Anecdotes from the Story of the Century


"Don't you just love dandelions?" she asks to no one in particular, though the four of them are occupying the same bench—well, two benches—overlooking the pond as they watch people pass by around them: some on foot, others on skates, some in couples and packs, others with dogs.

Misa and Light are seated in the bench two feet away, too preoccupied to acknowledge her, as Misa admires the elegant bronze crane fountain at the center of the pond with her arm entwined around Light's. Light watches Misa with a tense, wary look on his face. The only connection she has between her and them is the handcuff swinging quietly from Light's wrist, and she's not even on the other end of it.

Matsuda has disappeared to get food to feed the koi fish with, leaving L—strike that, "Ryuzaki"—as the closest she has to immediate company. Joy.

She loves everything about this park, but it's the clandestine cluster of dandelions flourishing by a leg of the bench that piques her interest, this time. They're her favorite kind, too: the white fluffy ones dotting the cracks in the concrete back at home.

Though her question is not directed at him, he lifts his head up from the comfortable spot on his knees, as lackadaisical as he's ever been. "I don't care very much about them, no," he says.

Why is she not terribly surprised with his reply? In fact, the only thing about it that surprises her is that he'd even answer her at all, especially since she hadn't been speaking to him. Most of these "double-dates" are this way; after all, it's not like they have very much in common. The only reason they are out together at all is because of Misa's power of insistence.

Upon seeing the plant in question clutched in her chlorophyll-stained fingers, he slips the tip of his thumb into his mouth. Naturally, it doesn't take him long to identify it.

"Hmm…Taraxacum officinale."

She blinks at him. "Huh? What's that? No, this is a dandelion. Dan-dee-lie-on."

"'Dandelion' is only its common name. Its scientific name is Taraxacum officinale."

How do you even spell that?

"Oh, potato, potah-to, tomato, tomah-to," she snorts. "Don't you at least appreciate them?"

"They don't bother me, at all," he mutters. "It's like I said, I don't care very much about them. They're common weeds."

She knows how stupid it is to get worked up over a comment like that, but honestly, has his life—or lack thereof—been that sheltered? "You're a weed."

Upon realizing how childish that sounds, she clears her throat. "I-I mean, yeah, I know it's a weed. But look at what you can do with it."

Her flushed cheeks inflate as she gathers all the air she can into her mouth before blowing onto the flower of the plant, unleashing a small flurry of seeds that climb on the breeze like tiny, eager, white wired umbrellas.

"Look at those babies fly." She watches them disappear into the four winds with eyes fluttered shut and a broad grin on her face, the color not yet leaving her face.

(As if it ever really does; her face is almost always blotched with red or pink, depending on her feelings, in contrast to his, which is constantly pale as paste.)

After the seeds have reached a distance when he can no longer focus on them, he cups his hands over his knees and presses his cheek against his knuckles. "Is something the matter?" he asks when her eyes remain shut for a considerably long time.

She sputters back into reality for about two seconds. "Huh, what? Oh no, nothing's the matter."

Not right now, anyway.

"I was just making a wish, is all." She stops to rub the back of her neck before adding, "I used to do that a lot, when I was a kid. Pick up any dandelion I could see and blow all the seeds off of it, I mean. The whiter and fluffier, the better. Then I'd make a wish."

"I don't find any sense in doing that. I doubt that you ever had a wish granted that way." He's so crass, he can't even find it in him to be nice about the inanity of the ritual. He doesn't even ask her what she's just wished for. Not that she would've told him, though; that would be against proper wish-making etiquette. Not to mention how he has the talent of ruining just about every good little thing that comes along.

I wish you would get out of your dumb slump so we can get back to catching Kira.

She scowls in response. "Well, I…I dunno, probably. Mostly I kinda wouldn't notice if any of my wishes came true because I'd have forgotten them later. Plus, it only really works if you can blow all the seeds off the stem in one shot. It's mostly for fun, if anything. Something that wouldn't hurt you to have more of…"

He rolls his eyes until he seems to be peering underneath his unruly bangs. "I personally find no productivity in mere wishing. If I want something, I go after it." Oh, yeah. Always the go-getter, he is.

You dirty hypocrite, then why haven't you made any moves toward tracking Kira in almost two lousy months, she wonders, but does not say aloud.

"Furthermore, if you've succeeded in making any wish come true, it would have to be the plant's. By launching its seeds into the wind, you fulfilled its need to perpetuate its species, thereby ensuring its survival. So congratulations," he deadpans. "You've just helped to scatter a potential 468 weeds across this park."

Had he calculated all of that in his head?

This prompts her to seize a second dandelion from the ground. But this time, she makes sure to blow the seeds right at him, into his stupid, smart-alecky face and hair. The slight sadist in her delights in the way he hoists himself up to paw mildly at his face, almost like a kitten rubbing at its cheeks with a soft, almost inaudible grunt.

"All right then, tough guy. Let's see how you feel when you've got 468 dandelions growing outta your coconut," she declares. "Maybe you'll appreciate them a little more, since you'll have them with you, all the time. Clearly, that's your problem, I think. Just like how you don't appreciate people because you're not around them enough, even if they're the most dedicated, can-do guys you'll probably ever meet."

She means this to be a jab at his self-imposed funk, but isn't it the truth?

He slides her a cool glance as he lifts his wrist to show her the cuff that links him to the boy on the other bench, as though mutely reminding her what exactly he's been doing for the past few months in terms of interpersonal relations.

Tossing the bare dandelion into the fresh-cut grass behind her with a stubborn "Hmph!", she crosses her legs and leans back until the sun is almost directly in her eyes. This prompts her to tuck her hat over her eyes to give them shade. "You're the only guy I know who can take something as nice as dandelions and make it into a problem. I mean it. In the immortal words of Linus™: of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you are the Charlie Browniest."

She's not even sure if he knows that much about pop culture, much less enough to appreciate the reference. He's like the Charlie Brown™ to her Lucy™, sometimes. Or the Lucy to her Charlie Brown. Sometimes she can't tell.

Neither she nor anyone notices the pinch of tiny dandelion seeds that he, almost three minutes later, painstakingly plucks off of his face to sprinkle onto her shoulder.

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