Author Note: This is kind of a trial run, so all critiques and reviews would be hugely appreciated! Not sure if this is going to be continued, as I haven't got any solid plans for it. I just wanted to write a fic that incorporated sign language and a deaf Sherlock. But obviously, if I get interest in it, of course I shall continue.
I do not own Sherlock BBC or, well, much of anything to be honest. So suing would be kind of useless.
Thanks to OddlySane for beta'ing it.
When Mike Stamford had taken John to Bart's to meet his new, potential flatmate, he'd assumed it'd be a pretty average bloke he'd be faced with.
Average height, tiny bit on the overweight side, a doctor or researcher at the hospital dressed in a shirt from Asda's finest and ill-fitting suit trousers; like everyone else in the hospital.
He was not expecting to be faced with a towering man, slight over 6" in height, dressed in a well-tailored (if a small bit on the tight side) suit. Designer most definitely, although John wasn't particularly well-versed in the different types of designers, so his observation didn't go any further. A mop of inky curls, tousled around a striking pale, alien face. His skin was bleached white, almost translucent, by too many hours in front of a computer and not enough time outside.
No lab coat, either. So he probably didn't work there.
The accommodation was probably going to be out of his price range at this state. They'd soon resolve this slight issue, and John would be on his merry way, to the halfway house with only his gun for company, and needing to buy a constant supply of milk because he always forgot to put it back into the fridge (he was never on clean up in the mess hall, the habit had long-abandoned him) and trawling yesterday's papers classifieds looking for another flatmate.
It got interesting when the man tapped the bench using those ridiculously long fingers, staring pointedly over at Mike. He raised his hand, thumb and smallest finger splayed at his ear like some kind of mime for the word phone, head tilted to the side in question paired with raised eyebrow.
He'd assumed the man must have something in his mouth; he didn't seem the type to adhere to lab safety guidelines, probably a mouthful of coffee from the mug beside him or something of the like.
When Mike replied in a strangely exaggerated voice, perhaps a bit louder than strictly necessary, John was confused.
"Nooo", Mike shrugged, patting down his lab coat pockets, "other coat."
The man simply nodded, turning back to his work.
"Here, use mine," John said, fishing his out of his back pocket of his jeans. The man didn't respond.
"As a post," Mike replied, as politically correct as ever.
John raised his arm, smiling when the man turned to look at him.
"Use mine," he said, careful to keep his normal speaking voice. In the back of his head he remembered reading years ago that lip-reading was far easier without an exaggerated tone of voice or mouth movement.
The man stepped forward, eyes curious and worryingly piercing but smiling awkwardly all the same, placing the tips of all four fingers to his chin, curving downwards.
One of the few signs that John recognized.
John just nodded in reply.
Good God, this was more awkward than John had first expected.
After firing off whatever text he had wanted to compose, the man turned back to John.
He struck his chest with his fist (my, John could only assume), before his right hand flew up to his forehead, pressing the first two fingers near his temple, flicking off. John didn't dare guess that.
Then the man's slim, pale hands began moving in movements that John remembered, albeit vaguely, from his years in secondary school, when the class had been taught the BSL alphabet as part of some disability awareness programme.
For most of the students it had been a chance to skip a few classes, but John had become interested and planned to continue to do his BSL Level 1 exam that summer, but then he met Amanda and the summer was spent doing things that were most likely unrelated to sign language but, admittedly, used a lot of hands.
Well, surely that was wrong. What the hell was that meant to mean, Sherlock? It sounded like some quote from an old English poem.
Mike chuckled beside him, amused by the apparent look of confusion scrawled upon John's face.
"That's his name. Sherlock. Don't ask, it's bizarre, I know."
The man didn't stop in his slow, precise movements.
John nodded; desperately hoping it wasn't clear how baffled, and slightly nervous, he was about this whole venture.
The man paused.
He repeated the flicking of his forehead sign again, followed up by a strange circular movement of the hands, palms facing inwards. Almost as if he were rowing an invisible bike.
His hand then went to underneath his jaw, thumb and forefinger pinched, shooting across before flicking open to form a shape.
Mike interpreted for him.
"It's his sign name. A kind of nickname, I suppose. Don't actually know what it means to be honest. It's just what they call him. Quicker than spelling it out all the time, you see."
John tried mimicking the gesture. His hand was loose, the first not tightly balled enough and his movement not sharp enough, not quite skilled nor confident enough.
It made Sherlock smirk nonetheless. Whether it was at or with him, John wasn't quite sure, but it was a start.
Sherlock started moving his hands about again.
His head was tilted to the side again, rather like a dog.
A-F-G was what John spelled out in reply, unsure whether or not he was actually doing anything remotely similar to the letters he intended to sign. H-O-W
The man only smirked in reply, smug and proud. He flicked to the back of the notepad he was writing down his observations in.
Army doctor invalided home from Afghanistan and trained here at St. Barts. Got one brother, won't go to him for help. Don't approve, drinking habits, more likely because he walked out on wife. Also your therapist thinks you're limp is psychosomatic, correctly too I'm afraid. Enough?
John looks suitably impressed, and a slight hint of shock.
He threw a questioning glance over to Mike, who only shrugged in reply.
"I didn't tell him, he's always like this," the larger man chuckled.
Enough to be going on, don't you think? The man continued scrawling onto the piece of paper.
John contemplated his choices here. He could either go view a flat with this strange man, even if he couldn't afford a dammed thing, or he could leave now.
In the end, curiosity won out.
"Where?" John asked.
Another piece of paper was torn off and a simple address scrawled upon it.
"221b Baker Street, 7pm tomorrow."
Without so much as waiting for a confirmation from John, Sherlock dashed off.
So why John bothered turning up the next evening, he didn't quite know. Curiosity on one hand, the man was quite obviously bizarre, but an interesting character. A challenge, on the other hand. The language barrier alone, never mind living with a man who was obviously more than a bit different.
When John turned, hopping carefully out of the black cab that he really couldn't afford on an army pension (but first impressions were important, or so the doctor inside him reminded him) he was greeted by Sherlock and a dog.
A small, golden cocker spaniel, wearing a burgundy jacket to be precise. A hearing dog.
His owner was already talking to an elderly woman on the doorstep on the building, dressed in a cerise skirt and blouse.
The elderly woman's hands fumbled, sometimes just falling limply at her side as she referred back to oral communication. Sometimes she asked Sherlock to sign slower, dragging her palm up her left arm as far as the elbow (slow).
It was somewhat surprising, seeing as he had his back turn to John, that it was Sherlock that noticed John standing there first.
He beckoned John over, casting a hand over the woman as if introducing a prize onto a game show.
"Ah, you must be John" the woman greeted in a singsong voice, pressing a kiss onto his cheek, "Sherlock's spoken all about you."
And that was the beginning of it.
The woman had turned out to be called Mrs. Hudson, a kind, gentle woman with a colourful past and amused herself by making assumptions about the new residents of 221b.
Sherlock, a strange, imposing figure who had managed to turn the flat into a tip within the first few hours on inhabitation, paired with his hearing dog, who John later learned was called Conan.
It wasn't exactly what John had expected, a far cry from his predicted George-wearing, overweight, middle-aged researcher.
But John found he had no hesitation when he finally agreed to move in.
After all, what was live without a bit of adventure and a challenge? That was the reason he had joined the army, after all.
All reviews and critiques are welcomed with open arms, for reason as mention in my AN.
Descriptions of signs are in accordance to BSL and not incredibly accurate descriptions. The syntax of the sign is wrong too, but proper syntax didn't fit into the story properly :/ Sherlock's sign name will be explained in a later chapter if I do continue.
Thank you for reading!