Story:Pardon Our French
Pardon Our French
Written by IllaRouge and Corrine
Saphira said, "<So, you have your... reasons, you say, for only speaking French and using Madame Tagwizult to translate. Call me crazy, but am I sensing some fear of actually developing a semblance of an equal relationship with your team? That you're comfy on your throne of French and don't want to step down and look... equal or inferior to the team that you coach?>"
Henriette was cognizant of Saphira wanting to worm things out of her. She wasn't so willing to give up her life story to someone she barely knew. ""
"<Hey, I get it. We all have our comfort zones. My French isn't perfect.>" Indeed, the slug had mispronounced words and used entirely wrong ones at times. ""
"<My middle is using my money to pay for a very talented translator. She hasn't missed a single word, if her penchant for profanity is any testament to that. I have spent my entire life honoring my language. Even my husband and my daughter do not question me on this, as they have stayed true to their own languages. You and the rest of this team have failed to convince me just what it is about my choices have shown you disrespect.>"
"<For this not being about your language, you sure are sticking hard to honoring it...>" The slug arched her hands curiously. "<But let's put it this way. As you see, I know French... for the most part. And I'm honoring my commitment to holding this meeting in French.>" A sudden switch to English now, "Because if I didn't communicate directly to you as I should, what sort of respect would that be?"
"<There is nothing about my accepting of this position that required the use of English, and despite that, I provide a translator for no charge to my players or the league. The only one making demands here,>" pointing to Saphira, "<are you all. Not once have I asked you to speak French, and you all have done well to begin to pick up on words already. Unreasonable is me asking the entirety of the Baltimore staff and players to learn an entire language.>"
The slug's muzzle curled into a sly grin. "<Oh, don't get me wrong. We certainly appreciate that you're not making us learn French. That's not our issue. Our issue, dear Madame, is that often enough, your words and directions aren't spoken directly to us, but to Madame Tagwizult. At those moments, it feels more like our own coach can't be bothered to form any sort of conversation with us, even business wise. Why have respect for someone who speaks exclusively through another's mouth? It doesn't feel like your words are your own anymore at that point.>"
Henriette slammed her fists down onto and, subsequently, into the desk, leaving noticeable dents in the wooden frame. "<You children have no idea what it means to have your words stolen from you! These words are mine! You brats will never know the weight of watching someone die for their language. You pompous child.>" The hyena held her posture. ""
"<So that's where this is coming from.>" The slug had flinched slightly at the dent creation, but nothing more. ""
"<Do not compare your losses to a woman on the eve of her ninetieth year. I respect whatever loss you have endured, but you cannot understand this. Do not mistake the respect I show for my people and my family as disrespect for you and your teammates.>"
"" Saphira paused. "<We all cope with losses differently. That much I get. I won't push you to explain, but do not disrespect my generation by claiming we can't understand whatever 'this' is.>"
"<Might I remind you, you drafted me. And why was that, exactly? It couldn't have been because I was a petulant child! And what do you know of internet philosophies? Is that just code for, 'I can't handle someone younger than myself trying to get to know me beyond what I bark at my translator and tell them to do?'>"
"<Is this some pitiful attempt at being my friend? Is this how you make friends with your fellow players?>"
"<Who said anything about friendship? Besides, what could you possibly know about friendship? You've made basically no effort to get to know anyone on this team beyond simple words and you expect them to bend over backwards and perform at your translator's commands! What do you know about anyone on this team besides our names and positions?>"
"<Ha! Perhaps you misunderstand your place. If I have committed some sort of injustice by not getting to know you on a personal level, this introduction to such an exchange is wearing thin on my patience. Based on how you have treated me here, why would I ever want to know anything about you? Someone who comes here and makes demands of me. Someone that couldn't see beyond her own blue-nosed assumptions. Someone who has decided to lead the charge in taking Henriette Tetreault down.>"
"<...I think I understand my place perfectly, actually. It's to shut up, listen to you, play ball and make the team win games. It's the same place every other player has. Except other players have coaches who don't speak through others. Take you down? Please. I'm young, not stupid. I know there's no taking a Tetreault down. And after today, I can see there's no use talking to a Tetreault, either. You know? I wonder if you'd even have this job if English were a requirement.>"
"<Clearly I would not, or I would not have sought it. Then tell me, are you so comfortable with talking about the worst period of your life? Are you comfortable with recounting deaths one by one?>"
"<Am I comfortable? I'm not. Who would be? I relive that night so often...>"
"<How would you feel about living that memory for almost eighty years? How would you feel about reliving not one death, but two, every day? How would you feel about living longer than your parents by nearly three times the magnitude? For a sharp girl, you are quite stupid if you cannot guess remotely what I have gone through.>"
"<...I both can and can't fathom what you've been through. I watched both my parents die in one night, and yet I don't have but hardly six months of reliving it. You've relived it four times as long as I've lived. It was wrong and ignorant of me to assume I could understand all of it.>" The slug slumped in her chair ""
Henriette grunted. "" She stood up. ""
"<Understood. I will let the team know they are to approach you directly if they want answers.>" She got up, knowing her attempts at 'gotcha-ing' Henriette had backfired miserably, and she was likely done seeing any court time for a while. "<Hypocritical that the coach who won't even talk to her players directly in a mutual language demands that... but I suppose you find it worth alienating and frustrating an entire team. Live and die by the stubborn edge, as it were. I'll see you at practice... if you haven't traded me for insolence by then.>"
"<Stop.>" She glared. "<As bubbly and annoying as you act, you have not learned what respect is. Your coping mechanisms will fail far before you understand just how much pain you have endured. Make sure that you have your safety net in place.>"
Saphira returned the glare. "<...I know plenty of what respect is. And I know that demanding something of others that you refuse to do for them in return... is not respectful.>"
"<You are on my team because I respect you. This situation has not helped the matter. I have no place on my team for losers. If I cannot convince you of my reasons for refusing to abandon my language, then I am not sure what to say. In any language.>" Henriette sat.
"<You... respected me?>" Her ears fell flat. "<...great...I spat in the face of someone who actually respected me all to look like I was trying to 'heal the team.'>"
"<And be nice to Tagwizult. If you must be angry, be angry at me.>"
"<Make sure you do. You're starting the next game.>" Henriette began writing something down.
"<Right, packing because I'm starting the- Wait, excuse me? Did I hear that right?>" Saphira stood dumbfounded. ""
"<You had balls enough to come here and attempt to make your team better, not like those pissy little boys starting ridiculous fights on the internet with my assistant. This is your opportunity to impress me. It would be unwise to cause me disappointment, wouldn't you agree?>"
Saphira listened to the explanation, nodding furiously. "<Yes, well I could have been a bit more like myself in the effort but- I mean! Yes! Yes Madame! I've no intent to disappoint you! Pardon my departure but I have to get prepared!>"
"<And fix your French. It's atrocious.>"
"<Work in progress, Madame!>"
"<Goddamn it, get out!>"
Saphira dashed out before Henriette changed her mind.