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White Hair, White Heart

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Misane and Miumi keep in touch, though their connection in this timeline is entirely through Nanase and that incident on the cruise ship. Miumi’s as sweet as she ever was, and nowadays, you can hardly tell that she isn’t a native speaker of Japanese.

Even when she’s crying into her phone, she’s still understandable. “Mi-Misane, it’s terrible-!”

“Please tell me what happened.” Misane drops into investigator mode instantly. Her mind is already racing with possibilities. Something could have happened to Natsukage, or anyone from Blue Sun Street, or conceivably anyone else from the city.

Miumi sniffles. “This morning, I found… I found a brown hair!”

“…I see.” Misane tries not to sound too relieved. It’s obvious that Miumi is distressed about it, even if it’s not a life-or-death situation. “Does going prematurely brown run in your family?”

The question at least calms Miumi down a little, if only because it gives her something to focus on. “I only remember my mother having brown hair, but I thought she was always that way… And my father was at least forty. I’m not thirty yet!”

“It’s alright, Miumi. Lots of people go brown early. If you want to dye them out when more of them appear, I can recommend you a salon.” Misane knows her father has been dyeing his brown hairs out for a while, on the claim that he’s not old enough to look distinguished with brown hair yet.

“Really? Thank you very much…” Miumi sniffles again, but she sounds much better than she did at the start of the call.

Nanase, who’s been pretending to not be listening to their call and doing it poorly, pipes up from the couch. “I know one too! Very discreet.”

Misane gives him a Look, but adds, “Nanase says he also has a recommendation. I’ll send you the names and addresses on Mutter.”

“Thank him for me too,” Miumi answers. “I have to pull this hair out before I go to my interview. Take good care, Misane.”

“You too.” After Misane hangs up, she turns to Nanase. “Since when have you been dyeing your hair? You’re even younger than Misane is.”

“Five years,” Nanase says with a smile that reminds Misane of the false ones he wore as a teenager. “Brown just doesn’t look good on me, so I didn’t want you to see it!”

With Nanase, it’s not a case of a hereditary predisposition to going brown early, but rather his body breaking down under the stress of using his ability. That’s the real reason why he hid it. Misane doesn’t have to interrogate him to know the truth.

Instead, she sits next to him on the couch. “…I think you’d look fine with any color hair.” It doesn’t address the real issue, but there’s very little she can do about the real issue. Besides…

This time, the smile that spreads across Nanase’s face is genuine.

Even if he teases her about the compliment all afternoon, it’s worth it.