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Missing Moments Chapter Nine Just a few sweet moments between Remus and Tonks before all hell breaks loose. “Blissful” Remus Lupin checked himself in the mirror and straightened his tie. He allowed himself a little smile and the briefest of chuckles. Was he nervous? Something about that woman made him feel so…so young. He had butterflies in his stomach, like a fifteen year old going on a first date. Not that he had gone on that many dates since he was fifteen, really. Still, it was a bit silly, at his age, to have sweaty palms. What was she doing to him? It seemed strange to him that the most “normal” relationship he’d ever had was with a 25-year-old metaphorphmagus. In a sense, though, that was what was happening. With other girls he always knew that, eventually, they would have to discuss his “furry little problem.” That chat rarely went particularly well. Since that wasn’t an issue with Nymphadora, he could allow himself to feel…well, blissful. That pure, wide-eyed bliss at the beginning of a relationship that everyone else in the world seemed to take for granted, and that he, until very recently, had never experienced. In the few weeks since their evening on guard duty, he found that his heart skipped a beat when she walked into the room. He ached for any simple touch, to hold her hand, to stroke her cheek. He found himself reveling in stolen glances that were for him alone. It was ridiculous, there was no question, but it was also…blissful. A tiny tap on his shoulder made him jump. Wow. He realized he must have really been lost in his reflections not to hear Tonks coming. It wasn’t as though she tread softly. “Sorry, handsome. Didn’t mean to startle you,” she smiled up at him and tugged at his tie. “You look great.” She gave him a soft, warm kiss, and he was surprised at how much these little, intimate touches still made him blush. When she pulled away, he held her at arms length and then twirled her around. “You look great, too. That’s quite the dress.” It really was. He wasn’t sure how he’d make it through dinner, staring at this creature across from him. The dress was simple – black and sleeveless, but it was very short and very…well, small. How she'd managed to get it on without maiming herself was beyond him. Her hair was pink, but a little longer than she usually wore it. She was wearing black heels, too. They weren’t too high, but he still couldn’t hold back a little smirk – those were a recipe for disaster, really. Still and all, the overall effect was – Wow. “We should probably get going. I don’t want to be late.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him down the stairs, past a sullen-looking Sirius. “Have fun,” he spat. Tonks let go of Remus’ hand, and crossed the room to hug her cousin. After a moment, he hugged her back. “I’m sorry you can’t come, Sirius. I know being in this house is awful. We’ll bring home food and stories, I promise.” His sad eyes searched hers. “Your day will come, Sirius, I promise. You’ll be free. We’ll run wild – you, me, Remus, Harry – we’ll wreak havoc, I swear it.” Sirius touched her cheek, and smiled. “Well, as long as you promise.” Tonks nodded. “Oh – and bring home more than food and stories. See if you can’t pick me up a woman while you’re at it!” “I’ll do what I can, love.” And with that, Tonks and Remus apparated to the Burrow. It had seemed like a strange invitation to Tonks. Dinner with the Weasleys wasn’t all that unusual in itself, but the fact that Molly had told her to wear something nice seemed bloody bizarre. The Weasleys weren’t particularly formal people, and meals at their home were usually less like dinner parties and more like three-ring circuses. “Would you like to come over Saturday night, dear? We’re having a bit of a do.” “Sure, Molly. Listen, should you ask Remus? I don’t think he gets out too much, and I’m sure he’d appreciate being included.” “Oh…Remus.” She let out a sigh. “Well, yes, I suppose we should ask him, too. Yes, alright then. Oh, and Tonks – wear something eye-catching, will you?” “Don’t I always?” Tonks asked, looking down at her jeans with half of the ass ripped out of them and the acid green t-shirt with “Wicked” written in rhinestones across the chest. “You know what I mean, Tonks.” So there Tonks was, dressed in something that she hoped was eye-catching enough for Molly Weasley. Why didn’t Molly sound too enthused about Remus being there? She was very fond of Remus, as far as Tonks could tell. There were no worries about his lycanthropy, either, as the full moon was three weeks away. Ah well – no time for questions. She grabbed Remus’ arm, and knocked at the door of the Burrow. Dinner had been a truly strange event, Remus mused. Arthur was dressed in his best suit, and Molly in a curious profusion of feathers and beads. Bill was there, accompanied by a very pretty French girl by the name of Fleur Delacour. Clearly part-Veela, from what he could see. Arthur blushed every time she spoke to him, and seemed unable to perform the simplest of acts in her presence, such as passing the salt or speaking in anything beyond monosyllables. Bill fared a little better, but Remus got the impression that he had had some practice. These two were obviously a couple. Molly didn’t seem nearly as drawn to the young girl as the Weasleys of the male persuasion. She barely spoke to her and spoke instead, at great length to Tonks, asking her questions about her adventures as an Auror and her exciting travels with the Ministry. “Oh – Bill, did you hear that? Tonks was working in Norway this winter. Didn’t you enjoy Norway when you were there last year?” Bill didn’t look away from Fleur, but answered, mechanically, “Yes, Mum.” A few minutes later, Molly tried again. “Oh, Bill – what do you think of Tonks’ hair? Isn’t it a fetching shade of…pink?” Again, Bill didn’t look up, but manage to mumble an “Uh huh”, while still focused on a freckle on Fleur’s cheek. Ah – so that was the point of the evening. Molly clearly did not want this young French girl in the family, and was doing her best to replace her with Tonks. Remus would have been terribly jealous if the plot wasn’t failing quite so miserably. Bill seemed unable to tear his eyes away from his date, and Nymphadora kept looking desperately to her own for some assistance. Remus was having too much fun to comply. Sometimes the Marauder in him came out in full force. “Oh – Bill” he addressed his young friend, “Did you know that Tonks is headed to Egypt next month to investigate a crypt near Subra al-Haymah. Didn’t you stay there for a while?” Molly fixed him with a look of adoration, and Tonks fixed him with a look of fury. Bill pulled his gaze from his date, and began to speak to Tonks at length about life in Egypt. Remus began to chat with Fleur, in French, about her impressions thus far of England. Molly was nearly bubbling over by the time she served the pudding. “Fleur”, she said, in a suddenly-pleasant tone “Isn’t it just lovely to have someone to speak French with? It must be exhausting trying to speak a different language all the time.” “Oh, non, eet ees not zat bad. I could listen to Bill zpeak all day. ‘Owever, your Monsieur Lupin does zpeak beautiful French.” She covered his hand with hers. Remus only smiled, and said “Merci beaucoup.” Then he turned to see Tonks, whose cheeks were now a blazing shade of crimson that had nothing to do with morphing. He gave her a quick wink. She let out the breath that she was holding, and gave him a shy smile from across the table. Now it was his turn to blush. There was something about Nymphadora that got to him, every time. Tonks spoke. “Molly, would you mind terribly if I went out for some air. I’m suddenly very warm.” Molly nodded, but before she could get to her inevitable suggestion that Bill join her, Remus interrupted. “Would you like some company, Nymphadora? I would certainly enjoy a moonlit stroll.” “Why certainly, Professor Lupin. Perhaps you could teach me some French,” Tonks deadpanned. Lupin bit the inside of his cheek in an effort not to laugh. Molly wasn’t quite ready to give up just yet. “Are you sure it’s safe, Remus – walking in the moonlight and all?” “Yes Molly – it’s fine.” He saw the look of confusion on Fleur’s face, and spoke to her, very gently. “Je suis un lycanthrope, Fleur. Un loup-garou.” The effect was instant. Fleur let out a gasp, and jumped back, into Bill’s arms. Molly gave her a look of disgust, and then smiled, apologetically, at Remus. Tonks gripped his arm and seemed to be willing herself not to attack the wee French waif. Remus ushered her out the door. “How dare she! How dare she act as though you’re some sort of monster! Unbelievable!” “Honestly, Nymphadora – she responded better than most. Most run screaming. It’s okay, sweetheart.” He pulled her close and kissed the top of her head. “You know, I don’t really want to think about that right now. How often do I get a moment alone with you? I’d like to enjoy it.” He put his arm around her, and they walked, in silence, along a path in the Weasley’s garden. Tonks managed to settle herself down, and when she spoke again, it was with her usual good humor. “Here’s a question: how come you don’t fall to pieces in Fleur’s presence? I couldn’t believe how Arthur was behaving. Goodness – he’s been crazy about Molly for thirty years, and there he was, stammering like a schoolboy. And Bill didn’t even seem like himself around her, either. I half expected you to start giggling when she grabbed your hand, but you seemed just fine. Why is that? Are you impervious to her charms?” “You noticed that she has some Veela blood?” Tonks nodded. “Well, I suppose I’m a little more immune because I used to go out with a Veela.” “Really!?! Are you serious? Details, Moony – details.” “I don’t kiss and tell, Tonks.” “Oh yes you damned well do.” Remus smiled. “Fine. I dated a Veela when I was young.” “And?” “What you you mean ‘and'?’” “Well, why does that make you immune?” “Oh.” Remus took a deep breath and let it out. “Well, you see, Nymphadora, my first time was with a Veela.” “Remus – you dirty dog! How old were you?” “Fifteen.” “WHAT!?! That was younger than Sirius! Does he know? It would kill him!” “No, he doesn’t know. Again, I’m not all that inclined to kiss and tell.” He flashed her a mischievous grin. “So, how come you don’t have a litter of startlingly attractive werewolves running around, then?” “Well, you see, Veela are interesting creatures. Most people see the attractive side, but very few see the monster within. Salomé – that was her name – wanted me to take her to a dance that happened to coincide with the full moon. I told her no, and she bared her fangs at me – literally. Here, look…” He indicated a long, jagged scar that ran from behind his left ear down to his collarbone. “She did that to me. Once you’ve seen the violent side of a Veela, they tend to be less attractive to you.” There was a look of horror in Tonks’ eyes. “A girl did that to you?” “Not a girl, Tonks. A freaking monster.” Tonks reached up and touched the scar with small, warm hands. Then, on her tiptoes, she placed gentle kisses along the length of it, reaching from Remus’ ear to his collarbone. He caught his breath. He still wasn’t used to her sudden displays of affection, and they often caught him off guard. He wondered if they always would? “Well, Moony, I get the impression that you’re drawn to scary women.” He lifted her hand and kissed it. “I’m drawn to beautiful scary women, Nymphadora.” He looked down at his feet and mumbled, “They’ll be the death of me.” Tonks flashed him a quick smile of pure adoration. Then she spoke. “You know, as long as we’re discussing ‘first times’, I think I’ve got you trumped. I’m guessing that for you, the ‘act’ itself was okay, am I right?” Remus raised an eyebrow. “Indeed.” “Ah – well, mine was awful. I was nineteen, and I thought I was the last virgin in England. I decided to pick up a fellow in a muggle bar, and, well, let’s just say it was atrocious. Here’s some advice from me to you, Moony – never sleep with someone you don’t fancy.” Remus gave her a serious look. “I’ll see that, and raise you, Nymphadora. Never sleep with someone you don’t love .” She held his gaze for a few moments before she spoke. “That’s sound advice, Professor. Sound advice.” They walked along in silence for a few more moments. It was inevitable, though, that Tonks would trip, what with the tree roots on the ground and the patent leather death traps on her feet. When it happened, Remus caught her, determined not to let her fall and embarrass herself. He hoisted her up, and the look of relief and gratitude on her face sent waves of electricity through him. He took her in his arms and kissed her, more passionately than he ever had before. His hands traced down her spine and settled at the small of her back, while her arms reached around him and her nails gently grazed the back of his neck. He’d never wanted anything as much as he wanted her at that moment. At length he pulled away and spoke, breathlessly. “Nymphadora…you have no idea what you’re doing to me.” She laughed out loud. “Honestly, Remus, I’m pretty sure I do.” The saucy smirk on her face was a bit too sexy. He tried his best to gather his thoughts in the presence of this beautiful creature. “As much as it kills me, we’d better go back in. Doing this in Molly’s garden surrounded by lecherous gnomes wasn’t exactly how I pictured our first time.” Now it was Tonks’ turn to raise an eyebrow. “You’ve imagined us together, have you?” she teased. “Look at you in that bloody dress. What do you think? I’m an old man but I’m not dead, Tonks. Crikey.” “If you don’t stop calling yourself old, I’m going to get angry. You DO NOT want to see me angry, Moony. A Veela’s got nothing on a Tonks who’s been scorned.” “Yes, Ma’am,” he answered, and offered her his arm. They strolled back to the Burrow, and spent the rest of the evening trying their best not to betray the tingling sensation they felt in each others’ presence. They weren’t too successful. ____________________________________________________________________________ “Well, didn’t see that coming, did I?” Molly scolded herself, as Tonks and Lupin left the Burrow, hand in hand later that night. She allowed herself a little chuckle. Some things in the universe were very strange indeed. The scholarly gentleman and the little nymph – who would have thought? And yet, when she saw them together, smiling blissfully into each other’s eyes as they apparated, it appeared to be…perfect. If you would be kind enough to write a quick review, I’d be so thankful. Paloma

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