After their kiss, Ayu immediately apologizes to Yuuichi for ignoring his feelings, but Yuuichi declares that he likes her. Since she shares those feelings, Ayu says that if Yuuichi likes her, she would be able to like him back for a long time. Seeing how embarrassed Ayu is from all this, Yuuichi thinks that they should regain the seven years that they’ve waited until now. They both agree to meet at this spot again tomorrow after school, just like they used to. When the two return home, Ayu wants to help out in the kitchen, but Nayuki insists on doing it in order to be more dutiful to her mother. That night, Yuuichi has another dream about his past, this time of when he met Ayu two days before he had to leave. The two had gone to that tree and Ayu had climbed it again. It was then that she had held up the angel doll and decided to use her second wish, though she made absolutely sure first that Yuuichi was still willing to grant any wish that he could. Yuuichi wakes up the next morning before seeing what Ayu wished for back then.
At breakfast, Yuuichi is shocked to find a fully awake Nayuki, but it turns out to be because she has a morning practice to attend. Yuuichi leaves for school with Ayu, who is excited about going to her own school and meeting the friends that she only sees there. The two meet again later that afternoon as they had promised, though Yuuichi is again late. Ayu wants to go to that place, but Yuuichi isn’t sure what she means and thinks that it’s the shopping area of the city. When he suggests that they hold hands, Ayu is initially too embarrassed to do it, though she eventually takes his hand. They search the rest of the afternoon for Ayu’s missing thing, and as usual, they turn up nothing. Ayu starts thinking that perhaps it’s better if they don’t find it because it isn’t needed when she’s happy. She doesn’t care if she doesn’t have it now and feels that she can look for it again when she needs it. Changing the subject, Yuuichi then asks why Ayu always uses boku to refer to herself in the first person instead of another ” target=”_blank”>pronoun that’s more commonly used by females. He convinces Ayu to try using ore instead of boku, but then laughs at her when she does. After he decides that her use of atashi isn’t as amusing, she figures out that he’s teasing her.
At home, Yuuichi walks in on Ayu trying on Nayuki’s school uniform since her own school allows the students to wear normal clothes. They get to talking about Ayu’s school again and how Ayu never studies at home. When Ayu explains again that her school is on a hill at the outskirts of town, Nayuki wonders when a school was built there. Reading in his room later, Yuuichi hears a knocking on the door out to the veranda and finds a snow-covered Ayu out there. She claims to have come over only to talk and used the veranda in order not to wake Nayuki with the sound of her footsteps. Yuuichi calls her an idiot, but he feels that he’s an idiot too because he likes that part of her. Hearing her say that she wanted to see him because she felt lonely being by herself, Yuuichi kisses her on the forehead. The two then head out onto the veranda where they share a blanket, and Yuuichi expresses an interest in seeing Ayu’s school. Ayu agrees to take him and suggests that they meet again tomorrow after school at that bench again.
The next morning, Akiko leaves with Yuuichi because she has to do something related to her job. Yuuichi realizes that he doesn’t know what Akiko’s job is, but before he can ask her, she changes the subject to how he doesn’t remember seven years ago. Akiko claims to not be talking about it for any particular reason, but she does mention that a tree got cut down. When afternoon comes around, Yuuichi meets with Ayu and they get some taiyaki first. While they’re eating, Ayu suddenly asks what Yuuichi would do if her first love was him, and he surprises her by answering that he’d want her to retract it. Blushing, Yuuichi explains that it’s because first loves don’t turn out well. Since Ayu starts asking about his first love, Yuuichi admits that he was attracted to an older girl, but he doesn’t remember much more than the fact that something really sad happened. Seeing Ayu get caught up on these words, Yuuichi asks her if she’s happy right now. Ayu says that she is, but also reveals that she sometimes feels uneasy. She’s scared of happiness because she’s worried that the reality in front of her is a dream.
To make Ayu feel better, Yuuichi tells her that right now is different from seven years ago since he’ll still be in this city when winter ends and springs comes – right beside her. This causes Ayu to start crying on her taiyaki, but she eventually stops and the two make their way towards her school. As they approach the woods, Yuuichi grows less and less sure that there’s a school out there, but Ayu keeps insisting that there is. She even says that she went today and met her friends. Ayu then rushes up the hill to a familiar clearing where she finds only a large tree stump. As Yuuichi remembers what Akiko said about the tree that got cut down, Ayu approaches the stump in shock. She’s confused about whether she should be there or not and feels that this can’t be true because there was school today. When Ayu opens her backpack to prove this to herself, she gasps because it’s actually empty. In desperation, Ayu leaves her backpack behind and runs off to search for her lost thing. Yuuichi grabs the backpack and tries to follow, but soon loses sight of her.
Yuuichi eventually finds her again sitting alone on the road digging a hole with her bare hands. Upon learning that she’s searching for her lost thing, he suggests that they look for it tomorrow, but Ayu thinks that that’s no good because the night may never end. Realizing how serious she is, Yuuichi covers Ayu in his jacket and starts to help her dig. They end up making many holes in the ground, but find nothing. Yuuichi thinks that they should search again tomorrow and goes to get Ayu’s backpack so that they can go home. As he’s doing this, Ayu apologizes to him and explains that she doesn’t think she’ll be able to see him again. She says that they had a long-awaited reunion after seven years, and then she apologizes again. By the time a startled Yuuichi turns around to question what she’s talking about, Ayu has disappeared, leaving behind only his jacket. Her last words to him echo in his mind.
I have to admit I’m quite confused as to why Ayu suddenly disappeared, but if I learned anything about being confused in Kanon from the Makoto and Mai arcs, it’s that things will eventually get explained and everything will make sense. Looking at the clues, it had been pretty obvious all along that there was no school out there, and the fact that it’s supposedly located where the tree stump is would enforce the idea that the tree is central to the plot. Add to that the fact that Ayu liked to perch atop the tree branches and that Yuuichi is afraid of high places…well, you should be able to see where I’m going. I also thought that the backpack might play a bigger role than it did, though it’s not clear that the backpack disappeared along with Ayu.
Also of interest to me is who Yuuichi was talking about in the first-love conversation with Ayu. He once again flashbacked to that image we saw in the Mai/Makoto/Shiori montage last week, and I still think that the image has something to do with Nayuki’s arc. If that’s true, then could it mean that Yuuichi liked Nayuki or even Akiko? Nayuki doesn’t fit the older girl description, which makes me suspect Akiko, but I could be way off on my speculation here.
As for what ending we’re heading for, the odds might have improved a bit more that we’ll see a Nayuki ending, but I still think that Ayu is more likely. The preview for next week suggests a bit of both girls, though it’s hard to imagine Yuuichi not doing everything he can do figure out why Ayu’s gone.
And finally, on a random note, methinks this shot was completely unnecessary in the Ayu bath scene.