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Futaba and Kou are still hugging as chapter 14 begins and oh god I’m starting to develop such an abnormal love for this story I can’t even sajfnjdknthink. But okay. Let’s concentrate.
Futaba realizes that this is the first time she’s seen Kou’s weaker side. And her arms are supporting him... And he’s sitting there all quiet and adorable... And then she’s like oops, I shouldn’t be thinking stuff like that in this kind of situation... She starts to pull back a little, but he fastens his hold on her and tells her not to pull back yet.
First Futaba’s like dokidokidoki, whatwhatwhat?! ...But then she notices that he’s drying tears off his face, and she thinks with some disappointment that he simply didn’t want her to see him cry. Maybe that’s the only reason he hugged her in the first place...
When his face is all tear-free he lets go, and they sit slightly turned away from each other in somewhat awkward silence, as Futaba ponders the wickedness of her jumbled desires -- the pure-hearted part of her sincerely wishes to be able to support him even just a little bit, while a less pure part is busy wondering what his face looks like after he’s cried. Haha.
Kou interrupts her thoughts with a comment on her running-face, calling it amazing. Futaba takes it as an insult and asks if he’s making fun of her, but she stops short when she turns and looks at his face, which is all shiny and bright. Kou says, “I’m not making fun of you. You looked pretty cool.” And Futaba looks like she just saw a sparkling vampire, somehow noticing that his eyelashes glitter in the moonlight. Wow, you are so in love.
Obsessing a bit about how she’s probably the only one he’s shown his just-done-crying face to, she stares at him and her heart pounds and she wonders if this isn’t a good atmosphere for a confession... and then just as she’s starting to say his name, her stomach growls. Haaaah... Futaba.
Kou suggests they get something to eat on their way home, and while at first Futaba mind-spazzes over how very couple-like that sounds, she suddenly remembers how Tanaka-sensei was wearing an apron when she stopped by earlier, and that probably means he’s preparing dinner. So she tells that to Kou, and adds that Tanaka-sensei once told her that he thought Kou might bear a grudge against him, since he couldn’t be there with him when their mom was sick. Kou’s like, “What? Of course he couldn’t be there all the time when we lived so far apart.” Futaba says he should make sure Tanaka-sensei knows that that’s how he feels by telling it to him himself.
So Kou heads home, walking past Tanaka-sensei and straight up to his room, not really answering whether he wants something to eat or not. He hears his dad coming home (SERIOUSLYYY? Phantom Father enters the picture (literally)!!!!), and heads down to the kitchen after all, going like, “AHH I’M HUNGRY. Maybe I’ll have something to eat as well...”
Tanaka-sensei gets totally excited (aw), and their father (I mean! He has a face!!! ...and he looks kinda old and tired, naw) joins them in the kitchen, pausing when he sees Kou. Clearly Kou never ever eats with them, haha. Father ruffles Kou’s hair (aw man, there’s all this warm and fuzzy shit in my chest right now). They sit down to eat, saying their itadakimasus, and then Tanaka-sensei cries a little because he’s adorable. He says he’s been waiting for this day to come, and that he’s always been planning to greet it with a smile, but...
Kou opens up some more, confessing that the reason he never eats with them is because he’s always been wondering if it’s really okay... for just him to return to this house... just him to eat a meal together with everyone again... just him to do things with them that he didn’t do with his mom...
But his father says that their mother wasn’t the kind of narrow-minded person who’d mind something like that. He takes another bite of food, and goes, “Ahh... the food tastes really good today...”
Then Kou brings up the things about his last name, wondering if it’s okay if he waits a bit longer to change it. He doesn’t really mind going back to “Tanaka”, it’s just...
His dad says it’s okay, and that he can wait until he feels ready. “Whether our names are the same our not, the fact that we’re family won’t change.”
“Thank you... dad.”
Warm and fuzzy... explosion.
School, next day. Futaba has realized how embarrassing the whole hugging and crying thing yesterday was, and wonders how she’s supposed to face Kou now. Here comes the cutest moment of the chapter, although much cuter in drawing than in writing: Kou enters the classroom, their eyes meet and he makes a veeery Tanaka-kun-ish face (omg<3). They give each their half-hearted greeting, and he goes to sit down at his desk. Futaba figures he must be embarrassed as well. She glances over at him, just as he glances back at her, and then he looks away all bashfully, lifting his hand to pull a little at his fringe, and then he slumps forward onto his bag on is desk, hiding his face.
...BNSJKLNAFCS WHAT. OH MY GUHHH IT’S TANAKA-KUN.
Futaba stares, agreeing with me that that was the most adorable thing ever, and thinks happily to herself that she keeps seeing new sides to him lately.
Kominato and the rest of the gang arrives as well, Kominato telling Kou off for bailing on them yesterday. Kou’s like, sorry sorry, how about today? You free? And everyone’s like, HUH?! And then they agree to study together today instead, buzzed that Kou’s finally playing along.
Some time later, after all exams are done and the results are posted (the 100 best students are ranked for all to see), the gang gathers to see how they did, and... Kou beats everyone (he’s 15th). He’s like, “Uhm, sorry?” XD Hahaha. But they all made the list, at least, so they head back towards their classroom quite cheerfully.
AND THEN ON THE WAY... GG-kun appears :’D He’s there to look for his name on the list as well (he finds it), and some guys mention the name Touma, but it’s not really clear to me if this is GG-kun or not... Touma? Touma... I like it. I hope it’s him. I mean. Not that I’m ever going to be able to stop calling him GG-kun, but y’know. He should have a cute name. OH NO but now if it turns out his name is NOT Touma, I’m going to have to go through like a million “GG-kun -- ah, I mean, Touma -- NO! I MEAN........”
SAKISAKA. GIVE ME A NAME.
...Anyway, Futaba sees him and hunches forward in ultimate shame, muttering I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry under her breath as she walks past him. He recognizes her as well, referring to her in his mind as “The female pervert”. HAHAHA. (She refers to him as “The library guy.” ANOTHER nickname for our GG-kun.)
Murao recognizes him as well, but as she starts to mention it, Futaba clamps her hand over her mouth and tells her not to talk about it because it’s embarrassing. Kou notices the strange behaviour, glancing over to see who caused it. He asks Kominato who the guy they just passed is, but Kominato wasn’t paying attention and doesn’t get who he’s talking about, so Kou lets it go.
GG-kun watches Futaba walk away (her head so low you can barely see it over her shoulders), noticing that she seems to be feeling really bad about The Incident. He feels kinda sorry for her... (Aw man, this could have been the start of a beautiful love story hahaha. Too bad, GG-kun. Too bad. I’d cheer for you in an alternate universe.)
School ends and it’s summer vacation. As everyone gets ready to leave, Futaba notices that Kou is already gone, and since she’d wanted them all to go somewhere together and make plans for the summer, she decides to chase after him. So she and Yuuri takes off running, but stops and looks back when they notice that Murao isn’t keeping up. Futaba calls her “Shuukooo” and Yuuri calls her “Shuu-chaaaan”. Haha <3 She tells them she’ll leave the catching of Kou to them, so they’re like OKAY and continue running.
Someone from higher up in the stairs mimics the way Futaba and Yuuri were just calling her name, and Murao looks up to see Tanaka-sensei leaning on the railing. He grins at her, saying he’s happy to hear someone being on first-name basis with her. She tells him that although she might have found a place where she fits in, her feelings for him haven’t changed or anything. “You might be hoping you’re about to get rid of someone annoying, but that won’t happen.”
He says, “I’ve never thought you were annoying, though?”
Murao blushes and marches off, telling him very formally to have a nice summer vacation. Amused, he thinks it sounded like a New Year greeting or something.
Kominato appears from behind him, having overheard the exchange, and tells him that if he leads Murao on and ends up hurting her, he’s not going to let it go. Tanaka-sensei is like, “Oh, okay. That means you’ll be fine with anything as long as she doesn’t get hurt, right?” And then he gets this totally taunting look on his face (...HM?! Since when were you so... ho--/shot) and repeats Murao’s: “A very good summer vacation to you.”
Uhm, so either Tanaka-sensei is suddenly not so opposed to the idea of dating Murao, or, and I find this a lot more likely (at least at this point), he’s just having fun with Kominato. Haha. No, I dunno. It just feels a bit like he’s egging him on, so he might just want Kominato to step it up a bit and catch Murao’s interest, so she won’t waste all of high school in a one-sided love with her teacher. Only the future shall tell... I guess. I need more interactions between all sides of this love triangle before I decide who’s team I’m cheering for, or even really know who’s actually playing the game, hm.
Anyway, Kominato’s pissed (and super cute), thinking that although he likes Kou, he REALLY can’t stand his brother. He meets the others by the shoe lockers, where Kou has been successfully seized. Kou would rather just make plans for the summer through mail or something, but the rest are set on going somewhere and be hyper together (at least Kominato and Futaba will be hyper). Kou sighs, thinking this will take a while. Haha what, and would you rather go home and mope? Geez.
Kou then notices GG-kun peeking at them (or more specifically at Futaba) from behind a locker. GG-kun thinks that he’d like to settle things between himself and Futaba before the holidays, tell her they should both just forget the whole thing ever happened, but he’s having trouble working up the guts to go up to her.
Keeping his eyes on him (not that GG-kun notices that he’s being watched), Kou finally agrees to join the planning and the group starts to leave, so GG-kun decides he’s lost his chance for now and gives up. He’s so timiiiiid <3
Yuuri, ever observant, also notices GG-kun by the lockers and that Kou is looking at him, so she connects some dots, figuring that Kou really must like... But then she stops herself, telling herself not to feel defeated. She’s going to give it her best shot this summer! (Sigh, just give up.)
They’re all walking together on the last page, Yuuri between Futaba and Kou, and Futaba glances at Kou, thinking, “It’ll be nice if our relationship can grow beyond friendship this summer...”
//End of ch14
YUP THAT WOULD BE NICE.
Kou’s Tanaka-kun side mixing in with his Mabuchi side makes me all giddy with anticipation okay, Kou is going to get so. inhumanly. adorable.
The rooftop guy/GG-kun/Touma?/the library guy is also just the cutest thing, so I hope his heart won’t have to break too much :< I personally wasn’t a fan of Andou in Strobe Edge so I didn’t have to suffer too much there (I did pity him for being so pathetic, though), but if GG-kun suffers I will cry. And he’s barely even showed up yet hahaha /baseless undying love
Anyway, I look forward to their summer vacation. I hope for a final end to the Yuuri situation, KomixMurao interaction (to help me decide whether I ship them or not) and SKINSHIIIIP~
DUDE, the only FutaxKou touching in this chapter was the hug from the last chapter! Why!