>Haruno makes her next appearance during Volume 10, but before we get to that, let’s take a look at her memorandum.
I don’t know how many times I’ve read through it. Long ago, I felt I had a connection with the shepherd of the village.(!) Justice, sincerity, and love.(!) But when I think about them, they’re worthless.(!) Everything about them was absolutely laughable.(!) Every time I had that feeling, there were sudden echoes. I’m being relied on. I’m being relied on.(!) Lending my ears to those words that I thought to be the sweet whispers of a devil brought my gradual transformation into a monster of reliance.(!) It’s when you came to realize your own evil(!) that you become desperate to suppress it. In masking it away, others saw it as the truth, and eventually, it became something natural to you that it turned into the truth itself. I was thrown into an endless loop of doubt as to whether if that’s really all. I could no longer make the distinction on my own. That’s why, perhaps, I had been waiting for that person who could surely see right through me. Along the way, I began to sympathize with the evil tyrant king.(!) “He cannot trust people”, or so. But anyone knew how the conclusion of the story went.(!) However. Just how exactly did the actual end turn out? The king said, “The heart of man is not to be relied on.” Did the evil tyrant king, even to this day, still not trust in the existence of that truth and that sincerity?(!) Was it because he had lost all his trust after trying them and he became unable to rely on them despite their obvious transparency that he thought he wanted to try again by being a part of them, that he wanted to try destroying them?(!) If your cheeks must be struck as atonement for holding doubt, then who was the person that needed to be struck the most? I shut the book and looked outside the window. The sun had already sunk far past the horizon, the final fragment of the afterglow disappearing in succession. Sincerity. Or perhaps, the truth. If you couldn’t call those empty delusions, then what else could you call them?(!)
Do genuine things really exist?(!)
The third memorandum is about Haruno. Long ago Haruno used to believe in justice, sincerity and love. However due to the expectations placed on her by her family and Haruno essentially having very little freedom, she has come to despise all of those things. It’s also the primary thing that pushes Haruno into constantly forcing Yukino to choose her own path. Yukino has been given “all the freedom in the world” to do what she wants. Well, not really. As you may have noticed from the series, Yukino only has freedom as long as she does what is expected of her. As soon as she strays away from the path of what her mother wants her to be, Yukimom immediately comes knocking at her front door.
Haruno is upset at Yukino for having this supposed freedom to choose what she wants, but Yukino still chooses to follow in Haruno’s footsteps, because she doesn’t want her family to see her as a disappointment. While Yukino may not be on good terms with them, Yukino still doesn’t want them to hate her.
Haruno also mentions that she is a monster of reliance, whether that’s a reference towards Yukino or the expectations from her parents and society is up for debate. I’d personally say the latter. There’s no way that Yukino relying on Haruno and wanting kindness and a normal healthy relationship with her older sister, would have made Haruno into what she is today. One of Haruno’s goals is to restore her relationship with Yukino in any shape or form.
Besides, the first time Yukino asked Haruno for a favor was during S1E12.
So, it’s most likely the life Haruno is forced to live that she’s referring to and her living up to everyone’s expectations.
Haruno says how she sees evil in herself and how she has come to terms with it and accepted it. She compares herself to the tyrant king, except the conclusion to “Run, Melos!” was that the tyrant king saw good in people. Haruno doesn’t. Or maybe she will in Volume 12.
Then the final sentence of the memorandum leaves off with a: “do genuine things exist?” line.
And then of course, just like with Hayato, the last thing that gives it away, is the chapter title that shows up directly after the memorandum wraps up; Chapter 9: However, Yukinoshita Haruno states as such.
Back to the events of Volume 10.
>Yukino didn’t want to go to the family gathering/New Year’s gathering, which is basically a social event for the Hayama and Yukinoshita family to mingle with other important families, politicians etc. because Yukino thinks she’d only be in the way and that no one wants her there. Haruno and Hayato accidentally stumble across Hachiman and Yui.
>Haruno uses Hachiman being here, being near Haruno, as a way to manipulate Yukino into coming here. Haruno knows that Hachiman being here is a good reason for Yukino to come over so she can meet with their mother. It’s also possible that Haruno wanted Yukino to see Hachiman and Yui together on their date.
“You two on a date, huh? You little rascal, you. As friendly as ever, I see. Yukino-chan’s not with you?”(!) Haruno-san poked Yuigahama’s body with her elbow and then looked towards the entrance of the store.
“Ah, we’re actually here today to buy presents for Yukinon…”
“Ahh, that’s right, it’s almost her birthday, huh… I see, I see.” Haruno-san nodded her head while listening to Yuigahama, but she then quickly took out her cellphone and started dialing somewhere.
Watching her, Hayama unassumingly spoke up. “…I don’t think it’ll get through.”(!)
“No, I’m sure it will today,”(!) said Haruno-san, wearing a smile full of certainty.
The ringing faintly resounded in the quiet interior of the store. After two rings, three rings, and a few more, the call finally connected, and there was a small audible voice from the other end.
“Ah, Yukino-chan? It’s onee-chan. Can you come out right now?”
[I’m hanging up.]
So fast! Yuigahama and Hayama who were listening to the immediate retort made a strained smile. But Haruno-san who was seemingly used to this reaction didn’t budge an inch and continued with a teasing tone.
“Ohhh? Are you sure you should be hanging up on me?”
Haruno-san made a broad grin.
“The thing is, right now, I’m actually with Hikigaya-kun!”
[Again with your ridiculous lies… Enough al-]
“Here you go, Hikigaya-kun.”
Before she could even finish, Haruno-san forced her cellphone on me.
I alternated looks between Haruno-san and the cellphone in my hand, but she started playing dumb after hiding her hands behind her. It looked like she didn’t plan on answering at all. On the other hand, Yukinoshita was calling Haruno-san. I guess I’ll have to answer for now…
“Ahh… hello?” I answered, not sure knowing what to talk about. When I did, I could hear her stifled breath from the receiver on the other end. After a brief moment of silence, she breathed out.
[Really, unbelievable…Why are you there?]
That’s what I want to ask. We were supposed to be here just to shop… Just why was I here!? Just why was I here!? Do-wa-ha-ha-ha! It’s the yokai’s fault, yes. Don’t blame me, blame the yokai.
“Well, I just happened to be out shopping and she kind of caught me…”
I made a scowl at that yokai and figured I’d try to explain my situation, but I was interrupted by another sigh.
[That’s fine. I’ll be right over there, so switch with nee-san.]
“…Yes, I’m sorry.”
I ended up apologizing for some reason. I wiped the screen down with a wet towel and gave back Haruno-san her cellphone. She exchanged a few words with Yukinoshita about our location and the sort and hung up.
“Looks like Yukino-chan’s coming,” said Haruno-san, wearing a satisfied smile.
Yuigahama spoke up in hesitation.
“Um, why did you call Yukinon over? It sounded like she didn’t want to come…”
“Hm? Ahh, actually, we have a family dinner planned after this(!), but Yukino-chan refused to go. (!)But if Hikigaya-kun and you are here, she doesn’t really have any other choice, right?”(!)
“Are we hostages or something…?”(!)
“Don’t make it sound so bad. But wouldn’t it make for a great story if she rushed here for the sake of her friends who were captured on her behalf?”(!)
“That just makes me wonder who the evil tyrant king is here…”(!)
“Oh, we’ve got a Literature Boy here,” said Haruno-san, teasing me gleefully.
Yuigahama titled her head with a “huh?” Hayama made a slight smile when he saw that.
“It’s from ‘Run, Melos!’”(!)
“Our parents have been pretty close since a long time ago… When we were talking about making New Year greetings, they started talking about having dinner together. They’re just having me accompany them.”(!)
“Ohh…” Yuigahama nodded convincingly.
Haruno-san traced the rim of her cup and let out a small sigh. “Our family and relatives don’t really have it easy on New Year’s Day and the day before the fourth when work begins again is pretty hectic too. So the day we can make courtesy calls with acquaintances is just today.”(!)
Apparently, it’s an established custom for the Yukinoshita household.(!) But still, if they’re going out to eat after this, then that meant Yukinoshita’s parents should be nearby… I kind of want to see them.(!) I did a light stretch and took quick looks around. But sitting diagonally opposite of me, Haruno-san chuckled, easily seeing through that sneaky behavior.(!)
“Our parents are making courtesy calls right now. We’re just waiting for them.”
“Ahh, I see…”
I accepted it after being told.
Listening, Yuigahama let out a fascinated gasp. “Making those greetings must be rough, huh?”
“We do it every year, so I’m already used to it. Well, I do think it’s a pain sometimes though… It’s surprising how this custom’s still alive, tradition rather,” said Haruno-san, her voice having some indescribable feeling of resignation.
There was something called an association, whether it had to do with Yukinoshita or even Hayama who didn’t make it to the shrine visit.(!) Respectable families, the so-called distinguished families, probably had their obligations.(!) For common people, it’s a story that didn’t seem all that real, but the fact of the matter was that it was. Well, a household with secretive relative associations wasn’t all that rare.(!) It’s just that I didn’t know too much about it, but surprisingly, I think there were a lot of households with unique communities. Even common people like ourselves had one or two things that shadowed over us. If you factor in social standing, then the obligations should increase accordingly.
>Haruno says that it has been a while since she has given Yukino a present, the same goes for Hayato. Hachiman wonders what present Hayato had given Yukino back when they were younger.
Suddenly, Haruno-san who had been looking at the present wrapping spoke. “It’s been a while, but maybe I’ll give her something too.” Her gaze then moved over. “Right, Hayato?”
Hayama lightly shrugged his shoulders and moved his gaze to outside the window. Ahead of his gaze were the lights of the city-then again, likely not. I looked at the mirror with Hayama’s reflection and unexpectedly, all I was thinking about was what it was exactly that he had given her a long time ago.(!)
>Yukino shows up and sits down, they start talking about the past. Something that is interesting is whenever Yukino, Haruno or Hayato talk about their relationship, they always talk about “back when we were younger”. They hardly ever bring up events from more recent years, implying that there has been a rift between this trio for quite some time now. It is revealed that out of these three, the only person with fond memories of the past is Haruno. Hachiman starts thinking to himself how little he knows about Yukino’s past.
“It’s been a long time since we all got together for tea like this, huh?”
While Hayama answered and nodded in agreement, Yukinoshita kept her eyes closed with her cup in hand. When the chat stagnated, Yuigahama spoke up trying to find something to talk about.
“Ah, ummm… Hayato-kun has known you two since a long time ago, after all.”
“Yep, yep. You know how Hayato’s an only child? Thanks to that, his parents were really affectionate with us. Right, Yukino-chan?”(!)
“I don’t really think so.”(!)
“That’s not true. It wasn’t just our parents that were affectionate with you two. Everyone else was too.”(!)
Even when Haruno-san spoke to them and even when Hayama maintained his smile and answered, Yukinoshita’s attitude didn’t change.(!) But Haruno-san didn’t pay that any attention and her gaze turned distant.
“It’s so nostalgic… Back when we were younger, whenever our parents had business to take care of, I’d always be the one taking care of you two.”(!)
Hearing that, Yukinoshita twitched and frowned. “You must be mistaken with forcing us to follow you around and do what you want. You were a real nuisance.”(!)
She set her cup on her saucer and sent a cold tone and indifferent gaze to Haruno-san. Hayama responded in turn.
“Ahh, like the time when we were at the public zoo… We went through a lot of trouble at the amusement park zone, didn’t we…?”(!)
“It was like that at the Rinkai Park too. She’d leave us stranded, she’d shake the Ferris wheel…”(!)
Hayama and Yukinoshita made gloomy expressions from recalling the days of the past.(!) But Haruno-san was nodding with a happy look.(!)
“Ahh, that happened, didn’t it? And Yukino-chan would always cry afterwards.”(!)
“Wait… Stop making up things.”
“But they’re not made up though. Right, Hayato?”
“Ahaha… I wonder.”
Haruno-san would talk to them, Hayama would smile and respond, and Yukinoshita would nod silently. As I watched them engaged in their nostalgic chatter, a feeling of reality suddenly sank in. Those three certainly had accumulated time together back then and they were memories that outsiders could not touch on. Yuigahama couldn’t join in on their conversation, let alone me. I don’t know what kind of relation these two sisters had a long time ago.(!) Even if I knew, there was nothing I could do.(!) The only things I could do were occasionally carry the bitter coffee to my mouth and ignore their stories of the past that continued even and respond agreeably. And lastly, imagine them. I don’t know when it was, but I was asked something before.(!) That if I had went to the same elementary school as those two(!), would anything have changed.(!) Just what did I answer at the time? As I indulged in my memories and thoughts, there was the simultaneous sound of a sigh and a placed cup. I looked in its direction and Haruno-san was resting her chin in her hands, gazing at Hayama and Yukinoshita with eyes lacking warmth.
“Both of you were sooo adorable back then… Nowadays… you two just seem so boring.”(!)
The more beautiful her nicely shaped, vivid lips were, the colder the words that came out of them. With a pinning glare and an icy smile, the voices of everyone there were stifled. Yukinoshita slightly squeezed her fist(!) above the table while Hayama gritted his teeth and looked away.(!) Yuigahama made a perplexed glance at me. When the table submerged in silence, Haruno-san chuckled.(!)
“Well, Hikigaya-kun’s here now. I guess I’ll just settle for playing with Hikigaya-kun instead.”
>Taken from ANOTHER. In ANOTHER, while waiting for Haruno and Yukino’s (and probably Hayato’s as well) parents to show up, Haruno asks Hachiman to go with her to buy Yukino a present for her birthday. Hachiman reluctantly joins her. The two of them start talking. Hachiman concludes that Haruno really loves Yukino, however he wonders why Haruno goes out of her way to intrude on Yukino’s life this much. What are Haruno’s motives? Haruno tells Hachiman that her parents always bought paired clothes for Haruno and Yukino. However, when Haruno says this, there’s a certain sadness to be taken from her tone. Two things to take away from this are: 1. It’s highly likely their parents that pushed this idea of “we want Haruno and Yukino to be as similar as possible” and 2. Haruno knows she doesn’t have a close relationship with her sister anymore and she longs/yearns back to those old days.
Maybe this was the answer to a question of why Haruno Yukinoshita is always alone.(!) Though maybe she does have friends. Yeah, now that I think about it, I remember seeing her with someone when we first met, and when we met at the donuts shop she seemed to wait for someone.(!) Hiratsuka-sensei, her former teacher, told about her having many acquaintances at school.(!) But even still... I concluded that she just liked solitude more.(!) She had outstanding looks, a cunning mind, not to mention her family… She could get anything a human would need while being completely alone-- that looked a whole lot like what I had wished. That also looked like Yukino Yukinoshita’s lifestyle as I’ve seen it long time ago. That’s why, probably, the Haruno-san I see is an illusion.(!) Because even if she’s lonely she can’t strive for her loneliness voluntarily.(!) Her affection for her sister Yukino Yukinoshita was a sure proof to that.(!) I could easily remember how she stubbornly kept dialing Yukinoshita’s number today, or how she always clung to her all this time.(!) There was no doubt about it: Haruno-san simply couldn’t ignore Yukinoshita’s existence.(!) This is a proof that she can’t help but reach out to Yukinoshita and, ergo, can’t strive for loneliness.(!) Of course, I don’t know her motives.(!) This affection is too strong for a simple love to a sibling or a relative.(!) I had a younger sister too, but I wouldn’t go out of my way just to tease her or intrude her love life(!)… hm… Actually I would. I do that all the time. I constantly annoy her when she’s at home, poke my nose into her exams and erase all the filthy bugs approaching her. It’s a normal behaviour of an older brother towards his younger sister. Does that work for an older sister too? Does that mean Haruno-san’s behaviour is also a norm?(!) That’s what I was thinking about with a frown on my face while following Haruno-san. At that moment she stopped.
“Paired clothes is really attractive, don’t you think?” She seductively whispered in my ear. Her hot breath tickled my neck. I perfectly understood that she was just teasing, but my cheeks still felt warm. I didn’t even dare look at her face. Satisfied with my reaction, she leaned back.
“I’ll get some paired clothes for Yukino-chan and myself,”(!) she added in a sing-song voice. I relaxed and breathed out.
“I think you as her sister would look better in that paired clothes than me.”
“Too attractive is also not good, the effect is reversed then. I’m attractive as it is,” Haruno-san answered ironically, as if anticipating my reactions. This was an empty meaningless conversation, but Haruno-san seemed to enjoy even that. Looking in her eyes I noticed sadistic glimmer. Nnno, I don’t like her after all. But then her look got darker.
“Though we used to wear paired clothes a lot,”(!) she said quietly, as if bringing up old memories.(!)
“Unexpected,” I said honestly.
“Why? It’s simple. Nothing surprising in the fact our parents bought us paired clothes,”(!) Haruno-san said not smiling anymore(!), just looking at the clothes on racks. But it wasn’t the fact Yukinoshita sisters used to wear paired clothes that surprised me.(!) Even I was sometimes dressed up similarly to Komachi to parents’ whims and pleasure. Their family may have the same habits. What’s more, the desire to look at the beautiful sisters in identical clothes was natural.(!) What surprised me was different.(!) It was how Haruno Yukinoshita said that.(!) It wasn’t adoration or tenderness that she expressed when remembering those memories.(!) It was something else entirely. Something like a feeling of loneliness, as if speaking of something distant, lost forever.(!) I didn’t know why I heard that desperation born of separation in her voice. I just felt that way. For now Haruno-san was beyond my comprehension. I probably won’t ever understand her at all. I can’t even understand the feelings of people I’m relatively close with. Haruno Yukinoshita can get closer to me all she wants, but that still doesn’t let me understand her. For now she simply searched for the already chosen clothes, pretending she didn’t understand what I meant.
>Back to the main story. After several events, Haruno shows up at their school.
>Haruno enters the scene (in the anime she comes in on her own, in the LN she comes in because Iroha went out to get her). Oh, Yukino is here? What a surprise. Haruno has a lot of things to ask her.
Haruno-san made a content smile and then shifted her gaze to Yukinoshita.(!) Yukinoshita boldly took on that gaze and both of their gazes flew back and forth.
“So Yukino-chan was here, too. Mmkay, onee-chan will hear you out on lots of things today,”(!) said Haruno-san, poking fun at her.
>Meguri asks Iroha what it is they need to do, Iroha gives them instructions. Yukino says there is something she wants to discuss with Haruno. Yukino asks Haruno if she knows what career path Hayato is going to choose. Haruno is surprised. Haruno doesn’t know about Yumiko’s request, she thinks Yukino wants to know for herself in regards to her own situation, which is a possibility. Haruno tells Yukino that she should be aware what it is Hayato chose, namely the opposite of what Yukino is going to choose. Yukino says she has no idea. Yukino doesn’t talk to her parents or Haruno, so from her point of view Hayato is going to choose what Haruno chose, since she believes that Haruno has had a big impact on both him and Yukino herself while they were growing up.
She walked towards Isshiki who was still frolicking with Haruno-san and asked, “President, what should we do?”
“Ah. Then, Shiromeguri-senpai, can you take the corner booth while Haru-san-senpai takes the one next to it…”
After Isshiki was pulled back into reality, she began making assignments. As she was doing that, Yukinoshita glanced at the clock again. She then called out to Haruno-san.
“Nee-san, do you have a moment?”(!)
“I want to ask you something. Hikigaya-kun, Yuigahama-san, can I have some of your time as well?” said Yukinoshita, and she motioned us towards the corner of the conference room.(!)
Since she said she wanted to ask something and also called us together, I had a general idea of what she was going to do. She was probably thinking of asking Haruno-san about Hayama’s career path.(!) When that came to mind, the one with the longest association with Hayama, both inside and outside of school, was certainly Haruno-san.(!) Yukinoshita’s thinking was on the right track. We covertly gathered at the corner of the conference room and Yukinoshita frankly asked, “Do you have any idea what Hayama’s career path may be?”(!)
As if Haruno-san had not expected a question like that, she repeatedly blinked her eyes.(!) But she promptly let out a short, derisive laugh.
“Hayato’s career path? Oh, is that it?”(!)
Her apathetic tone gave off the impression as if she was aware of something.(!)
Not overlooking that, Yukinoshita inquired, “Do you know something?”(!)
“Who knows? I’m not really interested(!), so I haven’t asked. I bet he’s already chosen something anyway.”(!) Haruno-san answered back curtly and let out a long sigh of amazement. She then directed a mean-spirited smile towards Yukinoshita. Her eyes brimmed with a sadistic, dark glitter.
“…Besides, Yukino-chan, you should have an idea of what it is without having to ask me.”(!)
“I wouldn’t be asking you if I did, nee-san,”(!) said Yukinoshita, replying with a similarly sharp and cold gaze.
That provocative tone caused Haruno-san to show a slight grimace for just an instant.
But she immediately retracted it and with a voice not severe in tone, but composed, bluntly stated, “Think very hard about it on your own.”(!)
The way she spoke as if in rebuke caused Yukinoshita to lose her words.(!) Yuigahama, as well, widened her eyes and looked at Haruno-san. Even I was slightly caught off guard. It was a tone that didn’t feel hostile or malicious, yet by no means could it be described as virtuous or affectionate.
>Haruno, under the impression that Yukino wants to know Hayato’s career path for herself, tells Yukino to figure it out on her own. Yukino shouldn’t be relying on others. Haruno asks Yukino about her career path. Yukino says it has nothing to do with Haruno. Haruno says that their mother sent Haruno to find out. Haruno is bummed out. Yukino isn’t going to tell her directly, because they’re not on good terms. Later on she’s going to get Hachiman to ask Yukino for her. However, before that happens, she tells Hachiman how Yukino never talks about the important things. Haruno tells Hachiman that if he wants to know more about Yukino, he can simply ask Haruno. Hachiman declines, he doesn’t want to hear anything about Yukino coming from Haruno. If Hachiman ever wants to find out more about Yukino, he wants it to come from Yukino herself. This is a pretty big theme in Yahari, the way people perceive each other versus the way someone looks at themselves or the way someone is trying make others perceive them as.
Haruno-san promptly stuck out her tongue and showed another teasing, unpleasant smile.
“Here I was thinking you could finally do things by yourself, yet you’re relying on people again like back then.(!) I mean, that’s what made you sooo adorable when you were younger.(!) Oh, I know,” said Haruno-san. “More importantly, Yukino-chan, what’s your career path?”(!)
When she asked Yukinoshita, she came back to her senses. She flicked aside the hair at her shoulders and looked at her haughtily.
“I don’t believe it’s necessary to tell you, nee-san.”(!)
“Mom’s also the one who asked me to.(!) Unless an opportunity like this comes around, it’s kind of hard to ask. Yukino-chan never, ever mentions the important things, after all.(!) Onee-chan doesn’t know what to do here.” Haruno-san placed her hand on her cheeks with a wry smile. She sounded like she was joking, but that tenderness instantly vanished and she made a glance at me.
(Haruno’s referring to the car accident, but possibly also to Yukino not talking about her past with Hayato and her current problems.)
“Ah, no…” I stuttered with my answer due to being abruptly brought up.
Haruno-san’s eyes that looked as if she had seen through everything grabbed ahold of me and wouldn’t let me go. In that instant, at the corner of my vision, I could see Yukinoshita biting her lips with a downcast look.
“…It has nothing to do with you, nee-san.”(!)
“So coooold. Ah, I know. Hikigaya-kun, why don’t you talk to onee-chan about some things?” said Haruno-san.
“…I can tell you anything, you know?”(!)
She poked my cheeks and peered into my face. Because we were inside, her bosom, likely covered outside by her cut and sewn muffler scarf, peeked out and a sweet smell of perfume was-close, close, close!
“No, well, I’ve already decided…”(!)
I made some distance equivalent to the amount she approached me with and strongly bent my body backwards. Haruno-san’s cheeks swelled in dissatisfaction. She then let out a bored sigh and turned to Yuigahama this time.
What’s important to know here, is that Yukino barely asks Haruno or her mom and dad for anything. One of the few times she asked her parents for something was when she wanted to live on her own. The first time she asked Haruno for a favor was during Sagami’s arc. The one time she tried to rely on Hayato to help her prevent the bullying he chose his social standing over helping Yukino.
>Yukino asked Haruno to help her for the very first time during Sagami arc.
>One of the few times Yukino asked her parents for something was when she wanted to live on her own.
“My mother’s the type of person who decides on everything and forces people to follow her, so we end up having to make compromises… And Yukino-chan’s a little poor at that.”
Poor’s not the right word. It’d be better to emphasize it by saying, “A little and little and little poor.”
“That’s why it was a big shock to all of us when she said she wanted to live on her own after she entered high school.”(!)
“So Yukinon started living alone after getting into high school?”(!)
“Yep, yep. She wasn’t the type of child to say selfish things like that(!), but our father was so happy he rented out an apartment for her.”
Ahh, just why were fathers of the world so sweet to their daughters?
“Our mother opposed it to the end and I’m sure she still doesn’t acknowledge it even now…”(!)
If Yukino has ever had dependency issues or a need to rely on someone in the past, then it’s probably on Hayato. When Haruno points out how Yukino always needs help from someone else, in both instances it involves Hayato.
>Always letting someone else do your dirty work for you.
>I thought you would be able to stand on your own two feet by now.
Haruno is intentionally pushing Yukino’s buttons and overdramatizing her problems to force a reaction out of her. Haruno does want Yukino to go after Hachiman, but she doesn’t want the same thing that happened between Yukino and Hayato to repeat itself.
>Haruno notices that they’ve been getting a lot of stares, Iroha says that it’s about the rumors. Haruno convinces Iroha to tell her about the rumors. As soon as Haruno hears what they’re about, she loses interest. It’s not only something that has already happened before, it’s also one of the things that have caused such a strain in Yukino, Haruno and Hayato’s relationship.
Near the entrance of the room, somewhat further away from us, Hayama called out to her.
“Ah, it’s Hayato.” Haruno-san greeted with the lifting of her hand.
Then, it sounded as if the commotion in the conference room had slightly ballooned. Haruno-san tilted her head to that reaction.
“Is it just me or do the stares feel kind of strange?”(!)
“Well, yes, you do stand out.”
I didn’t need to say it, but from the perspective of an onlooker, Haruno-san was a beauty that just walking in a city would cause people to glance at her. In a school environment, she stood out like a sore thumb. But Haruno-san made a face that didn’t buy into my words.
“It feels a little different from that though…”(!) said Haruno-san.
“Ahh, it’s gotta be because of that rumor.”(!) Isshiki slipped out her remark in recollection.
Meguri-senpai latched onto that.
“Oh, that rumor! It’s kind of wonderful, don’t you think? I really like those kinds of rumors, too.”(!)
“Rumor? Huh, what’s that about, Iroha-chan?”(!)
Haruno-san didn’t let that word slide by and she directed a gaze to Isshiki.
“Ah, ummm…” Isshiki contemplated whether it was okay to tell her, making alternating glances between the discouraged Yukinoshita and Hayama(!) who was chatting further away, and was at a loss for words.
But Haruno-san placed her hands lightly on Isshiki’s shoulders as if pressing her for an answer.
“Tell me please?”
At that point, she couldn’t refuse. Those words were just as heavy. Haruno-san wore her usual smile while quietly waiting for Isshiki to act. After a few seconds of that, as if giving in, Isshiki whispered into Haruno-san’s ears while being mindful of the reactions around her. Haruno-san leaned her ear to one side as she nodded with an amused expression. Ahh, if this person gets wind of the rumor, there’s no telling what’ll happen…
But Haruno-san’s attitude wasn’t as I imagined it to be.(!)
“Oh, so that’s what it is… That’s something they’ve been through since a long time ago,”(!) said Haruno-san, coldly.
After thanking Isshiki, she turned around as if dropping all of her interest.(!)
“Meguri, let’s get going.”
>A couple of events take place.
>While Haruno is still in the classroom, Haruno sees Hachiman leaving school. She tells him to wait for her as she rushes over to him. She asks where Yukino is. The entire reason why she came over in the first place was to ask Yukino about her career path.
Seemingly having rushed over here, Haruno-san was somewhat short of breath. She then made glances around the area.
“Where’s Yukino-chan? You’re not together?”(!)
Ehh, weren’t you totally absorbed in talking earlier? For this person to actually wait to ambush people is really scary… It’s likely that after the academic and career center, Haruno-san warmed herself up in the heated student council room while keeping her eye on the courtyard.(!) There’s no doubt Isshiki was forced to kill time with her. It’s not even my fault, yet I was feeling apologetic all of a sudden now…
>Haruno asks Hachiman to walk her to the station. Haruno gives Hachiman some advice on his future, but mostly because she wants to ask him about Yukino. Haruno is lowering Hachiman’s defenses by showing an interest in him and she is then going in for what she actually wants to know. Hachiman says he doesn’t know. Haruno tells him to find out for her. She then brings up Hayato. Hachiman asked Hayato directly, but he didn’t get an answer. Haruno says that Hayato was expecting someone to “find him”, to find what he actually wanted.
“Okay, so maybe the department of letters wouldn’t fit you. I think you might find social studies or something along those lines more fun,” said Haruno-san.
When she told me, my mouth was stuck open. At some point, she started counseling. I wasn’t very satisfied since I wasn’t really in the mood for it, but I should probably accept her good will with gratitude.
“You’re welcome.” Haruno-san smiled and then coughed.
“So, did you hear anything from Yukino-chan about what department she’s interested in or anything?”(!)
Tch, so this was what she wanted to talk about!(!) What a waste of my thanks…
“No, I didn’t hear anything about her choosing one or the other.”
“…Well, I guess she wouldn’t tell you herself. Hikigaya-kun, make sure to ask her, okay?”(!)
She slapped my back. Um, even if you ask me to… But I couldn’t tell her to ask Yukinoshita herself. I doubt Yukinoshita would honestly answer her anyway, and I had yet to ask her myself.(!) I couldn’t tell someone to do something that I didn’t do.
“Make sure to ask her the next time you meet her,” said Haruno-san, formally. She then went “Ah” as if remembering something. “Speaking of which, did you ask Hayato directly?”(!)
“Ahh. He told me some things, but he didn’t tell me.”(!)
“Ohh. So Hayato didn’t, huh…?”(!)
Haruno-san removed her gaze from me and ahead towards the main street of the station that began to come into view. But it looked like she wasn’t looking at the flow of people passing by. Her narrow, nicely shaped eyes were likely not looking at the present.
“I see. So Hayato’s expecting something, too.”(!)
Her sudden mutter didn’t sound like it was directed to me, but I reflexively questioned it regardless. Eventually, Haruno-san looked my way and made an enchanting smile.
“Something that’ll find him, I guess.”(!)
>A couple of things happen. Then we jump to the conclusion of Volume 10.
>Haruno asks Hachiman to go out with her so she can ask him about Yukino’s career path. Hachiman says he shouldn’t be the one to tell Haruno. Haruno says that Yukino must trust Hachiman quite a bit if she’s willing to tell him. Hachiman jokingly says he’s not that trustworthy of a guy. Haruno on the other hand confirms his words. She says it’s not trust, but something far more sinister Yukino feels for Hachiman. Yukino hasn’t changed and is still following other people’s choices instead of making her own.
This person frightens me. It’s not just because of her perfect mask, but that unrelenting inner face that she wouldn’t bother to hide once it’s been seen through. And lastly, her eyes which indicated that there’s something else hidden in her depths. That’s why I covertly averted my gaze and again, asked, “But really, since you went through the trouble of calling me out here, do you have some business with me?”(!)
“Ah, right, right. I was thinking of checking your answer as I promised.(!) Did you ask Yukino-chan what her career path is?”(!)
“…For the most part, I know what it is, but it wouldn’t be very fair for me to say it.”(!)
“Oh, what a dutiful lad. But I see. So if it’s Hikigaya-kun, she’ll properly tell you.(!) Mmhmm… Yukino-chan trusts you quite a bit, doesn’t she?”(!) said Haruno-san, smirking as though indicating how pleasant that was.
Having someone else consider it as such was oddly embarrassing. Since the conversation we had in the infirmary room came to mind at the same time, I found myself fanning my cheeks.(!)
“…You can’t really call that trust, can you?”(!)
“Oh, wow. So you do get it.”(!)
My voice was taken away. Although I had intended a casual reply(!), the words Yukinoshita Haruno apathetically stated without a smile resounded against my eardrums. After taking a sip of her coffee, Haruno-san traced the rim of the cup and looked at me with somber eyes.
“That’s right. That isn’t anything remotely like trust…(!) It’s something much more horrible.”(!) She smiled, only her lips appearing tender. But the quality of her cold voice made her appear as someone else entirely from earlier. “Nothing’s changed and that child thinks that’s fine.(!) I mean, sure, that part is also what makes her adorable, but… I really don’t like that.”
“If it isn’t trust… what else could it be?”(!)
“Who knows? But at the very least…” Haruno-san overtly shrugged her shoulders, making a smile for just an instant, and focused on me. “You can’t call it something genuine…(!) Those were your words, right?”
I certainly did say those words. But still without a proper grasp of their meaning and significance, they were simply groundless words of what I believed in. Something genuine. That’s to say, the truth(!), or perhaps sincerity.(!) Just exactly which of them you could call genuine(!), I still had yet to understand.
“I wonder if genuine things really exist…” Haruno-san looked overhead at the winter sky with suspended thick clouds and muttered. Where was her question that was tinged with a faint ring of loneliness directed at?
Suddenly, I thought back. A certain individual said that it’s an enclosed happiness.(!) A certain individual asked if I hadn’t noticed it.(!) And from the very start, Yukinoshita Haruno in front of me was someone I had doubted entirely, that whether there was any truth or sincerity to her.(!)
>Haruno appears in Volume 11 as well.
>Haruno approaches Sensei and Hachiman (and others). Haruno tells Sensei how there are a lot of things she wants to discuss with her (in regards to Yukino). Sensei says that if Haruno really means that, then she can contact her anytime. Haruno wants to invite Hachiman as well, but he passes. This interaction between Haruno and Sensei gives Hachiman a glimpse into Haruno as a person or at least when she’s talking to people older than her. Then again, Haruno doesn’t interact seriously with Sensei, or at least not in the same way she interacts with VIPs and politicians, so it’s difficult to judge if this is how she conducts herself with other people that are older than her.
Seeing Sensei drooping her shoulders, Totsuka became flustered and tried to smooth it over. Seeing all these, Haruno-san on the other hand, laughed happily.
“For Shizuka-chan, she probably eats it along with alcohol. Sounds great~ I too, want to eat these tasty chocolates as I drink alcohol.”
“Indeed, I do eat chocolates with alcohol……. However, I can’t do that today.” Hiratsuka scowled at her, to which Haruno-san seemed dissatisfied, and pouted.
Watching their interactions, I felt surprised. In truth, Yukinoshita Haruno was the sort of person who did things with a purpose, as well as one who commonly made a mockery out of others. But now, her response towards Hiratsuka-sensei seemed completely natural, at least, that’s what I thought. Of course, this could be a special ability of her strong exterior appearance. Yet, it could be said that I knew next to nothing about Yukinoshita Haruno. Yukinoshita’s elder sister, Hayama’s childhood friend, Meguri-senpai’s senpai, a former student of Hiratsuka-sensei, a superdemon with a perfect exterior appearance. Even if I knew all these superficial facts about her, I still couldn’t peer through the murky, bottomless marsh to get a peek at her true nature.(!) Thinking about it carefully, this was the first time I had seen Haruno-san spending a long time conversing with someone older than her.(!) I was somewhat taken aback, and kept looking in the direction of Haruno-san, all the while thinking that the water surface of that bottomless lake was being distorted gently.(!) She deliberately drooped her shoulders, and Haruno-san proceeded to lie flat on the kitchen table, and looked at Hiratsuka-sensei sweetly.
“That’s a pity then. Next time, bring me out with you~ there’s so many things that I want to talk to you about.”(!)
That was just a casual lip service. However, Hiratsuka looked at her seriously in return.(!)
She ceased her unwrapping of the chocolates, and clasped her hands together. Slowly, she looked at Haruno-san’s eyes as she crafted some words and spoke gently.
“Haruno, if you…… really do have something you wish to tell me, I can entertain you anytime.”(!)
The instant she had said her piece, Haruno-san’s shoulders shook ever so slightly. She was still lying flat on the kitchen table, and the eyes that were looking at Hiratsuka-sensei was like glass-works, devoid of any color. However, in that instant, I thought I saw a pale flame flash across her eyes. Although that instant lasted less than a second, but the time that the two spent looking at each other felt very long, to the extent that I had even forgotten to breathe. The silence was broken by the sound of Haruno-san’s laughter escaping from the side of her mouth.
“Really? Then you’d best schedule your time------ Ah, Hikigaya-kun is here too?(!) Come and drink with the big sisters~”(!)
Jesting, she intentionally shifted her body towards me, and looked up at me. Immediately, I moved myself away to increase the distance between us.
“I am still not of age yet. I can’t drink alcohol, how about orange juice instead.”
Zaimokuza laughed derisively. Hiratsuka lost the serious edge from just now, and her shoulders
shook from the laughter. Seeing that my joke was effective against the two of them, in other words, it was useless against the others.(!)
Totsuka had a “And so?” expression as he tilted his head, whereas Meguri-senpai continued to smile with an expression that she didn’t quite understand what was going on. Haruno-san frowned and shook her head.(!)
“It’s too bad if you can’t drink. Well whatever, can’t be helped since you aren’t of age, how about Meguri?”
“Haru-san, I am still not of age yet~ But it’s ok if we go for tea……”
“I see. Ehh, what should I do then? Find my classmates?”
Hiratsuka-sensei watched Haruno-san picked up her mobile phone and seemed to be dialing some numbers on it, and she sighed deeply.
“Well, if you want to, just call me.”
With that, it signaled the end of the subject, and Hiratsuka-sensei pushed a bag of a seemingly famous brand of chocolates in my direction.
>Hayato realizes what Hachiman is doing during this event: avoiding having to address the feelings of the girls. Haruno tries stirring the pot with Yukino a little, but she gets no response.
However, she was probably getting tired of looking after others, for she was now leisurely enjoying a cup of tea with Yukinoshita.
“Yukino-chan, what are you making? Let your Onee-chan have a taste~”
Haruno-san’s insistent voice was completely ignored by Yukinoshita. Yukinoshita was now supervising Miura and Yuigahama. Under Yukinoshita’s watchful eyes, Miura was molding the dough into shape with a serious look, whereas Yuigahama was shaping the mold with another piece of dough. She was probably displeased with how Yukinoshita ignored her(!), and so her tone changed to one that was pouting, and spoke again to Yukinoshita.
“Hey, Yukino-chan, can you hear me~”(!)
“……Haruno-san, Yukinoshita-san is still quite busy.”(!)
Seeing this situation, Hayama had a wry smile, and walked up to Haruno-san’s side as though wanting to try and dissuade her.(!) If the surroundings were going to be that noisy, Miura would probably get distracted. Maybe Hayama said such things because he felt concerned about this as well.
>Hachiman’s job as taste tester is about to begin, but not before Orimoto triggers this turn of events.
As everyone focus on doing their own things, my job as a taste-tester was probably about to begin as well. As I thought that, I watched from the sidelines, maintaining my ‘Not going to be a bother ‘ pose.(!) Thereupon, Orimoto came running my way, and spoke to me, who had currently nothing to do.
“……Come to think of it, have I ever given some to Hikigaya?”(!)
Her tone suggested that she really had no idea which made me smile bitterly. You don’t remember? Well, that’s to be expected. Although Orimoto was the type who would give obligatory chocolate to whoever it was as long as they asked, I somehow did not fall under that category of ‘whoever ‘.
>All the girls react to Orimoto’s question.
>After witnessing this event, Haruno sees an opportunity to get Yukino’s attention. She brings up Yukino and Hayato’s past, which causes Yukino and Hachiman to get awkward around each other. Hayato defuses the situation by saying that it was in elementary school and that Haruno also received some. Haruno doesn’t like hearing answers like that.
I carried with me a small sense of satisfaction and turned my head back at the kitchen table, and my eyes met with Haruno-san, who was standing by the window.(!) Haruno-san seemed to have been watching our exchange with a great smile on her face.(!) Her expression seemed to suggest that she had spotted something fun to toy with.(!) Then, her expression changed from the soft smile to a sadistic one.(!) The corners of her mouth curled upwards, and her eyes that were now narrowed had a sharp edge to them. Haruno-san looked at Hayama who was beside her.(!)
“Let me see, Hayato seemed to have received some chocolate from Yukino-chan some time ago?”(!)
Although she was talking to Hayama, the truth is that the voice could be heard by everyone present.(!) Yukinoshita who had been ignoring her all this time seemed to have reacted to it.(!) She looked at Haruno-san with a confused expression and glared at her without saying anything. Those who couldn’t find their voice was not only Yukinoshita, but also Miura. Even Isshiki shrieked softly. I scratched my head briskly as I smiled bitterly.(!) There was no need at all to say this in front of both Miura and Isshiki. But what was surprisingly, was that my hands had somehow became fists at some point in time.(!) It’s going to be hard to comb my hair like that…… Yukinoshita did not deny Haruno-san’s words, and looked at me with a troubled look in her eyes.(!) Her expression seemed to suggest that she felt troubled because she didn’t know what to do at having the past suddenly brought up.(!) She bit her lips lightly, and her eyes betrayed a sense of the unease she was in.(!) However, I probably had a similar expression as well.(!) The discomfort I felt was as though I had phlegm stuck in my throat, or the insides of my stomach crawling about due to indigestion. Yukinoshita lowered her head, and I averted my eyes as well.(!) In front of me, I could see Yuigahama’s uneasy expression as she seemed to be quite worried about us. A short silence. Still, it felt as though a long period of time had passed. I wanted to say something to break this silence, but I couldn’t find anything appropriate to say.
“Ah, that’s true, that’s probably during elementary school or so. Haruno-san received some as well.”(!)
The person who gave such a correct answer(!) under this sort of situation, was of course Hayama. Hayama answered with an ever so magnificent, refreshing smile on his face, and dodged the question.(!) Hearing that, Haruno-san seemed to be a little let-down.(!) Hearing his answer, Miura looked relieved, and Isshiki heaved a sigh of relief as well. Yet, in contrast to their reaction, Yukinoshita Haruno’s expression seemed to grow even colder.(!) She glanced at Hayama with a disinterested look(!), and left the window side as though she was bored with the development. Hayama watched her leave with a lonely look in his eyes.
>This is essentially the payoff to this moment in the series.
>Taken from ANOTHER. In this timeline, Haruno brings up how Yukino made chocolates for Hayato, except this time Yukino answers Haruno as well. Yukino says that Haruno made Yukino give Hayato chocolates, implying that whatever happened between Yukino and Hayato in the past, it’s highly likely Haruno forced the two of them to try and be together.
“Come to think of it, Hayato seemed to have received some chocolate from Yukino-chan some time ago?”(!)
Although she was talking to Hayama, the truth was that the voice could be heard by everyone present. Yukinoshita who had been ignoring her all this time seemed to have reacted to it. She looked at Haruno-san with a confused expression and glared at her without saying anything. Those who couldn’t find their voice was not only Yukinoshita, but also Miura. Even Isshiki shrieked softly. I scratched my head briskly as I smiled bitterly. There was no need at all to say this in front of both Miura and Isshiki. Even Yukinoshita, who had been maintaining her silence up till now, responded. Yukinoshita sighed tiredly, and glared at Haruno-san. A faint smile formed at her lips.
“Indeed. During my elementary school days. You made me do it.”(!)
Back to the main story.
>Haruno confronts Yukino about who she’s going to give chocolates to. Is it going to be Haruno? No, because Haruno has never given Yukino chocolates in her life. So, then apparently it’s somebody else. Now, Haruno brings up how Yukino has never lied before, but that there have been times where she hasn’t told the truth. Haruno is likely referring to the car accident here, but possibly also Yukino’s past and Yukino’s current issues.
Haruno-san stopped by Yukinoshita’s side.
“Then, Yukino-chan, who are you planning to give this to?”(!)
Her voice seemed to suggest that she was just joking with her. If one did not have a good understanding of the two of them, it would surely have sounded like some cute teasing between the two sisters. In actuality, Yukinoshita who looked away with a “Hnng”, seemed to be just a playful sulk from her in response to her sister’s teasing.
“……This has nothing to do with Nee-san.”(!)
“Eh, you are not going to give your Onee-chan?”(!)
Haruno-san laughed softly, and hearing her joking tone, Yukinoshita glared at her, seemingly a little angry.
“Of course not. There’s absolutely no reason for me to do that, not to mention that I have never received chocolates from Nee-san even until today.”(!)
“Uh, that’s indeed true.”(!)
Haruno-san nodded her head, indicating her understanding, and then, she smiled bitterly as she sighed.
“Well, Yukino-chan say she wouldn’t be giving me and so she definitely won’t be doing so. She has never lied after all.”(!)
This point was very close to my impression of Yukinoshita in the past. However, Yukinoshita Haruno definitely had a greater understanding of her than I had in the past.
“But, there are still times when she wouldn’t say the truth.”(!)
Haruno-san was looking at Yukinoshita coldly as she said that, a great change from her previous warm and cheerful gaze.(!)
“You didn’t say that you were not going to give it to anyone. That means you are indeed going to give it to someone.”(!)
Yukinoshita maintained her silence and continued to glare at Haruno-san coldly. Although I saw her accepting her sister ‘s conclusion, but the smile on Haruno-san’s face did not change.
“Well, but the people to whom Yukino-chan can give chocolates to are very limited.”(!)
“Asinine. Whatever you say.”(!)
Yukinoshita discontinued the conversation, and once again, began to work.
>Yukino clumsily knocks her bowl over, she immediately apologizes to Hachiman, which shows that she feels a need to apologize to Hachiman for any shortcomings. Both Hachiman and Yukino continue to fumble around being very insecure about how to approach one another. Yui picks up the bowl and makes a joke to make the tense atmosphere disappear. Yui hands Yukino the bowl back, but Hachiman notices Yui’s lonely expression. He starts wondering when he has seen that expression before. (Possibly in Volume 3, after seeing Yukino and Hachiman on their date at the mall or during a couple of moments during this volume after Yui witnessed the infirmary scene. The point is, Hachiman is starting to notice that Yui is starting to withdraw.)
She reached her hands out towards the empty bowl and tray in front of her, and began to keep them, deliberately making “Ka-cha, Ka-cha” noises as she did so. The exchange between the Yukinoshita sisters had finally come to an end, and the cooking room resumed its usual clamorous state. This clamorous atmosphere gave everyone present a sense of peace and calm. Just as I sighed in relief, I heard a loud clanging noise. Looking in the direction of that noise, I saw a metallic bowl spinning on the floor, spinning towards me. Accompanying the ringing sound of the bowl, was a small voice.
Yukinoshita lowered her head, her face a shade of red all the way till the tip of her ears, and she came running over to pick up the bowl. This sort of mediocre mistake was really rare.(!) As I thought so, I squatted down to pick up the bowl that had come spinning to me. Thereupon, I locked eyes with Yukinoshita, who had also squatted down to pick up the bowl. Both of us extended our hands, and froze in that posture, searching for hints as to who would be one to pick it up. We looked at each other, separated by just a few centimeters. Yukinoshita hurriedly retracted her hand that was so close to touching mine. What are you so agitated about? Seeing you like that will make me agitated too as well.
I looked away from her, and left the job to her as I tried to apologize. Yukinoshita picked up the bowl in a hurry. However, probably because of her unstable grasp of the bowl as she picked it up, the rim of the bowl that was still in contact with the floor once more made its annoying ringing noise and rolled someplace else. The noise made by it continued to reach my eyes, and even if it finally stopped moving, that noise would still be stuck inside my head. It was not until when someone picked up the bowl gently, did that noise finally cease. I raised my head, and saw Yuigahama spinning the bowl on her fingers, puffing out her chest with pride.
“Hehe, Yukinon, you still need have quite some way to go. My ability in handling metals bowl and cooking equipment is top-notch.”
Seeing her laugh like that as she said it, I sighed with relief.(!) The thing that had been stuck in my chest seemed to have disappeared as well. I said a few words and stood up at last.
“……No, apart from this, everything else is a fatal flaw.”
“That is indeed so. ……Thank you.”
Yukinoshita too, had a smile on her face, and with her thanks, extended her hand to take the bowl from Yuigahama. Yuigahama nodded her head with an “Un” and passed the bowl back to her. Yuigahama had a somewhat lonely expression(!), and looking at her now empty palm, clenched her hand into a fist. That action caused me some degree of concern(!), and I looked at her for a while. When and where have I seen that expression before?(!) Exactly when was that? As I searched my memories, I sat down on the chair by the wall. Just as I let out yet another sigh, I seemed to feel that somewhere, someone was gently laughing away.
>Hachiman tries convincing himself that he is really happy with the way things are right now, but for some reason that feeling of unease is still there. Just as Hachiman has that thought, here comes Haruno. Is the trio allowed to act like Hayato’s group? Not on Haruno’s watch. Haruno asks Hachiman if this is what he considers genuine. If this is really the extent of how meaningful their relationship is, then Haruno prefers the Yukino that followed in Haruno’s shadow. Hachiman is once again confronted with the one thing he has been trying to keep his mind off of the entire event/volume.
The sweet cookies, the warm red tea, having all these, were more than enough to make me satisfied. It should be so. That’s why, once again, in my throat, I murmured that I was really happy.(!) And yet, that feeling of unease still existed within me.(!) Just as I felt that, I heard the sound of high heels steeping on the floor. That person didn’t seem to be interested in hiding the fact that she was approaching us, in fact she seemed to be bragging out her existence. Step by step, she approached us, and revealed herself. Noticing the high-heel sounds, Yukinoshita stole a glance behind me. Her brow furrowed nearly instantly. Just by these alone, it was sufficient to deduce who it was behind me. It was Yukinoshita Haruno.
“Nee-san. What’s the matter.”
Haruno-san did not answer Yukinoshita’s question. Rather, she looked at me straight in the eyes, silently. Her fingers glided across her mouth, those seductive lips slowly opened.
“This is Hikigaya-kun’s genuine things?”(!)
The instant she said that, a chill ran over my spine, and I averted my gaze from Haruno-san’s face instinctively. However, Haruno-san would not allow me to escape(!), and she took another step yet again to close the distance between her and me.
“This moment in time, is what you meant by the genuine article?”(!)
“……I don’t know.”
I had no idea of how to come up with a meaningful answer. Haruno-san’s question had in it a sense of coldness, but also at the same time, it was also genuine. As though it was telling me that she really didn’t understand, that she couldn’t comprehend this at all. That voice, sounded like she was forsaking me.(!)
“Nee-san, what are you trying to do?”
“That, that’s right, this, th, that……”
I raised my hand gently, stopping Yukinoshita and Yuigahama who was about to speak, having been unable to tolerate this anymore. Right now, the person who was being asked was me. From the start, I didn’t need to do anything. Yukinoshita Haruno didn’t seem to be interested in anything else apart from my answer.(!) She looked at me intently, noticing my each and every action, noticing each of my breaths.
“Is that it? ……I thought that you weren’t this sort of person.”(!)
Saying this, she approached my back, and lowered her head and looked at me eye-to-eye.
“Are you really that boring?”(!)
The distance between us was so close that I could feel her breath, that this distance was so close that I could touch her just by moving a little. Yet, that sentence felt as though it came from somewhere shockingly far.
“If I was that interesting, I would have already become the class popularity king.”
“That is something that I like about you.”
Seeing how I answered her whilst looking away, Haruno-san laughed as though she had found something funny. Then, she finally took a step away from me. If she were to leave like that I would be more than happy. However, Yukinoshita Haruno would not do that. I had known long ago she wasn’t such a generous person. Haruno-san was a step away from us, and glaring at all of us.
“……However, you are all so boring currently. I… kind of prefer the Yukino-chan of the past.”(!)
That sentence caused me to catch my breath. I felt that my face was stiffening. Although I had no way of looking at the expressions of Yukinoshita and Yuigahama who were looking down, I dare say that their expression and mine were the same. I willfully decided that for myself. Haruno-san seemed to have realized that no one could answer her and took a short breath. Soon, the sound of the high-heels gradually grew further. Hearing that voice, I understood very clearly what she was trying to convey.(!) The words hidden behind Yukinoshita Haruno’s words, that this was not genuine.(!) I agree.(!) Met with this type of situation, these sort of relationships, there was that feeling of discomfort that I had.(!) Due to lack of experience, because I wasn’t used to it, hence, I had always thought that these were merely feelings of discomfort. I had always thought that with the passage of time, I would get used to it, that I would be able to accept it.(!) Even so, she did not overlook this. Something that had frozen and had clung on to my chest. The restless cold that was within me. The feeling of disgust that had always been there but had not revealed itself even until today. Things that I didn’t want to think about(!), had all been pointed out by Haruno-san.
“That is not trust, but something more unforgivable, more awful.”
In the anime Hachiman thinks about this while they’re walking Yukino home.
>Taken from ANOTHER. During the chocolate making event, Haruno shows no interest in Hachiman in the final stretch of Volume R. Hachiman is fully prepared for Haruno to confront him during this event, but since Hachiman doesn’t show any interest in Haruno’s younger sister in this timeline, Haruno doesn’t show any interest in Hachiman. Haruno realizes that in this timeline, Yukino chooses Yui’s friendship over her feelings for Hachiman.
Taking her ability to see through a person’s heart for example, there was no one better than her at that amongst all those that I knew. Furthermore, she was someone whose specs surpassed that of Yukinoshita. As such, even when it comes to this event, she would definitely use all her might and tricks. Was it was going to be so skillfully done that not just humans, but even sprites and fairies were going to be tamed by her? If that’s what you wish, then go ahead and tame me(!)……. As these thoughts ran about in my mind, it appeared that Haruno-san had no interest in me.(!) Right now, her eyes were focused on Yukinoshita and Yuigahama. Her penetrating cold gaze were fixed on the two’s intimate figures. However, she did nothing else besides looking at them.(!) None of the usual mocking and none of her usual provocative talk.(!) In her cold gaze, I could not see any trace of malice or ferocity in her eyes. Which is why, that ice-like gaze seemed somewhat lonely, yet beautiful as well.(!)
>Taken from ANOTHER. Haruno asks who Yukino is going to give her chocolates to this year. Yukino answers to her friends. Haruno realizes that in this timeline Yukino isn’t going for Hachiman, but at the very least Yukino has made a decision. While Haruno may have preferred Yukino pursuing her feelings, Haruno is at least satisfied that Yukino has made a decision.
“Yukino-chan, who are you going to give it to this year?”
Her voice seemed to suggest that she was just joking with her. If one did not have a good understanding of the two of them, it would surely have sounded like some cute teasing between the two sisters. In fact, Yukinoshita who now looked away with a ”Hnng”, looked like she was just responding to her sister’s teasing with a playful sulk. However, at the very least, both Yuigahama and I, and perhaps Hayama, were amongst the few people in this room who could sense the air being stretched taut. The figure of Haruno-san peeking at Yukinoshita’s face from the top of her shoulders made her appear like a devil whispering to her. Haruno-san’s ran her supple fingers across Yukinoshita’s slender neck, stopping suddenly at her throat. Having heard her sister’s gentle voice and having her beautiful fingers thrust at her, Yukinoshita raised her jaw slightly. There was no warmth in the looks that the two exchanged. The two of them that were facing each other now, were like mirror images of one another reflected on the ice, ephemeral and beautiful. Both of them had an identical cold expression. Beside them, Yuigahama clutched her chest tightly, her lips stiffened, and she stood on tenterhooks as she watched over Yukinoshita. Anyone who was observing them swallowed their breaths and a frosty, surreptitious silence soon enveloped the area. The only thing that interrupted this deathly silence, was the sound of light breathing.
“To my friends, probably.”(!)
Saying that, Yukinoshita suddenly broke into a smile.(!) She said so with eyes that was sparkling like the morning dew, with a warm voice that could probably melt snow(!), with a quiet tone that one would use when watching over the sick. That gentle smile shattered her icy-cold mirror-image.
“……I see. So that’s what Yukino-chan is going to do.”(!)
Yukinoshita Haruno smiled brightly as she tilted her face, then, she laughed yet again. It was the first time that I had seen her smile. That smile was one that made her look as though she was about to burst into tears(!), but it was also, a very lovable smile. Her fingertips moved from the nape of Yukinoshita neck, to curling her glossy black hair. She combed it lovingly and the hair trailed behind her fingers as she combed it. In this gentle manner, Haruno-san continued to caress Yukinoshita’s head.(!)
“If, if there is some leftover, give it to me okay?”
“I don’t want to.”
With a curt reply, Yukinoshita deftly brushed off Haruno-san’s hand. Although the way she put it was blunt, a smile lingered on her. Haruno-san seemed to be satisfied at that(!), and spread her hands out in a grand manner.
“Now then…… the preparations are almost done. It’s about time to go back, I think.”(!)
“Eh? Umm, just, there’s still various things I want you to teach.”
Isshiki went to her in a fluster and began tugging at Haruno-san’s sleeve, who was just beginning to remove her apron. Seeing such a sweet action from her, Haruno-san smiled whole-heartedly, and grabbed Isshiki’s hand tightly.
“I am so sorry, Isshiki-chan. But all that’s left is to roast it, so you can’t go wrong with that. Help me tell this to the rest.”
Having her hand gripped by Haruno-san, and to have her smile so brightly at her, even someone like Isshiki-san couldn’t find anything to say. For some reason, her cheeks was blushing slightly, and then with a relieved expression, Isshiki nodded her head. Since there was no one else who wanted to prevent her from leaving, Haruno-san called out lightly to Hayama and Meguri-senpai, and began to make her preparations to leave briskly.(!) Then, re-adjusting the bag that she was carrying, she walked in front of me, Yukinoshita and Yuigahama.
“See you again, Yukino-chan.”(!)
Without saying anything more, she gave Yukinoshita a light clap on her shoulders.(!) Without saying her goodbyes to anyone else(!), the sound of Yukinoshita Haruno’s heels echoed about in the room as she left the place without even once looking back.(!)
Back to the main story.
>The day after the chocolate making event, Haruno shows up, she’s here to pick Yukino up so they can go home together on Yukimom’s orders. Yukino stayed out too late and she has changed her career path. Yukimom is either worried about her daughter or at the very least she feels like Yukino is straying away from what Yukimom wants her to be.
We waited for her to continue her sentence, not moving at all. No one was making a sound, but soon, a hard sound could be heard. Ka-to. I had a hunch that this was the sound of heels striking the asphalt. The sound grew louder with each step, making me think that it was the sound of my heartbeat. Perhaps that this was some sort of illusionary sound that reached only my ears. I even thought that it was the physical manifestation of the unease that had always been strongly rooted inside of me. But this didn’t seem like a sound that was heard only by me. Yuigahama looked in the direction of the approaching footsteps. Then she let out a cry of surprise.
Soon, the footsteps stopped abruptly. We followed Yuigahama’s gaze and what we saw opened our eyes wide.
“Yukino-chan, I am here to fetch you.”(!)
Seeing her, Yukinoshita uttered those words involuntarily. Yukinoshita Haruno’s heeled boots sounded out once more as she walked to our front. She put her hands into her coat pockets, and had an intrepid smile on her face. She tilted her head to the side, as though looking at Yukinoshita.
“I didn’t know anything that would warrant you coming down to fetch me.”(!)
“It’s what our mom wanted, that you and I should live together temporarily.(!) Ah, there’s a spare room in your apartment, right? It won’t be a problem if I arrange for the luggage to be delivered tomorrow right? If its morning I can still take care of it, but I will be going out in the afternoon, so can I leave that to you?”(!)
Haruno-san unleashed a volley of questions so as to prevent me and Yuigahama from interrupting.(!) If she seized the initiative just like that, then it would be impossible for us outsiders, to say anything at
all.(!) Above all else, although the tone of Haruno-san’s voice sounded like she felt she was being a bother, it felt way too natural. As though this was something that had been decided long ago.(!) Her demeanor felt like she would not listen to any form of objections.(!)
“Wa, wait. Why this all of a sudden……”(!)
Yukinoshita said it with a mix of disapproval and bewilderment. To that, Haruno-san’s shoulder shook as laughed loudly. Then, she leaned forward a little, and looked at Yukinoshita as she replied.
“You should know, don’t you? Or at least, have an idea.”(!)
Hearing her question, Yukinoshita’s shoulders jumped in surprise.
“……This, is something that I will do myself. It has nothing to do with you, Nee-san.”(!)
Yukinoshita was definitely glaring at Haruno-san now, as she replied in a sharp voice that clearly stated her rejection of that proposal. The thing that Yukinoshita ought to do herself.(!) I fear that that was referring to the matter that she and her mom had discussed a few days ago.(!) That time, they had probably made some sort of promise, that Yukinoshita would give the answer to her question herself.(!) But still, even so, Yukinoshita Haruno was right here before us.(!) Was it because her mother had no longer wanted to wait for her daughter ‘s answer or was this just an act of simple concern for her returning home late at night?(!) I wasn’t sure. Probably only Haruno-san understood her mother’s thoughts.(!)
>Yukino tells Haruno that she will solve it herself. Haruno confronts Yukino if she even has a self. Yukino has always followed in Haruno’s footsteps, has Yukino ever made any decisions for herself? Has Yukino ever gone after the things she wants for herself? Hachiman interrupts the conversation, he doesn’t want to be confronted with the one thing he has been trying to avoid the entire volume. Yui tries sticking up for Yukino. Haruno says she and Yukino will continue this conversation once she returns home. The continuation to this conversation is obviously going to take place in Volume 12.
Haruno-san listened to Yukinoshita’s words quietly. The smile that had been present earlier was gone. She narrowed her eyes at Yukinoshita, her sharp gaze piercing her, as though trying to catch hold of her, not letting her escape. She continued to look at Yukinoshita with that cold stare; All of Yukinoshita’s actions and expressions were reflected in her eyes. It even seemed like that gaze had seen through all of Yukinoshita’s thoughts. Soon, her mouth opened slightly.
“Does Yukino-chan even have a ‘self’?”(!)
These words by Haruno-san threw Yukinoshita into disarray. Just as she was about to ask for the meaning of that question, Haruno-san cut her off preemptively by continuing to speak.
“You have always been following in my footsteps, can you really call that ‘your own thoughts’?”(!) Although there was now a thin smile on her face, Haruno-san’s voice was far colder than usual, and her frozen gaze pierced through Yukinoshita. Yukinoshita did not make any noise in objection or produce any words of rejection.(!) She looked at Haruno-san, completely dumbfounded. Seeing her in this state, Haruno-san shrugged her shoulders lightly and sighed in amazement.
“Yukino-chan has always been allowed to do as she pleased, but she has yet to decide anything for herself.”(!)
Her voice was gentle, yet there was pity in it as well.(!) Then, her gaze of pity shifted away from Yukinoshita. She directed her gaze now at Yuigahama, who was beside Yukinoshita, and then to me, who was standing opposite them. When our eyes met, she chuckled unintentionally.
“……You have no idea of what you should do even at this juncture, don’t you?”(!)
This question, I had no idea who it was directed at.(!) Not only Yukinoshita, but even I was rooted to the spot.(!) I had wanted to stop Haruno-san from continuing on with her verbal assault(!), but my voice seemed to be stuck in my throat, unable to come out. What could be the right thing to do now?(!) To that, I had no idea.
“What does Yukino-chan want to do?”(!)
“If you two are going to quarrel, could you do it somewhere else?”(!)
I spoke at last, so as to prevent Haruno-san from questioning further. That was because she was definitely going to say that one conclusive line.(!) One that would thrust the truth in our faces.(!) Hence, I could not allow her to continue.(!) Not for Yukinoshita’s sake, but for mine.(!) Haruno-san seemed like she had her fun taken away from her and looked at me with a bored expression. Her eyes were full of scorn, as though asking if these were the only words that I was capable of.
“A quarrel? I hardly think that this qualifies as one. We had never actually argued before.”(!)
“Even if that is true, this is not the place to say such things.”
With that, we stared at each other coldly. I used every ounce of my willpower to continue staring at her, trying my best not to avert my gaze.
“Th, that…… we are giving it some proper thought. Yukinoshita too, and me as well.”
Yuigahama intervened, trying to stick up for us.(!) She stood up right next to Yukinoshita and spoke those words strongly. Yet, under Haruno-san’s stare, her voice gradually grew weaker.(!) At the very end, her entire head was facing the ground. Haruno-san looked at her gently with a pitiful gaze and told her.
“…… I see. Then, I would like to hear it when you come back.(!) You have only place that you can go back to anyway.”
With the addition of this line, she turned around and left. The sound of her heels grew increasingly distant, and I could feel the tension in my body slipping away.