Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit intended, and if I do get sent money I promise to give it to some corrupt charity.

Author's note: I signed up here about a year ago. This fic is eigth months old and I have a few that are even older. I waited with publishing it because I thought I'd start with something longer, but the longer ones I've started on are incomplete and very likely to remain so for some time, so here goes.

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Rescued

Ryoko fumed. From far away came the sounds of explosions; a battle.

She touched the shield holding her prisoner. It was just a little too strong for her to break. She hissed. Once again, she would have to be rescued.

It gnawed on her.

Once again Tenchi would step out of the fires, coming to her rescue.

…And Aeka's, of course. She snapped her gaze over to the wretched princess, sitting in the opposite corner of the hovering cell.

Look at her, she was probably enjoying this. A chance to have Tenchi hold her, too ´weak´ to run by herself when she was freed. Little thing probably let herself be caught, just so this would happen.

Look at her, big eyes shining with loving gratitude.

Wait a second…

Was she… practising?

She bloody was! The girl was studying her reflection in the prison shield, bloody practising that face so she would look her cutest when Tenchi arrived.

Hah! Try as she might, she would never match the predatory grace of the greatest pirate in the galaxy! She should put on a face like that herself, really, just to show the girl how matters stood.

Ryoko took to refine her own expression of Damsel in Distress, slowly working her way from Murderous to Ryoohki Wants A Carrot´.

She compared with the other woman.

Yes.

That would show her. When Tenchi came he would see clearly who the real beauty was. Those eyes of his would take one look on her loving face and his heart would melt.

Only to show Aeka, she reminded herself. She had no need to manipulate poor Tenchi with big eyes, unlike that hussy of a princess. He would see reason one day.

Then again… he would be saving her when he came. Not that she needed it, but… technically saving. She could give him a smile like that just to be… grateful. Yes, simply to show him she appreciated the trouble he was going through for her. That would make him happy. And he would smile, then, those beautiful eyes on her…

She shook herself. Tenchi would take her without trickery in the end, and then he would have all the smiles he could want. This was just to show Aeka. She dropped the smile and turned to look at the woman, finding the purple haired hussy glaring back at her with eyes of liquid fire.

Ooh?

So she was allowed to practise appearance, and Ryoko wasn't?

She matched the offensive glare with one of her own. The air seemed to vibrate between them. How dared she?

The glaring went on for a minute or two, the faint sounds in the distant drawing ever closer.

"All of this is your fault, you know?" Aeka snapped at last, pulling her eyes away. "You just had to stay in that vault and steal more treasure, didn't you?"

"Tsh! Your fault we had to go there in the first place. I was just making it worth my time. Anyway, you were supposed to keep guard."

"My fault!? You sold him that thing! You knew it was a royal artefact! Of course I had to get it back! And I kept guard just fine! The gate closed because you blasted that safe open."

"Well, yes, maybe so, but you could have done something about it. It was only steel, you know."

"If it was only steel, why didn't you break it?"

"I was emptying the safe. You just said so yourself. You could have told me when the guards came, at least, if you hadn't been so busy staring at yourself in those mirrors."

"Those mirrors were the soldiers' shields! I tried to tell you, but you were drunk! How did you manage that!?"

"Must have... been something in that sake..." Ryoko mumbled. "They really shouldn't keep that stuff around for anyone to just take, you know. It was… odd."

"They kept it in the SAFE! Because it was a very rare and expensive sort! And you still got drunk in less than two minutes!"

"More like five. You should have tried some, it was wonderful."

Aeka boiled over. She screamed and leapt for the other woman, who met her almost halfway. For a moment there was an exchange of energy blasts, exploding with the sound of thunder as they touched their targets' shields, shaking the cell. Dwarf sized logs appeared in the air, sending bolts of pain against the raging pirate. She drew her sword, and cleft the few bolts that made it past her shield. If the princess wanted to get serious, so would she. She started summoning energy.

At the edge of her vision, Ryoko noticed the logs fading. Not disappearing, but almost.

The princess was gathering most of her power into a single strike.

Meaning… that her shield would be weakened as well.

Ryoko mustered all the energy she could without losing control of it, and sent it flying in the form of a single golden sphere.

It shattered the weakened shield like glass.

The princess leapt aside, pushing the incinerating ball away from her with the bolt meant for Ryoko. Where the projectiles met, a single bolt formed; a sphere shaped purple & gold bolt of destruction that went flying into the wall of the force field.

The wall shattered.

As did the rest of the force field that was their prison.

They fell to the floor, a good four meters down.

As she lay with her poor head against the floor, Ryoko cursed herself for forgetting she could fly.

With one hand covering her pounding forehead, she dusted herself off, and looked up at the woman she blamed for all that had gone wrong for the last day.

Only to find herself locked into a second staring contest.

She was about to advance on the red eyed villain when she heard a massive gate creak open.

She turned her eyes on the man in the gate, and they went from golden fiery death to sparkling gems with the speed of light. It was Tenchi.

She focused all her attention on putting on the most grateful face she could muster, a mask of purest adoration and admiration.

"Tenchi!" she called, and discovered that she was not the only one. She very nearly lost the face she had put on, but managed to keep her calm.

Clearly her adversary had not been as strong in willpower, because Tenchi's face became one of dreadful anticipation, as it so often did when Aeka was around the two of them.

Poor Tenchi, always on edge because of that dreadful woman.

Ryoko smiled.

Tonight she would think of a way to cheer her beloved up.