Harry Potter and the Recusant Successors @nonsensicalrants
Chapter 4: Cook-Off

Chapter 4:

Cookoff

The next morning saw Harry waking up in a full body ache. He would have suspected a terrible flu, save for the absence of chills, eyeball pain and fever.

Raising his head he surveyed the room and found it to be unchanged from the night before. Burnt cauldrons littered every inch of the floor, their contents bottled by whoever checked in on them and thought it best to let them sleep. There, on the other side of the room, was Excaliber.

She looked different when she was sleeping, with a more normal mousey brown color to her much longer hair, which reached down to her shoulder blades. She also had a lot of freckles and not just covering her face. Maybe she used her abilities to hide those instead of using makeup? He made a mental note to ask somebody if metamorphs are incapable of keeping transformations while sleeping, because he suspected this was what Tonks actually looked like without using any of her shapeshifting abilities.

The position she was sleeping in couldn't be comfortable though, as she was completely wrapped around a cauldron with her face resting on the rim. So was Harry, now that he noticed his own choice in sleeping position. No wonder he was in so much pain. Deciding to try and spare her some of that same pain Harry fetched the throw pillows off of the chairs around him and laid them out next to her before gently prying the young woman from her work and lowering her onto them.

With that good deed out of the way, he left the room to see if there was some food waiting downstairs for him. With Molly Weasley in the house there was a good chance for it.

"It's unthinkable! How could you even try to profiteer after this disaster!" Mrs Weasley was fighting somebody. This didn't bode well for his prospective meal.

"Because, I'm taking all of the risks in transporting this junk so I get paid, and Albus already promised me a thirty percent cut!" An unfamiliar voice countered.

Harry peered down to see the Weasley matriarch argueing with a short, pudgy and raggedly dressed man whose appearance just screamed "crook." He wasn't one to judge someone on first appearances, especially with his hand-me-down clothes, but this man didn't look like the sort of law abiding citizens would associate with.

"But it's barbaric! How can you take advantage of people in need?" Oh, Ginny's there too. Let's see this man try to battle two redheaded women at once then.

"Actually, he's not taking advantage. Smugglers and price gougers like him provide far more relief after disasters than any other relief efforts." That one was Hermione, and if it had been anybody else Harry would have scoffed at the claim and made his presence known, but for now he chose to listen.

"When price controls or restrictions are applied to markets after a disaster, or anytime really, it causes instant shortages. Partly because people will hoard supplies making it impossible for the vast majority of people to get any at all. Worse, with the prices kept low sellers and transporters have no incentive to take the financial or safety risk of procuring more of the life saving supplies, and producers have no way of knowing there's a need without the market signal of higher prices and won't manufacture anywhere near enough."

There was the telltale silence that followed every Granger speech in which Harry knew everyone else in the room was staring at her

"Slightly oversimplified, but ostensibly correct, miss Granger. I take it you have read the works of Milton Friedman?" Came Snape's cool voice.

"Actually I'm a much bigger fan of Thomas Sowell, professor." Answered Hermione.

Time to make his presence known then. He descended the final flight of stairs, walked past the mysterious criminal and his pallet of sweatshop potions, and entered the dining room where everyone else sat around the table.

"Morning everybody." He greeted whilst stifling a yawn.

All eyes immediately turned on him. Oh hey Sirius is here too. Let the fussing begin!

"Harry Dear we were so worried!"

"Good thinking sending us the street signs, Son. It was a nightmare trying to find you blind."

"Hedwig was in a right state when she arrived."

"We had everyone out searching, I was even allowed to help, putting my skills as a tracker dog to good use."

Harry was so swept up in the Molly/Sirius sandwich (which was tight, sweaty and oh so loving) that he almost missed Snape trying to sneak out of the kitchen and towards the front door. A thought occurred to Harry, a thought that would have seemed utterly insane to him just a couple days before.

Maybe it was his newfound sense of perspective, but Severus Snape had just pulled an all-nighter, spending an entire day of his finite life with people Harry knew he didn't like very much, to help save lives with his prodigious potions skills. That deserved an olive branch, didn't it?

"Wait! Professor!" Harry called after the potions master.

Snape whirled around in that overly-dramatic way he is want to do and stared Harry down.

Whoa, retract the claws there professor. I come in peace.

"I, um, I'm pretty sure we're about to have a big family breakfast. Won't you stay and eat with us?"

The reactions were instantaneous. Sirius scowled at him, Molly and Hermione gave him an appraising look and every Weasley below the age of majority, and two above it, outright hissed at him; which with his ability to understand parseltongue actually translated to utter gibberish.

"What?!" Harry said defensively before voicing his thoughts. "He just pulled an all nighter to help respond to a worldwide crisis, while working with people he can't stand, I might add. That deserves a little consideration don't it?"

Sirius opened and closed his mouth several times as if he wanted to argue a point, but eventually sighed in apparent defeat.

"Harry is right. Severus." Sirius said, looking Snape directly in the eye. "You are more than welcome to break bread with us all in my home. Whenever you wish to do so."

This was Sirius' house? Wow, it really wasn't Harry's place to invite a guest over was it? Then again, being his godson and all meant it was kind of his house too right? Cool godfathers let their godsons invite dinner guests, right?

"I appreciate that, Sirius, really I do." Snape said, looking to all the world genuinely touched by the offer. "But I must refuse. I have a meal ready to cook at home that has already been marinating too long."

Harry couldn't tell if it was an honest refusal, or an excuse he made up on the fly. It sounded an aweful lot like an excuse he made on the fly.

"Oh come on Professor!" Harry pleaded. "Just make it into a stew for dinner and bring it over for a potluck or something. Mrs. Weasley is an excellent cook and I'm sure she can whip something up to compliment it."

"That may be true, Mister Potter, but I am a better cook."

Dead silence met Snape's claim. Harry turned to the Weasley matriarch to see she had outright flinched away from Snape with an expression that could be best summed up as "EXCUSE ME!". Harry had no doubt that the hand she held to her chest was in response to the literal heart attack she just suffered.

"I'm not one to brag about such things, but I am a five star chef." Snape bragged shamelessly. "It is required as part of a potions mastery to attend a premiere Muggle university for culinary arts, and I graduated top of my class from Le Cordon Bleu in the heart of Paris."

Harry very much wanted to call bullshit on that claim, but Snape continued on his rant before he could.

"As a matter of fact, Molly had begun a potions apprenticeship herself, but dropped out to have William if I'm not mistaken."

Mrs. Weasley confirms this claim with a nod.

"That is true, but I have spent the last twenty three years cooking three square meals a day for my brood, and I would argue that experience through application trumps education alone."

"What? Do you think I've allowed my own skills to stagnate in the decade and a half since I attained my masters? I cook three squares a day for myself, without exception, and I strive for quality."

Sirius chose that moment to chime in.

"It sounds to me like we need to settle this dispute the good old-fashioned way." His godfather said. "It's time for a COOKOFF!"

Sirius, the younger Weasleys all descended into uproarious cheers and words of encouragement. Even Harry fell into the festivities and tried to egg the two cooks on.

"Now now, there's no need for that. Severus has already declined the invitation we can wait for..."

Molly Weasley broke out of her deflection at the sight of Professor Snape rolling up up his sleeves and marching towards the stove.

"Oooooh." Went the peanut gallery as Mrs. Weasley repeated her earlier look of offended whiplash.

Seeing as it was morning, both the potions master and Weasley matriarch tore into the supply of eggs with a ravenous fervor. Mrs Weasley seemed to be going for omelets, replete with chives, bell peppers, cilantro and cheese that she chopped with charmed knives while manually beating the eggs with a whisk. Harry couldn't tell what Snape was doing but it involved a strainer, a boiling pot of water and a bowl of apple cider vinegar mixed with ale.

Fred and George excused themselves to go get a camera just as the two competitors started on their side dishes. As soon as they were out of sight Harry pulled Sirius aside.

"How in the hell did you find Snape into this so easily?" Harry whispered into his godfather's ear.

"You spend seven years sharing a quarter of your classes with a man and you learn the right way to press his buttons."

"Teach me."

"What happened to burying the hatchet?"

"To hell with the hatchet, I want to fuck with Snape at school."

"That's my boy!"

While they conspired in the corner the two cooks continued in their competition.

Mrs. Weasley went with the classics; bacon and sausage patties. The smell of frying eggs and pork filled the room as the smoke and steam wafted from the stovetop to the kitchen table where Ron was already setting the table. Professor Snape went with skillet-fried steak and sliced pears, which he cooked in a separate pot on a low heat, dashing flour, confectionery sugar and crushed cloves, stirring and crushing it until it became a pudding.

With their meals finished both Mrs Weasley and professor Snape served up a plate for everyone, with Snape adding a few last-minute touches, namely freshly ground pepper, some chives of his own and a spoonful of the vinegar/ale mixture he'd cooled the eggs in.

There was no denying it. Snape's food definitely looked better, with the perfectly oval poached eggs perched atop medium rare steak and sweet pear and clove pudding on the side. What Mrs Weasley's meal lacked in beauty it more than made up for with its massive proportions. The difference in their cooking abilities was clear. Molly Weasley cooked for pure caloric impact; Severus Snape cooked like an artist, with extra focus on health and flavor. One type of food was best eaten like a pig, horking it down; the other, slowly and with proper table manners.

Each person at the table, along with the spots for three missing people, had two breakfast plates set on them.

Harry wanted to dig right into the potion master's masterpiece, but felt uncomfortable trying the man's food first. This was mostly due to their mutual dislike of each other and partly because of Harry's fondness for Mrs. Weasley. Sirius had no such qualm and split his egg with a fork, lathering his steak in the liquid yolks.

"Boys! Nymphadora! Breakfast is ready!" Mrs. Weasley called out through the kitchen door.

"It's Excalibur." Harry corrected without thinking.

"What's Excalibur deary?" Mrs. Weasley asked him.

"Her new name. She likes it." Harry explained. "I coined it. I'm sure she'll legally change it at the first opportunity.

Snape made a face like he wanted to challenge that statement, but seemed to think better of it. He probably decided it was best to maintain the tentative peace they'd just created.

Fred and George arrived long before Tonks, but there was a decidedly awkward, no, nervous pep to their step. They paused at the kitchen doorway, glancing at each other and everyone in the room.

"So um, we are about to ask you all an odd question." Fred preemptively warned them.

"And while it's going to sound bizarre, like a joke coming from us, we need you to know that we're serious." Continued George.

"Deadly serious."

"So if you could answer with complete seriously..."

"Just get out with it you dolts!" Snape erupted at them exactly two second before Harry was planning too.

The twins shared one last glance, cleared their throats and with perfectly serious expressions asked their question.

"Have any of you been making deals with the devil?

Dead silence meet their question.

"What?"

"Huh?"

"Come again?"

And so went the line of questions.

"You know, the devil." Explained Fred.

"Lucifer." Clarified George.

"The morning star." Fred further elaborated.

"Prince of darkness." George spelled out.

"Lord of the flies." Added Fred

"Oh no, that's Beelzabub you're thinking of, completely different entity." Corrected George

"Stop!" Sirius ordered, interrupted their tirade. " No, there has not been any communing with demons under this roof. If there was, I would know."

Well that just raised all kinds of questions for Harry. First, demons are real? Second, Sirius can detect if one has been contacted in his home? That wasn't even considering the possibility of Satan in particular being an active threat to humanity.

"Because he's here here." Fred told them.

Who's here, dears? Molly asked, as if she hadn't quite understood the perfectly clear statement.

Fred and George shared one last concerned glance before turning back to their mother and answering in unison.

"The devil."

They all stared at the twins with blank expressions for a few moments. Then, as if it was choreographed, they all stood up from their chairs in perfect unison, marched through the kitchen door, down the entrance way and filed into the living room and display room on either side of the front door.

They all pressed themselves against the grimy windows, trying to squint through the muck and see if they did indeed have a supernatural visitor.

Standing on the sidewalk across the street was... Well it looked an aweful lot like the devil. He had a few more horns than Harry expected from the fallen archangel, which added to his intimidation factor. Even from this distance Harry could see the black-clad figure had unnatural red and yellow eyes, as if displaying the lake of fire itself.

Harry had seen some terrifying things in his days, and this guy certainly ranked. But he was doing something that put him a notch even above witnessing Voldemort rise out of a cauldron in that graveyard.

He was staring directly at Number 12 Grimmauld place, as if the fidelius charm wasn't even there.

Notes:

I myself am not a five star chef, nor have I gone to culinary school. But I'm sure my description of the cook off is proof enough that I can cook just fine.

And it took four whole chapters, but our second title character has finally made his debut. Darth Maul is in the house!

Reviews:

Guest wrote:

When does this take place in the star wars story? If I'm reading thus right harry is in book 3 or 4 so I k ow about how old he is but as of the droid and mandalorians... pre naboo crisis?

Response:

I explained this in chapter one just below the title.

This story takes place a few weeks prior to the beginning of Order of the Phoenix and in the comic book Son of Dathomir in chapter 3. Which you can read for free online.

doctor of supreme awesomeness Wrote:

Awesome!

Response:

Well if a man with a doctorate in supreme awesomeness says a thing is awesome, I'm inclined to believe him. Thank you good sir, I always enjoy feedback from experts.

Qorianth Grindelwald Wrote:

Question! Why is everyone making so many potions? I love the story, but that confused me. If everywhere is covered in cauldrons where could you treat people. and how can you treat people if they don't know where you are?

Response:

They weren't brewing the potions for use at Grimmauld place. They were brewing them to transport them to places where they can be used.

Also, any relation to Albus' would-be homosexual life partner?

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