A/N – Hi there everyone! *waves*. Those of you who have maybe read something of mine before will probably know that I've been away for a while. Well I've finally gotten around to re-writing the start of this fic as promised and I thought it was about time I posted something again. *smiles*. If you read 'By Word of Mouth' before then I suggest you re read the re-writes as I've changed it quite a bit to transform it into a 6th year story. It took a bit of doing but I hope you enjoy it…
BY WORD OF MOUTH
'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'
CHAPTER 1 – Mockery of a wizards cape
Harry endured the Dursleys in silence.
By the end of the summer, his Uncle Vernon didn't even bother telling him to 'keep quiet' as they arrived at Kings Cross. Indeed, the Dursleys had almost forgotten what Harry's voice sounded like.
The family made quick their escape as soon as they got to the station, leaving Harry to find his own way to platform 9¾ so that they could avoid any contact with any of the other 'freaks'. Harry had warned them at the start of summer that it was likely that Order members would be watching him closely as soon as he left 4 Privet Drive.
The-Boy-Who-Lived staggered slightly with the weight of his trunk. He felt infinitely grateful that he'd sent Hedwig off that morning.
The noise of the bustling station was already fraying at his nerves as his head continued to ache. Incessant hooting from his pet would have been an unwelcome addition.
He hauled his trunk onto a trolley and after pausing to rub the aching scar on his forehead he started off for the wizarding platform.
Ron and Hermione waited impatiently, beside the gleaming red train, for their friend.
Neither of them had seen Harry since they'd said goodbye on this very platform at the end of last term. They had of course maintained contact through numerous owls back and forth between their respective houses and the Dursley residence.
Both of them had been concerned at the letters Harry had sent them.
It was clear to them that Harry was being treated with the usual hostility by the Dursleys despite the threats from the Order. More worrying than that, he'd been continuing to have dreams from Voldemort and his scar had been paining him with alarmingly increased regularity.
Hermione had noticed in the most recent letter she'd received that, in two places, the ink had been messed by Harry's shaking hand, and that his writing had become almost as scrawled as Hagrid's.
The time was getting uncomfortably close to eleven o clock before the familiar shock of black hair belonging to Harry Potter, appeared out of the crowd.
Both Hermione and Ron threw their arms around their friend ignoring their teenage awkwardness in their relief at seeing Harry in one piece.
"Harry! We were getting worried!"
Gasped Hermione as Ron knelt to retrieve Harry's fallen trunk.
"The train's about to leave!"
Exclaimed Ron noticing that the platform was almost empty and scrambling to get the trunk into the carriage he and Hermione had already claimed.
"How are you?"
Asked Hermione as she looked down at her hand, which completely encircled Harry's bony wrist.
Harry simply shook his head and pulled her after Ron, onto the train.
Harry couldn't help but notice Hermione's scrutinising gaze. He had known that everyone would notice his skinny and unnaturally pale appearance.
It wasn't unsurprising he looked this way having spent the majority of the summer holiday holed up in his room, not even finding the stomach to eat the meagre amounts the Dursleys would spare him.
His mind drifted back to the first day of the summer holiday…
He woke up in a cold sweat, the pain in his scar gradually ebbing away under his fingertips, taking with it the details of his nightmare.
He could see his Uncle's red face in front of him forming words, he was probably shouting, but Harry couldn't make out the words above the deafening hum in his ears.
At his lack of response no doubt, his Uncle had grabbed Harry's shoulders.
Forcing himself to make out the demand by reading his Uncle's lips Harry understood that he'd 'woken the family and most probably the entire neighbourhood' with his 'childish screaming fit' and should 'shut the hell up or else.'
Nodding dumbly Harry willed his Uncle to leave, and by some stroke of luck the over-large man shoved him down on the bed and stormed out, his navy dressing gown flowing behind him in a mockery of a wizards cape.
With an uneasy shudder Harry prayed that no more dreams would come before he could figure a way to stop his screaming, and fell into a restless sleep.
Ron's yell made Harry leap about a foot into the air in surprise. Realising that he'd been oblivious to his two friends since they'd gotten onto the train his face flushed in embarrassment.
"Good grief Harry, where were you?"
Said Ron with a slightly nervous laugh.
"It wasn't a… an attack from the Dark Lord was it Harry?"
Asked Hermione suddenly.
Harry shook his head sharply.
He hadn't had many more daytime visions yet. Voldemort seemed to enjoy tormenting Harry when the boy was at his most vulnerable, at night-time, when his nightmares and memories seemed closer than ever.
"That's a relief."
Said Hermione staring at Harry with growing concern.
She's probably realised that I haven't said anything yet. Thought Harry suddenly.
As if on cue Hermione addressed Harry again
"Have you been in contact with Dumbledore recently Harry?"
She asked in a hushed voice.
Harry inwardly sighed. It would be obvious now… He wouldn't be able to answer this question with a simple nod of the head.
He gazed up at Hermione and Ron taking in their concerned faces and felt traitorous tears prickle at the backs of his eyes.
He couldn't answer them, and he couldn't say why.
"Why aren't you talking to us Harry?"
Asked Ron in the most controlled, serious voice Harry had ever heard him use.
I can't! Screamed Harry's mind.
He choked back the frustration and motioned that he needed quill and parchment.
Ron and Hermione glanced in worried confusion at each other before Hermione pulled a quill and parchment from her bag and handed them to Harry.
For a moment Harry wondered how to write down what he wanted to tell them but then he realised that he needed ink.
Looking back up at his friends' impatient faces he held up the quill.
Asked Ron, the irritation clear in his voice.
"Can't you just get on writing Harry!"
Harry couldn't help but grin at Ron's misunderstanding, which caused both of the friends opposite him to start looking rather angry.
Realising that he'd have to make them understand somehow he put the quill on the paper and scribbled dry lines.
Hermione quickly understood and plucked a bottle of ink from her bag.
Ron shook his head in mild embarrassment offering Harry a small apologetic smile.
With loaded quill Harry was still stumped as to how best to explain his situation but he didn't dare delay writing any longer.
'can't speak… silencing potion.'
He scribbled quickly, turning the parchment towards them.
Shouted Hermione loudly
Harry winced at the assault on his eardrums but nodded anyway, placing a calming hand on Hermione's shoulder.
"Why on Earth did you take that stuff Harry? It tastes disgusting! And where'd you get it from?"
Asked Ron with a frown creasing his brow.
Harry glanced at his friends wondering if they might not have guessed why he needed the potion, he thought they might have gotten the idea from his letters.
'Brewed it myself, so that I don't bother anyone with my screaming.'
Ron gulped audibly and Hermione went even paler.
"Has it really gotten that bad Harry?"
Harry nodded and hung his head, remembering just how bad it had gotten.
After just a few nights, Harry's voice was so hoarse that he could only manage a whisper at best when he tried to talk. At nights he'd lay awake musing on how unfair it was that despite this handicap his voice still managed to produce screams.
"If I hear a peep from you tonight I won't be held responsible for what happens after. Drink coffee, take some pills, do whatever… Just keep your mouth shut."
Growled his Aunt as she added concealer to her baggy eyes.
Harry just nodded miserably.
He knew that it wouldn't matter what he did. The visions would come whether he was asleep or awake. He had even started having trances during the daytime if he let his mind wander for even a second, letting his occlumency falter.
He didn't really need the threat from his Aunt. He'd already decided that morning to brew the potion…
Harry blinked as the carriage came back into view and grimaced apologetically at his friends.
He couldn't seem to stop zoning out. If it wasn't a trance, mind attack or vision then it was memories that assaulted him. The time he spent conscious to the world was diminishing with each passing day.
"Don't worry Harry mate. Hermione says that we'll go straight to Dumbledore at the feast and explain. He'll get Snape to give you the antidote potion."
Harry smiled weakly and rubbed his scar gently as it began to throb.
Ron busied himself rummaging through his bag for his exploding snap cards, but Hermione was still watching Harry, nervously biting her lower lip in concern.
"It hurts again right?"
Harry nodded and sighed softly, shrugging his shoulders.
"If it hurts so much of the time, maybe there's something the teachers can do. Snape may be a greasy git, but he IS a potions master."
She suggested laying a hand on top of Harry's head and pulling his fringe back to expose the troublesome scar.
Harry winced at she ran her finger along the slight groove in his forehead and the pain from it flared incredibly.
"Sorry!" She gasped, leaning right back in her seat away from Harry and looking mortified.
Ron interrupted as a loud bang and a cloud of telltale purple smoke indicated that he'd found the Exploding Snap cards.
Harry grinned weakly as Ron rubbed at the black smudge that had appeared on his nose. It was so reminiscent of his very first trip on the Hogwarts Express…
Just as Harry was about to daze again Ron caught his attention by shoving a pile of cards into his hand.
With a conscious effort to keep his mind on track of the game, for fear of singed fingers, Harry joined his two best friends in a game of Exploding Snap.
And for those few minutes while they played, even his scar stopped hurting, and he felt… normal.