Pansy Parkinson, who considers herself a queen in the land of metaphors, has just contrived a particularly clever one: trying to teach Cho Chang French is a bit like trying to construct a list of Draco Malfoy's positive qualities that does not include money, wealth, or Gringotts.
Well, she thought it was clever.
"Art, date, exact, village, place," Cho reads from the list of vocabulary words Pansy has placed on top of her crossed legs. She sounds bemused.
"Your pronunciation is terrible," Pansy says, tapping her shoe on the cold floor of the Slytherin sixth year dormitory. Next door, Draco is making Sounds. Loudly.
"Did you forget to translate these?"
If Pansy had a Galleon for every second Cho was impossible...
"No," Pansy draws out the o. "Art is French for art. Date is French for date. And so on."
"This is pointless," Cho grumbles. "Why would I say these things in French when I can say it in English and it'll mean the exact same thing?"
"Because it's not the exact same thing!" Pansy shrieks, nearly losing a shoe in the process. Cho blinks once, twice, threefourfivesixseveneight and nine times before attempting to iron the pleats in her skirt with her palms. She'd be better off using her cheeks, as they're red enough. The Sounds of Draco (and those Sounds are not pleasant, like say the Sounds of two button down shirts rubbing against each other, or the clicking of zealous teeth, or the scuffle of the shuffle of knickers over scratched kneecaps) have actually quieted, and twenty metres away—give or take three and one half inches and not including a piece of grey string that would disrupt the measuring process entirely—Theodore Nott covers his head with his Divination text, positive something in close proximity will be exploding and will completely disorganise his facial structure.
"You don't have to off and asphyxiate, then," Cho quips as she holds the vocabulary list very close to her face and overly pronounces every syllable through her nose.
Pansy's arse goes numb as she dies a little inside.
Cho has compiled a list, at Pansy's grating request, of four words that describe her best. They are, in no particular order: capable, visible, capable, and visible.
"Are you just stupid? Really, what is it?" Pansy asks with a tiny intake of shock. She can't believe she's used so common a word as 'stupid'. She'll have to give herself three lashings with Draco's hairbrush as soon as possible. Stupid Cho and her stupid… Cho. Make that twelve lashings. Six more for thinking 'stupid' twice, and three for being at a loss for wit and words in general.
"No," Cho draws out the o, pushing her nose up with her fingers in what Pansy assumes could only be an imitation of someone very dreadful, although she hasn't the slightest as to who the poor sod is. Cho smirks as though she's caught the snitch and stuck it somewhere very naughty. "The last two are in French."
Pansy faints, a touch too dramatic.
Cho cannot paint, but it's times like these when she wishes she could. She's not too bad off at putting words together in her head, however, so picture this if you please: Cho has just walked into her dormitory. As usual, it's empty. Sometimes she feels as though she's the only one really living in it. But that's not the focus point. It's there, in the middle of the left-center portion of the room. It's a Slytherin. Her hair is perfect and unwavering and black in the front, and a complete muck up in the back, where she cannot reach. There are exactly eight freckles on her nose, all of which have been secretly bleached to near extinction with lemon juice. The pores beneath her right eye are a bit large. One eye is always darker than the other, but which eye it is changes quicker than her moods, which are marathon runners of the highest order. The girl is peeping at a letter on Cho's bed and eating a biscuit that looks to be raspberry, but smells a bit like strawberry crème.
"What're you doing?" Cho asks. She takes a stab at sounding stern.
"Reading this Owl on your bed. Said 'Give to Terry!' on the front."
"Well, well, Terry. You've filled out nicely."
"Do you want to read it?"
"Give." Cho flumps down on her bed, sitting across from Pansy.
Today, on the twenty-sixth of December 1996, yours—fantastically—truly, has struck upon a landmark. Eighty different persons have bought copies of my book, you know the one? The one I wrote? Anyway, due to the obsessive compulsive researching seizures my mother often finds herself in, I've discovered that eighty is also the exact population of a village in Bangladesh and also the entire Republic of Some Place In Yemen.
Now that makes me happy. I imagine every man, woman, and child in these places sitting glued to their chairs, spending a disgusting amount of time on their fat arses reading about a character who is not supposed to be me, but if you are in the inner loop—and yes, you are—you know it actually is me, disguised as Sir Belvedirre of Pants.
How appallingly wonderful for me.
I assume you miss me, then? I've yet to receive a Christmas gift from you, and so on the off chance that you were waiting to make sure you would not buy me anything I've already been given, I've enclosed a list of the gifts I've received this Christmas. Those with the stars next to them are the ones I expect you to do better than.
--- Michael Corner.
Cho spaced out somewhere around Yemen. It was there that she noticed the sparkling angel statuette Cho's mum crafted for her as a Christmas gift sitting clenched between Peeping Pansy's thick thighs, her skirt bunching over it, revealing Pansy's penchant for forgetting her knickers.
Cho smiles, pleased at her talent in description. Or, if you're Pansy (or French), description.
But silly French cognates are trivial and pale to the way Pansy positions herself as Cho's knees crinkle the Owl right down the middle and her fingers tickle the undersides of angel's wings.