AN: This is set during the summer after Harry's fourth year. Ron and Hermione haven't been able to tell him much in their letters, and neither has Sirius for that matter; both just as in the fifth book, and just as in canon, Harry is feeling very dissatisfied with the lack of information he has been receiving while stuck with the Dursleys; the relatives that resent his presence in their otherwise "normal", magic-free lives. For those who are not familiar with DGray-man, the existence of the Noahs will be explained as Harry learns of them. This story is being written with much help and advice from the one known on as Dgm-yoai-lover, the DGray-man expert among my friends.
Disclaimer: I own the rights to neither Harry Potter nor DGray-man.
Soon to be fifteen-years-old Harry was awoken from his slumber by a terrible, intense pain in his forehead. This in itself was not unusual for Harry; he was often woken by pain from the lightning-shaped curse-scar on his forehead, which had been prickling uncomfortably almost constantly since his nemesis Voldemort, who had given him the scar in a mysteriously unsuccessful attempt on his life, had regained himself a body after thirteen years as a parasitic spirit. This time, however, the pain did not originate from the lightning scar, and neither was it of entirely the same brand as that to which he had become accustomed.
He bit savagely at his lower lip in order to prevent himself from screaming. He didn't even want to think about how the Dursleys would react if they were woken up in the middle of the night by his cries, no matter the reason/s he had to do so. That was how it had been ever since he was left on their doorstep thirteen years ago, after Voldemort had murdered his parents and attempted to murder him. Although the move from the storage cupboard under the stairs to the smallest bedroom a mere four years ago had been a definite improvement, the basic attitude of the Dursleys towards him had remained the same with the addition perhaps of a little more fear. Even that fear, however, would not save him from their wrath should he have the nerve to awaken them for any reason at all.
Right now, he felt as though somebody had taken a knife to his forehead and carved right along the length of his forehead. Talk about killer headache… he wiped at his brow with his right hand, and felt some sort of sticky, warm liquid. A terrible suspicion beginning to form in his mind, and he groped blindly at the surface of his bed stand until he found his glasses which he shoved onto his face. Gritting his teeth from the pain, he glanced at the numbers glowing red on the digital clock and saw that it was 3 o'clock in the morning. He then flicked the light switch and stumbled out of bed and over to his mirror. His eyes widened in horror as his suspicion was realised, and it was all he could do to keep himself from letting go and screaming for all he was worth.
His forehead was covered with deep crimson blood. Judging from the pain he felt, the blood was his own. Of course, if it was his own then it had to be leaking from somewhere i.e. the part of his forehead that felt as though somebody had taken a knife to it. Trembling with apprehension, he spat on his hand and then used it to begin wiping away some of the blood. Eventually, he cleared away enough to see that there was a row of cross-shaped marks carved across the length of his forehead, from left to right or right to left. His head throbbed as yet more blood welled up from the marks, and, under the power of gravity, began to trail towards his eyes. Finally, he gave in to the pain and screamed.
Soon after, the bedroom's door was slammed open, and Harry's Uncle Vernon came thundering in, his moustache quivering with righteous indignation and his face as purple as a radish. It was actually a rather comic sight, but not one that Harry was in any mood to appreciate.
"BOY!" Vernon shouted. "What is the meaning of this unholy racket? Waking up me and your Aunt and cousin after we took you in and gave you food, shelter, clothes… You ungrateful brat…" He trailed off as he saw the blood and the cross-shaped marks, but his silence unfortunately did not last for long. Harry had by now stopped screaming, and was once again biting savagely at his lip. Face purpling even further if that was possible, Vernon placed one beefy hand on each of Harry's shoulders and began to rattle him furiously. This startled Harry into biting down on his lip even harder than he had previously been doing, and thus the watery and salty taste of blood invaded his mouth. He barely felt the sharp sting of his lip, so distracted was he by his "headache".
"What do you think you're doing?" snarled Vernon, spit flying from his mouth and onto Harry's face. Harry began to raise his hand in order to wipe the disgusting substance away, but that hand was slapped back down by his Uncle. "You planning to shoot some freaky ma…mag… freak stuff out of your hand, boy?" Harry was silent, not daring to reply.
"And what's the meaning of these freakish crosses across your face, boy? Thought that we'd pity you if you were bleeding all over the place did you?" It seemed that Vernon had spotted the blood-stained pillow. "Well, it's not going to happen, boy. Whether or not you decide to carve up your own forehead is no concern of ours – not anymore, anyway!"
"But I didn't… Hang on. What did you mean by 'not a-any-nymore'?" Harry's voice began to break near the end as he struggled against the growing headache. It now felt as though someone immensely strong was attempting to split open his skull using only an ordinary bread and butter knife.
"OUT!" screamed Vernon suddenly, his eyes demented and insane as he almost frothed at the mouth. "Get OUT! We don't need your freakiness imposing on us anymore."
"Shush, Vernon. The neighbours will hear!" hissed Petunia from the door. Harry stared bemusedly at her through glazed eyes. Had she been there all along and he just hadn't noticed? Or had she only just arrived?
"Sorry, Pet," he muttered, more quietly this time as he seemed to deflate a little. He then rounded once again on Harry, his giant marshmallow-like face still as purple as ever. "Get out now, boy, or I'll throw you out the door myself!"
"No, Vernon," Petunia spoke up once again, her voice shrill and somewhat panicked. "If he just disappears, the neighbours will talk. He has to stay."
"He stays, Vernon! Do you want those freaks coming here to investigate?" She whispered the word "freaks" while glancing at the window, almost looking as though she expected to see the neighbours standing with their ears pressed up against the glass, never mind that it was the second story. Perhaps she expected them to climb up to the window on a ladder for the specific purpose of being just as much obnoxious stickybeaks as she was.
"I – You're right, Petunia," said Vernon, some of the colour on his impossibly purple face fading away as he too glanced nervously at the window. Turning back to Harry, he hissed venomously; "Don't think you'll be leaving this room anytime soon, boy. And if you wake us up again, I'll come back and gag you myself!" With those parting words, Vernon thundered out of the room, slamming the door behind him as he left. Harry heard the sound of a lock clicking into place, then thunderous footsteps growing steadily fainter, and then finally silence.
Harry threw himself down on the bed, shoving his forehead up against the pillow in the hope that it would stifle the pain, or at least the blood flow. It didn't. He sobbed silently, the walls he had built around his heart crumbling away to dust. The pain was near unbearable, yet if he made a sound the consequences would be far worse than if he didn't. It wasn't just the physical pain that tortured him now, for he was very afraid. Was Voldemort behind this? Had that human demon now found a way to torment him from afar by means other than his curse-scar? Surely such a thing wasn't possible… but he could think of no other explanation. Was blood going to continue leaking from the new marks on his forehead until he bled to death? Was that Voldemort's latest plan to destroy him?
He needed to tell Professor Dumbledore…
He stumbled to his feet, only to realise that his owl Hedwig was still out hunting. He swayed unsteadily on his feet, then shuffled awkwardly over to his desk while clutching his forehead and gritting his teeth. He took out a golden eagle feather quill, inkwell and some parchment, and flattened the parchment out over the rough surface of the desk. Hand shaking, he began to write.
Help. Forehead bleeds, hurts, not scar. Crosses appeared, don't know why. Scared of dying.
Now he just had to wait for Hedwig to return. He made his way to the window where he stared out into the night sky, searching for any sign of Hedwig. A flash of white… but it was just a light flicking on above the porch of a house across the street. Something moving in the sky, the flutter of wings… but it was only some nocturnal bird of which he did not know the species, not even an owl of any sort, let alone snowy. "Where are you, Hedwig?" he whispered, praying to whatever deity may exist that she would return soon and get the letter to Dumbledore before it was too late.
"Hello Harry," a girl's voice sang out from behind him. He spun around, and saw two figures standing near his bed whilst a heart-shaped door faded out of existence in the wall behind them. The one who had spoken was a young girl, perhaps thirteen or fourteen years old. She had spiky hair of a deep blue, almost black, shade, the back of which was reaching down towards her shoulders. Her skin was grey, and she had seven marks in the shapes of crosses forming a row across her forehead… just like the heavily bleeding marks that had manifested across his forehead. She was dressed in a long-sleeved white blouse with a two-tailed red tie hanging from around her neck, and a short purple skirt, thigh-high striped socks (purple and black) and black school-girl's shoes.
The other figure, like his Uncle, was oppressively large, although somehow more dignified than Vernon (AN: Not that that's a hard thing to be…). He was wearing a long beige overcoat and a black top hat, and there was no doubt in Harry's mind that this being was not human, for he had long pointy ears and a grotesquely long, narrow face, half of which was taken up by his widely grinning teeth. Like the girl, he also had grey skin. (AN: I'm not sure that's an entirely adequate description, but he is a rather difficult character to describe.)
"Who are you?" Harry demanded hoarsely, right hand twitching towards the wand sticking out of his pocket as his gaze darted warily around the room. Why were they here? How did they get here? Had he really seen a door fading into the wall behind them? Had Voldemort sent them? All of these were certainly valid reasons for him to be worried.
"I'm the Millennium Earl," the larger being told him. "This is Rhode Kamelot, the First Child of the Noah Clan."
"We've come to help you," the girl – Rhode – informed him. "Here, have some ice cream." Smiling widely, she held out a bowl of vanilla ice cream with the handle of a silver spoon dug sticking out of it.
Harry glared at her suspiciously. "Why would you want to help me? For that matter, how did you get in here and what makes you think that I need your help?"
"Your Noah is awakening," Rhode told him whilst twirling around in circles with the bowl of ice cream balanced precariously on one finger. "Ever since you were born, the Noah has been dwelling within you, waiting for the ideal time to make itself known. We Noah are a family of sorts, and we can sense when and where another is awakening. That's how we knew where to find you. As for why we're helping you… Isn't that what family do?"
"I wouldn't know," Harry muttered, somewhat sullenly. His memories of his parents were non-existent, his Aunt, Uncle and cousin had never cared for him, and now even his friends seemed to have abandoned him. Sure, they wrote to him, but anything of actual worth had yet to find its way into their letters this summer. We're quite busy but I can't give you the details here… There's a fair amount going on, we'll tell you everything when we see you… I expect we'll be seeing you quite soon… From vague hints in some of the letters, he had concluded that they were together, wherever they were, but he, as usual, was stuck with the relativeswho hated him. He couldn't help but feel angry and resentful over this seeming abandonment.
The letters from Sirius, his godfather and the closest thing to a parent he had ever known, had been only slightly better. Sirius, at least, seemed to have some understanding of how he was feeling, but nonetheless had given him no more news of current events in the wizarding worldthan Ron and Hermione had. His hands balled into fists at his sides.
He was broken out of his thoughts by the smallish figure of Rhode literally jumping on him and flinging her arms around him. "You don't have to worry about that anymore, Harry," she cooed into his ear. "You're part of our family now. We truly want nothing more than to help you through the awakening. I've been waiting for a new family-member for ages, and now you can finally join us." She pulled back from the shocked teenager with beaming smile and gave a brief joyful laugh as her yellow eyes shone with excitement.
Something in Harry told him to believe her, that she was telling the truth, but Harry wasn't a very trusting person – he couldn't afford to be in times like this, with a madman of a Dark Lord out for his blood. "How do I know that you're telling the truth?" he asked wearily. His forehead was still aching, although the presence of these two mysterious strangers seemed to have alleviated it somewhat. Did that lend credence to their story, or were they using some kind of silent, wandless spell, or was it mere coincidence?
"You're one of us, Harry," said Rhode, her smile never dimming. "You don't need us to tell you because you already know, don't you?"
Harry opened his mouth to deny it, but then it snapped shut almost as though of its own volition. Absurd as this seemed, stranger things had happened to him, not the least of which was finding out that not only he was a wizard, but a whole magical community lived alongside the world he had previously known, completely hidden from all those who did not know where or what to look for. Besides, something within the depths of his soul did seem to agree with what Rhode had just told him. This part of him was steadily growing, and it felt as though his whole life had been working up to this point, this so-called awakening. Could it really be true?
Rhode placed one of her hands upon his arm. "Come on," she told him. "Perhaps you should take another look in the mirror." Deciding to go along with this for the time being, he walked with her to the mirror by the closet. He was a great deal less shocked than he felt he should have been by what he saw.
"Grey," Harry murmured wonderingly, and reached up to gently prod at his face. "My skin is turning grey." Even as he watched, his still-pale skin darkened a shade or two, bringing itself ever-closer to matching the odd skin tone of Rhode and the Millennium Earl. By this time the new marks on his forehead had stopped bleeding. They weren't yet quite as dark or healed as Rhode's but they appeared to be becoming more like them. Rhode once again flung her arms around him, and Harry stiffened in her arms. The Dursleys, with whom he had spent the better part of his life, had never bothered to show him anything even slightly resembling affection, and at primary school the only children who hadn't gone out of their way to avoid him had been those going out of their way to beat him up. Once at Hogwarts, he always found the casual, everyday kind of touch that everyone seemed to take for granted slightly overwhelming.
The Millennium Earl chuckled. "You might want to get off the new child now, Rhode. I think you're making him uncomfortable." Harry glanced at the larger figure as Rhode removed her arms from around him and stepped back a couple of steps, and was somewhat surprised to see unveiled affection for both of them in his eyes. With a start, Harry remembered the dream he had had several nights ago, a dream that had featured a whole family of these grey-skinned, yellow-eyed people with the stigmata across their foreheads.
Stigmata? What made him think of the marks as that? Turning towards both Rhode and the Earl, but speaking to Rhode in particular, he asked, "What are the marks across our foreheads called?"
"Stigmata. But you already knew that, didn't you?" she asked rhetorically.
An involuntary shiver ran down his spine and he nodded wordlessly. Staring at the odd pair, he whispered, "It's really true, isn't it?"
Both nodded in reply. Harry glanced nervously in the general direction of his relatives' bedrooms. "You should leave. If my relatives find you here…"
"Nonsense, Harry," Rhode interrupted, placing a hand on his shoulder. "You're part of our family now, so you don't have to stay with those freaks of nature you call relatives anymore."
"Why do you stay here, anyway? Surely not because you want to?" There was a knowing glint in Rhode's eyes as she spoke.
"There are blood wards… I don't have anywhere else to go…" Harry mumbled, carefully examining his feet in order to avoid the eyes of Rhode and the Earl.
"You didn't have anywhere else to go. You do now." That was Rhode.
Hope lit up Harry's eyes, hope that he really could escape the Dursleys after all, but he knew better than to be too quick to celebrate. "But the wards…"
"You'll be protected well enough where we're going. Besides, why should you have to come back here year after year just because some old man who won't let your friends tell you anything says so? Surely you could be just as well-protected somewhere else?"
Excitement and hope filled Harry at the thought of leaving this place he hated so much and he started to nod, but then he stopped and his eyes narrowed with suspicion. "How do you know my friends haven't been telling me much and what makes you think Professor Dumbledore's behind it?" he asked, suddenly remembering Dobby the house-elf who had stopped his mail the summer before second year in the hope of discouraging him from returning to Hogwarts, where "great danger" was brewing, by making him think that he didn't have any real friends.
"I'm telepathic," Rhode informed him coolly. "As for how we know about Dumbledore, we looked into that on the way here. Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger have been denying you information under the orders of your headmaster, there's no doubt about it."
Harry was silent, scuffing his now-grey feet on the floorboards. "They still could have told me something more," he grumbled sulkily.
"Are you going to come with us?" the Earl asked, and something about his tone indicated that it wasn't really a request so much as an order. Harry didn't notice, however, and merely nodded. No way was he going to stay in this place where he had known only misery, not now that a viable alternative had been offered, no matter what Dumbledore had told him. Besides, more and more he was feeling that this Noah clan was really his true family and memories not his own seemed to be hovering just out of reach. A strange warmth was flooding his heart.
"Rhode, if you would," the Earl commented. Harry blinked in confusion, but Rhode just grinned, and then a heart-shaped door appeared, hovering in the air beside Rhode. The door swung open, and she beckoned Harry to her side. Once he was there, she took his hand and informed him; "This door will take us to the house we are staying in. That's one of my powers; I can create portals to anywhere. Ready to go, New Child?"
Harry started to step forward, but then he hesitated. "Hedwig… my school things…"
"You two go ahead. I'll bring them along," the Earl interrupted. Rhode smiled sweetly, and then leapt through the doorway, dragging Harry along after her.