Author's note: I know I promised to write only an epilogue to properly end the story, but I think I went a bit overboard and wrote a couple of chapters in addition to the epilogue. I had tons of fun giving my all to truly end this fanfiction in the best way possible. I hope you enjoy!
"Next up we have Miss MeiMei, graduating with a bachelor's in documentary filmmaking!" Professor Brinkman announced to the crowd of cheering students. On the stage, the panda girl gracefully walked over to the university dean, keeping in mind what her manager said to act as if the whole world was watching. "An idol like you needs to look good when everyone watched her, especially at a graduation ceremony," Fonfon had told her.
Amongst the line of students that were waiting to receive their diploma, Jin politely clapped along with them. "It's a miracle all that tutoring helped her out," he thought as he saw MeiMei receive her piece of paper. She violently shook the fin of the dean, nearly launching his out of his aquarium. MeiMei turned and waved to the rest of the school, much to the delight of everyone in the crowd.
"Up next we welcome Ranka Ookami, graduating with a bachelor's in Conservationism and a minor in Marine Biology!" The crowd became more polite in its clapping, with two obvious exceptions: her big sister Ferryl, who cheered and cried that her little sister was finally graduating.
There was also the cooking club, who all cheered and clapped wildly for her. Jin smiled widely as Ranka skipped across the podium to the professor.
Jin suddenly was struck by a terrifying thought and quickly patted his side. He felt the small box in his right pants pocket and breathed a sigh of relief. "I wouldn't know what to do if I lost it."
He had spent so much time planning for this day that he constantly double-checked certain things to make sure that it was all in place, ready for that one moment that was quickly approaching.
"Let me introduce to you Jin Mazama, who will be graduating with honors in business!" Again, there was a polite level of clapping with a few exceptions. As he walked onto the stage to accept his degree, he heard one voice rise up from the crowd. He looked out and smiled as he saw Ranka, giddily jumping and cheering for him.
"It feels great to finally finish school!" Ranka stated as the ceremony ended, the group heading towards their dorms. They were going to leave in a couple of days and wanted to make sure that they were packed up and ready to go.
"Yeah, but I'm gonna miss being with y'all, Yena stated, placing one of her arms around a blushing Hitomi. "We can still meet up and hang out though, just make sure that we stay in contact!" Hitomi said, pulling out her phone. "Here, I can make a group chat for us to stay together and plan meetups."
"Speaking of planning, Jin, would you be able to take Ranka? The rest of us have something in mind for her that we need to talk about." Yukari asked, suspiciously separating the rest of the group from Ranka and Jin. "Huh? Sure, I needed to talk to her anyway." Jin replied, pretending not to notice the thumbs up between Ranka and Yukari.
"Okay, see you later!"
MeiMei called out as she helped Yukari to drag away Hitomi, Yena, Miyubi, and Kurumi. Left alone, Jin turned to Ranka, suddenly nervous to say anything.
"Okay, just stick to the plan and get her to the park."
"Hey, uh Ranka, could we go to-"
"Jin! Can we please go to the park? I know a great place to visit and hang out for a bit while we wait for the rest of the pack." Ranka interrupted, pointing to the very same spot that Jin had planned in mind. "Oh, sure! That looks great." Jin said, still taken aback by the convenience of it.
They sat down and talked about school, thankful that it was finally over. "Now I only have to worry about work!" Jin chuckled. Ranka faintly smiled, suddenly looking a bit serious. "There is something else that I want to think about for the future." She said, reaching out to hold onto Jin's hand.
He gulped trying to find an opening for his plan. "So do I. And this is something that I have been thinking about for a while, much longer than you can imagine." Ranka blushed at his words. "Same here, I also have something to say that I have wanted to say for a very long time."
Jin reached out and gently held both of her hands, the couple's face to face merely inches apart.
For a brief moment, both minds raced, trying to put the words together that they both wanted to say. Blushing, Jin opened his mouth to finally pop the question, determined that it was now or never. The place, the moment, it was all too perfect for him not to take it.
"Ranka, will you marry me?!"
"Jin, will you marry me?!"
At the exact same time, both had reached into their pockets and whipped out their proposal rings. Jin had brought for Ranka a beautiful silver ring studded with amethyst gems. Ranka, a simple but elegant engraved gold ring that she thought would perfectly fit the man she loves. The couple paused in shock, not quite expecting this to happen to either of them.
"Why yes, of course, I will," Jin replied, finally finding his voice. "But why-"
"He said yes!" MeiMei shouted as the cooking club popped out of the bushes, throwing confetti flowers at the pair. "Told ya he won't be able to say no to that cute face of yours!" Yena exclaimed as she gave Ranka a big hug, gently squishing the wolf.
Jin sat there in silence as his mind processed what had just happened, blowing away a piece of confetti that had landed on his eyes. "I never expected that she would propose to me. But now that I think about it, that is something that she would do."
Yena finally let go of Ranka, who could finally breathe again. "Psst, this is the part where you exchange the rings," MeiMei whispered into Ranka's ears. "Oh yeah, that right!" She said, but as she was about to pull the ring out of the box, she paused for a second.
"I almost forgot to answer your proposal," Ranka said.
She then leaned in towards him, their faces almost touching. Looking into his eyes, her smile said all that Jin needed to know. "Yes, I would love to be your mate," Ranka whispered as she softly kissed him, much to the delight of the rest of the group.
As they broke their embrace, they finally took the rings out of their respective boxes. At the same time, they both placed the rings on each other's left ring finger, where it is believed that the vein leads directly into one's heart. While not exactly scientific, Jin believed it as he could have sworn that as he placed his ring onto Ranka's finger, he could faintly feel her heartbeat. Maybe it was his own heart that he felt as he looked upon the face of his fiancée.
"Either way, it feels quite nice." He thought as the couple locked lips again, sealing their promise to each other.
"Yay! Now when will you guys have the bai-?" MeiMei's face was clasped shut by Hitomi's and Yena's hands.
"Shhh," Hitomi whispered into the Panda's ear. "Let them have their moment. You can ask them later."
"Thank you, Hitomi," Was all Jin thought before his mind went back to Ranka. Embracing each other, neither wanted to let go or stop what they were doing.
For now, they focused on staying at this moment, embracing each other, and one step closer to starting their lives together. As packmates and as husband and wife.