Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, Pioneer and AIC do. I have just used them in a story that I would love to see happen. I am not doing this for money, and definitely not looking for a lawsuit as I am barely making ends meet as it is. I hope you enjoy the story and as a side note, This story takes place using the OVA characters and occurs after Daughter of Darkness movie or MNE as it is often called.

(Authors Note: I am just correcting a number of spelling mistakes.)

Tenchi Muyo: The Softening

Things at the Masaki house are never boring, especially in the morning. However, Tenchi has noticed that for the past week instead of seeing Ryoko in his room when he woke up, he was alone. Part of him was relieved but he was surprised that he missed it. He thought back to the time that Mayuka first arrived. He was mortified that he might be a father, especially since she was close to his age. Chucking to himself he remembered the first time he was hit with the idea of being a parent. It was the time that Ryoko had convinced everyone that Ryo-Ohki's egg was the child of Ryoko and himself. He remembered that day clearly, but he unsure which part scared him more, being a father or being with Ryoko.

Ryoko had nudged up against him and proclaimed how happy she was to have a child with him and when he held the egg and it opened he was shocked and surprised. Then the truth was revealed and he found out that it was not his. He found himself relieved and yet also sad. Now he really did have a child, but it was not from anyone that he loved. He lay in bed for a few moments thinking about actually being a father, but with whom...

After a few moments of thinking he thought he heard singing. Getting dressed quickly for school he went to investigate. Opening the door to the nursery he saw an amazing sight. Ryoko was sitting in there holding his daughter singing her to sleep. Ryoko was wearing a long pink dress with a red collar. He stood there for a minute then proceeded inward. He then realized that anytime she cared for a child she was wearing this same dress. She stopped singing when she heard the door close. Looking up at him she realized that he knows about her singing now.

"Please," he began softly, "keep singing she's not asleep yet." Ryoko looked at the little girl and blushed. After a moment she continued to sing a soft lull-a-bye. Tenchi moved over closer so that he could see her holding his daughter. He noticed how beautiful she looked and how happy Mayuka seamed. As he sat across for them looking on with a smile he listened to the words and then realized the tune. His mom and grandma used to sing that song to him when he was a child. And it still seamed to do the trick as he looked on he leaned back and rested in the peacefulness of the scene and the song.

"Tenchi? Tenchi?" He awoke slowly to hear Ryoko's voice. She had put Mayuka to bed and was now trying to wake him up.

He thought that this was more like a normal morning, waking up and looking into her eyes. He suddenly blushed and could not believe what he had just thought. She noticed this and whispered to him. "If you're gonna scream take it outside." He nodded sheepishly. "Come Tenchi, you've got to get downstairs and eat. Besides you said that you needed to be at your best today for that test." She giggled as she led him out of the room.

As he stepped out it hit him, "THE TEST!" he shouted then covered his mouth as Ryoko smiled. He had to admit it; Ryoko had been very different since merging with Zero. He apologized and then turned to run down the stairs. He barely had a chance to say good morning to the others as he grabbed some lunch and ran out the door. As he ran he spoke out loud to himself. "No! It can't be that time already." Looking at a watch he noticed that he would barely make it, if he didn't miss the buss. "Man, this is the day of my finals, I can't be late!"

However he did miss it, he stood there watching it disappear into the distance. Hanging his head he started to run after it. He had not gotten very far when he ran into Ryoko. She caught him in her arms so that he would not fall backwards this time. "Ryoko I have to get to School! I don't have time for this!"

Laughing she said, "well I thought you might need a lift." Before he could object she was behind him and flying through the air towards the school with her arms around his chest. As he watched the ground pass below them he saw the bus and then he then realized that he was going to arrive ahead of time.

He bowed his head and said to her, "I am sorry for yelling at you. I thought you just wanted to make me late again." He could feel the heat rising off her, either she was mad or blushing he could not tell so he placed his hands over hers as she flew to reassure her that he was not mad.

They arrived at the school and he had a few minutes even before the buses arrived. He looked at her and he could tell that she was still a little red from their contact. She had changed from her pink dress into a pair of green leggings with a tight red top. Over her shoulders she had a light colored jacket. He moved closer to her and taking her hand he said again, "thank you, that was the best ride I've had getting to school...will, um will you..." he was not sure if he should finish or not but he had already started so he might as well finish. "Will you fly me home later?"

Ryoko was overcome with joy, and she said "of course My Tenchi!" He blushed a little too and then she disappeared. He thought about why he had asked, but instead decided to get back to what was before him and take his finals. He looked forward to his summer break, but he also dreaded what will happen when he had no place to escape from the girls' constant attention.

When she teleported it was to the top of a nearby tree so she could watch him, then she flew back home. Ryoko arrived back at the house a short while later. Once inside she looked about, Sasami had already served everyone breakfast and was cleaning up afterwards with a happy Ryo-Ohki munching on a carrot. Mihoshi was watching TV while Kiyone was working in the garden with Ayeka. Looking around she went to Mayuka's room and found her missing. Rushing downstairs she went into Washu's Lab. And sure enough the sleeping baby was in a floating crib as she typed away at her keyboard.

Smiling she spoke up, "I see you've got her again...mom..." She hated saying that but she knew it made Washu so happy. And just as she though the little genius was bubbling over with happiness. The two talked about the sleeping baby quietly when Ryoko noticed that Washu was in her adult form. "Why are you like that? I mean you usually look like a kid?"

"Well, after watching everyone for this long I've decided that this is better." Her thought drifted away to her first child and then to her second. And although she wanted Tenchi it was not for love or desire for anything other than to study him. Ryoko was surprised about this and was beginning to think that she had given up on Tenchi when Mayuka awoke crying.

"I guess that's my cue." Ryoko changed back to her pink dress and picked up the little girl and went to the kitchen to get her some milk.

As the day passed Ayeka kept seeing Ryoko with the baby and she fumed, she knew that Ryoko was getting to Tenchi through the little girl. Following them into the kitchen she over heard Ryoko calling herself the girls mom. It became too much. "You devil! How dare you call yourself her mom! How could you think that!"

"Princess," Ryoko began without a hint of sarcasm or demeaning even though those words hurt. "I am sorry you feel that way, but Mayuka need to be cared for, I don't have time for this." At that Ryoko and Mayuka phased out and reappeared in the nursery just as Ayeka was about to speak again."

She stormed out of there to destroy something, as she knew it would hurt Tenchi if she were to fight Ryoko in the presence of Mayuka. Ryoko instead of wanting to destroy things she cried as the child drank from her bottle in Ryoko's arms.

The day passed slowly with everyone going about their business while Ryoko hid in Mayuka's room taking care of the little girl. She did not come out for lunch even though Sasami had invited her for it. Lunch was quiet and passed quickly. Everyone went about business as usual with Ayeka still upset about her conversation with Ryoko. After lunch when everyone was gone Sasami brought some food up to Ryoko.

"Ryoko? May I come in?" The little princess asked.

"Sure kid, come on." Ryoko was still masking her pain, but she would not allow anyone to see her cry.

Sasami entered and noticed Ryoko was reading a book to a sleeping Mayuka. "Oh I see you were too busy to join us, but I brought you some food!" Ryoko thanked her and before Sasami left Ryoko spoke up again.

"Sasami? I'm gonna have to run a errand in a bit could you watch over her while I'm out?"

Her little eyes widened with joy! "I would be happy to!" With that Sasami retreated downstairs to plan for tonight's supper. Ryoko went back to reading to the little girl. Even though she was asleep Ryoko hoped that it helped in some way, if nothing else it kept her thoughts off what Ayeka said. Her little cabbit slept on the floor near them thinking of carrots.

When the time came Ryoko handed care of Mayuka over to Sasami and then flew off as fast as she could to the spot where she left him this morning. As she neared the spot her heart leaped for joy as she saw Tenchi running up to her. He looked up at her as she descended to him.

"I'm glad you showed up," he said then added, "The busses left an hour ago."

"What! Why?" She was shocked, not only that they had left that long ago, but also he had stayed behind to wait for her. He proceeded to explain that the day was cut short because of the finals. And since he had asked her to pick him up he did not want to spoil it. Blushing she asked, "well then, are you ready to go?"

The flight home was a mix of emotions, as she thought that he had waited for her, he was not afraid of the monster the devil woman as so many had called her. He even asked if she would be near him. She was over-joyed and ascended higher till they passed through the clouds. She could hear him laughing and truly enjoying himself.

The ride had to end sometime though as they landed close to the steps leading to the house, still out of sight of the others. "Ryoko," he said, "that was fun, we will have to do that again sometime, but I have to meet grandpa and start training. Even though I don't have school for two more days he says that I can't relax in my training."

Ryoko looked at him as he smiled and then after an awkward moment passed as they both were unsure how to part they were interrupted by a voice "You devil woman get away from him!"

They both said together, "hello Ayeka" Tenchi left Ryoko as he whispered, "thank you again." As he passed Ayeka he said quickly "see you later" and rushed off to his room to change then start training.