This chapter is positively brimming with subtle character interactions and not-so-subtle plot developments – about as narrative-driven as one could wish for from this series.
So Yuki is starting to take a more active role in the Sohma family intrigues, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s not because his fears are any less, but that he’s finally found something to fight for. When he overhears Shigure insinuate that Akito (with Kureno) is heading out to meet Tohru, he decides to tail them.
Akito: At the end of the day, that girl is just an outsider, so it’s only right that she’s isolated. And what’s more, she’s an ugly, annoying nuisance who probably deserves to be destroyed. But look, I’m a kind person at heart, so I thought it might be nice to give that repulsive wench a little enjoyment. Such as introducing you directly, Kureno. I expect you to behave as a full-fledged member of the Zodiac. I worry, you know, since you’re inferior. And afterward, we’ll leave the wretch all alone again. And she’ll stay alone for as long as she’s here; she’ll learn that she can never beat me. That she’s out of her league…
Kureno: She isn’t all alone, though. Kyo-kun is with her, right?
Akito: Is it fun spending time with a monster?
First, we have Akito’s transparent attempt at making his actions sound benevolent by mentioning what Tohru really “deserves”, which is…well, extremely transparent and petty (if not alarming). Also note how he refers to Kureno as an “inferior” member of the Zodiac.
Although Kureno is still polite as always, his response stands out because it’s the first time we’ve seen any of the Sohmas contradict Akito to his face – many of them say worse behind his back or beyond his reach, but never right in front of him.
Tohru and Kyo are busy playing in the sand and it is adorable. Then they get on the subject of Kyo’s beads.
Tohru: They’re very…unusual, right? I wonder what the beads are made from.
Kyo: Human bones. From some famous monk or whatever. Apparently, the red ones were coated with human blood. We’re talking hundreds of years ago though. I don’t even know how much of the story’s real. But I understand, at the very least, that people’s lives were sacrificed to make this talisman. Ever since I was a little kid, I thought that was strange. (remembering) Where do I get off staying alive because of other people’s sacrifices…other people’s lives!? Stealing the most precious thing of all…trampling on other people!
It’s pretty clear that Kyo wasn’t just thinking of people who died in the distant past. One of his primary conflicts is the guilt he feels for the people around him who get hurt (believing himself to be the cause of all their pain). He fails to see the other side of the equation – that if others really do endure so much pain for his sake, than he should honor their sacrifices by living his own life to the fullest.
Akito is both confused and angry that Tohru and Kyo are actually enjoying themselves, so he claims to be unwell and turns back without making contact.
Tohru: How heavy does it weigh on Kyo-kun’s heart to wear that every day? He also had a small voice, too soft for me to hear. Should I have been more insistent about getting answers? Hmm, but there are things that I don’t want to be asked about either. When it comes down to it, there’s not really much I can do.
Tohru baby, please stop getting upset with yourself for not being able to fix your boys. You can’t do everything for anyone, not even yourself (and you really do need a lot of TLC).
Yuki: Rin! So it is you, Rin.
Tohru: Huh? Yuki-kun…?
Yuki: I thought I saw her earlier, so I followed, but then you found her first, Honda-san. […] This is Rin…Isuzu Sohma.
Rin gets upset when Tohru suggests calling Hatori and may or not have changed back by sheer force of will.
Tohru is seriously flustered, but Yuki is surprisingly nonchalant about the situation (possibly because he’s interacted with Rin more?).
Yuki: Don’t push yourself too hard. You’re obviously not feeling well. And anyway…why are you here?…Are you here to see someone?
It’s helpful to recall who knows what in this situation. They both seem to understand that Yuki is referring to Haru, and even if this isn’t Rin’s actual reason for coming, she sure is upset to know that Yuki found out about their relationship (and she wouldn’t know when or how he came by that information). She’s pretty distrustful in general, but this is enough to make her really suspicious of Yuki.
Rin: But listen…you better not tell anybody else that I was here, because if you do, I swear I’ll kill you!
Yuki: You’ll kill me? I think we both know you wouldn’t be able to fulfill that threat, right?
Rin: Don’t be cocky. In the end, you’re just Akito’s toy!
Rin appears, at first glance, to be your standard “strong independent woman” archetype, but it doesn’t take long to see that it’s little more than a convenient façade. Perhaps that’s what she’d like to be, but considering that she was ill enough to transform (combined with Yuki’s assertion that she would never actually be able to kill him), it seems to be all empty threats and insults.
At any rate, Yuki is totally unperturbed by the encounter. He really is just trying to help her (at his own risk), probably because of her prior relationship with Haru, but it must look much different from Rin’s perspective. The only thing that’s clear at this point is that Akito’s presence threw off her plans…and she was somewhat unsettled by Tohru.
Akito: Tomorrow, bring Kyo here. Without fail!
Shigure: Is that a sign we’re in for some nasty weather?
Hatori: You’re actually enjoying this, aren’t you?
I hate you, Shigure.
Until next time…