Disclaimer #1: Same as before.
Disclaimer #2: The rose garden isn't mine. It is the creation of Patricia C. Wrede. And just for background information, it is from a short story in Book of Enchantments
by her called "Roses by Moonlight". But it's not necessary for you to read it to understand what's happening.
Remus Lupin didn’t want to be at this convention. But Harry had begged and pleaded with him to go and so he had relented. What a dreary morning.
He thought as he made his way through the throngs of wizards and witches. As he travelled to the front of the convention arena, where he had told Harry he would be, he caught his eye on a number of exhibits. He was impressed at the selection of flora present in the building. No wonder Professor Sprout had insisted on this field trip. This was actually quite an educational experience. Maybe not quite so educational.
He mused, quirking his eyebrows as he moved. The corners of his mouth twitched in many a smile as he made his way up and down the rows. The Amazing Sleeping Flower, a talking shrub, a Venus Flytrap, Rose.
he stopped at that one. The woman at the booth was dressed in a long black dress. She had dark hair and blue eyes.
“My garden was not meant to be cut from and displayed in a building. But these blooms dropped prematurely, perhaps because it knew I was invited here today. Here, come.” She invited Remus to approach the roses in the vase. Casting a wary glance around, he stepped forward.
He stepped back in shock. A blonde woman appeared at his elbow. She hugged her arms to herself as if she were cold, even though the room was quite warm to accommodate all of the plants.
“They’re not just roses. They’re different. They show you things. I—I wouldn’t if I were you.” She rubbed her arms.
“But if you must” She glanced wistfully at the smallest rose. “Smell that one.”
The merchant eyed the newcomer. She smiled kindly, almost. “You are worthy. One day, perhaps. But for now, go. Both of you go.”
Without a word, the blonde walked away. Remus hurried to follow her. “Wait! What did it –what did you see?”
The woman was silent. Suddenly he realized what a tremendously personal question he had asked a complete stranger. But she didn’t seem to mind though, as after a few beats, she spoke again.
“I’m not sure. Ways my life could have been, I think. The one I told you to smell was a good one, a happy one.”
The two walked wordlessly past several other booths when she spoke again. “Sorry if I, you know, ruined it for you. I think you can still go back and see them if you want.”
Remus wondered if he still wanted to. It didn’t sound too pleasant. He opened his mouth to answer when suddenly the woman stopped very abruptly, causing him to run into her. A small smile appeared on her face, which gradually erupted into a grin that Remus could only describe as lighting up her entire face. He turned to see what had gotten her attention.
It was the tiniest, most delicate pale blue lily. The toothless man encouraged the woman to put her ear to the flower. She jolted back with a gasp. Tentatively, and still smiling, she leaned forward again, this time taking Remus’ hand and pulling him forward with her. He barely had time to react to the fact that this breathtaking woman was touching him when he realized exactly what had startled his companion. The lily was singing.
The vendor grinned gain.
“Lullaby Lily.” He said, “it knows when you’re feeling down and sings as long as you like. Easy to take care of too, only forty galleons and two knuts.”
“What?” The woman looked confused.
“Costs forty galleons and two knuts. Aw shucks, forget the knuts.”
“Oh.” The woman eyed the Lullaby Lily longingly. “I’m sorry, I’ve only got American money.”
The vendor frowned. “Well I can’t take that.”
The woman suddenly brightened. “Oh wait, I think my friend has British money!” She started to go when Remus grabbed her arm.
He wasn’t aware he was doing it. He just knew that this beautiful woman that he was inexplicably drawn to was about to leave and he would probably never see her again.
“What’s your name?”
She smiled pleasantly, not objecting to his hand on her arm. “Buffy Summers.” She twisted around and took her arm out of his grasp to extend her hand.
“Remus--” he was cut off when she bobbed above him. “Oh, there’s Giles! Wait here.” She ran to the back of the convention area.
He almost wished he hadn’t done it, but he turned to look towards the front of the arena, and happened to catch Harry’s eye. Drat.
he thought. If he walked away, he knew he would lose that woman.
He put his hand in his pocket. Suddenly he realized something.
“Forty galleons, you say?” The man nodded.
“Done. But you have to do something for me.” The man narrowed his eyes.
“I don’t want the flower. I want her to have it. So when she comes back, give her this note.” He scrawled his name at the bottom. “And if she doesn’t come back, and you see her again, give it to her.”
“And if she doesn’t?”
“Then you can keep it. But don’t you dare scam me or I’ll come find you and hex you into next week!”
The old man grinned again. He was a kind-hearted man, he wouldn’t scam Remus. In fact, the whole exchange warmed the cockles of his heart a little.
He tipped his imaginary hat to Remus. “Will do sir.”
When Buffy returned with the money she had wheedled out of Giles, she saw that the pale blue lily was gone and had been replaced with a more ordinary orange one. The toothless old man grinned from ear to ear.
“Missy have I got a surprise for you!” He brought her lily from under the table and handed it to her, along with a folded sheet of yellow parchment.
“That’s one romantic gentleman you got there.”Ms. Summers,
Please forgive such a forward gesture on my part. However, I could not resist when I saw the joy on your face. I wish you all the best.
P.S. Kindly do me a favor and do smile more. You’ve such a lovely smile.