blood relatives. From morning when she first heard the rumours the idea never once crossed her mind, but now it seemed as the only possibility to ensure Harry's safety.
"If blood relatives are needed than the Dursleys are not the solution, they wouldn't do," she stated softly, but he still heard her.
"What are you talking about Minerva?" Sometimes she forgot that even the Great Albus Dumbledore couldn't know everything. Yet, at that moment she wanted him to know without her saying it out loud.
"Lily was adopted," she stated and she saw as he visibly paled, which was something very uncommon for him. She could count on one hand how many times she has seen that happen since she first met him when she was eleven.
"Are you sure? How do you know?" he asked and she nodded softly.
"I was the one to deliver Lily's letter when she was accepted and I was the one who asked for her parents' approval and her papers to make it official. They gave me the usual Muggle documents plus one, the paper of the adoption. Mrs Evans had a hard time delivering Lily's sister and she was told that she wouldn't be able to have more children, so they adopted a baby only a few years younger than their own," she told the easiest part of the tale. Up until now she was just a teacher who did the paperwork.
Albus was clearly troubled, she could read him easily which was a trait not many possessed.
"Well, this certainly complicates matters. We have to raise the wards as soon as possible or the protection fades, but it would only work with blood relatives. So, we have to find Lily's real parents and hope that she still has some close relatives alive," he stated urgently and obviously a bit disappointedly.
"Albus, I think we should sit down somewhere more private. I have some other news for you," she said hesitantly. He looked at her curiously, but he obviously sensed that it was something important, because he didn't stop her.
"Hagrid's bringing him," he only answered. Yes, they had to wait for Harry, she understood that. But why Hagrid? Why couldn't just Dumbledore take the baby? Apparating with a baby was surely not the safest, but the Great Dumbledore could have easily found some solution.
"You think it - wise - to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?" she questioned him.
"I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore. That wasn't exactly what she meant, but then again, Dumbledore was famous for 'accidentally' misunderstanding something. He was quick and he knew what he wanted to answer and what not. He always knew what to say to have the advantage in a conversation. She supposed in many ways it was surprising that Albus was sorted into Gryffindor and not Slytherin or even Ravenclaw.
"I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to -what was that?" A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky -and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them. If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.
"Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?"
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir." Black, Minerva was surprised that he wasn't there. Wasn't Harry his godson? And what about Lupin and Pettigrew? Surely, they wouldn't let Dumbledore just take away their precious 'nephew'.
"No problems, were there?" Anyway, where has been Harry for the last day? So many things didn't add up to Minerva, but now that Hagrid was here with the baby she had to keep her priorities straight. She had to take the baby somewhere safe and tell everything to Dumbledore.
"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." Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where -?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well -give him here, Hagrid," Dumbledore took Harry in his arms. She sensed that there was more to it than he let on, but it wasn't the time for a long conversation about curse scars. The danger grew with every second after all.
"Could I -could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.
"Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles!" She understood all too well what Hagrid felt, but Harry's life was in danger. While He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named disappeared his followers were still around and they most certainly would have liked to get their hand on the one who defeated their Lord. So, for Harry's safety they had to keep the whole business in the biggest privacy.
"S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it -Lily an' James dead -an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles –"
"Yes, yes, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found. Also, there has been a change in the plan, so Harry won't be left here," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm.
"Well," said Dumbledore finally, "We've no business staying here. We have to finish this conversation in private, Minerva. Hagrid let me take care about young Mr. Potter. Don't worry, we will find him a suitable home."
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be takin' Sirius his bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall - Professor Dumbledore, sir." Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night.
"You should follow me, Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply. In the next second she once again turned into a tabby cat. She nodded towards him, and he acknowledged that she was ready to go on their business. The bundles which contained their precious cargo were still in his hands, and with a quick spell he disillusioned the baby. He started walking quickly and she followed in her animagus form not entirely sure where they were going.
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange.
Minerva wasn't sure how long she has been following Albus when they suddenly stopped in front of a house. What surprised her even more was that Dumbledore opened the door of the house with a series of wand movements and long muttering. The house was obviously warded though for why she wasn't sure. They were in the middle of a very Muggle neighbourhood after all - maybe a magical family with Muggle relatives were hiding here during the war? Albus opened the door for her but signed not to change form.
"Who is there?" Came a slightly familiar voice to Minerva, but not one she recognized. A woman a bit older than her asked, and in her Minerva recognized Arabella Figg. What was she doing here? As far as Minerva remembered she lived in a magical community not caring about the fact that she herself couldn't produce any magic.
"Nice to see you again, Arabella," Albus greeted the woman who flashed him an enthusiastic smile. "I'm sorry to bother you at such a late hour, but I would like to use your Floo," he stated. "It's urgent," he stated.
"What about the thing we have talked earlier?" she asked curiously. Minerva wasn't sure what the other woman meant, but Albus obviously did.
"Things became a bit more complicated, my dear, so tomorrow I will come and tell you everything, I promise. Now I must be on my way," he stated and the woman agreed. Minerva followed the pair to the living room and after the flames turned into a striking green he followed Dumbledore.
"Headmaster's office, Hogwarts." The moment they were in the office she knew as well as her own, she turned back into a human. Dumbledore lingered for a bit longer in the fireplace, but when he joined her, baby Harry was already visible and quite audible. He also performed a series of privacy spells to make sure that no one, not even the portraits heard what they were saying.
"Oh, hush, baby, hush," she said and took the toddler from Albus who looked utterly surprised by the crying baby. She was curious when he had a baby in his hands last. Yes, they dealt with a lot of children daily, but they were all at least eleven-year-old, never a fifteen-months-old.
"So, you have some information for me, Minerva?" he asked softly after gesturing to the chairs on the two sides of his desk. She sat down with Harry still in her hands. He started sleeping again, and she hugged him close to her. How long it has been since he was in her arms?
"You asked me if I know anything about Lily's biological parents. Well, I know," she stated, but she stopped. Dumbledore urged him with high eyebrows.
"And? Would it be possible for Harry to remain with them under the blood ward?" he asked curiously.
"I would hope so, because Lily is - was - my daughter," she stated and Dumbledore straightened. He froze the moment those words left her mouth.
"Lily Potter née Evans was your biological child?" he asked not believing his own ears.
"Yes," she stated firmly. "This baby here is my grandson."
Author's note: I hope you will like my series. The basic concept is what would happen if Harry was comfortable with the professors of Hogwarts, if he has grown up around them? How much different his Hogwarts years would be? Also, he starts learning magic before Hogwarts. Expect lots of McGonagall, Dumbledore, Snape and even Flitwick and Sprout - but don't worry, we will have Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Ginny, Draco and the whole lot as well. Just no Dursleys.