Merlin's Academy for Excellence
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     Seeing is Believing [Brandon]

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    Amber Carter
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    PostSubject: Seeing is Believing [Brandon]   Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:23 am

    Just because she couldn't hear didn't mean Amber couldn't see. In fact, since she relied entirely on sight to get by, some could say she noticed things far better than the average human being. Or, at least, she did when she was paying attention; sometimes - most times - she let her mind wander, for she had no want to see things without meaning to. Everything she did, therefore, was intentional and deliberate. Spontaneity had not much use if a plan was solid enough, although she did see the benefit of being able to alter plans on the fly.

    Perhaps this was a good thing, since Amber did not notice the odd looks she got from people as she signed to herself. Walking down the hallway, her mind was pondering over the homework essay she had to write for one of her classes, and having already come up with some basis for the topic, she had been doing the Deaf equivalent to mumbling under her breath.

    Entering the library, she didn't even hesitate as she made her way to an empty table and sat down, removing a parchment and quill from her bag. Next came her notebook, which she flipped to a blank page; focusing on the task at hand, she began to scribble down thoughts and ideas, drawing a mind map to assist. Switching between writing and signing to herself, she lost herself in the work.

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    Brandon Everett
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    PostSubject: Re: Seeing is Believing [Brandon]   Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:39 am

    Brandon wouldn't be caught dead in a library for various reasons. Firstly, it was too silent. People weren't allowed to laugh and joke and talk and Brandon found that rather depressing. Secondly, he couldn't understand how people could just sit still and read without doing anything. Whenever he read a book, it was either outdoors where he could hear the birds sing or when he was working out on a treadmill. He needed to be doing something instead of sitting still and reading.

    But he was a good friend.

    And that was the only reason why Brandon headed to the library when he could've been swimming, making music or playing with Bandit. A friend had requested him to retrieve a book from the library and he'd agreed. He entered the library and was greeted with silence, perforated only by quiet murmurs and the sound of pages flipping. One glance told him that the library was too big for him to find one measly book in so he headed to the front desk and grinned at the lady there.

    "'Scuse me, ma'am," he greeted, his usual charming smile curving his lips. "I'm looking for a book entitled...oh what's it called again..History of something-or-other..written by whats-his-face..um, Arnold something."

    The look the librarian gave him nearly made him burst out laughing but he managed to contain it to a cross between a snort and half choke. He hadn't forgotten the name or author of the book but couldn't resist the temptation to make some fun. "History of the Wizarding World, ma'am, written by Arnold Baynagger." He thanked the woman after she directed him and set off in his quest to find one book nestled amongst hundreds.

    Passing by a few tables that held students bent over books, he gave them an uninterested glance until the sight of a blonde caught his eye. It wasn't just her beauty - though she was very attractive - it was what she did with her hands. She was signing. Brandon stopped dead in his tracks and observed unobtrusively for a while. American Sign Language, unusual since they were on British soil. He hadn't known there was a Deaf student in the academy.

    With a grin on his face and the book somewhere in the basement of his mind by now, he approached her. To get the attention of a Deaf person in the room, one usually flipped the light switch on and off a couple of times or stomped one's feet. Since he was in the library, both options were ruled out. Instead, he tapped her lightly on the shoulder. It wouldn't startle her, he knew, because Merlin knew he had enough practice on the perfect amount of pressure to use when tapping someone's shoulder.

    "Hi! I'm Brandon," he fingerspelled his name and followed it up with his name sign, as was customary for introductions. "Mind if I join you?" he asked, a warm smile on his face.


    Last edited by Brandon Everett on Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Amber Carter
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    PostSubject: Re: Seeing is Believing [Brandon]   Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:02 am

    If the poison affects the liver... she signed, frowning to herself. What does that mean? Tilting her head, she picked up her pen and twirled it around once before pressing the nib onto the paper and crossing out her last sentence. If she couldn't come up with a supporting argument, she wouldn't bring it up to begin with. Instead, she let out a tiny inward sigh. This was harder than she initially expected, but she always loved a challenge.

    Her personal space was important to her, and while she didn't normally notice her surroundings when absorbed in a task, her inner extrovert was on high alert when it caught movement that was definitely too close for comfort; a split second later, there came a tap on her shoulder, and she set the pen down.

    Turning, her hand was already reaching for the note she kept on the table - the one explaining that she was Deaf. Had someone been talking to her, trying to get her attention? She hated appearing rude, and oftentimes people assumed she was ignoring them when she didn't reply, and apologising came as second nature.

    But she froze when she saw the boy there. Cute, was the first word in her mind; the second was He can sign? Amber normally wasn't one to be comfortable with the first few conversations with people, but her heart had been aching to converse in her native tongue whether she acknowledged it or not, and seeing someone signing right in front of her made her heart soar with joy.

    She waved, tentatively at first, as though her hands themselves were shy. "It's nice to meet you. I'm A-M-B-E-R," she signed, finger spelling her name, then following it with the sign version. It had been given to her by her classmates upon their accidental discovery of her ability to write poems. It started off normally enough, with her palm against her chest, but she pulled out into the sign for 'a', and brought it up and away with a 'C', her initials. "Go ahead." Indicating the empty seats around her, she flashed him a smile. "Are you Deaf too?" she asked. It wasn't necessarily the most polite thing, but she was too excited to realise the implications of what she had asked.

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    Brandon Everett
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    PostSubject: Re: Seeing is Believing [Brandon]   Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:56 am

    The last thing Brandon ever expected to happen was to meet a Deaf person in the academy. He'd seen her in the first couple of classes he'd been to but hadn't realised she was Deaf. She didn't have an interpreter with her so she had to rely purely on lip reading - which wasn't very reliable. He'd tried to lip read once, to see what it was like for his parents to do it. Needless to say, he failed rather spectacularly. True, he wasn't trained in doing it and his parents had been doing it for years, but the amount of concentration it took and the amount of blank spaces to fill, especially when the speaker talked fast or was smiling or had facial hair, made it a daunting task.

    He admired her all the more for it. It was much harder being Deaf than being a CODA. Yes, he had to endure bullying and had a big responsibility on his shoulders but for a Deaf person to be at an all Hearing school wasn't a piece of cake. This girl was special and he was determined to be her friend. It could be lonely being Deaf and he understood that. Here was a chance for him to reach out to her and he was going to take it and never let it go. He thanked all he knew to thank that he was fluent in ASL and would have no trouble communicating with her.

    He didn't miss the movement she made for something on her table and without even needing to think about it, he knew what she wanted to do. Oliver attended a school for the Deaf and was trained the same way. He'd come home in an excited bundle and ramble on and on about how he learned to navigate a Hearing world. That told him that she'd gone to a school for the Deaf when she was younger. But it still didn't answer his question about why she was using ASL instead of BSL.

    Brandon's smile turned lopsided when he noticed the way she'd waved. Oral people could use inflection of voice to put their emotions across but Deaf people did so with their hands. She was shy and he found it adoringly cute. Still, he'd do his best to put her at ease. "Nice to meet you too, Amber," he responded, giving her a small bow. He would've taken her hand and placed a chaste kiss on it but he refrained from doing so, afraid that it would scare her away. After she'd granted her permission, he took a seat across from her, the best place to converse when using sign language. "Thank you, milady."

    He grinned at her question. It was perfectly normal and usually the first question posed by a Deaf person to someone else who signed. "Nah. I'm a CODA. Younger brother Deaf too," he replied. "Grew up signing." He paused for a short while before continuing. "Are you from the USA? You use ASL instead of BSL."
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    Amber Carter
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    PostSubject: Re: Seeing is Believing [Brandon]   Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:26 pm

    He replied. In flawless ASL.

    Her heart skipped another beat. That can't be healthy, she thought. There was no way she had missed the fact that there was someone else Deaf in school. Was there? A light flush touched her cheeks at the greeting. Milady? That's so... old fashion and Medival! A pause. Then, He's cute. That was the second time in a span of a few minutes that she had used that word to describe him, and even she herself couldn't quite believe it. 'Cute' was puppies and kittens, dresses and shoes, and perhaps the occasional stranger on the street - but she had never meant it like this before.

    Sure, gossipping among girlfriends was fun, especially when others couldn't understand what they were saying, but that was harmless. This was... Different. Amber bit back any more thoughts and instead focused on the current conversation.

    Her mind was reeling with endless possibilities. How had she not known there was someone else who could sign? Was he Deaf? If he was, why hadn't any of the Professors told her when she revealed to them that she was? Either my Professors are dumb, or he's not Deaf, she concluded half a second later; but she had already asked the question, so there was no backing out now.

    As expected, his answer proved her right; he was Hearing. Still, he was used to the whole Deaf thing, and with Deaf family members, he would've been accepted into any Deaf community without much questions; he knew their ways. The question made her blink. Oh, that's right. I'm in the UK now, she thought to herself. British accents are cute, apparently, was the next thing in her mind. Sometimes - very rarely, but sometimes nevertheless - she wondered what it would be like to Hear:

    The sound of crashing waves on shores or pattering rain on roofs;
    the tinkling of chimes in the wind, or thundering of horses' hooves.

    The verses presented themselves, and she noted them for later. Perhaps it was time to explore sounds with words, though she could not hear. But that was not for now, not when she was conversing. "Yes and no," she replied, letting out a laugh that she quickly hid. They were in a library, after all, and she could never tell how loudly her laugh was. "I was born in Germany, but my mother took me to the US to attend a private center for the Deaf when I was 7."

    There were a few things she neglected to mention - like the fact she had been Hearing until that age - but those were private things that she never talked about with people unless she trusted them. And Amber did not trust easily. Instead, she smiled at the male. "What about you? You know ASL too. Are you not from here?"

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    Brandon Everett
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    PostSubject: Re: Seeing is Believing [Brandon]   Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:52 am

    Amber. The name really suited her he thought. She was very attractive with a certain poise and dignity about her that he thought was very becoming. Of course, the blonde hair and shy manner reminded him very much of Anna. Unconsciously, his right finger brushed the tattoo on the inside of his left wrist. Anna was the reason he was here, taking a course to become a Healer. And now, he'd met a Deaf person. It was almost as if fate was assuring him that he'd done the right thing by leaving his family and coming to the academy.

    The laugh she let out make his eyes light up and his smile widen. Some Deaf people didn't laugh out loud, choosing instead to let the facial expression and sign language speak. Hearing her voice felt good and he immediately liked the sound of it, missing it when she stopped abruptly. He'd have to make her laugh again soon. It might be hard and would probably require a lot of effort on his part - shy as she was - but he wanted to make her laugh and smile.

    "Ah, that explains it," he replied. The US had more resources for the Deaf and American Sign Language was more widely recognised and popular than other sign languages - though each country had its own form of sign. Her parents must have realised that and sent her to the US because of it.

    "Your parents Deaf too? Or Hearing?" he inquired. It was a harmless question and also one that was asked often. If they were Hearing, he would hold them in high regard. He knew that a startling percentage of hearing parents of deaf children did not bother to learn sign language or make sure their child - and in extension, themselves - were exposed to Deaf culture and the community. It left a huge communication barrier between parent and child in addition to the rejection the child must have felt.

    "I'm a true born and raised British," he responded, letting his patriotism show on his face and in his eyes since he couldn't do so with his voice. He then schooled his face into the serious expression of a British soldier and saluted her solemnly before letting a wide grin take over.

    "I picked up ASL in the latter years of my Hogwarts days then after graduating, I got an RID cert," he explained, returning to the conversation. "It's really not that difficult. Grammar is all the same, just different signs."

    Brandon paused for a while then pointed at the books and parchment she had on the table. "I see you're hard at work. Whatcha slaving away at?" he asked, letting a cheeky grin lighten his words. "Stress is bad for health, you know."


    [[OOC: RID = Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. And RID cert is required for professional interpreting.]]
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    Amber Carter
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    PostSubject: Re: Seeing is Believing [Brandon]   Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:40 pm

    Now that she was actually focused on someone and not lost in her own little bubble, she picked up every minute facial expression and every movement. So, she didn't miss the slight twitching of his finger, rubbing against... something. She couldn't quite make out what it was, and it didn't really make her curious; they all had their ticks, all had their stories and secrets, and all had things that were private. What would the world be without privacy? Nothing.

    She saw the reaction to her laughter, and ducked her head slightly, feeling the heat rising to her cheeks. There had been many ways Hearing people reacted to her laugh, but never had she seen someone enjoy it before; odd looks, understanding looks, sympathetic looks, confused looks, mixtures of all the above, yes. But never joy. Her eyes flickered downwards, to the table, and it took her few moments before she could raise them again to meet his, and she smiled softly.

    Nodding at his first statement, she said nothing; there was nothing to say. But his question made her pause. It wasn't the first time she'd heard it - on the contrary, it was one of 3 questions almost everyone asked - but that would inevitably lead to the conversation about how she became Deaf, and naturally that wasn't something Amber liked discussing. But somehow, she didn't find the thought of telling Brandon as terrible; awful and not something she wanted still, but not something that was quite as scary as with the others.

    "They are Hearing," she replied. Smiling softly, she added, "They are amazing parents."

    If all British are like this I think I'm going to like it here, she thought to herself, hiding a grin. He was definitely something, and for a moment she wished for a girlfriend with whom to gossip. She missed her friends desperately, having grown up with them and actually able to relax and be herself completely around them. That was a rarity, and she could count on one hand the amount of people that had seen her as she truly was, without hiding. All she did was nod, though, since there was not much to say. She wasn't one to make conversation easily.

    The salute made her giggle, but quietly and not aloud; she didn't want to make that same mistake twice, not while in a library. It was official: Brandon was adorable.

    His explanation surprised her a little; why would someone around her age have use for a RID? But she asked no questions, since it wasn't part of her personality to ask things so private upon just meeting someone. Instead, with a smile, she said, "I see. That's interesting."

    Glancing at her books, she couldn't help but smile in return. This stranger, this boy - no, man - made it seem so easy to converse with people, and when was the last time she had genuinely smiled this much during a conversation? A while, was the only answer she could come up with, which in turn made her smile just a little more. "Homework," she replied, turning the notebook around so he could see her notes. "That essay we have for Healing class. And I'm not stressed; I find this interesting."

    Pausing a little, she hesitated mentally, both wanting to continue talking to Brandon and having the part of her that was socially awkward protesting, before adding, "What brings you to the library today?"

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