Chapter 83: A Pathetic Prince

In order to freely participate in the “Outside” world, Yuki must square with his past trauma.

But first, student council shenanigans!

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Chapter 82: Someone to Love

Rin has a very unique relationship with Tohru. I mentioned before that she seriously needs someone to look after her, but Rin is one of the few people to recognize that Tohru needs her share of love and attention, too, even if she never asks for it.

But first, Tohru made a bunch of gelatin, prompting this conversation.FB 82-1

Kyo: Have you been visiting Rin at the hospital? Is that it?

Tohru: Ah. Yes…how did you know?

Kyo: Lucky guess.

Tohru: For some reason, you’ve been spot on at guessing things about me lately, Kyo-kun.

Kyo: It’s probably just that you’re an open book, right?

Those two are just too adorable. Read more

Chapter 81: The Hand You’re Dealt

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…

Chapter 79: Someone Who Wanted Me

Every time I was about to enter that house, I always prayed. Would they be in a good mood? If not, I thought I could wait it out. Like a stone…like a “thing” that felt nothing.

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I would wait until the day they would accept me again. They would forgive me, wouldn’t they? We can still go back to that, right?

Rin’s yearning for peace is so much stronger because she actually had it (or felt she had it) for a little while.

So Haru finds her collapsed on the sidewalk and runs to get help from Kazuma.

Before all this happened, we sometimes played together. When I told him I liked his soft white hair, the surprised look on his face was so cute.

This leads to Rin’s first hospital stay (of many).  The doctor implies that she may have faced some serious physical abuse, although I don’t think we ever find out if that’s what messed up her insides or it was just the mountain of stress she was under.

Kazuma: Hatsuharu found you lying on the ground – do you remember what happened?

Rin: I have to get home. I have to go home…

Kazuma: I already called your house. I need to talk to your parents about what’s going on with you, Isuzu. Isuzu, you just need to rest.

Rin: Why…? Don’t do that! Why!? Don’t talk to them! Leave us alone! It’s because I’m bad…it’s all my fault…I have to get home…!

Rin’s Mother: It’s fine. You don’t have to come home anymore. It’s all right with me if you go somewhere I’ll never have to see you again. I just don’t know anymore. I don’t know how to love you.

So first Rin was convinced that her family was only in shambles because of her, then her parents all but confirm this in her view by essentially telling her she’s failed to earn their love.  The way she tries to keep her (very serious) family problems private is common in victims of abuse, and naturally only helps the abuse continue.

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Haru: How…? How can you say something like that? What’s a kid supposed to do when their parents say crap like that? Rin thinks she’s the one who’s “bad”, but you! Look at what you did to her! If that ain’t “bad”, I don’t know what is! You take your stress out on us, you beat us, you laugh at us, you ignore us…kids get hurt just like you morons, you know! Why can’t you understand something that simple!? Apologize! Apologize now! Apologize to Rin!

I love Haru so much.  He said the words that I wanted to write.

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After that, my parents didn’t visit me at the hospital, and I didn’t return home. And just like that, my family was no more. It was decided that I would stay at Kagura’s house, but moving into a household that wasn’t broken only made my heart ache. I couldn’t even sit down for dinner with them.

She doesn’t really hate families and people who are whole and happy – it’s just a painful reminder of when her family was that way, too.

I’d shut myself up in my room, and anger, hatred, and sadness – towards my parents and myself – would come welling up inside me. What did I do wrong? Where did I make a mistake? Was it really too late to go back and start over? Maybe I never should have been born?

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Whenever I’d start drowning in those thoughts, Haru would appear. He would take me outside, and we’d chat about this and that. We would eat together. Right. And even when I was in the hospital, Haru would always come to see me. I didn’t mind any of that. When Haru was around, I forgot about being miserable. Haru was a strange boy, but also kind. It felt like I could fall in love with him. And maybe…I did. No. I couldn’t do this. Someone like me, a “love” like this…it would be twisted.

And this is when Haru chose to confess his love to her.  It’s not like there was liable to be any better time to put it out there, but he might have ended up pushing Rin too far too fast.

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It had to be Haru. I depended on him. I clung to him. I wanted all of Haru. My desire for him only grew stronger with each passing day. But a “love” like that would surely crush Haru eventually. If Haru came to hate me and went away…

Rin had her share of reservations (reasonable or not) that she never really voiced, besides the ever-present threat of Akito.  Haru couldn’t possibly have sensed all of it if he’d wanted to (and it’s pretty clear he didn’t want).  And then Akito DOES find out (hmm, I wonder what scumbag might have tattled on them?).

Akito: Whose idea was it? Hatsuharu’s? Or yours? Which of you is going to incur my displeasure? You know, when I get angry, I lose control of myself. Like Hatori’s left eye. That was unfortunate.

Rin: Me…it was me. Of course it was me! I seduced him!

What’s really sad is that she might actually believe that.  Haru was her white knight – he wouldn’t do anything so wrong, except by her bad influence.

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Akito: I really do hate women. You’re shameless. Why did you put your hands on what is mine? […] Now I see…heh. You’re pathetic. Ah-ha-ha-ha! You…you’re worthless. Rotten to the core. Being with Hatsuharu can’t change that. In fact, your depression will devour him. You need to realize how little you’re worth. You’re only kept around to make the numbers match up, and don’t you ever forget it! I don’t need you.

Then he pushes Rin out of a second floor window. And Hiro just happened to be walking by…

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But Haru…he did want me. They told me they didn’t need me, but there is someone who wanted me. That made me happy. Nothing could have made me happier. I was happy. Thank you. I was glad. But this is enough. Enough, Haru. Next time Haru, you have to be happy. So I’ll release you from me, from Akito, from everything that ties you down. I want to set you free. You know, Haru, your true “happiness” is in a bigger world. I’ll search for it. I’ll find it. Because I’m okay, even if it ends with nothing left in my hands.

She thinks that Haru wasn’t truly “happy” with her, that he couldn’t have been – or if he was, it’s only some inferior version of happiness which he would better experience without her.  It’s telling that she thinks first of releasing Haru from herself before Akito. Rin honestly believes that she’s less than worthless, so she’s willing to give up her life for the sake of her idealized “pure” Haru.

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Until next time…

Chapter 77: Souvenirs

Since Kyo and Tohru’s issues are about as worked out as they’re going to get on the class trip, Yuki takes the lead for some more light hearted antics (with Manabe).

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Manabe: Yun-yun, are you sleeping? Hello? As expected, Yun-yun – I’m sure you were raised as a spoiled rich girl…Ow! That hurts! That hurts! I’m sorry, wrong word! “Spoiled rich kid”! I meant to say “Spoiled rich kid”!

You know, it is nice to have a character I can watch getting beat up without significant remorse (watching Kyo get beat up inevitably gives me conflicted feels, at best).

Saki: About that vice president…I have the persistent feeling that I’ve met him before. Ever since I saw him on stage introducing himself, I’ve had the feeling that we’ve met somewhere, a long time ago…and you were there too, Tohru-kun…

Since nobody can remember anything specific, this mostly just serves to wind up Tohru (and foreshadow, because of course Hana-chan’s sixth sense is never wrong).

Anyhow, Yuki notices Tohru carrying around a little package.

Tohru: A souvenir for myself. I made a mad dash to buy it at the last minute. Now I just need to buy some papier-mache, and I’ll be one step away from completion! Have you thought about something you want to buy for yourself, Yuki-kun?

Yuki: For me? I want…hmm…if I can make lasting memories, those would be the best souvenirs, or something like that.

Tohru: You do have them. I’m sure you do. Faintly glowing…your souvenirs are inside you, Yuki-kun.

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I generally take Yuki’s mindset about souvenirs – they’re always way overpriced, anyway.

Thank you. You may have already picked up on this, you may have already noticed my resignation and cowardice, but you…you, the one who keeps smiling at me quietly, you’re so dear to me, even now.

There’s definitely a sense of sadness and distance in Yuki’s feelings for Tohru, and it seems to trace back to his little chat with Akito…

Manabe comes around to lighten the mood a bit, but Saki’s comment made Yuki suspicious.

Manabe: Yun-yun, are you in the same group as Honda-san?

Yuki: Why are you so curious about her? It’s like you’re unusually interested in Honda-san. Is it because of my relationship with her? Or maybe…did you have some sort of relationship with her? Have you ever met Honda-san?

Manabe: What if I just said it’s cause I have a crush on her?

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Sorry, that’s not the sort of thing you’d be coy about, Nabe.

Yuki: You’re free to like whomever you please. And she’s free to respond however she wants. I don’t have the right to interfere. But if you were to approach her just out of curiosity or for laughs, then I would get involved. If you ever hurt her, I’d never forgive you. I promise you that. I’d never forgive you. (internally) That’s the one thing I won’t forgive.

Manabe: Well, then, if I were that kind of guy, what would you do?

Yuki: I’d never speak to you again.

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What the hell!? “Never speak to you again”!!!? I sound like a little kid! I said “Never speak to you again”…!? What the hell am I talking about!? Where did that come from!? I couldn’t have come up with a better threat!? That’s so lame!

Yuki is such a precious adorkable baby.  And then Manabe apparently sets off the Kimi alarm by mentioning porn.  And Kimi mentions that Manabe has a girlfriend.

Yuki: I didn’t know you had a girlfriend…there’s a girl who’ll actually put up with you…?

Manabe: Indeed I do. She’s super cute. I’m crazy about her. So I’m not interested in Honda-san in a romantic sense. She’s on my mind for a different reason. But it concerns more than just me, so I’d like to put off telling you for just a little longer. That okay?

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I feel like everybody knows a Manabe in high school (unless they ARE the Manabe).

I don’t think I could hate anyone who can so freely say that they love someone. “I’d never speak to you again.” The flustered part of me that spouted that nonsense…maybe I don’t really hate that part of myself so much, is what I thought. It was the first time I’d thought that. Maybe there will come a day when I can look back on myself right now and smile.

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Maybe there is a childish part of him, but if it’s honest, it might not be such a bad thing to indulge now and again.

Yuki: Here. A souvenir for you, Machi. I saw these leaves raining down. They were really pretty!

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So Yuki brought some memories home – and so did Tohru!

Tohru: I wanted to finish the Zodiac figurines. I didn’t do a very good job, and I still have to paint them…

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After I add color, they’ll start to glow.

Until next time…