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The way to a man's heart
Letting off a few sleepy yawns, sounding oddly like a howling zombie, Remus Lupin crossed the kitchen of his small, shabby flat. His tattered slippers scraped across the tiled floor as he travelled slothfully. He stopped in front of the refrigerator, bent down and opened the fridge. A section of the dark kitchen was instantly illuminated by the fridge light. He shielded his eyes from such luminosity.
When he gazed inside, he gasped.
No, the gasp was not made because of that out-of-date sandwich which appeared to have sprouted eyes if you squinted hard enough.
No, the gasp was not made because of that mug of tea (the answer to why the previously hot drink was in the shelf of the fridge was neither here or there) had created its own layer of mould on the surface of it. The tea was so green it could be considered herbal.
But no, what was making Remus grip the fridge door with an expression of horror was something quite terrifying…
There was no chocolate.
"Oh dear Merlin."
Fridges were never empty of chocolate. It was simply immoral if one was unfilled without it; it was purely torturing the device, going against its actual use of cooling chocolate. And yes, Remus was like a responsible mother who kept chocolate in the fridge to avoid any accidental disasters of melted chocolate.
Though his guilty secret was that he rather quite liked it liquefied.
Hurrying to his bedroom, Remus shook off his dressing gown and threw on his robes. He grabbed for his wand, and with a pop and an unpleasant squeezing sensation, Apparated into Hogsmeade. The second he landed in the village, he hurried down the street. Checking his watch, it wasn't long until they closed.
He sidestepped the annoying dance around passing wizards until he found the right shop: Honeydukes. He slipped inside and the bell at the door jiggled pleasantly when he shut it.
He smiled at the familiar surroundings, surrounded by chocolate and the sweet smell of sugar filling his nostrils - this was his idea of heaven. Just when he was about to make his way to a recognizable section of the shop and find a bag of his favourite sweets, a head of vibrant pink hair was spotted out of the corner of his eye.
"Nympahdora?" Remus sputtered.
Tonks whipped round, a look of genuine surprise coming across her face, holding a small bag of Pick 'n' mix sweets in her hand. Despite being taken aback at seeing him, she scowled at the name he called her.
"Lupin," she replied. "Don't call me Nymphadora."
"Don't call me Lupin, Nymphadora."
"Don't call me Nymphadora, Lupin."
"Don't call me--" Remus stopped. "This could go on all night. My apologies, Tonks."
She looked much happier being called by her forename. "What are you doing here, Remus?" she asked him with a friendly smile.
He paled as he came up with an answer. "I, er... I got an urgent note from the Order that there may be some possible dangerous activity here and-"
"You had chocolate cravings."
"That, I did," Remus admitted, reddening.
"My, Remus, I'd never have thought you had such a desire for chocolate," Tonks raised an eyebrow at him. She scooped a few more sweets into her Pick 'n' mix paper bag. Remus watched her and chuckled to himself; he hadn't been surprised that she was the Pick 'n' mix kind of girl. It matched her character perfectly.
"It's a guilty pleasure," he admitted. "Once in Grimauld Place, Harry caught me in the kitchen sucking the chocolate off a digestive biscuit."
"That is a lie, Remus Lupin."
"You're right. It was actually a chocolate bon-bon."
Tonks burst into laughter and Remus found himself joining in with her. She had the habit of doing that - making her laugh with him. He wasn't normally the one to find laughter contagious, but it always happened with her. Her laughter soothed him.
"It might be just me, but you've become strangely amiable and light humoured in the presence of chocolate," Tonks said, with a glint in her eye.
Remus laughed yet again. "Or maybe it's just the presence of y—"
He stopped himself before he said 'you' and stared at the floor in embarrassment.
"Of what?" Tonks asked hopefully.
"Of…yam," he finished lamely.
"Yam?" she repeated, looking more than disappointed.
"Er…yes," Remus shrugged. Saving any more embarrassment, he made his way to the other side of the shop to find his favourite chocolate. Much to his awkwardness, Tonks followed him, juggling her paper bag of sweets on the way.
Remus searched his way through the chocolate as Tonks peeped behind his shoulder.
"You're looking through the sale section?" she said with disbelief. "Remus, some of this chocolate isn't even edible! This is over three months old!" She shook the box of chocolate in his face.
"It's cheaper," he replied, shamefaced.
"You can't be that hard up for money, Remus. Honestly, I'll pay—"
"Sure, because I don't feel self conscious enough about my money problems and would love to accept your pity money."
Tonks realised where this conversation could end up - somewhere she undoubtedly didn't want to go - assuming she'd struck a nerve with him from the tone of his voic.
"I'm sorry, Remus," she said softly.
"No, it's fine." He looked apologetic for being rude. "Probably just the lack of chocolate making me cranky." He forced a smile, which Tonks eventually returned.
"Why don't I buy you chocolate as an apology?" she offered. Remus had already started shaking his head when Tonks had started at 'Why don't I.'
"C'mon Remus, tell me what's your favourite chocolate."
"That is strictly confidential," he said mysteriously, tapping his nose.
"The way to a man's heart is through their stomach. Isn't that what they say?"
Remus chuckled somewhat dejectedly. "Too bad I'm not completely human then…"
Tonks' mouth parted, trying not to drop any lower into a horrified gawk. "That wasn't funny, Remus."
"I know. I'm inept," Remus realised. "I make jokes in discomfited situations."
Tonks couldn't help but agree. "You do believe that saying… don't you?"
"The way to a man's heart is through their stomach," she said again. "Do you believe that?"
Remus stared at her thoughtfull and answered with a small nod, "Yes."
Tonks watched Remus pay for a box of chocolates which he'd purposely hidden from her,and exit the shop with a shy wave. With a sound of a crack, he had Disapparated and gone, leaving Tonks standing alone in Hogsmeade. Slightly to herself, she popped a sweet from her Pick 'n' mix bag - a chocolate bon bon, much to her delight - and with a crack, disappeared to her own home.
It was morning when he'd received it - by owl it had been sent, carefully wrapped in brown paper which he delicately tore away, leaving a box tied neatly with a bow behind it. He untied the bow and opened up the gift, baring all teeth in a smile.
A box full of chocolate bonbons, his favourite.
Someone had won his heart.
He shook his head, smiling, when he discovered a small note attached; the words 'From Tonks' were written in messy handwriting.
It was the best gift he'd ever received.
"Reeeemus, come back to bed!"
Oh. And the other gift where Tonks had turned up on the doorstep of his flat, a bag of Pick 'n' mix in her hand and an inviting expression on her features, and promptly shagged his brains out.
That was a pretty good gift, too.