Disclaimers: I do not own Tenchi Muyo.
Chapter Nine: Worries with a Twist
"Everything is going to be fine Ayeka. Just fine, so stop worrying," Tenchi whispered soft words of comfort as they sat through the taxi ride towards the hospital.
"How can you say that? You don't know if it's true or not!" Ayeka yelled, pulling her hand out of Tenchi's reach. "I mean, while you're here spouting out lies, Sakura could be dying, alone, on a hospital bed!"
"Sakura is not going to die," Tenchi spoke, deciding to stick with the calm, rational approach.
"You don't know that!" Ayeka sobbed, finally succumbing to her worst fears.
"Listen . . ." Tenchi placed a gentle hand upon her shoulder. "Sakura has one of the best fighting spirits I've met. If anyone can fight to live it's her," Tenchi said in a tone full of trust and belief.
"Are you sure though?" Ayeka asked, looking up. Her pink hues meeting Tenchi's light, warm honey brown ones.
"Ayeka . . . you've known Sakura longer than me . . . and if I believe, then shouldn't you?" Tenchi reasoned, not understanding why it would be so hard to convince Ayeka that Sakura was just fine.
"Exactly," Ayeka spoke in a more lucid tone, making Tenchi believe she was finally coming to her senses. "You don't know that Sakura is always talking about death!" Ayeka wailed, letting tears once again consume her.
"Wha-what?" Tenchi said the only intelligible word which came to mind.
"Exactly! See, you have no idea what goes on with Sakura! Like always, you go and isolate yourself from others! Never giving them the chance to get to know the real Tenchi!" Ayeka covered her mouth in shock as soon as the words left her mouth. Before she got a chance to apologize, the cab came to a stop in front of Tokyo General.
"That will be $15.75," the driver said through the tiny opening in the glass dividing the front half from the back. Silently, Tenchi handed the driver the needed money with a small tip before exiting the cab; not once sparing Ayeka a glance.
'Doesn't matter.' Ayeka thought sadly, before also taking her leave. 'It's already out there and nothing can change what I said.'
Once Ayeka closed the cab door and looked towards the hospital entrance, she wasn't very surprised not to find Tenchi there. She just shook her head in morose to no one in particular before making her own way in. Once inside the waiting area, Ayeka looked for any sign of Tenchi, but alas her hopes came to an end when she didn't spot any.
"Yes, I would like to know where I can find Sakura Kiwasaki." Ayeka questioned the young woman at the reception desk, deciding this would be the wisest decision to follow.
"I'm sorry, but could you repeat that?" The nurse questioned, pulling headphones off. "No wait! Yes, Miss Sakura Kiwasaki is in room 128. That's just on the right hall, straight ahead on the left . . . or was it right? . . . You know, I'm pretty sure it was le-"
"Thanks!" Ayeka cut her off before running down the aforementioned hallway. "Let's see . . . 114 . . . 116 . . . 121 . . . 123 . . . 124 . . . 126 . . . 127 . . . where's 128!" Ayeka exclaimed looking both left and right for the door labeled 128. "Dammit, Tsunami guide me," Ayeka mumbled under her breath, just ready to shout out her frustrations.
"Ayeka?" A harsh voice sounded out, flooding the inner sanctum of Ayeka's mind.
"Sakura . . .?" Ayeka whispered, her head snapping up in shock. "Sakura, is that you?"
"Ayeka . . . where are you?"
"Sakura, where are you?" Ayeka whispered, moving her head in every direction to find the source of the voice.
"Ayeka . . . I'm scared! Why didn't you help me?"
"Sakura . . . I would've . . . but you should've told me. Told me how much seeing Daisuke with someone else hurt you. You should've warned me," Ayeka began to ramble, shaking away the tears which started to flow down her cheeks.
"Well Ayeka . . . it's too late. Everything is too late."
Ayeka's head shot up with the last words to see Sakura . . . floating in the air, with wings . . . and a halo.
"No!" Ayeka screamed, shooting to an upright position. She looked around to find herself in Sakura's hospital room, all by herself except for Sakura's prone figure in a bed located next to a window.
'Sakura . . . it's all my fault. Everything is my fault. Me driving Yosho away . . . breaking my friendship with Ryoko without knowing all the facts. I should've realized she was acting different. Then doing rash things all around since I found out about their relationship. Now this . . . I knew Sakura liked Daisuke. I could see her hurting but I was too caught up in my own problems to help.'
"I'm so sorry Sakura," Ayeka whispered in a sorrowful tone. Keeping a watery steady gaze at her best friend.
". . ." Tenchi solemnly watched Ayeka sitting, looking as lost in the world as she did the day her ship crashed. He was about to say something until a harsh voice echoed throughout the room.
"Dai-daisuke . . .?" Sakura whispered, trying to open her eyes. "Why are there weights on my eye? . . . And why does my head feel like it got run over?"
"Sakura!" Ayeka cheered, running forward to her side. "Sakura, you're okay!"
"Ow Ayeka. Why do you have to be so loud?" Sakura moaned, her eyes slowly opening; only to quickly shut themat the bright glaring lights. "And where am I?"
"You mean you don't remember?" Ayeka questioned with confusion lacing directly in with her voice.
"What am I suppose to remember?" Sakura asked, opening her now adjusted eyes. "Where's Daisuke?" Sakura quickly questioned before Ayeka had a chance to reply. Sakura looked around and only saw what Ayeka could . . . Ayeka, Tenchi and herself.
"Um . . . well . . . Daisuke is . . . Daisuke is . . ." Ayeka started, completely baffled by what she should say.
"Daisuke is on his way," Tenchi spoke, coming to the rescue. Ayeka mouthed him a silent thank-you but Tenchi pointedly ignored it.
"That's nice . . . hoped he gets here soon . . . where-ever here is," Sakura mumbled before drifting off to dreamland again.
"Where is she?" Daisuke yelled, rushing towards Tenchi as soon as he arrived.
"She's resting, but I'm sure she'll be glad to see you," Tenchi answered him with a small smile; while placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"Will you take me to her?" Daisuke questioned, his eyes filling with anxiety and worry.
"Of course," Tenchi spoke like it was the simplest answer on the planet. The two started the short trudge down the hall to Room 128.
"Sakura!" Daisuke exclaimed, running into the room.
"Shh!" Ayeka scolded, giving an angry look. But the damage had already been done.
"Daisuke," Sakura whispered, turning happy eyes toward him. Daisuke gladly returned a smile before it turned into a frown by seeing her bruised face.
"What happened Sakura? All I got was a call from Tenchi, saying you were hurt."
"I don't remember what happ . . ." Sakura's voice trailed off as she stared wide-eyed at Daisuke.
"What? What is it Sakura? Have you remembered something?" Ayeka urged, towering Sakura with question after question.
"How . . . Why . . . Is that lipstick on your neck?" Sakura screeched pointing an accusing finger towards Daisuke's shocked form.
"Um . . . well . . . you see . . . um . . ." Daisuke fumbled around, looking for the right words; slapping a hand over the red, lip-shaped mark covering his neck.
"I remember now!" Sakura roared. "This is all your fault! You make me sick!"
"How the hell is it my fault?" Daisuke questioned in an incredulous tone.
Before Sakura had a chance to give him a piece of her mind a doctor came rushing in holding a furious look. She sent a glare towards Daisuke, Tenchi and Ayeka before pointing towards the door. Everyone got the silent message before slowly making their way out.
"Honestly, yelling in a hospital . . . riling up a patient . . . kids should know better . . ." the doctor continued to grumble about their behavior.
"I can't believe the nerve of that girl!" Daisuke raged, throwing his arms into the air with disbelief. "Blaming this inci-"
Daisuke's words fell short s pain began to erupt throughout his face, he looked cross-eyed down his nose to see a flush, angry looking Jurian Princess. Ayeka gave him another swift slap to the face before deciding to speak her mind.
"Listen here and listen well," Ayeka hissed in a dangerous tone, not wanting to put up with any more stupidity for the day. "This is all your fault! The only one who doesn't know this is you and only you and this is very important!"
"What is-" Daisuke started, but was cut off once again.
"Seeing how your stupid, puny mind hasn't figured out this detail yet, you wouldn't know. But just know, it is your fault!"
Before Daisuke could get a word in edge wise, Ayeka was gone. Walking away from the two men at a brisk pace. Daisuke sent Tenchi a questioning look. Only to receive a glare in return before he too took off also.
"Why is it today I'm made out to be the bad guy?" Daisuke shouted in a frustrated tone.
Tenchi crept quietly into the apartment, just returning from his late night walk. He was trying to sort through the problems of his life; which seemed to now revolve around Ayeka. It was like she planned all the hits below the belt she threw, wanting to make him hurt like she must've. So, he decided to do something against his beliefs and teachings of man.
"Ayeka," Tenchi called out softly, knocking gently on her door. "I just want to tell you I'm sor-" The words died on Tenchi's tongue as slowly Ayeka's door swung open when he place a light knock on it. But what shocked him the most was the fact that when he looked inside . . . there was no Ayeka.
"Ayeka!" Tenchi shouted with a voice laced with worry, as he ran into the room. "Ayeka? Ayeka where are you? This isn't funny? AYEKA!"
'Why didn't Ayeka come to school today?' Tenchi wondered in a tired manner. 'Or why didn't she come home last night.'
"Good afternoon, how may I help you?" A bright smiling nurse questioned him as he stepped into Tokyo General.
"Yes, I'm here to see Sakura Kiwasaki," Tenchi replied in a monotone.
"Oh," the nurse spoke, a frown now replacing her features from before. "I'm sorry sir, but after your escapades last night, I must ask that you refrain yourself from seeing Miss Kiwasaki."
"But I have homework for her!" Tenchi rebutted, not at all ready to give up.
"Well . . ." The nurse looked like she was seriously contemplating whether or not to allow him to go. "I guess if she needs her homework . . . just don't get her riled up again," the nurse finally conceded.
"Thanks," Tenchi spoke in a grateful tone before walking down the familiar path to Sakura's door.
"Tenchi!" Sakura called out as she saw him at the door. "You don't know how glad I am to see you . . . theses window Nazis, not allowing me the common manners of being able to look out the window!" Sakura exclaimed, blabbing on about her tragic tale and how the nurses made her move to another bed.
"Well, don't start bringing out the sake yet. I'm just here with the homework," Tenchi informed her with a wry smile.
" . . .Oh, then you can leave right now," Sakura commanded, pointing an accusing finger out the door.
"Sakura that's not nice. I came all this way to get you this prize and you're not even going to offer me a chair!" Tenchi teased, nodding his head to the nearby chair, only to freeze mid-action as he stared more intently at the chair. "Ayeka," Tenchi whispered, looked at Ayeka's coat draped over an arm.
"Oh yes, she came to visit me this morning," Sakura explained the presence of the thin material.
"Really . . . did she say anything?" Tenchi questioned in a far away tone.
"Just that you and her got into a couple of fights yesterday," Sakura informed before giving him a meek smile. "I'm sorry."
"What do you have to be sorry about?" Tenchi questioned, shocked beyond belief.
"The second fight, the one you're upset about . . . it was all my fault."
"No . . . everything is screwed up between us. I mean one minute we're happy, the next we're fighting. I guess . . . yesterday's arguments just . . . hit a little closer to home," Tenchi spoke, looking anywhere except towards Sakura.
"Time for visitors to leave," the sound of the head nurse's voice cut Sakura's words short.
"Okay," Tenchi nodded his confirmation before getting up and heading to the door.
"Tenchi . . . what Ayeka said about me . . . it was true!" Sakura called after him in a tentative voice.
Tenchi turned questioning eyes on her thinking she would continue on with what she was saying. He tried to question her further when he figured she wouldn't, but the nurse stopped him.
"Now. You need to leave now!" The nurse gritted out angrily.
"Okay already!" Tenchi snapped, leaving the room without a backward glance.
'I'll never understand women!' Tenchi exclaimed in his mind. 'Sakura getting all jealous at Daisuke about his love interests. It's all her fault for not admitting her own feelings to him.'
Tenchi winced as he nearly missed a falling brick coming from atop the building he passed under.
'And Ayeka . . . bringing up all the troubles of the past. Hasn't she ever heard of forgive and forget?'
This time Tenchi just misseda lunatic car while crossing the street.
'I mean, sure I haven't really tired to befriend Sakura . . . nor actually talk about our little situation with Ayeka. But really, was it really necessary to pick one with me yesterday?'
Now he passed straight by a bursting fire hydrant.
'Why didn't Ayeka come home last night? Where could she have gone, seeing as her only friend in Tokyo was in the hospital yesterday.'
Another almost accident with a runaway baby stroller.
'Damn it Tsunami, do you have it in for me?' Tenchi cursed raising a fist to the sky. He immediately lowered it though as he envisioned a smiling Sasami looking down at him. 'Of course you do, Ayeka's your sister.' Tenchi thought bitterly as he walked off the elevator onto the floor his apartment was located on.
As Tenchi stepped into the school provided apartment, he was met by many surprised. One, the delicious smell of food cooking that filled the room. Another, the mess he made last night from all his frustrations was cleaned up. If he didn't know any better, he'd think a robber with a clean gene raided through the room. Though that notion was dispelled as he heard humming coming form within Ayeka's room.
"Ayeka?" Tenchi called out, knocking tentatively at Ayeka's door. The humming immediately stopped.
"Who is it?" A voice replied, sounding somewhat nervous. "Tenchi?"
"The one and only . . . hey are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm just fine. Why do you ask?" Tenchi grew confused as her voice seemed to grow more confident knowing that it was just him.
"It's just . . . you didn't come home yesterday, and you weren't at school this morning."
"Oh, I was busy . . ." Ayeka replied in an unsure tone, causing Tenchi's brows to furrow in confusion.
"Okay, well I just want to say that I'm sorry for everything that happened yesterday," Tenchi said, swallowing his macho male pride.
". . . I'm sorry," Ayeka whispered back through the door.
"Huh . . . for what?"
"For all those things I said, especially in the cab. There were mean, and spiteful things that shouldn't have been dropped on you yesterday . . . especially when you were already worried about Sakura. But you know me . . . every time I get emotional I do rash things," Ayeka said smiling at a distant memory. Tenchi started to wonder if she was thinking of the same one he was . . . when she left Yokohama.
"Yeah . . ." Tenchi spoke in a daze, feeling a weight begin lifted off his shoulders when Ayeka apologized for her faults.
"So, I have stir fry warming up for you."
"Hm . . .aren't you going to eat also?"
"Uh . . . well . . . um, no I already ate."
"Really," Tenchi commented, quirking up a curious brow. "But I really would enjoy having dinner with you." Tenchi didn't care if he sounded like he was begging, but he had this unexplainable need to see her, and her smile, knowing she was safe.
"Sorry, not hungry."
"Oh look, Sasami is here!" Tenchi knew it was a low blow, but he was ready to laugh as the door flew open any ways, that though became the farest thingfrom his mind. He never cussed but then again this was an exception case. "What the hell happened to your face?" Tenchi yelled with barely controlled rage, as he looked at the black eye starting to form nicely, with some other bruises.
A/N: I hoped you enjoyed the chapter and thanks to everyone who read and reviewed!