Glad to hear it
Thu Aug 2, 2018 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 that he could catch the meaning of the sentence, and then his brain sort of worked backwards, replaying some of the sounds and working out that he did know those too, even if he hadn’t thought he did the first time.

“Nous pouvons pratiquer,” he nodded, both to confirm that he thought it was a good idea, but also with a slight hesitation that suggested he was double checking his comprehension. He wasn’t quite sure whether that meant he had just invited Katerina to join the Club of Tongues or something else. Not that he could see anyone minding. Although she wasn’t learning Chinese, he reminded himself again, and as they were both in Teppenpaw, there would be plenty of times they could talk just with each other.

“Je reconnais byzantin comme le nom d'une époque dans l'histoire, but I not know so much about.” In terms of non-Russian history, Dorian was relatively knowledgeable. Living in North America meant studying its history, but that was so strongly tied into European history, especially in Quebec, that you couldn’t do one without the other. His Chinese history was, by his own measure, against the knowledge displayed by his cousins, very bad, but he still thought it was likely to be better than anyone at Sonora. Except, of course Wu- except of course Wu had graduated now… He didn’t mention the range of his knowledge, because having received a ‘very impressive’ regarding his philosophy studies, he did not wish to seem like he was showing off. And besides, they had already agreed to practise languages together. If they agreed to a history exchange too, he and Katerina might end up monopolising rather a lot of each other’s time, and he did not wish to do that, even though the prospect seemed rather interesting.

Dorian was extremely gratified when Katerina told him was intelligible. Admittedly, he was not plumbing any great intellectual depths here but the thought was more or less exactly what he would have said in English, and he had managed it. Well… eighty percent of it. The fact he had caved on the last sentence was what stopped him beaming with pride at her feedback. He would have to look up ‘useful’ in his dictionary later. Ironically, he was pretty sure that was one of the first words he had looked up, so he could say ‘Thank you for my dictionary, it will be useful.’ But apparently, he had not had a great deal of use for that word since during conversations with Tatya, and it thus hadn’t stuck.

“Duile,” he nodded, when she ran through his languages. He always found the Russian word for Chinese funny – it sounded so feline. “Potomu chto moya Mama – kitayskaya,” he added. He expected that bit was unnecessary… Whilst people didn’t always pick him out as mixed race, the second he mentioned speaking Chinese, he caught them re-evaluating – the midtone skin, the dark eyes, the slight… difference in the shape of them. Things that had not been enough to make them think for themselves, but which made a lot more sense once they had reason to consider. Then there was the fact that Katerina said that Tatya had told her a lot about him. Presumably not just the fact that he spoke it, but the reason why a boy from Quebec spoke Chinese had been deemed more interesting than the fact the walls of the hall streamed with water. He wondered what else. He knew, on the one hand, that that was just… a thing that people said, but he was curious… Jehan, he believed, would have a lot to say about him. He was not sure that he did, because no one in Jehan’s family seemed very interested in the things that he liked, or had in common with Dorian. But Tatya had said a lot about him? He supposed he peppered his letters to Émilie with tales of everything he was doing with his friends here. He supposed Tatya had done the same… Dorian has a Chinese Mama and a Canadian Papa, and he speaks Chinese, French and English (and bad Russian). Those were facts, easily commutable to paper and understood by the reader. We went skating over midterm, he tried to teach me to waltz on the ice… What did that tell someone about him? Which anecdotes did Tatya deem worthy, how did she describe them, what meaning did Katerina give to them? He wondered what impression Katerina had of him from her sister’s tales, and how he was living up to those expectations. He was very curious as to how he looked through someone else’s eyes – through two sets of eyes, he supposed, writer and reader. He thought it might be rude to ask. ‘I’ve heard so much about you,’ was generic party small talk, and one was not supposed to respond by asking what the person had heard. But… this was a little different.

“A- a lot about me?” he asked hesitantly, knowing he shouldn’t but wondering… For the first time since the start of the feast, the new and self-confident Dorian retreated slightly. He trusted Tatya really, and doubted she had said anything bad about him, but… well, what had she said?

  • 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 it — Dorian, Thu Aug 2 07:31
      • 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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