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Oregairu Vol 13, Chap 6

yuiyahallo Feb 19th, 2019 (edited) 1,417 Never
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  1. V13 Chap 6 - People not knowing about it, Hayama Hayato is regretting.
  2. ==BEGIN PART 1==
  3. It’s always a serious matter of being dead or alive when it comes to battling with the deadline.
  4. Therefore, not only are people willing to do anything to survive in the end, but also willing to sacrifice their sleeping time, to stay overnight for two or three days in order to somehow finish their tasks in hand, even if that means losing almost all their hair or almost having a complete mental or physical breakdown.
  5. As a result, people end up with all kinds of sufferings. Well, to be more specific, head, shoulders, back, stomach, heart, body, and… everything that a human being possesses. Hmm, since the cells on my body are working anyways, does that mean instead, I no longer have to work?
  6. I managed to finish the skeleton of the proposal and the design sketch by the end of morning. Holding all the tiredness from my body, I walked to school before the start of the first class. I almost slept through all the classes before noon.
  7. Even when school started, I laid on the table lazily without thinking or paying attention to anything.
  8. Occupied by tiredness, I just wanted to yield to sleepiness and bury my head in my arms, so that later after school I could wake up and face things with a more serious face again.
  9. I spent the last homeroom time resting my chin in my hand drowsily, like rowing a boat. Just like this I had my heart and body falling in deep hibernation until the bell for the end of last class sounded.
  10. I put my bag, coat and scarf on the table, and then stretched my hardened shoulder and back as much as I wanted. I stood up steadily.
  11. After rubbing my sleep-deprived eyes, I turned back to check out the back of the classroom as usual. Just as I was doing so, Yuigahama, who was talking to Miura-san, noticed me and halted her conversation temporarily. She walked towards me with her quick steps.
  12. “Leaving already?”
  13. “Ah yeah”
  14. As I responded with a husky voice, Yuigahama reacted with small whining “Whoa.”
  15. “Hikki-, your face is awful.”
  16. “Seriously…?”
  17. Yuigahama took out her hand mirror from her uniform pocket and raised it in front of my face. ‘Ugh, so shiny. I feel like I’m about to disappear’ I said to myself. I looked like a zombie - my rotten-fish eyes were rotting even faster due to lack of sleep. I could even see the marks left by my hands where I rested my chin.
  18. “Let me wash my face quickly”
  19. “Yeah, sure. I’ll wait in the corridor”
  20. Leaving the classroom, with my body shaking like Zombieland-Chiba (TL: in reference to Zombieland Saga, a TV anime aired in Winter 2018), I headed over to the washroom.
  21. After splashing some cold water onto my face, I felt a lot more refreshed. In addition to that, “pan-pan” - I clapped my face and said “Ganbare, me!” I sounded like a second-year salarywoman to cheer myself up.
  22. As I headed back to the classroom corridor, as promised, Yuigahama was waiting for me in front of the classroom door.
  23. “Sorry for making you wait”
  24. Yuigahama shook her head to simply suggest that she didn’t wait too much. She handed over my bag, coat and all my other stuff together she was holding over her shoulder, saying, “Here you go.”
  25. “Thank you!”
  26. While I took my stuff and expressed my gratefulness, Yuigahama had her usual smile showing on her face again, shaking her head as if to refuse my thankfulness.
  27. On our way to the game club, though we exchanged a few words, due to sleepiness I still felt like I wasn’t quite myself. So I tried to stifle my yawns.
  28. Noticing this after looking at me, Yuigahama started to feel a little despondent.
  29. “Ah, by the way, sorry for what happened yesterday that led to your lack of sleep today.”
  30. “It’s okay… Conversely, it really helped that you came up with some great ideas.”
  31. Yuigahama apologized to me for accidentally falling asleep at the Internet Cafe. Perhaps she was trying to compensate for that - on our way sending her back home, she offered me a couple more perspectives, suggestions and ideas with respect to the prom design plan. Thanks to those suggestions, with just pulling a single all nighter I was able to put forward a rough sketch of the proposal and the design plan. Well, by cost benefit analysis it all added up to zero. It worked out and looked well on the balance sheet.
  32. Yuigahama didn’t need to be worried about me. To be honest, I was the one to be blamed, for carelessly yawning in front of her, which made her worry about me. So from now on, I’ll tighten my eyebrows and keep my face straight!
  33. “... Well, it’s no problem since I no longer feel sleepy”
  34. Yuigahama looked at me vacantly, and then suddenly went “Phff!” and smiled.
  35. “What’s that funny face about?”
  36. “My face…?”
  37. Well that was quite bitter and unnice to me but... fine. Good that I got my mood switched before entering the game club room.
  38. What a messy room as usual! As I tried to navigate myself along the mess, I could hear voices coming out from inside the room.
  39. “‘First, migrate the server using PHP and prepare for a database backup.”
  40.  “What is this? No way, I don’t understand”
  41. “‘Then use JavaScript to further enhance the site, and CSS to set up the design…”
  42. “Ugh, how far is this going to push back the deadline?”
  43. Now I could see both Hatano and Sagami clearly - it sounded like they were talking about the website and both of their faces were full of despair. It looked like they worked quite hard to do their research, and as a result, they were both stroken hard by the reality.
  44. And, there was this guy on the other side wearing a truthfully evil smile on his face while scrolling through the SNS (TL: reddits in Japan). Of course, I was talking about Zaimokuza.
  45. I wanted to say hello bearing my genuine thankfulness of their hard work, but then as I made up my mind, I ended up just mumbling “Usu/hello there” to them. Noticing me, three of them replied to me one by one cheerfully, “Hey there, good work!”, “Otsukare!” and “Hey!”. Well, that’s exactly the kind of greetings between guys!
  46. Following that, Yuigahama also cheerfully raised her hand and greeted them.
  47. “Yahallo!!”
  48. That greeting completely froze the air in the clubroom.
  49. “What… what’s that Yahallo...?”
  50. “Ehhh, that girl is dangerously yabai, yabai, yabeeee.”
  51. ….well, that’s the normal reaction human beings should have! I do not blame them. Yet with that reaction we are never going to get things done peacefully.
  52. “Please don’t make a fuss over it for now. I have something important to tell you guys.”
  53. I pulled out a chair to sit down and cleared my throat. Hatano and others also got ready to hear what I had to say and straightened up their bodies. Confirming that everyone was ready to hear me, I solemnly opened my mouth.
  54. “Starting from today, we the Prom Executive Committee will all greet each other with ‘Yahallo’! No objection!”
  55. “Is this guy seriously a moron...?”
  56. “Something is wrong with his brain.” (TL: exact same reaction as Chap 5 haha)
  57. Looks like Hatano was honestly shocked, and meanwhile Sagami showed his genuine face of sympathy towards something so pathetic.
  58. “Hold… hold on wait a second, Hikki…! This is seriously very embarrassing to me so please stop.”
  59. Yuigahama kept her shy blushing face down and dragged my sleeve as if begging me to stop.
  60. Seeing this cute animal-like behavior, Sagami pushed up his glasses and Hatano took off his. Both of them scrubbed their eyes as if they just beheld a very touching moment…
  61. “Ah well. Let’s go with Yahallo. It’s good!”
  62. “Yeah. Yahallo is good...”
  63. “Correct. Here we go everyone, three, two, one…”
  64. Zaimokuza led the crowd and, following his countdown, everyone sang Yahallo together.
  65. “Yahallo--”
  66. “Stop. Now.”
  67. With tears still remaining in her eyes, Yuigahama stared at us and said it with an extremely cold and scary voice. Silence befell the clubroom. Seeing everyone kept so quiet, I felt compelled to steer the topic towards something else. Otherwise, Gahama-san will stay angry for sure!
  68. “Let’s jump into our main subject today.”
  69. I pulled out the freshly-produced copies of the proposal and design sketches, passing them over to everyone. I started explaining them, with my fingers guiding my explanation.
  70. “I want the front page to be loaded with a huge background picture with information about the event on top of it. This is to attract attention and thus facilitate people’s discussions about it on the SNS. The front page doesn’t have to be too exquisite or refined. Try to keep it simple and smartly decorated. I have found a sample page for you guys for reference and you just have to try your best to copy exactly the design layout of it. As for the background picture, just assume that you have it already for now. Once it is ready, we’ll just need to swap it in.”
  71. Hatano looked at the stack of (web development) resources they compiled, and then turned to my design sketch. He couldn’t hold back but expressed his astonishment.
  72. “What’s up with all the effort that we have put in so far… This sounds like all we have to spawn is an easy blog thing.”
  73. “Hey, things getting easier for us is definitely a great thing that we should feel happy about. Don’t say anything extra thing or complain. Else, he’s gonna add more work to us...”
  74. Sagami dragged and held Hatano’s arm firmly, as Hatano was about to keep grumbling. Apparently Sagami didn’t want Hatano to say anything more. Oh Sagami the little brother, you know the rules of society too well. You have to potential and the talent to become a great Shachiku (Wage Slave in Japan). Speaking of which, I’m impressed, or should I say terrified, by how much you guys were able to pull up a research marathon on building the website.
  75. Zaimokuza, who apparently enjoyed the fact that he didn’t have to help with all the design work, looked at my design sketch with satisfaction, nodded his head couple times and folded up his arms.
  76. “So, how’s the proposal going?”
  77. “This is what I have for now. I’m currently proposing a collaboration with Kaihin-Sougo HS (TL: recall that this is the HS where Tamanawa is the President of the School Council). It might be too specific so that it might be hard for you to understand.”
  78. Zaimokuza took the proposal that I passed over and read them all at once. He then turned his head and called Hatano. Hatano only looked at the front page of the proposal and said,
  79. “Seriously what is this I do not understand...”
  80. “This crappy proposal looks like some ads pamphlet for a newly built apartment or a cover for a newly released business book… Why do you include diagrams on ‘Johari Window’ and ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ in the proposal?”
  81. (TL: from Wikipedia - “The Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow.”)
  82. Hatano quickly picked up the proposal sheets that fell off to the table and gave it to Sagami, flipping the pages one by one. A few pages into the proposal, Sagami the little brother started to hold and squeeze his head in his hands.
  83. So as I warned you guys beforehand… An unpleasant memory flowed back into my mind again as I took another look at the front page of the proposal. Sternly written there, typeset using very stylish fonts was “Blockchain Type Diversity Inclusion - Proposal for the Prom Event ~ Sunset Beach with Waterfront aside… A Serendipity Experience inside an Ultimate Translucent Space~”. Even as the creator of that title, I could no longer grasp any of its meaning.
  84. Even a proud person like myself couldn’t withstand the embarrassment caused by seeing the title. “Ahem Ahem”. I soon tried to cough to cover up and avoid talking about it further.
  85. “... Well. Those are the bluff parts. To be honest, whatever it is as long as the Kaihin-Sougo side can be hooked into our plan.”
  86. “Wow even this kind of trap (which also means bait in JP) can hook them up. Are they mullets (TL: a kind of tropical fish)?”
  87. You are very wrong, Hatano. Tamanawa-san isn’t that omnivorous at all. Don’t mix him up with heretic animals like mullets or blowfishes. Well they are very delicious dishes I have to say. He possesses such a strong self-esteem that could be called the Majesty Overlord (TL: referring to Overlord, a TV anime aired in Winter 2017). Yet finally the moment has come - for the first time the Overlord is going to be fished by us!
  88. Hatano already gave up reading the proposal a while ago. Sagami, in contrast, still had the patience to keep on reading it. Eventually, Sagami finished reading it and nodded his head, mumbling “Yep, okay, okay”.
  89. “Wow. The content itself looks very promising.”
  90. “I know, right?” Yuigahama quickly followed up happily.
  91. Almost at the same time, Sagami tilted his mouth. “I feel like my sister is going to like this.”
  92. Yuigahama seemed a little surprise with a “Heh…” sound, but she quickly held her reaction back with another “Ugu.”
  93. “Alright. Just by reading it, this disgusting proposal looks like it’s gonna make people vomit, right out from my stomach.”
  94. “The only thing that gets us relieved - is that we have to make sure this proposal does not get chosen and realized.”
  95. Respectively, Zaimokuza moaned his last sentence out with a voice full of hatred; Hatano said his words as if disgusted by the smell of rotten fish.
  96. Oh well, anyways. I can sense that perhaps Yuigahama just made a pitiful expression on her face; in any case, with that little reaction, I can assure that she does not feel like there’s anything inherently wrong with the proposal.
  97. In additional to the great ideas of “collaborating with local elementary schools, middle schools and high schools”, the proposal was further nourished by Yuigahama’s flashy ideas - this was so perfect so that even I myself was trembling with fear.
  98. In the end, we couldn’t come up with anything that’s flashy and arbitrary enough that diverges too much away from Yukinoshita’s old proposal. We just decided to play around and “temper” the staging and the location of the prom a little bit.
  99. Imagine this scenario. Sunset by the sea, surrounded by campfire, a seaside live-house has been set up just like those Shounan Beach Events (TL: Shounan is the area southwest to Tokyo, between Kamakura and Enoshima). We will plan to hold our prom there. Actually no, we just have to make use of this “set up”. Taking into account the possibility of rain, we can then propose a Plan B - also discuss the possibility of negotiations with Mikatsuki Ryuguu Castle Hotel just so we can also hold our prom there as a backup option. (TL: the point being, the parents will then naturally side with Plan B.)
  100. Wow, scary Hachiman. I’m scared by my ability to BS so well. If I keep cultivating my BS skills, I’m afraid soon the HRs from those advertisement conglomerate companies will start reaching out to me. As my imagination drifted further away, Yuigahama, maybe dissatisfied by the fact that she sided with Sagami the sister, raised her head up from reading the proposal and then frowned at me.
  101. “Even though Kaihin-Sougou might be okay with our proposal, what about Hayato?”
  102. “Ahh, as for him… It might be still too early for us to tell him face to face”
  103. “Hmmm?”
  104. As I indirectly brought up some bitter part of my experience with Hayato from the past, Yuigahama tilted her head aside, looked totally puzzled. Honestly, it’s not like the experience was puzzling or strange in particular.
  105. Cheap tricks won’t work for Hayato, in my opinion. I’m afraid even if I explained the content of our proposals cautiously enough, in front of someone as smart as Hayato, the fact that our proposal was just a stalking horse would soon get exposed. For this reason, to avoid causing extra effort or trouble to explain everything, and to avoid complicating things up, perhaps it’s better just to tell him straightforwardly that our proposal is just a dummy plan, before explaining its actual content. For sure, that will make things easier to proceed.
  106. “Alright! That’s it. I’m counting on you all.”
  107. Saying that, I finally concluded our meeting. Although the responses were cold and sporadic, they all got their hands busy right away.
  108. Hatano and Sagami continued their fight into how they should go about designing the websites, leaving alone Yuigahama aside just nodding her head saying “Um, um”.
  109. “Emm, that’s not cute enough.”
  110. “... Eh, can you be more specific?” Sagami asked Yuigahama respectfully.
  111. “Well, let’s say, make it a little more shining shiny, like this…”
  112. While scratching her head, Yuigahama tried her best to describe her abstract opinions more concretely, so that she could somehow make Sagami and Hatano understand them.
  113. I watched them from aside, listening to their non-stopping interactions and exchange of conversations pleasantly. On the other end of my eyesight Zaimokuza seemed to be doing something rustling.
  114. “Hachiman, I brought the digital camera you requested.”
  115. Speaking of which, he carefully placed a bulky DSLR camera on the desk. In addition, he began stacking books titled like “Intro to DSLR Tutorials”.
  116. “Oh, thank you! I will make good use of them for the moment… Just in case, please teach me how to operate this camera.”
  117. “Of course, leave it to me! I’m not professional per se but let’s just follow the instruction manual and let’s go~”
  118. “Hey, isn’t this your camera?”
  119. How could this guy not know how to operate his own stuff… Zaimokuza loudly proclaimed that he is proud of his ignorance. On one hand, he taught me some of the basic operations, on the other hand, he quickly scanned through the instruction manual while keep saying “Okay, I see, I see”.
  120. A while later, perhaps he’s getting a little tired and ignored, Zaimokuza coughed a couple times. And then, for some reason, he averted his eyes, blushed and said,
  121. “I have thought about… the name.”
  122. “Oh… really”
  123. This is something that’s far beyond what’s urgent or necessary for now… Well, I’m listening anyways. Zaimokuza took out from his coat pocket a piece of doubly folded paper and handed it over to me. Apparently, he wants me to open and see it…
  124. It can’t be helped. I had to briefly halt my work on reading the camera tutorial, and unfold that piece of paper. What I then saw was a unnecessarily well written work of calligraphy that says,
  125. “Soubu HS Prom Saikou Project”
  126. What the hell is this? Having my “camera reading” focus zone totally ruined, I suddenly remembered something from yesterday…
  127. “Oh, the name!”
  128. We had a discussion during yesterday’s meeting about the name of our committee. Apparently I wrote “Committee Name: Actively Looking for Recommendations ❤️” on the whiteboard and this guy actually took it seriously. Zaimokuza coughed twice again and then fluttered his coat edge with dignity.
  129. “That’s right! The aforementioned ‘Saikou’ means…”
  130. “Ah ah, stop there. Alright, it’s okay, we all get it.”
  131. “Umm… okay I see.”
  132. Apparently Zaimokuza was let down, his face quickly turned to drooping. I bet he was trying to say something along the lines of including “Supreme” or “Reconsideration” (TL: both words read Saikou in JP) in the context. Well, whatevs. The key is to make the name easy enough to understand and stupid enough to reflect its dumbness. Considering these two points, the name isn’t unexpectedly unfit for the job. Especially this pun on words would definitely leave a SUPREMELY dumb and stupid impression on people. This was great.
  133. “We can settle on this title. Thanks!”
  134. “Wut??”
  135. Probably because I said it too lightheartedly, Zaimokuza was speechlessly surprised. Seeing that, Hatano passed that piece of paper back to Sagami.
  136. “The Committee Name, as it’s settled let’s all count on it!”
  137. “What…”
  138. “Seriously…”
  139. Both Hatano and Sagami’s faces turned stiff, making wry, bitter smiles at me. After seeing their reactions, Yuigahama nevertheless looked pretty satisfied, “Isn’t it great!”
  140. “Hmmm, oh, ah, okay, I see. Is it that great…” Finally able to read into the air and grasp the situation, Zaimokuza tried to cover his shyness by coughing twice again, thereby digesting his ecstacy completely before it leaked out.
  141. In fact, I think there’s going to be an even better title in the future. Please stay tuned and let’s all look forward to the next masterpiece from Zaimokuza Yoshiteru-Sensei!
  142.  
  143. ==BEGIN PART 2==
  144. The sun was setting slowly. The last ray of sunshine flowed into the Game Club Room.
  145. It was about time for other school clubs to also conclude their daily activity.
  146. Sounds from those heavy bands could no longer be heard. Roars from the rugby club had also stopped for a while. Standing up from my seat and peaking into the schoolyard, I noticed that it was also about time for the soccer club to wrap their day up as well.
  147. “Alright, this is about it. Everyone please clean up your own things and we can call it a day.”
  148. As I turned my face back from peaking out of the window and told them to wrap up, the club room soon got filled up with sighs arised from exhaustion, and clicking sounds coming from head rotation and relaxed shoulders. Yuigahama, not unexpectedly, also relaxed her shoulder and meanwhile turned her body facing me.
  149. “Are you going to check with Hayato?”
  150. “Yeah.”
  151. As soon as I finished speaking, Yuigahama took out her smartphone and brought it close in front of her lips. (TL: please imagine the scene)
  152. “Should I contact him now?”
  153. “Hmm let me think. No, nope, actually. It’s better to just catch him on the spot.”
  154. That took me just a flash of a second to change my mind.
  155. Means of communications, such as phones or messenger apps, are in fact very unreliable and incomplete tools. Using tools like these, getting ignored means pretty much the end of the day. “Oh, I didn’t notice your message”, “I was sleeping then”, “It ran out of battery then”, “I lost my phone unfortunately”, “In fact, I do not have a LINE account”, these are all kinds of excuses that poured out of my memory. There are even rare cases like “Oh, I actually do not have a phone”, myself being the source.
  156. But after all, Hayato is very unlikely to ignore messages from Yuigahama. If it does happen though and we have to reschedule and start over things on another day, that’d be very problematic, since we simply won’t have enough time left. Hence, we HAVE to take our chance and get it done today.
  157. Yuigahama was probably thinking along the same lines, and nodded to me.
  158. “I see… but just to be safe, I’ll still send him a message on LINE anyways. I’ll let you know as soon as he replies.”
  159. “Sure. Please do me the favor.”
  160. As I said it, I quickly packed things up and left the Game Club room.
  161. After leaving the staircase, I promptly set my foot towards the courtyard.
  162. The courtyard lies in between the main building and the special-purpose building. Since the courtyard was blocked by buildings from all directions, the night fades in there earlier than all other places on campus. It’s worth noticing that the columns located in the east under the main buildings naturally fall under the shadows of the special-purpose building, thereby leaving the darkness even thicker underneath.
  163. Suddenly, a piece of shadow moved across in that darkness.
  164. I tried to focus my eyes on that shadow and finally I could see there seemed to be someone standing in front of the vending machine under the building. As I walked closer towards there, gradually I could identify that the figure apparently belonged to a girl.
  165. She probably just bought something to drink from the vending machine. I could hear something had just dropped out from inside the vending machine. She squatted down, picked up the drink from the vending machine and stood up. That long, glamorously charming dark hair of hers waved in the wind. The vending machine cast cold, green-white colored light onto her white, slender face. She smiled gently, a scene that was so unrealistic and so surreal.
  166. That was Yukinoshita Yukino. I couldn’t possibly have mistaken her.
  167. Yukino firmly held the coffee can and gently put on her feather coat without her arms going through the sleeves. She then slowly walked towards the courtyard, sitting down on the bench located in the middle of the courtyard and aimlessly staring into the sky.
  168. As if trying to penetrate the bench, the withered tree groves were lit up by the streetlights, where orange light passed down through the dry twigs that were already devoid of leaves.
  169. All of this looked like it came out from a piece of painting. I sensed a feeling that compelled and drove me to just stare at this painting whenever and forever.
  170. However, unfortunately, without passing through the courtyard I could reach neither the soccer court nor the bike parking lot. So, feeling sorry in mind that I was about to ruin this already-perfect scenery, I decided to step into the scene.
  171. Soon, she noticed the footstep and looked at me.
  172. “Oh, isn’t this Mr. Hikigaya?”
  173. “Ah… yeah…”
  174. Seeing that Yukinoshita’s facial expression regained composure and that her smile returned, I used my jaw to nod in response to her greetings.
  175. Yukinoshita was holding the coffee can to warm her hands up. But after seeing me, she sighed and hid the coffee can behind her. That’s no use. No matter how you hide it, with that featured packaging, color and design there was no way I could possible miss it.
  176. “It’s rare for you to drink that.”
  177. “It’s perfect for sugar and energy replenishment.”
  178. She showed a very superficial smile to me, as she spoke, with her face dyed in dim red. She closed up her coat as if she was hugging herself, and hid the coffee can inside. Finally she recognized the charm of MAX Coffee! That’s a good thing.
  179. I quickly peeked at the soccer court - it looked like they were still busy tidying things up. Maybe I should wait a little longer before I go over and catch Hayama.
  180. Using only eye contact, I asked Yukinoshita if I could sit next to her. She nodded, and immediately moved her body away from the center of the bench, leaving some empty room that was just wide enough to for another person to sit down. So I did.
  181. “Taking a break?”, I asked.
  182. “Yeah, in order to breathe in some fresh air outdoor.”
  183. While answering my question, Yukinoshita quickly cast her eyes back to the main building. In that direction laid the Student Council room, in which the lights were still on. Unlike the Service Club room, almost alway empty, deserted and desolated, in the Student Council room since there’s a heater that Isshiki decided to bring over, people must have been living a pleasantly warm life there.
  184. “I know right. The heater is too effective so that people easily get drowsy with it.”
  185. I had to agree with her, since I remembered that thanks to a lot of stuff stacked in the Game Club room blocking air ventilation, that place also inevitably confines a lot of heat. Hearing my words, Yukinoshita was amused and laughed merrily with her mouth covered.
  186. “Well, with that reasoning it looks like you always stay in a heated room, am I right? I’m a little worried about the electricity bill.” (TL: I guess since Hikigaya always wears a drowsy face)
  187. “Don’t worry. It all gets balanced by the coldness coming from other people’s indifferent, nonchalant gaze on me.”
  188. “You really live an eco-friendly life.”
  189. Yukinoshita sighed deeply. I also mocked myself with a tilted smile on one side of my lip,
  190. “Well, having this repeated hot-and-cold pattern is great, certainly even better if served in a sauna room. It gets my life in order.”
  191. “I wonder if you know the correct usage of ‘get something in order’.”
  192. “No, maybe I don’t. However, everyone says ‘Sauna gets one’s life in order’. In fact, after repeating the steam room and in the middle of the glycine bath, there’s a process called ‘air bath’ right? As far as I know, people always say “Air bath gets one’s life in order”.”
  193. “You seem to have no intention to get your usage of grammar in order… I have no idea what you are talking about. Not a single idea.”
  194. (TL: it’s all nitty gritty word usage details in JP and it’s hard to forcibly fit it into the English context. Hachiman is just trying to claim that he knows how to use the word 整う and Yukinoshita believes he doesn’t really.)
  195. Facing someone like me, who is arguing so intensely and foolishly to defend oneself, Yukinoshita sighed again.
  196. She didn’t understand or try to understand a single word I said. I bet you are going to get wrecked for wasting your spa money! I’m serious. Sometimes my father would take me to spas by chance and I’d just follow him. Thanks for the treat, Dad! Some of the spa places even offer free manga to read. So instead of going to those manga coffee shop like a fool, going to these manga spas is definitely a far better way to enjoy the weekends. Even though sauna sounds like some old dude’s hobby, nowadays anime shows that are themed with old dude’s hobby are getting more and more popular! I can sense the slippery from an anime or a manga where girls enjoy sauna. While imagining that, I feel like my skins were feeling tingly already. Hey, I was referring to saunas though, not the girls!
  197. While continuing my daydreaming, I got a sneak peek at Yukinoshita’s face.
  198. Her eyes were still full of confidence to win the match between us; her mouth was still wearing a calm and composed smile, just like a few days ago when I looked into her eyes as I left the Student Council room. Of course, this is something that I already got used to.
  199. While I quietly commemorated the sense of distance between us, I smirked bitterly and finally opened my mouth.
  200. “How’s it going? I meant, the proposal.”
  201. Yukinoshita is a little shocked by what I asked and looked straight at me. But she soon turned that into a teasing smile.
  202. “...how rare it is that you start to care about others.”
  203. “It’s not like that. Of course, I have to study my enemy.”
  204. Hearing me explaining myself calmly, Yukinoshita got dumbfounded and speechless for a minuscule moment. But then, she smirked and shrugged her shoulders,
  205. “I see. It’s been going quite well. We managed to finish all the pending tasks and now we are coordinating things smoothly among all parties. I guess the only thing left is the assignment and distribution of work on the day of event.”
  206. As she went through each item one by one, her eyes looked upward as if she was marking each of them as checked. Judging from her voice and emotion, she didn’t look like she’s being preoccupied by the work at all.
  207. “That makes me so jealous… Well, don’t force yourself too much. Just use Isshiki as much as you can, even if that means crushing her dead completely. After all, she has the potential to become a great wage slave (TL: shachuku).”
  208. “I don’t need you to tell me that. That’s what I’m going to do anyways.”
  209. I said so in a half-joking, half-serious way, whereas Yukinoshita narrowed her eyes with a clever smile floating on her face. That’s so scary - unlike me, she looked like she was totally serious about it.
  210. “What about you?”
  211. She lost the stiffness and seriousness on her face and asked me gently. I hid myself behind my fluffy scarf and replied to her,
  212. “Well, it’s going as planned. We manage to finish just right amount of work and proceed without working overtime. I just have one more thing to do after this - something outdoor that I don’t know how long it’d take. Once that’s done I’m heading straight home and will get rest of my work done there.”
  213. “Sounds like only the ‘time management’ part is going well for you.”
  214. Yukinoshita tapped her fingers on her temple as if she was trying to suppress a headache. She sighed, perhaps feeling a little uncomfortable and uneasy by what I said. After that, she looked down and stared at her feet.
  215. “You don’t even have to work that hard. You know...”
  216. She said that so gently and softly, just like the white breath coming out from her mouth that soon disappeared in the air. I then returned her a gentle, small nod and then took my time searching for words to say.
  217. “...I have come this far by forcing myself hard. You know that this is my normalcy.”
  218. “I see.”
  219. She nodded forcibly, biting her lips hard. She didn’t say anything after that.
  220. Instead, she put her hand into her coat, and then slowly took out something.
  221. “Please…”
  222. That’s the MAX coffee can that she just bought earlier. Probably because it was in her pocket all the time, touching it still gave me a feeling of well-preserved warmth.
  223. “Ah, thanks a lot… wait, but why?”
  224. “You still have work to do after this right? I’m just out here to take a break. I’ll go drink something once I’m back to the club room.”
  225. While saying so, she stood up from the bench.
  226. I waved my hands at her to try to stop her. I knew that it simply wouldn’t work. So I quickly stood up as well.
  227. “Wait a second… Eh, what should I get for you then?”
  228. I took out the coin change from my pocket, which made a tinkling sound. Yukinoshita heard the sounds and shook her head.
  229. “It’s okay. Keep the money yourself and buy some treat for your club members.”
  230. “No, it makes no sense if only I got the treat. If you are treating me drinks to provide me moral support then I have to properly return the favor. That’s good manner. Can I get the same thing for you? I was planning on getting the MAX can anyways.”
  231. After hearing my long excuses, Yukinoshita seems to be slightly disturbed, staring at me with dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, perhaps sensing my strong will to defend my actions, she sighed again to signal her will to surrender. She then gave me an honest smile.
  232. “Nothing but sophism...”
  233. Knowing that she couldn’t refuse my favor anyways, she kept her smile and returned to the bench. She looked up to me, her head slightly tilted.
  234. “... then the same thing for me please.”
  235. I acknowledged quietly to her broad smile. I quickly ran to the vending machine and returned with another can of MAX coffee. Still being slightly out of breath, I handed over the MAX can that was still hot.
  236. “Careful. It’s hot!”
  237. Yukinoshita then stretched her cardigan sleeves a little over her hands. With extra care, she took the hot coffee can that I passed over, and had her sleeves in between them to insulate the heat.
  238. “Thank you....”
  239. I shook my head in reply to her expression of gratefulness. I returned to the bench and removed the cap from the MAX Coffee can that I was holding. The steam rising from the can deflected the orange light going through, and gradually dissolved in the wind. I took a sip of my coffee. The sweetness quickly spreaded over my mouth and the coffee soon warmed up my body.
  240. While I was drinking the coffee one sip after another, Yukinoshita held the can firmly to warm up both of her hands.
  241. We both kept the silence undisturbed and let the time pass by. Sometimes, either I was going to say something, or she was going to, but in the end, only breaths remained.
  242. However, thanks to the quiet breaths and the darkness of the environment, we were able to notice even the slightest gestures, expressions, or actions between us. I was already missing this sense of distance then.
  243. In the end, we were never able to have any proper conversations, but only to indulge ourselves in this speechless period of time together. Suddenly, an abrupt sound broke the silence. It came from out of my pocket. My leg felt the vibration. I pulled out my smartphone and found an incoming call.
  244. “Excuse me.”
  245. After my brief apology, Yukinoshita shook her head gently, implying that she didn’t mind it at all. I nodded to her and returned to my smartphone - on the screen it said it was a call from Yui. Just as I was about to pick up the call the vibration halted immediately. Just when I was wondering “What was that about?”, I heard footsteps made by loafer heels hitting the ground. Yukinoshita turned her face to the source of the sound and then so did I.
  246. “Good evening, Yuigahama-san”
  247. “Good evening…. Yahallo, Yukinon!”
  248. Like a greeting during a quiet night. Yuigahama lowered her voice and waved her hand gently right above her chest to us. Then she slowly approached the bench towards us. The street light lit up Yuigahama wearing a scarf on top of her coat and carrying her backpack on her back. Apparently she was prepared to leave.
  249. “... What’s up? Heard anything from Hayama?”
  250. “Right. He wanted me to tell you that we can get dinner together and take our time to talk.”
  251. When she was answering my question, she waved her smartphone gently at me. Given that Hayama had already reached out to me, I don’t think I had any other reasons to stay here. As for his suggestion to get dinner together, I guessed it was better just to meet him near the train station.
  252. I finished up the remaining coffee and stood up.
  253. “Work?”
  254. “Yeah.”
  255. I nodded to Yukinoshita, as she looked up and asked me. She also checked the time, put the MAX Coffee can back into her pocket and stood up.
  256. “I’m also going back to work”
  257. “Wait!”
  258. Just when they were about to pass each other without meeting, Yuigahama took Yukinoshita’s hand. Perhaps caught by surprise, Yukinoshita froze and looked at Yuigahama in doubt.
  259. Being speechlessly stared at, Yuigahama got a little bit embarrassed and quietly touched her hair bun with one hand.
  260. “I feel like, for some reason, we have not seen each other for a long time. It’s strange… I wonder for how many days have we not met each other...?”
  261. “Right…. I was so occupied with my work that I couldn’t find any spare time.”
  262. In response to Yuigahama’s shy smile, Yuikinoshita returned her a gentle smile. After seeing that smile, Yuigahama quietly looked downward.
  263. “No, I don’t think that’s the reason. Am I being … avoided deliberately?”
  264. Yuigahama gently raised her face up, asking modestly as if trying to peek into Yukinoshita’s heart. Hearing that, Yukinoshita suddenly straightened up her body and switched to a firmer attitude.
  265. “That’s not the case. That’s not true. It’s just that there’s so many communications coming in and out about the prom preparation and arguments against the prom event. I had too many things to deal with…”
  266. She argued vehemently, but then suddenly she softened her voice and looked down. She then lost her words and instead made a long sigh. Yuigahama gently bit her lip, faced the downward-looking Yukinoshita and apologized powerlessly.
  267. “Em, sure, right. I’m sorry...”
  268. They stayed speechless for a while after that.
  269. I feel compelled to say something. So frustrated at myself, I opened my mouth without carefully crafting words that fit into the atmosphere,
  270. “...Hey.”
  271. Hearing my voice, Yukinoshita suddenly raised her face while keeping a firm grip on Yukinoshita’s hands. Surprised by this situation, Yukinoshita also raised her face up and said,
  272. “I am actually helping Hikki”
  273. That totally caught me by surprise. It left me astonished and speechless at first.
  274. “...oh... Did I not tell you…?”
  275. I mumbled. I thought we kept in touch over LINE somehow and thus I took it for granted that I already told Yukinoshita about the fact that Yuigahama’s is helping me. Keeping Yukinoshita informed should be my responsibility, not Yuigahama’s. I regretted and blamed myself so much that Yuigahama ended up having to say it in a terribly awkward situation like this.
  276. Thereupon, Yukinoshita turned her face to me and shook her head, suggesting me not to worry about it. After that, she turned to Yuigahama, firmly gripped Yuigahama’s hand in return, and said,
  277. “Don’t worry about it. I understand it.”
  278. “... No, I don’t think you do.”
  279. Yuigahama tilted her face in sadness.
  280. “I was thinking about doing *it* properly. After we are finished with all of this, I will get *it* done properly. Therefore.... I will make sure your wish never comes true.”
  281. She kept staring into Yukinoshita’s eyes, trying to organize her words earnestly. Yukinoshita nodded, just to confirm that Yuigahama had finished her words.
  282. “... I see. But I do hope that your wish comes true though.”
  283. It appeared that her smile was so genuine, without even a slightest sense of sadness, that her words were honest and truthful.
  284. However, Yuigahama’s stern face didn’t clear up at all after she heard Yukinoshita’s words. After two or three breaths, Yuigahama cast a gaze that seemed to cling firmly on Yukinoshita.
  285. “... Do you actually… know my wish? Are you sure you know *it* clearly?”
  286. “Yes. I think it’s probably the same thing as mine.”
  287. Yukinoshita replied without any hesitation. Her smile was certainly soaked with love and affection. In her clear pupils was no hesitation or perplexity whatsoever.
  288. “I see… then.. it’s okay.”
  289. Yuigahama exhaled deeply, released Yukinoshita’s hand gently and took a step back. Seeing that Yuigahama’s hands dropped powerlessly, Yuigahama wore a very slight and thin smile on her face.
  290. “Sorry, but I have to leave now.”
  291. Saying that, Yukinoshita firmly doubled her fist with her empty hand. While my eyes said goodbye to Yukinoshita, Yuigahama however kept her face down without looking up.
  292. Yukinoshita sighed with a troubled face. Finally, she turned her back on us. Only the sound of loafers hitting the brickstone ground resonated in the courtyard, and step by step it was going further and further away.
  293. I saw her off with my eyes before taking a short breath. Even so, that didn’t alleviate the heavy feeling that got stuck in my stomach at all.
  294. “It’s about time. Let’s get going.”
  295. I said that to Yuigahama, who stood there still and paralyzed. I don't think those are the right words to say, but I'm simply too deplorable - I know I had to say something in this situation, but I just didn't know what to say.
  296. Yuigahama nodded to me, with an almost vanishing voice "alright...". But apparently, she had no intention to walk out and leave.
  297. Yukinoshita stepped into the shadow below the school building. I could see her fleeting figure dissolving into the background and her footstep pitching higher.
  298. Before I was able to see the scene through the end, Yuigahama suddenly raised her face up, and with all her strength she started dashing over in Yukinoshita’s direction.
  299. Yukinoshita was taking her time to walk away slowly, but after hearing the footsteps, she turned her face back.
  300. It all happened in a moment. Yuigahama suddenly jumped into Yukinoshita, hugging her back wholeheartedly.
  301. Leaking an almost inaudible voice of surprise and confusion, Yukinoshita stumbled a few steps forward, almost dropping her coat from her back. But before that happened, Yuigahama held onto her coat firmly and buried her face quickly into the slim collars.
  302. "When the prom ends, we should get lunch together. Besides that, I'd like to stay overnight at your apartment again. When the spring comes, we'll go to Disneyland together; we'll go to the Seaworld again. And after that we can all stay overnight in my place. And then when it's April,..."
  303. With her wavering voice, Yuigahama's words came out so quickly just like an arrow shooting immediately after another arrow. She snorted, then looked up after taking a breath and smiled gently.
  304. "What shall we do in April? We can do all sorts of things. So much to do that it could take us years or decades."
  305. Dimmed orange light emitted from light poles sank into Yukinoshita's pupils. She relaxed her fist and her hand stretched over to reach Yuigahama's shoulder. She then gently touched Yuigahama's shoulder and tried to cover her face with her other hand touching her forehead.
  306. "That's... that's really a lot to do... I wonder if we can actually do all of them."
  307. "We can! We'll be together until we finish doing all of them... So, it's not a problem."
  308. Being hugged tightly, Yukinoshita sighed in confusion. But Yuigahama did not seem to care. Instead, she put in more strength in her arms and asked.
  309. "Do you understand?"
  310. As if she was being playful to a kid, Yuigahama laid her cheek on the back of Yukinoshita's neck to comfort her. Yukinoshita twisted her body a little bit, maybe out of slight shyness. (TL: Osobayui could mean both ticklish or embarrassed/terekusai. I’m actually not sure which one I should take...)
  311. "Yeah, I understand. I understand it."
  312. "Like really understand it crystal clear?"
  313. "Yes.. yes. So could you just release me a little bit..."
  314. Yukinoshita did not force herself to part from Yuigahama. And Yuigahama released her slowly and gently. Yuigahama froze briefly after they took some distance apart. While I was watching all of this, I made a short sigh.
  315. Just as usual, we are so bad at communicating with each other. 'I meant to say this; I meant that I knew this; I meant that I understood this.' - with thoughts like this piling up among us, we have reached where we are today. I think we didn't grow mature at all, not even a little bit.
  316. We all know that there's an easier way to communicate our feelings.
  317. However, I do not believe that's the right way.
  318. But I know I can do one thing at least - avoid making mistakes.
  319. As if I was praying, I fixed my eyes on both of them without moving.
  320.  
  321. ==BEGIN PART 3==
  322. After seeing Yukinoshita off back to the Student Council room, Yuigahama and I headed over to the station.
  323. The temperature dropped quickly as the sun set. To avoid the chilly wind, we walked in between the residential buildings. The 'kyu-kyu-' sound of me pushing the bicycle got mixed with the buzzing sound of dry wood along the street, both of which gradually vanished in the end.
  324. Along the way, Yuigahama walked next to me and talked to me about various things, but did not mention anything about Yukinoshita. I think she was deliberately avoiding it. Since Yuigahama clearly has subtle consideration about it, so I should not touch it either. (TL: 気遣い isn't really just consideration but a more subtle one... Not sure how to accurately translate it)
  325. Of course, our topic of discussion naturally went into a different direction.
  326. "Soccer club people certainly practice until very late, right?"
  327. "Ah, right, especially today their training took an even longer time."
  328. Although our campus isn't that big, we have soccer club, baseball club, rugby club and the track and field club, all of which need places to carry out their activities. Hence, they have to coordinate with each other on activity time and places to stay organized.
  329. As I explained to Yuigahama, she made a "hoe-" (TL: Yes, that Hoe from CCS) sound.
  330. "Hmmm I see. You really know the details."
  331. "Nah, it's normal"
  332. It's not like Yuigahama's reaction implied anything, but it made me look like I'm really interested in the soccer club. So I ended up coughing once or twice to cover it up and divert the subject.
  333. "Ah, btw, tomorrow is the day to take photos, right?"
  334. As I changed the subject intentionally, Yuigahama also redirected her attention and nodded to me.
  335. "Hmm... Taking photos..."
  336. "I was thinking about taking it by the sea. Could you please do be a favor and be the model?"
  337. "Ehhh!? Me!? Ah, that's kind of embarrassing for me..."
  338. Yuigahama caressed her hair bun with her glove gently.
  339. "It's okay just to show a back view. I've seen quite a few of those kind of photos. I think it'd be good to have two or three people in the photo like this."
  340. I held my bicycle aside and took out my smartphone - trying to look up images as references. Yuigahama came closer little by little to peek into the screen.
  341. "I see... It's just barely safe if it's from the back... I will try to ask Yumiko and Hina as well."
  342. That closer up distance unchanged, we kept walking side by side. Feeling a little uneasy, I closed my opened coat, brought my scarf all the way up to my mouth and speeded up my pace.
  343. Finally, we navigated ourselves through in front of the station and arrived at the Saizerya storefront.
  344. I parked my bicycle and entered the restaurant, immediately starting to look around for the customer who arrived earlier.
  345. I only hadn't been here for a couple days. It didn't look that the place had changed a bit. If I had to say one thing that did change, it's the Hayama Hayato cheerfully waving his hands at us with a refreshing smile on his face.
  346. Hayama moved his body to spare some space for us from that 4-people seat. He raised his hand facing upward as if saying "Here please, my Milady."
  347. That proud and impertinent pose looked like it could become part of a painting. This is making me angry and uneasy. Speaking of which, what's even making me more uneasy is this guy sitting next to Hayama eating pasta with a carefree face...
  348. "Why's Tobecchi here?"
  349. After taking her seat, Yuigahama said it before I could. Meanwhile, Tobe got choked by the food and said,
  350. "Ubbeee(crap)-... I shouldn't have come...? Cuz Hayato told us everyone is grabbing dinner together and so I'm here..."
  351. Scared by the situation, Tobe looked at Yuigahama, who then gently waved her hand and smiled at him.
  352. "Oh, that's not it. You weren't invited but you ended up coming anyways..."
  353. Yuigahama didn't seem to say that out of ill will. But saying it lightly wearing that smile can certainly cause extra damage. Tobe's mouth suddenly cramped, awkwardly put down the fork and cast his eyes towards Hayama and me, as if those eyes were saying "Eh? Is this bad? Should I leave? Is it better for me to go home? Ah crap...",saying so in a quite annoying way.
  354. "... Well, it won't make a difference no matter if you are here or not."
  355. Having said that, I cast my eyes towards Hayama. I could barely see from the side of my eyesight that Tobe was mumbling "Crap... the way he said that is so... terrible...". Hayama showed a bitter smile to Tobe and turned his face to us.
  356. "I'm sorry for taking your time." Yuigahama closed her palms together to express her apology and gratitude.
  357. "Well, I can't really say no to Yui's request." Hayama smiled and responded. If I were the person asking him, I wonder if I'd just get rejected... I cast my dubiously questioning eyes to Hayama. He then simply switched to the main topic.
  358. "So, what's the deal for today?"
  359. "You know this so-called 'prom' thing,right?"
  360. "Yeah, more or less."
  361. Just like Isshiki, I guessed Hayama also learned or heard about it from Yuigahama. Hence I asked him knowing that in mind. Hayama answered it frankly without hesitation. As I nodded in return, I continued.
  362. "So the situation right now is that, some of our parents think it's not wholesome and thus are strongly against holding the prom. We are cornered now and was told to act with 'self-restraint'. To deal with it, we then unilaterally created this new plan to carry out a prom with even greater scale."
  363. As I finished explaining, Tobe suddenly stopped his hand holding his pasta.
  364. "... Wait, what, why??"
  365. "To make sure that the prom takes place."
  366. I said so without looking at Tobe, but straight at Hayama. Hayama folded his arms and then held his chin, thinking silently.
  367. "... in other words, it's a stalking horse?"
  368. Hearing that, I tilted one side of my mouth and put up an evil smile.
  369. "Your quick understanding makes things easier, thankfully."
  370. "No, I cannot understand, to be honest."
  371. Perhaps confused, Hayama sighed at my smile. Tobe, on the other hand, looked at us back and forth, trying so hard to understand the situation. Yet, looked like he just gave up, as he leaned forwarded over the table and asked Yuigahama "What's going on?" for an explanation. Yuigahama then "So, let me think, here's what's going on...", started explaining the whole thing quietly.
  372. Well, it's okay even if Tobe doesn't understand. The only person that I'm here to deal with is Hayama. I quickly glanced sidelong at the whispering two, and then cut in to the main topic.
  373. "So, I want some support from the Club President Association." (TL: CPA was also mentioned in previous chapters. In case you haven't read it or don't remember it's an association consists of presidents from all student activity clubs. Hayama is also the leader of it.)
  374. "I don't think we can offer any meaningful help. It's not like we have a great deal of authority or say over school matters."
  375. "I know. But still I'd like to ask for one thing."
  376. As Hayama was about to say no and just end the conversation, I raised my hand and suggested 'well, hear me first'.
  377. "You guys are planning to this Oikon thing right? Isn't it better if all clubs can jointly hold this thing? To follow up and tag along with Oikon, we can make a new prom proposal." (TL: 'Oikon' is a drinking event where current club members invite graduating club members to celebrate their retirement.)
  378. "Oikon..."
  379. After finishing up the pasta, Tobe froze his hand again while trying to reach out to the doria. He tilted his head in confusion and looked at Hayama. Hayama smiled bitterly.
  380. "Look like you learned about it from somewhere else."
  381. I looked at Hayama with my questioning eyes asking "what do you mean?". Hayama reached out to his coffee cup and then took a sip. It was espresso but he didn't show even a slight expression of bitter taste. He started talking composedly.
  382. "The student council has already reached out and asked us about Oikon."
  383. Sounds like now I'm the one making a bitter face. Nevertheless, Hayama's face kept its composure after seeing my reaction and continued,
  384. "We already decided to help out the student council. Or should I rather put it, we are a subdivision under the student council. So obviously we cannot help you guys out."
  385. "Ugu..", I lost my words.
  386. They got it before us. While we were still conceiving it they already got it done... I guess besides enhancing her prom proposal, Yukinoshita already thought about using some help from the Club President Association.
  387. I don't know why but in this world, people all hold this strong belief that sports clubs must be wholesome. Probably those old people, after committing some light crimes, would easily cover them up with some pranks or tricks. They certainly, and strangely, are very tolerant to those young people who are sweating invigoratingly and holding strong passions. In reality, they are not wholesome at all. Every year they cause turmoils and apologize for things like 'team activity temporarily in halt', 'bowing out right before a competition due to scandals'. More recently, there are even bolder conducts such as sexual harassment, power harassment, drug abusement and so on.
  388. So, it's annoying if I just end up giving up now. Knowing that I'm doing useless and meaningless resistance, I still have to continue my negotiation. If I don't, then all my effort would go for nothing.
  389. "... in that case, how about as an individual? Would Hayama Hayato, as an individual without any titles, help out with us?"
  390. "Helping you as an individual would be the most unwilling thing for me to do."
  391. Hayama tilted his face, expressing genuine unwillingness deep from heart. His expression looked like the one that a boxer would make after his liver gets punched and gouged out. Okay, now it's the time to attack!
  392. "It's also okay if we can just borrow your name."
  393. "Doesn't look like I'm ever going to have it back."
  394. "Ah... you are right..."
  395. Punched right into my face by his sharp and eloquent argument, I dropped my jaw. He's right. If I get to borrow Hayama's name I'd use every inch of it, Just like borrowing a stamp and use it to apply for a loan and buy a house. (TL: In Japan, stamps can be used like signatures and possess the same legal authority to prove your identity.) Good for you Zaimokuza, you get to buy a new apartment!
  396. While I nodded to myself, Hayama looked at me and rolled his eyes.
  397. "I cannot accept this. You are the type of person who would borrow a game, write your own name on it and even sell it later! I hate that so much."
  398. "Don't get me wrong. I won't do it. I don't even have a friend who can lend me a game in the first place."
  399. As I argued it fair and square, Hayama sighed deeply. Tobe was like "That's him! Those who use markers to write stuff on goods and resell them on GEO (TL: JP Ebay) and then mesmerize the buyers... I wonder if Akkun is still okay...(TL: not sure who is Akkun is, but he seems to be a 2ch meme who have been stealing games and CDs from friends)"
  400. Instead, Yuigahama dropped her jaw in astonishment. She stared at us speechlessly with her eyes asking "what's going on right now". Looking at her unbelievable face, Hayama smiled gently and said,
  401. "What's up?"
  402. "Ah... I was a little surprised"
  403. Yuigahama looked at and compared Hayama and me side by side, 'ehehe-' laughed happily. Meanwhile, embarrassed Hayama had decided to keep his mouth shut. And then, pretending to sit up straight, Hayama leaned his body aside and moved away from me.
  404. Well, had I only known the kind Mr. Hayama Hayato, maybe the posture of ‘repulsiveness against me' would somehow end up looking pretty nice. Hayato-san, you have quite a personality.
  405. As I was thinking that, Tobe, who apparently knows Hayama a lot better than I do, proudly straightened up his neck and said,
  406. "Well, it's because sometimes Hayato-kun you do say pretty tough things too."
  407. Tobe smiled and tried to seek consensus. Trying to cover up and divert things, Hayama coughed a couple times.
  408. "To begin with why do you have to do this? I didn't hear anything about this 'stalking horse' proposal from Yukinoshita though?"
  409. "Of course you didn't. It's all my unilateral actions."
  410. Hayama leaned his head slightly, with his eyes inquiring what I meant by that. I didn't really want to explain to him, I answered him in only few words. After that, I stopped elaborating further, resting my chin in my hand. We then entered a brief moment of silence.
  411. "Looks like you two are not working on it together this time... What happened?"
  412. He seemed to noticed my unwillingness to elaborate further, following up with yet another question. He didn't dodge his eyes away from me as he asked, but rested his elbows on the table and had his fingers crossed (TL: like that classic Dad Ikari pose in EVA). His attitude looked like he'd wait forever until I gave an answer. I sighed quietly.
  413. "It's my own business, not something that you should care about."
  414. The moment I said so deep inside Hayama's pupil something dark started moving. His gaze on me stifled me. Despite so, Hayama shrugged his shoulders.
  415. Hayama's didn't relaxed his gaze, leaving the atmosphere even drier. I could feel my skin getting stung and burned by his eyes. Perhaps those sitting next to me could also feel the tightened ambience. Tobe twisted his body uncomfortably.
  416. Yuigahama had her eyes down by herself, yet eventually she decided to open her mouth.
  417. "Yukinon... Yukinon wants to prove that she could do it on her own. Otherwise, she'd end up depending on Hikki and me. She decided not to let that happen."
  418. "...that's what she said..?"
  419. Hayama swallowed his breath out of discomposure. Just to make sure, he asked again slowly. Without raising her head, Yuigahama nodded.
  420. "I see..."
  421. Hayama sighed deeply and closed his eyes. I cannot grasp the meaning behind that long sigh. Only from his action of biting the lips, I could tell that he is stressfully troubled.
  422. As suffocating silence continued, I could sense that the restaurant was getting noisier. Without saying a word, both Yuigahama and I looked down on our hands.
  423. "Ah.... by the way, did you two eat? Are you hungry? Should I order something?"
  424. Maybe Tobe couldn't bear with the awkwardness, or maybe he was reading into the air and trying to do me a favor. Tobe forced his wide smile at us and opened the menu. Yuigahama looked at me implying "what should we do?". I shook my head in response.
  425. "No, it's fine. I am about to head out."
  426. Refraining from putting it into words, I used my eyes and mouth movement to express my gratefulness to Tobe, though I'm not sure if he'd get it. Tobe was like "O, oh..." seemingly confused.
  427. After we broke the silence, Hayama sighed shortly.
  428. "I will help out with the prom itself. However, I will NOT assist you as an individual nor as part of Club President Association. I won't dissuade other CPA members from helping out as individuals. That's my compromise."
  429. Without looking at me directly, Hayama fixed his eyes on the cup in front of him. Hayama's pupil reflected darkness and turmoil, and deep inside there was no light.
  430. "...well, that's what I guessed. It's enough."
  431. As I spoke, Yuigahama looked at me uneasily and anxiously.
  432. "Hikki, are you sure?"
  433. "Yeah."
  434. I think it's no problem that CPA is helping out with Yukinoshita. It's sufficient just to get Hayama's promise and commitment out. After all, my end goal is to make sure Yukinoshita's prom plan takes place. They (TL:Yukinoshita and the student council) made their wise move ahead of us, but it won't change the outcome in the end.
  435. In that case, I just have to make use use of other cards in my hand.
  436. "I'm getting ready to leave. Thanks and sorry for taking your time."
  437. I took the check promptly and left the seat. Hayama was hesitating whether to stand up or not, sighed shortly, but then he gave up and stood up anyways. Left by himself, Tobe quickly devoured the leftover doria, poured the remaining coke into his mouth and chased us clumsily.
  438. ==BEGIN PART 4==
  439. After I paid the bill and left the restaurant, the night had already fallen.
  440. Due to the commute rush, many people were passing by the station area. I was pushed by the crowd and left alone walking by myself... maybe I should just head to the station for now... hence I ended up catching up with Yuigahama and Tobe while pushing my bicycle.
  441. And then I voice came from behind.
  442. "Can I borrow just a moment from you?"
  443. "Ugh?"
  444. As I turned around, Hayama was standing there aimlessly. Surprised at us two suddenly stopped walking, Yuigahama and Tobe looked at us, turned around and walked back to us.
  445. Hayama looked at Tobe and nodded with a little eye contact. Tobe picked it up. He stretched his neck and said,
  446. "Ah, hmmm, let me walk Yui home."
  447. That immediately caught Yui by surprise.
  448. "Ehh?? Why??"
  449. "Why? ehh, ehhh? Why do you ask?"
  450. While Tobe asked her back, Yuigahama waved her hand.
  451. "Well, it's not like my home lies in the same direction as yours. I live close by so I can go back just fine as normal."
  452. "That frantly?? Ah, but normally you should take my offer..."
  453. "Eh, ah, it's okay, really. Daijoubu."
  454. "uppee-(crap)... that really hurts..."
  455. Tobe was surprised by the unexpected situation and stood dumbfounded. Yuigahama then took a step towards me and gently raised her hand up.
  456. "See you tomorrow Hikki-, and Hayato-kun."
  457. "Yep, see you tomorrow."
  458. While I said so with a nod, Hayama waved his hand and said "Good night".
  459. Yuigahama soon walked away, followed by Tobe chasing her in confusion and dissatisfaction. Seeing both of them off, Hayama and I were left in the crowd.
  460. We waited until we could no longer see them. I then turned my face to Hayama.
  461. "...So, what's your problem?"
  462. "Shall we walk as we speak?"
  463. Dodging my question and not even waiting for me to say yes, he started walking. He didn't tell me where we were heading to but merely suggested to follow him.
  464. For a while, I followed his steps and pushed my bike without any exchange of words.
  465. We walked into a back street one block away from the shopping district, and then came out of a corner surrounded by trees. Seemingly an inhospitable place, it's a park equipped with swings and a playground slide.
  466. "Wait here for a moment."
  467. "eh, hey..."
  468. I was gonna stop him but he quickly ran away somewhere. It can't be helped, so I parked my bicycle and sat down on a bench in a gazebo.
  469. There's nobody here other than me. The park was really quiet. There's nothing much surrounding the park, leaving chilly wind blowing freely. I closed up my coat collar, tightened my scarf and put my hands into the pocket. I waited for Hayama with my body shaking and clattering.
  470. After breathing in and out a couple times, I heard sounds of trampled sand coming from my back. I turned around and saw Hayama holding coffee cans and walking back towards me.
  471. "Get ready."
  472. As he spoke, he threw one of the cans over at me. I quickly took my hands out of pocket in panic and somehow managed to catch it.
  473. "That was dangerous... Can't you just pass it over normally?"
  474. Following my bad attitude, however, was a relieving breath from my mouth. I could feel the warmth transmitting into my palms. 'Eh, hot!!' I mumbled. It's about time to drink, so I opened the can and started drinking sip by sip.
  475. Hayama, who looked at me and smiled in satisfaction, sat down on the bench next to the one I sat on. He first warmed his hands with the can, and soon also started drinking like me. After a brief sigh, he began to talk in scattered words.
  476. "I’ve come to remember things from the past."
  477. "What thing?"
  478. I peeked at his face from aside. Hayama leaned his body slightly forward and stared at his hand holding the coffee can. Light coming from the street lamps shed on his face, casting shadows on the ground.
  479. "... Things from the past. You know back in elementary school, she was isolated by others, right? Back then, she said something similar... 'I can do it just by myself. I do not want to rely on you. I do not need your help.'"
  480. "Huh... I felt like I heard about that from somewhere, maybe."
  481. "Yeah... Hence I came to remember it."
  482. Acknowledging my back-channeling, half-joking speech, Hayama raised his head up a little bit and replied to me in smile. Nevertheless, his delightful attitude quickly faded out.
  483. "...I wasn't able to do anything for her back then."
  484. Just like his falling voice, his eyes also looked down on the ground.
  485. "No, that's not accurate. In retrospect from the outcome, it ended up being a lot worse and awful. I offered my help halfway in the middle without wrapping it up, which caused even more damage. I was thinking that back then - I should have helped and gave it everything I had."
  486. Hayama cast his self-loathing smile at me, eyes turning gloomy. I shrugged my shoulders.
  487. "What is this? Repentance? You should do that facing a wall."
  488. "They are about the same." (TL: referring to a wall and Hachiman).
  489. Saying so in a half-joking fashion, Hayama, whose face illustrated by the street light, lowered his eyelashes with an apologizing face. In contrary to that face, the steel can was shaking in his hand. Cold wind started to blow at us again but that's definitely not why he was shaking.
  490. Besides, I can sense regretfulness and anger leaking from inside him.
  491. I recalled that day in that summer when Hayama and Yukinoshita had a conversation. It's not like I asked them to know precisely what they talked about, but at my best guess, it's probably about what happened to them in the past being repeated exactly as with Tsurumi Rumi, who was isolated likewise.
  492. It's not hard to imagine the young Yukinoshita Yukino standing out from all other kids in the crowd, thanks to her beauty, temperament and intelligence. It's also easy to imagine how someone as unique and special as Yukinoshita would be treated by the kids groups.
  493. In that situation, as Yukinoshita's childhood friend (TL: Osananajimi), Hayama Hayato took actions that were deemed to be the worst that one could ever conceive - in the most straightforward words, he tried to 'set her up to be friendly with' and made attempts 'to integrate her into' those girl-only groups.
  494. Unfortunately, that only brought him more trouble and displeasure. Of course, what a classic Hayama move, not to mention that it all happened during the time when kids were the most excessively emotional beings. It doesn't make sense to demand self-control from kids, as it simply won't work.
  495. There's no way for me to know whether Hayama back then was smart enough to notice it, but I'm quite sure the Hayama now would deem his actions as awfully stupid and inappropriate.
  496. "I really should have poured in all my effort to help her out back then. In that case,..."
  497. If that were the case, what would have happen...!? That really touched my nerves. Hence I narrowed my eyes and said,
  498. "How's your 'what-ifs' supposed to be meaningful now??"
  499. "At the very least, I am very aware and have made it clear to you that it's also against my will for her to end up like this."
  500. Taken my stares, Hayama laughed bitterly with self-mockery. The usual 'cool and refreshing' part of him was all gone, leaving only a gloomy eyes, in which only bad feelings and regrets resided.
  501. "You shouldn't give up midway, like I did. Face it seriously. I didn't have that motivation and the resolution back then. But you are different, right?"
  502. His words jabbing about the future, his imploring eyes, his mouth that spoke of the past that I didn't know of - all irritated me so much. I bit my teeth hard and said,
  503. "That was your regrets! You own them. Don't entrust them to me so lightheartedly!"
  504. Without noticing it, my words got sharp and my eyes stared at Hayama angrily. Hayama then quickly looked down.
  505. "You are absolutely right... I own my own regrets. I have been regretting the moment it happened until now. I am unable to forget any bit of it. It always came back at me... I was stuck there ever since, without making any progress."
  506. Suppressing his pain that seemed to tear his breast off, Hayama groaned bitterly. His used-to-be-handsome face warped out of pain, forcing voices out of his throat as if blood was going to come out.
  507. What would have those friendly buddies of Hayama reacted had they seen him now. Disappointed? Or sympathetic? Or even disdainful?
  508. Notwithstanding, I am jealous of him. Looking at his regretful face, I only feel jealousy.
  509. I could see how deep it got inscribed in his mind, as he treasured it so dearly, so much that he would never forget about it and kept thinking about it the rest of his life.
  510. I would not treat that feeling as regrettable at all.
  511. His suffering posture was so 'shiny' that my eyes had to dodge away. Thereupon, Hayama suddenly stepped on the sand and turned his face to me. He couldn't allow himself to look away from me anymore.
  512. "Hikigaya... You are doing it the wrong way. You shouldn't have to resort to this way."
  513. This time, I can't dodge my eyes nor can I turn my face away. So I closed my eyes.
  514. Nobody else but you.
  515. Nobody else but you said that to me.
  516. His words were hopelessly correct, ambiguous, and whatever.
  517. I'm glad that I know you, Hayama Hayato.
  518. You cannot overlook actions that hurt others. You will not forgive those who hurt others. Therefore, you are the one whom you will never forgive yourself.
  519. Bearing the hope that not a single person gets hurt, but ended up hurting the most important person. Even so, he couldn't defy or betray the image that he and other have set up for him. In the end, being forced into an impasse by yourself, you showed me that painful face and spoke of these meaningless but sounding arguments. Even until now, you are still hurting yourself.
  520. Knowing that he couldn't do it, knowing that I couldn't do it, nevertheless he still couldn't help but ask me.
  521. I hated this part of him so much, hated it from my heart.
  522. I really hated it.
  523. So, I've found my words to say.
  524. If it's someone else then for sure I wouldn't have said it.
  525. It's because you shared so much sympathy with me but still didn't understand it that I have to tell you. I had to say because they are the same thing but not one single thing, and so much of the two are the same but you won't forgive the tiny part that's different between the two. Therefore, I had to speak out, to someone like you who committed to never doing the wrong thing and always doing the right thing.
  526. "Shut up! I know what I am doing!"
  527. I knew I was doing the seemingly wrong thing. But I had no other choice. I did not know of any other ways.
  528. Without doing it that way, *we* wouldn't be able to understand or communicate with each other.
  529. There's only one thing that I could do.
  530. Only one thing.
  531. "I know it all. Knowing it I've come this far. There's no other ways to prove it."
  532. As I slowly opened my eyes, I saw white steams coming out of my mouth and gradually dissolved into the air, just like what I just said.
  533. "... What are you trying to prove?"
  534. Hayama directed his staring eyes at me. It's troublesome for me to be asked with that serious face. I hadn't been able to provide any good counter-arguments.
  535. Should I just fabricate something? Or just prevaricate it? Or just make a bluff? I thought about it briefly and eventually just spoke out what I had in my heart along with my breaths.
  536. "If she didn't demand any help from me, but I'm offering my one-sided help anyways, then this is not codependence. I want to be able to prove that."
  537. As I said so, I began smiling naturally.
  538. Maybe surprised by what I just said, or maybe even astonished at my smiley face, Hayama blinked his eyes and gave a bitter smile while losing strength on his shoulders.
  539. "Hikigaya, do you know what that feeling is called?"
  540. "Of course, it's called ‘a guy’s stubbornness’."
  541. I boasted with my face twisted.
  542. ==END PART 4==
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