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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 10:40 am
Entry tags:

All The Words

Rating: R (Bill/Fleur, Percy/Fleur)
Summary: Bill asks Percy to give Fleur lessons in English, which turns out to be the bright spot of Percy's week.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Pris, who is somehow inspiring in her belief that Percy is redeemable.
Warning: Infidelity

Also available at AO3


"Oi, Perce, got a minute?"

Percy, bent over a report on Gregorovitch / Ollivander wand compatibility, did not look up.

This office was His Space. It was in a quiet corner of a floor where people generally didn't wander; this far up in Ministry ranking, you knew where you were going and you went there. There were no annoying people circulating with collections for tea or cards for sick friends; when you worked with the Minister himself, you bloody well bought your own tea and if you got sick you didn't show it.

So he had made the office his own, the first real place he'd ever had all to himself, with no mothers nosing around and cleaning and no brothers setting off dungbombs.

Still brothers, however, it would seem.

"What do you want, Bill?" he asked icily, turning a page.

"Come on Perce, don't be like that," Bill said, in a tone that made him sound exactly like their father.

"Bill, unless you want something, I have work to do," Percy replied. "And unless it has to do with the Ministry, I am not interested."

He looked up at Bill, who -- although quite an adventurer -- nearly took a step backwards. Percy had developed something of a glare; he'd had to, dealing with the people he dealt with every day. Journalists from the Prophet, minor politicians seeking favours from Fudge, and of course, giggling secretaries who never stopped pestering him about whether or not he had a girl.

"Well, it's sort of to do with work," Bill said, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Oh yes?" Percy asked, returning to his paperwork.

"Listen, there's this girl..."

"No, Bill."

"But you don't under -- "

"No, Bill."

"Will you stop being an arse for one minute and let me get a word out?"

"No, Bill."

Bill's hand slammed down on the desk, and Percy looked up sharply.

"You may not be on speaking terms with our father or mother or anyone else in the family," Bill said, "but by Merlin's frozen earlobes you will be civil when you deal with me, Percy."

"Are we still talking about Ministry business?" Percy asked. Bill made a disgusted noise.

"Fleur Delacour," Bill said, specifically pronouncing every syllable.

"Oh yes. You fancy her."

Bill spluttered. Percy grinned.

"How did you -- "

"I hear things," Percy said composedly.

"Yeah, well..." Bill slicked back his hair and tugged on his ponytail. "I do fancy her, see. And I offered to help her with her English."

"Is that what they're calling it these days."

"Only balls, Perce, I don't know how to teach anything to anyone, can't tell a pronoun from a hole in the ground."

"And you've double-booked, haven't you?"

Bill grinned slightly. "Aye."

"Margaret from Progressive Charms?"

"You're good."

"She's an animagus."


"So don't go spilling out your heart to the first lost kitten who wanders into your office."

"Look, that's not the point," Bill said.

"So tell me the point, Bill. Tell me all about the point," Percy said, laying down his quill with a sigh.

"I already told Fleur I couldn't make it. She's heartbroken. I can pick her up at seven but until then I need you to -- "

"No, Bill," Percy sighed.

"Come on, Perce, I'm in need here. It's two hours alone in a room with a beautiful French girl, teaching her how to say 'what a nice broomstick, can I have a ride'."

Percy lifted an eyebrow. Bill flushed.

"All right, perhaps not that phrase," he allowed.

"You cannot shake me in this, Bill," Percy said, picking up the report again. "I am as a rock. These things flow over me."

"Then I am as a wave and I am going to keep hitting you until you agree!" Bill shot back.

Percy took off his glasses and rubbed his nose.

"You look exactly like dad when you do that," Bill said. Percy stopped immediately.

"Just what do you think I do in this office all day, Bill? Moon about over French girls? I read reports. I write reports. I handle things. I don't have time to be babysitting your dates."

"You don't have time to do anything that might qualify you as human," Bill snapped. Percy glared up at him. "How many hours overtime do you work just because you don't want to go home, Perce? Back to that tired, shabby little flat?"

"It's no business of yours."

"It is when you could be spending that time helping me out!" Bill said in frustration. "Pretty French girl, Perce! I'll even pay for your tea!"

Percy put his glasses back on. He smoothed the top sheet of the report. Glanced at his quill.

"What day?" he said, reluctantly.


"It's tonight, isn't it?"

"Well, yes," Bill said uncomfortably. "About an hour from now."

"I hate you."

"Thanks, little brother." Bill gave him an encouraging grin, and went to the door. "She'll be waiting at that little cafe, you know the one, down by the Gringott's administration building in Diagon Alley. Don't be late."

"Am I ever?" Percy asked the closing door.


Fleur was not exactly waiting for him at Madam Tkai's Russian Tea Room when he arrived; she was just arriving herself from the other direction, bundled in a large blue coat against the autumn chill. She gave him a small wave, and a smile.

"Bill 'az abandoned me," she said, by way of greeting. "You are Perzy, yes?"

"Was it the hair?" he asked, with a sigh. To his surprise, she laughed.

"Zee hair! Oah yes!" she cried, clapping her hands. "No, we 'ave met before, at zee Triwizard Tournament. Do you remember?"

"How could I forget," Percy said, before he could stop himself.

That sounded almost...suave.

"Off course you 'ad many responsibilities," she continued, taking his arm quite against his will and leading him into the tea room.

He helped her off with her coat -- it was so obviously what she expected -- and hung both on the rack near the door. When he found her again, she was sitting at a little table, studying a menu.

"What is...pasty?" she asked. Percy blinked.

"They serve pasties in a Russian Tea Room?" he asked, seating himself across from her. She handed him the menu. They also served fried chicken wings, hamburgers, and Diet Coke, as well as the usual Russian delicacies. Peculiar little place. He gave her back the menu.

"It's like...a stew," he said. "In a pie crust."

She narrowed her eyes. "You 'aff me on," she said.

"Didn't you ever get them when you were staying at Hogwarts?"

"Oah, did I eat 'Ogwarts food, it was too..." she wrinkled her nose. "So 'eavy."

Percy wasn't really sure what to say to that; he was glad that the waitress appeared, bearing tea. He wasn't feeling hungry; he rarely did, in the evenings.

"What are you eating?" Fleur asked, after a moment. He shrugged, one hand touching the slick folded menu.

"I'm not hungry," he said. She cocked her head.

"You eizer?" she asked.

"Don't eat, if you don't feel like it."

"Iz impolite."

"To whom?"

She seemed at a loss for an answer.

It was already fairly dark outside -- the days were short, in winter, and the overcast didn't help. Percy wasn't surprised that the waitress returned shortly to light small candles -- tea lights, ahaha -- which threw flickering shadows on the wall. He gave her the menus, and she gave him a look as if to say he was a cheap bastard, but Fleur was smiling at him over the lights, and he found he didn't mind.

How long had it been since he'd sat somewhere, with nothing to do and no deadlines to meet? Ages. Possibly never, considering he'd joined the Ministry straight out of Hogwarts.

And, he reminded himself sternly, he did have a job to do. He snapped back to reality just in time to see Fleur's hand beat his to the teapot.

"Milk?" she asked.

"No, thank you," he replied, watching as she deftly poured two cups of fragrant tea, adding a little milk to hers with a determined moue of concentration. She had thin, graceful fingers; they passed him cup and saucer steadily, and offered him the sugar tongs. He waved it off with a smile, taking a slice of lemon instead. She made a face.

He was reminded that he was here on business, Bill's business, and he reached into the pocket of his trousers, pulling out a small, slim book, much dogeared.

"I erm...Bill said you wanted to learn better English," he said, as she sipped her tea, blowing gently on the steam. "I brought you this..."

She accepted it from him quizzically. "Sztrunk and White's?" she asked.

"It's...well, it's a Muggle book. It's not very interesting, I'm afraid, but it's quite good at teaching English grammar."

"I find English teaching to be moszt interesting," she said.

"Learning it, you mean?"

"Oah, yes," she waved a hand impatiently. "Zere is a word used. Wherever?"

Percy stifled a smile. "Whatever."

"Yes! Whatever!" she said happily. "You szee, already you are teaching me!"

He nodded over his tea. "What is it you want to learn, exactly?" he asked.

"Words," she said vaguely. "An' such."

"But what I mean know, like tenses and that, or just...what words mean what?"

"I like words," she said, giving him a level gaze. He missed the teacup with his hand entirely, then made it seem as though he had meant to reach out and tap the book.

"That's for things like punctuation. Commas, that kind of thing. Best way to learn new words really is to..." he shrugged. "Talk, I suppose."

"Yes! Let us talk," she answered, putting both hands palm down on either side of the table, and leaning forward interestedly. Percy found himself the focus of a look so intense that he could not for the life of him think of anything to say. His jaw moved up and down, and nothing came out. Finally, he said, in a slightly faint tone, "Skived."

"Skived?" she asked.

"Erm...yes. Skived," he repeated.

"Iz a type of herb, yes?"

"'s chives...skived is like...well...if you run off and leave something you're supposed to do, you've skived off."

Fleur gave him a sly grin. "Bill 'as skived, eh?"

"Yup. Done a runner."

"Done a runner!" she laughed. "Sztood me up!"

"Ditched entirely."



"Oooh." Fleur nodded. "I like zat one. Jilted!" she said, and laughed. Percy did too, until he saw the waitress glaring at them. He lowered his voice, and said "Dumped."

"Oooh. Dumped. Iz like Jilted?" she asked. "Bill az dumped me on you?"

Percy held up a hand, flat, and wavered it. "Dumped with me, really. Dumped also means thrown, sort of."

Fleur laughed again. "Yesz, as zough I fell on top of you, oui?"

"Oui," he said, smiling as he sipped his tea.

Perhaps this wasn't such a pain after all.


They fell into a comfortable pattern in the following weeks; through Christmas and the new year, though Percy rarely saw Bill, it was tacitly understood that Friday afternoons, he was the one who would meet Fleur at the tea room. They rarely ate; there was one time, in the spring, when Percy had been working for nearly twenty hours straight, and Fleur ordered a pasty and then refused to eat it until he had 'tested' it for her. He ate the entire thing. And she paid for it (he only recalled that bit later; he was rather tired at the time).

Usually Percy left around seven or so, and according to Fleur, Bill arrived shortly after. It was easier not to see his family, especially after Christmas, with his father hurt and angry and his mother just hurt and the rest of the family sullen about it. But how could he have kept the jumper that year? He hadn't done anything to deserve it, wasn't really one of the family anymore, and he thought perhaps she could give it to Harry, who never seemed to have enough warm clothes anyhow.

Besides, it would have hurt too much to wear it.

At any rate, Fleur must have spoken to Bill, because he never interfered with their lessons, never even came round asking if he could take over. Percy didn't really care. The English lessons became the highlight of his week; a bright colourful blot on an otherwise monochrome round of paperwork and reports. All week he saved up new words for Fleur like other men might clip flowers or buy chocolates.

He knew she wasn't interested -- after all, wasn't she seeing Bill? Must be going on several months now -- and she never seemed to want anything more than words. She was studying, he was sure; near Easter, she gave him back his copy of Strunk & White's, and he found new notes in the margins in a curlicued handwriting that certainly wasn't his own.

It was nearing summer -- after the debacle at Hogwart's, and what a mess that had been, Percy was grateful just to have a job still, though it was a near thing. Fleur had talked of going back home for a few weeks, though now that looked unlikely. Percy imagined it must be like the summers during that Muggle war, the ones they were always making 'movies' about. Things were dangerous. People were scared. But how could you care, when it was so warm out, and Fleur Delacour was sitting across from you at a table outside Florian Fortescue's ice cream parlour, eating a chocolate-ripple cone as if it were the daintiest delicacy?

Percy never ate ice cream; it always ended up on his nose. Fleur would never in a million years get ice cream on her nose.

Fleur was talking about going to a Muggle bookstore that afternoon, and being surprised that Muggle books did not reflect their contents -- books on monsters didn't bite, books on cooking didn't smell like fresh pies -- and he had been listening enchantedly. Her accent hadn't thinned, much, but her vocabulary had improved marvelously.

He was just going to remark on the Muggle phenomenon when what he recognized as a magically enhanced voice rang out down the street.

"ATTENTION! ATTENTION PLEASE!" the voice called. Percy shaded his eyes, trying to see where it was coming from. "ATTENTION! WILL ALL THOSE IN DIAGON ALLEY AND ITS OFFSHOOTS PLEASE PAY ATTENTION!"

Fleur had her hands on her ears. Her ice cream cone was dripping, and Percy took it from her. She gave him a desperate look.


People began to murmur excitedly. Percy knew what was coming; he had memorised the book on Ministry Emergency Procedure.

"DIAGON ALLEY IS BEING SEALED OFF UNTIL THESE FUGITIVES ARE LOCATED," the voice continued. Percy was running now, hauling Fleur behind him, heading for the Leaky Cauldron. Everyone else seemed too stunned to move.

This was a bit too much like that Muggle war...

He slammed through the entrance just as the voice continued. "APPARATION IS NOW BLOCKED BY ORDER OF THE AURORS. ALL EXITS HAVE BEEN SEALED -- "

Percy thrust Fleur towards the bar. "As you value being able to sleep on a bed tonight, get us rooms," he said. Others were already crowding the bar, clamouring for the same.

He ran for the door, but as he suspected, it was already sealed; he collided with an invisible field a foot away from it, and two Aurors stepped out of the darkness.

"Have a care, lad," said one, a tall black man. Percy recognised him --

"Here, you're a Weasley, aren't you?" the other one asked. Percy nodded breathlessly.

"You're Tonks and Shacklebolt, right?" he gasped. They nodded. "What's going on? Can I help?"

"Got any Auror training?" Tonks asked.

Percy shook his head. "But I'm Ministry -- "

"Listen, the best thing you can do right now is stay out of harm's way. Get yourself a room."

"I'm working on that," Percy said. "Are you sure there's nothing I can do?"

"Just keep yourself safe. And if you happen to see..." Tonks fumbled for a cheap copy of a photograph, out of which two scowling Death Eaters stared, "Bugger...caught in the lining of my cloak...Kingsley, give us a hand -- "

The tall man smiled and slickly handed Percy a photo. "If you see them, send up sparks," he said, impassively. Percy took the photo numbly.

"How long will it be?" he asked.

"Probably overnight. Just until we're sure they're gone, or captured," Tonks said. "Go on. You'll know when the place is opened again."

Percy nodded, and began to walk back towards the bar, examining the photo intently. Fleur, ice-cream cone long since discarded somewhere, was very nearly shoved into him, in the crowd; he caught her by the shoulders, steadying her, as someone elbowed him in the back.

"Let's go," she said. "I aff got us a room."

Percy didn't realise, until they were halfway up the stairs, what she'd said. "A room?" he asked, suddenly, taking her elbow. She turned and smiled at him.

"We would not haff had a room at all, ozzerwise," she said. "I fought." She held out her fingers, tensed like claws. "I fought Giribert Manslow for zer last key."

"That bastard! I'll kill him -- " Percy was already turning back down the stairs, but Fleur grabbed his collar.

"Eff we do not go now, szomeone else will break in and szteal it," she pointed out.

He sighed and followed her up the stairs. She wound her way through the mazelike hallways of the upper floor of the Leaky Cauldron until she came to a dim corner. He leaned on the wall while she unlocked the door.

"Oh, dear," she sighed.

Percy peered in over her shoulder.

It was a regular-sized room, of course, with a dresser and hard wooden chair and small desk.

And one, single, tiny, twin bed.

"Well, at least it's somewhere to stay. The streets are going to be murder. Look," he added, leading her towards the window in the far wall. It gave a fairly good view of Diagon Alley, and a couple of blocks in Knockturn Alley too. People were shouting at each other, running every which way; some were trying to Apparate and getting badly splinched.

Fleur, after a moment, walked to the bed and flopped on it with a sigh, kicking off the thin sandals she wore. "Sztuck in a boardinghouse in Diagon Alley. Szplendid."

"Sorry about that," Percy said, removing his own stiff shoes and boring grey socks. "If I hadn't wanted to go over infinitives -- "

"Bah! Damn infinitives," she said. "I would razzer be here zan miss our lesson."

Percy felt a warm flood of pleasure at that. He stifled it quickly. "And I'm sorry you're not going to get to see Bill. He must have gotten stuck on the outside," he added, sitting next to her. She rolled over onto one elbow and looked up at him.


"Bill," he laughed. "The bloke you're seeing? Comes by after I've done drilling English into your head every Friday and takes you far away from the cares of the world?"

"Oh yes," she laughed. "Off course. It iz fine. We will talk about English. We will haff..." she frowned. "Stay-over?"

"Stay -- a sleepover?" Percy shook his head. "Not in one twin bed, Fleur. You can have it. I'll..." he cast around. "Well, I won't sleep, that's all," he said finally.

"But you muszt -- zis room is for you az much az I," she pointed out.

"But you fought that bastard Manslow for it -- while I gabbled like a fool at a couple of Aurors -- "

"Eff you 'ad not gotten us 'ere -- "

"Oh, that was just instinct -- "

Fleur lay back, laughing. "I tell you," she said.

"I tell you what," Percy corrected. She stuck her tongue out.

"We szleep in shifts," she said. Percy flopped back also; her shining, silver hair was inches from his shoulder. "I will szleep until midnight, yes? Zen you wake me and szleep until five. Zen I will wake you and szleep until eight."

"That sounds rather complicated."

Fleur arched her back so she could tilt her head to look at him. "Yes, iz razer like somezing you would come up wiz."

Percy laughed. Fleur rolled over, her hair cascading over her shoulders, and regarded him from her elbows. "Iz zere any reazon we cannot enlarge zer bed?"

"Anti-enlargement spells. They're on all the beds so you can't pay for a single and sleep five in it," Percy sighed. Fleur's eyes -- always enchanting, though he'd grown used to them in a way -- were quite close to his.

"Ah well. Iz not to be 'elped. Let uz continue with zer lesson, yes?"

Percy closed his eyes, and grinned. "All right," he said. "Tell me what the -- "

"No, I 'ave a question," she interrupted. He could feel the air stirred by her hair.

"Fire away," he said, using one of her favourite expressions.

"I learned a new word today in zer Muggle bookstore. An old book..." she said thoughtfully. "Buss."

"Bus? Like a bus you ride?" he asked, curiously. He opened his eyes; she was looking mischevious.

"No, like...b, euu, ess, ess," she spelled it out for him dutifully. He laughed.

"That! That's just kissing," he said easily.

"Ah! Another one?"

"What, are you collecting them?"

She untucked one hand and began ticking them off. "Smooch, snog -- "

He chuckled. "Better check your definition on that one," he advised.

"Buss," she said definitely. "In French it is Bises, you know. Peck, to lip-lock, to...pucker up."

"What has Bill been teaching you?" Percy asked, a small stab of jealousy quickly stifled. He could hear her move, even with his eyes closed, but the touch on his lips still startled him.

"I haff studied independently," she said. "Zis is...aha...french kissing, yes?"

Percy was somewhat ashamed that, while her tongue slid into his mouth, part of him was bursting with pride that he had taught her the word 'independently'.

She tasted like ice cream.

He certainly hadn't taught her this...he doubted even Bill knew about what she had just done with her -- oh my...

One of her hands was resting gently on his stomach, the other supporting her as she leaned over him, her bright silver hair hypnotically shimmering -- this was Veela charm, he thought dimly. Full blast. An overdose.

But what about Bill...

He broke the kiss, and he knew she was surprised; there really wasn't anywhere for him to go on the narrow bed, but he managed to pull back a few inches and blurt out, "Bill!"

"What?" Fleur asked, eyes narrowing.

"Bill! What about Bill?" he demanded. Fleur sat up, toying with one of his shirtsleeves, and sighed.

"Zere is no Bill," she said softly.

Percy considered this. Denying his brother's existence wasn't really going to work. He was pretty sure Bill was still around; the git kept trying to get him to come to a Saturday lunch at the Burrow.

"Not for...oh, zhree, four months now," she continued. Percy gaped. "Not szince a long time."

"But..." he stammered. "But every Friday I leave right at seven so you can go meet him..."

Fleur looked massively embarrassed. "I zought...if we were not on good terms, Bill and I, you would not want to...see me anymore. And I knew you did not speak often..."

Percy felt as though a large mallet labeled "idiot" had pounded him on the forehead.

"So really," he said slowly, "for several months now, we've been dating without my knowledge?"

There was a distinctly giggle-like sound from behind the curtain of Fleur's hair.

Percy pushed himself up on his elbows, slowly, and reached out. His fingers ran through the silver strands, almost meditatively.

"And it wasn't just for the English lessons?" he asked. Fleur, her face still hidden, shook her head.

Very, very slowly, because if he moved too fast the world might break and turn into a dream, Percy sat up. He tilted Fleur's chin up, looked her in the eye. Oh, those eyes. He cupped her cheek, let his lips find hers, nuzzling the corners of her mouth almost chastely.

Then her tongue darted out again, and suddenly the kiss was anything but chaste. He had never even dared to imagine, but if he had, it would not hold a candle to this...

He felt her hands fumbling at his collar, and then her fingers spreading gently over the bare skin of his chest. But all he could do, really, was kiss her, over and over again -- his brain would not function enough to allow him to do more than that.

Fleur, on the other hand, was quite able to kiss, and touch, and make little noises in addition that were driving him quite mad. He finally located his hands and managed to slide them around her waist, feeling soft, surprisingly warm skin. His shirt was gone, somewhere, and his belt, he knew that had gone the way of his shirt, and oh dear, there went Fleur's shirt as well.

He was suddenly afraid to touch her; he had spent so much time learning his way around her mind, around her emotions, and he was entirely unskilled at learning his way around her body...

She laughed, low and even.

"Did you expect under zer clothes I would not be real?" she asked softly. "I uszed to 'ope you would notice..."

"Low-cut dresses," he murmured, as she pulled him forward. He propped himself up on his elbows, gazing down at her, one hand drifting along her shoulder. "High-cut skirts...but they weren't...they were always for Bill -- "

"Silly boy," she said, touching his cheek. "For Bill?"

"Nobody ever -- not for me...I'm not..." he fumbled, but she was pushing his trousers down and off and touching him...

He sat back then, and looked down at her; ran his hands up her thighs and tugged at the (yes, quite short, for him? This for him?) skirt she wore...her body was smooth, almost sleek, and his heart beat in his throat.

"What do you want?" he breathed. "Fleur, I don't...what do you want?"

She closed her eyes, and leaned her head back, perfectly calm and still. To his horror, she said something in French.

"I don't think I know how to do that," he said uncertainly. She took his hand, pulled him down until he lay once more on top of her.

"Iz not szomething which transzlates well," she whispered. "Let me show you..."

She guided his hands to her breasts, and he stroked the soft skin, listened to her sigh. It wasn't like this, sex was all fumblings in darkness and confusion -- it wasn't this deliberate, visible, pleasurable play of skin on skin and the light on Fleur's silver hair. He ran his hands smoothly down her body, felt her arch, understood now what she had been saying when she said it again, more urgently. He wondered, vaguely, if it was poetry or obscenity.

He was content to follow her lead, to let the rock of her hips set the pace, to listen to her soft cries. His whole body felt alive, sensitive to the very air, and he could feel every muscle, his and hers, as they moved. Could feel the tension coiling inside her, the way her eyes closed blissfully when she cried out -- and then a wave of pleasure hit him with physical, violent force and he let go of the world...

Except for her.

Fleur laughed a little, stroked her fingers through his short, touseled red hair and down over his bare shoulders, as he collapsed on top of her.

"Teach me English," she said, softly, in his ear. "Teach me all the words for love."

He breathed slowly, lazily, his hands tracing curves and angles on her smooth skin. "Do you need to know them all?" he asked. She kissed his temple.

"No," she said. "I think I do not need to know any of zem, after all."


[identity profile] 2007-08-12 08:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I can't believe no-one's commented on this yet.

This is lovely and charming and wonderfully funny. Fleur is a lot more likeable here than she is in the series, I think.

[identity profile] 2007-11-01 11:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I love you! *hugs* I've found a new fandom~ I think they suit each other very well. You write these scenes so beautifully, as if they were poetry. It makes me wish it was always like that! *hugs tighter* thank you, thank you for this charming story.
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)

[personal profile] lokifan 2011-01-24 06:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Charming and sweet and romantic. Also, your Percy is adorable.
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)

[personal profile] lokifan 2011-01-24 07:22 pm (UTC)(link)
:) It occurred to me that since I'm still spending more time in HP fandom than anywhere else, I should check out your stuff, Mr Big-Shot. I do like the White Collar stuff.

And this is totally adorable! Plays to your strengths a lot better than some of the other old stuff, too.