Disclaimer: I don't own much of anything. This is for pleasure and is not intended to break any copyrights. So please don't sue, I only make $8 and hour and I have to save for my rent.

This / will indicate that someone is using sign language to talk. It's easier to do the then describing the actual motions. if I do this ' it means that lips are being read.

Chapter One: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.


A bright light blinded Hermione before the familiar darkness overtook her. She was breathing heavily, panting for air and her heart was beating far too quickly. Something cool was running down her arm, and the back of her head was sticking to the floor. Sweat soaked hair was falling into her eyes, and she couldn't see anything past the light flooding her vision.

She didn't care.

Her leg was bent at an odd angle away from her, and her arm was useless at her side. Unable to be moved or used for anything. Several of her ribs were cracked, and her split lip was causing her mouth to fill with blood. Though, that might also have been due to the tooth that she had just broken.

She didn't care about any of that either. She simply couldn't. She couldn't spare a moment's worry on any of her numerous problems. All her attention was focused solely on the overwhelming pain that was coursing through her body.

In her relatively short life, Hermione had been through more pain than anyone deserved. From bullying, petryfiying, curses, and hexes, Hermione had just about had everything done to her. But, until this moment, she'd managed to avoid what was commonly known to be the very worst. She'd never been crucioed. Harry and Neville both had been, Harry boy Voldemort himself! Neville's parents had even gone insane from it.

It was frightening just how well Hermione was beginning to understand the reason for that. She couldn't imagine surviving this pain. Already, after scarcely a minute of the unbearable torture, she could feel the carefully focused strands of her mind beginning to snap.

She faintly heard a voice, (Ron or Harry? She couldn't tell any longer.) calling out her name. It was a nearly constant call, and it helped her to survive-because this pain really couldn't be bared. It could only be survived.

Finally, when Hermione was sure she was going to lose her consciousness, the pain ceased. She spasmed weakly on the floor, unable to keep her body still.

"Well? Filthy Mudblood? Where did you get the sword?" The shrill voice filled the small room and made Hermione's pounding head spin even more. She wanted to die. Was it possible to just give up?

"Well?" A mess of black hair and pale skin flooded her vision. A wand was thrust at her nose and Hermione nearly yelped as she felt another flash of pain. The witch had just broken her nose. She could now add the inability to breath to her list of problems.

Yes, death would be a welcome relief.

"Hermione, Hermione!"

The voice drifted up from below the floorboards, wrapping her in their caring warmth. Harry. She couldn't leave Harry… Not now. They were so close. So close to achieving all their goals.

"Filthy Mudblood! Listen to me when I speak! CRUCIO!"

The pain flooded her again. It sent liquid fire through her veins as her bones all seemed to break at once. Her head snapped back and a horrible roaring filled her ears. Another bright light flooded her vision, and then she knew no more.

-o-o-o-

That had almost been two weeks ago. Two weeks since Hermione had prayed for death. Two weeks since she had heard Harry cry out her name. Two weeks since she had been called a Mudblood.

Two weeks since she had heard a single word.

Hermione Granger was completely deaf.

Hermione's life had drastically changed in those two weeks. Harry had defeated Voldemort-she still could scarcely believe it-and they had won the war. She was reunited with friends, her parents were still under her memory spell, but she had permission to find them from Kingsley who was acting as Minister of magic.

She had been told that she'd suffered three broken ribs, a twisted ankle, a broken arm and a broken leg from the crucio curse. She also lost her hearing.

The healers had no idea why. They also had no idea how to fix it.

Hermione still couldn't really remember how she had managed to hold on until Voldemort was defeated. She could only thank Merlin that she had always been good at reading lips. She'd apparently done more eavesdropping than she realized. Harry and Ron hadn't known until she'd passed out on the battle field that she was unable to hear.

She'd woken up in the Hospital Wing after the battle to find the majority of the Weasley's, Harry, and Neville surrounding her beside. Fred was in the bed beside her, limp and un-moving.

It took nearly twenty minute for her to get them to tell her what was wrong with him. He was struck by a wall during the battle and he was in a coma ever since.

The Weasley's hadn't left his side. Hermione had been released from the hospital three days later. She'd spent most of her time with them and Harry by Fred's side.

Today she was picking lunch up from the Hogshead.

It was stunningly beautiful day. The sun had warmed the tiny village, and a gentle breeze was coming down from the school.

/Did Ron want Soup or Sandwiches?/ The signs were quick, and perfect. Luna, god bless her odd soul, was Hermione's only friend that knew any form of sign language. She was diligently teaching everyone else, how to use the hand language. Hermione had always thought it was a beautiful form of expression, and she was now very glad she had learned it.

Neville was staring at his girl friend with wide eyes. Hermione had to fight the urge to smirk. Poor Neville was having trouble with sign language. He'd mastered the alphabet and a few basic signs. The more complicated movements had completely stumped him though.

/Soup./ Hermione signed back. Luna nodded her head and grabbed Neville's hand.

"I'll get the soup, you can get the sandwiches?" She signed and spoke. Hermione nodded her agreement and then turned to go into the Three Broomsticks.

A hand on her arm stopped her from completing the turn.

It was Harry. How long had he been with them?

/I. Come?/ Harry signed slowly, but accurately. Hermione couldn't hide the smile that lifted her lips. She had the best friends. They were all working so hard to learn for her. She felt guilty for making them learn it.

She wasn't really all that sure that the fact she was deaf had really hit her quiet yet.

'Of course,' she mouthed. He grinned his toothy smile, one Hermione was seeing a little more of since Voldemort's death, and one that he only gave when he was really content.

Hermione loved when he was happy. He gave her his arm and she looped her own through it. they went into the Hogshead and Hermione was once again struck by how utterly quiet everything was.

That was the strangest part. The silence. Places she used to know to be so alive were suddenly anything but. They were still, painfully so. That had always been the reason she so cherished the library, for its silence. She could go there and be at peace with the surrounding quiet. Now she couldn't get away from the quiet. It was tough to say the least.

'How are you doing?'

"I'm good." The words were heavy on her tongue and felt extremely awkward in her silent head. She had to watch Harry carefully to make sure she had actually spoken them correctly. Harry grinned again, his green eyes lighting up encouragingly.

"What would you all like to eat?" Madame Rosmerta looked the same as ever, Hermione noted with a slight frown. How was it the bartender had managed to come through without a scar?

Hermione tried not to be jealous. Harry had told her several times that scars were signs of courage.

Going that route, they were some of the bravest souls in England.

"I'm afraid we're ordering for all the Weasley's, you'll need to ready the cauldron." Harry joked. Rosemerta beamed and grabbed out a quill to take the order down. Harry began to cite the long order and Hermione dug her hand into her pockets. She felt awkward just standing there reading lips. It almost seemed worse than eavesdropping.

The minute her hand got into her pocket her fingers fell onto her galleon, and it flashed hot. Someone was sending an alert!

She dug the coin out of her pocket, digging her fingers into Harry's arm encase he didn't feel the coin's warning flash. He stopped talking to Rosmerta and turned towards Hermione, his brows furrowed in concern.

"What is it?"

She didn't, couldn't hear him but it didn't matter because his eyes fell on the coin in her trembling hands. A simple message had been typed.

fred. come

Neville and Luna ran into the restaurant, breathing heavily. Hermione didn't notice them until Neville grabbed her arm.

/Let's go./ Luna signed. Harry nodded his head and twisted into the air. Hermione felt the uncomfortable squeezing sensation, and then they were at the gates of Hogwarts. They ran through the familiar halls, and Hermione hardly noticed the silence. They ran until they reached the hospital ward, where every healer was rushing around.

All around Fred's bed.

George was standing up signaling wildly, clearly yelling something out. Ron was swaying on the spot and Ginny was clutching Bill for all she was worth. Charlie was behind George, bracing him while Mrs. Weasley clung to Mr. Weasley.

Hermione gripped Harry's hand and shot into the room, aiming for the bed and pushing through the crowd of people. Hermione latched onto the bedpost and frantically looked around the faces. They were all talking to quickly, she couldn't read their lips. What was going on?

She turned her gaze to Fred, scanning his face. Nothing looked different, he was still covered in scars, and he was still breathing shallowly.

He was gripping George's hand. That was new. Fred's hand had been laying limply on the covers when she left.

Was he really waking up?

A nurse knocked their joined hands and George's hand fell away. He scrambled to rejoin them, but the nurse moved between their bodies.

Someone grabbed her hand, tightly, but before she could look to see who, Fred moved.

His eyes shot open, wide and terrified. His breath was coming in short gasp as he turned in the bed, his hands groping around the covers, probably to find George's again.

George shoved the nurse aside and snatched the hand up. Hermione lifted her eyes back to Fred's face and studied his moving lips.

'George?' He kept repeating the name like a mantra.

Something wasn't quite right. He wasn't staring at his twin. He wasn't staring at anything. His gaze was distant, unfocused. His bright, blue eyes were dimmer.

Her eyes focused on his lips again, and she felt her heart stop at what she read. 'I can't see.'


A/n: Well, I feel like a heel! I hate hurting these guys because I love these characters, but the idea for this story just won't leave me alone. I've never written anything before but I'm really excited about this. Please leave me a little review about what you think? Whether it's to tell me you think it's awesome or rubbish, anything is welcome!