Disclaimer: The ownership of the characters, the settings, etc, belong to J.K Rowling and J.R.R Tolkien. I own nothing except what my imagination creates.
Chapter One The Sound
It was a dreary day at Number 4 Private Drive. Mostly because it was boring, and partly because it was raining, which meant Harry couldn't go outside to alleviate his boredom. All in all, it meant for a most unpleasant morning so far and looked to continue into an even more horrid afternoon. This fact wasn't helped at all by Harry's relatives, who were being even more annoying and nasty than usual. It wasn't because of anything they said or did. No, it was what they implied that mattered. They managed to convey to Harry, without speaking, exactly what they thought of him, either that or they ignored him completely. This usually wouldn't matter to Harry because he liked it that they ignored him, but being stuck at Private Drive with nothing to do, without being able to go outside . . . Harry sighed. This was his summer life.
He was lying on his back in bed with his hands folded beneath his head, staring up at the whitewash ceiling. Dimly, he noticed that at some point or other someone had plastered a hole up there, because the white colour looked less white and more drab in that spot.
He was just about to bend over to pry apart the loose floorboard under his bed, when he heard a tapping sound. Immediately, he looked towards the window, assuming it was an owl delivering a letter, but there was nothing there. Confused, Harry scoured his room determined to find the source of the consistent noise, but to his frustration, he couldn't pinpoint its location. He cocked his head to the side, trying to listen to the direction it was coming from. The only clue he got was that it seemed somewhat hollowed, as though whatever it was tapped from behind something. Like a cupboard!
Harry rushed towards his wardrobe and yanked it open, half expecting Dobby to fall out. But nothing! The noise still continued for some time before it gradually died away.
Harry was sure of one thing. He knew the noise must have been of magical origin. So it was either a magical creature or some type of magical object. Perhaps it was his old pocket sneakoscope? Perhaps after a few years the magic runs out of the thing and it starts tapping to get your attention so you could recharge it? Like a magical battery.
Somehow, Harry found it hard to convince himself.
Another hour passed.
Harry spent the time reciting the twelve uses of dragon's blood, his ABC's, the times table, reading his divination book of all things, and whistling a tune that he just made up consisting of six different musical notes in various placements. It was only after his nonsensical soprano performance that Harry realised the sun had peeked through some cloud cover, and that it was no longer raining. Resisting the urge to whoop like an idiot Harry quickly donned a pullover from out of his cupboard and on a second thought grabbed the umbrella as well. Couldn't hurt to be prepared after all.
Harry went down the stairs as fast as he could without sounding like an elephant, and just as quickly went back up them again. Wouldn't do to forget his wand.
Now armed for battled against Mother Nature, as well as any dark wizards, if they were lurking about, Harry stepped across the threshold of Number 4's door and walked out. Freedom at last!
He took a moment to sniff at the air. It smelled fresh and dewy and English. The soggy grass beneath his sneakers only served to provide Harry's nose with a more natural scent. Jarringly, he was reminded of Hogwarts. Which was something, as Private Drive had never done that before. There was nothing artificial about Hogwarts. No pollution, no muck, only nature and magic, and Harry found it surprising that the after smell of rain- wash should make him feel that way.
Shrugging dismissively, he stalked down Private Drive and into Magnolia Crescent. He only remembered when he got there that this was the very street where he'd first met Sirius.
Shaking his head to clear it of any unpleasant memories that were fast clogging up, Harry turned towards his favourite swing in the park, the one he always went to sit and think in. It didn't occur to him that the swing might still be wet from the rain, and that his bottom would be soaked to freezing if he sat on it. Well, at least that's what would have happened, if a tapping noise didn't distract him.
There it is again!
Harry froze in mid-step.
It was louder this time. A lot louder. Amplified almost. Sonorusfied maybe.
Harry spun around! He was sure he'd heard the sound right behind him. He peered at the empty space, not noticing or sensing anything. It could be someone with an invisibility cloak, he supposed. But he wasn't certain. Just to be sure, though, Harry rushed forward at the empty air, hoping that if anyone was under an invisibility disguise, they would be too surprised to move out of the way, and so Harry would run into them. But there was nothing there. Harry stood with his arms outstretched in front of him, feeling a bit stupid. Of course it isn't someone with an invisibility cloak. What sort of person can make a sound like that? Maybe it wasn't a person?
More than a little jumpy at this revelation, Harry tried listening to the direction of the noise, but this time it seemed impossible to find its location, let alone its source. It seemed to be coming from everywhere at once it was so loud. He wondered why no one was sticking their heads out of their windows to investigate; it was what the residents of Little Whinging seemed to be good at, spying.
Then it hit him! What if he was the only one who could hear it? It would certainly explain why the Dursley's hadn't complained about the noise when it first appeared. They probably couldn't hear it. Maybe only wizards could hear it? Maybe it was a similar sort of thing with the entrance at the Leaky Cauldron, where wizards could see it but muggles couldn't.But what was it?
Harry noticed it was getting progressively faster. In fact, it was now so fast that it almost sounded like one continuos drone. And on top of that, a wind had picked up. The sort of wind that came just before –
Spit, spat, plop. Spit, spat, plop. Spit, spat, plop. Spitspat, plop. Spit, spatplop. Spitspatplopspitspatplopspitspatplopspitspatplopspitspatplopspitspatplop!
Harry quickly put up his umbrella before he was soaked through. It was now raining so hard, and the wind was whipping around so much, that Harry could hardly see anything because the water was running along his glasses and his clothes kept getting plastered to his face. If only he was allowed to do magic over the holidays. He could really do with an impervious charm right about now.
Harry continued listening to the noise, which now sounded more like one long perpetual moan. His ears hurt. It was like standing right next to a sound amplifier with rock music. It was as though the sound was right in his ears. It was getting so painful.
Harry dropped the umbrella, not caring about getting wet, and sank to his knees in excruciating agony, clasping his hands over his throbbing eardrums. It didn't help!
He cried out in pain. He didn't know how long he hurt, but he wished and pleaded and begged for it to stop. Then, miraculously, it did.
Slowly, Harry released the death grip from his ears and bought his hands to dangle by his sides. His breathing was shallow; he must look like a drowned rat. But that wasn't what held his attention. No, it was the fact that he was now deaf that held his attention. Harry couldn't hear anything. Not the heavy rainfall, nor the sound of the biting wind, nor the rumble of lightening in the distance. Nothing! It was like someone had just turned the sound off. Not a pleasant experience. He was afraid that that noise, whatever it was, must have caused him to loose his hearing. He hoped it was only temporary and that Madame Pomfrey could fix it when he returned to Hogwarts.
Something touched his shoulder.
Harry cried out in surprise, jumped up and swirled around, whipping his wand out of his pocket as he did so.
Standing in front of him was Remus Lupin, a look of shock on his lined, young face. Next to him was one other, Nymphadora Tonks, who looked more than a little concerned.
The professor started saying something. Harry was positive he spoke his name, but as for the rest of the words; he couldn't make them out.
Harry shook his head, pointed to his ears, and shrugged. He hoped he got the message across. A second later Harry could see that he hadn't as Lupin had an expression of deep puzzlement on in his face. But wait! Just because Harry was deaf, didn't mean he couldn't speak, could it? He felt like such an idiot.
"Professor I can't hear!" he told Lupin, hoping he didn't sound as desperate as he felt.
Lupin frowned, worrying his bottom lip between his teeth. Tonks looked bewildered. Lupin tried communicating again, this time with hand gestures.
Eventually, Harry discerned that Lupin was trying to tell him to put his wand away. He didn't even notice that he had practically stuck it in Lupin's eyeball.
Harry nodded, and was just about to pocket it when he had a sudden suspicion. What if they were Death Eaters on Polyjuice?
"What's my patronus form?" he asked Lupin.
Lupin smiled and quite distinctly mouthed "Prongs."
Harry sighed in relief and pocketed his wand. Just as he did the sound started up again, even more loudly and agonizingly than before. He screamed, and fell to the ground, not even trying to block his ears. He just continued screaming in pain. It hurt!
It hurtithurtithurtithurtithurtithurtithurtithurtithurtithurtithurtithurt! So much pain! Just before he slipped into darkness, he registered Lupin and Tonks' looks of surprise and horror as they bent over him. His last thought was: I'm not deaf at all.