Author: Shadow Rebirth
Beta Reader: StormyBabe1988
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Chapter WC: 4,894
Story WC: 9,518
Last Edited: November 13, 2008
Posted: June 16, 2008
Summary: Harry has a dark secret: He isn't a wizard. But that certainly doesn't mean he can't do magic. It was too bad it also meant that in the face of fanatical governments and enraged demigods, Voldemort was going to be the least of his problems. AU, Gray!Harry, foreign school, vampires, werewolves, politics, no pairings.
Shades of Gray
The next morning Harry woke up to the noise of his dorm mates rushing around and finishing last minute packing. Harry groaned as he sat. Normally he'd be annoyed at not being woken up earlier, but he'd only gotten a couple of hours of sleep since returning from the library and so was glad for the few extra minutes.
"Hey mate!" Ron said boisterously as he passed Harry's bed with an arm full of clothes. "About time you got up!"
Harry grumbled something under his breath in reply as he wiped the last traces of sleep from his eyes. Slowly the teen slung his legs over the edge of his bed and stood up, stretching as he did so. Harry then strode over to his trunk and pulled out some clothes for the day, inconspicuously making sure that the book that he had found last night was still hidden at the bottom of his trunk where he'd left it.
The next few minutes flew by in flurry of motion as Harry joined the others in the dorm in making sure that he had everything packed and ready for the long train ride back to London. Once he was sure that he was indeed ready, Harry grabbed the few things that he would be taking with him on the train and left his trunk at the foot of his bed. He then began to make his way down to the common room, a loudly complaining Ron trailing along behind him. In truth, Harry wasn't sure what Ron was complaining about this time; he'd learnt back in first year that tuning out the red head's rants was generally best for one's health.
At the foot of the stairs Harry saw Hermione arguing with some other girl. Once Hermione noticed Harry and Ron she immediately turned away and greeted the two of them.
"There you are!" the bushy haired girl exclaimed. "I've been waiting forever for you! Do you have everything packed? Are you sure? If you leave anything behind you won't be able to get it back until next year."
"We've got everything, 'Mione," Harry assured her, holding back a sigh. He loved the girl, really he did, but she was just so patronizing sometimes.
Hermione continued to fuss around the two of them for a bit longer and, predictably, she and Ron got into an argument over something. Harry ignored their squabble as he led the way out of the portrait hole.
As the three continued on their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast, Harry proceeded to nod greetings to many people along to way. It was good to keep at least on good terms with as many people as possible, and simply greeting those that he knew helped Harry to do that.
Of course the trio couldn't even make it all the way to the Great Hall without running into some sort of trouble. Just as the rounded the corner of an empty corridor, Harry caught sight of Draco Malfoy standing a few feet from them, flanked on either side by Crabbe and Goyle.
Harry stifled a groan. He really didn't want to deal with this. He'd thought that Malfoy would at least wait until they were on the train before making his expected appearance to antagonize them, but apparently the blonde couldn't even wait that long. Honestly, Harry didn't hate Malfoy so much as he was irritated and perplexed by him. The boy was supposed to be a respected "pureblood" noble, but instead acted more like a spoilt child. Harry wasn't even sure if he was a true Slytherin sometimes; he often seemed to be more fit to Gryffindor considering how brash he could be.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" Malfoy sneered as though he hadn't been waiting for the three to show up. Harry had to stop another groan; how was it that Malfoy managed to perfectly fit the stereotype of a comic book villain while not even knowing what a comic book was, let alone having read one? Now that was a true mystery of the universe.
"What do you want Malfoy?"
The blonde continued to sneer. He did not answer Harry's question, but instead said, "And you've the weasel and the mudblood trailing along as usual, eh Potty?"
Immediately, Ron's face went scarlet and he moved to lunge at the smirking Slytherin. "Watch your mouth, Malfoy!" he snarled. Fortunately, Hermione managed to grab his arm in time to hold him back.
This time Harry didn't stop the sigh from escaping his mouth. Before he could say anything in reply to the blonde though, Malfoy turned his attention back to him, having noticed Harry's sigh.
"Aww," he said mockingly. "Does Potty still miss his Godfather?"
Immediately Harry's mouth tightened and Ron renewed his struggles against Hermione's grip. Instead of replying however, Harry simply strode forward and brushed past Malfoy. Normally he'd rise to the blonde's bait and get into an argument and/or fight with him, but his Godfather was a sore spot and he really wasn't in the mood for Malfoy's arrogance.
Seeing him walk away, Ron and Hermione stilled, surprised. They exchanged glances momentarily, before quickly following after Harry. Malfoy, meanwhile, stood sputtering in Harry's wake, an indignant look plastered across his face. Quickly, he whirled around and took a few steps toward the retreating back of the so called "Golden Trio".
"Things will be interesting next year, won't they?" Malfoy yelled out in a last ditch attempt to get a rise out of Harry. Said teen paused in his tracks and glanced at the oncoming blonde. Not even twitching his fingers, he conjured a metal bar in front of Malfoy--though, really, it was more like transfiguring air molecules into the metal bar--, bent the way light reflected around it to disillusion it, and then forced it to levitate horizontally off the ground, level to Malfoy's ankles. He did this with in a bare millisecond so, fortunately, no one noticed.
Harry watched, a slight grin quirking at the corners of his lips, as Malfoy continued to stride forward, only to apparently trip over his own feet. Harry then instantly transfigured the bar back into air, erasing any proof that it had even been there in the first place. Malfoy himself plunged forward, sprawling across the stone floor in and undignified heap. Now this was one of the great things about Harry's abilities.
Behind him, Harry heard Ron howling with laughter and Hermione giggling quietly into her hand. Even Crabbe and Goyle stared blankly at the Malfoy heir for a moment before breaking out into snickers. The grin that he'd been holding back before came onto his face in full force as Harry turned on his heel and continued down the corridor.
"Yes," he murmured under his breath as he, Ron, and Hermione continued toward the Great Hall, "I think this coming year is going to be very interesting." As he walked, Harry never noticed the feelings of apprehension coiling in the bottom of his stomach.
"Ah, man, that was bloody perfect!" Ron howled, clapping Harry on the shoulder as he held is own stomach and continued to laugh. "And we didn't even have to do anything!"
"Oh, Ron, it isn't good to laugh at people," Hermione stated with a huff. Despite her words a smile was still tugging at the corners of her lips.
"You can't say that that wasn't hilarious," Ron pointed out. "And you were laughing earlier too!"
And thus the two once again got into another squabble. Harry followed their argument with half an ear while his mind was turned to other things, namely Sirius and Hedwig. Slowly, Harry's mood turned slightly depressed again. He knew that neither of them would want him to act the way he was, but Harry also knew that he needed to grieve if he was to ever get over their deaths. Apparently, Ron and Hermione noticed the change in his mood as well and became quiet.
It was in this state that the three entered the Great Hall. They continued silently over to the Gryffindor table. They sat down there, near Dean, Seamus, and Neville. They exchanged greetings with them before loading their plates with food and chowing down. Harry noticed, with no small amount of irritation, that everyone around was acting very careful now and barely even speaking. Once again, they were treating him as though he was a bomb that was about to go off.
Harry chomped down on a piece of bacon a little harder than necessary and then noticed that the liquid in his glass was vibrating slightly. Purposely he forced himself to calm down a bit.
Harry was glad that his friends cared, he really was, but treating him as carefully as they were was not going to help. He was grieving for those whom he had lost, but he was about to go on murderous rampage or try to kill himself.
In silence, and with Harry still simmering slightly, they finished eating and then left with the crowds of people heading out of the front doors of Hogwarts. After a bit of a walk, they finally reaching the edge of the Hogwarts grounds, where the carriages pulled by thestral were waiting.
Harry and his friends quickly claimed one of the carriages, but instead of going in, Harry moved toward the thestral pulling the carriage, a slight smile gracing his lips. Harry stood in front of the thestral for moment, just looking at it.
Thestrals really were amazing creatures, despite their desolate appearance. They looked so weak, so wraith-like, but despite that were incredibly strong, as he and his friends had found when they had easily carried to the Ministry. They had sleek leathery wings with a larger wing span than most winged horses.
What really stuck Harry about them were their eyes. At a first glance their eyes were a simple milky white, but if one took the time to look, as Harry was doing now, then it was quite easy to see the colors that danced across their eyes like a silvery curtain.
Slowly, Harry reached out a hand and ran his fingers though the creature's black mane. Even just standing here, Harry could somehow feel some sort of a connection with this creature of death...
So entranced was Harry at looking at the thestral that he jumped in surprise when a voice called out to him. Looking up, eyes wide, Harry saw Hermione leaning out of the carriage window, a look of worry on her face.
"Come on, Harry!" she continued. "We're about to leave!" With one last glance at the thestral, Harry quickly hurried into the carriage with his friends.
The ride to the Hogsmeade Station was fairly quiet, and Ron and Hermione only got into an argument once. Harry spent the entire ride staring out of the window. The sky was quite sunny, which was very unfitting for Harry's current mood. Despite this the dark haired boy just stared at the sky, watching the clouds float by as they made their journey.
Soon enough the carriage pulled to a stop and the group unloaded themselves. They then headed toward to Hogwarts Express, which was gleaming in the sunlight as students boarded it. As they pushed their way through the crowds, Harry nodded discretely to a few people that he knew, some of them people whom his friends would be surprised to find out that he knew.
After making their way on to the train, Harry, Ron, and Hermione headed for the first empty compartment that they could find. They settled down there, though Ron and Hermione would both have to leave soon after the train departed to deal with their Prefect duties.
Harry sighed and leaned his head against the glass of the window. He stared blankly outside, his thoughts whirling around in his mind as he tuned out the sounds of Ron and Hermione. Slowly, without even noticing it, he surrendered to the warm embrace of sleep.
Harry woke up with a jerk, the sound of the compartment door sliding shut ringing in his ears. Blinking blearily, he looked around and noticed that Neville and Luna were sitting in the seat across from him, where Ron and Hermione had been before. A swift glance outside and also told him that the sun was beginning to set, thus meaning that they would be arriving in London soon enough. Stretching his back with a groan, Harry sent a questioning glance at Neville. Understanding what Harry was asking, Neville spoke up.
"Hermione and Ron are out on their Prefect duties. They just checked back in, but left when they saw that you were still asleep," Neville told him, his voice surprisingly level. At this point, his lips quirked upward slightly. "You've been sleeping all day; we're nearly at the station. You must have been busy last night."
Harry smirked at him, lounging back in his seat. He easily took note of the knowing glint in Neville's eyes, but said nothing in reply. Instead he glanced over to Luna and chuckled when he saw that she was staring off into space, not appearing to be paying any attention.
Over the next half an hour, Harry and Neville slipped into easy conversation. Before Harry had even realized the time, the compartment door slid open once more and Hermione stepped in. When she saw that Harry was finally awake, she smiled. Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but Ron suddenly popped up beside her.
"Hey," Ron said brightly, "We're just arriving at the station."
True to his word, the train suddenly stopped at that moment, its brakes screeching. Ron immediately turned around and exited the compartment, eager to be getting off the train. Sighing, Hermione followed him.
"We'll see you outside," Hermione called over her shoulder to Harry. Harry nodded in reply before following Neville and a dreamy Luna out at a leisurely pace.
Out on the platform people were milling around, getting their trunks and greeting their families. After pulling out his own trunk, Harry said goodbye to Neville when the boy spotted his grandmother, promising to speak to him some time over the summer. Turning back around, Harry noticed that Luna had already left.
Chuckling in amusement at the strangeness of the girl, Harry headed over to the large group of red heads that he spotted out of the corner of his eye. While approaching, Harry saw that Mrs. Weasley, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and Hermione's parents were standing around talking and exchanging hugs. Seeing Harry out of the corner of her eyes, Mrs. Weasley immediately turned around and enveloped him in a backbreaking hug.
"Oh, Harry dear!" she exclaimed. Harry hugged the matronly woman back, his reply greeting muffled. Finally, Mrs. Weasley let him go and held him at arms length, examining him. "You're still too pale..." she said, frowning. Harry sighed; spending most of his youth in dark corners of the library had apparently caused his skin to be permanently pale, or at least he guessed it had since his recent summers spent outdoors gardening hadn't changed his skin at all.
Still frowning, Mrs. Weasley looked Harry in the eye. "Oh, you poor boy," she continued, tears gathering at the corners of her eyes. "How are you? Are you holding up okay? Anytime this summer--anytime at all--you can owl us."
She looked as though she was going to continue, but Ron butted in, to Harry's great relief. "Come on mum!" he exclaimed. "Harry's fine. Aren't you Harry?" Hermione immediately hit the redheaded teen over the head, glaring at him. Ron yelped in indignation and two proceeded to squabble once more.
Chuckling, Harry turned his attention back to the worried Weasley matron. "Really, Mrs. Weasley, I'll be fine," he assured her. Mrs. Weasley didn't look as though she completely believed him, but she nodded anyway and let the subject go.
At that moment Mad-eye Moody and Tonks walked over to the group. "Wotcher, Harry!" Tonks called out jovially as they stopped before him. Moody grunted in greeting as he peered about the platform suspiciously, his magical eye spinning around.
Harry smiled weakly up at them, memories from that night a few weeks ago flashing through his mind once more. As if picking up on his emotions, Moody suddenly fixed both of his eyes on Harry, peering at him closely. Harry quickly shifted his gaze away, not in the mood for talking about what had happened.
After a moment of studying Harry however, Moody spoke up. "I...have a message from Dumbledore," Moody said. He was frowning as he relayed this, as if he didn't agree with whatever he was about to say. Harry shifted his attention back to him then, interested. What did Dumbledore have to say that he couldn't have told them himself, earlier?
Sighing--a very un-Moody action, which only made Harry even more curious--Moody continued in his gruff voice, "Dumbledore says that no one can send any messages to Harry this summer."
Harry's mouth immediately dropped open and he could hear loud protests coming from behind him, especially from Mrs. Weasley. Moody glared at them all and slowly their words petered out. "I don't agree with it," he bit out, "But Dumbledore says that the owls could be tracked and Harry's positioned compromised."
Harry had to hold back a growl from escaping from his throat. Of all the things the old bastard had done...! Keeping him at his relative's house was bad, but forbidding him to receive or send messages was just insane! Apparently, Mrs. Weasley had similar thoughts and didn't mind voicing them as she immediately strode up to Mad-eye Moody, shoved a finger in his chest, and began arguing with him.
Harry would have listened in, but at that moment his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, approached him once more. Immediately Hermione enveloped him in a hug, similarly to how Mrs. Weasley had.
"Oh Harry," she said as she pulled back, sniffing. "I'm so sorry that we won't be able to contact you!" Harry smiled tightly and nodded in appreciation.
"Yeah mate," Ron agreed. "And we'll see if we can get Dumbledore to bring you over to Gri--" Hermione quickly hit Ron over the head and hissed at him to be quiet. Ron glared back at her, rubbing the back of his head, and muttering under his breath. Sending a sheepish glance at Harry, he continued. "We'll see if we can get Dumbledore to bring you over to that place as soon as possible."
Harry smiled lightly once more. "Thanks guys."
Before they could take their conversation any farther, Tonks bounced over to them. Offhandedly, Harry wondered how one person could have as much energy as she seemed to.
"Well," Tonks said smiling. "Moody and I are here to, uh, speak with your relatives before you leave with them." Tonks gave the three a cheeky grin as she said this, giving them much reason to believe that they would be threatening the Dursleys.
"Yes," a voice behind them agreed. Harry jumped and spun around, only to find Mad-eye Moody standing there looking down upon him. Harry's mouth tightened in annoyance at having been snuck up on so easily, but his attention was diverted when Moody opened his mouth once more and continued, "We'd better be going now. We wouldn't want to keep those no good muggles waiting." He sneered at the end of his sentence to Harry's surprise.
As Harry proceeded to say goodbye to the Weasleys and the Grangers, he couldn't help but wonder which house Moody had been in when he attended Hogwarts. Slytherin didn't seem too farfetched for the old Auror.
Following Tonks and Moody through the exit to platform 9 3/4, Harry turned around and waved goodbye to his friends and their families one last time. "Hopefully I'll see you soon!" he called out. For some reason, though, he couldn't help but feel that that wouldn't be the case.
Outside, Harry was met with the loud sounds of bustling crowds. People were everywhere, talking over one another, and Harry noticed that every now and then he could catch a glimpse of a few wizards moving through the crowds, most of them students. Tuning out the distractions, Harry searched around for a moment until his caught sight of the Dursleys. Flanked on either side by his "guards", Harry navigated through the station to where the Dursleys were waiting.
When they reached the portly family--well, Petunia was an exception--Moody went straight for Vernon Dursley. "May I speak to you for a second?" Moody asked as he pulled the large man off to the side, some how managing to make it sound more like a statement than a question. Spluttering, Vernon followed, though most likely the main reason he did so was not to make a scene in such a crowded place, rather than because Moody was pulling him along.
Meanwhile, Tonks helped Harry put his trunk away in the Dursley's car, completely ignoring Petunia and Dudley. His mouth tightening once more, Harry realized that this was the first year that he didn't have Hedwig's cage with him as well. Straightening up and pushing his grief away until he was not around the Dursleys, Harry smiled weakly at Tonks and said his goodbyes to her.
"Take care, you hear?" she said with a grin as Harry got into the car. Harry smiled back and gave a final wave. Not a moment later his uncle and Moody returned. Moody gave a gruff goodbye to Harry and Vernon said nothing as he climbed into the driver's seat. Harry guessed that Mad-eye Moody had explained to him about Sirius and Hedwig dying. Hopefully that meant that the Dursleys would mostly leave him alone that summer.
The car then quickly pulled away from the station and Moody and Tonks quickly faded into the distance, along with Harry's connection to the Magical World.
One week later found Harry holed up in his bedroom, lying on his bed with a book in hand. He hadn't come out much since he'd returned to Number 4 Privet Drive with his relatives, instead preferring to dive into his studies. In fact, he was sure that the only times he'd left his room was to go to the bathroom and take showers. The Dursleys had taken to pushing his meals through the flap that was still at the bottom of his door since he never came out to eat.
Harry had also spent the week figuring out and memorizing the shifts that Order members who watched over him had. He desperately wanted to practice his magic now that he had endless free time, but he couldn't risk Moody seeing him with his magic eye. To solve this dilemma, he simply figured out who watched him when and for how long. He figured that in a couple of days he'd be able to practice his magic without fear of being caught.
One thing that Harry had figured out his first summer back at the Dursleys' was that he could practice his magic without being caught by the Ministry. Whatever spells they used to track students didn't affect him. He also figured that the tracking spells could possibly be on his wand. That didn't, however, explain why he did receive a letter about using magic when Dobby, the house elf, levitated a cake.
Shaking off his thoughts, Harry looked down at the book that was currently in his hands. It was the Branches of Magic book that he'd found in the Hogwarts library. He'd nearly completely finished with the book--it'd taken so long mainly because he'd been reading other books as well--and was completely and utterly fascinated by it.
In his reading, Harry had found out many things about vampires and werewolves than he'd never known before, and in fact Harry doubted that many people did know. It had completely changed his perspective on the creatures that witches and wizards considered monsters.
For example, most vampires were actually born rather than bitten. Despite this, it was actually very hard for vampires to give birth. The reason for this was because when a vampire was first conceived there was a spark of magic and this spark generally killed the fetus. When it didn't, and the baby was strong enough to survive the rest of the mother vampire's pregnancy, a vampire would be born. For this reason these vampires were generally called born vampires.
The reason why not many vampires were turned was mainly because only a willing human could be turned. On top of that, the book said that tradition stated that only certain, high-status vampires could turn humans.
Harry was also quite shocked to find that many of the beliefs that muggles and wizards alike held on vampires were quite wrong. For example, vampires were not harmed by sunlight at all. That superstition had come about solely from the fact that they had paper white skin. Their eyes were somewhat sensitive to sunlight however, and Harry guessed that that caused many vampires to operate at night, which gave support to the sunlight myth. Vampires did have to drink blood to survive though. They could also eat human food, but blood was their main sustenance.
Harry frowned, remembering that the book had stated something about magical properties of blood. Quickly he flipped back to the chapter on vampires and began to scan through the text. Before he could find what he was looking for though, another section of the chapter caught his eye. Harry couldn't help but smirk; he'd been surprised at first to find out that vampires did indeed have a government, and then later had become fairly interested in it.
All vampires belong to a clan, a large family if you will. Born vampires belong to the clan they were born to whereas turned vampires are automatically inducted into the clan of their turner. These clans have existed for thousands of years, almost as long as vampires themselves have existed. Over the years some have died out and some new ones have been created. Currently, there are nearly 100 clans in existence.
Of these clans there are thirteen head clans. These clans are considered nobility among vampires. The heads of each of these clans make up the Ancient Council. The Council governs over all clans and vampires, and is said to have existed for as long as the clans have. The vampires of the Council are considered equals, with no one governing over another. Naturally, however, there are certain clans that hold more sway than others.
Harry smirked as his eyes swept across the page. It was interesting to see that vampires governed themselves a lot more effectively than wizards. Really, a council of equals was a perfect idea.
In his reading Harry had also found that mages governed themselves similarly. They too had a council, called the Concilium, though theirs was made up of the most powerful mages of the age rather than clan heads. Also, the mages' the Concilium did have a leader, whom was voted in by the rest of the council every ten years.
Continuing to flip through the book, Harry came across the page about werewolves and smirked again. He had been quite surprised to find out that there were actually two different types of werewolves: bitten werewolves and born werewolves.
Bitten werewolves were the only type of werewolves that wizards were aware of. They resulted from muggles, wizards, or magical beings who had been bitten by another bitten werewolf. They were only magical if the original person had been.
Born werewolves, on the other hand, were "true werewolves" whom were innately magical. Like humans they were born from two parents, at least one of whom had to be a born werewolf. Unlike their bitten counterparts, true werewolves did not change into mindless beasts during the full moon. Instead they could change at will, at any time, and would keep their minds when doing so. Their wolf-man form also tended to be a lot more powerful than those of bitten werewolves. True werewolves were affected by the moon however, if only in the fact that their powers were substantially increased during the full moon.
To be honest, Harry wasn't entirely sure whether he should be upset or glad that Remus was a bitten werewolf rather than a born one. On one hand he was a lot less powerful and a lot more beast-like, but it also meant that he was more human than he would be.
The governing system of true werewolves was the loosest of any race. They existed in hundreds of packs, which were made up no more than 10-20 werewolves. There were a few larger packs, but not many. Beyond this, there were no defining rulers. The pack leaders could all gather in the case of a dire global emergency, but there have only ever been a handful of such meetings in all of history.
Abruptly, Harry looked up from the book out of the small window in his room. To his surprise the sun was already setting. Harry smiled grimly; Mundungus Fletcher would be on duty right now, which meant that it was his time to do what he needed to do.
A/N: Not much action in this chapter, but that's because I needed to show how the Harry of this story interacts with the canon characters and to get some information about my versions of vampires and werewolves out. I realize that eventually info about all these creatures will get confusing, but I'll be trying to bring it up again and again within the story so that people will get plus. I might eventually put all information together and either put it in a separate chapter or story.