Title: Being a Sunflower
Pairings: YuuriWolfram, brotherly ConradWolfram, mentions of ConradYozak.
Warnings: Shounen-ai, boys love—whatever you want to call it. Un-beta-ed, so the grammar might be really bad.
Disclaimer: Still don't own them—Takabayashi Tomo-sensei does.
A/N: Inspired by Alive-Final Evolution- special chapter by Kawashima Tadashi and Adachitoka, with a bit of tweaking here and there. Dedicated, again, for my soulmate Rizu, because we fangirl almost endlessly and this is one of those fangirling session products. XD
Do enjoy and tell me what you think!
A Kyou Kara Maou Fanfiction
Being a Sunflower
It was on Miko's special invitation that they were now on Earth—him, Gwendal, Conrad, Gunter, Greta, and of course, Yuuri—in order to have a family celebration of Yuuri's birthday. It was summer, and he was fascinated by the sound of cicadas echoing on after another from every direction; by the bright colors of the blooming flowers—reds, oranges, yellows—and not even the humidity could annoy him. Yuuri's parents had brought them all to the hill overlooking the city for a simple family picnic, surrounded by green trees and bright-colored flowers. Greta ran back and forth everywhere, chasing butterflies and dragonflies. Her laughter was carried away by the summer wind, while everyone sat down for a wonderful lunch.
The sunflowers fascinated him. It reminded him of the flowers back home named after him; only the sunflowers were even brighter and taller, standing proudly and erect. His fingers itched to draw them; a memento of precious memories here on Earth, of flowers so beautiful that caught his attention so much. Of blue sky and summer wind and free laughter, of Greta and Yuuri's wide smiles and cheerful conversation shared over delicious lunch. Of the feeling of being home; the warmth of a real family.
The wish left his mouth even before he realized it, and Miko—Shinou blessed her so—clapped her hand enthusiastically, pulled Shouri up at once and went off. They came back half an hour later, with a big sketchbook and a set of brushes and paints.
Yuuri gaped at the tools before laughing and set off to play with Greta.
Wolfram settled down comfortably at a spot close to the rest of the group, where he could see the sea of bright yellow flowers standing tall and proud, almost like challenging the sun itself. Smiling at the thought, he started his work. A bit of yellow here, a stretch of green there, another yellow curve on the corner—
"They said a long time ago, the first sunflower was a person."
Wolfram made a vague noticing voice at the back of his throat, acknowledging his half-human brother's voice. Eyebrows knitted in concentration, he felt Conrad sat down next to him, watching the sunflowers with a n enigmatic smile on his face.
"She was in love with the sun. She would spend each day standing outside, staring up at the sun. Gazing longingly, patiently, stubbornly. Days passed, without food or water."
His hand moved across the sketchbook, adding another speck of yellow over the green color as he wondered what Conrad was going on about.
"After all that time, she became a sunflower that resembles the sun. Growing, standing as tall as it could so that no one would block its view of the sun. Looking up, trying to get the sun to notice it. All summer it stands, chasing the sun, shouting to the sun, here I am, here I am. But the sun never noticed it."
Another speck of yellow—and his hand paused. Emerald eyes moved to a figure of the double-black clad in loose shirt and shorts, running amongst the sunflowers, chasing a figure of a little girl; both laughing so free they made the summer breeze envious.
"When the summer ends, it cries. As its petals withers, its seeds begin to fall. Large drops fall onto the ground. The sun didn't notice it. Then it thinks, next summer, for sure. Next summer, the sun will definitely notice me."
Silence fell over the two of them after the last word left Conrad's mouth, and Wolfram put down his brush; his painting half-done.
"This isn't about the sunflowers anymore, is it?"
A hand—strong and warm—was put on his head, ruffling his golden locks a little as the wind breezed past. And Wolfram was reminded of his childhood—of a brother who loved him above everything, who would take nothing to replace him. Of trust and warm hugs every morning, of innocent sword practice and the warmth of a family.
"No," Conrad agreed. "It's not."
It was the third ball Cecilie had hold in the last two months. Another huge ball, filled with nobles holding glasses of champagne between their long and carefully treated fingers. It was crowded with girls clad in beautiful, colorful dresses, sending flirty glances and subtle advances and shy, but excited giggles at the sight of the young Maou. It was full with noblewomen in their massive, expensive gowns, with smiling masks in their faces as they spoke and exchanged whispers of subtly poisonous words about each and every flaw of anything and anyone they could find.
He was not blind. He was too much aware of the pitying glances and cheeky remarks exchanged behind his back. Of sneers and insulting smirks thrown at him, and unsaid statements about him. The Unwanted Prince. Stupid. Blind.
"He should just back off and give our girls the chance to approach the Maou…"
"It's obvious Yuuri-Heika doesn't want him. Is he blind?"
"He'd just embarrass his family. Is it true that he forced himself on Heika?"
"What a waste. With such good looks, he could easily get himself settled with a nice girl…"
He wasn't deaf. He wasn't blind. He heard them—those comments and their rude implications. They left a scar every time his ear caught them. He knew. Those people were the blind ones—the deaf ones—talking so loudly when he could hear every word they said clearly. No, scratch that. The right word for them was stupid. Idiots, Gwendal would call them. It was a pity Shin Makoku had so many of them. This world would be much better off without them.
He stopped as he walked past Conrad and Yozak; both standing quietly in the corner of the ballroom, watching the crowds with calculative eyes. He looked up to find Conrad's meaningful gaze fixed upon him—and he understood then.
"People must have thought the sunflower was stupid for being in love with the sun." He murmured, casting his gaze towards the center of the ballroom, where Yuuri was dancing awkwardly with Cecilie. "The sun—an unreachable being. Hot and burning. It gives warmth, but also pain when it burns your eyes… or your skin."
Conrad was smiling slightly. "Perhaps."
"But the sunflower never gives up. Even though the sun never noticed him."
Seemingly satisfied, Wolfram walked off; this time to the center of the ballroom, swiftly and politely taking Yuuri's hand from his giggling Mother, and all of a sudden the two was dancing across the room—catching all eyes and hypnotizing everyone with their smooth and graceful movements. A beautiful show in itself, Yozak noted, as he threw a questioning glance at his captain.
"What was all that about?"
"Faith." Conrad chuckled.
"Left, Wolfram! Alright, follow my voice—no, no, not that way! Here, turn right!"
Greta's childish, cheerful voice filled his ears, and Wolfram smiled in amusement, idly wondering what kind of game the little girl had come up with this time. She had tied a black cloth securely around his eyes, blindfolding him perfectly before asking him to follow her voice, refusing to lead him just by taking his hand. "It's a game, Wolfram," she had chirped up. "No cheating, now, don't peek!"
What did he have left to do aside from obliging whatever wicked ideas his so-called daughter had in mind?
It wasn't that difficult to follow Greta's voice—her high, childish soprano was nothing alike at all in the whole Shin Makoku. Her voice was always special; her soul seemed like reaching out to him in every note, acknowledging him, loving him. It'd be too easy to follow her and quickly end the game, and that was probably why he went in the wrong direction several times—if only for the little princess to giggle and tell him which way to go, guiding him for once. He wasn't even surprised to find that he didn't mind being guided at all.
"Alright. Here, stop."
And so he did. The ground beneath his feet was solid, but he could smell something fresh in the air. Something different—something new; a smell that didn't originally belong to Shin Makoku. Where had he smelled this before?
"I'll untie the blindfold, but no peeking, okay? Don't open your eyes until Yuuri said so."
Confusion flooded his mind, overriding the previous anticipation he had. "Yuuri…?" he said softly, almost uncertain. What did the soukoku have to do with this game? He bit his lips slightly, anxiety started creeping in. What did he have to face now? Another painful fact? Another denial, another thing leaving him scarred? Did he even want to open his eyes now?
"No peeking, Wolf!" the cheerful voice of the soukoku greeted his ears as he felt the black cloth sliding off his eyes—Greta's amused chuckle following it. Unconsciouly, his hand moved for anything around he could grasp, but found nothing. Great. Just great. No anchor, nothing to hold on. Did he even dare to—
"Alright, Yuuri!" the high-pitched voice of a little girl filled the air again, and his heart skipped a beat. "On the count of three! One—three!"
Then, a soft murmur came close—to close he could feel his breath on his ears—"Open your eyes, Wolf."
Hesitantly, a pair of brilliant emerald eyes fluttered open.
And widened instantly.
Before him, a sea of bright yellow flowers greeted his eyes. They stood tall, proud and erect—their stems swinging slightly at the rhythm of the summer breeze, dancing gracefully just exactly the way he remembered when he saw them for the first time on Earth. Their huge flower bloomed beautifully, magnificently, looking up to the sky, calling for the sun to notice them—longingly, hopefully, stubbornly—
Momentarily, he forgot where he was, almost fully believing that he was on Earth, that Yuuri and Greta were playing tag somewhere among the sunflowers, that his brothers and Yuuri's parents were having lunch just close by. But then Yuuri's voice broke the spell, calling him in a tone that was almost like a worried tone—or was it?
He turned at that, carefully keeping his face as blank as he could. Afraid that this would all only be a dream, that the next second Yuuri would say that this was the last gift he could give to Wolfram and that he couldn't go on with the engagement and—
"Umm." Hesitation. "You don't… like it?" Tentative.
Wolfram blinked. Twice. Thrice. "Huh?" for once, all words left him, and he felt stupid.
"I thought… you liked sunflowers?" the Maou was fidgeting, obviously not expecting his respond to be so—unresponsive. "I mean, you seemed to be so fascinated by them when we were on Earth… was I wrong? The painting you left at home was half-done, but I thought you liked them… so I kind of asked Murata to bring the seeds here so we could have them on a small part of the hill behind the castle, you know, with Anissina's help and all, and maybe make it as a surprise to you… but you don't seem to… like them… I mean, I'm sorry for not asking you first, but—"
Wolfram held up his hand—a sign for Yuuri to stop talking, half-amused at the blabbering soukoku and half-disbelieving at the fact that Yuuri actually planned everything because he thought Wolfram liked them—which was definitely true; he really loved the sunflowers—and the thought itself warmed his heart.
"I…" he paused, searching appropriate words to describe what he felt, but failed miserably. "…why?"
"Well…" Yuuri looked down—was that a blush adorning his cheeks? "No reason. I just thought you'd be happy."
Wolfram's eyebrows rose. "And the reason you wanted to make me happy is…?"
"Wolf!" Yuuri protested, but the blush grew more apparent. "You are important to me, you know? Geez, what's so wrong for wanting to make someone important to you happy?"
The words sent something warm through his heart, flooding so fast he thought he'd drown. They made heat rose to his cheeks almost immediately, making him aware of the giggling Greta behind him and an amused Conrad watching from afar. But before him, Yuuri was grinning, almost victoriously, and he found the sight much more beautiful and warming than any other sun could ever be.
He humph-ed, turning around and walked briskly towards a sunflower standing so tall that its flower reached his head. "What a wimp."
"Whatever. You are happy." The grin was apparent in his tone, and Wolfram couldn't hold back the smile spreading on his face. Burying his face on the sunflower so Yuuri couldn't see it, he closed his eyes, and murmured, "What an idiot."
He heard—listened to—Greta's voice as she challenged Yuuri to catch her, and Yuuri's cheerful reply as he pretended to be the big bad monster. Squeals and laughter ensued, and the blond could hear his name was shouted by them several times, but he didn't look up. His chest—heart—felt really warm, as if a small, content fire had rekindled in it, and even though something deep inside his being still ached, he knew he'd be alright.
At least for now.
And he let a small tear slid off his eyelids, falling into the sunflower.
Up in the sky, the summer sun was still shining, almost scorching hot and burning, but still, he looked up, once again feeling like he himself was a sunflower, and stared up to the sun with a hand hovering above his eyes, protecting the emerald orbs from the massive light.
"The sun really is blinding…"
A/N: Yes, I know this is totally weird. Even I myself went "What the heck did I just write?" straight away after re-reading it. Oh-well. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Review, please? You can always ask if something confuses you. =]
-isumi'kivic' and Ilde-