"Filthy mudblood," Malfoy sneered.
Hermione blinked once at the pale snob. "I'm sorry, what that supposed to be an insult?"
Ron, beside her gaped. "It's a bad word, and he shouldn't have said it."
Harry was on Hermione's other side, and more inclined to agree with Hermione than anybody else in this situation. "Maybe," he allowed, "but if that's the worst he can come up with then I think the pureblood brat needs to expand his vocabulary."
Hermione nodded. "Oh yes," she agreed. "I mean really, after being called a know-it-all as often as I have, I decided to actually research insults, so that I'd have a good variety to throw back."
Harry grinned wickedly. "You mean like calling the little daddy's boy a piss-poor excuse of genetic excrement?" he suggested.
Hermione giggled. "Oh well done Harry!" she said. "Where did you learn that one?"
"I had to describe my family somehow," he admitted with a smirk. "Miss Granger, oh bastion of knowledge, how would you describe the minor excrement's constant travelling companions?"
Still giggling, Hermione answered: "Actually, while calling both of them so thick they make the walls of Hogwarts blush in shame, I'd question why they feel the need to stand so close to the smaller boy between them, speculating on sexual orientation and the possibility that Malfoy not only takes it up the arse from both of them, but has to be very clear when instructing them how to do it properly, making him appear to be a very needy bottom."
"But why, oh why Hermione, would anybody have any inclination towards a person called 'Crabbe'?" Harry asked. "It's only one letter away from being a sexual disease!"
"Maybe it's a tradition that goes back to a time before the family was called Crabbe. We did get to see Mr Malfoy Senior earlier this year at the bookshop after all, and he looked so very feminine."
"Don't you dare insult my father!" Malfoy yelled suddenly.
Harry and Hermione raised an eyebrow at the same time, then the former turned to the latter.
"I think that's the only insult that he even half understood," Harry said.
"The child really does need to improve his vocabulary," Hermione answered, nodding. "I mean, if he continues at this rate, we'll be given to believe that the only words he knows are 'potty', 'mudblood', and 'wait til my father hears about this'."
"And yet he is here at Hogwarts, a school which we had been led to believe didn't accept persons younger than eleven, with only the vocabulary of a two- or three-year-old," Harry tutted, shaking his head. "Shameful."
"What's going on here?" Snape asked, swooping in at that moment.
"Mr Malfoy called me a 'mudblood' sir," Hermione answered candidly. "Ron wouldn't tell me what that meant, Harry can't as he doesn't know either, though from Mr Malfoy's tone I'm given to believe it is an insult." Hermione's brow furrowed in consternation. "What does it mean sir?"
"It is an insult," Snape answered, his eyes narrowed dangerously at Malfoy for the first time that the Gryffindors could remember. "A particularly vulgar and low brow insult that implies that a person is either from a boorish family, born out of wedlock, or has no respect either credited to them or for their betters."
"Well then I'm not one," Hermione said. "My parents are both very well respected, were married five years before I was born, and I see no reason to insult someone who is 'better' than me."
"It is generally given to mean person who come from non-magical backgrounds," Snape supplied.
Hermione pouted. "Well I just don't see it. Muggles aren't all automatically boorish and disrespectful any more than wizards are all bastions of virtue."
"Agreed," Harry said. "I know my father wasn't, and he came from a pureblood wizarding family. I also know that my mother was generally pleasant, even if she was coming from a muggle family."
"How do you know this Potter?" Snape asked.
Harry shrugged. "I was curious about them, since my aunt doesn't say much except to insult both of them because they were magical in the first place, and looked up their records in the Library. I'm not overly impressed with my father, or the staff who let him get away with bullying. I can only guess he either decided to improve himself or slipped mum a love potion for her to finally agree to date him after six years of refusals."
Snape nodded slightly, as if in appreciation of the thought.
"And after Mr Malfoy insulted you, what happened Miss Granger?" Snape asked, returning to the original reason for his sweeping in to interrupt the conversation.
"Well, I asked what the word was, and speculated that it must be some kind of insult, and then Harry and I discussed different insults that we could apply to Messers Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle if we were so inclined. Hmm, I'm forgetting something," Hermione said, tapping her chin.
"We also speculated that if Mr Malfoy is only capable of such few phrases as 'potty', 'wait til my father hears about this', and the insult already mentioned, than he really must expand his vocabulary," Harry supplied.
Hermione nodded. "That's right," she agreed. "And I think we might have briefly contemplated Mr Malfoy having inherited his poor state from his father."
"We did," Harry agreed. "After all, I'm sure his mother would forcibly wash his mouth out with soap to hear him using such low language."
"She would," Snape agreed with a sigh. "All of you are to return to your common rooms. I will discuss punishments regarding this...conversation with Professor McGonagall. You will be notified at dinner."
"Yes Professor," Harry and Hermione chorused, both slapping a hand over Ron's mouth before he could open it and insult the teacher to his face, and grabbing him by an arm each with their other hands and dragging him off.
"I think that went rather well, don't you?" Hermione asked Harry, grinning over at him.
Harry beamed back, nodding.
"I don't get it," Ron complained when they finally released him.
"He's a Gryffindor version of Malfoy then," Harry whispered to Hermione, who proceeded to have a fit of giggles.