>Hachiman remembers how important the Service Club is to Yui. Naturally, it’s her special place that Hachiman preserved for her, the place where she can grow closer to him without having to worry about other people so she can become his girlfriend.
(Are you getting sick of this as well? Good. That means that not only I, but Watari as well, have beaten you over the head with why exactly the Service Club means so much to Yui. I promise I won’t do this anymore from now on.)
It formally hit me again. Yuigahama was always supporting this space.(!) This meant that this relationship that would break down to pieces at any moment’s notice was held together by just one person.(!) An empty and monotonous exchange.(!) Depending on how you wanted to look at it, I felt it was a respectable and gentle period of time. A world that was guided by a conclusion based on compromise and management.(!) Words were properly exchanged and the parties had acknowledged each other and everyone would present a convincing answer and this would be established as consensus.(!) Was this really correct?(!) I ended up swallowing that doubt.(!) In place of that came out an uncomfortably hot breath that left my throat terribly parched. Unknowingly, I was watching the tea set that was no longer being used now.(!)
Yui is willing to go to great lengths to preserve the Service Club. She’s willing to turn their relationship into Hayato’s group 2.0 as long as it survives.
>Iroha is missing. Iroha not feeling like she is of any use to the committee, goes to the supermarket to buy snacks and drinks.
>Hachiman goes to look for her. He asks Hayato if he has seen her. Hayato confronts Hachiman about how he never turns people down. Hayato tells Hachiman he’s not the nice guy Hachiman thinks Hayato is.
>Let’s go back to Tamanawa and the gang.
>The elementary schoolers have been invited, what do they have to do? Who knows. Tamanawa certainly isn’t going to give them instructions even though it was his idea in the first place.
>Remember when Hachiman accused Yukino of creating a puppet candidate and then asked her if she was willing to support said candidate for the rest of her life? If Iroha can’t talk to Tamanawa, then Hachiman will. Hachiman tells Tamanawa that they’re running out of time.
>But we need to start discussing right now. Okay, let’s get right to it.
>Long story short, they’re discussing a whole lot of nothing again. Tamanawa and co. are making all kinds of grand plans, not taking into account the amount of time, effort, manpower or money any of it takes. They’re all patting each other on the back, but no one is actually doing anything and all of it is spiraling into a gigantic mess.
When I noticed, my hands recording the minutes had stopped. I loosely let my hands hang under the desk and sat there in silence watching the conference. The expression that I had was completely different from those who were energetically involved in the discussion. They had vivid and bright smiles floating on their faces. That was when I noticed. They were all enjoying this moment.(!) That’s to say, they were enjoying this exchange between each other.(!) What they wanted wasn’t the very idea of volunteer service(!), but the self-acknowledgement of them doing these activities.(!) It’s not that they wanted to do work.(!) They just wanted to be immersed with the feeling of working.(!) They just wanted to feel like they were actually doing it.(!) And then, they would feel like they did everything that they could, where ultimately, everything had turned into nothing.(!)
────Aah, it really irritated me how that was exactly like someone out there and how it seemed like he was showing off his past mistakes.
(Hachiman is referring to himself.)
He thought he had accomplished something, but in fact, he really didn’t accomplish anything at all. Even though he couldn’t see anything at all.
>Hachiman somewhat tells the truth to Saika here, but not entirely. He doesn’t want Saika to grow concerned, so he tells him he shouldn’t worry. Saika says he’s sad how Hachiman doesn’t consider him as close of a friend as Zaimokuza, because Hachiman doesn’t come to Saika and ask for his assistance. Saika calls Hachiman “cool”, because he always keeps to himself and always tries solving problems himself.
“Did something, happen?”
Both Totsuka’s eyes and voice were kind. It’s just that Totsuka’s gaze looked more sincere than his normal self and that earnestness pressured me.(!) Before answering, I sipped my oolong tea. If I didn’t do that, I felt like my voice would come out dry instead.
“…Not really. Nooothing at all.”(!)
Thanks to swallowing various things, my voice had come out a lot smoother than I thought.(!) My tone was brighter than usual(!) and it was likely I had mixed in a smile(!) meant to keep Totsuka from needlessly worrying any further.(!) However, Totsuka’s expression looked slightly lonely in response to my smile.(!)
“…I see. I guess Hachiman won’t really say anything, huh?”(!)
I didn’t know what Totsuka’s expression was like with his down cast face and his lowered shoulders. But his following voice sounded depressed.
“If it’s Zaimokuza, I wonder if he knows about it…?”
“No, that guy doesn’t have anything to do with it.”
When he suddenly brought up an unrelated name, I was a little surprised. But inside of Totsuka, there seemed to be a connection as he shook his head and raised his face.
“But you talked with Zaimokuza before.”
When he said “before”, I finally realized what he was talking about. During that student council election, the one person I consulted with outside of my family, Komachi, was Zaimokuza.(!) After that, the number of people who cooperated with me increased due to Komachi’s arrangements(!), but the one person who I personally talked to was just Zaimokuza alone.(!) But it’s not like I intended that to mean anything special in particular.(!) It was only a matter of having met with Zaimokuza first and since he was easy to talk to, I didn’t have to hesitate to get his cooperation.(!) It looked like Totsuka took it in a different way.
“I just thought that was kind of nice. I’m just really jealous you could talk to him about things like that or something…”(!)
Totsuka spoke awkwardly and slowly, word by word. The way he had phrased it made it sound like that behavior was something to be commended for. But that’s wrong. That was definitely not something as beautiful as Totsuka made it out to be. I thought it was a behavior that was exceedingly self-righteous and selfish that made use of the kindness of others simply to satisfy my own self-interest. Totsuka didn’t know anything about that. That’s why he was giving me these warm words even now.
“I don’t think I’ll be of any use, but…”
I could see Totsuka squeezing his jersey under the desk. His thin shoulders were slightly trembling. I didn’t want him to worry any more than he needed to. I worried about how I should smooth things over(!) and as I scratched my head, I spoke in clusters.(!)
“It’s nothing like that. Really, it’s not a big deal. It was just something Isshiki asked of me, so I was just a bit busy with it… For the most part, I was the one who pushed the role of president onto her so, well, so that’s part of it. That’s all.”
I tried to summarize with the straightforward truth while not voicing anything other than that. Thanks to that, I stumbled over most of my words. But Totsuka raised his face as if those words were better off actually being said. And as if trying to ascertain the truth, he looked at me with honest eyes.
“Yeah. That’s why you don’t need to worry.”
If I spent just even a little bit longer thinking, I had the feeling I would’ve said something else. That’s why I answered immediately.
I’d say this is another adaptation miss here, although a minor one. This was the very first moment where Saika told Hachiman that he should be able to rely on Saika as well. Saika was sad that Hachiman didn’t trust him enough to share his problems with him. This is probably one of the few, if not only, character development moments Saika gets, where Hachiman finally starts seeing Saika as an actual human being instead of a one-joke character or a lust object. (Technically, the first time Hachiman admits this is in Volume 10, but I’d say this moment counts as well. To be more precise, this moment ties into Totsuka’s other big moment in Volume 10.)
The anime instead focused more on Hachiman blushing while he was looking at how Saika was eating and made the actual important part incredibly short.
>Hachiman finally reflects on his actions. Is he truly the “cool” loner he pretends he is? Is it really worth hurting all these people to preserve his own “perfect image” of what he should look like to others? Are there really no people that he cares about or people that care about him?
In that instant, the words Totsuka said earlier came to mind.
It was nothing like that. It was probably just me being obstinate. I think it might’ve been as simple as trying to show off. I was only being stubborn so I could preserve what I had decided internally what I should really look like.(!) Even now as well, the repulsive monster of reason, the provocative monster of self-consciousness was lurking about in this self. If I were to be aware of the existence of that thing(!), then I might’ve been able to accept Totsuka’s words positively.
>Back to Tamanawa and co.
>Remember when Hachiman accused Yukino of creating a puppet candidate and then asked her if she was willing to support said candidate for the rest of her life? (Last time, I promise.)
But I couldn’t be joking around like this. Although I was only helping Isshiki in order to fulfill my responsibility of forcing her into becoming the president(!), I now noticed that I was the one giving out directions.(!) And no one in particular seemed to have any qualms about it.(!) Everyone naturally began confirming things with me.(!) The way this was done was extremely bad. It was a hopelessness I had seen somewhere before.
(Hachiman is thinking about the time Yukino took over Sagami’s role as chairman.)
If we didn’t change the situation, it would eventually fail.(!) That was something I was all too familiar with. Above all else, it was a situation that the student council president, Isshiki Iroha, definitely wouldn’t be too overjoyed about.
>Hachiman is coming to the realization that he can’t solve this on his own. It’s all going to fall apart.
But that was when I realized. It wasn’t all that long ago since Tamanawa became the student president. He had a rather impressive appearance that I misunderstood, but he was just like Isshiki in that it was only recently since he became president.(!) That’s why he wanted people’s opinions and would listen to them. Only after getting consent would he take action. To avoid problems from springing up, he would adjust them after the fact without turning it into a dispute. This isn’t good… I just lost all my options.(!) In the end, what we’d be doing would probably be decided at the next conference, but would it really?(!) Judging by how the conferences have been up until now(!), I couldn’t say so confidently. Whatever the case, at this stage, I lost all the things I could do.(!) The only thing left was to just watch this event fall apart embarrassingly.(!)
>He has a little moment with Rumi. He doesn’t want Rumi to thank him. He doesn’t think he deserves her thanks. He comes to the realization that his old methods did at least manage to save some things. What is important to note here, is that Hachiman is starting to think about what his responsibility is. He is trying to carry the entire burden on his own. (This is important and I’ll come back to it.)
When I see that, it made me aware of how I would try to relieve myself from something this trivial. Even though Tsurumi Rumi’s smile wasn’t something to reinforce my own actions. There were certainly things that were saved from my past way of doing things.(!) But just that alone surely wasn’t enough. My responsibility.(!) Here I was, still not knowing that answer.(!)
>Hachiman managed to save some things with his old ways, but was it enough? What is his responsibility? He encounters Yukino. The person he has been avoiding throughout the entire volume. The person he hasn’t been able to look directly in the face, because he doesn’t believe that he deserves to be in her presence anymore. The person he has been bending over backwards for so he could stay in the Service Club near her. However, in order for him to achieve that, he had to sweep all of his previous mistakes under the rug instead of owning up to them. But it’s too late for that now, there’s no avoiding it or hiding from it anymore. It’s finally time for Hachiman to face the music. Yukino is going to push Hachiman away for his own good. Yukino doesn’t want to see Hachiman suffering. That has never been her intention when the Service Club got started. This is obviously a problem for Hachiman, because all of his actions so far have been to ensure that he could remain by her side.
The rain is bound to stop, and everything is bound to end, so Hachiman will have to face the things he’d run away from.(!) Not deceiving, but not telling the truth either(!) - this is how their meeting turned out. “Tried to do it on my own, tried to understand,” - those are Yukino’s words about her past self.(!) She also asked if he needed permission.(!) Seemed like she wanted to confirm something when asking this question.(!) If Hachiman had answered something else, then… except there’s no point in thinking about things that didn’t happen. “If this is enough to break everything, it was this fragile from the very start.” Hachiman couldn’t reply anything to that. Maybe they hadn’t lost their common beliefs yet, so this question simply dissolved in the evening sky. Anyway, listen to my impressions next time too, all right?
In the LN this chapter is called: Chapter 5: That future is what Hiratsuka Shizuka wishes for
>Near the end of S2E7 he encounters Yukino at the mall. Hachiman has been trying to keep his actions a secret from Yukino all this time. Yukino has been aware of his actions and his (and Yui’s) lies, but she chose not to say anything, because she believed that this was what he (and Yui) wanted. Because Yukino has encountered him this late at night here, she chooses to speak up. Yukino confronts him about how he has been lying about not helping Iroha, he proceeds to lie to her again. Yukino knows she’s not going to get a straight answer out of him, so she lets it slide. Hachiman is doing the same thing he told Yukino to do in regards to the car accident: not lie, but not tell the entire truth either. Except way more often and worse.
Yukinoshita readjusted her coat and fixed her muffler to check its condition. I adjusted my muffler in a commanding fashion in the same way.(!) Was this a habit from being in the club recently?(!) I could’ve just stopped myself, but as I was looking for words, I reflexively spoke up.
“Aah, were you shopping?”
“Yes… I could ask you the same, what are you doing here at a time like this?”(!)
When I asked her, Yukinoshita spoke with the same unchanging expression and cold tone. Today, I left the club early as well.(!) Therefore, to be here at this kind of time was unnatural.(!) It was obvious to be asked that here.(!) A coincidental meeting here was something I had wanted to avoid.(!) Still, now that we had met, there was no way to avoid it.(!) As I scratched my cheeks, I looked away from Yukinoshita.(!)
“…I, well, just had some stuff to do.”(!) (Lying to Yukino #5)
I couldn’t say what it really was.(!) That’s why I voiced out obscure and meaningless, generic words.(!) But there wasn’t a lie in it.(!) Yukinoshita looked down and complied with a quiet voice.(!)
She then raised her face. Her lips which she bit looked worried as whether to say or not say something(!) shivered ever so slightly and her eyes that faced me lightly shook.
“…I see that you’re helping with Isshiki-san’s request.”(!)
It was a quiet voice lacking in ambition. Those words that sounded like it would crumble were you to touch on it were like the dropping of frost during the night. That’s why it felt terribly cold. It’s likely that Yuigahama didn’t tell her.(!)
(Yui is lying and keeping a secret for Hachiman’s sake. This shows that Yui’s relationship with Hachiman is slightly more important to her than Yui’s relationship with Yukino.)
I think Yukinoshita probably guessed it herself.(!) She may have tolerated it up until now(!), but now that she saw my suspicious actions in person(!), she probably couldn’t keep herself from asking about it.(!)
“Aah, well, there were circumstances and all…”(!) (Lying to Yukino #6)
No matter how ambiguous I was with my words, the truth wouldn’t change, but I couldn’t say it any other way.(!) Denying it at this point didn’t have any meaning.
“You didn’t have to go through the trouble of saying a lie like that.”(!)
Yukinoshita’s gaze was directed at the empty ground where only the cold wind blew past. She was probably calling my excuse regarding Komachi a lie.(!)
“It’s not like I lied. It’s one of the reasons.”(!) (Lying to Yukino #7)
“…I suppose so. That’s true, you didn’t say a lie.”(!)
(Yukino knows he’s lying to her again.)
When I said so self-depreciatively, Yukinoshita combed through her hair blown by the cold wind with her hands. Seeing that gesture, that exchange at some point back then came to mind.(!) Yukinoshita Yukino doesn’t lie.(!) I obstinately believed in that and because of that, I was disillusioned by the fact that she didn’t say the truth.(!) But this wasn’t in regards to Yukinoshita.(!) The one I was disillusioned with was my past self who forced that ideal onto her.(!) On the other hand, how was I now?(!) I was worse than I was at that time.(!) Not saying the truth wasn’t a lie.(!) I swallowed that deception and I was even using it.(!) For me to be using that kind of deception that I should have rejected so much(!) made me think of how repulsive I was. That’s why the words I spoke sounded remorseful.(!)
>Hachiman apologizes for taking the request on his own (doing it behind Yukino’s back). Yukino says she doesn’t mind, she has no say in what he does in his free time, unless Hachiman thinks he needed her permission. This is basically Yukino asking Hachiman what their relationship means to Hachiman. Yukino knows that Hachiman has been forced to join the Service Club by Sensei (because Yukino was concerned about his well being) and that he’s solving these problems because he feels like it’s an obligation. Yukino is saying that it has never been her intention to decide what he does in his free time.
“…Sorry for taking up the request on my own.”
Yukinoshita closed her eyes and then quietly shook her head.
“I don’t mind. There isn’t anything I can do about what you do on your own time(!), nor do I have the right to. Unless…”(!)
Yukinoshita stopped her words there. The hands holding onto the bag over her shoulders gripped even stronger.
“You need my permission?”(!)
Yukinoshita slightly tilted her head and her transparent eyes questioned me.(!) Her tender voice wasn’t criticizing me. That’s why it felt unnecessarily painful. An oppressive feeling crawled its way to my chest.(!)
“…No, I just wanted you to know.”(!)
I spat out those words. I didn’t know what kind of answer would be correct. A correct answer might not have been prepared in the first place. I moved only my eyes and looked at Yukinoshita. She was wearing that same smile she had in the club room that looked like she yearned for those long-past gone days.(!)
>Yukino tells Hachiman that it’s fine he took on the request on his own. He doesn’t need Yukino. He has never needed Yukino’s help to learn how to develop relationships with others. Yukino comes to the realization that maybe Hachiman has always been fine the way he was. All of her efforts to try and help Hachiman were in vain and unnecessary. Hachiman being forced in the Service Club has only had a negative impact on him, or so she believes. Hachiman says that the only reason he does everything alone is because he has always been alone.
“…I see. Then you don’t need to apologize. Besides, I’m sure it’s easier for Isshiki-san to work with you.”
Yukinoshita smoothly spoke in a slow, yet nonurgent voice. I stayed silent and listened. If I wasn’t allowed to apologize(!), was there anything else I could say?(!) Yukinoshita continued on. She did so without looking at me, but only at the fog-like clouds that were polluted by the orange lights of the far coast industrial area in the cloudy, starless sky.
“I’m sure you can resolve it all on your own.(!) That’s how it’s always been, after all.”(!)
I thought that wasn’t right. I hadn’t resolved anything up until now. Whether it was Isshiki or Rumi, in the end, I only made things vague which ultimately turned into a mess.(!) As for saving them, it was absolutely nothing like that.(!)
“It’s not like I resolved anything… Besides, it’s because I’m alone that I’m doing it by myself, that’s all.”
I’ll do something regarding myself. It was nothing but a very natural thing to do. Whether I was thrown into it or it happened to fall into my hands, once I got involved, then it would eventually turn into my problem.(!) That’s why I was only doing it by myself.(!) It was something engraved in me and by relying on someone so easily despite not knowing any other way to do things would only turn it into something worthless. In the first place, even if someone who was wrong took the proper measure, it’s obvious that they wouldn’t come up with a correct result. That’s why I’ll do it myself. That’s all there was to it.
>Hachiman says that the same thing goes for Yukino as well, she has been doing everything alone because she is alone too. Yukino says that’s not the case, she has only acted like she knew everything, like she understood everything. Yukino is saying that in order for her to be able to change Hachiman into becoming a better person, she pretended like she knew everything: about how Hachiman should conduct himself to become a better human being.
(It also applies to how Yukino has always been chasing after Haruno’s shadow and trying to be like her so that other people would like her or accept her.)
That should’ve been the same for Yukinoshita who I had been working together with in the club for more than half a year.
“Aren’t you the same?”(!)
With confidence, no, with expectations, I said so. But Yukinoshita’s words hardened.
“No… I’m not.”(!)
She hung her head, sealed her mouth, and squeezed on the sleeves of her coat. Peeking out from her loosened muffler was the movement of her white throat. It looked as if she was struggling within the wind. This might have been the first time I had seen Yukinoshita like this. Yukinoshita continued looking downwards and she squeezed out her words.
“All I ever did was act like I could do anything… like I understood everything.”(!)
Just who was she talking about?(!) Was it her or could it have been me? Nevertheless, it was probably the same thing either way. Just who was the one who thought that they understood everything?(!) That’s why, I had to say something and even if I didn’t get my thoughts in order, I still had to speak up.
>Yukino is telling Hachiman he doesn’t need to do this. He isn’t responsible for it, he doesn’t owe them anything. If it’s too much of a burden, Hachiman should take some time off from the club. There’s no need for Hachiman to be lying and going behind Yukino’s back to fulfill this request. Yukino doesn’t want to see Hachiman suffering.
I tried to say something, but I couldn’t continue my words any further. Yukinoshita quickly raised her face and interrupted me with her usual composed voice.
“Why don’t you take a break from the club for a while?(!) If you’re being considerate with us(!), then that’s an unnecessary concern.”(!)
Her expression that spoke in succession had a transparent smile again. It had a calmness that resembled a delicate bisque doll displayed in a glass case.
“It’s not like I’m being considerate at all.”(!) (Lying to Yukino #8)
I knew that these words were not the ones I should’ve said.(!) Even so, if I was silent here, then I understood that even that empty room would be lost.(!) However, a mistake stayed as a mistake. No matter how you tried to smooth it over, it wouldn’t be fixed. Yukinoshita quietly shook her head.(!) She loosely let the bag she had around her shoulders drop.
“You’ve been being considerate the whole time(!)… Ever since that time(!), always(!)… That’s why…”(!)
>Ever since then. When was that exactly? Let’s go back in time a little bit.
>Ever since the day Yukino opened up to Hachiman and Yui and decided to trust them. Also around the same time Hachiman couldn’t bear to see Sagami take advantage of Yukino. He also didn’t want Yukino’s hard work to go to waste and decided to do whatever it took to protect her from harm.
(Yukino blindly puts her trust in Hachiman in the last two pictures with text.)
>Hachiman doesn’t have to force himself anymore to preserve their relationship, if the relationship he wants to turn it into is the same thing as Hayato’s group. Hachiman realizes that by not wanting to stop self-sacrificing and not wanting to admit that there are people that care about him, he has started doing the same thing Hayato does. On the one hand Hachiman wants to maintain his image of the “cool” loner that doesn’t need other people in his life, on the other hand he is doing whatever is necessary to preserve him being able to remain in the Service Club: lying, deceiving, going behind Yukino’s back, using underhanded methods etc.
As I intently listened to her vanishing voice, I waited for the succeeding words. But those words wouldn’t come out as Yukinoshita said something different.
“But you can stop forcing yourself now.(!) If that’s all it takes to destroy something, it was never meant to be anything more… Am I wrong?”(!)
In the face of that question, I went silent. That was something that I believed in, but not anymore.(!) However, Yukinoshita believed in it.(!) The thing that I stopped believing in during that field trip.(!) I made one lie during that time.(!) That wish of not wanting to change(!) and them not wanting to change was distorted by that lie. Ebina-san, Miura and finally, Hayama. They wished for an unaltered blissful everyday life.(!) That’s why they lied little by little(!), deceived each other(!), and by going that far, it was a relationship that they wanted to protect.(!)
(This also applies to the current relationship the Service Club members have at this moment in time.)
Having understood that much, there was no way I could deny that so easily. The conclusion that they came up with, the choice to try to protect what they had was something I couldn’t think of as wrong. I incorporated them into my own self(!) and ended up giving my approval to it. I was pleased with those days in my own way and even I started to feel disappointed in losing them.(!) Even though I was fully aware that they would all disappear eventually.
>What’s interesting, is that during this entire scene, the OP of Season 2 is playing. Harumodoki is the song of Hachiman’s search for something genuine. This should tell you which character Hachiman’s pursuit of wanting something genuine applies to. Another hint is of course all the flower symbolism in the lyrics of the song. Yukino’s last name is the Japanese name of the small mountain flower in English called saxifrage.
>Hachiman is at a crossroads. If he wants to change, it’s “now or never”. (I’ll get back to this later on.)
>Hachiman has lost his belief in the one thing he and Yukino shared. The way Hachiman is right now, he can’t answer Yukino honestly. By answering her honestly, it would mean that he agrees with Yukino’s proposal of the two of them distancing themselves from each other. This is obviously the opposite of what Hachiman wants. All this time he has been doing everything just so he can stay near Yukino, but in order to do that, he had to start lying. Hachiman can’t give an answer, Yukino tells Hachiman to stop forcing himself to come to the club. Yukino is setting Hachiman free of any obligations or responsibilities he may have thought he had.
That’s why my beliefs became warped and I lied to myself. There was nothing to replace things that were important.(!) Once you lost those irreplaceable things, you could never lay your hands on them a second time.(!) Therefore, you had to protect them(!); that’s how I lied.(!) It’s not that I had protected something.(!) I was just clinging onto the feeling of having protected something.(!) Just now, the question Yukinoshita shot at me was surely an ultimatum.(!) There was no meaning to things that were only superficial.(!) That was a single belief that both me and her once shared.(!)
───Did I still have that belief?
I couldn’t answer. As I am now(!), I was already aware of the fact that trying to mend surface appearances wasn’t completely pointless.(!) As one of the ways to do things, I understood that it existed. That’s why I couldn’t deny it.(!) Unable to say anything, Yukinoshita looked at me with lonesome eyes. Yukinoshita was quiet and seemed to be waiting for my answer.(!) Still, when she understood it was a voiceless answer, she let out a small sigh and made a fleeting smile.
“You don’t have to force yourself to come anymore…”(!)
Her spoken voice was terribly kind.
>As Yukino walks away, Hachiman thinks to himself that there was an empty box he has tried reaching out to this entire time, even though his current self wasn’t allowed to wish for it.
The sound of loafers echoed on the brick stairs. Even in this congestion, I felt like I could hear the sound of the footsteps becoming farther and farther indefinitely. Yukinoshita disappeared into the crowd of people. She wasn’t that far away, yet it felt absurdly distant. As I watched her off unable to say anything, I sat on the stairs of the small plaza. When I noticed, a Christmas song was playing in the nearby store. In the plaza was a Christmas tree that was illuminated and decorated with a present motif ornament. The contents of that box were probably empty.(!) As if it was like that club room. Even so, I still tried to reach out for that empty box.(!) Even though it wasn’t something I was supposed to have wished for.(!)
>If you remember from earlier in the volume, after Komachi gave Hachiman her Christmas card, Hachiman spent some time wondering what his wish was. What would bring Hachiman happiness?
>What empty box has Hachiman been trying to reach out to all this time even though it was something he wasn’t supposed to have wished for? Oh, Yukino’s heart. Ok.
That small room I kept safe still has that empty space.
I never knew that I was fine with it being just the two of us.
Now you might be thinking to yourself that I’m being a bit too biased towards Yukino in this regard. I’d like to point out that Hachiman’s wish is essentially to have a long lasting meaningful relationship with someone where he knows everything about a person. Hachiman’s “wish” doesn’t get brought up in ANOTHER, which is Yui’s route, except when Hachiman gives up on it:
>Hence, the wish that our relationships would grow deeper would surely not come true as well.
Then of course there’s the fact that out of all of the relationships Hachiman has with other people in the series, only the HachiYuki pairing is a relationship of two people slowly over time getting to know one another. There are also a couple of other reasons, but we’ll get to that in Part 5.
Long story short, what all of it boils down to is the following: Hachiman still wants to maintain his image of being a cool loner. However, he also wants to do whatever it takes so he can remain close to Yukino. Yukino has no say in what Hachiman does anymore. He’s not open to her anymore, he’s pushing her away to protect her, he’s lying to her, he’s going behind her back, but worst of all, Hachiman is stuck solving problems for others at the expense of himself. In this case, instead of sacrificing himself, he’s lying, deceiving, manipulating and using underhanded methods to solve problems all for the sake of being able to remain close to Yukino. (Yes, Yukino, because the Service Club is the only place where he can spend time with her. While Hachiman and Yui never interact with one another in the classroom, they still have the option to see each other outside of the Service Club. That doesn’t apply to Yukino.)
As much as Hachiman will pretend like this doesn’t affect him, it’s clearly leaving him behind with a huge sense of guilt.
Yukino, who started the Service Club so she could make Hachiman a better person, sees that Hachiman’s efforts to try and keep their relationship going is only making him miserable. It’s not worth it, if the relationship Hachiman seeks is that which Hayato’s group has. Since Hachiman has now become a liar, someone that manipulates others, someone that uses underhanded methods, but most importantly someone that willingly hurts himself/his social status just so he can be around her, Yukino tells him to stop coming to the Service Club. He has become the exact opposite of what she wanted him to become and she fears that her influence has only made him worse. She also comes to the realization that maybe Hachiman has always been fine the way he was. All of Yukino’s efforts to try and help Hachiman were in vain and unnecessary and in fact only achieved the opposite. Maybe he never needed Yukino’s help to learn how to develop relationships with others. Hachiman being forced in the Service Club has only had a negative impact on him, or so she believes at this moment in time. Yukino also doesn’t know what she means to Hachiman: is Hachiman simply doing all of this because he was forced to be in the Service Club? Because Yukino doesn’t want to see Hachiman suffer like this, she pushes him away for his own good (this is something Sensei is going to clarify as well in the next segment). Yukino is setting Hachiman free of any responsibility he may have thought he had.
I apologize for repeating the same things over and over, but I’m doing this so that no one has to ask these types of questions anymore. I feel like this is one of the most misunderstood moments in the series. Hopefully now at least you fully understand all of the build-up towards this moment and what it exactly means.
Back to the story.
>Sensei sees Hachiman, she tells him to go for a ride with her. When they step out of the car, Sensei asks Hachiman how “it” is going. Hachiman assumes Sensei is talking about the Christmas event and gives her a long speech.
>Sensei tells Hachiman she wasn’t asking about that, but about Yukino and Yui. Hachiman didn’t want to bring them up, because that would mean he’d have to be honest for the first time since a long time. Sensei plays hard ball, every time she notices Hachiman isn’t giving an honest answer, she just pushes further. Sensei tells Hachiman that he needs to learn to “think with his heart” and if he can’t do that he should think harder than he has ever thought and eliminate all the wrong reasons as to why he thinks he is doing all the things he is doing. That way he will find the answer he has been looking for.
“However, you don’t understand their feelings.”
My breathing stopped. My voice, my words, and even a sigh wouldn’t come out. It felt like she struck at the heart of the matter.(!) I then realized the true identity behind the thing I, the thing Hikigaya Hachiman tried to understand, but couldn’t.(!) It was supposed to have been something I was told a long while back. “You need to consider the feelings of others more. Even though you understand everything else, why don’t you understand that?”(!) It felt like I was told that. Unable to answer, Hiratsuka-sensei spoke as she crushed her cigarette in her ashtray.
“A person’s mentality and feelings aren’t always equal. There are times the conclusion you arrive at is completely irrational and the reason is because of that… That’s why, Yukinoshita, Yuigahama, and you as well, come up with mistaken answers.”(!)
“…No, those two aren’t relevant right now, aren’t they?”(!)
I was taken aback by the two names she suddenly brought up.(!) Right now, I didn’t really want to talk or think about them.(!) When I said so, Hiratsuka-sensei shot me a glare.
“At the very beginning, I was asking about those two.”(!)
She said so with a displeased tone and lit another cigarette. True enough, she didn’t say anything specific. All I did was arbitrarily start ranting about the Christmas event.
“But, well, the true nature of both boils down to the same thing. The root of the problem is one thing… That’s the heart.”
Still, that was just being conceited. In the end, I didn’t see anything at all. I thought I was thinking about the feelings of others, but I was only looking at the surface. I acted with the assumption on a truth that I only guessed at. How was that any different from self-satisfaction? In that case, I probably would never understand. “But… that’s not really something you can understand from just thinking about, isn’t it?”
Merits, demerits, risks, returns; if they were these things then I understood. I could understand. Desire and self-protection, hatred from jealousy. I could analyze the mentality of the actions that were grounded on those abundant, repulsive emotions.(!) That’s because I had plenty of those ugly feelings inside of me.(!) That’s why it was simple to imagine. If they were similar things, then there was still room to understand it. I could explain using logic. However, if there wasn’t, then it was difficult. Without the concept of profit and loss, it was hard to imagine the feelings of people who went beyond logic and theory.(!) I had too little to go on and above all else, I had committed too many mistakes up until now.
Good will, friendship, or even love; they were all things I had been mistaken with.(!) I was sure that I was mistaken with them even now as I thought about them. A mail would come, our bodies would come into contact accidently, we would smile at each other when our eyes meet in class, a rumor that someone liked me running amok, we would talk a lot even though our seats being next to each other was just a coincidence, we would always go home at the same time; during that, I was mistaken. Even… Even in the off chance that I was correct about them. I didn’t have confidence I could continue believing in that. I could put aside all the agreeable judgment factors and pose every possible obstacle, but even so, that kind of thought wasn’t something I could call genuine.(!) If it was something continually changing, then the correct answer didn’t exist there. I thought you definitely wouldn’t be able to bring out an answer.
“Don’t understand? Then think more. If you can only think by calculating, then keep doing so until you can’t. Think of all the answers you can and destroy them one by one with the process of elimination. Whatever remains is your answer.”(!)
Her look was filled with passion. But what she was saying was irrational. No, it didn’t even have logic to it. For someone who could only make conjectures through reason and calculation, then he just had to see through it all until he couldn’t anymore. She was saying to get rid of all the possibilities one by one through the process of elimination. Just how inefficient and pointless was that? On top of that, there’s no proof that there would be an answer. I was both shocked and surprised that I couldn’t come up with any words.
“…Even so, there’ll be things you just can’t understand, won’t there?”
“Then that means your calculations are wrong or you overlooked something. I guess that means you’ll have to change how you calculate things.”
Hiratsuka-sensei threw in a joke and nonchalantly spoke. Because she said something so obvious that I reflexively let out a dry laugh.
“You’re so absurd…”
“Fool. If you could calculate feelings, then we’d be in a digital age by now… The remaining answer that you couldn’t calculate is what they call the feelings of people.”
>Hachiman compliments Sensei, because of that Sensei gives Hachiman an even clearer hint. Actually way more than just a hint.
>Here you have Sensei spelling out why not only Hachiman has been pushing away Yukino, but also why Yukino has been pushing away Hachiman: they care for each other and don’t want to see the other get hurt. However hurting someone isn’t always a bad thing, it can also mean that you care enough about someone to hurt them.
“I suppose… For example, let’s think about the reason why you’re assisting Isshiki, not as the Service Club, but as an individual. Is this for the Service Club, or is it for Yukinoshita?”(!)
In the abrupt example, the sudden name she brought up startled me.(!) Reflexively, I faced Hiratsuka-sensei and she had a bitter smile.
“You’ll understand if you just look. After the case with Isshiki, a report came from Yukinoshita(!)… She didn’t say anything about herself(!), but judging from how she was(!), I just thought it a possibility. Is that the same for you as well?”(!)
“Aah, no, I wonder about that…”
(Hachiman tries lying and being insincere to Sensei as well. However Sensei just keeps going.)
I shot out some words as I dug around for the words I should’ve said, but Hiratsuka-sensei didn’t wait and continued on.
“If you’re holding the same thoughts(!), then you would arrive at an answer that kept your distance from them in order not to hurt them(!)… possibly. That was just an example, however.”
“But that’s not what you should be thinking about. In this case, what you should be thinking about is why you don’t want to hurt anyone. And the answer should immediately come to you.
───It’s because they’re dear to you that you don’t want to hurt them.”(!)
“But you have to see, Hikigaya. Trying to not hurt others is something you can’t do. People are creatures who hurt others just by existing(!) even if they’re not aware of it. Whether you’re living or dying, you’ll always be hurting someone.(!) Once you’re involved, you’ll hurt someone, and even by not being involved(!), you might be hurting someone else as well…”
After saying that, Hiratsuka-sensei took out another cigarette. She stared at the cigarette and she continued further.
“However, if it’s someone you don’t care about, then it won’t bother you.(!) What’s necessary is awareness. It’s exactly because you care that you’ll feel as if you had hurt someone.”
“To cherish someone means to have the resolve to hurt them.”
>Sometimes by looking out for each other, you miss out on the things that you want (being close to each other).
>Hachiman being stubborn, or well, more like afraid to take that step.
>Sensei wants Hachiman to be the one to step over the line for Yukino, that is the future Sensei desires.
“In truth, it probably doesn’t have to be you. At some point in the future, Yukinoshita might change. Someday, someone that can understand her might appear. There might be someone who would walk over to her side.(!) The same could be said for Yuigahama as well.”
Exactly when would that be? Because it seemed so far in the future that it didn’t seem real, but it also did at the same time because it seemed so helplessly recent.
“I’m sure for you guys, you feel that your time now is everything. But that’s definitely not the case. Eventually, it’ll all make sense somewhere. That’s just how the world was made.”
Those words were probably correct. Someday, somewhere, someone would definitely step over the line. When I thought about that unsteady truth, I recalled the slight pain inside me and I twisted my body to brush it off.(!)
>It’s now or never Hikigaya. Think, writhe, struggle and agonize otherwise what you’re going through isn’t genuine. Wait, how does Sensei know about genuine? (See Haruno’s part)
>Sensei’s character song: Until the time you become an adult.
It’s still too early to go and reminisce about yesterday.
Right now, you just have to be reckless. Follow your heart and you will be fine.
No matter how I wrote it, I couldn’t give the love letter that was hidden in my desk.
If I had given it during that time, I wonder if anything would’ve changed.
Ah, how the times fly. Though we can no longer return to the past,
my throbbing heart on that day, I can still feel it right now.
When you become an adult, it’s more than enough
if you can recall the past memories, even if it’s just a little bit.
When you become an adult, it’s more than enough
if you can recall the past memories, even if it’s just a little bit.
This classroom with the scent of tea
I don’t know what kind of adult you will become but,
as I think about the future
I light up my cigarette once again.
This is a song about Sensei and the feeling of regret she has, because back when she was younger she didn’t reach out to the person she was in love with. The only thing she’s left with are memories. That being the case, the future Sensei wishes for Hachiman and Yukino is one where they cross the line with each other or at the very least confess their feelings to each other.
>Hachiman returns home. He stays up all night thinking about Sensei’s words.
Hiratsuka-sensei most certainly did give me a hint. That was likely not limited to only today as it was also something she had continued to tell me up until now.(!) But I must have overlooked it, mistook it, or even passed by it. That’s why I had to think it over again, starting from the very beginning. I had to reestablish and reconsider the problem once more. The most recent and biggest obstacle was, of course, the Christmas collaboration event.(!) Although I took on the task of helping, the present situation was near collapsing.(!) In addition to that, the problem of Isshiki Iroha became apparent. While I was the one who pushed the student council presidency onto her(!), Isshiki wasn’t managing the student council very well.(!) Moreover, Tsurumi Rumi’s situation was also tied in with this.(!) I don’t know what kind of effect my actions towards her during summer break at Chiba Village had on her. But I couldn’t think of her current situation as something positive. And then… And then, there was the problem with the Service Club.(!)
But as far as this last problem’s concerned, just thinking about it made my chest feel murky(!) and something resembling a solution wouldn’t come to mind.
The expression that gave up after attempting looking for an opportunity, (Yukino)
the smile that forcibly tried to be bright, (Yui)
and lastly, the words that should have been told to me(!) all looped itself over and over in my head.
>What words should have been told to Hachiman?
Yukinoshita looked like she had trouble trying to say something as her words were cut off abruptly.(!) Her eyes wandered around as if she was trying to look for the words she wanted to say(!) ....Aah. This was probably the continuation from before.(!) She was going to tell me the words that she swallowed that one time.(!) I relaxed my body that grew stiff unknowingly and waited for Yukinoshita to continue.(!) Yukinoshita gripped at her skirt. Her shoulders slightly shook. Finally looking determined, her throat began to move.(!) But, the words just wouldn’t come out.
“Yu-Yukinon! U, Um, um you see……”
Yuigahama forcefully placed her mug on the table and hoping to talk, interrupted the conversation. It was as if she had a feeling that what Yukinoshita was going to say were words that shouldn’t be said.(!) But that was nothing more than procrastination.(!) The way she acted as if she was trying to pretend she didn’t notice could only be seen as if she was trying to keep a secret under wraps.(!)
>Hachiman comes to the realization that he can’t do it on his own. He considers himself weak because he has to ask help from others. He starts thinking to himself that by helping out others, he is helping create people that aren’t able to do anything for themselves. (Iroha is probably the best example of a character not being able to do things on her own in the series, at least when it comes to her SCP duties. Iroha always comes barging into the Service Club asking help from the Service Club. However it is also going to apply to Yukino later on or more specifically that Hachiman doesn’t want Yukino to be weak and unable to do things for herself.)
Hachiman stays up all night thinking about why he was acting. What was his reason for doing everything up until this point? He comes to the conclusion that there was something that he wanted.
I ended up wasting a significant amount of time since earlier because my mind was stuck on those things. This was a problem I should leave for later. Now that’s been established, the other three problems in particular had goals clearly set in place so it was simple to understand.
I continued to rearrange the problems from my head, digging around for that optimal solution as if I was planting my own death flags. What connected all of them was the Christmas collaboration event. The three problems were summed up with this. I just needed to think of a way that would make this a success in an ideal manner. But having gone through the work for this week, I was aware that this wasn’t an easy feat. I didn’t think I was capable of turning that situation around.(!) I even talked with Tamanawa regarding whether there was anything that could be improved. What should I do? Should I ask for help from someone? The responsibility and cause lay with me. Just how weak was I?(!) Why was I so quick to try to rely on others? Just because I asked for help that one time(!), I was misunderstanding. And now I was immediately trying to depend on others. Just when did I become so weak?(!) The bonds between people had to be a narcotic. You unwittingly became dependent all the while your heart deteriorates inside out. And then you ended up needing to rely on others and you eventually become unable to do things by yourself.(!) Then, was it possible that by intending to lend a hand to people that I was actually making them suffer instead? Was I giving birth to people who couldn’t stand on their own two feet unless they had help from someone?(!) Even though we were supposed to teach them how to catch fish and not give them one. Something that could be easily given to someone was surely a fake. Something that could easily be given away was surely something that could easily be taken away by someone. During that student council election, Komachi gave me a reason. I moved with the position that I was doing it for Komachi’s sake(!), to maintain the Service Club’s ongoing existence. That’s why I was probably mistaken that time. Even though I should have acted with an answer and reason that I found for myself. Even now, I was looking for a reason to act from someone. For Isshiki’s sake(!), for Rumi’s sake(!), for the event’s sake.(!) Were they all really reasons why I would act?(!) I feel like I’m mistaken about the prerequisites. The point I should be thinking about must be wrong. If I were to correct what’s right or wrong, then I needed to start from the beginning. To this day, what have I been acting for?(!) What was the reason?(!) I’ll trace back the events I had in mind earlier in reverse chronological order.
The reason the Christmas event needed to be a success was for Isshiki Iroha and Tsurumi Rumi’s sake. And the reason why I was helping directly with the event was because I had pushed the role of presidency onto Isshiki during the student council election. And during that election, why I did that was to keep Yukinoshita and Yuigahama from becoming president. Why did I want to keep those two from becoming president? The reason I received from Komachi was grounds for me to move, but the real reason why I moved was…
Was because there was something I wanted.(!)
In the past, it was likely that was the one and only thing that I wanted and that I didn’t need anything else(!), even going as far as to detesting them. But being unable to completely obtain it, I started to think it didn’t exist.(!) Yet, that was because I felt like I had seen it. That I even may have touched upon it. That’s why I was mistaken. I was able to make the question. Now I need to think. About what my answer is.
I didn’t know how much time I spent thinking. But the night dyed in blue began to dissolve as the sky faintly proceeded to whiten. I was thinking the entire time, yet I couldn’t think of a single way, plan, or strategy. No matter what logic, theory, reason, and sophistry I could think of, nothing came to mind.
───That’s why, this was probably it. This was probably my answer.(!)
>The first time Hachiman asks for help.
>There was something Hachiman wanted.
>What has Hachiman been acting for? What was his reason?
>What is it that Hachiman has wanted all this time? (Read Part 5)
Which finally brings us to Hachiman’s: “I want something genuine” moment. As you may have noticed while reading through my analysis, Hachiman has been acting incredibly disingenuous for almost a volume and a half now. Hachiman still wants to cling to his ideal image of being a loner, no matter what the cost. Lying, deceiving, manipulating, using underhanded methods, going behind people’s backs, it doesn’t matter, all for the sake of preserving a superficial relationship with the Service Club. Yukino pushes Hachiman away because she doesn’t want to see him suffer like this so that they can be Hayato’s group.
Which brings us to Hachiman’s characters song: Harumodoki.
For 1,5 volumes, Hachiman has been walking down a path that will eventually drain him of all warmth. That is, unless he is willing to change. If he wants to change, it’s now or never. Zoom in on Yukino.
Why are we zooming in on Yukino? Because it’s Yukino that triggers this change in Hachiman. Yukino creating a distance between Hachiman and herself is the trigger that makes Hachiman decide what is more important to him: his image of being a loner or being able to stay close to Yukino.
If I’m planning on changing my path,
Now’s the time!
I don’t want a replica like this -
I’m fine only having things that can be called “real”
I’ll go searching, following this path…
Like I’ve mentioned before, Hachiman telling Yukino that he wants something genuine from her is the moment where Hachiman’s character development/arc takes a backseat and Yukino takes over. So this whole “If I want to change, it’s now or never” also applies to Yukino. If you were to watch the OP of the second season of the anime, you’d highly likely get the impression that the notion of needing to change was all about Yukino in the first place (or at least I assume that’s what people got from it), even though Harumodoki is a song from Hachiman’s perspective. The point is: it applies to both of them.
Now, we’re going to tackle the genuine scene. However I’m not going to address what it means. That’s what Part 5 is for. For now, let’s just focus on what happens and why it happens, instead of what it means.
>Yukino and Yui being best friends without Hachiman around.
>Hachiman enters the Service Club, Yukino reminds Hachiman that he didn’t need to force himself to show up. Hachiman says there was something he needed to do here. He sits down at the table, not as a member, but as a client.
>Yui is glad Hachiman is willing to talk to them. Hachiman immediately starts off with asking for their help. Yukino wants to say something, however Hachiman cuts her off. Hachiman supposedly knows what Yukino wanted to say. Hachiman thinks Yukino wants to place the blame on him or tell him that he shouldn’t have taken on the request on his own in the first place, whereas what Yukino wanted to say was that he didn’t need to force himself to do that anymore. He was set free of his responsibilities. However, that’s also not an option, because Hachiman forced Iroha to be in that position in the first place, so he has to make things right.
“Hikki, you’re finally gonna talk to us…”
Yuigahama smiled warmly. Yukinoshita, however, had a completely different expression. Her eyes were looking at me, yet it felt like she wasn’t focusing on me at all. The way she looked at me like that caused my voice to gradually grow weaker.
“It’s regarding the Christmas event with Isshiki the other day. It’s turning out to be a lot worse than I imagined, so I wanted your help…”
I managed to wring out my words and Yukinoshita dropped her gaze, replying with hesitation.
“No, I know what you want to say,”(!) I said rapidly, interrupting her before she could turn me down.(!)
“I know I took up the request on my own. I even said it wouldn’t help her in the long run, but I’m still the one who forced her to become the president.(!) All the problems lie with me.”(!)
It’d be extremely bad if I was turned down here. I didn’t prepare anything that could hope to convince Yukinoshita(!), but even so, I had to avoid getting rejected here.(!) I gave the few reasons and listed them out to her.(!)
“Do you remember the elementary kid from Chiba Village? She actually hasn’t changed at all…”
“Oh… Do you mean Rumi-chan?” Yuigahama made a difficult face. The incident with her in the past wasn’t a good memory for anyone. Not a single individual was saved, rather, everyone was forced to deal with the worst result ever. That was how I did things the entire time. But that’s where I was wrong again. That’s why, I desperately spat out my words so I wouldn’t make that mistake once more.
>So, after being told to take a break from the Service Club Hachiman comes back immediately the next day and starts the conversation about how everything up until this point is his fault. As you can imagine, this is absolutely the last thing Yukino wants to hear, because it means he’s once again shutting them out of his life while taking the blame on himself. Yukino tells Hachiman that if he truly believes that it’s all his fault, that he should solve it himself. (Look at how difficult it is for her to say this.)
“That’s why I want to do something for her. I know things turned out the way they did because of what I did(!), and I know I’m being presumptuous, but I still want your help.”(!)
After I finished, I looked at Yukinoshita. She squeezed the fists she had on the table even harder.(!)
“So you’re saying… you’re at fault?”(!)
“…Yeah, I can’t deny it.”(!)
Directly or indirectly, my actions were the cause of everything. That was an infallible truth. Upon answering her, she quietly lowered her eyes and bit her lips.(!)
“I see…” she said, her voice resembling a sigh and lifted her face.(!) Her eyes that were slightly moist looked at me for an instant, but were quickly averted.(!) After taking a moment to search for the words she wanted to say(!), she spoke with a cold tone.
“…However, if you think the responsibility is yours and only yours alone(!), isn’t it something you ought to solve on your own?”(!)
Those words caused me to choke for a moment. But I knew I couldn’t stay silent, so I somehow managed to bring out a husky voice.
“…Right. Sorry, forget I even asked.”(!)
Now I had lost all my options. I didn’t have anything else in mind. And most of all, Yukinoshita was someone grounded on the fundamental truth, so what she was saying was right. It made sense to me enough. At least, logically. I stood up looking to leave the clubroom. But in that moment, I was stopped by a passionate voice.
>The way things are going, Hachiman and Yukino are going to push each other away again. Yui interjects and says that it’s not all Hachiman’s fault. It’s also Yui and Yukino’s fault. Yui calls Yukino unfair, because this is the first time Hachiman is asking them for help and Yukino is pushing him away (because Yukino already made up her mind that she doesn’t want Hachiman to continue struggling like this). Yui simply wants things to go back to normal. She wants be able to hang out with her best friend while also being able to spend time with Hachiman in the Service Club so she can grow closer to him.
The voice reverberated in the quiet and cold room. With damp eyes, Yuigahama looked at Yukinoshita and me.
“That can’t be right. Why the heck do things have to be that way? It makes no sense,” Yuigahama said, her voice trembling. Compared to the two of us who were logically satisfied(!), she judged it otherwise without a single reason.(!)
To see her like that was so fitting of her that my cheeks slackened. As she wore that weak smile, I slowly opened my mouth as though to explain to a child, though wondering who exactly it was that I was trying to persuade.
“No, it does… It’s only natural to figure out your own problems.”
“…I suppose so.” Yukinoshita agreed, only after taking a moment.
We both replied and Yuigahama quickly shook her head and retorted.
“That’s wrong. The both of you are saying completely different things.”(!)
When I looked at Yuigahama to see that she was making a face that was on the verge of tears, my chest tightened and I wanted to remove my gaze from her. But her kind voice wouldn’t allow me to.
“Look, Hikki, you’re not the only one responsible.(!) I mean, you did think up of all the ideas and even carried them out(!), but we’re just as responsible, too.(!) We’re the ones who forced you to do all the work…”(!)
“…No, you got that wrong.”(!)
I scrambled for the words I needed to tell Yuigahama who was hanging her head. They didn’t push the work onto me at all. In fact, they helped me quite a lot. However, she lifted her head to look at me, still showing that weeping expression.
“No, I didn’t.(!) You’re not the only one responsible for why things ended up this way.(!) I am, too…”(!) Yuigahama looked over at Yukinoshita’s face. Her gaze implied that there was one other person guilty as well.(!)
Yukinoshita directly returned her gaze, however, she didn’t utter a single word. Her lips were tightly sealed shut.
Pressured, Yuigahama lowered her voice and mumbled, “…You’re being unfair with what you’re saying, Yukinon.”(!)
Her voice may have been docile, but her gaze was firmly locked onto Yukinoshita. Her sincere eyes looked even aggressive.(!) Yukinoshita didn’t break away from their locked gazes. She took a moment wondering whether she should say anything and responded with a subdued, but sharp tone.
“So you’re bringing that up now…?(!) You’re just as unfair.”(!) Yukinoshita said.
Yuigahama slightly bit her lips. Their gazes went back and forth as though they were glaring each other down.