Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: I'm so sorry about my incredibly long absence. This past year has been crazy with classes and along with everything else going on in my life I did not have much time to write. I'd like to give my most sincere apology for the long wait and I am going to try to make more regular updates if my muse will allow it for this new year. Thank you all for taking the time to read this story and I hope you will continue to enjoy it. Cookies for all my lovely reviewers!

"Harry signing"

'Harry writing'

Silent Words

Chapter 8

By NiamhakaLadyHex


Friday evening found Harry slowly meandering down one of the darkened corridors in the dungeons of Hogwarts. He didn't have a specific destination in mind; he was consumed by his thoughts. Dinner was going on in the Great Hall but he did not feel like eating. Harry knew that Adrea would be worrying where he was but he simply couldn't bring himself to be around the other students right now. Harry's first week at Hogwarts had finally come to an end.

He had hoped that after his first day things would begin to improve but it only went downhill from there. On Tuesday he got his first taste of Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA), Transfiguration, and Potions.

Contrary to what Harry had been reading in his books, DADA turned out to be a joke. The professor, who he now knew to be called Quirrel, stuttered constantly making it near impossible for Harry to make out what he was saying. Although Adrea had offered to act as a translator for Harry, the stuttering and the poor lighting in the room made Harry give up on trying to decipher what the man was attempting to say. Even his dictating quill had problems writing down what the professor was saying at times.

On top of that, Harry always felt uneasy around Professor Quirrel, and he often felt like that man was staring him at the oddest times during class. It didn't help that during the class his scar would twinge with pain like the wound was still fresh. After several of these occasions Harry decided to keep up his guard while around Professor Quirrel.

His day did not get any better when he went to Transfiguration. After lecturing about the basics of transfiguration Professor McGonagall gave them their first assignment, to turn a match into a needle. Professor McGonagall tried her best to encourage Harry but just like in Charms class no matter what he did to try and perform magic, nothing happened. He had once again failed to be able to perform a simple incantation. Harry was quickly becoming very annoyed and discouraged by not being able to do any magic with his wand.

The only good part of the week was when he had Potions class even though Professor Snape often unnerved Harry. When Professor Snape was dealing with the Gryffindors he often reminded Harry of his uncle when he was seething with anger after Harry had incorrectly interpreted what the temperamental man had shouted at him. But, it was the only class that he was able to finally be successful in.

Potions fascinated him because he could perform magic without having to say anything. That fact made him want to apply himself even more diligently to prove that he did belong at Hogwarts. The professor had started them off with a rudimentary calming potion and Harry made sure to follow the directions precisely and carefully. In the end, his efforts paid off and he had made an almost perfect potion along with Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy.

Even though he was successful in potions it did not hide the fact the Harry could not perform even the simplest magic spell with his wand. The week had gone by and so far Dumbledore had not found any solution for Harry to be able to cast spells without speaking. Harry knew the teachers were becoming frustrated with a student who couldn't even cast one spell with his own wand.

How would he be able to continue going to Hogwarts if he couldn't cast any spells? Would they get tired of him and kick him out? Harry simply would not be able to go back to the Dursleys after he had experienced the wonders of magic. Even if he was not able to cast any magic, it was still a part of him. He knew that he could not live as a muggle after he found out the truth about his parents and the world he was meant to be a part of.

Harry was so consumed by his thoughts that he didn't realize someone was in the hallway with him until he literately walked into the person. After regaining his balance Harry looked up into the cold gray eyes of Draco Malfoy. Flanking both of his sides were his cronies Goyle and Crabbe who were cracking their knuckles in a threatening manner.

Draco sneered at Harry and said, "We missed you at dinner tonight Potter. I've been observing you all this week. Before I met you there were all these spectacular rumors of the great Harry Potter who defeated You-know-who before his second birthday. There was such talk of what a great wizard you would become. Well if they could see you now! You can't even cast a spell, not one! I don't even know why they bothered giving you a wand since you can't even use it!"

He paused for a moment. "I bet right now they are wishing they could just send you home but Dumbledore always does have a soft spot for hopeless cases. Don't be fooled, they just keeping you here out of charity Potter. Maybe one day they will even let you join that oaf Hagrid in his hut to manage the grounds! But mark my words Potter, you'll never amount to anything. You may have defeated the Dark Lord when you were a baby but now you are just a worthless cripple. "

His words struck Harry to the core and he could feel tears start to prickle in his eyes. All of what he had been thinking about was just thrown into in his face in the cruelest manner.

Malfoy looked Harry up and down as if measuring his worth. With a menacing glint in his eyes he said, "Boys, lets teach him a lesson he won't forget."

He then added with a smirk, "After all, it's not as if anyone will be able to hear him."

Crabbe and Golye began slowly advancing towards Harry. Harry knew he was in trouble and he tried to dart past them but Crabbe caught one of his arms and then he jerked both of his arms painfully in a bruising grip behind his back. It left him easy prey for Goyle. Despite the fact that Harry was defenseless and outnumbered he raised his head and looked at Goyle straight in the eyes.

Goyle waste no time and he punched Harry hard in the jaw caused Harry head to whip to the side from the force of it. Then working himself into a fury, he punched Harry mercilessly in the stomach several times.

After this continued for several painfully long minutes Malfoy motioned with his hand for Goyle to stop. Suddenly bringing out his wand swiftly he yelled, "Diffindo!"

Harry hissed in pain as the spell created a deep gash in his right shoulder that began to bleed profusely. Draco walked up to Harry so that he was almost nose to nose with him. Draco started at Harry for a moment and then whispered as he put pressure on Harry's wound with his hand that punctuated his words, "Know that this is something that you will never be able to do."

Harry was barely able to make out of the words through the haze of pain. Draco quickly let go of Harry and wiped his hand on his pants as if he had touched something contagious. He looked at Crabbe.

"Leave him. I'm sure this will give him enough to think over for now. Lets go, it's getting late."

Crabbe let go of Harry, and the three boys left Harry alone in the hallway.

After being released by Crabbe, Harry fell hard on his knees. He tried to put pressure on his wound but it did not help stop the bleeding. Through his pain clouded mind Harry knew he needed help and he needed it quickly.

He looked around the dungeon hallway to try and get his bearings. It was then he spotted a tapestry that looked slightly familiar to him. Then it hit him. He had seen that tapestry on his way to Professor Snape's rooms when he had stayed there before the school year had started. Harry thought if he could make it back to the Professors rooms, he would be able to get help.

After quite a few wrong turns and several guesses, Harry finally managed to find his way to Professor Snape's quarters. When he arrived, he realized that he couldn't say the password to the portrait. Salazar happened to be absent from his portrait at that moment and only his snake was currently there. He stood there for what seemed like an eternity looking the snake not knowing what he should do.

Would knocking on the portrait let Snape know he was outside? What if Snape wasn't even in his rooms? Then no one would be there to help him and he was too far away to seek anyone else. The searing pain in his shoulder along with the pain in other parts of his body was beginning to take its toll on Harry.

Blackness was creeping along the edges of his vision and his strength was fading. His only chance was somehow to get the snake to understand that he needed to get into those rooms. Putting all of his willpower while looking at the snake he tried to say 'open'. A raspy hiss came out of his mouth before he passed out with a loud thud just when Salazar walked back into the portrait.

-----

Severus Snape was spending a quiet Friday evening in his lab working on an experimental potion. He was suddenly interrupted by Salazar Slytherin running into the portrait of a simmering cauldron that he had put up in the lab so he could be contacted in case of an emergency.

Snape quickly looked up at Salazar's frantic and unexpected entrance.

"Severus, come to the entrance of your quarters immediately. A student has been left there in the hallway injured."

At this Snape swiftly sprinted out of his lab and down the hall that led to his chambers. He opened the portrait to find a small figure of a boy crumpled on the floor. When he carefully turned the boy on his back he noticed that there was blood soaking the front of his robes. He glanced up at the boy's head to see if it was from a head injury. Snape's heart skipped a beat when he looked into the battered face of Harry Potter.

As carefully as he could manage so not to further aggravate the boys injuries, Snape carried Potter into his rooms and laid him gently on the couch. He quickly cast a diagnosis spell on the young boy and then he summoned the necessary healing potions and salves from his lab. Setting them on the small table nearby the couch, Snape turned his attention back to Harry.

He gave Potter a blood replenishing potion and then with a wave of his wand he banished the boy's robe and cloak. He then took stock of the boy's injuries.

He immediately spotted the gash on the shoulder that was the cause of all the blood. Potter was also sporting a bruised jaw, a split lip, and some nasty bruising along his chest and abdominal area.

Snape used a scorgify to clean off the blood so he could examine the wound more clearly. It was deep, nearly down to the shoulder bone. But the wound was clean so it wasn't hard to heal with the right charms and potions although there was nothing he could do to stop it from scaring.

When he was putting the bruise paste on Potter's chest he noticed other scars. The boy had scaring all over his chest. When he turned the boy over it was apparent he had lots of scaring on his back. Some of the scars were faint but others still looked pink and new. Snape had his share of scars from the war and from being in the service of a madman but seeing such scars one someone so young unsettled him. The boy had too many scars to just have been cause by an accident or from clumsiness.

He thought back onto that day he retrieved Potter from his relative's house and the boy's behavior since then. With sudden clarity everything fit into place, Snape finally realized the true nature of Potters home life. He would have to wait to satisfy his curiosity when the boy was awake.

He summoned some pajamas from his own bedroom and shrunk them down so they would fit the boy. He cast a charm to alert him if anything changed with the boy's health and Potter was ready for bed. He would get answers from Potter tomorrow but for now he was going to have a quick word with Salazar about how the boy came to be there.

After walking outside his apartment and Snape informed Salazar to meet him in the lab so that they would not be overheard by anyone.

As he walked past his couch he glanced at Potter to make sure he was still asleep.

Closing the door to his lab, he looked at Salazar.

"How did Potter end up in front of my quarters?"

Salazar looked down and then said, "I regretfully was not in the portrait when he arrived…"

Snape rudely interrupted.

"What! You weren't there!"

Then his voice turned icy, "Where pray tell were you then?"

A blush grazed Salazar's cheeks and he said, "Well, I do get lonely over here in the dungeons with no other portraits to talk to and only Clavis for company. I went over to some of the over portraits by the Great Hall. But I did arrive right when the boy passed out and Clavis told me something very important. He said that the boy tried to say something to him before he passed out. Clavis said it sounded a little like the boy was trying to speak in Parseltounge."

Snape looked startled.

"Parseltounge? A Potter has never been a Parselmouth! …But it is possible that the Dark Lord could have passed the talent to Potter along with some of his other powers the night he tried to kill the boy. This opens an entirely new door and it could potentially solve Potters problem with casting spells. We will have to test the boy in the morning. Thank you for informing me Salazar."

Salazar nodded stiffly and then walked out of the frame of the portrait.

Snape walked pensively through the hall. After one lingering glance to make sure Potter was still ok, he retired to his bedroom. He tried to sleep but the events and revelations of the day kept him up for many hours.


A/N: Yay Chapter 8 is finally here and with it comes the solution to Harry casting spells! Some people did guess correctly and I hope it lived up to all of your expectations. In case there is any confusion in chapter 3 when Dumbledore is talking to Harry he only speaks out loud what he is saying and not what Harry is signing. So Snape does not know anything about Harry's abuse or home life until his discovery in this chapter. Thank you all for reading and I really hope you enjoyed this chapter. Feedback would be very welcome and along with any suggestions about what you would like to see with the story. Please review!!!