Prologue

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"Delia?" said Ted, looking up to see his youngest daughter peeking around the door, barely three years old. "Do you want to come play with us?"

Delia shook her head quickly, but she stood there and continued to watch her mother, her father and her older sister playing a board game in the living room. It wasn't that she didn't love them, but more that she was afraid of them. She never wanted to be held, or touched, or to be anywhere near any other people. Including her own family. She simply didn't want to be there.

"Are you hungry sweetheart?" asked her mother, Andromeda, smiling up at her.

"Yeah." mumbled Delia, hugging the wall and half disappearing behind it. "Dinner?"

"Not for a bit." said Andromeda.

"Let's go find a snack." said eight year old Dora, jumping to her feet and moving a piece two squares forward. "I win Dad."

While Ted spluttered at his loss, Dora grinned widely and skipped into the kitchen, followed by her little sister.

"Don't eat too much!" Andromeda called from the living room.

Dora just rolled her eyes and pulled the kitchen stool over to the snacks cupboard, climbing up and pulling it open.

"Do you want a rice krispie cake?" she asked, pulling down a box of them that their mother had made the previous day. "Nice and gooey!"

"Okay." mumbled Delia, holding out her hand.

As soon as the crunchy marshmallow cake was placed in her hand, she could feel the stickiness spreading all over her, but she smiled anyway and took a small bite out of it. Dora got her own and sat down on the counter, doing the same and chomping down on the delicious treat.

Suddenly, there was a loud bang from the front door and the two girls jumped. At first, they thought it was just Remus, who had become a friend of the family since he had lost all his friends the previous month, although Delia still hid under the table; Remus was nice, and always brought them chocolate, but she still didn't much like being around him.

"Did you bring chocolate?" called Dora, giggling behind her hand, and even Delia cracked a smile.

Swift footsteps followed the bang, and instead of Remus, a woman with wild, long black hair stood in the doorway, brandishing her wand. Her eyes were gaunt and terrifying, great dark bags hanging under them, and in a strange, light she looked just like Andromeda. She could only be their crazed aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange, whom the two girls had been warned about.

Just as she raised her wand at Dora, who was standing stock still, Ted and Andromeda crashed into the kitchen, brandishing their own wands, and Andromeda went pale at the sight of her sister, who let out a loud, menacing cackle.

"Good to see you again Andy!" Bellatrix cackled, revealing disgusting, yellowing teeth. "Which of your little girlies should I kill first?"

Ted tried to hit her with a stunning curse, tried to catch her off guard, but she blocked it easily and strode confidently into the kitchen. Dora ducked around her and hid behind her mother, who was searching around frantically for Delia, but she was nowhere to be seen. In actual fact, she was hidden under the table, as still as she could be, on the other side of the kitchen to her family.

"But... don't you have two?" Bellatrix taunted. "Where's the second little blood traitor spawn?"

"Keep your hands off my daughters, Bellatrix." snarled Andromeda, feeling a fire she had never felt before against her sister.

Something flashed in Bellatrix's eyes, and she looked down quickly to see Delia peeking out from under the table, but quickly disappearing back behind them. But Bellatrix was too fast and grabbed Delia by the arm, holding her with her wand in her neck. Delia began to cry, tears streaming down her face, and she tried to tug free of the strange woman's grip, but Bellatrix was too strong.

"Let her go!" roared Ted, stepping forward, but Bellatrix just dug her wand in deeper.

"Daddy." whimpered Delia. "Daddy -"

"Oh, her whining is so tiresome." said Bellatrix, sighing pathetically. "Let's shut her up. Tace Sine Fine."

Delia let out a loud, piercing scream as Bellatrix hit her with the curse that none of them recognised, but it was suddenly cut short and she clasped at her throat. Tears still streamed down her face, and her mouth was still open, but no sound escaped.

"Another move, and I kill her." Bellatrix threatened. A small grin spread across her face. "Well, I kill her first."

"Expelliarmus!"

A group of perhaps ten more people burst into the small kitchen, instantly disarming Bellatrix and knocking her back to the floor. Delia fell as well, and Ted jumped forward, scooping her up and holding her tightly in his arms. She struggled against him; despite what she had just been through, she was even more traumatised of being touched or held by anyone, and desperately wanted to get down and run away. But Ted held her tightly, unwilling to let her go until he knew it was safe. She eventually stopped moving and rested her head on his shoulder, her eyes squeezed tightly shut.

"Bellatrix Lestrange, you are under arrest for the torture of Alice and Frank Longbottom." said one of the Aurors with a very deep voice, pulling Bellatrix to her feet.

Andromeda lifted up Dora and rested her on her hip, watching as her older sister, once her best friend, was dragged away by Aurors, until only two remained.

"Are you alright?" asked the Auror with the deep voice.

"Thank you." said Ted, looking down at Delia, whose hands were balled up in little fists, clutching her hair, her eyes scrunched tightly closed.

"We need to take her to St Mungos." muttered Andromeda. "What the hell was she hit with?"

"Tace Sine Fine." Ted muttered. "Latin for endless silence. Bellatrix must have created it herself."

"We can work on finding a counter curse." said the Auror, nodding. "Send me an owl. Kingsley Shacklebolt."

"Thank you, Mr Shacklebolt." said Andromeda, smiling shakily.


The next day, they were told that until a counter curse was discovered, Delia Tonks would remain mute, physically unable to make a sound. She would have to learn to use sign language to communicate, and in addition to her severe social anxiety, life was going to get very challenging for Delia from that point on. 

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