Back to the story.
>Haruno: “People who can handle everything flawlessly are boring. I got what I came for. Someone rained on my parade, anyway.”
Hayato outplayed Haruno. Haruno sees there’s nothing to be gained from this “date” any more, so she makes her exit.
>Hayato: “Don’t you think you should stop sacrificing yourself?”
>Hachiman: “I’m nothing like you, it’s perfectly normal to me. I’m always alone, other people don’t factor into what I do.”
>Hachiman’s actions to preserve Hayato’s group shouldn’t be seen as self-sacrifice. Hachiman realizes that there was something that he used to share with another certain person and that his actions have made him lose that.
>The next day in class, Sensei tells Hachiman to come with him to the faculty office. There’s something they need to talk about.
“…I heard what happened from Yukinoshita this morning.”
She went through the trouble of calling me out. Then it must have been something important. I straightened my back and focused my ears. Miss Hiratsuka tapped the ashes of the cigarette into the tray again.
“It looks like she’s going to run for the student council president.”
When I asked, Miss Hiratsuka answered instantly. Upon hearing it, my heart grew noisy. Yukinoshita was going to run for the student council president. The question of why she was doing it filled my head.(!) Yukinoshita didn’t like standing out in public.(!) She even said it herself. Not to mention during the culture festival when they tried to push her to be the committee chairman, she obstinately declined.(!) Above all else, there was also the Service Club.(!) Did Haruno’s provocations cause Yukinoshita to act?(!) Was the ongoing war-like discord between the two sisters something that wouldn’t so easily disappear? As I fell into thought, Miss Hiratsuka added.
“Hayama is apparently doing the campaign speech for her.”(!)
“Is that so…”
Hayama, huh… True enough, when it came to the campaign speech, he was the most suitable choice.(!) But that was only if they were completely unrelated.(!) I didn’t know the details behind Hayama and Yukinoshita’s past. I’ve been doing everything up until now without ever knowing.(!) However, based on how Yukinoshita typically acted, I felt it didn’t fall in line with her principles.(!) During the weekend, Yukinoshita decided to run for candidacy, contacted Hayama, and got his consent to do the speech for her, huh? I couldn’t get a clear image of what her motive and intent was(!), but the preparations alone were quite good. From that alone, I could say it was very typical of Yukinoshita. When Miss Hiratsuka crushed her cigarette, she softly looked up.
“Hikigaya, what will you do?”(!)
“I won’t do anything. I can’t really be picky about their plans.”(!)
Besides, if you thought about it normally, then Yukinoshita becoming the president would settle everything.(!) There wouldn’t be a need to look for other possible nominees for candidacy.(!) There just wasn’t anything problematic that I could see.(!) I was gritting my teeth, not having realized it.(!)
“…If we’re just considering her qualifications, then she would be the most suitable person.”(!)
If anything, why didn’t that possibility ever come up? I unconsciously got rid of that possibility.(!) That scenery(!) and that period of time(!) (= Service Club) could easily collapse on itself at any time for whatever reason and I was supposed to have been aware of that. Miss Hiratsuka nodded to my mutter.
“I suppose so… There’s no one more suitable. I’m sure if everyone and the other teachers knew, they would gladly welcome it.”(!)
That was certain. The teachers probably weren’t the only ones. Even Meguri would be relieved with it. If they knew, then the election wouldn’t be necessary. It was the same as winning the majority.
“You haven’t told anyone yet?”(!)
Miss Hiratsuka made a sweet smile and lit up another cigarette. She puffed out a smoke energetically and pointed at me.
“Well then, I’ll ask again. Hikigaya, what will you do?”(!)
When she asked me, my thoughts were slower than my response of rejection. I couldn’t approve of Yukinoshita running for the student council president.(!) That’s why, regardless of what reasoning was presented(!), that was just an addendum. However, eventually, she’d try to rationalize it.(!) And I knew that Yukinoshita’s way of doing things like that was wrong.(!) In the end, if Yukinoshita tried to carry this burden herself(!), then that was no different from the culture festival. That way of doing things was something that I’ve already rejected.(!) In that case, this time would follow the same conclusion.
>The following takes place during the same conversation. Considering how the Service Club literally exists for Hachiman’s sake, after telling Hachiman that attendance at the Service Club was voluntary, Yukino kept coming to the Service Club, still holding out hope that Hachiman would return one day out of his own will. That’s what Sensei is implying. (The Service Club’s key is brought up again in Volume 12.)
If she becomes a candidate for the student council at this rate, then it wouldn’t be possible to withdraw. Whether I’ll stop it or not was something I’ll leave for after talking to her. When I stood up, Miss Hiratsuka looked outside the window and puffed.
“Even though the club became voluntary, she always came to get the key every day.”(!)
“…I see. Please excuse me.”
>Hachiman barges into the Service Club and asks Yukino if she plans on running for SCP. Yukino says that she is and she planned on discussing it with Yui. In this case “discussing it with Yui” means Yukino already made her decision and would have gone through with it regardless. She would simply have informed Yui about her decision. (Second time Hachiman shows up to the Service Club.)
Yuigahama stared at me fixedly because I suddenly barged into the room. But Yukinoshita stared at me with the same cold gaze from the other day and said nothing.
“Yukinoshita, do you plan running as candidate in the election?”
When I asked her, Yukinoshita answered with a very concise response. She then gently shifted her eyes downwards.
Only Yuigahama had a surprised expression as she stared.
“She didn’t tell you?”
Yuigahama’s shoulders shrunk and as she looked down, she answered. Yukinoshita showed Yuigahama an apologetic expression.
“…I was planning to discuss it with you.”
But when Yukinoshita said that, she averted her gaze from Yuigahama.
“You can’t call that discussing. You probably already decided on it anyway.”(!)
Yukinoshita decided by herself and moved by herself.(!) It was probably true she was going to discuss it. No, she may have planned to discuss it a while back.(!) Putting aside whether she really would have talked about it then.
“Was it… because your older sister said those things?”(!)
Yesterday came to mind when I asked. But Yukinoshita answered without looking my way.
“My sister doesn’t have anything to do with this. I don’t take anything she says seriously. This is my will alone.”(!)
I really just didn’t understand. The more I touched upon the relationship of the Yukinoshita sisters, the less I understood about them. But I didn’t think for a second that touching on that would change Yukinoshita’s answer in any way. Then I needed to talk about something else.
“Weren’t you going to support Hayama?”(!)
“He has club and there really isn’t anyone else suitable, is there?”(!)
Yukinoshita looked at her hands she placed on the table and answered. Listening to that, Yuigahama timidly spoke up.
“But, Yukinon, you have club too…”(!)
Those words that were spoken in a groping, shy fashion caused Yukinoshita to raise her head and smile at Yuigahama.
“I’ll be fine. This club isn’t as busy as the soccer club and I already know how the student council operates, so I don’t think it’ll be too much a burden.”
So said Yukinoshita, but how much of that was really true? Activities of both the student council and the club; there were people who were doing both now. If you took into account Yukinoshita’s ability, then she was probably also capable of it as well. But even the culture festival and the Sports Festival brought up a lot of issues indicating that you wouldn’t know unless you tried. I could understand why they couldn’t support Hayama. Even amongst the sports clubs, the soccer club was the most prominent. As the club president, he probably couldn’t be missing practice very often either. That would be the reason for why he couldn’t participate in the activities of the student council. That’s why at the very beginning, I crossed off Hayama as a potential candidate. But still, that wasn’t reason enough for why Yukinoshita would become a candidate.(!)
>This is where Hachiman’s words backfire on him. Hachiman had previously driven Yukino into a corner. He told her that there wasn’t enough time to find someone capable and willing enough to run for the position, however he was still entirely committed to solve this issue by making a fool out of himself in front of the entire school. With this in mind, Yukino first tried convincing Hayato to do it. After Haruno confronted her about it, Yukino decided that it would be up to her to shoulder the responsibility because no one else would or could.
“What’s the possibility of another candidate other than Hayama?”
“I believe you were the one who rejected that possibility.”(!)
Yukinoshita answered immediately with a cold tone. Indeed, given the limited time, it would be difficult to find a person with the qualities befitting of the student council president, persuade him, and get him to win the election.(!) And the one who pointed that out was none other than me.(!) To think that my impulsive nature that would take over when criticizing someone would backfire on me.(!) I scratched my head reflexively as a result.
“Because of that, you’ll be doing it?”
>Yukino says she’s the best person to run for the position. Her expression consists of determination because she wants to do whatever it takes to stop Hachiman. Her expression consists of sadness because she doesn’t necessarily want to do it, but if she has to, she will. Also Yukino doesn’t mind doing it, probably because taking on these high profile positions and being successful at them is something that will prove to her mother that Yukino is highly capable at taking on these types of jobs. Hachiman says there’s no need to go through with the election, there are other alternatives, like Hachiman turning himself into the most hated person in school again. Sounds like a great plan.
Because I could only answer with so little words, my tone sounded violent. Yuigahama’s shoulders shook for a moment. However, Yukinoshita calmly, no, cruelly enumerated her cold words.
“Objectively speaking, the best thing would be to have me running. I believe I can win without a problem even against Isshiki. And if I do it by myself, then there isn’t a need to gather an assortment of agreements. It’ll serve as motivation for the other council members as well. Unlike the previous events up until now, we should also be able to smoothly and effectively proceed forward… Besides, I wouldn’t mind if I did it.”(!)
After Yukinoshita finished, she breathed out. She looked downwards in a way that stopped the conversation.(!) And in that expression of hers seemed to be a mix of an extreme sadness and a tragic determination.(!)
That word awfully struck a chord with me.(!) She wasn’t the only one who sought for efficiency.(!) He, who would act with that as his reason, was someone similar.(!) That’s exactly why, if it had to be an effective way(!) of doing things, then there were other ways to do it.
“That might work, sure, but in the first place, there are other ways to do it without having to go through the election.”
When I said that, Yukinoshita raised her head.
“Are you talking about what you had in mind?”(!)
Yukinoshita questioned me with a sharp look in her eyes.(!) It was those eyes again.(!) But I wasn’t planning on backing off now. So I returned her stare.
There was no absolute confidence in my plan. Even so, in the group of distributed hands was a single one that was the most plausible. I planned to deal out that hand that was the most effective of them all.(!) It was already lighting up in the palms of my hands.
>Yukino tries convincing Hachiman with logic to not go through with his plan. His words and attitude will not be enough to convince the entire school to do something. Hachiman instead comes to the conclusion that if that’s the case he should step it up a notch. Hachiman should do something so vile that will create so much animosity towards him, that will give them no other choice but to play along with his plan. Yukino tells Hachiman that not everyone cares enough about him to hate him. This makes Hachiman unable to counter.
Yukinoshita sighed and in just that instant, she averted her gaze from me.(!) She then glared at me.(!) I felt a pressure that resembled the feelings of hostility.(!)
“You think too highly of yourself if you think that just your words and attitude alone would convince the entire school to do something. I don’t think that would solve anything at all.”(!)
She struck where it hurts. It was as Yukinoshita said. I wasn’t a person with that much influence. I was quite aware of that. If the committee was a small community, then I could at least stir up some trouble. However, if you weren’t known, no one would support you and you would have no way of getting ahead. Even if you considered the unspecified number of students who weren’t like the average student, as far as results were concerned, honestly speaking, they were an unknown number. Even if I was hated(!), it was doubtful whether everyone would actually remember me. I didn’t have any confidence I could leave an impression that would last in their memories. Besides, there was also the possibility that their thoughts could shift to Isshiki.(!) But in that case, all that’s need was to reexamine the prerequisites carefully and give a performance that exceeded the estimated result.(!)
“In that case, I’ll just have to think of something on top of that.”(!)
If cowardice and spite wasn’t enough, then we just needed to delve into ill will and malice.(!) If it’s to build disgust and hatred(!), then there were numerous ways to do it. People didn’t demand a reason to hate another. Whatever reason it may be, “he kinda pisses me off”, “he’s kinda unlikeable”, “he’s kinda gross”, it would become a reason for hating someone.(!) My mouth distorted into a wretched smile.(!) It turned into one on its own unintentionally. With my expression like that, I looked back at Yukinoshita.(!) Seeing that, Yukinoshita firmly bit her lips and looked away from me.(!)
“…You’re too self-conscious if you think everyone will keep you in mind and hate you.”
Just those few words hurt more than any logic ever could. The monster of self-consciousness that was shut away in the labyrinth crawled further in. There wasn’t one rebuttal I could muster against Yukinoshita.
“…The way you do things is different from how I do it.”(!)
As she faced downwards, her tightly gripped fist and slender shoulders shivered from the cold. They were words that quietly slipped out. Those words alone were something I could agree with.
“I suppose so…”
They really were different. It wasn’t an issue between the principles of being right or wrong, but between our motivations. That difference was what defined our current distance between each other.
>“If you think everybody cares about you enough to hate you, then you think far too much of yourself.”
I feel like I need to address this specific line, because I see people using this line out of context a lot.
People in school don’t care about Hachiman. Sure, his actions can get people to react the way he wants to. You know what, he may as well have solved this problem with self-sacrifice if he really put his mind to it. For the sake of argument, let’s just say he was able to solve this problem by making everyone hate him again. Sure, why not.
However, that’s not the issue here. The key word here is “everybody”. Not everybody cares about Hachiman. His actions might agitate them, but they’ll simply forget about him after a while (or they might still continue throwing angry glances at him, ostracize or bully him in other ways). His actions don’t have any impact on others or leave a long lasting impression on others. You know who his actions do affect the most? The people that actually do care about him. Yukino is basically telling Hachiman that he shouldn’t do this, because it hurts the people that care about him.
>Why doesn’t she just say that she cares about him directly, that way he would definite-
It doesn’t matter what Yukino or anyone else would tell Hachiman. He would find some way to either ignore or twist their words, intentions and feelings into something that suits him. Yui told him to take her feelings into consideration, but that didn’t stop Hachiman either.
>Hachiman (Volume 9):
On top of that, I was plagued with the habit of looking deeper into what people say. So when Yukinoshita declared herself as a candidate for the election, I wouldn’t have taken her words at face value even if she told me straightforwardly that she wanted to do it. I’d try to think of other reasons for her declaration to find what it was that she was truly aiming for and ultimately, I think I’d end up being mistaken. People looked only at the things they wanted to see in the same way of the things they wanted to hear. I was no exception.
Up until now, Hachiman has always been using his own logic as a way to make a conjecture about the feelings of others.(!) That’s just how he calculates things.(!) But, feelings are neither logical nor rational. He knows those feelings, but at the same time is mortified by them.(!) Because of Hachiman’s experiences(!), he is very sensitive towards negative feelings(!), and so liable to hypersensitivity. This is why he is always skeptical with respect to any positive feelings.(!) Because of this, as a kind of defense(!), he always has the habit of taking those positive feelings and ascribing them to his own scale.(!) Such thinking is not easily altered just by a few words from anyone.(!)
Back to the story.
>Is there something else we need to discuss? No. During Sagami’s arc Hachiman could reject Yukino’s way of doing things because she worked herself sick. However this time he can’t, because the circumstances are different. This time it’s about stopping Hachiman from hurting himself, but in Hachiman’s mind, he (or his feelings) doesn’t matter.
“Is there something else?”
“…No, I just wanted to confirm with you, that was all.”
I didn’t know what I wanted to confirm. That time when I rejected Yukinoshita’s way of doing things was different from the circumstances now.(!) In that case, I couldn’t so easily reject it this time. I didn’t think it was the best method, but I could only be convinced that it was the second alternative.
She voiced something that was either a reply or a sigh and began to gather up her small lunchbox that still had quite a lot left. I turned around and left the room.
So let’s talk about the difference in Hachiman and Yukino’s way of solving problems. Yukino tends to find an optimal solution for the future (which requires a lot of hard work and dedication and is often times too idealistic to work), while Hachiman tends to solve the problem at hand (by not addressing the problem at all and making it disappear).
At the end of Season 1, Yukino was coming to terms with Hachiman’s methods and was trying to accept them as alternatives to her methods. Maybe they weren’t so bad after all. But something happened during the Kyoto trip. Hachiman confessed to Ebina and Yukino realized that she would always be against those methods. Why?
1. Hachiman’s methods do not take into account other people’s feelings and generally human emotion (“monster of reason/logic”).
2. Hachiman’s methods do not usually help people improve themselves.
3. Hachiman’s methods only give temporary solutions. They only get the job at hand done and don’t solve the main problem. Basically, his methods are shortsighted.
4. But most importantly, Hachiman’s methods always leave someone hurt or feeling guilty. In most cases (especially since Sagami’s arc) that person is Hachiman himself. Hachiman’s methods consistently devalue himself in front of others. Since Yukino’s intentions, since the very first episode, have been to turn Hachiman into a better human being, but also because she has started to truly care about him, you can see that this is a problem.
Another thing that should be noted here is the following:
>Hachiman wants to try and make Iroha lose by shouldering everyone’s hate. Yukino wants to stop him from doing that, because she doesn’t want to see him get hurt.
>Yukino wants to make Iroha lose by shouldering this responsibility she doesn’t care for. Hachiman knows that when Yukino takes on everything, the burden becomes too much for her. Hachiman doesn’t want to see Yukino get hurt, this was something he decided to prevent at all costs, ever since Sagami’s arc.
Hachiman and Yukino are basically stuck in a: “I’ll save you! No, I’ll save you! No, I will be the one that does the saving!”-standoff.
So, let’s take a look at Yui’s side of things.
>Yui’s main concern is losing the Service Club. If Yukino goes, then so does the Service Club. Hachiman and Yui are both convinced that the three of them can only remain close to one another as long as the Service Club exists. That is how meaningful Hachiman and Yui see their current relationship as. The Service Club is the place where Yui can interact freely with Hachiman, without having to worry about what others have to say. Yui expresses to Hachiman how much the club means to her. She loves “the Service Club”, meaning she loves Hachiman.
“If Yukinon becomes the student council president, she’ll probably focus on her duties. Then she’ll become a student council president that will be better than everyone else and for the school too… But, we’ll probably lose the club(!), won’t we?”
“That’s not necessarily true.”
I had no intentions of lying. The Service Club would still exist.(!) However, Yuigahama quietly shook her head.(!) Her hair wasn’t long at all yet the evening sun reflected her swaying hair.
“We really will lose it.(!) It’s just like during the culture festival and the sports festival. The way Yukinon just focuses on a single thing, even Hikki knows this, right?”
I knew that very well. Whenever a request concerning a big event came up, we undoubtedly would give our full attention to it. There was a limit to Yukinoshita’s capacity. Of course, this capacity was far greater than the average person, but there was a limit. The job called the student council president had duties all year round and putting that into consideration, it would be difficult to continue the current Service Club’s activities.
As I was in the middle of thinking, Yuigahama took a step forward ahead of me.
“You see, the thing is.”(!)
The hems of Yuigahama’s skirt fluttered as she quickly spun around. She joined her hands together behind her and suddenly stopped. She then gazed at me directly.(!)
“…I like this club.”(!)
“That’s why I wanted to protect it.” Those few words got across to me.
“…I really like it.”(!)
“Bye bye, Hikki.”
After she said that, Yuigahama slightly waved her hands. As I stood there under the setting sun seeing the smiling Yuigahama off at a place where my hands couldn’t reach, the area where she touched tightened in pain.(!) When I lightly raised my hand, I pushed my bike and returned to the original street. After making it on to the big street, I got on my bike. As I pedaled, I began to think in earnest. Yuigahama would become the student council president in order to protect the Service Club where she belonged.(!) Possibly, if someone was going to win against Yukinoshita, then it could be Yuigahama. Yuigahama had the presence of being in the top caste of the school and she also had other connections which surpassed Yukinoshita. She held the possibility that could split the favorable votes that Hayama could muster. Even if Hayama’s support made it around, how Miura and the others acted would be hard to predict. Above all else, Yuigahama was a wonderful girl. That’s why there wouldn’t be anything strange should Yuigahama become the student council president. Yukinoshita Yukino and Yuigahama Yui. It was likely that the outcome of the election would be between these two. Regardless of who loses, Isshiki Iroha would be able to save face.(!) There was nothing better than this as far as methods were concerned. The accepted request from Isshiki would be settled. But that was just the result. But most likely, the club would be gone.(!) Despite what Yuigahama had said, she would probably fulfill her duties properly as the student council president. At first, she’d be able to smooth it over, but even so, she would eventually reach her limit. Just from her looks alone, she was a diligent person and someone who looked out for others. There was no doubt she’d become the ideal student council president that the other members yearned for. And then, she’d be unable to betray them. As a result, she would properly tackle her duties as the student council president. At that point, it would be difficult for her to show her face at the club.(!) That’s why the club would be gone.(!) Only the name of the club and the room itself would remain and it would turn into something completely different. That was something I had realized before. It wasn’t just me, but also those two as well.(!) If it was a decision consented upon by both Yukinoshita and Yuigahama, then I didn’t mind. My personal sentiment wasn’t something good enough that could influence a person’s decision after all.
It’s just that.
It’s just that. But even so.
It was painful to force a role onto someone.(!) In trying to protect what was dear to you, you’d end up losing what you wanted to achieve.(!) Seeing someone like her going through that was something very painful. Without something becoming the victim, the adolescent drama wouldn’t hold. Even though I knew that. I wasn’t a victim so things like pity and compassion weren’t necessary.(!) Even though I was the one who arrogantly said that. What a cruel contradiction.(!) The sky was a mixture of the evening twilight and darkness of night while the cold wind pricked my fingertips. Unknowingly, my feet that pedaled the bike had stopped.
>I’m in love with this club. I’m going to beat Yukinon.
>I’m going to beat Yukino by putting my entire effort into one afternoon.
>Thank you Hachiman for saving the club for me. I knew I wasn’t able to beat Yukino.
Which raises the question, if Yui knew that she wasn’t able to defeat Yukino, was she hoping for Hachiman to do something? It’s a possibility.
>You did your bit as well, right?
(For a more detailed look on why it’s so important to Yui that the Service Club continues to exist, read Yui’s analysis.)
Back to the story.
>Hachiman still does not want to admit that he cares about Yukino and Yui.
Yukinoshita and Yuigahama. In the event that either one of them becomes the student council president, what problem might occur?(!) That was the loss of the Service Club.(!) That was fine in itself. It was inevitable. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Even if nothing came up, once we graduated, the club would disappear. Then what was the problem?(!) I already knew from the start that the club would disappear.
So where was the problem there?(!)
Isshiki’s request was something nearly settled, what with Yukinoshita and Yuigahama running as candidates. You could even say that their plan was perfect with a high rate of success. In that case, I had no turn. That’s why, as far as Isshiki’s case was concerned, there was no reason to go against those two.(!) But even so, there was still this uneasy feeling that I needed to do something left.(!) The question “was this okay as it is?” kept repeating itself.(!) Every time, I would refute it, only for it to be asked again and I would refute it once more, this repetition never ending.(!)
>Hachiman asks Komachi for forgiveness and advice.
>Hachiman needs Komachi to give him a reason to protect the Service Club.
“That’s why for my sake, for my friends’ sake, isn’t there something that can be done?”
“...If it’s my little sister asking, how could I say no?”
I was a fantastic older brother who would normally do what I could for my little sister. That was the one answer Komachi had given me. If she never said it, then I probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere.(!) The reason that I was always searching for somewhere. The perfect reason that would let me protect that place and that time.(!)
>Instead of self-sacrifice Hachiman decides to manipulate Iroha into actually wanting to become student council president.
“Whatever’s fine, but… what are you going to do?”
“Let me think for a bit.”
I silently closed my eyes. I established the setting where I prioritize Komachi’s request and omit Yukinoshita and Yuigahama from the election. Isshiki Iroha would then be the only candidate. Since the chances of other candidates coming forth were low, I could ignore it at this point. But there, the condition that someone had to take all the heat surfaced. So what was the remaining problem? The actual person’s will(!); it was just that one point alone. That being the case, I had to think of a way to overturn that.(!) In other words, I needed to destroy every single thing related to the reason why she didn’t want to become the student council president.(!) When I reached that point, I opened my eyes.
“So long story short, the way we approached this from the start was completely wrong…”
Not only me, but also Yukinoshita and Yuigahama.
“Well, if that’s the case, I guess the only thing I can do is negotiate with Isshiki.”(!)
This was close to confidence. If Isshiki Iroha calculated how she would act her character, then you could also say that she was suited for negotiating.(!) If she diligently calculated the risks and returns, then depending on what I say to her, she’d be open for bargaining.(!) That being the case, we had to collect bargaining chips. No, it might be more correct to say we had to create them.(!)
>Hachiman comes up with his plan: to forge pre-election votes using Twitter. He’s going to make various accounts using other people’s names. At the last moment he’s going to swap all of those names with Iroha’s name and make it seem like hundreds of students support Iroha becoming SCP. He’s going to use this to deceive Yukino and Yui, to make them stand down. What is incredibly important here is that Komachi doesn’t like the plan.
Totsuka spoke up as if smoothing over the conversation. But Komachi sighed and looked at me with reproachful eyes.(!)
“Well, it’s fine if it does work out…”(!)
Usually when I say these kinds of things, Komachi would reply in a crisp manner, but her reaction had been rather slow since a while ago.(!) That bothered me and I asked her.
“Is this idea no good?”(!)
“Mmm, it’s not that it’s no good… But whether it’s good for onii-chan or not… I’m not really sure.”(!)
Komachi dropped her eyes and spoke fretfully. It looked like Komachi herself couldn’t properly explain it. Well, even I thought it was an underhanded, cowardly even, method.(!)
“But we won’t know unless we try. There existed no other alternative as well.”(!)
In that group was just one person who had a depressed face, Komachi.(!) “What’s wrong, Komachi?”
I asked Komachi with a quiet voice that only she could hear. When I did, Komachi answered again with a fleeting voice.
“Will this really work out?”(!)
“It will. I’ll make sure I get the finishing touches until the end. Leave it to me.”
She answered, but Komachi continued to look down.(!) She cupped her head with her hands and lightly tapped.
“Onii-chan, make sure to properly talk things out with Yukino-san and Yui-san, okay? Promise?”(!)
Komachi squeezed my hands as she spoke.
“Yeah, I will. But there’s nothing we can do with a story that isn’t convincing enough. I’ll talk to them after I prepare that.”(!)
“Onii-chan can be really reasonable, but I’m really worried that you’ll just blow a lot of things off…”(!)
>Komachi specifically asks Hachiman to talk to Yukino and Yui first. Komachi knows how deceitful it is what Hachiman is about to do, but she also doesn’t like Hachiman having to do such a thing, because it will weigh heavily on his conscience. Hachiman promises he’ll discuss it with Yukino and Yui first, but he doesn’t.
>Hachiman approaches Iroha. He starts “negotiating” with her. Iroha tries to refuse all of Hachiman’s reasons for wanting to become SCP. Hachiman continues to tell her what she wants to hear: you can ask others (Hayato) for help, you can walk home with Hayato, whenever you don’t feel like working you can say you have to do something in your other club, you can get revenge on the girls that recommended you etc.
As Isshiki said earlier, if she became the president at this rate, she’d be nothing, but a puppet.(!) No, she’d be something lower.(!) Isshiki probably couldn’t do anything by herself.(!) But that could very well be the reason why she would be suitable as the president. Because she would need help and protection, she would be viable to ask for help from various people including Hayama.(!) By doing this, she could get them to favor her and this would be the ultimate merit for her. If I was going to be straightforward to her about explaining this, this would be how it’d come out.
“Times like those are when you can consult with Hayama.(!) If you want, you can get him to help you too. He’ll basically be attending to you for the whole year. You could even talk to him over lunch after club or something and even have him send you home too.”
Telling Iroha that she can spend time with Hayato is the final argument that convinces Iroha to take up the position.
This brings us to what the entire volume has been building up to: the conclusion to the SCP election and how the Service Club is going to solve this problem.
>Hachiman has made all his preparations. He has forged fake pre-election votes and is going to present them to Yukino and Yui to get them to stand down. He enters the clubroom, the fragrance of tea can be noticed, but Yukino and Yui aren’t talking to one another. They both know that the other is running for SCP. (Third time Hachiman shows up to the Service Club.)
I stood before the door to the club and placed my hands on it. The door seemed to be unlocked. And the girls seemed to be inside already. I took a small breath and entered the room.(!) The small fragrance of black tea filled the room.(!) Yukinoshita and Yuigahama sat at their usual seats. However, they weren’t speaking.(!) Typically, Yukinoshita would be sitting and reading her book, but today she was sitting up straight silently. Next to her was Yuigahama who wasn’t fiddling with her cellphone and instead was peeking at Yukinoshita awkwardly.(!) It was reasonable. Rumors of Yukinoshita and Yuigahama announcing their candidacy were already running throughout the school.(!) There were people who were talking about it on Twitter which I was observing.
>Hachiman tells Yukino and Yui there’s no need for them to run for StuCo president anymore. Yukino thinks he’s still talking about carrying out his previous plan. Hachiman says he decided to solve it differently. Yukino wonders why he changed his mind so suddenly, the last time they spoke Hachiman was still fully committed to solving it with self-sacrifice. What happened to change his mind?
“In truth, there really isn’t a need to participate in the election… Not just Yuigahama, but you as well, Yukinoshita.”
“…What do you mean?”
Yukinoshita looked at me, finding fault with what I said. Her eyes sharply narrowed.
“I believe I already rejected your suggestion.”(!)
That’s right. Yukinoshita thoroughly rejected my proposal.(!) I was just being conceited if I thought something I did would lead to something. And then, Hayama was the one who told me how other people would force their own selfish opinion on me based on how they saw me regardless of what my intentions were. But there were also people who noticed for me that that wasn’t all there was to it.(!)
“…Yeah. That’s why I’m not talking about that one.(!) That kind of stuff… I’m not doing it anymore.”(!)
Truthfully, it should be different from my methods up until now.(!) I used a risk hedge that took a lot more effort than before.(!) And the imposed conditions were cleared.
Yukinoshita looked slightly confused as she went silent.(!) She was probably thinking that it was surprising for me to unexpectedly back down.(!)
“So… why is it okay for us to not participate?”(!)
Yuigahama asked timidly. She looked at me, worried about what I might say. But my answer was extremely normal. It wasn’t anything important.
“Isshiki is willing to run for the student council president now. That’s why the request itself doesn’t exist anymore.”
After saying that, Yukinoshita as well as Yuigahama looked dumbfounded. And then Yukinoshita spoke with suspicion.
“Why so suddenly…?”
>Yukino: “Did you do this?”
>Hachiman: “Nah, it wasn’t me.”
This is where the lying begins. Yukino knows Hachiman is lying to her, but she doesn’t say anything about it. She knows Hachiman isn’t going to tell the truth.
Yukinoshita looked over the printouts and murmured with confusion.
“Collection of endorsements on the internet…”
“That’s not all. Most of the retweets in that list were primarily for Isshiki.”
“So it’ll turn into a substantial primary election…”
I nodded to Yukinoshita’s mutter.
Yukinoshita held the printout before me and asked. Wrinkles formed on that piece of paper as she gripped it tightly.
“…Did you do this?”(!)
“It’s probably a volunteer. I don’t know who it is though.”(!)
Yukinoshita didn’t ask any further.(!) She probably realized it’d be pointless in doing so.(!) I wouldn’t say anything(!) and even if you tried to look it up, the information on the accounts didn’t have any personal details to go on.
>Yui wants to check the website in question to see what Hachiman is talking about, but she abstains. Yui is fine with a lie. Now you need to realize that if Yui is able to figure out that Hachiman did some incredibly underhanded stuff to achieve this, then Yukino has most certainly figured it out as well.
Yuigahama put the printout on the desk and quietly reached for her cellphone. That posture of hers gave me the chills. Could she be confirming it on the internet? But Yuigahama’s hands stopped there. As if she gave up on the idea, she only touched the phone and returned it to its original spot.
>As long as they could be deceived only for this day, then everything will be alright. It’s okay as long as I lie to them only this one time. That doesn’t sound all that genuine.
But as long as they could be deceived for the rest of the day(!), it was just a matter of deleting the account after the fact. Everything would disappear. There were two reasons for the existence of this fake account. The first reason was so it could persuade Isshiki Iroha to get motivated.(!) And the other was to act as a deterrent to Yukinoshita.(!) While it stalled for time trying to get as many endorsements as possible, as long as it could function as data to show that it was possible for Isshiki Iroha to be elected, then that was good. If Yukinoshita was stopped(!), then Yuigahama would lose her motivation to run as well.(!)
“I see… So it’s passed 400 huh…”
Yukinoshita let out a sigh with a murmur as she looked at the list.
(Let’s start a counting game: Lying to Yukino #1)
>Hachiman solves the problem by going behind their backs without including Yukino and Yui. He solves it in a shady way and then when asked if he was the person who was responsible for doing this, proceeds to lie to them about how it wasn’t him. He does this all for the sake of preserving the Service Club. Yui wants to check the website to see for herself, but realizes that it was most likely Hachiman’s doing and she’s fine with it. Yui and Hachiman got what they wanted: Yukino doesn’t have to be the StuCo President, their club is saved and they can continue pretending as if nothing happened, because what was important here was to preserve the Service Club and not their actual relationship with one another, right?
“There isn’t a need for you two to become the student council president.”
It took a considerable amount of time to just say these simple words. But this was my conclusion. No one would be hurt, no one would be blamed with crimes, and no one would be judged.(!) All those criticisms and pains would disappear along with the data of this account. Yuigahama suddenly sighed.
“That’s great… So everything’s settled…”(!)
She relaxed her shoulders as if she was released from fatigue and finally smiled. I moved my neck as if the tension in my shoulders were dissolving as well.(!) At that moment, my eyes caught something. Just one person. Yukinoshita Yukino was silent. She sat there not making a single sound like a finely crafted bisque doll. Her eyes resembled the transparency of glass and a jewel giving it an intense coldness. That should’ve been the usual Yukinoshita.(!) She was always calm, always quiet, always composed and you could say her appearance in general was beautiful. However, right now, there was a transience to it that looked like it would disappear as soon as you tried to touch it.(!)
She let out a sigh as she uttered those words and Yukinoshita raised her head. However, her gaze wasn’t directed at either me or Yuigahama.
“Then… Both the problem and the reason for me to act are gone…”(!)
Yukinoshita looked far into the distance outside the window.
“I guess that’s how it is…”
I looked in the same direction as she did, but what I saw was the same, unchanging scenery. The waning sun and the transparent sky. Only the lonely dropping of leaves from the shaking trees were there.
With a short answer, Yukinoshita quietly looked away and closed her eyes as if she was sleeping.
“I thought it was something that was understood…”(!)
Yukinoshita’s voice wasn’t aimed at anyone. That’s why somewhere in that voice was an empty resonance to it. Those words caused turbulence in my heart.(!) However, it’s just, as if yearning for something long ago(!) and as if there was grievance over something that had ended(!), those words of hers wouldn’t allow me to ask about it. Yukinoshita quietly stood up.
“-I’ll go report this to Hiratsuka-sensei and Meguri-senpai.”
“Ah, we should too.”
When Yuigahama nosily stood up from her chair, Yukinoshita gently smiled and stopped her.
“One person should be enough… If the explanation gets long and I come back late, I don’t mind if you head on home first. I’ll hand back the key.”(!)
After she said that, she left the room. That attitude and that smile directed at Yuigahama shouldn’t have changed.(!) Yet why was I trying to see past it to see if there was anything different?(!) Again, my heart continued on nosily. The words that Yukinoshita spoke wouldn’t leave my ears.(!) At that moment, for the first time, it hit me.(!)
What if her actual intent was actually something else?(!)
As late as it was, it came to mind. Yukinoshita understood the minute details of the election protocols. I thought that was just a display of the abundance of her knowledge and her wisdom.(!) Yukinoshita said she wouldn’t mind if she did it.(!) I thought this was the same display as during the Culture Festival in how she would resist her older sister and how her personality would have her concentrate on a single task.
But what if?
What if her real intentions were there instead? What if I had averted my eyes from the true intent buried within all those words?(!) What if I conveniently rationalized her behavior and acted based on my own wishful observations?(!) There were people who wouldn’t act unless there was a problem they could identify, a reason they could find. If something had both certainty and uncertainty, there were people who couldn’t act just because of the existence of the latter. I knew that very well. That’s why it wouldn’t be strange if there were other people like that as well. Despite all that, I eliminated that possibility. Truthfully, I don’t understand it. It’s not that I didn’t exchange any words. It’s just that I didn’t understand what I was exchanging. It’s just that. There was this lingering doubt that there was something I was mistaken about.
Hachiman thinks that Yukino really wanted to become the SCP, however he doesn’t know what the reason is.
>In Volume 2, when she filled in her guidance counselling survey, she said that she wanted to run for office.
It could be possible that it has something to do with impressing her mother by taking on a high profile role. That’s something Haruno alluded to in Volume 6.
>After Yukino did a great job as quasi-committee chairman during the Cultural Festival.
“Wooow, just look how embarrassed you are. You’re so cute, Yukino-chan,” said Haruno-san, interjecting.
Yukinoshita cleared her throat and then glared at her. “…Nee-san, why don’t you hurry up and go home?”
“Okay, okay. I will, I will. I’ll see you later then. I had a blast. I bet mom’s going to be really surprised after hearing about today… right?”(!)
That smile, as if testing her(!), caused Yukinoshita’s expression to stiffen.(!) After making sure of that(!), Harunosan turned her back and walked off. I don’t know what crossed Yukinoshita’s mind when Haruno-san left with those words.(!) The circumstances involving those two were still a mystery to me even now.(!)
Or it could be that it has something to do with some kind of personal growth. Or at least, that’s the reason Yui comes up with.
However, that’s not the reason Yukino gives in Volume 9. The reason Yukino herself gives, is that she wanted to become SCP so she could “save”/help someone.
By now you should be aware that this someone is Hachiman, however it’s too soon to dive into this right now. I’ll come back to it once we get to this moment in Volume 9.
Instead let’s focus on something else. What was it that Hachiman was supposed to understand?
Well, that he shouldn’t take actions that would end up hurting him or leave him with a huge sense of guilt. But also:
“We both hated acting superficially friendly with others the most, too…”
“Weren’t you the one who said there wasn’t any meaning in those kinds of superficial appearances…?”
So, instead of self-sacrifice, Hachiman has now become a liar, someone that deceives and manipulates others and uses underhanded methods to accomplish things. Worst of all, he is now lying to Yukino, all for the sake of keeping the Service Club intact, because without the Service Club, the three of them can’t stay together. Hachiman has essentially given up on his ideals, he has chosen superficiality over the real thing all because of his ego. Hachiman doesn’t want to admit that he was wrong and that his actions were hurting himself or others around him. He’s a proud loner of course. Instead of simply admitting he was wrong and apologizing, he goes through such lengths to sweep all of it under the rug, just so the three of them can go back to normal and pretend like nothing is amiss, the same thing he criticized Hayato’s group for. Hachiman has not only become the biggest hypocrite in the series, from this point onward (up until his “I want something genuine” speech) he is also easily the least genuine person in the series. He has become worse than Hayato’s group, because at least the people in Hayato’s group have accepted that they’re fake and they’re okay with it. Hachiman says he hates superficiality, but almost every action he takes during this time is so he can turn the Service Club into the exact same thing that Hayato’s group is.
Yukino wanted to become StuCo president because she wanted to stop Hachiman from hurting himself. Furthermore, as she said herself, becoming SCP would not hinder anything else, like the club for example. She believed that the relationship she had with Hachiman and Yui was not that kind of superficial relationship she so hated. She knew that after becoming president she would still be friends with the two, as a matter of fact she could even take them with her in the student council and the three of them could continue working together from there. Nothing would be sacrificed, not even herself. She was willing to become the SCP, the best optimal solution. Yukino’s solution was literally the thing Meguri described in the last moments of S2E5.
However, Yui and then subsequently Hachiman didn’t think so. They thought that their relationship would crumble if Yukino dissolved the club. What does that ultimately imply? That they thought their relationship was superficial. Yukino understood this fact (their opinions) when she realized what lengths Hachiman and Yui went to in order to save the club. This is where she got disappointed. Her only two friends didn’t believe they had a real relationship. She was the only one to think differently.
So what happened then? Nothing. Hachiman said he wasn’t going to self-sacrifice himself anymore and if Iroha wants to run for president, then there is no reason for Yukino to run as well. And now that she knows that the club’s relationship is superficial, there is no motive either. She is going along, putting up a facade, doing the exact thing that she dislikes, for the sake of the other two.
So, not only did Yukino not succeed at saving Hachiman/making him a better human being/preventing him from doing things that would hurt him or weigh on his conscience, she’s now stuck with two people that have turned their group into the exact same thing Hayato’s group is. Also, by preventing Yukino from becoming SCP, Hachiman has shown Yukino how powerless she is. Yukino has lost her self-confidence. The one thing she set out to do since the beginning of the series, she has failed at. Hachiman is not going to change.
What it comes down to is the following: Hachiman and Yui are fighting to preserve a place that solely exists to make Hachiman a better person. Hachiman and Yui both believe that if the Service Club ends, then so does their relationship. Hachiman wants the Service Club to continue to exist so that he can remain near Yukino. Yui wants the Service Club to continue to exist so that she has a place where she can grow closer to Hachiman. Yukino is fighting to make Hachiman a better person/stop Hachiman from hurting himself. The Service Club itself doesn’t mean that much to Yukino, what matters to her is her relationship with the other two. Instead of becoming a better person, Hachiman becomes a liar, someone that deceives and manipulates other people all for the sake of preserving a place that exists to achieve the opposite effect. It can be argued that Yui is pushing Hachiman into that direction or at the very least Yui is thankful that Hachiman preserved her special place regardless of what he had to do. Also, if you remember from Part 1, Hachiman told Yukino that he didn’t want to clear the misunderstanding up between the two of them in regards to the car accident. So Yukino can’t tell Hachiman to stop hurting himself/continue his ways because of that reason and she can’t stop him either by becoming SCP and preventing him from doing those things, because he’s started doing things behind her back.
That’s the meaning behind Yukino’s words here:
Yukino is disappointed in herself for not being able to properly communicate her feelings to Hachiman. Perhaps if she had been able to tell him that he means a lot to her and that she doesn’t want to see him get hurt, things would have gone differently. Probably not, because Hachiman would have either ignored or twisted her words and feelings into something different that suited him and his “I’m a proud self-proclaimed loner, no one will ever care about me and I don’t need anyone else in my life” mentality. He’s a monster of logic after all. Once again, Yui told Hachiman to take other people’s feelings into consideration and that didn’t make him stop either.
>Yukino leaves the Service Club so she can report to Sensei and Meguri.
>Hachiman apologizes to Yui for making her effort of wanting to become SCP meaningless. Yui says it’s okay. Yui knew she couldn’t do anything and that she wasn’t able to beat Yukino. Even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to show up to the Service Club. She thanks Hachiman for saving her special place for her at all costs. Yui says that she knows that Hachiman must have done something incredibly underhanded to achieve this. She knows that Hachiman solving problems this way leaves him with an insane amount of guilt that keeps eating away at him. While Yui doesn’t want Hachiman to hurt himself, she comes to the realization that this is the way Hachiman has solved all of their problems up until now. She apologizes for making him do that, but that’s alright, since it was all worth it if things will be back to normal tomorrow. To Yui what’s most important is the Service Club surviving, because that’s the place where she can freely interact with Hachiman (and Yukino).
“You protected my important place for me.”(!)
Those words were extremely gentle that I ended up closing my eyes. The slight and faint warmth that was transmitted to me caused me to strain my ears.
After Yuigahama let out a small sigh, she slowly continued her words.
“You see… I really did understand.(!) That I probably wouldn’t win against Yukinon and even if I did win, I wouldn’t be able show up to the club anymore.”(!)
She spoke awkwardly without the slightest hint of nonsense. That’s why I silently listened.
“That’s why,” Yuigahama continued.
“It’s all thanks to Hikki.”(!)
Suddenly, Yuigahama spoke up.
“Hikki did his best!”
“What’s with you so suddenly?”
She was sitting right next to me, yet her voice was loud. I reflexively turned to face Yuigahama and after she nodded, she exclaimed again in a loud voice.
“Hikki did his best!”(!)
“Stop it. I didn’t really do anything.”
Really, the only things I did were type away on Twitter and talk with Isshiki. I didn’t do anything meaningful of the sort. In fact, I could only think of what I did as hindering the productivity of others. That feeling of reflection may have been heard somewhat in my voice. Yuigahama weakly nodded and smiled faintly.
“…I guess so. You didn’t do anything that could be seen.”(!)
I nodded only my head. However, Yuigahama shook her head in response to that.
“But if you could see it, then I think there’d be a lot of unlikeable things that were done. I’m sure even if you wanted to change it, Hikki’s methods are things you can’t change.”(!)
It was as if she understood the things that I did. Or could it be that she knew the truth behind those accounts?(!) Whatever the case was, it wasn’t a praiseworthy method. In fact, it was just that much worse given how it wasn’t exposed. But if no one could see it or knew about it, then there was no problem.
“If you couldn’t see it, then you wouldn’t really know what it is that I did.”
That’s why let’s put this incident to rest. It was better to dig its grave now. That was what I wanted to say.
However, Yuigahama didn’t avert her eyes as she continued her words.
“But even if you couldn’t see it and criticize it, wouldn’t Hikki think about it?”
“…The feelings of guilt won’t go away.”(!)
Yuigahama interrupted me halfway through and spoke. Yeah, that was true. It really wouldn’t disappear.(!) Undoubtedly, there was always something I had mistaken and I would continue to live on with that feeling of anxiety. That’s why regardless of what I did, the feelings of guilt would find its way back.(!)
“I… couldn’t do anything(!), but… Even so, I start to think if this really was good enough. That’s why I think Hikki would think about it even more.”(!)
Yuigahama gently said. She looked slightly sad as she smiled. But even so, she would be considerate of me. That’s why that kindness was extremely painful. Even though I thought I didn’t want there to be any pain. Even something as simple as that wouldn’t come to pass.
“…We weren’t wrong about this, right?”(!)
That question she asked was something I couldn’t answer. Even though I already knew how to.
As I sat there saying nothing, Yuigahama continued with a heartfelt voice.
“With this, we’ll be able to go back to how we normally are, right?”(!)
“…I don’t know.”
>Sorry for making your effort go in vain.
>This place is important to me and you preserved it for me.
>The guilt won’t go away. That’s alright, as long as things go back to normal tomorrow.
Yui thanks Hachiman for preserving the Service Club for her at all costs, by lying and using underhanded methods. Literally moments after the hair grooming, Hachiman is internally conflicted about whether he had made the right decision and this is what goes through his head:
Those words Yukinoshita said at that time still wouldn’t disappear.
The illusion of being understood was pleasantly lukewarm. Indulging it would only turn it into an inescapable quagmire. Imagine how comfortable it would be if you could cling onto it for as long as you wanted.
To understand each other was an extremely cruel illusion.
Just how much despair you would have to experience upon waking up from that illusion, I didn’t know.
The slightest of discomfort and doubt would act as thorns and form into unpleasant feelings that would bring everything to ruin.
I was supposed to notice something like that.
What I desired wasn’t to get along with someone just for show.
It was surely the desire for something genuine. Anything else, I didn’t need at all.(!)
Even if you didn’t voice your words, they would still reach; even if you didn’t do anything, you would still be understood; even if anything happened, nothing would break.
It was an illusion so beautiful, yet so foolish and detached from reality.
She and I both longed for something that genuine.(!)
Now, the anime cut out Hachiman’s inner monologue and shortened it to this.
While this still shows that Hachiman is aware that he screwed up, it doesn’t show how much he’s agonizing over it. I’d say this was a pretty big adaptation miss, because this inner monologue introduces the concept of what it is that Hachiman wants, why he wants it (because Yukino wants it), what exactly he means with “wanting something genuine” and with whom he wants to share it.
(More on this in Part 5)
The point is, while his body is with Yui and Yui is hugging him and grooming his hair, his thoughts are with Yukino. The first season also showcases this.
>While Hachiman is on his date with Yui, his thoughts are with Yukino. (Anime exclusive)
>“Yukino is super-effective against Hachiman, Yui not quite as much.” As in: Yukino’s words, opinions and emotions impact Hachiman deeply. Yui’s as well, just not as much.
Which then brings us to the last chapter of Volume 8: Chapter 9: The smell of tea is no longer in that room.
Hachiman has defeated Yukino. He has saved the Service Club, because that’s what was worth saving, not their relationship with one another, right? Hachiman has shown Yukino how superior he is, Yukino has lost her self-confidence. Hachiman and Yui have turned the Service Club into “Hayama’s group 2.0”.
>Hachiman and Yui are happily back to normal. Everything is fine. Everyone is lying to each other, they’re all pretending like nothing is wrong. They have even gotten Yukino to interact with the two of them. The Service Club continues to exist. Hachiman and Yui have gotten exactly what they wanted. Hachiman didn’t have to admit he was wrong, he can still hold onto his idea of being a loner and the next time a request comes in he’ll just solve it by deceiving and lying to people again. No problem.
I gave a short greeting and Yuigahama, whose face was buried in the desk, perked up.
“Hikki, you’re so slow!”
“Er, something came up. Sorry.”
I pulled my chair out as I said that. A quiet voice called out to me from a position slightly farther from the usual place. I pulled my chair out as I said that. A quiet voice called out to me from a position slightly farther from the usual place.
“It’s not a problem. It’s not like we’re particularly busy with anything right now.”(!)
Yukinoshita spoke, not looking any different up until now.(!) The tone of her voice was extremely composed. Her gaze was directed at the book in her hands and the tip of her fingers slowly turned the pages of the book.
“Well, I guess we have some free time right now.”
“Sounds good to me, having free time and all. They do say stuff like there being no leisure for the poor, so having free time is a good thing. Well, since that’s the case, it’s exactly because of society’s unemployment that, conversely, you would end up being the wealthy winner. As I thought, to work is to lose.”
“That’s an opinion very like you.”(!)
Yukinoshita spoke calmly as she flipped the page of her book. I also grabbed a book out of my bag and opened up to a page I wouldn’t even read.
“School’s about to end soon, huh?”
With no logical context, Yuigahama spoke and hit her hands as if she came up with something.
“Ah, let’s have a Christmas party, a party! I want to eat pizza.”
“Yuigahama-san, you can eat that whenever you want.”(!)
As usual, Yukinoshita continued reading as she said that and Yuigahama had a perplexed expression.
“Eh. Really? My house only eats it on special days so…”
“Well, my place only orders it on special days too. Like during a typhoon or on a day with heavy snow.”
“The special ones are your family, Hikki… Poor delivery men…”
Regardless of what she said, it was their job as delivery men so it couldn’t be helped. If they’re going to hate someone, then they should hate the very existence of jobs. Anyway, I had an argument for that prepared.
“They’re a lot more pitiful on Christmas, aren’t they? What with all the orders they get. As such, the days where they didn’t get very many orders were a form of consideration.”
Yuigahama had an unconvinced expression, but halfway through, something came to mind.
“Ah! Right! That’s why a party! See, maybe at like Yukinon’s place or something.”
“That sounds lovely… But, I’m sorry. I’ll be going back home this winter.”(!)
When Yukinoshita spoke, Yuigahama came up with a new proposal.
“Ah, I see. Why don’t we go out somewhere, then?”
“Sure. However, I still don’t know what the plans at home are yet.”(!)
Saying that, Yukinoshita faced Yuigahama and smiled.
“…Oh okay. Then after you find out, okay?”
What did Yuigahama think about after seeing that smile?(!)
The setting sun had already disappeared into the end of the sea. Only the afterglow lingered in the sky and the radiance was nowhere to be found. There was just this loneliness that seemingly regretted the end of the day.
“The day’s gotten shorter, huh…”(!)
Yukinoshita murmured, apparently looking outside the window just like me. It was almost time for the winter solstice to come. Recently, the dark nights gradually and steadily grew longer. These long, dark nights would probably become longer as if dawn would never come.
“Why don’t we stop here for today?”(!)
Having said that, Yukinoshita closed her book and placed it in her bag. We nodded and stood up. This entire week was spent the same way similar to today. Yukinoshita looked the same as she did before the field trip.(!) No, she was conducting herself in the same and unchanging way.(!) I thought that was something obvious to anyone. She was very quiet, but she would properly react and she would occasionally softly smile at Yuigahama.(!) However, that horrible way of smiling wasn’t it.(!) As if thinking of the deceased(!), as if looking at an infant, as if yearning for something that couldn’t be recovered anymore(!), that way of smiling tormented the hearts of those it was directed at.(!) However, she couldn’t be criticized.(!) That’s because both Yuigahama and I were going along with it.(!) We would fire conversations one after the other and force ourselves to say stupid things to stave away silence.(!) It was a meaningless period of time, a skidding emptiness of superficiality.(!) It was an act that appeared friendly only on the surface which was what both she and I should have hated the most.(!)
This, which I gambled for close to a month and grabbed ahold of, was what I believed in.(!) What I asked myself repeatedly over and over again, I did it once more; “did I not make a mistake?”(!)
>Was Hachiman just drunk on himself? Yes, Hachiman’s actions have killed the smell of tea in the room (if you get what Watari means).
Was I just drunk on myself?(!) Was I indulging in my own confidence? Was I happy with my own thoughts? Were the things I was supposed to have done somewhere else and not plan more than I needed to?(!) Even so, the reason why I couldn’t provide an answer undoubtedly was a fault with my myself. I was called a monster of logic. But logic was the opposite of emotions. Therefore, a monster of logic was an existence inferior to people that didn’t understand emotions. Wasn’t I told that? That it was an existence less than that of a person and that it would look at people not as a human and that it would continue to be a slave to its conscious of its own free will.
The moment just before I left the room, I turned around. Even though the same people were gathered here, it felt like it was a completely different place. The smell of tea was no longer there.(!)
>What if you could change your choices, would your life change in any way? Not according to Hachiman. Hachiman doesn’t believe in do-overs, you simply continue with the consequences of your actions. There’s no point in crying over spilt milk.
“What if?” This is a “what if?” scenario. What if life was like a game where you could load up a save file and go back to a point where you could alter your choice? Would your life change in any way? The answer is a resounding no. Only those who were blessed with choices would benefit. To those who never had those choices in the first place, that hypothetical scenario was meaningless. As such, there would be no regrets. More accurately, it was life itself that was the epitome of regrets. Now then, I thought I really wanted to protect something, but what exactly was it that I wanted to protect?(!)
>What is it that Hachiman wanted to protect?
Well, based off of your actions and thoughts: Your pride. Your ego. Your status as a loner. Not wanting to admit that you were wrong. Not wanting to admit that your actions hurt people close to you. Not wanting to admit that there are people that care about you. Not wanting to admit that you care about Yukino and Yui. And ultimately protecting Yui’s special place, the Service Club, after needing Komachi to give you a reason to act, not so much your relationship with the two girls, otherwise you wouldn’t have lied to them.
Don’t worry, I think you did an alright job. You protected the things that mean the most to you Hayama, I mean Hachiman. Really, there is absolutely no need for you to feel bad about anything. Also, you really have no reason or right to complain about anything either. I mean, this was what you wanted, right?
Hayama’s group was the same as always. I felt slightly relieved seeing that. It was the world that they wished for; a stagnating world that never changed. This world of theirs was eventually going to decay and rot, but that’s not to say it wasn’t already. So maybe that was its true form after all. Both Hayama and Ebina didn’t interfere with this side. That was indeed the correct decision. If they wanted to continue as they were before and after the field trip, then their interaction with each other shouldn’t change.(!) But that also meant that the distance between me and them was everlasting.
“D-Darn straight, that’s gotta mean today! Today’s the only day where we just gotta go, go and go!”
“Y-Yeah! I-I think so too!”
Tobe and Ebina pulled in Oooka and Yamato for a high five.
The two panted after the exchange had ended. But, Hayama continued to smile gently while Miura and Yuigahama continued making small sighs. …That’s some painful effort they’re putting in.(!) But if they didn’t do that, then there’d be problems.(!) That’s because they were the ones who wished for that kind of relationship the most.(!)