Au Non Magic. Draco Malfoy was born deaf, and now he is being forced to go to a boarding school in New England for the first time. Things aren't going his way. Then he meets Harry Potter, a boy with more than his fair share of secrets.
Sign is in bold.
Disclaimer-I own nothing.
BIG thanks Alter and Empathic Siren for being my wonderful and wise betas!
Freaks and Geeks
What I'm about to tell you isn't the usual love story; in fact, it's more than a little fucked up in places. I don't really believe in God or destiny. People have been trying to sell me this bullshit about their being a "plan" or "reason" since I was a kid, but I never put faith into it. Life just kind of happens, and not always in the way you want it to. That's kind of how we were. If I would have had my way, I might not have ever met him, but I don't regret it now. There might not be a "reason" for it, but I believe that it was a good thing that I met Harry Potter.
I was born deaf. It's impossible for me to say whether I would want to change that if I could. All my life, I have lived in a world without knowing what sound really is. Sure, I know the basic idea behind it, but I can't understand what words like "booming," or "musical" are. I've watched my mother's words, but I've never actually heard her voice. When I was born, my parents didn't exactly know what to do with me. My father wasn't sure I could live up to the Malfoy name. He saw me as something less than a person right from the beginning, but that is generally the way my father is.
A number of experts filled my early life. I was taught by the best speech pathologists and teachers of deaf sine I can remember. My parents were big on oral education, but they did acknowledge that I needed sign as well. Most of my education came from private tutors at my home, but I did attend a school for the deaf for a while from the time I was six to the time I was about eight. I think I was happiest there. It was there that I made real friends for the first time, and it was there that I realized I wasn't the lowly creature my father thought I was. I'm not really sure why he took me out of there. He did tell me that I wasn't learning enough to compete with "normal" children, but I'm not certain that was all of it. I think that about that time he realized I was the only child he was getting from my mother and he was determined to groom the next Malfoy heir. Back at home, I kept a much heavier academic load, and I was forced into more hours of speech therapy. Both seemed to please my father.
My father was a rather well known businessman. He had inherited a brokerage firm from my grandfather. Lucius Malfoy's name was always associated with ruthlessness and wealth. His marriage to my mother, Narcissa Black, made all of the society pages in New York. They were the picture of refinement and old money sophistication. That was why I was a thorn in my father's side.
He never really did learn to sign all that well. It was a sign of weakness, he thought. It was no pleasure to him to be told that even though my speech was amazingly clear, it would always be painfully obvious that I was deaf. He ignored that fact, though, and continued to push at me. When I was twelve, he forbade me to ever sign in his presence again. The lucky part about that was that I was rarely ever in my father's presence. He was always staying in the penthouse in the city, and mom and I lived on our country estate about an hour away.
Mom and I were very close. She gave me anything I ever asked for, and never did hold to any of my father's beliefs about signing. We would sit in the evenings and talk for hours. She knew how I felt about be home schooled, and always told me to do my best. That did not mean that she didn't care what I thought, but she catered to whatever my father wanted.
When I was fifteen, my world was turned upside down again. My father came home for a weekend in July. That day I had been sitting in my at my window staring out at the New England country side that I loved so much, when I saw an unwelcome sight. I was never happy to see his black Bentley pull up the drive, but I knew there would be hell to pay if I didn't go down to meet him. My mother was uneasy when I reached the bottom of the stairs.
She didn't raise her hands to tell me, "Draco, your father wishes to speak to you in the study."
It wasn't hard for me to read her lips at all. I had mastered the art over the years, just as I had learned to speak clearly. I nodded, and followed her to my father's office.
He was frowning at something he was being told over the phone, and barely acknowledged us until he hang it up. "Draco," he said with a smile.
"I'm glad you're home, father," I greeted him carefully enunciating each word.
"Sit down. I have good news for you." Those words made me leary, but I sat down casting only the slightest glance at my mother who was biting her lip. None of this was comforting. "I have recently been in touch with the headmaster of my old boarding school," he began. "He tells me that it is not too late for you to join in with the other students your age, and that your disability won't be a problem. You will be going to Hogwarts this fall. Doesn't that please you?"
I swallowed my anger, because I knew that it wouldn't matter. He never did care what pleased me. "Yes," I agreed without much emotion.
"Good. The term doesn't start for another five weeks, and that is plenty of time to get you ready for it. Your mother will take you to get fitted for your new uniforms later this week."
At that point, I was unceremoniously dismissed and he answered another phone call.
I ran to the sanctuary of my room, and turned on my computer. Breathing a sigh of relief, I noticed that my best friend, Blaise, was online.
ZanZen: Hey. What's up?
Dragonrider: My dad is an asshole.
ZanZen: What else is new?
Dragonrider: He's making me go to Hogwarts this year.
ZanZen: What's wrong with that? I thought you didn't like being home schooled?
Dragonrider: I don't! But I don't want to go THERE!
ZanZen: Why not? I go THERE and THERE isn't that bad.
I sighed and rolled my eyes at the screen. He just didn't get it. I typed furiously.
Dragonrider: Of course, you wouldn't think it's that bad. You can hear! And you know people there.
ZanZen: Not everyone cares that you're deaf. Fuck, you're self-absorbed. And it's not like I can't introduce you to people. Get over it.
Dragonrider: You're a fucking asshole!
ZanZen: You seem to be having problems with stating the obvious today.
Dragonrider: Well, you're coming with me to get my stuff.
ZanZen: Just don't bitch all day
Dragonrider: Fine. I'll talk to you tomorrow.
In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have gone to Blaise for sympathy. He was one of the last people who would ever let me feel sorry for myself. We had met when we were ten, and had been best friends ever since I taught him how to insult people in sign language. Never once did he treat me like I was any different from anyone else. I shouldn't have expected him to start then.
A week later, my mother and I met Blaise in New York City . He met us at the door of his town house with a big smile on his face. His dark curls were falling over his forehead, and he looked like he had just crawled out of bed. He signed hello to me and said something I didn't pay much attention to my mother. I was still sulking.
My mother kissed my cheek. I'm going to stay and have lunch with Melinda. You boys be good, and don't be late to your appointment at the tailor's.
In the car, I looked out the window doing my best to ignore Blaise. I could tell that he had turned on some music by the harsh thumping of the base. Our driver was probably having a fit.
He touched my shoulder. Don't be an ass.
Who's being an ass? I signed angrily. I don't want to go! Is that so hard to understand?
It's not going to be that bad. Trust me. Do you know what house you'll be in? he asked.
Hogwarts had an odd history. It was founded by four different people and they each had a dorm house named after them: Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Slytherin. Students were sorted into houses by personality and by family. My father had been a Slytherin, so I had been automatically put in there. Luckily, Blaise was also Slytherin.
We can share a room, he said trying to make me feel better.
The tailor's was an upscale place that did most of its business with Hogwarts alumni. Blaise was measured first, and I sat in the waiting room. I had no sooner found a seat than I saw a boy about my age come out of the dressing room. His hair was as black as night, and he had glasses on though he kept his eyes on the floor at all times. What really confused me was that he was wearing black jeans and an oversized long sleeved black shirt that fell past his fingertips even though it was near ninety out still. He didn't look my way, and I shifted my attention to a magazine.
When Blaise came back, I followed the scrawny, little man back, and stood on the platform. I saw his lips move slightly, but he turned his head before I could make anything out. "You'll have to look at me when you talk. I'm deaf," I explained with narrowed eyes. I hated explaining that. It always made me feel awkward.
He looked up at me sheepishly. "Lift your arms, please," he said slowly.
By the time lunch came around, Blaise and I both had almost everything we needed, and our uniforms would be shipped to the school. The little outdoor café we had chosen was one of my usual haunts when I came into the city. Blaise sat across from me toying with his French fries as he watched people passing by. I noticed that his eyes especially followed the good-looking guys. I wasn't stupid enough to not have realized that he was gay. That was something that we never talked about, though I think we both knew. Coming out didn't seem all that plausible for either of us. My father would never have it. God only knows what he would do to me. Blaise's family would probably just accept it, but he was far too concerned with keeping up the cool image at school. I knew how he was.
The last days of my summer went by too quickly for me. Every time I saw my father, he would tell me to "make him proud." I knew that what he was really telling me was that this was my last chance to not be a fuck up in his eyes.
He drove me to the train station himself in his favorite sports car. Excitement was clearly written all over his face…or rather what could pass for excitement given that it was my father. The train ride was more ceremonial than anything. Students and parents made a show of mingling on the platform before going off to school. Several people came up to shake my father's hand, and I was introduced to a number of his old schoolmates. One of them turned out to the be the head of my house.
Severus Snape was a tall man with black eyes and hair. He looked at me without much interest when my father introduced us. He raised his hands. How are you?
Beside me, my father said something. Most likely he told Snape that there was no need for that. He wouldn't want to point out my "disability" to any of his old friends.
"I'm very well, thank you," I said politely.
I was relieved to be on the train when the time came. Blaise and I sat together. He pointed out all of the who's who of the school to me as they passed our seats. Mostly, our section of the train was filled by fellow Slytherins. I noted a rather moronic looking pair in front of us that Blaise identified as Crabbe and Goyle. Pansy Parkinson was a dark haired girl who looked more butch than either of us. Blaise made a particular note to point out a red haired boy at the front of the train. Ron Weasley, he signed scowling. He's the biggest asshole in the school. Stay away from him. He's one of like ten kids. His dad works for the government or something like that, but they don't have much money.
The term "don't have much money" was of course relative at Hogwarts. Almost everyone at the school came from extreme wealth. There were a few exceptions however. Hermione Granger was a frizzy haired girl who was there on a scholarship. According to Blaise, she was a know it all. The scholarship students were pretty much branded at Hogwarts. It had been a great debate on whether to allow them or not, but the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore had managed to get them in. It was a big deal to the student body who had money and who didn't.
Lastly, Blaise pointed out a familiar form. The same boy that I had seen at the tailor's got on the train. His attire hadn't changed much save the color of his shirt. For a moment, he looked right at me and I saw how startlingly green his eyes were. I also noticed a slight lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead. Harry Potter, Blaise spelled out. He's got a lot of rumors about him.
Why? I asked.
His parents were millionaires. Harry's probably the richest kid in the school. His dad owned an oil company. Anyway, his parents were killed in a helicopter crash. He grew up in his relatives' house, but the only want him for the money. Some people say they beat him. His Godfather petitioned the court for custody, but he has a rather wild history, and they wouldn't give it to him.
Does he always dress like that?
Does he always dress like that?
Blaise shrugged. I never really noticed. I don't talk to him. No one really does, but Weasley and Granger.
That night we got settled into our houses. I did indeed share a room with Blaise. Most of my housemates seemed alright as far as I could tell. They ignored me mostly, which was fine. I was asked to go to the headmaster's office just before dinner. Professor Snape came to show me the way.
I liked him from the moment he first signed to me, and in the hallway I decided to ask him a few questions. How is that you know sign?
He shrugged plainly. Someone I know.
I nodded. Why does he want to see me?
Because you need to meet your interpreter, though I did tell her not to bother coming to my class. Now, Draco, you shall receive no extra help from me. If you don't perform to expectations, I will fail you.
We found Albus Dumbledore standing by a birdcage talking to his parrot. He smiled broadly at us and motioned for me to sit. "That will be all," he said to Snape. Dumbledore was an old, frail looking man with wire-rimmed glasses. His withered hand offered me a dish full of lemon drops.
I shook my head. "No thank you, sir."
"Your father tells me that you read lips perfectly well," he said taking a seat behind his desk.
"I do," I replied. I feared what my father had told him.
Dumbledore nodded. "Very good." He glanced at his watch. "It seems that she is late, so I will get to other matters. You are being exempt from Latin and French classes, but you will be taking extra social sciences in their place. Does that seem fair to you?"
His attention shifted to the doorway, and I turned to face a pink-haired young woman with a pixie cut and a nose ring. "Sorry, I'm late," she signed and spoke at the same time. "I just got here and didn't have time to change."
I raised my eyebrows at her. She was NOT what I had expected.
Nymphadora Tonks, she spelled. I'll be following you to classes.
Draco Malfoy, I returned.
Tonks and I had a brief conversation before Dumbledore sent me out to meet my housemates to go to dinner.
The opening dinner turned out to be a big deal at Hogwarts. Sixth graders and new students were officially sorted into their houses, and Dumbledore gave a speech. Blaise told me that Dumbledore's speeches never made much sense, and I snickered at that. I was half way down the hall when…WHAM!
I was knocked flat on my ass. Looking up I saw, Ron Weasley. His lips were moving to fast for me to understand and I just sat there for a moment. Finally, he said. "What are you…stupid? Why don't you pay attention? Aren't you going to say anything, freak?"
He hauled me up by my collar and I was about to say something smart assed, when Granger stepped in. Her back was to me, but I saw Ron's face turn as red as his hair, and I read the word "DEAF?" on his lips.
"I am deaf!" I said indignantly, signing for emphasis."But at least, I'm not a dickhead like you!" He lifted his hand to hit me, but Granger was once again in the middle. I was horrified that she'd think I need her, and I added. "And I don't need help from charity cases like you!"
At that point, she stepped aside to let him hit me, but someone else stepped in. Severus Snaped glared dangerously at us both. His eyes held on Weasley. "There will be no trouble from you this year, do you understand? If you don't, I will take pleasure in making your life miserable. Get to the Great Hall now."
I stood there and waited for my turn at punishment, but all he did was look at me for a moment. I will warn you only once to stay away from him.
On my very first day at the school, I had made an enemy that would dog me for the rest of my years there. Despite all of Blaise's claims, I hated it at Hogwarts already, and things would get much worse before they would get better.