Author: Shadow Rebirth
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Chapter WC: 5,865
Story WC: 77,306
First Written: November 2, 2008
Last Edited: November 10, 2008
Posted: November 10, 2008
Summary: Harry has a dark secret: He isn't a wizard. But that certainly doesn't mean he can't do magic. Unfortunately, it also means that in the face of fanatical governments and enraged demigods, Voldemort is going to be the least of his problems. AU, Gray!Harry, foreign school, vampires, werewolves, politics, no pairings.
Shades of Gray
Harry felt awkward. Really, really awkward. It might have been because he was surrounded by numerous rich, high-class magical beings. It might have been because of the extravagantly decorated ballroom twice the size of Silvermoor's Banquet Hall. It might even have been because of the formal muggle suit he was wearing, his first ever suit.
But really, it was because of the hungry way the veela on the other side of the room was eyeing him.
A shiver raced down Harry's spine and he studiously avoided looking in her direction. He wasn't sure if he was blushing or not, so he quickly took another swig from his crystal goblet.
"Blake?" Damion questioned with one arched eyebrow. "You alright?"
"Er, fine," Harry said quickly, his eyes flickering away momentarily. When his gaze caught on the veela's silver eyes, he quickly turned back to Damion.
The vampire was laughing at him. Silently, but laughing none the less. Harry glared.
"You know, I'm surprised that magical beings celebrate Christmas," Harry commented, making an attempt at diverting Damion's attention. "After all, neither the Magical World nor the Wizarding World is religious."
Damion gave him a strange look and then abruptly began to chuckle. "I forget sometimes how new you are to the Magical World," he said. "This ball in the Memorial Ball, in celebration of Cohibeo Mors Mortis Day. It's an old holiday that actually has roots in Egypt. My father ha held this ball annually for several centuries now and most international dignitaries attend."
"Oh." Harry hesitated, surprised. It had never occurred to him that the Magical World might have its own holidays, even though they had their own culture.
"It's supposed to celebrate some great victory," Damion continued. "'The Restraint of Death', as its name implies. I don't know much about it; you'd have to ask a history Master about the legends."
Suddenly Damion's gaze had moved past him, over Harry's shoulder. Harry glanced back and found that an older mage was approaching them. He had a wrinkled face, flint colored eyes, and an almost entirely bald head. Like most people there, he was dressed in a muggle suit, but there was also a strange crest over his left breast.
"Master Kyrylo," Damion greeted, bowing formally. "It's a please to see you again. Might I introduce you to my companion? This is Blake Gray, one of my fellow peers at Silvermoor Academy. Blake, this is Hryhoriy Kyrylo. He's on the Concilium, the Mage's Council. He also runs a research center in Ukraine."
"It's an honor to meet you," Harry said politely.
"Gray?" the elder mage murmured. "You wouldn't happen to be the mage that Master Ciar is working with, would you? He's mentioned you before."
Harry's eyebrows shot up despite his attempts to keep his expression neutral. Ciar had mentioned him? When? Why?
"Uh, yes, I suppose I am," Harry said. He exchanged a quick glance with Damion and then scrambled to change the topic. "Er, how long have you been on the Concilium, Master Kyrylo?" he asked.
Kyrylo smirked. "Longer than you've been alive, Mr. Gray," he rasped. "Long enough to have seen changes in this world...Long enough to know when change is coming."
Again Damion and Harry glanced at each other, confused. What was Kyrylo going on about? And why was he telling Harry?
Only a few minutes into their exchange Kyrylo excused himself, much to Harry's relief. The man was odd beyond belief, making for a very awkward conversation. Harry and Damion then drifted apart, Harry to go find Ryan or Zahra--who was visiting briefly from Egypt--and Damion to speak to an old friend he'd caught sight of.
Unfortunately, the ballroom was exceedingly large and packed with people, making it nearly impossibly for Harry to spot anyone he recognized. And so, with a sigh the young mage leaned up against one of the walls, arms crossed before him, and stared out across the masses.
"Not one for dances?" a low voice next to Harry asked.
Harry snorted lightly, remembering the dance at Hogwarts during his fourth year. "No, not really," he replied dryly. The other person chuckled in agreement.
Curious, Harry glanced to the side and instantly sharply drew in a breath in shock. Leaning against the wall next to him, only a few feet away, was a teen about his age. The shocking part, however, was that he looked nothing like Harry had ever seen before.
The young man had dark purple skin. Purple. His hair was black and messy, much like Harry's, only shorter, and his eyes were completely black, no whites whatsoever. There was a thin silver slit down the middle of them, which Harry took for pupils. His claw-like nails, Harry noted with detached shock, were also pure black.
The teen's clothes were atypical as well. They resembled a suit, except that they consisted of only a high collared jacket and black pants. On his feet were a pair of heavy black, military-style boots.
The strange teen quirked his lips upward in amusement, clearly sensing Harry's shock. "Never seen a drakyn before, I'm assuming?" he asked.
His throat suddenly feeling dry, Harry gulped deeply. "Er, n-no," Harry stuttered. "Sorry," he added belatedly. "It's just..."
The drakyn let out a brief, harsh bark of laughter. "Don't worry about it," he replied, clearly amused. "I've gotten far worse reactions, believe me. I suppose it's partially our fault, for secluding ourselves anyway. One could argue that fayeries are just as...different...but people have no adverse reactions to them because they are a normal part of the Magical World."
Harry nodded, agreeing the purple-skinned teen's words. Now that he considered it, fayeries weren't too different from these "drakyns". They both had strangely colored skin and while fayeries had sharp teeth, they had sharp nails.
"Yeah, I don't believe I've ever met a...uh, drakyn, before," he admitted. He paused for a moment and then suddenly stuck his hand out. "I'm Blake Gray."
The drakyn grinned, unsurprising revealing black, stone-like teeth. "Ty Kadundor. It's nice to meet you." His black eyes swept across the people for a moment. "My father required me to be here," he said suddenly, returning to their earlier topic of the dance. "He's the ambassador between Malauak and the rest of the world, so he expects me to be well traveled and to know 'everyone who needs to be known'." Ty scoffed, showing exactly what he thought of his father's sentiments.
Harry couldn't help but grin, amused by the teen's openness. "Damion Noctis is a friend of mine," he said. "We both attend Silvermoor Academy of Magic."
"Silvermoor, hmm?" Ty murmured, sending him a calculating look. "Perhaps I'll see you there."
Before Harry could even begin to guess what Ty meant, the drakyn had pushed off the wall and disappeared into the crowd. He instantly blended, despite his purple skin.
Harry's mouth drew down into a frown as he considered Ty's words. Unfortunately, he had only a few seconds to do so before he suddenly found the veela from earlier standing only a few feet from him. A sultry smile was spread out a across her face.
"You looked troubled."
Harry's eyes widened a fraction. The he relaxed, smiling slightly. At least he knew now why Fleur Delacour's veela charm had never worked on him; it didn't affect magical beings.
"Just trying to figure out a riddle," Harry said smoothly. The veela's eyes fluttered, feigning interest and Harry's smile widened. "Just a riddle."
Harry walked silently along next to Zahra towards their Elemental Manipulation class. His expression clearly relayed his trepidation, but Zahra didn't notice. And that was exactly why Harry was worried. The Egyptian mage had been acting a bit strangely recently, but this morning it had gotten drastically worse. She was fidgeting even now, extremely distracted.
"Er, Zahra," Harry began hesitantly. "Are you alright?"
Zahra winced. "That obvious?" she asked. She released a sigh when Harry nodded cautiously. "I'm fi-- Well, okay, I'm not fine," she quickly amended when Harry threw her a knowing look. "It's just...Well, I got a letter from by father last night saying that my brother has disappeared. My father has told me that some strange things have been going on back home, but I never expected anything like this to happen..."
Harry frowned and his brown creased with unease. "He just...disappeared?"
"Yes, but...Well, you see, my family comes from a long line of tomb guardians. We're among the mages who guard the tombs from raiders and remove the enchantments so that people don't get hurt. My father thought at first that something might have happened to Jibade, my brother, in one of the pyramids, but...There's no sign of him. Nothing at all that even magic can reveal."
Harry continued to ponder Zahra's predicament as they met up with Damion and entered their Elemental Manipulation class. There they split up and went into their separate groups, which where separated by element.
As class began, Harry let go of his thoughts with a sigh. He brought his hands up before them like they were instructed to do and began to focus all of his attention onto forming a ball of tightly compacted, quickly rotating air in his hands. The goal was that once they had enough control over the air, they'd be able to use the balls of air as projectiles similar to bullets. It was like having infinite ammunition.
"I can't wait 'til we get to work on lightning," a fayerie near Harry muttered. "This is so /boring./"
Harry snorted in agreement and then muttered a curse as the air began to slip out of his control. A tedious exercise it may have been, but it was difficult nonetheless.
That Saturday found Harry strolling through one of Silvermoor's gardens, on his way to visit Buckbeak out in the Reserve. Three foot tall hedges covered in some strange white flowers lined the stone pathway he was walking along. Those hedges and the rest of the garden spread out for a good ways around him, but fortunately the path he was on was rather clear-cut; it was nothing like the maze he'd had to go through in his fourth year at Hogwarts.
Soft sunlight reminiscent to the early morning was illuminating the grounds. As it was almost spring the sky was finally beginning to lighten.
Just as Harry turned a corner around a large stone statue, both his feet and his mind came to an abrupt halt. Not five feet from him was Aetius, kneeling on the ground, soaked in blood. It was seeping onto the tiles beneath him, staining them crimson. His eyes were glazed and he looked like he was only half conscious.
As Harry watched Aetius swayed in place, looking dazed. In a quick few steps Harry, was crouching in front of the blonde vampire, holding him steady.
"Professor Aetius?!" he called, fighting his building panic.
Aetius' eyes cleared for a moment and he opened his mouth as if to speak, but all that came out was a rattling cough. Blood dribbled down from the corner of his mouth.
Swearing loudly, Harry quickly lifted Aetius into the air with his magic, trying to keep him as steady as possible. Not for the first time, he cursed his lack of medical knowledge. Then, clearing his mind of anything irrelevant, the young mage began to race back to the school with a floating Aetius in tow.
Fortunately, Harry did in fact know where the Healers' branch of Silvermoor was and was able to make his way there in short order. He sent a student he ran into along the way ahead of him so that by the time he arrived Professor Cyan, a fayerie who was the head Healer, was waiting.
"Put him down on one of the beds," Cyan quickly instructed.
"I found him outside," Harry said as he lowered Aetius down. "He'd collapsed on the pathway near the Beta Building. I don’t know what happened or how he got there. I--"
"Yes, Mr. Gray," Cyan interrupted. She sent Harry an assessing glance before turning back to her patient, her hands hovering above him. "Please go fetch Professor Ciar. Mr. Ailen," she said to the other student, "Please go inform the Headmistress of what's happened."
Harry returned not five minutes later with Ciar in tow. The dark elf's face was mostly expressionless, but Harry could make out faint lines of worry around his eyes. Ciar had already thoroughly grilled him on what happened and so knew what to expect.
When they arrived in the Healer's branch Harry saw that there were now three Healers, including Cyan, surrounding Aetius' bed. The sheets beneath the vampire were stained with blood, but the man himself looked astoundingly better than he had when Harry had last seen him. Even as Harry watched a laceration on his chest knit itself back together beneath Professor Cyan's hands.
Ciar immediately strode over to the bed and exchanged a few quick words with the Healers as they finished up. Cyan frowned disapprovingly and then nodded. As she magically cleaned her hands she turned on her heel and strode out of the room, the other two Healers right behind her. The fayerie paused next to Harry and began to usher him out as well.
"Come, Mr. Gray," she said firmly. "You'll have to wait in the hall."
Harry wanted to argue with her, morbidly curious about both how Aetius was doing and what had happened with him, but one glance at Ciar disapproved him of this notion. Harry nodded silently and then proceeded out into the hallway. He leaned up against the stone wall, arms crossed before him, ready to wait.
However, it wasn't long before curiosity got the best of Harry. He struggled with himself for a moment, mentally debating, before finally giving in.
Cautiously Harry stepped up to the closed door leading into the Healers' branch and pressed his ear up against the wood, attempt to hear the conversation going on inside without magic, for fear of alerting Ciar to his presence. It came out muffled at best, but he could still catch a few words.
"--Never expected it...There was a...Starting to gather at..." Aetius' voice was saying. His voice was hoarse, but strong. Harry pressed his ear even closer to the wood, attempting to make sense of the bits he was hearing. "I thought I'd...he'd found...went over to the...Lord Noctis..." Now that last bit caught Harry's attention. He drew back for a moment, staring at the door in shock and horror.
Ciar's voice was a bit clearer than Aetius'. "And he attacked you for it?" he asked.
"...Probably thought he could get away with it."
Harry took a stumbling step away from the door. Lord Noctis had attacked Aetius? Damion's father? Or at the very least he'd been involved somehow. Harry decided that he really didn't want to hear any more. He took a silent gulp and quickly hurried away.
After Harry had left, the room within the Healers' branch was silent for several long moments. Aetius gazed up at Ciar from where he was laying the bed with guarded eyes and an uncharacteristically serious face.
"Are you sure that was wise, Eru?"
Ciar turned his gaze to the stone wall, allowing the silence to settle again. When he finally spoke it was in a soft, even tone that even Aetius had to strain to catch.
"...He is the only chance that the Noctis heir has."
"Hey, Professor," Harry said suddenly in the middle of one of his soul magic classes. It had only been a few weeks since the incident with Aetius, but the vampire was now at full health and he was one of the furthest thoughts from his mind. "What do you know about Voldemort?"
An undistinguishable emotion flickered across Ciar's face, but it was gone in flash and replaced by a questioningly raised eyebrow. "Voldemort?" the dark elf said doubtfully. "The wizard? What’s brought this up?"
Harry shrugged lightly. "Nothing really. It's just that I figured that magical beings must know something about him."
"Hmm..." Ciar hummed, frowning thoughtfully. "Well, some research has been done into him," he admitted finally. "Though many magical beings look down on wizards, we still pay close attention to their society because it can easily affect us." Was it just Harry or had his voice suddenly turned bitter?
"...What do you know?" Harry asked cautiously.
Ciar glanced up at Harry and studied him for a long moment, causing the mage to shift uncomfortably. Finally he seemed to come to some sort of a decision.
"Several decades ago, before his first fall, Voldemort tore his soul up into several pieces. Seven to be exact," Ciar began. "These soul fragments where placed into seven different objects, creating what are called Horcruxes. You must understand that this is forbidden magic even to magical beings, and for a very good reason. When the soul is not whole it...twists the mind. It causes insanity, recklessness, and violent and explosive behavior. We know that Voldemort was once a collected, calculating individual. Horcruxes are doubtless what turned him into what he is today."
Harry was staring at Ciar in horror. "He split his /soul?/" he said incredulously. "But, but, /why?/"
"It's a form of immortality, in a very warped way," the professor replied. "If a person has a Horcrux--or several, as in Voldemort's case--they will continue to exist even if their body is damaged or destroyed."
Realization was beginning to dawn on Harry. "So that's how he survived. That's how he became a mere shadow. But..." He hesitated. "...Doesn't this mean that he can't be killed unless the Horcruxes are destroyed?"
Harry slumped dejectedly. "Great, just great," he groaned. "So I've got to find these damn 'Horcruxes' first and then kill Voldemort. Where the hell am I supposed to start looking?"
Ciar's lips briefly quirked upward to form a smirk. "You don't have to look for all seven, to start out with. We already know what some of his Horcruxes are, even if we don't know where they are. We also know for a fact that one of them has already been destroyed.
"Really?!" Harry shot up in his chair. "How?!"
"By you, actually," Ciar said dryly. His eyes flashed with amusement in response to Harry's confused expression. "When you were twelve you destroyed a diary that belonged to a particular person..."
Harry blinked a few times, trying to wrap his mind around the new revelation. "Oh," he said blankly. "/...That/ was a Horcux? It didn't seem very...evil. Well, except for the whole taking over Ginny's mind and sucking the life from her thing," he amended. "So then...What about the other Horcruxes?"
"Why are you so interested?"
Harry hesitated, unsure as to how much he should tell Ciar. Finally he settled on a half-truth. "I'm probably one of the few people capable of destroying Voldemort," he said. "Or at least one of the only capable people who has a devoted interest in his downfall. He killed my parents and has attacked me at every turn. I have a right to want retribution."
Ciar nodded, apparently accepting Harry's words. "The other Horcruxes are locket that belonged to Salazar Slytherin, a ring that belonged to Slytherin's descendants, a magical gold cup that belonged to Helga Hufflepuff, a diadem that belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw, and Voldemort's familiar.
"The ring, we know, has already been discovered by Albus Dumbledore. He we doubtlessly destroy it, once he figures out what it is. We also know that the cup is in Gringotts, but the goblins, of course, would never take part in its retrieval. We know nothing about the locations of the other items."
Harry frowned for a minute, quickly counting in his head. "That's...only six items," he said finally. "I thought you said seven before?"
To Harry's great surprise, Ciar eyes slid away, unwilling to meet his gaze. "We're still not sure about the seventh," he said finally.
And that was all Harry could get out of him about it.
Harry had known from the moment he'd first seen him that Aetius was a very relaxed individual. And of course, it was only natural that this leniency to extend to his teaching style. Whenever the vampire was going over Enchantment theory he could very easily be put off track into random discussions, just as was happening right now.
Harry honestly wasn't sure what the topic had started out as. What he did know was that it had long since convoluted into a discussion about how magical beings had affected wizarding society.
"An example," Aetius was saying, "Is the Tale of the Three Brothers, which is a wizarding fairy tale that actually comes from a true story about an encounter between three wizards and a mage. The story, which refers to the mage, as 'Death', tells of how the brothers conjured a bridge above a raging river. Death appeared to them and said that they each had earned a prize for having been clever enough to evade him. The items that the wizards received are described in the fairytale as incredible and powerful, but are rather mundane to any magical being.
"The first of the items was powerful wand known as the Elder Wand. This was a special creation of the mage's--though no one's quite sure why he created it--that allowed for a heightened connection to the wizard's core, giving them increased magical abilities. Not quite on the same level of a magical being, of course, but much higher than the average wizard.
"The second item was a Resurrection Stone which the wizards described as having the power to 'recall others from death'. In reality a Resurrection Stone is something that all of you, as magical beings, should already know of. It just uses the memories in the user's mind to form a projection of a loved one, whether dead or alive. They're rather expensive, but not all that rare.
"The final gift was a Cloak of Invisibility. This was actually how wizards first learnt of Invisibility Cloaks and how they got the technology. Of course, the copies made from that first Cloak are far weaker and tend to fade over time because they don't contain the same enchantments.
"And thus you can see how the Magical World has affected the Wizarding World," Aetius continued, clapping his hands together suddenly. Some of the more enthralled students jumped at the sudden sound. "There are a few other wizarding stories that mention magical beings and even more muggle stories that do. But, we're not going to go into that, because this isn't a history class."
"But sir, why did he give the wizards the items?" a student questioned.
Aetius shrugged. "No one really knows; the story has become distorted over time. Though we do know that Itham, the mage, was later executed for his crimes, which were numerous. Personally, I think that the man might have been more than just a little unhinged. Fortunately, the items--which are known in the story as the 'Deathly Hallows'--have long since been lost to the Wizarding World. We do know that the Elder Wand was last in the possession of Grindelwald, the wizard who helped spark the muggles' Second World War, but nothing has been heard of it since then."
Harry curiously pondered the Deathly Hallows throughout the rest of the class. The Stone and the Cloak were of little consequence since they apparently were rather common in the Magical World. It would be worrying, however, if Voldemort managed to get his hands on the Elder Wand. Not too much of a problem, granted, but Harry didn't want to take any chances.
He was honestly considering doing some research to try to figure out what had happened to the Elder Wand. One of Harry's main upcoming goals was to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes, but making sure that he couldn't get the Wand might be a good idea as well.
After some thought Harry decided he'd place it low on his priority list for the time being.
Mumbling to himself, Harry searched through various papers and essays. Damion watched him bemusedly from his spot on one of Harry's couches. His eyes tracked the mage's movements, but he made no motion to get up and help.
"What are you looking for, Blake?" the vampire finally asked. His voice was thick with amusement.
Harry threw a quick glare over his shoulder. "Why are you here?" he shot back. Then he paused for a moment and sighed "...I can't find my essay for Transfiguration, the one on Nabu's Laws," he admitted finally. "I finished it last night and I know it's somewhere around here, but..."
Damion snorted quietly. "Figures. I've told you a thousand times that you're too disorganized, and this is what comes of it."
"Oh shove it," Harry huffed good-naturedly. "And anyway, why are you here? Don't you have your homework or anything?"
"Finished," Damion replied shortly. "A while ago, actually. I'm here because I'm bored...Though I should probably go speak to Azrael soon; I have to ask him a question about plant chemistry..."
Harry glanced back at his friend, surprised. "Plant chemistry?" he asked.
"Well sure," the young vampire shrugged. "Chemistry, science, etc. is Azrael's specialty. Well, that and hand to hand fight, of course. He's great with potions too; he's aiming to get his Mastery just after he gets out of Silvermoor. I thought you knew."
"I don't know Azrael all that well," Harry admitted. Mentally he was trying to imagine the tall, dark, imposing vampire hunched over a cauldron. It wasn't working. "We've spoken of course, but still..." He shrugged awkwardly.
"It's surprising," Damion muttered. "I would have thought that you and Azrael would get along rather well. But then, I suppose you're a rather surprising person."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Well then maybe you should just drain my blood and find out all my secrets," he said sarcastically. He paused suddenly, thoughtful. "Hey...Do vampires even drink blood? I mean, I've only ever seen you eat food, never blood."
"We do, but only a few times a month. Other than that we have to have to eat human food to sustain us. But we don't drink human blood," Damion said, referring to Harry's earlier statement, "Only animal blood. Us drinking human blood would be like humans eating human meat. It's revolting by principal, and tastes disgusting too. Surprisingly, rabbit blood is actually the sweetest."
Harry twitched, slightly unnerved by Damion's blasé commentary on blood. But.../he thought, /at least that answers one of the questions I have. He could barely believe that he'd been in the Magical World for so long and yet still had so many questions.
While Harry's thoughts drifted off, Damion stood, stretching. "Anyway, I should get going." The Noctis heir paused with his hand on the door handle, smirking. "As for my previous comment...Well you can't deny that you are a surprising person, Blake. For example, I've been wondering for a while now exactly how an orphan came across as much money as you seem to have." Without another word he exited the room, leaving Harry to stare with wide, shocked eyes at the closed door.
Harry ran a hand through his hair, agitated. Shit, shit, shit. He hadn't even thought of that. He thought he'd covered all of the holes in his cover story, but it seemed that he'd completely overlooked one of the most glaring ones.
Had Ryan and the others noticed? Stupid question; of course they had. They just hadn't mentioned it before, just as Damion hadn't. They probably either that Harry would eventually tell them or just respected Harry's silence on the matter.
Speaking of which...Why was Damion bringing it up, now of all times? He'd clearly been contemplating Harry's situation for a while now, but Harry could think of nothing that would bring the situation to the front of the vampire's mind. What had changed?
Somehow, Harry knew that this wouldn't bode well.
Following that fateful conversation, Harry was acutely aware of just how closely Damion was watching him. It made him jumpy, but fortunately he was able to cover his actions up by claiming to be eager for the end of the year. His friends didn't mention that they still had another month and a half of school left.
Then, one weekend when Harry was relaxing outside with some of his friends, something suddenly dawned on him. With guarded eyes he stared at Damion. The teen was leaning against a tree with his eyes closed, enjoying the sunlight. Harry's mouth tightened into a thin line as he came to a decision.
Abruptly Harry stood, causing all eyes to suddenly shift to him. Harry continued to stare straight at Damion, who had now opened his eyes to stare at the mage in surprise and confusion.
"Come," Harry said in a tone the brooked no argument. To his slight surprise Damion didn't even hesitate. He immediately stood and followed Harry down the path. Behind them, the others exchanged perplexed glances.
Harry didn't stop walking until they were far out of both sight and hearing range. Only then did he turn around to face Damion, his arms crossed firmly in front of him. For a minute the two teens stared silently at each other, both of their faces deadly serious.
"You know," Harry said bluntly. "Or at least you've guessed."
"It wasn't too difficult to piece it all together," Damion admitted. "There were numerous little inconsistencies in your story. Separate they were inconsequential, but together they formed a gaping hole. After that it only took a little digging to find that there was no one named 'Blake Gray' in Great Britain."
A slight wrinkle formed in Harry's brow before quickly smoothing away as Harry forced his face to remain emotionless. "The question is, how much did you guess?"
A faint smirk flickered across Damion's face. "Believe it or not, I do pay attention to the news of the wizarding world. Just as we affect them, they can affect us; they certainly did so during the WWII. When in September news came the Boy-Who-Lived had disappeared, it was quite...intriguing. I didn’t piece it together with your situation for a while, but it certainly fits, doesn't it...Harry?"
Harry's shoulders slumped as his fears were affirmed. Honestly, he wasn't sure whether he should be upset or relieved. On one hand the secret that he'd been so desperately trying to keep--but apparently hadn't been doing to good a job of keeping--was out, but at the same time he felt as though some great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. The knowledge that he didn't have to continue to struggle to keep a façade up was surprisingly freeing.
Not that that meant he was going to tell anyone else, of course.
Hermione Granger was not having a good day, as was very apparent by her appearance alone. Her hair, which had straightened considerably over the years, was frizzy and disorderly. Her eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep and she was pacing restlessly back and forth, muttering ceaselessly under her breath.
Things had not been going well recently, needless to say. It could all be traced back to when Harry had disappeared without a word back in August. Since then the wizarding world had deteriorated into a rather dark place. The Ministry had finally acknowledged that Voldemort had returned, but with the Dark Lord's worrying lack of action and Harry's unexplained disappearance, the entire Wizarding World was on the edge of panic.
But it just didn't make any sense! Hermione's mind screamed in protest. As he'd demonstrated again and again over the years, Harry had a massive hero complex. He was compelled to help people whenever he could. So why, why, would he abruptly leave the Wizarding World, without a single world to even them, his friends! None of it fit together. Hermione felt as though she was missing several big pieces of the puzzle.
The ones that would have tied everything together.
"Merlin, Hermione!" Ron groaned from where he was hunched over in one of the Gryffindor common room's chairs. "Stop pacing already!"
The young witch instantly rounded on him. "I can't help it!" she snapped. "We should be out there, helping! We've fought against Death Eaters before and now that the castle is being attacked we should be helping, not locked up here in the Gryffindor Tower!"
Hermione's face, which had turned red with pent-up frustration, faded back to its normal pale as she released a heavy breath of air. Shoulders slumping, she glanced around at the other students filling up the common room. They all looked pale and drawn. Few of them were speaking and those who were used only quiet whispers. All of them clearly understood the severity of what was happening.
"We should be..." she began to repeat before trailing off, her eyes falling to the floor. She sighed in defeat.
It would another hour before the students received any word about what was happening. By then everything was over and Hogwarts was safe once more.
To Hermione's great surprise, it turned out that there hadn't been a full on attack. Half a dozen Death Eaters had attacked the school in secret, apparently trying to kill Dumbledore, but thankfully had not been successful. The fight itself had been over in only a handful of minutes with a single causality--a Death Eater--and minor injuries. During the extra time that the students had been locked away, the professors and several auror squadrons had been scouring the school, making sure it was safe.
"Professor McGonagall!" Hermione called as she quickly strode over to the head of Gryffindor House. She was in the middle of the common room, trying to restore order to all of the students.
With a sigh McGonagall turned to Hermione. The older witch's hair was mussed up and her glasses were partially askew. There were even a couple of tears and burnt spots on her robes, souvenirs from the battle. "Yes, Miss Granger?"
"What happened to Dumbledore?" Hermione all but demanded. "Is he alright?"
McGonagall paused to reassure a shaking first year before turning back to the brunet. "He'll be fine," she replied. "Because his hand was still injured during the fight he wasn't in top form, but he has only miner injuries."
Hermione shuddered at the reminder of the headmaster's black, stumped hand. She still didn't know what had happened to cause it, only that he'd suddenly shown up in the middle of the year with the damaged limb.
"And no one was badly hurt?" Hermione urged.
McGonagall gave her a faintly annoyed looked. "Everyone will be fine, Miss Granger, I assure you. Now please set a good example for the younger years and go to bed."
Hermione sighed in resignation and nodded. With quiet steps she joined the flow of people heading up the stairs, nodded goodnight to Ron as she did so.
She couldn't help but wonder if things would have turned out differently had Harry been there.
A/N: To avoid confusion, the world of magical beings will be referred to as the Magical World while the world of wizards will be referred to as the Wizarding World. So if you ever see the Magical World mentioned I'm most usually not talking about wizards.
I want to thank those who have pointed out little errors in the chapters, because it helps immensely. You see, Word has a lovely little feature called Autocorrect. And what it does is, as I type, correct misspelled words into what it thinks it should be. Which generally makes no sense whatsoever in terms of the sentence. And unfortunately, as all writers know, it can be difficult to catch all things like that in your writing because your mind knows what it's supposed to be and thus skips over it. So if you notice anything that just doesn't seem to fit, please don't hesitate to point it out.
A couple people have also asked why I don't have a beta reader. The truth is that I've had some serious problems with beta readers in the past, particularly ones who suddenly disappear without a word. Eventually I just gave up with the whole situation. If I managed to find someone who is both thorough and quick I wouldn't hesitate to take them up as a beta reader, but for now, oh well.
Also, on my yahoo group I have a list of what the characters' names mean. If you're interested I recommended taking in a look at it. Some of the characters' names reveal hints about what will happen later on in the story.
More info on this story can be found at www(DOT)groups(DOT)yahoo(DOT)com/group/ShadowRebirthFanfiction.