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Unexpected

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They said he was lucky. He was old enough to have well-established verbal communication skills, and the impact had not rendered him profoundly deaf.

Harry privately thought that if he were "lucky", he would still have his hearing. Or been blessed with a different family. Or both.

He couldn't quite remember what happened, by the doctors said that would likely go away soon. His hearing loss would not. 

He woke up in the hospital with what he knew to be a concussion, bandages wrapped around his head, and a nurse hovering above him. The nurse immediately started speaking to him, but it had been like she was far away or underwater. 

He could nearly make out the words, but not really, and when he started to say so, he realized it was much the same with his own voice. She seemed to realize what was happening because she had held up a hand in the same way Aunt Marge would to get her dogs to stay and left the room.

He had spent the time between her leaving and the arrival of the doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with his ears. No matter what he did or how loud a noise should have been, everything was uncomfortably muffled.

The doctor was a nice, if distant, woman by the name of Villagomez. Her scrubs had little kittens on them. She had brought a whiteboard with a dry erase marker stuck to it by a string and wrote that he would have probably permanent hearing loss in one or both ears due to getting hit in the head. She said that it normally would have gone away, but there were signs of old fractures in his temporal bone and damage to his ossicular bones, and this last event had finally "done it".

He hadn't really understood all of what she said, but he got that Aunt Petunia had made him lose his hearing, and surgery was not an option due to the weakened bones and his age. It could be later if the bones strengthen or he could regain hearing, but she said he shouldn't get his hopes up. 

The last thing she had asked was if he knew how he had gotten injured so many times, and he wrote that it was probably a mix of his uncle, cousin, and aunt with her cast iron frying pan.

So now here he was, anxiously waiting for someone to tell him what he was supposed to do now. There was no sign of the Dursleys, and Harry assumed that he wouldn't see them again, based on the fact he had told the doctor about them hurting him. At least, that's what was said about a girl that used to go to his primary school.

Nurses and doctors passed by the open door of his room, but no one looked at him or entered. Just when he was about to get up and drag the IV pole over to the door to ask, another lady walked into his room.

She picked up the whiteboard that Dr. Villagomez had placed on the bedside table and quickly scribbled, Hello! My name is Annie! :) :) I'm here to talk to you about what we are going to do about your hearing and living situation!

She handed the board to him to read and he eyed the smiley faces with vague irritation. He erased what Annie wrote and replied, I'm Harry. Will I have to go to an orphanage? Then handed it back to her. It was something his aunt and uncle had always threatened him with, and even though he was 10 and could take care of himself, the way they described it was scary.

Annie vigorously shook her head, and wrote Of course not! In fact, there's already a couple set up to foster you, they'll be here soon. The wife is hard of hearing as well, so you'll have someone around that understands. As for your hearing, you're going to get hearing aids, which go in your ear and will amplify the sound around you and make your ears work more or less the way they're supposed to. 

Harry was getting really sick of this method of communication, but since he couldn't really hear himself, he didn't want to sound funny if he tried to speak. He asked if I have in hearing aids, will I be able to hear myself and talk normally?

He gave the whiteboard to Annie and she smiled at him reassuringly when she read it. She erased what he wrote and replied Yup! :) Once your foster parents get here, somebody is going to come in to get you outfitted with the hearing aids and they'll answer all of your questions. 

That was good to...read, but he really wished she would stop with the smiley faces. She was right there, couldn't she just use her face? And Harry didn't know how to feel about this couple that he was going to live with. Could he say no if he didn't like them? But he didn't ask Annie because he bet that it was either the couple or no one.

Annie continued harassing him for a bit longer, then left with the promise that his foster parents would be here soon. She was right about that. Not even 5 minutes after she had vanished down the hall, Harry watched two people walk into his room, holding hands. 

They were young and looked nothing like him (besides the glasses the man was wearing). She was tall, and all of her was dark. Chocolate skin, dark brown hair and eyes, and a plain black dress.

The man was shorter than her and blonde. He had light green eyes and a cheerful smile. They looked like opposites, but they fit together.

They smiled and waved at him, and he hesitantly waved back. He grabbed the whiteboard in his lap and wrote Hello, my name is Harry. What are yours? Am I going to be living with you?

The woman took the board and her and the man read it together. She was slower to write than Annie had been, and her handwriting was very loopy and curvy. She handed it to the man, and he wrote a few lines before giving it to Harry.

Her letters were actually so curvy that he had to squint a bit to read it. She had written Hello, Harry. It is very good to meet you, but we are sorry about the circumstances. My name is Carolina. Yes, if you want, you would be coming to live with us. 

Underneath that, in atrocious handwriting, was Hi, Harry! I'm Alexander Phillips. Carol and I are married. We really look forward to fostering you.

Harry tried not to smile. They were obviously excited to see him, Harry only saw sincerity in their eyes, and both were now grinning at him. He erased what they wrote and said Nice to meet you too. I think I would like to live with you.

Carolina (Carol?) read what he said and then looked around the room. She handed the board off to Alexander and went out into the hall, returning quickly with two folding chairs. She set them up next to the bed, sat, and then stared at her husband until he sat and gave her the whiteboard.

Carolina, with Alexander reading over her shoulder, wrote I think we should get to know each other while we wait for the Audiologist to arrive. Harry nodded but didn't move to take the board so she continued. So, I'm 25 and Alex is 27, we lived in the same neighborhood and became friends when we were children. I asked Alex out when he turned 18, and we've only just gotten married, February of last year. I was born before my ears had fully formed, and so I have been hard of hearing since birth. I'm hoping that I can make your transition easier, so please don't hesitate to vent to me or ask questions about my life. 

By then she had run out of room, and so gave him the board to read. He had forgotten Annie said she was hard of hearing and realized he was extremely happy that Carolina and Alexander were the people that wanted to foster him. 

They continued the back and forth for a while, and Harry was surprised to find himself laughing at times. He wasn't sure how loud he was, but he didn't feel self-conscious about it with them.