"Given the lack of other students in the council present, you will have 5 full minutes to make your opinion known." The hedgehog Charles mentioned to Jin as he took the podium. As the student council secretary, it was his duty to make sure that all meetings that took place were conducted in an orderly fashion.
"Is there a timer that you start to track me?" Jin asked, taking a small sip of water from the bottle in front of him. Mika had opted to not go for the unopened water bottle that the secretary had brought in for her, with Jin claiming it as his own. Charles shook his head.
"We will watch the clock and give you around 5 minutes, we don't really care if you go over by a few seconds here and there."
"Understood, thank you, Charles," Jin remarked, causing the hedgehog to smile. "Finally, someone thanked me for my work here!" His mind said, bathing in the praise that he had just received.
Jin didn't notice this, as he was too busy overlooking the council. From the looks of it, around half were pleased to see him up on the podium, and the other half would not have lifted a finger to save him from a pack of ravenous wolves. At least from Jin's point of view.
They occupied only a small fraction of his focus as he stared at the one that he truly wanted to fight against, the naked mole-rat that sat straight in front of him. Her face had a stone-cold, looking at him with menacing narrow eyes. She had made her disgust with him clear, but this expression only confirmed what she truly thought.
"She doesn't believe that I can love Ranka. I doubt that anything I say can change her mind. In that case, all I can do is show how much of a lie her presentation was." Clearing his throat, Jin looked at the council and gave a forced, polite smile to the audience.
"I thank the student council for granting me an audience today. My name is Jin Mazama, a first-year student here at this university. I have recently become aware of spying that was going on that went into my own private form room, taking pictures and images of me and my girlfriend without us knowing about it. You saw those images today in the presentation from the school student president."
There was a small amount of murmuring going on among the representatives, but not as many as Jin had hoped. Some species had very little regard to privacy and even consider openness to be a virtue. It didn't matter, for that was not the main focus of Jin's frustrations.
"The president had also mentioned how I have appeared to have pursued a relationship with Ranka not because I love her, but only for lewd reasons, that I would dump her as soon as I got bored and move on to the next one, as I can see from her notes that she left on the table and on the pamphlet that she passed out to you. That this is the kind of behavior that needs to be stamped out of the school and should be banned by the school council."
Jin sighed and placed his hands together, leaning forward a bit more to get a bit closer to the microphone. "I have heard these accusations and my only wish is to speak up against them and say that these are false. Maybe the school president misunderstands some things and-"
"You dare say the president is wrong, you hairless ape?" A small clump of pink naked mole rats chattered angrily, gathering next to the podium.
"I'm certainly not saying that she is right!" Jin said menacingly at the group, causing them to cower back a bit, still hurling threats at him. Facing the council again, he recomposed himself and continued.
"I admit that, on the surface, it may seem impossible for a human like me, especially one that has hated animals for so long, would fall in love with a wolf girl and coincidently around the same time when the only other human rejected me. But the truth is stranger and more complicated than the narrative that Mika sees or has told you, let me explain."
Jin went on to explain how he first fell in love with Ranka when they were kids, how he grew to hate all animals. He recalled how they reunited at the Academy and became friends over the years, all while he wanted to be with Hitomi. He went on about how he got rejected and realized that he didn't love Hitomi because she was Hitomi, but because she was human.
"That was why the rejection didn't sting as much or as long as I thought it would," Jin explained, the council now leaning in to catch every detail of his story. "I was only thinking that I loved her because she was human. But turns out, there was another girl that I knew, one that I actually have loved, and still to this day, I did. I had just denied it until I couldn't anymore."
There was a small whine of happiness that Jin heard behind him. Turning back to the doorway, he was surprised to see standing beside Ferryl was Ranka and Kurumi. Ranka was still wearing his black coat that he had lent her before she left his dorm. Even though she was clearly too big for it, she looked very comfortable wearing it.
Her smile that she wore was only enhanced by her tail swishing from side to side, her large pink ears tuned in and hearing every last word that Jin had said. Her wide eyes glistened with joy as she heard how Jin had fallen in love with her. "Leave no doubt in their minds." Jin thought to himself as he smiled and turned back to face the council.
"Regardless of all the other things that Mika had said, there is only one thing that I need to clear up: from the moment that I saw her all those years ago, I have loved Ranka. Even when I tried to push her away from me and deny what my mind was saying, that feeling never went away." Mika made a conspicuous coughing sound as Jin said this, intensifying his determination.
"As time has gone on, I have found only more reasons to love her. She tried to understand me the best that she can, even though it goes against her nature. She is one of the most loyal friends that I have ever had and will never give anything less than her all in taking care of you, even if you don't deserve it. She actively finds ways to help even complete strangers when they are in need."
Jin once again turned back to the door and looked at Ranka, her eyes were now glistening with tears of happiness. Even during the times that they had spent together, Jin was rarely this open with what was on his mind and heart. Hearing him say all these things about her, listing why he loved her, overwhelmed her with joy.
"I may not know everything about you Ranka, but I want to know more, to find even more things to love about you." This was too much for her, as she leaped from the doorway and smashed right into him, crying out his name. Her face was a blur as she went on to cover his face with kisses, casing some of the council members to look away. Mika, of course, fainted, since she had not actually seen this affection firsthand.
"Uh, Jin, I hate to be a bother, but your time is up. Any final words for the council that you may have?" Charles asked, hesitant to interrupt the couple on the floor. Jin nodded as Ranka stopped and got off, still smiling as she looked up at his face. Cleaning it off with a small rag he kept with him, Jin stared directly at Mika. None of the council members mattered as much in his mind as her.
"Whatever you may think or believe, the only thing that I wanted to say today was that these accusations that I don't love her are wrong. What was shown as proof for this rule to pass is false. And whatever school rules you pass that says I can't be with her because we are different species are immoral and should be discarded." Jin turned and was about to walk down from the podium.
Mika was a bit intrigued after Jin finished his speech. "Could he really be in love?" She shook her head, flinging the thought out. "Of course not! He made up that story just to make it seem like he loved her and not that he is only driven by lust. Although, he did seem sincere when he was telling it to that hyena."
Frustrated, she stood up and marched over to the podium, causing Jin to halt his descent. Ranka glared at her but used all her strength to stay back. "That was a very interesting story that you have spun Jin." Mika began, carefully thinking about the question she was about to pose. She wanted to make sure that what she was asking would show the council for sure that despite what Jin said, he didn't love Ranka. "If he did, he would stay with her even when this would happen."
"If the council allows this rule to be voted in, this will mean that as long as you continue your relationship you will not be allowed to continue studying at this university after your first year. You can, however, still be a student here and complete your education. The only thing to do would be to end your relationship with Ranka."