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Like Caring for a Garden

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Basil hummed as he tended to his garden, watering each plant with equal care and love like he always had. His tone was cheerful, as usual.

Sunny was visiting this weekend, and Basil couldn’t deny the excitement he felt. He always looked forward to Sunny’s visits, especially now that they were seeing each other. He smiled at the thought, despite the complications that came along with it. Those complications didn’t matter, though. The two of them would make it through it and find a way to make it work for both of them.

Sunny’s words were always kind and loving to him, no matter how few of them there were. His touch would always make the blond’s heart flutter, even if it were just a touch of their hands or the warmth of his embrace. He loved when Sunny was honest with him and spoke his thoughts, no matter how short, whenever Basil spoke to him about anything that came across his mind…

But Sunny wasn’t always honest with him, and Basil didn’t always tell him the things that went through his mind, no matter what everyone else said about their relationship.

Basil frowned, and moved onto pulling out the weeds among his flowers. They’d make it work.

Basil reached for his hand and held onto it, Sunny squeezing back, though his grip wasn’t as firm as it used to be when they were kids. Maybe that’s just the way things were now, or maybe Basil was remembering incorrectly. After all, it's been years.

Basil looked over at Sunny as they walked along the crosswalk from Faraway Plaza back to Basil’s home, waiting for Sunny to return his gaze, at least even glance. He didn’t though. That was fine, Basil settled on.

Sunny didn’t look happy, but it wasn’t like he looked upset or anything either. He didn’t usually express himself anyway, but he was happy, right? No matter how he had looked.

Even so, it worried Basil. Worried him like how new gardeners worried for their plants, often wondering if they’re doing the right things for them. Were they watering them enough? Keeping them in the correct spot that would help them flourish? Was it the correct time or season to be planting these?

He always told Sunny how he was feeling, and he wanted Sunny to do the same. Everything would work out better that way, wouldn’t it? They’re relationship would be better if they opened up to each other and avoided hiding things from one another.

He could tell when flowers needed something, like when they started wilting or growing towards a certain area. It took a while to recognize these kinds of things and identify what each behavior meant, but eventually, after some time, he grew used to them and knew how and when to act. He had to rely on his own knowledge instead of waiting for the plant to give him signs. He paid attention to the amount he watered his plants and made sure that he wasn't giving too much while also making sure he didn’t give too little.

He was no longer familiar with some of Sunny's behaviors, though. He knew that. They’d both changed over time, and it didn’t matter how much they knew each other before, but even so, Basil was still Basil, and Sunny was still Sunny.

So Basil asked him if he was alright, and Sunny finally returned his gaze. The boy nodded at his question, and the corner’s of his mouth twitched. It was a short smile, but Basil loved it nonetheless, no matter how insincere it looked to him. He smiled back at him.

Then, something flashed in Sunny’s expression, but he looked away from him and forward again.

Basil felt a pang of sadness swell in his chest, wanting to voice his concerns, but he didn’t want to ruin this moment. This was everything he wanted.

But Sunny didn’t look at him the way Basil did at him. The blond could see it in his eyes. This look was far from the way Basil saw Sunny look at Aubrey when they were younger. His eyes were more lively back then, but maybe that was just it. Things have changed since then, anyway.

Basil didn’t think much of it. He kept himself from doing so, focusing on the brighter side of things, no matter how far it was from their current situation.

Basil continued to hum his own little melody. There weren’t a lot of weeds, but there usually weren't any. He supposed that he had been a little more busy these days to pay closer attention to what was starting to sprout among the rest of his flowers. He told himself that he’d take more care of them.

The thought of neglecting his flowers made him guilty.

He knew he should pay more attention to them, but there was already so much going through his head. Everything was almost overwhelming, both painfully and thrilling at the same time.

He moved onto caring for the bed of daffodils. He recalled that this was the spot that he and Sunny were sitting near when Basil had confessed his feelings. He smiled softly at the memory, though a tinge of embarrassment accompanied it.

Even so, he was mostly glad that he told Sunny. Mostly.

The words had slipped out of his mouth. He hadn’t meant to say anything, he truly did! This was always meant to be his secret, only shared to the flowers of his garden. A small inconvenience that he would get rid of, like the weeds in his garden. Weeds that only wanted to stay and grow among the other plants, yet out of place. Weeds that appeared almost harmless and just as alive as the flowers in his garden, but serving as such a disturbance, taking up all the water and nutrients just to survive. Weeds that just wanted to grow, but taking over what’s left of the garden until there was no longer any room for the flowers.

His feelings were like weeds, eating away at the rest of him until they’re all that’s left, all he was, all he could act on.

He didn’t take care of the garden enough to get rid of them, and now they’ve started taking over.

He stared at the latter, who looked back at him with an almost unfazed expression. If only he hadn’t said anything! He’s ruined everything once again. What would Sunny think? How was he going to take this-

He got his answer when a hand reached for his, lips pressing against his own. He was… surprised, to say the least, but he eventually kissed back, not expecting his feelings to be returned…

Only they weren’t. The only thing he had felt through that kiss was obligation. Obligation to pull the weeds out of the garden of someone who failed to care for it, to take care of something that was already dying.

But maybe he’d fall in love with the garden he finds when the weeds are finally gone. Maybe.

Basil found himself tearing up, but it was nothing too intense. It felt more like he was just tired, and his eyes were watering with every yawn. Only he wasn’t yawning. Either way, he easily wiped them from his eyes and continued with his work.

Maybe he was just really happy. He knew he was really lucky to have someone like Sunny in his life.

Under his stoic expression, Sunny was truly a kindhearted person. Basil knew that. Their friends knew that. Maybe even the whole town already knew that. It was just the truth to Basil, facts forged into his mind to cover up all of his delusions.

But sometimes Sunny was too kind. Maybe he felt that he had to make it up to everyone. Give them back the kindness they gave him, or make up for past mistakes.

Basil wants to tell him that he doesn’t have to do that, and he should only do the things he’s up to and comfortable with. He wants to tell Sunny that it’s okay to refuse something you don’t want, tell him that he shouldn’t be afraid to voice his thoughts, but that would be hypocritical, wouldn’t it?

Basil stayed silent.

He wanted Sunny to stop lying to him all the time, but every lie made his heart flutter, shamefully so. Every lie that slid from Sunny’s mouth was so electrifying to him, it stunned him. Each day he spent with Sunny, he found himself silently promising that it would be the last time Sunny had to lie for him.

But promises made to Basil were promises that would be broken, a flower planted in the wrong circumstances and destined for death.

Basil let out a sigh.

He trusted Sunny. Sunny wouldn’t lie to him.

So that’s what he kept telling himself, and that’s what's been keeping his mouth shut.

They had only been together for a few weeks when Basil told Sunny that he loved him. It wasn’t a long time, but Basil had known even before his feelings.

Sunny looked at him, surprised. Maybe it was too early to have said that. He knew he should have waited, but he just couldn’t conceal his feelings. Basil always voiced his thoughts, and that was both a blessing and a curse. Kind of like the snails in his garden. They ate the fallen leaves from his plants, but sometimes they did too much, so much that they even ate what was still growing.

Basil recalled the time that they had destroyed his violets that week. He was sad because they had only been in bloom for a few days.

In a quieter voice, Sunny echoed those significant words.

Basil smiled and shyly planted a small peck on his cheek, overjoyed. It made him so happy that Sunny was able to say those words back to him, so happy that it was almost sickening in a way.

He looked at the expression on Sunny’s face. The black haired boy seemed so unsure of himself and the things around him, like the more he thought, the more he dissociated. As if trying to anchor him or ground him, Basil wrapped a hand around his arm. Sunny turned to face him, clearly shaken up.

So Basil hugged him.

Arms wrapped around him in return. It was all so perfect.

Basil moved on to his chrysanthemums. He loved the name of the flower and the positivity behind it. He smiled softly to himself once more.

Yeah, everything was just fine. Basil knew that, and he hoped that Sunny felt the same way. There was nothing wrong. Nothing would ever be wrong again, because the worst has already happened, right?

Basil had already made it through the worst trials of his life when he lost the people around him, but everyone was back now. He was strong. He could do this.

But Basil wasn’t strong. And he couldn’t do this.

No, Basil was weak, and beneath it all, he knew it.

He found that maybe if he believed in something enough, though, that it would come true. Like when Sunny came back outside last summer or when everyone came back together like before. Maybe if he truly believed that Sunny loved him, it would become true, and he wouldn’t have to be so guilty about it.

It was mean, it was selfish, but it was comforting.

He wasn’t the sunflower he wanted to be, but he’d always face the sun. Even if the sun wasn’t present, he’d always await its return, even if it killed him.

Basil wanted Sunny to love him just as much as he wanted Sunny to leave. They weren’t good for each other this way, but it was the best feeling Basil had ever felt. Maybe Sunny felt the same. Maybe deep down, he liked the thrill too.

It was wrong, just as much as it was right.

It wasn’t like either of them would confront this, anyway, no matter how bad they wanted to speak up. But now they both carried the same burden of the same situation once again. They were connected by a string of fate, always destined to meet one way or another, hand in hand through the good and the bad.

They’d make it work.