Title: Perfect Teacher (Perfectly Imperfect Part 8)
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur (pre-slash)
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur wants Merlin to teach him a bit of sign language
Word Count: 565
Prompt: #276 - Patience
Author's Notes: I don't speak BSL (I only speak a bit of Austrian Sign Language); I looked the sign for patience up; here is the link if you wanna see the hand movement I am describing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5stQcBImjWo
“Can you teach me some sign language?” Arthur suddenly asked in the middle of playing with the toy cars. He and Merlin had been doing that for the last 30 minutes; playing with them was one of Merlin’s favourite things, it didn’t require him to talk too much. Despite having found a best friend in Arthur, he still felt insecure talking whenever the other children were around.
Arthur had touched Merlin’s shoulder gently to get his attention; he had quickly learned to do that without startling Merlin too much. He knew Merlin had troubles hearing clearly when there was too much noise surrounding him and even though Merlin could read lips and understood people when he concentrated on them; it was still easier for him to communicate with sign language in a lot of situations.
Arthur had thought long about it, longer than anything he had ever thought about in his five year old life, and so he had decided to learn Merlin’s language.
“Why do you want to learn that?” Merlin asked in response.
He didn’t mind talking with Arthur with his voice. They pretty much exclusively spend all their play time together; Arthur had even visited Merlin at home once, so he was more than comfortable with him.
Arthur never made fun of him and in his company Merlin felt like before he had started nursery and realised how different he was. Only now he felt even better because he had a best friend to play with and draw with.
“Because I want to be able to talk to you at all times. Plus it looks cool when you talk with your hands.” Arthur said it like a reasonable adult, sometimes he sounded a bit old for his age.
“You think it’s cool?” Merlin was surprised by that answer. Other kids had called it stupid when none of the teachers had been looking but nobody had ever called it cool, not even his mom.
“So what do you want to learn first?” he continued after Arthur only smiled at him.
“How about that thing you always do when you want me to slow down when I get too excited. That thing where you roll your hands in front of your chest?” Arthur tried to show Merlin what he meant. He was a bit clumsy with his movement but Merlin recognized it anyway.
“It’s patience,” he said and signed at the same time. Then he took Arthur’s hands in his and moved them in the correct way. After a few tries, Arthur managed to sign the word on his own in a recognisable way.
“I think we should do easier words next.” Merlin said, excited now that he had taught Arthur the first word. The toy cars were forgotten, they could play with them tomorrow again.
Merlin showed Arthur a few more words before lunch and after lunch he decided to show Arthur words while playing games. It was so much fun, Merlin giggled all afternoon, excited to share his language with someone.
Obviously Arthur only learned a few words, they were too young for Merlin to properly teach Arthur but over the next days and even weeks Merlin would often show Arthur some signs while spending their days at the nursery.
When Arthur finally learned the language for real a few years later at a language centre he was top of his class.