He doesn’t remember how they ever got on the topic of flowers, but here they were, a handsome seelie and a newly formed daylighter discussing each other’s preferred plant.
“I’m kind of a daisy person, you know? My mom and sister tease me because they believe daisies aren’t romantic, but I always felt like it was having a small sun. Speaking of son, I also love sunflowers, but this is Brooklyn, you won’t find may if any here.” Meliorn nods in agreement, head leaning on one hand, but eyes glittering with anticipation with what the other had left to say.
“Not that I have to worry about telling people my favorite flowers, because I’m a guy. But I occasionally buy flowers for my mom and even my sister. My dad used to buy us flowers all the time, my sister would get gardenias, I would get daisies, and my mother would get orchids, usually pink or white ones.”
“Your father no longer engages in the purchase of flowers?” Simon chuckled, though Meliorn could tell that there was no humor behind it, a nervous tic.
“It’s not that he doesn’t want to, he can’t. Being dead does that.” He stated flatly, looking down at the flowers around him, absentmindedly fidgeting a string from his sweater.
“Ah. My apologies, I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.” He offered softly, reaching out to place one tan hand on the other’s pale ones. Simon stopped fidgeting immediately and the seelie felt him tense up, before slowly relaxing into his touch.
“It’s no biggie. I mean, it’s been what? Eight years? It shouldn’t be hard to talk about it, but I miss him. I miss him. I miss what we could have had too, you know? Like, he didn’t get to teach me how to play ball or how to talk to girls and, later on boys. He didn’t get to see Becca and I graduate high school, man. He would have been proud.” He paused, trying to collect his thoughts.
“The worst thing about it though, is just not having someone there. He used to make me feel like nothing was wrong with me. Sure, I talked too much or got a little to obsess over certain movies and shows, but he never made me feel like I was weird or different. And, I just know that he’d still make me feel like that now, knowing I’m a vampire and knowing I’m pansexual, he’d just take me for what I am. That’s what I miss. Knowing someone would always love me for me just because it was me.” He raised his head to the sky, clearing his throat to keep his emotions at bay. He felt Meliorn squeeze his hand, thumb caressing the top of his wrist.
“My mother used to braid my hair with jasmine and hibiscus flowers.” Simon blinked and looked at the man next to him, confusion slowly moving across his features.
“She was a kind woman, always willing to serve our Queen and just as willing to help and love her children. I don’t remember any moment my mother was cruel to anyone, especially not to my brother and I. When we lost her I was young and with her loss I remember feeling as if the light that shone through our kingdom was permanently dimmed. Yet, I remained strong for my brother.”
“I continued her tradition of braiding jasmine and hibiscus in the hair of my brother. He always looked so much younger with flowers in his hair, no matter how much time. He used to sing too, wanted to compete with the birds.” He chuckled dryly.
Simon, by this point, had turned so his body was facing Meliorn directly, his hands cradling the one the seelie had offered moments ago.
“After the Circle attacked, I spent so long looking through the rubble. Turning over corpses, hoping that he was just somewhere in pain, but alive. At least alive.” He took a deep breathe and Simon quietly wondered if anyone else had heard this story.
“And then I found him. Laying near a broken, crumbling wall. Eyes still open, but not seeing. Never seeing again...” Another deep breathe. “I haven’t been able to wear hibiscus or jasmine in my hair since.”
They stayed silent for a while, Meliorn’s hand still cradled in Simon’s. The wind whistling through their hair as the sun dipped lower past the horizon. Both men settled on the view around them, their minds running off into different spaces. Simon was the first to look at the other male. Always so strong, sometimes to the point of appearing impassive or uninterested, yet hidden underneath the armor of a soldier lay a man who had a family once, who had a life outside of conflicts and battle strategies.
“Thank you, for telling me.” He spoke softly, as if any noise might shatter this fragile atmosphere between them. Meliorn turned towards him, bringing his hand up to join the other, changing positions so that he could hold hands with Simon, a soft smile on his lips.
“Thank you for listening.”
And if Simon woke up the next day with sunflowers all around his apartment, he did not question their appearance, just watered them and smiled.
And when Meliorn found a crown of daisies placed gently on his battle reports at the Institute, he simply smiled and wore it proudly.