A/N: Mrs Tater triple dog dared me … so here it is, a quick one-shot! No one makes me laugh harder than my husband when he's poking fun at me, and that inspired this Remus/Tonks fic. This is also my first foray into writing from Tonks' point of view. Hope you like it!
"Bollocks," Tonks whispered.
She knew the salad spinner was going too fast; however, it was too late to do anything about it now. But what else could she have done? She knew from experience that she couldn't clean the basil from their garden with a cleansing spell; the delicate leaves would have been obliterated before she could say "oops." And yet, as usual, she couldn't bring herself merely to do it the Muggle way using a boring old plastic salad spinner and its manual hand crank. So instead she had attempted a hybrid: she had placed the basil in the spinner, poured water in, put the lid on, and cast a spinning charm.
Well, now the spinning was out of control, and there was Remus, lounging – lurking – at a safe distance at the end of the counter with that not-quite-I-told-you-so look on his face and a smirk playing at the corners of his mouth. He had paused while chopping the tomatoes; but, as usual, he didn't try to rescue her. She'd broken him of that habit when he'd first moved in.
Why could Tonks do a spinning charm at any other time with no trouble, but if it was associated with something even remotely domestic it went haywire? She gritted her teeth and raised her wand, trying not to imagine her mother's exasperated, all-suffering sigh or her father's well-meaning chuckle. The spinner was rattling in the porcelain sink and going so fast that it now emitted a high-pitched droning hum. Cautiously, she uttered a spell to stop the motion.
The spinner stopped abruptly – too abruptly. The lid flew off and sailed toward the stove like a Frisbee, clanging off the hood and clattering across the kitchen tile toward the back door. Basil and water splattered all over Tonks and Remus, the green leaves clinging to their faces and arms like a pox.
Tonks stood immobile, wand in hand and arms akimbo, watching the water drip from her hair onto her green striped socks. Damn it. She hated having wet feet.
"Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!" she groused vehemently. Wah had been her favorite word for kitchen use since she had attempted her first culinary spells as a prepubescent witch; her only consolation was that Remus must be used to hearing it by now.
"Oh, dear," said Remus, smiling. He peeled a basil leaf off the tip of his nose and looked at it thoughtfully.
"Wah, wah, wah!" she went on, stamping her wet feet petulantly. She held her arms out. "Look at me! I look like I've got leeches all over me."
Remus carefully placed the basil leaf back into the spinner. Tonks reflected that it looked rather lonely in there, now that all its brothers were on her.
"Wah," she added quietly for emphasis.
"Poor you," said Remus, approaching her and peeling more basil off his forearms.
"Yeah," said Tonks, pouting. "Look at me. I've got the buboes."
"A pox on your domestic ineptitude," nodded Remus with a grin.
"I see you agree with me."
"Mm-hmm. I know better than to argue with you," he said, eyes twinkling. "In fact" – he raised a finger as an idea came to him – "we should let the world know what a hazard you are in the kitchen. Let's see, what could we do to show them? You could wear a sign …"
With a flick of his wand, a small sign hung from her neck: Danger – Do Not Allow This Witch Within 20 Feet of Open Flame, Cutlery, Glass Objects, Furniture, Doors, Floors, or Salad.
"Very funny," Tonks grouched. She felt a laugh tickling her belly; but she wasn't done whining, and she wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of making her feel better so quickly.
"Or – " The sign disappeared and was replaced by a huge protective bubble around Tonks' entire body. Remus poked it lightly with a finger and Tonks staggered backwards.
"You prat!" Do not laugh, do not laugh, she ordered herself. But the giggles were welling inside her abdomen. He must have heard that snort of a snicker, which she tried to play off as an angry huff. She frowned and pretended to be put off.
"It's for your own protection, my love," he said seriously. "Watch." He took a plastic mug from the cabinet and tossed it at the bubble, where it bounced off and scattered across the floor, meeting the spinner lid near the back door. "Imagine if that were a knife. Your life would have been saved."
"Would it now," Tonks smirked.
"You may thank me later."
"Get me out of this thing," Tonks growled in a low voice, which helped keep the snickers at bay for a bit longer.
"You're right," said Remus, raising his wand. "People will think you're hermetically sealed because you have some rare autoimmune disorder." A flick and the bubble was gone. "We need some way of communicating exactly what people need to be wary of. After all, you're quite hazardous in the kitchen. I think I'm going to report you to the Ministry." He called Tonks' owl Luigi and summoned some parchment and a quill and ink. "I'll recommend that your mug shot be posted wherever there's food." He glanced up and down her body with a look of consternation. "You may want to dry off for the photograph, though."
"Shut up," Tonks giggled. Oh, it was too late now. The laughter was starting.
"This is no laughing matter," Remus said seriously. He leaned with an elbow on the counter, his quill dangling from one hand. Tonks laughed harder. He raised an eyebrow. "It's rather disconcerting to see how cavalier you are regarding the public menace that you are."
It was all over now. Her belly seized up and she shook silently for several seconds while Remus continued to pretend to write his letter. At last the breath entered her body again, and she exhaled on a long shriek, tears streaming out of her eyes. She always felt a bit out of control when he got her laughing like this, especially because he was somehow always able to keep his cool. He never, ever laughed when she got tickled, which only made her laugh harder.
"But now I wonder if the Ministry has enough reach to prevent your evil influence over inanimate objects." Remus rubbed the feather of the quill against his chin in consideration, the other hand on his hip. He pursed his lips. "No, somehow I doubt it. Unless they put you under house arrest."
Tonks' laughter was now making her stomach ache. She tried to wipe the tears from her face and managed to smear a couple more basil leaves from the back of her hand onto her cheek. Remus watched her curiously.
"I've got it!" he said, dropping the quill on the counter. The owl looked confused and swiveled its head from Remus to Tonks and back again. Tonks howled with laughter. "Why didn't I see it before?" Remus picked the remainder of his basil off and began sticking the leaves onto Tonks' exposed skin.
"What – are you – doing?" Tonks laughed between breaths.
"It may be as simple as this." He reached for more basil from his hair and stuck the pieces on her collarbone, her neck, the insides of her forearms. He moved slowly, deliberately, placing each leaf as if she were a piece of performance art he was creating.
Her laughter subsided as she began to focus on his touch. Now one hand was on her lower back, pulling her snugly to him. She gasped, never ceasing to wonder how the feel of his body against hers could cause such a flush of heat to course through her.
"Why are you covering me in basil?" Tonks asked softly.
"Isn't it obvious?" he murmured. "Your risky behavior in the kitchen is actually a sublimated desire for something else. I only kick myself for not realizing it sooner."
He gently opened Tonks' mouth with a finger on her chin and placed a leaf of basil on her tongue.
"You want to be the dish."
The flavor of the herb spread throughout her mouth as she chewed the leaf slowly and swallowed it. Remus watched her, smiling. Tonks smiled back, still feeling the wetness of her tears of mirth on both cheeks. He brought his lips to hers and growled in satisfaction as he savored the spice in her mouth. Tonks tasted the salt from her tears now mingling over both their tongues. Her arms wrapped themselves around his neck, and he hoisted her onto the counter.
"And who am I not to devour what's offered me?" Remus whispered into her lips.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Any reviewer gets to be the dish of your fancy. Romantic Remus covers you in chocolate, Saucy Remus prefers whipped cream, and Creative Remus uses whatever is at hand in the kitchen, basil included.