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Chapter 8

Dancing on Air

Mika followed them out where Lupin was waiting for her. His blue eyes sparkled as he saw her. The scars on his face were prevented from looking sinister only by the softness of his eyes and the boyish charm of his smile. She noticed that he was walking with the aid of a wooden walking stick. He seemed to be even more frail than ever now, after one of his ‘episodes’.

“So what did you think?” she asked him.

“You were wonderful, as usual,” he smiled.

“What do you mean as usual? I’ve never seen you there before.”

“That doesn’t mean I wasn’t there. Besides, the kids are constantly talking about you and singing your praises. I do believe that you are their favourite teacher.”

“Well, then I share that honour with their Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. They love him too.”

They looked at each other and laughed.

“So what are you doing this evening?” Mika asked. “’Cos I thought perhaps you could answer a few questions for me.”

“I’d be happy to. Shall we go to my office or yours?”

“Yours I think. It’s closer.” Mika was sure that Snape would more than likely be in her quarters, resting his mind away from prying eyes. She didn’t want to disturb him… or more likely for him to disturb her.

Lupin led the way to his office. “Please, make yourself at home,” he said, waving his hand over the candles to light them. Producing a notebook and pencil from the pocket of her robes, Mika perched upon the desk, her legs crossed, looking very much like a secretary about to take her boss’s dictation.

“Mind if I put on some music?” Lupin asked as he moved beside the ancient victrola in the corner.

“Oh, by all means. I always think better with a nice tune playing in the background.”

Lupin smiled. “Same with me. Amazing how alike people can be…”

“Even when we’re as different as we are?” she finished. “Yes. People aren’t really all that different when it comes right down to it. Not even people from opposite ends of the universe.”

The needle crackled for a moment on the old record then a lively tune that sounded like something from the 40s began playing softly. Mika smiled warmly as she watched the DADA teacher walk gingerly to a stool nearby.

“Are you in much pain?” she asked caringly.

“Oh, this, no, I’m ok, really. It’s just an old injury I suffered long ago. My ‘condition’ leaves it a bit tender and I have to take it easy,” he tried to brush it off. Mika knew better.

“You know, I can help with that,” she said. “Well, maybe some time later perhaps,” she said, noting the look on his face.

“Right. You said you had some questions to ask me?” he sighed. He wasn’t really looking forward to this; it was not his favourite subject. But if it led to finding a cure for his condition, he would endure it.

Mika’s eyes remained fixed on his for a moment before turning her attention to the task at hand. She opened her notebook and flipped through a few pages.

“Are you sure you don’t mind doing this?” she hesitated. She didn’t like the idea of adding to his already burdened heart by asking him about his affliction.

“No, you’re all right,” he said softly. “Who else can you ask?”

Mika took a deep breath. “Right. I suppose what I really need to know is just what it is that causes the transformation. All the books say that a person becomes a werewolf when he or she is bitten by a werewolf and that the full moon is when the transformation occurs.”

She cast a quick glance up at Remus to gauge his reactions. So far he seemed ok with it. She continued.

“But in the books I can find nothing specific. Not even in the TARDIS databanks. All that is there are more or less histories and accounts of lycanthropy. Which, by the way, occurs all over the entire universe. Did you know, that there is even an entire civilisation that is nothing but a type of werewolf? I suppose they evolved that way. Life is truly diverse.”

Lupin just watched her, nodding as she spoke. Somehow, knowing that there were millions of beings just like him out there in space didn’t make him feel any better.

“What is it you need to know?” he asked flatly.

Uneasy, Mika consulted her notes again and continued.

“Well, let’s see… ok. It’s the full moon only that causes the transformation, right?”

Lupin nodded.

“Now we know the moon is sometimes full in the daytime depending on where on the planet you are. When it’s daytime and the moon is full, does that affect you at all?”

Lupin thought for a moment. “Not enough to trigger a transformation,” he said. “But I do get physically weak and feel very ill.”

Mika tried not to frown but not very successfully. Her hearts went out to this poor, sweet man who was made to suffer so much for no real reason. “Um, ok. And it’s only the full moon and not any other phase.” Again he nodded. Mika made a note on the page. “So does it have to be direct full moonlight, or do overcast skies lessen the effects?”

“I feel the effects no matter what the weather conditions, but you’re right. Only in direct full, cloudless moonlight does the transformation complete itself. But when I am indoors and the moon is shining outside, it still affects me. Where are you going with this?” he wondered, now curious. He’d never really thought of this condition scientifically before.

“Well, I was thinking, the moon doesn’t give off light of its own does it? No, it merely reflects the sunlight. The fact that you don’t suffer a transformation when the moon is out during the day signifies that whatever it is is drowned out by the stronger sunlight.” She chewed thoughtfully on the end of her pencil. Lupin watched her intently. He could not help but think how beautiful she looked then, illuminated by the flickering candlelight, her face bright with the promise of scientific discovery.

“It must be some sort of radiation on a wavelength that can only be maximised at light and when the reflection value is at its peak. “ She was more just thinking aloud to herself than Lupin. “Now, whether it’s a visible wavelength or some sort of ultraviolet frequency perhaps, we don’t know. But it’s a good place to start.” Mika looked up at him and smiled hopefully.

Lupin returned her smile. It all seemed to make sense to him. Perhaps it was just a matter of finding the right filter to block out these harmful rays or something after all. Would that it were that simple!

“Anything else?” he asked, no longer reticent but eager to help.

She looked at her notes again. “You mentioned that Snape made you a potion that you had to take that lessened the effects. What exactly is it made of and what do you have to do for it to work?” she asked finally.

Lupin stood and sighed. He paced about the room setting the large model of the solar system floating off through his offices with a magical wave of his hand. “Yes, the Wolfsbane Potion. Nasty stuff. But it helps – sometimes. I have to take it for two weeks prior to the full moon for it to have any effect. It was developed quite recently by the Department of Potions in the Ministry of Magic. I don’t know what’s in it exactly, except the main ingredient of Wolfsbane. Snape would be the one to ask about it, but I doubt he’ll tell you exactly what’s in it. He’s pretty guarded with all his potion formulae.”

Mika grinned. “Oh, you leave Severus to me. I know how to handle him.”

Lupin cast her a questioning look but Mika had gone back to her notes and was writing furiously. He wondered just what she had meant about that. Come to think of it, Snape acted even more peculiar than usual especially when Mika was around or even mentioned. But he mustn’t be suspicious. He was sure there couldn’t be anything going on. How could there be? She seemed to be spending most of her time either with him or that Hermione Granger.
“Right,” Mika said at last, finishing the last of her notes. “I think that’s all I really need to know. I have two avenues to start looking at for now, the moonlight and the potion ingredients. Perhaps something in there can be amplified to increase its counteractive effects.”

Mika looked up. Lupin had moved to the victrola and was putting another record on. She hadn’t even noticed that the first one had stopped. She put her notebook away and hopped off the desktop.

“Remus, are you all right?” she asked concernedly, moving towards him. “I didn’t say anything to upset you did I? I’d never in a million years want to do that…” her voice trailed off as she started to lose herself in his deep blue eyes.

Lupin donned a warm smile. The music began to play. It was a lovely waltz from the early 20th century, one that sounded eerily familiar. Mika was standing beside him now, he could smell what he thought must be her perfume. It smelled like fresh summer jasmine. His heart began to race as he looked down into her questioning violet eyes.

“Of course not,” he said at last. He held out his hands to her. “Shall we?”

Mika smiled and took his hands. Gently they began to dance to the waltz called appropriately enough, ‘Destiny’. Mika was reminded of a similar dance with a certain ship’s officer some 90 years in this past. But the feelings that were stirred within her now were somewhat different than on that fateful voyage.

The planets orbited about them and Mika couldn’t stop herself from smiling as the music carried them seemingly on air around the room. Then she looked down and realised that they were indeed floating on air! Lupin had levitated them off the floor and now they were whirling about the room as if in weightlessness.

“I tend to forget that you guys are wizards and can do magic!” she laughed.

“Hang on!” he warned as he spun her around nearly knocking over a stack of books

They laughed as they spun around the room, trying hard not to cause too much destruction. He spun Mika back towards him but misjudged the speed and she crashed into him knocking them both to the floor in a heap up against the victrola causing the needle to skip to the end of the record with a loud screech. The pile of books gave up its fight and crashed down on top of them. They were laughing so hard that they could barely move, nor did they hear the knock at the door.

“Lupin, I…” came a familiar voice from the entrance as the door creaked open. Snape peered into the candlelit room to see a mountain of robes and books piled in the floor against the victrola. Suddenly it came to life and Lupin’s head appeared.

“Snape, what can I do for you…”

Just then the rest of the pile fell off of Lupin and shifted to reveal Mika’s head, her hair down in her face. She quickly tried to straighten it up and smiled at their guest.

“Obviously I am interrupting something,” Snape practically sneered at them in his usual smarmy voice. He turned to go.

“No, wait, Severus,” Mika called out hurriedly trying to get up. She almost made it the first time but was still rather dizzy from their spin around the room and fell to her bottom again with a loud ‘Ooomph!”

Lupin stood quickly and tugged her to her feet.

Not amused, Snape folded his arms. “Yes?”

“I wanted to ask you a favour,” she began, but Snape cut her off with a wave of his hand.

“Come and see me when you are not so occupied,” he snarled. He then turned and exited with a flourish of his black robes.

Mika and Lupin exchanged a glance. “What?” they both seemed to say.

“He’s been acting awfully strange lately,” the timelady observed. “I’d better go after him. You don’t mind do you?” she asked secretly hoping that he would so she could stay.

“That’s all right,” he sighed. “Perhaps you can sweet talk him into giving you the formula while you’re at it?” he suggested. “Besides, I have some papers to grade.”

Mika bit her lip to keep from outwardly pouting and nodded. “I’ll see you later then, ok?” She turned to go. Then she suddenly turned back and planted a kiss on Lupin’s cheek. “Thank you for a wonderful time.” Lupin blushed and smiled and Mika positively beamed. She gave a wave of her fingers then blew out of the room seeming to Remus to suck all the light out of it as she went.

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