"Come on, Dean. Seriously?"

Dean Winchester made a caveman-like sound as he tried to wave his brother away. "Sam, just go without me or something." He said tiredly. He had gotten home late from a party the previous night apparently, Thirsty Thursday was a bad idea in every aspect.

"No way, you know what Bobby will do if he finds out you stayed home with a hangover." The fifteen year old said, his arms crossed over his chest as he leaned in the doorway.

The thought of hearing the grinder and the electric riveter all day made the oldest Winchester brother groan. "Okay, I'm up." He said, sighing in defeat. He sat up in bed, realizing that he was completely dressed from the previous night, his boots still laced up. He glanced at his alarm clock and sighed, he didn't have time to shower or change. He rose from the bed, his head throbbing and said, "Alright, Sammy. Let's go."

They pulled into the school parking lot, Dean flinched as Sam slammed the door. "Hey," He called after his brother's extremely tall, lanky form as the kid walked away. "Watch it! I just repainted her!"

He got out, unpleased with the way the rain wasn't actually rain. It was just a cold mist that seemed to cling to him. As he walked towards the school, he could think of a thousand things he'd rather have been doing instead of sitting in class. He pushed through the double doors and was hastily heading for his locker when he ran into somebody.

"Sorry." The boy mumbled, his dark head bent. His blue eyes flickered across Dean's face for a moment.

"Yeah, whatever." Dean replied, leaving the kid standing there. He was in too bad of a mood to make friends. Although, the kid did seem rather familiar. He just couldn't place a face with the name.

He suffered through the first two periods of the day, English and History. By the time he was walking towards the gym he was actually feeling better. He scaled the polished bleachers and sat with his two best friends, Crowley and Balthazar. Two years ago he'd never have been caught dead with the pair of them, but he'd changed and suddenly he was one of the biggest assholes at Samuel Colt High.

"You look rough, Dean." Balthazar chuckled as he watched kids playing basketball. "What's wrong? Can't you handle your alcohol like a real man?"

"Shut up." Dean scowled, but ended up chuckling anyway. "It was your idea to do Thirsty Thursday. You know I don't like to do anything half-assed."

Balthazar chuckled.

The three of them sat up there and watched the kids playing basketball. None of it Dean found particularly interesting. He leaned back, twiddling his thumbs.

A basketball came soaring through the air, narrowly missing Dean's head. He snagged it out of the air and caught it. 'Watch it!" He snarled, before setting it down beside him. He scanned the floor for the potential throwers, but didn't find them. His green eyes paused on the boy from earlier, the kid he'd had collision with in the hall. "Who is that kid?"

"That's Castiel Novak." Crowley replied.

Right. Dean remembered now. He had seen him around previously, his nose usually buried in a book, but the ending of last year, and the beginning of this year he hadn't seen him at all. "Did he move and then come back?" Dean asked.

"I dunno."

The bell rang and the gym cleared out fairly fast, but Castiel was still skimming through charts or something.

"Kid!" Crowley shouted, trying to get his attention. When that didn't have an effect he hollered two more times. "See if that bastard gets away with ignoring me." He snarled before throwing the basketball.

Dean watched, somewhat fascinated as the orange ball soared through the air. Just as the kid looked up, the orange ball hit him right in the face, knocking him on his ass.

While Crowley and Balthazar howled with laughter as they walked away, Dean stared at the kid while his grin slipped away. His nose was gushing.

Dean hurried up and crouched in front of Castiel. "Hey, are you alright?"

His blue eyes were huge as he stared at Dean. He brought a trembling hand up to his face, the pale color intensified by the blood that was gushing down it. "I-I—did you need me?" He frowned.

"They were just being jerks. C'mon." Dean said helping the boy up to his feet. "Let's get you to the nurse."

Dean led him to the nurse's office, letting him sit on the cot while he explained what happened. He stood awkwardly with his hands in his jacket pockets as she tended to him.

"What happened?" She asked, looking at Castiel. She pressed an icepack into his hands and told him in a soft voice—so quiet Dean couldn't even hear it—to press it over his nose.

"He got hit in the face by a basketball." Dean said, feeling guilty. It had been his friends who had done it. For some reason, Dean felt obligated to apologize to Castiel for what his friends had done. He half turned away from the boy. "Hey, I'm really sorry. My friends are—"

"He can't hear you." The nurse said abruptly. She was facing Dean as she spoke, her back to Castiel.

"What?" Dean asked, frowning. "What do you mean?"

"He's deaf."

Dean could remember times where he'd seen Castiel having conversations with teachers and other students. How he listened intently during class and had even played in the marching band. "Are you sure?"

"Positive. He got sick last spring and lost his hearing because of it."

"How do I apologize with the hands?" He asked stupidly. He couldn't remember the name of it.

"No need. He can read lips and speak."

Dean felt like a bigger asshole now that he knew Castiel was deaf. When the nurse left the room Dean went over and crouched in front of the kid. "Hey, I'm really sorry about that. My friends are…well, they're dicks."

Castiel looked down at him with intense blue eyes. His deep voice sounded a little nasal when he replied. "You're Dean Winchesser, right?"

Dean nodded, that was close enough.

"What are you doing hanging out with those guys anyway?" Castiel asked him. "You used to hang out with a decent crowd."

Dean thought back, that was before Jess and Adam were killed in the car crash. He'd kind of turned to the only people that would embrace him at that time. Even if those people were the assholes of the school. Dean shrugged. "I didn't have anybody else to hang out with."

Castiel looked like he understood.

"Yeah." Dean said, feeling awkward and inadequate. "Um, so, you're okay then?"

Those dark blue eyes stared at Dean's lips, the kid's head tilted, lips slightly parted. "Yes." He said, as if he had to consider it before actually answering.

Dean nodded, turning to leave, but Castiel said, "You can hang out with me any time you want."

Dean turned back to him, considering the offer. "Okay." He said, offering a small smile. He left and went to his next class, wondering to himself how the hell he'd made a new friend out of hitting him in the face with a basketball.


By his last class of the day, Dean was feeling just a little better. He excused himself from Math class to use the toilet. He was washing his hands when a figure in a tan coat came in, rushing past him. Just from a quick glance in the mirror he noticed the dark haired, blue-eyed, impeccably dressed, Castiel and he looked a little too flustered.

"Hey, man, are you alright?" Dean asked. He was standing outside of the handicapped stall waiting for a reply. "Right, duh. He's deaf." Dean saw his legs and sneakers resting against the tile floor and took a risk in assuming that the door was unlocked and he was sitting on the floor. He nudged it open.

Castiel looked up at him, tears staining his cheeks, his blue eyes extraordinarily blue from the red that was surrounding them. He had his cell phone in his hand, like he was getting ready to call someone. "What?" He snapped, his voice thick with tears.

"What's wrong?" Dean asked, frowning as he crouched in front of the other boy again.

"I should have littened to my father." He said bitterly.

"About?"

"He wanted me to stay home this year and get a private tutor." Castiel said. "No, jus' had to come back here and try to be valedictorian." His phone buzzed and his blue eyes tore away from Dean to look at the screen. With a sigh of frustration, Castiel dropped his phone in his lap. "Gabriel won't come get me."

"You want to go home?" Dean asked.

Castiel nodded, staring at his hands.

Dean was itching to know what had happened to upset him so much, but he wasn't looking. So, he gently nudged Castiel's shoulder to get him to look up. "What happened?" Dean asked when his green eyes were finally met with Castiel's blue ones.

"Your "friends" are being dicks." Castiel said scowling.

Dean was filled once again with the strange desire to make sure that Castiel was being taken care of. "Do you want me to take you home?"

"You would do dat for me?"

Dean nodded.

"What about your class?"

He shrugged, standing up straight and giving a wolfy smirk to Castiel. He held his hand out to offer the other boy up. "It's just Math. I don't think Mr. Chekov expects any less of me, anyway."

Castiel took Dean's hand and rose to his feet, smiling. "You are something else, Dean Winchesser."

Dean smiled back at him and led him out one of the back doors to the school, then across the parking lot to his car. "Where do you live?" He asked as he drove down the street. He waited for an answer, but when none came he frowned. He clanked over at Castiel, who was staring out the windshield.

Deaf, right.

"Where do you live?" Dean asked, this time turning his head so Castiel could see his mouth.

"Fifteenth street, at de end."

Dean nodded and drove there, stopping out front of the wrought-iron gates. "There you go." He said smiling at Castiel.

"Thank you." Castiel said. He extended his hand, to shake Dean's when he pulled it away he left a piece of paper. "That's my number. Make sure you text. Don't call."

"I will." Dean assured him.

Castiel smiled back at him and shut the door to his car before turning and pushing open the gate.

Dean stared down at the number in his hand, wondering if he'd just been hit on by a deaf guy. "Nah." He said with a shake of his head as he put the car in reverse. Castiel was just a guy looking for a friend. It just so happened, Dean was looking for one too