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A Break for Conversation

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The game was starting in six minutes, and Dean Winchester was still sitting in the stands, his arm around his little brother as he talked about his team's strategy. Sam was still only thirteen years old, and his bright eyes bore into Dean as he talked, absorbing every word the other said. Sam was still into the phase of mooning over his older brother, and Dean enjoyed teaching his number one fan all of his volleyball secrets.

Dean's team was huddled together on the floor, drinking their last sips of water and Gatorade, going over their plans for the game. Dean's coach, a gruff but loving man named Bobby Singer, called his name, and Dean apologized to Sam as he stood. He wrapped his letterman jacket around Sam's shoulders, unable to keep the smile off his face when Sam lit up, looking too small in the jacket. Dean ruffled his hair, glancing at his disinterested parents before he headed down to the court to join his team.

He high fived each of the team members, then looked at his coach, accepting his bottle of water from the man. "Alright, as you all know, the other team is deaf. That means we need to be very respectful of them. They're not going to hear the whistle blow, they're not always going to know when the ball is declared out of bounds. We need to be patient with them and understand that this team isn't like other teams that we have faced in the past. If you want to talk to any of them, or any of the deaf fans here to support them, then you can get one of the interpreters that are in the yellow shirts. Let's make sure we respect them and not treat them differently to the best of our ability, okay?"

Alistair spoke up, glancing over at the other team dressed in pastel blue. "So if they're deaf, that means that they're stupid, right? So we could lie to them and tell them that we score every point. They wouldn't know the different." He snorted and nudged a teammate, who just looked at them in disgust.

"Just because they're deaf doesn't make them stupid," Dean shot back at him, a frown settled on his face. "They're probably smarter than you are, dumbo. At least they actually go to school to learn. You're only allowed on this team because your father is the principal. Your grades disqualify you from the team." Alistair's cheeks turned pink, and he tried to cover it up by opening his mouth, but Bobby interrupted.

"Enough. These kids are not stupid because of their deafness. I've talked to their coach a couple of times, and she says that her boys are all very smart. Top of their classes. I don't want you saying nasty things to them, or you're off the team. Understand?" Bobby asked, looking at all of them until they nodded. "Good. The game is about to start. Let's get into position. Dean, you're serving first."

Dean gave his coach a smile and jogged out onto the court with his teammates. Dean settled into the back right corner, behind the line as they waited for the deaf school to get ready. While Dean's team was large, with eleven boys, the other team barely had seven. Dean watched their coach signing to them, her eyes trailing from one kid to the next, but Dean didn't know what she was telling them.

They all huddled together, putting their hands in the middle. Dean mentally counted to three, and the other team gave a cry as they hurried to their spots on the court. The ball was rolled under the net to Dean, and he bounced it a couple times like a basketball, surveying the other team. In the front row was all their tall people, crouched but ready to strike. In the back, there was a chubby looking kid, a kid wearing bright green glasses, and a boy with a big white bow clipped in his hair. White bow boy was crouched, hands clasped in front of him, ready to move. Dean admired the lean muscles that made up his thighs, and he wondered how strong he was.

The whistle was blown, and Dean cleared the boy from his mind as he straightened his back, tossed the ball up, and cracked down on it with his other hand. The ball sailed over the net, and one of the tall boys in front, a black kid, blocked it, sending it over the net again. Dean's teammates jumped into action, and in two bumps and a set, the ball flew over back to the other side. It landed between green glasses boy and the chubby kid.

Dean's team cheered, shouting their school's name as they tossed the ball back to Dean. Dean perfected another serve, watching with satisfaction as he aced the serve. Dean's team cheered again, and Benny, Dean's best friend, patted him on the back before jogging back to his position. Dean could feel all the eyes on him as he bent his legs just slightly, the ball balanced in his outstretched hand.

Dean ended up scoring three points just from his serving before Alistair fumbled to dive for the ball and ended up skidding his knees for nothing. Little cries came from the other team as celebration for scoring a point, and Dean found his eyes drawn to the white bow boy again. His bubblegum pink lips were drawn into a small smile, and he crouched in the left back corner, his eyes on the teammate serving. Dean grew distracted from watching the other boy, nearly missing the ball when it came flying at him.

Dean tried to keep himself focused on the game, but he kept going back to the other boy, wanting to know his name. Dean noticed that his hair was just the perfect length to brush in his face, and he would have to keep moving it. His eyes were a deep blue hue that Dean caught sight of when they were both in the front row, and Dean wished that he had time to look closer at them. He was sure that they were gorgeous.

Dean missed the ball three times from staring at the other boy, and his team was getting annoyed. Bobby even called a time out, and they all came over, grabbing their water bottles. Bobby set a hand on Dean's shoulder, his eyes concerned. "Dean, are you alright? What's going on? You never play like this."

Dean shook his head, taking a swing from his bottle. "I know, I'm sorry. I guess I've just got a lot on my mind," he murmured, glancing briefly over to where the white bow boy was. He couldn't get over the way the boy looked so determined when the ball was in the air, or the way his legs looked so soft and strong, or the way his tiny shorts clung to his thin body, framing his ass perfectly. Dean wanted to talk to him, maybe kiss him and hold him.

"You need to focus, Dean," Bobby snapped, pulling Dean out of his head. "If you don't pull yourself together, you're going to cost us the game. You're our star player!" Dean took another drink before he set it down, nodding again. Bobby patted him again and gently pushed him towards the court. "Then get out there and score some points."

Dean took his place just as the other team broke up and stepped onto the court. White bow boy was serving, and Dean couldn't help but marvel at the image he created. His tongue just barely poked out of his mouth, trapped between his plump lips. His face was scrunched slightly with concentration, and his eyes were dark with determination. His knees were bent, and his thighs were strained, pushing against the fabric that contained them.

Dean was so busy watching the way the boy made the action an art form that he forgot he was playing the game. The ball came sailing quickly over the net, and just as Dean lifted his eyes to play, the ball slammed right into his face. Dean gave a cry as he fell backwards, hearing a crunch before the ball bounced away. Immediately, Dean's team was surrounding him, asking if he was okay. Dean clutched his nose, feeling it was slippery with blood.

"Out of the way," Bobby called, waiting for the team to part so he and the medical group could get through and knelt beside Dean. "Are you alright?" He asked, gently pulling Dean's hand from his nose. Dean groaned with pain as one of the medics took a look at his nose. Above the medic's shoulder, he could see the white bow boy, his face distressed. He was rubbing his chest with his fist, but Dean didn't know what that mean.

He tore his eyes from the other boy as the medics helped Dean stand and walk out of the room, to a classroom. They helped him lay on one of the tables, then started inspecting his nose closer. Bobby came in after a few minutes, patting Dean's leg. "You alright?" He asked again.

"It hurts, but I can handle it," Dean assured, grimacing slightly when it jostled his nose. Bobby patted Dean's leg again, but gentler this time, looking over his player with concern. Bobby had always been everyone's favorite coach because he actually cared about his players as people first and players second. He was everyone's unofficial grandpa.

"You know this means that I'm going to have to pull you from the game. Your nose looks broken to me." One nod from the medic confirmed that it was indeed broken. "I'm going to tell your parents. You stay here until they arrive, okay? And don't be horsing around. We're going to need you for the next game." Dean snorted, then winced, holding a towel over the bleeding wound. Bobby squeezed his knee, then left the room.

The medic started talking to him, but Dean wasn’t really interested in what he had to say. His mind was on the white bow boy who had broken his nose. If Dean hadn't been oogling him, he would have seen the ball coming at his face. But the boy was just too beautiful not to look at, and Dean wanted to run his fingers through the boy's dark hair, maybe tilt his head back and give him a little kiss. He could imagine the other getting all shy, his cheeks a beautiful shade of pink. Dean would love that, and he would love to tease the pretty boy about it.

His daydreams were interrupted when Sam burst into the room, eyes wide and worried as he hurried to Dean's side. "Dean!"

Dean threw on a grin, reaching out to grab Sam's hand. His little brother looked more worried than his parents, and Dean wanted to ease his mind. "Hey, Sammy. Did you see how hard that ball hit me? Pretty crazy, right?" He tried to get a smile out of his sibling, but Sam only appeared to get more anxious. "Hey, hey, I'm okay. It's just a break, it will be fine. I'm not going to die. Coach thinks I'll be able to play in our next game, so it can't be that bad, okay?"

Sam nodded, squeezing Dean's hand. "Does it hurt?"

"Yeah, a little. It hurts more now than when it actually started, so that's good, isn't it?" Dean teased, making Sam's face scrunch up. "Don't worry, Sammy, I'm okay. We just won't be able to wrestle for a while."

A hand was set on his shoulder, and when Dean looked up, his father was looking down on him, only a little worried. His forehead wasn't even creased like usual. "Son, you need to be careful. You know we don't need another trip to the hospital." Dean nodded, then tried to sit up. Sam tried to help him as much as he could, and Dean gave an appreciative smile to his little brother.

"Don't worry, I'll be fine," Dean briskly replied to his father. His mother was standing off to the side, talking to the medic. Dean wished that she would show a little more interest in her eldest son, but so far he got nothing. Dean's attention was pulled back when Sam started talking, trying to distract him. He was going on and on about how awesome Dean's serves had been, and before he knew it, Dean was smiling and laughing, gently nudging Sam.

Eventually, though, the medic shooed everyone out, and Dean promised to finish catching up with Sam later. The medic looked more at Dean's nose, making small talk. Dean wasn't in the mood to talk to someone who was currently looking up his nose, but he also didn't want to be rude. Dean's mind was drifting back to the boy who'd broken his nose. He wanted to know his name, he wanted to touch his face, he wanted to pull him close.

Dean's had plenty of crushes before, but there was no one who had captivated Dean like this before. He knew he should be nervous, maybe even a little scared, but he wasn't. It was almost calming. Even the fact that the boy was deaf didn't bother him in the slightest. Sure they couldn't speak the same language right now, but Dean was willing to learn a new language if it meant that he could hold the boy and kiss him.

The medic cleaned out all the blood in and around Dean's nose, and that's when Dean's team came in, Benny leading them. "Hey, Dean," he greeted with a smile, stopping at Dean's side. Dean sat up on his elbows and looked up at his best friend, a matching smile on his face.

"Hey. Did we win?"

"Of course not. We were missing our star player," Benny teased, and Dean laughed, trying not to wince. He didn't want the boys to see that he was actually hurting.

"Even with the lead I gave you?" Dean asked, glancing at his team. He tried to glare at them disapprovingly, but he couldn't help but laugh. Here he was trying to scold them when he was the one who hadn't been paying attention and gotten his nose broken.

"It was all Alistair's fault!" One of Dean's teammates exclaimed, nudging Alistair. The boy grumbled and crossed his arms, but he didn't argue with the statement. It made his teammates laugh.


Dean was in the bathroom cleaning the rest of the blood from his face when the white bow boy came into the room. Dean stood up from where he was bent over the sink, looking in the mirror, his face red. The boy looked nervous, standing behind Dean and watching him in the mirror. The white bow in his hair was askew, and Dean had to fight the strange urge to straighten it, maybe even tuck his hair behind his ear.

Dean turned around, tossing the paper towel away and offering the boy a shy smile. The boy returned it, then glanced at Dean's nose guiltily. He was holding a blue pad of sticky notes in his hand, as well as a black marker. Dean glanced at it, and that seemed to snap the boy out of the trance he was in. He peeled off the top note and handed it to Dean.

I'm sorry about your nose.

The boy's handwriting was neat, way neater than Dean's own. Shyly, he held out the paper and marker to Dean, and Dean stuck the current note to the wall as he took the paper.

Don't worry about it, it was an accident. I should have paid better attention.

When the boy read it, he seemed to relax, the tension leaking from his shoulders. He gave Dean a sweeter smile, then started writing again, sticking his note beside Dean's on the wall.

I'm Castiel.

Castiel. Dean had never heard that name before, but he liked the sound of it. It was almost angelic. And the boy was definitely physically suited for such a beautiful name. Up this close, Dean could see all the shades of blue that collided in the boy's eye, could see the soft looking texture of his raven hair, could see his cutely pointed teeth that constantly worried his plush bottom lip. He was the most beautiful boy Dean had ever seen, that was for sure.

I'm Dean.

Dean shook Castiel's hand, amazed by how soft his skin was. Castiel took the paper back, the marker already flying on the page.

You're beautiful, even with a broken nose.

Dean laughed as he read over the note, flashing Castiel a smile. Castiel gave him a shy smile in return, then continued writing.

I bet your laugh sounds amazing.

This time, Dean blushed. He looked at the words, not knowing what to respond with. How could he say anything that wasn't derogatory towards himself?

You're beautiful, too. I was actually paying attention to you and that's why I got hit.

It was Castiel's turn to blush, looking up at Dean with a shy smile. He stuck the note on the wall next to Dean's, trying to hide his smile by biting on his lip. Dean could feel his heart racing in his chest, the boy was just so goddammed cute. Dean had to work hard to fight the urge to reach out and touch the boy's cheek.

I have been known to be distracting.

Dean's eyebrows raised. Was Castiel flirting? The shy little creature just seemed too timid and innocent to be flirting, but it was a hell of a turn on. Dean was getting antsy, just wanting to reach over and kiss the boy.

Dean stuck the note on the wall, then gestured to the floor near the wall of notes. Together, they sat down, passing the pad back and forth, their hands meeting every time they handed the marker over. Dean liked the feeling of brushing against Castiel's slender fingers, and it was a way to tame his urges.

Within the hour, Dean learned a lot about Castiel. He learned that Castiel was the youngest of seven children and he was the only deaf person in his family. He learned that Castiel moved to the Deaf school when he was three years old, and he had no trouble making friends in that time. Dean learned that while Castiel was reluctant to mention it, he was pretty popular with both the boys and girls, and that he was known as the heartbreaker because he was never romantically interested in any of his classmates. Still, Castiel was loved by everyone, even those who had been turned down.

Dean told Castiel all about his little brother that he loved dearly, and how he had joined the team just to get his parents' attention but ended up loving it. He told Castiel about how he had struggled to make friends until he joined the team two years ago and started coming out of his shell and interacting freely with people. Dean told Castiel about his plans to move out to South Dakota and live with his uncle at his junk yard, repairing cars until he could open his own shop.

They used the entire pad of sticky notes, resorting to scrawling on the backs of them and writing wherever they could squeeze the words in. When they ran out of space, they grabbed paper towels just to continue to conversation, hanging on every word.

The longer they talked, the more Dean wanted to touch Castiel, to kiss him, to hold him. He had never felt this with anyone else--they had usually been people Dean wanted to instigate a sexual relationship with. But Castiel was different. He was soft and strong, and he made Dean feel all nervous and yet excited at the same time. Dean could talk to him for hours and be just as fascinated at the end as the beginning.

And they could have talked for hours, if Sam had not entered the bathroom, looking relieved when he found his older brother. "Dean, mom and dad have been looking everywhere for you." Dean knew that he really meant that Sam had been the one looking. He felt guilty, not wanting to stress his little brother like that.

"Sorry, Sammy. I got a little carried away talking to Cas. I'm just going to finish up, and then I'll be out in a few minutes, okay?" Sam nodded, then walked out of the bathroom, leaving the two alone again. Dean turned to Castiel, surprised when the boy reached out and took Dean's hand. Dean could feel his heart jump to his throat at the touch, watching Castiel write a number on the back of his hand. Dean couldn't believe that he was actually getting the other boy's number, and he hadn't even had to ask for it.

Castiel pulled back from Dean's hand and smiled up at him, looking shy again. Dean smiled back at him, then stood, helping the other to his feet. They hugged briefly, and Dean hoped that Castiel couldn't feel how fast his heart was beating.

Just as Castiel turned to leave, Dean grabbed his wrist and pulled him in close, enough to share their breaths. Castiel's eyes were wide and beautiful, and Dean wanted nothing more than to lean down and press his lips to Castiel's. Instead, he fixed the white bow askew in his hair, pleased to find that his hair was as soft as it looked. Castiel's cheeks colored pink, and a smile curled on his lips. He didn't have to use any kind of words to express his thanks. He just leaned up and brushed his lips against Dean's cheek before he turned and left, leaving Dean gaping at what just happened, his cheek tingling.

A large smile took over Dean's face as he reached up to touch the spot Castiel's lips had been just seconds before. Castiel was interested in him. It had Dean wanting to jump up and down for joy, feeling so giddy for the first time in forever. He was practically floating on air as he left the bathroom, heading straight for Sam and throwing an arm around his shoulders.

"Are you ready to go home?" He asked, laughing as he led Sam to his parents, who were looking at their phones in boredom. Sam nodded, smiling because Dean's happiness was infectious. Dean smiled as he headed for the vehicle, his broken nose forgotten. One glance down at his hand confirmed that Castiel's number was still there, and butterflies erupted in Dean's stomach again. He couldn't wait to get home and text the other boy.