A note. This is a slightly rewritten version of a one-hour
challenge fic I wrote some time ago.

Growing Up-- sort of

A Tenchi Muyo fanfiction by Robert Haynie.

(Thanks, Pioneer!)

####

Ryo-oh-ki was thinking.

It may come as a surprise that the cabbit could think. But she
could, although not quite in the same way as a human (or humanoid)
did. Her priorities normally ran along three paths--

(a) Eat Carrots.

(b) Let Sasami scratch her behind the ears.

(c) Cheer people up when they were down.

(d) Help Tenchi.

For the most part, that was pretty much it. But right now she
was thinking about a possible fourth one.

(e) Grow Up.

Nowadays, Ryo-oh-ki split her time between being a cabbit (which,
after all, was what she was) or a sort of half-cabbit, half little
girl. However, she did have a third form-- rarely used, rarely seen,
and mostly forgotten, and she was... contemplating it.

She could be older.

She normally didn't bother with it, since she had little sense of
balance in her teenage form, and tended to be clumsy. But she was
much more co-ordinated than she had been after her first assimilation
of the MASS.

She contemplated it for a while more, while idly gnawing on a
carrot. For once she was so deep in thought that the carrot wasn't
being demolished with it's usual speed.

Part of the thing was she didn't know what growing up entailed.
She tried thinking about the other grown up type people.

Ryoko. Flies a lot. Fights with Ayeka. Glomps Tenchi.

Ayeka. Acts very proper. Fights with Ryoko. Will hang onto
Tenchi when Ryoko does. Sometimes other times also.

Mihoshi. Thinks about the law. Makes funny things happen.
Often looks and sighs at Tenchi.

Washuu-chan. Sometimes grown up, sometimes not. Bugs the hell
out of Tenchi.

Ryo-oh-ki was beginning to see a pattern here.

####

Tenchi Masaki was in a state of relative bliss. Relative bliss
for him meant a quiet day without Ayeka and Ryoko going bananas
again, without Washuu-chan suggesting a need for samples (shudder),
without Mihoshi doing, well, something insanely stupid, and without
his father being, well, his father. Nice, quiet, nothing odd
happening at all.

Of course, he mused, no telling how long this'll last, so I'd
better enjoy it while I can.

Naturally, it was at that moment that something weird DID happen.
At least he thought of it as weird.

A mature Ryo-oh-ki in a green miniskirt and tube top walked up,
sat in his lap, put her arms around his neck, and licked his nose.

For a moment, Tenchi froze. This was NOT something that his
brain was really capable of taking in. Ryoko doing that wouldn't
have been a shock. But... RYO-OH-KI?

"R-Ryo-oh-ki, what are you doing?" he asked, even though he knew
that the suddenly curvy cabbit-girl probably wouldn't actually
answer.

"Miya," the cabbit-girl replied, in what was apparently an
approximation of a sultry tone.

There's something about the surreal nature of a teenaged female
not-quite-a-cabbit sitting in one's lap with her arms around your
neck while wearing a miniskirt and licking one's nose that could
rattle even the most stable nerves. Since this was Tenchi, who
lived in an environment that simply didn't promote stability of
nerves in the first place, his reaction was predictable.

He screamed and ran for the hills.

Ryo-oh-ki wondered what had gone wrong.

####

It was true that Ayeka and Ryoko were not fighting. They WERE,
however, arguing fiercely.

"It's a comedy!"

"It's a ROMANCE!"

Sasami sighed. Personally, she thought that Ranma show was both.
Besides, she sort of suspected that the only reason the two were
watching those tapes was so they could find something to argue about.

Said argument was interrupted by a screaming Tenchi as he tore
through the room at speeds approaching that of, well, not light, but
sound was a possibility. Although he couldn't fly, he still managed
to get upstairs at a velocity that suggested he could if he tried
very hard.

The two debaters blinked in unison, and then stared at the
doorway where he'd come from-- and continued to stare in shock.

Sasami just nodded. "You look very pretty, Ryo-oh-ki."

"Miya."

"I'm not seeing this, am I, Ayeka?"

"Ryoko-san, I hope not, because that would mean I was seeing it
too."

Upstairs, Tenchi was barricading his door.

####

"I don't see what you're so surprised at, girls. She DOES have
that form, after all, why shouldn't she explore it?" Washuu said,
reasonably. "Don't look half bad, either, does she?"

Ayeka and Ryoko stared at Washuu-chan for a moment, and then back
at the cabbit, who was now trying out the sunbathing thing wearing
one of Ryoko's more daring swimsuits. (True, ALL of Ryoko's
swimsuits were daring, but still, the image was a jarring one.)

"She... seems to have frightened Tenchi somehow, Washuu-chan,"
Ayeka said doubtfully.

"Oh, she was probably imitating you girls, and got a touch
affectionate. Nothing to worry about." Washuu personally found the
whole thing a hoot.

"AFFECTIONATE? HER? WITH MY TENCHI?" squawked Ryoko in shock.
The concept was almost alien (Sorry!) to her. Not only Ayeka as a
rival, but... but her personal STARSHIP? The CABBIT?

"Could be a cute couple, you know. Study of the offspring might
reveal all sorts of things..."

"OFFSPRING?" said Ayeka in tones very much akin to those of
Ryoko.

"This is... is... is..." Ryoko was now beyond shock as she tried
desparately to process the concept of Tenchi and Ryo-oh-ki doing...
doing... doing...

Ignoring the stammering ex-pirate, Washuu nodded. "Actually,
she's probably compatible. Her base patterns are more or less
Juraian/Terran when she's in a humanoid form, although I do suppose
some adjustments would have to be made--"

"Don't even THINK about that, Washuu-chan! To suggest that
Tenchi-sama and... and... and..." The connection had finally been
made in Ayeka's head, and her brain was doing a very good Ryoko
impression at the moment.

Meanwhile, Ryo-oh-ki laid back, basked in the sun, adjusted a
strap on the swimsuit as she had seen Ryoko do on occasion, and
nibbled on a carrot. Grown-up clothes were fun, she decided.

####

Tenchi was finally coaxed out of his room as Washuu gently
explained that Ryo-oh-ki was probably just imitating the other girls.
Still apprehensive, he found himself staring in fascination at the
sunning cabbit-girl, who had been joined by Mihoshi, who personally
didn't see what all the fuss was about.

While Sasami served tea to the rattled princess and pirate,
Tenchi shook his head. "You don't think she was serious, then?"

"I'm pretty sure not, Tenchi. Her thought-map isn't likely to
work that way, you see. Although, now that I think of it..."

"Don't. Please. Just... don't."

"Oh, you're no fun. But it's all right. I have an even better
idea!"

Merrily, Washuu went off to her lab to explore her latest and
greatest idea yet. In fact she wondered why she hadn't thought of it
before.

With great enthusiasm, she began the base research into making
Ryo-oh-ki a boyfriend.

####