“I was so focused on that one single goal,
it was all I could see.”
So starts the chapter. And who’s narrating?
My dreams have come true. My wish is fulfilled. Sakisaka Io-sama. Just marry me.
Anyway, we’re in flashback-mode. A doctor is about to tell Kou about his mom’s condition, but then he hesitates, and asks if there isn’t any other family around. Kou explains that his parents are divorced and that his father and older brother lives far away. The doctor wonders out loud if it might not be better for him to contact one of them first, but Kou says that he’s the one who’s there with his mom right now. He’s the only one who CAN be there with her right now. (And he narrates: I’m supposed to protect her. Isn’t that why I gathered my courage and came here?)
Later, he goes to his mom in her hospital room, and she asks him what the doctor said. (Kou has his mother’s eyes, that’s so cute.) Kou tells her he said they couldn’t know anything for sure until they’d examined her more closely, and that she’ll have to be hospitalized for the time being so they can runs tests and stuff. Kou wonders if it might be hernia or something (apparently her lower back hurts), and she’s like, “So hernia’s this painful, huh?” She starts coughing, and Kou fiddles with the buttons on his uniform, ignoring the sign of illness. His mom tells him he should head home since it seems she’s caught a cold, and she doesn’t want him to catch it too. Kou wants to stay a little longer, but rather than saying so, he agrees and leaves. He assures himself that he acted like his usual self just now and that everything’s all right.
His mom goes to call Tanaka-sensei once Kou leaves, telling him that she’s probably not doing very well. Kou was trying his best to hide it from her, but she could tell. Kou’s back home, standing in the doorway to the empty, dark living room, remembering what the doctor told him earlier. His mom has lung cancer. The pain in her lower back is due to the cancer spreading to her skeleton. By this stage, the illness is terminal.
His mom ends the phone call by entrusting Kou to Tanaka-sensei, and Kou remembers the closing words of the doctor, sinking to his knees. “Your mother probably has around 6 months left.”
He asks himself when he should have noticed. “By what time should I have noticed, to have made it in time?”
And then there’s a flashback within the flashback! Nifty.
Kou sits by his desk, studying. “I wanted to make sure mom would live comfortably in the future, so I spent almost all my free time studying. To enter a good high school. To enter a good university. To enter a good company.”
His mom knocks on his door, telling him dinner’s ready. He tells her to eat before him, since he wants to get to a good break point before he stops.
“Whaaat, again? Mommy’s lonely here.”
“That might be the case right now, but won’t you be grateful once I’m bringing in an income?” (SO CUTE, THIS KID.)
She smiles (she has dimples!), saying, “I’m not really wishing for anything like that, though... It’s much more important to me to get to eat together, watch TV and just spend time together, you know?”
Back to flashback 1, Kou thinks, “I... was wrong. I was so focused on that one single goal, it was all I could see. But I was wrong.” He starts repeating apologies. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. There were more important things, but I didn’t get it. And now it’s too late.”
By this point he’s all curled up on the floor, and the phone rings. He sends it a terrified look, wondering if it’s the hospital. “I’m scared. I’m scared. I hate this.”
The answering machine picks up, and it’s Tanaka-sensei, saying he just got a call from their mom...
Kou remembers Tanaka-sensei telling him to care care of their mom, and then he starts crying for real, apologizing over and over until he hears a voice, calling his name. Looking around, he sees Futaba running towards him (the scene from the prologue), and he’s like, “Ah. It’s Yoshioka... I see. We’re playing cops and robbers right now.
“She’s running with a really amazing expression on her face, isn’t she...”
And then he wakes up in the present. Hah! Dreaming about Futaba~ No, really, that was so lovely sob. She came like, running into his nightmare and turned it all around (FORESHADOWING).
He’s been sleeping with his head on the table, the math summary and the chemistry summary by Kominato and Futaba lying in front of him. Futaba’s has the message: “Work hard so you don’t end up in summer school!” and she’s drawn their cat, haha aw. Kominato’s says: “Do your best, Kou! You’ll probably be OK as long as you do this.” And then he’s signed it with “Aya<3” hahaha. That’s the cutest signature I’ve ever seen. Superlol.
Looking at them, Kou gets that... Kou-blush (two small, short lines haha, pretty much the extent of his blushing after growing up. This must change, Kou. I expect it to change!). But when he reaches out to pick them up, his mother’s face flashes through his mind, and he startles, his hand falling back down. Like he forgot all about it for a moment, and then it hit him all over again.
Cue relapse to Moody Kou. They all gather in the library the next day, ready for another study session, but Kou stays at the edge, back half-turned and only barely glancing at Futaba when she asks him what subject he wants to work on. He says whatever’s fine, then excuses himself to go to the bathroom. I can’t believe they let him, how naive. They should at least send Kominato with as a guard.
So after a while, Yuuri comments that he’s taking pretty long... And Murao’s like, “Didn’t he leave?” Futaba’s enraged, and... they’re noisy. XD In the library. Hahaha. (Murao’s like, “That’s just like him, that damn brat.”) There’s boy nearby (AAAH HELLO), sitting beneath like three signs that all say: “BE QUIET!” but our main characters can’t read and have no common sense. He gets increasingly distracted (from his book on... wombats? HAHAHA), so he decides to just borrow his wombat book and go home. But just as this boy, with short, fluffy hair and one earring - I believe we refer to him as GG-kun (Goodie-goodie!) - stands up, Futaba takes a step back, intent to chase after Kou, and bumps into him. He’s like ouch, and she’s like huh, taking another step, this time onto his foot, and he yelps, bending down. She loses her balance and falls backwards onto him, and because he looks up just then, her head hits him on the chin.
I was giggling like an idiot by this point.
But there is more.
Futaba’s like, landed in front of him with her back against him, and she turns around to apologize, and his face (his FACE!) is like “D:!!!”, and she realizes where she has her... hand.
...I think I laughed for 5 minutes.
Silently, so as not to annoy my neighbours.
It actually kinda hurt. My stomach.
Some of you will be reading this before there are raws... LOOK FORWARD TO RAWS.
…So anyway, Futaba screeeeeams like right into his ear, and then she bolts, yelling an apology (for touching him. Hahahaha). Kominato also apologizes before following her. lol. The group disappears out the door, leaving GG-kun reeling alone on the floor, all FML.
Hapless and goody-goody and reading books on wombats. Where have you been for the first three volumes.
Okay, I’m going to stop rambling about this episode now. And I’m going to stop giggling. Soon.
The group heads to a family restaurant and talk about Kou. They wonder if he might just find them annoying - sometimes it seems that way, sometimes not...
Futaba listens to them talk, addressing Kou in her mind: “Kou, if you just open the door, there’s a bright place right there waiting for you...”
Scene change: Futaba’s pressing the doorbell to Kou’s house. “...So why won’t you come out!”
Tanaka-sensei opens the door, and Futaba’s like, “The one who came out was Tanaka-sensei...” XD
He tells her Kou’s not home, so Futaba goes all, “Senseeeei, Kou-kun won’t open the door to his heaaaaart! He’ll only open fake doors. The door I actually want him to open is all locked up...”
“Haha, I see. But that might not be the case, exactly. He might actually have forgotten to make a key hole or a door handle all together, don’t you think?”
And Futaba’s like, WHAT SORT OF AN IDIOT...
And then she asks what she should do, then. Tanaka-sensei says he’s wondering the exact same thing. Futaba’s quiet for a moment. Then she exclaims, “Then I will beat it down.” She turns and takes off running, with the idea to open his heart the way he opened hers. “That damn brat!”
Tanaka-sensei stares after her, thinking she’s like a storm. I love when female protagonists are compared to forces of nature :’) GO BLOW KOU AWAY ~
Thinking Kou might be hanging around the area she followed him to before, she heads down to check, and yeah, there he is. He’s lost in thought, remembering when Futaba told him that if he wanted a conversation partner, he could just talk to her. Or Kominato or Yuuri.
The guys next to him wonders if he’s even listening to them, one saying he looks bored, the other saying no, this is just how Kou is. They comment that he doesn’t show up much lately. Did he find something more fun to do? Kou immediately pictures the group he just bailed on, but then says that no, he didn’t. Then someone calls his name. He looks around to the familiar scene of Futaba running towards him with all her might, and he thinks, “She’s running with an amazing expression again...”
They end up like last time, Futaba following behind Kou down the path by the river. He says he told her not to come there alone, but she ignores that, and asks how long he’s intending to keep this up.
“Keep what up?”
“This! Everything you’re doing.”
He glances back at her, then continues walking without answering.
“Won’t acting like this tire you out in the end? Where’s the point?”
“There’s no point? No matter what I do, there’s no point. But you, who has the chance to start from scratch and fix things, probably wouldn’t understand that.”
Futaba says his mom would probably be sad to hear him say something like that, and he says that yeah. He’s thought of that. But if he reasons like that, he’s stuck with all sorts of feelings that he can’t get rid off. “I realized I was wrong, but I can’t start from scratch and fix it.” He watched his mom prepare to leave the world, saw her get gradually thinner every day, “there’s no way you could understand how that felt, is there?” (A few flashback-frames from when Futaba was all happy after settling things with Asumi and Chie, talking about starting from scratch and stuff.)
Futaba takes a few steps to close the distance between them, banging her fist on his chest. She thinks that Kou’s still in as much pain as he was at the start, that no one but he himself can know exactly how much it hurts, but still... Still. “Is it so terrible that I really, from the bottom of my heart, want to understand?”
And then she just bangs her fist on his chest over and over for a while, thinking, “I just want to beat it down. This door. I want to beat it down.”
Kou grabs her wrist eventually, asking why she won’t just leave him alone. Her and Kominato and everyone. “So scary.”
Futaba freezes. Then she kinda forcefully grabs the front of his shirt, yelling his name, pushing him backwards a little, and he’s like, “You idiot, that dangerou...” and then he slips on the grass, and falls backwards off the path, down the grassy slope, Futaba on top of him.
Hahahaha, what’s with this chapter, oh my god.
So there they are, once again, snuggling on the river bank. Or maybe snuggling isn’t the right word.
Kou’s like, “damn, falling down upside-down, is scaryyyy.” And then he’s like, “You’re heavy...”
Futaba, however, is hilariously unconcerned with the whole falling thing (she had a sleigh, after all), and just keeps lying on top of him (kya much), going all, “It’s too late now! That you think it’s scary means you already care about us! You’re thinking you might end up losing someone again... That’s what’s scary, right?!”
“You’re really shameless...”
“What you lost was just too big. You might not be able to find a single replacement for it, but it’s fine if it’s not just one thing, right? Even if they’re small, if you gather up 10 or 100 little things, they’ll become a reason for you to keep going.”
He stares at her like she’s finally getting through to him (cue music).
“If you lose yourself in something, or if you smile from the heart, no one will blame you. And if someone do, then I will send them flying.”
Kou narrates a bit again. “...I see. To let things move me, to smile from my heart, to find meaning in day-to-day life...” He stretches his arms out silently, then wraps them around Futaba. “I wanted someone to tell me it was okay.” And a tear runs down his cheek. (BAW. LET’S GROUP HUG.)
EDIT: "Perhaps I've always been waiting for this storm to come ”
Bikkuri's notes:Okay, ambiguous last line is ambiguous. I have to think and re-think and think about it again when I actually translate the chapter word by word. That is the literal translation though (held as in the way you hold things in your hands or in your heart etc, not really in your ARMS (as in a hug)). But. I suppose it’s ambiguous on purpose? XD I’m tired. I don’t know. <-- Ignore this, Bikkuri was just in some kind of Zombi-mode so she mixed kanjis here and there >=)
BUT YAY HUGGING.
YAY KOU AND THE DOOR TO HIS HEART CRACKING OPEN.
YAY FUTABA IS AWESOME.
YAY GG-KUN IS MINE.
I love the way this chapter sort of repeats old scenes, but with slight twists and like... more feelings. I love the insight into Kou’s mind. And I have no idea where the story will go from here, but I’m forever on this blue spring ride! We’re driving through lovely scenery! The seats are comfy! The company is excellent! I’m really tired and I’m sorry if nothing makes sense! And I’m also sorry that the scanlation might take a while because I have exams and I’m going home soon (GOODBYE JAPAN and goodbye to being the first to get my hands on new AHR chapters sob).