Kise Ryouta was a weed.
He was not just any green, invasive plant – he was a dandelion. The warm, yellow flowers were cute and inviting, but dandelions quickly turn to an ugly mess of hairy tufts and seeds that take over the entire garden.
You sneezed: once, twice, thrice, and then some. Your allergies to pollen were aggravated by the spring weather as flora thrust itself back into life. The lush grass, blooming trees, and tender flowers were nice to look at, but you could hardly see through your watery eyes anyways. Of course, before heading outside to serve your detention sentence, you had told your instructor of these serious allergies… but he only gave you an antihistamine and a stern warning to not come back until every weed was plucked and buried. You angrily stabbed at the famous “Lion’s Tooth” leaf, which only tore, leaving the root intact for future growth. Why were they so hard to uproot, anyways?
Just like Kise Ryouta. Because, like the damn dandelion, he was impossible to get rid of.
“Hey, bless you. Are you okay?”
His voice annoyed you. You had no rationale of why it was so irritating, but his entire existence made you want to crawl into a pit of fire. His smiley face, chirpy n’ flirty attitude, and perfect appearance was enough for you to want to sacrifice yourself to any devil that would take you. He was the very being of what you despised. Somebody who had it all together and going for them.
Not only was he attractive, he was talented. He was nice, and charming, and cute, and funny, and it pissed you off beyond belief. You were none of them. And he was more.
So, when he scooted over to your side with a face of concern, you scowled.
“Leave me alone, jerk.”
Although you liked to blame him for landing you in the baking field, you admitted to yourself that it was your fault. Earlier in the day, your first period class had been PE. The ‘Education’ part was a sick joke – the class only served to humiliate as your fellow elite destroyed you. Kise Ryouta was one of those people.
He wasn’t even the only one. Nearly everybody in your homeroom of Kaijou High was exceptional in some form – some had amazing stamina from their swimming practices, some were incredibly strong from weightlifting, some others had skills from badminton, soccer, hockey, and other sports you couldn’t even identify. And you? You occasionally joined the Reading Club, where you sat down and napped. Kise was the only basketball player, yet he was a member of the Generation of Miracles, so he was even more popular because of that. When it came to splitting into teams, he was always first to be chosen, and you were always last.
Anyways, today’s particular gym class. Unsurprisingly, the homeroom teacher had chosen Kise to be a team captain, along with a girl who was also captain of the volleyball team. You mentally calculated out where you would most likely end up by passing out your classmates equally, until you landed on the girl’s side. You internally apologized to her in advance.
You hardly recognized your name at first, until you realized everybody had stopped to stare at you. You laughed at the joke scornfully.
People laughed too, because there was no way that that chick would be chosen first – for Kise’s team, at that! However, Kise was staring dead on at you, a sly smile on his lips.
“Get over here. I don’t tolerate the dragging of feet, y’know.”
The laughing died down again, and somebody muttered your thoughts exactly: “Seriously, dude?”
Your shock glued you to the spot. Kise, visibly sighing, stepped towards you and dragged you by the arm towards his side of the baseball diamond. People parted for you with their mouths still hanging agape. You were still deciding if this was a prank, even when a coloured pinnie was hanging off of your frame, and everybody had been divided.
It wasn’t like Kise had never talked to you before. In fact, he spoke to you far too much. You’d somehow managed to have the bad luck of winding up in his homeroom every year since second grade, and since then you were followed with a barrage of:
“Good morning, [Name]-cchi!”
“Did you do well on the test, [Name]-cchi?”
“Do you want to eat lunch with me, [Name]-cchi?”
‘Ah,’ you thought to yourself once you had managed to accept that you had actually been chosen first. You closed your eyes.
‘Why does this only happen to me?’
When you took a survey of your teammates, you discovered that they were all girls. You wanted to slap yourself in the face. Of course. Kise hadn’t chosen you for any other reason other than the fact that you were a female. Maybe some relief came over you, because now you weren’t singled out, but another sense of exasperation hit you. In the end, you just wished you could drop the damn class.
The girls around you surrounded him immediately. All of them were his fangirls. They followed his every move, and even went so far as to creating an enormous fanclub in the school for the sole purpose of discussing Kise Ryouta. It sickened you.
You slouched in your gym uniform and sighed. If you left to go to the washroom, nobody would notice. It wasn’t like they needed you on the team, anyways.
You were a few steps to freedom before Kise called your name again. You winced. All his fangirls noticed him waving to you too, and the onslaught of their hushed and ambiguously rude comments made your stomach turn. You turned and glared at the blonde, who gestured at you frantically.
“Where are you going? You’re our starting pitcher!”
“You’re kidding, right?”
It not only came from you, but your team, and the opposition. They all heard Kise’s overly loud, overly boisterous statement.
“Why aren’t you pitching? Or Nakamura-san? She’s actually on the baseball team!” you protested vocally, and the others agreed unanimously.
“Girl can’t even walk without tripping. How’s she gonna’ throw?”
“Actually, this’d be pretty funny. We’ll win pretty fast.”
“Aw, man, we’re doomed…”
“Nope,” Kise continued, and then with a silly wink, “you’re our pitcher. I only chose the cutest one. Now get up on the mound!”
His words dumbfounded you. He’d always tried to make moves on you, but for the past few years he’d had the decency to only say stupid things when the two of you were alone. You’d always considered it to be a joke, too. Now, with everybody’s glare on you, you flushed a bright red. The combined heat of the sun and your embarrassment made you want to faint. His fangirls were openly hissing complaints of why he’d called you cute, but you could only ignore them and wobble onto the dusty mound of earth. Kise threw you a ball that you narrowly avoided catching with your face, and you managed to fumble it into your hands.
You could have openly wept. When you looked up, the sun’s glare was directly in your eye. You were sweaty and tired, and now you had been openly disgraced. You could faintly see the outline of the opposing team’s batter, but he was relaxed and laughing with his teammates. Behind him, you saw a bright dash of yellow, and a goofy smile. It filled you with rage.
‘Goddammit Kise, stop messing with me!
You launched the ball. Your form was probably awful, the ball would most likely land a million miles away from where it should, and you definitely looked like an idiot… which was probably how the batter got struck out. A collective silence fell upon the group as the batter slunk away shamefully. The loser can actually do something physical?
The only noise arose from Kise, who was giving you a thumbs up.
“Good job, [Name]-cchi! I believe in you!”
His words gave you the same burning hot indignation. You expelled your frustration by throwing the ball with a mighty scream – except your complete inadequacy at anything physical caused the ball to take a hard left, straight into the principal’s window.
So that’s why you were sitting in the spiky grass on a Friday, plucking dandelions.
Kise could’ve been excused, if he hadn’t insulted the principal’s face so thoroughly. It was obvious that Kise’s disrespectful words were a way to direct punishment onto himself, and although you were annoyed at him for his sacrifice, you couldn’t help but be relieved for the help.
“Well, okay…” the tall teen shifted away. Your gaze rose from the mélange of green and yellow to follow the yellow-headed boy. His back had been turned to you, but you could see him working hard, pulling full roots out of the dry and stubborn earth. You sighed.
“Hey, Kise, why’d you cover for me? You didn’t have to do it.”
You regretted speaking up, but Kise only turned around with a mildly surprised face.
“Why not? I’m just helping a friend.”
“We aren’t friends.” You said that very bluntly, and perhaps too quickly, so you followed it with some more hasty words. “You’re just some pretty boy who’s good at basketball.”
“Then what are you?” he replied, clearly amused.
Flustered, you spat, “somebody who’s still mad at you.”
You looked back down at the ground and stabbed aggressively at a spiky weed with your shovel, but it pierced your thin rubber glove. You jerked back with a scathing hiss of pain.
“Are you okay? Let me see that.”
He was already peeling the blue latex off your hand before you could say anything. He peered at a thorn, wedged into the flesh of your skin.
“Ah. That looks like it hurts.”
“Okay, just get it out, will you?” You where whining, mainly because it stung beyond belief, but also because you were uncomfortable with him being so close to you. His hair brushed your forehead as he leaned down to get a closer look.
“You’re lucky it didn’t poke you too deep,” he said as he pulled the thorn out. You seethed for a few seconds before surveying the wound. It was like nothing had happened.
Quietly, Kise had already went back to his place, squatting among the grasses and diligently weeding the grounds. You sighed through your nose. You weren’t that rude to not even spare a thank you.
“For what? Pulling your thorn, helping you weed, covering for you, reminding you about that math test, giving you some of my riceball…?” he started rambling on cheerfully, until you cut him off with a sheepish ‘yeah!’ He turned and grinned at you, flashing the perfectly white smile you had hated before. You didn’t seem to mind it as much in that moment, because it wasn’t fake. You turned away before he could catch you staring at him.
There was a length of awkward silence as you weeded quickly, praying that you could be done soon. Your back ached from hunching over, and your hand hurt from twisting the stubborn plant. You couldn’t stop yourself from continually glancing behind you, sneaking glimpses of the boy. Why had he chosen you today? Why had he called you ‘cute’ in front of all those people? You didn’t have the confidence to ask, so you let the questions roil inside of you until he finally turned to speak with you.
“Hey, [Name]-cchi, make a wish.”
He held a dandelion in his long fingers, one that was a perfect and delicate sphere of seeds. Your face screwed up into disgust immediately.
“No. If you blow that, the seeds will go everywhere and the dandelions will just get worse.”
He started smiling softly at you, and you found nowhere else to look except the ground. Kise scooched close until he was directly beside you, joining you in the shade of the school. He turned the dandelion stalk in his hands, but gently enough as to not disturb it.
“People hate it, but the dandelion’s pretty useful. They’ve got all these minerals, but everybody just kills them. They’re also pretty amazing at spreading itself, huh?”
You listened to him ramble about the dandelion, staring at his shoe. It was comfortable, sitting in the shade, where the grass was actually soft. He laughed light-heartedly, bringing your gaze upwards. He was already looking at you.
“Hey, I’ll just make a wish then.”
“If you were just going to make your own wish, then why did you ask me in the first place?”
He laughed again, and for once, you didn’t think it was that bothersome. He was still staring at you, so intensely you felt weirded out again, but you tried to hold his gaze.
“I wish that [Name]-cchi will like me.”
You blinked a few times, and the white parachute-shaped fluff danced around you. A gust of wind blew it far, and you numbly watched the seeds fly away before turning back to Kise.
“You heard me.” He stood and brushed his shorts off, before extending a hand to you. His expression was suddenly mischievous. “Wouldn’t you like to ditch this place with me?”
“But the principal…”
“Who cares? They’re just dandelions. Besides, it’ll be a lot more fun with me than it is picking grass…”
You saw him in front of the sun, where the rays showered him with gold, illuminating his essence. His eyes were molten but inviting, and you had already grabbed his hand before you could think properly again.
Perhaps he wasn’t a weed. He was brilliant, gilded flower, and it took you long enough to realize that he was yours.