With Rin in relatively stable condition (both physically and emotionally), Yuki returns once again to student council shenanigans.

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I realized there’s something we have in common. In just one way, Rin and I are alike. We were looking for the same thing.

Just keep this in mind for a bit. I promise we’ll actually get around to this thing very soon.

Haru: I was shocked, real shocked. I go there to visit [Rin], and she’s waving around her IV stand…[…] They told me I was detrimental to the patient’s recovery, so I didn’t get to talk to her after all. […] It seems like between her body’s weakness and complications from ulcers, she’s gonna be staying there for a while, but based on her fighting spirit, I went away relieved.

Good for you, Haru. At least those two more or less know where they stand now. I think.

Then Kimi pages her darling Yun-yun <3, enraging the Yuki fangirls once again.

Yuki: Kimi, you didn’t just use the school intercom for that, did you…?

Haru: So that’s the kind of girl you’re into, huh…Yun-yun?

Yuki: Don’t call me Yun-yun – besides, she’s definitely not my type!

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Manabe chews out Yuki for not having a cell phone (this is supposed to be 1999, so they’re still something of a novelty).  And this happens.

Haru: Please, take good care of Yuki.

Manabe: I promise to make your daughter happy, sir!

Haru: […] Go on, Yuki, you’ve got a meeting to get to, don’t you? Don’t wanna be late. […] Good luck, to both of us.

As strange as it may seem, Manabe really does step up after this and kind of takes over Haru’s role as Yuki’s best friend.  It’s a little sad, but Haru really does have a lot of his own problems to sort through, and I think he’s glad Yuki’s found someone else he can rely on.

Then Manabe tries to sell Yuki on a cell phone.

Yuki: Hmm…but a guardian has to sign the contract, right?

Manabe: Oh? Do you not get along with your parents?

Yuki: Don’t get along…? It’s more like we’re buttons…in the wrong holes.

In the TokyoPop edition, the metaphor was “pushing each other’s buttons”, but it seems like this is the more accurate translation, referring to shirt buttons (as seen in Manabe’s little demonstration later).  Still not sure if I forgive the whole “chives” fiasco, though.

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And Machi trashed the student council office (again).

Manabe: Machi…sheesh! Why do you do this…? […] Hey. Would you let me take care of this? In other words, I’d appreciate it if you’d all turn a blind eye to this.

Naohito: No way! We can’t do that!

Yuki: Okay. Got it. For now, you’ll handle this. […] (internally) I know Machi did it. But I have the feeling it would be wrong to make a fuss about it. She must have a reason, but we need to calm her down first. Besides, it seems like Kakeru understands the circumstances…I got an odd vibe from both of them the first time we met. They seem close, but not romantically…

After Yuki finishes the meeting, the room is still a mess and Machi apparently went home.

Yuki: Well, good luck, Kakeru.

Manabe: Whaa!? You’re not gonna help me?

Yuki: I have things to do too. You said you’d “make up for it,” remember?

Manabe: Flyyyyyy! *throws armful of papers*[…] I don’t understand. Why does Machi do things like this? She won’t talk about it. When I asked if it was my fault, she just left.

He’s trying to make sense of her in his own Nabe way – and it turns out he and Machi are siblings (despite the different last names).

Manabe: Our family’s kind of complicated. Our dad is pretty rich, so there was a big ruckus over which of us was gonna inherit everything. See, Machi and I are siblings, but we have different mothers. I’m the eldest, but I’m also the son of Dad’s mistress. Machi’s the daughter of his wife, but she’s a girl and also a year younger than me. So our two mothers started a ferocious competition. Both saying, “My child deserves to be named heir!” Because of this, Machi and I both had extremely strict childhoods. At first, I was a good little boy and tried to live up to every demand. You know how parents are your whole world when you’re a kid. But then one day I started thinking, “Isn’t this kinda weird? They dragged me into this ridiculous competition!” I guess that was my budding ego asserting itself. I was like, “I’m done playing your game!” and went on a rampage. After that, I guess my mom came to her senses too cause she pulled out of the issue. And so I was free! That takes us up to now.  I guess…Machi might not be “free” yet.

Manabe’s so committed to laziness, this actually makes a ton of sense.  He’s not mean-spirited, he just loves the freedom to underachieve.

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Yuki: Even so, you have to deal with it. No matter how hopeless, exasperating, or infuriating they are, a kid can’t exchange their parents, just as parents can’t exchange their kid. For parents and children, there is no “You won” or “You lost.” That’s why you have to deal with the hand you’re dealt. Like…redoing the buttons…

Manabe: You don’t have to. You can leave them mismatched if it starts to look good on you.

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Manabe: But there you go! Laughter works too! Throwing up your hands and laughing is just fine.

Yuki: (internally) Everyone lives with the burden of various things in various forms. Everyone…Kakeru, Machi, me…even “parents”.

Yuki suddenly sneaks over to the Sohma compound to ask his mother for a signature (for a cell phone contract). He never even angsted over it this time! He’s getting better.

And it looks like his mom is getting a little better, too.

Mother: Yuki…be sure to use it properly.

Yuki: I don’t think she’s ever told me anything like that before. That’s not really a line I’d expect from a parent like her.

There you go! Throwing up your hands and laughing is just fine.

That’s what you call “advice”, Yuki.

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Maybe someday, we’ll all be able to look back and laugh.

Until next time…

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