Yayz :) I'm back from a not very long hiatus…for most writers, this would be considered normal, posting like once a week or whatever. But I feel weird when I don't submit a story at least once a week. I dunno why. Wouldn't that mean that I would have at least fifty two oneshots a year? O.o Anyways, I have a rant but I'm gonna post it at my A/N of my next (slash) story, since I want my slash readers to read it, objectively. Anyways. This is weird. I've never written as a deaf, mute, blind, etc person before. The point is not to be PC (though I do hope I am most of the time) or realistic. SO DON'T JUDGE ME IF THIS ISN'T REALISTIC AT ALL. The point is for some lovely cute little heterosexual fluff. Yayz.

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My fingers rifted through the sand as the waters splashed through them. I looked closely at the shells in my hand. Not a single conch shell. I sighed, and picked up one in my palm. It looked much like a clam, only it was smaller and its mouth was slightly open. I stared in awe as the shell slowly closed, and then collected the closed shell into my other hand.

I could feel the sand slipping into my swim trunks, but I ignored them as I continued hopelessly looking around for a conch shell—apparently, they weren't very common on this tiny beach. So instead, I decided to collect these mini clams, which I could find just as easily as I could find the sand. I really wished conch shells were easier to find, or at least able to find at all. I wanted one to see if I could hear the ocean. These clams were no good. But it wasn't like I could really hear the ocean. I was deaf. But the sound of the shore was really the one thing I wanted to hear at least once in my life.

I haven't been living for very long—only thirteen years. Thirteen years I've been deaf, never been able to hear a thing. I had decided that when I was four, to my loving mother and father, that before I died, I wanted to listen to the sound of waves crashing against the beach, the shore, and the tides washing onto the sand. It seemed, anticipated to be so wonderful, so peaceful. If there was one thing I wanted out of life, it was to listen to the sound of the ocean.

Regarding my deafness, I learned to read and write at an early age so I could communicate. I also learned sign language, and also was very skillful at reading lips and speaking not-so-awkwardly or loud, which is rather rare in most deaf people. Plus, other usually tended to give me an odd look when I mumbled or was yelling (which I couldn't tell, of course), so I knew how to volume my voice without actually being able to hear it. I soon perfected my hearing disability at age eight, even though my parents and teachers wanted me to go to special class. Of course, I refused. I wasn't stupid, you know.

Now this was my third time in my life coming to the beach, and I was determined to listen to the ocean, even if it seemed hopeless and impossible. I had heard a few years before that some shells, especially conch shells, if you held them up to your ear, you could hear the sound of the shore in them. So that's what I was doing. Well, trying to find a conch shell at least. For the past three hours. My parents were only a little ways off, watching me, but since I haven't moved from this spot for quite a while, they were currently tanning. After the first two hours of looking for conch shells, I semi gave up and decided to just collect these clams I've been seeing for so long.

Some red and white clams floated into my hand, as I picked the sand off of them. I lined them up evenly on my right palm, counting eleven shells in my hand. All the same, and no conches. They looked funny before; their "mouths" had been slightly open, but now they were closed. I tried to open them up with my stubby fingers, but struggled as my fingernails grew sore against the shell. I sighed again, and then switched my focus just to looking for the clam shells to collect.

I suddenly sensed a presence next to me, and naturally my muscles tensed. It wasn't like I could actually hear anything—obviously. But you know, it was just that feeling where you think someone's watching you, behind you or next to you. I turned my head, to see a girl standing there behind me.

"Hey there, what are you doing?" her lips said. I shrugged.

"Collecting shells," I replied, hoping she hadn't said anything before that I couldn't hear, so she didn't suspect I was deaf. Usually I hated it when people pitied my disability. Then they attempted to do sign language, which I preferred less to reading lips.

"Oh," the girl said, looking into my hand. Then she sat onto the sand next to me and asked, as I watched her lips carefully, "Can I help?"

"Sure," I hesitantly said, watching her. My mom had told me when I was younger, and of course still now, not to talk to strangers, especially if I was deaf, because they could take advantage of my and kidnap me or something. But this girl seemed nice and while I knew that that wasn't a very convincing argument, she looked to be only a few years older than me and probably couldn't do much, if she tried.

I collected a few more shells, before refraining from the ocean to look at the girl slightly a bit more. There was something about her that seemed a bit off to me. No, it wasn't like she had a disability or something like that. But considering A) she had come to me first, genuinely interested in what I was doing, B) wanted to help me with whatever I was doing, and C) just…her presence radiated a different kind of feel to me. It wasn't her looks—which weren't too great or bad—that struck me. There was just something about…her that was special.

She moved her chestnut brown hair, which was long against the wind, modestly along her bikini so she could collect some more shells with me. She was very pretty, I have to admit. I imagined her to be at least fourteen or fifteen. Possibly even sixteen. Unlike most girls at my school, or age, however, she didn't seem to be so… "girly". I watched her, as she observed each clam shell, before collecting them into her palm. I rejoined her.

I looked back to the salt waters beside my stretched out legs, and dipped my free hand in. A few more clams floated in, and as I peered closely, they were all slightly open so that I could see the small little meaty part inside. I watched as the shells slowly closed once more, suddenly impossible to shut.

"Look," I said, sticking my hand out to the girl and showing her one of the clams that was still open.

The girl peered at the clam. "Cool," her lips read. "Its mouth is closing."

"I wonder if they'll still open if we put them back in the water," I thought out loud, though I put my clam back into my right hand before picking once again at the water with my left. I felt the girl look at me peculiarly, before going to look back down at the water.

After a while, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the girl say something with her lips, however, I wasn't sitting to close to her and she had been looking down, so I wasn't quite sure what she said. I looked up and watched her lips.

"What?"

She eyed me carefully. I wondered if I had said that too loudly. But she repeated (or at least I think she did), "What's your name?"

"Oh," I replied, feeling myself blushing a bit. "Peyton. What's yours?"

"Tammy," she said. "I'm fifteen years old."

So I was right. "I'm thirteen."

She nodded her head slowly, before going back to collecting shells for me. But I saw her lips move again, and shot my head up to stare at her mouth once again.

"So, are you collecting these for your girlfriend?"

I blushed again, though this time angrily and realized that she was much more of a girl than I had expected—hoped for her to be. Of course. Just because I was a boy and I was collecting shells—that obviously meant that I was collecting them for a girlfriend. My life was much too important for romance, much less a girlfriend.

"Er, no," I said, bowing my head and not looking up. "I don't have a girlfriend."

"Oh." Tammy flushed pink at this. "Sorry."

I shook my head as if to say it were nothing, though I was faintly annoyed at her. All girls were the same, especially teenage girls. Romance this, romance that. All I wanted was to hear the ocean. That's what my life was about. Not anything so stupid like love. (Although, like any other teenage boy, I couldn't help my hormones. But they weren't as wild as most.)

"Wow," I said to Tammy, after a long period of silence and when my irritation wore off. I held out my palm once again, so she could see, which also had a clam in it. Except this time, it was much more open, much wider, and I could definitely see the meat part inside. It seemed to move a bit hesitantly, testing its open shell, and then closed halfway. I watched with wide eyes. "It's alive."

Tammy seemed to be a bit amused at me. "Yes, it is."

"Does that mean all of these are alive? That they all have some sort of thing in it?" I asked her. It wasn't like I really expected her to have an answer, though. I just thought she might.

Tammy's lips curled up, and as far as I could tell, she was chuckling. "Yes, they do."

I looked down at my right palm, which had the other closed clams in them. "Does that mean…" I couldn't finish my question. If they were all alive, I didn't want to take them out of the water and kill them.

Tammy's lips curled down, to match my somber expression. "Yes," her lips read, as she nodded.

"Then what should I do?" I asked her helplessly. She looked at me, scanning my face.

"Put them back in the water." She gestured back out to the shore, where these live clams had come from. I sadly looked down in my palm, where all the closed clams were laying. I wondered if any of them were alive, much less dead.

"Bye-bye," I muttered to myself, dipping my hand into the water and watching them drift away. Tammy did the same, and we both saw as they sunk back to the bottom of the ocean, before the tide took them in back into the deeper waters.

I resumed my hunt for conch shells, though each passing minute kept reducing my probability to find one. Tammy watched as I got up from the place I had been sitting for the past few hours (and now there was quite a dent in the sand), and walked around the shore, seeing nothing but pebbles and clams. I saw her open her mouth from the side of my eye. She should really stop doing that; I couldn't see a thing she was saying.

"What?" I asked, turning to look at her. She observed me funnily.

"I said, what looking for now?" she interrupted. I shrugged.

"A full shell where I can hear the ocean—" because, non-specifically, that really was what I was looking for. She cocked her head to the side, still watching me.

"Why?"

"Because I want to hear the ocean," I replied, slightly irritated and a bit loudly. If I had been obnoxious, it didn't show on her face.

"But can't you just hear it here?" she said, looking at me. I sighed.

"No."

I'm pretty sure Tammy just said, "Oh," after this, but I didn't look up. I didn't want people questioning me about being deaf, reading lips, sign language, anything. I was usually what I got when I told people when I couldn't hear anything. Plus the fact that I didn't want Tammy telling me that if I was deaf, there was no way that I could hear the ocean through a shell anyways. That's what my parents had inferred to me before I came here, anyways. I ignored them, of course.

Minutes passed as my search for a conch—or really, any non-broken shell, tried and failed. I could find nothing but clams and broken shell pieces scattered on the shore. If I could, I would go farther into the ocean to find one. But my mom told me not to go too far or else I could get hurt. I sighed, and looked up, to see Tammy helping me look for a shell. I wondered why she cared so much for me. But there was something in her eyes that spoke louder than my desire to hear the ocean, and suddenly I very desperately wanted to hear her voice, not just the lips to read.

I bet they were the sound of the shore too.

I was quickly snapped out of my thoughts when I saw her look up to me, and I hastily popped my head back down, blushing ever so slightly. But then I saw her walk towards me, and wondered what was going on.

"Is this what you were looking for?" She opened up her palm towards me to reveal a small, but full conch shell, lying in her hand. My eyes widened, as I took it from her, not believing what I was seeing. Then I looked upper at her, where her eyes were twinkling, and her mouth, which was closed but said more than I could read, more than I could ever dream to hear.

"Yes," I said, staring at her. She smiled back at me, watching me.

"Listen to it," she suggested, as I was much too frozen to do anything. But at the hint of the sound of her voice, I snapped out and pulled my hand up to my ear, and cupped the shell around it, wishing with all my heart just to hear the sound of the shore, to hear her voice.

The hollowness of the empty conch suddenly rang in my useless eardrums as I desperately tried to hear, to hear just a hint of a sound. But as I looked to Tammy, who was smiling through her eyes and leaned my ears even farther inside the shell with the ocean crashing around us, I swear I heard the sound of the shore through that shell.