>Back at home, Hachiman thinks about how since the end of the year is approaching, this period of time that the three of them are sharing isn’t going to last forever. This is incredibly important, since Yahari is essentially a story about what Hachiman is able to achieve within a year.
You’re reminded that this time of emptiness and permissible idleness will eventually come to an end.(!) To us, we know by heart that this amiable period of time won’t continue on forever.(!)
>The career path questionnaires get introduced. Well, not entirely introduced. They’ve been brought up on two previous occasions. The first time in Volume 2, the second time in Volume 6. However, this is the last chance for the students to change their mind. Whatever you fill in and hand in, that’s the path you’re going to pursue in the third year.
My eyes were fixated on that paper as the words of the homeroom teacher went in one ear and out the other. Written on the paper was “Prospective Career Path Questionnaire”. This had been given out several times before, but this was apparently the last one of our second year.(!) Our third year electives for liberal arts and sciences would be officialized according to this sheet.(!)
>At school, Hayato’s group is discussing what path they’re going to choose for their third year.
What’s important to know here, is that in Volume 2, Yui had already decided to go with the liberal arts, because Hachiman said that’s what he wanted.
“Oh, I see. But phones aren’t that perfect, yeah.” Yuigahama held onto Yukinoshita’s body tightly, as if pained over how shallow their bond was.(!) “I’ll study real hard, yep… it’ll be awesome if I could go to the same school as you,”(!) she went on in small voice, her gaze dropping to the floor. “Have you decided on your university and stuff, Yukinon?”(!)
“No, not in definite terms. I plan to enter the science faculty at a public nationwide university, however.”(!) “You know so many big words!” Yuigahama exclaimed. Then she said, “So, um… what about you, Hikki?(!) I m‐may as well ask you too.”(!)
“Liberal arts at a private university.”
The smile returned to Yuigahama’s face.(!) “That sounds doable!”(!)
Oh, come on, what was with that reaction? “I told you this before, but studying liberal arts at a private university is no walk in the park. I demand you apologise to all the private liberal arts departments in the country. You and I aren’t even on the same level.”
“Ooooh… so I’ll work hard, then!”(!) Yuigahama let go of Yukinoshita.(!) “And that’s that. We’ll have a study group starting from this week,”(!) she declared loudly.
>Yumiko wants to know what Hayato is going to choose. As a matter of fact, so does the rest of Hayato’s group. They want to choose the same thing as Hayato to increase the chances of their group being able to stay together, because in the third year all of the classes are going to be reorganized again. Hayato tells his group to put some extra thought into it, because this is an important decision that will influence the rest of their lives. Also, if they end up choosing simply because Hayato chose one direction and later on it turns out that they’re not happy with their choice, the person they’ll be upset with is Hayato. Those are the things Hayato is trying to avoid.
>While talking about their career choices, Ooka suddenly asks a question about a rumor that popped up recently. The reason why Hayato reacts this strongly, is because this is the exact same thing that happened during elementary school and which caused the falling out between him and Yukino. Hayato regains his composure and asks Tobe to back him up.
With everyone’s attention concentrated on them, Hayama glared at Oooka. “Who’s saying something irresponsible like that?”
The voice he wrung out was sharp. Hayama emitted an aura that was separate from his typical one and Oooka lost his words in astonishment. Hayama’s gaze, however, wouldn’t allow for even silence.(!) Hayama’s expression was something I had seen before.(!) It was back during late autumn when we were with Orimoto and her friend.(!) Pressured by the glint in Hayama’s eyes that didn’t waver, Oooka answered his question in a fluster.
“Nah, it’s more like a rumor… Something about you two being seen together over winter break or something…”!) said Oooka, barely managing to answer.
Hayama let out a short sigh, lowered the corner of his eyes(!), and curved his mouth upwards.(!)
“Oh, is that it? Sorry, but it’s not that fun of a story. We only met because of family business. Besides, there’s no way that’s true. Right, Tobe?”
With his typical smile, Hayama patted Oooka’s shoulders and asked Tobe with a bright voice.
“Ah…. Ahh, totally! Yeah, totally!”
(What’s important to know here, is that lately, Hayato has started acting distant towards Miura and the rest of the group. Hayato went on a date with Hachiman, Orimoto and her friend. Yumiko saw them on this date. Iroha tried confessing to Hayato. Hayato didn’t go to the shrine visit. There are things Hayato doesn’t tell Yumiko about his past. That’s why Yumiko is going to act the way she acts throughout this volume.)
>The rumors start spreading around school. The anime shows Miura’s reaction to the rumors, but they don’t show Hachiman’s reaction. Hachiman feels awful about having to hear the rumors. This is very similar to the situation in Volume 6,5 except this time it’s Yukino that’s the target of the rumors.
“Did you hear? The thing about Hayama-kun.”
“Ahh, that. Sounds totally real, doesn’t it?”
The girls that passed by me gossiped about the things they had apparently just learned moments ago. Just like Ebina-san had said in the classroom, it’s likely pieces of information were strung together, turned into a story with some guesswork, evolved into a trend of fun, and dispersed. It wasn’t even a story that involved me at all(!), but a discomfort crawled up my neck(!) that made me want to duck my head in as I was listening to the gossip.
>Yui catches up to Hachiman and asks him why he didn’t wait for her. Walking to the Service Club is their opportunity where they can spend some time alone together. This is yet another example of how a lot of Hachiman and Yui’s interactions come from Yui forcing promises on Hachiman that he has to uphold. It’s one of the reasons why Yui will call herself unfair in Volume 11.
Yuigahama lined up next to me and hit my waist with her bag. “Why are you going on ahead without me?”
“Well, it looked like you were still talking…”
First of all, I don’t recall promising to go to club together with you… Well, there was that promise(!) in December to go to club together. This must’ve been a continuation of that for Yuigahama.
>They celebrate Yukino’s birthday. The most important thing to take from this is that Yui is showing some jealousy in regards to Hachiman giving Yukino a compliment.
>Hachiman asks Iroha what business she has in the Service Club.
“Yukinoshita-senpai, so your birthday was on January 3rd, huh? By the way, my birthday is on April 16th, senpai.”
“I didn’t ask…”
Why are you even here in the first place, hmmm…?(!)
>Iroha brings up the rumor. Yukino says it’s rather karmic for a rumor to pop up again about the two of them, with this time Hayato at the center.
“…A rumor, huh? Rather karmic, isn’t it?” Yukinoshita muttered. Her tone wasn’t directed at anyone. The tea cup she was looking at had formed small ripples.
>At first Hachiman wants to ignore the rumors, hoping that they will go away. (LN exclusive)
>Yumiko Miura sends an e-mail to the Service Club asking how they’re deciding between the liberal arts and sciences. Yui says that Yumiko asked this because Yumiko is aware that there’s a chance that her group may fall apart because of this. Hachiman is aware that “things” will end eventually for him as well.
Yuigahama made a complicated look. “Mmm, that’s not what I mean… You know, like, how everyone’s going to be apart? It’s hard to pick when you think about that.”(!)
“Well, yeah… But that’s just how it is.”
Somewhere and someday, things will eventually end.(!) I’m sure that’s natural. That should be even truer for high school life which has a set number of years. I was aware that everyone would be going their separate ways down the road.(!) That’s why I could only say what I did.
Yuigahama slightly dropped her shoulders. “Uh huh. I know that, but… It’s just, like, what we want to do and what we’re aiming for are all over the place, so… Besides, if we split up into the liberal arts and the sciences, we won’t be able to stay in the same classes…”(!)
“By that logic, I’ll always be in another class since my curriculum is different in the first place…” Yukinoshita said with a quiet voice and turned her face away.
It looked like she was pouting, finding that difficult to understand. Yukinoshita belonged to the International Liberal arts course, so her normal curriculum was different from ours. In the first place, she had only one class, so she’d be stuck with that class for three years.
>Hachiman reminds himself of the reason why he’s afraid to ask Yukino personal questions. What if Hachiman were to find something out that he wasn’t hoping for?
Even if you thought you were close, there were a lot of things you couldn’t ask about. About the future.(!) About the present.(!) And about the past.(!) There’s no telling where a land mine could be buried. What would happen if you forced yourself to ask something only to receive an answer you weren’t hoping for?(!) Just the thought of it caused you to be at a loss for words.
>At first Hachiman wanted to ignore the rumors, but now that they’ve received a request from Yumiko (a reason to act), if Hachiman can restore Miura’s relationship with Hayato, then the rumors should stop as well. Hachiman wonders who the best person would be to ask Hayato about his future plans. He doesn’t want Yukino to do it, because that might make the rumors worse. It’s up to Hachiman to do it then.
Our original purpose wasn’t to interfere with a person’s relationships, but providing support was within the scope of our work. Besides, if we managed to restore Hayama and Miura’s relationship back to normal, then that worthless rumor should disappear as well.
In that case, a person who was outside of that category, a person who wouldn’t be influenced should ask him. Those who fell under that category were limited. I glanced at Yukinoshita.(!) But she was bending her head slightly to the side in wonder.…Well, it’d be inane to have Yukinoshita approach Hayama when that rumor had already made its way around.(!) Hayama not telling us his career path wouldn’t be the problem. We’d end up with another problem altogether instead.(!) I guess I’m the only one… Though, anything good coming from me asking was another story.
“I guess we don’t have a choice. I’ll ask him…” I said, and Yuigahama and Yukinoshita looked at me in surprise.
I shook my head. “No, it’s a lot easier for me to ask him alone, probably. Wouldn’t it be harder for him to talk with you guys? Not that I’d know.”
For Yukinoshita to approach Hayama at a place like this and at this time of the day wasn’t a very good idea.(!) It’s plausible enough that gossipy people would start talking about things that happened and didn’t happen. Because of that, the way I spoke was somewhat indirect.(!) Yukinoshita placed her hand on her chin thinking for a moment, but then raised her face.
“I see… Well, that’s true, too.”
“Mmm, I still think it’d be better for me to ask though.”
“In that case, I’m sorry for leaving this up to you…”
“No, it’s fine. If it’s work, then there’s no getting around it.” The two looked at me anxiously and I answered them with a laid back tone.
Yukinoshita smiled. “That’s rather out of character for you to say.”
(Hachiman doesn’t mind working if it’s to prevent gossip about Yukino.)
The anime changed a lot of things here. First off, in the anime, Yumiko comes in immediately after they read her e-mail. In the LN, a couple of things happen first, then she comes in. This is where I’ll stop following the anime (because they jumbled a couple of things together, show things out of order and took out a lot of important details) and instead we’ll follow the LN, while I occasionally post pictures from the anime.
>Hachiman stumbles across a girl trying to confess to Hayato. Hayato turns the girl down. This isn’t the first girl that has tried confessing to Hayato since the rumors started. Since Hayato isn’t as close to Yumiko as he was before, it has essentially become hunting season. It could also be said that some of the girls confessing to Hayato are doing it to see if there’s any validity to the rumors. Another possibility could be that their friends, being aware of the rumors, are encouraging the girls holding romantic feelings towards Hayato to confess to him to see his response.
Then, behind the school building, I discovered Hayama. What do you know? He’s here, after all. It looked like he had used the path that led to the side gate instead of the one that led to the front gate. I stepped forward for a few steps thinking how to initiate a conversation and I abruptly stopped in my tracks. It’s because at a spot where the orange glow of the lampposts barely reached, I noticed someone else besides Hayama. Reflexively, I hid myself with the wall of the school building. I pressed my back against the wall, feeling the coldness of the surface. I couldn’t tell who the person with Hayama was since it was so dark. But I could tell from the person’s stature that it was a girl. And judging from the tone of the disjointed “I’m sorry for calling you out here so suddenly” and so forth of the conversation that I could hear along with the wind, it was presumably a girl in our year. The girl was wearing a dark blue pea coat with a red scarf. She looked up at Hayama’s face with upturned eyes, squeezing the scarf at her bosom. I could still tell at this distance that her slender shoulders were trembling from nervousness. --Ahh, so that’s what’s going on. That explained why Tobe was being evasive. The girl took a small breath and gripped the collars of her coat as if readying herself.
“Um… I heard from my friends. Hayama-kun, is it true you’re dating someone right now?”(!)
“No, it’s not.”
“Then, would you like to…”
“Sorry. I can’t really think about that right now.”(!)
Their voices small, I could only overhear the conversation up to that point. But from then on, I couldn’t hear them any longer. I’m sure both of them were at a loss for words. However, voices or not, I could tell. It was a feeling of hopelessness far from a straining tension unique to the situation and far from a sensation of pleasantry. The mood that was strikingly similar to the cold winter sky was something I had experienced very recently. This resembled that one act between Isshiki Iroha and Hayama Hayato during the Christmas season at Destinyland.(!) Before long, they spoke a few words to each other, likely to be their goodbyes. The girl waved her hand weakly, turned around, and walked off.
>Hayato sees Hachiman, Hayato starts talking to him. Hayato asks Hachiman to apologize to Yukino for him for the rumors, Hachiman tells him to do it himself. Hachiman tries asking about their past, but he gets no answers.
Since he called out to me first, I lost my initiative. I wasn’t able to say anything worthwhile as a result. No, even if he didn’t speak up first, in the end, I still didn’t know how I was supposed to call out to him. I could’ve given words of consolation if it was someone who was rejected, but if it’s someone who did the rejecting, I had no idea what to say. But seeing through my hesitation, Hayama seemingly made a smile.
“Don’t worry about it. The guys from my club were being pretty considerate of me today, too.”
The way he sounded was as if this had happened several times already in the past few days.(!)
“Huh… Must be rough.”
There honestly wasn’t anything else for me to say. I wasn’t particularly interested in Hayama Hayato’s love life(!) nor was I envious of the attention he received for someone of his position. It might’ve been nice of me to tease him by cracking a joke, but unfortunately, we weren’t that close. For an instant, Hayama’s face distorted into a full smile, as if his breathing was blocked, as if he was enduring some kind of pain. But he immediately shook his head lightly, wearing his typical smile, and motioned with his chin towards the bicycle parking station. I walked after him.
“Yukinoshita-san probably has it worse than I do.”(!)
“Huh? Yukinoshita? Why?”(!) I reflexively asked back when he suddenly brought up her name.
Without turning back, Hayama crudely spat out. “There are a lot of people like that out there, people that get a kick out of digging into people’s lives.(!) They’re probably just curious, but there are people who find it bothersome too.”(!)
Hayama’s voice took on an unusually sharper tone. I couldn’t associate him with the image of the guy who always wore a gentle smile. But I knew that he was speaking about the recent rumor. I’m sure the reason why the girl earlier confessed to Hayama was because that rumor had made its way around.(!) Her friends definitely used that as a pretense to spur her on.(!) These past few days were probably the same way.
“It might be causing trouble for Yukinoshita-san too. Sorry, but can you apologize to her for me?”(!)
“Do it yourself.”
“I’d like to, but it’s not a good idea to approach her right now… If I did, it’s enough for people to thoughtless blow up the rumors again. It’s better to just let it be.”(!)
He sounded like he had gone through this before.(!) It felt as if he was recalling the truth he had gained from those past experiences.(!) And perhaps, that truth wasn’t something that only he had gained.(!) It’s likely she did as well.(!) I stopped abruptly because that thought crossed my mind. But I somehow managed to move my legs forward and took a step.
“You seem used to it… Did this happen a lot before?”(!)
(Hayato changes the subject.)
“……Speaking of which, didn’t you need me for something?”
When I asked, Hayama momentarily shrugged his shoulders and suddenly came out with something completely different.(!) That was enough to tell me that he didn’t want to delve into the issue any further.(!) In that case, that was the line I couldn’t step over.(!) In accordance with the line presented before me, I discussed something else.
>Since Hayato isn’t going to tell him about his and Yukino’s past, Hachiman starts talking about the reason he came to talk to him: Yumiko’s request. Hayato asks Hachiman if the reason why he is asking him this is for work (Service Club). Hachiman gives no reply. Hayato “politely” tells Hachiman to not stick his nose in his business.
“No, it’s not anything important. I just wanted to ask you something… Like, your career path and stuff,”(!) I said. Hayama muttered quietly, “Is that it?” and made a wry smile.
“Did someone ask you to?”
“No, well… it’s for reference.”(!)
I couldn’t really reveal that Miura was the one who made the request. As I stood there unable to answer, Hayama let out a sigh as he was walking ahead.
“…Is it… because it’s for work again?”(!) The words he responded with were cold and somehow had a hint of scorn to them. I couldn’t look at Hayama’s face ahead.(!) Only his stiffly gripped fist came into view.
“You’re the same as usual.”(!)
(With this Hayato is implying that Hachiman is hiding behind excuses as to why he is acting. Hachiman always needs a reason to act, to make it seem like he is not doing something out of his own interests.)
His packed words that he uttered could be heard distinctly even in this headwind. Whenever the wind blew, the galvanized iron roofing would creak and the neglected, rusting bike would rattle. Those noises were unpleasant, making my replying voice turn sharp.
“I said it before. That’s the kind of club it is. It’s voluntary service.”
“I see. Can you do me a favor then?” Hayama declared and stopped. He then turned towards me.
“Can you stop doing bothersome things like that?”(!)
He wasn’t smiling. His gripped fist loosened and his voice was monotone and had no strength. Despite that, his voice resounded quietly in the night campus without getting drowned out by the wind. With no words I could reply or continue with, a small silence fell over us. But that was only for a moment. Hayama promptly smiled and then asked with a mocking tone as though in jest.
“…Or something. What would you do if I told you an objection like that?”(!)
“What I would do…? I’ll think about it when that happens, obviously.”(!)
From that point on, we didn’t say anything more to each other until we made it to the front of the bicycle parking station. Hayama stopped his feet and pointed at the side gate.
“I’ll be going home by car.”
“Right. I see.”
Then, Hayama suddenly spoke up in recollection. “As for your question earlier, I’ll leave the answer up to your imagination. I don’t know who asked you, but… if you make your choice without giving it any thought, you’re definitely going to regret it.”(!)
>Hachiman overhears girls gossiping about Yukino (and Hayato). Hachiman feels irritated that Yukino has to go through this. This is very similar to the events that took place during Volume 6,5 (Sagami) where Yukino didn’t like it that people were gossiping about Hachiman. This is important, because it shows why Hachiman goes through such lengths to make the rumors stop and it’s not because he cares that much about Hayato.
It’s like Isshiki had mentioned in the clubroom the other day. The recent rumor was affecting Hayama’s surroundings. Gossip concerning Hayama and Yukinoshita crept its way around, be it the classroom or the hallway.(!)
The girls, whose names I wasn’t sure of, continued whispering.
“But it sure is a surprise. Yukinoshita-san looks like that, but she’s pretty into looks too, huh?”
“Ohh, I totally get that. They’re dating without even talking to each other. It’s like, she’s literally only after his looks or something?”(!)
“Huh? Doesn’t that make Hayama-kun the same then?”
They giggled to each other with quiet voices. It looked like they were at least trying to be considerate with Hayama(!) and the others in the same class in a way so they couldn’t hear. But it was incredibly grating to my ears.(!)
It was irritating. It really was.(!)
The grating gossip was like hearing mosquitoes buzz around you as you tried to sleep or like hearing the second hand of a clock ticking on a late, restless night. Just listening made me click my tongue.(!) I had absolutely nothing to do with the rumor and even I was getting irritated.(!) I could imagine the people involved in the rumors were even more so. Completely ignorant people would spout whatever they wanted with their baseless speculation, deduction, desires, and jealousy and carry the story in an amusing direction, jumping on the bandwagon. Perhaps, most of them didn’t mean any harm. Except, their only reason for involvement was because it was fun that way. And you seriously took it up with them in protest? They’d tell you, “It’s just a joke, don’t get so worked up”. It’s because I could see it, no, it’s because I knew those two that I understood for the first time.(!) Yukinoshita Yukino and Hayama Hayato had been living in this kind of environment. For how much expectations and attention that were placed on them for their beautiful appearance and excellent ability, they had to accept the disappointment and envy alone.(!)
>Iroha is in the Service Club again. There is something she wants from the Service Club, namely their help to set up the academic and career center. In the LN, Hachiman tells her that he isn’t going to help her out anymore. Iroha responds by clicking her tongue, as in: there goes her plan to saddle the Service Club up with work. As soon as Miura walks in, Iroha knows that a confrontation is about to take place, so she exits the scene. Later on she gets Sensei to convince Hachiman to help her out, because he can’t turn down a teacher. Yukino and Yui join as well.
“And why are you here again?”(!) I looked at Isshiki.
“I’m here today this time for a proper consultation,”(!) said Isshiki, looking completely serious.
“If it’s for the student council, I’m not helping anymore.”(!)
“…Oh, okay.” Isshiki muttered dejectedly.
It sounded like she clicked her tongue afterwards(!), but I was just imagining it, right? Irohasu? Watching our interaction, Yukinoshita cleared her throat.
“Surely you didn’t come all this way just so you could have us assist you, right?”(!)
There was a pressure in her voice as she smiled. Her tone was so soft, yet icy chills ran up my spine. Isshiki promptly straightened her posture.
“O-Of course! I was just kidding! I’m making sure to do my work!”(!)
“Then, what’s your business?”(!) Yukinoshita asked, sighing with exasperation from seeing Isshiki’s attitude.
“Iroha-chan’s probably curious about Hayato-kun’s career path and came to ask about it, right?”
“That’s my Yui-senpai! That’s exactly why I’m here! Buuuut, that’s not the only thing.”
Yukinoshita looked at her to go on. Isshiki lightly placed her hand on her chin and contemplatively spoke.
“It’s liiike, there’s been an increase in people making passes at Hayama-senpai.”
“Well, confessing to him, basically. Even if it doesn’t go well, they do it just to check, like an appeal of the sort.” Isshiki apathetically answered Yuigahama’s question.
(Later on, Sensei has this conversation with Hachiman:)
“Tomorrow, there’s an academic and career center, but it looks like we’re a bit short of helping hands… The student council is working pretty hard, however.”
You don’t say. Isshiki looks like she’s screwing around, but she’s actually doing her work properly.
“…And there, a nomination came from Isshiki. It seems she wants you to help them with the work.”(!)
Is Irohasu’s order me? The word “work” isn’t exactly causing my heart to bounce up and down though…
“It’s because it’s a formal order from the student council,”(!) said Hiratsuka-sensei, nodding.
“Well, it means she’s growing if she sought permission from an advisor. I don’t know what her intentions are, but human resources that can be freely utilized without any issue fit you guys perfectly, so it’s a logical decision.”
It looks like Hiratsuka-sensei was seeing the growth of Isshiki in her own way… No, this was definitely Isshiki’s plan: She went through sensei, so we couldn’t refuse.(!) But well, if Isshiki was putting a lot of her own effort into it, then I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to help her for a little bit.
>Hachiman asks Yukino how she is holding up with the rumors. Yukino says she’s mostly unaffected, because her class is at the farthest end of the school, so the majority of the students don’t approach their class in general. Yukino says it’s not as bad as “back then”. Hachiman wants to ask Yukino about that, but he’s afraid of crossing that line. With Yukino there’s always the fear that if he says something to her that she may not want to hear or Hachiman finds out something about her that he doesn’t want to know, he’ll lose her forever. What’s important to note is that this fear of losing someone applies the most to Yukino, because of reasons that you should know about by now.
In any case, Isshiki’s changing attitude towards Hayama may have been due to the rumor. At the same time, Hayama’s surroundings were seeing definite changes. But how was it going for the other person in the storm?
“…Speaking of which, Yukinoshita, how about you? Has anything changed because of that rumor?”(!)
“Me? There aren’t very many people who would come near my class to begin with…”(!)
That’s true. Yukinoshita belonged to the class of International Cultivation, class J, which was located at the farthest end of school(!) and was comprised ninety percent of girls. As a result, there was a unique air about them that kept people from proactively approaching them.(!) So in that sense, she might’ve had it better off than Hayama. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t any kind of influence at all.(!) Yukinoshita let out a short sigh.
“Well, there certainly does seem to be people saying things secretly(!), but this isn’t any different from before, so it’s hard to judge…”
“I totally understand. When you stand out, people doooo say a lot of stuff behind your back.”
No, in your case, Isshiki, I think it’s a bit different…
Yukinoshita smiled and lightly nodded, adding further with a quiet voice. “…But it’s not as horrible as it was back then.”(!)
“Back then”. Those words nagged at me.(!)
Her past that I was ignorant of. Or rather, her past she didn’t speak of.(!) And her past with him.(!) However, was it okay to ask about it?(!) At the very least, in this situation where there were people present, I felt it wasn’t something I could ask. Did I have the right to simply ask her about the things she didn’t talk about?(!) While hesitating, I tried to speak.(!) And suddenly, there were several knocks at the door of the room. Everyone reflexively turned their eyes towards the door and I lost my timing to ask her.(!)
>The rumors about Yukino and Hayato have started to increase. Yumiko can’t take it anymore and she angrily enters the Service Club. She looks at Iroha, Iroha takes the hint and leaves. Yumiko asks Yukino if there’s anything between her and Hayato.
The door was then opened without reservation, not waiting for our response.
“…Got time right now?”
It was a voice tinted with anger. With eyes shifting around the interior of the room and loosely rolled blonde hair shaking in displeasure, standing at the entrance was Miura Yumiko.
“Yumiko, what’s wrong?”
“…I want to talk about something.”
“Oh. Well, for starters, come in, come in.” Yuigahama called out.
Miura nodded and took a step into the room. She then looked at Isshiki dubiously.(!)
“Ah. Okay, I have student council work, so I’ll take my leave here…” said Isshiki. She hurriedly left the room after being mindful of the mood.
“See you later, bye.” She said with a small voice as she closed the door.
After seeing that, Yuigahama recommended a seat to Miura. We sat in a natural order of me, Yuigahama, and Yukinoshita facing Miura ahead.
“Did you want to talk about the mail?”(!)
“No, not that… Well, there’s that too.”(!) Miura looked away, mumbling her words in difficulty to Yuigahama’s question. She then made a large sigh and for some reason, faced Yukinoshita next.(!)
“…Actually, is there something going on between you and Hayato?”(!)
Her words and her gaze were sharp.(!) And surely enough, she was referring to the recent rumor.(!) The irresponsible gossip concerning Hayama and Yukinoshita was originally just in the class, but was now being whispered throughout the school.(!) It’s something I should’ve noticed when Isshiki barged in our club on the first day we resumed our activities. That also included the possibility that there were girls who went to check directly with Yukinoshita.(!) And for Miura who was in the closest position to Hayama, there’s no way she thought nothing of it.(!)
>Yukino tells Yumiko that there was nothing between them, Yukino has nothing to gain from lying to her. In the LN Yukino tells Yumiko that rumors like that have always been a bother to her. In the anime they translated that to Yukino saying that girls like Miura have always been a bother to Yukino. Yumiko doesn’t like Yukino’s tone.
Miura’s gaze burned up, but Yukinoshita took it coldly.
“There’s nothing at all. We’re just acquaintances from the past,”(!) Yukinoshita said, answering nonchalantly, but Miura’s stabbing glare didn’t loosen.
“You sure about that?”(!)
Yukinoshita sighed tiresomely.
“Do you think I have anything to gain from lying…? Things like that have always been a bother since a long time ago.”(!)
“Huh? What’s with your tone? Talk about getting on my nerves. I really, really hate that part about you.”
What’s important to know here, is that Yumiko is a representation of the girls that used to bully Yukino in the past, probably for the same reason: her involvement with Hayato.
>Yui stands up for Yukino. Yui tells Yumiko that it’s just a misunderstanding. Yukino tries reassuring Yumiko that Hayato is probably not concerned about Yukino, but about something else (his reputation or social standing?), but those are merely Yukino’s thoughts. Yumiko asks Yukino if there was a similar incident in the past.
The one who raised her voice in reproach was Yuigahama. Miura’s shoulders twitched in surprise and she timidly shook her head. Ahead of Miura’s gaze, Yuigahama’s lips distorted as if she was angry somehow and she brought up what they had discussed in class at some point.
“I explained it before, didn’t I? It really was just a coincidence and that nothing happened at all after that.”(!)
“…If that was everything, Hayato wouldn’t be so worried. I mean… that’s never happened before, too…”(!) said Miura, her tone somewhat sulking and lacking its usual strength. She faced downwards and slightly bit her lips.
Perhaps, the person in the closest position to Hayama Hayato in this school was Miura. I wasn’t sure of the length of their acquaintanceship(!), but they should’ve gotten friendly after becoming second years at least.(!) That’s why any kind of abnormality in Hayama was clearly visible to her.(!) I’m sure she had a far better understanding of him than I did. But there were things that even Miura had no knowledge of.(!) The only one who knew those things at this moment in time was Yukinoshita Yukino.(!) Yukinoshita flicked away the hair at her shoulders and spoke coldly.
“It’s not like he’s concerned for me. It’s likely he’s concerned about something else entirely.”(!)
“That… That just might be what you think, right? It’s not like we know what Hayato’s thinking about, anyway.” Miura dropped her shoulders. While fiddling with her hair with her fingertips, she quietly checked with Yukinoshita, “…Like, wasn’t there something like that? I mean, not now… but like, back then, or something.”(!)
>Yumiko, a person that isn’t even remotely close to Yukino, asks Yukino a personal question about her past. A question Hachiman has been dying to ask Yukino as well. However, unwilling to hear the truth about it, he has tried suppressing this out of fear that he might find out something he doesn’t want to know.
Miura spoke her words in fragments. Those words that Miura uttered inarticulately. They were things I had considered as a possibility while at the same time, excluded as if they weren’t possible. Yukinoshita doesn’t lie.(!) It’s just that she doesn’t say what’s true.(!) There’re also times where she’d try to cover things up in an incoherent, roundabout way.(!) I knew all of that. In that case, what about Hayama Hayato? I knew absolutely nothing about what his feelings were, his heart, and his desires.(!) It’s not like I wanted to know either. All this time, I’d say that, confident there’s something between the two all the while trying not to think there was.(!) And right now, Miura was trying to touch upon that.(!) Yukinoshita, however, sighed and brushed it off.
“…So what if there was something and I told you everything, would anything change? Would you or anyone believe it?”(!)
Her pressing tone caused Miura to hesitate from answering. She strongly squeezed the cuff of her cardigan in contemplation, her lips trembling, but ultimately, her voice didn’t come out.
Yukinoshita looked at her and made a shallow sigh.
“In the end, it’s meaningless.”(!)
Explanations, excuses, defenses, and the conversation weren’t given any meaning. As they say about the vulgar masses, the more people flock to a group, the more foolish they become. No matter how prominent an individual is, no, it’s because he is prominent that he would be blotted out by the sheer force of numbers when thrown into that lump of people. Individual will, qualifications, and personality, let alone emotions aren’t considered at all. This was the inconsideration that Yukinoshita had tasted all this time.
We see only what we want to see, listen only to what we want to listen to, but for the things we want to say, we aren’t able to. This is the society that we’re living in right now.
>Yumiko didn’t get the answer she wanted to hear. Not just that, she also got to hear it in a tone she didn’t like. Yumiko tries physically assaulting Yukino, Yukino stops her. The two of them stand there for a couple of seconds. Yukino says that she is used to this type of treatment, however it’s the first time someone has tried attacking her like this. Yukino asks Yumiko if she’s done.
But Miura was different.
“Every time… the way you act like that…!” She voiced her clear emotions of fury and stood up.(!)
Yuigahama’s voice of surprise to restrain her didn’t make it in time. I stood up frantically as well, but Miura brusquely walked directly up to Yukinoshita, seeing only her.
“Just who do you think you are, seriously!”
Then, Miura violently reached out to grab Yukinoshita. But her hand didn’t reach Yukinoshita.(!) Yukinoshita quickly rose to her feet and caught Miura’s hand that reached out to her collars. She then gave Miura a coldhearted look.(!)
“Unfortunately for you, I’m used to things of this nature…(!) Though, you’re the very first one to directly come at me like this.”(!)
They both glared at each other with their intense breaths and cold voices going back and forth. Miura made steady shallow breaths as if she was enduring something while Yukinoshita made deep, deep breaths.
“Is there anything else you want to say? Or is there a continuation of this?”(!)
In the anime they turned it into this:
>While confronting Yumiko, someone that reminds Yukino of her bullies from the past, Yukino puts up a smile that reminds Hachiman of Haruno. Hachiman has trouble looking at Yukino when she is like this, because this distorts his image of the perfect Yukino he always had. This is Yukino’s defensive walls turned up to the max. This is the Yukino she had to become to keep bullies at bay, because no one else was willing to stand up for her. Hachiman tells them to calm down. Hachiman hesitantly touches Yukino. What is important to know is that Hachiman always considers himself unworthy of Yukino, that’s why he hesitates, however he concludes that this is the best way to calm her down. Yui tells Yumiko to calm down as well. Hachiman asks Yukino if she’s okay. Yukino tells him that she is used to this type of treatment, except the only difference now is that there are people in her life that understand her, so it’s not as bad as in the past. Yukino isn’t alone anymore. That’s the key difference.
Miura gradually lost her energy while Yukinoshita’s emotions increasingly swelled. It was as though they were transferring their passion between each other from their entangled gazes and held hands. Yukinoshita wore an inhumane smile in provocation.(!) That’s right. When she makes a smile like that, she’s the splitting image of Haruno-san, such an out of place thought sprung to mind.(!) However, it wasn’t a smile that I wanted to look at for very long.(!)
“Quit it already. For now, just let go and sit down.”
I lightly patted Yukinoshita’s hand(!) that was still holding onto Miura’s arm. I hesitated for a moment contemplating whether it was okay for me to touch her(!), but for Yukinoshita with her current belligerent attitude, it was better than using words.(!) Yukinoshita shot me a piercing gaze for an instant, but she obediently released Miura’s arm. Miura then loosely dropped her arm and took a step back. I entered the space that opened between the two and motioned to Miura without contact for her to go back. Yuigahama took over from there. Yuigahama lightly tapped Miura’s shoulders, still glaring at Yukinoshita bitterly, and had her take a seat.
“Just calm down for a bit… Okay?”(!)
As I was watching those two, I moved my seat to a position that’d allow me to immediately get in between Miura and Yukinoshita.
“Yes. Didn’t I say so? I’m used to it.”(!)
Yukinoshita firmly clutched her hand that held Miura’s arm and smiled bitterly at me. The aggressive emotion from earlier was gone.
“It’s not something I’m concerned with at this point… It’s enough that the people I’m close to understand, so it’s not a problem.”(!)
>Yumiko says that she wants to stay close to Hayato. She wants to know more about him, what makes him tick. Hachiman feels empathy towards Yumiko, because he is in the same boat as her when it comes to Yukino. Yumiko says that Hayato has been acting distant lately and she feels like the two of them are drifting apart. Since his experiences in the past, Hayato has always detached himself from rumors. Because of this, he was able to keep up his perfect guy persona. Now that balance is starting to get distorted, so it’s possible Hayato is keeping his distance, waiting for the rumors to blow over. Once they do, he can go back to being the Hayato he has always been.
Miura looked away.
“The thing about close people… It’s because I want to be that way that I want to know.”(!)
Her mouth embarrassingly groped around as she added and she then brushed her hair. After, she turned her face away from us and tediously looked outside the window.
--Yeah, so that’s how it is. Those words didn’t have the slightest intention of properly getting something across to someone, yet I understood.(!) I ended up understanding.(!) To be more exact, it felt like it was something closer to empathy.(!) Yukinoshita wasn’t the only one who was exposed to inconsideration.(!) I’m sure that he, who shared the same past, was as well.(!) It wasn’t just that only one side was exposed to the twisted inconsideration. I’m sure the other side wasn’t understood at all either.
“Miura. So what you want to know isn’t what happened a long time ago, right…?”(!)
I felt that my voice had some astonishment in it. When I spoke, Miura sent me a glare. But her eyes that lacked its typical spirit glittered from moisture instead. The things that she wanted to know likely weren’t the things that happened in the past, let alone his future career path.(!) What was he thinking?(!) What was he feeling?(!) All she wanted to know were his feelings.(!) She wanted to understand him.(!)
“I-It’s just… um. I just think it’d be nice if we could maybe stay together a bit longer(!), so… Um, together with everyone… as we are…”(!) Miura tried to give her side of the story, slightly flustered, but her energy eventually withered away. Eventually, she stopped and slowly dropped her shoulders.
“It’s just Hayato’s been distant recently…(!) It’s like he’s going to go somewhere at this rate.”(!) Miura added to her words with an extremely small voice while gazing at the corner of the floor.
Exactly from what point “recent” was, I didn’t know. But the environment that enclosed Hayama Hayato was gradually changing.(!) Isshiki’s confession, or even the outing with Orimoto and her friend, girls from another school. And lastly, the rumor with Yukinoshita.(!) To this day, these stories associated with Hayama never came up. No, more accurately, he had detached himself from them.(!) And now that balance was crumbling.(!)
>Miura says it’s probably weird to them how important it is to her that she wants to stay close to Hayato (and the rest of the group). Yui says that there’s nothing weird about it at all. It’s the same thing Yui wants as well. Pretty much everything Hachiman thinks about Yumiko here, applies to him as well. In this case; Yumiko = Hachiman and Hayato = Yukino. So all of this talk of wanting to stay together, wanting to know more about a person, but being afraid to cross the line etc. is Hachiman thinking about his situation with Yukino. Or at least, that’s what’s implied.
(Confirmed by ANOTHER, since this entire monologue of Hachiman “being hesitant to cross the line with someone” and “wanting to know everything about someone” doesn’t appear at all in that timeline, which is Yui’s route.)
The reason why Hachiman wants to help Yumiko is because he recognizes that the two of them are in the same position. Another motivation could be that Hachiman is helping Yumiko out, because he sees this as an opportunity to find out more about Yukino.
“It’s not weird. It’s not weird at all. Thinking that you want to be together is a really, really normal thing to do.”(!) Yuigahama replied with a kind tone to Miura’s collapsing words.
Then, Miura let out a deep, deep breath and looked downwards. I could hear a quiet breathing that sounded as if she was holding back from sobbing. I’m sure she knew that they couldn’t stay like this forever(!), that there were things that no matter how much she felt about the future wouldn’t be granted(!), and that the mere mention of something could destroy everything(!), but even so, she still didn’t want to lose them.(!) That’s why, at the very least, she wanted to be close, she wished to remain close, all so she could support Hayama Hayato(!), his surroundings, and his wish to be who he is.(!) That curt and unassuming mail. It was the one and only form of modest resistance that she could do.(!) Packed in just that one sentence alone were her compelling feelings and wish. But that’s exactly why there was something I didn’t understand. I made one large breath and called out to her.
“But look, Miura. If Hayama’s not telling you, doesn’t that mean he doesn’t want you to know? He might end up hating you.”(!)
Yuigahama looked at me critically while Yukinoshita looked at me, perplexed. I was fully aware that it was a cruel question. But it’s something I still wanted to ask. It’s not like I wanted to know Miura’s resolve.(!) Truthfully, I wasn’t interested in that at all.(!) It’s just, I still wasn’t confident whether taking a step over the line for someone who didn’t wish for it was the right thing to do or not.(!) I thought that you could build and maintain a relationship without going out of your way to concern yourself with it.(!) That’s why, I asked.
“Even so, do you still want to know?”(!)
I questioned her, wanting to know whether she was okay with stepping over that line even if it meant being hated, being neglected, being called shameless, and hurting someone.(!) Miura didn’t hesitate to answer. She glared at me with teary eyes and squeezed her fist.
“I want to know… Even so, I want to know… because I don’t have anything else.”(!)
Her eyes were moist, her voice trembling, but she, without a doubt, gave her answer. Perhaps these feelings were always inside of her; the feeling of wanting to know, the feeling of wanting to understand.(!) It’s just that they’re now pouring out in droplets as she desperately swallowed her trembling breaths. If she knew that it was something that wouldn’t come true(!), but still sought for it and opposed it.(!) Then, that was no different from someone out there.(!)
(That someone being Hachiman.)
“I got it. I’ll do something about it.”
>Hachiman has a talk with Zaimokuza, Tobe and Saika. His talks with Tobe and Saika are partially about Hayato. To be even more precise, his talk with Tobe is almost entirely about Hayato. His talk with Saika is partially about Hayato, but also one other thing.
>If you remember from Volume 9, this is the payoff to Saika’s big character moment. It’s the first time Hachiman looks at Saika as a person. It’s the first time Hachiman shows he’s willing to rely on Saika as well.
Totsuka adjusted his hair that swayed from the wind with his fingertips and then puffed his chest out. This was the first time I had seen Totsuka like this, a Totsuka that I didn’t know.(!)
“I’m doing pretty well, see…? I might not be as reliable though.” Totsuka added while making a bashful smile.
That was a gesture of the Totsuka Saika that I thought I knew. That’s why, perhaps, I think this was the first time I was able to properly look at the boy named Totsuka Saika(!); nothing more, nothing less. But by no means did that mean I knew him fully.(!) But that’s exactly why I felt I wanted to know more.
“…No, that’s not true. Even I’m relying on you. I still don’t really get it, but… but, uh, I’ll probably rely on you,”(!) I said.
I rose to my feet and took a step towards Totsuka. Regardless of his embarrassment, Totsuka strongly nodded. I think Totsuka had always been waiting for me for all this time(!), waiting for me to approach him just like I was now. In this way, we’d gradually pull off our masks, whittle down our flesh, and be able to face each other for the very first time.
>Hachiman encounters Sensei. Sensei tells him that Iroha nominated Hachiman to help with setting up the career center, however Sensei also talks to him about the following:
>Sensei talks about what makes their school different from other schools. Sobu High offers students the International Liberal Studies course, the chance to prepare yourself if you plan on studying abroad.
“It’s rather early to be preparing for tests, don’t you think? I mean, why start now…?”
Hiratsuka-sensei left the matter alone and sighed briefly.
“It’s because our school offers the International Liberal Studies course. There are kids who wish to study abroad as well. Those kids in particular need to prepare as early as possible, so we may be much earlier than general schools.”
True enough, career paths weren’t limited within domestic borders.(!) But I never gave it much thought since it seemed too good to be true, but there certainly should’ve been people who were sought to continue with higher education overseas.(!) One characteristic of our school was offering an International Liberal Studies course.(!) As such, the choice to study abroad was much more palpable. Studying abroad, huh…? That’s amazing… I went overseas on a trip before, but I’ve never thought about living over there. At the very least, it wasn’t something you should be rash about. That meant those who wished to study abroad might’ve decided on it considerably far in advance.
“I suppose there are a lot of people who have already decided, huh? I hear there are people who already turned in their questionnaires, too…”(!)
“No, that’s not true. It’s just a handful of people that did. We did say the deadline was at the end of the month. It’s times like these when people turn in things at the very last minute… Ahh, Hayama did come to turn his in, though.”(!)
“You don’t say…”
(Is Watari implying that Hayato (and then subsequently Yukino as well) is one of the students that plans on studying abroad? It’s possible.)
For his name to pop here was just my luck. Now I don’t need to bother with carefully constructing a conversation as a lead-in to ask about him, I thought. However, Hiratsuka-sensei gave me a fixed stare with sidelong eyes.
“You won’t get anything from me since it’s personal information.”
“…I-I-I-I-I-It’s not like I wanted to know or anything.”
“Well, it’s understandable. Your curiosity gets the better of you when it comes to wanting to know about the schools people around you are interested in. It’s also an entertaining topic until it’s time for the actual exams.” Hiratsuka-sensei smiled as if feeling nostalgic from days past. She then continued.
“Students like Hayama and Yukinoshita in particular are the center of attention even amongst the teachers.(!) It’s a matter concerning the school’s accomplishments as well.”
>The most important thing to know here is that Hayato already handed in his career path choice, which is liberal arts. So his choice is irreversible. Since Volume 2 (the first time the career paths were brought up), Yukino said she wanted to take the sciences as her career path, the exact same way as Haruno, very possibly because this is what her mother wants from her (or what Yukino thinks her mother wants from her).
“Oh, I see. But phones aren’t that perfect, yeah.” Yuigahama held onto Yukinoshita’s body tightly, as if pained over how shallow their bond was. “I’ll study real hard, yep… it’ll be awesome if I could go to the same school as you,” she went on in small voice, her gaze dropping to the floor. “Have you decided on your university and stuff, Yukinon?”
“No, not in definite terms. I plan to enter the science faculty at a public nationwide university, however.”(!)
>In Volume 5, when Haruno found out about this, she grew concerned. Ever since this moment she has gone out of her way to antagonize Yukino, to keep Yukino from following in her footsteps.
In Volume 6, after having spent a lot of time with Hachiman and coming to the conclusion that maybe she doesn’t need to continue following in Haruno’s shadow and she should just be happy with who she is, Yukino starts doubting which career path she should choose.
In Volume 6, it is made clear that since Yukino is good at both, her decision isn’t based off of which subjects she excels at. There’s an entirely different reason for her indecisiveness (it highly involves the expectations her family, except for Haruno, has for her).
We never quite find out what choice Yukino makes in Volume 6, but it takes place after Yukino says she doesn’t want to be like Haruno anymore.
Which then leads us to this chain of events:
The point is: Yukimom wants a long-lasting relationship between the Yukinoshita and Hayama families. Yukino was supposed to choose one career path, while Hayato chose the other. However, now they’ve both chosen the same career path. Yukimom showed no concern for Yukino as long as she planned on going with the sciences (and reluctantly gave Yukino all the freedom in the world, as long as Yukino continued doing what was expected of her), but when Yukino chose the liberal arts, then all of a sudden it became a problem.
(Partially confirmed in ANOTHER? The career path choices aren’t brought up in ANOTHER at all, so it could be that Yukino stuck with the science path and that’s why neither Haruno nor their mother confront Yukino in that timeline, because Yukino is doing what is expected of her. Then again, Yukino isn’t the focus in ANOTHER, so this isn’t strong enough evidence.)
>Sensei tells Hachiman that their futures aren’t set in stone yet, there are plenty of options for the students. Hachiman starts thinking of marriage, supposedly as a joke, but marriage is going to play a role later on.
“But well, as a teacher, this is something I need to inform you of…” said Hiratsuka-sensei, and she patted my shoulders. “There’s no need to determine your entire future now.(!) If you want, you can transfer to other colleges, change your department, or even wait until you are accepted into a better college.(!) Changing your career is possible, too.(!) This is merely just one opportunity amongst the numerous choices available to you.”
I’m sure there were many chances to determine your path. It didn’t matter whether it was with your post-education or your career. So in other words, marriage(!) was one of the opportunities among those choices, right!? I couldn’t say for sure whether that opportunity existed or not though! For me or for sensei!
>Yui invites Ebina along with her to the Service Club to see if she knows a bit more about Hayato’s future plans. There is something Ebina wants to say, but for some reason she can’t say it in front of all three of them.
However, Ebina-san’s expression was cloudy. Her glasses were also fogged up by the tea she had accepted from Yukinoshita.
“Hayato-kun’s career path, huh…? Can’t say I’ve heard anything about it myself. That, and Hayato-kun’s good in both subjects(!), so it might be hard to say.”
“Ahh, I thought so. That’s true…” Yuigahama dropped her shoulders and agreed.
Well, as long his grades weren’t as lopsided as mine, narrowing down his career path from an academic perspective may be difficult. It might be pessimistic to think of avoiding things you weren’t good with, but it fit me to a T. But well, that didn’t mean it applied to everyone out there. With my cheeks in hand, I sighed. Ebina-san continued to think. Looking like something came to mind, she opened her mouth.
“Oh, but, I think he might’ve said something about types of occupations.”(!)
“Eh, what, what? Did he really say that?” asked Yuigahama.
Ebina-san nodded. “This was a while back, but it was during the workplace visit.(!) I think he said something about the mass media or foreign(!) capital groups or something?”
“Ahh, right, he might’ve mentioned that.” Yuigahama clapped her hands together.
Upon mentioning it, I certainly did get the feeling he did say something along those lines back then. But be it mass media or foreign capital groups, they were still too broad. It’s not like the liberal arts made it easier to enter the mass media and foreign capital groups weren’t limited to just one industry. It’s a fool’s errand trying to work backwards from there.
“However, those may be just things he said out of curiosity.(!) That may be a little too weak to serve as a starting point,” said Yukinoshita, placing her hand on her chin.
She was absolutely correct. As reality turned out, the place we ended up going to during the workplace visit was a completely unrelated IT firm anyway. But Ebina-san seemed to have understood that as well.
“Yep, I have the same opinion. It’s just…”(!) Ebina-san abrupt stopped speaking. Her gaze was directed at the corner of the room, looking at no one in the room.
“It’s just…?”(!) Yuigahama urged her to go on.
Ebina-san lightly shook her head.
“It’s just, everyone ended up going to the same place, so I don’t think it’s going to be much of a reference!”(!)
“Ahh, that’s true,” said Yuigahama.
Ebina-san uttered her lasting words unnaturally and Yuigahama nodded her head. However, I sat there unable to nod mine. Just now, what was it that Ebina-san really wanted to say?(!)
>Ebina leaves, however she gives Hachiman the impression that she wants him to follow her. Hachiman excuses himself from the clubroom and runs after Ebina. He asks her what it was that she wanted to say. Ebina tells him that she thinks Hayato is going to do the right thing; make the right choice. The choice that will keep their group together, choose the liberal arts. He’s going to make the choice to be everyone’s Hayato Hayama. There’s a certain sadness to be taken from her tone, however I’m not going to copy the entire text here. The most important thing to know is that Ebina is fully convinced that Hayato is going to do what it takes to meet everyone’s expectations.
>Hachiman returns to the Service Club, he says he needs to go help the student council with setting up the room, Yukino says she and Yui will tag along because they don’t have anything better to do.
>Hachiman, Yukino and Yui enter the room, Iroha mopes about how she has to do work. She reminds Hachiman of how he forced her into this position. Iroha tells Hachiman, Yukino, Yui and the others what to do and then she leaves to go and talk to Haruno and Meguri.
Similarly, I shifted my eyes inside and the room was currently in its default setup. A long, narrow square was formed by and seats were systematically lined around it.
“Since we’re prepping for the academic and career center, we have to reorganize the room. Also, the student council has to be around and act as appropriate support or something.”(!)
“Huh, sounds like that’ll take a while,” I said.
Isshiki dropped her shoulders. “Yes, that’s right. And this is supposed to be student council related work, too… It’s seriously nothing but grunt work here…”(!) said Isshiki.
“Well, that’s just what the student council is…”
“I didn’t hear a single thing about this…(!) Gosh, if it wasn’t for a certain somebody telling me to become the student council president…”(!)
Flick flick flick. Isshiki intentionally sent me glances.
“So annoying… But for how much you’re grumbling, it looks like you’re actually working.”(!)
“…W-Well, it is work, after all,”(!) said Isshiki, twisting her body uncomfortably and looked away from me.(!) She then coughed once and she shook the stack of papers in her hand.
“A-Anyway! Please move the chairs and tables. Then create six special booths with the partitions. Senpai and vice-president, please handle the heavy lifting.”(!)
Aye, aye! I nodded, making a side peace sign ☆ internally, and Isshiki returned one as well. She then looked at Yukinoshita and Yuigahama.(!)
“As for the girls, please handle the chairs. There should be one seat on the tutor side and two on the student side. If you finish, please prepare tea for the tutor’s use.”(!)
Isshiki handed out instructions as she looked at the printout. Surprisingly, she had become very efficient and was now quite the expert. The secretary girl in braids(!) nodded in response to the instructions.(!)
“Okay. I need to go call the tutors, so vice president, please handle the rest.”(!) Isshiki stated and left the conference room. The rest of us proceeded with the preparations according to the instructions of the vice president. As I carried in the partitions with the vice president, he looked apologetic and spoke up.
“Sorry about this, you really helped us out. We wanted help just for setting up the room.”(!)
The trigger could’ve been anything and if we could carry heavy things together like this little by little, then we should be able to change our way of being. We moved the tables, lined the partitions, and the only remaining work was what the girls had to do. Since we worked so efficiently, we were left with plenty of spare time before the scheduled start of the center.
>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.
However, the entire point is that Yukino has been doing things on her own all this time, because she had no one that had her back when she was younger, which is why she ended up alone.
I was able to solve
a difficult math formula without the help of anyone.
I thought it was natural to do it alone,
so I never doubted it…
but now, as the season is about to end,
the only one with me… is my own shadow.