A/N: A short teeny story about a deaf man.


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Noise.

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The sun reminded Andy of a burgundy helium balloon in its phase of dwindling, shrinking like laundered fabric into the elevated, proud pines ahead of him. The chalet was fairly still--at least, he thought it was probably quiet--with his wife lying relaxingly on the settee within. He drew in air that smelt like Oakwood and veronica. It made him smile, even if only a inconspicuous curl of his lips. The world around him was merely a silent motion picture to survey, with mouths that moved mutely and foliage that flapped in the zephyr, devoid of noise. The only reverberation that he could perceive--with faintness--was the sound of his breath, stifled under a film of white noise. Everything else was so badly enveloped in cotton that he gave up on the thought of even trying to listen.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Like his very own oxygen apparatus, his brain forced him to respire, only to listen to the faint, faint noise of his mouth drawing a lungful of air.

He ran a hand through his hoary hair, glasses slipping off little by little on the bridge of his nose. He took pleasure in the star-drenched night firmament. To see it was what he lingered fervently for. He only wished he could hear the crickets and frogs, as he did when he was a boy; however, that was a time that had long passed, leaving the future an emaciated and near-deaf fifty-year-old.

In a flash of humming, his ears ensnared the sounds of subdued footsteps. He turned his head and smiled. His companion was resting against the doorframe.

She knew better than to speak until she took a seat near her husband, and spoke to him, knowing that he could not hear; however, he watched her mouth move and sounded the syllables with no effort.

"No, I don't need to go inside." His voice was rumbling in his throat. He'd always had a rough, raw voice, filled with vigor. With gruffness. His spouse had said numerous times that that was what had attracted her to him. He smiled involuntarily thinking about her in her younger years, with her short waitress's skirt and her metal tray held enthusiastically against her bosom. What a doll she was, and still is.

He still remembered all the noise from their first meeting.