Author: Shadow Rebirth
Beta Reader: Decimus Serai
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Word Count: 4,672
Last Edited: June 24, 2008
Posted: June 24, 2008
Summary: Harry Potter has a dark secret: He isn't a wizard. At least not in the traditional sense. One day, however, he finds a book that just may be the answer to his problems. AU, Gray!Harry, foreign school, vampires, werewolves, politics, no pairings.
Shades of Gray
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.
With a snap Harry closed his book and jumped off his bed. He strode over to his trunk before crouching down before it and opening the latch. He placed the book at the bottom, underneath everything, and pulled out a nondescript black hooded cloak. Standing up and closing the trunk behind him, Harry then moved over to his bedroom window and pulled the curtains closed. He had no need for anyone to see what he was about to do.
Standing in the middle of the room, Harry pulled his cloak around his shoulders and then pulled the hood up so that his face was slightly shadowed, but still mostly visible. Harry took a deep breath before silently taking a spot in the middle of the room and beginning to concentrate.
Harry wrapped his magic around him, using it to change the way light reflected off him. Just moments later he opened his eyes and smiled; he didn't need to look in a mirror to know that his face had changed.
Harry now had chocolate brown eyes and short sandy brown hair. His face shape had changed slightly as well and his distinguished lightning bolt scar had completely disappeared. He was also now about half a foot taller; just over six foot. Harry's smile widened into a grin; glamour spells could be so useful, especially since his could only be taken off by him.
Chuckling lightly under his breath, Harry Disapparated out of his small bedroom with a small pop.
Harry had come across his Apparition ability in the same way that he'd come across all of his other abilities with magic: Through accidents and experimentation. Of course, he hadn't know that it was called Apparition until he'd come to Hogwarts, but that was beside the point. Harry had first Apparated on accident when running away from Dudley and his goons; he'd attempted to jump behind some large garbage bins, when he'd suddenly found himself sitting on the roof of the school's kitchens.
Later on Harry had experimented with this newfound ability until he figured out how to do it whenever he wanted. The only problem was that he would make a very audible sound when he appeared and disappeared. It was only when Harry was reading a book about molecules one day in the public library that he'd come up with a solution.
Harry'd figured out that when he Apparated it was the displacement of air molecules rushing in to fill the space that he'd left--or, on the appearing end, air molecules quickly moving out the space that he was suddenly occupying--the caused the loud noise. So, instead of just moving himself from one place to another, if he switched himself with the air of the space he wanted to be in, then the transition would go smoothly and soundlessly. With much practice he could now control the amount of noise he made when Apparating, whether he wanted it to be louder or quieter.
Over time, Harry had also figured out how to "Apparate" objects. It was a lot more effective than summoning something, though also incredibly difficult over long distances. Upon coming to Hogwarts Harry had been fairly surprised--and amused--to find out that wizards hadn't come up with anything similar.
Harry appeared with another quiet pop into the Apparition point in Diagon Alley. There were a few people milling around and hurrying down the streets, but most everyone had already left. The majority of the people whom were left had cloaks on similar to his own.
Ignoring the people around him, Harry purposefully strode down the Alley. He had been doing this--visiting Diagon Alley, that is--ever since he was first introduced to the magical world. It was the main way that he'd bought most of the books that he had. Dumbledore never knew of course, but then Dumbledore actually knew very little about him.
Once again pushing his memories out of his mind, Harry continued down the street. Before long he approached the large white building of Gringotts. In the waning light of the sun the building gleamed and Harry was filled with a sense of awe that filled him every time his eyes fell on the building. Harry would swear that the goblins had some sort of spell worked into the wards on the building to inspire that effect in people. Harry smirked lightly in the shadow of his hood and entered the wizarding bank.
Inside the building there were only a few witches and wizards, but many goblins hurrying around. Striding up to the first teller, Harry didn't wait for the goblin to acknowledge him, but instead immediately spoke in a hushed tone.
"I need to speak with Grimsheild."
The goblin before him immediately looked up in surprise. He studied Harry for a moment then, his mouth tight, before nodding. Without a word the goblin hopped down from his seat, setting a "closed" sign before his booth. The goblin then hurried for a hallway off to the side without even checking to make sure that Harry was following him.
Rolling his eyes at the suspicion of the goblin Harry strode after the teller, easily keeping up with the shorter being. After a few minutes of walking, the goblin stopped before an office door that Harry had visited many times before. Casting one last glance at Harry, the goblin quickly walked back the way he had come, leaving Harry to go inside.
Sighing quietly, Harry knocked purposefully on the door. After a moment, a voice inside finally answered and Harry quietly slipped inside, carefully closing the door behind him.
The office that he stepped into was one that seemed to belong in a muggle building. The wall that the door was on and the two walls on his left and right were covered in bookshelves that were filled with books of all shapes and sizes. The wall opposite him however was covered in filing cabinets from top to bottom. Harry knew that these, too, were completely filled, though this time with innumerous files.
In the middle of the room sat a large wooden desk that was covered in multiple stacks of papers and a couple of books. Two comfortable chairs sat in front of the desk, one sitting behind it. In that chair sat a goblin whose pen was scribbling furiously across a paper. The goblin looked to be a bit older than most of the tellers Harry'd seen, though certainly not elderly, with a pair of slim glasses resting across the bridge of his nose.
At the sound of the door clicking shut behind Harry, the older goblin looked up. The moment he saw who had entered his office, the goblin grinned widely, showing his numerous sharp teeth.
"It's good to see you again, Mr. Potter."
Harry grinned in reply and dropped the glamour around him. He always wore that disguise when going into the wizarding world, so Grimsheild had immediately known who he was.
"You too, Grimsheild," Harry replied as he dropped down into on of the chairs before the goblins desk. With a sigh, he pulled back his hood and rested his arms on the arms of the chair.
Grimsheild was the account manager for the Potter family, and had been for nearly two hundred years. The goblin himself was approaching three hundred years of age which, while old for a goblin, was no where near their death age. No, Grimsheild was still a few centuries away from being considered elderly.
Harry had first met Grimsheild when he had come to Gringotts for the second time during the beginning of the summer after his first year. He had done some research during that school year and found out that all families had an account manager, and though the Potters didn't rank as an old, rich wizarding family, they'd still been around for quite a few centuries. Surprised that he had not been told this by Dumbledore or anyone, Harry had come to Gringotts inquiring to see his account manager and find out the state of his accounts.
Again to Harry's surprise, he had found out from Grimsheild that his trust account was only a small portion of money that had been set aside by his parents for his schooling. The rest of the Potter's finances were in the main Potter family vault, which he would gain access to once he reached the age of seventeen and was considered an adult in the eyes of the wizarding world. In the meantime however, the trust vault was more than enough for Harry, even with all of the extra purchases that he would make during the summer.
Grimsheild had also informed Harry that the Potters had scores of investments in both the muggle and magical worlds, including shares in quite a few businesses. All of these were currently under Grimsheild's control, whom Harry had given the right to make investments as he saw fit for the Potters. There were a couple properties that the Potters' owned as well, but Harry had checked up on all of them, and they all were quite run down and unsuitable to live in since they had been abandoned for many years.
Harry was honestly surprised, and more than a little disappointed, that to this day no one had told him about the Potters' wealth, not even Remus or Sirius. He'd purposely never asked about it, hoping that at least one of them would say something, but alas, it was not to be.
Turning his thoughts away from his memories, Harry focused back on Grimsheild. The goblin was looking at him expectantly, his hands clasped before him on the desk.
"As usual," Harry began, "I need to take out some gold."
"The usual amount?"
"That should do for now."
"Alright," Grimsheild replied. He reached into one of the drawers of his desk and removed a relatively small sack of gold. Harry took it and tucked it away in his cloak.
Because Grimsheild was the account manager for his vaults, the goblin could instantly access his money. However, he could only withdraw money from the accounts on the request of one of the family members. As Harry was the only remaining Potter--and he had checked to make sure that there was no other family members that Dumbledore had neglected to tell him about--he was now the only one whom could take money from any of the Potter vaults.
Grimsheild studied Harry for a moment. "From what you said before, I'm going to have to guess that there is something else that you need. Would you like to check up on the state of your investments? Or perhaps inquire on the amount of gold left in your trust vault?"
Harry smiled grimly. "Not today," he replied. "Actually, there's something...else...that I need to ask you."
Grimsheild looked at him carefully, curious as to what the teen was going to ask. "Yes?"
Harry took a deep breath, not sure whether asking this was the right thing to do. But then again, if he was going to ask anyone, a goblin, especially one whom he knew well, was probably the best way to go.
"Do you know of any way that I can get into contact with Silvia Mikhailov?"
Grimsheild faltered, his eyes going wide. "H-how do you...?"
Harry gulped, and then decided to just dive into the entire explanation. He had never wanted to tell anyone what he was about to explain to Grimsheild, but if there was even the slightest chance that he was a mage, then he needed to do this.
"For as long as I can remember I've been able to use magic--controlled magic. For a long time I thought that I was just different. Then when I turned eleven I found out about the magical world. I thought then that it all made sense; I was a wizard and what I could do was magic. However, it was not much longer until I found out that wizards had to use wands to perform magic, and that what little magic they could perform without one was completely uncontrollable and called accidental magic.
"The problem continued when I went to the wand store. I found that wand after wand had no effect whatsoever with my magic. It was comparable to attempting to get some random stick off a tree to perform magic. In the end, I just randomly chose one wand and used my own magic to make it look like it had reacted.
"And so I found that I was once again different. For the past five years I've carefully hidden my abilities, making it appear as though I'm just a normal wizard. However, at the end of this past year I came across a book by pure happenstance. This book explained in detail numerous different races of magical beings. And not just the magical beings of the Ministry of Magic, but born vampires and werewolves, elves, fayeries, and...mages."
Grimsheild stared at Harry for a moment, unable to move. After a minute he carefully composed himself and then studied Harry much closer than he had before. Finally, he spoke.
"Show me," he commanded, his voice brooking no nonsense.
Harry immediately complied and raised one hand up. Grabbing a hold of several books on the shelf to his right with his magic, he pulled them toward him. Instantaneously, three books shot off the shelf and into his hand. Looking up again, Harry grinned at the surprised look on Grimsheild's face and then, with a wave of his hand, sent the books back to their proper places.
"...Well..." Grimsheild started, straightening up once more. Suddenly, he grinned a wide, toothy grin that, on a goblin, rarely meant anything good. "Imagine the looks on the faces of the wizarding world if they found out that their savior isn't even a wizard, but a mage! A magical being!" He cackled then, terribly amused with the picture in his head.
Harry himself couldn't help but chuckle as well; that would be a sight to see. Suddenly, however, a part of what Grimsheild had just said dawned on him.
"Wait!" Harry gasped. "You mean I really am a mage?!"
Grimsheild grinned at Harry. "Well it certainly seems like it. There isn't much else of a reason for you to be able to do what you can do, plus what you just described to me--and showed me--fits the description of a mage perfectly." Grimsheild paused for a moment before becoming a bit more serious. "I'm guessing that you would like to speak to Headmistress Mikhailov about possibly entering Silvermoor?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, though I also was going to question about whether or not I actually was a mage."
Grimsheild smirked once more. "Well," he said. "I think that I can arrange a meeting between you two. Please wait here for a moment." He stood up at Harry's nod and padded out of the office.
Harry sat and waited for about ten minutes, his mind reeling with the information that he actually was a mage. He honestly couldn’t quite believe it yet, even though he'd been hoping for the last week that it was true. Finally however, Grimsheild returned, a small grin on his face. Sitting back down at his desk, the older goblin spoke.
"You’re lucky; I was able to get in contact with Headmistress Mikhailov and she's free right now. She has agreed to meet with you, but only for a short while."
Harry's eyes widened and a goofy grin lit up his face. He was actually going to have a chance to go to Silvermoor Academy! Seeing his expression, Grimsheild chuckled.
"Here," he said tossing Harry a muggle pen. Harry stared at the object in his hand, confused. Seeing Harry's expression, Grimsheild chuckled. "It's a portkey," he clarified. "It will take you to Headmistress Mikhailov's office and, later, back to here. Simply say 'Mikhailov' to activate it and then 'Gringotts' to return."
Harry nodded his thanks to the older goblin. He then took a deep breath, holding tightly onto the portkey in his hand. He knew that the upcoming conversation would change the fate of his life.
Instantly, Harry felt the familiar feeling of a jerk behind his naval before the scene around him shifted. As Harry reoriented himself, he glanced around the new office that he was in and found that, unlike he would have expected, it was somewhat...muggle-like.
It was a fairly large square shaped room with smooth hardwood floors. The wall to his left held two large bookcases, while the wall to his right held a single case filled with various objects, none of which Harry had ever seen before. Behind him was door, which presumably led out of the office. The rest of the space on the walls was filled with various paintings of different sceneries.
Turning his attention away from the walls, Harry focused his attention forward where an oak desk stood. Sitting behind that desk was a woman who was watching him with interest clear on her face. Straightening up and gulping slightly, Harry walked forward until he was standing in front of the desk. As he did, the woman, Headmistress Mikhailov, stood up.
Harry wasn't quite sure what he'd been expecting, but this woman wasn't it. She didn't look to be a day over 30, though Harry knew that she had to be at least several hundred years old. She stood at about 5'8 and had obsidian black eyes, straight blue hair held back in bun with a pair of long bangs framing her face. Her skin was very pale, but no where near the white of vampires. If anything, it had a slightly bluish tint to it. She was wearing a simple black dress with very wide sleeves.
The last thing about Mikhailov that stood out was the pair of pointed ears that she had. Harry suddenly remembered that the book, /Branches of Magic/, had said that Headmistress Mikhailov was an ice elf. Well, that would certainly account for her ears and skin. Offhandedly, Harry couldn't help but wonder if all ice elves looked like her.
Mikhailov smirked. "Welcome, Harry Potter," she greeted, and Harry noticed that she had a fairly strong Russian accent. She sat down and Harry hesitantly followed suit, sinking into one of chairs sitting before her desk.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Headmistress," Harry replied smoothly, carefully hiding his nervousness.
Mikhailov nodded approvingly at his control of emotions while folding her hands before her. Cutting straight to the chase she looked Harry in the eye, "I hear that there is a distinct possibility that you are a mage."
Straightening his shoulders, Harry nodded. "Yes," he replied, "Grimsheild, the goblin who is my account manager, seemed sure of it."
Mikhailov titled her head towards Harry, signaling him to continue his explanation. Taking a deep breath, Harry did so, repeating the explanation that he had just told Grimsheild. Once he'd finished, Mikhailov was watching him with sharp eyes.
"Interesting..." she murmured. Suddenly, she leaned forward over her desk, looking Harry straight in the eye. "And you say that you have had complete control over your abilities for as long as you can remember?" Harry nodded. "As much control as you have today?" Another nod. "Your control has been the same level--a high level--for that long?" Harry nodded once more and Mikhailov leaned back in her seat, threading her hands under her chin. "...Interesting..."
Harry stared at the headmistress, completely confused about where she was going with this.
"Tell me, Mr. Potter," Mikhailov continued, "Exactly what is the title of the book that you mentioned?"
"Erm," Harry hesitated, trying to remember the author's name. "I believe it was Branches of Magic by Eoly Riellendri."
Mikhailov's eyes widened almost imperceptibly. "Hmm," she began, staring off into a point in space. "That book must be quite old for you to have found it in a wizard's library. It's a good thing that those books are spelled to be self updating...Well, Mr. Potter, it would seem that you are indeed a mage."
Harry blinked. "You...you're not going to ask me to show you my abilities or anything?"
Mikhailov chuckled. "No," she replied. "Grimsheild has already explained to me what you did. That I can tell that you're a magical being from your aura."
Harry blinked once more. "My...aura?"
"Yes," Mikhailov smirked. She didn't expound on her previous statement however and instead just moved on to the next topic. "I presume that the reason you are here is because you would like to attend the Silvermoor Academy of Magic, correct?" Once again, Harry nodded in reply. "Well, you do understand that Silvermoor is a prestigious school which even mages have difficulty getting into, right? And that on top of that the majority of the student body is made up of vampires, werewolves, elves, and fayeries?
"Please understand, Mr. Potter, that Silvermoor is nothing like Hogwarts. The curriculum is much harsher and we do not cater to our students in the same way that it does. About 30% of the students whom attend, are killed in some way or another before they get the chance to graduate. Hogwarts teaches students how to perform spells. We teach students how to harness their magic in order to survive.
"We also focus a lot more on physical condition than wizarding schools. You are required to master at least one weapon during your time at the school. Knowing this, would you still like to attend Silvermoor Academy?"
"Yes," Harry replied without hesitation. "The teaching that Silvermoor offers is exactly the kind of experience that I need. War is about to break out, Headmistress, even if only among wizards, and I need to prepare in whatever way possible."
Mikhailov sighed. "Yes, I suppose you do," she replied. Suddenly, her mouth tightened and her eyes turned very serious. "However, this war may be farther reaching than you'd think."
Harry started at the ice elf before him, confused. He didn't get a chance to question what she meant though, because at that moment she moved on to the next subject.
"Well," Mikhailov said with a sigh, "If it's true that you've been able to control your magic for as long as you can remember, and have been able to hide from wizards for the past five years, then I believe that we do have a place for you a Silvermoor Academy."
Harry was caught between elation and confusion. Acting on the second feeling, he immediately spoke. "Thank you very much, ma'am," Harry began. "But...Why do you seem surprised that I have always been able to control my magic?"
Mikhailov smirked at the teen before her. "Mr. Potter, you may not know this, but the connection that magical beings have with their core strengthens over time. At a young age magical beings are able to do magic, but it is only a very small amount. Even levitating something takes a lot of energy, let alone moving the object around while levitating it.
"It is for this reason that Silvermoor is for students ages 16-20; as I'm sure you've read in /Branches of Magic/. By the age of sixteen magical beings have for the most part solidified their magical channels and can use their magic to its fullest extent. Another reason for the age group is because of magical beings' magical maturity. Like wizards, our magical maturity begins at age eighteen. Unlike them, however, our maturity lasts until we're twenty, at which time our magic completely settles down."
Harry's eyebrows rose, surprised. This was something that book certainly had never mentioned. He had wondered before why the school didn't accept younger children, but now it made perfect sense. It was pure coincidence that he had found the book when he had; just a month before he turned sixteen.
'/Great/,' Harry thought. '/So I'm different than mages too.../' He held back a sigh; this could mean that he was more powerful too, if that was what Mikhailov was insinuating.
"Well," Mikhailov continued after giving Harry a moment to process the new information. "The next step is for you to register for the classes you would like to take." Harry sat up straighter in his chair after hearing this, interested. "Please understand that there are different types of classes. First there are several core classes that will last all four years of your schooling. These are mandatory and you must take them. The rest are elective and usually last 1-2 years, depending on how well you do in the class. There are also several classes which have prerequisites. For those classes there are others which you must take first, and often you must also get a recommendation to move on."
Mikhailov pulled out a piece of paper from a drawer and slid it across the desk to Harry. "Here is the complete list of classes. The ones that require prerequisites are marked, along with their prerequisite. You may pick eight classes, including the mandatory ones, which are also marked. Choose wisely."
Taking a deep breath, Harry picked up the sheet and let his eyes drift over the list. A few of them made his eyes widen, like death magic, which had a prerequisite of soul magic, which also made his eyes widen. Several of them, however, he was familiar with, like transfiguration. Still, Harry knew that even that would be far different, since he would be around people who used magic in the same way he did. And that, truly, was what excited him the most about attending Silvermoor.
After a couple minutes Harry finally came to a decision. "Well," he began as he cleared his throat, "First are the mandatory classes of course: Magical Theory, Enchantment, Transfiguration, Physical Arts, and Magical Control. For the other three classes, I'll take Elemental Manipulation, Magical Creatures, and Soul Magic." Harry wasn't entirely sure about the magical creatures’ class, but from what little the book, /Branches of Magic/, had mentioned about them, they were quite often much more dangerous than the ones studied at Hogwarts. Harry figured that the more he knew, the better his chances of surviving were.
Mikhailov smirked once more and took the paper back, marking down the classes that Harry had stated as she did so. Once that was done, she took out another sheet of paper and handed it to Harry.
"This," she said, "Is the list of items that you will need to acquire before school starts. Silvermoor doesn't use textbooks, but the books on the list are ones that you will want to get, and possibly even read before school starts. You should be able to get all of these items in the wizarding world, even if you have to look a little harder than usual." Harry nodded his thanks and slipped the paper into his pocket after only a quick glance at it.
"Before I go," Harry began, "There's something else that I have to ask." Mikhailov signaled the dark haired teen to go on, and he did so after taking another deep breath. "I would like to attend the school under an assumed name."
Mikhailov raised an eyebrow, a smirk coming to her face. "So then, you don't want anyone to know who you are?" Harry nodded. "I suppose we can do that; you'd be surprised at the number of students--often mages--who do just that for one reason or another. You'll have to come up with a back story yourself, but what is that name that you'd like me to register you under?"
Harry paused for a moment, racking his brain for a name, when the perfect idea came to him.
"Gray," he said thoughtfully. "Blake Gray."
A/N: And the Potter family hasn't turned out to be super rich or super old (gasps) Sorry, but I've always found that particular plotline to be more than a bit unrealistic. There's never been anything in the canon to point to the Potters being a rich, old aristocratic family, so there won't be any here either. Also, the name Blake can mean both black and white in old English. Hence why it was chosen.
Oh, and I've also got another story out right now, though really it's more of a collection of one-shots. Humorous, parody-ridden one-shots. Please check out and tell me what you think!