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Great Pretender

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There were always Higanbana in Green’s apartment. Their thin stalks tangled with Renge and Kijroibara flowers, bouquets all over the place, some flowering, others wilting into nothingness. It always bothered Leaf, to see the flowers everywhere. Green surrounded himself with flowers - almost as a taunt towards fate itself. She sits with him, the two talking quietly in the flower strewn apartments. She leaves for the bathroom, and when she returns, Green is holding a flower by the stem. He’d plucked it out of a bouquet for her, smiling softly as she accepts it. Suisen flowers.

The next time she visits, they’re everywhere, and Green doesn’t smile the way he used to when he sees her.


 

Silver sometimes wonders about the flowers. He doesn’t visit Green much - the gym leader isn’t particularly friendly, words cutting and expression cold. He wants to know more about Green. But he keeps his distance. He’s heard about Green’s apartment. There’s over a dozen flowers there now, according to Leaf.

He sneaks after Green one night, plucks up the courage to make friends with the boy, when it happens. Benibara flowers tumble over his lips, the boy coughing red flowers until there’s a veritable bouquet. Silver watches him pick each one up carefully, wipe them clean of blood spots with a shaking hand, the boy avoiding the sharp edges with embarrassed ease, before escaping the party.

He finds out later, that Green had given one of the Benibara to Lance, and his heart sinks. When he sees Green next, he’s cool towards the man too. His father had always scorned the love born from the flowers, and it makes him wonder, if his father had been like Green too, coughing up flowers and discarding them.


 

Red doesn’t believe in the rumors. It’s a child’s fairy tale. People don’t fall in love and cough up flowers. But being in Green’s apartment unsettles him. There’s so many flowers here, their fragrant blooms occupying every inch of space not already taken up by his work. He sits next to Green, watches him carefully. Green doesn’t move from his position on the couch, glasses slipping down his face as he reads the latest reports.

“We’re being assigned to Alola.” Red had decided to offer the news. Green looks up, disinterest in his face, but he plasters a polite smile and nod to his actions.

“Okay.” Green reaches out, plucks one of the Higanbana from their perch, carefully tucking it into Red’s hat. “Take that with you.” He says, and Red is struck by how unfeeling his eyes look. His smile is warm.

But his eyes are so, so cold.


 

In Alola, there are plenty of people to meet. Hau loves that, loves watching people. But the earthy gaze of Green makes his heart shiver. There is no kindness in his gaze when he looks at some people. It’s as though all his love is gone, cut away.

Hau sometimes wonders what people mean by flower disease. It’s a foreigner’s disease - Alola has never had a case of it that wasn’t from a foreign born. He thinks it’s a romantic thing. Most people do.

But when Hau watches the earthen boy cry along with Koali’awa as they pour from between his lips, stained red and vines curling from his mouth, Hau knows better. It’s not romantic. It’s terrible and awful and wrong. Hau sees the flowers on the ground and realizes that it’s not something worth celebrating.

It’s how he catches Gladion, with the flowers of his namesake growing around his throat, and Hau wonders if anyone ever helped the earthen boy with his own flowers.

When he sees the man again, he gifts someone a Koali’awa flower, and remembers the rumors. His home is full of flowers. Hau wonders if anyone knows those flowers are all loves lost to him.


 

Gold holds flowers in his hands. He’s just managed to make friends with Green, and flowers had come up from his throat one morning. They’re Wasurenagusa flowers. He knocks on Green’s door, and when he opens it, surprise colors the man’s features when Gold thrusts the bouquet into his arms.

It’s something he wonders at. Does nobody give Green flowers? He goes to the bathroom, and when he comes back, Green has more of the same flowers - the same kind that are in his hands are the same ones Gold realized were scattered over the apartment. Green fingers them with something like wonder, and Gold looks at him shyly. Green doesn’t say a word to him, instead holding the bouquet as though it’s worth gold and diamonds.

“I know blue isn’t your favorite color… but I… um…” Gold has never felt so nervous. The flowers quiver under ribcage, prepared to burst free at any moment. Green’s smile is small, as the man puts them in a vase, fingers dancing over the stems. Green’s eyes are soft, and he reaches out to Gold, thanks him quietly, before asking him to come back tomorrow.

He comes back the next day to find Green’s home empty of everything but the blue bouquet of Wasurenagusa, and an open invitation in the form of a key. It’s not much.

Gold still coughs up blue flowers, and sometimes so does Green. But they don’t hide it, hoping one day their flowers will disappear with their love for each other.