Surprise! A bunch of you were unsatisfied with the ending, and so was I—there was one part of the story that hadn't been wrapped up yet. (Kudos for whoever guesses it.) Therefore, you're all invited to view one final scene between Biki and Tate, who, despite their life-shattering revelations, are still as quirky and idiosyncratic as ever. Hope this satisfies any loose ends or malcontent feelings!Epilogue
Nabiki gathered up her books, thanked the sensei, and headed out the door. She'd told Tate to wait for her in the hallway—she would kill him if he'd wandered away.
"You're still here," Nabiki said cheerfully as she closed the classroom door. "Good boy."
"Gone and back," Kuno replied. He answered her inquisitive look by whisking out large two ice-cream cones with dramatic flourish. "Butter pecan or mint chocolate chip?"
Nabiki plucked the mint chocolate chip out of his hand. Then on second thought, also took the butter pecan. "Thanks Tate. You're a dear." She laughed at the peeved look on his face. "Don't be so grumpy looking…" She reached up and pecked him on the cheek. "There. All better."
Kuno tried to suppress a smile, and failed. "You're going to have to do better than that to pay for that second cone."
"Nice try," she snorted, and began to walk down the hall, eating ice cream.
"Hey…" He caught up to her. "Are you truly going to eat my ice cream?"
"Sure, why not?" She smirked into her cone. "Two's better than one."
"In that case…" Kuno grinned evilly, and pulled out a triple scoop, chocolate-dipped waffle cone with sprinkles. "I guess three's better than two."
"Heyyyyy!" She looked at him, astonished, then narrowed her eyes into a glare. "No fair."
Kuno chuckled. "After two weeks of having my after school snack being stolen, I've finally learned."
"Humph." Then… "Tate, d'you want to trade?"
He sighed. "I would only do this for you, Nabiki Tendo." He handed her the triple scoop cone in exchange for the butter pecan.
"Thanks. Four's better than one!" Her laughter was cut short by Kuno drawing an arm around her waist, the amusement in his eyes replaced by intense affection. She knew that look. He had it whenever he was about to kiss her.
"Control yourself, mister. How many times have I told you—not in public spaces, and especially not at school!" She indicated some silent wide-eyed girls down the hall, and extricated herself from his embrace. Most people still had not yet labeled Nabiki and Kuno as an item yet—probably because of the shock, she reflected. Most people went into convulsions when they were informed of the newest relationship on campus. Some had even joined the group of crazies downtown, carrying posters declaring the end of the world. Nabiki had put a stop to that the second she'd heard about it.
He sighed, and followed her down the stairs.
"So what did the sensei want?"
"Oh, not much… just said that we got an A on our science project."
"Not much? An A?" Kuno struck a pose and declared, tears streaming down his face, "My first A!"
"Cut it out," Nabiki said, rolling her eyes but smiled. "Yeah, an A. Told ya we make a good team."
Kuno snorted. "If I recall correctly, you were appalled by the idea that we were going to have to work together."
"Yeah, well…" she slipped her hand into his. "So were you."
"I suppose we should thank the sensei for getting us together."
"True… otherwise, right now, I'd be selling you pictures of Ranma instead of holding your hand."
Kuno grimaced. "Don't remind me."
"But that reminds me—I gotta go meet with Joji about this month's schedule."
"I had thought that we would go to the park this afternoon."
"Sorry, but business before pleasure."
"Can't today be an exception?"
She sighed. "Tate, how on earth am I supposed to pitch in at home if I don't follow the schedule? After I stopped extorting you there's been a significant deficit in my monthly profit. I won't be able to balance the budget if I don't up the profits. Kasumi says the oven needs to be fixed soon, and Akane wants a bigger T.V. 'Sides, I have to start putting into my college fund. Y'know, Tate, you pick the worst times to be endearing."
He touched her shoulder. "Nabiki… you know that I would love to help any way possible."
"And you know that I'm not going to accept charity or pity from you, so drop it."
He'd made her angry, again. He hated himself for it. He knew the signs now, the difference between her mock rage and genuine hurt. The way she wouldn't look at him, the way her half-lidded eyes didn't blink, the way her mouth (ah, those lips!) tightened slightly at the corners—it was all new, and all completely familiar. Damn it! And all he wanted to do was to help… She was so proud, so self-confidant, self-reliant, so poised. Kuno cursed his ineptitude. Damn it all.
"I apologize, Biki…"
"I… suppose… you should go to your meeting now."
"Yeah. See you later."
He stopped her for a moment. "You are angry with me."
"No I'm not."
"Yes, you are.
"No I'm not."
"Yes you are."
"Shut up, Kuno." But then, wonders of wonders, she smiled! Granted, it was a very small smile, but it calmed Kuno.
"I know you don't like charity…"
"…But I just thought that maybe…. "
She sighed. "I'm sorry I even said anything, Tate. Really—I'm fine! I can handle this. I've been handling it forever. I'm capable."
"I know you are."
"Then why are you late for your meeting?"
She smacked him on the chest, half annoyed and half amused, and began to head off across the lawn.
He watched her go, a lopsided smile on his face. Everything was still exactly the same as before.
He reread the note she had stuck to the front of his shirt.
Well. Midnight indeed.