Hikaru and Kyousuke are at Abcb. She's bubbling, trying to cheer him up, but he's worried about the upcoming college entrance exams. Master comes over and gives them some free ice-cream, ``To cool off your brain.'' He understands what Kyousuke's going through and wonders if Hikaru will need the same help when it's her turn. Hikaru changes the subject, asking Kyousuke to please, please come to the play that's coming up. It's put on by the first year students for the graduating seniors (which is what Hikaru and Kyousuke are, respectively). Master recognizes the play, ``Downtown Cats,'' as being a classic. Kyousuke now understands what Kurumi and Manami were worried about earlier. They're having auditions already, even though the play is almost a year off. He comments that this isn't all that different from his entrance exams with the auditions and all. Hikaru thinks he's depressing associating everything with exams. She's going to try out for the play, and will win the leading role, for him. Kyousuke hopes he'll be in a ``happy'' mood for the play. She asks Master and goes off to find a place to put up the flyer for the play.
Madoka comes in looking for Kyousuke. She's got brochures for some summer-session classes. She's checked several and this appears to be the best. Hikaru starts to mention the play, but Madoka brushes her off. Madoka suggests English Grammar since Kyousuke said his wasn't so good. She adds that there's no point in taking the class if he's going to skip, ``But if you take it alone, it would be hard to stay dedicated for the whole while.'' The ice cream sits forgotten on the table, and Hikaru goes off to get some pins to put up the flyer.
The dance auditions take place in the school gym. The director is putting Hikaru and a bunch of other girls through their paces. Madoka and Kyousuke both register and find that they have been accepted to the classes they were trying for, pleasing both of them.
Hikaru happily rides her bike over to Kyousuke's apartment. She meets Kurumi and Manami outside. They're heading off to the pool for a date. Kurumi figures her outfit will drive the fellows mad, but Manami points out that Komatsu and Hatta don't need any encouragement in this direction. The three lament the paucity of good men out there. Hikaru wonders how the two guys have spare time with exams coming up. Manami asks her how the audition went; she thinks she passed. The twins' is tomorrow, and she reassures them. Kurumi notices her present for Kyousuke, and wishes her luck, but tells her that their dad's not home and, ``Who know's what will happen if you turn on a teenager too much.'' Hikaru laughs off their teasing, and the two are gone by the time she's done. At the elevator she passes Jingoro on his way out, commenting, ``You must be hot in all that fur.''
Inside, Kyousuke is at his desk, looking for Madoka's notebook. She's still helping him study. He finds it, and inside finds a flower pressed for him. The doorbell rings, interrupting him. It's Hikaru. She's brought ice-cream for him. He offers to help, but she doesn't need any. As they're eating, she comments that they look like newlyweds sitting together, and wonder's why he looks so shocked at this. Hikaru gets up to put the ice-cream away and comments that she's a good cook and want's to make good food for him.
Afterward, they're in Kyousuke's room. She ties up the bell she brought for him outside on the balcony (for good luck). She worries that it's distracting, but Kyousuke says he doesn't like it always quiet. She's happy, and spies a CD on top of his stereo. ``You like Wada Kanako too?'' He puts it on, and offers to make her a copy when she laments that she doesn't have a CD player. The song he plays is ``Like a Bird.'' After getting some more ice-cream, Hikaru asks Kyousuke, in a subdued voice, if there's anything more she can do for him. She then stares out the window, and continues, ``I'm younger than you are, and like Abcb's Master said, I feel I can't possibly understand the strain you're under.'' He denies this. She turns and kisses him. They hold for several seconds, and Kyousuke thinks that it was ``The sweet taste of Coconut-Almond'' (just like the ice-cream they were eating). Kyousuke is stunned by this encounter. Hikaru turns to leave, and quietly tells him that was a gift to help and cheer him up, and wishes him luck.
Madoka is waiting for Kyousuke at the top of the stairs to the summer school. The bell rings, and she turns to go inside, disappointed. The teacher is describing how to study for the exam and advises them not to neglect the early modern era. Kyousuke shows up late and sits down next to Madoka. He wonder's what's wrong with her. Madoka coldly asks if Hikaru came to his house last week. He says yes, it was just to cheer him up. She asks if they did something that he should tell her. Like a kiss? With her head on her arms, she adds that Hikaru was so happy about it, ``good going.'' Madoka then puts her books together and starts to leave. Kyousuke tells her that he didn't do anything, ``It's not like that.'' She calls him a liar and walks out. They're talking loudly enough that the teacher admonishes him, ``You should have settled all your love problems last year!''
Madoka angrily speeds home on her motorbike. That evening, Kyousuke tries calling her, but she hangs up on him. He tries again. As the phone rings, the camera pans across her desk, showing a picture of the three of them, one of her, one of him and a vase of knitting needles. She angrily throws a pillow at the phone and lays back on her bed, thinking.
Hikaru and Kyousuke have met at a hamburger stand the next day. She shows him some yarn, asking if he likes the color; he does. She tells him she's going to make him a scarf so he won't catch cold. The design, which she draws on a napkin, is one that she saw in one of Madoka's books. Kyousuke didn't know Madoka was into knitting and this starts him thinking of her. Hikaru continues bubbling on about the upcoming festival. She wants to go with Darling. Noticing he's not paying attention, she brings him back then realizes he'll be too busy to go. Kyousuke changes the subject asking about the play. It's tough, she replies and adds she wishes they were in New York where in a restaurant they could ``You know...'' When he doesn't understand, she blows him a kiss to illustrate.
Madoka's sister has come over to her house. She complements Madoka on her housekeeping. Their mom sent her sister a note asking her to send some stuff. It's little enough that Madoka could have done it herself, but their folks are acting like concerned parents of a student preparing for exams. As her brother-in-law carries out the boxes, Madoka comments on his sweater. Her sister knitted it herself, ``That way he won't think of other women while he's wearing it.'' They drive off, asking if Madoka paid the fee to go to the summer festival; she has. Madoka notices an airship passing by overhead.
Meanwhile, Hikaru and Kyousuke are standing on a bridge over some train tracks. She sees the airship too. She leans into him and says she's so sad they have to part again for a few days. Kyousuke's grip on the fence tightens, a train passes by, and they part.
That night, Madoka is trying to study, but getting nowhere. She sits on her bed thinking for a while, then gets up, turns off the music and starts to telephone someone, but quickly hangs up. She sits there, holding the handset, wondering. Madoka sits down on her bed, and starts to cry, noticing the picture of Kyousuke.
Komatsu and Hatta are over visiting Kyousuke in his room and wake him up from a nap. Hatta berates him for the poor quality of the girlie magazines he has under his bed. ``Didn't you come here to study?'' Kyousuke asks. They tease him about studying so much, and lament the fact they have to, especially just when they're hitting their sexual peak. Eventually they ask if Kyousuke's gone all the way with Hikaru. Since he denies it, they keep teasing. They ask if he's even thought about sex with her, which, being a teenager, of course he has. They continue that she's crazy about him and would be sad if he turned her down.
In the theater, the director is working with the first year students on their play. Until the she-cats are called up to practice, Hikaru is sitting in the audience working on the scarf for Kyousuke. Kurumi and Manami have made it this far too.
Kyousuke is once again in class. The seat next to him, Madoka's, is still empty. As he is leaving, the teacher stops him. He's noticed that Madoka's been absent for three days and gives Kyousuke some notes to give to her. He also adds the advice, ``Today's friend may be tomorrow's enemy but can also be a comrade-in-arms on the field of battle.''
Kurumi and Manami are at a temple decorated for the summer festival. Their dad is taking pictures of them. Komatsu and Hatta insert themselves into the shots. In the darkroom they discover that the two got into every shot. Hatta suggests that, since dad's going to be photographing the fireworks, they'll take care of the house with the twins. Komatsu counters they'll help him instead, but Manami points out there's no need for him to hold the mirror for lighting at night. Their plans foiled, the guys leave. Dad thanks them and tells them to ``Study hard.'' They ask if Kyousuke is still taking summer classes; yes. Manami mentions that Madoka hasn't been there for the past few days, and Komatsu figures that may be why he seemed depressed today. Kurumi and Manami then start talking about what to wear to the festival. It wouldn't do for them to wear the same yukata.
Hikaru is over at Madoka's house, dressed in her festival yukata, knitting. Madoka helps her through a tough part. Hikaru's brought over a pyramid of four oranges; she had to sneak them out of the house, since her stingy mother didn't want to eat them yet. Hikaru drops another stitch, and Madoka suggests that maybe the needles are too slippery. ``I have better ones in my room. Why don't you get them?'' Madoka asks if she can have an orange; of course. As she starts to peel it, she realizes whose picture is next to the needles. Hikaru is already in her room and has found the needles. She notices the picture next to them, Kyousuke's, and clenches her fist. Madoka comes in, too late. They only talk about the needles, and head back downstairs. Hikaru is worried if she'll finish in time for ``the birthday.'' When she adds it's November 15, Madoka realizes the scarf is for Kyousuke.
That evening, the two take a walk by the shore. Hikaru bubbles about talking her dad out of the money for her yukata. Madoka admires how Hikaru is always so cheerful. Hikaru says that sounds like she's simple-minded, but Madoka didn't mean that. When asked, Hikaru says she's not going to the festival with Kyousuke. He's not in the mood for it. It seems that the same applies to Madoka.
Madoka walks home to the tune of ``An Uncertain I Love You.'' The mood of this piece seems to mirror hers perfectly. She finds the notes that Kyousuke left in the mailbox. She climbs the stairs to her room, takes off her dress, opens the drawer holding her yukata and looks at it, then turns and stares at the phone.
The Festival fireworks display is going, but Kyousuke is at home trying, unsuccessfully, to study. He answers the phone. It takes little to discover that the person crying on the other end is Madoka. She couldn't study, so put on her yukata to cheer up. This just got her to thinking. ``I thought I knew how you felt, but maybe what happened with Hikaru is my punishment for taking for granted that you liked me.'' Kyousuke denies this, saying that it's all his fault. ``I... I love you, Ayukawa.'' Madoka wants to see him, ``I'm not that strong.''
Kyousuke immediately rushes over to her place on his motorbike. Madoka is waiting for him, dressed in her yukata, flicking the light switch. She greets him at the door. He moves to kiss, but she pauses and hugs him instead. ``About Hikaru...'' he begins. ``She doesn't matter,'' Madoka replies, ``It's a question of your feelings.'' He understands, and she is content in his arms.
The next day, Hikaru is in her room, knitting with her teddy bear. She's elated when Kyousuke telephones. They meet in a park. She's moved that he took time out of his busy schedule to see her. They sit down, and she starts talking about an upcoming Wada Kanako concert that she found in a magazine. Kyousuke gets to the point. ``We shouldn't see each other anymore.'' She tells him to stop joking, but he's serious. ``I really do love Ayukawa.'' He's enjoyed the times with her, but they can't remain like this forever. Hikaru can't believe what he said. It wasn't easy for him to say either. She knew he loved Madoka, but thought she had changed that. ``Didn't you kiss me?'' He can only apologizes and leaves a crying Hikaru to ask, ``Why aren't I good enough?''
Hikaru is lost in thought at the next play practice. She doesn't even hear the producer's call; the twins have to remind her. On stage she practices, ``Why do you treat me as an outcast? What have I done wrong in this town?'' and gets stuck on the line, ``Don't run away. `Don't run', I said. I'm not...'' The producer asks her how she expects to get the lead if she can't even memorize her lines. Off stage, Kurumi and Manami ask what's wrong. She denies that anything is, and puts on a happy face.
She's still upset in the dressing room afterwards. On the way home, she calls Darling from a phone booth. He reminds her she shouldn't call him that and asks if she remembers what he said. She does, but still wants to bring him something. Since she remembers, he says he'll hang up, and does. She promises to call again, and collapses, crying, on the floor of the phone booth, while the telephone beeps for her to take out her phone card.
Kyousuke and Madoka meet on a bridge and head to summer class, together again. While the teacher discusses long paragraph comprehension, she asks him, by note, if he met Hikaru. He did, yesterday, and adds that he told her, ``We shouldn't see each other anymore,'' but... That evening, in a skyscraper, Madoka comments that Hikaru won't just accept that. She thought that Hikaru and him getting along was fine with her, but when Hikaru happily spoke of their kissing, she found she was wrong. ``I never knew I was this jealous.'' Kyousuke again tells her he really loves her. We're going to have to settle this, she adds.
It's almost one in the morning. Kyousuke is studying and listening to the radio. He gets a phone call from Hikaru. She was given a couple free tickets to the Wada Kanako concert and wants to go with him. The scarf lies on her bear, not having been worked on any more. Hikaru wonders why he's not answering. She can't believe that he won't even talk to her anymore. Finally, he is able to summon the courage to ask her not to call again and hang up the phone. As he leaves, Manami mentions that Hikaru was crying. He tries to clear his mind, but the bell hanging on his balcony keeps reminding him. He pulls it down and puts it on the night table by his bed.
The next day, Kyousuke answers the doorbell to find Hikaru there with a present for him. He reminds her they aren't supposed to meet and asks her to leave; he's got summer class soon. She walks him to the train station. There, he asks how long she's going to keep doing this. ``Until you turn your heart to me.'' He tells her he cannot. She starts telling him all the reasons why she wants to stay together, but he boards the train and leaves with a simple ``bye.'' She shouts that she'll win the lead in the play for his sake. After the train leaves the station, Kyousuke leans his head against the door, unhappy.
Summer class is finally over. Kyousuke and Madoka are returning home. They part at the bottom of The Stairs. Since vacation will only be a week, they decide to go see a movie that Sunday when they'll have time. Kyousuke climbs the stairs, only to find Hikaru waiting for him at the top, with a present for him. He walks past without a word, but she demands, ``Don't ignore me,'' and grabs his arm. A passing helicopter drowns out their words, as he breaks free. Kyousuke leaves, telling her to ``cut it out.'' She starts to cry, tears dampening the pavement. He bites his lip. It's all he can do not to turn around and comfort her.
Hikaru arrives at Abcb on a rainy night. It's closing time, so Madoka tells Master to head home; she'll take care of the rest. She pours Hikaru a cup of coffee. Madoka understands and starts to apologize. Hikaru tells her not to. She knew Kyousuke loved Madoka all along but thought she had changed that. ``What have you ever done for Sempai? If it's for him, I can do anything.'' This falsehood isn't easy on Madoka. After this accusation, she can only reply that, ``It seems it can't be the three of us anymore,'' and Hikaru leaves.
Sunday, Kyousuke and Madoka are at the movie. It turns out to be the anime Touch: ``An Ace Without a Uniform Number''. Appropriately, in the scene we see, two of the main characters are arguing about the love triangle they are in. Afterwards, the two go shopping and quiz each other about history. Kyousuke gets a couple wrong and they stop in a photo booth for some pictures. Continuing their quizzing, he asks her, ``What about 1969?'' She doesn't know. ``It's the year we were born.'' The sentiment brings a smile to her face.
At home, Hikaru is scanning through channels on TV. On one, Umao is begging Ushiko to come back home because Shikao, their baby, is crying. She turns off the TV and heads out. Its the middle of the night. When her mom asks where she's going, she gives a noncommittal answer.
Kyousuke is in his bedroom studying and listening to music. He gets a phone call. Outside he meets Hikaru who asks to be together in his room. He's upset and walks off; she follows. He tells her he has a mock exam tomorrow and was about to go to sleep. She's won the lead in ``Downtown Cats'' and has brought by a playbill with her name on it for him. ``I can't take that,'' he tells her, ``And I probably won't go to the play either.'' He turns to go home, but she grabs his shirt. He tells her to let him go, but she refuses. ``If I let you go, you'll leave me. I can never give you up.'' He forcibly removes her hands. ``Don't you even like me anymore? What did I ever mean to you?'' she asks. He walks off without a word. The playbill blows away on the cold wind, and she cries after him ``Answer Me!''
Kyousuke walks to a nearby park and sits down on a bench with his head in his arms. ``Embrace that Sky'' starts to play in the background. After a while, he heads home, but sees Hikaru, head buried in her arms, waiting for him by the door, so he heads to a nearby convenience store instead. He buys some coffee, and sits there, staring out the window, thinking. Outside, it begins to rain. He looks at the rack of umbrellas, thinking of maybe buying one to keep Hikaru dry. He decides against it and turns back to the window. He whispers, ``Good-bye, Hikaru-chan,'' and tears come to his eyes.
The next day Madoka asks Kyousuke how he did on the exam; not good at all. She understands; he didn't get any sleep last night. She called and Kurumi told her that he had gone out with Hikaru. Kyousuke begins, haltingly, to explain about last night.
The two of them are standing on a bridge. Madoka understands. She says that, even though things ended up like this, she will believe in him and how he feels about her, thus he'll always have someone to turn to. For a long moment, Kyousuke and Madoka stare out over the bridge as the north wind blows through their hair.
Madoka calls Kyousuke back to the present, in black-and-white. They continue walking through campus, and note that Hikaru's play is today. It should be starting about now.
While Hikaru performs in ``Downtown Cats'' in black and white, Madoka remembers a happier time when all three of them were together. The color still shots show Kyousuke looking through a photo album of hers. It's seven or eight years old. He is surprised the ``boy'' next to Hikaru is Madoka. ``Who else could it be.'' Madoka was the only one who would play with Hikaru when she had the mumps. They all share a good laugh.
The camera zooms back from Kyousuke and Madoka walking through campus. As it pans across the list of scores on the school bulletin board, Kyousuke narrates, ``Ayukawa and I were admitted'' (to Waseda University).
The credits roll to ``Embrace That Sky'' and clips from the movie. Afterwards Hikaru, in black-and-white, heads to the dressing room after finishing the play. The producer congratulates her on the good job she did. She thanks him, closes the door behind her, leans against it for a bit, and shoots the camera with her hand ``gun.''
``But if that day ever comes, the man next to her will
--- Kasuga Kyousuke
``Yes, I love him. I'm going to be his bride someday.''
--- Ayukawa Madoka