Disclaimer: I don't own the cast of Tenchi Muyo, this story was written strictly to amuse others and myself.
No Need for Proof
Part 1: A Cold Winter's Night
Late January: Tenchi's Room:
In his quiet private corner of the Masaki home, a young man named Tenchi paced about nervously as he began getting his room ready for the night to come. Man is it cold tonight, the brown-haired youth told himself as he rubbed his freezing hands together. Throwing off his shirt and pants, he sat on his bed ready for a good nights rest. Despite the chill in the air, the young man knew sleep would be impossible to attain if he lay down with all his work clothes still on.
What a long day it's been! As if the cold wasn't bad enough, Ryoko never seems to leave me alone anymore. Ever since her birthday*1 she's been like my shadow. It's actually been worse than ever before. I remember she used to get distracted by what Lady Ayeka was up to, which gave me some time to myself, but now that she doesn't see Lady Ayeka as a threat.... Now all she wants is for me to be around her constantly. Lying down under his covers, Tenchi closed his weary eyes. I hope it's warmer tomorrow, he told himself as his teeth shattered slightly. The Jurain heir to the throne soon became comfortable in his warming bed, and then drifted off to sleep.
Tenchi stood sweeping off the sidewalk around his grandfather's shrine in the warm summer sun, the day was just starting to warm up. His life was simple, but good. After all it was just the three of them, his father, grandfather, and himself taking care of the house and shrine. Sadly, his house was quiet far away, and thus it was always a long journey to reach the tiny shrine in the mountains, but it wasn't as if he had a girlfriend or anyone who wanted to spend time with him. The young man was, and always had been, alone, yet he seemed quiet content. As he pondered his life, and its direction sweat ran down his brow slowly. It wasn't very long afterwards, that the Jurain youth noticed he was perspiring quiet a bit.
"Wish we could get a nice cool breeze," Tenchi said to no one in particular as he happily continued to sweep. Humming a tune to himself, the young man did his best to endure the now blistering heat, pausing every so often to mop his forehead of the sweat he had gathered.
Suddenly, as if in response to his wish, a cloud appeared to block the sun. Soon a gentle breeze blew across the shrine, cooling his sweat-covered flesh nicely. That's better, Tenchi smiled, bowing politely to the cloud overhead.
However, after a few minutes the sudden breeze started to pick up a little more, and the sun no longer beat down to warm the land as it was prevented by the sudden cloud's appearance.
"Brrr.... It's starting to really get chilly. Maybe I shouldn't have wished for a breeze." As he uttered that statement, a powerful gust of wind came upon him, as if in outrage to his rudeness, the sheer force of it almost knocking the sweeping youth off his feet. Yet even this paled in comparison to what happened next. Just as Tenchi became used to the howling winds, the temperature seemed to drop causing the once peaceful and warm summer day to become an icy winter land. Dropping his broom, the brown-eyed youth ran into the shrine to escape the unexplainable chill. But upon reaching the supposed safety and warmth of the inside, he was shocked to see that everything was somehow coated in ice.
"What's going on here?" Tenchi asked, thinking all reality had suddenly gone insane. "It was a beautiful summer day a few minutes ago, now it's the middle of winter!" Shivering due to his light clothes, the young Jurain could feel his body begin to tremble. To his horror he could feel the sweat on his shirt and pants beginning to freeze. Taking a deep breath, the young man began to sneeze frantically.
"Great! Not only am I freezing, but I'm also catching a cold." Trembling even more, the shrine keeper in training now began to pace about the room, crossing his arms over his chest in a vain attempt to stay warm. Soon, after looking through the shrine for something to use to warm up Tenchi sat down by the door.
"What am I gonna do? If I can't find something to change into soon I might freeze to death. I'd start a fire, but all the wood is frozen solid, and the thermostat is encased in ice, just like everything else."
Burying his in his arms, the young caretaker huddled himself into a ball. He began to sob shortly thereafter, as his life began to replay in his mind. There were still so many things he had wanted to do, to experience. However if he could not survive this storm in his life, it would soon come crashing down around him. It was at that moment, when the young man felt a presence in the room with him. Looking up slowly, he could scarcely believe his eyes at what he saw, a flame burning in the middle of the room. Yet it was like no fire he had ever seen before, the mysterious flame stood nearly six feet tall at its peak, and was composed of a light, warm, inviting, and golden light. Rising to his feet he carefully approached it.
If this thing does kill me, I'd rather die by something warm, than to freeze to death. Standing next to the warm light, the young man soon felt compelled to reach out and embrace it. Holding the golden flame to himself, Tenchi was shocked that it did not burn, instead it actually seemed to warm not only his body, but his heart, mind, and soul. The world of ice seemed to vanish around him as he stood there. Soon it all began to fade, and the young man left this strange world.
As his eyes slowly flickered open, Tenchi gasped. His blankets had somehow been thrown from his bed, which helped him realize why his dream was about ice, but even that was not enough to spook this young man, who had faced ancient demons, space pirates, and lived a daily life of insanity. What truly caused his heart to skip a beat was the woman he currently held in his arms. Not only was she not supposed to be in his bed, but she was also without any form of clothing. The woman he found himself clutching to his chest was none other than Ryoko. From his current angle, the brown-haired youth could only make out one object on the lithe woman's person, the silver and golden necklace and locket he had given her for her birthday.*1 What in the world is going on here, I know Ryoko, likes to sneak in here when I'm asleep, but she's always wore something at least.
It didn't take long before the young man's face became red from embarrassment and worry. If any of the others seen him now, the brown-eyed prince knew there was no way he could adequately explain this before a war broke out. Looking down Tenchi could tell that Ryoko's face was buried in his chest. He wanted to wake her, and find out what was going on, yet he could not find the heart to do so as she seemed so happy there. The wild demoness appeared almost angelic in the dim moonlight that trickled in through his window. Chuckling to himself, Tenchi easily recalled that Ryoko and angelic were not interchangeable terms. Closing his eyes, the young man did something he would not normally have done, he enjoyed the feeling of her body against his own. It was an amazing sensation, the warmth, softness, and familiarity, it reminded him of his dream, when he held the sudden fire against himself.
I wonder... Tenchi pondered as he replayed the dream in his head over and over. I wonder if Ryoko and that flame in my dream are related... Nah that would be too weird.... Continuing to hold the silver haired beauty against himself, for a short time longer, the young man soon realized the chill in the air was more than his young body could handle, and he decided to go get his thrown off covers.
Ok Tenchi, he coached himself, trying to sound confident at least in his own mind. The best option here is to let go of her, and get the blankets back. I'll just ask Ryoko in the morning why she was in here nude. As Tenchi began trying to remove his arms from the gorgeous woman, he looked up at the ceiling. Unlike his father, the young prince was not into gawking at women like a pervert. Of course, at this time the young man was tempted, having to jerk his head up countless times to prevent himself from gazing at the nude woman. After all Ryoko was probably the most stunning woman he had ever seen, as she told him countless times daily. Yet Tenchi wasn't a pervert like his old man, who had all but mastered the art of peeping. You know I bet most normal people don't have to remember to ask women why they were nude in their rooms the night before. Man, why me! With a final motion the young man rolled from his bed onto the chilled floor. Wasting now time, the agile youth quickly say up on his knees, and reached for the covers that had somehow become scattered about the room.
"What do you need those for, Tenchi? I can keep you hot," a sultry voice called out from behind him. It was a voice he could never forget, one that currently made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. As he knew his hope of a quiet, restful night had vanished, since Ryoko was now awake.
Before the young man could react, he heard the sound of dissipating matter, just before he both saw and felt two slender arms wrap about his neck. Feeling something fleshy and warm press against his back, Tenchi instantly knew she was lying naked upon his back. Slowly turning his wide eyes to one side, the red-faced youth saw the silver-haired demoness' face come suddenly come into view. Seeing his panicked expression, the golden-eyed woman smiled innocently at him, enjoying the reaction she was getting.
"Ryoko..." Tenchi said trying to hide his embarrassment, despite the fact both knew how he felt about having a naked woman hanging on his back. "What are you doing here? Where are your clothes?" He looked straight into her smiling face, "have you been into the Saki again?"
The smile on her face faded into a hurt expression, as she pushed herself off his body dejectedly. "No, I haven't," she snapped, sounding deeply hurt by his cruel accusation. Turning away, the lithe woman soon continued with her story. "I heard you humming loudly, and off key, as I was coming back from a nice hot bath. So I came to see if you were still up. Which should answer both your questions." Suddenly her voice changed, losing some of the hurt, yet becoming much more seductive and curious. "Now tell me, what was so interesting in your dream? You looked like you were really enjoying yourself!"
"What are you talking about? How could you tell what I was dreaming? Besides all that, don't you usually at least take a towel when you go the Onsen?" Tenchi replied standing up hastily to face the invading woman. Almost instantly he realized his mistake, as he saw her naked back and quickly moved one hand to cover his eyes. However despite his speed, the young man still felt a small trickle of blood coming from his nose.
Ryoko turned, prepared to answer, but was halted as she noticed her beloved standing there with his hand over his eyes. Sighing with impatience, the golden-eyed woman soon found what she was missing, lying on the far side of the bed. Casually she strolled over and picked up her discarded towel, wrapping it about herself, making sure it covered anything that would cause the young man to panic, so she could continue this discussion without any more interruptions.
"You can open your eyes, sweetie pie. I'm wearing a towel now," she told him as she grinning predatorily. Normally, Ryoko loved the way Tenchi acted towards her body, it made her feel a sense of power and control knowing she could control him based on how much, or little, she wore. However right now, that was not the case. Currently the golden-eyed woman wished her beloved would relax, after all they were dating even if it was a secret from the rest of their extended family. *1 "So, what was your dream about?" she repeated, this time without the seductive undertones.
Tenchi sighed. It was a tone he knew all too well. It meant the cyan-haired beauty before him would not pestering him until she heard what she wanted to. "It wasn't really anything special. I was just dreaming about a beautiful summer day."
Ryoko sighed picturing it, Tenchi nodded there was no telling what else she was picturing. "I was outside sweeping and humming a tune while I worked. After a while a cloud blocked the sun, and then it got very cold. I ran into the shrine to escape the chill, but everything was frozen in solid ice. I thought I was going to freeze to death, but a warm tower of light appeared. I pulled it close, and then I was warmed up. When I woke up..."
"I was in your arms, right?" Ryoko finished for him as she laughed.
"What's so funny?" Tenchi said the cool air in the room was starting to get to him.
"As I said Tenchi dear, I was coming back from a nice hot bath, and I heard you humming your song. I decided to peak inside on you," she began, a smile on her face.
"Imagine my shock, when I came through the wall and saw you sweating buckets while you jerked your arms around under your covers like a sword fighter, Ryoko continued remembering what she had really thought Tenchi had been doing [...] "So I lifted your covers to get a better peak at what you were doing, since I couldn't see anything, I threw them off you."
Ryoko's voice lost it's humor, now filled with a bit of sadness, "In a few seconds you started shivering and shaking, I thought maybe you had gotten sick or something, and I was going to get Washu, but as I stepped over you, you grabbed me in what would have been a bear hug in wrestling." Ryoko paused. "Since it was you who was holding me, I wasn't going to try and get away."
Tenchi looked at the space pirate before him, "Well at least that dream and everything make sense now," he mentally noted. "The cold must have happened when Ryoko took off my covers, and the warm glow was Ryoko. Well at least I know I'm not going bonkers in my sleep."
Tenchi was really feeling the chill of the air now, "Well Ryoko, I'm going back to bed, goodnight." he said picking up his sheets as he made his way to his bed.
Ryoko fell onto his bed, shifting her shoulders in a vain attempt to get comfortable. She lazily glanced over at Tenchi.
"I already told you Tenchi dear, you don't need those I'll make sure you don't get cold tonight," Ryoko promised as she patted the bed beside her, "Now come to bed."
"Ryoko...I'm too tired for your seduction game," Tenchi said in a voice that was a little louder than he had meant. "Why don't you go back to your room, and I'll see you in the morning."
"No you won't Tenchi," Ryoko said doubtingly, "even when you look at me, you never see me."
"What are you talking about? You're not making any sense," Tenchi accused her.
"Oh really Tenchi, tell me this then, since my birthday how many times have we talked, kissed, hugged, or even slept next to each other? I can tell you. If you don't count this right here, none."
Tenchi looked away ashamed. "She's right," he thought, "I have been avoiding her, I guess I didn't want to alienate the others by spending a lot of time with Ryoko, and I over did it. Now I rarely spend anytime with her, except at meal times."
"I'm sorry Ryoko, please give me another chance," he asked her looking back to meet her eyes. "I'll do all the things you said I haven't been doing, I promise."
However Ryoko was looking away from him, her left hand played with the locket around her neck. "Of course I'll give you another chance, Tenchi. But I don't want you to do those things because I told you to, I want you to do them because you want to." Ryoko sat up looking at Tenchi still obliviously playing with the locket. "Besides Tenchi that's not the point."
"Well what is it then? What should I do to make you happy?" inquired Tenchi.
Ryoko stood up looking very frail and weak as she looked down. "Tenchi you know I love you, and you've said you love me. Maybe our definitions of love are just different, or maybe like Washu told me, I'm moving too fast, but I thought that after you admitted your love to me, that things would be different. We'd spend more time together. Instead, you've avoided me like I have some horrible disease, and being treated like that by you Tenchi is a worse feeling than any pain I have ever felt. Lately, I've been getting the feeling that you only told me you cared to be polite."
Tenchi was afraid this would happen, he had never had a girlfriend before. Now his lack of experience was hurting Ryoko.
"Ryoko, you know I love you, b-" Tenchi tried to say, but Ryoko interrupted him.
"I know Tenchi. I can clearly recall the first you told me that, but I guess what I need now, is for you to prove it to me."
"How can I prove it to you?" Tenchi asked desperately, taking a deep breath, he paused for a moment. "Ok, I'll find a way to show you I care Ryoko. Now then, why don't we go to bed, and we can talk about it in the morning." Tenchi offered, trying to calm Ryoko.
She only smiled as she examined the locket, "I'd like that Tenchi, but I can't. I have too much on my mind right now. See you in the morning." Then Ryoko disappeared.
Tenchi said nothing as he got his bed ready. What can I do to prove I love you Ryoko, he wondered as he lay down. Then he remembered something she said. Wait a minute; Ryoko said Washu knew about us, maybe I can ask Washu. After all no one knows more about Ryoko, or anything for that matter, than Washu. Tenchi closed his eyes, and soon drifted off to sleep again.
In the vacant hallway, a lone woman stood with a stunned expression on her face. Leaning away from the young man's door, Ayeka Jurai shook her head in disbelief. Just a few moments ago, the proper princess had been on her way back to the room she shared with her sister after using the restroom when she heard voices coming from her beloved's room. Originally the red-eyed woman was going to continue on her way, being rather tired, and knowing that Tenchi could always succeed in casting out the demon woman. Yet just as she passed the small wooden door, her ears caught Ryoko's statement about looking at her but not seeing her. After that, Ayeka couldn't help eavesdropping.
Lord Tenchi said… the young princess paused mid-thought, her mind reeling as she tried to comprehend everything. He said he loves Ryoko, but what about me? What about us? As those questions continuously ran through her mind, Ayeka shook her head.
Something in her arch rival's voice, a pain she had never heard come from Ryoko before, made Princess Ayeka feel sad for her rival, and unable to cry for her current plight. The golden-eyed demoness had won the battle for Tenchi's heart, but it seemed she not able to keep that victory. Looking at the ground, the purple-haired Jurain tried to smile yet found for some reason, she could not. If this is true, I must know. Besides, she stopped, looking from Tenchi's room towards the passageway that led to the roof. I can't help myself from wondering what happened on Ryoko's birthday. What significance does that have? Tenchi's locket perhaps? I do not know. It seems there is only one option available to me. Gritting her teeth, the red-eyed woman soon sighed. I will have to speak to Ryoko….
Also, she wanted to know what happened on Ryoko's Birthday, something very important must have occurred. There was only one thing to do.
"I think I shall have a talk with Ryoko," Ayeka decided, "and I think I know exactly where she is."
Next Time: Ayeka and Ryoko have a chat about Tenchi, will Ayeka use this lovers quarrel to her advantage, to get Tenchi for herself? Plus Tenchi asks Washu for help, and how exactly will Tenchi prove his love toward Ryoko? Chapter 2: Discussions and Solutions
*1: Don't tell me you forgot about Ryoko's Birthday (chapters 1-3) already!