Hermione learned more about dancing in one day than she’d ever thought one could learn in a single lifetime. She grew an appreciation for Draco who seemed so tuned-in to all of this. The way he talked about dancing resembled nothing short of passion. After spending a bulk of her childhood with him, this was not on her list of things she thought that he’d grow passionate about, but then again, Draco’s favorite dance was the Tango. So Hermione had admitted there were a lot of things imbedded within the Tango that people may not see so easily. She supposed now that Draco’s love for dancing was one of those things.
As for Hermione, she had always liked dancing, but only for recreational purposes. There were only a few instances where she thought of what it’d be like to be a professional dancer like the people she and her dad watched on TV. But that thought had never lingered. As the first week of dancing practice passed by Hermione had grown a hatred for dance. She had grown a hatred for hate as a matter of fact.
That’s what the Paso Doble was made of. There was no smiling. No slow, sensual gestures. No gentle steps. No floating on air. Faces were meant to be stern and every gesture was meant to be hard strokes. The woman was able to display some sense of femininity, but that was one of the hard parts: trying to be feminine while also being harsh. Draco argued fiercely with her on this, and Hermione was moments of way from screaming at him several times before internalizing it. She figured that if she kept her annoyance of him as a dancing instructor on the inside, then maybe it would come out in her dancing.
It was a good theory and on occasion it worked. But it was only the first week, and despite Draco’s nitpicking, he was smiling after four and a half hours of practice on Friday and offering to pay for dinner after “a day’s work well done.”
“I knew dancing would be a lot of work, but I swear that if we don’t win I’ll bite my hand off.” Hermione said as she snapped her menu open. Draco laughed.
“It’s a lot of effort yes, but at the end of it you’re proud of what you did.”
Hermione nodded. The menu she was holding only contained drinks so she supposed that’s what they would order first. An odd setup almost, not to have the menu for food there too, but she didn’t think on it too much. She decided on champagne, rewarding herself for working so hard, and set the menu on the table with a contented sigh.
“You know, I still can’t imagine you here.” Hermione said after a short pause. “As a dancing instructor… I mean, I know that you said you went to the studio as anger management, but why did you stay?”
“Maggie,” Draco replied simply. A waiter came to their table and took their drink orders. As he took their drink menus, he gave them the menus for food of which only Hermione took hers to look through because Draco had become too preoccupied with talking. “The Minister had put me under her supervision. I was nineteen back then.”
Hermione looked up at him in surprise. “You’ve been at the studio for seven years?”
“Seems longer than that to me… Of course I didn’t want to be there. Maggie had her hands full and was close to Owling the Minister to say that she refused to continue to take me on.”
“What changed then?”
“…Maggie partnered me with Ava.”
“…You know,” Hermione said slowly. “As I think about what you said about dancing partners and the dances that suit them…I can’t help but think about you and Ava and the Tango that you two did.”
Draco stared at Hermione curiously. She didn’t notice however. She was too busy hiding her face behind her menu.
“You’ve been learning.” Draco smiled. He took a moment to peruse his menu and then set it aside. “Ava and I have been together on…a number of occasions. And though it was attempted, a relationship never went any more than that.”
“Why not..? If you don’t mind me asking, that is,”
“Well, think about what you know about the Tango as it applies to a couple and you tell me.”
Hermione put her menu down on the table and thought for a moment. She then cleared her throat and said, “As beautiful as it looks, the Tango is nothing more than a staged play; an act filled with nothing more than faux emotions.”
“Exactly,” Draco replied sternly. And Hermione wondered heavily if that day when she had came to the studio and saw him watching Ava dance the Vietnamese Waltz with another instructor, if that anger on his face was imbedded with jealousy? The Vietnamese Waltz was all about the sharing of emotions after all –the opening up of oneself and giving your all to another.
All at once Hermione felt sorry for him.
Arrive at two, the music starts, and Draco makes Hermione practice dancing across the floor with precision and fierceness –alone and with him. Facial expressions were practiced in one of the many mirrors as well as to each other so as to make sure neither cracked a smile. The competition was a month away in August –the weekend before Ginny’s wedding –and they had been practicing for a month already.
Hermione was tired. Each time she showed up to practice Draco seemed to be holding her hand tighter and tighter. He twirled her faster, his steps were harder, and his critiques were sharper. She was completely fed up with him every time she was with him. On countless occasions she had threatened to murder him, which had the adverse affect of making him smile. He’d then go on to ask if she hated him, to which she’d quickly say yes and then the practice would resume again. At least at the end of everything Hermione could genuinely smile. Not just because it was over, but because Draco stopped being such a slave master.
Truth be told, outside of his instructor persona, Draco smiled often. His sarcasm was down to a minimum, and even when he used it, it was never in a degrading way. He and Hermione laughed after every session. They spent about an hour or so after practice each day talking about what had been going on in the other’s lives for the past eight years that they hadn’t seen each other. Hermione already knew for the most part what had been occupying Draco’s time, namely the dancing studio, so she simply talked about herself. It was a boring tale, so she thought, but Draco was attentive nonetheless.
“I was not scowling at you.”
“You were too!” Hermione argued. She rolled her eyes and stretched. “I’ve had to deal with your face glaring at me for years. I think I’d be able to recognize it even if it was a brief encounter.”
“Okay, fine, maybe I glared at you all those years ago.” Draco gave in, making sure to emphasize his last few words. “But give me some credit. That was before anger management.”
Hermione shrugged and took a deep contended breath. She was lying on the floor of the studio, as was Draco some feet from her, and they were talking about the last time they had seen each other before meeting up again at the studio. Of course one remembered the event differently than the other, which was now the subject of their small debate until Hermione decided to bring up a different topic.
“Hey, why didn’t you want to tell Ginny congrats on her wedding? You seemed so reluctant to talk to her.”
“Should I have been eager?” Draco scoffed. He sighed and rolled onto his side so he could see her instead of just hearing her voice. “We don’t have such a pleasant history in case you’ve forgotten.”
“So does that mean our history was a picnic then?” Hermione laughed. She rolled over onto her side as he did and saw the expression on Draco’s face signaling for her to continue her thought. “..It’s been a little over a month and I still don’t fully understand this, you know. You felt that way about Ginny and yet you danced with me. Why?”
Draco looked like he didn’t want to answer. He was hesitant to speak and when he did, his words were quite surprising. “I was transfixed by you.” He took a moment to sigh and continued. “Do you feel as I do when you watch someone dance? I mean really dance? Well, imagine that and that’s my motive for dancing with you that night. I wanted to see if you were as good as you looked.”
“…And was I?”
Draco smiled. “That’s something else I’ll answer when we win.”
Hermione smiled too and moments later she was gathering her things. It was about near seven in the night, long after the time she usually left, and she finally decided that it was best that she got going. She bid Draco goodbye and he waved her off. As she reached the front door of the studio Hermione groaned in annoyance, realizing that she had left her umbrella in the practice room. Granted she was in a wizarding district and could very well use her wand to get through the rain to the apparation spot, but her house was in muggle London, and she was sure that her magic there would get her hanged. Sighing, she made her way back to where she’d come, but slowed her steps. Maggie was in the room with Draco and she sounded none too pleased.
“I still don’t understand why you’re doing the Paso Doble with her!” Maggie said exasperatedly. “I’m not saying that it’s bad. It’s lovely, but you need chemistry. You’d fair much better doing the Waltz. Or at the very least the Tango..!”
“The Paso Doble is fine,” Draco defended. He crossed his arms about his chest and clenched his jaw. “We’ve only been at it for a little while and she’s not a professional. We’ll get it perfect eventually.”
“It should be perfect by now, you know that. What was one of the first things that I taught you?”
Draco sighed. “Perfection comes first, absolute perfection second.”
“Yes. And after all this time you should be passed perfection and working towards absolution.”
Maggie took a deep breath. She conjured a chair and sat down, seeming to be relieved to get off of her feet. “I need you to win, Draco. I don’t dance anymore, but even standing causes my feet agony. You know that I’m retiring from here at the end of the summer, and if you’re to take over this studio, winning the competition and collecting the prize money to buy this place from me is necessary.
‘Please, Draco, do a different dance. The technicalities for the Paso Doble are there, yes, but the facial expressions and emotions are not. The dance needs anger and fierceness. You’ve expressed the reasons why you chose the Paso Doble in the first place. But how you felt towards Miss Granger back then certainly isn’t how you feel now. The same goes for her.
‘Choose another dance.”
Hermione made sure to back away from the entrance of the practice room slowly so as not to attract noise. Once she was far enough and sure that the sounds of her shoes wouldn’t give her away, she threw herself through the front door of the studio and right into the rain. She didn’t even use her wand. All she cared about right then was getting away from the dance studio, and casting a spell to repel the water would only waste time of her escape.
When the music started the next day Hermione was ready. Draco stood in front of her, strong and proud, and all she saw was a deceiver; someone who told half-truths and left out pertinent information for their own personal gains. The first part of the dance was supposed to show repulsion. Hermione thought that to be easy at this point as she stood afar off, her gaze casted to the side. At the proper moment Draco strode over, and at the proper beat Hermione looked up, fierceness in her eyes. At the right drop in tempo, she moved backwards at each step he took, but his advances were to be bigger than hers. Soon Draco’s hands were clasping her wrists, and their bodies swayed sharply to the left and then right to give to give the illusion of a struggle. Only Merlin knew how badly Hermione wished Draco knew she was struggling for real in order for him to release her.
But now it was her turn – a moment in the dance where Hermione gained the upper hand and she wrenched her wrists away from him, raising her arms above her head. There was very little space between the two of them at this point, but Draco took a step forward either way. A fit of rage, no longer imaginary, forced her to push him away from her. As he stepped forward yet again, Hermione placed a hand on his chest and, rhythmically to the music booming around them, she continued to push as they walked. A slap to the face wasn’t executed, because Draco caught her hand, and snatched the other from his chest. They were in the customary dancer’s position now, and they used up the entire space of the dancing room; going around and around and twisting their bodies in swift movements according to the tune of the music.
Once again Hermione gave Draco a sharp shove. She had broken free. She hastily turned from him and ran, soon feeling his hands grasping her upper arms. She felt herself leaning back onto him, as she raised a perfect leg in the air with pointed toes. Slowly she was realigned to standing position. And quickly she was being turned in Draco’s arms to face him yet again. With both hands on her arms a hard jerk was made to the left, as though he would throw her onto the ground. In fact he did let her go, but this part of the dance had been expertly drilled into their heads. They were unafraid. Yes, Hermione was now in a freefall, but Draco quickly caught hold of her arm just under the elbow, and she held onto the same place on his arm.
The music paused. It was planned that at this moment everyone in the audience would be holding their breaths. Their form had to perfect. At this moment it was. Hermione’s body was elongated; her left arm was straight, fingertips pointing to the ground, and her legs were pressed together as though they were attached from the thigh right down to the toes. Draco was holding onto her just by one hand. It was amazing how much strength that took. His other arm was high above his head, and his whole body resembled a fencer as he prepared to lunge. Yes, that pause in their dancing was breathtaking, for neither Hermione nor Draco breathed.
And when the music kicked back up, Hermione swung herself up so Draco could properly grasp her other arm. He pulled her ever so slightly, yet sharply, so she was almost in a squatting position. Here he let her ago a second time, but this time there was no catching. Hermione fell and slid at the same time, but with a dancer’s grace. Each move that happened next occurred in its proper second. She rolled over onto her back; her body position that of someone who had just been assaulted and was staring at her attacker with pure hate. Draco advanced. Hermione crawled backwards. And when the music gave a loud finish, Hermione sharply turned her head to the ground, as if shielding herself from another attack as Draco jumped, finishing with a hard landing, legs spread apart, and Hermione lying beneath him as he stared her down.
Now if that wasn’t the Paso Doble, Hermione didn’t know what was.
author's note: my oh my it's been a while since a post has come. how terrible of me. well, i must say that i absolutely ADORE this chapter. mostly because of the dance described at the end. it was a bit hard for me to do, but i hope a visual was put into your minds! ^_^
and now time for some news that may be shocking, BUT this fic will end either on chap 4 or 5!! i have this story listed as "short story" and i really did mean it lol. srry! i had originally planned this to just be a one-shot, but i just kept on writing ^_^
but anywho, thanks for the support and i hope that you liked the chap!
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