A/N: Starting off my second year of writing for Soul Calibur with some fluffy Raph/Cass in bite-sized ficlet form (G-rated and everything...yes, it can be done!). I did some cursory research on French dialects, but if I've made a glaring error, please let me know. Otherwise, enjoy.
Raphael's fluent in French—it's his mother tongue, after all, and he slips into it as easily as his familiar mantle of cold distance and arrogance. Rich, dignified, fluid structure and musical tone, gliding vowels and uvular trills, and it sounds beautiful even when he's angry.
He speaks French with Amy, haughty and distant, the smooth, refined Parisien dialect that she answers with vowels slurred just so in the Cauchois manner, remnants of a poor Norman peasant's past she never forgets, will never forget, even as he cloaks her in rich, silken furs and brilliant jewels, and he never realizes that with each subtle inversion and clipped vowel she's mocking him, in her own way.
He speaks just a smattering of Romanian with the servants, sharp, impatient commands whipping harshly belowstairs as the maids rush to service. Base, he thinks, all haughty disdain—far too heavily influenced by the East, and the servants helplessly fight to absorb his quickly-spoken French, adopt the Western tradition and Christian names they can't quite pronounce, because he won't come to their level and, truly, he doesn't care.
He speaks Greek with Cassandra. She's tried French, truly she has, but everything's strange and foreign, confusing verb structure and plurality and she can never pronounce it right. And he sighs when she tries, betraying a hint of a smirk before recalling his classical education and speaking to her in a voice she understands.
It makes her smile, that, although she's careful not to let him see, and he probably wouldn't understand even if he did. He's stubborn and steadfast in the superiority of his French—won't refine his Romanian, dismisses the varied tongues of the mountains and the Gypsies, holds fast to noble condescension, in language as in everything. When she asks, he's disdainful and dismissive of her monolingualism, even in such a refined classical language, calls her simple, uneducated.
It's probably easier for him that way, she thinks, a smile playing at her lips, easier to dismiss her, push her away and insult her than admit that he enjoys her company, has almost grown to like her. So much easier than to finally realize, even through noble arrogance, through cold anger, and haughty disdain…he's unfailingly superior, always, but in this one thing…she can't rise to his level, so he comes, willingly, to hers.