Harry Potter and all characters, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling, not me.
Author Note: Many people over the years since I first wrote this have pointed out things in this story that are inconsistent with current known canon, such as the entrance to Ravenclaw tower. I wish to explain that I wrote this story before the last book came out (which was also before Pottermore), and while I've incorporated a few details from that story, as a policy, I am not changing this story to accommodate the new information JKR has revealed. (Just the information she revealed about Professor McGonagall's family would completely change this story.) The only edits I'll be making in the future will be typographical corrections. If you can live with that, I hope you enjoy my story.
Harry McGonagall – Chapter 1 – Defying Dumbledore
"Good luck, Harry," said Professor Dumbledore as Minerva McGonagall watched the baby lying outside the door of Number Four Privet Drive. The aged headmaster turned on his heel, and with a swish of his cloak, he was gone.
McGonagall knew that she was expected to leave as well. She knew she was supposed to trust Albus' judgment, but she had watched these muggles all day, and they were the worst sort of people you could ever meet. She bent down to touch the baby's hand one last time, and he started crying. She quickly picked him up and he stopped crying immediately. She gazed into the infant's eyes that looked so much like his mother's and sobbed.
"How can that man just dump James' and Lily's child on a doorstep like a milk bottle when he's never even seen these people?" she muttered to herself. As images of what she'd observed coupled in her mind with what Lily had told her about her sister's hatred of magic and refusal to acknowledge she, James, and Harry as family, Minerva came to a decision to do something she'd never done before. Defy Albus Dumbledore. She looked at Harry's little face again and said sternly, "I will not allow that man to ruin your life!" and disapparated away as people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: 'To Harry Potter – the boy who lived.'
As Minerva walked toward the house pushing a buggy she had conjured, she knew she had to act quickly if she didn't want the Headmaster to know she'd taken the child. She'd spent the night in a muggle hotel considering her options. If she didn't show up at Hogwarts, Albus would know she'd kidnapped Harry, and she'd be living as a fugitive. If she brought the baby to Hogwarts, Albus would find out soon enough and send Harry to the Dursleys, probably firing her in the process. She needed to find Harry an appropriate home, at least for a few years. She may eventually disguise and take him in to live with her at Hogwarts, claiming that he was her nephew or something if necessary, but not for a few years. She couldn't give him to a wizarding family, because they would all know who he was. She did agree that the boy didn't need to grow up famous. There was only one person she could think of. She hadn't seen him since last Christmas, nearly a year ago, but she'd always gotten along very well with him, and thought that he and his wife were wonderful people. She was very glad that the Headmaster had called off classes in honor of recent events.
She knocked on the door of Number Eight Churchill Drive wearing a plain muggle dress. The door opened, and a dark-haired woman with brown eyes, who was in her mid twenties, opened the door and smiled. She was wearing maternity clothes. She was five months pregnant and showing it very much.
"Aunt Minnie?" she exclaimed, "and a baby. Come in."
Smiling at her nephew's wife, she said, "Hello Cindy. I must say you look absolutely radiant. Is Mark here? There's something I want to talk to you two about."
Cindy grinned at Minerva. "Yeah. I'll go get him. Cute baby. Whose is he?"
Minerva sighed. "That's part of what I need to talk to you two about."
Cindy gave her Aunt-in-law a strange glance, but walked out of the room.
A few minutes later, a blonde man with blue eyes walked into the room and hugged the kidnapper. "Aunt Minnie, it's good to see you again! Are you keeping those Gryffindors out of trouble?" He continued, not really expecting an answer. "Cindy said you wanted to speak to us."
"Yes Mark. It's a long story. You may wish to sit down." Minerva looked at her brother's squib son (who'd told his muggle wife all about the magical world so that they could visit his family) and said, "I've kidnapped this child, and I want you to raise him."
"What?" exclaimed both Mark and Cindy.
"You see," said Minerva, "This is Harry Potter." She then told the quick story of how Voldemort had killed the Potters and been vanquished, and how Harry would be famous, and how Dumbledore had wanted the boy raised by, "the worst example of humanity I've ever seen. He hadn't even bothered to meet them. Just dropped him on their doorstep with a note! He may be a genius, but he hasn't got an ounce of common sense if he thinks Harry would be happily accepted into that home! Anyway, as soon as he'd left, I took Harry, and I was, er, hoping you would, well, give him a home here. I realize it might not be the perfect time with another baby on the way, but I do hope you'll consider it." She looked at them nervously with pleading eyes.
The young couple looked at Harry, Minerva, and then each other. Mark finally spoke. "Er, well, I was going to tell you at Christmas, but in January, we're moving to America for my job, so you wouldn't really be able to see him much."
Minerva smiled brightly. "That would be even better! They'd never think to look for him there!"
"Well, I think Cindy and I will have to talk this over. Why don't you watch television while we go to another room?"
"Tele-what?" asked the professor.
After they'd set her up watching a soap opera, Mark and Cindy McGonagall walked into their bedroom and closed the door. He put his hands in his pockets and paced around for a few seconds before saying, "Well, what do you think?"
"What do you think?" she countered.
He took a deep breath. "Well, the things on the positive side are that we were planning on having more than one child anyway, and Harry does need a family. If no one has the slightest idea where he is, then he should be safe from the Death Eaters if they want revenge."
"Not to mention how cute he is, but we'd have to do something about that scar. It's too recognizable."
He sighed, "Which brings us to the bad points. We'd not only have to hide his scar. We'd have to disguise him in other ways. Maybe change his hair color."
She looked sad. "You mean we'd have to keep dying his hair all the time?"
"No. I'm sure Aunt Minnie could permanently change it."
She took a deep breath. "But don't change the green eyes. I like them."
"So do I," he said, smiling.
"So, are we doing this?" asked Cindy.
"If we do it, we will be kidnappers," said Mark.
Cindy grinned. "We could just claim we found him on our doorstep the way Dumb-Old-Dork left him at the Dursleys."
He began to smile as he considered it. "We could have Aunt Minnie change his fingerprints and stuff so that they won't be able to identify him. Then we say we've grown attached to him and want to keep him. That way, we really will be his guardians."
"What should his name be?"
He smiled at his wife. "Well, I think we could stick with the name Harry, since he probably already responds to it anyway. It is a common name that shouldn't arouse suspicion. But I do think we should change the middle name, and of course give him our last name."
Cindy smiled at him. "We'll call him 'Harry Mark McGonagall.'"
Mark then kissed his wife deeply and then excitedly said, "We're gonna have two babies!"
They went back to find Minerva immersed deeply in a program on the telly. When they walked in the room, Mark said, "Aunt Minnie," and she about jumped from being startled. "We've decided to adopt him. We're going to name him Harry Mark McGonagall."
The professor smiled the biggest smile of her life. "That's wonderful! Thank you!"
After McGonagall had transfigured Harry's fingerprints, toe prints (just to be sure), and hair (to dirty blonde), and was able to temporarily hide the scar with a glamour charm (for a few days with a promise to redo the charm whenever they needed her to until they adopted him) she accompanied them to the child welfare department, but didn't go into the office with them. She waited impatiently for over an hour until they finally walked back with Harry in Cindy's arms.
Without waiting for his aunt to speak, Mark announced, "They were happy to let us keep the child while they run the fingerprints, and told us that if they couldn't locate a relative…"
"…which they shouldn't thanks to you," interjected a grinning Cindy.
"…that there probably shouldn't be any problem with us adopting him before we leave for America."
Over the next few months, Minerva was getting owls from her dead brother's son almost every day. She'd made it a point to only have them come when she knew she'd be alone instead of at breakfast. As promised, whenever they were going to bring Harry to any kind of official meeting, Minerva visited their house the night before and hid the scar. Mark and Cindy planned on talking to some kind of muggle doctor about hiding Harry's scar permanently when they got to America.
Albus, in the meantime, hadn't mentioned Harry, so neither did Minerva. She'd gotten a book on Occlumency the day after she kidnapped Harry and was working on it in every spare minute she could find so that Dumbledore wouldn't find out Harry's whereabouts from her.
On the same mid-December day that the horrible news of the attack on Frank and Alice Longbottom was in the Daily Prophet, Minnie got the good news that Harry had been officially adopted. He now was officially 'Harry Mark McGonagall,' and the courts decided to claim his date of birth as August 12th 1980. Minerva was impressed that the muggle doctors had guessed it within less than two weeks of his actual birth.
She spent Christmas break at their house, and brought a ton of toys and outfits for Harry, along with some baby clothes and toys for the expected addition to the family. She also gave them a magical two-way mirror that they could use to communicate with her. She magically hid Harry's scar for the last time as Mark and his family were about to go to the airport to fly to America. As they parted, the stern teacher started crying. She knew she'd miss them all.
Within a few months of moving to Lansing, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where Mark worked, Harry's scar was now completely invisible, thanks to the work of a muggle doctor his adopted parents had taken him to. It was the day after McGonagall received this news that she was summoned to the headmaster's office.
She opened the door to find a very worried-looking Dumbledore, pacing the floors. "Hello Minerva, would you care for a lemon drop?" he said absently. Fawkes was nowhere to be seen.
After McGonagall shook her head and sat down, the Headmaster sat back in his chair. "I'm afraid I have terrible news, Minerva."
"Ter…Terrible news? What's happened, Albus?"
"I managed to place a squib on Privet Drive to keep watch over Harry Potter a few days ago, and she has reported that he's not there. I personally went there myself, and I discovered that they never found Harry on their doorstep."
For a moment, she thought she'd been caught, but wasn't about to make it easy for him. "They didn't find him?" she repeated, sounding and looking as distressed as she could.
Dumbledore nodded sadly, and then he looked back up at her. "Minerva, you spent the day there. Did you spot anyone unusual in the area? Someone who may have been watching us and took young Harry as soon as we left him there."
Making sure her Occlumency shields were up as strong as possible in case he probed her mind, she answered, "No Albus. I didn't notice anyone." She would've added, "except those horrible muggles you left Harry with," but didn't want to remind him that she didn't approve of the Dursleys.
He buried his face in his hands. "I fear that Death Eaters kidnapped him. Either to take revenge upon, in which case he's dead, or to raise him to follow their ways, perhaps even to be the next dark lord."
Her eyes widened in shock. "Surely you don't believe…"
"What else could have happened, Minerva? It's my fault, as Remus was gracious enough to point out to me when I informed the Order. I should have knocked on the Dursleys' door and personally handed Harry to them. That would have activated the blood wards. We hope that Harry's alive since no one has bragged about killing him, which the Death Eaters probably would do, but we just don't know. Even if he's alive, they could literally be anywhere on this planet, maybe even in a house under a Fidelius charm, by now." He half grinned at this. "They could be as close as Hogsmeade if they used that charm, and we'd never even know it." He sighed, looking older than ever before. "Well, you've listened to me ramble on long enough. You may go. If you think of anything at all, no matter how insignificant, let me know."
As Minerva left Albus' office, she felt terrible about lying to him and making him so worried, but she reminded herself that he deserved this for trying to leave Harry on a doorstep. She also reminded herself that it had been nearly five months since Harry had been left at the Dursleys, and he's finally checking on him. She knew that no residual magic would still be there by now to show she'd apparated with the baby if anyone bothered to check, so she was in the clear.
Time passed by quickly, and before they knew it, on March 8th 1982, Harry's sister, Brianna Minerva McGonagall was born. She had brown hair and blue eyes. Aunt Minnie naturally had to spend the Easter holiday with them to meet the new addition to the family. She, of course, brought a ton of baby clothes with her, as well as a few presents for Harry.
"Daddy, it's mommy and Brinnie!" said little Harry excitedly as Cindy McGonagall walked into the room carrying his eight-month-old sister. Mark was sitting on the couch in the living room. Harry still had blonde hair and no scar showing.
They'd been living in America for a year, and life was good. Today, Aunt Minnie was going to floo to O'Hare airport to spend Christmas with them. The trans-continental floo network only went to international airports so muggles wouldn't get suspicious of foreigners just showing up somewhere. People who used that were even given airline tickets. They simply went into an area of the airport similar to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters and waited for their turn. Every ten minutes, the huge fireplace that fit twenty people would take everyone inside to a different airport. "Good morning, Harry," Cindy said, hugging her little boy.
"Mornin' mommy! Mornin' Brinnie!"
"Today your Aunt Minnie's coming to spend a few weeks with us."
"Yay!" the little boy said, "She brings presents!"
Mark laughed while Cindy tried to look stern. "We don't like Aunt Minnie because she gives presents. We like her because she's a nice person."
"And gives presents!" said Harry excitedly. This time even Cindy gave in to the laughter.
"We've got to go to O'Hare airport and get her," Cindy finally said.
After a drive through terrible Chicago traffic, they finally arrived at the airport and looked around until they spotted the older woman wearing a long brown dress with a matching hat. She was pushing a trolley with several bags on it. "Aunt Minnie!" shouted Harry excitedly as he ran up to her, throwing his arms around the dignified woman's legs.
She bent down and returned the hug. "Hello Harry. It's good to see you."
"Didja bring presents?" he asked, grinning up at her with his puppy-dog eyes.
"Harry!" said Cindy as she and Mark walked up.
"Well, as a matter of fact I did, for both you and your sister," said Minerva, "but you won't get them until I've gotten a full report on your behavior from your parents."
"I've been good, haven't I, mommy!"
Cindy smiled for about thirty seconds as her little boy awaited her assessment. "I suppose so."
Minerva hugged both Cindy and Mark, who embarrassed his aunt by kissing her on the cheek. "Mark, stop it."
True to her word, Aunt Minnie gave both Harry and Brianna one present each when they got home. Brianna's was a soft stuffed Hippogriff and Harry's was a working miniature train that was a replica of the Hogwarts Express. She told Harry's parents that she'd transfigured the train from rocks. They decided not to tell Harry about magic until he had his first accidental bout of it. He knew that Aunt Minnie taught at a school called Hogwarts that he'd go to someday, but had no idea of it being magical.
She was saving the rest of the gifts for Christmas day. Mark and Cindy found it funny the way the kids had their Great Aunt wrapped around their fingers. They had her doing things that people from Hogwarts would have never believed, such as playing hide-and-go-seek and tag. They even got her to play the 'tickle monster.' They greatly enjoyed Christmas where they were showered with gifts, and most importantly, love.
Harry started kindergarten at five years old, and it wasn't long before he had his first experience with accidental magic. He'd made friends the first day with a kid named Matthew Burke, but they quickly made an enemy out of a bigger kid named Brian Popovich. He'd made fun of Harry because he needed glasses, so he and Matt decided to prank him. Brian was sitting down on a chair when Matt 'accidentally' spilled his drink, orange soda, on the floor in front of Brian. Harry was on the floor tying Brian's shoes together. While Harry was tying them, Brian noticed and grabbed Harry's hand and started squeezing it as hard as he could. Harry was scared that his hand would get broken, and all of the sudden Brian's hand started to hurt so he let go. Forgetting that his shoes were tied together, he got up and fell, landing face-down in the puddle of soda.
Unfortunately for Harry, the teacher had seen part of it, so Harry was in trouble. After school, while Harry was being grounded as his sister enjoyed the story, there was a knock at the door. Mark answered it.
A short, thin middle-aged man with black hair that was starting to turn gray was standing at the door wearing a gray suit. "Hello. Mr. McGonagall, I presume?"
The stranger extended his hand and Mark shook it. "I'm Stephen Kirk. May I come in for a few minutes? It has to do with your son and what happened at school today."
He sighed, hoping the other kid's parents weren't suing or something stupid like that. "Come in."
Once they were settled down in the living room, and Cindy had gotten them some tea,
Stephen said, "To put it simply, your son performed accidental magic today, which means he is a wizard." He paused, as though expecting an argument.
Cindy smiled. "Well that explains it. We were wondering if he were a wizard or not."
Mr. Kirk seemed surprised. "You…you know about magic."
Mark smiled. "Oh yes. You see, I'm a squib from England. In fact, my aunt is the Deputy Headmistress at Hogwarts. I guess Harry will be going there when he's old enough."
"Really?" said the man happily. "If your aunt teaches there, I suppose there wouldn't be much point in trying to persuade you to send Harry anyplace else when he's eleven."
He chuckled. "I'm afraid not. If I sent Harry to any other school, she'd never speak to me again."
"If you're from England, then I assume you've heard of the restriction for underage magic they have over there."
"Yes," he said, nodding.
"We in America think that's ridiculous. All we worry about is secrecy. As long as he doesn't perform the magic around muggles, we don't care. While we do have boarding schools like Hogwarts that start at age eleven, we also have schools where wizarding children are taught basic magic, as well as the foundations of many of the courses taught at Hogwarts. They meet from five to six p.m. on Monday through Friday, and on Saturday seven-thirty a.m. to twelve-thirty p.m. Each weekday is a different subject, and Saturday is all five subjects."
"The first year classes are Latin, which is helpful in learning spells; basic wand handling, which includes safety and all the different wand movements; simple charms, simple transfiguration, and simple herbology. Some of them continue while others, such as wand handling, are replaced by classes such as potions, and eventually defense, although we wait until the children are ten to start that. If you started him now, he'd be well ahead in his classes, and might even be able to skip a grade at Hogwarts. Instead of going by ages, we start kids when they perform their first accidental magic. We find that teaching to control magic then helps prevent more accidents. Our first term starts two weeks after muggle terms, because starting school tends to cause accidental magic. Therefore by waiting those two weeks, we almost double our enrollment."
"Well," said Mark, looking at his wife, "What do you think?"
"It sounds good, but maybe we should ask Harry what he thinks."
"We should probably ask Aunt Minnie's opinion too. Mr. Kirk, could we get back to you?"
"Of course," he said with a smile. "I know that's a big decision. Here are some forms to look at," he said, pulling out his wand and conjuring a brochure, along with legal-looking papers. "Just let us know by the end of the week. I've also left instructions to the nearest wizarding neighborhood where you can buy wands and books, and anything else magical you'd like whether you choose to put Harry in Wentworth Witchcraft Elementary School or not."
That night, they talked to Minerva over the two-way mirror, who seemed very pleased about it. She was unaware of the differences in American wizarding laws. She'd always assumed underage restrictions were the same everywhere. She was all for it, so they just needed to talk to Harry.
"Well, Harry," said Mark nervously, "Do you remember how that boy Brian's hand was hurting for apparently no reason?"
"Uh-huh," said Harry, looking down like he expected to be in more trouble.
"You did it," said Cindy.
"No I didn't mommy! I don't know how!"
"We know you didn't do it on purpose," said Mark. "You did magic."
"I did?" he asked, amazed. "How? Can you do magic?"
"I can't, but your Aunt Minnie can."
Harry looked excited. "She can?"
"Yes. Hogwarts is a magic school that you'll go to when you're eleven."
His eyes were wide. "Really? Can I see it now?"
Mark chuckled. "Not for a while, but you're learning to read. When you're ready, you can read a book about it that Aunt Minnie gave us. It's called 'Hogwarts, A History.' Cindy rolled her eyes, knowing it would be years before Harry could read that tome.
"Can you read it to me tonight?" he asked pleadingly.
"Maybe," Mark said, "But for now, I have a question. Do you want to start learning magic now?"
"Yeah," said the smiling boy.
"If you do, it means more school," said Cindy.
"But it's magic school!" said Harry.
"Then you'll start in a week," said Mark. "Saturday, we'll get you a wand and other school supplies."
"Yay!" he said raising his fists in air, victoriously.
"Oh, one important thing. You can't tell anyone about being magical or learning magic. That's very important. If you do, you'll be in a lot of trouble."
"Ok, it's secret," said Harry.
"Yes," said Cindy, "It's a secret."
"Is Brianna magic too?" asked Harry.
"We don't know yet," said Mark.
"You got to wait until she accidental magics someone like I did!" he said grinning.
Cindy giggled. "Yes dear, we've got to wait to see if she does accidental magic."
Harry and Brianna (who they told since it wouldn't stay a secret in the house very long anyway – but she knew it was a secret she couldn't tell anyone) were fascinated by Little Salem, the local wizarding neighborhood about the size of Diagon Alley. This one was entered through an arcade. There was a game called 'Witch's War.' in a corner that was marked, 'Out of Order.' If you sat in it and leaned into the wall it was against, you'd fall through it, but land on your feet in an area unlike anything Harry had ever seen before. He was the first to bravely try, followed by Mark, Brianna, and Cindy.
They all looked around, intrigued by the names on the shops, such as 'Calumet Cauldrons,' as well as all the different types of creatures walking around. Mark chuckled when he noticed a restaurant called 'Magical McDonalds.' They soon saw a goblin walking out of there toward the local branch of Gringotts, which was going to be their first stop until Cindy noticed a Gringotts ATM machine by the entrance. You'd use your debit card from a muggle bank, and it would give you wizarding money (after charging a dollar fee). They took out enough for Harry's books and wand, along with plenty for anything else they might want to buy.
After they got the books and supplies, they walked into a 'Wand Locker' Outlet, which was apparently part of a popular American chain of wand shops. They were surprised to find a young woman behind the counter. Harry blushed when he saw the attractive blonde woman who was in her early twenties. Brianna noticed and giggled until he elbowed her.
The woman was very worried as wand after wand rejected Harry, who was getting more and more embarrassed, until finally she handed him a wand made of Beechwood and phoenix feather, nine inches. A few red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework when he held it. She said uncertainly, "This doesn't seem to be a perfect match, but it looks like it will work. You may want to try another shop, but the nearest one is in Michigan."
Mark smiled. "I think we'll take this one," he said while wondering if the perfect wand for Harry might be in England.
"Well," the woman said, "We normally charge nine Galleons, but I'll let you have it for eight since it's not a perfect match to this young man's exquisite taste." She winked at Harry, who blushed and hid his face.
"Thank you very much," said Cindy, smiling.
As soon as they left, Brianna started giggling madly and shouted, "Harry's got a crush on the lady in there!" repeatedly until Mark caught Harry's fist that was about to punch his sister. Harry's face was completely red.
"Brianna, stop teasing your brother!" said Cindy, "and Harry, don't try to hit your sister!"
"Fine!" the siblings said together with their arms crossed over their chests and matching angry expressions on their faces.
Mark then smirked at his son. "Is that true that you liked the lady in there?" which caused Brianna to laugh so hard she fell as Harry hid his purple face in his hands while Cindy glared at her husband.
Harry did pretty well in his new classes. He hated the Latin (which was currently concentrating on the alphabet) and herbology, but enjoyed charms, wand handling, and transfiguration. Brianna was easily impressed when Harry did his homework in front of her, magically sharpening his pencil. Mark (and Aunt Minnie when he told her) was surprised to find that Harry's school used regular paper and pencils and didn't require wizard robes. The pamphlet they'd read pointed out the fact that these peculiarities often alerted muggles that something was unusual. Besides, paper and pencils are easier to handle than parchment, quill, and ink, especially for younger children. When the kids are older they start using pens as well.
Harry tended to be at the top of his class at Wentworth Wizarding School while average at his regular classes. When his parents confronted him about it he said, "Magic's more interesting and I'll be going to Hogwarts anyway."
"Until then you'll be going to muggle school and you'll get your grades back up unless you want us to pull you out of magic school," said Mark, bluffing. He knew he'd never pull Harry out of magic school. After all, that's the world he belonged in. He did however know that Harry would need reading, writing, and arithmetic even in the wizarding world.
"No! You can't take me outta magic school! I'll run away if you do!"
Mark grinned at the panic he saw in Harry's eyes. Cindy said, "Then pick up your other grades to prove we don't need to."
"Fine!" he said.
"Don't take that attitude with me, young man!" she said.
"Sorry, mommy," said Harry, looking at her with his best pathetic puppy dog face.
She sighed and patted his blonde head while smiling. "Why don't you run along and work on your reading?" He walked to his room without another word.
Harry's muggle grades did improve after that, although he did require occasional encouragement in the form of threats and/or bribery. During the spring of Harry's second year, a few weeks after Brianna's fifth birthday, she did something she shouldn't have done. She wanted to try doing magic, so she borrowed Harry's wand without telling him when he'd left his room for a few minutes in the middle of doing homework. When he returned, he saw that his wand wasn't where he'd left it, so he immediately got mad and went straight to his sister's bedroom. When he quietly opened the door without knocking, he found her pointing his wand at a pencil, trying to sharpen it. She was so absorbed in her task that she hadn't noticed him yet.
"GIVE IT BACK!" he shouted, scaring her and causing a red light to shoot out of the wand that she'd instinctively pointed at the source of the noise. The blast hit Harry square in the chest, causing him to go unconscious and fall to the floor, just as Cindy and Mark approached the room to see what the noise was.
As Harry collapsed, tears started falling from Brianna's horrified face. She dropped the wand and ran toward her brother. "Harry! I'M SORRY!" she shouted as she took him in her arms in time to see her parents, who did not look happy at all. She started trembling, afraid she'd hurt Harry badly or even killed him. "I…sorry….I took his wand….H-Harry surprised me." At this point she couldn't even speak anymore. She just sobbed for a few minutes on Harry's unconscious form, leaning her head on his chest. Her parents watched, not sure what to say. Mark bent down and checked Harry's pulse, smiling slightly when he felt one. "Harry…Harry's gonna be ok, right, daddy?" Brianna finally said through her tears.
"I think so," Mark replied, "I'm gonna call the department of accidental magic though, just to be sure."
"I'll do it," said Cindy.
As she walked toward their bedroom to retrieve the 'other' phonebook, Brianna sobbed, "I'm sorry daddy. Am I going to jail? I didn't mean it! He, he scared me…"
He gave his daughter a hug. "I know, honey, and I love you, but I can't simply overlook the fact that you took your brother's wand. You will be punished after we find out how Harry is doing."
"Yes, daddy," she said with her head bowed low in penitence. "I love you, too, and Harry. If anything's wrong I don't know…"
"We'll find that out now," said a friendly-looking man with dark hair and a graying beard. He was standing with Cindy. "I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Oliver Brown. I'm from the accidental magic department. We can apparate directly to the other side of a phone call. I take it that this pretty little girl here is the one who performed the magic on the boy."
"Yes," said Mark, moving with Brianna to give the wizard room to examine Harry.
"I doubt she's hurt her brother seriously," he said as he bent down. He pulled out his wand and performed a spell on Harry. He then chuckled as he saw the results written in shining letters in front of him. "How old is your daughter?"
"Brianna's five years old," said Cindy.
"Amazing. She's performed a perfect stunning spell on your son. I'd hate to duel her when she gets older. She's going to be a very powerful witch." He then turned his wand toward Harry. "Enervate."
Harry opened his eyes and saw a stranger smiling at him. He flinched and then noticed his parents there too, and he remembered what had happened, all the way to the point of the spell hitting him. "BRIANNA! I'm gonna kill you!" he shouted as he got up.
"Now, Harry…" said Cindy.
Brianna in the meantime had gotten to a far corner of her room. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean it!"
"Well," said Mr. Brown with a grin, "Since Harry's already going to magic school, you should have no trouble enrolling Brianna there as well. It appears you have a family crisis to deal with. I'll see myself off, and you'll get a bill in a few days. Bye." He then disappeared with a soft pop.
Harry started to run toward his sister, but found the strong arms of his father were holding him back. "She stole my wand and hexed me!"
"We know," said Mark, "and she'll be punished. But hexing you was an accident."
"No it wasn't! I hate her!" he shouted and ran off to his room.
"Harry!" shouted Brianna, "It was an accident! I didn't want to hurt…" Harry's door slammed shut and Brianna sat down in the corner where she'd been standing, and cried with her face in her knees.
"I'm sure he didn't mean it, sweetheart," said Cindy, walking up to her daughter.
"Yes, he did! I was bad and now he hates me!" she said between her tears.
"I'm gonna go talk to him," said Cindy, "while I think about your punishment."
"I'll do Harry's chores for a year," Brianna declared, causing Mark to chuckle.
"Well," said Cindy, "I'm not sure about a year, but…"
"Two years!" cried Brianna, "Maybe he'll forgive me then."
"I meant that one year might be too long, Brianna. Your father and I will discuss it and let you know our decision." Cindy then picked up Harry's wand from the floor and left the room.
Harry sat on his bed fuming. He knew his sister could use her sad puppy-dog eyes, which she did even better than him, to get out of any punishment. She'd gone into his room, taken his wand, and hexed him. He admitted to himself that it had to have been an accident since she didn't know any spells, but she shouldn't have had the wand to begin with. He was interrupted from his thoughts by a knock at his door. He ignored it, knowing it would either be Brianna or one of his parents telling him to forgive Brianna. His door opened.
"Hi, Harry," said his mom. "I brought you your wand back." She closed the door as she entered.
"Put it on my desk, where I left it," he said coldly.
"Do you know exactly what Brianna did to you?" she said, sitting on the chair by Harry's desk.
"She hexed me," Harry said, "On purpose no matter what she says!"
"I meant what spell she used."
His expression softened. "No, but it's like I fainted."
"Exactly. It's called the stunning spell. Have they taught it to you yet at school?"
He put his head down. "No."
Cindy wore a fake worried expression. She looked around as though to make sure no one was listening in. "I think she's been running off and learning dark magic so she can hex us all."
Harry's expression changed from angry to surprised. "What?"
"You were right to tell her you hate her. I think I'll tell her that, too."
"Your father thinks we should get her a wand and enroll her at your school, but I know better."
"Y-you do?" Harry was getting worried about his mom's sanity.
"Of course. Look at what she did with your wand. We're just lucky she was still practicing. I'm sure she really wanted to kill you, and then everybody else."
"I think we should kick her out of the house now before she's too powerful. What do you think? Do you want to hex her a few times first?"
Harry was now clearly scared, and his mom was having a very hard time keeping a straight face. "I, I don't think she's doing that. I, it was an accident. She wasn't trying to hurt me."
"But she took your wand. It must have been her plan all along."
"She was, was just curious. She wanted to know if she had magic. You can't kick her out for that."
"Why are you trying to defend her? You said you hate her."
As his mom's expression changed from fear to amusement to neutral, his face fell. "I did say that, didn't I?"
"Yes you did, and she's right now in her room crying. I've never seen anyone as scared or sorry as she was when you fell down. She thinks she should do your chores for two years, and then maybe you'll forgive her. What do you think?"
He smirked. "Well, two years without chores…"
"All right, all right. I'll talk to her. But she did take my wand!"
"I know, Harry, and your dad and I will punish her for that, but I think that she needs to know you still love her…"
"I know you boys don't like this kind of mushy stuff, but you know that you love your sister, and she needs to know that too! If you can say that you hate her, you can say that you love her!" She took a deep breath. "She really looks up to you, and it really hurts her when you say things like that. You've got to learn not to say things you don't mean when you're angry. You can ruin a friendship that way."
"I already said I'll talk to her, mom." She then hugged her son.
"I knew you would."
Brianna was sitting in her room alone, still crying in a corner. The door was open because she didn't bother to get up and close it. This should've been a happy day. She found out she was a witch. Unfortunately her very first accidental magic had hurt her brother, and now he hated her. She looked up when she heard her door close.
Harry was standing there looking nervous. "Hi, Brianna."
"I'm sooo sorry, Harry! I'll never do magic again!"
"What kind of rubbish is that? Of course you'll do magic. You'll be going to my school. You'll probably do better that me, judging by that spell you accidentally sent at me," he said with a smirk.
She smiled a bit when he admitted it was an accident. He walked up to her and squatted down. "I'm still not happy that you took my wand…"
"Let me finish. I know you wouldn't really try to hurt me." He took a deep breath. "I said some mean things to you. I didn't mean them either."
"You didn't?" she asked, finally daring to hope he didn't hate her.
"No. I don't hate you sis. I…um…love you." He then hugged her and she returned the embrace, crying on his shoulder.
"I was so scared," she said, "I'm so glad you're ok."
Brianna ended up doing Harry's chores for a week. Their parents felt bad about punishing the girl after she'd been through so much, but they felt that a lack of punishment would encourage more rule-breaking. Aunt Minnie was thrilled to find out that Brianna was magical. They went to Little Salem that weekend and got Brianna her own wand (mahogany and dragon heartstring, 8 ½ inches) at the same shop from the same woman Harry "DID NOT" have a crush on. This wand was a perfect match for Brianna. She borrowed her brother's first magic books and got her mom to help her read them. Cindy had begun teaching both of her kids to read when they turned three, but Brianna wasn't quite ready to read books like that on her own.
The summer came and went, with Brianna practicing her reading and spellwork in anticipation of attending Wentworth Witchcraft Elementary School. She began kindergarten that year as well. She turned out to be somewhat of a bookworm, and was at the top of her classes in both muggle and magical school. She did gain a few friends and went to some sleepovers. Harry wasn't happy when his sister invited her friends to sleepover at their house, and managed to arrange to spend the night at one of his friend's houses whenever the girls were staying at his house.
The McGonagalls got a Nintendo Entertainment System that included Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt the summer that Harry turned ten (Brianna was eight). Both siblings greatly enjoyed that, and were known to spend hours in the living room fighting Bowser and his allies to save Princess Toadstool. Harry enjoyed Duck Hunt a lot more than his sister, and would wait until one of his friends, either magical or muggle, would come over so he could compete with them.
That was the same year that he learned both defensive spells (he finally learned how to stun Brianna and told her so, causing her to pale) and modern magical history, which included a recent war in Europe fought over ridiculous prejudices. This particular war had been started by a dark wizard named Voldemort (Americans didn't fear the name because he hadn't terrorized them) and was ended by a boy named Harry Potter. No one knows what happened to the boy, who disappeared the day after Voldemort did. Some said he was killed by the same Death Eaters who tortured aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom into insanity. Others think he's alive and being trained as a dark wizard to take Voldemort's place. Still others simply think that someone hid him away in a good home where nobody knew who he was so that he'd be safe. The point was that no one knew what had become of him, except that his name was still down in the registry of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which indicated that he wasn't dead.
Harry came home after the lesson on the demise of Voldemort excited to talk about it with his parents. He didn't know why, but the whole story of Voldemort seemed very interesting to him. "Hi, mom!" he said after the 'Eagle Bus' took him and Brianna home from school. Once Harry had turned ten, his parents let him and Brianna take the magical bus to and from wizarding school on Saturdays. It went incredibly fast like a roller coaster, but had seatbelts so that you weren't thrown around when it made sharp turns or stopped. Their house was on the floo network, but both Harry and Brianna greatly enjoyed riding the bus, so their parents allowed it, figuring that it meant they didn't have to visit Six Flags Great America nearly as often, although they did end up going at least twice every summer – once with Mark's company before the park was open to the public (before the new rides were open), and once in August.
"Hi, Harry, Brianna!" said Cindy, "How was school?"
"It was great! I learned a spell that will freeze a person until they get revived in Defense class, and about Voldemort and Harry Potter in History class!"
Cindy froze for a moment when Harry mentioned his true identity. She then decided to change the topic. "What about potions, transfiguration, and herbology?"
"They were fine too, but this kid Harry Potter, who would be my age, he somehow killed the most powerful dark wizard alive nine years ago, and ended a war! But then he disappeared."
"Did he?" asked a frightened Cindy who wasn't sure what to do.
"Yeah. Some say he's being taught to be a dark wizard. I hope they're wrong."
"I'm sure they are," said Cindy.
"I wonder if Aunt Minnie knew the Potters," said Brianna, who'd heard the whole story while they were riding home. "Harry said her boss, Professor Dumbledore, did."
"I, er, am sure she did. They, er, probably were her students at one time."
"Oh yeah," said Brianna.
At that moment Mark walked in the house behind them. He'd had to work that Saturday.
"Maybe I can ask Aunt Minnie about Harry Potter to help with my report," said Harry.
Mark coughed behind them at the mention of that name. "H-Harry P-Potter?"
"Yeah. Did Aunt Minnie tell you anything about him? He went missing just a few months before we left England."
Mark and Cindy looked at each other. Cindy nodded and then so did Mark. "Kids, sit down and we'll tell you everything we know about Harry Potter."
Harry smiled broadly. "So she did tell you something about him! I knew it!"
Cindy said, "Yes. The day after his parents died, she brought him to our house and asked us to raise him as our son."
Harry frowned. "And you said no? Why? I guess you were already planning on moving and had me. Did I play with him while he was visiting?"
Mark continued, "I, I think you're missing the point." He took a deep breath and looked at his son. "You are Harry Potter. This is a complete secret and you can't tell anyone. Aunt Minnie transfigured your hair blonde and we had a doctor remove your scar. Your fingerprints were changed as well, but we kept your eyes the same color."
Brianna was staring at her brother, who was looking astounded. "I, I'm not your son?" He looked at Brianna. "I, I'm not your brother?"
"You are as much a part of this family as any of us!" said Cindy sternly, "And we love you every bit as much as Brianna!"
Harry seemed to relax a bit, but he was still in shock. "I, I, Ok, they wanted to keep where I am a secret so no one could get revenge. I, I guess I understand. I suppose as a kid I could've blabbed it. So Dumbledore lied when he said I disappeared to throw the Death Eaters off the track."
Mark answered. "No. He dropped you off at your only living relatives' house like a milk bottle. Aunt Minnie had watched them all day and saw that they were the worst kind of people you could imagine, and she remembered terrible things Lily Potter had said about them. That Dumb-Old-Dork didn't bother trying to meet them. He simply went to the house and left you on the doorstep with a note. Five months later he checked on you to find you were missing."
Cindy continued, "She took you as soon as he left. She would've raised you herself, but she knew that Dumbledore would've found out and put you with those people. So she had to find someone to take care of you."
"You," said Harry.
"Yes," said Mark. "She brought you to us and we happily welcomed you to our family. We claimed you'd been dropped on our doorstep and we had no idea who you were, and adopted you. Dumbledore has no idea. When you go to Hogwarts, you need to try to keep that secret. First because I don't think you want everybody staring at you like an exhibit from the zoo. Secondly, because it could get your Aunt Minnie, maybe even us, in trouble. Thirdly, Dumbledore will probably want to send you to those people."
"I understand," said Harry. "I won't tell anyone."
Mark smiled. "I know, but there are magical ways to find out anyway."
"One of my teachers mentioned Leg-legillmonky."
Mark chuckled. "Legilimency. What do you know about it?"
"That it requires eye contact, so I shouldn't look him in the eyes."
Cindy continued, "Or another Professor named Snape. He's also a Legilimens. But there is a defense against it called Occlumency. Aunt Minnie learned it right after she, well, kidnapped you so that she wouldn't be found out. She gave us a book on it. It seems even muggles can learn to protect their minds. She sent us the book once we came into contact with the wizarding world."
"When I started magic school," stated Harry.
"Exactly. We'd like you two to read it and start learning. It's more important for Harry to learn it first since he's going to Hogwarts soon, but you both should learn it. Your magic school has a strict policy against reading the minds of students, but if you ever feel that one of your teachers is looking straight into your soul, break eye contact immediately."
"All right," both kids replied.
"By the way, we're going to be spending the summer in England with Aunt Minnie," said Mark.
"Yes…No!" said Brianna. "We won't be able to practice magic there."
Minerva had explained that the ministry didn't detect underage magic in wizarding homes, but had also sworn them to secrecy about that fact, giving them a story to tell the kids. Mark said, "Don't tell anyone, but because you're from America, you're allowed to do magic in Aunt Minnie's house as long as no one but family is there."
Cindy continued, "She does want you to meet other kids, though. The muggleborn students are going to have an orientation at her house a few days after we arrive. She wants both of you there as well since we're muggles, although technically your dad is a squib."
"Why me?" asked Brianna, "I won't be going to Hogwarts until Harry's third year."
"She thinks you'd be rather bored otherwise, and that you may enjoy meeting some children, even if they are Harry's age," answered Cindy.
Harry then got an angry look on his face. "Voldemort murdered my real parents!"
"Yes," said Mark, "but I doubt it'll help for you to be angry at someone you somehow already got rid of."
"I guess not." Harry then smiled. "So, does my true identity mean I can get my presents on July 31st instead of August 12th this year?"
"I'm afraid that would blow your cover," said Brianna with a smirk.
"Besides, Aunt Minnie intended on inviting any of the muggleborn students you liked to a birthday party on August 12th, but if you don't want one, that's fine," said Mark.
"No, that's fine. I can keep my birthday as it is."
The months passed quickly, and at the end of the school year, Harry bid goodbye to his friends, telling the muggle friends he'd be attending a private school in Scotland, while telling his wizarding friends he was going to Hogwarts.
Minerva was getting nervous as she waited for her family to arrive. She'd entered both Harry and Brianna McGonagall's names on the list at Hogwarts when they'd performed their first accidental magic, and had casually 'let it slip' that her nephew had magical kids who would be attending so that it wouldn't come as a surprise that the headmaster would investigate. She was also glad that Harry already knew who he was, and he was keeping it secret. She was proud of how quickly they'd devoured the Occlumency book and how much effort they'd put into learning it, but she knew she'd have to actually test their shields to find out how well they were doing. It was imperative that Harry be a master Occlumens as soon as possible, preferably before his first class with Snape.
That was another thing Albus did that she didn't understand. Ever since he'd hired that insufferable git (not that she'd actually call him that) his absolutely blatant favoritism of the Slytherins made a complete mockery of the point system. Breathing seemed to be Snape's main reason for taking points from Gryffindors and adding points to Slytherins. According to the school records, the man had never taken a point from a Slytherin or given a point to a Gryffindor in the ten or so years he'd been working there. She pointed out all these facts, along with accounts from dozens of witnesses from every house but Slytherin, and Albus completely ignored it, saying that he trusted Snape. She'd even shown him pensieve memories from students that proved Snape didn't even teach. He simply put instructions on the board and started taking points from Gryffindors. For that reason, no house but Slytherin had won the House Cup since he'd become the head of Slytherin house.
She honestly wondered what was wrong with the headmaster. Ever since she'd realized how foolish Albus had been regarding Harry, she'd started questioning many of the decisions he'd made. For example, he'd hired a complete fraud who enjoyed predicting student deaths as Divination teacher at about the same time he'd hired Snape. Now he'd just asked her to help him set up protections to guard the Philosopher's Stone at Hogwarts. Why would a school be used to guard anything but children? What if some dark wizard came to the school looking for the stone? He might kill every student he sees along the way before he gets to the obstacles protecting the stone. What if a student, accidentally or purposely, came across Hagrid's three-headed dog?
She had slowly begun to believe that Albus Dumbledore wasn't actually that good of a headmaster. He seemed to have his own agenda that superseded his responsibility to the students – to provide a high quality education in a safe environment conducive to learning. She knew he wasn't a dark wizard, and that he probably had the best intentions, with what he felt was the greater good at heart, but hiring bad teachers and making Hogwarts more dangerous shouldn't have been an option. He quite obviously didn't have the students' best interests at heart. She sighed, figuring that there was nothing she could do about it anyway and continued waiting for her family at the airport.
"Aunt Minnie!" shouted Harry and Brianna happily as they ran toward Professor McGonagall with outstretched arms.
"Harry! Brianna!" she said as they each in turn embraced her. "Mark and Cindy, it's good to see you as well!"
"I'm just glad my job let me have this long of a vacation!"
"So am I!" said Minnie. "We'll all have to take the Knight Bus to my house and discuss a few issues that I'm concerned about."
After a ride wherein everyone was tossed around the bus, Cindy McGonagall walked up to Stan Shunpike and shouted, "WHY THE HELL DON'T YOU HAVE SEATBELTS!? THE BUS LIKE THIS IN AMERICA DOES! They realize that passengers probably don't want to be tossed all over the bus during the ride! My kids probably have brand new bumps and bruises thanks to you!"
Stan stared at her. "I'm sorry we have offended you ma'am. What's a seatbelt?"
After she very patiently cured the ignorance of the Knight Bus conductor, he said, "Wow! That's a great idea. Did you hear that, Ernie?"
Once they were settled in McGonagall Manor (thanks to the help of a house elf named Blinky – much to the annoyance of the Americanized and anti-slavery McGonagalls), which was located in Scotland, Minerva sat in the living room with her guests. "Well since I'm the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts who writes the Hogwarts letters, I already have Harry McGonagall's ready. Professor Dumbledore has asked me to send one to Harry Potter on his birthday as well. I shall have to dissemble yet again and claim that it was returned unopened. I just hope he doesn't ask me to keep trying."
"That would be funny," said Harry, "To send a whole flock of owls after me." Brianna laughed.
"That reminds me. Do you have an owl?" asked Minerva.
"No. My American friends all had telephones, even the wizarding ones."
"I'd like to get you one so that you can keep in contact with the friends you make here. Just remember not to try sending it across the ocean to your family over the school year. To talk to them, I'll get you your own mirror."
His face lit up from that news. "Thanks, Aunt Minnie!"
Brianna frowned for a few seconds but said nothing.
Minnie said, "I'll also be getting a mirror for you, Brianna. I'd imagine that you may wish to speak to your brother without your parents listening in. Would you like an owl now or when you start at Hogwarts?"
The nine year old girl smiled brightly. "Now, please."
"Having a pet is a responsibility, both of you," said Cindy, "You'll have to take care of them."
"Yes, mom," they both said together.
Minerva looked at Harry. "Now, as I understand it, when you got your wand, you were told that it wasn't a perfect match."
"Yes, but it's worked so far," he said defensively.
"I'm sure that it's a fine wand, but you'll get the best results with the wand that suits you best. I have a suspicion I've never voiced that the wand meant for a witch or wizard always somehow makes its way to the wand shop closest to where that person was born. In Brianna's case, it was Little Salem, but in your case, it would be Ollivander's shop in Diagon Alley. I would like to visit there tomorrow when we pick up Harry's school supplies."
"We're going there tomorrow?" asked Mark.
"Yes," Minerva said simply, "and while we're there, I'd like to resolve another issue. I know that James and Lily Potter left an inheritance for their son at Gringotts, though I'm not entirely sure what it consists of. The goblins there are very discrete. They don't normally disclose any information about the activity of accounts or who visits Gringotts. You can even ask them to be even more discreet than usual. Er, just remember to be polite."
"Are you asking us to take Harry to Gringotts claiming his real identity?" asked Mark.
"Yes," said Minerva, earning surprised looks all around. "Not publicly. Simply ask for a private meeting when you arrive and tell the goblin you speak to that this is confidential, and that Harry is indeed Harry Potter."
"And they'll believe us?" asked Cindy skeptically.
"Of course not, but they'll take a small sample of his blood."
"They're gonna stick me with a needle? No way!"
"Actually they'll prick your finger with a knife, but heal it once they get the blood. They'll then be able to create a new key to your vault, and at the same time the existing key will disappear, right out of Albus' safe." She smiled briefly. "He will eventually notice that the key disappeared and will probably ask the goblins if they made a new key for your vault. You should specifically say you don't want Professor Dumbledore to know about it. Fortunately, his form of Legilimency doesn't work on goblins, only humans." She then looked at her niece and nephew. "Have you been practicing your Occlumency?"
"Yes, Aunt Minnie," said Harry, putting up his shields as his sister did the same. He soon felt a pressure move against his shields. At first it was gentle, and then it got gradually stronger as he kept her out. Finally she dropped the attack for a moment and Harry relaxed, only to be attacked at this momentary weakness. He soon found himself reliving some of the most wonderful moments of his life – birthday parties, Christmas mornings, the first time he saw his sister, and when he learned he was magical.
"You did very well, Harry, except that you relaxed too soon. Truthfully, unless you give them reason to suspect you, that's the strongest attack you'll get. But if they do become suspicious, they'll attack much harder than that, especially Snape. We'll need to work on this every day this summer, and into the school year, as necessary."
"Yes, Aunt Minnie."
"Now I'll test Brianna's defenses."
Brianna turned out to be a bit easier to read than Harry, and also agreed to work on it that summer, and then to continue working on it after they left so that hopefully the next time they saw each other, Aunt Minnie wouldn't be able to read her mind.
The first stop they made was at Gringotts. Minerva did not accompany them inside the bank out of fear of being recognized. Mark walked up to the teller. "Excuse me. My family and I would like to talk with someone who can handle accounts in private."
"Yes, sir," said the goblin. "Wait in that room." He pointed at an open door on the other side of the room. They walked into the room that had a rectangular table with six uncomfortable wooden chairs around it. They all sat down and waited.
After fifteen minutes, a goblin walked in. "Hello. My name is Griphook. May I ask your identities?"
"My name is Mark McGonagall."
"Are you of any relation to Minerva McGonagall?"
"Yes. She's my aunt. This is my wife Cindy and my daughter Brianna. The boy's identity is to be a complete secret from everybody, including Albus Dumbledore. Will you agree to that?"
"Yes, of course. We here at Gringotts are most discreet. Who is the boy?"
"This is my adopted son, Harry Potter. He would like to find out what inheritance he has coming."
The goblins eyes flicked up to where the scar should be.
"We had his scar hidden through a muggle operation, for obvious reasons. His hair and fingerprints have also been altered. The name he goes by is Harry Mark McGonagall."
"We will have to take some of his blood to prove your claim. May I assume that you do not possess his vault key?"
"That's correct," Harry said as he held out his hand, closing his eyes tightly. His sister looked away.
After a slight irritation on his finger, Harry opened his eyes to see that the wound was healed and his blood was dropping into the top of a miniature replica of Gringotts that hadn't been on the table a moment ago. A few seconds after the drop of blood entered the bank's chimney, the doors opened and a key stuck out of them. Griphook pulled the key out, and a small piece of paper like a receipt came out the doors behind the key. The goblin took it out as well and read, "Harry James Potter has inherited the Potter vault."
After a quick ride to the vault, the stacks of gold impressed the whole family. Harry took some, but not much because his mom wouldn't let him "…waste your entire inheritance in one day!" They met up with Minerva at Flourish and Blotts, where they found her immersed in a magical romance novel. She put it away immediately and complained about the poor quality of writing. Cindy put it in their basket when Minnie wasn't watching, intent on giving it to her for Christmas. Harry got his school books, as well as the updated version of 'Hogwarts, a History.' He then noticed a book called, 'Quidditch Through the Ages' and asked, "Can I get a broom?"
"Harry," said Minerva, "I'm afraid first years can't have brooms."
"Sorry," said Mark, "But you can have the book."
They got a few other books, one of which because it talked about 'the Boy-Who-Lived-and-Vanished' that presented all the main theories about him, including that he'd been vaporized from the curse Voldemort sent, only a day late.
They visited Ollivander's and showed him Harry's wand. "Oh yes. Not one of mine. Beechwood and phoenix feather, nine inches. A good match, but not a perfect one."
"He was born in England, but we moved to America when he was a child. We got the wand there. The saleslady knew it wasn't a perfect match and gave us a discount," said Cindy.
"Oh yes, that American rubbish about letting kids run amok with wands before they can read," he muttered to himself. "We'll try a few wands with phoenix feather cores."
After trying a few that all seemed close matches like the wand Harry already had, finally the wandmaker took a wand out saying, "I wonder."
As soon as the wand found itself in Harry's hand, he felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wand above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light onto the walls.
Ollivander cried, "Oh bravo!" He frowned for a second, and looked as though he were going to say something but changed his mind. "That'll be seven Galleons, Mr. McGonagall."
After Mark paid, Minerva said, "Let's go to the owl emporium so I can keep my promise, and then we'll get some ice cream.
After Harry picked out a female snowy owl he named Hedwig and Brianna picked out a mostly brown male eagle owl with striking orange eyes she named Barnabus, they went for ice cream and finally back to Aunt Minnie's house.
The house actually belonged to both Minerva and Mark equally as the McGonagall ancestral home, and upon Minerva's death it would fall to Mark and his heirs (although whenever they spoke of that, he said that she may yet fall in love and have kids, which irritated her and made her blush at the same time). It had several rooms spread out over four floors. Minerva had it decorated very conservatively in Gryffindor colors.
At precisely four p.m. the day after their trip to Diagon Alley, a large group of people all holding onto a length of rope landed in a heap on the floor (which had just been treated with a cushioning charm) of a large hall in McGonagall Manor. It had red carpet with very light pastel gold colored walls. The group consisted of Hagrid, the new muggleborn students, and their families. Harry's family was already waiting for them with Aunt Minnie.
Professor McGonagall walked to the front of the room. In her most professional voice and a friendly demeanor, she said, "Welcome, everybody. I am Professor McGonagall, - Transfiguration teacher, Head of Gryffindor House, and Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts. Thank you for coming to the orientation."
The hand of a small brown-bushy-haired girl came up immediately.
"Granger, Hermione Granger. I was wondering. You see the rest of us met Hagrid at the Leaky Cauldron. I was wondering who that family is." She spoke quickly out of nervousness.
Minerva smiled. "It might be a good idea for us all to introduce ourselves. That particular family consists of my nephew, Mark McGonagall, his wife Cindy, and their children, Harry and Brianna. Harry will be starting at Hogwarts this year and Brianna will be starting in a few years. They are spending the summer here before all but Harry return to America, where they've been living for several years.
"In America, they don't have the underage restriction on magic that we do here, so Harry and Brianna have both been attending a magic school, as well as a muggle school, since they were five years old. They thought this would be an excellent opportunity to meet some of the students that will be Harry's classmates. Miss Granger, why don't you introduce your family?"
After everyone (including Dean Thomas and Justin Finch-Fletchley's families) had introduced themselves, Hermione's hand went up again, causing Harry to smile. "Yes, Miss Granger?" said Minerva.
"Actually, I'd like to ask Harry and Brianna what it's like in the American wizarding school, and what did they teach." Harry and Brianna both put their heads down, attempting to hide their blushing faces.
Minnie looked at her nephew and niece. "Harry, why don't you answer first?"
"Um, well, at the school we go to, I mean I used to go to, we wear regular clothes and use pencils, pens, and paper instead of quills, ink, and parchment like at Hogwarts. That'll probably take getting used to. We had a spell for sharpening pencils though. I learned Latin and wand handling, along with the basics of almost every class at Hogwarts. I'll find out how much it helped me this September."
Brianna added, "It was nice to be able to learn magic, although I had to wait six months for a new term to begin after I learned I was a witch. They let you in that school once you've done your first accidental magic, and then you learn how to control it, so accidents became much less frequent."
Hermione said, "I wish I'd had that opportunity. Of course, I'm ever so pleased to be able to attend Hogwarts. I've read all of the class books and a few more besides, but I wish I'd had the opportunity to try out the spells."
"You all will have that opportunity at Hogwarts. The restriction of underage magic applies to all the students who have been raised in Europe, and no one else who was raised in America will be attending Hogwarts. Most students, even the ones born to magical families, will be starting at the same point as you. Are there any more questions?" She waited a few moments, but no hands were raised. "Now I will show you the way meals are served at Hogwarts." She pointed at a table with her hands, and instantly a Hogwarts' style feast appeared.
Harry sat down first and began to fill his plate when Hermione sat down next to him. "Hello, Harry," she said. Her face began to get pink. "I, er, was wondering if you could be, er, my study partner."
For a reason he couldn't fathom, his face began to turn pink too. "What exactly do you mean?"
She looked down at the table. "Er, to do class work and homework together, to study together."
"Oh, you mean like friends."
"Well, yes. Almost like friends."
Harry wondered why she'd say, 'Almost like friends' as though she never had friends before. He suspected it was her obviously studious nature that classified her as a bookworm that prevented her from gaining friends. "Sorry, can't do it," he said with a grin.
"I'm…sorry to have bothered you," she said as she began to get up. She sounded like she was about to cry.
"If you want, we can be friends, and study together as well. But I'm not good at being 'almost like friends.'"
She sat back down with a huge grin that showed her buckteeth, but more importantly it showed real happiness. "Friends? Do you mean it?"
He now knew he was right and she didn't have many, if any, friends. "Of course I mean it. Look, Aunt Minnie just got me an owl. I'll send you a letter every week until school starts. We'll sit together on the train."
She looked down. "I, er, don't have an owl."
"Then I'll have my owl wait for your reply. I'll introduce you to her after dinner."
In her excitement, she hugged Harry for a moment and then pulled her hands back and blushed furiously. "Er, thanks," she said.
"You're welcome, Hermione."
The hug didn't go unnoticed by the others at the table. The Grangers were thrilled to see that their little girl seemed to have made a friend. They suspected she had a crush on him as well. Brianna knew she had something to harass her brother with for the rest of the summer and probably well into the school year. The boys figured that Harry was just as much of a bookworm/teacher's pet as Hermione seemed to be – probably worse since he was related to a teacher. They knew that they didn't want to be friends with either of them.
After they were done eating, Harry and Hermione snuck out of the huge room and went to his bedroom. Hermione was impressed as she looked around the mansion. "I wish I had time to show you the library," said Harry.
Her eyes widened. "There's a library here?"
He chuckled. When they got to his room, Blinky was in there dusting. Hermione let out a small shriek.
"It's all right, Hermione. Blinky is a house elf. Blinky, I told you that you don't have to clean my room for me."
"Blinky is sorry, Master Harry. But Blinky is knowing you isn't supposed to be here now."
"It's all right. I'd like you to meet my new friend, Hermione Granger." Hermione smiled at being introduced as his friend.
Blinky bowed low. "It is an honor meeting your Grangy, sir."
Hermione asked, "Are you their butler or something?"
"I is Blinky the house elf, bound to serve the McGonagall family forever," he said proudly as he wore a fancy linen that displayed an ornate 'M' on it.
"Serve? You mean like a slave? You don't get paid." Her face fell.
"Of course Blinky isn't being paid," he answered patiently, knowing that she was a muggle-born and didn't understand many wizarding customs.
Hermione turned to Harry. "You own a slave?"
"No, I don't own a slave. Aunt Minnie does. My family lives in America. Elves aren't slaves there. My dad tried to talk her into freeing Blinky, but she wouldn't hear of it."
Blinky now looked terrified. "You…your family isn't wanting Blinky if you is inheriting McGonagall mansion?"
"Not as a slave," said Harry. "I'm sure dad wouldn't kick you out on the street, though. But you don't have to worry; I'm sure Aunt Minnie will be around for many years."
"Y-yes sir. Blinky must go now," he said as though in a trance, "back to the kitchen to get the plates."
"The kitchen?" asked Hermione. "You cooked the food we ate, didn't you?"
"Yes. Didn't you like it?"
"It was wonderful." She then turned to Harry. "You knew it was made by slave labor but ate the food anyway?"
"If I refused to eat, all that would accomplish is me starving to death. I'm staying here all summer."
"Oh, I see your point. But there must be something we can do."
"I hope so. Aunt Minnie is nice to Blinky, but there are some masters who punish their elves."
"P-punish," she said with a horrified expression.
"I should say torture. They order their elves to do things like bang their heads on walls and iron their hands."
Hermione's eyes were starting to tear. "Iron their hands?"
"It's disgusting! Even Aunt Minnie is against that. Thank goodness that doesn't happen to the elves at Hogwarts."
"Wait. Hogwarts has house elves."
"Probably more than any other place in Europe. You heard my aunt. 'Now I'll show you…"
"…the way meals are served at Hogwarts." She sighed. "Now I'm not sure if I…"
"Please don't change your mind. At least they're not tortured there. Maybe we can do something about the house elf enslavement. If you don't go, there won't be anyone there who agrees with me."
She smiled at her first friend. "Maybe we can make a difference. What if we form a club and give away information to students. Maybe we can call it," she paused, "The Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare."
"No, people would call us spew. We need it to be something good." He paused and smiled. "What about 'Community for Advancing the Rights of Elves?' C.A.R.E."
"That's perfect!" declared Hermione.
"Maybe I can spend some of my inheritance on this," he said without thinking.
"What inheritance?" she asked.
He shook his head. "Oh, never mind. I, um, don't want to talk about it."
"Oh. I'm sorry. It's none of my business if you've inherited from someone."
"That's fine. I do have some money I should be able to use to start it."
"Maybe we can get badges and sell them to try to make more money for our literature so that you don't have to keep funding it. I'll also talk to my parents and see if they'll donate any money. We'll definitely need to stay in contact to prepare. You were going to introduce me to your owl."
"Yeah." He walked up to the snowy owl that was perched in his room. "Hedwig, this is my friend Hermione."
"Hello, Hedwig. You are adorable!" Hedwig hooted in agreement.
"We'll be asking you to carry letters between us this summer. Is that all right, girl?" She hooted again. Harry patted her on the head and then said, "We'd better be headed back."
"I never would've expected my brother to sneak a girl to his room less than an hour after meeting her," said Brianna with a smirk from the doorway. Hermione's face turned red with embarrassment while Harry's turned pink with anger.
"What are you following me for, you little snoop? I ought to hex you!"
"For your information, Aunt Minnie sent me to find Hermione before the portkey left without her."
"Oh yes," said Hermione recovering. "I've got to go. It was great to meet you! Owl me." She ran off, leaving the siblings alone.
"So, my brother's got a girlfriend."
He blushed. "I do not! She's just my friend!"
"And she's a girl."
"But not girlfriend."
"Do you think she's cute?" His face was totally red now. "Ah ha! You do think your girlfriend's cute!" She turned around and left, closing the door behind her, thus insuring that she had the last word."
The weeks passed swiftly, with Harry and Hermione owling back and forth at least twice a week. During the first week, Hermione surprised him by sending a wallet-sized photo of herself that had been taken during the last school year. He decided that he would be expected to send her a picture as well. Unfortunately for him, Brianna walked in the room when Harry asked his parents for a picture to send Hermione. If his dad hadn't grabbed the wand out of Harry's pocket, he would've hexed her. That was when Harry decided to start carrying both of his wands.
He soon got his parents to take him back to Diagon Alley (with Brianna as well), and after talking about C.A.R.E. with his parents, they agreed to let him take out money to order fifty badges and some literature. They met the Grangers at Fortesque's ice cream right after the trip to the bank, and they went to a shop that made magical badges. The Grangers insisted that they paid for half of the C.A.R.E. badges once Harry and Hermione agreed on a simple design that only used the sticking charm.
They also bought books that they believed would help them create the literature, and after Mark noticed a man with long blond hair, fancy robes, and a fancy cane kicking a house elf, he ran into a nearby shop and bought a camera. He found them again and got a few great zoomed in shots of the elf being hit with the cane and kicked as they made their way toward Knockturn Alley. One photo focused on the elf's appearance in a filthy tea towel with bruises all over his body. One photo did include the wizard's face.
"Must be a respected member of high society," hissed Mark loathfully. "Anyway, I think one of these photos should be good for the cover of your literature. Just make sure not to show that jerk's face or he'll probably sue or something for defamation of his lack-of-character."
Harry finally got to show the McGonagall library to Hermione on his birthday, when she spent most of the day at the Manor. She was simply amazed at the size of the library, and how many out-of-print books were inside. She found tomes on almost every topic, including a diary written by hand that actually described the way that some wizards started harassing a group of elves because they were small and looked funny. The elves fought back after several had been tortured to death. Only one of the wizards survived (the one who wrote the diary), and he told a different story to his fellow wizards, wherein the elves attacked them unprovoked. At the end of a long and bloody war, European elves were forced into signing a magical contract with almost every old pureblood wizarding family that their descendents would serve the wizards' descendants forever. Fortunately some elves refused to sign it, and soon became fugitives, outcasts of society who eventually fled to the new world when it was discovered. Aunt Minnie paled when they showed her that, asking her to magically copy that for them.
After that, they'd had the party, where Harry hadn't invited anyone else but the Grangers and his own family. His dad got him two wand holsters that could attach to a belt or tie onto either an arm or leg. They'd been charmed to repel summoning spells, and were invisible to everyone but the wearer once they were properly attached. The wands could not accidentally fall out or be removed with physical force by anyone but the wearer. If it was on your wrist, the wearer could set a magic word he or she could say to have it shot into his hand (like a spring pushed the wand out of the holster). Harry was thrilled that he had such a great way to keep both of his wands with him, one on each wrist. He practiced catching his wands with either hand when shot out of the holster. Fortunately each holster let the owner set the magic words. Harry chose 'Old Wand' for his left and 'New Wand' for his right. However, when they started flying out of his holsters during normal conversations about his wands, he changed it to 'Old Sparks' and 'New Sparks.'
Aunt Minnie gave him a ten pound (weightless got the attention of muggles) seven compartment trunk so that he could be better organized at school. She also gave him a weightless double-capacity book bag that she claimed came free with the trunk. Hermione really wanted one of them.
The Grangers gave Harry a fancy magical stationery set complete with special quills, ink, and parchment.
Before he knew it, Harry was at Kings Cross Station and pushing a trolley through Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters. He'd managed to completely keep Minerva out of his mind for the first time the day before. His family soon joined him as he gazed in awe at the train. He still had the model of it that his aunt had given him, but there was something special about seeing the real thing.
"Hello, Harry," greeted Hermione from behind him. He turned and saw the Grangers, along with several other families, including a very large group of redheads.
"Hi, Hermione," he replied with a smile, "We should say goodbye to our families and get a compartment." She nodded and Harry walked to his family, hugging them each, even Brianna, in turn. "I'll talk to you tonight in our mirrors," he whispered to his sister before kissing her on the cheek. He then looked at all three of them. "I love you."
"We love you, too," said Cindy as she kissed his cheek one last time. "I'm so proud of you!"
Together Harry McGonagall and Hermione Granger boarded the Hogwarts Express.