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Chapter 2: Food, Glorious Food
The first time I came to Hogwarts, there was one thing alone that amazed me. It wasn't the sky-roof, or the sternness of Headmistress McGonagall's gaze, or even how short Professor Flitwick was.
It was the feast.
I have an unhealthy obsession with food. If not for Quidditch, I would be over a hundred kilos by now. Which is not a glamorous look.
So when I walked into the Great Hall and saw mountains of food piled high on ginormous plates, it took quite a few students to keep me walking up to the front instead of sitting my arse down and stuffing my face with steaks and fried potatoes, washed down with some juice. Of course, being Taylor Zabini, I was last to be Sorted, which meant last to eat.
Just my freaking luck.
I was twitching with anticipation when my name was finally called. I almost bounded up and sat eagerly on the squeaky wooden stool that made my feet dangle a few centimetres from the ground, being a midget first-year at the time. The Hat was placed on my head, and everyone stopped talking.
"Hmmm...well, you seem to be the last one. Where to put you?"
The hat had spoken. In my head. That was so...awesome. You know, apart from it stating the obvious. If we're going to do that, Mr. Hat, I must say, you look extremely old.
I could have sworn the hat chuckled.
"Intelligent, that's for sure. You could be good in Ravenclaw. You're loyal, that's a Hufflepuff quality. Plenty of bravery, even in stupid situations, and even more ambition."
"Oh Merlin, anything but Hufflepuff." I would be disowned if I got into Hufflepuff.
"So not Hufflepuff? How about Ravenclaw? You'd do good in there."
"Just not Hufflepuff, please. I'll take you to a hat maker. You can get a pretty ribbon or something. As long as you don't put me in Hufflepuff. If you do, I'll burn you."
"Well, threatening me? That's the main part of a certain house, one I think you'll do well with...SLYTHERIN!"
The Hat was lifted off my head, and I went to sit on the left side with some people I had met on the train who had also been Sorted in Slytherin. I was sad to see that the red-headed twins I'd met on the bus were at the Gryffindor table, and that the dark-haired boy and the Asian-looking girl were at the Ravenclaw table, but the people who were with me seemed good enough.
Six years later, I was still sitting with all those people that I'd been Sorted with, and ignoring one of them completely.
Whilst stuffing food into my mouth. At a fairly quick pace.
I'm a great multi-tasker. Just ask anyone in the Slytherin Quidditch team, there's no-one else who can gossip, keep an eye on the Quaffle and smack a Bludger into the stands (sorry, poor unfortunate first-years with poor dodging skills) at the same time.
Scorpius was talking about the Chaser tryouts in a high pitched, it's-like-Christmas-and-my-birthday-and-New-Year's-all-at-the-same-time-plus-firewhiskey voice, and Sarah and Jason were feeding each other bits of food in between kisses and nibbling each other's ears.
Hadn't they ever heard of getting a room? Yes, the Great Hall is a room, but maybe an empty room? That had a lockable door? And sound-proofing?
I swallowed a bite - well, more of a shark-sized bite - of lamb and turned to Scorpius. "When are these tryouts on again?" Scorpius frowned, making his forehead crease and his eyebrows meet, as much as you could tell with his blond eyebrows. "Didn't you listen to anything I said on the train?"
Shit. I was supposed to listen to that?
Scorpius took my silence as a no, as he always did. Jerk. "They're on Thursday next week at four. Wish school hadn't started on a Friday, we would have had a Chaser for an extra week, and that's a week of practices and formations we could have been doing."
The fucking formations. That was the only thing Scorpius thought about when he was in I'm-the-Captain-of-this-team-and-it's-my-way-or-fifty-gagillion-laps mood. I usually get annoyed by him and snap at him, which earns me laps.
Hey, it burns off all the food, so I guess it's a good thing.
Yes, I eat way too much, but I must do something to keep it all off my hips and thighs. Otherwise I wouldn't be walking, I'd be waddling. Or in a hospital bed being wheeled around by a group of males nurses.
Yes, male. You got a problem with that?
Scorpius turned to Goyle and started chatting, which was my cue to stop talking and do something else immediately. I grabbed one of the puddings which had just appeared and stuffed it into my mouth with as much grace as drunken Hippogriff wearing a frilly tutu.
I would pay to see that. Seriously, it would be hilarious.
As I continued to stuff a variety of sugary, chocolaty desserts into my mouth, Sarah and Jason left, followed by Scorpius. Which left me alone with Goyle. Hip hip, hooray!
The stupid twat turned to start talking to me. I was pretty sure I'd gotten the message across on the train, but no, he had to continue to harass me. Before he could even open his mouth, I grabbed a pile of cakes and fled to my Quidditch-filled dormitory, the one place I was safe from enemies, idiots, and people who were both.
Of course, the one exception to that policy of safety, aka my roommate, was there.
How the fuck did Evelyn fucking Abbott get into Slytherin? She should have been in Hufflepuff.
Maybe I can call for a redo. There must be some way to redo the Sorting, right? Some sort of policy?
No? Fucking hell, that would make my life so much simpler.
As I walked in, still clutching my cakes, she gave me a look that suggested I had stolen the food from starving African children. For Merlin's sake, woman, they were just cakes. Just to spite her, I stuffed a strawberry one into my mouth, groaning in pleasure dramatically.
Damn, the cakes here are good.
She rolled her eyes, stood up stiffly and walked out, leaving me peacefully alone with my cakes. Which basically translated to stuffing my mouth with a record number of cakes and chewing like a hippo with a toothache. Not at all like the public saw me.
To the public I was Taylor Zabini, star Beater, always callously indifferent. Taylor Zabini with the flowing dark waves, brown-flecked green eyes and olive, naturally tanned skin. Who was tall and slim, and could hit a twenty-five centimetre target from the other side of the pitch. Not Taylor Zabini of the bottomless stomach and the gaping mouth. Definitely not Taylor Zabini who could fit seven cakes into her mouth at once and still be able to move her jaw.
That had to be a record of some sort.
I kept chewing contentedly, hoping to be able to fit another precious, delicious cake in.
Ugh. I sounded like that creepy thing in that movie, that crawls around and whispers "My precious," all the time. Not a good look, Taylor.
The door chose that moment to swing open, distracting me from my thinking, and Sarah walked into my room. Well, more of a stiff march. I quickly swallowed the cakes - I only choked once, which surprised me - and patted the bed. She remained standing, a sort of steely look in her usually soft grey eyes.
Oh shit, that can't be good.
Sarah looked at the carpet, confirming my suspicions. Carpet was never that interesting, unless you were hiding something. "Taylor, I need to talk to you. Alone."
I looked at her closely. She was blushing intensely and tracing patterns on the carpet with her foot.
"Sweetie, what's wrong? Is it something about you and Jason?"
Sarah blushed even more. That didn't bode well. I was so glad that blushes didn't show on my skin. Whenever Sarah blushed, she looked like a tomato.
Stay focused, Taylor. Your friend is suffering, and you're thinking about vegetables.
Sarah sighed and played with a strand of her light brown hair. "Not here, Taylor. Someplace where we won't be interrupted."
Her tone implied I had to decide where. Great.
I thought for a bit - well, a few minutes. Thinking is not my strong point. Where was a place that you could go and almost never be interrupted?
Only one thing sprang to the front of my mind, mostly because of my appetite.
"Kitchens, half an hour. See you there." Sarah nodded stiffly and left, leaving me sitting on my bed. What was I supposed to do in half an hour? I had no homework, the Dumbledore book was boring, and all the first-years were asleep, it being nine o'clock at night.
Wusses. Afraid they'd oversleep and miss classes in the morning. I was never like that.
Well, back to my dilemma. What was I going to do in half an hour before I had to deal with whatever it was that Sarah was worried about?
Might as well go to the kitchens and get some more food while I'm waiting.
Merlin, I would be over two hundred kilos if not for Quidditch.
Disclaimer - The Gollum quote belongs to the Lord of the Rings which is owned by J.R.R. Tolkien. I have no ownership of either Gollum or the Lord of the Rings.
Did you enjoy your slice of Slytherin with a side of conflict? You didn't? Either way, tell me in that magic grey box that gets bigger the more you put in!
Cheers, Phoenix Quill :D