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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

Life is short, eat dessert first

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

In ways, Gracie-Mae had grown up a lot since arriving at Hogwarts. She'd learned loads, she'd met new friends, she'd been on adventures, and yet she'd also doubted herself, wondered if maybe she didn't belong here after all, and questioned who she was. But through it all, she liked to think that she was becoming a better witch and a better person.

 

And yet, some things had not changed. Gracie-Mae didn't immediately see her friends when she entered the great hall for dinner that day, but she didn't mind. She took an open seat at the Gryffindor table and began her usual dinner routine by shoveling some of the nearest dessert onto her plate - a lovely trifle. Gracie-Mae still didn't understand how anybody could eat a proper dinner when dessert was staring them in the face, and she simply couldn't resist the impulse. 

 

But as she placed the serving spoon back into the dish, Gracie-Mae bumped the elbow of the person next to her. "Sorry!" she yelped, slightly muffled through the bite she'd already taken. Then she realized she wasn't acquainted with the girl, and her silverware clattered back onto her plate as she quickly swallowed her food and extended a hand. "I'm Gracie-Mae, nice to meet you!" she added brightly. 

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Tabitha Callow

Tabitha to feel completely settled at Hogwarts but she was getting there. Some people seemed to fit in so well but Tabitha was an introvert and felt her social life was not progressing as fast as she would have liked. It wasn't all bad though, lessons were going well. Sure, she didn't know what she was doing most of the time, but she hadn't caused a fire hazard yet, and somehow landed herself with more than one 'Outstanding' grade in the recent exams which she was extremely proud of. All considered, Tabitha was doing well and was beginning to feel more confident than she had last term. With confidence came friendship she hoped.

 

Another element of Hogwarts she always looked forward to was the food. This evening she enjoyed a baked potato complete with a generous topping of cheese and beans. She mused over how the chef could bake a potato which was both delightfully fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. She made a mental note to venture to the kitchen one day to ask the chef for a receipe and to thank him for the delicious variety of food served every day. Students could eat whatever they liked, like the person across the table who was enjoying a pasta dish, or the girl beside her was tucking into a trifle for their evening meal which Tabitha found amusing in itself. With no parents around to set boundaries, it was common to witness percuilar diets from Hogwarts students.

 

Tabitha smiled to herself as she scooped a chunk of potato with her fork, lifted the fork to her mouth, and flung it at her cheek. She hadn't meant to throw food at her own face but rather unfortunately trifle girl had nudged her at just the wrong moment. Tabitha giggled, unphased by the incident. She wipped the cheesy, beany, potato gloop off her face with a napkin then realised that she was being spoken to. She placed the napkin on the table and shook the girls hand. "Hi Gracie-Mae, I'm Tabitha. Nice to meet you too." She replied, "Can I just say, I'm impressed with your choice of dinner. I might have to join you after I've finished my main course." Tabitha preferred deserts second but each to their own she thought.

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

Gracie-Mae was pleased that the girl had giggled - she hadn't meant any harm, and the fact that the girl seemed entertained was a good sign that she hadn't caused any. After all, Gracie-Mae didn't want to make a first year cry, or start a food fight (well, maybe she did want to do that one day, but on purpose, not like this!) or cause her fellow Gryffindors to feel unwelcome at their meals.

 

The girl introduced herself as Tabitha and Gracie-Mae beamed at her - not only had she meant what she'd said and was she genuinely pleased to make Tabitha's acquaintance, but she was also very relieved that the girl had responded well to the whole incident. Gracie-Mae honestly wouldn't have been surprised to have been told off or frowned at or otherwise shunned, and she felt it was very kind of Tabitha to take it all in stride. Impressive, especially since Gracie-Mae couldn't recall seeing Tabitha around before this year which meant she was likely only a first year.

 

"Oh, this?!" said Gracie-Mae, picking up her fork and gesturing to her trifle with it. She smiled sheepishly. "That's ... cool. Most people don't seem so impressed," she admitted. On more than one occasion her housemates had looked at her as if she'd had multiple heads - and for a second she'd had to wonder if perhaps she had sprouted an extra head or limb since Hogwarts was magical after all. But no, apparently it was just her choices in food that earned her such looks. "I was still gonna eat real dinner eventually, honest. Like ... oh! Yours looks good, maybe I'll have some of that. I just can't seem to convince myself to start with real dinner when there's dessert in front of me, y'know? It's like it talks to me." Wait, would that be misleading? Gracie-Mae quickly backpedaled. "I mean, it doesn't actually talk. Does food talk here? I haven't seen it yet but honestly I wouldn't be surprised ... "

 

Realizing that she'd started to ramble, Gracie-Mae decided this was a great time to shove some more trifle into her mouth. 

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Tabitha Callow

Tabitha raised her left eyebrow, she disagreed with what most other people said and fully supported Gracie-Mae eating desert before her main, or even instead of a main if she wanted to. "Do what you want, if Hogwarts didn't want you to eat desert first then they wouldn't have put it out at the same time as the main course." She shrugged, "I say take advantage of no parents telling you what you can and cannot eat."

 

Tabitha swallowed another mouthful of her baked potato whilst Gracie-Mae was talking. This time the first year succeeded in managing to get all of her food into her mouth instead of near it. She barely chewed before swallowing her mouthful to speak again. She smiled softly, "No, I've never heard any food talking around here but it wouldn't surprise me if  it did." She giggled. Then she remember that she had heard food make a sound before, but it wasn't talking. "Oh, but I have heard a snack croak before." She was referring to chocolate frogs of course. "Chocolate frogs are the weirdest things I've ever eaten but they taste so yummy."

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

Gracie-Mae listened as she chewed. She felt heartened - not only did she appreciate Tabitha's support, but she was also eating dessert and that never failed to make her feel better. It was nice knowing that at least someone respected her choices - and perhaps even nicer that Tabitha seemed cool with them despite making different choices herself. So what if she and Tabitha did not have the same preferences? Tabitha seemed to understand and that was what mattered.

 

"You've eaten them?!?" Gracie-Mae said in awe when Tabitha mentioned chocolate frogs. She hadn't consciously made the connection that her housemate must also have come from a muggle upbringing - but she definitely agreed that chocolate frogs looked like a weird food. Gracie-Mae forgot all about her dessert for a moment. "It's silly but ... it looks and sounds so real! And I know it's just chocolate but then I look at it and I want to try it but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet? It feels wrong to try to eat something that croaks and hops," she admitted. 

 

"What was it like? I mean did it get less weird? Do you get used to it? And does it like ... die?" Was that even the right word for something that had only been enchanted and had never really been alive in the first place? "When you eat it, I mean? It doesn't hop around your stomach or anything ... right?" Or did it? Maybe the Wizarding World was full of people with frogs in their stomachs and Tabitha was terribly brave to have joined them in their odd traditions. 

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Tabitha Callow

Tabitha giggled, chocolate frogs were weird but she sort of just accepted it for what it was without much of a second thought. When you are bombarded with moving paintings, magic wands, cauldrons, and the lot, animated chocolate frogs just sort of become normal in the mix. She thought for a moment before replying.

 

"I suppose you are right, eating something like that is extremely odd. We don't have anything to compare it to in the non-magical world." She replied, "So the first time I ate one, I bit the head off first. Savage, I know, but oddly satisfying and very tasty. Then, after that, the frog didn't move." She answered with a sad frown, "I suppose I killed it, or broke the spell or whatever, but it definitely didn't hop about in my tummy."

 

"You should try a chocolate frog, it's an experience." She suggested.

 

"So where are you from?" Tabitha asked. She knew that Gracie-Mae must be from a muggle family like Tabitha and it was nice to talk to someone else who understood how different Hogwarts is to the world they knew.

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

Gracie-Mae let out a giggle. Some of the trifle in her mouth fell back onto her plate and she surreptitiously poked at it with her fork to shove it back into her mouth as if it had never happened. Nobody saw anything ... or so she hoped. 

 

But she couldn't help but be amused at what Tabitha was saying. The idea of Tabitha - who seemed like a very nice girl - biting the head off of a chocolate frog was quite entertaining. It also made Gracie-Mae consider her fellow Gryffindor in a different light. Tabitha wasn't just any old first year, she was Slayer of Chocolate and Devourer of Frogs. 

 

"If it's all magic, then it's not alive and you can't kill it ... right?" Gracie-Mae pointed out, because it made her sad too when Tabitha frowned. "I think I will try one, though," she resolved, although she hadn't the slightest idea when the next time was that she'd be able to buy one. She supposed one of her classmates might be willing to give her one, or else maybe on the train ride home? She'd figure it out later.

 

After polishing off the rest of the dessert on her plate, Gracie-Mae answered Tabitha's question. "I live in Suffolk, in Sudbury to be exact. My family's all normal ... er, I mean non-magical. Except maybe my little sister? I dunno about her yet," Gracie-Mae admitted. "I miss them, and everything's so different here and I don't think they really understand what it's like, you know?" she added wistfully, before turning the question back on Tabitha. "What about you?" Gracie-Mae asked as she reached for a baked potato and proceeded to load it with toppings. 

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Tabitha Callow

All this talk of chocolate frogs made Tabitha really crave one. Unfortunately, she did not have a stash in her dormitory and couldn't think of a way to get her hands on one without leaving the castle. "Yes! Definitely try them, and if you manage to get one then get a second for me please!" She said excitedly.

 

"That's cool, is it nice there?" She asked, "I know what you mean, I miss my family too but they don't understand what this is like here, I swear they still think I am making it all up." She sympathised with a smile, "It's nice to meet someone on the same page." She added.

 

"I'm from Cornwall, not too far from Truro." She answered, "It's just me and my dad, I'm an only child and my mum passed away five years ago." She told her, suddenly shocked at what she was saying. Tabitha hadn't talked to anyone at Hogwarts about her family life as it wasn't a subject she opened up about much to anyone. "It's okay though, my dad is great!" She added.

 

Tabitha finished her baked potato and looked at Gracie-Mae, "Hey, do you duel?" She asked, changing the subject. "I'm not very good, but I was going to head there after this meal. Did you fancy a game?" 

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

The thought of trying a chocolate frog alone was far more daunting than the thought of possibly convincing Tabitha to eat one with her for moral support, so Gracie-Mae was quick to nod her agreement. "Of course! I'll see what I can do!" she said, now all the more enthusiastic about trying out a chocolate frog to see what all the fuss was about. It would be an adventure! Now if only she could figure out how to get a chocolate frog, they'd be all set. 

 

"I like it there, yeah," replied Gracie-Mae. She had discovered that 'nice' was a relative term, so she avoided a simple yes or no and instead shared her opinion. "And I know, right? Most of the kids here come from magical families, and it's like they don't understand what it's like to live without magic." Gracie-Mae often felt like she was stuck awkwardly between the two worlds - her family had no way of grasping what life with magic was really like, and many of her friends had no way of knowing what it was like to truly live without magic. 

 

"I'm sorry," she said quietly, when Tabitha mentioned her mum. Gracie-Mae could only imagine what that was like and what she could imagine instantly saddened her mood. "It's cool your dad is so great though!" she added, because Tabitha seemed not to be dwelling too much on the sadness of it and Gracie-Mae didn't want to bring her down.

 

The mention of dueling was almost enough for Gracie-Mae to forget about her potato. "I duel!" she answered eagerly. "I mean, I did? I sometimes do? I used to and then I didn't really and now I'm trying to get back into it again? It's complicated." And normally she didn't talk so easily about it, but once she'd started opening up to Tabitha she was having difficulty stopping the flow of words coming out of her mouth. "I'd like to duel, though," she added brightly. "We can head down there whenever you're ready!"

 

And then she remembered her potato and started hurriedly stuffing it into her face because there was dueling to be done which meant there was no time to waste!

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