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Missing Moments A sweet meeting between Lupin and Tonks. He has something serious to tell her, and is more than a little surprised by her reaction. Is there something in the air? (It all belongs to JKR, bless her - I'm just playing in her yard.) I have a feeling that this is exactly how Tonks would react to the news of Remus's "Furry Little Problem". It's also my favorite. What do you think? Please R&R. Thank you!! Chapter Two – “Saturday Night” Saturday night, Tonks sat in a rather dark, candle-lit coffee shop in Diagon Alley. She had chosen a somewhat subdued look for the evening, in a black sweater and slacks, her hair done in a simple but shiny black bob. She ordered sweet tea and a sticky bun, and waited, drumming her red nails on the table, for Remus Lupin. She didn’t have to wait long. He entered the shop a few minutes later, and she resisted the urge to wave to him. She was interested to see whether he would recognize her in her changed state. He did, almost immediately, and crossed the shop to the little table at the back where she sat. “Good evening, Nymphadora”, he said, taking his seat across from her. “I almost didn’t know you without your pink hair,” he whispered, smiling. “I thought I’d go with something a little less conspicuous,” she answered, “and for Merlin’s sake, call me Tonks.” He chuckled a little and turned to the waitress. She watched Remus while he ordered. He looked rather exhausted, and the scars on his face and hands seemed almost exaggerated in the candlelight. He was dressed simply, in a threadbare green jumper and grey trousers, and Tonks noted, as she had before, the air of quiet dignity about him. He was…gentlemanly, she decided. Crikey, when was the last time she had spent an evening with a gentleman? Had she ever? She was torn from these reflections when Remus spoke to her. “Before we get started, there is something you ought to know about me.” Remus looked serious, nervous almost. He sighed, and tried to avoid her studious gaze. He forced the words out. “There will be times when I will not be able to help the Order…times when I will be… ‘out of commission’, if you will…” his voice trailed off. Tonks grabbed his hand immediately, and looked at him with worried eyes. “Are you sick, Remus? I thought you looked a little unwell tonight. Is there anything I can do?” Lupin took a deep breath and let it out. Tonks was absentmindedly rubbing the scars on the back of his hand with her thumb. He hated to tell her, knowing that she was bound to pull away, and even likely to run out of the shop. He paused, enjoying this tiny bit of human contact that would soon be long gone. Then he continued, in a whisper. “Nymphadora, I’m a werewolf." If Tonks felt any shock at this, it didn’t register on her face. Lupin noticed, sadly, that she had stopped rubbing the back of his hand, but was quite surprised that she was still holding it. After a moment, she placed her other hand on top of his, and was now quite deliberately tracing the scars there. He was stunned by the sensation. No one had ever reacted this way to the news of his condition. No woman had ever wanted to touch him after learning of his lycanthropy. Baffled, he sat in silence for what seemed like ages. Then, Tonks looked up from his hands, and let out a chuckle. A chuckle? What!? “Well, that explains it. And to think, I was worried that you couldn’t see me last night because you had a hot date!” Did she actually seem relieved? Lupin sat, staring agog at the now-giggling Tonks. She was worried? That he had a date? On the night of the full moon? This suddenly struck Lupin as tremendously funny, and he threw his head back, letting out a deep, throaty laugh. Tonks guessed, correctly, that he had never so much as smiled at this stage in his “werewolf spiel” before, and was quite pleased with herself. She felt a little sad that he had pulled his hand away, although he seemed to need it as it was now pounding on the table as he chortled and tried to catch his breath. She was really enjoying seeing him laugh. The world-weariness in his face had disappeared, and had been replaced by a mischievous glint his eye that made him look ten years younger. About her age. And beautiful. Merlin, this man was beautiful. He finally calmed himself, and was looking at her with both tenderness and admiration in his eyes. She held his look for a few seconds, before something occurred to her. “The potion,” she said, quietly. “The development of the Wolfsbane Potion. It must make it a little easier to live with him.” “Him?” “The wolf.” “Ah, yes.” Remus couldn’t help but notice her choice of words. She understood. Understood that the wolf was something separate, a part of him, but not a choice he made. He couldn’t help but feel a little sad that this very sweet, very bright, bloody adorable woman was so much younger than he was. It was so seldom that anyone understood. Pulling himself from this reverie, he continued. “There is still pain, and the transformations are still exhausting. However, knowing that I won’t hurt anyone while I am transformed has changed me. It’s given me life, Tonks. Being able to control him, as you say, has allowed me to be me.” Even as he said it, he realized that he had never expressed those feelings before. Had he even thought them? “I understand,” was her simple reply. They continued to chat, Tonks telling him funny stories from her Auror training as well as disastrous tales from her love life. He told her equally amusing tales from his days as a Marauder, and they passed an hour before realizing that they had yet to deal with the business of the evening. Remus finally spoke of the mission. “So, Miss Tonks, how are we going to get that boy safely to London?” They spoke, in hushed tones, for about half an hour, discussing the preparations for Harry’s “rescue”. They tossed ideas back and forth, trying to come to some consensus. Lupin thought Mad-Eye would be an important member of the team, while Tonks countered that his paranoia would drive them insane in the planning stages of the mission. She eventually acquiesced, as she was reminded that Mad-Eye’s propensity to suspect everyone and everything was probably a good thing, under the circumstances. They then plotted their route, with Tonks drawing elaborate plans on a napkin. Lupin deferred to her on these points, figuring that her Auror training would give her a superior understanding of the logistics of such a mission. Tonks couldn’t help but be chuffed that this older, clearly brilliant man seemed to respect her mind and her skills. She hoped that the low light concealed how much she was blushing. It didn’t. After more than two hours, their plans were finalized and they left the shop. Tonks decided to walk home to her flat, telling Remus that after sitting for so long she was quite sure her bum had fallen asleep. He gave her a little laugh and shook his head, and then fell into step beside her. His long, slow strides seemed to match her short quick ones perfectly, and after much too short a time, she was at her gate. She turned to face him. “Well, thank you, Remus, for the best Saturday night I’ve had in…” her voice trailed a little. He expected her to say “six months”, as it had been that long since her last date. “…in years”, she finished, and then stood on her tiptoes, put her hand on his chest, and kissed his cheek. She turned quickly and bounded up the stairs to her flat. “Goodnight, Nymphadora.” It didn’t occur to her to correct him. (If you could manage a quick review, it would be much appreciated. Thank you! Paloma)

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