"Relax Ranka, she's not dead," Jin said as he crouched down and checked his mother's pulse. "She just fainted, thanks to you."
Akihiro also knelt down and propped his wife's limb body into a sitting position, her head lolling around. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a lemon cough drop, peeling away the wrapper.
Gently, he placed the sweet into his wife's mouth and pushed it in. A moment, later, Fumiko groaned as she regained consciousness, her eyes slowly opening.
"Careful dear, you've just had quite a fall," Akihiro mumbled as he picked up his wife, bridal style and carried her to Jin's bed. Letting her rest, he retook his seat and only just now noticed Ranka's presence.
"Heh." Akihiro chuckled softly, turning to his son after he took a moment to admire Ranka. "I didn't know that you would change so much as to get married without telling me and your mother about it."
"We didn't. We are just dating" Jin grumbled as Ranka took his arm, a bit worried about how his parents might view her. She had expected a warmer welcome, similar to how a wolf would greet a new member of the family. "But what if they are like Jin before or worse?" Her worried mind thought, tightly gripping his arm.
"Really?" Akihiro said inquisitively, raising one of his eyebrows. He had not expected his son of all people to be the one to consider a girl that wasn't human as his partner. "I was under the impression that you were always, let's say, less than fond of animals from a young age." Leaning forward and getting closer to the pair, he asked one simple question. "What happened?"
Taking a seat, Jin took a deep breath before he explained the story from the very beginning, from the time that he first met Ranka at the daycare, how his disdain for animals began on that last day after the bear attack.
He went on about how he had met Ranka again at the academy and (reluctantly) became the male of her pack, all the while trying to get close to Hitomi. "I tried to confess but something always happened that would make it impossible for me to do so."
He continued by noting how, after all these years, he finally had his chance and told her about how he had felt for her since he first met her. "She said that she only saw me as a friend, which at the time made me feel depressed." He said with a little gloomy look in his face as he remembered the rejection.
While that did result in him falling for Ranka, it was still a painful memory for him. Ranka comforted him by giving Jin a gentle head pat while resting her other hand on his shoulder. Akihiro noticed this gesture.
"But," Jin smiled softly as the happiness returned to his voice. "It did lead me back to her after all those years," he said as he placed his hand on Ranka's the one that she rested on his shoulder. As he explained how he managed to accept Hitomi's rejection, he came to face what he felt about Ranka and ultimately acknowledged that he loved her, both of his parents become enthralled with the story Jin was saying.
During the entire time, Ranka stood by his side and excitedly wagged her tail when Jin told them about the hospital. "And after that, we started dating." He finished, briefly looking up at Ranka to flash her a warm smile.
"He smiled at an animal?" Akihiro and Fumiko's minds raced, taking minutes to process this. All these years, Jin had never once said anything nice about non-humans that they knew of. The highest praise they could remember him saying were remarks about how some of them could act civilized. "For an animal." He would always follow up those comments with that one little caveat.
And yet, in front of them, he had given this girl a genuine smile. "He is even dating her!" they both thought in amazement. Jin turned to face them and bowed. "I'm sorry that I didn't tell you earlier, I just thought that it would be better if you would see her and get to know her rather than me telling you who I was dating and - "
He stopped as he noticed Fumiko slowly sat up, swinging her legs over onto the floor. Standing up, she walked over and placed a hand on her son's cheek. "It wouldn't matter either way," she spoke, smiling as she looked at Jin's confused face. "Any girl that would win your heart is one that I like, even if she may not be entirely human."
"I can assume," she continued, looking over towards Ranka. "That you are the one that makes sure that my son stays warm?"
The question brought Ranka out of her worried state and into one of excitement as she proudly explained how well she took care of her partner. "Yes! I make him chicken soup all the time that I feed him, I make sure he always wears his coat even indoors sometimes and when we are alone, we even cuddle up with a very furry blanket that's warm!"
"Well well, It seems that he is in good hands, miss...."
"Ranka? Well, that sounds like a pretty name for a daughter in law."
The hours flew by as the parents got to know Ranka better, slurping down her chicken soup and chatting. Apart from the occasional outburst from Jin about how they were not husband and wife ("Not yet!" Ranka always pointed out), the afternoon was a very pleasant time for the four. They learned more about the misunderstanding between the pair when they were 3 and how Fumiko recognized Ranka when she first saw her at the door.
"Of all the ones who could have caught his attention, the fact that it's you show that there is some kind of fate between you two!" Fumiko clapped her hand together as she happily shared this theory with the others.
The conversation continued for a while before Ranka excused herself to go to the bathroom, leaving Jin and his parents alone.
Fumiko leaned in towards the pair and whispered. "She's such a nice girl! I can see why you fell for her after all this time."
"She can be a bit of a handful sometimes," Jin responded, remembering all the times that she had slobbered his face, nearly poisoned him with her cooking and got him into trouble for trying to help out too much. "But I think that's just part of her charm, and the reason why I love her" his voice lowered down to barely a whisper at the end.
Akihiro smiled and patted his son on the back. "One of the things I wanted to tell you was that in real life, you don't really choose the person that you fall in love with and that they may not even fall in love with you. But when you do find the right one and they feel the same way, make sure to never let them go, no matter what kind of hurdles life throws at you."
He pointed to the door as Ranka walked through. "She made you into a better man Jin, make sure to never let her go." He then looked at Ranka and gave her a thumbs-up of approval with Fumiko also giving one.
There are a few moments in his life that Jin will never forget. One of them was the day where he tried to defend Ranka when they were children, seeding his hatred of animals and yet, still leaving a mark in his heart for her. There also was the day where Ranka kissed her, making him the alpha male of her pack that she had recently started upon arrival at the academy.
Then there was the look of absolute bliss that he saw on Ranka's face. Any worries that she had about Jin's parents approving her evaporated and were replaced by feelings of happiness. And when a wolf likes a person, you know what they love to do to express that love.......
"Now hold on! They don't know what that means!" Jin yelled as he grabbed Ranka by the waist in midair as she had lunged at his parents. Her tongue was out inches away from his parent's faces.
"I assume that it means she likes us?" Fumiko asked.
Jin nodded as Ranka stopped struggling and he lowered her back on the ground. "You could just hug them, that would send the same message."
"Aww. Okay." Ranka walked over and gave both of Jin's parents a warm hug, looking calm on the outside but her tail waved around enough to blow wind into Jin's face. "Welcome to the family Ranka," Fumiko said as she received her massive hug. "I'm so happy that you and Jin found each other."