Missing Moments A storm, a bottle of whiskey and a request - can Remus teach Tonks how to perform wandless magic? Takes place in the Fall of OOTP, with our favorite metamorphmagus and werewolf getting to know one another. None of it's mine - my love and thanks go out to JKR. Chapter Three – Wandless Magic The autumn wind howled outside of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. Remus Lupin loved nights like this, sitting by the fire, waiting out the storm in warmth and comfort. Sirius Black, on the other hand, was finding it more than a little frustrating to be cooped up in the house all the time, and the sounds of the storm acted as a reminder that he couldn’t go out. And so it was that they both were in the sitting room, one smiling passively as he read a book, and the other pacing, rather violently, occasionally screeching at the wind to shut the hell up. They both wished she’d come. She was a breath of fresh air in that old house, and evenings in her presence passed quickly. For Sirius, she brought news of the outside world and funny stories of the moronic bureaucracy of the Ministry. It meant a great deal to him to have a family member in the house, as well – it seemed to make him feel connected to the world, again. Remus Lupin had a harder time articulating why he enjoyed her visits. True, her affect on Sirius was palpable, and Sirius, in high spirits, was a joy to be around. It wasn’t just that, though. Remus couldn’t remember when he’d had such ease of conversation with a woman. She was chatty and funny and genuinely interested in what he had to say. It didn’t hurt that she was bloody cute, either, and her wild, woodsy scent remained in the house for hours after she left. Yes, Remus thought – if Nymphadora came tonight, this evening would be just about perfect. Remus had been fighting the feeling that he was turning into a lecherous old git as regarded Miss Tonks. He reasoned that it was only natural for two crazy old men to enjoy the company of a pretty young woman. It was akin to the cute little candy-stripers visiting the Retirement Home, he reckoned. He had only managed to half-convince himself that this was the truth, though. Despite the age difference, despite the difference in nature, he couldn’t help but be very drawn to Nymphadora, and she appeared to have something of a schoolgirl’s crush for him as well. No harm, he thought, and it was damned flattering. He was jerked from his thoughts by the sound of what appeared to be a massive branch, slamming into the sitting room window. ________________________________________________ Nymphadora Tonks wasn’t entirely sure why she had chosen to go out in the storm to see the fellas. True, she’d picked up some sweets for Sirius at Honeydukes and wanted to deliver them sooner rather than later. Years in Azkaban had left her cousin with the palate of a five-year-old, as though he somehow wished to re-live his childhood. She tried to bring him an assortment of Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizbees and Every Flavor Beans with every visit. However, it wasn’t as though the candy was going to go bad. It wasn’t as though she was afraid of lightning, either. She wished she could pretend to be, as it would be a good reason to leave her flat and be comforted by her friends. She was no actress, though, and the boys weren’t likely to buy the ‘damsel in distress’ bit for a second. The truth was that she didn’t feel like being alone, and no gale-force wind or blinding rain was going to keep her from Grimmauld Place tonight. Did that make her seem desperate? She couldn’t decide whether she cared. She looked in the window of the sitting room, trying to get the attention of the former Marauders. Ringing the doorbell was out of the question, since the portrait of Sirius’ mother was bound to scream like mad if disturbed at this hour. No, she’d knock on the window. She reached out, attempting to be dainty, and was pushed by a gust of wind flat against the pane. Remus looked up, and it seemed to take a moment for him to register that the blob obstructing the view of the garden was a girl. “Tonks!” he yelled out to her. “Open the bloody window!” she screamed back. Remus and Sirius managed to jimmy the window open about a foot. Tonks was small enough to slide through, but not graceful enough to do it without falling, spread-eagle and soaking, on the sitting room floor. Sirius chuckled. “You sure do know how to make an entrance, Miss Nymphadora.” In a flash, she’d whipped out her wand, whispered “Proboscius”, and made her cousin’s nose grow to twelve times its normal size. “I’m in no mood, Padfoot. Don’t call me Nymphadora.” He promised not to, and she put him to rights. Then she grabbed a hand offered by Remus, and stood up. “Wotcher, Moony! Lovely weather we’re having!” “Nymph-” he caught himself. “Ah…Tonks. Look at you! You must be mad coming out in this weather. You’re drenched!” He brought her close to the fire, pulled her robes over her head and cast a drying charm on the clothes underneath. Too bad, really – wet t-shirts weren’t a regular occurrence at good old Number Twelve. “Don’t be a lech, don’t be a lech” he reminded himself. Meanwhile, Sirius brought a bottle of Firewhiskey and three glasses from the press. In no time they were situated on the couch, half-cut, telling stories and enjoying the sounds of the storm outside. By eleven o’clock they had finished the bottle, with Sirius out-drinking the others three to one. As a result, he was quite hammered, while Remus and Tonks were only pleasantly warmed. Sirius, drunk, was an experience all to itself. It wasn’t the mooning that troubled them, nor was it the French kissing (although his attacks on both his cousin and his male best friend did seem strange). No, it was the singing that signaled that Sirius needed to go. Once he began screeching, in an off-key twang reminiscent of a wart-hog in heat, his friends decided it was bed time. They pushed him up the stairs, to the tune of “Oh yes it’s lady’s night, and the feelin’s right, oh yes it’s lady’s night, oh what a night…” and some improvised disco-dancing that nearly landed him on his arse. They managed to get him to his room, and Tonks stripped him to his undershirt and boxers while Remus nodded to the hearth, creating a blazing fire. They tucked him in and left him singing something about a car wash, whatever that was. Then they went back downstairs. “It’s really impressive, you know,” Tonks began as she curled her legs under her on the couch. “What is?” asked Remus, returning his book to a large oak shelf near the window and then sitting in a chair opposite her. “The fire – upstairs. I’d heard you could do wandless magic, but I’d never seen it. It takes most wizards years to learn that. How did you manage to learn so quickly?” Remus looked surprised. “I didn’t. It did take years. Consider it the result of a misspent youth. I was alone a lot, and it seemed like a good use of my time.” He tried not to sound bitter, but failed miserably. Tonks chose not to notice this. “Dumbledore has suggested that I learn to do it,” she said. “He says it’s an important skill for a member of the Order, but I’m guessing he just knows that I manage to sit on my wand and break it at least once a month. I’d love to be able to do it, but I wouldn’t even know where to start.” “I could get you started, Tonks,” Remus offered. He got up and chose an enormous book off the shelf. “Hippocrates’ Anatomy of Wizards?” Tonks seemed surprised. “What do you want me to do with this? Break my wand with it?!” “Nope. You have to read it. All of it. You see, most witches and wizards take their powers for granted, without knowing where the magic comes from. However, if you want to perform wandless magic, you have to learn what physically distinguishes you from the average muggle or squib. You have to find the source of that magical energy, in order to control it. A wand without a wizard is just a piece of wood. The magical core helps to channel your energy, but the magic comes from you. With focus and time, the wand becomes nothing more than an unnecessary convenience. You’ll see.” Tonks considered this for a moment. Then she sighed, heaved the book onto her lap, and began reading. __________________________________________________ It was no surprise to Remus that Tonks had been a good student at Hogwarts. She impressed him every day with her study of anatomy. She often dropped by in the evenings with questions that arose from her reading, and occasionally popped into the fire when she only had a few minutes to clarify a point of magic in the book. She seemed to have no trouble with the antiquated language, and actually seemed to enjoy it. It was no surprise to Tonks that Remus was a good teacher. Harry had mentioned before that the Professor had been their favorite at Hogwarts, and the standard to which all other teachers were held. He seemed to know everything, but wasn’t boastful. He listened carefully to her questions, providing responses that were filled with wisdom and experience, while still sounding quite humble. It took three weeks for Tonks to read the entire book, and she had taken 75 pages of notes, written on blazing orange paper. Most of the notes began with “Remus says…” or “Moony explains this by saying…” He had taught her a great deal. They were sitting discussing the book one night, when it occurred to Remus that it was time for Tonks to give wandless magic a try. “I’m not ready, though. All I’ve done is read a book. A beast of a book, mind you, but still…” Remus cut her off, and stood up. “Tonks, you have to start somewhere. We’ll try something quite simple. A conjuring charm should suit our purposes. Come here.” She stood and joined him in the centre of the room, shivering a little in a sleeveless t-shirt. “Close your eyes.” She did. “Now, focus your mind on the energy that flows around you. You know it’s there, Nymphadora. You can feel it.” He moved behind her, but continued to speak in hushed tones into her ear. “There is an energy that surrounds you, an aura. That is the source of your magic. You need to channel it, to control it. Can you feel it?” “Yes.” Remus let his right hand hover from her shoulder down to her fingers, close to, but not touching her arm. Still, she could feel his warmth on her, and it was distracting. Plus, the scent of soap, or aftershave, or wool, or musk, or…something was driving her quite mad. She was losing focus, and she really wanted to succeed. “You need to go away,” she whispered. Remus seemed startled, and backed off a little. “Go sit, Moony,” she ordered. “You smell too bloody good – it’s distracting. I can’t focus. Go over there.” She motioned to the couch, and he obeyed, blushing a little. He watched her now, with her eyes closed, controlling her breathing and trying to focus. She really was the prettiest little thing. Today she had lavender hair, in curls, and behind those closed lids, her eyes matched. It was funny that someone whose looks changed so regularly could be so steady in other aspects of her life. She worked hard and was much more sensible than she may have appeared at first glance. Watching her now, attempting something that had taken him years to try, he couldn’t help but be impressed with her. Tonks had found her centre, and could feel the source of energy. She controlled the flow down her right arm, and after a few moments, she pointed her hand at the coffee table. She opened her eyes, muttered a conjuring incantation, and waited. There, on the table, formed a bar of Honeydukes chocolate. Tonks seemed a little taken aback that she had actually done it, and it didn’t fully register until Remus jumped from the couch, grabbed her, and swung her around. “I knew you could do it, Nymphadora! That’s amazing! I’m so proud of you!” He put her down, and she staggered a little. It was all too much. The wandless magic was draining, but the hug from Remus left her reeling. She shuffled to the couch, sat down, and finally smiled. No, beamed. “Now,” Remus said, “you just have to learn to do that for every spell and incantation you know.” “But that will take forever!” Tonks cried. Remus just laughed. He knew she’d do it – she was a determined sort of girl. “Never mind that now,” Remus said as he patted her on the arm. “Let’s celebrate.” He grabbed the bar of chocolate, unwrapped it and broke it in half. He offered her a piece, held out his own, and they clinked them together as though they were champagne glasses. “Cheers!” Tonks said. “Sláinte,” Remus responded, toasting in Irish. They sat in silence on the couch, with Remus reading and Tonks absentmindedly rubbing the back of her neck, which had been tingling. Neither could recall ever enjoying a more pleasant evening. (What do you think? I'd be much obliged if you could leave a quick review. Thank you very much.)
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