This is a story I wrote for missus brokkenbroll's Words They Don't Have in English Challenge. Hope you all enjoy. Since I knew I would butcher any translation I attempted to make, the italicized words are spoken in French. Enjoy! And let me know what you think.
"But it's not fair!" Gabrielle whined, stomping her dainty foot on the wooden floor of the quarters she and a few other girls shared aboard the Beauxbatons Carriage. "Why do you get to go to the Yule Ball and I can't?"
"Because," Fleur said simply as she adjusted her hairpiece for the hundredth time since she had begun preparing over three hours ago. "You are not old enough." Finally satisfied with her appearance, Fleur turned away from the mirror and stooped down to give Gabrielle a kiss on the forehead. "I promise to tell you all about it tomorrow morning."
"Please, Fleur," another girl, Madeline, chuckled, "you know Gabrielle will be up all night, waiting for us to get back."
Gabrielle figured that the older girl's comment was meant to make her feel better, but she only felt more bitterness well up inside her. Fleur always got to do everything. She was the most beautiful and talented girl in the entire academy, she was the school's champion, and she got to dress up like a princess and go to a ball – on Christmas Eve. The only reason Gabrielle was even here at Hogwarts was because Madame Maxime was absolutely sure that Fleur would be the one chosen to represent their school, and thought Gabrielle would be a good source of moral support for Fleur, to give her an edge in the competition.
Unfortunately, after the first task with the dragons (which Gabrielle hadn't even been able to watch), Fleur was in last place, and had still not figured out what the next task would be. In a way, the eight-year-old girl felt like she had let her big sister down.
But, at that moment, Gabrielle didn't care. All she wanted to do was to go to the ball.
"Don't be upset, Gabrielle," Fleur soothed, finally donning her jacket. The ball was supposed to start in fifteen minutes, and she and her date, Roger Davis, had to begin the dance with the other three champions. "You would be bored out of your mind. There would be no one your age to talk to."
Gabrielle just scowled. Why would she care about talking to people? All she wanted to do was dress up really pretty and dance. But she didn't say anything to Fleur. Her sister obviously didn't care about what she wanted.
"We'll be back later tonight," Fleur said upon exiting the room. "Be good."
Gabrielle was silent and watched as her sister walked out of the room, shutting the door behind her. The young girl looked around and shivered, though the temperature was warm and cozy. There was a fire in the fireplace on the opposite side of the room where her bed was located, next to Fleur's and a girl named Christine.
Sighing heavily, Gabrielle got up from the red velvet love seat she had been sitting in and made her way over to her bed. She flopped down in a huff, then proceeded to toss and turn, attempting to get comfortable.
"Ugh!" she shouted to no one in particular. There was no one else in the carriage anyway. They had all left for the ball. She was all alone. "I hate Hogwarts!"
Unable to get comfortable, Gabrielle sat up and drew her knees up against her chest, not caring that her skirt was getting wrinkled. She surveyed the room once more, suddenly annoyed at how clean it was. Fleur certainly wasn't this neat at home, and Gabrielle was sure many of the other girls weren't either.
Home. Sudden moisture began to surface in her dark blue eyes. She quickly shook her head and jumped up. Her parents weren't here, and Fleur wasn't the boss of her! While she couldn't go into the ballroom, for fear of being found out by one of the teachers, she could still go and explore the castle!
With that in mind, the young girl slipped on her shoes and exited the room. The carriage she and the other girls lived in was huge – it had to be since their headmistress was so…tall. She navigated her way through several of the rooms before finally coming to the door leading outside.
As soon as she opened it, Gabrielle instantly regretted it. A cold wind hit her squarely in the face and she quickly shut the door. However, that wasn't enough to stop her. She rushed back into her room, grabbed her sweater, and with renewed vigor, stepped outside onto the grounds.
The air was still bitterly cold, and Gabrielle's sweater was really meant for cool weather, not below freezing temperatures, but the young girl ignored her discomfort, and soon enough she was within the walls of the castle.
She could hear the music floating down the hallway to her right, so the girl turned to her left and began to wander down the hall. She took notice of each and every painting, smiling and waving at the ones who were still awake. Some of them smiled back, others glared at her, obviously sticklers to the rules that she was obviously not following.
Eventually, Gabrielle came to a set of staircases. She had heard some of the girls talking about these stairs and how they liked to rotate at random times. The young girl smiled and began to ascend them, jumping excitedly the first time her set of stairs began to move.
This was much more fun than going to some silly grownup ball! Gabrielle was really enjoying exploring all of the different corridors. Mostly, all she had found was dozens of empty classrooms. What else would be in a school? But she had also ran into a few broom cupboards with interesting items, and one room with a good number of chamber pots, in which she thankfully relieved herself.
Unfortunately, the eight-year-old girl hadn't thought about what she was going to do once she had finished exploring. The changing staircases had gotten her all mixed up, and now she was wandering around aimlessly, looking for some kind of familiar landmark.
"I hate Hogwarts!" she yelled, stomping her foot on the ground and sitting down on a windowsill. Her stomach flipped when she realized how high up she was. She didn't know how that had happened, seeing as she didn't climb that many sets of stairs.
"Well, that doesn't sound like a very nice thing to say," a voice said from behind her.
Gabrielle looked up slowly, knowing that she wasn't in any major trouble. One, the voice belonged to a small boy. She could tell. And two, if it had been a teacher to catch her, they would have sounded much sterner, and spoken to her in her native tongue.
"Well, eet iz true," she replied, slipping into her best attempt at English. She still wasn't very good at it. Standing before her was a boy, probably only a few years older than her, with shaggy brown hair and deep brown eyes. He was smiling at her, and despite her feelings, she felt inclined to smile hesitantly back.
"Oh," the boy said blushing. "I don't know what you said, exactly. I just thought it sounded mean. I don't speak French."
Gabrielle looked away from him and back out the window. "I said zat I 'ate 'ogwarts."
His eyes widened significantly. "Hate Hogwarts? That's crazy!" Gabrielle scowled at the boy and he instantly recognized his mistake. "I mean, I guess that could make sense. It's probably a lot different than you're used to."
The young girl scowled, frustrated with herself. True, she had only been learning English for two years now, but she should still be able to understand more of what this boy was saying. But in her already upset state, she was having a lot of trouble comprehending him.
"I'm sorry," he began, looking quite worried. "I didn't mean to upset you."
Gabrielle sighed. Her head was already hurting from trying to decipher what he was saying. "I em sorry. I be not so good wiz Eenglish yet. You speak wiz easy words?"
The young boy frowned, and then nodded his head. "Of course, I mean," he paused and took a deep breath. "Yes. I said before that Hogwarts is strange to you. It is different."
After a moment, Gabrielle nodded. "Yes, eet iz. Much colder."
The boy smiled. "Are you cold now?"
Gabrielle nodded. The boy shrugged off the cloak he was wearing and handed it to her. "It's ok," he said as she hesitated. "I'm too warm."
The young girl smiled and slipped the warm robe over her shoulders. She sighed in contentment. Much better. Turning to the boy, she smiled kindly at him. She wondered what he was doing wandering about the halls. He looked too young to be permitted into the ball, just like herself.
"Your home must be warm," the boy said softly. At the word 'home' Gabrielle began to tear up. The boy must have noticed her discomfort, for he came over and sat beside her.
"What's the matter?" he asked softly. His concerned tone reminded Gabrielle of her mother, and she began to cry.
"I miss my family," she sobbed, reverting back to French. She leaned into the boy's shoulder as he wrapped an arm around her. "Everything here is so strange and the only person I know is Fleur, and she's always busy with schoolwork or figuring out her stupid egg. I feel like I'm always cold, the food here makes me feel sick at least twice a week, my parents haven't written me back in two weeks, and I miss them. I miss France. I want to go home. And this stupid castle got me lost!"
Gabrielle knew that the boy hadn't understood anything she had said, but that didn't matter. He was there for her, comforting her. And after some length of time, she finally calmed down. Wiping the tears from her face, she sat back to look at him.
"Sorry," she murmured.
The boy smiled. "It's ok. I miss my home sometimes too."
Gabrielle sniffled. "You do?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Me and my brother live far away. Our parents are muggles, so they don't write that often. Haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet."
Gabrielle sighed. She was tired, and all she really wanted to do was go back to the carriage and sleep.
"Do you want me to show you the way back to your carriage?" he asked, as if reading her mind. She nodded. The boy stood up and she followed him down the hall. "My name's Dennis, by the way."
The two walked in silence as Dennis led the way back to the ground floor and back out to the carriage. The air had gotten significantly colder, and stars could be seen in the sky. But Gabrielle was comfortable. Dennis' cloak was much warmer than her own.
"Zank you," she said quietly as the two approached the door. Leaning forward, Gabrielle placed a kiss on Dennis' cheek, surprised at how warm it felt. The boy beamed at her as she handed back his cloak.
"It was nice meeting you, Gabrielle. I'll see you around."
Gabrielle smiled and waved at him as he made his way back to the castle. Gabrielle still missed France, and she was still upset she couldn't be having fun with her sister and friends. But maybe that night hadn't turned out so bad. She had met a new friend. And, although exhausted, she felt slightly better.
Maybe her stay at Hogwarts wouldn't be so bad after all.
My word was dépaysement which is the feeling that comes from not being in one's home country.