Chapter 1 : Snapdragon
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Disclaimer: Any characters or locations you recognise belong to J.K. Rowling.
"All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today." Unknown
The first gift that young James Potter ever gave to Lily Evans was a flower. An antirrhinum to be exact, though at that time he didn’t know that antirrhinum was its proper name. When he was a child he knew of them as snapdragons – that’s what the kids around him called them.
As a bright and extremely energetic (often more than his parents could handle) young wizard, James was quite fascinated with the snapdragons. He thought that flowers were generally girly but the snapdragons were cool. They looked a bit like a rabbit’s or a dog’s mouth and if you pressed the flower at the base you could make them open and close so that it looked like a barking dog. Indeed, a whole lot of hours during his first year at Hogwarts were spent inventing a charm so that they bark by themselves and follow innocent victims around. Not that they were particularly scary (except for poor Frank Longbottom who got to be forever known as the boy who runs from flowers) but James often found silly little things infinitely amusing.
When he made his first walk around the Hogwarts grounds he found it particularly pleasing to see that a multitude of snapdragons were blooming. Not that it was that surprising, mind you - after all James was studying at the best magical school in the world, got into the best house and had already found a best friend, too. The world seemed to favour James Potter (going as far as to provide him with the flower for his pranks) and he liked it that way. So, he picked up a pink-yellow snapdragon, put it in his pocket and made his way for the Gryffindor tower to try and charm it without anyone seeing his endeavours.
It was early autumn and the castle was mostly empty since the majority of the upper years were at Hogsmeade. Oh, how much James wanted to see the magical village! He was pretty sure though that he and Sirius would find a way to go there before they reached third year. They liked to explore the ancient castle and its intricate secret passages and if anyone was to discover a possible hidden way out of Hogwarts, it would most certainly be them.
As James reached the entrance to the common room, he was reminded of the horrible portrait that guarded it. The Fat Lady (a nickname she did not appreciate in the least) was always eager to demonstrate her singing talents – or lack thereof – in front of the students.
“Helios”, he said the password, glad that the Fat Lady didn’t seem to be in a singing mood.
Thanking Merlin’s left sock for his luck, he entered the common room and looked around. It seemed to be as dead as a graveyard, except for a red-haired girl sitting in the far end and from the looks of it doing her homework. At closer inspection, her eyes seemed a bit red and puffy, too. That put James in a hard situation. He did not know her well enough to console her (he remembered her as Lily Evans from his classes and she seemed a bit like a know-it-all) but at the same time his young mind, still full of stories of brave princes saving beautiful princesses, told him that it was extremely un-brave to not help a crying girl. So, he approached her.
“Hey, you’re Lily Evans, right? We have class together.” he greeted.
“Um... yes, hi,” she replied, remembering him as the boy who put a dead frog in the hair of her friend Severus. “What do you want?”
Her reply was a bit too cold and that would have probably put off any ordinary boy at his age. But James Potter did not like to think of himself as an ordinary boy. Though, he was at a bit of a loss now. She didn’t seem to want any consolation from him. As an old habit, he put his hands in his pockets.
“Well,” he started. All of a sudden, he touched the flower in his pocket. No, he was apparently not good at consoling girls. He was even not that good at talking to them. He certainly was not as charming as Sirius. But there was one thing that he excelled at – lies. “I brought you something.” he said while taking the snapdragon from his pocket.
Lily eyed the flower suspiciously – was that another one of his pranks?
“I picked it up for you. I’ll leave it here if you don’t want it.” he added quickly, simultaneously proving that the only thing faster in the universe than the speed of light was probably the speed of lies. He put the snapdragon gently at the table in front of Lily and turned around on his way to the boy’s dormitories.
When James opened the door to his room, he remembered that he actually had better plans with the snapdragon. For a short while, he wondered whether to go and take it back. There was something though, something in the way Lily’s green eyes sparkled, something in the way she scrunched her freckles-kissed nose at him... something that made him wonder. If James had not been so young, this something may have been called love at first sight. But he was a bit too inexperienced for such strong feelings, he knew that. What he didn’t know, though, was that from this day onwards something in him had changed forever.
It was not until the end of autumn that James remembered he had plans to wreak havoc in Hogwarts with barking snapdragons.
Hours later, Lily sat on her bed in the girl’s dormitory playing in her hands with the snapdragon that James had given her. She was feeling both flattered and angry - an emotional range that undeniably only girls could pull off. The snapdragon in her hand was the first flower she had received from a boy in her life. Sure, Severus was her best friend but in all the years she had known him, he had never given her a flower. He was just not that kind of person. But did it really have to be the annoying git James Potter to be the first one to give her a flower? The boy seemed unable to take anything seriously at all. And yet, when he obviously saw her distressed in the common room, he tried to cheer her up. She suspected that the flower was not originally meant for her but was also a tiny bit impressed (not that she would ever admit it) that he parted with it for her - simple ordinary Muggleborn Lily.
Sure, later in the evening, any warm feelings that she had toward James disappeared when he accidentally spilled strawberry jam on her and claimed that it suited her hair. But it was a fact of life that the pink and yellow snapdragon, charmed with an everlasting spell, stayed in the top drawer of Lily Evans’ nightstand for all seven years at Hogwarts.
Author’s note: I did not plan to write this so soon after my other fic (check it out, it’s pure crack fun), but my idea just screamed at me – “Write me! Write me!” And who am I to argue with inspiration? I want to note that I normally don’t dwell in the genre of romance fanfiction. But this, while purposely fluffy, is meant more to be a quirky introspection about how Lily and James’s relationship evolves through the years. If you like it or if you have constructive criticism, please, feel free to drop a review. There are, as you can guess, 6 more chapters and flowers planned. Cheers : )
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