Can't Take the Salsa - Written for the June 2014 Twin Exchange
"Mexican Food?" Ron's eyebrow quirked suspiciously.
George threw an arm around his unsuspecting brother's shoulder. "Don't get your robes in a tangle, ickle Ronniekins, this is definitely cuisine you'll want to try."
"Right you are, Gred," Fred joined in without missing a beat. "We've traveled across the globe searching for fresh ideas for new products, and we happen upon the local fare from time to time. Believe us when we say that there is nothing quite like Mexican Food."
Ron still looked unsure.
Hermione peered over from the armchair by the fireplace and rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Ron. You hardly even take the time to chew before inhaling at mealtimes. Surely a bit of bonding with your brothers would do you some good."
"Alright, fine—" Ron huffed defiantly. Fred and George looked pleased. "—but Hermione's coming too."
The witch just about fell out of her seat. "Oh no, you are not roping me into this, Ronald Weasley!"
"Oh really," Ron stared her down. "Have other plans?"
They both knew perfectly well that she hadn't. She wasn't exactly dating anyone, and job offers were still pending. After several seconds she sighed in defeat, and the twins grinned mischievously.
"The more the merrier, eh Forge?"
"Vacation comes but once a year, Gred."
At that moment Mrs. Weasley entered the sitting room. "What's this about vacation?"
Hermione grimaced at the twins as she turned to the matriarch. "Fred and George are planning to take Ron out to dinner – and they've insisted on Mexican Food."
To everyone's surprise Mrs. Weasley let out a tickled laugh. "I remember going to see Manuel Dragore in concert just after I'd come of age. Travelled all the way to Mexico just to see him—" She let out a wistful sigh. "—Then the girls and I went out for drinks at the cutest little restaurant, and there was a man in the mariachi band…"
She must have realized she'd been rambling, because she stopped abruptly and changed her tone. "I forbid you to go to Mexico for drinks!"
George laughed, patting her on the back. "Take it easy, Mum. We swear we won't run off with a suave man in a sombrero. Well, maybe Ron, but—"
"—Hey!" Ron stood in annoyance.
"Besides," Fred rose, shoving Ron lightly into his chair. "I'm certain our dates will keep us in line."
At that remark Hermione snapped her head up sharply. Dates? "If you think for one second be Ron's date after that DISASTER at the British Quidditch Qualifiers you can forget it."
"It's not like I meant to knock you over the railing!" Ron burst out in a poor attempt to defend himself. "It's been ages since the Cannons won a Qualifying Match!"
"Relax," Fred winked. "It's all as friends anyway."
She pursed her lips in acute deliberation. Traveling across the world just for the sake of trying something new wasn't generally Hermione's style, though it did admittedly sound fun.
"Oh, all right." She looked away in demure resignation.
The twins cheered and set to their planning.
Two weeks later Hermione sat beside Angelina Johnson and Katie Bell eyeing the red sauce skeptically. They sat across from their respective dates, each of whom looked measurably more confident about their appetizer. Ron's stomach grumbled.
"I don't know," Katie looked nervous. "The waiter said it was quite spicy."
"Trust me, ladies, you'll love it," George reassured them. "Salsa is a Mexican staple." He winked at Angelina, who bit back a coy giggle.
"Oh fine," Hermione smirked. She took a chip and dipped it in the salsa, taking a bite. A myriad of flavors, spicy, sharp, biting, and a hint of sweet, took over her senses. Mmmmmh.
"Good heavens, this is amazing!"
Ron sighed in relief and began to gorge himself on salsa. The girls joined in as well, but not thirty seconds passed before Ron's eyes began to water and Katie stood from her seat in utter terror. Their eyes both shared the same panicked thought. Too Spicy! Immediately they raced toward the loo with their mouths hanging open.
"Blimey," George looked toward the restrooms. "Guess they couldn't handle the salsa."
"I suppose we'd better make sure our dates are alright." Hermione took a chip, grabbing one last bite of salsa before going off in the direction of her date with Fred close behind.
Several minutes passed as Fred and Hermione sat on a bench near the loo waiting for their dates. Hermione glanced around boredly while Fred tapped his foot. Finally she turned to the twin.
"Do you think we'll be stuck here long?"
Fred shrugged. "Buggered if I know. Who would have thought Katie couldn't take the heat. She's a right lot tougher on the Quidditch pitch."
"Well, I suppose the waiter did warn us. Ron and Katie were just unlucky."
"But you liked it just fine."
"That's because my palette is more accustomed to a variety of flavors," Hermione rolled her eyes. "Ron is more concerned with quantity over quality."
Fred laughed. "I feel bad for her though. She only came after Angelina begged."
Hermione's interest piqued slightly. "You mean you two aren't – you know, together?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Is that relief I spy on your face, Miss Granger?"
"Certainly not!" She huffed. "Let's just go back to the table and keep George and Angelina company."
They were nearly to their seats when Hermione peered around. "Where on Earth are George and Angelina?"
Then she spied them salsa dancing gleefully in the center square of the restaurant.
Fred let out a hearty laugh and swept Hermione toward him in a swift motion.
"Oh no we're not…" Hermione started.
"Come on now, Hermione. When's the next time you'll have the chance like this?"
He quirked his brow, and Hermione couldn't help but grin. "Alright, Fred. I suppose one dance couldn't hurt. I do hope Ron and Katie won't mind."
They joined George and Angelina on the floor and began to dance. Hermione was unfamiliar with the moves, but Fred kept to the beat surprisingly well. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Just how often do you visit Mexico?"
"We're expanding Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, Hermione!" Fred mocked. "We're expected to know the culture!
"Yes, I'm sure you are," she rolled her eyes yet again. As the music went on their moves became more fluid, her twirls more graceful, their steps more sinuous. Before Hermione knew it they were whirling around the floor with laughter.
The song finished, and the two of them were still entwined closely, breathing heavily. Fred stared at Hermione's flushed face and was surprised at the intensity of her gaze. Another song began to play.
"Ready for another?" He winked.
"Yes." Her answer was breathy and full of excitement, surprising him further.
As the new song played their movements became sharper, tighter, and more polished as their bodies moved in tandem to the rhythm surrounding them. He'd never seen Hermione like this, and he couldn't take his eyes off of her.
The song finished, and a few of the surrounding tables applauded the couple. Fred took one last look at Hermione and decided to throw caution to the wind, kissing her soundly.
More cheers rang out from the surrounding patrons, and Hermione pulled back in a gasp of surprise.
"Fred, that was—" a flurry of thoughts blurred across the witch's face, but just laughed. "Merlin, I love salsa."
"The food or the dance, love?" he grinned at the witch.
She simply laughed, pulling the wizard down and meeting his lips once more.
George and Angelina peered at the scene from across the dance floor, and George shrugged, "Guess they couldn't handle the salsa…"
Prompt: Mexican Food (and Fireplace briefly)
Quotes: "Vacation comes but once a year.";"Do you think we'll be stuck here long?"
Thanks for Reading! -V