Sound of Silence
"Sometimes I wish he would scream and yell like other children do. He's lived like this for so long—I just wish I could hear him laugh—hear his voice. Anything but this awful silence."
AN: Hey guys. Here's a brand new story. I hope you all like it. If you like stories involving Remus and Harry, than this one is right up your alley. This is not a slash and it does contain elements of child abuse. So if that isn't your cup of tea, I suggest you don't read any further than this. It is rated for language. No flames, only constructive criticism. Enjoy and please review at the end.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling. No money is being made off of this story and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Raindrops tap softly against the large, arched windows as the remains of the evening's thunderstorm slowly moved behind the mountains. Still, the faint sound of thunder could be heard miles away. Bright moonlight shone in through the clouds, illuminating the dark velvet curtains that silhouetted the window frames. Candles flickered from various shelves and surfaces around the circler room, forcing their glow on the framed portraits of the room's previous owners, whom, slept peacefully in the quiet.
Tall bookshelves graced the walls of the room, jammed with elaborate artifacts and books. The center of the room held host to a large mahogany desk, intricately carved patterns decorated the legs. Laid out on the polished surface were several sheets of parchment; arranged in an organized chaos that only the maker would understand. A large feather quill stood idly in its silver ink pot, ready for use. Behind the desk a dark, purple armchair with a high back sat contently; adorned with golden tassels that hung gallantly on the end of the armrests. Two smaller, matching chairs were placed on the other side of the desk, also upholstered in dark purple.
A tall, gold perch was placed next to the oak-double doors that led into the majestic room. An enormous bird with crimson red feathers sat on the perch, nudging his head against the hand that gently stroked his beautiful feathers. The man sighed quietly as he pulled his hand away from the bird, turning back towards the desk. His long blue robes dragged across the floor as his boots made a soft thudding sound against the wood floors. His silver hair and beard, which were easily long enough to be tucked into his belt, reflected the moonlight entering the window.
He sat down in the high back chair silently and closed his sparkling blue eyes that hid behind the half moon spectacles that balanced on his crooked nose. Though he was very old, Albus Dumbledore always gave an impression of great energy, especially being the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But tonight, he felt drained. He longed to be asleep at this hour of the night.
But he knew he could not go to sleep—not now. His eyes glanced to the clock ticking on the wall. It was late. Very late.
He should have been back by now. Albus thought.
He lifted a tired hand to his face, massaging his temples rhythmically. Perhaps all this waiting was his own fault in the first place. He was the one who sent the boy to live with those people—a choice that he never expected to regret. If only he had—no—there was no way he could have truly known the extent of the goings on. His biggest regret was not acting sooner.
Albus had thought that everything was fine. Arabella tried to warn him. She had spoken to him on countless occasions.
He's quite small, Albus. Three years old and he doesn't talk, Albus. I haven't ever seen the boy smile; he isn't happy, Albus. Something isn't right.
He let her words linger in his mind. How long had he tried to reason them with simple answers? A late growth-spurt. Shyness perhaps. Arabella was just overacting—no—he needed to stop thinking this way. The truth had been exposed. He couldn't push aside these thoughts any longer. This was his fault and his alone. He needed to accept it now. His only hoped was that the damage could be fixed.
So, in the quiet office, Albus waited for Remus to return. Remus. Thank goodness for Remus Lupin. If he had not seen the boy with his own eyes they never would have known any of it. The boy would have been stuck with those muggles until it was time for him to begin Hogwarts. For the past week, Albus could not have been more grateful that Remus had gone to visit his brother on that particular day…
"What do you think, Remy? It's great, isn't it?"
Remus smiled, trying to show as much enthusiasm as he could despite how tired his eyes were. Even though it had been two days since the last full moon, dark circles still outlined his amber-brown eyes. His soft, light brown hair held host to few strands of grey, and fell just to the nape of his neck. His oval-face was thin and handsome, containing only one imperfection— a small, faded scar above his right eyebrow.
"It's great. You'll be happy here. The three of you will be very happy." Remus smiled.
Demetri grinned back; though he shared the same eyes as his younger brother, he lacked the dark circles. His dark brown hair was cut close to his head; light facial hair trailed from his nose to his chin. His face was more angular than his brother's with a longer nose, still holding much similarity to his brother. "We love it here. It's a safe neighborhood, the house isn't too big and the mortgage was reasonable."
"Plus there's that huge park up the road where you can take Noah to play." Remus added.
"That's actually a main reason we bought the house." Demetri clarified. "The one great thing about Mongolia Crescent is the park. We've been here for less then a month—there hasn't been a day where Noah hasn't visited the park. He loves it."
Remus chuckled. "He's three. He'd be happy anyplace that had a park."
"True." Demetri murmured. "But we really love it here. It's close to town. The schools are great, it has a working fireplace—great for Floo, I might add. The only thing that's missing is my brother."
Remus shook his head, looking around the living room. Beige-leather couches stood in the middle of the room with a dark wood coffee table set between them. The sage green walls matched the green curtains that blew softly from the summer breeze, drifting in through the open windows. The tan rug was tightly woven and clean, lying elegantly on the polished oak floors. "I could never afford a house like this. Besides, what would I do with four bedrooms? I'm fine with two."
Demetri nodded. "Yeah. But at least you'd be closer to us."
"It isn't a good idea for me to live this close to other people. What would happen on the full moon? I'd be too loud. And with my luck, I would end up having a neighbor complaining that I was ritually slaughtering animals or something to that effect. No—I think I'll stay where I am. It's quiet in the country; no one can bother me there."
"You'll just have to come and visit then." Demetri smiled.
"When you finally get around to hooking up to the Floo network, that is." Remus replied, his voice laced with a playful sarcasm.
Demetri shrugged light-heartedly. "I'm working on it—"
"Famous last words…" Remus joked.
"Besides," Demetri reasoned. "you've got that old car of yours; you should use it more often instead of letting it sit in the driveway all the time."
"Prat." Remus chuckled.
"Git." Demetri smirked.
"Daddy, what's a git?" Noah asked in childish innocence as he ran to his father's side, holding his arms up to be held.
"Nothing you need to worry about, Pal. Just don't let Mummy hear you talking like that or you'll get Daddy into trouble." Demetri smiled as he settled Noah in his lap, tickling the boy's sides, making him giggle loudly.
Once Demetri stopped tickling, Noah looked up at Remus, making his dark brown hair fall into his shinning grey eyes. "Uncle Remus, guess what?" He asked excitedly.
"What?" Remus asked his nephew, his voice showing great enthusiasm.
"We live near a park!" Noah exclaimed happily.
"I've heard. Does your Daddy take you to the park?" Remus asked.
Noah looked up at Demetri; his fringe falling into his eyes again, making Demetri murmur about the boy needing a haircut soon. "Yup. He takes me there all the time. They've evens gots swings and a slide."
"That's great!" Remus smirked. "Did you hear that Demetri? Swings and a slide. Wow. You guys are lucky. What do you think Noah, should we make your Daddy take us to the park?"
"Yes! Yes! Can we, can we?" Noah asked excitedly, looking up at his father.
"Sure." Demetri said, "Dinner isn't for an hour yet. Go ask Mummy where she put your sweater and Uncle Remus and I will take you to the park."
Once the trio carefully crossed the road, Noah made a running dash for the small playground, making Remus chuckle at his nephew's enthusiasm.
Having been renovated a year earlier, the playground was filled with new jungle gyms and swing sets, perfect for playing and climbing. The area was fenced off from the rest of the park, with large wooden benches for parents, conveniently placed in shady spots cast from the surrounding trees. A cool, August wind blew gently; lightly shaking the leaves of the trees.
The main jungle gym was dressed in bright primary colors, matching the yellow slides and the different steps and ladders to climb on. A few yards away stood a row of six swings, also decked out in blues and reds. The floor of the playground was a greenish-black material made of recycled car tires, now used to prevent any bumps or scrapes if a child was to trip and fall. A large red sandbox sat opposite the jungle-gym, filled with various sandcastles from the boxes' previous playmates.
Remus and Demetri sat down on one of the benches, watching as Noah climbed his way up one of twisted slides.
"Shouldn't you tell him to be careful or something?" Remus asked worriedly, watching as Noah's foot slipped, making him slide back to the bottom of the slide.
"Eh, what's the point?" Demetri shrugged, smirking as he watched his son. "Little bugger's going to do it any way."
"Great parenting skills. I can just imagine what Mum would say if she saw this." Remus snorted.
"Lord, I don't even want to think about it." Demetri shuttered. "Probably something along the lines of: Demetrius! What are you doing? Don't let Noah do that. He's going to break his neck!" Demetri shouted in mock anger, speaking in a high squeaky voice, attempting to imitate his mother.
Remus laughed, punching his brother in the arm. "You sound just like her. It's creeping me out."
"You're the one who brought it up in the first place." Demetri chuckled.
Remus sighed. "Well, I'll never do that again. I'll have nightmares for weeks."
"So." Demetri started after a moment, clearing his throat. "How are things?"
"Things?" Remus raised an eyebrow.
"You know, things—the house, the car, your financial situation over the past month, the full moon—"
"Hold it, back up. What was that last one?" Remus asked in slight disbelief.
"The car?" Demetri asked innocently.
"I think not." Remus replied sarcastically. "Care to try again?"
"Alright. You caught me." Demetri sighed. "How are you doing money wise?"
"Fine." Remus replied shortly.
"Are you sure." Demetri hesitated, looking concerned. "I mean, I know that, that Douglas guy fired you last month and I—I'm worried about you."
"You don't need to worry about me. I've been fine. Really." Remus insisted. "You don't have to worry."
Demetri smiled. "Of course I have to worry about you. You're my brother." His smiled faltered. "So, you're sure that you're okay? You're eating well and everything?"
Remus shook his head. "You sound like Mum."
"I know, I know. But I can't help it sometimes." Demetri sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. "Do you know why he fired you anyway?"
Remus shrugged. "Same reason they all do."
"Too many sick days?"
"Yeah." Remus whispered. "It's not like I do on purpose. I can't help it. The full moon it just—it's very draining on a person's energy."
"Have you been looking for anything new?"
"I've been looking around at some shops and stores. There is a muggle bookstore a few towns over from me. I'm going to try my luck there."
"In the meantime, if you need anything, you'll let me know, right?"
"I will." Remus smiled, although in his heart, he knew he'd rather starve to death than ask anyone for money. "So," Remus began, changing the subject, "how's work?"
"Busy as usual, but at least I can't say that my job ever gets boring." Demetri chuckled.
"Working at St. Mungos—I doubt it will ever be boring."
"Just the other day I had some guy come in who nearly blew his arm off." Demetri snorted. "His wife wasn't too happy about it."
"How did he manage that?"
"His wand backfired." Demetri shook his head. "Poor bloke. We were able to set him right in the end, but that really must have hurt."
"I can imagine."
"Oh no." Demetri muttered.
"What?" Remus asked, looking at Noah, thinking that he had hurt himself. His nephew was now sitting in the sand box, building a small castle, perfectly unharmed.
"See that woman over there?" Demetri asked quietly, nudging his head towards the entrance of the playground. "The one with the two kids—don't stare at her, though."
Remus moved his eyes to the entrance of the park, landing on the woman his brother had mentioned. Her wavy blonde hair was layered, falling past her long neck to her shoulders, framing her long face. A frown tugged on her small, puckish lips. Her right hand was firmly gripped around one of her children's wrists, walking quicker than the small boy could keep up with.
The other child that waddled past her was possibly the largest child that Remus had ever laid eyes on. His round pink face was topped with a crown of curly blonde hair; the boy had practically no neck. He wore clothes that probably wouldn't fit Noah for years. Remus secretly hoped that the child would not go and play in the sandbox with his nephew. Much to his relief, the chubby boy wobbled over to the swings.
Remus' eyes landing back on the woman and the other child, eyeing them warily as they made their way over to another bench in the park. She sat down on the bench, roughly pulling the small boy up with her, making him sit at the other end. She forcefully released his hand, making him pull it close to his tiny body, rubbing gently. She turned to the boy, telling him something that Remus could not decipher from so far away, but by the look on her face, it appeared to be a warning of some kind. She then took out a book from the bag she was caring and started to read.
Remus looked at the little boy seated next to her, watching him carefully. His black hair stood up in all directions, his fringe falling into the brightest pair of green eyes that Remus had ever seen. The child's dark hair gave Remus the impression that the child was not related to the two blondes he had arrived with. Remus felt his heart clench at the look on the boy's face as he watched the other children play, as if secretly longing to join them. He sat quietly on the bench, making no attempt to move or play.
"Do you see them?" Demetri asked as his eyes landed on his son, still playing contently in the sandbox.
"They're weird." Demetri replied, turning back to his brother.
"What do you mean?"
"They're just—weird, Remus. I can't explain it. Marie and I, we—we just don't like them."
"Why? What's wrong with them?"
"You see their boy— the fat one?"
"Yeah." Remus replied as he watched the boy push a little girl off the swing, making her run off crying to her mother.
"The little git, he picks on everyone in the park." Demetri grunted. "Last week, Marie came home from the park with Noah hysterically crying."
"The little shit tripped him and made Noah go tumbling down the slide. He hit his head against the side of it. Marie was afraid he was going to have a concussion."
"Was he alright?"
"Yeah. He was fine, it's just, these people aren't normal, Remus."
"Well, what's so strange about them?"
"Well, I've never spoken to them personal, but Marie has. It was when we first moved in. She took Noah to the park one afternoon while I was at work. Apparently that woman, Petunia, I think that's her name, came and introduced herself to Marie."
"Yeah. She's a nosey parker, I'll tell you. She started asking Marie all these questions about where we had moved from and what our line of work was. Like that's any of her business." Demetri shook his head, snorting. "Muggles. Think they're entitled to know everything about everyone."
"Maybe she was just trying to be nice." Remus suggested.
"Marie said that she had a nasty tone about her. Anyway, the woman's a total phony. She doesn't work. Her husband does something with drills or something mechanical like that. Sandra, our next door neighbor, said that the Dursleys are just a nosey bunch of people and to ignore them. Thankfully we didn't buy that house on Privet Drive. I'd hate living next to them."
"Dursley?" Remus questioned. Where had he heard that name before? It seemed so familiar to him and yet—he couldn't quite place it.
"Yeah, Dursley." Demetri retorted bitterly. "And if you think the mother is bad, just watch her son. He's a real winner."
Remus looked at the chubby boy standing at the top of the slide, not letting any of the other children go down it.
"What a brat. You should have seen him last week. Threw a huge temper tantrum because he had to leave. Honestly, I can't believe that some people let their kids get away with stuff like that. You should have seen his mother doting on him and promising him sweets. It was disgusting. If Noah ever acted like that…"
"How old is he?"
"He's kid is only three?" Remus asked blatantly. "He's nearly twice Noah's size!"
"Yeah, I know. The one I really feel bad for his cousin."
"The dark haired one?" Remus asked, looking over towards the bench again. The little boy was still sitting there, looking at his dirty trainers.
"Yeah. Poor kid, look at how they dress him. I bet those clothes must have belonged to his cousin. They probably won't fit him properly for a few years yet. He's tiny. I don't think they feed him enough."
"How do you know he's their cousin?"
"Dursley revealed that information when she was talking to Marie. Her sister's son. Been living with them since he was a baby. His parents died in a car crash or something like that. Poor kid; must suck to be stuck with that family. They don't even take him to the park normally. They leave him with a sitter." Demetri sighed. "Marie said it was eerie how Dursley acted when her nephew was brought up. Said she acted like she didn't want anything to do with the kid—like he was a nuisance in her life more than anything else. Only wanted to talk about her son."
Remus' eyes wandered again to the small boy. Green eyes were focused on the sandbox as he moved to get off the bench. His feet hadn't even touched the ground when Petunia grabbed the back of his shirt, quickly lifting him back onto his seat. Remus winced as she slapped the back of the boy's head, making him jerk forward slightly. He looked back up at his aunt, his eyes wide and frightened as she shook a finger angrily in front of his face, scolding him harshly.
"Kid doesn't talk." Demetri commented, also watching the scene out of the corner of his eye, looking disgusted.
"What?" Remus asked, looking back at Demetri.
"The cousin. He doesn't talk."
"What do you mean he doesn't talk?"
"I mean, he doesn't talk. He was standing with Mrs. Dursley when she was talking with Marie. Marie tried to say something to the kid but apparently he doesn't talk."
"Is he mute?"
"I guess so. I'm not really sure. Part of me feels like it's more than that though."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know." Demetri explained. "He just looks so small, you know. Look at the Dursley kid and then look at him. You just saw what happened just then. Something just doesn't add up there."
"What are you saying exactly?" Remus questioned cautiously.
"I think they beat the kid. It could explain why he doesn't talk along with some other things."
"That's a huge accusation." Remus replied seriously.
"Maybe. All I know is that the situation is weird. But hey, it's not my place—I have my own family to watch after."
"Why don't you say something then? Tell the muggle authorities or—"
"As much as it breaks my heart to see a kid stuck with a family like that, the thought of the kid in an orphanage is worse. You know how those places can be. You've heard the stories. The ones in the wizarding world are bad enough; imagine what a muggle one must be like…the kid's better off being with some sort of family than none."
Remus looked back at the boy. He had his knees drawn up to his chest, resting his head in his arms, watching his cousin play on the jungle gym. Remus frowned at the sadness in the boy's eyes. Despite their vibrant green color, they carried a look that no child that young should carry—loneliness, misery. It nearly broke Remus' heart.
"What's his name?" Remus asked quietly.
"Henry? Harry? I don't remember; something along those lines."
Harry? Remus repeated in his mind. Harry?
Remus felt his stomach drop as it finally dawned on him where he had heard Dursley before. Lily's sister. Petunia and Vernon Dursley. Privet drive. Voldemort. Harry. It was all coming back to him at an alarming rate. Why hadn't he realized it sooner? Truth be told, he hadn't seen Harry since he was a baby, and in that time, Harry had changed quite a bit, but still—James' hair, Lily's eyes, it seemed so obvious now. This was the condition that James and Lily's son was left in? Wearing old, baggy clothes and living with the worst muggles Remus had ever seen?
He felt the blood drain from his face as he turned his gaze to the small boy again. The boy lifted his hand to scratch his head, bushing his bangs out of his face, revealing a lightning-bolt shaped scar that hid beneath his hair.
Oh, Harry. Remus thought, a feeling of dread coming over him. What have they done to you?
"Remus? You alright?" Demetri asked worriedly as he shook Remus' shoulder. "You've gone all pale."
"I'm fine." Remus tried to reassure. "I'm fine, just tired."
Demetri checked his watch. "We should probably head on back home now. Marie will kill us if we're late for dinner."
He stood up and called Noah, who came running over, holding his arms up to Remus so he could be carried. Remus obliged and lifted the boy, balancing him on his hip, his eyes never once leaving the black haired boy sitting on the bench. As they walked back to the house, Remus knew that he was going to get in touch with Albus Dumbledore very, very soon.
AN: Hope you liked it. I'll have the next chapter up soon. Thanks to Jess, Sam and Kelly for being my Betas. Please review.