Horimiya: Yuki & Toru’s Fake Relationship Becomes Heartbreak for [SPOILER]

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Horimiya Episode 10, "Until the Snow Melts," now streaming on Funimation.

Harboring strong yet unrequited romantic feelings for another person can sit very heavily on the mind. As Yuki and Sakura continue to navigate their feelings for Toru -- and with Yuki and Toru still in a pretend relationship -- both girls go through some serious introspection in order to find answers. The delicate love triangle's conclusion sees a real relationship begin -- and a whirlwind of emotions for the third.

As is the constant theme in Horimiya, every character appears straightforward on the surface but deep down holds some level of insecurity. The shy and quiet Sakura, who has long struggled with self-confidence issues, takes a bold new step and confesses her feelings to Toru. This comes despite her mistaken belief that Yuki and Toru are a couple -- a lie aided by Yuki.

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Sakura doesn't want to break them up. In fact, she's delighted that she had the courage to tell Toru about her feelings. This newfound courage represents a major personal victory for Sakura which she recognizes. However, Toru doesn't respond at all. He's flattered by Sakura's affections but doesn't admit that his and Yuki's relationship is fake. This is for two reasons: loyalty and affection toward Yuki, who's also his longtime friend, and because Toru still needs to be honest about his own feelings. Unlike the girls, however, Toru -- despite past struggles with Hori's unrequited love -- has no clouded thoughts or emotions this time. He's merely waiting for someone else to find her own way to the truth.

Meanwhile Yuki, quietly dealing with overwhelming guilt for misleading Sakura as well as refusing to admit her own feelings, skips school and shuts her phone off for four days straight. Always kind and affable on the surface, Yuki is also a pacifist and refuses to admit when she wants something -- even to her own detriment. A flashback with her older sister reveals Yuki has struggled with this since she was a child. For all of Sakura and Yuki's differences in personality, their inner self-confidence battles are strikingly similar.

In the end, Yuki accepts the only way to resolve the matter is to confront Toru once and for all. Whatever he feels toward her, the answer can't be worse than the internal strife she's been enduring. Though she doesn't realize it at first, she gets her answer immediately -- when she finally returns to school, Toru walks straight up to her and asks for a private chat on the rooftop.

A stunning, largely metaphorical dialogue ensues as the two discuss the snow. Yuki, whose name means "snow" in Japanese, believes snow is just a dirty nuisance that simply melts away in the spring anyway. What she's really saying is that she feels unworthy of love and that her feelings are best left forgotten. Toru responds that snow is beautiful, shines brightly, and only melts away because it chooses to. Like Yuki's analysis, this is also a metaphor. What Toru really means is that he loves Yuki and she only feels worthless because she's choosing to. It takes some time -- and one of their usual playful arguments -- but Yuki finally sees his meaning and takes his hand. Thus begins their new (and now official) relationship.

Sakura, still unaware that Toru and Yuki were once a pretend couple, continues to watch them from afar. She remains surprisingly happy, with her new demeanor arousing her friends' curiosity. Simply confessing her feelings to Toru was enough because it helped her grow significantly as a person. Releasing one's true affections, especially after holding them in for so long, is freeing and joyous. Despite Toru's non-response, she knows she's going to be okay.

That is, until the very end when she sees Yuki and Toru walking together through campus on a cold winter afternoon. Watching from the Student Council room, Sakura's outer joy finally breaks as she falls to the ground in tears. Despite her personal victory, her first romantic rejection -- and seeing the happiness she might've had -- leaves Sakura still learning life's harshest lessons in love.

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