Disclaimer - I do not own D Gray Man nor any of the wonderful characters.
The young man couldn't remember when he had given up his name in favor of a number...
Couldn't remember when he had grown ashamed to call himself by his own name...
Chapter One - Awakening
"We're getting a new family member today!" a young girl squealed as she danced across the large room, twirling an umbrella that had a jack o lantern at the point. This particular umbrella was enchanted and it screamed it's protests at the treatment that it was currently enduring at the hands of the young girl. This was a regular occurrence but that didn't really make it any more pleasant for the umbrella.
"Road! Stop, Lero... I think I'm gonna be sick, Lero!"
"But aren't you excited Lero?" the girl named Road asked as she finally ceased her incessant spinning. Her strange golden eyes were shining and there was a broad smile on her face as she thought about what the Millennium Earl had told them that morning. She came to a stop in the center of the room and watched as the umbrella's eyes grew increasingly larger as it fought off a bout of nausea.
Road couldn't help but be excited, she'd had that feeling all day. Ever since Lord Millennium had told them that they would be gaining a new sibling today. The Millennium Earl had the unique ability to sense when someone from their Clan would be awakening and he had sensed a new one this morning.
It had been wonderful news and Road found herself hoping that this new sibling was fun.
"You know," a calm yet somewhat harsh sounding voice said from across the room. "You shouldn't be so excited. There's no guarantee that this newly awakened Noah will choose to side with us. There's always a chance that they will reject what Lord Millennium has to say."
"Oh Radwan, you're such a kill joy," Road said, her lips forming a slight pout as she turned to face the man who was standing at the far end of the room. This man was the member of their family who held the memory of Pleasure. The man was tall, with long black hair, and he was dressed in a black tuxedo, complete with top hat and looked almost as though he were going to some kind of fancy party. "Has that ever happened?"
Reaching back into the memories that he had gained when he had ascended to his Noah powers the black haired man searched for the answer to this question. Memories were inherited in their special family and so when you became a Noah you gained all of the memories of the ones that came before you. In Tyki's case he had all of the memories of those who had inherited the Memory of Pleasure.
"Not that I am aware of," Radwan was finally forced to admit. "But it can happen."
"It won't," Road said, her voice filled with certainty.
She knew that no one in their right mind would refuse the gift of being a member of the Clan of Noah and she couldn't wait to meet her new sibling. Hopefully they would be more fun than Radwan, who was self absorbed and took boring to a whole new level. After all this one had to be special; he was the fourteenth member born to a family that was supposed to have only thirteen members.
Isolated out in the English countryside a small house was positioned between two large trees. It was a modest affair, showing that the owners weren't well off, but the grounds were well taken care of and the place was neat and tidy. The outward appearance of the place was peaceful unfortunately on the inside peace was nothing more than a wish at this point. It hadn't been peaceful in this particular home for several hours.
Piercing screams could be heard coming from the back bedroom of the house and in this room a young boy, appearing to be around the age of fourteen, was lying on a bed. The boy was thrashing about as though he were in excruciating pain and every so often he would cry out. The kid was clutching his head with both hands and biting his bottom lip in an attempt to muffle his cries.
A second man, appearing to be around the age of eighteen, was standing at the boy's bedside. He had a concerned expression in his kind eyes as he gazed down at the younger boy, who was obviously suffering horribly from whatever was afflicting him.
"Nicholas," he called out, attempting to gain the attention of the young man and maybe distract him from the pain that he was currently experiencing. His eyes were clamped tightly shut, as though that would help block out the pain, but he managed to choke out, "What... is it... Mana?"
"I'm going to go and fetch a doctor," the man named Mana said, gently brushing back a lock of mahogany hair that had fallen in front of the younger man's eyes. The boy was drenched in sweat and that concerned him somewhat. "I really think that you need medical attention."
"No," the boy named Nicholas said, shaking his head ever so slightly. That wasn't a good idea, since it caused his head to throb even more, but he had to get his point across. "It's... just a headache. It'll pass... soon, I'm sure."
"But it's been going on for hours," Mana protested, hating the fact that his younger brother insisted on being so damn stubborn all the time.
"Which means that it can't possibly last much longer," Nicholas maintained, determined to win this argument. His head was still throbbing but the boy forced himself into a half upright position, using his elbow to maintain his shaky balance. "Trust me Mana, I'll be okay. Besides, it's not... as though we can afford to pay a doctor."
"I'll find the money," Mana said, not even the slightest bit concerned about how much a doctor would cost. It was true that they weren't well off but he wasn't willing to risk his brother's well being based solely on the fact that they were poor. He would find a way to pay a doctor if it would help his brother.
"No," Nicholas stated in a firm voice, effectively ending the subject. "But if you could find the spare change I would enjoy something from the bakery."
"Of course," Mana said, a small and somewhat forced smile appearing on his face. "I guess I can humor you since you're sick boy. I need to go to town for some supplies anyway but are you sure that you'll be alright if I leave you here alone?"
"I'm fourteen Mana," the boy said, rolling his eyes in his brother's direction. "I think I can handle it."
"Of course," Mana said with a sigh. "Well I'll be back in a couple of hours I suppose. You should probably try and get some rest."
"Right," Nicholas said, having already known that his brother would say that. His older brother had always been beyond protective and that had only increased, although Nicholas wasn't entirely sure how that was possible, when their parents had died.
That had been a few months ago and ever since then Mana had taken the protective older brother routine to a whole new extreme. Part of the boy was grateful that he had a brother who cared for him that much but another part of him was desperate for some independence. And at this given moment a third part, a part that was eclipsing everything, wanted his skull to stop trying to split open.
"Ugh," the boy moaned once he was certain that Mana had left the house. He had been trying to act like the pain was subsiding so as not to worry his brother but now that Mana was gone Nicholas gritted his teeth against the pain and allowed his body to fall back. He didn't have the strength to support his own weight anymore and he found himself vaguely wishing that if he were dying that the process would speed up a little bit.
Dying was one thing but being tortured and then dying was completely unfair.
"Take it easy son," a strange voice said, causing Nicholas to bolt up from his spot on the bed. Which proved to be one of the biggest mistakes that he could have made given his current condition. His head suddenly felt as though someone had taken a sledge hammer to it and the boy howled in pain. Gripping his head with both hands the boy still managed to gaze around the room through half opened eyes and he gasped in surprise as he saw a strange man standing at the foot of his bed.
"Who are you?" he demanded, hating the fact that speaking only caused the pain in his head to multiply.
"I am the Millennium Earl," the strange man wearing the top hat proclaimed.
Nicholas took a moment to study the man's rather odd appearance. The man wasn't very tall but he made up for his lack of height by his sheer width. The man was almost round and he seemed to have a grin perpetually glued to his face. It was almost creepy although Nicholas was in too much pain at the moment to dwell on the man's weird looks. "So what exactly do you want with me? For that matter, how did you even get in here? Did Mana forget to lock the door again? I swear..."
"I had no need to use the door," the Millennium Earl said with a chuckle that made him sound almost demented. "And I am here for you dear boy. For you are one of the Chosen Ones."
"Chosen ones?" Nicholas repeated, now curious about where this psychopath had escaped from. As though having a splitting headache wasn't enough now he had a raving lunatic in his bedroom. Man, when it came to luck he simply didn't have any.
"Yes indeed," the man who called himself the Millennium Earl said, the sinister grin still in place. "You are part of the Clan of Noah, one of the children who has inherited the genes of mankind's greatest apostle."
Now Nicholas knew that the man was crazy. He had never even heard of this Clan of Noah and had no idea what it could possibly have to do with him. Vaguely he found himself wishing that the stranger would go and be delusional somewhere else.
"The headache that you are experiencing is regrettable," the Millennium Earl said, gazing down at the boy who was still clutching his head and looking rather ill at this point. "But it will all be over very soon."
"I think I'm dying," Nicholas moaned as his head throbbed yet again. "Could you please leave me alone so that I can die in peace? Or kill me now and put me out of my misery?"
"You aren't dying," the Millennium Earl assured him, smile still in place. Now almost delirious from the pain in his forehead Nicholas found himself wondering how exactly the man spoke when his teeth seemed to always be clenched together.
"Oh great," the boy thought to himself. "Dying isn't bad enough but I have to lose my sanity first... This is just great."
One final jolt of pain caused Nicholas to gasp and then he felt something warm trickling down his face. Almost afraid of what he was going to find but realizing that he had to know Nicholas slowly reached up and gingerly touched his forehead. Then, when he pulled his hand back, he saw that his finger tips were completely coated in blood.
"What the hell?" he exclaimed as he gazed at the blood.
"Your awakening is complete," the Millennium Earl announced, gazing down at the boy. Reaching over he pulled a small mirror down from the dresser and held it up so that Nicholas could see his reflection. The boy gasped once again as he saw a neat row of little cross like wounds running across his forehead.
"This is what marks you as a member of the Clan of Noah," the Millennium Earl explained patiently. "You will find that your powers have been awakened as well. Now if you will come with me then I will take you home and introduce you to your new siblings."
At the mention of siblings Nicholas thought about the brother who had left him to journey into town. Despite the fact that he was curious about what had happened to him Nicholas knew that he couldn't just leave. He had to talk to Mana about everything, see if his brother knew anything about what had happened to him.
"I can't leave," Nicholas said, shaking his head as he once again thought about the brother who was fiercely protective of him. Leaving without so much as a word to Mana would be beyond cruel and despite the fact that he really wanted to know what was going on he simply couldn't do that. Not to Mana. "Not without talking to my brother."
Nicholas thought he saw a brief flash of anger pass in front of the Millennium Earl's eyes but he couldn't be sure. With the expression that the strange man maintained it was almost impossible to judge his emotions with any accuracy. "Take your time dear boy," the man said after a moment. "I'll come back to speak to you in a week's time."
And without so much as another word to the boy the strange man disappeared. Into thin air. Nicholas furiously swiped at his eyes with the back of his hands and then gazed again at the spot where the strange man had been standing mere seconds before. "I really hope that I was hallucinating that whole thing..."
With this thought in mind Nicholas raised a shaky hand to his forehead and gently probbed the flesh there. "Well," he thought with a sigh as he felt those strange little wounds that now decorated his forehead. "If I was hallucinating then I still am."
A/N - I know that I shouldn't have started another chapter fic when I have so many on going already but I simply couldn't resist. This story has to be AU cause I'm just wildly guessing about the 14th's past but I really wanted to write it so write it I did. I do that a lot it seems. Revised because I had to change the Noah of Pleasure, who's name in this actually means pleasure by the way. Anyway please leave a review and tell me what you thought.