Written for a LJ request from gingeraled
Terry sighed deeply, exchanging a long-suffering look with his best friend over Anthony's head, then took off his glasses, rubbing them on the edge of his sleeve before slipping them back on. "Try again, Tony: 'Bonjour, Mlle Delacour. Mon nom est Anthony. Vous êtes très jolie. Voulez-vous aller à Hogsmeade ce samedi?'"
Anthony ran his fingers through his hair, then licked his lips nervously before trying for what had to be at least the fiftieth time. "Bonger, Mamsel --"
"Boh-jur, Tony. It's not a 'j' like 'just' it's ..." Michael hesitated a moment. Languages had always come so easily, but explaining them was another matter entirely. "It's like zed and 'sh' at the same time. Bonjour not 'Bonger.'"
"If it's taking me two hours to learn how to ask her out," Anthony snapped, "how am I supposed to hold a bloody conversation while we're actually on the date, much less know if she says yes?"
"That should be easy, mate." Michael laughed. "If she giggles and smiles, you're pretty assured it's good. Besides, 'non' sounds enough like 'no' that you'll definitely get the picture."
"She speaks English a hell of a lot better than I don't speak French," he persisted, crossing his arms over his chest, and Terry laid a sympathetic hand on his shoulder.
"And that's why you'll survive the date. It's not the language barrier, Tony, it's the effort. Gabrielle's been asked out by half the guys from third to fifth year ... you've got to put a little something else into it."
"I am putting something else," Anthony replied stubbornly, "namely: my foot in my mouth."
"No," Michael grinned, "mon pied dans ma bouche."
The look he received in return was utterly filthy, but after a long pause, Anthony took a deep breath, closing his eyes and beginning yet again. "Bonjor Mam-wasel Delacour. Mon nom ess --"
"He'll kill us if he finds out."
"No, he won't. He'll be grateful."
"Only if it works."
"Fair enough ... but there's no reason it shouldn't."
The two Ravenclaws held their breath, pressed back tightly against the side of the carriage despite the Disillusionment Charms already rendering them invisible. Gabrielle and her sister had emerged, and yes. Michael nudged Terry eagerly in the ribs as he saw that the younger of the two lovely sisters was in fact holding the letter they had levitated into her pocket that morning at breakfast.
L'amour parfois trébuche sur son propre coeur
Mais de belles paroles sont bien inférieures aux yeux
L'bourgeon est plus précieux que la fleur
Une compréhension entre les mots en deux.
The next time they saw the silver-haired girl, it was outside Madam Puddifoot's, with her arm through their friend's, and he was grinning like a boy who had just been given the key to every vault in Gringotts. The two friends glanced at each other, then exchanged a silent high-five behind their backs. The edge of the letter was still sticking out of Gabrielle's pocket.
Terry's dark blue eyes were glittering as he turned to Michael, keeping his voice low so as not to disturb the young couple ahead. "As language teachers we're dung, but you're not half bad as a Cyrano, Mike."
Michael took a little bow. "Je vous remercie, mon ami."