"The last time anyone saw her was Thursday afternoon," said Sonoda, "She left the school when classes ended for the day, and just…disappeared."
Miho gave the Inspector a very direct look. Her eyes were flashing.
"You don't think I had anything to do with…"
"No, Toyha-san, not at all. But you two seemed to know each other."
"Was asking me about this your idea, or your wife's?"
"Damnit, girl…" the inspector had half-risen out of his seat, then brought himself under control with a visible effort. He sat back down, letting out a long, slow breath.
"Meimi suggested it. She doesn't suspect you either," he added hastily, "but she thought you might have heard or…felt something."
Inspector Sonoda's voice almost cracked. The battling emotions inside the man, and the effort it was taking to keep them from overpowering him was causing sparks to dance on the edges of Miho's vision. She felt genuine pity for the man.
"Do you have any leads or clues at all?"
"No. We've checked out all the normal possibilities, and a number of very improbable ones. Yuki didn't just stay over at a friend's place without telling us or something. She really is missing. And believe me we have some very good people on the case." Sonoda's frustration needed no voice.
"I don't have any information about this, Inspector. I was…ill Thursday, and didn't attend classes," Toyha didn't voice the thought that if she had been there that day, she might very well have sensed whatever happened at the school and been able to intervene. It wasn't by far the biggest regret she'd ever had to deal with. "But I will make some inquiries."
"…Thank you, Tohya-san." The inspector handed her a card. "Here's my contact information. The cell number should reach me anytime. Also, contact me if you need anything." Miho quickly tapped the number into her own phone and a moment later Sonoda's phone beeped.
"Now you have my number as well, Inspector. Do let me know if you find her before I do."
"…before you do…"
"Yes Inspector. We will find her."
Not trusting himself to reply, Sonoda simply nodded and left. How many times in his long career as a cop had he seen similar comfort offered to a distraught family member? Now for the first time he truly understood how hollow it sounded…and yet how infinitely better it was than nothing at all.

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