Koharu’s Route

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Koharu Sugiura, a girl in her final year at Houjou’s affiliated high school, had initially approached Haruki because he’d rejected Mihoko Yada’s confession of love for him. Despite already loving Haruki, Koharu realizes that it is more important for him to be happy and to move on with his life, so she does nothing to disrupt that. For that reason, together with Io and Takeya, she had planned Haruki’s date with Setsuna at Christmas, [1] concerned that he may not make up his mind to be with her by himself. Even at the end of Setsuna’s route, she still shows signs of loving Haruki, which makes Setsuna jealous. Koharu, despite her own sadness, is still pleased and comforted that Haruki has achieved happiness, and she also congratulates him for the amazing concert played with Setsuna. [2][3]

[1] How can you say that… After we went through all that trouble to set things up for you, and you just wasted it…
[2] I went to the concert… It was amazing.
[3] Since everyone was attracted by Ogiso Senpai, the ones who are only watching Senpai, most likely, are just Mihoko and me…… ah.

In Koharu’s route, Haruki goes to see her after his disastrous date with Setsuna at Christmas. She had done everything she could to hook him up with Setsuna to enable him to move forward with the girl he loves, and yet, it had not worked out. [4][5] Despite having problems of her own, Koharu immediately stops work to comfort him. [6][7][8] These days, she is in the midst of a fight with her best friend Mihoko due to a misunderstanding about Haruki, [9][10] whom they both love. Koharu, however, reassures him that their dispute will be resolved [11] and, following this encounter, Haruki decides to start working part-time with her once more. Needless to say, their co-workers are already aware of her love for him, [12] but Koharu continues denying her true feelings and explains that her only aim is to take care of him while he’s hurting inside. [13]

[4] In order to protect me.
[5] But it feels like she’s slightly overprotective.
[6] I… maybe this was the first time in my life, where I threw off my work.
[7] But, well, it can’t be helped. I just can’t leave it alone. I’m talking about you, Senpai.
[8] That’s why, since you look so lost, I must find you again. It was driven by that uneasiness that I….
[9] Even now, we’re still in something like a cold war. I haven’t received a mail, let alone a call.
[10] Because Mihoko is stubborn, and giving up to her is not an option.
[11] No, this is me and Mihoko’s problem. We will solve this with just us two, rest assured.
[12] Shouldn’t you be saying “I-It’s not like I like him or anything!” while trying to hide your embarrassment?
[13] It’s obvious to take care of someone who has a cold, right? Then, if someone is hurting inside their heart, we’ll have to take care of him too, right?



Soon afterwards Takeya and Koharu, who are determined to reconcile Haruki with Setsuna, discuss the current situation. Takeya explains that he thinks that Setsuna is blaming herself for what happened during their Christmas date, [14] and that the situation may be worse than before. Till now, it had always been Haruki running away from Setsuna, but at Christmas, it seemed to be the other way around. [15] Koharu then comes up with an idea she fully intends to carry out. Haruki, she realizes, needs someone who can completely be on his side, and since Koharu doesn’t even know Setsuna, she thinks she is perfect for the task. [16] Takeya however notices that something strange is happening, [17] and asks Koharu to leave the problem to Io and him this time. [18] But Koharu insists she can’t stop and that she has a responsibility to help Haruki get back on his feet. [19] Later, Takeya talks to Io and informs her that maybe, just maybe, he’s made a terrible miscalculation. [20]

[14] … At least, I think Setsuna-chan is blaming herself for this.
[15] It’s always been Haruki who has been running away, but this time it seems that it’s the other way round…
[16] For that, I won’t be a problem… Since I don’t know Ogiso-senpai.
[17] F16″You’re the one… Who’s weird…
[18] Leave everything else to us. Don’t worry, we’ll definitely repair their relationship.
[19] It’s not because I felt guilty about it, it’s that I have the responsibility to help him stand up.
[20] Hey, Io… Maybe… Just maybe, I’ve made a terrible miscalculation.

Like this, because of her support, Haruki starts going out with Koharu more often. She remains determined to protect him [21] and even uses her New Year wish praying for him to get better. [22] Time goes by, and the two are still together by the last day of the winter holidays for both Houjou High School and University. The previous day, Haruki had suggested they should have a break together. Koharu got very excited, [23] and 15 minutes later, she had already persuaded the boss to change their shifts so they’re able to leave early. [24] Then, because Haruki has received so much care from Koharu over the holidays, he decides to ask her out for dinner as well. [25][26] During their meal, Haruki learns that Koharu is saving all her money because she is planning an overseas trip with her friends. [27][28] Even so, she doesn’t want Haruki to spend money on her, and it takes a lot of effort on his part to convince her that he will pay for the meal. By now, Haruki is fully aware that she will definitely be a model wife and mother, [29] but strangely, he finds it painful to imagine.

[21] Thank you… for protecting me.
[22] My wish was… “May the person named Kitahara Haruki become cheerful again.”
[23] Just as I finished saying “Tomorrow, let’s have a break together after our morning shift”, she immediately whipped out her phone with great enthusiasm.
[24] 15 minutes later… Sugiura used her undeniable powers of persuasion to convince 2 staff to replace our shift. And so, we are happily able to leave early.
[25] And so, where should we go next?
[26] School starts from tomorrow onwards. As I’ve received much care from Sugiura over the holidays, naturally I’ve decided to ask her out for dinner.
[27] Course meal!? I… don’t have so much money. Money from work all goes to expenses for the overseas trip with everyone…
[28] As I recall, it’s an 8-day trip visiting Spain, Italy and France right?
[29] In the future she’ll definitely become a model wife and mother…

A few minutes later, Koharu asks if he’s going to quit his part-time job. [30] Logically, Haruki soon will have to stop working with her at Goodies because he has to write his thesis in addition to job-hunting. It’s not, however, news Koharu likes to hear, and because of it, she descends into a pitiful state. Haruki tries to cheer her up, but her facial expression does not recover. [31] Now the previously good atmosphere has vanished, [32] and Koharu, wearing an expression of loneliness, stares blankly at her food. [33][34] Then the mood falls even further because Haruki receives a text message from Setsuna sending him belated New Year greetings. [35] Her message explains that the reason for the delay in writing to him was due to the fact that she was doubting herself, not even knowing if she had the right to speak with him. [36] Every day, even now, she recalls their Christmas date and starts feeling terrible. [37] Still, she needed to know if she could still greet him and if he would say hi to her. [38]

[30] Once you’re in the 4th year… You will quit this part time job, right?
[31] Her facial expression did not recover.
[32] Where did the good atmosphere from just now go to…
[33] Sugiura, wearing an expression of immense loneliness, stares blankly at the food she picked up in front of her eyes, without putting them into her mouth.
[34] Actually, I do not want to see that expression. … Because even I will feel very lonely.
[35] As though making the atmosphere even worse, a small message tone from my phone interrupted our conversion.
[36] It’s because I keep doubting myself. … I do not know if the me right now has any rights to speak with you.
[37] Although even now, every day, I still think back on what had happened. Every time I recall it, I feel terrible.
[38] If we see each other at school, can I greet you? If you see me, can you say hi to me?

Realizing the message is from Setsuna, Koharu asks Haruki if he’s going to meet her. [39] He says he will, but notices something different from last time – now both the person asking and the person answering are lowering their heads. [40] Haruki goes on to thank Koharu because, he explains, it was due to her efforts [41] that he had the courage to contact Setsuna again [42] and, despite the fact that he still feels apologetic, he can now face her. This is great news and so Koharu wishes him success, which prompts Haruki to thank her again. His thanks, however, are not completely sincere. [43] But maybe, Haruki realizes, that is because he suspects Koharu’s best wishes lacked conviction as well. [44]

[39] As expected… are you going to meet with Ogiso Senpai.
[40] Unlike last time, both the person asking and or the person answering lowered their heads while speaking.
[41] … all thanks to Sugiura.
[42] And so I had the courage to contact Setsuna.
[43] This “thank you” of mine contains not much sincerity.
[44] That’s because I am suspicious that the lines “I pray for your success” also held no conviction in it.

When the meal is over, Koharu expresses her gratitude, but as they part it seems as if both are running away. [45] Haruki also notices a strange sensation on his skin, but tries to convince himself it is unavoidable. [46] They had been together every day for a long time, so it should be natural for him to hold such strong feelings for her. [47] Yet Koharu doesn’t seem happy either and, in her mind, she tells Haruki that once she starts university, she will definitely find a boyfriend. [48][49] Her problems, however, will not end there. Soon enough, her friend Sayuri tells her that Mihoko, Koharu’s best friend, is angry with her because she is convinced Koharu has betrayed her. [50] Ako, another friend of Koharu, suggests that she should talk things over with Mihoko to make sure the misunderstanding is cleared up. [51] Haruki, on the other hand, is still thinking about his relationship with Setsuna. He feels bad because he is the reason Setsuna kept lying to his family, whose members had never kept secrets from each other, [52] and yet, he is uncertain about dating her again.

[45] And so, we left our seats feeling as though running away.
[46] But, this is unavoidable.
[47] … to such a girl, it is only natural even if I hold strong feelings, right?
[48] Just watch… Kitahara Haruki
[49] After I enter University, I will immediately find a boyfriend, just you wait…
[50] Yada was quite angry. It seems she was convinced that Koharu betrayed her.
[51] If you talk things through step-by-step, I’m sure the misunderstanding will be cleared, Koharu.
[52] I was the one that brought “Setsuna’s obstinate lie” into the Ogiso household, whose members had never kept any secrets from each other.

Later, Sugiura has a conversation with Mihoko’s mother, whose daughter had been skipping class lately. After thanking Koharu for always taking care of Mihoko, she reveals something Koharu was unaware of – that her child had chosen the literature department because she wanted to be with her. [53] Koharu, of course, always wants to be with her best friend [54] too, and she tells Mihoko that she’ll make it up to her and that she’ll do anything in her power to earn her forgiveness. [55] A swear is then made – they will never lie to each other again. [56][57] Their reconciliation, however, do not last long because Koharu continues to withhold information regarding Haruki despite Mihoko’s demands to tell her about him. In the end, the biggest quarrel of their entire life still continues.

[53] From now on, will you keep on being friends with Mihoko? You know, she chose the literature department because she wanted to be with you. But that’s just between us.
[54] Y-yes… We’ll always… be together.
[55] I’ll make it up to you. I’ll do anything in my power to earn forgiveness. I hate being at odds with you like this.
[56] Wouldn’t it be great if we swore never to lie to each other again…
[57] Yes, let’s swear.

For all that, Koharu still feels confident that she can fix her relationship with Mihoko, or at least that is what she tells Haruki again. Then, he thanks her for her help in getting him back on his feet, and his complete recovery makes her happy. [58][59] To Koharu’s satisfaction, he also wants to know if there’s something he can do for her in return, and what she wants is for him to be by her side [60][61] for some time. She had done her best, Koharu explains, and now she wants him to do something nice for her. Haruki strokes Koharu, who may now be the most vulnerable she’s ever been in her life, [62] and she reveals that, in the last few days, she’s a told a lifetime’s worth of lies, and yet, she feels so happy. [63]

[58] That’s also thanks to Sugiura. Because you made me get back to my feet.
[59] I’ll accept that readily. … By the way, it makes me quite happy.
[60] Will you be by my side?
[61] Absolutely? You swear? You won’t turn back, no matter what?
[62] Now, I… am probably the weakest I’ve ever been since I was born.
[63] These last few days, I’ve told a lifetime’s worth of lies, and still, I feel so happy…

Spending so much time with Haruki, however, means less time with her best friend Mihoko, [64][65] and this makes the situation between them even more delicate. To make matters worse, their mutual friend Sayuri would tell that the previous night she had seen Koharu making out with a man. [66] According to her other friend, Ako, she had taken him for herself. [67] The way everyone sees it is that not only had Koharu pretended to be giving him some advice, but she had also worked at the same place, seduced him, and then stolen him away. [68] An honor student just on the surface, she had been secretly lying, betraying her best friend and stealing her boyfriend. [69]

[64] With Sensei… You spent so much time with Sensei.
[65] You neglected me and were always with him!
[66] I saw… last night. I saw Koharu making out with a man.
[67] She stole her boyfriend…
[68] She pretended to give him some advice, and before long she even took a position at the same workplace, seduced him and stole him away.
[69] On the surface an honor student, getting only good grades for her school record, while secretly she spun a web of lies, betrayed her best friend and stole her boyfriend… You are really something… completely deceiving for a whole year.

Yet, despite everything, including her friend’s accusation, Koharu continues asking Haruki to spend time with her. [70][71] To her deep disappointment, she learns that he can’t meet her for the next 5 days, [72] although they can still talk on the phone. For Koharu, simply being able to hear his voice is enough, [73] and so she makes him talk with her for hours. Finally, the day when they can meet again comes around … although Haruki doesn’t arrive on time. For Koharu, however, this means an opportunity to hold his hand. In this way, she tells him to take off his gloves, and that he must warm her down to her fingernails because it’s his fault she has had to wait for so long. [74][75] After holding hands, [76] they kiss, [77] and already Koharu is eager for their next date. [78] By now, Haruki is also in love with her, and he speaks about wanting to hear her voice and feel her breath. Consequently, and despite Setsuna having already asked him to go to her birthday party and Takeya telling him that he must absolutely go, he decides to skip that event, and instead spends his time kissing the still insatiable Koharu. [79]

[70] Your request is?
[71] I want to see you… I really do.
[72] 5 more days, huh… It’s so long… far too long.
[73] That’s enough… Just being able to hear your voice.
[74] You should warm them up, Senpai. Take responsibility for making me wait so long.
[75] I won’t forgive you until I am warm down to my fingernails.
[76] While renewing the grip of the hands that were just holding each other, until all fingers were intertwined.
[77] I’m happ… nmu!? He, Henpa… puai… nn, nu, nmm…
[78] That aside… When can we meet next?
[79] More… please do it more. Next time, twice as long as now. And the time after that, twice as long as next time…

And so the day they make love finally comes, though Sugiura is a bit worried that her body might not fill him with desire. [80] Haruki tries to reassure her by telling her he likes it and there are several places in particular that he would like to touch. [81] He also declares that he wants her, [82] and this makes Koharu incredibly happy. [83] It is in this frame of mind that they are hugging together in bed and would soon go on to make love. Haruki, however, feels sorry about missing Setsuna’s birthday because he is very busy with work – that’s the lie he told her. Shortly after, Koharu decides to spend the night with Haruki. [84] She wants to know more about him [85] and has fallen completely in love with him. [86] The feeling is mutual, and Haruki tells Koharu that his wish had been granted the previous night when he was with her. [87] It is at this point that Haruki realizes he has been caring about Koharu more than anyone else. [88][89]

[80] Doesn’t my body fill you with desire? It’s true that my breasts are small… Even having sex with me is probably not that great…
[81] I do want you… Koharu’s body is cute, and I want to touch various places.
[82] I want you, Koharu!
[83] I’m happy… I am happy. I really wanted to hear Senpai say it clearly!
[84] I’m saying I’ll stay for the night. It’s already late and I am scared to go home, so it’s OK, right?
[85] Senpai, are you the dual-income-family type? Or would you rather the wife stayed at home?
[86] How good it would be if everything in the world went as well as the wonderful love I am experiencing now – that’s mine.
[87] My wish… was granted last night.
[88] We – every single one of us two – are being selfish, stubborn, and caring about each other more than anyone else.
[89] More than… anyone…?


Before all this happened Haruki had been afraid to put more distance between him and Setsuna, yet getting too close to her also felt wrong. [90] Unable to choose, he was going round in circles. [91] Yet her birthday had arrived, and this only served to cause his perplexity – because on that memorable day, he chose not to meet her. [92][93] Not only that, but he spends the following 3 days sleeping with Koharu, [94] whose intention is not to lose. [95]

[90] Putting more distance between me and “her” was scary, but getting too close made me feel guilty…
[91] Unable to choose, I was just going round in circles.
[92] But her birthday finally arrived. I was thinking about what I should give her. And was feeling perplexed by that thought.
[93] Because on this memorable day, I decided not to meet her…
[94] Yes… For the next three days, I am yours, Koharu.
[95] I have a place to return to… I am in love… That’s why I won’t lose.

Setsuna, however, is still unaware of all this, and sends him a warm message. He had sent her earrings as a birthday present and now she treasures them. [96] This is because, Setsuna explains, it means Haruki still cares for her, which made her so happy that tears had flowed. [97] Neither did she mind too much about the party, Setsuna says, particularly considering the whole thing had been her mother’s idea anyway and done without her permission? She even apologizes to him because she will be having her birthday party when he has to work. Obviously, Setsuna’s message makes Haruki feel guilty, but not enough to stop him from returning to sleep with Koharu a few moments later.

[96] Haruki’s present arrived today. They are really lovely earrings, thank you. I will treasure them.
[97] Yet, seeing that you still care like that made me happy to the point of crying.

Koharu also feels very guilty because, at least in her mind, she’s betraying everyone and causing them problems, especially Haruki. And so, she just wants to spend as much time with him as she can for a few days. When she feels better, Koharu tells Haruki, he will return to Setsuna, [98] but asks that, for now, he keeps hugging her and looking at no one else until morning. For her, just looking at his sleeping face makes her happy, [99] but then their three days together come to an end, and she thanks him for doing as she had asked. [100] Now she must part with him, but during those days, she had been happy from the bottom of her heart, [101] and because it’s Valentine’s Day, she presents him with chocolates. [102]

[98] It is okay for you to return to Mr. Ogiso.
[99] You can go to sleep, you know? Just by looking at Senpai’s sleeping face, I am content.
[100] Thank you for taking care of me for the past three days. I was truly happy.
[101] … Thank you very much. The three days up to yesterday… and this one hour today as well, I was happy from the bottom of my heart.
[102] I wanted to give it to you on Valentine’s Day itself, no matter what. … And by the way, this is the first time I’ve given a heartfelt gift of chocolate.

Amazingly enough, when Haruki returns home he finds some cake and roast beef, together with a note telling him not to eat it if it doesn’t look good. Then, when he checks his phone, he finds several messages he doesn’t remember reading. The text, enclosed in quotation marks as if copied from a previous message, is unmistakably from Setsuna. [103][104] (Note: this means his phone had been tampered with so that he couldn’t read it). In the messages, Setsuna had asked him what time he was going to finish working because, if it was okay with him, she would like to come and see him around midnight when the party was over. [105] Looking at the food she has left for him, it is clear that his lack of response had actually signified, at least to Setsuna, his agreement. Later, he sends her a message which not only contains an excuse as to why he wasn’t home, but also birthday congratulations and gratitude for the delicious food. Yet Haruki soon starts to think about her messages because the originals had all but disappeared. Finally, he reaches a conclusion. [106] When he had been asleep on Saturday night, Koharu was awake. [107] His phone, Haruki reasons, had been in their room and left unlocked. At this point, Haruki realizes it had been Koharu’s doing. Her truth, her sincerity… where did they go?

[103] This text, enclosed in quote marks as if reprinted from a previous email but unmistakably written by Setsuna…
[104] I didn’t remember receiving it.
[105] At what time do you finish work? If it’s OK with you, after the party is over, may I come by around 12 o’clock?
[106] There is only one possibility.
[107] On Saturday night, I fell asleep first… and Koharu was awake.

Takeya, Haruki’s friend, later finds out what he’s been up to and, after confirming that he had indeed responded to Koharu’s feelings for him, proceeds to insult Haruki. [108] Koharu, the class president, who had seemed the most serious and caring person in her class, had now suddenly stolen her best friend’s boyfriend under the pretext of mediating between them. [109] And Despite Haruki stating it is a lie, Takeya insists that it doesn’t matter if everyone else believes the rumors. [110] Wanting to know what game he’s playing, Takeya asks him what Koharu is to him. Is she his mistress? His number two? Setsuna’s substitute? [111] If he doesn’t act now, Takeya warns him, everything is going to end up being destroyed. Just a few days ago Koharu had been connected to a lot of people, [112] but now she’s lost everything, and it is all Haruki’s fault. [113]

[108] You are the worst.
[109] Besides, the president, who seemed the most serious and caring in her class, to snatch away her best friend’s boyfriend under the pretext of mediating between them… It has quite an impact, I’d say.
[110] As long as no one tries to deny it like that or there’s nobody to take him seriously, the circulating rumors remain the only truth.
[111] Your mistress? Your number 2? Setsuna’s substitute?
[112] Just a few days ago, Koharu was connected to a lot of people.
[113] But Koharu lost everything. Although I was the one who caused it.

Following Haruki and Takeya’s conversation, Koharu announces to her friends that she won’t be going on the graduation trip. [114] Haruki goes to see her and tries to comfort her, only to hear her declare that he should leave because she’s a bitch not worthy of his kindness. [115] And so, despite Haruki wanting her to rely on him, she resists, explaining that relying on him only means more betrayal. She feels distraught, and when Haruki asks her why it is that she’s being so stubborn, she tells him it’s because he belongs to Ogiso-senpai, and therefore he’s not hers. [116] As a consequence she cannot rely on him anymore, and neither can she ask him for anything. [117] Seeing that Koharu’s feelings had exploded, Haruki becomes aware of his careless mistake. [118] But he is also aware that, despite her rejecting him with words, she was not trying to push away his arm which he had put around her. [119]

[114] Ah, by the way… I can’t go on the graduation trip… Have fun, you three.
[115] Because I am a bitch. I am not a person worthy of your kindness, Senpai.
[116] But Senpai, aren’t you Ogiso Senpai’s! You’re not mine, are you!?
[117] That’s why I can’t rely on you anymore. I can’t ask for anything.
[118] At that moment Koharu’s emotions erupted, and I immediately noticed my own careless mistake.
[119] Although she was rejecting me with her words, she wasn’t trying to push away my arm around her shoulders.

Up until the previous day, Koharu had earnestly believed that as long as she could be with Haruki, she would be fine with everything. [120] But she then goes on to explain how it had all been a misunderstanding, how she had just been seeing a sweet dream. [121] She tells how, since childhood, moral lessons had been instilled in her, [122] and that her way of thinking is commonplace, yet she hasn’t been herself lately. According to Koharu, it is only right that he goes back to Setsuna and that Mihoko goes on to university. [123] Everybody deserves to be happy, except her. [124] Koharu now feels determined to isolate herself from the others. Having fallen in love for the first time, she had forgotten about ordinary things like friendship, [125] only to finally realize it had been lost. But, regardless of her speech, Haruki can’t let her go, [126] and tells her to do their best together so that she can make up with Mihoko. [127] Koharu, however, utters that won’t do, [128] and explains that he has to be happy with Setsuna, along with all the others who had been with him from long ago. [129] If she relies on him, Koharu says, he won’t be able to return to his former life this time, and that is something she cannot bear. [130]

[120] You see, up until yesterday, I earnestly believed that “as long as senpai is there for me, nothing else matters,” you know?
[121] But that was only a misunderstanding. I was just having a very sweet dream.
[122] I can’t stray from what everybody — not only me — believes to be righteous… I just can’t stray from what I was taught in ethics class when I was a kid.
[123] Senpai, it is right for you to return to Ogiso Setsuna. It is right for Mihoko to advance to university. It is right for everyone to be happy.
[124] It is right to be happy for everyone but me…
[125] Falling in love for the first time made me so happy I forgot such an obvious thing…
[126] That’s why… now there’s no way I would let go of your hand, Koharu.
[127] Let’s do our best together. So that you can make up with Yada-san.
[128] That won’t do…
[129] Senpai, you’ll be happy with Ogiso-senpai. Together with everyone that has been by your side for a very long time.
[130] Senpai, if I rely on you one more time, then this time for sure, you won’t be able to go back to how things were before. I just can’t bear that…

Now Haruki must make a choice. He thinks about Setsuna and his friends, people who had been kind to him and who he considers to be irreplaceable, but his mind doesn’t change. Instead, he insists that they will give everything they’ve got to find a future where everyone in Koharu’s world can be happy, and it will be the two of them. [131] Being together with Haruki [132][133] would make her happy, though she does tell him later that she can be alone if it’s too much for him. [134][135] Her tears, however, tell him otherwise, [136] and she thanks him for everything. [137] For all that, Haruki still believes it had all been his fault. He was not a clean man, and because Koharu had reached up to him, she had ended up being stained herself. [138] Then again, since they had decided to move forward together, Koharu’s outbursts of crying had stopped. [139] He still doesn’t know, though, if she believes in what she is doing, or if she just believes in him. [140]

[131] Let’s give it everything we’ve got, Koharu… Shall we think hard of a future in which everyone can be happy? The two of us.
[132] Together…?
[133] That’s right, together.
[134] Er, uh… If you think it’s too much to handle, Senpai, well… You don’t have to force yourself… I will, by myself, ah, aah…
[135] Don’t get depressed on your own! I said no such thing!
[136] The tears flowing from Koharu’s eyes were not an illusion… Surely.
[137] Y-yes… T-thank you, very much.
[138] I was unclean, and by seeking me out, Koharu ended up stained herself.
[139] After the day we had decided to move forward, Koharu’s crying outbursts ceased.
[140] Now, do you believe in what you are doing? Or do you believe in me…

Their plan is quite simple. Koharu will move on with her life without Mihoko, and she will also forget the idea of going to the same university because she shouldn’t hurt the already damaged Mihoko further. Then Haruki starts tutoring Koharu so she can pass the entrance exams to enter a different university. But, before cutting off all contact with Mihoko, Koharu has some things to tell her. She says how she is going to disappear from her life and that Mihoko should return to normal and go to university. [141] But when their paths cross once again in the future, she would like them to be able to reconcile. [142] Someday, surely… a happy and joyful day like that will come. [143] She won’t give up, and will continue to treasure her trusted friend. [144] Then she congratulates her on her graduation, and tells her goodbye.

[141] You will return to your normal life, go to university, start enjoying your days, these painful feelings will soften…
[142] And when our paths cross once again, I want the person I am at that time and the person you are at that time to have one more big row and then make up.
[143] Someday, surely… I believe such a joyful, happy day will come again.
[144] Since our lives still go on, I swear I won’t give up and will continue to treasure my trusted friend.

Shortly afterwards, Koharu laments in Haruki’s arms and explains she would really have liked to go to graduation and cried together with everyone. She would have hugged Mihoko, and have cried while singing Aogeba Toutoshi [145] (Note: a song sung in Japanese schools at graduation.) After that, they would have gone to karaoke to celebrate and would have sung and partied so much. [146] She wanted to go on the graduation trip, too. Together with her friends Mihoko, Sayuri and Ako… she would have visited Spain, Italy, and France. [147] And also, and also… she wishes she could have met Haruki by coincidence while walking down the corridor. [148] Then they would have strolled around campus while verbally abusing each other [149] (Note: This is because she’s now going to go to a different university.) Haruki, as if asserting his ownership over Koharu, wraps his arm tightly around her. [150] While filling his face with her smooth hair he takes away her tears with his thumb. Koharu tells him he shouldn’t do that out of compassion or he’s going to make a girl like her misunderstand. [151] But he has already realized he intends to protect her and spend the rest of his life with her. [152][153]

[145] I really wanted to cry together with everyone. I wanted to cry with Mihoko as we embrace each other and sing “Aogeba Toutoshi.”
[146] After that we would have gone to karaoke to celebrate and would have sung and partied so much that we would have laughed off the tears shed earlier.
[147] I wanted to go on the graduation trip, too. With Mihoko and Sayuri and Ako and… I also wanted to visit Spain and Italy and France.
[148] And also, and also… I wanted to meet by coincidence a familiar stubborn fourth-year senpai while walking down the corridor…
[149] We would have strolled around campus while verbally abusing one another.
[150] As if asserting my ownership, I wrap my arms tightly around her.
[151] You shouldn’t do this out of compassion… Do you mean to make a girl misunderstand again… Senpai?
[152] I swear that I will protect her from anything that pains her.
[153] Whether it is my responsibility or not… From now on, I will…

Finally, the day Koharu must take the entrance exam arrives. Haruki accompanies her, [154] and she thanks him and says she will never forget everything he has given her. [155] It is because of him that she is able to stand there with confidence. [156] When it is time for Haruki to leave, he tells her that she should call him when the exam is over and he will come and pick her up. However, shortly after sending her out, he gets a phone message from Setsuna. She says that she would like to know about Koharu and speak to her in private after the examinations are over (Note: Haruki had already broken up with Setsuna the previous night.) [157] This would be the first time in their lives they meet [158] and, despite everything that has happened, Setsuna holds no ill feelings towards her. In fact, things are quite the contrary because she would tell Koharu in detail about her own experiences of losing friendships which might help her in the future. Later, they talk about Haruki, and Setsuna reveals that Koharu is the one Haruki chose and it is she who he loves the most. [159] And so, unlike her, Koharu can stay next to him.

[154] Did you bring your admission ticket? Do you have a complete set of writing implements and spares? I think it’s time you turned off your cell phone…
[155] I’ll, I’ll… never forget! I’ll never forget everything you gave me!
[156] What are you saying? Today, the reason that I’m able to stand here confidently is because of your help, senpai.
[157] Setsuna and I had already bid each other farewell the night before Koharu’s graduation ceremony…
[158] I believe this is our first meeting. Nice to meet you, I am Ogiso Takahiro’s sister, Setsuna. Thank you for taking care of my brother.
[159] Haruki-Kun chose you. You’re the one he loves the most.

Haruki and Setsuna also have a talk and, as if covering up his betrayal toward her, it began to snow. [160] The snow, though, was only kind to Haruki, to Setsuna it was nothing but cruel. [161] Haruki had already revealed to everyone his love for Koharu and that, while exchanging messages with Setsuna, she was always next to him. This had made Io look like she was going to cry even in front of her friend. Even so, Setsuna still feels terrible for what she did during their Christmas date, [162] although Haruki quickly says that she did nothing wrong. [163] Then they talk about Koharu, and Haruki starts lamenting because all of her misfortune and the loss of friends was because of him. [164] Setsuna asks if Koharu regrets having met him, but she does not. So, Setsuna explains, there is no need for him to feel responsible. Now all he has to do is protect the girl he loves the most. [165]

[160] When betraying Setsuna, the merciful heaven sends snow to cover up my awful actions.
[161] … It’s only kind to me, as the swirling white crystals are nothing but cruel to Setsuna.
[162] What I did to you at Christmas…
[163] You did nothing wrong, Setsuna! So there’s no reason for you to feel responsible!
[164] I caused all of it. She… Koharu was trying to protect me and got involved.
[165] I thought so. But there’s no need for you to feel responsible. All you have to do is to try to protect the girl you love most.

According to Setsuna, the girl he loves the most has nothing to do with responsibility, conscience or guilt. She is simply the one Haruki-Kun places first. [166] This prompts Setsuna to suddenly ask who it is that he wants to protect the most. [167] His answer is Koharu. [168] Finally, Haruki has said it, and at the same time, a few tears fall on the table. Setsuna then apologizes, explaining there is a little jealousy in her. [169] But even so, Setsuna goes on, she still feels what he did to Koharu was terrible and that he should have intervened from the very beginning. All he did was stand and watch. Setsuna knows the pain of losing friendship, and tells him he can save her by staying by her side. In this way, Setsuna manages to pretend as well as she can that she is fine, though Haruki notices she’s desperately trying to protect him. [170] She waves goodbye to him with a smile. And so, it is only when he’s out of sight that she bursts out crying in public.

[166] In other words, the girl Haruki-kun loves most now has nothing to do with responsibility or conscience or guilt. She is simply the one Haruki-kun cares about the most.
[167] Now… Who is the one you want to protect the most?
[168] Sugiura Koharu, a girl kouhai of mine.
[169] … I won’t deny that there was a bit of jealousy mixed in.
[170] In that state, just like that… she desperately tries to save me with her kindness…

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Later, having met such a wonderful girl as Setsuna, Koharu tells him that he’s absolutely and certainly going to regret his decision. To her surprise, Haruki declares that, if that’s so, he will choose the girl he will regret less and the girl he loves most. [171] Koharu, instead of saying anything, throws herself at his chest and he hugs her. Then he tells her that Setsuna is a girl he cannot help anymore, [172] but immediately feels embarrassed for having such flimsy logic. He had chosen to help the girl he loves, and there is nothing more to it. [173] He’s also certain, Haruki realizes, that they will be together forever and ever.

[171] In that case, the one containing fewer regrets, however tiny the difference, is the one I… The only option I have is to choose the girl I love most.
[172] Setsuna is not a girl I can help any longer.
[173] I hid my embarrassment at such flimsy logic… I just wanted to support the girl I loved. That’s all.


Time passes and the day of the exam results finally comes around. Until now, Haruki has enjoyed constantly telling his girlfriend that he loves her. Koharu says that if he continues, the line is going to become cheap. But he finds it amusing that she blushes every time he says it, and so intends to continue saying it a lot. [174] Then they go together to check on her results. Haruki tells her not to worry and, whatever happens, he will be with her. But as Haruki already suspected she has passed with very good results. The final lines of the route seem to point out that Mihoko will finally be able to accept Koharu’s relationship with Haruki, allowing the friendship to be repaired to the point that, when going out, even Haruki gets invited by Koharu’s friends.

[174] For all that, I find your blushing whenever I say it amusing, so I will be saying that a lot.