"Are you sure this is what you want, Mr Potter?"
Fourteen-year-old Harry nodded, his lips pressed together. "I am certain, Madam Bones."
"Harry, my boy, you must understand…"
"Hush, Albus," another woman, Ophelia Littletree, of the very undervalued Children's Department in the Ministry of Magic replied, "obviously we shouldn't have taken your word that you placed Harry somewhere safe all those years ago."
The ancient wizard stood up. "Harry must remain in the care of his aunt and uncle. As long as he can call that place home, his mother's blood will protect him and keep him safe."
"I never called that home," Harry protested, "and I am not safe there at all."
"Our assessment of the Dursley family agrees with the boy," Littletree told Amelia Bones, "we alerted the Muggle Child Protection Services and they took the Dursley boy into their care. To return Harry there would be foolish, bordering on criminal."
"I begged the Headmaster to let me stay at Hogwarts. I begged my teachers before. They all said they would help me and then didn't, and act like I never asked anything in the first place. The Headmaster just said I had to return home," Harry reported.
"We must investigate that," Ophelia Littletree commented, "but for now, suffices to say Harry must be placed with another guardian."
"Very well, I shall take him," Dumbledore sighed, "if the Ministry insists."
Harry panicked. "No, he'll put me back with the Dursleys!"
"Calm yourself, Harry. You are fourteen years old, and that means under our laws that you have the right to dismiss anyone we propose that you do not wish to have as your guardian. You may also suggest people yourself."
Dumbledore propelled a blackhaired man forward who was scowling fiercely.
"Severus will apply."
"I told you, Headmaster…" the silky voice began to protest, but was cut off.
"You know it is for the greater good. Harry will have to obey you and you can teach him…"
Snape rolled his eyes. "It is an insane idea, even for you, and that is saying something."
"Harry?" Madam Bones asked.
"No! Living with Snape would be like living with the Dursleys," Harry frantically shook his head to indicate he did NOT want Snape as his guardian, "he hates me. I want someone who won't lock me in a cupboard and doesn't hate me."
"Ridiculously low standards, Potter," Snape commented, "any child, including you, is entitled to a little more than just that. Now, Headmaster, if you are done with this embarrassing charade…"
"I already know who I want as my guardian," Harry interrupted the proceedings.
"Oh? Who, then?" the two women leaned closer.
A woman in wide, slightly rumpled robes and huge glasses strode forward. "I will take Harry," said Sybil Trelawny.
The others stared. Harry smiled at the woman.
"You want…why?" Snape voiced the question in everyone's mind.
"Well," Harry ticked the reasons off on his fingers, "she's a Hogwarts professor and lives there all year round, which means as her kid, I could too. She is always nice to me and she doesn't have anyone else for family – I could be her family as much as she could be mine. And while she may predict my death on a daily basis, unlike most other people involved in my upbringing she doesn't actually try to kill me."
"But what if Sirius gets cleared, Harry, or professor Lupin is allowed to become your guardian?" Dumbledore tried desperately.
"Sirius isn't a suitable guardian. He's still a bit mad from Azkaban and he sees only my father, not me. Professor Lupin is nice, but he has trouble standing up to people. He would do whatever you told him to, so I'd probably end up with the Dursleys again. No one else is volunteering, and I don't want anyone to be forced to put up with me – not again."
Amelia Bones and Ophelia Littletree whispered together softly.
"Professor Trelawny has a clean record and we have no reason to doubt she will not provide Harry with a safe home. Harry, if this is what you want, we have no objection."
Dumbledore sputtered, Snape smirked, amusement dancing in his black eyes, and Harry jumped into the arms of his new guardian, Sybil Trelawny.