The cover is adorableeee, Futaba with Kou on her lap. I mean the stray cat. Which is Kou in spirit! Anyway, cute.
No time jumps, thank god! Everyone’s back in Kou’s room, and Futaba’s sneaking glances over the top of her reference book, dying to know exactly what went down behind the scenes. She makes eye-contact with Yuuri at one point, who quickly looks away. Futaba’s like, “She avoided eye-contact again! Whaaaat? Whyyyy?! What happeeeeened?!” And then, haha, she starts speculating just like all the readers have been doing for about a month - did one of them confess? Or could they possibly have... ki--GAAH. No, no! Nevermind!!
Uneasy, she shifts her attention to Kou, wondering if it’s possible he likes Yuuri. Kou’s letting his brain run away with him (stop fighting your inner genius, man), solving math problems easily after Kominato shows him how, and Komi comments that he’s really quick on the uptake. “Is the problem just that you’re not paying attention in class? Why’d you start to hate studying?”
Kou says he didn’t really start hating it, it’s more like he just lost the “need” (motivation?) to study. “...That’s right. I don’t need it, so why am I even doing this? Stupid.” And he drops his pen, ready to give up, but Yuuri speaks up to say that if he doesn’t at least put in some minimal effort, he might really be unable to advance to third year with the rest of them, and that’s no good (no good!) and won’t make anyone happy! (No one!)
Kou looks at her, and Yuuri looks at Kou, and Futaba looks at Yuuri and Kou, wondering what this atmosphere between them is about... (I bet all my money that it’s nothing romantic (on Kou’s end). ALL MY MONEYS OKAY).
Kominato bangs his fist on the table, hyped by Yuuri’s enthusiasm, “That’s right, we need to become third years together!” And also, if Kou does badly on the next round of tests as well, he’ll have to take summer classes, and then where will all their fun go?! They have to play together all summer! (Yeeees!) “So let’s keep studying together a bit more!”
And Kou’s like, “...Yeah,” hiding his face (awhawhaw, how cute), but adding that it’s enough for today, though, cause he’s tired. So the group heads home, minus Kou who is already home, and as they walk together, Futaba asks Yuuri one more time whether something happened between her and Kou. Yuuri seems to deliberate for a moment, there’s a pause, but then she repeats that nothing happened. That pause, Futaba thinks, tells her that something definitely happened, something she isn’t let in on... They all go their separate ways at the station and Futaba, unable to swallow her curiosity, turns back to Kou’s place. I believe it’s time for the mandatory FutaxKou moment(s) yes yes!
Futaba rings the doorbell, and Kou opens, looking much less like he just tumbled out of bed (which was the case, of course) than when she last saw him. She asks if he’s on his way out, and he says yeah, but not quite yet. He wonders what she’s doing back, and though she first seems to intend to just ask him straight out right off the bat, she loses her nerve and comes up with a flimsy excuse, saying she thinks she might have forgotten her cell phone. Kou offers to go look for it, fishing his own phone out of his pocket to call her so her phone will make that “here I am” sound, which of course means that her cell phone starts ringing... in her bag. Hah, that’s embarrassing.
She comes up with another: “Oh, could I borrow the bathroom...?”
And another: “Let me have a glass of water!”
She proceeds to drink 7.
...You’ll have to borrow the bathroom again...
Kou eventually asks her what she actually came back for, having kept quiet and watched until now because he found it amusing. Realizing that she’s not convincing anyone with her acting, Futaba finally gets to the point, asking Kou the same thing she asked Yuuri; did something happen between them? He says “Nothing, really?”, but Futaba recognizes the same pause that Yuuri had, and tries again, saying Yuuri seemed weird, but she still denies that anything happened. She wonders to herself why they won’t tell her. She feels left out, and it frustrates her.
Kou says that if Yuuri said nothing happened, that means nothing happened, and anyway, it’s not really any of her business. Sulky, Futaba decides to try something else, “Also, I want to know the reason you’ve changed.”
“That again? I told you to stop looking for the old me, didn’t I?”
“I’m not. I’m not looking for the old you anymore. I just want to know who you are right now. I want to know what happened to you. I want to know everything.”
Kou pauses, then says that normally people stop prying once things reach a certain point. “You’re amazing, in a sense.”
Futaba’s not sure if he’s being sarcastic or not, but resolves not to back down. Then Kou grabs her arm and says, “All right.”
He pulls her through the kitchen and pushes her lightly into a neighbouring room with no lights on. Futaba wonders what his deal is at first, but then something catches her eye, and she stares. Inside is a home altar (a memorial-type thing), the kind they typically have for dead family members in Japanese homes, with a picture of the deceased and incense candles and such.
“My mom,” Kou says. Futaba looks at him, and Kou tells her not to make that face, adding that he wasn’t actually going out of his way to hide it, just that when you tell people things like these, they start worrying about how to respond. “And then people always make that face. Makita also made that exact same face earlier.”
And so Futaba realizes that Yuuri found out about Kou’s mom, and that that’s why she couldn’t easily tell what had happened, because it’s not the kind of thing you spread around without permission. She starts to feel bad about how self-centered her worries are, when both Kou and Yuuri are properly considering other people’s feelings. Tears start trickling down her face, and Kou complains that she cries too easily. She says, “Yeah, sorry,” and Kou (iiiiis that a tender look I spy?) ruffles her hair, calling her hopeless.
Futaba grabs his shirt, looking up at him all adorable and teary-eyed and saying, “You won’t quit school, right? Don’t you want to stay together?” She squeezes her eyes shut, more tears more tears, “I want us to stay together!”
Kou’s kept his hand on top of her head, but now it slides down to cup her face, wiping away a tear along the way.They loooook into each others eyeeeesss... and then someone comes along to interrupt what was maybe possibly about to happen, which I forgive because it’s TANAKA-SENSEI and he’s adorable and looks about 5 as he happily appears from around a corner, calling out for Kou, and then freezing as he observes the scene before him. And then he CROUCHES BEHIND THE CORNER HAHAHA, stuttering and blushing until Kou tells him that it’s, you know, not what it looks like, it’s just that Futaba started crying after hearing about their mom. And then Tanaka’s all, OH I see, and everything’s okay. Hahaha.
But then Kou has to go, not to wander the streets, but to his part time job (it’s nearing 7 PM). I’m upset with Futaba for not being interested in knowing what this job is (she doesn’t ask), because I want to know. Boo. Tanaka offers to give him a ride, but Kou tells him to take Futaba home instead, and then he leaves. We get a rrrrreally rare, short look into his mind (YAY. YAAAY), as he thinks back to how he like, kinda caressed Futaba’s face just now, and asking himself what he’s doing. Good question. Why aren’t you dating her yet.
Futaba asks Tanaka whether he and Kou have a bad relationship, and he laughs a little, saying that Kou probably just can’t forgive him. When their parents divorced, he’d told Kou, “I leave mom to you” (so Tanaka stayed with their dad, while Kou moved away with their mother, as we already know - at least those who have not been misled by some unfortunate mistranslations (there is no third brother, for example)), but soon the situation had become really tough as their mom got sick, and Tanaka had ended up leaving the whole burden on Kou’s shoulders (I wonder what’s wrong with their dad. Even if they were divorced and Kou lived with her and not him, shouldn’t he still have like... done something?). When she first got hospitalized, he had only just become a teacher, and the hospital she was in was all the way in Nagasaki, so he could only visit occasionally. Seeing his mom get thinner every time they met was hard, and he was always scared to enter the hospital room. Really, really scared. (Little Kou’s eyes are totally haunting in one of these frames. My hearrrrt). “He had to feel those thing every day, all by himself...” He goes quiet, then brightens again, telling Futaba that Kou is actually a really nice kid, so--
“I know.” She’s crying again. “I know!” And then Tanaka looks a little like he could cry himself, saying “Right? He’s a good kid......... Thank you.”
Tanaka drops Futaba off, and again she remembers Kou’s “When you care about things, it ends up wearing you out.” Him saying that makes sense to her now, and she thinks that those were the words of someone who knows how scary it is to lose someone. She goes on thinking that he’s been walking in a night she never knew about, which is a repetition of the line on the cover of chapter 10, when it simply meant that he’s been wandering the streets at night. There’s an added figurative meaning to it this time, however. Deep, Sakisaka-sensei. That’s deep. (Okay maybe it was already kind of abstract back then too, but now it’s EVEN DEEPER DESU.)
Futaba continues to muse that Kou has a weakness. No matter how much he pretends not to care and no matter how brusque he acts, in the end he’s definitely kind. And she knows.
Next day, Futaba and Yuuri are up on the rooftop during lunch break, and Futaba apologizes. Yuuri asks what for, and Futaba says she heard about Kou’s mom, and that she understands now why Yuuri wouldn’t tell her anything. She’s sorry for selfishly obsessing over it. Yuuri says that she’s no better - lately, whenever she sees how well Futaba and Kou gets along, she feels like she’s at a disadvantage and feels uneasy. Even though she’s the one who said there should be no hard feelings, she gets jealous and insecure. “When I didn’t tell you about Kou’s mom, part of me was just hoping to become someone more special to him than you. So don’t apologize to me, it makes me feel bad. I’m sorry...”
Futaba yells in frustration, saying she sick of this situation already. Why did they have to fall in love with the same guy?! “I really love you too, you know!”
“I love you too, Futaba-chan!”
And then they hug and wail haha :D
We then see three guys sitting behind that little rooftop building thing, two of them commenting on the scene they’re accidentally witnessing. “Sounds like they both like the same guy.”
“Who are they?”
“Aren’t they in our year?”
But then the third guy tells them to stop eavesdropping on people, and they turn their attention to him, going, “Goody-goody!” and “Are you Hasebe?!” (Hasebe is this baseball player or soccer player or something, I don’t know sports, but anyway, he’s known for being ridiculously honest, haha.) Goody-goody just tells them to eat their lunch.
I get a New Character vibe from this Goody-goody guy, but I may be wrong. He just, he seems to have a thought-out character design (fluffy hair, earring (random no-ones don’t have earrings!), big honest eyes?), and I think he has potential. I’d like to see him more. Also, it would be pretty random to have this scene if not to ease in a new face, right?
Anyway, after classes end, Kominato comes over to Kou with a stack of papers, which he proudly (and hilariously) presents as his self-composed summary of math stuff. (“I’m so niiiice!” Hahaha. Did I ever say I love this guy. Because I do.)
Kou is hardly appreciative, though, and Kominato’s upset. “DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD I...” But despite Kou’s attitude, Futaba sees him slip the papers into his bag, and she smiles to herself, going over to offer writing a summary of the chemistry bit for him. Murao asks when they’ll have their next study session, and Yuuri asks Kou when he’s free. Kou’s like “...L... let me think about it...” feeling under attack, haha. D’aw they’re such a fun group.
Futaba thinks: “Even if Kou is still walking in darkness... we’ll become signs showing him the way out.”
Bikkuri's notes: Ahhh. Though it’s a sad turn, I’m kind of relieved that there’s a really good reason why Kou’s been acting all hot and cold like he has, cause usually in shoujo, the hero is like that because of an ex-girlfriend haha (or they’re just arrogant jerks by nature). The divorce itself could have been reason enough, though, and I was prepared for that to be all (though I hoped for more details as to what exactly went down). A parent’s death, though, is... awful. Probably especially so during the transition from child to teenager.
By the way, I like how Kou is always leaving his hand on Futaba’s head. XD So cute.
And seriously, I just like all the characters so much! LET ME ADOPT YOU ALL.
…Also, if Goody-goody IS a new character, I wonder if he’s there for Yuuri or Futaba... ‘Cause IF he is a new character, I can only assume he’s there to add a new conflict to the romance aspect. And seeing as the mystery of Kou’s past is pretty much solved now, and there are definite signs of mutual attraction between Futaba and Kou, there needs to be a new conflict, or the story’ll have to end, haha D: And I kinda think that if Futaba and Kou is ever going to get around to happening, either Futaba needs to take the lead (which would be AWESOME), or Kou needs a push. And nothing pushes heroes of shoujo like jealousyyyy......
OH LOOK I RAMBLED. Sorry.