This took me waaaaaaaaaaay too long to write, but here is a piece that goes along with the headcanon I think the majority of this fandom has accepted.
Children cheered and shrieked once they jumped into the water. They didn't wait for their coach's instructions. They were far too excited to start swimming. They raced, splashed one another, and practiced different strokes. They were happy just how they were.
So it was understandable when the entire class groaned when their coach called out, "Everyone out of the pool! Let's meet our new member!" Despite the annoyance of their interrupted enjoyment, the children obeyed and gathered around their coach. He was rather confused by their curious gazes.
"Who is it?" one child spoke up. The coach looked behind him and finally realized: the new member wasn't behind him. He must still be in the locker room.
"Alright everyone, stay right where you are!" The coach hurried back to the locker room. Surely enough, there he was. The young boy gripped his swim cap and goggles tightly. The coach crouched down and smiled. The boy's golden eyes were observant, as if he were analyzing as much of his surroundings as possible. "How are you? Ready to meet the other kids in your class?"
The young boy did not respond. He didn't show any sign of acknowledgment. The teacher frowned slightly and only then did the boy give a response. It was a silent one, but his hurt facial expression said enough.
The coach stood up and held out his hand. He jerked his head toward the door leading to the pool. "Let's go." The boy ran his small hand through his orange hair. He grabbed his new coach's hand tightly.
When the two of them entered the pool area, it was even louder than before. The coach grimaced.
"Quite loud, ain't it?" he chuckled. The boy did not respond. He didn't even look up. He just watched the water. The coach sighed. "Alright everyone! Come meet our new student."
The young boy snapped to attention when he noticed the children surrounding him. He didn't know any of them so he decided to sign his name.
"Um, what's he doing?" one girl asked. The coach raised an eyebrow. The boy was moving his hands in an odd way. What did his mother say about him? He had something wrong with him?
"Hey," he called. Everyone turned to face him except for the children in the very back of the crowd...
And the boy. Quickly, to avoid being noticed, the coach snapped his fingers right next to the boy's ears. He had a loud snap; some of the kids jumped whenever he did so. But the boy didn't react.
He sighed sadly. He felt terrible now. "Everyone, meet Kinjou Kaede. He will be swimming with us from now on. Make him feel welcome." He placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. Kaede flinched but stayed in place. The crowd of children echoed their greetings before dissipating. The coach knelt down and looked straight into the young boy's eyes. He smiled. "Hello, Kaede. Want to swim?"
Kaede smiled wide. He understood what the man's lips were doing. His parents' lips did the same thing often, always at the beach or the pool. He nodded vigorously.
Stepping onto a starting block, Kaede tugged on his swim cap and adjusted his goggles. He stared straight ahead, watching. No one was in this lane. There was a lot of splashing. If he focused hard enough, he could see his mother signing "Go!"
He dove straight into the water, where deep down in the depths, it doesn't matter if one cannot hear. One just needs to feel.
He could feel everything.
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