Chapter 1 : Genunsus
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Disclaimer: It all belongs to JK, except for the minor OCs Audrey and Saskia. There is some slight crossover to an excellent book by Murray Bail, Eucalyptus. The chapter title is a species of the genus Rosa.
William Carlos Williams
We could start with the Tea Rose, Rosa Genunsus , with its long languid stalks and blushing tips. It would be most suitable, really, as it was the first rose that was given. And received, in its own special way. The Tea Rose, tied with a red ribbon in a bow, the long strands curling at the end, like locks of hair.
But the Tea Rose is only one in over a hundred species of Roses, if not more. Every day it seems that someone or other is breeding Genunsus with Chinensia, Galica with Glauca to make a new hyrbrid. The petals light and airy, the stalks long and proud. Every hybrid is different. None are the same. Sort of like people, I suppose.
People would write about Roses. They’re great fodder for fiction. The impetus for a tempestuous romance, the death of a loved one, the end of an affair. A rose can mean anything, passion, sorrow, good wishes, death. White, red, yellow, pink, deep and moving purple, the lightest palest shade of peach.
It would be wrong, indeed, to begin with Rosa Genunsus. For that is not where this story begins. It is somewhere in the middle, somewhere, somewhere.
Once upon a time there was a girl. Now that wasn’t too original to be sure, but it’s a tried and tested beginning, and that surely must mean something. An endorsement of history, the brief praising words from a famous author on the blurb of a book, ‘intriguing’, ‘fascinating’, ‘skilful’.
Once upon a time there was a girl. For a brief period when she was at school something happened. Extraordinary! Incredible! For a long time people talked of nothing else, though now it seems as distant as the moon.
Some say they remember the day, as clear as mud, that she first stepped into the school. She was young, they all were, but somehow she seemed younger, clutching her cousin’s long robes tightly in her fist, curly hair bunched up innocently at the side of her face.
They could tell she was a Gryffindor from the outset. It wasn’t one thing, it was everything, from the freckles on her face to the long grey socks pulled up to the knee. But then, it wasn’t just her appearance, I must try to show you that this was not her appearance. It was her . They could just tell, without even having to look too closely. Maybe she just emitted the colour red.
A deep rose red, kind of like a Polyantha rose. And like the Polyantha she was low maintenance, disease-resistant, easy going girl. She was clever, of course. She got that from her mother. She was kind. She got that from her father.
She was Rose. She got that from herself.
Rose never got tired of hearing the story of her parents. They were young once, too, though to her it seemed to be a very long time ago. To them it seemed the longest 6 years of their existence.
They had been at Hogwarts together, as most couples these days meet. They had been friends. They fought every day. Rose loved hearing how her mother and father would throw words at each other like quaffles, sparks flying in all direction. Sometimes, when her mother retold stories of their youth her eyes would sparkle and her hair shine, and she seemed the Hermione of 16, not 46. Sometimes when her father retold stories of their youth his crooked smile would widen, and Rose had the sudden urge to hug him.
But this story is not about them, though they played their part in forming the woman that Rose would become. When we first meet her, however, she is still young and in the bloom of youth. Nothing is as bright and new, as wonderfully shiny and hopeful as the first year at school.
Some people are permanently in shade. The people who cast a shadow send the darkness hovering over others, and great lumps of blackness pool around their feet, covering their personalities. The rose bush itself is sometimes like that. People forget to look at it because of the beauty of the flower, the laevigata and its elaborate petals draw attention away from the sturdy, powerful green leaves.
You never see a bunch of rose leaves in a vase.
Rose petals themselves are odd in their own way. They offer a sense of clarity in that with light shone through them they turn see through, offering a glimpse of what is behind. They allow an interesting view, a rose-tinted one, if you will. A patterned view of the future.
It was sixth year. Gone was the Rose of first year innocence, gone was the Rose of second year joy, gone was the Rose of third year adventure, gone was the Rose of fourth year self-discovery, gone was the Rose of fifth year rebellion.
She had been pruned away into the person she was, at 16.
It seemed like almost overnight she had become almost unbearably beautiful. She had once been awkward and long, now she was fuller, more graceful. She had a speckled, freckled sort of beauty. Her body was covered in freckles, in every colour as diverse as the varieties of her namesake, from dark chocolate brown to the palest shade of taupe.
They attracted men, or rather boys for at 16 they are nothing more than that, of all kinds. They seemed to find her variety of birthmarks and freckles to be some sort of invitation to join the dots. They followed them around her face, to the base of her kneck, over the small indentation at her throat, down, down down. Across her arms and behind her legs.
Each freckle was a beginning and an ending. Like a full stop. Like an open circle.
Rose didn’t seem to notice. Her beautiful face could not see that everyone around her was undressing her with their eyes. She just smiled and went to the library, or laughed along with her brother and cousins, or with her dormitory friends, fellow children of Hogwarts alumnae.
She was known throughout the hallways and corridors as ‘that girl who doesn’t even know she’s fit.’ Girls strained to glance at her on the way to class, and then sniffed to their friends that they couldn’t see an appeal in her aloof sort of ways. She was labelled haughty, snobby and imperious, words that made her laugh on the outside to her best friends, but on the inside tore at her heart like ravenous vultures.
She grew even more beautiful because of her scarcity. She had never dated anyone. She wasn’t interested. Her father was very happy at that statement, and wished fervently that she would continue in her state of celibacy till the age of 49. Her mother was a little more worried, seeing as she could the incredible, odd speckled beauty of her daughter.
Her mother was of the mindset that it was a good thing to be knocked once or twice in love.
Rose didn’t care. She had good friends in her cousins Albus and Lily, a supportive brother in Hugo. She knew that from time to time her cousin James went and duelled anyone that said something behind her back, and that was comforting, like a warm blanket. She spent her time in the Gryffindor tower with her friends Audrey and Saskia, who couldn’t care less if she had the beauty of all the roses in the world or none of them.
She was their Rose, come what may.
The end of a chapter is sort of like the stems of a Rose. Same function, same sort of general direction. The stem brings to an end the visible section of the Rose, moving towards the ground irrevocably. It is final and complete, at least visually. The end of a chapter is the same. You can see where the words end and the space on the page begins, it is measurable and finite. It is clear.
But then there is that which is unclear and invisible. The spirallings of the imagination, the roots that work their way insidiously through the rich earth which are uncontrollable as the wild rocky mountain water. While the chapter may end you are left thinking, wondering, musing. While the stem has ended you are left pondering what is underneath. What is the power behind that beautiful Rose.
This chapter is ending. So I ask you, what is the power behind that beautiful Rose?
A/N; new story, hopefully you all like this one. i love this story, i think its very fun and silly. its based on the murray bail book eucalyptus, a famous australian novel. i think its marvellous. anyway, i hope you have as much fun with this story as i had with writing it!