A/N: This story came to me after a course in philosophy. Harry and Professor Dumbledore are seeing the world in black and white. They divide the Wizards into those people who fight against Voldemort and those who side with him. As most people know however, the world is not that simple, and somebody is going to open Harry's eyes to all the shades of grey in the world.
Harry Potter and the Shades of Grey
Harry Potter woke up from a rather boring dream of being in the History of Magic class, listening to Professor Binns lecturing about the Goblin Rebellion of 1612. He laid in the bed in the small room in Privet Drive, wondering why he would be dreaming about that particular subject, when all he could remember about that rebellion was that it had been headquartered in the Inn in Hogsmeade.
As he thought about it, he heard a gentle rapping on his window, apparently the sound that had woken him. He put on his glasses and looked at the window. It was an owl, and he frowned even as he got up. He'd just arrived back at Privet Drive today, and it was far too soon to be hearing from anyone.
He went to the window and let the owl in. It flew over to his desk and landed, waiting patiently for Harry to remove the letter attached to its leg.
Harry took the letter as he admired the owl. It was a common Barn Owl he thought, judging by the size and general shape, but he'd never seen a pure black owl before. Only the amber eyes and pale yellow beak relieved the sable hues of the bird.
Harry offered the bird a treat and some water before looking at the letter. It had no return address, and Harry didn't recognize the writing. He opened it and began to read.
I wish to speak to you about a matter of some importance to both of us, and to Wizards in general. However, for reasons I cannot put in writing, I am unable to meet with you at this time. I have sent a person you know in my place. She speaks with my voice, and can explain everything.
I ask only that you meet with her and listen to our proposal. When you have listened to it, you may say yes or no, as you see fit. I would obviously prefer a yes, but we will accept a no. All I ask is that you listen with an open mind.
My delegate is waiting in the small park near your home. Please send the owl back with a reply. She will wait until dawn if you can make it tonight. You may inform the Order of the Phoenix and bring one of them with you if you wish. If you cannot make it tonight, please inform us of a suitable time to meet.
A hopeful future friend.
Harry frowned as he stared at the letter. His curiosity grew as he read it again. How had this Wizard found him? How did he or she know about the Order? What was this request, and why all the secrecy?
Harry looked at the black owl and smiled. "What do you say, Mr. Black? Should I go see what they want?"
The owl blinked and reached out, grabbing Harry's sleeve and pulling him toward the window. Harry smiled faintly. "You think I should go, I take it."
Harry looked around the small room he slept in at the Dursley's and shrugged. He wasn't going to get anymore sleep tonight anyway, so he might as well go see what they wanted. He grabbed a parchment and scribbled a quick note.
I'll be in the park by 2:45.
He gave the note to the owl and let it out. He grabbed the letter he'd been sent and jotted a short note at the bottom, telling Hermione that he'd gone to meet the delegate, and that he'd be in touch soon, or she should come investigate. He gave that note to Hedwig and sent her off.
Harry slipped into his best clothes, which was not saying much, as they'd belonged to Dudley first. Dudley, besides being the shape of a beach ball, was hard on his clothes. Much of that was because he knew he could get new ones whenever he wanted, but some of it was because he knew his cast off and mended rags would go to Harry.
Harry pulled his wand from under his pillow and crept downstairs, carrying his Invisibility Cloak. He slipped out the door and jammed the lock so the door wouldn't close completely behind him. He put his Cloak on and started off down the street, making sure to cross over to the other side before he reached the noisy dogs four doors down from his home.
"What are you doing, Harry? You've got to get back inside."
Harry had been expecting his minder from the Order to make themselves known, but the voice in his ear still made him jump. He stiffened as he recognized the voice. Mundingus Fletcher was a member of the Order, but Harry despised him. He'd stolen things from No. 12 Grimwald Place after Sirius' death, and Harry had never forgiven him for that.
He stopped and looked at the older Wizard, mildly surprised to find that he was slightly taller than the other man. Any doubts Harry had about this meeting died as he stared at the thieving Wizard. "Fletcher, the only reason I'm not hexing you right now is because Professor Dumbledore trusted you. I do not trust you, and since I inherited Sirius' estate and you stole from him and me, you had better stay out of my sight." Harry spoke quietly but firmly. "I am going to a meeting with potential allies and you will not interfere. If you do anything that screws this up for me, the day I turn seventeen, I will file charges against you for theft."
The other Wizard's face went through several expressions before becoming blank. "Harry," he started to say, only to have Harry interrupt him.
"I am Harry to my friends. You are not in that group."
Fletcher's face spasmed in anger. "Fine, Potter. It is still my job to guard you, and you are going back inside right now."
"Expelliarmus," Harry said, catching the other man's wand as it flew out of his hand. "Teaching the DA has taught me a few things," he said casually, "including the fact that you don't have to hold your wand at arm's length to cast a spell. As long as the motion is right, you can cast from any position if your aim is good."
Harry looked down the street as Fletcher glared at him. "Do you see that lamp up there? The third one? I'll leave your wand at its base." Harry started down the street, ignoring the silently fuming Wizard.
At the lamp, he bent over and set the wand down, casting a sticking spell at the same time, so that the wand was glued to the pavement. Harry stood up and started down the road.
Harry had barely gone a dozen steps when he heard the sharp crack of an Apparation. He whirled, leading with his wand. Fletcher was bent over, his fingers stuck to his wand. Harry smirked, silently blessing Fred and George for showing him that spell.
He walked back to Fletcher and stared at him. "Do you really wonder why I don't trust you?"
Fletcher was getting angry, embarrassed by the situation he was in. "Let me go, Potter. This isn't time for fun and games."
Harry cast the sticking spell on both of Fletcher's feet and a silencing spell on his head. "You're right, Fletcher. Fun and games died with Professor Dumbledore." Harry frowned and made a decision he'd been thinking about since Professor Dumbledore had died. "I will choose who helps me now, and you are not one of them. Go back to the Order and tell them that I never want to see you again. Tell them that if I even hear a rumour of you being in any place I own, I'll lock them all out of everything, and they can go find a new headquarters."
Harry turned and walked away, his hand tightly clenched around his wand, struggling with the urge to hex the other Wizard. Two blocks later, he cut away from the park, in case Fletcher could track him, even under the Cloak.
Harry arrived at the park right on time and took his Cloak off. He stood in the entrance of the park and grinned wryly. While the park was not that big, it was large enough for two people to miss each other in the early morning fog.
He started into the park, only to hear a low chime. He stopped, holding his wand. A few seconds later, a cloaked figure appeared out of the mist. "Potter?" said a low woman's voice, one Harry almost recognized.
"And you are?" Harry said, making sure his wand was pointing at the dark figure. She pulled her hood down, and Harry frowned. She was young, about his age, but he didn't know anyone with that face. She had dark hair and a pretty face, not a beautiful woman, but nice enough.
The girl used her thumb to push the hair behind one ear, and Harry had seen that habit, a hundred times or more. "Parkinson?" he said, stunned. Pansy Parkinson was very close to the last person he would have expected.
She looked startled and then pleased. "Five points to Gryffindor, Potter."
Harry examined her closely. "Why the disguise, Parkinson? I know what you look like." Harry didn't understand why she'd be using a Glamour now.
Pansy Parkinson, Slytherin Prefect and perennial annoyance to every Gryffindor alive, smiled. "Now you do, yes. The face I show at school is the Glamour."
Harry blinked. Something Hermione had said once crossed his mind and he decided to check Pansy's story. "Do you mind if I check that for myself?" he asked.
Pansy looked at him, interested despite the circumstances. "You know a way to see through Glamours? Be my guest, by all means." She smiled, a sly smile with a hint of challenge in it. "You don't mind if I try to learn the spell, do you?"
Harry shook his head. "I'll have to touch your face." Harry reached out slowly, noting her flinch as his hand touched her face. He cupped her cheek and cast "Finite Incanteum" on her cheek and his hand as he watched closely.
Seeing the puzzled look on Pansy's face, Harry fell into the instructor voice he'd used in the DA. "If you're touching a glamour when someone disrupts it, your hand will change briefly as the glamour reestablishes itself."
Pansy nodded in sudden comprehension. "It assumes your hand is part of the area to be covered, until it reaches the end of its range."
Harry grinned. "Five points to Slytherin, Parkinson."
Pansy motioned toward a table. "Would you care to join me over here? I am the host and I have certain duties I take very seriously. One of them is not allowing random Death Eaters to catch you, especially with me."
She led him to a table and they sat down. Harry noted the black owl at the end of the table and smiled at it. Pansy and Harry sat down and Pansy cast a spell that made the entire table glow for a second. Harry didn't hear the spell, although it sounded like "Confundis-something".
He grinned. "It must be nice to be of age and not have to worry about the Ministry," he said wistfully.
Pansy looked at him with that sly smile. "I'm not of age yet. I will be tomorrow, but I've been doing magic outside of school for a couple of years. Contacts at the Ministry are always nice to have," she said smugly. "They ignore everything I do, within certain limits."
Harry frowned thoughtfully. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to share that contact, would you?"
Pansy smiled wryly. "If we come to an agreement here, Potter, we will share far more than a single contact."
Pansy took a deep breath, studying Harry intently. "Harry Potter," she said in a low formal tone, "the Houses of Parkinson, Rimaldi, Greyfair, Warrington and Montague wish to meet with you to discuss an alliance to defeat the Dark Lord."