The twins' grandfather sat in the waiting room of the police station with Nagisa posing as the twins' father and sister. The rest of the group sat at a nearby restaurant waiting for their return. Nagisa looked out the large window next to them. She had some faint memories of the area as she didn't venture to this part of town often during her younger years. After several minutes of waiting, two officers approached them. The woman, appearing as a seasoned detective, introduced herself as Detective Yoshida. The man, who introduced himself as Detective Nagayama, looked like he was still learning how to be a detective.
"So, you're looking for your two children who disappeared forty years ago?" Yoshida asked. Disbelief and suspicion were evident in her tone. The grandfather wasn't sure if she meant to come off so strongly or not. Either way, it didn't seem like a good start.
"Do you know how long it takes to go from town to town asking people if they've seen them or looking for any leads?" he asked.
"Why do you think they would be here? This is a long way from Chiba."
"The same reason I thought they'd be anywhere else. Before, I had limited my search to the surrounding area and along the eastern coast."
"I'm sure you're aware of the story involving Yokota Megumi and if your children disappeared back then, then it is possible they were victims of a North Korean abduction. Do you have a picture of them around the age they disappeared?"
He pulled out two pictures from his wallet and slid them over to the two detectives. "Ichiro and Kanon are their names." He watched them study the pictures and hoped they wouldn't realize how recent they were. If they asked then he could say he had them reprinted because the originals were worn out. Yoshida stopped looking at the pictures for a moment and looked off to the side.
"Excuse me for a moment," she said standing up. Her partner stayed behind as she walked off wondering what she was up to.
Yoshida returned several minutes later with a box. "Now we have names to the faces. The same night that Yokota Megumi disappeared, two bodies were found. They didn't have any ID and their uniforms didn't match any local schools. According to the reports from that time, it was assumed they were kidnapped and then murdered there as there were signs of struggle." She opened the box and slowly pulled items from it. First was the smaller items such as a wallet, a black and red string bracelet and a set of keys that Nagisa instantly recognized. After Yoshida pulled out all the smaller items, she pulled out two neatly folded school uniforms, one male, one female. It was confirmed, these belonged to Ichiro and Kanon.
"It's them," the grandfather said.
Yoshida's partner looked impressed. "How did you know this was who they were looking for?"
"I was going through all of our cold cases some time ago just to familiarize myself with them. This one stood out for several reasons. One being we couldn't identify them despite trying to contact the school they attended."
"They didn't go there?" Nagayama asked.
Yoshida shook her head. "No, the school didn't exist. It was strange."
"Kanon enjoyed creating uniform designs for fictional schools for both boys and girls. She used to make clothes and she'd wear them around. She hoped she could create her own clothing design business. I guess they were wearing the uniforms she made when they disappeared."
Nagisa fought hard to suppress her reaction to her father's made-up story. There was no way she could ever come up with such an idea on the spot.
"I see," Yoshida said appearing to be satisfied with the answer. "There is another question I have regarding the contents inside the wallet. The banknotes inside the wallet are not the same as what was used back then."
"What do you mean?"
Yoshida opened the wallet revealing a few 1000-yen banknotes with Hideyo Noguchi on the front. Those particular banknotes were released in 2004. The ones used in the 70s had Hirobumi Ito on the front. Those had been discontinued in 1986.
"We had them examined and they aren't counterfeit," Yoshida said.
The grandfather shrugged. "I don't know what to tell you. My only guess is that they were switched out by someone who wanted old banknotes. Not sure what you expect me to tell you. Maybe they were switched out by someone who wanted older bills."
Yoshida nodded. "That was our conclusion too. It was one of our mysteries we've been trying to figure out and I hoped we could finally get an answer that wasn't them being switched out. Anyway, I'm sorry to tell you that we don't know who killed your children."
"Where are their remains?" Nagisa asked.
"They're located at a nearby shrine where a lot of discarded, unwanted or unknown remains are interred. You can go there and claim them," Yoshida said. She opened the case file and pulled out a slip of paper. "Here are their ID numbers so you can find them."
Nagayama helped the grandfather gently place the items back in the box and then closed the lid. The two detectives bowed as the twins' grandfather and Nagisa left. They reunited with the rest of their group and then drove over to the shrine that housed the ashes of the other Ichiro and Kanon. The twins stayed back letting their grandfather go get the urns. It was surreal enough to see their own uniforms that have been stored away in a box for 40 years and now they saw their grandfather approaching with two urns that held their ashes. It was hard to wrap their minds around the idea that the urns held their ashes and while they were growing up and doing everything up to this point, the ashes were sitting in this shrine. It didn't seem believable but yet the twins felt connected to the urns just as they felt connected to each other.
The twins returned to Chiba and began the new school week with some answers but without an answer to one of the more important questions: when do they travel back? Since the other twins were wearing uniforms then it meant it happened on a school day but it could be on the way to school, during school or even after school.
Ichiro was hoping to try and keep his distance from Miyuki but that was going to be difficult and wouldn't be possible to keep up forever. He even played with the idea of breaking up with her but he didn't have the strength for that despite what was at stake.
The twins walked down the hallway of the school on their way to the cafeteria. The hallway had become a bit too warm for the twins' comfort. The sun hadn't hit their classrooms so it was cooler than the hallways so it was comfortable for them to keep their jackets on but the hallway temperature made them rethink that idea. They were almost to the cafeteria so there was no point in going back just to drop off their jackets.
"I've got two options," Ichiro said in a hushed voice. Either I stay with her and she ends up in North Korea or I break up with her and she can live out her life as she was supposed to."
"Either way you two won't be together," Kanon said. "And since we don't know when this happens, it could be a random moment where the two of you happen to run into each other even though you had broken up. I don't think the answer is how we handle it before the jump but what we do after the jump. And do we really want to be responsible for erasing a life?"
"Her kid wasn't supposed to exist anyway," Ichiro said.
"Whose kid wasn't supposed to exist?" Miyuki said coming out of nowhere and latching onto Ichiro's arm.
Before Ichiro had a chance to answer, the warm and bright hallway turned into a cold and dark street.