Chapter 5 | Real Family

“That woman is the kidnapper who took Haruto-san away from his mother.”

Haruto was indeed surprised to hear Ayane say so.

“Akiko Sato was originally hired by a certain wealthy family as a babysitter. She is a qualified childcare worker and was introduced to the family by someone who knew the owner of the house.”

Ayane continued and began to explain the circumstances.

The incident occurred when Haruto was almost a year and a half old.

It had been more than a year since Sato had started working, and Haruto’s mother had apparently come to trust her completely.

Sato’s attitude toward her work was serious, and although her work was not without its occasional lapses, she rarely made a mistake when it came to caring for Haruto, and often spent more than half of her day alone with him. That is how much she was trusted.

However, one day when the mother returned home after going out on business, Haruto and Sato were nowhere to be found in the house and had disappeared without a trace.

A large amount of cash was also missing from the family safe, as well as a number of jewelry and precious metals belonging to the mother, and the police were notified of the theft and kidnapping.

The police immediately deployed an emergency unit to track down the two, but it seems that nearly 14 years passed without Sato being caught in the end.

At first, this fact was reported in some newspapers, but it was hardly reported on TV, etc. because the police were careful not to provoke Sato into harming Haruto.

“I see. So, but how did you know I was the kidnapped child?”

With a confused mind, Haruto somehow manages to sort out what he has just heard.

Then he realized that he had not heard the most important part.

“Do you remember that blood samples were taken as part of a physical examination in May of this year?”

Tracing back his memory, he recalls that such a thing did indeed take place.

He remembered that his classmates who hated needles in class were making a fuss about it, and he remembered it because it was the first time he had had his blood taken as part of a physical exam at school.

Seeing that Haruto nodded, Ayane continued her story.

“The blood sample was actually taken to collect a DNA donation to help find Haruto-san. Oh, but don’t worry, the pathological examination was also performed.

We then had a specialized institute check all the DNA types to determine the existence of Haruto-san.

Actually, they had done it once before, a few years ago, but they couldn’t find you then, so it was really just a precaution.”

“I didn’t have a medical checkup for about two times when I was in elementary school. I had some bruises on my body from being beaten, so I had to take a day off from school.”

When he explained this, Ayane looked like a demon for a moment and Haruto rubbed his eyes to see if he was looking at the wrong person.

He had always seen only gentle smiles or pained and concerned expressions, so the image was so different that his brain rejected it.

“Is that so? Well, anyway, it was around the end of October that we were able to find out about Haruto-san’s existence and whereabouts.

And just to be sure, we conducted a flu screening and vaccination only at Haruto-san’s school, and at that time, we took a sample of his mucous membrane and conducted another DNA test.”

He remembers that too.

As he recalled, a thick cotton swab was placed in his mouth and throat. Then they gave him an injection.

“After obtaining evidence that Haruto-san was indeed the abducted Haruto-san, we immediately investigated ‘Tatsuya Inoue’s’ background. We then learned about the situation of Akiko Sato, who was living under a false name, and Haruto-san’s hardships.

Because of the delay in our discovery, Haruto-san has been put through a difficult time.

I am truly sorry.”

“Oh, um, it’s not your fault, Shibusawa-san, and I had a lot of help from the people around me, so I was fine.”

When he finished speaking, Ayane stood up and bowed deeply, to which Haruto hurriedly denied it.

“So, my parents…”

“I have to tell you about that as well.”

“…The truth is that Haruto-san’s father died in an accident before Haruto-san was born. And his mother also became frail and sick easily due to the stress of Haruto-san’s abduction 10 years ago…”

“I, I see. ……”

For Haruto, his parents, whose faces he did not even know.

Even when he heard that they were dead, he didn’t really feel it.

However, when he learned that the woman he thought was his mother was actually a stranger and a criminal who had kidnapped him, he was very disappointed because he had wanted to meet his real parents.

Tears stream down Haruto’s eyes as he realizes that he will never meet his real family after all.

Seeing this, Ayane panicked.

Her calm tone of voice changed drastically, and she spoke to Haruto in an impatient voice.

“I am sorry, too! I was not considerate enough for Haruto-san who was confused.

I, well, ah, how can I, umm…”

She wanted to comfort him somehow, but there was no way she could undo what she had already said. There is no way to undo the fact that it is the truth.

Seeing Ayane like this, Haruto forgot that he had been spilling tears and became dumbfounded. When he realized that it was because of his own attitude, Haruto felt embarrassed.

A woman in a suit is flustered and flustered, and a boy who looks like an elementary school student turns red and looks down.

If someone were to see them, they would no doubt imagine a bad scene.

It was fortunate for everyone that this was a private room.

“Ehm. I’m sorry to have shown you something that is not very nice.

Well, let’s talk about Haruto-san’s family. Haruto-san’s mother’s father, in other words, Haruto-san’s grandfather, is still alive.”

After a while, when both parties had regained their composure, Ayane refilled the tea, and after clearing her throat, she resumed the conversation.

“Grandfather? You mean, mine?”

“Yes. In order to find Haruto-san, he has worked very hard to conduct blood and DNA tests at all elementary, junior high, and senior high schools in Japan, as his actual age and the age at which he entered school do not always match.

Since Haruto-san’s whereabouts were discovered, he has been unable to sleep at night with anticipation and anxiety and has expressed his desire to meet her as soon as possible.

I came to see Haruto-san this time because I was ordered by his grandfather to do so.

However, although he himself wanted to come, those around him persuaded him that he should not harm Haruto-san by suddenly going to see Haruto-san, whom he knew nothing about.”

Haruto stares dumbfounded at Ayane’s face.

He is told that the woman he thought was his mother is a stranger, that his own parents are already dead, and now his grandfather is alive.

His head is completely overwhelmed with emotions that are going through the roof like a roller coaster.

“My grandfather, my family?”

Haruto mumbled as if he was biting his tongue.

Ayane waits for him to calm down without rushing him.

“Haruto-san, would you like to see your grandfather?”

Ayane asked as Haruto exhaled heavily after about ten minutes.

“Yes, I would like to meet him.”

When asked, Haruto’s eyes closed tightly for a moment as if he was trying to hold back something that was rising in him, and then he answered. Ayane smiled as if relieved to hear his words.

“I’m glad to hear you say so. I’d like to show you around right away if that’s alright.”

As he nodded at Ayane’s confirmation, Haruto hurriedly spoke up about a question that had just crossed his mind.

“Um, well, is the place where my grandfather is located far from here?”

Come to think of it, he didn’t think anyone would take a kidnapped child and live near where the victim’s relatives were.

“Yes. Your grandfather lives in Ibaraki Prefecture. So you would have to travel by plane, right? Oh, if you don’t like flying, you can take the bullet train, although it will take longer.”

The distance was unexpected.

So far, Haruto had lived in Kumamoto Prefecture.

He had never taken a train before, let alone an airplane, but he knew it was not a distance that would allow him to make a day trip.

“I’m sorry. I have a part-time job, and I have today off, but I have to work tomorrow.:

After all, he may not have any ties to his family.

The idea of taking a day off from work never crossed Haruto’s mind. If he suddenly quits, he will be in trouble with the boss and the people at his workplace who have been so kind to him.

He wanted to see his grandfather, but Haruto could not do so.

If he were to take this opportunity by surprise for his own reasons, his grandfather might get angry and no longer allow him to see him.

Thinking of this, he bit his lip.

Ayane nodded to Haruto as if to say, “I understand what you mean.”

“At any rate, Akiko Sato, who was supposed to be his mother, even if only technically, has already been taken into custody. Haruto-san also has a non-existent name, “Tatsuya Inoue,” which is a common name, so there are probably many people with the same name, but he can’t remain without a family register. We also need a guardian or guarantor for the future.

We will need to explain the situation to the people who have helped you, so why don’t we go and talk to them?”

That’s right. In any case, the truth has come out, and the mother “Masami Inoue” is no longer with him. So there is no choice but to live as before.

Haruto nodded a little hesitantly, and Ayane prompted him to leave his seat.

And then they left the restaurant.

(Huh? Don’t we have to pay or something?)

He wondered, but could not say it out as several waiters and a person in a white coat (cooking clothes) with a somewhat distinguished atmosphere bowed deeply to him and saw him off.

“Don’t worry. Another person will come later to receive and pay for the uneaten dishes.”

Ayane, who was aware of Haruto’s doubts, explained as they boarded the elevator.

“Oh, yes, I’m sorry.”

The apology just came out of his mouth.

Ayane was about to say something to Yoto for a moment, but when they arrived at the lobby on the first floor and the door opened, she gave up and started walking with Yoto in the lead.

When they passed through the entrance and exited the hotel, the limousine with Yoto and the others was already waiting for them on the porch.

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