Dorian Montoir
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent
Sun Jul 29, 2018 01:03

Dorian took his seat at the Teppenpaw table feeling blissfully happy. His summer had been wonderful. The weeks spent in China had been perfect - great food, beautifully scenery, and plenty of time discussing the subjects he enjoyed, such as poetry, with people who actually valued his interests and his opinions. Matthieu had been encouraged to be more like him. Matthieu - the heir, the big strong Quidditch player - had been told he should aim to be more like Dorian. He was not a conceited boy, and he had not let this praise go to his head and make him one, but it had been a soothing balm to all the wounds Matthieu had inflicted upon his soul over the years to hear other people say that he, as he was, was good enough. Not just good enough, but the better of them. His grandparents and his mother had been so proud of him, his cousins had enjoyed his company. And now he was returning to school, where there was more of the same - where there was Vlad and Ruby and Tatya and Jehan. He had so many wonderful friends. There didn’t seem to be anyone in the world who wanted to put him down or make him miserable except Matthieu. And now he was thousands of kilometres away. Dorian had stuck firm to his new found belief over the summer - that Matthieu was the problem, not him. It hadn’t stopped his brother from beating him up, but it hurt less now he didn’t ascribe so much meaning to each punch - he was not weak, he was not a failure, he was not a freak. That was the most important part of all of this - yes, other people liked him, and that was a gift he would never stop treasuring, but right now, for possibly the first time he could remember, he liked himself too, much, much more than he had for the all the years he’d had to spend in Matthieu’s shadow. There was nothing wrong with who he was, or what he liked.

As he had been away, it had been his turn to play Snegorochka, and he had brought back presents for all of his friends. Each member of the Club of Tongues had received a dictionary - Chinese-English for Vlad and Jehan (he had been tempted to continue what he saw as Tatya’s little joke from last year, and slow Jehan down a little by getting him Chinese-French, so he had to constantly work in his non-native languages. But Chinese was everyone’s worst language, and he wished to encourage better performance in it rather than slow it down). It had taken longer to find Chinese-Russian, as learning English was the much more fashionable accomplishment, but Russian was obviously very useful in certain provinces, and so a few enquiries to merchants in Western China had secured a dictionary for Tatya, and they had had it sized and bound so that it matched the editions Vlad and Jehan were receiving. He had contemplated having each dictionary bound in its recipient’s house colour, but that would have meant that Tatya’s was a rather dull brown, whilst Vlad and Jehan’s were in her favourite colours, so he had opted for them to have red covers instead, in order that their learning might be auspicious. He had also bought each of them, and a couple of other important people, more personal presents. It had been hardest to choose for Jehan, for whom he practically wanted to buy one of everything he was getting, seeing as their tastes were so similar. He had opted to get Jehan a Chinese-style silk shirt, with a Mandarin collar and braided button loop fastenings, in a nice royal blue (the same one as the sweater her had… borrowed last year). He also had a store of smaller presents, such as a bookmark with Jehan’s zodiac animal (seeing as they were born the same year and shared one), which he thought he would include in Jehan’s birthday present, or maybe just give it at random - just because it was Sunday, or just because he needed cheering up, or just because… Just because. Whilst Jehan had been too easy to buy for, Tatya had been considerably harder, in that every time he almost made a decision, he had doubted himself. Obviously, there was jewellery. One could not exactly fail to notice that Tatya liked it. However, he was not sure how well his taste and his budget would match Tatya’s standards - he wasn’t exactly hard up, and the presents he was buying his friends were all of very nice quality, but then… jewellery was on a whole other level. It was also a very personal thing, in terms of taste. He didn’t think Tatya would be unkind if he chose badly, but he wanted to get her something she actually liked. He had considered getting her a teapot and some tea, and had reverted to this idea several times after attempting to have adequate opinions on jewellery and finding that he could not, but whilst he and Tatya both enjoyed tea, they both asserted their own variety to be superior. They had a friendly sort of tea rivalry, which made buying her tea-related presents seem somewhat passive aggressive. He had purchased some nice tea for the librarian, having discovered it to be a common interest during all the hours in his office last year. For Tatya, he had eventually settled on some ornamental hair combs. He could not say why, exactly, he felt these were safer territory. He could not, if pushed, really classify them under anything other than jewellery. But… But hair accessories were different. They were on the periphery of Tatya’s passion. And so, whilst she might not feel as strongly about them as she might about the perfect necklace, well…. She would not feel as strongly about them as she would a seriously terrible necklace. It felt safer. Unless he started trying to apply logic, so for once he was desperately trying not to do that. He knew from several of the pieces she wore regularly at school, that Tatya was fond of enamel, which was luckily in ready supply in China, and he had bought her a pair of hair combs each topped with a panel of enamel work flowers in blues and yellows. For Vlad, he had bought a kite - something he hoped didn’t seem too childish, but kite flying was serious business for all ages in China, and Dorian had brought his own back to Sonora with him. He found he had enjoyed flying it - it was calming and meditative. And whilst Vlad, who was about the most relaxed person he knew, probably didn’t need these particular benefits, it could perhaps be something for them to do together. His roommate was a really nice person, and he came to language study but Dorian was pretty sure it was more for the social side than because of a deep interest. It would be nice for them to have something to do together. For Ruby, he had purchased a pretty silk fan with a mountain scene on it. He knew American girls didn’t really use fans so much, but hoped it was pretty enough that she would enjoy having it regardless.

It was, all in all, a very happy start to his third year. Third year also sounded and felt rather grown up. He was in intermediate classes and looking forward to the academic challenge. But, more importantly, there were matters of the heart. A lot of people started dating during these years. Before Dorian had left for boarding school at all, his father had thought it prudent to appraise him of a few of the facts of life. He had apparently decided that this information needed a refresher over the summer and Dorian had endured an awkward but mercifully brief interview in his father’s study in which he was reminded about how he was going to start noticing girls and that that was perfectly natural, but that he should avoid acting on any of those feelings until he was married because anything else was morally reprehensible conduct. Dorian was not convinced there was too much danger to his or anyone else’s reputation at this stage, as any fluttering of hormonal feeling was currently accompanied by the voice over of his father reminding him that these were pulsions parfaitement naturelles, which was pretty effective in making them run screaming back into the recesses of his brain. In an abstract sense, he supposed the idea of kissing someone, of being physically close, was appealing - he had always been a tactile person. But the few times he had been able to get his father’s voice out of his head for long enough to try to imagine kissing a specific person such as Ruby or Tatya it had left him feeling, at best, stone cold, and at worst full of writhing, squirmy icky feelings like he was doing something terribly wrong. He supposed that was the combined power of his father’s lecture and the fact that Tatya reminded him more of a sister than anything else. In addition, he supposed he couldn’t imagine kissing Tatya or Ruby because he wasn’t in love with either of them - and in Dorian’s mind, it was very important to actually be in love with someone before you engaged in that sort of behaviour. His father had tried to separate out love from lust during That Chat, advising him that he might think he was in love with someone but it might just be lust, and that was part of why he shouldn’t act on it. But Dorian didn’t feel he was in danger of making that mistake - given that it felt wrong to even imagine kissing a girl he wasn’t in love with, he doubted he was going to be lured into doing it in real life. He knew right from wrong. And he was sure he would know love - proper true love - when it decided to grace him with its presence. He rather hoped it was sooner rather than later because he expected that falling in love was the most wonderful thing that could happen to a person. He liked the way it was described in poems. Well, in some poems. He wasn’t sure he wanted the can’t eat, can’t sleep, torment of the soul. But… the other person being your rock, your safe place. The person who made you feel complete. He wanted that. And… And, he supposed, that was it. And anyway, it was time for the feast to start.

He watched the first years with a little more interest than usual, because Tatya’s sister was starting, and he was keen to see where she was sorted, especially as he had promised to look after her if she became a Teppenpaw. Katerina was quite easy to pick out - not only did he have an idea of her appearance from photographs Tatya had shown him but there weren’t any other first years wearing gloves. Katerina’s badge turned yellow, and he smiled and clapped for her along with the other Teppenpaws. She seemed to be taking him up on the offer he had made, via her sister, that she was welcome to sit with him, as the space beside him was quickly filled.

“Oui, correct,” he assured her when she asked, in impressively accurate French, whether he was indeed Dorian, and Tatya’s friend - she had called her sister something else, a nickname that he wasn’t familiar with, but by this point he was so used to the many variations on Tatya’s name that he was ready to assume that pretty much anything beginning T meant her, so long as there was a reasonably relevant context. He had meant to greet her in Russian, but had been thrown by her speaking French so unexpectedly well, and now he hastily switched, “Priyatno poznakomit'sya, Katerina Vorontsova,” he greeted her. ‘Pleased to meet you’ was not a phrase that came up every day, and was not one he would have felt confident constructing from its constituent parts, but luckily the dictionary Tatya had bought him had a section listing common phrases. He had been prepared to make his own introduction in Russian too, but Katerina had rendered this unnecessary, so he skipped ahead to “Dobro pozhalovat v Teppenpaw,” to wish her welcome. The Western word jangled oddly on the end of the sentence, and he wondered whether Teppenpaw should become something like… Teppenpawya. But, whilst he was very aware of the Russian tendency to play with names and to make them diminutive or affectionate, or just better fitting to the sounds of the language, he was not yet confident enough to play with words that way himself. Perhaps he’d ask Tatya about it. “Tu parles très bien le Français,” he complimented her, being sure to keep his pace slow and his words clear. “Kak dela?” he asked, and then because that did not feel specific enough, he switched to English to ask “How was orientation?” being sure to enunciate the syllables clearly and in the English way ‘or-ee-un-tay-shun.’ Et pas ‘or-ee-un-tah-see-un,’ as his brain was always tempted to do with words with -tion endings.

OOC - I have kept it vague as to what Dorian was doing before the feast. If people want to assume they met up and received presents, they are free to do so.

  • Let's try this socializing thing again.Katerina Vorontsov, Sat Jul 28 12:42
    Sonora, Tatiana had warned her, was a very western place. It was not as stark as the average American location, but it was still noticeably lacking in beauty. There were fewer colors, more earth... more
    • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent — Dorian Montoir, Sun Jul 29 01:03
      • A pretty thought.Katerina, Sun Jul 29 15:04
        Dark blue-grey eyes widened in surprise when Dorian began speaking Russian, even saying her name correctly. Tatya had said she had tried to teach her friends some Russian, but after all the English... more
        • And trueDorian Montoir, Mon Jul 30 08:53
          He assumed that was good staring. Katerina was looking at him all wide eyed, in what he hoped was pleased surprise and not incomprehension at the jabber of syllables he had just produced. He had... more
          • “Oui,” said Katya, glowing with pride at all these compliments. “J’ai étudié un peu l’allemand.” Katya was also good at and enjoyed her lessons – less formal ones than what she learned with Anton... more
            • Katerina seemed to be relaxing - she looked happier and more animated. He did not attribute anywhere near as much of this to himself as he probably should have done. Certainly, he assumed he was... more
              • Very well, then, I allow it.Katerina, Tue Jul 31 22:41
                Katya shared in the conspiratorial smile, thinking that this was very like Tatya – Katya wouldn’t think of ordering someone here to study Russian, but that was Tatiana. Her sister wanted what she... more
                • Glad to hear itDorian, Thu Aug 2 07:31
                  Mozhesh and mogu were so very different sounding that it was hard to recognise that they were conjugations of the same verb. But, as often happened, there was enough meaning in the words he did get... more
                  • I will try to return the favor.Katerina, Thu Aug 2 20:51
                    The next sequence of French had unfamiliar vocabulary in it, but concentrating, and picking out words she did know, Katya thought she got most of the gist of it – that Dorian knew that Byzantiya was... more
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