Disclaimer: I own none of this. J. K. Rowling and assorted companies including but not limited to Bloomsbury, Scholastic, and Warner Brothers own everything. They also make all the money. I am just having fun and in no way seek financial profit from their property.
Note: This was written as an entry for the Nymphadora of the Week challenge (see Godricgal's livejournal entry for more details) and is based on my own experience redecorating my kitchen with cocoa.
Thanks to mrstater for the excellent beta suggestions.
Most people, when hearing a loud crash from their kitchen, would immediately run to find out what had happened. Or at the least they would jump in surprise from the noise. Not Remus J. Lupin. Sudden crashes had long ago ceased to startle him, and there was no real reason to go to the kitchen to find out what had happened. All he had to do was wait. He lifted his gaze from the book in his hands and peered toward the kitchen through a fringe of greying-brown hair. He absently brushed his hair from his eyes and listened expectantly for the sound of a murmured cleaning spell or the louder expletives that would indicate whether Tonks had knocked something over or tripped over nothing.
He heard nothing. His eyebrows drew together. "Tonks?" he called, the slightest quaver breaking his hoarse voice. With each passing moment, the silence and his frown deepened.
Remus' heart began to beat faster as his mind unwillingly considered the myriad ways Tonks might have seriously injured herself. He hurriedly balanced his open book on the arm of his beat-up chair and unfolded his long limbs to rise. He ignored the thump of the book falling to the floor from its precarious perch and hastened to the kitchen. Despite his fear urging him to throw open the door as quickly as possible, he gently placed his hand on the rough wood and pushed slowly, only partially opening the swinging door in case she was lying on the floor in the path of its arc.
He softly called to her again as he poked his head around the door. "Tonks? … Oh." He trailed off as relief and amazement flooded through him at the sight before him.
Every visible surface in the kitchen was coated in a fine brown dust. The tin of cocoa on the floor with its lid lying a few feet away was undoubtedly the source. A few specks of the delicious smelling cocoa were fluttering to the ground near him, stirred by the air from the door opening.
In the center of the chocolate storm, Tonks, apparently unharmed, stood on a stool, her arm still stretched toward the cabinet from which the cocoa tin had fallen. She had not escaped the chocolate deluge. It dusted over her pajamas, a pair of his old sweat pants and her own lime green cotton camisole. It clung to her skin, which was still damp from her nightly shower. It frosted her bright pink hair. Despite her locks being a few shades too light, the resemblance to a chocolate-dipped strawberry was undeniable.
Remus pushed the door fully open and leaned against the frame taking in the delicious sight. From this angle, he could just see her face. Her mouth was open in a silent "oh" and her eyebrows had shot up so high as to disappear in her spiky locks. She seemed frozen in shock and likely to stay that way unless he did something.
Remus levered himself from the door frame and walked to her. "Tonks," he said for the third time as he reached out to gently brush her bare shoulder.
She jumped at his touch and spun to face him. She blinked her wide eyes and then plopped down on the counter behind her with a sigh, sending swirls of cocoa flying. She stared at him, eyes still wide but no longer rapidly blinking.
"What happened?" he asked.
She surveyed the room, slowly turning her head to examine the cocoa on the floor, the cabinet doors, the counter tops, and herself. As she did so, she attempted to brush off the chocolate coating her face. Remus bit hard on the inside of his lip to keep from laughing at the poor way her fingers smeared through the cocoa, leaving behind a few white stripes in the brown powder. She finally completed her examination of the kitchen and turned back to him, her face a study of seriousness with grim lines, clearly visible despite the chocolate tiger striping, etching the corners of her mouth and eyes. "Gravity," she said with finality, her mouth set in a firm and determined pout.
It was his turn to stare owlishly at her. "Gravity?" he repeated.
"Gravity," she echoed firmly. "I bumped the cocoa tin with my elbow and gravity took over from there."
"I see," he said, despite his confusion. "And what did you expect to happen?"
"Who knows?" she asked with a casual shrug. She tried to smile innocently at him but could not conceal the impish gleam in her sparkling eyes. "Don't you think gravity deserves some time off after a few millennia of pulling things toward the ground? Maybe it could have taken a break long enough for me to grab the floating tin."
Remus bit even harder on his lip to keep from laughing at her earnest expression, mildly surprised that he did not draw blood. He placed his hands behind his back and adopted a deeper lecturing tone of voice. "Ms. Tonks, are you attempting to convince me that you are not responsible for this mess due to gravity working overtime?"
"That's right," she said flippantly, sounding very much like a petulant teenager and beginning to swing her legs out from her perch on the counter. One foot just brushed the outside of his jeans on each pass. He glanced down to see a new brown streak on his trousers. As her foot again softly kicked out he quickly grabbed her ankle and pulled the leg out straight. "Hey!" she cried indignantly, gripping at the edge of the counter to ensure she did not fall off.
"Gravity may have helped make this mess," he said, "but it is not going to help you clean it. In fact, you are currently only making things worse." He gestured with his free hand towards the chocolate on his jeans.
Tonks craned her neck to see what he was indicating. "You already had it on your feet," she countered, as if this excused everything.
He glanced down at the bare feet sticking out from under the frayed denim cuffs of his trousers. The tops, and he presumed bottoms, of his feet were sprinkled with chocolate dust he had disturbed and sent flying while walking across the kitchen floor. "That does not give you the right to make things worse," he admonished.
Tonks quickly wrenched her leg, pulling her ankle from his loose grip and laughed at him. "Your trousers are so bloody important that getting a little cocoa on them is worse than plastering the entire kitchen with it?"
Her smirk was mildly infuriating as she deliberately twisted his words. He briefly considered correcting her, but the shine in her eyes and grin curling one side of her mouth told him that if he did, he somehow would have lost the battle from the start. "If you were trying to coat the entire kitchen, you failed miserably."
She glanced around quickly. "What'd I miss?" she asked, her voice rising from surprise since she had done a magnificent job of covering almost every surface.
"Top of the icebox." It was his turn to smirk, knowing full well she couldn't see it from where she was sitting and still wouldn't have been able to see it if she were standing next to him.
She looked up towards the top of the icebox, one eyebrow quirked up as she considered what to do about this new revelation. When she turned back to him, it was all he could do to not take an involuntary step backwards. Her eyes still sparkled and there was still the hint of a smile playing around the corners of her mouth, but somehow her entire expression seemed to have changed. Her delicate heart-shaped face looked like that or a predator about to pounce and the chocolate-tiger stripes only increased the illusion. If illusion it was. "I didn't worry about that since only a ridiculously tall freak would notice up there." She paused for a quick giggle as he stuck his tongue out at her and then continued, "But I suppose I could fix it." She looked at him expectantly.
He knew it was precisely the wrong thing to do, but he still spoke just one questioning word. "Oh?"
Remus barely had time to register her triumphant and dazzling smile before Tonks was a blur of motion. Her arm shot out and drew his wand from his back pocket. He reflexively grabbed for her wrist, but she had anticipated his move and lightly tossed the wand in the air and snatched it with her free hand. She pulled away from him and stood on the counter, bending so as not to hit her head on the ceiling, now high enough to hold his wand out of his reach. She gave it a quick wave in a tight pattern, and a jet of hot air blasted from the tip, sending swirls of cocoa powder flying. She directed the chocolate maelstrom so that some of the brown dust settled on top of the icebox--and on him.
Content with the mayhem she had caused, Tonks again flicked his wand, putting a stop to the cocoa cyclone. She grinned devilishly down at him, still holding his wand just out of his reach.
"Tonks," he said in a low and threatening growl as he reached for his wand.
She titled her head to one side and fluttered her eyelids at him, attempting to look completely innocent. He snorted at the sight and she was spared any further reprimand by the chocolate powder he inhaled. He doubled over, coughing violently. Water was streaming from his eyes by the time he felt a small, soft hand on his shoulder. He glanced up into her concerned face. She was standing beside him now and there, dangling loosely by her side…
He pulled his wand from her lax grip, backed away, and aimed it at her challengingly, all sign of distress gone.
"You… you… you…" she spluttered helplessly.
"You should practice constant vigilance?" he asked dryly, smirking at her and lifting one eyebrow smugly.
"Says the man who had his wand stolen from his back pocket," she snorted. "You tricked me!"
"Yes. And what do you intend to do about it?"
Her mouth twisted to one side as she considered her options. Her wand was probably in their bedroom. and he was between her and the only exit from the kitchen. Finally she held her small hands out, fingers wiggling, and advanced on him slowly. "Tickle?"
He raised his wand a little and backed away from her. "Not if you want any help cleaning up your mess." His laughter belied his threat, but Tonks frowned and stopped in her advance. "Concede?" he asked.
"Never!" she cried, tossing her head, sending flakes of chocolate flying from her hair. She glanced around at the disastrous kitchen. "But I would be willing to consider a cease fire until its all cleaned." She bit her lip and looked at him hopefully.
"Cease fire it is," he said, twirling his wand casually now that it was no longer needed to keep her at bay.
"I need to get my wand, but do you want floors or cabinets?" she asked as she surveyed the chocolate mess they had to clean.
"I learned long ago that, when presented with two equally unappealing options, I am under no obligation to accept either."
Everything about her seemed to droop. Her shoulders sagged, her mouth dropped into a little pout, her eyes narrowed slightly from disappointment, and her chocolate-drizzled pink spikes seemed to wilt. "You're not going to help?" she asked, failing to keep a slight whine from her voice.
He wondered if she had any idea how adorably lovely she looked at that moment.
"I'm willing to help you clean. I just don't want to start with the floors or the cabinets," he stated matter-of-factly as he stepped closer towards her.
She lifted one eyebrow, immediately changing her pout from disappointed to inquisitive. "What else did you have in mind?"
"You," he whispered as he reached out with one finger to brush a strand of pick off her forehead and tuck it behind her ear.
"Oh," she whispered back, her eyes widening with pleasant surprise. "I might allow that."
He took one final step towards her, lightly pressing his body into hers before lowering his head and softly licking a bit of cocoa dust from the side of her neck. "You might?" he murmured against her skin.
He chuckled softly at her lack of coherent reply. "What would be your objections?" he asked between scattering kisses along her neck and shoulder.
"Even if we clean each other now," she breathed out as he tangled the fingers of the hand not holding his wand in the hair at the nape of her neck and used that leverage to gentle tilt her head back, giving him better access to her neck, "we'll just get dirty again when we clean the kitch… oh." Her voice trailed off into a sigh as he gently nipped at the pulse point on her neck.
"Even better," he replied as he began to move in search of more chocolate and trailed kisses along her collarbone to the other side of her neck. It was her turn to tangle her fingers in his hair. "Gives us an excuse to take a shower later."
She gently pulled his head backed and smiled softly at him. "Have I ever told you that I like the way you think?" she asked before quickly covering his mouth with hers in a gentle kiss. She quickly pulled away. "You taste like chocolate," she said, as if this was a major revelation.
"I wonder why," he laughed.
She shrugged elaborately. "No idea. But I like it." She pulled him in for another, deeper, kiss.
Neither noticed as his wand clattered to the ground to lie amidst the cocoa powder at their feet.
Remus or Tonks (your choice; I aim to please all) will deliver one bag of chocolate (white, milk, dark or any mix of the three, again your choice) to your door as thanks for a review.