Legal ramblings: I swear to Tsunami that I don't own Tenchi Muyo or any of it's
characters. And I'm not making a penny, or even half of a penny off of this fic.

Authors Notes: Well, this is it folks, the end of the road for the fic. Don't worry though,
I won't stop writing stories after this, you aren't gonna get rid of me that easily! :)


Among the stars

Chapter 7: Homeward bound

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In one of the many fine hotel rooms onboard the Kunink space station, Tenchi Masaki
laid awake on the bed, gazing at the object of his affection. The object in question
was a cyan haired space pirate who was soundly sleeping with her head on his chest.
Tenchi didn't mind this in the least, he was enjoying this intimate closeness, which was
something that until recently was missing from his life. Her light snoring brought about a
small smile on his face, he had always thought she was very cute when she slept.

So many things are different. he silently mused. Indeed, it was only some 9 hours
ago that he had finally ceased running from his feelings and made a choice that would
change many peoples lives. After he had confessed his love for Ryoko, the two of them
spent much time just holding eachother and kissing. It didn't take long however before
Ryoko was trying to unbutton his shirt and advance their relationship further.

However, Tenchi had stopped her, unsure of whether or not he was ready for that next
step yet. It wouldn't have been much fun since I'd probably end up getting a big
nosebleed and fainting. He had told her that he needed some time to get used to
kissing her and touching her, so that he wouldn't be so nervous when the time came
to make love, and she had been surprisingly content with the idea of waiting.

He frowned when he thought about his intense nervousness about sex. There was no
question he desired her, he had numerous erotic fantasies about her, ever since she
first arrived. There were other underlying reasons for his fear about sex, one being
his own lack of self confidence. Beyond what he had read in his fathers 'educational'
books, he had no experience in that area, and he was very afraid of dissapointing her.
However, he knew he would have to take the plunge and get over his fears soon,
because there was a certain part of him that was getting sick of tired of having it's
desires ignored.

Sighing, he decided not to focus on that at the time, and instead he began to wonder
just how the others back on Earth would take the news. He didn't think any of
the other girls would really be upset except for Ayeka. His heart sank a bit as he thought
about the princess, she was really a very nice, sweet girl when she wasn't fighting with
Ryoko. He hated the thought of breaking her heart, but it wouldn't have helped anyone
if he bottled up his feelings for Ryoko and tried to keep things the way they were.
At least now, I won't feel like I'm leading Ayeka on. Still, she's going to be upset, I just
hope she doesn't get angry and try to attack Ryoko or something.

Deciding his current train of thought was too depressing, he instead thought about his
feelings for Ryoko. Running his hand through her spiky hair, his mind drifted as he
pondered just when exactly he fell in love with her. His feelings had been brewing in his
heart for some time now, he just always ignored them and pushed her away. He berated
himself for his sometimes cold treatment of her, I'm amazed she didn't just fly off and
forget about me, I never even gave much indication I really cared about her. Well, that's
all in the past now, and I shouldn't focus on the past, I should think about our future
together.

In response to his tender brushing of her hair, she murmured his name in her sleep and
sighed. Tenchi lowered his head and inhaled her sweet scent, his mind was at peace for
once. This was the right thing to do, I have no doubt about it. These feelings I have
for her...are amazing, I never dreamed it'd be like this.

After a few moments of gently stroking her hair, she began to purr for a bit before slowly
opening her eyes. Instantly she smiled and raised her head up to look at him. Her eyes
shone with infinite love as she gazed at the man who finally opened his heart to her.

"Rise and shine, Ryoko." he said softly while returning her loving gaze.

"Good morning my Tenchi." she responded happily before leaning in to give him a slow,
long kiss.

After pulling away, she arched her back and stretched in a very catlike manner, letting
out a little feline yawn that Tenchi found utterly adorable. She slumped back down on
the bed, her head once more resting on his chest.

I could get used to waking up like this. Ryoko happily thought. For so many nights
before, she had dreamed of being able to spend the night in Tenchi's arms, his
body and soul keeping her warm and safe. And now, all that had come true, after all
the struggles, all the worry and pain, it had finally come true.

Yet even in this bliss, there was one nagging worry at the back of her head, "Ayeka isn't
going to be happy about this." she said distantly.

She felt Tenchi exhale sadly, "I know. I never wanted to hurt her, and that was one of
the reasons I was so afraid to admit my feelings for you. I just hope that you and her
won't get into any more fights now, and I'd really like it if you two could get along."

Ryoko thought for a moment before speaking, "Don't ever tell her I said this Tenchi, but I
actually kind of like Ayeka. Sure, she can be a stuck up, annoying little priss sometimes,
but she can also be a pretty good friend other times. And now that you made your
choice, there won't be a need to fight over you anymore."

He was relieved upon hearing this, "That's good."

Ryoko grinned evilly, "Of course, we'll still get into fights about everything else besides
you." she added.

Some things never change. Tenchi realized, and there were some things he never
wanted to change.

He began to rub her back with one of his hands, "So what do you want to do today?" he
asked.

She shrugged her shoulders, "Doesn't really matter, I could stay like this all day." she
murmured groggily.

And so the couple stayed in bed for the next hour, both just enjoying eachothers
company.

***

Later on...

***

In the bustling halls and walkways in the restaurant district of the station, Tenchi and
Ryoko strode through the crowds hand-in-hand, enjoying the delicious aroma's of the
various delightful dishes the eating establishments had to offer. The two of them had
just gotten back from an arcade, and by now their stomachs had been growling for
some time.

Tenchi looked over and his companion and couldn't help but smile broadly. She was so
full of life, even moreso today than usual. Her endless enthusiam and desire to grab
life by the horns and get all you could out of it was one of the reasons he fell for her.
And he was finding her boundless energy becoming infectious, as he felt excited just
about the prospect of exploring what possibilities the day had to offer.

After seeing a restaurtant he wanted to try out, he gave her hand a tender squeeze to
get her attention, "Say Ryoko, let's go eat here." he said while pointing at the place.

Giving her agreement, the two of them went into the diner and quickly found a spot
to eat since the place was empty.

"Say Tenchi, I gotta use the bathroom, when a waitress gets here, just order
some Donshu soup for me, I haven't had that stuff in ages." she quickly made her
way to the ladies room, leaving Tenchi alone at the table.

It wasn't long before a waitress came up to Tenchi to get his order, "Yeah, I'll have
a plate of Shashki and my...girlfriend would like a bowl of Donshu soup."

Jotting down his order, the waitress nodded and told him they'd get their food in a
moment. Ryoko, my girlfriend...a few weeks ago if someone had referred to her as
that I'd probably complain and make a big deal out of it. But now, it seems so...right.
Funny how quickly your outlook on things can change, I mean when she first got here
I never imagined I'd end up falling for her. She was the loud, pushy, carefree woman
who blew things up around the house and drank a ton of sake, not the kind of girl
I'd imagine one day loving. But I've learned there's more to her than I thought, and
I'm glad I managed to finally discover that.

In the ladies room of the diner, Ryoko was doing some thinking of her own. Standing
in front of the mirror, she quickly fluffed her hair and made sure there wasn't anything
in her teeth, I still can hardly believe this is all happening, Tenchi loves me, ME!
I can touch him and he won't run, I can hug him and he won't flinch, I can kiss him and
he won't try to flee in terror, I can...well if I try doing that with him now, he
probably would get a little nervous. Still, this is almost too good to be true, any moment
now I expect to wake up and find out it was all a dream. Finding her appearance
satisfactory, she quickly strode out of the bathroom.

She spotted the man who filled her thoughts sitting alone. Almost bouncing with happiness,
she walked over to him, "You order that soup for me?" Ryoko inquired.

He nodded his head and she leaned down to give him a quick kiss, she then had a
mischievous gleam in her eye as she wrapped her arms around his neck and sat on his
lap, giving him a passionate kiss this time, her tounge intertwining with his. After
a good minute or so of kissing, she pulled back and smiled at his flushed and dazed
expression.

"I take it you liked that?" she purred.

He nodded dumbly, trying to focus his mind which was becoming increasingly difficult. He
looked in her eyes and found those all too familiar desires flaring up in him again. His
lust driven thoughts were interrupted when their food was delivered.

"We'll continue that later." she whispered in his ear as she stood up and went over to
her chair to eat, leaving a slack jawed and flushed Tenchi to deal with his own thoughts.

She began to sip on her soup as if nothing had happened, "So Tenchi, after we leave
here, I figured we'd head back home since you'll have school starting soon, that ok with
you?"

"What? Oh, sure." he replied, still a bit shaken from earlier.

Ryoko winked at him when she saw he was still staring at her, It won't be long before
we'll be doing alot more than kissing, my Tenchi.

Some hours later, the two of them arrived back at her hotel room, carrying some bags
from an earlier shopping trip. "Say Tenchi, I'm gonna take a quick bath, why don't you
go out and rent a movie for us to watch in here, ok?" she said while closing the bathroom
door.

"Sure thing, I'll be back in awhile." he replied while leaving.

Upon arriving back at the hotel room some time later, Tenchi walked in and found Ryoko on
the bed, laying on her side with her head propped up by her arm. She was flipping through
the channels, apparently not finding anything good on.

"Hey Tenchi, did you get us something to watch?" she asked casually.

He shook his head, "Nope, they didn't have anything that looked good. I guess we'll
have to play some chess tonight or something."

"Fine by me." she chirped.

She bounced off the bed and reached under it to pull out the chess board, "I got a good
feeling that tonight is the night I'm finally gonna beat you at chess."

Tenchi crossed his arms and smirked at her, "Yeah, we'll see about that."

***

Later on...

***

It had been some time now since they started their chess match, both Tenchi and Ryoko
were laying on some blankets set down on the floor, the chess board inbetween them.

Ryoko was on her back staring up at the ceiling lost in thought, her legs crossed and her
hands behind her head, waiting for Tenchi to make his move.

"Say Tenchi, why did you pick me?" she asked curiously.

Tenchi looked up from the chess board and blinked a few times, "Well, there were alot
of reasons. Why do you ask?"

Ryoko rolled over on her stomach and rested her head on her hands, "I don't know, I
guess a part of me always thought you were gonna pick Ayeka. I mean, I'm a rough
and tough space pirate, and she's a proper little princess. I suppose I thought that
you would see her as more your type." she said plainly.

Tenchi leaned his head to the side and looked at Ryoko, "That may be so, but I've always
had trouble being comfortable around Ayeka. She's nice and all, but I can't help but see
her as the regal princess, above my station. I always felt like she expected me to act like
some noble prince, when I'm really just an ordinary Earthling."

Ryoko began to chuckle, "Are you saying you were comfortable around me? I mean,
any time I'd make any pysical contact, you'd jump ten feet in the air."

"Well, you made me uncomfortable for a very different reason. When you'd touch me,
I'd get nervous because I wasn't used to a girl doing that sort of thing. There was also
the fact that I was a bit scared of you. As you may recall, you did attack me the first
night you were at our house." he dryly noted.

"Oh come on Tenchi, I was only playing." she insisted

"Well, my idea of fun wasn't being chased around by a flying woman with an energy sword.
Anyways, as I was gonna say before, over these past few weeks, I have noticed I can be more
relaxed around you." he said while moving one of his chess pieces.

Ryoko took a look at the board and studied his move, "Yeah, but I notice you still get
a little tense when I stick my tounge down your throat." she observed with a grin.

Tenchi scratched the back of his head and looked at the floor, slightly blushing as
he chose not to reply to her.

Ryoko didn't tease him any further because her watchful eye had just spotted a possible
winning move. Sitting up, her grin widened as she made numerous calculations and discovered
she indeed had just found a move which would defeat Tenchi.

With glittering eyes, she took her bishop and slammed it down where she wanted it,
"CHECKMATE!" she shouted jubilantly.

Tenchi scratched his head for a moment as he looked at her move, a look of surprise
on his face. Meanwhile, Ryoko had jumped up and was dancing around the room,
whooping and hollering with joy.

"HAHA! I knew I'd beat you someday, Tenchi!" she exclaimed energeticly.

Tenchi just gave her a funny little smile, "Yeah, you sure got me that time." he said
jovially.

His demeanor threw Ryoko off completely, "Hey, what's with that look? You're hiding
something! You...you let me win didn't you?!" she asked accusingly.

He just gave her a perplexed look, "I don't know what you're talking about Ryoko." he
spoke innocently.

Getting up, he casually walked towards the bathroom, "I think I'm going to get some sleep
now." he simply remarked.

She narrowed her eyes at him, "Oh no you don't! You're not gonna get away from this
that easily." she growled as he went into the bathroom.

After a moment, he emerged still with a serene look on his face as he made his way
towards the bed and laid down, "You gonna stand there all night or will you come to
bed?" he asked.

Normally, Ryoko would have done just that, but in her current angry mood, she wasn't
going to let up, "No way, not until I get the truth! And until I do, you can go sleep in
your own room." she said angrily.

"Ok, if that's what you want." he said calmly while getting up from bed and leaving the
bedroom, he was using all his willpower to contain a smirk as he left. Upon arrival in
his bedroom across the hall, he glanced at the clock, I'm gonna say...5 minutes.
He quickly flopped in bed and patiently waited...

Across the hall, Ryoko was sulking in her room, the rational part of her brain was now
kicking in and she realized she had went a little overboard. She desperately wanted to
go sleep with Tenchi, but her pride was keeping her from going over to his room.
Turning out the lights, she slumped down on her bed. She couldn't help but look
over at the empty side of the bed next to her and sigh, it had only been one night so
far that she slept with him, but she was already addicted to it. The yearning to have his
heartbeat lull her to sleep while being held in his strong arms was becoming all
encompassing by now. Growling at her weakness, she got up and phased into Tenchi's
room.

Tenchi was laying still, taking a look at the clock every now and then, when he saw
Ryoko phase in his room. It only took her 4 minutes to get lonely, oh well, I was close
enough.

Ryoko was very embarrassed by how needy she was feeling, and she looked at the
floor as she spoke, "Umm, Tenchi...I was thinking...about before...maybe I was...what
I'm trying to say is...could I maybe..."

Tenchi just slid over to one side of the bed and patted the space next to him, a
half-smile on his face. Upon seeing this, Ryoko immediately muttered a quick 'Thank
you.' before leaping onto the bed next to Tenchi and quickly snuggling up with him.

After a few moments of laying together silently, Ryoko spoke up, "Tenchi?"

"Mmm?"

"About that game of chess, did you really let me win?" unlike before, this time she asked
him calmy.

Tenchi let out a defeated groan, "No Ryoko, you beat me fair and square."

Ryoko was beaming with a smile as she held Tenchi a bit tighter, "Goodnight, my love."
she softly spoke.

"Goodnight, Ryoko."

Ryoko opened her eyes and blinked a few times, "Tenchi?"

"Mmm?"

"Why didn't you refer to me as your love just now?"

Tenchi opened his eyes and was confused, "What?"

Ryoko pulled away from him and propped her head up on her arm, "When you were
saying goodnight, you called me Ryoko instead of 'my love'. What is it? You don't love
me anymore?" she was feining a hurt tone and was pouting, her bottom lip stuck out.

Tenchi exhaled sharply, "Ryoko, don't be silly." he responded in a tired manner.

"Then I want to hear you say it." she said in a demanding manner.

"What do you want me to say?"

"Those three little words."

Tenchi decided to have some fun with her, like she was doing with him at the moment.
He scratched his head and had a confused look on his face, "What 'Three little words'?"

"You know the words I'm talking about." she growled.

Tenchi looked thoughtful for a moment before recognition dawned on him, "Go to sleep."

She narrowed her eyes and punched him lightly on the shoulder. "What? That was three
words." he said playfully.

"Tenchiiii." she whined.

He chuckled a bit, deciding to give in to her, "Ryoko, I love you." he said sincerely.

She smiled evilly, "That was four words, I wanted three." she started to laugh
when she heard him groan once more. She nestled up to him, wanting to be as
close as possible to him, "Goodnight, my Tenchi." she whispered softly.

"Goodnight, my love." he replied warmly.

It wasn't long before the two quickly fell asleep in eachothers arms.

***

Terafin

***

The cool ocean breezes blew steadily onshore, adding to the blissfully serene
atmosphere that permeated over the area. However, in a nearby building, the
atmosphere was anything but serene.

"I-I'm sorry, miss. I swear I don't know where they're at. They checked out a week ago,
you have to believe me!"

The bounty hunter Nagi stared coldly at the quivering hotel manager who was at the end
of her energy pistol. Scanning his frightened eyes, she sensed he was telling the truth
and lowered her weapon.

Without saying a word, she turned on her heel and walked briskly out of the hotel.

Ken-Ohki bounced along behind her, he could feel the anger radiating from his master.

"Ken-Ohki, let's get the hell out of here." Nagi grumbled.

Quickly obeying the command, the cabbit lept in the air and transformed into a
formidable ship. Upon being beamed up into the ship, Nagi stood ramrod still, staring
out the viewscreen, deep in thought.

"Ken-Ohki, I want you to do an extensive monitering of the communications channels
in the sector. Maybe we'll catch someone talking about a Ryo-Ohki sighting." Nagi tried to
sound optimistic as she spoke, but she knew the odds were against them.

She clenched her fist in anger, fuming inwardly, Damn you Ryoko! I'm so close, I can
feel it! But where are you?

***

3 days later

***

The two warriors stood opposite eachother in the lush, green garden. The beautiful,
calm setting masking the upcoming battle soon to commence. The two combatants stared
at eachother, neither one wanting to give any too much emotion. Inwardly however,
both of them had much on their minds.

Tenchi stared blankly at Ryoko, the perfect picture of the calm and focused warrior, but his
mind was far from focused. It was only a few moments before that he and Ryoko had
engaged in a 'makeout' session, leaving him flushed and wanting more. And looking at
her dressed in a skin tight battle outfit, those wants were only becoming more evident,
Does her suit have to be SO tight? I'm never going to be able to concentrate.

Meanwhile, Ryoko was also dealing with inner struggles. The thrill of combat always
excited her, and after passionately kissing him only moments earlier, it was taking all
her strength to avoid jumping him right there and tearing his clothes off. I have to
get myself under control! Tenchi said he needed some time before he'd be comfortable
with having sex.

Deciding to channel her sexual frustrations into something useful for the sparring session,
she lunged at him with her wooden bokken. Tenchi easily parried that blow and the
subsequent ones after that. Back peddling to give the illusion of weakness, he allowed
Ryoko to furiously swipe at him numerous times.

After Ryoko made a swing that left her right side unguarded, Tenchi attacked with
the quickness of a cheetah. Much to his dismay, it was only a ploy on Ryoko's part, for
as he made his stab, Ryoko instantly phased away next to him and swung at his knee's.
Tenchi lept in the air to avoid her strike, and upon landing spun around to make a
counter-attack of his own.

Obviously surprised by how quickly he recovered, she grit her teeth in frustration.
Over the course of their vacation, they had engaged in many sword training sessions,
and each time, Tenchi seemed to surprise her at least once during a sparring session.

When Tenchi made a weak attempt at disarming her, she chose to play a little trick on
him. Allowing the sword to be knocked in the air, she could barely contain a smirk as
she flew into the air to retreive the sword and then rocketed right back towards him.

His expression changed from victorious to grim rather quickly as he realized his blunder.
Narrowing his eyes, he widened his stance and held his ground as Ryoko plummeted
at him with her bokken ready to strike. Using all his strength, he managed to block her
blow without losing his ground or his sword. Springing forward, he once more made an
attempt to catch her off guard with his quick recovery.

However, this time, Ryoko was well prepared. And when he made an twirling attack
meant to strike her lower abdomen, she was ready and waiting. With a furious downward
chop, she knocked his bokken out of his hand.

Both stood still for a moment as they watched it land on the ground in front of them.
Ryoko lunged forward and planted her foot on top of the bokken, making sure Tenchi
didn't have any options left. However, upon seeing this, Tenchi decided to go to an
absolute last resort.

Tenchi lept forward and slammed into Ryoko, sending the both of them to the ground.
He quickly pinned her arms above her and went to work trying to pry the bokken from
her hand. Ryoko was too stunned to offer much resistance to him, and he easily
disarmed her.

"What do you say we call it a draw?" he panted, a smile on his face.

Ryoko was furious for once more allowing him to pry victory from her grasp. Yet that
anger vanished quickly as she noticed he was still on top of her and still had her arms
pinned above her head. Feeling his strong body pressed against hers, those old
flames of desire became a roaring inferno.

Tenchi noticed the change in her expression from anger to something he saw many times
before...lust. Both of them were still panting, and Tenchi's gaze drifted from her sweat
covered face down to her heaving chest, and rational thought was giving way to primal
urges. He let her arms free, but remained overtop of her, and Ryoko could see in his eyes
that he was starting to feel the same things she was.

Wrapping her arms around his neck and legs around his waist, Ryoko crushed his lips
against hers. Tenchi was surprised by her agressiveness, but made no effort to do
anything about it. Once her tounge invaded his mouth, Tenchi began to feel that
familiar stirring in his loins.

Pulling away, Ryoko stared at him hungrily, "I want you Tenchi, now." she breathed
hotly in his ear.

Hearing those words made Tenchi's heart skip a beat as his old nervousness resurfaced,
"I-I don't know if I'm ready." he stammered as he felt a nosebleed approaching.

Ryoko growled upon hearing this. "Bullshit Tenchi! I can feel you want it just as bad as I
do." to emphasize her point, she began to grind herself against his aroused member.

Tenchi's eyes began to glaze over, and fear gave way to passion, "Not here Ryoko, take
us to our room." he mumbled in a daze.

Her heart soared as she heard this, one of her final dreams was coming to pass.
Instanly teleporting them onto a bed in her bedroom, she still remained beneath him as
she began to nibble on his ear and lick his neck.

"This...is my first time, Ryoko." he said softly.

Ryoko stopped what she was doing and looked in his eyes, and smiled tenderly at him,
"This is my first time too, Tenchi." she whispered.

His eyes widened, "Really? I didn't think...I mean I wasn't sure if..." knowing he was
treading on thin ice, he chose not to continue what he was saying.

Ryoko glared at him and put on a mock frown, "So, you thought I slept around with a
bunch of guys, did you?" she asked half-seriously.

Tenchi shook his head feverishly, "No! Of course not! I just thought that someone as...
beautiful as you would have had some...experience in that area." he said nervously,
not wanting to anger her.

Ryoko chuckled at his behavior, but couldn't help but blush a little at his calling her
beautiful, "It's ok Tenchi, I'm not mad. And to tell you the truth, I've never even had a
boyfriend, let alone ever had sex."

Tenchi's gaze softened, "Well, we'll learn together." he whispered as he drew her in
for a soft, loving kiss that quickly deepened into a passionate one. Ryoko didn't want
to admit it, but she was nervous herself, yet the flood of passion that poured between
them banished any fears.

And it wasn't long before their clothes were cast aside and they expressed their feelings
as only lovers could.

***

6 days later

***

The cabbit ship Ryo-Ohki soared gracefully through the stars, not a worry on her mind.
However, one of the occupants of the ship had quite a few worries...

"AH CRAP!" Ryoko shouted as she took the burnt dinner out of the oven.

Angrily chucking the charred mess into the garbage, Ryoko pondered just what she
should do, I'm sick of these stupid frozen meals. I should cook something for Tenchi, I
bet he'd be really proud of me if I cooked him a good dinner, it'd show him how great of a
housewife I would make. How hard can cooking be? Chop this, fry that, boil this, it's
easy!

Self confidence soaring, she began to rummage through the storage cabinets and freezer
units to gather up the makings for her dinner. Picking out some frozen fish, a few
vegetables and some bags of rice, she dumped the items on the counter, Ok, I'm going
to make a nice vegetable soup and some fried fish on top of rice, it should be a cinch.

She started to chop up the vegetables using an energy sword, unfortunately, she also
chopped up the cutting board into little pieces as well. And she scooped up the chunks of
wood along with the vegetables and put them in a pot of water, humming a tune to
herself, she didn't even notice this blunder. Next she poured the entire bag of rice in
another pot and put a woefully small amount of water in it. She then threw the still
frozen fish on a frying pan to cook. She smacked her head when she realized she hadn't
put any seasonings in the vegetable soup. So she put a can of salt, pepper, red pepper,
soy sauce, garlic powder, rosemary, parsley, and about 8 other seasonings in. Standing
back she admired her handiwork, Tenchi is gonna love this!

Tenchi was sitting at the table on the bridge wondering what was taking dinner so long
when he saw Ryoko come out with a platter in hand. Beaming with a smile she presented
him with her dinner, "I made you a special dinner tonight Tenchi, so eat up."

A large sweatdrop formed on Tenchi's head when he got a look at her meal. The rice
looked burnt beyond belief, the soup looked strange to say the least, and the fish
seemed underdone. Looking up and seeing pride and hope shining in Ryoko's eyes, he
knew he had to eat it. Mentally performing a quick prayer, he took a bite of the fish
only to find it was still frozen in the center, and still had bones in it. Almost breaking a
few teeth, he crunched on it and tried his best not to gag. "Well Tenchi, do you like
it?" Ryoko asked hopefully.

He gave her a fake smile, "Idz...delishous." he said with his mouth full.

Ryoko squealed with delight and spun around the room, and while she was doing this he
hurriedly spit out his food into a napkin. "I'm so glad you like it!" she excitedly exclaimed.
She once again stared at him, waiting for him to continue eating. Tenchi still had a fake
smile on when he hesitantly took a spoonfull of soup. His eyes widened when his tounge
was assaulted with the overseasoned soup, and then he bit down on a chunk of wood.
Unable to keep the charade going any longer he spit out the soup into the bowl, "What
was that! A piece of...wood?" he asked incredulously as he looked at soup.

Ryoko's once soaring spirits took a nosedive when she saw Tenchi's reaction, "What? Let
me see..." She took a look at the soup herself and saw the chunks of wood, "How did
those get in there?" she wondered aloud. She took a sip of the soup herself to see if it
affected the flavor any, and like Tenchi, spit it out as well. "That was terrible! Well, at
least the fish was good..." as she was saying this she took a bite of the fish herself...and
promptly spit that out as well, "Tenchi! You lied, you said this fish was good!"

"I'm sorry, I just didn't want to hurt your feelings Ryoko." he replied in an apologetic tone.

Ryoko let out a heavy sigh and snatched the plate and bowl from the table, "That's ok,
I'll just heat up another frozen dinner because I stink at cooking real food." she grumbled
under her breath as she made her way towards the kitchen.

Tenchi could see she was dissapointed, so he got up and followed her into the kitchen.
"Ryoko, don't be so hard on yourself, cooking a good meal can be tough." he said
sympatheticly as he put a hand on her shoulder.

Ryoko smiled at his efforts to comfort her, "I know, Tenchi. I just wanted to be able to do
something nice for you."

Tenchi wrapped his arms around her waist and put his chin on her shoulder, "You know,
I bet Sasami would love to teach you how to cook."

Ryoko leaned into his embrace and her eyes lit up, "Yeah, I bet she could teach me. Then
I'd be able to cook for you all the time, like a real housewife."

Tenchi let go of her and began to laugh, and Ryoko gave him an annoyed look, "What
is so funny?"

Tenchi shook his head, "Nothing, it's just that I've never really pictured you as the
typical housewife."

She crossed her arms and glared at him, "And just why not? You don't think I could
do it?"

Getting his laughter under control, he walked over and placed his hands on her
shoulders, "No, Ryoko. I'd love it if you would cook for me, and be like a typical
housewife. But I want you to know that you don't have to feel like you have to do this
so I'll love you. I'll love you if you're the wild, untamed space pirate who flies through
walls or the ordinary housewife who cooks and cleans." upon finishing he gave her
a kiss.

Ryoko's anger had dissapated when he heard his words, "You'll still have your space
pirate, she'll just know how to make something edible to eat."

They both laughed a bit before he left to resume reading his book. Ryoko watched him
go before turning around and taking out a frozen meal. Humming a happy tune to
herself she popped it in the oven and leaned against the wall, her mind bubbling with
delight at recalling his loving words.

Her head snapped up when Ryo-ohki began to tell her that they were orbiting Zelvia,
Damn! I forgot all about getting those crystals for Washu. Well, I guess I better go
steal them now, no sense wasting any time. Though...I probably shouldn't tell Tenchi
about this.

Quickly phasing into her bedroom, she hurriedly grabbed a sack and was only moments
from teleporting outside the cabbit ship when Tenchi happened to walk in.

Tenchi stopped still and had a perplexed expression as he stumbled in on her, "Ryoko, I
thought you were in the kitchen...and why are you carrying a bag?"

Sweatdrops formed on Ryoko's head as she wracked her brain for a suitable excuse,
"Ahh...I just wanted to...change the sheets." she anxiously replied.

Tenchi crossed his arms and leveled a stern gaze at her, "Ryoko, you aren't fooling me,
now what's really going on?"

Her shoulders slumped as she realized she was busted, "Alright Tenchi, I'll tell you the
truth. See, before we left Earth, Washu made me promise to get some Zelvian crystals
for her experiments. Problem is, the people of the planet won't allow any outsiders to
have the crystals, so I'm going to steal them."

"I don't like the idea of you getting into any trouble Ryoko, I think you should just
forget about this." he stated seriously.

Ryoko shrugged her shoulders, "Ok Tenchi, if you don't mind the idea of sleeping with
a water-sprite. Remember this is Washu we're talking about here, do you really want
to find out what she does when she hears I didn't get her those crystals?"

Tenchi exhaled sharply in defeat, "Alright Ryoko, go ahead and get the crystals. Just...
try and stay out of trouble, ok?"

She smiled broadly and gave him a quick kiss on the lips, "Don't worry Tenchi, everything
is gonna be just fine." she confidently stated before phasing outside the craft.

Tenchi leaned against the wall and stared at the spot Ryoko had just been in, She sure
knows how to make things interesting that's for sure, I never know what she's gonna
do next. One minute she's like a hungry tigress who likes to 'surprise' me when I'm
taking a bath, and another minute she's like an innocent kitten who just wants to cuddle
with me. She's alot of things, but boring isn't one of them.

Meanwhile, on the surface of Zelvia, Ryoko was soaring through the clouds,
determination evident on her features. Her sharp eyes were scanning the ground below,
looking for any sign of her prize.

A sly grin formed on her face as she spotted her target, which was a large mining
facility. With the grace of an eagle, she swooped down and phased through the walls
of the building. Doing her best to stay out of sight of anyone around, she snuck through
the shadows searching for any sign of the crystals.

Little did she know that her arrival was already known...

***

Onboard Ken-Ohki

***

The bounty hunter Nagi was soundly sleeping in the bed chambers onboard the ship
when Ken-Ohki began to loudly insist upon her waking up.

"What the hell is it, Ken-Ohki?" Nagi growled as she rubbed her eyes.

Any tiredness quickly faded when she heard the message, "Well I'll be damned, Zelvian
defense systems have detected Ryo-Ohki orbiting the planet."

With a smirk, she lept out of bed and began to prepare herself for what sure to be a busy
day, "Ken-Ohki, full speed ahead to Zelvia!" she shouted.

***

Zelvia

***

The cyan-haired space pirate finally spotted her prize as she lurked in the shadows.
There was a plentiful bounty of the dark black crystals being sorted through, and Ryoko
wasted no time in quickly making her move. She lept out of the shadows and blasted a
few energy shots overhead, making the workers scatter in a panic.

"Well, that was almost too easy." she chuckled as she went over and retrieved several
of the crystals. Phasing outside the mining camp, she rocketed skyward back torwards
her spaceship.

***

Near the first moon of Zelvia

***

Slowly drifting through the vastness of space, a small grey colored spaceship was
leisurely making it's way around the first moon of Zelvia. Onboard the small craft was a
teal haired Galaxy Police officer by the name of Kiyone Makibi.

"10 days, 10 days left until I have to go back to...Mihoshi." she spat the name out
like a curse.

With a pitiful groan, she sank into her uncomfortable pilots seat, her mind bogged down
by depression. It had only been a few hours earlier that her chief had contacted Kiyone
and told her that the GP officer she was standing in for would be back from maternity
leave in 10 days. Which meant Kiyone would go back to her regular post patroling
the Earth sector with Mihoshi.

Needless to say, this news did not sit well with Kiyone.

Her gloomy mood was dispersed when she recieved an alert from the local GP station
on Zelvia. Quickly straightening her appearance, she opened up a link with the planet.

"Detective Kiyone, we have urgent news. The space pirate Ryoko has just stolen some
Zelvian crystals. Now, I don't think I have to tell you how important those are to the
Zelvian military. If those crystals fall into the wrong hands, there will be serious hell to
pay. Since you are the only officer on patrol in this sector, I'm leaving this important
task to you, I'm counting on you detective Kiyone!"

Kiyone's eyes were wide open and her jaw hanging open in shock, What is Ryoko
doing out here stealing crystals? And what am I gonna do? Ryoko is a friend, but I can't
just ignore this. I'll have to track her down and find out what this is all about. with
grim determination, she powered up the craft and rocketed off towards Zelvia.

***

Back onboard Ryo-Ohki

***

"I had a feeling this sort of thing was gonna happen." Tenchi muttered tiredly as a blast
from the local Zelvian fighter craft impacted Ryo-Ohki.

"Don't worry Tenchi, those puny ships can't keep up with us. Heck, we've already outrun
practicly all of them already." Ryoko quipped.

She cast a seductive glance at Tenchi, and a devious little notion popped into her head.
Without saying a word she phased onto Tenchi's lap and began to rub her cheek
against his.

"You know Tenchi, a great escape always makes me...excited." she cooed.

Tenchi's face became a bit red and his eyes widened as he knew what she meant.
He also found that his self control was rapidly vanishing.

"Umm, isn't it still a little dangerous, I mean with those ships after us." he stammered.

Ryoko started to plant kisses all along Tenchi's face and neck, "We're perfectly alright
Tenchi, Ryo-Ohki has already outrun them, and besides, I like a little danger."

After weighing the various options for a moment, Tenchi decided to just go with what felt
right. He quickly wrapped his arms around her and planted a firm kiss on her lips,
making her moan with delight.

Their lust driven interlude was rudely interrupted however when Ryo-Ohki assaulted
Ryoko's mind with an urgent message. Ryoko broke the kiss and paled a bit when she
listened to what Ryo-Ohki was telling her.

"Oh shit, Nagi is here." she muttered.

Tenchi's eyes widened, "What?! Nagi? Oh great."

Jumping up from the seat, Ryoko charged torwards the command crystal, only to be
met with even worse news.

"Damnit! Ken-Ohki is too close in this area. Wait a second...the third moon of Zelvia has
an extremely dense atmosphere which may be able to distort any tracking of us. I'm
gonna land there and hope Nagi doesn't spot us."

Tenchi walked over beside her, "You think it'll work?"

Ryoko gave him a sheepish smile and shrugged her shoulders.

***

Renal, third moon of Zelvia

***

After landing on the barren surface of Renal, Tenchi and Ryoko quickly took a look around
them. The surface was a sandy, rocky terrain, similiar to some of the deserts back on
Earth. Tenchi looked up and noticed that the second moon of Zelvia was visible in the
daytime sky. It loomed overhead like a silent guardian, and Tenchi couldn't help but
marvel at how much detail he could make out of the surface. One thing about intergalatic
travel, there sure were alot of beautiful sights. However, the stifling heat was making any
peaceful nature sightings most uncomfortable.

"This place is a desert, Ryoko. I hope we aren't gonna have to stay here for long."
Tenchi mused.

Ryoko sat down on a nearby rock and wiped the sweat from her brow, "Nah, she should
pass by pretty quickly, and we'll be on our way."

No sooner had she said that, did the glint of an incoming spaceship get spotted by
the two of them.

"Ok...so maybe I was wrong about that." she mumbled under her breath.

Ryo-Ohki began to joyously call out to Ken-Ohki, and it wasn't long before the ship
beamed down Nagi and transformed back into a cabbit.

While their cabbits happily reunited, Ryoko and Nagi stared eachother down on the
boiling desert sands.

"Well well well, long time no see Ryoko. I figured you'd do something cowardly to
try and avoid me." Nagi smugly spoke.

Ryoko narrowed her eyes, "Enough talk Nagi, you want a fight? Fine! Let's get this
over with!"

"Wait!" Tenchi called out.

Both of the women stopped and looked at him, with a grim and distressed expression,
he stepped in front of Ryoko.

"Nagi, I know it's Ryoko you want, but I cannot allow you to harm her. So you're going
to have to fight me if you want a shot at her." he boldly stated.

Ryoko's breath caught in her throat as panic took over, "Tenchi! No! You have to stay
out of this. This battle is mine alone to fight."

Tenchi pulled out Tenchi-Ken and turned around, a gentle smile on his face, "Ryoko,
I won't let you fight alone anymore." Needless to say, Ryoko was stunned and
worried, but said nothing in reply.

Tenchi faced Nagi and ignited his sword, a look of calm over his face. Nagi retained her
smug look and took out her energy whip. A moment of silence hung over the scorched
battleground as the two combatants and one anxious onlooker faced eachother down.

Then, like a shot was fired signaling the start of a race, both Nagi and Tenchi charged
eachother. Nagi let out a battle cry as she swung her whip in an attempt to grab
Tenchi's legs, however, Tenchi lept above the whip and was swinging his sword
down upon her.

Yet this was just what Nagi had planned, for she dodged to the side and planted a
devastating kick in Tenchi's stomach, knocking the wind out of him and sending him
to the dirt.

Nagi watched Ryoko's shock with a smug smile and planted her foot on Tenchi's neck,
"Really Ryoko, I figured you'd pick a real man instead of a weakling like this." she
taunted.

Ryoko growled and ignited her energy sword, but Nagi waved a finger at her, "Ah ah ah,
not so fast, Ryoko. One move from you and I'll crush his neck in an instant. Now, what I
want is for this wretched excuse of a man to get off this planet and leave the two of us
alone to fight. And this time...they'll be no escaping me Ryoko, we settle this here."

Tenchi tried to speak but Nagi was making his breathing quite difficult. Ryoko cast a
saddened look at Tenchi before getting ready to agree to Nagi's terms.

However, before Ryoko said anything, a shot rang out, tearing a hole in Nagi's leg.

With a cry of pain, Nagi doubled over on the ground, and whipped her head up to catch
a glimpse of her assailant.

"Detective...Kiyone?!" she gasped.

Both Tenchi and Ryoko stared slack jawed and amazed at their unexpected savior.
Kiyone's expression however, was all business as she strode briskly towards Nagi.

"Bounty hunter Nagi, you have no right or legal standing to be conducting this
unprovoked harassment. Now, you'll have to appear before a local judge and submit
a report explaining why you took your current actions. Failure to do so could result
in a serious fine and a mark on your record. The following is covered under GP law
number..."

"Will you SHUT UP?!" Nagi roared. She tried to stand up but fell back down on the
ground, "Are you gonna stand there and let me bleed or what?" she bitterly spat while
gritting her teeth.

Kiyone raised an eyebrow at her, "That depends on if the suspect is still considered a
threat."

"You stupid GP have to stick your noses in everything don't you? Well I'm not gonna
let Ryoko slip through my fingers..." her eyes widened as she twirled her head about
furiously.

"Where the hell did they go?"

***

Out in space

***

"Talk about a close call!" Ryoko jubilantly exclaimed as Ryo-Ohki sped away from the
surface of Renal.

Tenchi was rubbing his throat, looking out the viewscreen, "You know, I wish we had
a chance to thank Kiyone for helping out."

Ryoko patted him on the head, "Don't worry, she'll be back home on Earth soon and we
can thank her then. Right now we need to get out of here while Nagi's distracted."

Both of them sat silent for a moment in their seats, when Ryoko made the first move
to break up the lull.

"Say Tenchi, how about we pick up where we left off before Nagi interrupted, hmm?" she
cooed in his ear as she phased behind him and draped her arms around his neck.

Tenchi was gazing at a particularly beautiful cluster of colored stars in the viewscreen,
"I'm a little worn out, Ryoko. Nagi really knocked the wind out of me."

Ryoko's mood sank a bit as she heard him. But before she was about to go back to
her seat, Tenchi took ahold of her hand and looked up at her, "Why don't you just sit
with me for awhile?" he asked warmly while patting his knee.

With a beaming smile, Ryoko quickly hopped up on his lap and nestled close to him. Tenchi
put his arms around her and just stared quietly at the stars outside the ship while
Ryoko ran her fingers through his spikey hair. It was moments like this which Tenchi truely
felt at peace with himself and the world around him, where everything else just melted
away and all he felt was him and the woman he loved.

***

10 days later

***

Soaring towards the blue sphere of Earth, Ryo-Ohki let out an excited shout of joy
at the prospect of seeing her friend Sasami again. Onboard, there were mixed emotions...

"Well, we're back home." Tenchi observed.

Tenchi looked over at Ryoko and saw a slightly distant look in her golden eyes, he
took ahold of her hand gently to reassure her.

She gave him a grateful smile when she felt this, "We've been through alot since we
started this trip Tenchi...and I guess a part of me never wanted it to end." she
quietly finished.

"Hey, just because this trip is ending doesn't mean we can't take another one in
the future." he stated in an upbeat manner.

Her mood seemed to lift up, "Yeah, I guess you're right." she said as she smiled at him.

On the Earth's surface, it was a normal day at the Masaki residence, Ayeka was tending
the garden that her and Mihoshi had planted, and she couldn't help but notice with a smile
just how well it was coming along. After watering the last of the plants, Ayeka stood up
and stretched her cramped legs. She looked up at the clear blue sky and took a deep breath
of the clean air. Lately, she had this odd sense of peace, as if the dark cloud that had
been looming over her had finally lifted.

It was then that she caught sight of a bright light streaking towards the Earth. It
quickly became apparent that it was some sort of spaceship. When she saw that it was
Ryo-Ohki returning, that sense of peace faded rapidly. It was replaced with a knot
in her stomach and an extreme feeling of uneasiness. She expected she would be
overjoyed to see Tenchi returning, but instead a thick fog of dread seemed to form
around her.

The cabbit ship beamed down Tenchi and Ryoko along with their luggage, and both stood
side by side with smiles as the residents of the house ran out to greet them. Sasami
was the first to greet them as she gave a hug to both of them.

"Tenchi! Ryoko! You're back! I missed you two so much!" she jubilantly shouted.

"We missed you too, kiddo." Ryoko replied while ruffling her hair.

Ryo-Ohki changed into cabbit form and leapt at Sasami crying out in joy. And Sasami
giggled with delight at being reuinited with her.

Mihoshi and Kiyone were the next to greet Tenchi and Ryoko.

Tenchi shook Kiyone's hand, "Kiyone, we really owe you for what you did back on Renal."

She merely waved it off with her hand, "Don't worry about it. I enjoyed listening to
Nagi whine like a spoiled little brat." she chuckled.

Kiyone then put her hands on her hips and glared at Ryoko, "Now, what was all that
stuff about stealing Zelvian crystals?" she asked firmly.

"Hey, they're for Washu, not me. You can go in her lab and ask her about it."

A sweatdrop formed on Kiyone's head, "Uhh, I think I'll wait on that."

After exchanging greetings with Mihoshi, both Tenchi and Ryoko visibly tensed when
Ayeka calmy strode over to them.

"Lord Tenchi, I am happy to see you again, and I'm relieved that you were able
arrive safely." she softly stated while placing her hands over his.

Tenchi inwardly cringed when he thought about what he was going to tell her later
on, "It's nice to be back home." he did his best to sound upbeat to cover his
uneasiness.

Ayeka straightened her back when she turned to Ryoko, "Hello miss Ryoko, I'm
pleased to see you didn't drag Tenchi into some trouble and get him killed." she quipped.

"And I'm pleased to see you're still being a stuck up little snob." Ryoko taunted
jovially.

Neither one would actually admit to missing eachother, so instead they chose to
express their feelings through their usual verbal barbs. After a moment of glaring at
eachother, Tenchi suggested that they go in for some tea.

***

Later

***

"I gotta tell you Sasami, the one thing I missed most while I was gone was your
cooking." Ryoko sincerely stated while munching on a rice ball.

Sasami blushed slightly and bowed her head in appreciation. Everyone else had
finished eating by now, and Ryoko was devouring her seconds. Since they had arrived back
on Earth, Ayeka had been carefully watching Tenchi and Ryoko. While to the untrained eye,
nothing appeared different, Ayeka could tell something was up. Ryoko wasn't hanging all
over Tenchi, it was as if she was making a conscience effort to avoid pysical contact
with him, and there were the short looks they exchanged across the table.

Ayeka quietly nibbled on her food, and a sense of resignation sunk in as she observed
their behavior.

Tenchi set down his chopsticks and had a downcast expression as he looked at Ayeka, "Ayeka,
can I talk to you in private?"

And here it comes...

She nodded her head silently and stood up, getting a look at Ryoko as she did. Ayeka had a
sad smile as she saw that Ryoko had a sincerely apologetic look on her face as she looked
at Ayeka. I always knew deep down that you were never my enemy, Ryoko.

Tenchi and Ayeka made their way to Noboyuki's study in total silence, Tenchi was hanging
his head when he shut the door behind them. Ayeka gracefully strode over to the chair and
sat down, folding her hands on her lap.

As Tenchi looked into those ruby eyes, he couldn't help but feel pity, I wish this didn't
have to happen Ayeka, I wish nobody would get hurt by my choice.

Ayeka could see that he was in distress, so she decided to save him the trouble of trying
to broach the subject, "You're in love with Ryoko." it was a statement, not a question.

His eyes widened in surprise, he was baffled as to how she knew. His shock gave way to
sadness as he closed his eyes, not wanting to see the pain on her face, "I'm sorry Ayeka,
but I do love her." he said quietly.

She blinked a few times, a strange numbness washing over her. Slowly, stabs of pain began
to make themselves present in her heart, but it wasn't as overwhelming as she had feared,
Perhaps it's because I've been preparing for it while he was gone.

"I'm happy for the both of you." while her voice was small and quiet, there was sincerity
evident in it.

Tenchi opened his eyes in surprise, perplexed by her reaction, "I never wanted to hurt you
Ayeka, it's just that if I kept my feelings bottled up then I'd only be hurting all of
you."

He once more hung his head in shame, "I feel like you've wasted all this time waiting for
me, I'm sorry."

Ayeka smiled slightly and walked over to him, placing a hand on his shoulder, "Don't think
like that Tenchi, you've given me so much. Since I landed on Earth, I've been happier than
I've ever been, and I have you and everyone else in this house to thank."

Tenchi smiled warmly and pulled her into a hug, "No matter what happens Ayeka, I will
always treasure you as a friend, never forget that."

Her eyes began to water as she tried to keep her emotions in check, "Thank you Tenchi, I'll
remember that. Now, I'd like some time alone please."

Backing away, he nodded his head and quietly exited the study, leaving Ayeka alone with her
thoughts. Her head was filled with a mix of emotions, there was pain at the knowledge
that Tenchi had chosen Ryoko, there was a bit of happiness that Tenchi had found someone who
made him happy, and there was a sense of relief. She was relieved that all the wondering
and worrying was finally over, and that she could now move on, and there was relief that
she'd never have to possibly choose between her planet and Tenchi.

Sitting down, she decided that as hard as it may be, she had to avoid dwelling on what might
have been and focus instead on what her own future held. She didn't know what path lay ahead,
but her heavy heart was warmed knowing that there was always a group of friends who would
support her.

***

Outside

***

It was a balmy summers evening, the heat of the day was fading as the sun sank below the
horizon. Ryoko sat on the ground, just enjoying the glorious colored hues of the sky at
dusk, happy to be back home. For Ryoko, it was great to have a place to call home, for
so long, she was on the run from bounty hunters and the Galaxy Police, and never stayed
more than a few weeks in one area. But now, she had a real place to call her own, with
a real group of friends, and the love of her life. Things just couldn't get much better.
she thought.

Her sensitive ears caught the sound of the grass rustling behind her, turning around, she
smiled when she saw who it was, "Hey Tenchi, did you come out to enjoy the sunset with me?"

Tenchi sat down on the ground beside her, "Yeah, I missed being able to come out here and
watch the sunset." he quietly noted.

"How did it go?" she asked with worry in her voice.

Tenchi exhaled tiredly, "Well, she's hurting, I can tell. But, she took it alot better than
I had expected."

Ryoko's shoulders relaxed when she heard that, "So she's not in a rage and planning on
trying to kill me?" she half-jokingly asked.

"No, I think she'll be alright. But we should really make it clear that we're there for
her as friends, and that includes you."

"Yeah, I'll be nice to her, but not for too long." she light heartedly quipped.

Both sat in silence the for a few moments, each just basking in this calm moment. Ryoko
then laid her head down on Tenchi's lap, and he began to gently brush his hand through
her hair.

"We'll have to get Washu to put some sort of sound dampening device on our bedroom door."
she thoughtfully spoke.

Tenchi instantly picked up on her meaning, knowing how loud she could get during their
lovemaking, "Yeah, I just hope Washu doesn't want that sample from me as a payment." he
mumbled.

Ryoko raised an eyebrow at him, "What did you say about a sample?"

"Umm, nothing."

She eyed him suspiciously for a moment, but decided not to press that matter any further,
"Anyways, we won't need any sound dampening devices when we get married and get a place
for ourselves." she non-chalantly stated.

Tenchi stopped what he was doing and looked at her with a slightly anxious look on his face,
"Ryoko, we just started having a romantic relationship, don't you think it's a tad soon
to talk about marriage and settling down?"

"What? Don't you want to marry me someday?" she seriously asked.

Tenchi was silent for a moment, and then his nervous expression softened, "Of course I do."
he said sincerely.

"But, I think we should wait until after I graduate from school before we start thinking
about that." he quickly added.

She gave him an annoyed look, "Oh I see, it'll take you that long until you can stand the
idea of settling down with me?"

He tweaked her nose and gave her a reassuring look, "Don't be silly. It's just that I want to
wait until I can make sure I'll be able to provide a secure future for us and any kids we
might have."

Satisfied with his answer, she once more allowed herself relax as the fading sunlight bathed
the two in it's final warmth.

Ryoko looked up at Tenchi's serene expression as he watched the sunset, "I think I want to
have a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony." she casually remarked.

"We're not even engaged yet and you're already planning the wedding?" he chuckled.

She merely shrugged her shoulders, "Never too early to start planning."

He gave her a thoughtful look as he brushed a stray band of cyan hair out of her eyes,
"I never expected you'd want a traditional wedding."

Ryoko mulled over his remark for a moment, "Well, my entire life has been untraditional,
I figured I'd like to try out something ordinary for once."

He gave her a playful smile, "Don't tell me my wild space pirate is going soft." he chided
light heartedly.

"Nah, I'm still plenty wild, especially at the things that count." her eyes twinkled with
mischief as she spoke.

Both were silent for a few moments as a warm evening breeze enveloped them.

"Ok, since you want to start planning for this stuff right now, why don't you tell me
where you'd like to go on our honeymoon?" he asked curiously.

Her eyes traveled up to the clear sky as the first stars made their appearance, and her
expression softened as she quietly replied, "Among the stars..."




The End

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well there you have it folks, the end. I must say I've had a blast writing this fic, and
I want to thank all those who gave me such kind words as I wrote. I'm enormously self-critical,
so your words really gave me the confidence to go on. You haven't read the last from me
however, as I'm already plotting the details for my next fic. It's gonna be another T/R
fic that I think has an original premise, so stay tuned!