Louder Than Words
(Part of the Lost For Words Universe)
Do we really need a disclaimer? It's blatantly obvious that I'm not JK Rowling...although some have accused me of channelling her.
For shocolate's birthday - I give her Mute!Ron because she loves him so.
Chapter One - A Best Friend's Best Friend
Harry stepped into the living room and smiled at Ron.
The redhead was slouching in his armchair, his shoes kicked off haphazardly across the floor. He held a book in his hand, a gift from his friend Jess. That had tickled Ron no end; a blind girl giving him, a mute, a book to read to her. Well in truth she had known what the book was about, having had it read to her by her boyfriend Neville, but she liked to have conversations with Ron and had decided that talking about this book would be interesting. Somehow Jess and Ron had found a way of communicating without having Harry, Hermione or Neville around to translate Ron's sign language for Jess.
Harry was still grinning at Ron like an idiot. Ron frowned and looked over his shoulder before looking back at him and waving.
"What ya doing?" Harry beamed.
Ron sat up and gave Harry a suspicious look before holding up his book and raising his eyebrows.
"Good is it?" Harry said, practically bouncing with joy now.
Ron rubbed his hands together and pulled a face to say 'wonderful' in the most sarcastic way possible.
"Good." Harry said, his face getting cramp from all the insane smiling.
Ron furrowed his brow but his suspicious smile remained. He pointed at Harry and than gave a thumbs up.
"I'm fine," said Harry with wide eyes, he couldn't remember blinking once since he'd walked into the room.
Ron looked utterly unconvinced and twirled his fingers in the air.
"Well," Harry said, knowing that Ron would throw something at him if he didn't get to the point soon, "what it is...is this."
Harry gave a long whistle before dropping the tone for a moment and then bringing it back up again quickly. A dog ran into the living room wagging its tail. Ron stared at it and then up at Harry. Harry was grinning again. The dog nuzzled at Ron's hand as he began scratching him behind the ear, something the dog seemed to like a great deal.
"See, I knew you'd get on, you're bonding already!" Harry pointed happily while the Golden retriever that was more orange than golden thumped its tail against the sofa and leaned into Ron's hand.
Ron pointed at Harry and made a gripping motion towards himself before curling the fingers of both hands over like paws in front of him.
"Yeah," Harry nodded, "I got a dog."
Ron brought two fingers to his forehead and moved them away to point at the dog.
"His name's Marmalade," Harry answered, "'cause of the unusual colouring y'know?"
"I knew he was the one when I saw him as a puppy, a Weasley dog, and I had to get him for you."
Ron's jaw dropped. He made the gripping motion towards himself and pounded his palm against his chest with wide eyes.
"Yeah," Harry nodded, almost about to explode with pride in himself, "he's yours."
Ron looked back to the dog and waved at it with a silent chuckle.
"Tell him to sit," Harry said gleefully.
Ron cast a withering look Harry's way and jiggled his thumb and forefinger beneath his chin and rolled his eyes.
"I'm not being funny," Harry insisted, "tell him to sit down."
Ron narrowed his eyes as he examined Harry's features before turning his head to look back at the dog, wagging its tail before him. Ron bit his bottom lip and rested his right palm flat on top of the back of his left and moved them downwards. The dog sat down obediently. Ron stared at it in disbelief before looking back at Harry and splaying both hands before him, fingers pointing upwards.
"Well Neville was going to the Magical Friends Institute, M.F.I. it's called and it's really funny because there's a Muggle store called MFI as well and it turns out to just be a front for the dog training faci..." Harry tailed of when he saw Ron looking at his watch, "Well anyway Mr Sarky!" Ron chuckled silently and Harry continued, "Neville was getting one trained up for Jess. A guide dog for the magical blind, so it can handle portkeys and stuff like that."
"Jess had a Golden one called Honey, Marmalade's sister, and while Neville was choosing her I was looking around and I saw they had dogs for deaf witches and wizards too, so they can tell them when somebody's at the door and alert them when alarms are going off and things. Well I asked if it was possible for them to train up one of the puppies to learn sign language to work with a mute and they said they'd have a go and they did it."
Ron was still looking quite shocked that his new dog could understand him and he shook his head and pointed at himself, crossed his arms over each other and then moved them apart sharply, before making a fist and pointing his index finger upwards at the side of his head.
Harry sat on the arm of Ron's chair and slapped his best friend on the back.
"This is your dog Ron. This is your dog, Marmalade, and he understands what you tell him to do."
Ron tickled Marmalade under the chin and the dog closed his eyes and seemed to thoroughly enjoy his first meeting with his new master. Ron looked back at Harry before tapping at his scarred throat and shaking his head sadly and pointing at the dog.
"You don't need to be able to call him," Harry said, "he's been taught his name as I would say it, as you would sign the letter 'M' or as a whistle. That whistle I did before, that's his. He comes to that and that only."
Ron looked suddenly excited and demanded Harry teach him the whistle, the long whistle before a short dip and rise in tone at the end. Marmalade jumped to his feet and wagged his tail enthusiastically. Ron pointed away from himself and then held up his forearm and waggled his fingers as if his arm was a palm tree.
Marmalade spun around in a circle and barked once.
"If you're taking him for a walk do you want to drop by Neville and Jess' place? I'm sure Jess is eager to go out with Honey already."
Ron nodded and got up out of his chair to pull his trainers back on his feet. The gangly figure hopped up and down on one leg and looked back at Harry before pausing and touching his fingertips to his chin and moving them away in Harry's direction.
"You're welcome mate."
Harry had never been so pleased with himself in all his life.
Neville tripped over his feet as he rushed for the front door, there had been a pounding knock and he guessed that either a natural disaster had taken place or Ron had come right over to see Jess with his dog. It was Ron.
"Hello mate, hiya Marmalade," Neville said, and signed to the cheerful dog that was wagging its tail so enthusiastically that its backside was waving back and forth too.
Ron was beaming at him before leaning to look past Neville and down the hall. He opened his hands, face up, and moved them in small circles before drawing a letter 'J' from the tip of his middle finger and around to the tip of his thumb.
"She's just practicing with Honey." Neville responded to Ron's enquiry regarding Jess' whereabouts, "There's a harness she has to wear and Jess is used to her stick or her...well...me, to find her way around!"
Ron's shoulders moved in his ever-familiar silent laugh. His fingers ruffled the orange fur at the back of Marmalade's head.
"Neville," Jess called out as something went bang and crash and Neville cringed, "oops, I think I just broke that vase of your Grandmother's again."
"Don't worry Jess," Neville called over his shoulder with a roll of the eyes in Ron's direction, "that's what Reparo's for."
"Is that Ron, I can't hear anybody?" Jess called again before finally making herself visible, backing out of the living room and dragging her dog with her.
"Y'know love you're supposed to let Honey lead you?"
Ron made a sound like air escaping a balloon before covering his mouth and then signing for Neville to translate for him. Ron gestured over his shoulder and then walked his index and middle fingers across his open palm before pointing at Jess and Honey and bringing the tips of his fingers together.
"He says, I'm going for a walk do you two wanna come, he's referring to you and Honey when he says that. I'm not invited."
Ron gave a tut and narrowed his eyes at Neville while Jess laughed. The silent redhead pointed at Neville and then towards himself with both hands.
"Nah, you're alright Ron," Neville chuckled at the invitation to join them, "I have a vase and several family heirlooms to repair."
"I said I'm sorry!" Jess huffed as she and her Golden retriever set off down the hall to greet its brother with a friendly wag of the tail, leading Jess as she clung on to the harness and managed not to bump into anything, "Hello Ron, want to walk the dogs?"
Ron knocked once on the open front door. Jess squealed and Neville rolled his eyes.
"She never makes that noise for me," the brown haired wizard sighed with a smile twisting the corner of his mouth.
Jess punched Neville on the arm before gripping the doorframe and stepping out onto the street carefully. Ron was watching her and ready to grab hold if she lost her footing but she was standing beside him and ready to test drive Honey before they knew it.
"What side are you going to walk on Ron?" she asked and Ron tapped her left hand with his finger.
Jess giggled and held onto Ron's wrist as she dropped into a squat and reached out for Marmalade. She ruffled the dog's fur and buried her face into it to take a big deep sniff. Marmalade licked Jess' cheek and Ron clicked his fingers. Both Jess and Marmalade looked up in his direction.
Neville watched as Ron pointed at Jess and then signed her name to Marmalade. The dog barked once and Jess nearly fell over onto her bottom with fright. Ron lunged forward to steady her and help her back to her feet.
"It's alright Jess, Ron was just introducing you to Marmalade," Neville said while Ron signed an apology to Jess for making her jump.
"Oh good," Jess said merrily, "have you said hello to Honey yet?"
Ron crouched down before Jess' Golden dog and tickled it under the chin. Honey wagged her tail and Ron cleared his throat and looked to Neville. Neville understood Ron's hesitation, Honey hadn't been taught sign language and would have to learn from her brother that Ron couldn't communicate the same way Jess did.
"Honey?" Neville said clearly to get the dog's attention, which he did right away, "This is Ron. Ron." He repeated the name slowly and clearly while pointing at Ron. Ron waved at Honey.
The dog raised its paw and tried to mirror Ron's movement. This took Neville and Ron by surprise and Ron instinctively grabbed the paw out of the air and shook it.
"Are they getting along?" Jess asked hopefully.
"Well they're shaking hands," Neville grinned.
Soon enough the two friends with their two dogs were making their way to the park together, Jess yammering all the way and Ron occasionally clicking his fingers either once or twice for yes or no responses.
Neville closed his front door. He didn't care that Jess used to have a thing for Ron, those two couldn't be kept apart for anything in the world, and besides that - Ron and Hermione were getting even more intense after all the drama the led up to Ron finally losing those brain scars on his arms. Once you had seen somebody you love suffering so much, targeted by evil wizards left behind after Voldemort's death as he and Hermione knew had happened to Jess and Ron, you tend to not be bothered by feelings beeing felt as openly and intensely as possible.
There was so much Ron had done for Neville on a personal level as well. Well they both owed each other a lot. Neville had healed Ron's brain trauma and Ron had taught Neville's parents to communicate with sign language after they had some of their senses returned to them. For all the horrors of the Ravenclaw episode, it had brought everybody so much closer. Even the prodigal Percy had been welcomed back into the Weasley fold after all that he'd done for Ron.
Everybody was stronger than ever now, they could face anything as long as they were all together.
"I'm still here Benjamin."
"Are they inferi sir?" the junior Auror asked as she backed off from the approaching group of semi-naked, milky-eyed bodies walking towards them.
"No Auror Benjamin," Molloy said, sending out sparks to try and deter the animalistic group of human beings, "they are very much not Inferi. Inferi die and are reanimated. These...things never got the chance to die. They aren't alive though, well only in that they are physically walking around."
"Only physically alive sir?" Benjamin said, her stomach falling suddenly and her blood running cold as one of the twitching snarling figures to her left lunged forward into the light and recoiled only slightly to the jet of steam she sent into his face.
"They can be stopped but it's not as easy as that. We need to get a squad up here. We need reinforcements."
"Shall I disapparate sir?" Benjamin asked, eager to get out of there but incredibly reluctant to leave her mentor alone with the wild, inhuman beings that had them cornered in the cave.
"It's not possible," the older man said wearily, pulling Benjamin behind him a little, trying to shield her from the attack that was due at any moment, "We're right on the magical and non-magical border, it's a miracle we can use out wands at all."
"Non-magical border sir?" Benjamin frowned, never having heard of such a thing.
They both flinched as a powerful looking male body shoved his way through the crowd and seemed to sniff the air like an animal. His face was twisted and his lips curled like a rabid dog's. They were all like a pack of wild animals. They were diseased, dying, but whatever was killing them was also charging them with the need to kill others as brutally as possible.
In their investigation it looked to be nothing more than a werewolf attack in the Lake District but they just found more and more brutal mutilations. There were more people who had been attacked suddenly turning into attackers before having to be killed to stop them hurting their families. Even they themselves had had a loss, Benjamin's partner Lloyd had been savaged and quickly lost his mind.
Lloyd had tried to tear out Benjamin's throat and Molloy had chained him up and attempted to send him home via portkey but he was having trouble getting his wand to work.
"I knew we were close but I didn't realise how close," Molloy said gruffly, watching the wild looking figure who was clearly the leader of the 'pack' as he moved towards them menacingly, "There's a magical free zone, wards that stop wands working, no Apparition, owls can't even fly in the airspace."
"Why would anyone do that sir?" Benjamin squeaked as a pair of the feral inferi-type attackers began tussling to get ahead of each other and encroach upon them with the pack leader.
"That doesn't matter now Benjamin," Molloy said as he tried to fully shield her with his body, "Don't let them touch you, bite you, scratch you...get away and keep away. Keep people out."
"I'll send a spell into you with what magic I can get to work and then I'll hold them off so you can try to Disapparate."
"But what about?" Benjamin gestured to a snarling salivating Lloyd, chained up on the floor.
"He's gone Benjamin, he's just like the rest of them," Molloy said stiffly, "they're diseased and they have to be contained. You've got to get back to HQ and warn them. We have to keep the infection from spreading. Do not let them come barging in with wands blazing, they'll simply retreat into the non-magical zone and then they'll find the clinic and infect all the patients and staff. You have to get out and warn them Benjamin."
"But what about you sir?" The young Auror said with a whimper.
"Just tell them what I said Benjamin. Corroboro viator!"
A weak spell hit Auror Benjamin in the chest and Lloyd ran at the snarling pack of infected people. She closed her eyes and turned on the spot, screaming at the sounds of tearing flesh and crunching bones. There was compression around her ribs and she felt herself moving slightly.
The violent sounds of savagery didn't fade and Benjamin staggered on the spot and opened her eyes just in time to see her mentor's jugular gushing blood. She tried to run but fell forward onto the ground, her left leg splinched off completely.
Auror Molloy wasn't yelling anymore, there was just a gurgling sound and the rusty smell of fresh blood. A wild-eyed Inferi-type held her down and growled as thick dark blood, almost black in colour, oozed from its mouth and hit Benjamin on her cheek. She thrashed to try and throw the diseased human being off her but soon there were more and she felt her skin tearing and her scream ripping away from her along with the rest of her throat.
They weren't going to be stopped.
A/N Yes indeed. This is going to be graphic in places. It is also going to be sweet (Well it's Mute!Ron isn't it? And now he has a DOG!)
So before you all ask:
This is very loosely based on the British film '28 Days Later'. It will be as much a Potter version of that film as Lost in Parasomnia was a version of 'Donnie Darko' (in that it's absolutely not at all but I feel the need to credit the films that inspire me to come up with a rough theme to a fic)
This is, as the previous two Mute!Ron fics have been, a fic centred on Harry and Ron's friendship and bond.
Hermione will be involved and much of the story will be told with her PoV but this is not Hermione-centred so please don't hassle me if I write three chapters in a row without her in them...she will be there when she needs to be there.
You do not have to have read Lost For Words or Words Fail Me to understand this fic. If you want a back story it is recommended you do read those fics however as I will not have time to reply to reviews just asking for past storylines to be filled in.
As ever with this series, I'm writing a mute character and having to write a lot of descriptive British sign language. Feedback on this is very much appreciated. Always let me know if the sign language is slowing the pace, you want more or you want less of it...basically, tell me if it's becoming a hindrance to the story. Because of your feedback last time I was confident enough to go with it completely but it's been a while since I've done it in a long fic so I'm worried about going over the top.
Thanks to all who review, you are all very rare but very good people and I'm lucky to have you!
And... HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHOCOLATE!