La Petite Rose Verte

i.

Camus is not an only child, but sometimes he feels like one: his brother and sister often feel more like guardians than siblings.

He does not complain, though: there are children who have neither parents nor siblings, or even any living relatives. Besides, he likes Leohart and Rosalind. They have been his closest companions all his life, and his going away to school will not change that.

This is what he believes (hopes) at least, and of course there is no place in the real world for hope.

ii.

Lui is close to him, always has been since those too-brief moments in the garden when he wasn't even sure what friendship felt like, always there to point out something important that Camus has overlooked.

They are as different as night and day: tall, strong Lui, who everyone admires and fears, perhaps even Orpherus at times.

Then there's Camus: sweet, gentle, naïve Camus, so frail and delicate, perhaps rather effeminate in a way. (He has long since given up denying this: any boy who spends a significant amount of time with flowers will inevitably be branded as one of them- in particular, a pansy).

This is fine by him: he doesn't want to be the centre of attention. He's naturally self-effacing, and after his childhood, he's glad to finally be allowed to even be around other people.

But sometimes, just sometimes, he wishes that he didn't constantly feel as if he's constantly living in Lui's shadow.

iii.

Naoji is a little frightening, Camus thinks: he's cold and smooth like glass, and slippery too. Whenever Camus thinks he might have him pinned down, he slips quickly away again.

None of this is to say that he does not like Naoji: he prides himself on not disliking anyone. He has been brought up never to hate. Still, Camus worries.

Occasionally, Camus wishes that he could be more like Naoji, because even if he won't admit it, it hurts to be replaced in Lui's heart like this.

iv.

Ed is kind, more so than anyone Camus has ever met. There is an air of pleasant affability about him of which he seems to be entirely unaware. It's what draws people to him- aside from his considerable good looks, that is.

He and Orphe are very close – very, very close, with all its implications. He's surprised that they still think he hasn't realised it, after knowing him for this long: flowers gossip as much as humans do, and if they will insist upon having 'assignations' in front of flower beds, then it's not Camus' fault if word gets back to him.

He's not jealous, not really, but it might be nice to have someone like that.

He thinks he may as well hope to be as tall as Lui- and despite his belief in the power of optimism, he knows that this one's a hopeless case.

v.

Orpherus, the brilliant statue. Seldom does a smile cross that marble countenance, but when it does, even the lamps take notice and burn brighter.

The solemnity of their fearless leader (because he is, really, though Lui would fiercely contest this) has always concerned him: what could have turned a healthy, vigorous young man to stone, drive away all thoughts but those of honour and justice?

He would ask, but he knows that it would be construed as pity- and the only thing worse than scorn is pity.

He should know.

vi.

Elmunt is not like his friends. He is a country boy who has made good; simple at first glance, but possessing hidden depths.

His hands are rough, fingertips calloused, but his touch is gentle as he shyly places his hand on Camus' shoulder.

Camus knows that Elmunt could (would) become the Naoji to his Lui, and even the Ed to his Orphe in a heartbeat if he asked.

One day, he just might.

vii.

Camus is not sure who he is. He's never really been quite sure, but lately he's been less certain than usual.

He knows what he is – Camus the gentle, mild, delicate, kind, sweet, effeminate, flower boy- but not of them say who he is.

He will find out someday, and until then he'll keep searching for himself.

He just hopes he doesn't get lost on the way.

'I'm not happy, but I'm not unhappy about it.'

-Posner, The History Boys