Author: Shadow Rebirth
Beta Reader: StormyBabe1988
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Chapter WC: 3,521
Story WC: 60,976
First Written: September 19, 2008
Last Edited: November 17, 2008
Posted: October 4, 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
Harry stared blankly at the wooden door not two inches from his nose. Slowly he looked down at the crumbled piece of paper that Professor Aglaeca had shoved at him. Professor Ciar, it read, Room B18. Below that was a short message written in some language that he didn't recognize.
Harry released a sigh and then began to walk down the hall to room 18. Thank Merlin he was already in the Beta Building. He strode quietly down the hall, checking the doors as he went until he finally found room B18.
Harry hesitantly knocked on the door to the office. A muffled reply came through the door, inviting him in, and Harry cautiously entered. The inside of the office was sparsely decorated with furniture and rugs. A large black desk covered in paper sat in the back of the room.
To Harry's surprise Professor Aetius was lying upside down on one of the couches. His legs were sluing over the armrest and the back while his head hung a few inches from the floor, causing blonde hair to pool on the floor beneath him. Professor Ciar was nowhere to be seen.
Aetius blinked, surprised at the sight of a student, but didn't get up. "Eh? Weren't you just in my class?"
Harry rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "Er, yeah, I was," he replied. "...Is Professor Ciar here?"
"Oh, sure," he replied before raising his voice. "Hey, Eru, get your ass out here! A student's looking for ya!"
There was a moment's paused and then a door in the back of the office opened. Ciar walked through it, glancing through a stack of papers in his hands. He had pale skin, shoulder length black hair, and a tall frame that seemed to tower above them. Ciar stopped at his desk to put down the papers. He finally looked up at Harry while leaning back against his desk and crossing his arms over his chest.
Harry silently stepped forward and handed the noted he'd been given to Ciar. The whole way he could feel Aetius' curious gaze on him, digging into his back.
Ciar quickly read over the note. Harry noticed with no small amount of trepidation that the dark elf's eyes narrowed about half way through and a frown had settled onto his face. Finally Ciar set the note down and dropped heavily into his chair.
"Have a seat, Mr. Gray."
Harry tentatively sat in the chair across from Ciar's desk. He glanced back at Aetius, only to find that the other professor was no longer there. He shivered slightly before meeting Ciar's gaze once more. The professor steeped his fingers and studied Harry for several long minutes before finally speaking again. During this time Harry couldn't help but fidget, his mind whirling with all of the things that the note might have said.
"Professor Aglaeca has refused to teach you," Ciar told him bluntly. Harry's mouth dropped open in shock.
Ciar paused, considering how to word his explanation. "You must understand," he began, "That fayeries are very...pure beings. They are the protectors of life. And apparently your magical pathways are soaked with death magic. Because his senses and instincts would be going haywire, it would be difficult for him to be in the same room as you, let alone teach you."
For a minute Harry could do little more than gape at Ciar. Death magic? There was death magic in his magical pathways?
"Aglaeca sent you to me because I am Silvermoor's Death Magic professor," Ciar continued. "Doubtless he expected that I'd be able to either do something or take over your teaching..."
"Take over my teaching?"
"Mmm..." Ciar mused. His eyes drifted thoughtfully over to a large window set into the back wall of the office. Lush green trees of the Greenland Magical Reserve could be seen through it. "That could potentially work..." His eyes snapped back to Harry, all of his attention focused once more. "You, quite clearly, cannot be taught by Adhamh, and nor are there any other Soul Masters in this school who will have the time to teach. And you must be taught, lest the death magic in your pathways leaks out into the rest of your body. Honestly, it's rather surprising that it hasn't already. Though...I suppose it's possible that your body has adapted to the energy. We shall have to see."
At that moment a clear bell echoed through the hallways. As intent on Ciar's words as he'd been, Harry jumped in surprise at the sound.
"...Go," the dark elf said softly. "Return here to my office tomorrow instead of Aglaeca's class and we will speak further."
Harry nodded and quickly scrambled up from his seat. In a few short strides he was out of the office. He paused to lean against the wall and take a deep, steadying breath. It wasn't that he was afraid of Ciar or anything, but the man was somewhat unnerving.
Harry took one last glance at the door to Ciar's office and then hurried towards the Banquet Hall for dinner.
The second Harry sat down at what had become his and his friend's table, all of their eyes turned to him. "What happened?" Ryan asked eagerly. "Senka told us that you got kicked out of your Soul Magic class."
Harry paused, considering what to tell them. He may consider them to be his friends, but he'd only known them for a few days and this wasn't something he was interested in sharing with them. Not yet any way.
"There was a...complication," he said finally. "I'm working it out with another professor."
His friends frowned and exchanged curious glances with each other. They seemed to sense that the topic was closed though and asked no further questions. Fortunately, they were saved from an awkward silence by a sudden outburst from Zahra.
"What the hell is that?!"
Harry glanced up from his menu surprised. He followed Zahra's outstretched, pointing hand to small creature that was sitting on Senka's shoulder and instantly saw what the mage had meant.
The creature was quite unlike anything that Harry had seen before. Its body was small and round—about the size of an orange—and seemed to be made entirely of twigs and leaves. Round, bulbous eyes peered curiously at all of them and thin, stick-like arms grasped tightly onto Senka's shoulders.
Senka glanced down at the creature almost lazily. "Oh, that?" she replied. "That's Bobb, my familiar. He's a bowtruckle."
Next to Senka, Azrael's head was titled to the side while he studied the bowtruckle curiously. "A tree guardian," the vampire murmured. "Curious..."
Senka and Azrael shared strange, knowing smiles that confused the rest of them. Even Damion, Azrael's cousin, was stumped if the odd look that he was shooting Azrael was anything to go by. Harry frowned, wondering if he'd missed something or if there was just something about bowtruckles that he didn't know.
Finally he just sighed and reburied his head in the dinner menu. Oh well, it wasn't important. At least not in the face of the other problems he was facing. No matter how you put it, having death magic inside your body just didn't sound like a good thing...
The second day of term passed in much the same manner as the first, with only a few interesting variations. By the time Harry's last class of the day came around, he found himself standing in front of the door to Ciar's office, his hand posed to knock.
"Gray!" a voice suddenly called, interrupting him.
Harry only just started to turn towards the speaker when a heavy arm settled over his shoulders. He staggered under the sudden weight and looked up to find Professor Aetius grinning down at him. With his free hand, Aetius opened Ciar's door and ushered Harry in.
"Well come on," the blonde vampire said cheerfully. "No use standing around out here, waiting around, ne?"
Ciar, who'd been sitting behind his desk, working, glanced up at their entrance. As Harry was pushed into the seat across from the desk, Ciar scowled at Aetius.
"Don't you have anything better to do with your off time than bother me, Gaea?" he growled.
Aetius shrugged, still grinning. "Nope! Don't be such a stick in the mud, Eru. Besides, this is /interesting!/"
Harry gulped as the two instigated a staring contest over his head, one glaring and one smiling. They seemed to have completely forgotten his presence. Finally Ciar sighed and flicked his hand dismissively.
"Whatever. Just stay out of the way."
Like a kid who'd been told that he could go to the circus, Aetius let out a whoop of joy. With a running leap, he all but threw himself onto one of Ciar's couches. The dark elf shot him another glare when the furniture creaked ominously.
Sighing in exasperation, Ciar turned his eyes back onto Harry. His gaze turned thoughtful, as if he was studying some great anomaly—which indeed wasn't far from the truth.
"I've spoken to Headmistress Silvia," he told Harry softly. Everything about Ciar seemed to be muted like that, as though his edges had been blurred. It almost made the eyes slide away. As such, Harry almost missed the professor's next comment. "Your situation makes a bit more sense now, Mr. Potter."
Harry froze, his eyes flying wide open with surprise. Then he forced himself to clam down, asking himself why he was worried. It wasn't these people he was hiding from, just the students who might have connections to the wizarding world. And besides, if Ciar knew the whole story he was much more likely to be able to help him.
"You are quite...curious," Ciar mused. He sighed and then straighter up, growing solemn. "The Killing Curse is basically a collection of compressed death magic. Even here in the magical being world it is impossible to survive taking such a hit. We mortals just aren't meant to take such an influx of energy. I might be able to discern what caused you to survive, but I shall have to take a good look at you magical pathways first. Do you mind?"
Harry hesitated and then shook his head. With a barely perceptible nod, Ciar took Harry's hands, placed them palms up, and held loosely onto his wrists. The young mage watched anxiously as Ciar closed his eyes, concentrating.
For a moment nothing happened. Then Harry breathed in sharply as he felt a sudden charge race through his body, starting at his wrists. Goosebumps broke out over his skin and he had to consciously stop himself form pulling away. It wasn't painful sensation, just decidedly peculiar.
The energy hummed through his body for a few more seconds before fading away. A moment later Ciar opened his eyes and then released Harry's wrists. The thoughtful look had returned to his face, but this time there was a frown tugging at his lips as well.
"Interesting," Ciar murmured. "Very interesting..."
"Yeah, yeah!" Aetius piped up form the couch. Harry gave a start, having forgotten the vampire's presence. "Don't keep it to yourself, Erebus! We're all dying out of curiosity over here!"
Ciar ignored Aetius' interruption. His eyes were still on Harry, now lingering on the spot where his scar was, hidden beneath an illusion.
"From what I can tell," he began, "The death magic of the Killing Curse had a one-in-a-million chance effect on you. Normally when a person is hit with death magic like that it will quickly burn through their magical pathways before reaching their magical core, instantly killing them.
"When you were hit by the curse however, the death magic was absorbed into your pathways instead of burning them up. Though this means that the magic never reached your magical core—hence why it didn't kill—it caused your pathways to become inflamed and bloated. This forcefully widened your pathways, which is most likely why you became a mage instead of a wizard. Such an occurrence has never happened before, but I suppose it certainly is possible."
"So...Me surviving the Killing Curse was just pure chance and nothing else?" Harry questioned. "The same with me being a mage?" When Ciar nodded he felt a shiver race down his spine. What would have happened had the magic killed him instead? Or if he'd not become a mage? Would he still be stuck in Hogwarts?
"What I don't understand," Ciar continued. "Is why the spell 'rebounded' and hit Voldemort. There is no known way for magic of any sort to cause such a reaction. It leaves me at a loss..."
"While you're on that subject, you've also got to ask why the wizard went after a baby in the first place," Aetius commented with a snort.
Harry shifted uncomfortably and instantly Ciar's eyes snapped back to him. "You know something." It wasn't a question.
Harry's eyes flickered away from the dark elf's piercing gaze. "...Perhaps," he replied, unwilling to tell him about the prophecy. That was one secret he was not letting out.
Fortunately the two professors did not press the subject, curious though they were. Instead Ciar steered the topic back onto the subject of schooling.
"Well," he began, "Because I'm the only Soul Master that has off this period—"
"Oi! I've got a mastery in Soul Magic too ya know!" Aetius piped up.
Ciar ignored him. "—You'll be coming here every day for your Soul Magic class. I'm going to work with you to make sure that the death magic has no ill effects as well as teaching you. The way you work with soul magic will doubtless differ from the norm as well."
Behind them, Aetius cackled. "Now this is going to be good."
Harry gulped, more than just a little intimidated. It figured that after less than a day of being at a new school, he was already standing out.
"Oh, Gray," Ciar suddenly said and Harry's glanced back at him. "Headmistress Silvia mentioned something about the Reserve having room for a hippogriff. She said you'd know what she was talking about."
Harry nodded eagerly, though he was surprised to have gotten a response to quickly. Professor Talbot, the Magical Creatures professor, must have relayed his message immediately. And now he'd be able to get Buckbeak out of the horrible house! The only problem left was how to get him to Greenland, but Harry already had an idea for that.
The grin slipped from Harry's face as his thoughts moved onto his new arrangement with Professor Ciar. How was he going to explain this to his friends without giving telling them the truth? The truth was definitely out of the question and not just because he didn't entirely trust them yet. Rather, telling them about the death magic would lead to more questions which could eventually lead to them to figuring out his identity. And that he was going to avoid for as long as possible
When the period finally ended, Harry left with a quick goodbye to the two professors. He almost hoped that Aetius would be there everyday; it distracted Ciar's piercing gaze from him. Not to mention that he was a pretty good source of amusement.
The rest of the evening blurred into a stretch of indistinguishable memories. All of the students were exhausted from the day—enough so that Harry's friends asked him no questions, /thank Merlin—/and Harry had a feeling that things were only going to get harder the further they got into the term. By the time he got back to his rooms, he was ready to collapse.
Before he could go to bed however, there was one last thing that Harry needed to take care of. He took a seat at his desk, pulled out some paper and a pen, and began to write.
Dumbledore hummed lightly as he quietly strode down a clean muggle street. His ever-present twinkle shined brightly in his eyes and a mysterious smile rested on his face. To anyone who saw him it was clear that he was in a good mood.
As it was two weeks before the start of Hogwarts' term, Dumbledore had decided that it was time for Harry Potter to be brought to Grimmauld Place for the end of summer. Mrs. Weasley had agreed to do all of the boy's shopping, so all that was needed was to pick the boy up. The headmaster had decided to do that job himself this year, in light of the rocky end of the last term.
Before long Dumbledore came to a stop in front of Privet Drive. It was completely identical to all the other houses on the road, trimmed bushes, white picket fence, and all. No one would ever guess that it was the residence of the Boy-Who-Lived.
When Dumbledore knocked solidly on the door to the house there was, for several long moments, no answer. Then finally the door opened only a crack and the wary visage of Petunia Dursley could be seen peeking from within. Upon seeing him she scowled fiercely and seemed to contemplate slamming the door in his face. She did not, however, no matter how great the temptation must have been for her, and instead after a moment she pulled the door all the way open. She stood by it, silently bidding him entrance while refusing to meet his eyes.
The headmaster cheerfully stepped inside of the Dursely's home. His blue eyes swept across the premises, noting that it looked exactly the same as it did the last time he'd been there, some years ago. Despite this there seemed to be something different hanging the air that gave the older man a moment's pause.
"What do you want?" Petunia snapped the moment the door had closed. She hesitated between the hallway and the living room, torn between playing the good host and snubbing the wizard.
Dumbledore smiled patiently. "I'm just here to pick up Harry," he replied jovially. He either didn't noticed or just chose to ignore Petunia nasty attitude. "Is he in at the moment?"
If possible, Petunia's scowl deepened even further. "No. He's not. He left some days ago."
"Left?" Dumbledore asked sharply. The cheer completely faded from his face, leaving it cold as stone.
Petunia hesitated, suddenly remembering just who it was that she was dealing with. After a moment she gathered her courage, drew herself up to her full height, and stared Dumbledore directly in the face, challenging him. This was her home and she'd be damned if she allowed herself to be scared off in it.
"Yes," she replied firmly. "Left. He got himself emancipated and then up and left. He said he was dropping out of school. We haven't heard from him since and I doubt we ever will again. And there's nothing you can do about it," she added before the headmaster could interrupt. "It was his choice; he even specifically said so."
Dumbledore gaped at Petunia in shock. Emancipated? He'd gotten himself emancipated? Why hadn't he said something?! No one had heard anything about this from him! Surely he would have at least mentioned something to his friends!
"His choice or not, how could you just let him leave?" Dumbledore asked with a frown. "He's your nephew. And what about your debt to your sister?"
Petunia drew herself up even further. "We never wanted him in this house!" she hissed. "For the first time, my life was going perfect you know! I was married to a loving husband and had a darling little boy of my own. Then I wake up one morning and find that my sister had gotten herself killed and that there was a baby on my doorstep. I never wanted to take of him, but I did for all these years! I allowed his freakishness into my home even though my first instinct was to just leave him there. Don't speak to me about debts; I've already repaid mine threefold!"
Dumbledore drew back, shocked by the woman's rage and animosity. He stared sadly at her, seeing clearly how jealousy, hate, and fear, had warped her over the years. It was like a parasite of the heart, growing and tainting everything around it until all that was left was a pale, broken reflection of what had once been.
"I'm sorry that you feel that way, especially towards a family member," he said quietly. His face was drawn with sorrow and disappointment. Petunia jerked back as he'd physically slapped her. "I had hoped that you would eventually be able to get over your hate so that you could care for your orphaned nephew, but I can see now that that has not been the case. It's a pity; you could have been such a strong woman."
Petunia openly gaped at him, thoroughly shocked and taken aback by his words. Dumbledore spun on his heel, his robes swirling around his heels, and headed towards the door. He paused with his hand on the handle to glance back at her. "Farewell, Mrs. Dursley."
And then he was gone.
A/N: Told ya the canon characters would show up soon. There'll be more in the next chapter too. As I've mentioned before, they will be a main part of the story.
It was amusing how everyone immediately assumed that it must have been a Horcrux that Aglaeca felt. As you can see, that is far from the case...Well, kind of. Anyway, it couldn't have really been the soul piece that Aglaeca felt because, scar or not, the Horcux isn't actually in Harry's forehead: it's attached to his soul. No, it was Harry's magic that he was sensing.
I will indeed be using the Horcrux idea in this story though because, honestly, I think that it's an incredibly inventive idea that has a lot of possibilities attacked to it. The problem is that Rowling waited until the middle of the sixth book to even mention them, which made the idea seem really rushed and just threw everything out of whack.