Author: Shadow Rebirth
Beta Reader: Decimus Serai
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Word Count: 4,655
Last Edited: June 30, 2008
Posted: July 5, 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
A brown haired, brown eyed Harry Potter walked out of Grimsheild's office. It had taken a few minutes to get everything straightened out with Headmistress Mikhailov, but soon after giving out his new name they had said goodbye and parted ways. After that, Harry had gotten more gold from his accounts from Grimsheild--he knew he would need it, considering the list that he now held. And now here he was, with his glamour back on, heading out of Gringotts.
Harry walked straight out of the building without glancing at anyone around him. The bank was almost deserted now, though that wasn't too surprising considering as it was probably about ten at night. Regardless, Harry pushed through the large double doors of the bank's entrance and stepped out into the Alley.
Completely ignoring the shops of Diagon Alley, Harry silently swept down the street until he came to the entrance of Knockturn Alley. He paused there and pulled his hood up further so that his face was completely hidden. Unlike Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley truly came alive at night so now was probably the best time for him to shop. Plus, it was also when the shops put out some of their more...questionable...items.
Slipping into the alley, Harry strode forward with his back straight and his shoulders squared. Knockturn Alley was certainly not a place to act meek.
Harry completely ignored the street venders hawking their wares along the alley, and instead made a beeline for a bookstore that he was pretty sure would have all of the books that were on the list that Mikhailov had given him.
Once inside the store, Harry gave his eyes barely a moment to adjust to the gloom of the shop. He then located the shopkeeper at the back of the large room and, keeping an eye on him, began to flit around the store, picking up the books that were on the list as well as a few others that caught his eye. Among them, the most interesting of the books on the list Harry would have to say was Deadly Magical Creatures by Uimill Drirnan and Understanding Politics by Taiwil Anowynne.
Once he had picked out everything he needed, Harry took his stack of books to the counter at the back of the store. The haggard looking older wizard who was the shopkeeper stared at Harry suspiciously for a moment before quickly ringing up the books and then roughly murmuring out the total price.
Staring straight at the wizard--who was starting to shift uneasily under his gaze--Harry pulled out the correct amount and handed it to the shopkeeper. He then reached into his cloak and, while his hand was hidden, conjured a wand-shaped stick of wood. Harry pulled it out and tapped the stack of books before him with it and murmured what he knew was the shrinking spell. As he did so he reached out with his own magic and shrunk the books before slipping them and the "wand" into his pant's pocket. He decided to keep the wand for now, in case he needed it again.
With a last nod to the shopkeeper, Harry swept out of the shop and into the narrow alley once more without a word. The next item that was on the list surprised Harry a bit. '/A ritual knife?/' he thought unsurely. Sighing quietly, he ignored his confusion for the time being and headed to where he knew a weapon shop was, in the back of the alley.
The outside of shop was small, dark, and dusty, and the inside of the store turned out to be exactly what the outside suggested. It was dark and cramped with shelves that seemed to hold nothing of any real value, just a bunch of old, rusty weapons that looked as if they'd seen better days a few centuries ago. Slowly Harry picked his way across the store toward the back where a counter was, twitching slightly as a rat came out of a dusty corner and ran across his path. It disappeared into a hole in the floorboards soon after.
Attempting to hide his disgust, Harry stopped before the small counter at the back, where the shopkeeper was standing, watching him. He was a scarred, Japanese man, with graying hair, a crooked nose and a pointed little goatee. Sharp black eyes focused on Harry, studying him. Before Harry could open his mouth however, the oriental man's face split into a wide grin.
"It's a pleasure to have you in my shop, young man," the shopkeeper greeted in a rough voice. "What can I do for you today?"
Harry blinked in surprise at the man's cheerful--something truly out of place in Knockturn Alley--greeting. "Erm," he began hesitantly. "I'm looking for some weapons..."
The man cackled, causing Harry stare at him even more strangely. "Well then, it appears that you haven't completely wandered into the wrong shop. Is there anything in particular that you're looking for?"
"Yes, actually," Harry replied. He was a little wary about having come into the shop now; this man seemed to be missing more than a couple of marbles. "I'm looking for a ritual knife."
"Ah, one of those types, eh?" the man commented, waggling his eyebrow suggestively.
"Er, types?" Now Harry was completely lost, but the man just cackled again and leapt out from behind the counter with speed and agility belying his age. He began to stride off--completely ignoring Harry's question--when he suddenly stopped and spun around on his heel, making Harry jerk in surprise.
"Kenmaru, by the way," he said, giving Harry a short bow.
"Ah, it's nice to meet you. I’m Marcus," Harry replied, saying the first name that popped into his mind while giving Kenmaru a hesitant and sloppy bow in return.
Harry blinked again. "...Warlike...?"
"Yes," Kenmaru replied with a chuckle. "Marcus is Latin for warlike. Didn't you know?"
Harry stared at the man with wide eyes. Of all the names he could have chosen... "N-no," he answered. Then, realizing how he was acting, Harry carefully pulled his emotions together. No one had ever managed to throw Harry off so easily, but this old man was doing it without even trying! He was going to have to be more careful around him; people, especially older people, didn't open shops on Knockturn Alley without knowing how to take care of themselves.
Harry followed Kenmaru as he strode toward a door in the back corner of the shop--well more like bounced actually, but that was beside the point. The door opened up to a hall just as dark and dusty as the rest of the shop.
Kenmaru quickly headed inside, but Harry paused in the doorway. Harry was far from naïve and knew how incredibly dangerous it was to follow a seemingly insane old man down a narrow hallway to Merlin knows where. Still, he thought, a dark smirk flitting across his face, he had a large advantage: He didn't need a wand to do magic.
Breathing deeply, Harry moved into the hallways, walking carefully behind Kenmaru. He was still on full alert, and thus tensed as Kenmaru stopped before another door at the end of the short hallway, passing through it.
The large room on the other side of the door was the exact opposite of the rest of the store. It was clean and well lit, with walls filled with racks and shelves that held weapons of all sorts, including some that Harry had never seen before. The middle of the room was similarly filled with multiple cases of weapons.
Harry stood in the doorway of the room, gaping in shock. The front room must be just for show! This, apparently, was where all of the real products were kept.
"Woah," Harry breathed as he gravitated to the nearest shelf and stared at the large axe displayed there. None of the weapons in the room were very flashy, but from what little Harry knew about blades they were of very good quality.
Harry said so to Kenmaru, who just chuckled in reply. "Of course they are," the older man said. "I get only the best, because I know the best contacts."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Really?" he asked dubiously. "How?"
Kenmaru shot Harry a smirk, but it didn't hide the sad glint in his eyes. Drifting away and looking across the room, the Japanese man sighed. "I used to be a top Auror, a long time ago," he said, staring off into space. "But then all of my team but one man was killed and well..." Suddenly Kenmaru was by Harry again, a large grin on his face." Well come on!" he said cheerfully. "I'll show you the ritual knives!"
A bounce in step once more, Kenmaru bounded off to a case in the back of the room. Harry stared off after him, surprised. After a moment he shook out of his stupor and quickly hurried over to the wizard's new position.
Kenmaru had stopped before a case that was filled with numerous daggers which all looked the most ornamental than any of the others in the room. Harry stopped beside the Japanese man and stared down at the elegant blades in slight awe.
"These," Kenmaru began, "Are the ritual knives that I have in my stock. Please look through them and pick out the first one that calls to you. The very first one mind you."
Harry hummed in agreement and began to methodically go through each knife. As he did so, he spoke out about something was on his mind, watching Kenmaru from the corner of his eye as he did so.
"An Auror..." Harry commented. "If you're really a retired Auror then why are you here of all places, in Knockturn Alley?"
Kenmaru chuckled. "We all have to make a living somehow," he replied. "Weaponry has always been what I'm best at, and there aren't many other places to sell my wares."
Harry raised an eyebrow and glanced at Kenmaru, momentarily forgetting about the knife in his hand. "But aren't you worried about the Ministry finding out about what you're selling? I mean, as a retired Auror then you'd think that the Ministry would be even harder on you..."
"I've got connections," Kenmaru said, quirking a grin. "I'll know far before hand if I have anything to worry about. And besides, the Ministry has already gone to hell."
Harry couldn't help but chuckle in reply. It was true; the Ministry was already almost completely corrupted and Harry doubted that even kicking Fudge out of office would change that.
Focusing his attention back on the ritual knives, Harry suddenly froze as he looked down at the knife that was currently in his hand. It was simply incredible. It had a smooth black handle with a half circle gold hand guard, both of which were designed very elegantly. The blade itself, however, was what really caught his eye. It was a blade made of silver with a golden support running halfway up in the length of the blade. The silver, Harry noticed as he looked at it closely, was completely covered in little engravings. (1)
Abruptly, Harry noticed that Kenmaru was leaning over his shoulder, just inches from his face. With a yelp, the dark haired teen leapt backwards, his heart beating wildly. Despite this reaction Kenmaru just ignored him and continued to stare at the blade.
"Ah," the older man said suddenly as a grin crossed his face. "How interesting, that you would choose this blade."
"Sir...?" Harry stated hesitantly as he straightened himself out once more.
Kenmaru looked up at him then, his eyes sparkling. "It is made entirely of gold and silver, as you can tell. Usually this would not work at all for a weapon of any type, even a ritual knife, because the metals are far too malleable. The silver, however, is engraved with hundreds of tiny runes that harden the blade and give it extreme strength. This knife is perfect for rituals."
Kenmaru held the knife out for Harry, who hesitantly took it. Staring down at the blade again, Harry couldn't help but marvel at how well it fit in his grip.
"Also," Kenmaru suddenly began. "You will have to be very careful with this knife." Harry looked at Kenmaru questioningly. "Because of the runes on the blade, this knife will be fairly testy around magic. You will never be able to perform magic on the blade, be it to shrink it or summon it--though that could be a good thing."
Harry nodded in understanding, looking down at the blade with renewed awe. To have a weapon that couldn't be summoned would be very helpful, even if it only was a ritual knife.
"Now," Kenmaru said, clapping his hands together, "Is there anything else that I can get for you?"
Harry hesitated for a moment. Headmistress Mikhailov had told him students would receive their weapons at the school itself, but it couldn't hurt to have an extra weapon on him for protection, especially in these times. And if it were just something small…
"...Do you have any daggers?" Harry asked uncertainly. "Nothing to large or extravagant: just something for a little extra protection."
Kenmaru smirked. "I think I have just the thing for you."
Kenmaru darted across the room, heading straight for a case in the middle of the room. He bent down there and picked something up off the bottom of the shelf, something that Harry hadn't even noticed before.
Standing up again, Kenmaru turned to face Harry, who had come up behind him. The old shopkeeper held out what he had picked up to Harry, who suddenly felt his breath get caught in his throat. Shakily, he stretched out a hand and picked up the dagger that Kenmaru had picked out. Now this, this was true craftsmanship. It was so elegant that it made his ritual knife look like a shoddy pile of metal.
The dagger couldn't have been much more than a foot long. The handle and hand guard was made of a black metal with designs carved into it. The gleaming silver blade of the dagger was shaped in a way that he'd never seen on a dagger before; one side of it was an elegant S-curve, while the other side--the back of the dagger--had a sharp wave like design to the edge of the metal, making it appear very dangerous. In the middle of the blade was a small three inch long carving of what looked like fire. (2)
"That is one of the greatest works that I have," Kenmaru commented as he watched Harry examine the dagger. "I believe it will fit you well."
Harry looked up at the retired Auror. "This...this is incredible."
Kenmaru chuckled and then turned around once more. "I'm guessing that you'll need a sheath for each of your blades."
Kenmaru disappeared behind a few cases but, just a moment later, reappeared again with two leather sheathes in hand. "Here," he said, passing them to Harry. "Now let's head up front to the register."
Harry nodded as he slipped his two new blades into the black leather sheathes that he'd been given. He followed Kenmaru to the front of the shop then, his nose wrinkling ever so slightly at the extreme difference between the front room and the room that he'd been in moments before. They stopped at the counter in the back of the store, which Kenmaru quickly slipped behind. Then taking a second glance at the two sheathed blades in Harry's hands, the older man quickly calculated out the cost of the weaponry.
"17 galleons, 9 sickles, and 12 knuts," Kenmaru finally said. "I'm throwing the sheaths in for free, mind you." He gave Harry a pointed look. "And only 'cause I like you, kid."
Harry mumbled his thanks and pulled out his money. That was a pretty good sum of money, but Harry knew that the blades were worth it. In hindsight, it had been a very good idea to get some more money from Grimsheild before he'd left Gringotts Bank.
After handing the stated amount of money over to Kenmaru, Harry stared down at the weapons in his hands, unsure as to where to put them. He couldn't shrink them, because the ritual knife was impervious to magic, but neither could he just wear them around his waist; even with his cloak on they'd be too obvious.
Seeing Harry's dilemma, Kenmaru spoke up. "I'd recommend that you place them within your boots," he said. "It keeps them out of sight but allows for easy access if needed."
Blinking in surprise, Harry stared down at his boots. '/Yeah,/' he thought, '/That could work./' Harry bent down and slipped the ritual knife into his left boot and the dagger in his right boot. It was a bit uncomfortable, he noticed as he straightened up again, but he figured that he'd get used to it. Plus, with the way that the sheathes fit in his boots, when he pulled on the handle of either of the weapons, only the weapon would come out and the sheath would remain in place; that would be really helpful.
Stating his thanks once more, Harry shook hands with Kenmaru and headed back out of the shop. As he did, he heard Kenmaru speak out behind him.
"Come again any time," the retired Auror called out. "And good luck, Harry."
It wasn't until Harry was half way down Knockturn Alley that he realized what name Kenmaru had called him by.
After his strange encounter with Kenmaru, Harry had decided to head back to the Dursleys. He had gotten a bunch of items, and he still had the rest of the summer--five weeks--to get the few items that he still needed.
Thinking of that, Harry suddenly remembered a letter than Headmistress Mikhailov had given him just before he'd left. She had told him when handing Harry the letter that school would be starting on August 16th--which was two weeks before Hogwarts started--and that the letter would explain everything else he would need to know about getting to Silvermoor Academy.
Plopping down on his bed without even taking off his cloak, Harry pulled the letter out of his pocket and opened it up. As soon as he had, two plane tickets fell out and onto his lap. Surprised, Harry quickly read through the letter, his eyebrows rising as it did. Apparently on August 14th, at 10:25 AM, he would be taking a seven hour flight from Heathrow Airport, here in London, to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport in the United States of America. From there he would be taking a second flight from BWIA to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.
Here, Harry's eyebrow reached his hairline. Silvermoor Academy of Magic was in Greenland of all places?! Well, now that he thought about it, it did kind of make sense. After all, who would look for a magical school in such a cold, desolate place like Greenland?
Continuing to read, Harry found that once in Nuuk he would be directed as to where he would be staying for the night. Then, on the 15th, all of the students would be taken to the Academy.
Sighing, Harry glanced down at the two plane tickets that were still resting in his lap. Well, he'd never been on an airplane before...Harry couldn't help but be curious as to if it was anything like flying on a broom.
Harry tucked the tickets back into the letter and then set it on his bedside table. Going to Silvermoor was something that he definitely wanted to do, but he was still nervous. What would it be like to be around people who were like him? To not have to hide his abilities anymore? And even more so, how would his current friends react when he didn't show up at Hogwarts on September 1st? The students who had been in the DA would be especially disappointed. But no matter how he felt, Harry knew that he couldn’t tell anyone that he was leaving until he actually did. Though, even then, he actually couldn't tell them because he no longer had an owl, and the Order had left him with no way to contact them that summer.
Sighing once more, Harry laid back on his bed, only to quickly sit up again when he felt the shrunken book in his pocket digging into his side. Harry stood up and moved over his trunk, taking his cloak off as he did so. At the same time he remembered that he still had his glamour on and then cursed himself for being so careless. What if one of the Dursleys or an Order member had walked in! Harry quickly removed it and then focused on the trunk before him.
Harry couldn't help but smirk as he looked at the trunk. It appeared to be the simple school trunk that he'd bought with Hagrid, but it wasn't. Just after meeting with Grimsheild during the summer after his first year, Harry had left to buy a new trunk. While in the trunk store with Hagrid he had seen some trunks with multiple compartments and he'd known that he would need that in order to hide some of his purchases.
And the trunk before him was what Harry had bought. It was nearly identical to his first trunk, but it had three compartments. The first two were average and looked just like the inside of a normal trunk--albeit there being two instead of one--but the third trunk was a small room, with a ladder leading down into. Harry used the first compartment for all of the items that people knew that he had--including his invisibility cloak. The second one he used for all of his other items, which he had bought over the years. The third compartment, however, he had transformed into a miniature library. It was there that he kept all the books that he had bought.
Placing his hand on the single lock that the trunk had, he murmured, "Gamma" and the lid immediately popped open. The lock was keyed into his magical signature and had passwords for each compartment--though the first one could also be opened with a conventional key. The first compartment was alpha, the second beta, and the third gamma.
Harry opened the trunk's lid completely and stared down. There was a ladder before him, which led down into a small room. Making sure that the shrunken books were still in his pocket, Harry lowered himself into the trunk and climbed down the ladder. Once at the bottom, he glanced around.
The room itself was probably only about 10 feet by 10 feet with a ceiling about 8 feet high. All four of the walls were covered in bookshelves which reached from the floor to the ceiling. Said bookshelves were for the most part filled with books; Harry had gotten quite a collection over the years. He estimated that he had about 200 or so books. Of course, Harry hadn't read all of them yet; he had scanned through most of them though.
Moving quickly for fear of someone coming into his room and seeing him, Harry pulled his new books out of his pocket and unshrunk them. Seeing that he still had the fake wand, Harry shrugged and then transfigured it back into air. Glancing around the small library, Harry tucked the books into an empty shelf. He turned to leave, then, after hesitating for a second, turned back around and pulled Understanding Politics by Taiwil Anowynne off the shelf again; this one he wanted to read. After all, if he wanted to gain some power in this new world that he would be entering as some no name mage, then he would need to know what he was doing.
Harry climbed back out of his trunk and then opened the first compartment. He tucked his black cloak away from where he'd gotten it, making sure that his copy of Branches of Magic was still safe. After closing the trunk once more, Harry proceeded to collapse down onto his bed and dive straight into /Understanding Politics/.
He had a feeling that he'd be doing a lot of reading this summer, even more than usual.
Blearily, Harry opened his eyes to the darkness of the night. He sat up in bed and groped around on his bedside table until his found his glasses, which he promptly slid on. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Harry looked around once more and caught sight of the clock, which read 11:59 in glaring red. He couldn't figure out, however, why he had woken up at such a later hour.
It had been three weeks since Harry had spoken with Headmistress Mikhailov; four weeks since school had ended. That meant that it was the end of July, and at the end of July was--
Harry abruptly gasped at the same time as the clock's time changed to 12:00. Harry groaned and dropped back down on his bed so that he was staring at the ceiling. It was officially July 31st, his birthday. Why the heck did he always wake up just before midnight? It was almost starting to get annoying.
At least, Harry thought with a sigh at he placed his hands behind his head, he was now sixteen. This gave him at least some measure of freedom with the British muggle law. And this was, of course, crucial to his plan on getting away from the Dursleys permanently. After all, in Great Britain teens of sixteen years of age could get a job, rent an apartment, and do nearly anything so long as they had their guardians consent, and Harry planned on using this loophole to its fullest.
Dumbledore and the others believed that he was too deep in his grief to do anything--and him rarely coming out of his room helped that belief--so they weren't watching him as close as they probably should. Beyond that, none of the Order even knew much about muggle law anyway. Harry couldn't help but smirk. Once again, their ignorance would lead to their downfall.
Glancing over at his bedside table, Harry saw a book there. It looked exactly like his 5th year charms text book, but it wasn't. He had used his magic to make it look as though it was but if anyone actually opened the book they'd find out that it wasn't. Harry did that with all of the books that he kept out of his trunk just in case anyone ever came into his room; he didn't want anyone to find out his secret so close to him finally getting to go to Silvermoor.
Harry had done quite a bit of reading in the past few weeks; he had already gotten through almost all of his new books. He had had nothing to do but read and practice magic though. Still, he was going through them even faster than normal, though Harry attributed that to excitement.
Indeed, Harry was positively ecstatic about getting to attend Silvermoor Academy. He knew that he probably should be nervous about going to school with vampires and werewolves, but he just couldn't bring himself to be. He'd learnt so much about them and there cultures from Branches of Magic that he knew not to be; most of the legends and myths that muggles and wizards alike held about vampires and werewolves were complete rubbish. So, if anything, Harry couldn't wait to meet the two species and see what they actually were like.
But, Harry reminded himself as he turned over once more, he was going to have to wait. He had just two weeks until he'd get to leave.
Just two more weeks.
(1) - A picture of this dagger can be found here: http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/BlakesRitualDagger.jpg
(2) - A picture of this dagger can be found here: http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/BlakesDagger.jpg
A/N: Thanks sincerely for all of the reviews for the last chapter; feedback is always appreciated! And yes, Silvermoor starts earlier than Hogwarts does, so Harry will already be at the school for a little while before anyone even finds out that he's missing...But the moment that they do find out will be very amusing to write, as many of you have been point out (grins) Please review!