Act 1 ~ Life ExpectancyEdit
Hisao first encounters Rin on his third day while finding supplies for the student council. With a surprisingly blunt series of questions, Rin puzzles at Hisao's disability, guessing it's "in his pants". This causes a stunned Hisao to explain his arrhythmia, making Rin the first student to know the details of his condition.
It is soon discovered that Rin is responsible for an art project that needs to be ready by the school festival, and Shizune scolds her for procrastinating. Rin enlists Hisao's help in the project, and he mixes colours while she paints the wall below the student dormitories. The following day Hisao finds himself helping Rin painting the mural once again, all the while trying to understand her eccentric personality and nonsensical conversation.
Later, Emi bumps into Hisao and invites him to the roof for lunch with Rin again. The three start to become friends in earnest, and Hisao promises to join them on the rooftop again again in the future.
While coming back from the convenience store with Lilly, Hisao encounters a confused Rin wandering around town without being able to explain why. The two of them convince her to return to school, where she suddenly realises that she might not finish the mural in time due to her procrastination. She hurries off by herself and Lilly and Hisao go to bed. The next day Hisao bumps into Emi, who requisitions him to help carry paint to the mural. Hisao realises Rin has spent the whole night and day painting, and he offers to stay and help. While mixing paints for her, they are approached by the art teacher, Shinichi Nomiya, who is bringing colleagues of his to the festival to view Rin's work. On a spur of the moment decision, Hisao decides to join the art club.
The day of the festival, Hisao ends up spending the whole day sitting with Rin beside her mural talking about how she feels about her project, which seems to be a point of uncertainty. As the sun sets, Hisao falls asleep against the brick wall. After a while he is awakened by the sound of fireworks, and is surprised to find Rin sleeping while leaning against him. Rin wakes as well, and they watch the fireworks. Hisao contemplates the brevity of human life and Rin discusses Hisao's cynicism.
Act 2 ~ Disconnect Edit
After classes the next day Emi collides with Hisao once more, this time in a hurry to bring papers to a teacher. After apologising, she invites Hisao to meet her for lunch on the rooftop again. When Hisao arrives he notices Rin lying on the roof, watching the sky. She reveals that sometimes she skips classes in order to experience the things she wishes. Hisao joins her and to his surprise finds himself relaxing, his thoughts slowing down to calmly drift by like the clouds. He begins to understand why Rin loves the sky so much.
At his first art-club meeting, everyone is told to partner up to practice sketching one another, and Hisao is left with Rin as his partner. His own portrait is clumsy, but Rin's is amazing. He is troubled by how gloomy his expression is and asks her about it, to which she answers that in all the time he's been at school she's never seen him smile. Hisao realises she's right and starts to reflect on how negative and frustrated he's been with his life since his heart attack.
The day of Emi's track meet arrives and Hisao attends with Rin and meets Emi's mother, Meiko Ibarazaki. After introductions (and teasing), the trio watch Emi run her events. During the second event Rin's feet begin to thump with what Hisao reads as enthusiasm, but she replies that she enjoys watching "Emi at her Emiest". Although Meiko has to leave before the final event, Hisao and Rin watch the rally and then go together to congratulate Emi on her incredible victories. Emi invites Hisao to join her and Rin for their traditional post-track celebration next week.
In the art club, Nomiya finishes his lecture on the class and then approaches Rin to tell her about a friend of his who is a well known gallerist who might be willing to display some of Rin's work. Rin is troubled by the news and says she'll think about it, going for a walk which Hisao accompanies her on. They head into the forest and stop at a large maple tree which Rin calls the Worry Tree, where Hisao tries to puzzle out what's bothering her. Rin explains that she feels she can't display her work for others, and that in order to do so she'd need to become an entirely different person. She isn't sure whether becoming a career artist is something she wants for herself and she doesn't know what to do. Hisao shares his own negative feelings towards the circumstances that lead him to Yamaku, but he eventually realises that he no longer feels lonely at night because Rin is in his life. He resolves to stop "wallowing under the weight of all the crap in his life" and to change himself for the better.
The next day Hisao receives a letter from Iwanako, who apologises for not being the support he needed during the difficult time of his hospitalisation. She hopes he's found that support at Yamaku, and that he's gotten back to his feet in his new life. Hisao is frustrated that she's come back into his life just when he's started to move on, but he writes her a short reply anyway without expecting a response.
Resolved to change, Hisao begins to observe the other students more closely to learn how they cope with their difficulties. Watching Rin paint, he notices her focusing intently, going into her own world that he cannot breach. When he does get her attention, she describes how hard it is to find the words to communicate and she confides that she's worried she's losing the ability to think about multiple things at once. To her, painting is a way of capturing what she cannot say and preserving her thoughts and feelings in time and space. Looking at her old paintings reminds her of what she was thinking at the time she made them, and in a way they are proof of her existence. She confesses that change is the scariest thing in the world to her, and she fears she cannot become the person that Nomiya wants her to be. In spite of this, when Nomiya returns Hisao pushes her to go for it, and she becomes upset and leaves.
A week after the track meet, Emi makes good on her promise to celebrate and the three of them head out for a picnic. However as they leave it begins to rain and they are forced to wait out the storm in the Shanghai. Yuuko serves the trio tea and cake in lieu of the picnic they had planned. Emi decides to hike back by herself despite the rain, but knowing he can't keep up Hisao offers to walk Rin back with his umbrella. When Hisao sees the Nurse the next day he mentions Emi got a cold, and when he meets Rin for lunch she mentions that she might have it too. She sneezes suddenly and Hisao helps wipe her nose with his handkerchief. The two spend some time idly before Hisao asks her why she loves the sky so much. She answers that it's always changing but ever-perfect. Hisao draws the parallel that she's exactly the same, a realisation that surprises her. He also talks about how difficult it is to be disabled, to which Rin answers she doesn't feel disabled, and she doesn't choose to be. She doesn't know who she is, but unlike Hisao, she's okay with that. She hugs him (in her own way) and leaves as lunch ends.Alone on the rooftop, Hisao decides to stop feeling sorry for himself, to let go of the identity of being disabled and to forge a new life for himself.
Hisao bumps into Emi a few days later who sheepishly tells him Rin caught her cold, and that she'll get some cold medication from the nurse to give to her. Hisao wants to visit Rin to tell her about his new resolution but it takes him a few days to build up the courage to. When Rin answers the door in an unbuttoned shirt and her underwear she is delighted to have a visitor. She invites him inside to talk, and Hisao nervously follows. He observes she has a fever, is exhausted and is making even less sense than usual, and it evolves that she has taken too much cold meditation. He nevertheless tells her that he's going to stop being pathetic, and that he's sorry for pushing her to do the exhibit. She accepts his apology and then gets back into bed to sleep. As he leaves, she stop him and insists on walking him to the door. Staggering slightly, she falls into him and kisses him on the lips. As they part, Rin is grinning madly and ponders whether she'll remember any of it in the morning before stumbling back into bed and falling asleep. A bewildered Hisao tucks her in, pondering whether or not to call a nurse, but resolves she'll be fine. He pockets the rest of her medication and shows himself out.
The next day Rin is waiting outside Hisao's classroom with no recollection of previous day's events. She does recall that she wanted to bring him somewhere, so they walk through the forest once again to a hill covered in dandelions. After a little while Rin blurts out a tirade of breathless words as she tries to explain how difficult it is for her to communicate and how worried she is that Hisao thinks she's weird. Hisao laughs and comforts her, telling her she is weird but that there's nothing wrong with that. She asks him what happened yesterday and he reminds her that she kissed him, which she doesn't mind. She apologises for being so bad with people and confides that her pencils and paints are the only friends she's ever had. Hisao declares that he's her friend, on the basis of them talking a lot, having fights and making up. He deeply wants to be her friend so that he can get closer to her. As the sun begins to set, Hisao makes a decision about whether or not to stay at the art club. Rin announces that she'll give the gallery a try, realising that change was inevitable so that she might as well embrace the opportunity because it gives her clear direction about what the change will be. While the two are returning to their dorms, Hisao feels that whatever trials lay ahead, the distance between them might be just within his grasp.
Act 3 ~ DistanceEdit
One day after class, Hisao stops by the art club and sees Rin telling Nomiya that she will work at the gallery. Overjoyed, Nomiya makes a quick call and drives the the two students to the 22nd Corner Art Gallery. There they meet the gallery owner, Sae, who scrutinises Rin's art carefully. She comments that her technique needs a little refinement and that her paintings seem to be lacking something, a sense of theme or identity perhaps, but that she'd be willing to host an exhibit if Rin is willing to work on this. Rin commits herself wholeheartedly, and Nomiya arranges for Rin to be exempt from classes throughout the rest of the trimester, freeing her to focus on painting in the atelier above the gallery. On her last day of school, Hisao waits for Rin but she doesn't emerge from class. He finds her still at her desk napping, and is bewildered to see her crying in her sleep. When she wakes up she explains that crying is something she's learned from others. While the two leave the teaching building, Rin announces to Hisao that she is resolved to change who she is. She also tells Emi not to distract her by visiting while she focuses on her painting.
Hisao eventually realises that, despite how confusing she is, he still wants to become close to Rin and understand her. He decides to confess his feelings for her at the atelier, but when he does so she cuts him off and tells him she can't think about it right now. Heartbroken, Hisao turns to leave, but Rin asks him to visit again tomorrow. Thus begins a pattern where Hisao visits her in the evenings, watching her paint or reading in silence. Realising she hasn't been eating well, he brings her some oranges and gently feeds them to her. As the weeks pass, Rin begins to struggle with her art; she finds that she cannot inspire herself to paint using new methods nor her old ones. She comes to the conclusion that changing who she is is not enough, and that she must first destroy the old her. She asks Sae for cigarettes, and Hisao reluctantly shares the pack with her. Realising that smoking is only increasing her melancholy and introversion, he decides to shake her out of her mood by exploring the city at night, taking random turns and discovering a new side of the town. They wander the streets until dawn and it seems to invigorate her. To Hisao's surprise, she suddenly asks him to stop visiting her for reasons she won't explain. She permits him to touch her anywhere he likes (except her boobs and her left ear), and he gently brushes her cheek with three fingers. Her only response is to close her eyes, and then bid him goodbye.
Hisao discovers that he can't stop thinking of her, and within a few days he finds himself heading back to the gallery. He runs into Nomiya and Sae who explain Rin has been doing exceptionally well recently, and they talk a while about the challenges of being a gifted career artist. As the two old friends excuse themselves to reminisce, Hisao makes his way into the atelier where he is stunned to find Rin pleasuring herself on the floor. Realising she's been seen, she struggles with the shame and frustration of how much difficulty she's having pursuing her path as an artist. Hisao is moved by her desperation to find herself and improve her art in the process, and after a while they embrace. One thing leads to another and Rin asks him to help her finish. Hisao states that it's not something friends normally do, and Rin wonders again what it means to have a friend. They have sex and Rin falls asleep in his arms. In the morning, the two of them question whether it was a mistake, and whether it crossed a boundary in their friendship. They start arguing about why art is so important to her, and Hisao struggles with his frustration at how difficult it is to understand and connect with the woman he loves.
Hisao demands that Rin explains to him what he means to her, and she finds herself unable to do so. His frustration boils over as he feels like she's been treating him only as a source of inspiration and not as a person with feelings and dreams. He yells at her about how selfish and unhealthy she's being by devoting herself to her art, even if it kills her. Rin realises that she will never understand him and that she can never get him to understand her. She demands that he leave, and furiously he does so. He contemplates the strange change that has emerged in their relationship, unable to decide if this change is in him, or in her. Before fading to sleep, he notes how much time he wasted chasing things out of his reach.
Act 4 ~ DreamEditHisao returns to class, still seething with frustration at his inability to understand and connect with Rin. He decides to talk to Nomiya after class but is simply reminded that her big exhibition is on the weekend which he promised to attend. The day before the exhibit, Hisao encounters Rin on his way his room and finds he's still angry at her. They try and talk about what's been bothering them, but the conversation plays out much the same as the Bad Ending of Act 3. In the end, Rin asks him to stay with her because she needs him. Hisao replies caustically, stating that he's not satisfied just being a muse to her. Upset, Rin leaves and Hisao becomes even more frustrated with himself for hurting her.
The next night Hisao goes to the exhibition to apologize to Rin about what had happened the day before. Inside, Sae is busy entertaining guests who are enjoying the wine and company, and are only vaguely interested in the art exhibits. Hisao finds Emi who has come to congratulate Rin on her big success. Nomiya appears with Rin in tow, who pointedly ignores Hisao. When Sae introduces the guests to the artist, they become intrigued by Rin's disability and how it affects her painting. She is bombarded with questions about her inspiration and technique and Rin struggles to find the words to answer them. To the astoundment of those present, she is so overwhelmed that she sinks to her knees. Hisao escorts her outside in order to her calm down and Sae makes excuses to the guests. Rin realises she isn't ready to cope with so many questions and that all she wants to find someone who won't question her.
Neutral Ending Edit
Hisao tells Rin that she should be happy so many people are interested in her art and the two of them go back inside. Nomiya brushes off Rin's collapse as a spell of dizziness and starts introducing her to guests. Hisao loses her to the crowd of art enthusiasts, and he goes home soon after.
After finishing his final exam, Hisao is at loss for what to do with all the free time he has. He realises that all he wants is to see Rin, so after a quick chat with Emi he resolves to visit her at the gallery. There he runs into Nomiya and Sae, the former of which is still enraptured by the success of the exhibit. Hisao asks Sae how to interpret art and she explains to him that all art is subjective, influenced by the feelings of both the artist and the viewer. Hisao tries to understand Rin's art, but it is as inscrutable to him as Rin herself.
Rin enters the gallery but stops mid-sentence upon seeing Hisao and leaves again. He chases after her for an explanation, and she says that talking to him hurts her. The two of them wander the streets in silence, until eventually Hisao asks Rin about how she felt the exhibition went. Rin answers that all she really wanted was for someone to look at her art and say "I understand how you feel". Hisao responds by saying that nobody will ever understand her because human beings experience life completely uniquely, and that in the end it makes everybody alone. Rin is hurt deeply, asking "Why do you say that when you made me feel otherwise?" She comes to a resolution and announces that she's taking a scholarship at a university in Tokyo, leaving before the final trimester at Yamaku. Hisao is shocked by how readily she is prepared to leave him, but Rin states that she must go her own path (even if it changes her). She hugs him, telling him to forget about her, and then she walks out of his life forever.
At the exhibition, Hisao asks Rin what would happen if she did find a person who wouldn't question her. Rin realises that the exhibit was a mistake she wasn't ready for and promptly starts walking back to school. Hisao attempts to stop her but she is undeterred. Returning to the gallery, Nomiya is outraged when he learns what Rin has done. Emi suggests that she and Hisao should go find her and "kick her ass", but Hisao persuades her that this wouldn't really change anything. The two then return to the dorms to prepare for the next day's exams.
During his final exam, Nomiya interrupts the class requesting urgently to speak with him. Hisao learns that Rin has been hiding ever since the exhibit. Hisao then asks Nomiya why he pushed her into it, to which the art teacher explains that he saw it as his duty to ensure her talents didn't go to waste. Despite her absence, the exhibition was a mild success and he even sold one of her paintings for a reasonable price. Nomiya impels Hisao to find Rin and check up on her. Hisao goes off in search for her and discovers her in the unused classroom where they first met. He greets her, but Rin continues to hold herself at a distance. Hisao explains to her that Sae and Nomiya are unhappy with what has happened and they believe Rin is throwing away everything she has been working towards by running away from the exhibition.
The two of them leave the classroom so that she can apologize to Nomiya. Hisao waits outside as the art teacher scolds Rin, lecturing her on the difficulties of being an artist and how she's throwing away their efforts. She apologises and calmly states that the exhibition was a mistake, and Nomiya becomes so frustrated that he tells her she might not be an artist after all and storms out. When Hisao goes in to comfort her she pushes him away, believing that he's failed her as a friend in the same way Nomiya has. Hisao tells her that Nomiya was trying to make her into someone she wasn't ready to be, and realises that in a way he was doing the same thing by trying to make them "more than friends", a concept Rin doesn't understand. He tells her that he doesn't think he'll ever be a good friend to her (in the sense of supporting her unconditionally without wanting her to be different), and she is so hurt by this rejection that she cries. Hisao holds her until she has no more tears, and he realises that he fell in love with her a long time ago, even if he isn't able to connect with her in the way he wants to. Rin is surprised at her ability to cry naturally; for her, she's always had to make herself cry or laugh at social cues rather than as expressions of her emotions.
The conversation turns to why Rin does art, and she explains that it's a better medium for expressing herself than words, and that she's just trying to get people to understand her so she doesn't feel so alone. Hisao realises that in her own way she has been reaching out to him just as he's tried to reach out to her. He gently tells her that no one can share her unique experience, but that it's nevertheless healthy for her to express herself through her art without expecting others to understand it. She finds it terribly lonely, accepts it as a truth of life, "neither good nor bad". Unlike the Neutral Ending, she dares to trust in Hisao a little even though it's scary, and accept that it's okay for her to never completely be understood.
The next day Hisao is awakened by the heavy rain outside. He hears a thud at his door and answers it to find Rin standing in the hallway soaking wet. After a short conversation, Rin tells him that she needs help getting dry clothes and that Emi has gone home for the summer. Hisao connects the dots and nervously agrees to help her, grabbing a towel and one of his spare school uniforms. As he dries and undresses her she gently encourages him to touch her, and one things leads to another. Making love is a transformative act for both of them: Rin discovers what it feels like to not be alone, and Hisao learns to stop worrying about the future and just enjoy being with her in the moment.
Afterwards, Rin suddenly resolves to take him somewhere and impatiently gets him to help her dress. She leads him to the hill of dandelion flowers which are now in full bloom, a symbol of the change Rin is aspiring for. She asks Hisao if he loves her, to which he answers he isn't sure. Rin doesn't know either, but she says "I love you" anyway, describing the phrase as "a weird taste". She begins to cry again and she comes to the realisation that Hisao scares her because his kindness makes her feel like he wants her to be more than herself, and it terrifies her. He laughs because he realises that he doesn't want her to change - the things about her that frustrate him are also what he admires most about her. He asks her if she'll stay with him, even if it's scary. She resolves that she will, and declares that it's okay for her to be herself. Hisao questions Rin about whether or not that she has become an artist, but Rin interrupts his worries and invites him just to seize the day and watch the sky with her. The story ends with Rin asking Hisao "What's the right word for when it feels inside your heart that everything in the world is alright?"
- This route is the one with the most choices.