"You're kidding," Ginny's face was priceless. She stared at Hermione with awe after she revealed everything that happened to her after she and Draco were kidnapped by the thief.
Hermione shook her head as she ate her chicken salad. "Nope. Lucius Malfoy is the thief, and under Umbridge's orders, he has stolen the Organink Wand and the Organink Potion, using both to bring back Voldemort and other Death Eaters back into this world."
Ginny started cracking up and banged the table, nearly spilling her glass of water over her lunch. "Oh my gosh, Hermione! I still can't get over what those Yapillons did to Umbridge and Lucius! They actually had plants growing out of every hole in their bodies?!"
Hermione chuckled, recalling the moment they were rescued. But then she wiped the smile off her face and gave Ginny's foot a gently kick. "Seriously, Ginny. You and your Auror partner should try and address this, because there may be a ton of former Death Eaters secretly wreaking havoc out there. I doubt Draco and Harry are going to get much done together."
Ginny rolled her eyes and took a bite out of her sandwich. "Yeah, well, Astoria and I aren't the best pair of Aurors either. That woman is so gloomy and detached. Sometimes I think she wanted to be an Auror, just so she could allow criminals to kill her since she's to scared to do so herself."
Hermione frowned, but she couldn't help cracking a short laugh. Ginny's energetic and outspoken personality always managed to lighten up her mood.
"Anyways," Ginny sighed, crossing her arms on the table and looking her friend in the eye. "How are things going with Ron? How many glasses do you need to go through before you can let him touch you without freaking out?"
"About four glasses of Firewhiskey," said Hermione, rolling her eyes. "It definitely doesn't help me get turned on, but at least I can tolerate any sexual advances. If only M.B. had written about some healing power of the Yapillons that could restore normal sex drive."
"Oh!" Ginny sat up straight. "Speaking of M.B.'s creatures, remember how you and M.B. released some weasels last year? The extra-long ones with, like, eight legs or something?"
"The Weaselmimes?" Hermione raised her eyebrows.
"Yes! Luna's taking great care of them—I met up with her over coffee just last week to catch up on her life, and she tells me she has now formed an official dance group with all eleven of her Weaselmimes."
Hermione recalled that the Weaselmimes were seven-foot-long weasels with eight legs. In M.B.'s Genotopia book, they were genetically modified to have the ability to mimic sounds exactly the way they sounded in real life. They were the first genopets she and M.B. had brought into their world from the Genotopia book. It was one of their first trial runs with the Organink Potion and Organink Wand. They had allowed Luna Lovegood to care for the Weaselmimes since Luna had been spending her post-war life working with magical creatures.
Hermione laughed. "So now Luna's got her own dance group with the Weaselmimes?"
"Oh yes, and they actually look legit. She sent me a video of them doing their first dance to the song, Hotline Bling," Ginny pulled out her iPhone (ever since the Wizarding War ended, science and technology of all sorts had become mainstream and better understood by wizards in order to maximize combat and defensive strategies in case another wizarding war occurred). She and Hermione stared at her phone screen, watching Luna and eleven yellow-furred, eight-legged weasels dancing to Hotline Bling. Hermione and Ginny giggled over the peculiar creatures. The Weaselmimes were on their hind legs so that they were much taller than Luna. Their slender bodies wriggled and swayed like confetti rising from the ground on a windy day. Their other six legs were moving up and down in sync with one another and with the song as their bodies wiggled and snaked around.
"Wait a minute!" Hermione gasped. "Is the music coming from those Weaselmimes?" She noticed the Weaslemimes' mouths were moving in sync with the singing, the beats, and the music.
"Yes! Isn't it incredible? You don't need any stereo or recording equipment whatsoever when you need a song to dance to. Just get these Weaselmimes to mimic the song, and it will be just like listening or dancing to the actual song on Spotify or something!"
"Well, I'm glad Luna's made great progress with the genopets we gave her."
"Hermione, she's coming to town to recruit some new members to her dance group!" Ginny was grinning with excitement. "We have to try out!"
Hermione almost spit out her chicken salad. "What?! No way! I'm not a dancer!"
"Hah! I'm far less of a dancer than you are, but I'm going anyway, just to see what it's like to dance with these critters. They're so cute!"
Hermione was blushing. "I don't know, Ginny…I'm going to be terribly busy in lab, especially after this incident with the thief—"
"This will be a healthy break!" Ginny insisted. "Come on, if you're never going to feel any sexual pleasure in your life anymore, this might be your only way of having fun!"
Hermione stared at her redheaded friend. "You do have a point there. Maybe I can invite Ron to this. He's assistant manager of Fred and George's ginormous joke shop, so he'll definitely have some extra time on his hands for this."
Surprisingly, Hermione was wrong. Ron was working late this evening, so at 4:00PM, she and Ginny showed up together at the Diagon Performing Arts Center.
"I've never been here before," Hermione gazed around the spacious building as she and Ginny stood in the backstage area of the dance auditorium, hoping to observe her surroundings a bit more closely, but she was suddenly distracted by the other people who were coming to join them. Pansy and Blaise were chattering as they walked their way, and they were followed by Neville, Seamus, and Dean Thomas.
"Hey! Looks like Luna invited so many old friends from Hogwarts!" Ginny hurried over to greet them.
Hermione smiled and joined them. Then she turned to see Luna and Neville venture toward the corner of the backstage area where the eleven Weaselmimes were sleeping. They kissed, and Hermione was suddenly reminded that Luna and Neville had been dating when she had sent her the Weaselmimes.
"Harry Potter!" Ginny's hard-edged voice made Hermione turn to see the two guys that were trailing into the backstage area. Hermione's heart skipped a beat. Draco was walking their way, scowling. He was repeatedly shoving Harry aside as the boy-who-lived constantly kept trying to wrap his around his waist. Ginny stomped toward them, her face looking as red as her hair. "Harry, you get your hands off that prat, or I'll throw you off this stage!"
Hermione watched as Ginny grabbed Harry by the ear and yanked him away from Draco. Then she and Draco locked eyes. Of course, she didn't feel anything, and neither did he. They casually nodded at each other, and then turned their attention to Luna, who was clapping her hands.
She spoke in her airy voice as soon as everyone quieted down. "I'd like to thank all of you for showing up today. Your presence has enlightened the Wrackspurts that will be accompanying us tonight as we dance."
Hermione held back a laugh. Luna hadn't changed a bit. She cast a glare in Pansy's direction as she and a few familiar Slytherin women outwardly laughed and whispered among one another, making fun of Luna's peculiar language and way of speaking. They snorted when Luna announced that the dance group she had formed with the Weaselmimes was called the Gringlemimers, and rolled their eyes when she explained that only the "top 5" would be chosen to be official members of the dance group.
Hermione fought back the urge to criticize those Slytherin girls. She came here to have fun, not to start any fights.
"Alright, it looks like the Togglewotts are getting a bit claustrophobic with our presence back here," said Luna, looking around the ceiling, even though there was nothing to be seen. "It's time for us to move over to the front-stage for some practice, where the Yugivoles are waiting for us. Let's go before the poor Togglewotts instill too much beezlewarpenheims in our bloodstream."
A wave of giggles murmured among the crowd as they followed Luna and the eleven Weaselmimes through the curtains and onto frontstage. When everyone was gathered in front of Luna on the frontstage, she announced that the first song they were going to practice on was titled Ko Ko Bop, by a Korean dance group named EXO.
"What?!" Pansy's snobbish, nasally voice echoed in the auditorium. "Why are we starting with music from a foreign country?"
Luna met her gaze with her unchanging, calm expression. "I just got back from traveling to South Korea with my Weaselmimes. We've been traveling all over the world in the past year, so that they can be exposed to different types of songs to mime." She turned her gaze to the rest of the crowd. "First thing we're going to do is freestyle dance with partners. In all the dances that I've done with my Weaselmimes, we have all partnered up in pairs, so let's get you all warmed up by freestyle-dancing to our first song with a partner of your choice."
Apparently, everyone in the crowd was already standing next to their desired dance partner. She looked across the crow where Harry and an angry Ginny (who was still pinching his ear rather tightly) were standing together. Feeling awkward, she realized she was the only one standing without someone directly beside her anymore.
"Ah, looks like we're forced to pair up again, Granger," Draco's drawling voice sounded from behind her.
She huffed and rolled her eyes. "I guess so, Malfoy."
He scoffed as he stood beside her and gazed at her from the corner of his eye. "Didn't know you'd be interested in doing something like this."
"I could say the same for you?"
He shrugged. "I needed to find other ways to let loose and have fun, since I can never do so with sex anymore. I'm assuming you're here for the same reason."
Hermione frowned at him. "At least that's my only reason for being here. You look like you're here for other reasons, such as to make fun of poor Luna."
"Like I said, Granger. I'm trying to attain pleasure by participating in other activities that don't involve sex."
The song played. The Weaselmimes stood around Luna, miming the sound notes and lyrics to Ko Ko Bop. At first, Hermione and Draco were just awkwardly swaying, just like the rest of the crowd was doing.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Ugh, this is ridiculous. What kind of dance instructor has beginning dancers do this?"
Hermione bit her lip, avoiding eye contact as she and him swayed their hips in front of each other. She was feeling too awkward to say anything.
But eventually, the song acquired a more mesmerizing tune, and Hermione and Draco found themselves moving their arms and rolling their shoulders as they swayed. Hermione felt a wonderful feeling of arousal, and she couldn't help but feel energized as Draco grabbed her wrists, swayed her back and forth, and spun her around.
"Wow," said Hermione as they danced. "Haven't moved like that since the Yule Ball."
"Me neither," said Draco, a slight smile forming at the side of his lips. "I think I can learn to enjoy this."
The two of them continued to dance to the rest of the catchy and mesmerizing song. They were the liveliest dance partners on the stage.