Summer vacation has arrived, and thus much of the chapter is just the kids enjoying their freedom.

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They’re not all having the same measure of fun, though. Momiji suggests a haunted house, the prospect of which is clearly terrifying for Tohru, but she doesn’t want to ruin anyone else’s fun, so she decides to “face her fears”.  Yuki and Kyo are only really scared about Tohru’s safety, while Momiji and Haru laugh through the whole thing.  Personally, I’m the sort of person who just laughs at that sort of thing. But then Tohru tries to minimize her fear by shutting her eyes (it doesn’t help).  Yuki and Kyo both offer her their hands at the same time, causing an argument.

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Momiji: Hold my hand and we’ll walk together, Tohru! You don’t leave a girl stranded and fight!

Momiji’s sneaky!  But also totally right. Tohru’s still pretty scared, though, so Haru offers his own form of help.

Haru: If you’re that scared, why not give these guys their own backstory? For example, this fellow, he certainly looks scary, but he’s actually a fine young man who is very kind and likes animals and cooking. On Sundays, he does volunteer work, and around the neighborhood, he’s been voted number one for “The man I want to marry.” Being easily moved to tears is his one flaw.

Momiji: Huh? Is that true?

Tohru: I didn’t know…

Haru: But he does have a heavy, sad past. When he was ten years old, his mother left, never to return. It was pouring cold rain that night. His mother gently covered him with a hand-knit sweater. Warm hands, a kind voice, tears filling her eyes – that’s the last memory he has of his mother. The next morning, she was gone, leaving him with his drunkard father, a sizable debt, and the sweater. […] And so, he worked without complaint, for the sake of his father and paying back the debt, all the while holding on to the sweater that smelled of his mother’s love, and dreaming of the day that he could be reunited with her. That mother has come to see him today.

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Well, Tohru survived the haunted house, so I guess Haru succeeded.

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Tohru: I think this is the most excited I’ve ever been at the start of summer vacation. I have a feeling that something big is going to happen, or something important is going to begin. It’s strange…(internally) Is it summer’s doing? I have a feeling…well, let summer vacation begin.

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Hiro: I hear you’re getting out soon? That’s a good thing, isn’t it? I think they would’ve let you out earlier if you hadn’t snuck out so much. Maybe they’re happy to be rid of you…

Rin: Hiro. I get it. I do. I get that Gure-nii is all I have left. It’s not going to be easy, but…

Hiro: You’re not going to give up, are you, Rin?

Rin: Give up? Not on your life. Never.

Hiro and Rin have really fascinating chemistry (not romantic, of course).  Her stubbornness and his blunt cynicism would seem like they should clash, but instead they bring out sides of one another you don’t often see with other people.  Obviously this isn’t the last time we’ll see them interact, since this is only our first glimpse of Rin.  She kind of ushers in a new tone for the second act, not to mention new developments for the plot.

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Suffice it to say we’ll have a good idea of what our heroes are up against by the summer’s end.

I have a feeling…I don’t know what to call it, but it’s like there’s something in my chest, and it’s spreading up my throat, ready to come out. I have a feeling I can’t even find the words to describe.

Until next time…

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