Harry's godparents raise him instead of the Dursleys.
Albus Dumbledore did a double-take when he realized two cats were waiting for him on the low brick wall surrounding Number 4 Privet Drive. One was a tabby with square markings around her eyes, sitting bolt upright on the wall. The other cat was a solid black colour, crouching in a meatloaf position next to the tabby. He smiled to himself as he found the Put-Outer. "I should have known."
Once all the lights had been extinguished, Dumbledore made his way to the garden wall and sat down. "Good evening, Professor McGonagall, Miss McGonagall." When he turned to smile at the cats, both of them had changed into women. The tabby was now an older woman in emerald green robes, black hair pulled back into a severe bun, square spectacles perched on her thin nose. The black cat was a younger woman in her early twenties, wearing sapphire blue robes, her black hair pulled back into a braid so long that she could have sat on the end if she'd chosen, oval-shaped spectacles perched on her long nose.
"How did you know?" Professor McGonagall asked, dark green eyes flashing a little with irritation.
"You were sitting quite stiffly, Mother," the young woman retorted before Dumbledore could. "I'm sure Father could tell from that alone."
McGonagall flashed her daughter an irritated look, though there was fondness in her gaze as well. "Thank you, Anna."
"There is, of course, the fact that I would know either of you anywhere," Dumbledore added, bright blue eyes twinkling with amusement.
McGonagall smiled quietly in reply, flattered by her husband's compliment. Anna rolled her eyes in fond exasperation. "Is it true about James and Lily, Father? Are they truly... dead?" Her voice hitched on the last word as she struggled to say it, to accept the truth.
"I'm afraid so, Anna," Dumbledore answered quietly, the twinkle disappearing from his eyes. Anna closed her eyes, visibly struggling to compose herself.
McGonagall hugged her daughter, comforting her. "Everyone has been saying that it was V-Voldemort who killed them, but he couldn't kill little Harry."
"That is true as well, Minerva." He nodded, pulling out his handkerchief and offering it to McGonagall, who passed it on to Anna.
She stared at him in surprise, even as she passed on the proffered handkerchief. "How? After everyone he's killed, he couldn't kill a baby boy?"
"No one can say for sure," Dumbledore answered in a low voice. "We may never know."
Anna sat up, dabbing at her eyes. "What's going to happen to Harry now?"
"I shall leave him here, with his family," the wizard informed them calmly.
The younger witch was hardly calm in her response, springing to her feet to face her father directly. "No! Absolutely not, Father!"
"Softly, Anna." McGonagall reached up to catch her daughter's hand. "We don't want to wake the Muggles."
Her voice lowered to a fierce whisper, Anna continued. "I'm sure the magic that will protect Harry from the Death Eaters will work fine, but it won't protect him from his family." She turned to her mother, dark blue eyes flashing. "You saw for yourself, Mother. They spoil their son. If you leave Harry with them, he'll be treated horribly."
"You can't know that, Anna." Dumbledore remained infuriatingly calm in the face of his daughter's anger. It helped that he knew she would never outright attack him. She loved him too much for that. It did not stop her from voicing her objections, however.
Anna leaned forward, the tip of her long, straight nose almost touching her father's crooked one. "Petunia was always jealous of Lily's magic. She wished she could do it, too. Since she couldn't, she came to resent it and eventually Lily, too. That resentment grew to include anything and everything that would remind Petunia of the magical world, of what she wanted so badly, but could never have. You leave Harry with her and husband and she'll resent him, too."
Dumbledore and McGonagall both gazed at Anna with some surprise as she straightened up. They'd never had so much as a hint that relations between Lily and her sister had been so horrible. Of course, this sort of information wasn't the sort a person would wish to share. Lily would only have shared such information with her closest friends. Truly wishing to know Anna's opinion, Dumbledore asked, "What do you suggest, then, Anna?"
"Sirius and I are his godparents. Let one of us take him," Anna suggested, her spectacles glinting in the moonlight. "We're named as his legal guardians in their will."
"The protection spell won't work with godparents," Dumbledore pointed out, fully aware of the arrangements Lily and James had made, but determined to carry on with his own plan, especially since Sirius had been their Secret Keeper. "Only blood relatives."
Anna gave a decidedly unladylike snort that scandalized her mother. "Lily and James knew that Harry would need protection in the event of their deaths. There's a spell in place already, waiting for one of us to seal it. If we both do, then it will be even stronger."
For once in his long life, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was absolutely speechless. Anna had proposed an alternative that would most likely be better for Harry in the end. He could think of no reason not to follow through with whatever protection James and Lily had in place already. Aside from the small matter of Sirius Black, but Anna had implied that it didn't need both her and Sirius. One or the other would be sufficient, which meant that Harry would be protected and loved, as he deserved. He blinked when someone touched his hand and looked down at his wife. "I think it would be better to let Anna raise him, Albus. She already loves him as much as if he were her own son."
He nodded thoughtfully, turning back to his daughter. "Will you return to California and raise him there?"
"Of course." Anna snorted again and her mother grimaced at the sound. It was a habit she'd never been able to break her daughter of, despite over twenty years of trying. "He deserves a chance to be a normal boy and he wouldn't have that if he were raised here."
"Very well." Albus nodded again, the twinkle returning to his eyes. "Are you sure you can trust Sirius, however? He was their Secret Keeper, after all."
Anna scowled darkly and shook her head, her braid swinging with the movement. "No, he talked them into switching at the last moment. Lily told me in case the plan backfired."
Her parents frowned at her in puzzlement, surprised by this fact. "Who was their Secret Keeper, then? Remus Lupin?"
"Remus would never betray them." Anna glared at her father, offended that he would have even suggested such an idea. "No, they switched to Peter Pettigrew."
The elder two exchanged surprised glances at this. McGonagall narrowed her dark green eyes dangerously. Had she been in her Animagus form, her ears would have folded back against her skull and her tail would have been lashing. "He will not get away with it."
"Knowing Sirius, he'll be tracking down Peter right now," Anna informed them briskly, sounding very much like her mother. "It would be a good idea for one of you to find him and stop him from doing something rash. Or stupid, or both."
The couple exchanged another glance and McGonagall nodded at a silent request from her husband. "I'll go. He was in my House and will trust me."
Before any of the three could move, however, a loud noise broke the silence of the dark street and a huge motorcycle dropped out of the sky. Riding it was not Sirius Black, to whom the bike belonged, but the huge groundskeeper of Hogwarts, Rubeus Hagrid. He was cradling a bundle of blankets in one huge arm. "Good evenin', Professor Dumbledore. Professor McGonagall. Anna."
"Good evening, Hagrid." Dumbledore strode forward, the two women following behind him. "Did you retrieve him safely?"
"Yes, Sir. Little tyke fell asleep while we was flyin' over Bristol." Hagrid got off the bike and held out the bundle so the other three could look at the baby inside. On his forehead was a jagged cut, shaped like a lightning bolt.
As Dumbledore gently took the baby in his arms, Anna addressed Hagrid. "Did you get the bike from Sirius, Hagrid?"
"Yeah, I did, actually." Hagrid didn't seem surprised that Anna knew whom the bike belonged to. He was aware that she was good friends not only with Lily, but also James and his friends. "Met him while I was gettin' Harry. He wanted me ter give him Harry, but I wouldn', said I had my orders from Professor Dumbledore himself. Then he let me borrow the bike, said he wouldn' need it where he was goin'."
Anna cursed under her breath at that. She looked at her mother, who'd straightened up from examining Harry to scold her daughter. "Don't bother, Mother. You need to find Sirius /now/. If you don't, he'll do something he'll regret. You know how his temper can get."
McGonagall pressed her lips together for a moment, clearly disliking the idea of taking orders from her own daughter. Dumbledore shifted Harry to one arm and gently touched his wife's shoulder. "Anna knows Sirius better than we do, my dear. You should go find him."
"Very well. I'll see you soon, Anna." McGonagall hugged her daughter tightly, who returned the hug just as warmly. Though their matching Scottish tempers often led to clashes between them, they still loved each other deeply. "Good night, Albus."
"Good night, my dear." He smiled fondly at her and she nodded to Hagrid before disappearing with a quiet pop. Once she was gone, Dumbledore turned to the groundskeeper. "Thank you for retrieving Harry, Hagrid. I'll see you back at Hogwarts."
Hagrid nodded, tears leaking into his bristly beard. "Good night, Professor. Anna."
Father and daughter stood silently as Hagrid climbed on the bike again and took off. Neither said a word until the sight and sound of the bike had faded away. "Since I'm sure you'd find a way of taking care of Harry anyway, here you are, Anna. I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, give Harry James Potter into the keeping of Anna Renee McGonagall, as per the last will and testament of James and Lily Potter."
A bright silver light flashed around them as Dumbledore handed the baby to his daughter. "I, Anna Renee McGonagall, accept guardianship of Harry James Potter, as per the last will and testament of James and Lily Potter."
The light faded and Anna smiled softly down at the baby in her arms. Dumbledore watched them with a nostalgic smile, remembering how his wife had looked the first time she'd held her baby daughter in her arms. "Take good care of him, Anna."
"I will, Father." Anna smiled tremulously up at her father, tears sparkling in her dark blue eyes.
They hugged carefully to keep from squashing Harry between them, but it was just as heartfelt as the hug Anna had shared with her mother. Though she found her father frustrating at times, especially when he was being a particularly manipulative old coot, Anna still loved him dearly. When he released her, Dumbledore cleared his throat gruffly. "Off with you now."
Stifling a chuckle, Anna stepped back and touched the necklace she wore, a pendant in the shape of a cat, and said one word: "Home." The Portkey activated and she arrived at the duplex she shared with her friend. "I'm home, Nan!"
"Did your father listen to sense?" Nancy Clarke asked as Anna walked into the living room, still carrying Harry. She chuckled dryly when she saw the bundle in her friend's arms. "I'll take that as a yes."
Anna laughed softly as she sat down on the couch next to the brunette so her friend could see him. "It took a bit of temper on my part, but Father realized that his original plan wasn't as good as he thought it was."
"What was he going to do?" Nancy asked, grey-green eyes curious.
"He was going to leave him with Petunia and her husband," Anna answered flatly, her eyes flashing with anger for a moment.
The brunette shook her head, frowning. "That's a bad idea. Petunia would hate him on sight."
"That's pretty much what I told Father, too." Anna gently stroked Harry's tousled black hair. "Mother didn't like the way I expressed myself, but she agreed with me at least."
Nancy chuckled softly, amused. "I bet that helped convince him."
"Well, yes," Anna admitted reluctantly. "Though I doubt either of us could have convinced him on our own."
"Yes, the merits of teamwork." Nancy winked mischievously. "Two heads are better than one."
Anna smiled wryly. "Or two witches in this case. We should probably put Harry to bed." They stood up and moved to the bedroom they'd prepared for Harry. He didn't stir as he was tucked in with as much care as Lily had ever shown. Anna gently stroked his forehead. "Sleep well, Harry. Welcome to your new home."
Barely an hour later, Anna and Nancy were roused from their sleep by terrified screams coming from Harry's room. When Anna dashed in moments later, she found Harry standing up in his crib, bawling at the top of his tiny lungs. "It's all right, Harry-lad. Auntie Anna is here."
"Wan' Ma!" Harry bawled, though he didn't object when Anna picked him up and cuddled him close. "Where Ma?"
Anna sat down in the rocking chair in the corner and began to rock back and forth. "Ma's not here, Harry-lad."
"Where Ma?" Harry demanded, bright green eyes beginning to well with tears again. "When Ma come?"
Anna stifled a sigh as Nancy appeared with an afghan, draping it over Anna's lap. "Ma's not coming at all. She's gone. I'm sorry."
"No Ma?" Harry asked, his eyes very solemn as he reached up to pat Anna's cheek, finding it damp with tears she'd already shed. "Where Da?"
She shook her head sadly. "Da's gone, too, Harry-lad. It's me, Auntie Nan, Uncle Remy, and Uncle Siri now."
"No Da?" Harry repeated, as if he wanted to be sure he'd understood what Anna had said.
She nodded once, trying to find her voice around the lump in her throat. Nancy suddenly leaned over the back of the chair, resting her head on Anna's shoulder. "No Da, Harry, that's right."
"All righ'." He nodded and yawned widely. "Sleepy."
Anna smiled, blinking back fresh tears, brushing his hair back from Harry's face. "Sleep, then, Harry-lad. We'll be here when you wake up."
Harry sighed and fell asleep quickly, cuddled against Anna. When she went to put him back in his crib, she found that he was holding a fistful of her nightgown so tightly that they would have to rip it in order to free her from his grip. Understanding, she returned to the rocking chair and held him as he slept, eventually falling asleep herself.
They weren't awakened again until someone banged loudly on their front door early in the morning. "Anna! Nan!"
While Anna dealt with Harry, who didn't appreciate the rude awakening, Nancy answered the door. "Softly, Sirius. Harry was sleeping."
"McGonagall was right, then." Sirius looked relieved and a little wild, his black hair ruffled and windswept, his T-shirt and jeans looking wrinkled under the leather duster he wore. "Harry's here and not at the Dursleys."
"Why would she be wrong about something like that?" Nancy asked, amused, as she took the leather duster and hung it in the front closet. "She was there when Dumbledore agreed to let Anna raise Harry."
Sirius raised his hands in surrender, smiling sheepishly. "I'm sorry. It's just, when I realized what had happened-- that Peter had betrayed--" He stopped, choking on the words, and buried his face in his hands. Nancy wrapped her arms around him, hugging him gently. He returned the hug gratefully, swallowing several times. "It's my fault, Nan. I told James and Lily to choose Peter as their Secret Keeper. I figured I was the logical choice, so anyone who would want to find out would go after me and not Peter or Remus or Anna."
"We had no way of knowing, Sirius," Nancy reminded him, stroking his hair soothingly. "We only knew that someone was passing information. We didn't know who they were until yesterday."
He nodded, taking in a deep breath and letting it out in a shuddering sigh. "Thanks, Nan." He straightened up, looking calmer now. "May I see Harry?"
"Here he is, Sirius." Anna crossed to him and offered the sixteen-month-old to his godfather. "Exactly as you left him with Hagrid."
Sirius smiled down at his godson, who was gazing at him with solemn green eyes. "Uncle Siri sad?"
"Yes, Uncle Siri is sad," Sirius admitted, holding his godson close, reassured by the weight and warmth of him in his arms. "Not with Pronglet around, though."
Harry looked hopeful at that, patting Sirius' stubbled cheek. "I make Uncle Siri happy?"
"You do, Pronglet," Sirius assured him, walking over to the couch and sitting down. "You do."
"'M glad." Harry snuggled against Sirius with a pleased sound.
Smiling at the picture the two made, Anna and Nancy retreated to their bedroom to get dressed.
Remus arrived the next day, looking more pale and drawn than he usually did. It was clear that news of James and Lily's deaths had hit him hard. When Sirius saw his friend, he pulled him into a tight hug. The werewolf clung to the Animagus tightly, trembling. "It's all right, Moony. We're all here. We're safe."
"I was so worried," Remus whispered hoarsely, gripping Sirius' shirt tightly. "You weren't there when I woke up after the full moon. You said you'd be there."
Sirius rubbed Remus' back soothingly, guilt written on his face. "I know. I'm sorry. I got caught up tracking down Peter, and then Professor McGonagall found me."
"She's the one who told me that you were here," Remus answered, reluctantly straightening up, gently resting his forehead against Sirius', their eyes meeting.
They were both silent for a long moment, simply gazing into each other's eyes, communicating at a level deeper and more profound than mere words could express. The moment was broken by the sound of a child's voice. "Uncle Remy!"
"Hello, Harry." Remus smiled as he turned to face the little boy, who was perched in Anna's arms. She was smiling softly at the two men. "Have you been a good boy?"
He nodded vigorously, holding his arms out to Remus. "Hold?"
"Of course, Harry." He nodded, releasing Sirius and taking Harry from Anna. The little boy snuggled against Remus' chest, nestling his head just under his chin. Smiling fondly, Remus moved to the settee, sitting down and simply holding Harry.
Sirius and Anna moved away, letting the two have their moment together. Quietly, Sirius asked, "Are you sure we can stay? I mean, we can always find a place nearby."
"We're co-guardians, Sirius," Anna retorted with fond exasperation. "You can't exactly fulfil your part if you're living elsewhere." Dropping her voice, she added, "I know about you and Remus, so I can't very well separate you two, either."
Inexplicably, Sirius blushed, and glanced down, scuffing the toe of his boot along the carpet. "You're not offended by it?"
"Why would I be?" she asked with an arched eyebrow that reminded him very strongly of McGonagall. "I'm in the same boat."
His head snapped up and he stared at her, completely surprised. "You are?"
"Yes, I am." Anna smirked at Sirius' astonished expression. "So it'd be rather hypocritical of me to disapprove of you and Remus."
Sirius frowned for a moment, clearly thinking hard. Suddenly his expression cleared. "Nan?"
"Very good, Sirius." Anna chuckled. "I'd give Gryffindor five points, but we're not at school anymore, so that's out."
He gave her a mock glare. "Very funny." His expression grew thoughtful. "What about your parents? What do they think?"
"My parents don't care whether I love a man or a woman, just so long as they make me happy," Anna answered calmly, amusement twinkling in her dark blue eyes, reminding Sirius of Dumbledore this time.
He rested his hand on her shoulder. "Our neighbours are going to wonder about us, all living together."
"I know, I've thought of that already." She pulled two forms out of her pocket and presented them to Sirius.
He took them and stared at them for several minutes. "Marriage licenses?"
"Exactly." Anna nodded, the twinkle in her eyes growing stronger. "If you and Remus marry Nan and I, we won't have to worry about scandalizing our neighbours."
Sirius glanced over at Remus, who was gazing at them over Harry's head, his keen hearing having picked up most of their discussion. "What do you think, Moony?"
"I think she's right, Padfoot," the brunette answered quietly. "We don't have much of a choice."
Nodding, Sirius turned back to Anna. "Nan agrees?"
"Of course she does, otherwise I wouldn't have brought it up." Anna rolled her eyes with a huffy sigh. "Men, honestly!"
Remus laughed while Sirius merely looked offended. Though he didn't understand why Remus was laughing, Harry joined in anyway. It was always fun to laugh.