Flower Family

Summary: Celi has a habit of naming flowers after her family and associates. But it's more than just whims. Every flower embodies both what she sees, and her dearest hopes. Especially for her three sons. But even though Celi makes the flowers grow, there's no doubt...it's Yuri who makes them bloom.

Chapter One: Growing the Garden

Lady Celi looked over the flowers in her garden, then bent to smell the fragrances. She smiled. "My, the flowers are certainly beautiful this year."

She settled on the stone wall. Her sons were busy, as they almost always were when the king was there. Anissina had devised a new experiment, and Giesela was doing physicals with the soldiers. Greta would be getting her morning snack from the maids, followed by lessons with Gunter, until it was time for him to begin his lessons with the king. For the moment, she had the garden all to herself.

Celi smiled and leaned back into the warm stone. She enjoyed the company of others, chatting with the women, flirting with the men, and teasing the young king, or spoiling her adopted grand-daughter. But quiet times were nice too.

Her gaze drifted back to the flowers. This particular section was known as her 'Family Garden'. After all, every flower was named after her family members. The slender trumpet flower she'd named for her eldest son. The beautiful blue flower she'd named for her second son, and the vibrant gold blossoms she'd named for her youngest. And, of course, her own flowers.

Her hand trailed lightly over a blossom. These flowers bloomed year round, an impressive feat in and of itself, but that wasn't why she was proud of them. Nor was it their incredible beauty, though they'd been complimented many times. At least, that wasn't the sole reason she loved them so.

She touched another bloom, feeling the gentle magic in it, the warmth that tingled within. This one was one of Gwendal's, a deep wine color, but rich and pulsing with life. As well it might be. Her eldest son was quite controlled and self-contained, but his gruff exterior hid a heart as passionate as her own.

She grazed the blossom lightly with a finger, noting how it extended toward the light. She'd never told anyone save Giesela, Julie and Anissina what the true magic of the flowers was.

She'd put her own special power into these flowers. But more than that, she'd tied them to the magic of her spirit. Her spirit, and that of her children. Each flower, as it bloomed, represented the person for whom it was named. If the child flourished, so to did the flowers.

She had created the garden originally so she would always know how her children fared. She loved them, longed to hold them close, but she knew the truth. They were all far too strong willed, too independent, to want to be held and coddled. They were grown men after all, even her baby, Wolfram. They had responsibilities, lives that took them from her. And, she admitted, she traveled often. So, using the magic and bonds that were unique to parent and child, she had woven their essences, and her own, into these flowers. A way to nurture them, nurture their spirits, even when they were far away. A way for her to know how her sons fared, whatever else might happen.

Her gaze drifted over the garden. There had been times when she'd feared the flowers would die. And yet, they still bloomed. And over the past months, they'd bloomed brighter and more vibrant than ever. The plants she strove to keep healthy had grown spectacularly since early spring, just over a year ago.

A young masculine voice drifted over the courtyard. She turned to find three men strolling up the path. Wolfram and Conrart, dressed in white outfits to match their companion, Wolfram with a stripe of red, Conrad with a stripe of black. The third figure, a lean young man with jet black hair, wore an identical suit with a blue stripe. He was gesturing in excitement, his voice drifting carrying on the wind as he spoke to Conrart. His Majesty, the King. Yuri Shibuya, her replacement.

Celi's lips curved in affection as she watched the three of them stride up the steps. His majesty, Yuri. The king who had led them to a successful alliance with their neighbors, saved them from the Boxes, returned to them despite the oracle's belief that it was impossible. Yuri...who had changed everyone's lives so much, and all for the better.

Her gaze drifted back to the flowers. She knew the young king came to water the plants often, he and his adopted daughter, Greta. Odd, that even when he didn't know their true significance, he tended them, brooded over them, came to the garden when he was troubled. But then, Yuri had excellent instincts, and she knew he cared for each of her children.

She smiled, fingers toying with the stem closest to her, one of Wolfram's. She really ought to tell Yuri about the garden sometime.

After all...it was Yuri who had made the flowers bloom so brightly.

Author's Note: So...this'll be pretty introspective, in Celi's POV. Probable spoilers. But this one's been following me around ever since I heard what she names her flowers...