Disclaimer: I don't own the Tenchi cast. Blackshire, Leech, are my ideas, please ask to use them.

The Waking Nightmare

{merely a note, italics words are used to show the character is thinking}

[Back ground Info: This story takes place 16 years after the end of Ryoko's Birthday Part 4. Ryoko and Tenchi (married by this point) have a son who they named Yosho (who is 17 by this point). He has golden eyes like his mother, and closely resembles Yosho (in his younger days). This story is merely a prequel to a series I am writing, this will set the stage for things to come...]

Part 1 Dark Victory

THE MASAKI HOUSE 3 AM

Tenchi Masaki groggily propped himself up on his elbow. He was having trouble sleeping, even though he was completely worn out. "Man Ryoko, even after all these years I can't keep up with you," he admitted to the naked slumbering woman beside him. "We've been having sex for years now, and you still have the same amount of stamina as you always did. I must be getting old." Tenchi smiled, remembering that his ties to Jurai, through Tsunami, and the tree she had planted for him, granted him near immortality. The affects of aging were nearly nonexistent to him, as far as he knew. The cyan haired woman beside him snored loudly, the reason he was awake at this early hour. "I can't sleep with that much noise," he told himself, "and I don't dare wake her, or she'll rip my head off for accusing her of snoring. Maybe it would be better if I just went for a walk, the night air would help clear my head, and relax me." Slowly, and with sore muscles aching, Tenchi rose from his bed, and stumbled around the dark room to something to wear on his night outing. His entire body felt stiff and sluggish, doing it's best to resist moving, but he knew he couldn't get to sleep until he was able to relax.

A short time later in a room just down the hall:

Yosho sat up in his bed, throwing his sweaty long black hair out of his face with his hands. "It's no use. I can't sleep tonight. I get the feeling something bad is going to happen." The young son of Tenchi and Ryoko proclaimed making his way to his door. As he opened the door to his room, he could hear someone shuffling about downstairs. Reaching to his side, the now fully alert youth grabbed his wooden sword, which he used while practicing with his father, and slowly made his way toward the noise. As he stood at the top of the stairs, Yosho's keen golden eyes detected someone moving in the shadows. "It's far too late at night for either mom or dad to be up," he rationalized, "this must be the bad thing I was sensing." With a mighty battle cry he leapt downward, bringing his sword down on the shadowy figure's head, knocking his opponent to the ground.

As Yosho looked at his fallen foe he gasped. "Uh..., sorry dad."

Slowly Tenchi rose to his feet, massaging his throbbing head. He had just moments ago come down the stairs to go on his walk, and had NOT expected to be attacked. "Ah," Tenchi moaned holding his throbbing head, "Yosho! What are you doing up at this hour?"

"Well you see dad," the young man replied looking at his feet. "I couldn't sleep."

"Ryoko's snoring keeping you up as well?" Tenchi asked laughing. "I knew she was snoring loudly, but I didn't think it was that loud."

"No, it's not mom's snoring," the golden eyed boy replied, "I just have this feeling in the pit of my stomach, that something bad is going to happen tonight."

Tenchi waved his hand, dismissing his concerns. "It's probably just your mom's cooking. Don't worry, everything will be fine. Well, I'm going to go to for a quick walk, you go on and go to bed." Yosho nodded, he did feel tired, but he could not escape the horrible feeling in his stomach. Slowly Tenchi made his way to the door, heading outside for his walk, while Yosho slowly ascended the staircase toward his room.

A few moments after Tenchi left the house, the door to Washu's lab flew open. "Tenchi!" the pink haired scientist screamed as she rushed out into the living room. Quickly she scanned the area looking for her son in law. "Where is he? I just heard him here a second ago, talking to...Yosho!" Pivoting on her heels the green eyed genius bolted up the stairs, colliding with Yosho, who had come down to see what she was yelling about. Almost at a loss for words, Washu stammered for a moment before finally getting the words out, "where is your father?!"

"He went for a walk,"Yosho said slowly sounding slightly confused, "is something wrong, grandmother?"

"Yes indeed. About an hour ago I detected two openings in the time space continuum. When I tried to lock in on the coordinates, it nearly shorted out my entire computer system. Someone has changed the constant to the time and space calibration, and sent something back. I just got my computer up and running again, and discovered that the openings are right here, in front of this house. It appears two people came through it. One of these people was definitely not human."

"And the other?" the golden eyed young man asked hesitantly.

"The other energy reading appears to have died," Washu responded. "I think this thing may be after your father, call me crazy, but it's just a hunch. We have to find him, now! You head on out, and warn him. I'll wake Ryoko and have her do an ariel search for him.."



A short distance away:

High above the path to the Masaki Shrine in a tree, a horrible creature perched, reveling in its power. The monstrous beast looked almost like a gargoyle, except that it's body was a pasty white color, and in the right angel of the moon light, the bizarre monster looked almost invisible. Taloned feet wrapped around the tree branch where it sat. It's limbs were long and skinny, and the creature's elbows and knees ended in long jutting spikes, while it's head tapered up to a long point, giving it and oval shaped head. Red menacing eyes glowed with hatred in the cool winter's night. It smiled wickedly as it saw someone walking up the path below, revealing row after row of jagged pointed teeth. "At last you've come Tenchi Masaki. I've been waiting nearly an hour for you arrive," it hissed in a voice that sounded very serpentine. "Not that I haven't been able to keep myself busy. I had someone to play with, but now that fun is all over, and it's time to complete my mission."

Tenchi cracked his neck, trying to relax his sore body. After trying this for a few moments, he put his hands in his pockets, casually walking up the long staircase. Reflectively he glanced upward at the cloudy winter's sky. His life was pretty easy going, since the day he started working at home. It was nice being able to email all his house designs to his employers, instead of making the long commute everyday, like his dad used to. Still Tenchi didn't care much for architect, he had always wanted to be abn artist, but in a way he felt he was living his dream, while continuing his father's legacy. "Things sure have changed a lot since I was a boy," he remarked. He could still vividly remember everyday he had spent with the girls. Those were precious memories to him, that always cheered him up. Smiling he continued his reminiscing, "The future always used to look so bleak to me, as if my life would never have any meaning. But that was before I met Ryoko, and the others. Now, that I have them, I know that my life will always be rich and full of purpose." He began thinking about the last sixteen years, and all the wonders he had experienced with his son. "I wonder if things were like that for dad, when I was growing up?" Tenchi stopped for a moment, it still shocked him to think of himself as a dad. Even thought he was easily old enough, the idea always amazed him. There was nothing in the world that made him prouder than his son. Rubbing a sore spot in his head, he grimaced. "He definitely has his mother's strength. I probably should have been paying more attention. Grandpa would have my neck if he saw how I've let my guard down lately, but I don't think I need to worry. I mean who could there possibly be left to fight?" Sighing Tenchi wished his grandfather, or even his father, were here right now, but they had passed away years ago, before Tenchi's own son had been born.

Suddenly the Jurai first prince heard a very faint noise in the tree before him, whatever was there was rather large, and appeared to be waiting for him. "Who's there?" Tenchi demanded standing tall, trying to look his most intimidating as he looked to where the noise came. "Come on out, I know you're there." Once again the limbs above shook, and a large figure dropped down to stand before him. It was quite possibly the most terrifying monster Tenchi had ever seen.

"I'm shocked you heard me Tenchi Masaki," the nearly transparent gargoyle proclaimed in his serpentine voice. "You truly are as good as the rumors."

"Who are you? What are you?" Tenchi took a step back, assuming a defensive stance.

"I am Leech, and I was sent here to kill you. Of course, that's not the only reason I'm here." Smiling manically the monster extended it's hands, and slowly it's fingers grew, becoming talons. "Apparently Blackshire doesn't care much for you."

"Blackshire..." Tenchi muttered through clenched teeth. Calming his mind he recalled his training, focusing the power that is deep within him. A white glow erupted from his hands, the power forming into a blade, The Lighthawk sword. In his youth, the sword could only be formed by an emotional response to something very traumatic, however after all these years, Tenchi had finally been able to call it forth, though he rarely ever did so. "I don't know what that monster has planned, but I can promise you this much, I will not let you do his bidding."

"So that is the fabled Lighthawk sword," Leech hissed as he advanced toward Tenchi, "it is a wondrous sight isn't it?" Lunging with unbelievable speed, the monster's claws clanged against Tenchi's blade. The young warrior swung the glowing sword at his foe, but as it cut where Leech was supposed to be, the translucent monster disappeared.

"Recognize that trick?" Leech's voice inquired from above. "Just like a certain someone you know." A blast of purple energy collided with the staircase just in front of Tenchi, causing him to step back down the stair well. Leech landed before him examining his hands as if they were something he had never seen before, "I must say absorbing my fellow time traveler has blessed me with a wide variety of powers. Let's see what other things I can do!" Holding out one clawed hand, Leech began to call power out of the very air around him, in moments it formed a ball of purple energy in the palm of his hand. Squeezing the energy tightly in his hand, it formed into a long purple blade composed entirely of energy. "Excellent..." Leech rushed Tenchi, holding the blade back in one hand ready to bring it down with all his might. The two blades collided with tremendous force, sending sparks flying into the air.

"His strength," Tenchi thought under the immense strain, "it's like fighting Ryoko..." The young man cursed at himself, he could see numerous weakness's in Leech's defenses, but couldn't make his body react properly. He was just too tired and his body ached too much.

"Father!" Tenchi heard a voice scream for him from behind. Looking over his shoulder he saw his son running at him full speed, his voice laced with horror.

"Yosho! Stay back I..." Tenchi's words were cut off as Leech formed another blade in his free hand, and brought it down, in a stabbing motion into Tenchi's chest. A horrible wet sound echoed in the night air as Leech's blade punctured through Tenchi's heart, and the brown haired warrior dropped to his knees.

Yosho stopped a few feet away from his father looking at the abomination that had just impaled his father. "NO! FATHER!" As his eyes met Leech's, Yosho's voice became laced with hate and fury. "Wha...What are you? Why did you have to kill my father, he's done nothing to you!"

The nearly transparent colored monster grinned at Yosho maliciously, "what I am is beyond you boy. But since you did make my job easier by distracting your old man, I'll tell you this much, my name is Leech, and I was sent here by Blackshire with a specific goal, to kill Tenchi Masaki, and syphon Ryoko's power from her gems. I thought killing Tenchi would be a lot harder than that, but he it appears he's just gotten too old to fight anymore. Now doesn't it? If you'll excuse me, I have a job to finish." As Yosho watched, frozen in fear, and unable to believe that he had just witnessed his father's death, the bizarre creature, hoisted Tenchi's still body up by his shoulders. Seconds later the transparent gargoyle began to melt and flow over Tench's body. As the last of the creature melted away, the sword wound seemed to heal itself up, and Tenchi turned to face his son.

"What's the matter son," the thing that once was Tenchi asked his voice a little more wild sounding than normal. "Don't you recognize your own father?" Tenchi began walking toward his son, spreading his arms wide open. "Come on give me a hug."

"You aren't my father,"Yosho muttered stepping back, "you're that thing aren't you? You're Leech! How dare you use my father's body!"

Leech clicked his tongue as he spoke, "I'm sorry boy, but I can't do that. You see it's really the only way I can think of to get close enough to Ryoko to steal her power?" The body stealing monster continued his advance on the shaken youth. "You didn't think I'd leave a good host body to rot, did you? In a few minutes I will know everything Tenchi Masaki knew, as I assimilate all his thoughts into my own, and once I'm done there I'll start on emotional responses. Pretty soon even you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between me and the real thing. Now all I need to do is find Ryoko, and steal her gem's energy. Then I will have nearly infinite power." Suddenly a blast erupted near Leech's feet, causing him to stop his advance on Yosho momentarily. Looking through the smoke, he saw the shooter clearly. "Washu," Leech cooed, mimicking Tenchi's voice perfectly. "How are you this evening? I was just..."

The short pink haired scientist interrupted him, her voice radiated her anger as she pointed her hand blaster at the creature menacingly. "Get out of Tenchi's body now you monster or I'll.."

"Or you'll what?" Leech replied in his own high pitch voice, "kill me? I hate to break it to you, but Tenchi is dead. D-E-A-D. There is nothing you can do about it. Blackshire sent me to kill him, and I did. Now then, I'd love to stay and play all night, but I have a mission to accomplish." As he spoke he advanced on the two before him. Washu growled furiously and shot another shot from her hand blaster, this time hitting Leech in the left calf, sending him down on one knee, blood flowing out. The evil monster threw his head back reeling in pain as he bellowed in pain. In his previous body, pain from an attack like this was nearly unnoticeable, but in Tenchi's body, it was unbearable.



A short distance away, high in the air:

"Ryoko! Come quick, someone has killed Tenchi," Washu's voice echoed in the cyan haired space pirate's head, as she flew high over head. Ryoko had taken to the air the instant Washu had told her Tenchi could be in danger.

A few seconds after hearing Washu's horrible message, Ryoko heard it. A sound that nearly tore her soul to pieces. It was Tenchi, the man she loved more than anything else in this life, crying out in pain. Using every bit of her power, Ryoko propelled herself towards the source, determined to make however had hurt her husband pay. She flew toward the scream at her top speed, fury and confusion filling her mind, "Washu said Tenchi was dead, but wasn't that him I just heard?"

When Ryoko arrived on the scene her eyes were met with one she would never forget. There was Tenchi, her one true love, kneeling on the steps to the Masaki shrine, blood pouring from his leg. Standing across from him was Washu, who pointed a blaster at Tenchi, and Yosho, who face now bore a mask of hatred. Diving down with lightning quick speed, the golden eyed woman landed between Tenchi and the others. "What's going on here?"

Leech's quick mind allowed him to reply first, "Ryoko, please help me," he paused wincing from pain. The silver haired woman turned from her mother and son, and knelt beside her husband, placing her hands on him, still unsure what to do. His skin felt cold, as if he had been out here for hours. Swallowing hard Leech continued using Tenchi's voice, sounding very hurt and scared. "I don't know why, but Washu and Yosho attacked me. Yosho said he wanted talk, so I came out here, and then once we got here, I was ambushed. Washu shot me in the leg."

"That's a lie," the short genius blared taking a step forward. "Ryoko, look at my thoughts, you can see for yourself that...,"

"It's all a lie Ryoko," Leech proclaimed taking Ryoko's hand in his own, "they said that once I was gone, then they could take you and leave this world, using Ryo-Ohki. Apparently I am standing in the way of their goals. We have to get rid of them..."

The former space pirate could not believe her ears, "you want to kill my mother and our own son?" She asked in disbelief looking at her husband confused.

"No, of course not. I just think we should send them away. It's clear they want me dead." Tenchi responded pleadingly, tears, mostly from the pain, trailed down his face. "Please Ryoko. If you don't tell them to go, they WILL kill me." Ryoko looked at her husband, then at Washu and Yosho, unable to figure out what she should do. None of this was making sense, Washu and Yosho had no reason to want to kill the brown eyed young man, but here they were looking ready to kill him. Sighing Tenchi looked down at his wounded leg, "very well then. I see how it is. If you won't send them away, then I'll go. I am not going to wait around for them to try and kill me again," he declared standing up on his wounded leg, nearly toppling. "I suppose this is goodbye, Ryoko. I can't stay here, and I thought you loved me. I guess I was wrong."

Leech's words cut into Ryoko's heart like a sword wound, causing her to panic. Grabbing his arm as he hobbled past her, she still could not get over how icy his normally warm flesh had become. "No Tenchi, don't leave me." In her entire life, Ryoko had never felt this scared, even if you counted the times when she thought Tenchi was dead.* This would be far worse, knowing he was out there, an that he hated her. Tears trickled down her cheek, in the end her choice was obvious. "I'll do it...," she whimpered looking very defeated. Turning from him she looked squarely at her mom and son. Leech grinned maliciously as he watched Ryoko fall for his lies.

"Mother, you must listen!" Yosho declared frantically. He could not believe his own mother would think he would try and kill Tenchi. "That is not father, it's a monster. A monster named Leech, who was sent here by someone called Blackshire."

"No you listen Yosho, Washu," Ryoko snapped as she tried to steel her voice. "I can see through your lies, and I won't let you hurt Tenchi anymore. I'll give you ten minutes to leave this place, and never come back. If you aren't gone in that time, I will kill you."

Placing a hand on her shoulder, Leech prepared to drain Ryoko's power right then, while she focused her attention on Washu and Yosho. However as he began using his syphoning power, a massive pain jutted through his arm, like a bolt of lightning. "Curses," he hissed mentally. "She has too much power, I'll need to syphon her body over time. Well that should be no trouble, after all with those two out of the way, no one will be able to get in my way..." Tenchi's silver haired wife spun, catching him as he nearly fell, "I'm alright my dear," Leech lied. "It's just my leg, it hurts so bad. Please, take me home." Leech's voice trailed off sounding like a whimper. Washu looked on, taking in the whole scene carefully.

"Come on Yosho," she whispered, "you heard your mother." Looking at her daughter the diminutive genius rose her voice, "We're leaving Ryoko. Yosho and I are going to my lab, from there we can leave this planet completely. Have Ryo-Ohki meet us there, and once we are inside I will close the gateway between my lab and this house."

"But grandmother," Yosho began to plead, looking at Washu with his large golden eyes, wondering if the pink maned woman beside him had gone insane. As he looked into her eyes, he could tell she had something planned. "Very well. We better go." Slowly the two backed away, heading back toward the house.

Ryoko held her husband close to her, a few moments after her mom and son left, she disappeared taking Tenchi with her, teleporting the two of them to their room.

Washu's lab:

"Why are we here grandmother?" Yosho demanded pacing the floor of the massive lab, while the woman with a hairstyle reassembling a crab, typed frantically at a holo keyboard. Sitting beside the tiny genius rested the small cabbit, who's eyes reflected her fears. "Why did you have her send Ryo-Ohki here? Isn't that like admitting we intended to kill my father?"

"I suppose you could read it that way." Washu replied, "I just didn't want to leave her their so Leech could syphon her life force."

"So you saved Ryo-Ohki, but left my mother there to die! He's going to kill her, and we are sitting her doing nothing!" Yosho shouted as he increased the speed of his pacing.

"We are not doing nothing Yosho," Washu corrected him, still focusing on her work, "But there is no way we can talk to her now, not with Leech having Tenchi's body. Her love for your father is clouding her judgement. After all the scene didn't look to good if you remember, we were standing over a bleeding Tenchi, and I was holding a smoking blaster." The golden eyed young man scowled admitting that their situation did look grim. His long black hair hung in front of his face, blocking his eyes, accenting his sorrow. "I think we might be able to convince her otherwise, IF I'm right and the astral pattern of Tenchi are different." Pressing a few more keys, a monitor appeared displaying two sets of data. "I knew it!" Washu shouted excitedly, "he may have Tenchi's body, but he doesn't have his astral pattern."

"Great, so let's show this to mom, and then we'll be able to make Leech pay!" Yosho declared, his stance changing to one of triumph.

"Not so fast Yosho," she said holding up a hand to calm the young man. "I sincerely doubt Ryoko will buy any data we show her. Remember your mother tends to think with her heart, way more than she does her head. Right now Leech is using that against us. What we need is a plan, something that will prove beyond any doubt that the creature she protected is not Tenchi."

"How can we possibly do that?" Yosho said nearly tearing his hair out. "If only I had been a little faster..."

"You are not to blame Yosho, this is all Leech's doing. So stop feeling sorry for yourself, there's too much to do. I have a plan, but first we need to make some calls. We may not be able to save Tenchi's life, but I promise you, Leech will not kill Ryoko."

Yosho smiled timidly, standing tall once more,"just tell me what I have to do, I will do whatever it takes to make Leech pay for killing my father."

Washu merely smiled as she nodded, "that's what I'm afraid of," she thought. "You may have to do something so terrible that you can't stand it, but I pray that it never comes to that." While she looked at the furious young man before her, she could only think back to the two readings she had detected earlier, and a chill shot down her spine.

Ryoko and Tenchi's room:

Ryoko watched as her husband finished bandaging the blaster wound. "Are you sure you'll be alright Tenchi?"

"I'll be fine Ryoko," he said looking up at her from his seat on the bed. Ryoko never took her golden eyes off of him. Slowly he held his hand out, "thank you for saving me, I thought I was a goner. It's nice to know I can always count on you. Now then, why are you standing way over there?" Taking his hand, Ryoko sat on the bed next to Tenchi.

"Tenchi, your hands are like ice? How long were you out there?" she asked, very concerned for her husband. Touching his hand felt like holding a live wire, there was a feeling of power flowing through him, yet she still could not get over how icy he felt.

"I was outside about an hour," he lied. "Don't worry as time goes on I'll warm up, I'm sure. Especially with you here at my side." Ryoko smiled weakly at him, realizing she was trying to cheer her up. As always Tenchi's voice helped to sooth her fears. However, never in her life had she had a harder night. She had chosen him over her own family, and now she could feel pain in her heart as she realized the repercussions of her actions. Tonight was the last night she would ever see her mom or son, and that feeling nearly tore her heart into pieces. As Leech looked at Ryoko, he too felt an aching in his chest, he knew he had to say something, since Tenchi would. "I know it hurts Ryoko, but you did the right thing. They would have killed me."

Quickly Leech scanned all the memories Tenchi had. "This is a most odd sensation," he thought as his chest ached. "It feels as if Tenchi's heart is going to explode, yet I see no evidence in his memories of heart problems. Perhaps this is one of Tenchi's deeper emotions coming to the surface. How could anyone live with such an annoying complex?" Coming out of his thoughts, Leech noticed how intensely she was staring at him, and the pain he felt increased. Coughing he released her hand, "I think it would be best if we went back to bed. We can talk more in the morning," Leech said. Ryoko merely nodded, climbing under the covers. As Leech lay down beside her, he made sure his hands did not touch her. "What is going on? Why am I acting this way?" He mentally questioned himself, "I can only drain power if my hands are in contact with what I want to drain. But as soon as I touch Ryoko, I feel sick, and want to stop. I'm drawing a minimum amount of power from her, so this feeling can't be from an overload to my system. Perhaps I have merely put this body through too much for one night. Tomorrow I awake totally refreshed, and will began the syphoning anew." However as Leech closed Tenchi's brown eyes, he noticed he was not excited by the thought of draining Ryoko's life, instead he felt sick.



* I refer to Ryoko's Birthday Part 4 and Of course to when Kagato had blown up the part of the ship Tenchi was on.

Next Time: The Power of Loss

Washu has a plan to save Ryoko, but can it work? What is happening to Leech, and also who was the second figure to come through the vortex in time and space? Well maybe next time we'll find out...