The Sugar Quill
Author: Arya (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Speaking French  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Speaking French

Speaking French

A/N: Thanks to Stu for the helpful PM and to my beta, Zsenya.  This fic was inspired by a book called “Females in Harry Potter.”  The author seemed to think that the females in the books aren’t strong.  After reading that, I felt the need to write about a very strong character, and Fleur was the first to jump to my mind.


It wasn’t often that her parents let her roam where she pleased, especially on an unfamiliar street.  But they’d told her they had business to discuss, and seemed to realize she didn’t really want to spend the sunny afternoon stuck in a pub listening to grown-up talk.  Her mother had smiled and handed her a few galleons, telling her not to spend it all. 


            Her money half spent and her fingers still slightly sticky with ice cream, the nine-year-old wandered down Diagon Alley, her eyes wide as they took in the colorful surroundings, from the bright fabrics hung at a small stand to her left, to a pet shop down the street where loud squawks seemed to draw customers in.  The people around her all seemed to know what they were doing and where they were going.  No one seemed to bother a glance at the tiny French girl whose ears only understood that the raised voice of the cauldron seller meant he still needed to sell a few more cauldrons, and the soft whisper of the mother to her children meant she still had patience with them for the moment. 


            The sun shone brightly as Fleur walked from shop to shop, stopping for a moment to gaze into what appeared to be a robe shop.  Careful not to touch her nose to the glass, she peered inside.  Her mother had promised her a new one by the end of the summer due to her sudden growth spurt.  She wondered what color she’d be allowed to wear.  Her favorite one, the one she wore today, had been a lovely silvery blue that barely dragged on the floor when she bought it.  Now it had lost most of its sheen and stopped at the top of her socks. 


            With a sigh, Fleur moved on.  She would have robes before summer’s end, and it wasn’t as if her mother had given her enough gold to pay for a new set.  The family’s tailor in Paris would more than likely charge less and do a better job than this strange English woman who made her gold by sewing dull black uniforms for Hogwarts students. 


            A small crowd of people gathered around a window to what looked to be the local Quidditch shop.  Quidditch was a favorite sport of her father’s, and the girl had often followed him to matches.  Fleur loved watching the wizards and witches zoom above her head, cheering with the rest of the fans when something exciting happened.  She loved listening to the cheer of the crowd, and sometimes, when her father was busy watching the match, she would close her eyes and imagine they were yelling for her, cheering her on at some unknown task.  But then the commentator would announce the score, and the moment was broken. 


            Curious what the group was looking at, she followed a gaggle of boys her age over to the crowd.  They were all pointing and talking about something on display, but the people in front of her were too tall for her to see in the window.  Inside, it was packed full of people.  It would be impossible to get in. 


            She tried to stand on her toes to see, but a shove from behind caused her to topple to the ground.  She looked up and glared at the person behind her. 


            Stupide anglais,” she muttered when the tall red-haired boy didn’t even apologize.  She flipped her hair back as she had seen her mother do, and stood, brushing the dirt off her outfit. 


            Someone nearby said something…his voice sounded as though he were apologizing, but it had been the red-haired boy who’d pushed her over.  She frowned, and looked toward the sound of the voice.  A kind-looking teenager whose hair was equally as red held out his hand.  She took it and he pulled her up. 


            The boy was saying something, but all she picked out was his apologetic tone.  She frowned at him, unsure how to respond.  Her grasp of English was not the best.  Her parents had taught her a few words and phrases so that if she got lost she could find her way back to where they were staying, but she didn’t know enough to figure out what this handsome boy was saying. 


            Je ne te comprend pas,” she said, wondering if perhaps he spoke French.  But by the confused look on his face, it didn’t seem so.  She tried another tactic. 


            “I…I no…Eenglish,” she said, fumbling over the strange words.  “No…Eenglish.”


            The boy frowned at her.  “No English?”  he asked.  “Er…French?  Français? Parlay voo fransays?” 


She winced at the butchering of her native language, but nodded her head, glad that he at least understood that.  She hated how helpless this language barrier made her seem, and was determined to make sure this boy knew she wasn’t one of those pathetic females her mother always complained about.  Smiling at him, she tossed her hair once more and stood on her toes. 


One of the taller people in front of her moved out of the way, muttering something to himself, and Fleur moved forward eagerly.  She could now just see into the shop, and could tell that the item that everyone was eager to see was a new racing broom on display.  The people around her made excited noises and were talking in loud voices about the broom.


Satisfied, Fleur stepped out of the way, knowing that those behind her would want a look at the broom.  She would have to tell her father about the broom.  He would enjoy seeing it, though he would go on for hours about how wonderful the design of this particular broom was, until her mother told him to be quiet, she had a headache.  Fleur smiled.  Perhaps at home, she would get to see the broom up close.  At least there the other customers didn’t shove their way just to look in a window.  There, everyone spoke French and there was no embarrassing herself simply because she couldn’t explain to a handsome boy that she was perfectly capable of helping herself up.  The only reason she’d taken his hand was because he’d offered it, and her mother had taught her it was rude to not accept a gentleman’s help. 


“Hey!  You!”


Fleur turned to see the red-headed boy running toward her, holding something in her hand.  He had her money bag!  Had he stolen it?  But if he’d stolen it, why would he be coming her way? 


The boy panted, trying to say something.  He held out the bag, and she snatched it away, glaring, just in case he had stolen it.  This seemed to upset him.  He shook his head and rambled on.  She recognized the word “damn,” but nothing else.  As if determined to find a way for them to communicate, he waved his hands at her bag, then at her, then at himself.  She raised an eyebrow.  The English had been easier to understand than this nonsense.


“Bill.”  The boy patted his chest, looking at her carefully to see if she understood.  “Bill Weasley?”


She smiled at him.  “Fleur,” she said, patting her own chest.  “Fleur Delacour.”  She held out her hand for him to take.  He frowned at it for a moment, but took it and shook it.  Enchanté Monseiur…Bill,” she said with what she hoped her mother would deem an appropriately kind smile. 


“Um…eel ay…er…damn.”  He looked down at her, and Fleur found herself looking at his eyes, noticing the way the sunlight created tiny golden specks in the green irises.  He was handsome, nearly as handsome as the teenaged boy who lived across the street from her.  He seemed startled by her gaze, as so many men and boys were.  Her mother said it was what came with being part-Veela. 


Bill was talking yet again.  He seemed to keep forgetting she couldn’t speak French.  She smiled at him, waiting for him to realize.  His ears turned bright red when he saw her smile. 


“Er…Goodbye,” he said.  “Er…ah river?  No…Ah rev-war?  Oh rev-war?”


Au revoir,” she corrected.  “Good…bye et good day.” 


Her money bag clutched in her hand, she turned to leave the stumbling, confused boy.  It was nearly dinner time, and her parents would be wondering where she was. 


She stole one last glace back at the boy, who had turned and was walking back to the window, perhaps to find the other red-haired boy who was most likely his younger brother.  She smiled, and wondered if he would ever learn how to speak French, then laughed.  It was probably just as likely as her learning to speak English. 

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