Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Shades of Gray

Chapter 17: The Fragments

by Shadow_Rebirth 10 Reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Characters:  - Published: 2008/11/25 - Updated: 2008/11/26 - 4876 words

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Title: Shades of Gray: The Fragments
Author: Shadow Rebirth
Beta Reader: StormyBabe1988
Rating: T/PG-13
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Chapter WC: 4,672
Story WC: 88,602
First Written: November 14, 2008
Last Edited: November 25, 2008
Posted: November 25, 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.

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Shades of Gray

Chapter 17
The Fragments

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Harry, Ryan, and Azrael quickly moved so that they were standing back to back. Ryan was cursing up a storm and Harry was silently wishing that they had their weapons with them, but Azrael was just calmly pulling out his daggers.

"Fire," Azrael murmured, glancing at Ryan. "Inferi are weak against fire."

Instantly Ryan's entire demeanor changed. A confident grin bloomed across his face and his stance shifted so that his hands were held out before him. Harry belatedly remembered that, like Damion, Ryan's main element was fire. Unlike Damion however, Ryan was a true pyromaniac.

"Well why didn't you say so before?" the werewolf all but demanded of Azrael.

With a maniacal cackle, the air around Ryan's outstretched hands burst into wild flames. He lashed out as if to hit the approaching Inferi, sending flames whipping out. A number the pale undead instantly caught on fire. They released hellish screeches as they stumbled back into the water, burning limbs flailing.

At the same time, Azrael struck out with his magic and blades and Harry began pushing the Inferi back as well. His hands sped through the air, shoving the Inferi away with blasts of air. He would have used his magic as well, but Azrael's blades had already shown that a missing limb—or even head—did not deter the Inferi in the slightest.

Suddenly Harry felt something shift around his neck and it was only because of how his attention was glued to their attackers that he didn't jump. After a moment Isis, Layla, and Kiya, the three heads of his runespoor familiar, popped out of his collar. Harry spared them only a glance; he'd almost forgotten that he brought his familiar with him that morning.

"What's going on?" Isis asked grumpily.

Layla was eyeing their surroundings critically. "Inferi? How in Ra's name did you manage to get in a fight with Inferi?"

Harry gritted his teeth in annoyance while simultaneously shoving a group of Inferi back into the water with a solid wall of air. "Oh, so now you wake up?" he snapped back.

Unfortunately, Harry had forgotten one little detail.

"You're a parsletongue?!"

Harry winced. Ah, crap. He'd completely forgotten that he'd never revealed to any of his friends that he was a parsletongue. Thankfully, the ability wasn't looked down upon in the Magical World. On the other hand, there had never been a magical being who was parsletongue, only wizards. Revealing his ability was just asking for awkward questions.

Harry glanced over to Ryan, who had taken time from the fight to gape at him. "Er, yes?" the mage replied hesitantly.

Ryan opened his mouth to say something, but paused to viciously tear an Inferi apart when he got too close. The undead man let out an earsplitting shriek before the noise was abruptly cut off as the fire burned through his lungs. He writhed around on the ground for a moment, clawing desperately at his chest as his skin turned to black ash.

"You never mentioned it!" Ryan continued.

"It...just never came up," Harry said rather lamely. "And it's not exactly something I advertise. Look, now's really not the time."

"But— Oi! Azrael!" the werewolf suddenly yelped. "Watch where you're swinging those daggers, would you?" The right side of his face was splattered with Inferi blood. He wiped some of it away with a groan. "That's disgusting."

Azrael grunted noncommittally as he slid one of his daggers into an Inferi' chest and jerked the blade upward. While this didn't harm the Inferi, the following solid blast of magic that burned through it as well as any fire would, did.

As Harry turned away from his friends and back to the lake he couldn't help but wince once more. Though creepy and undead, the Inferi did still look like humans. It was difficult to blast away the pale little girl approaching him, but he did so anyway, repeating "Inferi, Inferi, Inferi" in his mind, over and over. They may have looked like humans, but they weren't. Not anymore.

"There's too many," Harry grunted several minutes later. "They just keep coming; we'll never be able to destroy them all."

To Harry's great surprise, it was Layla, the intelligent runespoor head, who answered. "Block off the island with flames, so that they can't reach you."

Harry's eyes widened as his mind quickly examined the idea from all angles. Without another thought, he quickly built up a ring of wind about one foot think around the edge of the island. At the same time he retreated back so that he was between Ryan and Azrael.

"Ryan!" he barked. "Send a quick blast of fire to encircle the island."

"Wha-?"

"Just do it!"

With a tentative nod, the shaggy haired teen followed Harry's instructions. Immediately the fire began to feed off the condensed air, causing a ring of flames to burst into existence around the small rock island. The Inferi stumbled backwards, retreating away from the fire. Harry continued to feed air into the ring, ensuring that it would stay up.

"Nice!" Ryan exclaimed. "That should keep them away until we get out of here."

Azrael had already turned back to the empty stone basin. With one hand he cautiously fished the locket out, holding it away from him at arm length.

"What now?" he asked as he handed it over to Harry.

The dark haired mage carefully examined the locket. It was a simple silver trinket, but there was an ornate S on the front: Slytherin's mark. However, Harry could feel magic emanating from it, proving that it was more than just a piece of jewelry. The energy felt sharp and stabbing, as though it was filled with animosity.

"We should leave another locket," Ryan said thoughtfully, "To make Voldemort think that the Horcrux is still there if he does a cursory check."

When Harry nodded his agreement, Ryan excitedly picked a pebble up off the ground and transfigured it into an identical copy of the one Harry was holding. At the same time, the werewolf was muttering something about a note under his breath. With a wave of his hand, Ryan transfigured two more pebbles into a pen and piece of paper before quickly jotting something down.

"There!" Ryan cackled. "I'd love to see the look on Voldemort's face when he reads this!"

Harry raised an eyebrow and quickly scanned over the note. Once he'd finished reading it, he couldn't help but snort in amusement. The note basically rambled on about how Ryan had figured out Voldemort's secret and was going to destroy the locket.

"'R.A.B.'?" Harry asked, referring to how Ryan had signed the note.

"Ryan, Azrael, and Blake!" Ryan replied cheerfully. "Except it's only the initials because there wasn't enough space left..." He grinned sheepishly and Harry laughed shortly. It figured Ryan would have a reason like that.

"Well it makes it look like it was only one person who took the Horcrux anyway, so it works," Harry commented. Traces of amusement still lingered in his voice.

Still grinning, Ryan stepped onto the stone platform that Harry had created what seemed like hours ago. "Then let's replace the locket and get out of here, ne?"

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It would be another week before Kailash contacted them again. The three teens had spent the extra time at Harry's apartment, celebrating their first victory. Harry even took some time to visit Sindri, New York's magical shopping mall, to pick up a few items.

The only problem was that Harry had no idea how to destroy the Horcrux. It seemed to be impervious against anything that Harry threw at it magical or non-magical. The mage resolved to take it to Ciar once he had the diadem as well.

It was in the middle of the morning when Harry suddenly received a note from Kailash using the form of message sending used by magical beings. Namely, it suddenly appeared on the floor directly in front of his door. Harry was about ready to curse the thing before he realized who it was from.

The note was asking for them to meet Kailash again. Surprisingly, this time the meeting place was not at a fayerie ring, but instead at a café in Sindri Magical Shopping Center.

"Sweet!" Ryan exclaimed as soon as Harry had read it aloud. "I didn't think he'd find it so soon!"

"I wonder what was blocking him," Azrael mused softly. "Few things can hide from a Diviner's gaze and none of them come from wizards."

Harry shrugged; they'd probably find out soon enough. "We should get going soon," he commented. "The note says to meet him at noon..."

Abruptly Harry's eyes widened as a memory clicked in his mind. He rushed into his bedroom, leaving Ryan and Azrael to stare after him in confusion. A few seconds later the mage returned, carrying three small wrapped packages.

"Here, I ordered these a week ago," he told them. He handed them both a package and kept a third for himself. "I just got them a few days ago, but kind of forgot about them."

Curious, the werewolf and the vampire quickly tore in the packages. Harry watched on in amusement as Azrael went stock-still and Ryan gasped in surprise. With anyone else the sound would have appeared mocking, but dramatics were completely natural when it came to Ryan.

"I thought they'd be useful, especially with getting the Horcruxes," Harry remarked. "It's too bad that they didn't come in before we dealt with the Inferi...Oh, and I got some for Damion, Senka, and Zahra too."

"You— This...!" Ryan spluttered, still gaping.

"Thank you," Azrael said seriously. Harry just smirked and Ryan was quick to add his own sentiments in as well.

In each of the packages was a single silver circle the size of a muggle dime. It was an ETC; an Electro-Telepathic Communicator.

"With this we'll be able to keep in contact all the time!" Ryan grinned widely.

"They have a lot of tactical advantages," vampire teen agreed. "Having them while fighting those Inferi would have helped a bit. But...Why?"

"Why not?" Harry retorted, shrugging again. "They're useful." Azrael and Ryan fell silent, realizing Harry would say no more on the subject.

And so, at noon that day Harry, Ryan, and Azrael made their way down to Sindri. They found Kailash was already waiting for them in the designated café, in a booth that was tucked away in a corner. The fayerie waved them over and the three teens slid into the seat across from him.

"It's good to see you again," Kailash greeted warmly. "I'm sorry to call you here on such short notice, but I've found the location of Ravenclaw's diadem."

Harry leaned forward eagerly, but Kailash looked hesitant. He glanced around them briefly before setting up a magical barrier around their booth to prevent eavesdroppers. Harry's spirits began to drop a bit, wondering just what Kailash had discovered.

"The diadem is at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

Harry couldn't help bet let his jaw drop. Hogwarts? The diadem was at Hogwarts? Harry repressed a shudder of revulsion, realizing that he'd been so close to one of Voldemort's Horcruxes all along.

"It's hidden behind some strange magic," Kailash continued, unaware of Harry's reaction, "I'd have to go into the school itself to find its exact location. Unfortunately, the wizarding school is still in session for another week, so we'll have to wait until it lets out before going."

"We?" Harry asked. "You're planning on coming too?"

Kailash simply raised one eyebrow. "You won't be able to find it without me," he replied smoothly. "The wizarding castle is massive and I'm to only one who'll be able to lead you straight to the diadem."

Harry nodded grudgingly. It was true; without Kailash's help, they were stuck.

"Alright," Harry agreed. "When would be a good time to go then?

"Next Friday, right when all the students are leaving. The professors will be focusing all of their attention on them and we can use that distraction to sneak in and out of the castle."

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A week later found Harry, Kailash, Ryan, and Azrael silently walking through the halls of Hogwarts. Thanks to magic, they were all invisible, but they still had to keep an eye out for any wizards. Harry desperately wished that he'd brought the Marauder's Map with him, but he couldn't risk it.

Kailash was walking in front of their little ragtag group, leading them. His eyes were closed, but he no trouble navigating because his magic was leading him.

To Harry's great surprise, Kailash eventually stopped in front of the blank wall that led to the Room of Requirement.

Harry's throat constricted as slight panic began rise up within him. Kailash was studying the wall with confusion and discussing this new development, but the young mage couldn't hear a word of it. This was bad. This was very bad.

He knew without a doubt that Kailash and the others wouldn't be able to get through. None of them were specialized in magic deconstruction. Harry wouldn’t be able to disassemble the doorway either; he was no where near that advanced yet. Hogwarts may have been built by wizards, but it was still a very old school saturated with magic. The only way they were going to get to the Horcrux was if Harry opened the Room of Requirement.

And that would bring up some awkward questions.

Harry's mind began to race as he desperately tried to think of a way out of this situation without revealing himself. The idea of telling the truth only briefly crossed his mind before being quickly discarded; he definitely couldn't do so in front of Kailash. Perhaps he could return on his own later? No, too much of a chance of being caught. It was now or never.

The solution slammed into Harry with the force of a rampaging Re'em. It was so obvious! How could he have overlooked the simplest answer of all?

"—find a way through, Blake?" Kailash was asking.

Harry jerked slightly, but managed to stop himself from jumping. "Er, yeah," he said quickly, "I might be able to." Slowly, purposefully, he turned and began to pace. "The magic here is old," he mused—hopefully convincingly—as he walked. "Which means it's deeply saturated in the ground. If I can—"

The young mage cut off abruptly as a door appeared in the wall. While Ryan yelped in surprise, leaping away, Harry repressed a relieved sigh. Thank Merlin it had worked—and they didn't suspect him, which was a good thing.

"A hidden door," Kailash mused. "I assume one of the words you said was the password. I wonder which." He shook himself suddenly. "It doesn't matter. We need to find the Horcrux and get out as quickly as possible."

The inside of the Room of Requirement was unlike anything Harry had ever seen before. The room itself was massive, perhaps almost as big as Hogwarts' Great Hall, and resembled some great cathedral. It was filled to the brim with stacks and stacks of random junk grouped into piles. Harry was sure there were thousands of books and other odd things there.

Harry gulped, more than a little intimidated. While pacing, he'd ordered the Room to take him to where ever the Horcrux had been hidden. But how were they supposed to find the diadem in this mess?

Then Kailash began to walk forward and Harry remembered with mute embarrassment that the fayerie was a Diviner.

The three teens followed Kailash as he wound his way through the shoulder-high stack of junk. He walked with purpose and before long they stopped in front of a tall cabinet. Harry vaguely thought he'd seen it before, but for the life of him couldn't remember where. After a moment he discarded it as unimportant.

Sitting on top of the cabinet was a pockmarked stone bust of a wizard wearing a dusty old wig and an ancient, discolored tiara.

"That's the Horcrux," Kailash said. He was hovering about five feet away from the cabinet, looking extremely uncomfortable.

Harry vaguely recalled Ciar mentioning that fayeries were the "guardians of life" and wondered at how revolting Horcruxes must feel to them. To Harry's magical sense they were both slick and oily, like grease, and prickly at the same time. It was a rather disturbing sensation.

The dark haired mage cautiously walked forward and lifted the diadem from its resting place. Kailash took another step backwards, but Harry was no long paying attention to him. Instead his eyes were the cool metal headdress in his hands. For some reason it felt a hundred times worse than Slytherin's locket had. Remembering how he'd felt next to nothing from Riddle's diary, Harry had to wonder if it meant that this Horcrux had been created later on, after Voldemort's soul had already been stained with insanity.

"How are you going to destroy it?" Kailash asked suddenly.

Harry shrugged while handling the Horcrux uneasily. "I'm going to keep them locked up for now," he replied, "And then ask Professor Ciar about when school starts up again. As Death Master he should at least have some idea of what to do."

"Why don't you just try to unravel the magic holding it together?" Ryan asked curiously.

"No," Harry said immediately, shaking his head. "That might just release Voldemort's soul to return to him. I won't risk that."

"So long as it is destroyed," Kailash murmured. His eyes were thoughtful, but his face flashed with disgust as his gaze passed the diadem. "Let's go," he said firmly. "We should try to get out before the wizards come back."

Harry shrunk the diadem so that it would fit in his pocket-wrapped securely in cloth, though that barely repressed the magic at all-and then the group quickly made their way back towards the door. As soon as they stepped outside however, they instantly froze. Harry felt himself paling drastically.

Dumbledore.

The headmaster looked far older than he had the last time Harry had seen him. It wasn't just his appearance, but also the very air around him. He seemed....Tired. Despite this however, he was standing tall and looking as intimidating as ever. Gripped tightly in one hand was his wand. His other hand, Harry noticed with shock, was blackened and shriveled.

"Who dares to trespass on Hogwarts' grounds?" Dumbledore asked boldly. His eyes were staring through them, unable to see them because of their invisibility charms, but he seemed to sense them anyway.

Harry cursed himself for forgetting the numerous wards around Hogwarts that were doubtlessly tied directly to Dumbledore. The other three might have known next to nothing about the school, but that was no excuse for him. He should have known. He should have anticipated this.

When all of them stayed silent, Dumbledore's mouth tightened to form a thin line. "Answer!" he commanded. "Who are you?"

"What should we do?" Harry heard Ryan question. His voice was soft and loud at the same time. Harry stiffened for a moment at the strange sound before realizing that Ryan was speaking to him through the ETC: It was telepathy.

Harry's mind raced, attempting to answer that question for himself. He silently pressed a finger to the cold, metal ETC and replied, "Wait. Let's see what he does." His mind flickered to concentrate on Azrael. "Don't do anything yet, Azrael," he said.

"Fine," the vampire replied shortly. "We must be careful though; even though he's just a wizard, we still cannot reveal ourselves."

Though he didn't say anything, Harry whole heartedly agreed with Azrael. The sooner they got out of there, the better. Unfortunately for him, Fate, as always, was not on his side for at that moment Dumbledore's eyes suddenly widened in recognition.

"Harry?!" he demanded and the young man froze in shock. He realized belatedly that Dumbledore had been subtly using his wand as Harry had conferred with his friends, undoubtedly trying to figure out who they were.

With his magical senses, Harry felt Ryan, Azrael, and Kailash shift with confusion. This was bad. This was very, very bad.

For his part, Dumbledore was now staring at the apparent empty space before him with an expression that bordered on desperation. When the wards had alerted him to unauthorized presences in the school he'd been concerned that it'd been another Death Eater attack. However, that had seemed strange since the students had already left so he'd come to assess the situation on his own. Now he was very glad that he'd done so. It also made him curious to why Harry was there and who he was with.

"Blake..." Ryan said slowly in the resounding silence. "Why is he looking at you?"

Harry reflexively opened his mouth to reply, but managed to stop himself in time. "I don't know," he answered weakly through the ETC. "Maybe he thinks I'm someone else?" He knew without asking that Ryan didn't believe him. Azrael was suspiciously quiet throughout the whole exchange and only Merlin knew what Kailash was thinking.

"Harry," Dumbledore repeated in a softer tone. "You've come back?" His voice was imploring but his eyes were hard, ready for action, and that, more than anything else, was what made Harry's decision.

Lashing out with his magic, Harry quickly silenced Dumbledore and bound him with air, forcing him to drop his wand. Dumbledore's own energy strained against his bindings, but Harry was easily able to suppress it. Almost as an afterthought Harry summoned the aging headmaster's wand to him and pocketed it. He told himself that it was to make sure Dumbledore wouldn't get free until someone else came along and found him, but he knew that some small part of it was teenage rebellion and vengeance as well.

"Let's go," Harry said aloud, his tone completely void of emotion.

He turned and began to stride away without another word. The other three followed behind him at a more sedate pace. The atmosphere around the three of them was heavy with unspoken questions.

When they'd left Hogwarts grounds and returned to New York via portkey, they all finally removed their invisibility charms. Harry stood in the middle of his apartment with his back to the others. His shoulders were slumped with resignation.

He would not run from this. Now that it was out in the open, he would not lie; he owed them that much at least, for how they'd helped him.

"It is your business..." Kailash said after a moment.

In that second, Harry felt himself washed with thankfulness. The fayerie was willing to let all of his questions go, even now...

"No," Harry said, despite his feelings. "I'll tell you. I..." He sighed then and finally turned around to face his friends, though he still didn't meet their gazes. "My real name is Harry Potter. I am an orphan, but not of unknown origins. I left the Wizarding World last year after finding out that I was a mage and well..." He trailed off, unsure of what else to say.

For several long moments silence reigned. Then, to Harry's shock, Azrael shrugged.

"The wizards' Boy-Who-Lived is mage. Interesting," the vampire grunted.

"Yeah," Ryan agreed, smiling. "You're always pulling surprising shit. We probably should have expected something like this."

Harry couldn't help it: He gaped at them. He had expected anything from anger to annoyance, but not this. Not calm acceptance of his deception. Sure, Damion hadn't had a problem with it either and had even immediately swore a magical oath not to tell when Harry had asked, but that was different; Damion had figured it out on his own and had probably had quite some time to mule over the information before he'd approached Harry about it.

Even more surprising than Ryan and Azrael's nonchalance, however, was Kailash's confusion. "Boy-Who-Lived?" he inquired. "What do you mean?"

Ryan snorted derisively. "Fayeries. You lock yourselves up in Avalon so much that you often miss the things that go on in the rest of the world," he muttered. Despite his words though, there was grin on his lips. "The Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, is—was—a wizard baby who was the first person to ever survive a direct hit of concentrated death magic. Even the Magical World doesn't now how it's possible. Quite a few Death Masters wanted to get their hands on him after we found out about it, but fortunately they were held at bay; even wizards would have noticed if the child had disappeared." Ryan suddenly turned his grin in Harry's direction. "But now that child has turned up as a mage. You always were out of the ordinary Bla— Er, Harry, but I have to say, this really takes the cake."

Harry rolled his eyes in amusement at the werewolf's words, but his smile quickly fell away. "I— It's not that I don't trust you guys," he began seriously, unable to stop his eyes from flickering over to Kailash, "But...Would you swear magical oaths not to tell anyone about this? It's just a precaution, but..."

Ryan and Azrael immediately nodded their assent. Kailash hesitated only for a moment before smiling serenely as well.

"I do not mind," the fayerie said. "Your identity has no affect on me or Tir-na-nog."

Unbidden, a smile returned to Harry's lips. "Thank you," he said sincerely.

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The rest of the summer passed by much more uneventfully. Now that Harry had two more of the Horcruxes, there was little he could do until school started up again.

Ryan and Azrael stayed with Harry for another week or so before leaving, but Harry saw them occasionally over the next two months. During the free time that Harry had he traveled across the globe, visiting various tourist locations, both muggle and magical. Even though he'd been exposed to numerous cultures while attending Silvermoor, the trip was still a real eye-opener to the world and Harry wouldn't have traded the experience for anything in the world.

In the middle of July Harry finally went to visit Ryan's family in California. He found to his surprise that the werewolf had three siblings and all three were younger sisters. It was incredibly entertaining to watch Ryan deal with them, especially since they tended to walk all over him.

Harry only spent half a week with them however. He felt like he was intruding, no matter how Ryan and his parents tried to convince him otherwise. He returned to New York for the rest of his vacation, content to spend that last few weeks studying and relaxing alternately.

There was one other major project that Harry took up during his time off: He signed up for Latin classes at a small muggle community college. Because of the long lifespan of magical beings, their culture changed at a much slower pace than both muggles and wizards. As such the language was still used in much of Magical World, even though English had become the main language. Harry figured it would be useful to know. In order to take the classes all Harry had had to do was sign up for it through a magical office and he was good to go.

In the beginning of August, only about a week and a half before the start of school, Harry was woken up in the middle of the night by loud, insistent knocking on his apartment door. Grumbling, he stumbled out of bed and shuffled over to the door.

When he first opened the door, Harry stiffened in surprise, but wasn't entirely sure what he was seeing. The person who had knocked was leaning against the doorframe, hunched over so that they were almost bent in half. They were covered in blood and dirt and their clothes were ripped and torn. Through the gaps in the material Harry could see almost exclusively torn, burned, and bruised flesh.

Then the figure raised their head to meet Harry's gaze and he found himself staring in shock at Senka's bruised face.

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A/N: It's at this point that the plot is really going. The way I have this story planned, most of the plot will take place in his second year and third years. It'll end some time after he turns eighteen. Of course, things could still change—as stories often tend to half write themselves—but that's the plan for now.

If you don't remember what an ETC is, look it up on my group. Or go reread chapter 13, where they were first introduced.

More info on this story can be found at www.groups,yahoo.com/group/ShadowRebirthFanfiction.

--S.R.
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