White Album 2 manga online
Volume 4, chapter 5
Man: You know, the music department here at Houjou High School was really what supported Touma-san before she took off in the world…
Haruki: I’m sorry to interrupt, but, about what I asked you before…
Man: Oh, right!
Yes, the room is barred to students today, so take all the time you like with it.
Man: By the way, this young lady here…
Haruki: Yes, she’s my cameraperson for the day…
Haruki: Kazumi Touno.
Kazusa: Nice to meet you.
Haruki: You could try not to pop a vein while you’re greeting someone…
FX: Shf shf
Chapter title: SESSION21
At the Beginning, At the End
Narration: I came to Houjou High School today with the aim of getting a full look at Kazusa.
Kazusa: He’s still here?
Haruki: He’s supposed to be promoted to vice principal next year.
Narration: And this room is our most crucial… and most dangerous site.
Haruki: I want to get a shot of you playing.
Kazusa: I told you to wait until the concert.
Haruki: You could just pretend, if you want.
Kazusa: Sure is nice, not having to hear some shitty guitarist practicing right now.
Haruki: Oh, sorry!
Haruki: I was doing my best, all right?
So I could keep up with the pianist next door.
Narration: The scenery, unchanged since five years before, captivated us…
and the time passed quietly.
Kazusa: Hey, I have an idea. You play, Haruki.
Haruki: Not happening.
Kazusa: Just one song.
Kazusa: Or, what? You can’t play because your guitar is reserved for Setsuna?
Haruki: …I didn’t say that.
Narration: I don’t know how Kazusa figured out…
Narration: but there was something sad in the way she tsked at me.
Kazusa: God, you’re no help at all.
Kazusa: Fine. If you’re gonna be that stubborn…
I’ve got an idea or two of my own, you know.
Kazusa: This interview, this “close coverage”…
Kazusa: It’s the end, right?
Kazusa: If this is the end, and we’re never gonna see each other again…
Kazusa: then I may as well dig a little deeper, right?
Kazusa: The night after the show.
Kazusa: That’s where Setsuna confessed to you, and kissed you… and you got together, right?
Wait, what the hell are you talking about?!
Kazusa: I’m talking about five years ago.
The day everything ended.
Narration: An ambiguous smile…
seeming to carry both ill will and simple mischief.
I, uh, I mean…
Kazusa: If you’re gonna lie, at least try not to be obvious about it.
Narration: Even with that smile provoking me, at this point, I couldn’t possibly acknowledge the fact that Setsuna had been the one to confess…
Haruki: I was the one who confessed to her…
You never had that kinda nerve.
Kazusa: All the floundering around you did between Setsuna and me…
Haruki: I didn’t… do that.
Kazusa: Knowing you, that was probably your first kiss, too.
Haruki: Wh-what’s wrong with that?
Kazusa: Ha ha…
Aha ha ha!
Haruki: What’s so funny?!
Kazusa: Of course.
Kazusa: Setsuna was watching.
Kazusa: I got caught.
Kazusa: This whole time, I wondered.
Narration: What is she talking about?
Kazusa: …And, five years along, it finally comes out… The shocking truth!
Haruki: I have no idea what you…
Kazusa: It’s really too bad, though. For you, not for me or Setsuna.
Haruki: Seriously, what the hell do you mean?!
Kazusa: To think I was your first for all of it…
Kazusa: That night, I saw someone nodding off while I was playing piano…
Kazusa: And it pissed me off, so I was gonna tell him so—and then, once I got close enough…
Kazusa: I did all of it first.
Kazusa: Kissing him, sleeping with him… and falling for him.
Kazusa: This is the end.
Kazusa: All we have left is the concert.
We’ll never be alone together again…
Kazusa: So, a last kiss…
Kazusa: I’m sure Setsuna could forgive that much, right?
Narration: A warm, soft sensation, lasting only a moment—
Kazusa: Our final interview is over!
Kazusa: I’m going back to the hotel.
Kazusa: So… you’d better be at the concert tomorrow.
FX: Chirp chirp chirp
Narration: After I got home, I just kept making trial run after trial run.
Narration: Before I knew it, it was morning.
Narration: I couldn’t get the word “end” out of my head.
I tried to think of Setsuna… but my heart kept turning to someone that wasn’t her.
Narration: It’s fine. It was only a moment’s delusion.
The past five years have given us a bond that could never be violated, could never waver, could never, ever be broken.
Narration: But then, why do I keep telling myself, “It’s fine”…?
“It’s fine” is something you tell somebody else, right?
It’s a line you use to reassure your girlfriend, right?
Setsuna: Haruki-kun…? What are you doing here?
Haruki: I went to your place, and your mother said you were on a work trip to Osaka…
Setsuna: You promised you would wait until I contacted you…
Haruki: I had to hear your voice, Setsuna.
Setsuna: …That’s not fair, Haruki-kun.
Haruki: I’m sorry, truly. But I missed you…
Narration: That’s a lie. I’m just trying to run away…
Setsuna: This is so frustrating…
Setsuna: We should be fighting right now, but instead, I’m happy. I’m so irritated with myself…
Setsuna: I’m irritated with myself…
for enjoying being touched.
Haruki: I want to make things up to you. I’ll do anything you want tonight.
Narration: Setsuna knows what day today is.
I know she must have suspected something, but instead of trying to see through my lies…
she just accepted me, softly, gently.
Haruki: …Hey, Setsuna, are you still awake?
Setsuna: What is it?
Haruki: There’s something I want you to have.
Narration: For the sake of my girlfriend, and all her gentleness…
I have to stop hesitating.
I’m going to give her the present I couldn’t give her that day.
Haruki: Let’s get married, Setsuna.
Narration: I took care of all the work I had piled up on the shinkansen ride home.
Narration: I had been at a standstill, because hearing Kazusa’s voice from the interview we did at our alma mater was too painful.
Kazusa: A guy in Vienna? Nah, I never had one.
FX: Chk chk
Kazusa: There were guys who approached me, but…
Narration: But my heart is no longer in disarray.
Because I have something tangible now—an engagement.
Haruki: This is a cut…
Kazusa: I shook them all off. Probably hurt their pride.
Kazusa: Hey, are we done? I’m tired!
Haruki: All right. Thanks, Kazusa.
Haruki: So, that’s the end.
Kazusa: …ah, um… Haruki, can you hear me? It’s Kazusa Touma.
Kazusa: I’m gonna tell you how I feel now, after all this time.
Narration: A message, snuck in after the interview was over…
Haruki: This is…
Kazusa: I know, I know. You have Setsuna.
Kazusa: But, um… Look, I’m going to betray Setsuna one more time. Just one.
Kazusa: I can’t get rid of this stupid dream… This idea that, if I tell you everything, then just maybe…
Kazusa: …make sure you come to the concert.
Kazusa: With Setsuna, if you want.
Kazusa: Actually, definitely bring Setsuna.
Kazusa: Then, I’ll play for you… For both of you. Just you.
Narration: Could it be that I…
Kazusa: Just for that day, I’ll channel my feelings for you.
Kazusa: So, just for that day, I want your eyes to be only on me.
Narration: have made an irreversible mistake…?
Coworker: How was the concert yesterday? I couldn’t go because of work…
Haruki: Oh, sorry, um…
Coworker: …That’s not a promising reaction… Was that article true, then?
Coworker: Oh, no, it’s just that there was a small article about last night’s concert in the culture section of this morning’s Keiei paper.
Coworker: Saying stuff like, “Her technique and appearance were superior, but the expressiveness just didn’t match,” and, “It seemed like she ran out of stamina halfway through.” It was a little harsh.
Coworker: Maybe there’s a bit of a headwind blowing against that special feature we just ran.
Narration: Why would she run out of steam in the middle of a concert, when she was practicing ten hours a day just fine?
There must be some specific reason…
Haruki: Can we get in touch with Kazusa Touma?
Coworker: Afraid not. Apparently she’s completely shutting out the press corps.
Haruki: Excuse me for a second!
Sign: For sale
Narration: I doubt she’d come back to a ruin like this, but still—
Haruki: Hey! Kazusa! Where are you?!
Haruki: I know you hear me! Quit sulking around and get out here!
Haruki: You goddamn idiot! What are you thinking?!
Haruki: What, you don’t care about your fingers any more?!
Kazusa: Don’t touch me!
Kazusa: I begged you and begged you to come and hear me!
Kazusa: How could you do this to me?!
Kazusa: Do you just hate me that much?! Do you enjoy putting me through hell?!
Kazusa: No… I can’t take this…
Narration: The way she screamed, it was as though the world had completely rejected her existence.
Kazusa: If… If you hate me, then I…!
Kazusa: Don’t… Don’t shut me out…
Narration: As though I were the only one in the world…
Haruki: I… I’m so sorry, Kazusa… I…
Kazusa: Make it up.
Kazusa: Make it up to me. Don’t run away from me any more.
Kazusa: Just for now.
Kazusa: Just for this moment, love me.
Kazusa: I’ve given up on real love. That belongs to Setsuna.
Kazusa: But at least give me a false love.
Haruki: …I can’t say “I love you” as a lie.
Haruki: It’s not going to end as a lie.
It can’t end with this winter.
So don’t say, “for now.”
Kazusa: Wait, do you mean…
Narration: From a common sense standpoint, this is unthinkable.
The choice that began to float through my mind could only be called delirium.
Haruki: I can’t love without hurting someone any more.
So, I have to decide who I’m going to hurt…
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