I don't own these characters or profit from them.


The perfect gift
By, Clayton Overstreet


Tenchi lay in bed absently twirling the small bell attached to the red
string. Ryoko had given it to him just before her little game at the school.
That had been almost a year ago. In fact the day after tomorrow would make
it a year exactly since he had released her from the cave. And despite
everything, the crazy adventures, the wild houseguests, and everything else,
he had held onto this one tiny gift from Ryoko. He had never told her how he
felt about her... not really. It was partly because he was afraid of Aeka.
She was his friend, but whenever Ryoko even joked about being together with
him she went mad. She attacked Ryoko even when she had to go through Tenchi
to do it. Another reason was that he didn't want to hurt anyone.
But none of that seemed to matter anymore. He knew that Aeka would be mad,
but he had to do this. He was hurting them more by not telling them. The
other night he had seen Ryoko on the roof with tears in her eyes. It had
been too much.
The bell in his hand jingled and snapped him out of it. He looked at it
and smiled. Tomorrow he would find her the perfect gift. Smiling he put the
bell back around his wrist, then leaned over to turn off the light. Closing
his eyes he thought of Ryoko and drifted off to sleep.

The next day Tenchi took a bus into town. He had told the others that he
had something he had to check on and they hadn't asked anything else. Ryoko
had tried to hug him and Aeka had pulled her off starting another fight that
Sasami and Mihoshi was trying to break up. He could still hear a few blasts
as he stepped onto the bus.
As he rode along Tenchi had some time to think. He knew he was extremely
lucky to have found so many people who cared about him. It was odd to think
that he was related to the king of the universe. Aeka always thought that
one day he'd marry her and rule the universe. It was a tempting idea and one
he'd actually considered at one point. But it wasn't going to happen. Aeka
was just too... scary. He liked her, but he couldn't see himself ruling the
universe at her side. And he loved Ryoko. He didn't know when he realized
it. Maybe when he had gone to save her from Kagato. Maybe sooner or later,
he wasn't sure.
He pulled the signal and the bus slowed to a stop. Getting off Tenchi
looked around him at the stores and people around him. There was a flower
shop on the corner. He thought about going there, but shook his head. He
looked around trying to figure out just what to get her. Tenchi looked
around and saw a small store off to the corner. A sign outside said, "Design
your own gift." He smiled and walked inside.

Ryoko lay back on the roof looking out at the lake. It had started out as
such a nice day. She had only tried to hug Tenchi goodbye. Then that spoiled
brat had grabbed her to pull her off of him. She wasn't even trying to
seduce him. Why did Aeka always have to be so mean to her? Calling her a
demon, a harlot, and all those other horrible things. She had saved Aeka's
life, had proven that she was not responsible for what happened on Jurai.
Had even forgiven her for trying to kill her and Tenchi. Why couldn't Aeka
just let her give Tenchi a hug?
She smiled thinking of the times she had seen Tenchi playing by the cave.
She had always wanted to play with him. But then she remembered what
happened when he let her out. The sword had hurt her. He was afraid of her.
After over a year he still hadn't said how he really felt about her. The
only thing that gave her hope was that he hadn't promised himself to anyone
else either. And he didn't seem as afraid of her as he used to be. She
smiled, lying back to enjoy the sun.
"Ryoko! Stop being so lazy and get down here to do your chores you
freeloader."
Ryoko growled and kept her eyes closed hoping she'd go away, but Aeka just
kept yelling at her. "Aeka will you just shut up for once? I finished my
chores already."
Aeka snorted, "Yeah right! That's a likely story. Wait until lord Tenchi
sees you lying about. Then he'll see just how lazy you are and kick you
out." Ryoko sneered at her and teleported. She appeared over the lake and
lay back down in the air. At least out here the princess couldn't bother
her.
She wished Tenchi would have listened when she tried to tell him what Aeka
was like. Then again if he had he wouldn't be the sweet guy Ryoko loved. She
smiled down at the water below her, twirling her finger in it. She
remembered when Ryo-oki had crashed in this exact spot after Yosho had hit
her. She hadn't been in control of herself, but she could still see
everything. Still remember everything she'd been forced to do. Sasami had
forgiven her for what happened on Jurai. Tsunami had always known who was
responsible.
Suddenly the water below her glowed brightly and Ryoko flew back.
Tsunami's form rose up and smiled at her. "You called?"
Ryoko smiled back, still a little jealous of the goddess's beauty. "Not
really. Just thinking."
Tsunami smiled and winked. "Well why don't you tell me what you were
thinking about?"
Ryoko sighed and lay back staring up at the clouds. "Same thing I've been
thinking about for eighteen years."
Tsunami smiled and nodded, "Tenchi."
Ryoko smirked and looked at her. "Gee, how did you guess?"
The goddess smiled and ignored the sarcasm. "It can't be all that bad?
After all you live here with him, you have friends like Mihoshi, Washu,
Sasami, Ryo-oki, Noboyuki, Yosho, and me."
Ryoko smiled and looked at her. "I notice you didn't mention Aeka."
Tsunami sighed sadly and looked at her. "No, I didn't. Unfortunately Aeka
and her father have one thing in common."
Ryoko nodded. "Yeah, they are both insane." Tsunami didn't comment. Ryoko
sighed and looked at her. "Well you know so much, how do you think Tenchi
feels about me? Does he hate and fear me as much as I think he does?"
Tsunami smiled and shook her head. "Ryoko, he has never hated you. He is
no longer afraid of you. And you have nothing to worry about."
Ryoko looked up, "And why is that?"
Tsunami smiled and shook her head. "It is not my place to say. But things
may be clearer tomorrow." With that she began sinking back into the lake.
"Wait a minute! What's that supposed to mean?" Tsunami just giggled and
disappeared. Ryoko growled and flew up into the air. Tsunami was way too
much like Washu. They always expected people to work things out for
themselves.

Tenchi looked through the store for a while, trying to figure out just
what to get Ryoko. He thought of having a plaque made, but that didn't seem
right. He saw the plush animals and grinned. Ryo-oki was already cuter than
all of them. He was beginning to wonder if he would ever find anything
worthy of her. Something that could make up for all the pain and torment she
had been through in her life. Tenchi felt his heart clench at the thoughts
of Ryoko's past. He wished so much that he could erase the memories for her,
but he couldn't. All he could do was help her make new ones.
Suddenly from behind him he heard something. He turned and his face broke
out into a big smile. That was it! It was so perfect. He walked up to the
cashier and told the man exactly what he wanted it too look like.

Aeka frowned as she swept up the patio. So Ryoko's chores had already been
done. It was probably just that monsters way of trying to make Tenchi think
she wasn't really as lazy as she was. Why couldn't she understand that
Tenchi was hers? He was meant for her by blood. Nothing else mattered. So
Ryoko loved him, so Ryoko was just a bit prettier than she was. It didn't
matter because she had the blood bond.
Ryo-oki came over and began hopping around her legs meowing. Aeka frowned
and batted her with the broom. "Shoo you little fuzz ball."
Ryo-oki hissed and ran off. Sasami came up behind her. "That wasn't very
nice Aeka."
Aeka turned and looked at Sasami. "I'm sorry Sasami but I'm not in a very
nice mood right now. That rotten Ryoko is up to some nasty trick and I don't
know what it is."
Sasami frowned. "I don't know why you don't like her Aeka. Ryoko is a nice
person."
Aeka looked at her shocked. "How can you say that Sasami? She's a nasty,
conniving, monster. And she never shows me one ounce of the respect due to
me as a princess."
Sasami shook her head. "Aeka she's always nice to me and everyone else.
She's even been calling Washu mom. Maybe if you showed her a little respect
she'd give you some."
Aeka laughed, "Hahahahaha! That's funny. Like Ryoko deserves any respect."
Sasami looked up at her sister and shook her head. "She's never done
anything wrong. If you would just give her a chance she might even be your
friend."
Aeka shook her head. "No. All she wants to do is steal Tenchi away from
me. And you and the others don't even seem to care."
Sasami shrugged. "That's because we know no matter what we'll always be
part of the family. It doesn't matter who he picks." She turned to walk
away.
Aeka watched her go. "You act like he might actually pick Ryoko." Sasami
stopped and looked at her. For a brief second Aeka almost saw Tsunami's face
over her sisters.
"If there is no chance why fight so hard? And what would you do if he
did?" Sasami turned and ran inside the house.
Tenchi picking Ryoko? Ha! Like that would ever happen.

Washu sat in her lab watching the world around her though monitors. She
read the data on a supernova three galaxies over. She had been trying to
figure out if destroying a nova would allow you to reset time or if it would
trap someone in a quantum loop.
Something glowed at the corner of her eye. She turned around and saw
Tsunami standing behind her. "Hello sister."
Tsunami nodded. "So you remember after all."
Washu smirked. "Yes, I know all about who I was."
Tsunami nodded again, "I see you also miss it."
Washu raised her eyebrow. "What makes you say that?"
Tsunami motioned towards the machines. Each one monitoring a different
part of the universe. "You must. You have done your best to recreate your
ability to see the whole universe at once. You must have accomplished what
you were after when you became mortal if you want to go back already."
Washu chuckled. "'Already'? It's been twenty thousand years Tsunami. And
anyway what makes you think I want to go back?"
Tsunami reached forward and turned off Washu's computer. "Because you've
stopped doing what you came back to do." Washu shook her head. "No I
haven't. Why did you turn off the lab? How do I find out about life if I
can't study it?"
Tsunami smiled pleasantly. "You used to know the answer to that. Washu...
when you were a goddess you knew everything. Why would you need to become
human just for that?"
Washu shook her head. "I don't remember. Too many painful memories have
replaced it."
Tsunami nodded. "I know Washu. But you can't get rid of pain like that by
avoiding it. You've hidden away for too long sister. Why don't you make some
new memories?"
Washu looked up at her and shook her head. "But what if I get hurt again?
What if this family is taken away from me? I can't protect them as much out
there."
Tsunami nodded one last time. "I know, but that doesn't matter. You know
that."
Washu nodded back and smiled. "Thank you sister." Tsunami faded back into
the darkness of the lab.
Standing up Washu looked around her at the machines and monitors around
her. He form wavered and blurred slightly around the edges. The tiny doll
she had used as her body for so long fell to the ground at her feet. Slowly
Washu turned around to leave. "I've been here too long." She walked out the
door and into the living room. Inside the lab was dark and silent.

Tenchi smiled and paid the man for his work. Picking up the gift-wrapped
box in his hand Tenchi smiled and walked out to the street. The guy in the
store had gotten it just right. It had taken all day and Tenchi had had to
draw him some pictures, but it was finally done. He held the box close to
his chest, making sure that it didn't get damaged. The wrapping around it
was white with gold lines. A red rose on each side and a blue bow, the color
of Ryoko's hair, wrapped around it.

Mihoshi yawned and stretched out on the couch. She had been laying in a
nice warm sunbeam and had fallen asleep. She says up and looked around. "Hi
Washu, what are you doing out here?"
Washu smiled at her. "Well I finished what I was working on in my lab. Is
it alright if I talk with you?"
Mihoshi shrugged and smiled. "Sure. What do you want to talk about?"
Washu smiled and asked, "Well for one thing I would like to know how you
keep so calm all the time. It's like once something's done you don't care
anymore."
Mihoshi leaned back on the couch and looked up at the ceiling for a
minute. "I don't know. I used to worry about all the stuff I did and might
do. It kind of burned me out. That's why I was assigned to such a remote
area. But once I came here... it just didn't seem to matter anymore. No
matter what happens it's always unpredictable and whenever something bad
does happen we always beat it and things get right back to normal."
Washu nodded. She knew that what Mihoshi said was right. Washu lay back on
the couch as well. "So what do you do?" Mihoshi shrugged. "I don't know.
Want to take a bath?"
Washu looked up at her. Then shrugged. "Sure, why not?" They got up and
walked out the door towards the floating baths.
Sasami smiled and watched them go. "Looks like everything is getting
better."
In the mirror next to her the image of Tsunami nodded (She does that a
lot.). "Yes... I'm sorry I could not help your sister Sasami. What is to
come will be very difficult for her."
Sasami bit her lip and nodded. "I know Tsunami."
Ryo-oki tugged on her dress and Sasami leaned down to pick her up. She was
in her toddler for wearing a pink dress. "Meow?"
Sasami smiled and hugged her. "It's alright Ryo-oki. Some things are just
changing, that's all." Ryo-oki hugged her back and smiled.
In the baths Washu sat talking with Mihoshi. "So you really don't want
Tenchi anymore?" Washu asked.
Mihoshi sighed and leaned back. "It's not that. I just know he isn't meant
to be my husband. I will never leave his side, but that isn't the same
thing."
Washu sighed and splashed some water. "I know what you mean. You and I...
we aren't really meant for him are we? We are part of his family, nothing
more. Sometimes I think Sasami knows more than all of us." Mihoshi nodded
and blew bubbles in the water.

Ryoko woke up from her spot in the tree. She had flown for hours over the
forest to find the perfect spot. She had found a clearing near one of the
tiny streams that fed into the lake. She had found a nice spot on the limb
of a cherry tree and fallen asleep listening to the sounds of the stream and
forest around her.
She stretched and brushed some cherry blossoms off of her clothes. Sighing
she sat up in the tree and looked around. There wasn't much to see. Just
trees, trees, and more trees. A lot like Jurai that way, only these trees
couldn't become space ships. She floated down to the ground and scooped up a
sip of water from the stream. "Ooo, that's cold." She stopped and looked
around. Over the millennia she had been Kagato's slave she had never had
time to admire how beautiful a planet could be. The wind picked up a bit and
blew some leaves past her. She shivered slightly. "Time to go back." She
turned and teleported back to the house. She looked down from the air above
the house. Ryoko saw Washu and Mihoshi in the baths. Sasami was playing with
Ryo-oki by the lake. And Aeka was sitting in the living room. "Damn, can't
even watch television." Ryoko looked around for someplace to go. She thought
about the shrine but ever since the time Yosho had tried to use Mihoshi to
make her mad.
Finally Ryoko thought of someplace she could go. She landed on the roof
and phased down through it into Tenchi's room. She smiled and lay down on
his bed, closing her eyes.
You have nothing to worry about. Things may be clearer tomorrow. Tsunami's
words ran through her head over and over. What could she have meant? Did it
have anything to do with Tenchi? Ryoko shook her head, unsure what to do.
Slowly she slipped back into sleep.

Tenchi arrived home at about sunset. He quickly ran upstairs before anyone
asked him where he'd been or saw what he was carrying. He ducked into his
room and went to his closet. On his bed Ryoko gasped and saw she wasn't
alone. Tenchi started to turn towards the sound but she had phased through
the bed. "Hmm, I must be getting paranoid." He smiled to himself and
chuckled slightly. "She'll be so surprised. Tomorrow is going to be a great
day." With that he turned and left the room. Ryoko lay there for a while
puzzling over what he had said. He had mentioned the same thing Tsunami had.
What was the big deal about tomorrow? Ryoko phased down through the floor
and floated down onto the couch just before Tenchi made it down the last
stair.
Aeka saw Ryoko land. "So there you are you filthy thing. And where were
you all day? Probably doing something unsavory." Ryoko ignored her and
leaned back on the couch. Tenchi smiled and walked over sitting on the couch
between them. "Oh lord Tenchi, when did you get home?"
Tenchi smiled and looked at her. "Oh, a few minutes ago. I just wanted to
put something away in my room first." Ryoko bit her lip. She was uneasy
because there was something happening that she didn't understand and
couldn't figure out. Tenchi looked at her. "Are you alright Ryoko?"
Ryoko looked up suddenly. "I'm... I'm fine Tenchi. Just thinking."
Aeka sneered. "Of course she's fine. Now lord Tenchi I think it's time you
and I discussed our relationship and eventual wedding."
Tenchi looked at her like she was insane. "Now wait a minute Aeka..."
Sasami poked her head out of the kitchen and called them all to dinner.
Tenchi quickly jumped up leaving Aeka and Ryoko on the couch glaring at each
other.
Washu and Mihoshi walked in the door finally dry from their lone trip to
the baths. Aeka noticed them come in and was so shocked by Washu's adult
body that she looked away from Ryoko. Ryoko meanwhile clenched her teeth and
looked at Sasami and Tenchi. "I'm not hungry right now." She disappeared
before anyone could ask why, but not before Tenchi saw a tear trickle out of
her eye.
Noboyuki and Yosho arrived shortly afterwards. All through dinner everyone
was talking with everyone else. Washu was talking with Mihoshi about some of
the fun things to do on Earth. Sasami was talking to Ryo-oki and Noboyuki
was telling Yosho about his day at work. Meanwhile Aeka was discussing
Juraian marriage customs in a none too subtle hint to Tenchi. Tenchi
meanwhile was sitting quietly picking at his food and worrying about Ryoko
too much to notice much of anything.
That night Tenchi went to sleep still thinking about her.

The next day Tenchi was very excited. He had eaten breakfast and
immediately gone to finish his chores at the shrine. Then he had gone back
to his room to get Ryoko's gift. Unfortunately he hadn't seen her since she
disappeared the other night and wasn't sure where to look. He searched the
entire house, but could find no trace of her. Finally he had decided to just
wait until she turned up. Walking along the path he found himself at the
cave without really thinking. He wasn't sure why. He sat down by the
entrance to the cave holding the present in his hands.
After a while he thought he heard something from inside the cave. Almost
like faint crying. Quietly he walked into the cave, looking all around him
for the sound. When he reached the small house the sword used to be in he
stopped. The crying was coming from the wall. He looked around and saw the
stone he had tied together to keep the door closed. He snapped the dry vine
between his fingers and the wall slowly opened revealing a slanted hallway
with water dripping down it. Tenchi could hear the sound coming from inside.
"Tenchi..." Without thinking he sat down and slid into the cave. When he
arrived at the bottom he saw Ryoko floating in the air over the small pool
that had once been her prison.
She hadn't even noticed him yet. Tenchi sat there looking at her for a
long time. "Please... don't cry Ryoko. I can't stand to see you cry."
Ryoko gasped and looked up at him. Then she frowned and shook her head.
"Why not? What have I got left, now that you and Aeka are together?"
Tenchi looked up at her shocked. "What gave you that idea?"
Ryoko snorted and looked away. "Don't give me that. I heard her last night
talking all about wedding plans."
Tenchi shook his head. "Ryoko I have no intention of ever marrying Aeka. I
never did."
Ryoko turned back to him. "But I heard her..."
Tenchi shook his head. "Despite what Aeka says I am not destined to marry
her. I have other plans." Ryoko bit her lip.
Tenchi got up and walked over to her, looking directly into her eyes.
Ryoko backed up and started to disappear. "Please don't leave Ryoko." Ryoko
stopped then returned to her solid form. Tenchi looked at her. "Ryoko, do
you know what today is?" Ryoko nodded. "It's the day you freed me from
here. You hurt me and..." Ryoko's breath caught in her throat as a sob
worked it's way out again.
Tenchi sighed and looked at the floor. He saw something lying there. He
reached down to pick it up. It was the mask Ryoko had warn that day. There
was a huge slash down the middle of it. "I'm sorry Ryoko... I was scared. My
grandfather had told me so many stories about the demon of the cave."
Ryoko nodded. "I know, I was there when he stopped you from going into the
cave."
Tenchi looked up from the mask in his hands. "I can never take back what I
did, but I wanted to give you something else instead."
For the first time Ryoko saw the box in his hands. She immediately cheered
up and flew over to him. "Really? A gift for me?" Tenchi smiled and
nodded, handing her his gift. Ryoko let out an excited squeal as she looked
at it, then turned to him. "What is it?"
Tenchi smiled and said, "You have to open it to find out."
Ryoko pouted, but her eyes turned back to the bright package in her hands.
"How do I open it without tearing the paper?" Tenchi laughed. "You're
supposed to rip it. Just be careful not to get what's inside."
Ryoko grinned and ran her nail under the paper ripping it off. Then she
opened the small box inside. "Oh Tenchi... it's beautiful."
Reaching in she held up a crystal model of Ryo-oki in her spaceship form.
It was exact, right down to the red dome. Tenchi smiled. "That's not all
either."
Reaching over he touched the dome and pulled it back reveling that it was
hollow. Inside were crystal figurines of Tenchi and Ryoko in each other's
arms. Once the dome was all the way down the floor under the figurines began
to turn and music began to play. Ryoko looked at it in awe. Then she saw
tiny writing along the edge of the spinning floor. She read it out loud to
herself in a hushed voice. "For now and forever, I will love you always and
never leave your side."
Fresh tears fell to Ryoko's cheeks, despite the smile on her face. She
turned to look at Tenchi who smiled back into her eyes. "I love you Ryoko."
Ryoko set the box down and put her arms around Tenchi hugging him to her.
"I love you too Tenchi." Tenchi held her close and felt her warm breath on
his shoulder. The song from the music box continued to play. Ryoko finally
looked up at him. "Tenchi... will you dance with me? I know it's silly
but..." Tenchi smiled and nodded. He took her hand in his and put his other
hand around her waist. Ryoko slipped her own free hand behind his neck and
they began to dance.

(I feel I need to warn you. If you want a nice romantic story stop reading
now! From this point on it is all down hill. Unlike most of my previous
stories this is not going to end well as far as Aeka goes.)

Sasami smiled seeing Tenchi and Ryoko together in her mind's eye. Next to
her on the couch Washu and Ryo-oki were in a similar state, but could see it
through Ryoko's perspective and feel what she was feeling. Mihoshi meanwhile
was looking at them curiously. "What's going on?" Washu and Sasami checked
to make sure Aeka was still in the bath, then told her. "Wow, that is so
great! I'll bet they look great together."
Washu and Sasami nodded. "They really do. I'm so happy for them." Sasami
said.
Ryo-oki began humming the tune and that got Sasami and Washu doing it too.
Mihoshi grinned and said, "Hey, why don't we have some fun?"
Washu and the others grinned and they all stood up. Washu and Mihoshi,
then Ryo-oki and Sasami started dancing to the tune in the same way Ryoko
and Tenchi were. Suddenly from behind them they heard Aeka's voice say,
"Sasami, what are you doing? This is very undignified for a princess."
They all stopped and looked guilty for a second. Then Sasami looked up at
her, "What's so undignified? I thought princesses were supposed to know how
to dance."
Aeka nodded, "True enough, but not with other girls and certainly not with
animals and commoners."
Washu and Mihoshi were about to yell at her but Sasami beat them too it,
"Now Aeka that is enough. Ryo-oki is a person just like you or me, Washu and
Mihoshi are anything but common, and you have no right to insult them either
way! Now you have been mean to Ryoko and most of the others for far too
long. Now apologize or they will think Juraians don't have any manners at
all."
Aeka stuck her nose up and let out an indignant sound. "I most certainly
will not. I don't apologize to anyone but Royalty. Why should I apologize to
them?"
Sasami frowned. "Aeka you are totally impossible. I hate to say it because
I love you, but you are being a royal pain!"
Aeka looked down at her and frowned. "Now why do you say that? I'm acting
in accordance with the rules of Royalty. You are the one who's been acting
wrong. Cooking and cleaning for people. Making friends with commoners."
Sasami shook her head. "If that's how a princess is supposed to act them
I'd rather be normal." With that she turned around and walked out the door
with Ryo-oki running after her.
Aeka stared after her for a minute and huffed. "What's her problem?" She
looked at Mihoshi and Washu but they had completely turned their backs on
her. "Fine, be that way! I'll just go find lord Tenchi. Where is he?" Washu
and Mihoshi sat there in silence. Aeka clenched her teeth. "Fine... now
let's see here. Where is that rotten space pirate? She probably knows where
he is. Ryoko, where are you?" She walked outside calling out to find Ryoko
or Tenchi.
Washu and Mihoshi looked at each other worriedly. "Think we should stop
her?" Mihoshi asked.
Washu shook her head, "Nah, she'll never find them in the cave. Besides
she was going to have to find out sooner or later." Mihoshi sighed and
nodded. "I just wish she weren't so mean and..."
Washu smirked. "Insane?" Mihoshi smiled back and nodded.

The music box stopped playing and Tenchi stood there holding Ryoko. The
light from the pool reflected in each of their eyes. "Tenchi, this was the
best thing that ever happened to me. I've never been this happy. Thank you."
Tenchi held her close and nodded. "Me too Ryoko. I'm sorry I took so
long."
Ryoko smiled at him. "Why did you wait?"
Tenchi rubbed the back of his neck. "I was afraid that Aeka would torture
then kill us."
Ryoko frowned. "I did warn you about her. She's ok for a princess, but she
has a mean streak."
Tenchi nodded. "The worst part is that she's my friend and I really didn't
want to hurt her."
Ryoko put her arm around his back. "Tenchi no matter what happens... I
will stand by your side."
Tenchi smiled and hugged her back. "I know Ryoko. That's why I couldn't
wait anymore." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the sword. Ryoko's
eyes widened as Tenchi closed his eyes and the gems in the hilt appeared on
her wrist and neck. Ryoko let out a squeal and hugged him tightly while a
slipped the sword back into his pocket.
Ryoko let him go and reached down to the music box and slowly slid the top
shut. "I am going to put this someplace safe when we get back to the house."
Tenchi smiled and took her free hand. She smiled and teleported them outside
the cave. He was a bit surprised that she hadn't put them by the house, but
thought that a walk in the woods would be nice. Ryoko obviously agreed with
him and started walking. Then she noticed that he still had her mask.
"What are you hanging onto that for?"
Tenchi looked down at it and smiled. "Pleasant memories. Kind of like
this." He pulled back the sleeve of his shirt showing her the bell.
Ryoko looked at it and smiled in obvious surprise. "I can't believe you
still have that!"
Tenchi smiled and they walked through the trees. Ryoko looked around
trying to think of something more to say to him. But in the end just decided
to enjoy his company. "Ryoko, where are you? I need to know where Tenchi
is!" Aeka yelled from down the path. Tenchi and Ryoko both stopped in their
tracks.
Ryoko looked at Tenchi. "I can stop her from hurting us without much
effort, but if I do it will seriously hurt her pride to know I've just been
playing with her for so long."
Tenchi thought about it. Aeka's call came closer. "Ok, but don't hurt her
alright?" Ryoko nodded.
Aeka came around the corner and saw them. "Oh there you two are. Now lord
Tenchi I wanted to speak to you about the wedding ceremony and..." She
stopped when she saw that Tenchi and Ryoko were holding hands. "Miss Ryoko,
get your hands off of him this instant!"
Ryoko automatically tried to take her hand back, but Tenchi held on. "Aeka
Ryoko isn't holding my hand. I'm holding hers." Aeka looked at him angrily
for a second, and then started laughing. "Oh Tenchi you are so funny. As if
you would ever do a thing like that. Now come along so we can discuss our
wedding."
Tenchi sighed and shook his head. "Aeka I am not going to marry you."
Aeka stopped laughing and looked at him darkly. "Well why not? I want one
good reason why you would pick her over me." She yelled.
Tenchi was sick of this. He decided then and there to give her exactly
what she asked for. "First off she isn't my aunt, secondly she didn't fall
in love with me just because my grandfather is old, and thirdly because I
love her and have for a very long time." Aeka stood there aghast for
several seconds. Then she turned on Ryoko. "You! You hypnotized him or
something!" She looked at the music box in Ryoko's hands. "Is that how you
did it? Give it to me this instant." Before Ryoko could move Aeka grabbed a
hold of the music box and threw it to the ground. One of the spikes broke
off from the side.
"No!" Ryoko yelled. She fell to her knees and picked up the music box.
Tenchi turned on Aeka and yelled. "What are you thinking? I gave her that
as a gift! Aeka that was wrong! Apologize to her this instant!" He leaned
down and put his arm around Ryoko's shoulder. She was crying. "It's alright
Ryoko... I can get it fixed. Look, I'm sure it still works." He reached over
and opened the cracked dome. Inside the two crystal figurines danced
undisturbed by the fall.
Aeka fumed, "I will not apologize! She's done something to trick you into
liking her more than me and I will not stand for it! You will marry me if I
have to kill her and blow up this entire planet!"
Tenchi looked up at her shocked. "Aeka what are you saying?"
Aeka sneered down at them. "I think it's pretty clear. If you don't marry
me I'll have the planet blown up. You have until tomorrow to decide." She
turned and ran into the woods crying.
Tenchi and Ryoko watched her run in shock. "Uh oh..."

Sasami looked at Aeka in horror, "You did what?"
Aeka looked up. "I swore that if he didn't marry me I'd destroy the planet
and everyone on it!"
Sasami shook her head. "You can't do that Aeka. There are billions of
living creatures on this world... including me!"
Aeka looked at her. "I don't care. If I don't get him I'll do it. You act
like you want him to marry Ryoko."
Sasami ran out the door of their room and downstairs to find Mihoshi and
Washu. Tenchi and Ryoko were already there. Sasami sat down and stared
straight ahead. "I can't believe she did that..."
Tenchi bit his lip and looked at her. "Can't you talk her out of it
Sasami? I mean she can't mean it."
Sasami looked up at him and shook her head. "No, I can't. She can't take
it back. After a member of the royal family swears an oath they have to
fulfill it. It doesn't matter if she is sorry."
They all looked at Washu. "Is there anything you can do Washu?" Mihoshi
asked.
Washu sat back and nodded. "Yes, it's already done. I heard everything
Aeka said and immediately blocked off all communications to Jurai."
They all smiled. "You are brilliant Washu." Tenchi said.
Washu nodded but still didn't smile. "Unfortunately this is a temporary
solution. At some point Aeka will make contact with the planet or they will
contact her. She is the crown princess." The good mood suddenly drained out
of the room.
Washu looked at the music box still in Ryoko's hands. "I can fix that
however and I will work on the problem. There may be something in Juraian
law that will help us out. Our main problem is Aeka. None of us actually
wants to hurt her, but she will try to keep her oath if she has to do it
herself."
Tenchi frowned and looked at the stairs. "I can stop her. The master key
can override hers." Tenchi said in a quiet voice. "I didn't want it to come
to this. She was my friend."
Washu put her hand on Tenchi's shoulder. "We know Tenchi." He smiled at
them and they sat there talking.

Aeka sat in her room. She was even more upset at her inability to contact
her parents or the Juraian fleet. "That Washu. She's as bad as Ryoko.
They've been plotting against me this whole time. Even that traitor Sasami.
They all got together and did something to make Tenchi say those horrible
things. I know he wants to marry me. And as soon as they are all dead he'll
be able to say it." She had been repeating this to herself for a full day
and hadn't even left her room to eat for the entire time. Sasami had slept
on the couch with Mihoshi and Ryo-oki. Tenchi and Ryoko had shared his room,
but neither of them was able to sleep or do anything but worry. They had
only gotten to sleep when Ryoko played the music box Washu had fixed for
them, and even then only for a few hours.
At breakfast Washu had come up with a solution to their problem. "It isn't
a good solution, but it is the only one. I would need everyone behind me on
it." She looked at Yosho, Sasami, Tenchi and Noboyuki. "Especially you
four."
Yosho and Sasami seemed to know what she meant, but Tenchi and Noboyuki
didn't. "What are you talking about Washu?" Washu sighed and looked at
them. "We have to have Aeka declared legally insane. It will void her oaths.
She will not be harmed and may get the help she needs. However it is a great
dishonor among Juraians..." Tenchi bit his lip and looked at Ryoko.
She looked back and squeezed his hand. "I'll go along with whatever you
decide Tenchi, you know that. But I think that they may have a point."
He turned to Mihoshi who nodded. "She isn't well Tenchi."
Noboyuki put his hand on Tenchi's shoulder. "I know you don't want to do
this Tenchi. She is a member of our family. But I agree that it's what is
best."
Sasami looked up at Yosho. "Brother, I agree with Washu."
Yosho nodded. "As do I Sasami. I take much of the responsibility for
this." When none of the others disagreed with him Yosho sat there quietly.
Tenchi looked at Washu and nodded. "But I have to tell her first. I can't
do this without her knowing."
Ryoko put her hand on his arm. "Tenchi if you want I'll be there with
you."
Tenchi squeezed her hand and shook his head. "No... This is something I
have to do alone Ryoko. Please."
She bit her lip and nodded. "Just be careful Tenchi."

There was a quiet knock on Aeka's door and it opened a crack. "Aeka?" She
looked up and saw Tenchi standing there. "Oh, have you come to propose?"
Tenchi shook his head and sat down in the chair across from her bed. "It's
not going to happen Aeka."
Aeka looked away. "Then I have nothing to say to you."
Tenchi sighed. "Aeka you have no idea how much pain this has caused myself
and the others. Do you know why I couldn't tell you or Ryoko why I was in
love with her?" Aeka made no response. "It's because first off that you are
my friend. I never wanted to hurt you. And secondly... I was afraid of you."
Aeka laughed. "And why would you be afraid of me? I'm not the one who
destroyed countless worlds." Tenchi shook his head.
"Neither is Ryoko. She was under Kagato's control and you know it. And I
was afraid of you because of the things you have done. When we first met you
tried to have me executed and when Ryoko only jokingly said we were seeing
each other you tried to kill us all. Since then you have not stopped
fighting with Ryoko and now have promised to kill all of us."
Aeka looked at him. "And how exactly do you plan to stop me from carrying
out my oath? The only way would be for you to marry me and you said you
wouldn't do that."
Tenchi looked up at her and shook his head. "I'm sorry Aeka, but there is
another way."
Aeka let out another laugh. "And how do you plan to do that? The only way
to stop a royal oath is to have that person..." Her voice trailed off as she
looked at his sad eyes. "No. Tenchi. You wouldn't!"
He nodded and looked down at the floor. "Washu is making the call as we
speak. The others are giving their testimonies and when I am done here so
will I."
Aeka shook her head. "You can't. You know I am not insane." Tenchi looked
at her and shook his head.
"Aeka I wish there were another way, but there isn't."
Aeka had tears streaming from her tears. "But there is Tenchi! Just marry
me! Tell me you love me! Then we can be happy together and rule the universe
as we were always meant to. Please... you have to."
Tenchi shook his head again. "Aeka I love Ryoko. I will marry her and
nobody else. I still care about you Aeka. If I didn't I wouldn't be doing
this. You need help."
Aeka cried and cried for several minutes. Then she asked, "Am I... am I
really insane Tenchi? Did I hurt you all so much?" Tenchi bit his lip and
nodded. Aeka took a deep breath and nodded. "Then I have no choice. I trust
you Tenchi. I will always love you, but as a princess I must know when I am
not all right. I will accept this help graciously. But... could you do one
thing for me? Would you and the others please visit me? Even Ryoko..."
Tenchi smiled and nodded. Aeka sat there quietly.
Tenchi stood up and walked over to her. "Aeka I'm sorry it came to this."
She smiled and looked up at him. "I know Tenchi. I can see my mistakes.
Don't worry I do not blame you. I didn't really want to destroy this
beautiful world."
Tenchi smiled and nodded. "When you are well again... I hope you will come
back Aeka. There will always be a place for you here."
Aeka took a deep breath. "I would like that Tenchi. Do you think I can
talk to Ryoko? I know you still have to testify against me so could you send
her in? Then the others."
Tenchi nodded and hugged her. She hugged him back and whispered, "I will
always love you Tenchi."
Tenchi looked at her, "I love you too Aeka... but only as family." She
nodded and lay back down on her bed. Tenchi got up and quietly left the
room.
He came to the bottom of the stairs and saw the others. Washu came
forward. "Tenchi your testimony is the only one left."
He nodded, but stopped and looked at Ryoko. "She wants to talk to you
first. Then everyone else one at a time."
Ryoko looked at him in disbelief. "But why me?"
Tenchi shrugged. "I don't know. If you don't want to I'll tell her and I
think she'll understand."
Ryoko shook her head. "No, I'll do it."
She turned and walked up the stairs. Tenchi turned back to Washu and she
led him to the communicator.
Aeka was sitting up when Ryoko came through the door. She looked up at the
space pirate studying her face. Somehow she couldn't seem to find the person
she hated. "Hello Ryoko." Ryoko sat down in the same chair Tenchi had. Even
that she shared that much with him cut through Aeka's heart like a knife. "I
know... I have not been well. I have done things that have disgraced both my
planet and me. But now I think it's time I take full responsibility for
that." Ryoko looked at her with pain in her eyes. "Aeka..." The princess
held up her hand.
"No Ryoko. You have nothing to say. I do. I have never apologized to
anyone outside the royal family and then I have never meant it. But now I
do. I am sorry Ryoko... for everything I have done to you and to the others.
I mean this with all my heart and I accept what you have done."
Ryoko nodded. "Aeka thank you."
Aeka nodded and sat there quietly for some time before she spoke again.
"Ryoko can you tell me one thing? Is Tenchi really as good a kisser as I
think?" Ryoko smiled at her and nodded. Aeka smiled back, "Come visit me
alright?"
Ryoko chuckled. "They couldn't keep me away Aeka." Aeka got up and hugged
Ryoko who hugged her back.
Next it was Sasami's turn. Ryo-oki came up with her cuddled in her arms.
Aeka looked at her and she suddenly felt very guilty. "Aeka, I'm sorry."
Aeka smiled at her, "No Sasami, it wasn't you fault. I did this to myself.
You tried to help and I thank you for that. You too Ryo-oki. I'm sorry about
the things I said to you."
Sasami and Ryo-oki walked over to her and hugged Aeka tightly. "You are a
great sister Aeka. I'll call and write you everyday and send you food I
swear."
Aeka smiled and hugged her back. "And I'll make you a nice potholder or
something. Just take care of everyone for me alright? Without me you'll be
the princess around here."
Sasami smiled up at her. "I'll make you proud of me Aeka."
Aeka smiled and rubbed her hair. "You already do." Sasami held her tightly
and Aeka hugged her back.
The others came up after Sasami. Aeka apologized to all of them and
thanked them for putting up with her. This went on until Yosho came. He was
the last, after even Noboyuki. Aeka looked at him and shook her head,
"Brother... you are the one person I have no apology for."
Yosho nodded. "Nor would I have accepted one Aeka. I am to blame for all
of this."
Aeka nodded. Yosho looked out into the air. "I could try to justify my
actions. Tell you I did it because I fell in love, or could not leave this
world. Or even stick with what I told you about being an outcast among our
people. But I wont. I was a coward and am willing to accept whatever
punishment you feel is necessary."
Aeka studied his face. "Yosho... I think you have done an admirable job of
punishing yourself. But there is one thing you can do." Aeka looked him in
the eye. "You can take off that disguise."
Yosho looked at her surprised. "You knew?"
Aeka snorted. "Of course I knew! I'm not an idiot." Yosho sighed and the
image of the old man was replaced with his younger self. Aeka smiled and
hugged him, surprising Yosho to no end. "Brother if it weren't for you I
never would have met Tenchi or any of my other friends. I forgive you."
Yosho hugged her back.

The next day the ship came to pick Aeka up. She bid them all a fond
farewell and took off. Less than a year later it was unanimously agreed that
she was cured and allowed to return to Earth with her family. Ryoko and
Tenchi made her the bride's maid at their wedding and she accepted happily.
Noboyuki volunteered to give Ryoko away and Yosho performed the ceremony.
When they had children Aeka was there to help them be raised, right along
with the other girls. In the end however she did get her revenge when Ryoko
was declared first princess for marrying Tenchi. Tenchi and Ryoko ruled the
Juraian Empire for exactly twenty years while their children grew up, and
then one day disappeared into space. Some people suspected they may have
gone back to Earth, but reports from that area were slim at best.

The end

Author's note
So what did you think? I know it's not the best story I've done, but
people seem to like it when Aeka goes off the deep end like that. Any
comments you have please send to
clayton_n@hotmail.com