"If you sent me a flower, what would it be?"

"Majesty." Seiran spoke his brother's title gently, an unspoken scolding, reminding Ryuuki that they shouldn't speak of these things. His heart still turned over when Ryuuki lifted his head from Seiran's knee and looked up at him, eyes pleading.

"Let me play pretend? Just for a little bit?" Ryuuki begged, and Seiran's resistance fell all in a heap.

Really, it was himself he should be scolding, more often than not.

He could, at least, phrase things a little less dangerously, though. "If your brother had grown to rule," he said softly, "when he sent you a flower I think it would be a daisy."

Ryuuki's breath caught and his words were husky. "Yes." He caught up Seiran's hand and his lips brushed Seiran's fingers as he whispered, "If things had gone the way they should. If Seien had become my lord..." One hot tear splashed on the back of Seiran's hand. "I would have been faithful to you all my life."

Seiran looked down at Ryuuki's bowed head and didn't chide him for his slip. He rested his free hand on his brother's shaking shoulders, quietly.

After a few gulps, Ryuuki's voice came out steadier. "It hasn't been time, yet, for the Emperor to send a flower to Seiran of the guards. But if I did... when I do..." He looked up, lips trembling but curved in a tiny smile. "When I do, will you be horribly embarrassed if it's lavender?"

The jumble of Seiran's emotions stopped his voice for a moment: tenderness for the sweet, vulnerable boy his little brother had always been; pleasure that Ryuuki still loved him, and fear for the same reason; shining pride in the mind that retained a ruler's awareness, even while the man's heart tugged in another direction. He lifted a hand to stroke Ryuuki's silky-straight hair back from his damp cheek. "I will always be honored to be held in your heart, my Emperor," he said softly, and leaned down to press a kiss to his brother's forehead. After a moment he added, teasing, "Better that than a sunflower, after all."

Ryuuki burst out laughing, probably at the image of Seiran marching blank-faced through the palace with a large and obtrusive yellow flower proclaiming someone's love and respect for him. He rose on his knees to throw his arms around Seiran and pressed his cheek into Seiran's shoulder. "Aniue," he whispered. And, more softly still, "Seiran."

Seiran rested a hand on his brother's head, smiling, and refrained from protesting this time, either.

If he was honest, he would admit he was very happy to be both.

End