Author's note: In one massive story we will follow through Harry's Hogwarts education. If you are interested in this AU!Harry's childhood check out my profile and my story "Blood of Secrets" which is the prequel of this story. However, you don't have to read that to understand this. (It is just my pet project to understand myself the changes the AU factor brought and I hope some of you will enjoy it, it's actually made up from connected one-shots in chronological order between 1981 and 1991, but can be read as a real story.)

You can find more information about this story on my profile - such as pairings, bashing, etc. If you like to know what you read, just look it up!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for the OCs. The world of Harry Potter was created by J. K. Rowling and I'm just borrowing her characters and settings for my readers' and my own enjoyment.


Summary: The Boy-Who-Lived grew up with his Muggle relatives - at least that was the gossip. In truth Harry Potter grew up under the name of Henry McGonagall and lived with his biological grandmother - Professor Minerva McGonagall, who was unknown to all, the mother of Lily Potter née Evans. For years Harry has been learning magic from the professors, but now he is ready to rejoin the wizarding world as its saviour.

AU factor: Harry's mother was given up for adoption by McGonagall, so after his parents' death Harry was adopted by McGonagall, so the blood wards would work.

Time: The story starts during the summer of 1991.

Universe: Completely canon to the Harry Potter universe, only the story line itself is changed, the world is not. Though of course there will be fanon and head!canon elements as well.

Main characters: Harry Potter, Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, etc. Most of the important canon characters will play a big role in this story and a few minor characters will have bigger roles.

Rating: T, because it's going to go through Harry's Hogwarts years, and Voldemort is going to wreak havoc.



Hogwarts letter

The classroom was dark, though all around candles were lit, making it somewhat gloomy. A cauldron was standing next to a table, which during the school year was in the first row. Now, other than the teacher's desk it was the only one in the room, so the rather big classroom which fit to hold about thirty students with cauldrons was empty. Except for Harry Potter and his cauldron and a sneering Severus Snape.

"You fool, what were you thinking?" Snape asked Harry who seemed rather embarrassed. It wasn't the first time that he has made a mistake, but it was most certainly his biggest yet – the hole in the bottom of the cauldron was the evidence, not to mention the smoking canary yellow potion on the floor, which by this point should have been dark orange.

"I-I'm sorry, I wasn't paying enough attention, I admit it," he said while looking down on his shoes. He watched the bright yellow potion making its way through the floor only to disappear with a flick of Snape's wand.

"This is not the first potion you have ever brewed. Surely, by now you have realized that you actually need to pay attention in my class?" Snape asked Harry who looked up and he crossed his arms.

"I'm sorry – okay? I know I should have paid more attention to the potion when I added the newt eyes, my thoughts just ran a bit wild," he explained, but Snape didn't look to have forgiven to him. Not that it surprised Harry. In two weeks he was to celebrate his eleventh birthday which would mark three years of private tutoring by the man. By now Harry felt that he knew Snape rather well and the man was not the candy-giving type.

"Sir," Snape always reminded him to keep his manners.

"Yes, I'm sorry, sir," Harry corrected himself. He knew well enough that if he didn't Snape would just keep pushing him. At one point it might have made him annoyed, but he was used to it. Not to mention that his grandma would throw a fit if she ever heard that he was not a hundred percent polite to his teachers.

"So, what is on your mind that you can't even look after a basic potion?" Snape leaned against his own desk making a distance between the two of the, but this way those dark eyes pierced into Harry's soul. With his chalk white face and dark eyes, all framed by black hair, Harry often thought that Snape looked a lot like a vampire, but he kept that thought to himself.

"It's my upcoming birthday, sir," Harry stated and an amused smile appeared on Snape's face, one that Harry didn't exactly like, because he knew that he was about to receive some rather harsh critique. At one time, he remembered he actually thought that Snape was smiling and feeling good when he had that expression on, but they years he has spent in a classroom with the potion master taught him otherwise. Not to think of it, he wasn't sure he ever saw Snape really smiling.

"I'm sure you are going to receive so many presents that you won't be able to even count it, Potter," Snape stated with a special emphasis on Potter which was rather strange in Harry's opinion. Harry grew up to be known as Henry McGonagall, so the dark wizard's followers, the one who killed Harry's parents, wouldn't find him. Even when he was tutored by one of the Head of Houses, he was always called by a different name than his real one. He has been called as McGonagall or Taylor – his fake names – millions of times before by Snape, but never Potter before if he didn't count like the first time they met.

"That's not exactly what I meant," Harry replied with a roll of his eyes. He sat down on his chair which was next to the now ruined cauldron. "Though, I guess I will need a new cauldron," he replied half-heartedly.

"Oh, tell me Potter of your great problems then," Snape said with a sigh which made Harry grin. While Snape liked to pretend that he didn't care at all for Harry, Harry's grandma always told him that it was just the way Snape was and he didn't like to show feelings. At first Harry wasn't sure, but by now he kind of agreed. While Snape like to criticize him, and it seemed he could never do anything perfectly (and well was not good enough in the potion master's point of view), it was all to make Harry work harder. "Or are you waiting for me to sing 'Happy birthday' for you? Because you should know by now that it won't happen – ever." Well, Harry would have been kind of interested in that performance, but he shook his head.

"It's just – eleven. I'm going to be eleven. I'm going to Hogwarts." At that Snape looked at him like he has lost his marbles.

"You are at Hogwarts as we are speaking," his professor pointed out, but Harry just shook his head.

"That's not what I meant." And it wasn't. No, he meant actually attending the school instead of being tutored by its Headmaster and four Head of Houses. "I meant I will be living in the castle with the rest of the students." Snape was just looking at him strangely.

"That was bound to happen." Of course it was, Harry even looked at Snape in the same way to remind him that he was not in fact stupid or crazy.

"I know that, but you seem to forget the part where at the moment everyone thinks that Harry Potter and Henry McGonagall are two different people." Realization seemed to down on Snape. Harry wondered if Snape actually thought that he was just afraid of his future classmates or something completely lame like that. Then again, he was afraid of them – of their reaction to his real name more precisely.

"And why are we having this conversation? Don't you have a grandmother to talk to? Or that nice godfather of yours?" Snape practically sneered at the word godfather, which didn't surprise Harry at all, because he knew that Sirius and Snape were not exactly best friends (more like sworn enemies). He didn't reply for a moment and then he shrugged.

"Well, you asked what my problem was," he said cheekily and then as an afterthought he added: "sir." Snape didn't seem to like his answer.

"Seven more years with him? Merlin save me," he muttered if Harry heard well.

"You've survived three so far," Harry simply replied.

"And it was three very long years." This time it was loud and clear and Harry let out a chuckle, feeling a whole lot better already. That was why he liked talking with Snape. With his grandma and Sirius or Remus, even with his Uncle Albus it was always about feelings and whatnot. Snape on the other hand challenged him and he was not afraid to insult Harry in the process. It was refreshing and many times a whole lot more easier than dealing with emotions.

"Maybe remaking your potion will steer your mind in the right direction," Snape offered and Harry scowled.

"It would take hours," Harry pointed out and then he received a knowing look and a wry smile.

"Then you should start as soon as possible, Potter." With a sigh Harry did what he was told to. In the end he had to do it, there was no way around it, Snape was just too damn stubborn to be convinced, so trying to do so would just take up much time, really.

As he started chopping the ingredients once more he looked up to his professor who was currently sitting on his chair and reading a book while Harry was working on the second version of his potion.

"Only Neville know who I really am out of all my friends," he simply stated and watched carefully as Snape put down his book.

"Shouldn't you be working on your potion? The last one was ruined, because you didn't pay enough attention to it," Snape reminded him coolly. Harry cast down his eyes, making sure that the movement he did automatically was in fact correct.

"It's just chopping, and we are to be here for quite some time, so I thought we might as well converse." He made sure to do every minuscule part of the work with uttermost care while saying so. If he did something wrong this time for the rest of summer Snape wouldn't even say a word to him other than criticizing him, he believed.

"Do I look like I care about your friends, Potter?" If Snape has called Harry by any of his other surnames, he would have said no. But the name Potter was the reason behind his distress so in a twisted way, Harry believed that Snape was telling him that he was actually interested in the problem.

"Yes, I believe you care, sir," Harry simply stated, which seemed to have surprised Snape more than Harry thought was possible. His teacher remained sitting, but for pretty much the first time since Harry knew him his emotions were not shadowed by sarcasm and coldness. Snape didn't say a word for several minutes while Harry simply continued preparing the ingredients.

"So, what is up with Longbottom?" Snape asked and Harry wasn't surprised that Snape knew Neville's surname. Not only was Neville a pure-blood, but his parents attended Hogwarts around the same time as Snape did according to Sirius, who liked to tell Harry embarrassing stories about Snape's school days.

"Well, his grandma was told who I really was so Nev knows – come to think, I don't know precisely why he and his grandma was told – but I do know that the others weren't. I mean people like the Weasleys or Hermione," Harry replied not even commenting on the long silence or the previous part of the conversation. Instead he was looking down and paying more attention to a slug than it was needed.

"And what is even your problem? Everyone will understand the reason of the name change. Many will be actually surprised why you would start using your own name. I do hope by now you understand that being known under a different name keeps you safe." Snape closed the book signalling that now he was paying attention to him. (Or that he was looking out for any potential mistakes, Harry wasn't sure which.)

"Then couldn't I just remain McGonagall? I mean, I like it – it's my grandma's name and all. I mean it's not like I am ashamed of the name Potter," at this point Harry was pretty sure Snape muttered something along the lines of 'You should be', "but it just complicates things. I'm pretty sure that my parents wouldn't mind."

"The Boy-Who-Lived's amazing survival and the Dark Lord's failure is a story every witch and wizard in Great Britain knows. Actually, I'm pretty sure that many more in the world knows," Snape started bitterly, which Harry found somewhat strange, though he did already know that Snape didn't like his supposed fame. "Don't you think it would be a bit strange if the Great Harry Potter never arrived to Hogwarts?" Snape questioned him and Harry nearly dropped the knife he was working with.

"I could have simply attended another school," Harry muttered in annoyance. Of course it made sense, but he still didn't like it. The idea of everyone being interested in him was a bit overwhelming and frightening. He wasn't afraid of making a fool out of himself, after all he had some huge advantages over the other soon-to-be first years, but he wasn't used to attention, especially not at that degree.

"I'm sure that your friends will still like you even under a different name. There – is this what you have wanted to hear, Potter?" Actually it was, and the wry response made Harry smile. He decided that Snape was indeed an interesting choice of conversation partner and maybe, just maybe he shouldn't be the first one on the list of people to ask advice from, but he had to admit that the potion master did make him feel better at least a bit.

It was two days later during breakfast which thanks to the summer holiday was attended by both his grandma and his Uncle Albus when the most important letter in every witch's and wizard's life came. The owl was unfamiliar to Harry, probably one of the many which belonged to the school, but the letter itself was something he immediately recognized.

He snatched it out of the owl's beak and took in its amazing sight. Not that it looked much, really. The envelope was made of parchment like most in the magical world and it had a red Hogwarts seal on it and it was addressed to Harry in a way that there was no question that it belonged to him:

Mr H. Potter

The First Bedroom on the Right

Dumbledore Cottage


Harry ripped it open immediately and read the rather short letter without even looking up to see his guardians' reaction. The letter which he always longed to see said:


Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Mr Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Headmistress

He looked up with a huge smile on his face and sought the eyes of the two person mentioned in the letter – his grandma and his uncle.

"Wow, Uncle Al, you have a lot of titles," he said with feigned surprise. He was far from surprised though as his grandma's favourite ranting topic was in fact The Great Albus Dumbledore (yes, according to his grandma, all with capital letters). His uncle didn't seem fazed by it at all, he just had that grandfatherly smile on, the one he nearly always did.

"I congratulate you, my boy," he simply said. While it was indeed the most precious letter in Great Britain to any magical child, there was no question that Harry would receive it. First of all, he showed signs of magic from a young age and most importantly, the two leaders of the said school were his guardians, so they were aware of the list of accepted students.

Still, even the fact that he has been tutored at Hogwarts since he has been eight didn't take away the magical feeling which came with a Hogwarts acceptance letter.

"Oh, Harry," his grandma said with a teary smile and with a swift movement she got up and hugged him. "You are growing up all too soon, sweetheart." Harry supposed it would be strange to everyone else to see the strict professor crying over an acceptance letter, but he knew well that his grandma was a rather big softie under all that strictness she liked to project.

"Well, at least I will be at Hogwarts," Harry pointed out. His grandma always felt guilty for leaving him behind for so many hours a day, but Hogwarts was a boarding school, so there was no way around it. He has spent many days with his Uncle Remus and his godfather, Sirius because of this exact reason. That was the exact reason not many teacher had a family. Or the ones who did, had children who were already grownups themselves. However, now that was to change, he was to be there with them all the time.

"Yes, I suppose you are right. Not many guardians can say that during the school year they could see their children as much as they wanted," she said with a rather pleased smile and his uncle chuckled while preparing a toast with jam.

"It will be strange to call you professor though," Harry said thoughtfully while he sat down with his precious letter in hand. He put it down next to his plate and pet the bird who took a bite of his toast only to leave through the window with a hoot then.

"Well, that's how it goes, Harry, never forget that. You are not to receive special treatment, we already talked about it." Oh, they did. Not that Harry would have ever expected it, he has heard many times from those who were taught by his grandma, that she was strict, but fair. Treating her own grandson in class any differently than his classmates would just not be her.

"About Hogwarts – " Snape was right, he had a grandmother and many uncles he could share his worries with. Plus this day was already emotional thanks to his Hogwarts letter, so there was no point in avoiding the topic.

"Yes, dear?" his grandma asked while his eyes met the bright blue eyes of his uncle. He took a deep breath and then he thought of the best way of telling them about his worries. Then again he was in the presence of The Great Albus Dumbledore, so he should have known that there was no need of that.

"If it's about the fact that no one knows you by your real name, my boy, then fear no more. It will be alright." Alright. Well, somehow that didn't seem comforting enough for Harry and he repeated the word to make that clear.

"Oh, Harry, you need to understand that you can't just disappear off the face of the world. If that was possible, I would do anything to ensure it and to help you. Don't think that it never crossed our minds – it's just, imagine the uproar if on the first of September you never arrived to Hogwarts. Sweetie, Henry McGonagall was an amazing camouflage when you were meant to be living with Muggles, but Harry Potter is meant to attend Hogwarts. Fear nothing though, your friends will understand that too." As much as Harry was grateful for his grandmother that he didn't need to grow up with Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (because he had met the Dursleys once in his life and it was enough to know that he was better off with his magical relative), he could have envisioned a life where no incognito was needed. Just Harry Potter, a wizard among Muggles – Muggles who didn't think of him as some sort of magician's stunt, The Baby Who Defeated a Dark Wizard.

"Is it bad, that I don't want to be Harry Potter? That I like being Henry McGonagall?" he voiced his fear. From what he knew of his parents, they would support him, but it still made him a bit guilty – wasn't he betraying his family by wanting to leave behind his family name?

"I've told you before Harry, it's not a bad thing to be a Potter and it's is certainly not a bad thing to be Harry Potter…" his grandma started on a monologue Harry has heard many times before.

"It's simply complicated," he finished her sentence. She seemed stunned, but nodded while his Uncle Al smiled at him.

"Do you think it is easy being Albus Dumbledore?" he asked suddenly which surprised Harry. His uncle – who was no blood relation to him, but as long as Harry could remember he was just around, so he treated him like that – was the type of person who always knew everything and didn't seem fazed by anything. Harry couldn't remember ever seeing his uncle unsure of anything.

"Well, everyone seems to respect you," Harry replied, but he wasn't exactly sure what his uncle meant. "Plus you have all those titles the letter contains." He gestured towards his acceptance letter which was still next to his plate and started this whole conversation. He didn't feel hungry anymore though, so he pushed his plate away a bit and instead grabbed his pumpkin juice.

"Yes, but that also means that everyone always expect things from you. Being Albus Dumbledore is just like being Harry Potter. It's never easy Harry, but it's who I am. And you are Harry Potter – maybe you don't remember the night when Voldemort attacked you, but it happened. The same way I've done many things people respect me for even if half of the time I was not even sure what I was doing. Still, I keep my head up and try to do my best," his uncle stated with a solemn and somewhat sad expression which was rare from him and Harry nodded slowly.

"It's different though, isn't it? You weren't just a baby when you defeated a dark wizard," Harry pointed out, not understanding entirely what his uncle meant.

"Yes, but having done that doesn't mean that I know the answer to every question and yet people treat me like I do. That's fame Harry – you will be expected to be special even if you don't think you are." Harry understood that part, it was one of the biggest reasons of why he was afraid of being Harry Potter. Henry McGonagall wasn't expected to do big things, but Harry Potter was.

"The Great Albus Dumbledore," Harry muttered under his breath having heard the expression from his grandma countless times before. To his surprise both of his guardians chuckled at that.

"I usually mean it as an insult actually," his grandma added with a sly grin, but his uncle seemed unfazed by that.

"My dear Minerva, don't think I don't know that. Still, it is actually sometimes good for one's mind to be told that he is not perfect. When you are expected to know everything it is easy to forget that it does not really mean that you know it all." Harry took a sip of his juice and thought of what his uncle said.

"Is that the reason why I have been learning magic before Hogwarts? I know for fact that I wasn't supposed to," Harry stated and looked between the two adults who both seemed rather sober for such an early morning and after such a delight as his first Hogwarts letter. "I don't want to be The Great Harry Potter. I don't think I could even be that one."

"I have to admit my boy that it was one of my reasons, though it was mostly for your protection. I fear you are still too young to understand it completely or at least I hope you are – it's a burden, knowledge can be quite often. But you have to understand that I do not believe that Voldemort is entirely gone and even if he is what he stood for isn't. There will be people who would want to hurt you just because of who you are, what you have done or who your parents were. I wanted you to be able to protect yourself if anything happens, though I do hope Minerva and I or your uncles will be always there to protect you." Harry nodded solemnly. He understood all well how there were still followers of Voldemort around. He only met his godfather when was seven-years-old, because Sirius was wrongly imprisoned while the one who was at fault was still not behind bars.

"And being The Great Harry Potter isn't that bad, Harry. It is part of who you are," his uncle stated and his grandma raised her eyebrows and smirked.

"Ah, yes, what would I do without my favourite ranting topic? I'm glad that you are The Great Albus Dumbledore," she replied innocently and Harry chuckled. While Harry was sure that this was not the last time they spoke about this topic, he had to admit that the potion master was right – he had people to talk about this.

Talking about said people, the fireplace in the living room which was just right across the kitchen suddenly flared up and the flames were a mesmerizing shade of green. Harry turned expectantly towards the fireplace knowing that it was either his godfather or Remus as other than his grandma and his Uncle Al they were the only people with direct access to the Floo Network in Dumbledore Cottage.

The person to get out of the fireplace was a slender man with light hair so Harry knew without a doubt that it was Remus.

"Remus!" He got up quickly and ran across the room in to the waiting arms of his uncle (who was once again no blood relation to Harry, but he didn't care about it. It was his Uncle Albus who once told him that there were different type of families, and Harry had to agree with him.)

"Hey, cub!" Remus hugged him back. The next moment the fire was radiant green again and this time another man stepped out of it. (How he did that Harry was not sure, because he always stumbled out of the Floo even after years of using it.)

"Sirius!" His godfather chuckled by his merry greeting but was not less enthusiastic in hugging him than Remus was.

"What are you two doing here?" Harry asked curiously. It was a Friday so as far as he knew his uncles should have been working. It was summer holiday for Harry and his grandma and Uncle Al were at home, because Hogwarts had a holiday too, but he saw no reason for his uncles' arrival.

"Well, we only just came by to congratulate you, pup, then we will be going to work, but it's not every day you receive you Hogwarts letter!" Sirius exclaimed and looked around curiously as if he expected to see the parchment in the living room. As a response Harry automatically pointed towards the table where it was laying. He was just about to ask how they knew about the letter when he realized that the sender herself was in the house, so he turned towards his grandma and shot her a thankful smile.

"It's nice of you to come – I mean, it's really not a big deal, and we knew that it was bound to happen…" he rambled on, but he was stopped by a grinning Sirius.

"Hey, Prongslet, none of that! My godson just received his Hogwarts letter – that is a big thing." His grin then turned to a proud but somewhat sad smile. "Your parents would love to be here today, I know that." His voice was softer and Harry himself felt suddenly emotional. Yes, his parents should have been here today. However, then he noted that his grandma and his Uncle Al stood up and crossed to living room only to stop a few steps away from them.

Looking around – his grandma and his Uncle Albus, Sirius and Remus all there to celebrate his first Hogwarts letter, he still felt happy, because even without his parents around he had a family. Maybe it wasn't the most conventional family – after all out of four he was only related to his grandma, but it didn't mean that they weren't family.