Disclaimer: The characters of the HP world are the property of J. I own nothing.
'Dancing with the Wizards'
"I think that's enough for today,' Hermione said looking at the clock that hung on the wall over Rosie.
She had spent the better part of the day teaching Fred the basic steps required for the cha-cha, hopelessly trying to make him loosen up. She hadn't managed to achieve what she had expected but it wasn't overly bad either. At least he knew his left from his right which was more than some people could ever hope to achieve.
They had had a quick lunch break where Rosie had taken the opportunity to explain to them their schedule for the coming weeks. The first live show was in three weeks and in between their rehearsal time they had to squeeze in a photoshoot for their promotional material and a TV advert. Soon enough their faces and those of the other contestants would be plastered all over Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. There wasn't going to be a person alive who wouldn't know about 'Dancing with the Wizards'. And all of that was without counting the meetings they would need to have with the costume designers as well as all the interviews they had to film for the show. The Wizarding TV Network was going all out to make sure their show was a success.
Hermione had huffed in annoyance at having her rehearsal time entrenched upon. She had already planned to use every minute available to practice their routine to perfection; she wanted to make a good, strong, first impression with the judges to prove to them that they were serious competitors. She had even hoped that if they made good progress they might be able to start practicing for their second dance. That was going to be impossible now. She would have to sit down and plan the rest of the week all over again.
"Ready for dinner tonight?" Hermione asked, wiping her sweat with a towel all while digging single handedly in her bag for her wand.
From his horizontal position on the floor, Fred emitted a low groan before pushing himself up on his forearms.
"They're going to have so many questions aren't they?"
"Oh just a smidge," Hermione chuckled as she finally wrenched her wand out from the bottom of her bag. "I mean it's not like Molly moved this week's dinner forward so she could be the first to hear what you have to say. Or that Ginny won't figure out you're hiding something from her and threaten to jinx you if you don't tell her what it is. Even Bill isn't opposed to using his wife's Veela charms against you if he thought he might get something out of you."
"You're talking as if they're not going to be pestering you about it too. I'm willing to wager they'd have more questions for you than they would for me," he said, wincing slightly as he stood up.
"Yes, but they don't know I'm your partner and they won't know until the promotional shoot is done, which gives me more than enough time to prepare myself for the onslaught of questions."
Fred's face lit up in mischievous delight as he sauntered to her side. "Funny that. Just this morning as I was signing my contract, Rosie told me I could inform my family about the identity of my partner if I so wished. And dare I say I very much do so."
"You wouldn't," Hermione gasped, spinning around to face him, her eyes wide in surprise.
"Wouldn't I Hermione? Wouldn't I?" He watched in unabashed glee as Hermione slumped down on the chair opposite Rosie.
"Think of it as ripping a bandaid. Quick and painless," he continued.
"Quick and painless my arse," she responded while opposite her Rosie looked at them in amusement.
"Someone's been spending too much time with Ron," he tutted, taking way too much pleasure in the situation.
"Don't think I'm not going to get you back for this," Hermione continued, folding her arms across her chest, unhappy with the sudden role reversal. She had been quite content being the one doing the teasing, not being teased.
"Where's your sense of camaraderie?"
"It disappeared once you started blackmailing me."
Fred chuckled at her words, "Come now, we don't want to be late," he said as he picked up her bag and handed it to her, a new found swagger in his actions.
Fred and Hermione Apparated into the backyard of the Burrow with a loud pop. The twins were big believers in making an entrance and Fred wasn't about to let their reputation slide even when he wasn't with his twin. Plus it was always fun to watch people startle.
George and Ron were busy laying the table with Molly's mismatched dinner plates while Bill conjured Bluebell flames into empty jam jars to keep them warm. Even though it was the beginning of June, the English weather meant that the evenings were still cool and impossible to bear without a little warmth.
"Fred's here," George hollered as he put down the plates he was carrying and made his way towards them. "With Hermione, no less."
"I told you we should have come here separately," Hermione whispered to Fred as they made their way towards the others.
"Why does it matter. It's not like we're hiding a tawdry relationship," he said wiggling his eyebrows at her. "Unless…"
Hermione swatted his shoulder and nervously pulled at the sleeves of her longline cardigan. "Unless nothing," she hissed. "Don't you dare even think about it or I'll Bat Bogey you so hard you'll wish Ginny would have done it."
Fred guffawed, slightly unsure whether the brunette was joking or if she was serious. One could never be too certain when it came to Hermione.
"What's happening here?" George questioned, grabbing Dominique has she ran past them.
"Nothing," the two of them answered in unison. George stopped short in front of them, his eyebrow rose in surprise.
"What do you think Dom?" George asked the little girl who was busy poking his cheek. "I think something fishy is going on between these two."
"I'm going to see if Molly needs any help in the kitchen," Hermione said, ruffling Dominique's hair as she passed by them. The earlier she made her escape, the better.
"Up, up," the little girl clamoured, uninterested in the conversation of grown-ups.
"I'm just an ends to a means for you aren't I?" George asked, tickling her belly before tossing his niece in the air and catching her deftly as if she weren't any heavier than a Quaffle.
Dominique squealed in delight as George threw her in the air two more times before putting her back down. Once back on the ground, the little girl ran to her older sister who was busy playing with a set of dolls, eager to tell her all about her experience flying.
"So? How was it?" George asked his twin as they made their way to the others.
"Fine," Fred answered, pausing to think about a better answer without revealing too much. "Unexpected, I suppose. It's going to be a lot of work."
"When has that ever stopped us," George said matter of factly. "But first tell me how it went. Did you meet your new partner? I need details."
"Later," Fred continued. "Once everyone is here. I don't want to have to repeat myself."
"You don't want to have to repeat yourself," George reiterated, his voice going up a few octaves in surprise. "Since when do you wait to tell me something. I'm not some peasant that gets told things with everyone else."
"Trust me, you're going to be glad I didn't spoil it for you," Fred teased, patting his twin on the back as they made their way to the house.
"So, Fred, tell us about your day," Molly said as she put the last of the dishes down onto the dining table unable to contain her excitement any longer.
Fred had stuck to his word and had refused to talk about even the smallest thing concerning his first day on 'Dancing with the Wizards'. No matter how much they begged or pleaded he stood firm, insisting he would tell them everything over dinner. This only made Molly more eager to get the food out and she had employed Hermione, Fleur, and Ginny to help her finish preparing the meal in the kitchen.
Everyone stopped what they were doing to stare at him and Fred answered their questioning gaze with a knowing smirk.
"Well in the morning I met with Rosie, my junior producer, who will be overseeing my partner and me. She will also be liaising with senior producers in case we need anything. We went through my contract and discussed some of the rules," Fred said before launching into a detailed explanation of the more boring parts of his contract.
At the other end of the table, Hermione handed a dish piled high with roast potatoes to Bill who was sitting next to her, rolling her eyes at Fred's behaviour. He knew his family didn't give a hippogriff's ass about the details of his contract. All they wanted to know was who his partner was and he was taking too much pleasure in drawing the revelation out. Not that it bothered her, there he dragged it out the less likely he was to tell them it was her. Maybe if she was lucky he'd drag it out till after dessert and she would be able to sneak out before the big revelation was done.
"Enough about that," Ginny interrupted him. "Tell us about your partner, did you meet her?"
"And more importantly," George continued. "Is she single?"
"What? No questions over her level of attractiveness?" Fred questioned his brother and Hermione had to refrain herself from throwing a bread roll at his face and instead contented herself with a grunt of displeasure.
"Well she's a dancer, so by default she has to be attractive, it's simple Arithmancy."
"Ugh, men are such pigs," Ginny complained, spearing a carrot with her fork.
"Hey!" Harry whined.
"Not you babe, you're the exception," she said, patting his thigh. The Weasley brothers sniggered between them, amused at Harry's hurt reaction, which was quickly silenced by one of Ginny's famous death glares.
"Tell us more about your partner?" Molly said trying to bring the conversation back to focus. Despite the fact that her children were all adults now they still managed to behave like toddlers when all together. "I read on the WizardWeb that she's a salsa champion from South America."
"I read zat she is a 'ip-'op star from America," Fleur said while fussing over Dominique who was making a mess of her food.
"Since when do you read gossip sites?" Ginny asked, Fleur was firmly against reality TV shows and took every opportunity she could to tell people how they were killing their brain cells watching such programs.
"Since zis pregnancy, I cannot concentrate on anyzing. It eez driving me crazee," she sighed, shaking her head desolately. "Ze only zing zat I can still follow eez these stupid shows."
"It's just a temporary predicament," Bill cajoled, leaning towards his wife and rubbing her back soothingly, earning him a gagging sound from Ginny.
"She's none of those," Fred interrupted. "And George, she is single but I don't think you would be interested in her. Or vice versa. Especially vice versa."
"Nonsense, who could resist my good looks?"
Hermione choked on her carrot and Ron absentmindedly patted her back while continuously shoveling food into his mouth, his eyes fixed on Fred so as not to miss out on the story.
Fred sat up straighter in his chair, putting his cutlery down and brushing at imaginary crumbs on his shirt. Ginny rolled her eyes at his behaviour, already regretting having left her wand on the kitchen counter where she had been helping Molly. He could do with a spark of two up his pompous ass.
"Hermione," Fred said as if it was explanation enough.
"What about Hermione?" Percy asked, pushing his glasses up his nose, seriously thinking about joining his sister in rolling his eyes if it wasn't so distasteful.
"Hermione's my partner," Fred continued, a proud, triumphant smile on his lips.
"What?" Ron said through his mouthful of half chewed food, a confused look on his face while George spat out his Butterbeer, spraying all those opposite him with the beverage.
"Shut. Up!" Ginny said swinging around in her chair and slapping her fiancé on the shoulder, her eyes wide in surprise.
"Language," both Molly and Fleur shouted, the French woman giving her sister in law a deadly glare as she belatedly covered Dominique's ears.
"I don't understand," Molly said, "I thought you were supposed to be paired with a professional partner? Why aren't you paired with one?" she asked her son.
"I am paired with one. Hermione is a professional dancer," he answered, a smug grin on his face as Hermione squirmed uncomfortably in her seat.
George who had just recovered from his coughing fit took another sip of water to calm himself down only to spit it back out again to the utter delight of Victoire who was now cheering her uncle on with loud shrieks of Encore! Encore!
"I don't understand. I just don't understand," Molly continued shaking her head while spooning more food into the plates of those sitting in her reach. Her whole world had just been thrown off its axis at the news. She couldn't understand that something so significant could have been kept from her. "Hermione dear, can you please tell me what's going on?"
"It's the truth," Hermione said, setting her fork and knife back down. "I've been dancing since I was four."
The table exploded with noise as everyone tried to ask their question at the same time. Fred leaned back in his chair, folding his arms over his chest, proud to have started such pandemonium.
Hermione just stared at them and let them calm down by themselves. Over the years she had learned that there was no point in trying to quieten them down and it was better to just let them ride it out until they realised that their questions were not getting answered.
"Wait, so this isn't a joke" Ron interrupted, staring intently at Hermione.
Hermione fidgeted in her seat, this was the part she had been dreading. "No this isn't a joke Ron. I am Fred's official dance partner on the show."
"How is that possible?" Bill asked as the rest of the table looked on in confusion, only Harry had a smug grin on his face.
Hermione took a gulp of her water before launching into the story of how she became a professional dancer for the second time that day. Part of her felt relieved that she didn't have to hide that side of her to the people she considered as her family and the other part was nervous about what they would think and if they would hold it against her for having kept it a secret for so long.
"Dancing is passion, it's art in the most beautiful human form. There's so much emotion that you can express without a single word. Each movement tells a story, a character that you portray through them. Dancing has taught me so much about hard work and determination. That to succeed in life you have to put the effort in and see things through. In a way dance gave me the tools I needed to become the person I am today," Hermione finished, as a heavy silence took over the room.
"That's wonderful my dear," Mrs Weasley said in amazement, clasping her hands together at her chest.
One the Weasley matriarch had voiced her approval, the onslaught of questions started back anew. Hermione felt a wave of relief wash over her. She had been worried that they would take the news badly, having kept it a secret from them for so long. It was always difficult to judge how Molly would react to such news, especially if it affected any of her children.
"I can't believe I know two people who are going to be on TV," Molly continued, shaking her husband's arms vigorously in her excitement.
"I can't believe the two of you are going to be spending every waking moment together from here on out," George said, his eyes darting mischievously between the two of them. "Who wants to place a bet on who's going to kill who first," he continued, pulling a small roll of parchment from his pocket.
"Me,me,me!" Ginny teased, raising her hand up and bouncing on her chair. "I say Hermione, three weeks."
Hermione rolled her eyes and shook her head. This was going to be a long summer.