Author's Note: This was written for the AU Battle Competition on HPFC. Bakery!AU with the prompt Nymphadora Tonks.
Remus stopped for about the fifth time in ten minutes to shrug one of the flimsy paper bags over his shoulder, untangle the two under his arm, and get a grip on the pad of paper in his hand. The notepad had a list written on it in Lily Potter's feminine scrawl. The top of the list read Harry's Birthday To-Do List. All the items on the list were crossed out except one: Birthday cake.
Remus had volunteered to aid with the shopping for Harry's party, knowing that Lily and James were both busy setting up at home and the only other person who could help was Sirius, who was currently somewhere in London trying to facilitate an elaborate birthday present for Harry. This left Remus to get all the shopping done. When he'd offered to help Lily was ecstatic, handing him her credit card and the list before pushing him out the door.
Now here he was, two hours later, bags of decorations and groceries under his arms, facing the bakery Lily had given him directions to. The sign on the front of the store read DORA'S PASTRIES, in a dark purple print. This Dora was one of Sirius' cousins, apparently, though Remus vaguely remembered a mention that she was often called just Tonks.
The man standing on the sidewalk took a deep breath, before lugging himself and his bags into the store.
He was immediately assaulted by a strong scent of vanilla mixed with something fruity. The bakery had a few customers inside, and one young woman working behind the counter.
"Number twenty-four!" she called, placing a box of cupcakes over the counter and waiting until the corresponding patron came to claim them. The first thing Remus noticed about her was that she had short, bright pink hair. Her face was mousy, but in an extremely pretty sort of way. She had a grin that Remus could only attribute to Sirius' side of the family, having seen that same grin on his friend many times before.
She bustled around behind the counter, serving two more customers before looking at Remus. "Can I help you?"
He was caught off guard by her sudden attention. He must have been staring at her, and that only made him blush and fumble over his words. "I- uh- I'm picking up an order."
She quirked an eyebrow at him, "name?"
"Potter," he supplied, rubbing the back of his neck in a sudden fit of nervousness.
"Ah, you're Remus, then, aren't you?" She quirked her head to the side and watched him with bright eyes. God, why hadn't Sirius warned Remus how pretty his cousin was?
"Yes," he responded, nodding, "you're Tonks?"
Her smile widened, "I like you already. Few people get my preferred name right." As she spoke she turned around, scanning the back wall of the small bakery, where shelves were lined with several boxes of cakes, cupcakes, and cookies for pick up. When she saw his order on one of the upper shelves she reached for it, pulling the rectangular box down. Although Tonks handled the box with great care, she still managed to lose her balance and almost drop it. After a few seonds, she recovered.
"Did Sirius tell you how clumsy I am?" she asked, watching him closely.
Remus shook his head. "I'm sure you're not that bad…"
"Oh, just wait until you get to know me," she mused, placing the cake on the countertop and opening it so Remus could see. "I have at least three accidents a day around here. My mum thinks I'm cursed."
He chuckled, inspecting the cake as she spoke. It was vanilla but with a rich chocolate frosting, Harry's name inscribed on the frosting as well as a short birthday message and a large number eleven. The thing that caught his attention the most, however, was the scent that the chocolate frosting emitted. "It looks wonderful," he muttered, suddenly remembering that he had yet to eat lunch and his stomach was quite empty.
"Good!" she spouted cheerfully, sliding down to the cash register. Remus supplied Lily's credit card and she began ringing it up. "Do you want a cupcake?" she asked conversationally, nodding her head to a plate of several cupcakes on the countertop beside her.
"No, that's alright," he murmured, knowing that he didn't have much cash on him and he didn't want to abuse Lily's trust with her credit card. He still eyed the cupcakes with hunger. They were chocolate with a layer of deep chocolate frosting on top. It looked delicious.
She looked up at him with a small smile, simultaneously running the credit card through the register, "they're free, leftover from a batch I made this morning."
Remus' eyes darted between Tonks and the cupcakes. She wore a sly grin on her face, as if she knew of his tremendous weakness for chocolate. "Are you sure?" he murmured lowly.
She nodded, that adorable grin still turning at her lips. Slowly, her hand reached out and slid the plate closer to him. He hesitantly took the chocolate cupcake. Tonks nodded once more and he took a bite out of it.
He could resist letting out a moan at how positively delicious it was. The chocolate frosting was divine, as he told Tonks a moment later.
She still wore the same amused expression. "So my cupcakes are up to your standard?"
Remus nodded vigorously. "You make all of these yourself?"
"Yep," she replied, printing out his receipt and taping it to the box. "I have some employees that run the counter sometimes, but I do all the baking."
"Well," he sighed, "you do a fantastic job of it."
She let out a short laugh. "I'm glad I have your approval." As she slid a plastic bag around the box for Harry's cake, her eyes traveled up to his face again. "You should come back sometime. I almost always have a few extra chocolate cupcakes sitting around."
"That's quite a tempting proposal," he replied, taking the bag from her and noticing that her nails were painted the same bright pink color as her hair. "I'll stop in next time I'm in the neighborhood."
Her bright grin was enough to leave Remus smiling the whole way out of the shop and down the street. Two good things had come of today. One: he'd probably just experienced the most delicious-tasting chocolate of his life. And two: he'd met Tonks. He'd be lying if he said that the only reason he wanted to return to her bakery was to taste more of that chocolate.
Author's Note: Seems like I can't stop writing fics about Remus Lupin. I hope you enjoyed. Reviews are very appreciated!