Harry Potter and Love's Changes by ScubaDoc3

Summary: After Harry is injured protecting the philosopher's stone, Minerva McGonnagall promises herself that she will do a better job looking after him. That promise will eventually lead to large changes in Harry's life. This will ultimately be Harry/Ginny, but since it starts at the end of Harry's first year, it will take a while for any romantic relationships to develop.

This is my first fanfic and I have no idea how long it will be or how long it will take me to post.
Rating: PG-13 starstarstarstarstar
Categories: Pre-OotP
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2017.06.24
Updated: 2017.08.08

Harry Potter and Love's Changes by ScubaDoc3
Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Minerva's Promise
Author's Notes:

Sitting in the straight-backed wooden chair she had conjured in the hospital wing, Minerva McGonagall was nearly overcome by her feelings of guilt. As she looked down at Harry, she flashed back to just a few hours before when she had summarily dismissed his warning that someone was going to try to steal the stone. Why didn’t she believe him? Why didn’t she at least let him explain? She was so lost in thought that she didn’t even realize that Poppy had walked up behind her.

“Minerva, are you okay?” asked Poppy. Still staring at Harry, Minerva failed to respond. Poppy hadn’t seen Minerva this out of sorts since the Potters were murdered and He-who-must-not-be-made had disappeared all those years ago. Poppy reached out to placed her hand on her friend’s shoulder to try to comfort her. Upon contact, Minerva was startled and jumped in her seat. “I’m sorry I frightened you Minerva, but I wanted to ask if you were okay.” Poppy said as she looked down at her friend with compassion.

“I’m fine Poppy, it is not me who is injured here.” Minerva snapped in reply. Poppy glared at her friend. They had known each other since they were students at Hogwarts and Poppy knew that Minerva was far from being fine as she had claimed.

“He is going to be okay,” Poppy said softly as she squeezed Minerva’s shoulder in support. “Unfortunately, he will remain unconscious for quite a while longer, but I see no reason as to why he won’t make a full recovery.”

Minerva winced at Poppy’s calm reply. She knew that she was being unfair and rude, but she couldn’t bring herself to apologize. Albus had already explained that Harry had almost died in his endeavor to protect the stone. Lying so still in his hospital bed, he looked extremely pale and small and his scar seemed to be more red and inflamed than normal. Minerva felt moisture building in her eyes as she continued to watch him. She leaned forward and gently ran her fingers through his hair. “It’s all my fault,” she choked out as she looked back up at Poppy. “He’s hurt, and it is all my fault.”

Poppy’s breath hitched in her chest at the pain she saw in Minerva’s eyes, but she didn’t understand why Minerva would feel responsible. “What do you mean, Minerva? It was Quirrell and You-know-who that hurt Harry. You had nothing to do with it.”

Minerva slumped in her chair and placed her head in her hands. “They came to me before they went after the stone. I ignored their concerns and told them to go outside. I didn’t even give them a chance to explain. They came to me for help, and I didn’t listen. Harry almost died, and it was because I ignored him. James and Lily’s son was almost killed and it is all my fault.”

Poppy wasn’t really sure how to respond. She knew having Harry at Hogwarts had been particularly hard on Minerva this year. Poppy was one of the few people who knew the extent of Minerva’s relationship with the Potters. She knew that Fleamont and Euphemia Potter had named Minerva godmother to James all those years ago. Since she had never had children of her own, Minerva cherished her role in James’ life. Minerva had previously confided in Poppy that she had been extremely concerned about Harry’s placement with the Dursleys. She had anguished over her decision to trust Albus and allow him to be placed there instead of taking him in herself. After all, James and Lily had always referred to Minerva as “Gran” in Harry’s presence so that Harry would grow up considering Minerva his grandmother. Unfortunately, Minerva had no legal claim over Harry and she trusted that Albus would make sure he was well cared for. When Harry had arrived at Hogwarts, Minerva had told Poppy about her fear that Harry wouldn’t want her to be more than just his professor since Albus had convinced her to stay away from Harry for those 10 long years before he re-entered the wizarding world.

“Min, you couldn’t have known something like this would happen. After all, if those kids had listened to you, none of them would have been injured.” Poppy hoped her words would break through the cloud of guilt she could feel wrapped around her dear friend. In that moment, Poppy decided she couldn’t tell Minerva what she had originally planned to say. She couldn’t add to Minerva’s guilt about Harry by telling her about the results of her full medical examination of the boy. She couldn’t let her know about the older injuries and scars that covered his little body. She couldn’t bear to tell her that it was clear that Harry had suffered years of consistent physical abuse that obviously included both beatings and near starvation. In that moment, Poppy thought it would be best not to tell Minerva about the boy’s plight because Poppy truly believed that Albus Dumbledore would keep his promise to her when she had divulged her findings to him earlier that evening.

“Thank you for letting me know about this Poppy,” Dumbledore had said. “I’ll take care of things with Harry. He is best protected from the followers of Voldemort while he stays with his relatives, but I will take steps to ensure that he is better protected there.” Loathe as it was to even think about Harry returning back to an abusive home, Poppy knew that Albus was technically Harry’s magical guardian in addition to his various high-ranking titles throughout the wizarding world. She knew that there was no one who could overrule Albus’s decision about Harry’s placement and had only considered telling Minerva because she knew that despite the distance she had kept from him, Minerva loved Harry as if he were her own. Poppy trusted that Albus Dumbledore as the leader of the light and most powerful wizard around would ensure that Harry’s life improved.

“Poppy, while it may be true that if they had listened to me that they wouldn’t have been injured, it is also true that if I had listened to them, I could have prevented this. I was so worried about being accused of favoritism and scared that I might let my affection for him show that I didn’t even give him the courtesy I would have given any other student in this school. When James was here, I could easily avoid showing favoritism and treat him like anyone else because he knew I cared for him and that he could come to me alone if he ever needed me. Harry doesn’t know anything about me. To Harry, I’m just his stern, unapproachable head of house that looks at him like I do every other student. He must hate me now for refusing to listen. He’ll never know that I have loved him since the day James and Lily told me they were going to have a child.” Minerva’s voice broke and she sobbed at the last sentence.

As she cried, Minerva was overcome by her memories of James, Lily, and Harry during the short period they were a happy family. Their time together had been too brief and Minerva had only seen Harry for a few short months before the Potters moved away from Potter manor to the cottage they bought in Godric’s Hollow that was placed under the fidelius charm. James had offered to include Minerva in on the secret of their whereabouts, but Minerva told him that he could find her if necessary but she felt it would be safer if she didn’t know where they were. Minerva was, after all, on the front lines for the Order and she was willing to sacrifice her own happiness in order to make James, Lily, and Harry just a little bit more insulated and therefore safer.

A knock on the door of the hospital wing pulled Minerva’s thoughts back into the present. Minerva started wiping her eyes and began to stand, but Poppy moved to stop her and said, “It’s okay, Min. Stay where you are. I’ll go see who it is.” Poppy quickly waved her wand and set privacy curtains around Harry’s bed so that neither he nor Minerva could be seen from the door to the wing. Then she walked over to the door and opened it slightly.

“Is Harry okay?” Minerva heard the very familiar voice of Hermione Granger ask.

“Harry will be fine Ms. Granger. He is still unconscious and will be for quite a while longer. I know you are worried about him, but I assure you, he will be okay.” Looking at Hermione’s worried face, she took pity on the girl and continued, “How about you come back in the morning. Harry won’t be awake yet, but I will let you sit with him for a little while so you can see him for yourself.”

“Can I see him tonight? I won’t do anything at all, I just want to see that he is okay.”

“I understand you are worried Ms. Granger, but it is well past visiting hours. I assure you I will let you see him in the morning. I promise you he will be okay. Please go back to your dormitory and I will see you tomorrow.”

Hermione’s head dropped and her shoulders slumped as she realized she was being sent away. She knew Madam Pomfrey wouldn’t lie to her about Harry’s health and she knew that the matron had made sure Ron was so well taken care of that he had already been allowed to return to Gryffindor tower. Hermione wasn’t the type to argue with an authority figure so she turned around and headed back toward the tower.

Closing the door, Poppy walked back over to Harry’s bed. “Minerva, are you planning on staying much longer?” When Minerva failed to reply, Poppy continued, “I have monitoring charms set up so that if he stirs at all, I will be able to check on him.”

“I’ll stay a little while longer. I know you are here, but I just can’t make myself leave yet.”

Poppy nodded in reply and walked into her office which led to her sleeping quarters. Now alone in the wing with only Harry, Minerva stood by his bed and placed one hand on his hand and the other with her fingers in his hair as she gently rubbed the back of his hand and his forehead with her thumbs. With no one watching, Minerva allowed the tears to fall unchecked down her cheeks. Regaining her composure, Minerva began to sing softly:

Lullaby, and good night, in the skies stars are bright.
May the moon's silvery beams bring you sweet dreams.
Close your eyes now and rest, may these hours be blessed.
'Til the sky's bright with dawn, when you wake with a yawn.

Lullaby, and good night, you are mother's delight.
I'll protect you from harm, and you'll wake in my arms.

Sleepyhead, close your eyes, for I'm right beside you.
Guardian angels are near, so sleep without fear.
Lullaby, and good night, with roses bedight.
Lilies o'er head, lay thee down in thy bed.

Lullaby, and good night, you are mother's delight.
I'll protect you from harm, and you'll wake in my arms.

Ending the song, Minerva continued to stand by Harry’s unmoving side and between sniffles spoke, “Harry, I am so sorry that you’ve had to go through so much in your short life. Your mother used to sing that song to you and I quickly learned it so that I could put you down to sleep whenever I watched after you. I wish you could have known them. Lily and James would have been here by your side in an instant if they were still alive and knew you were hurt. I promise I will do a better job caring for you and listen to you in the future.” Leaning down, Minerva gently kissed Harry’s forehead on his scar and whispered, “I love you, Harry,” and then with a final wipe of her tears, she walked away. Unfortunately, Minerva had no idea that if Harry had been awake, it would have been the first and only time he would remember anyone telling him that he was loved.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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