A/N: Captain of Pride of Portree.
Prompt: "this tastes nothing like chicken." - Merlin.
WC according to gdocs: 1262.
"What is this shit? Are you trying to poison me?" yelled the food critic; Draco Malfoy. "This tastes nothing like chicken!"
The waitress, Hannah Abbott, hung her head in shame. Everyone in the restaurant was staring at her, and the 'so-called' food critic, everyone around them started whispering to each other.
Suddenly the door to the kitchen swung open, and there stood Neville Longbottom, shaking with rage.
"Have you got a problem, mate?" asked Neville loudly as he approached the white-blond critic's table.
"Neville, don't," said Hannah quietly. "Let's take this out the back, yeah?"
"Yes, I have a problem! But let's take this discussion somewhere a little more private, like your little girlfriend suggested." Draco sneered.
"Please, sir, there's no need to be like that," said Hannah indignantly. "We can get you a new plate!" Hannah flustered, trying to clear the plate away.
Again, Draco just sneered as he rose to his feet.
Hannah then took Neville by the hand, giving it a quick squeeze. Neville looked at Hannah and gave her a weak smile before the pair of them headed towards his office, the loudmouth in question hot on their heels.
"Now then, what seems to be the problem?" asked Neville as calmly as he could.
"What was that shit you just served up? I asked for a Coq Au Vin; that was not a Coq Au Vin! I have no idea what that was!" said the loudmouth. "Accept maybe inedible."
Neville clenched his teeth in annoyance. This guy was really starting to grind his gears.
"Who in God's name do you think you are?" snapped Neville. "Who are you to criticise my food?"
Draco sat there, incredulous. Didn't this guy know who he was? "I am THE top food critic in the UK; Draco Malfoy!"
Neville looked nonplussed. Hannah, however, let out a gasp of recognition. She then gave Neville a look that said: 'don't fuck with this guy!'
"I'm so sorry, Sir. Had I known who you were…"
"You'd have what? Made sure that I got exactly what I asked for?" Draco asked coldly. "Don't start with the platitudes, young lady! It's far too late for that."
Just then there was a diversion, and it came in the form of Dennis Creevey putting his head around the office door.
"Oh, I'm sorry to bother you, Chef, but there's a problem in the kitchen."
Neville looked at the ceiling in disbelief. Could this night get any worse? Neville wanted to ask, but he thought better of it. He dared to glance at Draco. Neville could have sworn he just saw the guy figuratively lick his lips in excitement. He was the kind of pillock that got off on others bad luck! Sighing, Neville headed out of his office and into the kitchen. He found Ernie MacMillan having a complete meltdown over his Chicken Provencal which was burnt to a cinder. Neville pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation.
"Ernie, mate, just calm down, okay," Neville said loud enough to hear over Ernie's persistent cursing.
"I will not calm down! One of these buffoons didn't think to check the oven before turning the temperature up, and chucking their tray of shit in! Now my creation – my FOOD is ruined!" cried Ernie hysterically.
Again, Neville sighed. Ernie–like most creative genius'–was prone to the occasional, and very dramatic, meltdowns; he had at least two a week. Neville, however, was loathed to get rid of him, he was that good, and his dishes were always spot on.
"I will have words with them … again. Come on, guys, how many times have I asked you to check the ovens before putting stuff in?" Neville groaned.
"Sorry Chef," chorused the staff. Many of them looking flustered, embarrassed and more than a little afraid.
"It was totally Terry's fault! It's his turn to share Ernie's oven," piped up Ginny accusingly.
Neville metaphorically clenched his fists. Terry Boot was part of the reason why Ernie kept having his meltdowns. As much as Neville wanted to, he couldn't fire Terry just yet, he had no one to replace him.
Out of his peripheral vision, Neville spotted Draco standing in the doorway, his arms crossed over his chest, and a huge grin on his face. Neville felt heat rush from his neck and up to his face. Why was this guy set on tormenting him? The Golden Snitch had been running for years with no problems, so why was everything going to shit now? Neville wondered if bad luck followed this guy around, and that was why everything that could go wrong was going wrong.
Just then Ernie spotted Draco, and a look of elation crossed his face. "Draco Malfoy! Sir, this is quite an honour!"
Some of the staff looked at each other and mouthed 'who?' while others looked on in awe that a world-famous food critic was stood in their kitchen.
"Thank you, Chef," smirked Draco. He sounded almost sarcastic, and then added, "I use that term lightly." He didn't consider any of these people chefs; maybe a good cook, but never a chef.
"So what brings you to The Golden Snitch tonight?" asked Ernie joyously.
"I heard from a friend of mine that your restaurant was one of the best in Stockbridge. But having tried the food here, I have to say; I heartily disagree!" Draco said with his world-class sneer.
The whole kitchen stilled.
Then like a jumbo jet warming its engines before take off, the kitchen erupted into a cacophony of voices all speaking over each other in sheer disbelief.
Ginny flared into action and actually punched Draco in the mouth. It took both Hannah and Dennis to pull Ginny off the critic before any more damage could be done. All the while, Draco roared in anger that Ginny would be hearing from his lawyer. Neville was about ready to 'call it quits' when the owner of The Golden Snitch came strolling in through the back.
"What in God's name is going on here?" Frank Longbottom called above all the hubbub.
Again the kitchen stilled and fell silent.
"Dad, thank God you're here!" said Neville in relief. "It's been a hell of a night!"
"So I see. Care to explain?" asked Frank.
"This is a food critic; Draco Malfoy. He's visiting us tonight, and well, he pretty much accused us of poisoning him with the Coq Au Vin he ordered. He did it in front of a full-house, Dad!" said Neville in a pained voice.
Frank looked like he was about ready to thump Malfoy too. "Why is our guest on the floor?"
"I thumped him," said Ginny in a small, shy voice.
Frank put a hand to his mouth and smothered a laugh with a cough. "Pick him up, and let's see what the damage is."
Ernie and Terry hauled Draco to his feet between them before Draco pulled away in anger.
"If you'd like to come this way," said Frank diplomatically, trying to hide an amused smirk. As he turned away, he winked at a flustered Ginny, at least now she knew she wasn't in trouble.
What went down in that office nobody knew. Frank refused to spill the beans, Ginny didn't hear from Malfoy's lawyers, and nothing in the way of a review appeared in the Stockbridge Press. The Golden Snitch, as always passed its hygiene check with five stars only a few weeks later, and it was decided between Frank and Neville that the Coq Au Vin was just a bad batch that night in question.