Conclusion: Ren Oshiro
Even though he had finally agreed to accept Michi's feelings for him, the idea was still frightening. He had both fantasized about having a girlfriend, yet had always accepted that he'd never have one. Once it was clear that he finally was getting his wish, it didn't seem real. He had started to second guess himself, thinking that he only agreed to go along with it because Michi was injured, but he knew that wasn't true. This was a long time coming.
The next day, Michi's parents had arrived at Okamoto. Whatever romantic fantasies Ren had floating in his mind would have to wait. Her mother was at her bedside now, while her father was angrily taking out his fear and concern on anyone near by. She looked far worst a day after the attack than she did the night before. All the scratches and bruises spotted her pale skin so vividly, it looked like Michi was mauled by a tiger.
"Is it wrong of me to wish that her parents would leave so we could visit her?" Anna asked Ren as they sat outside in the visitor's center. They had been there the majority of the day, denied entry because of the family visit.
"Yes and no." Ren watched the tall girl's worried expression. She really took Michi's attack hard.
"I feel so-"
"Yeah." He didn't need her to explain herself again. They all had wished they had been in the bath to stop Tsukasa from ripping Michi a part.
On cue, Shino arrived holding drinks and snacks for the two of them. Wordlessly, Anna thanked her with a facial expression and drank heavily into the coffee. Ren watched Shino admire her new girlfriend, then took a bite out of the curry bread she head bought him. In a way, it was sad that Shino and Anna's moment got dashed because of Michi's attack. He had been there when Shino confessed, and saw how genuine she had been on admitting her feelings.
"So... uh... what's your plan on your first date, Ren?" Shino blurted out for a lack of anything better to say.
"You know, with Michi. You said you'd go out with her before. Well-" Shino reminded him.
"I don't think this is the moment to be thinking about that sort of thing." Anna answered for him.
"Why not?" Shino defended herself. "It won't help Michi to just sit here and worry. So why not think of happier things?"
Anna considered that, and gave in. "I supposed you're right. It's just... I can't really think of anything else."
"You're being too hard on yourself, Babe."
"You're calling me 'Babe' now?" Anna caught that. Shino had said 'Babe' in English so it was hard not to spot.
"If you don't like that I can call you 'Sugar', 'Darling', 'Honey', 'Sweetie'..."
Laughing a bit Anna shook her head. "No! That's embarrassing. Why are you calling me English nicknames?"
"I thought it might be fun."
Seeing Anna light up a bit at this banter, Ren thought he should encourage this so she didn't fall in her melancholy again. "I like 'Darling' the best. It reminds me of Lum from Urusei Yatsura."
"Oh, so you're comparing me to a bikini wearing demon from outer space?"
"I think it's fitting." Ren smirked.
Anna laughed. "You're definitely a hellion from another world."
Shino grinned. "Then 'Darling' it is."
"NO!" Anna blushed. "I didn't agree to be called by a lover's nickname."
"Too late, Darling." Shino teased her, then bent over and kissed her on the cheek.
Anna visibly went pinker from that, but didn't fight it. That's when Ren knew that the flirtations weren't just one-sided. Anna definitely was open for this kind of affection. It was just too bad Shino's timing was off. They should be spending this time alone and discovering each other.
"To get back to your question," Ren reminded them that he was still there. "with Michi being the Minister's Daughter and of recent events, I doubt I'd be taking her anywhere soon. She's got so much security, I couldn't go on a normal date with her, I would think."
"Yeah. I suppose the same is true for Rei and Sakura." Shino reasoned.
"Maybe you should ask them how they spend their dates and get some ideas." Anna suggested.
When she said that, Ren realized that this was the first time Anna really acknowledged Ren and Michi being a possible couple. Only now did it occur to him that maybe the other Misfits might be opposed to this new group dynamic. Then again, everyone was pairing off. It would only be him and Michi who hadn't.
"To be honest, I don't really know how to approach the whole thing. I never thought I'd be dating anyone."
"Yeah... me either." Anna gave Shino a look. "Dating a girl was the furthest thing from my mind too."
Shino gave Ren a knowing facial expression. Anna, Rei, and Sakura were still in the dark about Ren's secret. Still, she didn't give him away. She just breathed in and continued the conversation.
"Speaking from experience, dating is similar whether it's a boy or a girl. You just have to keep in mind that girls like to be princesses while guys generally want to feel like they're knights."
"But if both of you are girls, then how do you know if you're supposed to be the knight or the princess?" Anna asked.
"Why do there have to be roles?"
"I don't know. I just feel like I need to know where I stand." Anna admitted, then looked at Ren. "Aren't you worried about that at all?"
"I'm a tom-boy." Ren shrugged.
"Darling, just be you and I'll be me. You don't have to pretend to be a guy or anything." Shino said.
They started talking about their future, and Ren felt very much as if he was intruding into something private. So discreetly, he left them and decided to go for a walk down the hall. He wasn't leaving the Hospital Floor, but he didn't want to interfere in Shino and Anna's young relationship.
As he passed by Michi's room, he peeked in. She was awake, sitting up in her bed, looking at a tablet. Her parents were both in the room, but they were talking to a doctor on the other end. He stopped and examined her, still finding her attractive, even as bruised up as she was. It made his body feel light as a slight worry took over him. She was his girlfriend. A real girlfriend.
She must have sensed that someone was looking at her, as she peered away from her tablet and spotted him by the door. She gave him a toothy grin and waved. He waved back, feeling some of his anxiety leave him on seeing her smile. She glanced at her parents on the far end of the room, then gestured for him to come inside. He was hesitant, but she insisted. So he entered in tentatively and went to her bedside.
"Hi." She greeted him.
"I wish my folks would go already. I'm tired of sitting in here."
"You can leave?"
"I just cracked a few ribs. It'll be hell to get around, but I'm not paralyzed. I'd rather be in my room then in here."
"I see. Why are you still here?"
"Father." Michi moaned. "He's being pissy to everyone when really no one was at fault. I even had to talk him down from taking me out of school."
Ren felt his heart stop. "You might be leaving?"
"No. Thankfully me and Mom calmed him down. It would be a nightmare preparing a whole new boarding school for me to attend. Especially since Okamoto already knows all about my needs and requirements. Plus I shouldn't be moving and dealing with a new school with this injury. So logic won the day."
"I'm glad." Ren said and meant it.
"Me too." Michi's expression softened. "After I finally got you, I don't want to lose you the next day."
Ren felt his body heat up from that. It must had read on his face as Michi gave him a playful smirk. She reached over and took his hand. He had the impression that she would have much rather have leaned over and kissed his cheek, much like Shino had done to Anna, but her ribs prevented that.
"Hey, no backing out or getting cold feet. We're doing this, right?" Michi said. "I mean... I know you kind of felt forced to speed along your thoughts on the matter because I'm hurt, but-"
"It's not that, I swear it isn't." Ren informed her. "I'm just... well scared."
"Why?" Michi's eyebrows raised.
"I've never done this before. I'm not used to... you know... people actually caring about me."
Michi gave him a sad expression. "They really must have been jerks at your old school."
"You don't know the half of it."
"Well... I can't make any promises for the future, but I'm not the type of girl to break people's hearts. Maybe we're soul mates, or maybe we're not. But... but we'll never know if we don't at least try to find out. So take a chance with me, and I'll do the same with you."
This felt like the conversation they should have had the night before. He smiled at her and nodded. While it was official beforehand, it felt legit now. Both of them were on the same page and Shino wasn't there pushing them along. Like with his secret, he'd have to just trust her with his heart and she would have to do the same.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
Ren jumped slightly and turned to see Michi's mother standing by the foot of her bed. He felt awkward and loosened Michi's hand. However, Michi was having none of that and gripped him even more so that he couldn't escape. Michi's mother, just smiled at the awkward exchange in front of her.
"Mom, this is Ren Oshiro. We're very close friends." Michi introduced.
"I can see that." Her Mom's voice had a knowing tone.
"I... uh..." Ren stammered, then bowed as best he could while Michi held his hand. "Pleased to meet you."
"She's very formal, isn't she."
"Don't be mean, Mom." Michi made a face. "It's because of Ren that I've got a new set of amazing friends this year. I'm very glad she came into my life."
"Well then, I'm glad that Ren came into your life as well." Mom's left eyebrow went up at the lack of honorific. "You take care of my daughter, okay?"
Ren couldn't believe Michi's mother had caught on to the implication of them being a couple, and was fine with it. "Uh, y-yeah. I will."
"Then I have nothing to worry about." She smiled. It was eerily similar to her daughter's coy grin. "I supposed I can give you two love birds a few more minutes."
"Just remember to be gentle with her. She just injured her ribs." Michi's mother turned around and started back towards her husband.
"Mom!" Michi whined again, embarrassed. When her mother didn't acknowledge her, she turned to Ren and looked mortified. "I'm so sorry about that! She's not being mean or anything, she-"
"It's okay." Ren reassured her. While shaken, it wasn't like her mother was wrong. He just had to man-up (as Shino put it) and deal with his new status as boyfriend. Breathing in, he tried to lighten the mood with a joke. "Well, at least I got your mother's approval."
"I'm so embarrassed."
"Don't be. From now on, we'll be taking care of each other. So I'll be gentle with you and you be gentle with me."
Michi blushed, smiled, then nodded. She pulled him closer, and forced him down as best she could in her weaken state, and kissed his cheek. He could tell that she would have liked to do more, but not with her parents in the room. Even still, the kiss she gave him was more than enough. It was the start of something new.