"...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
"The birds love 'em roses, mate. There is no way you can ever go wrong with a rose." Sirius Black the Wise (moments before he was proven dreadfully wrong)
The fourth flower James Potter gave to Lily Evans was a rose. That may seem a bit on the uncreative side but the boy, being James Potter, managed to infuse the gift with the quirky uniqueness that was so characteristic for him.
It was the afternoon before Valentine's Day and Hogwarts was bursting with the nervousness and excitement usually present before that special day. Or, in other words, love was spreading in the air faster than an airborne virus of alien origin.
This of course, had a particular effect on the teenage boys at Hogwarts – their hormones were raging wildly even without the impending Valentine's Day. That is why this particular conversation about gifts was transpiring in the fourth year's Gryffindor dormitory:
"I mean, I don't even need to send such a cliché thing as gifts and flowers! Which girl could possibly resist the charms of James Potter?" he puffed his chest a bit.
"How about the only girl that you actually have a crush on?" started Remus, putting aside the book that he was reading. "Red hair, green eyes, her name starts with L and ends in –ily?"
James smirked. "Elilly? Do we have a girl with such a strange name?"
Remus shot him a glare that could cause serious psychological damage to more sensitive people. James, however, merely laughed. "Alright, alright, I am stopping with the jokes. But I mean, I don't think that I have a crush on her. She's just interesting and I love to make her angry. Her reactions are priceless."
"You can call it by any other name you want James, you have a crush on her."
"I dare to disagree with you, Remus. But actually, your idea might not be that bad. I may give her a flower and propose to her to be my Valentine. Evans is a really pretty bird. Imagine me, the handsome Quidditch stud together with the beautiful red-haired Gryffindor girl."
At that point of time, Sirius felt the need to interrupt James' ridiculous fantasies with a well-timed bark laugh. "Oh yes, that will be a sight. Afterwards, you can also become friends with Snivelly and braid each other's hair. And then, we'll be free to call you with the collective name Lames."
"Lames?" James raised an eyebrow.
"You know – when you mix Lily and James, it becomes Lames. A name that will fit you well." Sirius grinned.
"I resent that. What's wrong if I actually want to have a relationship with her? Not all of us strive to be the reigning king of one-week flings, Sirius." James was clearly not amused.
"Oh, so you actually admit that you want to have a relationship with Lily." Remus spoke again.
"Aaargh. You led me into a trap, didn't you, Remus. My evil disciples, I think you may have surpassed your master." said James exasperatedly. He stood up from his bed and started pacing around the room. "We need a plan. How can we find what is her favourite flower? Do you think I should send her a lily?"
"I am sure that she will appreciate the originality of the idea." said Remus dryly. "Why don't you ask one of her roommates about it, I know that you are semi-friendly with Mal?"
"No, she won't know it. She and Evans don't like each other very much."
"How about something universal then?" asked Sirius. "You know, like roses. The birds love 'em roses, mate. There is no way you can ever go wrong with a rose".
At this point, Remus put a hand on his forehead in desperation. Say again, why was he friends with those creative geniuses?
"That actually isn't a half-bad idea. I think I'm going to go with roses." A disconcertingly bright spark appeared in James' eyes." Now... let's discuss the delivery of the Valentine's gift, boys."
At precisely 8 o'clock on Valentine's Day, one Lily Evans was woken up by a flock of Hogwarts' owls which flew into the girl's dormitory and dropped a multitude of roses on her lovely self. Due to the wonderful thing called collateral damage, the other girls in the room were woken too, mostly by Lily's laughter.
"The roses, oh Merlin! He sent me those roses! James Potter has finally lost the final screws in his brain!" she clutched at her stomach in another fit of laughter. From the other side of the room, her sleepy roommate Mal Perry called her.
"Evans, are you okay? Am I understanding right that a fairly attractive boy sent you roses and now you are laughing hysterically? Methinks that maybe Potter is not the crazy one in this situation."
"No, no, Perry. Get up, look at the flowers more closely!" cried Lily.
Quite reluctantly and sending a few mental curses towards Lily, Mal got out of her bed and went to see why exactly her roommate was making a scene. She almost gasped when she saw what Lily had been laughing at. Now, Mal may have been a witch, a pureblood one at that and still she rarely saw such surrealistic things in her life. A bunch of roses, obviously coloured with magic in all hues and shades of the rainbow, were performing some kind of happy dance on Lily's bed.
"Well, one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that life with James Potter would never be boring." Mal chuckled.
"But they are dancing!" Lily was waving her hands frantically. "They look as if a rainbow vomited on them! And Potter! That nerve! To give me flowers again! On Valentine's Day nonetheless!"
At this point, Mal was wondering how Lily could still speak without catching her breath. No doubt, she had some hidden supernatural power (except from the whole being a witch part).
"Evans, I know that receiving flowers is a traumatic event for any girl, but will you please politely shut up for a second. Let's discuss this," she pointed with her hand. "Exhibit A – your bed, covered with pretty roses from James Potter." She turned to the other side of the room. "Exhibit B – my bed, completely empty, not awaiting any flowers. You are very lucky. And what's more – I know that you know it too. Of course, James annoys you to no end, but tell me frankly – are you not extremely flattered, too?"
Lily quietened and looked down. James was so immature, so proud and arrogant with his pranks and his posse following him everywhere. Yet, at the same time she couldn't help but feel a rushing sensation through her veins whenever she received his undivided attention. Lily would never admit it to Mal, but he made her feel so... so special.
Still, she was a bit furious and quite a lot confused and that is why the roses were the one flower from James that she never kept. Funnily, years later when browsing through her personal books, James Potter found a multicoloured rose petal in it. It was serving as a bookmark for one of her favourite novels – Pride and Prejudice. Had he read the book, he may have chuckled a bit at the irony.
Author's note: This chapter actually has a very funny story to it. The day after I wrote it was my birthday and my roommates gave me a bouquet of multi-coloured roses for it. And I was like - what are the chances?! And then I saw that Jane Austin (whose Pride and Prejudice I mention) was born on the same day as me. So strange... aaaanyways, thanks for reading, you are wonderful. :)) I hope to see your opinions of the chapter in the reviews and see you after the queue reopens. ^^