Happiness, Tears& War

--Chapter One--

By Georsama
November 24, 2001
(Revised September 1, 2003)

Tenchi's eyes were fixed on the night sky as he ignored the snow and the chill in the air; instead he focused on the stars twinkling like pearls in a velvety blanket. The moon's pale light shined down bathing the world and its lone figure.

He ignored the stars since they didn't matter to him. He sat there among the trees his heart heavy and filled with pain, silent tears threatening to start flowing. The house where he lived was dark and quiet as the others slept and he sat there at the lake in silent contemplation. He knew that the house had dreamers, both peaceful and longing. He also knew that he was the cause of those dreams.

That was the reason he was out here, why his tears were threatening to break free, he was the last person in the world that wanted to cause longing and pain. Tenchi sighed knowing that he was soon going to have to tell them whom he had chosen.

He had know for a while who he loved yet he still had hesitated for one reason and that was when he final announced his choice that there was going to be a lot of people in pain, one in particular. Yet he also knew that if he let things keep going as they were there would only be unbearable pain to the ones involved. It was better to end the suffering of all the parties involved including himself.

He had tried to tell them several times but each time he did something went wrong, either they were interrupted or he did something stupid so he always ended up diving for cover and double talking his way out of it so after awhile he had quiet trying. Tenchi sighed and a memory surfaced:

Tenchi sighed as he walked into the lunchroom knowing that this was not going to be a good lunch. Right before he left the house, both Ryoko and Aekea had forced him to take the food they had prepare for his lunch.

Normally he would have gotten rid of it before he got the bus stop but Ryoko had followed him all the way to the bus stop. He sat down wearily at the first table he came to and started pulling his lunch out of the bag. His stomach started to rumble like an angry upset volcano at what Ryoko and Aekea had fixed. Neither looked all that good and he quickly put it back in the bag thinking 'Great there goes lunch.'

Tenchi looked up to see some of his friends sit down next him. His friend looked over at him and noticing the bag and the look on Tenchi's face asked, "What's up Tenchi? You're not going to eat?"

Tenchi shook his head and made a face at the thought of eating what was in the bag. His friend raised an eyebrow and asked "Why not?"

Tenchi sighed and answered reluctantly,

"A couple of girls who like me, but can't cook fixed me lunch today."

Kazuiko sputtered and spit out some of his sandwich that he had just taken a bite out of and shouted causing the entire cafeteria to look in their direction.

"What? Tenchi has two girlfriends?!!"

Tenchi bowed his head and felt the familiar heat rising in his face he had brought on himself as he looked back up at his friend and said, "They're not my girlfriends."

"Then why did they fix you lunch?"

Tenchi sighed in defeat as he sat through the rest of lunch listening to his friend rattled on to the others about how weird it was for Tenchi to have a girlfriend let alone two.

Finally the lunch bell rang and a grateful Tenchi made his way to his class.

No sooner had the memory surfaced and he forced it away when another surfaced; this one the reason why he had finally figured out how to make his choice:

Tenchi had sat through his class listening to his teacher drone on about making decisions. Tenchi had long given up on this class since he had heard all of it at his grandfather's practices. They had not made any sense when Grandfather had said them and they still didn't. His teacher's favorite saying was

"No matter what choice one makes one will always cause pain."

And Tenchi had to agree with that statement because he knew first hand it was true. He had a decision to make and when he made it was going to cause pain to four girls two of whom who could level the entire planet with their pinkies and the others could just as easily. All he needed to do was make the decision.

He knew that each of the girls loved him, two more than anybody else. One was a princess and the other was a pirate. The problem was how he would make the decision; his dilemma being that he liked them both equally and knew he was only a stone's throw away from loving one of them. "To make a tough decision one must look at one's own feelings."

He had heard that before but he had never really paid any attention to it but now it caused his mind to start him down the path towards a decision.

He shook his head ruefully and cleared the memory from his mind he had put the advice to good use and now he sat there under the night sky. He was glad that he had but he was also sad as a cold winter wind gently blew his hair and caused small amounts of snow to dance in the air. He could have sworn he heard somebody's voice say "You know who you love now so just tell her."

He shook his head to make sure that he had heard the voice, it had sounded like his mother but all he heard this time was the wind. He knew now beyond any doubt that he would tell his love tomorrow and yet he had hesitated until tonight. He wasn't sure why but he thought it might've been because he was afraid, along with doubt. But now that he was going to tell her tomorrow that he loved her, it made him feel better as he offered up a silent prayer, "Kami-sama give me the strength."

With that he stood up and headed back to the house knowing that if he was going to do this tomorrow that he was going to need his strength. He quietly opened the front door and headed upstairs. He figured that he should have enough time to be asleep before Ryoko appeared in his room to watch him sleep.

Unconsciously he smiled at that thought. He loved knowing he had an angel watching over him at night. He stepped into his room and quietly got into his sleeping clothes, slipped into his bed and he before he knew it he was asleep.

***

The sun shined into Tenchi's room and Ryoko hovered over him watching as he stirred and rolled over. She loved watching the way his chest raised and fell in a peaceful slumber and sighed lightly, contented as he rolled over back onto his back.

Ryoko looked down at his face and fought the urge to caress his cheek so instead she let him sleep. He looked so peaceful and she loved watching him sleep; it calmed her even though he yelled at her when he woke up.

She really couldn't be happy if she couldn't do this one thing, which was why she slept so much during the day. She slept when the others did, but she always woke up at the same time and came to his room to watch him sleep.

Ryoko smiled contently at that thought as she phased into his room, thinking last night was no different, but as she entered: Ryoko felt her worry starting to build when she saw that his bed was empty and she hastily phased thorough the house checking all the rooms. He wasn't in the bathroom, or in the living room, kitchen and not in any of the girls' rooms.

She had been relieved at that and finally at a loss at what else to do she phased up to the roof and scanned around the house in a desperate search for him. She didn't see him anywhere on the outskirts of the forest and she turned her eyes from the forest's edge and scanned the frozen lake.

She saw him sitting on the dock at the lake and he looked like he was deep in thought about something. Ryoko fought the urge to phase down there to him but stopped reasoning he obviously wanted to be alone so she didn't bother him. Instead, she sat down on the roof and watched him, thinking to herself 'Well at lest he's not with Aekea.'

Ryoko shook her head and smiled as she watched him. The cold December night air didn't bother her at all, hardly anything bothered her. There was another reason for her to watch Tenchi at night; she used it as a way of stopping the nightmares. She had killed so many people and even if Kagato was dead she was stilling paying the price of his evilness by having the nightmares.

Each one was seeking retribution with her through her dreams so she watched Tenchi because she loved him, she was sure of that, but also a more selfish part of her watched him because she would use him to remember what innocence looked like even though sometimes as she watched him sleep he would have the dream.

That's all she could get from him or Washu who had been listening to his dreams. She didn't like it when he had the dream she really didn't know what it involved but she was not pleased at the violent satisfied smile, the one that she saw so often in her own nightmares, the one she had when she had killed, slowly spread across his lips.

Ryoko sat there watching him and thinking for an hour, finally he stood and headed back to the house and Ryoko quickly phased back into the house and to her perch on the beam that served as her bed; she didn't want him seeing her watching him when he wanted to be alone.

Silently she listened as he came in and quietly made his way up the stairs to his room. She waited until she was sure he was asleep before she phased into his room to watch him sleep.

The memory of last night slowly faded from Ryoko's mind but she was still so lost in thought that she hadn't noticed that Tenchi had one eye open and was staring at her a smile pulling at the corner of his lips. He saw her face slowly fade from the look she got when she was remembering something and he quickly closed his eye and fought the smile off his face before she noticed.

Ryoko hovered over him waiting patiently she heard his heartbeat quicken and she knew he was about to get up. Finally with a good bit of acting, Tenchi stirred and sat up rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

He stopped and slowly looked up into her golden cat like eyes; it was early and he had planned on telling her later but now that he saw her it felt right to tell her now. He smiled a lopsided grin at her; she smiled back, her golden catlike eyes filled with an all too familiar playful confused light where normally he would have yelled at her by now.

He sat there in his bed just smiling at her while Ryoko was confused since he was flashing a genuine smile at her and it made her heart beat a little faster. He wasn't yelling or running away and that made it beat even faster she silently cursed the zero part of her for having this kind of reaction.

Tenchi sat there smiling, enjoying that he finally had Ryoko flustered. Ryoko was confused since he was not acting normal. She wasn't going to complain but she had to say something so she changed her smile to a seductive one she finally spoke, "Good morning my Tenchi,"

Tenchi smiled back not even phased by her change in smile or her use of 'my Tenchi.' Instead his smile grew even bigger as it suddenly dawned on him that he hadn't said anything for several minutes and his mind began racing to find something to say. Finally it latched on to something appropriate. "Good morning *my* Ryoko."

Ryoko's eyes went wide and her mind plummeted into utter confusion once Tenchi had said the one sentence that she had wanted him to say for the last year and he had finally said it. He had called her my Ryoko, MY Ryoko! Her mind was screaming at her to glomp him, kiss him, do something but her body wasn't listening as it stayed was frozen by another part of her mind that was confused and unsure.

Tenchi smiled and reached his hand up to her face and gently rubbed her cheek. He leaned up and kissed her on her forehead, then each cheek, and finally her lips. He pulled back with a smile on his face now he was sure that she was going to be so confused and shocked that he could have a nice quiet morning and since he was not feeling at hundred percent he was going to need all the quiet he could get. 'I probably caught a cold last night.' Tenchi absently thought as he rolled out of his bed, gathering up his clothes for the day.

Ryoko hung over his bed in shock at what he had said and what he had done. She was so confused and shocked at what he had said that she hadn't even responded to his kisses. Tenchi stopped and looked over at his angel and smiled, he loved shocking her like that 'After all turn about is fair play.' he thought still until he had finished his morning bath and breakfast and figured out how to tell everyone. He didn't want her causing problems so now he had to figure out how to convinces her to keep this quiet.

His mind raced through all the ways he could do it, but none seemed all that good. Finally he came to one that seemed best; he cleared his throat and ready himself for any consequences "Ryoko my love, keep this to yourself until later."

Before anything could happen he quickly opened the door and left closing the door behind him leaving Ryoko very happy and very confused. Tenchi smiled broadly as he made his way to the hot springs, being very pleased with himself.

Ryoko was shocked, so shocked that she lost control and fell onto Tenchi's bed. Her mind was slowly starting to function normally again as her first thought was 'Damn it why didn't I kiss back?' she laid there for who knows who long silently cursing zero and running his words through her mind.

She did understood why he wanted her to keep this to herself until later; despite what the princess thought Ryoko understood discreetness at certain times.

Ryoko's train of thought was broken when her "mother" spoke to her though their mental link, "What are you so happy about?"

"Tenchi just...." She stopped short, catching herself as she remembered what he had told her not to say anything yet so she wondered what she should tell Washu.

"What'd he do? Smile at you and not run away?"

"Yeah he did that."

"Is that all he did?"

Ryoko smiled and answered in a girlish manner, "No but I'm not telling."

She severed the mental link before Washu could ask and say anything else. Smiling ear to ear, she hugged herself as she felt happier than she had ever been in her entire life. She was so happy that she flew up through the roof and soared through the air flying over trees, looping through the air over the frozen lake and up to snow covered shrine.

She didn't know why she had flown this way since she usually tended to avoid it when Tenchi wasn't there. She still didn't feel comfortable there by herself but she had stopped here and was now hovering over it trying to decide about what to do and why she had came here.

Katsuhito stepped out of his small office and looked up at her. As she looked back at the old man, he smiled slightly and motioned her to come down. Ryoko shrugged and with a smile she floated down until she stood in front of him face to face, before she could say a word he spoke "So Tenchi finally choose, hmmm."

She was shocked and immediately she thought 'How does he know?' shot thorough her mind and she began to ask "How did..."

Katsuhito's smile grew even wider "The look on your face and the fact that he has been fighting better in practice."

Ryoko was surprised; not as much as she thought she would be, but since Tenchi had told her not to say anything, she had to make sure he didn't say anything and feeling that honesty was the best policy for once she spoke, "Well he told me to not say anything yet so... Please don't say anything."

Katsuhito nodded his head in understanding and smiled again "Don't worry Ryoko I won't but I am surprised that Tenchi had enough sense to not let you tell anyone about this yet."

Ryoko looked at him with a question in her eyes. Katsuhito smiled and answered her unanswered question. "So you wonder why I am surprised that Tenchi told you not to say anything yet?"

Ryoko nodded. It seemed so natural for him to do something like that, "Because it showed that he was thinking ahead."

Both Katsuhito and Ryoko smiled at each other as she leapt high into the sky happy that at least she didn't have to keep it a secret from Katsuhito. Ryoko flew back to the house happy as before when she reached the house and quickly phased through the roof and into the living room.

She stood there thinking what she should do now. She could go visit Tenchi in the bath but grudgingly decided to only do that if she couldn't think of anything else to do. She could go see her 'mother' but no sooner had she thought that than she decided against it, Washu would force Ryoko to tell her what happened because she couldn't stand the fact someone knew something she didn't.

So she was left with one question repeating in her mind, "What to do, what to do?"

***

At the same time Ryoko was having problems trying to decide what she should do, Tenchi was sitting in the bath relaxing with his father. He had been got up early enough to catch his dad just entering the bath so he had joined him.

Nobuyuki kept glancing at his son, being sure that something was wrong. Normally he was upset and tense but today he was relaxed and calm. Finally he couldn't take it anymore and turned to his son and spoke his voice echoing slightly in the bath. "So why are we so happy today?"

Tenchi opened his eyes slowly and looked at his dad as smile crept onto his face. He decided that he should tell his dad and leaned his head back and closed his eyes, as his smile grew even bigger. After a few minutes of silence he answered, "I finally chose."

Nobuyuki froze in shock, unsure what his son had just said. After all this time, he had finally chosen. Nobuyuki had almost given up on Tenchi and as he stared at his son a thousand other thoughts were racing thorough his mind: No I heard wrong, he wouldn't, he couldn't, could he? Finally, after the shock left him he almost had himself believing he had heard wrong. Cautiously he spoke, his voice cracking, "D...Did you just say that you chose?"

Tenchi's smile grew even broader as he answered in firm voice, "Yeah dad I did."

He couldn't believe his son had chosen as silent shouts rang through his mind, 'Oh great day, his mother would be so proud.' At the thought of his wife Nobuyuki felt something he had never expected him to feel for his son…envy.

His son finally had a love and while he had only memories. Still, he couldn't hold it against Tenchi. After fighting down the urge to squeeze Tenchi into a hug and begin the laminations to tell his Achika, he had one question. Softly, as if the world would end if he asked loudly, Nobuyuki asked, "Who is it?"

Tenchi sat there totally relaxed, so relaxed that doubt started eating at Nobuyuki. He started thinking that he had just imagined the whole thing until Tenchi answered, "Guess."

Nobuyuki sat back thinking, now who would Tenchi choose? He immediately tossed Sasami out; knowing his son wasn't going to choose an 8-year-old girl so that left Washu, Aekea, Mihoshi and Ryoko.

He threw Washu out since his son was so terrified of her that he wouldn't even venture into her lab so that only left him three choices. So was it Mihoshi? She was a beautiful girl but he didn't think his son would choose her since she caused him numerous headaches so that left Aekea and Ryoko, both of who loved his son. The two were beautiful, powerful but sometimes they would annoy his son but they were the only two left. He had no clue which one it was and he feared that he might have thrown the wrong one out so he did the only safe thing he could do, "I give up."

Tenchi raised his head and opened his eyes to look at his father, his smile now a smirk. Nobuyuki sighed in defeat.

"Dad it's the angel."

Now he felt really confused…the angel? There wasn't any angel; there was a princess, a mad scientist goddess, a police officer, and a pirate. Nobuyuki shook his head, his memory dredging up a half-forgotten memory of catching Tenchi looking at the pirate the way he had looked at Kiyone.

No sooner had it surfaced than it sunk again, but that had been so long ago that Nobuyuki was still unsure who he choose. Tenchi fought down the urge to scream at his dad for not knowing, simply because there was no reason that his dad should know. So calmly Tenchi spoke, "Dad it's Ryoko."

Nobuyuki looked at him with a look of disbelief on his face but the look on his son's face showed that he was not kidding. Slowly Nobuyuki realized that his son was in love, honest to god love. He quickly embarrassed his son in a bear hug effectively crushing him.

Tenchi struggled harder to get his dad off of him than he ever did with Ryoko. He didn't mind Ryoko doing it since she was a female, but his father was a different story. Finally Tenchi managed to pry his father off him but it was several more minutes until he was able to breathe again. Tenchi sighed; he hated to do this but he had to ask his father this. "Please don't...."

Nobuyuki cut Tenchi off, "Tell anyone yet."

Tenchi raised an eyebrow in obvious surprise causing Nobuyuki to smile, "Don't worry I won't. Does she know?"

Tenchi nodded his head and Nobuyuki felt pride pouring from him as he looked at his son, "So how exactly did you tell Ryoko?"

Tenchi grinned back. "Well I think she figured it out when I kissed her."

Both Tenchi and Nobuyuki broke out into a fit of laughter. As the laughter died away Nobuyuki realized that he hadn't given Tenchi enough credit. Standing, he reached over and picked up the towel, wrapping it around his waist as he looked at his son and grinned, "My boy I never gave you enough credit."

Tenchi bowed his head and Nobuyuki bowed his in return. Nobuyuki made his way to the dressing room leaving Tenchi alone to relax, but when he heard the splash a smile crossed his face knowing his son wasn't going to be able to relax. He grabbed his clothes and quickly left the bath leaving Tenchi to his fate and in Nobuyuki's opinion it was probably the best fate a man could have.

***

Ryoko finally decided that she would drop in on Tenchi in the bath so she phased into her blue bathing suit and teleported to the baths. She was about come splashing down into the bath with Tenchi when she saw him talking with Nobuyuki. She hovered overhead waiting for Nobuyuki to leave, absently listening in on their conversation. "Dad it's the angel."

Ryoko was as confused as Nobuyuki looked as thought ran through her mind, 'Angel? Does he think I'm an angel, me the demon?'

"Dad, it's Ryoko."

When she heard this, she had to resist the urge to leap down there and take him with Nobuyuki watching and if he filmed it so what. He had admitted it and the fact that he thought of her as his angel made her extremely happy.

When she had finally calmed down enough she saw Nobuyuki standing, his towel wrapped around him and Tenchi glancing up at the ceiling. She was curious why was he looking at the ceiling…unless it suddenly dawned on her that he wasn't looking at the ceiling but at her and he had a smirk on his face. She smiled back and listened, as his dad spoke, "My boy I never gave you enough credit."

She watched as he turned and headed to the dressing room and as soon as he had left she came splashing down to a smiling Tenchi. When her head surfaced he looked at her, his face looking neutral and said, "Ryoko,"

She looked apprehensively at him, thinking that she had done something wrong when he broke out into a wide smile. "What took you so long?"

Ryoko smiled back relieved and coyly answered, "I had to decide what to wear." She stood up the water dripping from her bathing suit. To Tenchi it looked like it was painted on as Ryoko looked down and saw a very gratifying sight of Tenchi's bright red face.

She loved doing that to him, as he looked so cute. Slowly, she leaned forward until she was a inches from his face and smiled, reaching her hands out she gently to pull Tenchi's face to hers and kissed him. Tenchi sat there, fighting his old instincts with his new ones until finally the new ones won out and he returned the kiss.

It lasted for a minute but to them it seemed like a lifetime as they poured all their love and desire into that one kiss. When they broke the kiss, a slight whimper of disappointment escaped both of them. Ryoko slid her body back under the water and settled herself beside him.

Tenchi sat there as his face had a look of extreme contentment. Ryoko slid to closer to his right side, her face holding a smile, "My Tenchi, what are you thinking? If you get that embarrassed every time you see me in a bathing suit then we will never be able to have a honeymoon."

As Tenchi looked over at her, a brief thought crossed his mind, 'I can see her point.' And before he could go any further his thoughts derailed when he felt Ryoko place her hand on his leg. Once again the old instincts fought against new instincts and again the new ones won over as he made no move to get rid off her hand and no blood came pouring out his nose. Ryoko looked over at him and smiled. "Well I see that you're learning."

Tenchi blushed. He didn't mind her doing that but he did have to fight his old instincts as she moved her hand up. He knew only one way of stopping her before she reached her target. "Well a beautiful woman once told me that if I didn't control myself then I would miss my honeymoon."

Ryoko sat there, her hand suddenly frozen in its spot. Her mind was shocked again, unsure that he had just said that. She was about to ask him to repeat that but before she could speak she was cut off as he leaned forward pulled her to him and kissed her lips softly and passionately. She soon returned it forgetting all questions.

By the time they broke the kiss Tenchi had to gasp for air with Ryoko smiled at him, causing him to return it. Tenchi draped his arm around Ryoko's shoulder, her hair gently tickling his nose as she laid her head on his chest. They sat there in total contentment until finally, to both their disappointment, he broke the silence. "Ryoko we need to get back to the house. Sasami has breakfast ready by now and I don't know about you but I would only like to be damned once by a goddess."

Ryoko looked at him and sighed in disappointment but he was right. Slowly a smile crept onto her face, as she looked at Tenchi, the man she loved, the man who loved her. She was happy; for the first time in 700 years she was truly happy but there was one shadow hanging over her happiness, Aekea. Ryoko forced herself to ask the question she had dreaded to ask. "How are you going to tell the others?"

He looked at her thinking the same thing. "I'll probably tell them all straight out."

She nodded her head in the understanding, but still she didn't think telling Aekea straight out was the best idea "What about Aekea?"

Tenchi shook his head "No not her, not yet. I'm not sure how to tell her."

Ryoko smiled understandingly as Tenchi reached out and gently caressed her cheek. Turning her attention back to more immediate things at hand, he pulled her forward and kissed her forehead, then moved to her cheek and finally to her lips. He leaned in to kiss her and quickly pulled back, teasing her to which it caused an annoyed look to cross her face.

She quickly reached out and pulled him back in and kissed him. She released him and leaned back as they smiled at each other. Tenchi put his hand behind his head and started scratching. "Um, Ryoko why don't you go first okay? I need time to um... relax, before I move."

She smiled; her face filled with innocence, "Why do you need to relax?"

Tenchi looked at her he shook his head and chuckled at her, "You know why."

Ryoko put her hand on her chest and asked indigently, "I do?"

Tenchi answered in an annoyed voice "Yes, you know why, now go ahead."

Ryoko sighed in defeat and lending forward whispered in his ear. "Are you sure you want me to?"

He gulped and nodded his head vigorously as she pulled back, frowning a little. It hurt him to see her frown as he reached out and pulled her close and hugged her softly, running his hand through her cyan hair. He quietly whispered in her ear, "Later, but we have more urgent matters okay?"

She pulled back as she showed a broad grin on her face, her eyes full of mischief. Tenchi smiled back as light laugh escaped her and he swore that it was one of the most beautiful things he had ever heard. She looked at him, her voice dropping into a sultry tone; "I'll hold you to that."

Before he could say anything she teleported out of the bath, leaving him there in silence. Slowly he began to relax from his bath with Ryoko while silently chuckling to himself. Finally he whispered, "My Ryoko, I bet you will, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

***

Ryoko materialized in the living room and quickly phased out of her bathing suit and into her regular blue and yellow dress. After quickly checking and seeing that everything was straight, she made her way to the kitchen to see what Sasami had fixed for breakfast.

Ryoko entered the kitchen to see Sasami standing very still, as if lost in deep thought. Unsure about what was happening, Ryoko walked up behind her and momentarily stood there indecisively. Finally, she reached out her right hand and laid it on one of the little girl's shoulder, causing her to jump and spin around, tears running down her face.

Sasami, recognizing whom it was, wrapped her arms around Ryoko's waist and buried her head into her stomach. Ryoko was taken by surprise then slowly she wrapped her arms around the crying princess and held her while her mind reeled from the shock of Sasami crying.

Ryoko glanced up and saw a reflection of Tsunami in the window over the sink. The image faded, leaving Ryoko with a lot of questions as to why was Sasami crying? What had Tsunami told her? What did this mean for Tenchi's plans? Reluctantly Ryoko addressed the little princess. "What's wrong? Why are you crying?"

Sasami raised her head; her pink eyes now dry but tinged with red from her tears, and looked at Ryoko. She smiled and shook her head; her voice was cheerful despite the tears she had been crying. "He finally chose Ryoko."

Ryoko looked down at the princess, not surprised she knew but exactly how Sasami did knew? All Ryoko needed to know was how much she knew? Keeping her voice neutral, Ryoko voiced her question. "Did Tsunami tell you who he chose?"

Sasami shook her head and half smiled, "No, she said that I would find out soon enough."

Ryoko was relieved at that but now she had another question, "So why are you crying?"

"Because I am happy for him, but also sad for the ones he didn't choose."

Ryoko looked down at Sasami and smiled causing Sasami to smile back up at her. Sasami tighten her hug on Ryoko and she returned it. Finally the little princess pulled out of the hug, her eyes back to their normal pink color and showed no signs of tear induced redness. Sasami giggled and lowered her voice, barely above a whisper, "You know what Ryoko? I think he chose you."

Ryoko looked like a truck had hit her after hearing Sasami's statement. At once, a thousand thoughts raced through her mind: How did she…Does she…is it? Finally Ryoko got herself under control; she had to find out why was Sasami thinking that. In a voice that reveled nothing of her inner turmoil she asked, "Why do you think that?"

Sasami smiled and reached into the inside of her kimono and pulled out a folded piece of paper. She handed it to Ryoko who looked at the paper in confusion. It was folded lengthwise in three sections and on the top of the paper was written:

My angel

Ryoko smirked. She knew this was about her when she read the title because that was what Tenchi had called her when he was talking to Nobuyuki this morning. Slowly she looked back up at the princess and then back to the paper in her hands. She took it and quickly opened it, reading it over and over again, each time slower.

My love gives me hope,
from her eyes that twinkle like gems,
and one day I shall tell her the truth,
that my love for her is as deep as the cave she was in.

Her hair so soft and sweet smelling,
brings me to the brink,
and her beauty nearly overwhelms me,
and her hugs and kisses tempt me to tell her the truth,

That my love for her is a deep as the cave she was in.
Her laughter fills me to the brim,
and her kindness she hides so well brings me closer to telling her,
her touch makes electricity shoot up my spine for longing,
and the tears she cries when I flee bring me even closer to telling her the truth,
that my love for her is as deep as the cave she was in.
Her loyalty is overwhelming,
and she readily admits her love and I shudder in hatred for my cowardice,
she smiles and part of me breaks and crumbles,
when she whispers in my ear.

Her breath causes my blood to boil and I long to tell her the truth, that my love for her is as deep as the cave she was in.

Ryoko quickly refolded the paper, curious as to when it was written. She looked up at Sasami and narrowed her eyes at her, wanting to know. "Where, when did you find this? Did you read it?"

Sasami looked at Ryoko and smiled, her pink eyes wide and a look of innocence on her face. "Oh, when I was cleaning Tenchi's room while he was at school about two weeks ago. Yes, it was just so sweet."

Ryoko didn't know why but the fact that he had known for two weeks he loved her frustrated her. Absently she smiled down at the little princess and answered, "No reason, just curious that's all. Can I have it?"

Ryoko refolded the paper and stuck the down the front of her dress, without waiting for an answer. She smiled at Sasami who was looking at her in curiosity. Ryoko sighed as she remembered why she had come in her in the first place. Quickly before Sasami could ask any questions she spoke, "When's breakfast going to be ready?"

Sasami broke out of her confusion and smiled back, all questions apparently forgotten. "In a few minutes."

"K, call me when it's ready."

Ryoko floated back through the door and up to her beam, landing with the thought, 'Now why did he wait so long before telling me?' She mentally slapped her forehead as it dawned on her that she knew exactly why he had waited so long.

He waited this long because he wanted to be sure how to handle it. After all, he tried not to hurt anybody and for him to do this was going to be extremely painful. She lowered her head in a sort of sadness as she leaned back and closed her eyes; she had what she wanted since Tenchi had actually decided it was her.

Yet Ryoko felt bad not for Washu, Sasami or Mihoshi, but for Aekea. She and the princess had become friends, almost like sisters and since Aekea loved Tenchi, maybe as much as Ryoko did, Ryoko knew that when he told her, his decision it was going to destroy her.

***

Tenchi stood up and wrapped a towel around himself. He had sat there longer than he should have, but every time he was ready to leave his thoughts turned back to Ryoko in her bathing suit and he immediately sat back down so that he could relax again.

As he walked out of the hot springs, he draped his towel over his shoulder, his blue work pants and green shirt barely keeping him from shivering, but his mind was elsewhere as he left the onsen. He knew what was going to happen with some of the girls. He knew that when he told Sasami she would hug him and say that she loved him as a brother so he didn't really have to worry about her. Mihoshi would more than likely bawl her eyes out then promptly forget why she was crying. Washu would probably be a little upset that she wasn't going to get her sample, otherwise there wouldn't be a problem but he was still leery of telling her.

That left him with Aekea, making her the wild card. He couldn't figure out what was going to happen. She could go off the deep end as the image of Aekea transforming into a hundred foot tall purple monster popped into his mind. He frowned and forced the image out of his head, unsure where it had come from. Perhaps she could accept it and suddenly an image of Aekea falling in love with a total stranger appeared in his head.

He frowned again as he forced that image from out of his head. He wished that particular image would happen, thinking that would be nice, but if it did he would be very suspicious as another thought hit him…what if she got depressed enough to kill herself? Tenchi stopped in his tracks as a chill ran up and down his back; the thought chilling him to the bone. Tenchi forced the last thought out of his head and moved on to another problem, school.

He had to go back soon since winter break was fast becoming to an end, but the problem that was looming wasn't school, it was Ryoko. What would she do? He really didn't like the thought of her staying home and mostly alone while he went to school.

She might want to do just that but he doubted it. Slowly an answer hit him…she could enroll in his school if Washu reacted favorably to the announcement. It wouldn't be that hard to get her registered and enrolled in school as long as it was done within a couple of days before hand. With that problem laid to rest he turned his attention back to the more immediate problem of breaking the news.

Tenchi opened the door to the house and removed his shoes as he shut the door behind him. He stood back up and shook his head a slight smile, crossing his face as he silently counted backwards '5.4.3.2.1.'

"Tenchi!!!"

Right on cue Ryoko glomped onto Tenchi, having a wide smile when he returned the hug. As they stood there, smiling and embracing each other, a whirring noise reached their ears making Ryoko snapped her head around and Tenchi looked in the direction it was coming from. Immediately their eyes locked onto one of Washu's floating cameras, making Tenchi's face drained of all color and Ryoko frowning slightly. The camera hovered there for a few more minutes before it was engulfed in orange energy and was blown it a million pieces.

Tenchi sighed. He knew that it did not look like it was going to work out no matter how he had planned it. Still, he was glad that she had destroyed it. "Domo."

Ryoko turned her head back to him and smiled, her fangs just barely showing. "You're welcome."

Suddenly Sasami's voice drifted out of the kitchen, "Ryoko, breakfast is ready. Go get the others please."

Ryoko answered back, thankful that the little princess hadn't decided to come tell her in person. "Okay."

Afterwards, hand in hand, they started walking to the closet door that led to Washu's lab.

***

Both Tenchi and Ryoko stood before the door that led to Washu's lab where inside, the red haired scientist was sitting on her cushion. Staring blankly at the computer screen in front of her, she had a problem. As a scientist, she was going to have incomplete data on Tenchi for one simple reason, he had chosen before she could collect the much sought after sample and that bothered her.

On the other hand, she was happy for both of them. She was Ryoko's mother and she did want her to be happy; especially after all those years she had to suffer through her daughter's anguish through the mental link that they shared. She was happy for Tenchi because he had found love, which was something only Washu and maybe Nobuyuki could understand fully.

There was another part, a small part of her that felt envy towards her daughter. She liked Tenchi and like the other girls in the house, with the exception of Sasami, had a crush on him so she envied Ryoko for getting Tenchi. But that part was so small that she no longer cared.

She had known something was different this morning when she had talked with Ryoko. Usually she had to cheer her up after the initial argument about bothering her, but today she was ecstatic and when Ryoko shut the link down before Washu could ask a question, she had became irate.

She was the number one scientific genius in the universe and she couldn't stand that someone knew something she didn't so she had set about trying to decide how to find out; even as she decided on using the camera she had giggled. Now Washu waited patiently for the two lovers to enter the lab as she decided to have some fun.

They waited in front of the door leading to Washu's lab; Tenchi finally gathering his nerve and chancing a glance over at Ryoko who smiled reassuringly at him. He turned back to the door and knocked twice. When there was no answer he glanced at Ryoko and she shrugged. Turning back to the door, he reached out slowly and turned the knob as the door swung open and stood there, unsure what to do.

Reluctantly, Tenchi stepped through the doorway while Ryoko followed close behind as the door slammed shut and disappeared. They stood there for a moment as the darkness around them pierced with green and red streaks, then finally they started heading the only way left, straight into the lab.

Tenchi took Ryoko's hand and stepped out of the darkness and into the stairs to the lab. It was beautiful area, sort of like the onsen, but here and there were scatterings of machines. Silently they started walking past the machines and experiments that neither of them understood.

Washu sat on her cushion, watching Ryoko and Tenchi walking through her lab on her screen as they left the first level and started on the second level. She reached out and hit a few keys on her holo-computer and a chime sounded. Washu let out a cackle that would turn any mad scientist green with envy.

Tenchi heard the noise before he saw anything and suddenly he saw it, shooting out from the darkness of the lab. It was a huge mechanical hand and without thinking Tenchi leaped and tackled Ryoko to the ground.

The hand suddenly stopped and retreated back into the darkness. Slowly Tenchi turned his attention to his position as his old habits hit him hard and he blushed several shades of red. Ryoko smiled and winked at him. "Ten-chan," She whispered, "If you wanted to do this you could have asked. Not that I'm complaining."

Tenchi quickly stood up, his hands held out and backed away stammering, "Sorry...I didn't mean...I shouldn't have..."

Ryoko floated up from the ground, her face giving a slight pout as she righted herself. Her hands found her hips and she fringed a hurt voice. "What, you don't think I am beautiful enough?"

Tenchi's mind suddenly caught up with the present and quickly he moved to her and pulled her into a passionate kiss. He pulled away and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, it's a force of habit."

Ryoko shook her head and laughed "You're off the hook…for now."

Tenchi gulped and quickly moved on down the hallway leaving Ryoko grinning, 'I Just love doing that.' she thought as she began to set off after him.

Ryoko and Tenchi finally made it to the last level of the lab and found the red haired scientist sitting on her cushion, staring at a massive screen filled with huge amounts of data streaming across it.

They stood there quietly, trying to decide if they should leave or interrupt her. Suddenly she spun around and saw them and in one swift move she hopped off her pillow and hugged them; reminding the both of them of one of Misaki's famous hugs. "Oh I am so happy for you two."

Ryoko was annoyed with Washu but Tenchi was turning several shades of an alarming blue. "Let us go...Tenchi can't breathe..."

Ryoko was right as Tenchi struggled to breathe. Finally he managed to choke out, "Please...little...Washu...let...go...can't...breathe."

Washu stopped hugging them and looked up at Tenchi, who was using the break in the hug to catch his breath. He felt worried when he finally caught it and then looked up to see Washu glaring at him. He backed up, feeling both terrified and confused that he had called her Little Washu like she wanted everyone to.

"CALL ME MOM!"

Tenchi was shocked. She wanted him to call her what? 'Mom…she wants me to call her mom.' Tenchi stammered unsure of himself "Um...uh...Sure mom."

Washu's eyes grew wide, her face filled with joy. As she reached out and hugged him, Tenchi struggled pointlessly to get out of it. Finally, Ryoko intervened on his behalf, "Mom! If you don't let him go you'll kill him."

Washu glanced at Ryoko and shrugged, letting him go.

Tenchi stood there, bent over with his hands resting on his knees and fighting for his breath again as he listened to Ryoko argue with Washu. Washu stood there listening like nothing was the matter but inside she was grinning ear to ear. "Mom you nearly killed him."

Washu shook her head and smiled. "Nah, he's fine."

Ryoko sighed and crossed her arms in front of her; she hated it when her mother did this. "Mom...just don't do it any more okay?"

Washu beamed at her daughter, "Fine."

Tenchi had to get out of here and even though he had to ask her for a favor, he didn't want to do it right now and he sure didn't want to talk to her. So instead he fell back on the reason why Sasami sent them here. "Little Washu..."

Washu snapped her head around and narrowed her eyes at him. Tenchi gulped as he quickly rectified his mistake, "Uh, um, mom, I meant mom."

Washu's face softened and a small smile filled it. She had gone so long without Ryoko saying Mom and only when she was forced to in an un-daughterly way. Now she had Tenchi and Ryoko both calling her Mom and meaning it too, which made her happy. "Yes?"

"Breakfast is ready."

Washu nodded her head in acceptance. Tenchi hated to do this, but he had to ask a question. Ryoko even guessed what he was going to do and started shaking her head no, but Tenchi had asked, "Uh, mom you're not upset are you?"

Washu looked at him with incredulity and silently thought, 'After I hugged you like that and ask you to call me mom, you have to ask if I am angry?' Washu shook her head as her smile widen, making Tenchi feeling very nervous. "Tenchi the only thing that I am angry about is one: That you took so long to tell Ryoko and two: That she's going to get that sample I wanted so much. Although I could..."

To both Tenchi and Washu's surprise Ryoko quickly cut her sentence short when she phased in front of Washu and held her up off the floor, her energy sword in hand and pressed to her mother's throat. Ryoko let out a upset growl when she spoke, "DON'T ...EVEN...THINK...ABOUT...IT!!!"

Washu looked down at her daughter, she could get out of this, but for the first time in a long time she felt guilty because she set her daughter off. She had spent so much time trying to getting Ryoko to call, treat, and trust her like a mom and now with one little statement she had caused her daughter to forget all that and was willing to kill her.

Curiosity was overcoming her disappointment as she glanced behind her daughter's shoulder and right at Tenchi. Something in her read the look on his face and found that it was not one of puppy love or infatuation as Aekea might have chalk it up to when she finds out. No, this was the actual honest-to-god thing.

Tenchi's face showed no sign of fear at Ryoko's sudden flare of anger. No, it was the look only true love could create and Washu knew that if any guy had said or done anything to Ryoko he would find himself facing Tenchi in a very similar position.

Tenchi nodded at Washu and for some strange reason he didn't feel any fear at the pirate's sudden show of anger. Quickly he walked forward, placing his hand on Ryoko's arm as she slowly lost her anger and dissolved her energy sword. Ryoko then lowered Washu to the ground and bowed her head, "Gomen Nasai, Washu."

Washu looked at her daughter in shock, as did Tenchi. This was the first time that either of them had ever heard Ryoko apologize for anything. Washu put her hand on Ryoko's shoulder and bowed her head, "It's alright, and I should say gomen nasai. I spoke inappropriately to the man you love and for that gomen nasai, and arigato."

Ryoko raised her head and shared a look with a confused Tenchi before she asked. "Arigato? For what?"

"For reminding me that love is a very beautiful and dangerous thing."

Ryoko slowly smiled at her mother and laughed, "You're welcome and there's no need to be sorry. I can understand if I were you, I would be a little upset that I lost my chance to get the sample I had been after for so long."

Washu beamed at her daughter and thought through her mental link

'Domo.'

'You're welcome.'

Tenchi was confused and a little unnerved as both Ryoko and Washu shared a smile. "Can we go get breakfast now? I worked up an appetite."

They both looked at Tenchi as if he had appeared out of thin air and then back at each other, grinning ear to ear. They each took a arm and pulled Tenchi along out of the lab. Washu stopped in front of the door leading out of her lab and looked over at Ryoko, a devious smile crossing her face as she spoke, "Are you sure I can't..."

"Mom!!"

Washu waved her hand at Ryoko's protest and smiled even broader, "Don't worry, but you can blame a girl for trying can you?"

Ryoko looked at her for a minute then broke out into her own smile, "No, I guess I can't, can I."

Tenchi looked back and forth between the two, he didn't like this. They were getting along too well for him so while their attention was off of him, he discreetly moved away. Washu was holding a hushed discussion with Ryoko and Tenchi took this as a sign that he should go. He was almost out the door when he heard both Ryoko and Washu shout, "Tenchi!!"

He didn't wait to find out what they wanted as he leaped out the door and slammed it shut behind him. He knew it wouldn't stop them and he was sure that he would like whatever Ryoko had planned but Washu, coupled with his old habits forced him leave. Silently he leaned against the door and waited.

Peels of laughter filled the lab as Washu and Ryoko were laughing their heads off. Ryoko didn't believe Washu when she said that if they did that, his old habits would kick in and he would run. Washu had been right and Ryoko wasn't that surprised.

Ryoko's laughter finally subsided some and she looked over at a still giggling Washu. She was curious as to why she knew what he would do. "How did you know that he would do that?'

Washu struggled for some control over herself, finally managing to quit laughing she looked over at Ryoko and shrugged, "Because for the last year that's all he ever did."

They got a small chuckle at that, Ryoko's curiosity got the better of her again and asked, "Will he come back in?"

Washu shook her head as a small grin formed on her face, "No normally it would be tomorrow when he would come back, his habits wouldn't let him come back in."

The door opened and Tenchi stepped back into the lab, wearing a huge grin on his face as both Ryoko and Washu stopped talking and looked at him. Laughing, he closed the door behind him slowly as Washu and Ryoko shared a look between themselves and then looked back at him.

Washu put her hands on her hips and Ryoko crossed her arms over her chest as they both stared daggers at him. His smile shrunk from a small grin, to a smirk and then to nothing as Ryoko spoke, her voice holding a slight tone of mocker anger, "And just what are you laughing at?"

Tenchi absentmindedly started scratching the back of his head, as he often did in this kind of situation, "Er...Well...I reached the other side and then it occurred to me that I left two beautiful women alone and waiting, so I came back in to get them."

Washu and Ryoko never took their eyes off him, as they held a silent conversation through their mental link, "He's good."

"Yeah he is. It's going to be hard to stay mad with him."

They both grinned ear to ear and put their hands together in front of them and at the same time in kawaii voices said, "Oh Tenchi."

Tenchi barely had time to figure out what they had said when they each grabbed an arm and dragged him out the door. By the time they reached the kitchen Washu had let go and sat down in her normal spot at the table.

Ryoko smiled over at her and dragged Tenchi to his normal eating spot, pushing him down as she spoke, "Wait here Tenchi, I'll go get the princess and the ditz."

Tenchi smiled up at Ryoko as she smiled back and suddenly she was gone.

***

Ryoko landed lightly in the hallway in front of the princess' room. She knocked gentle so as not to startle the girl. When no answer came she leaned her head forward and phased through the door. Ryoko glanced around the room…she wasn't in her bed, she wasn't in the closet, she wasn't at her desk, and then her eyes fell onto Aekea.

She was standing in front of the window looking out over the forest and lake. Ryoko silently pulled her head back through the door; she knew Aekea would be thinking about him and before she could stop it, a nasty thought shoot through her mind, 'To bad princess, he's mine now.' Ryoko quickly squashed the thought. She needed to be nicer to Aekea because of what was coming. Ryoko knocked harder on Aekea's door and this time there was an answer, "Yes?"

Ryoko slid the door open and as soon as Aekea saw it was Ryoko, she used her princess voice. "Oh it's you. What do you want?"

Ryoko shook her head, biting back her response and making herself a promise to not fight with her. "Nothing. Tenchi asked me to come and tell you that breakfast is ready."

Ryoko backed out of the princess' room, closed the door and floated down the hall to the blonde GP's room. A smile involuntarily crossed her face; Mihoshi was always good to bring your spirits up no matter what.

When she reached the room she didn't even knock since Mihoshi wouldn't hear it so she just phased in to see an empty bed. Slowly Ryoko floated around the room in confusion. Mihoshi was always here but now she couldn't find her anywhere. Finally, as she was floating over Mihoshi's bed, she saw a note on the blanket. Ryoko reached down picked it up she unfolded it and read:

Dear everyone,
I had to go to the galaxy police HQ to get my new partner.
-Mihoshi

Ryoko folded the paper up and shrugged. This was not something Mihoshi usually did; as a matter of fact this was the first time she ever thought ahead. Mihoshi had been doing a lot of things she didn't used to but Ryoko, like the rest wrote it off as a by product of living with Tenchi. Ryoko phased back down to the kitchen table where she hovered for a minute and then finally sat down as Sasami began serving breakfast.

Sasami looked up at her and smiled, curiosity evident on her face. "Where's Mihoshi?"

Ryoko smiled and handed the note to the little princess as she took the plate Sasami had been carrying. The little princess took the note and read it, nodding her head and looking back up, smiling.

Soon Sasami had finished bringing out the food and sat down as they began eating. Every so often Ryoko would reach under the table, claiming she had an itch. To anyone it looked like she was itching but the only one who knew different was Tenchi, who fought hard to hide his grin every time she did.

Ryoko was thankful that things had changed; this was much better than when he had yelled and tried to move away. She kept forcing herself to keep control of herself for it would not do to rush things no matter how much she wanted to. But eventually human nature set in and the natural course of things returned as Aekea shot off the first comment. "Ryoko, maybe you should take a flea bath."

This earned her a cold stare but nothing more. Her second volley earned her an even colder stare, but Ryoko had made herself a promise and she was intent on keeping it. The third volley finally earned her a retaliatory remark. It soon came to a head with the comments of "Ukawantia." from Aekea and "Flat-chested witch." from Ryoko.

It was then that Ryoko glomped onto Tenchi who had his ramen partway between his mouth and bowel. Aekea immediately made the move and pried Ryoko's hands off Tenchi, yelling at the space pirate. "Keep your hands off Lord Tenchi, he's not yours."

The entire room froze as Washu looked up at the two. Sasami gulped, realizing a fight was coming, and Tenchi…well Tenchi's face became stone. Ryoko stood up, knocking the table over as she did; thankfully Washu and Sasami were already long gone out of safety. Ryoko clenched her hands, her powers spiking as she began, "For your information...." She bit her tongue catching herself.

Tenchi remained in his spot, looking up at the two. He was in a mental panic as to what to do; he could go get Tenchi-ken and try to interfere, but that might serve to ignite the situation even more.

Ryoko felt her rage rise as she glared at her opponent, protected by her energy shield. Ryoko charged up her orange energy ball it grew with more power being poured into it. She pulled her hand back preparing to hurl it at her, but suddenly her eyes went wide as she felt a hand gently reached out and take her wrist from behind.

She let the energy dissipate and turned to see Tenchi standing there. He stepped around her and stood between the two. He looked at Ryoko and gave her a reassuring smile before speaking. "Please, don't fight."

Aekea lowered her shields; her eyes were filled with questions and confusion. Tenchi continued in his calm and soft voice. "Please, you've fought with each other almost everyday since you've been here, no more. Please."

Aekea blinked her violet eyes, unsure how this had come about. She was totally lost as he turned completely to her and reached out, resting his hands on her upper arms. He spoke quietly to her as his coca eyes locked with hers. "Please, don't fight anymore. There's nothing to fight about."

Aekea's face showed confusion but she nodded her head in acquiesces to his wishes. Aekea spoke softly, her delicate voice keeping his attention focused on her. "Gomen nasai, Lord Tenchi."

Tenchi nodded his head in acceptance as he let her go and then turned to glance at Ryoko before continuing. "We need to talk Miss Aekea, it is important, but it can wait for now. Sasami needs to do the dishes, Washu to repair what damage there is to the kitchen and I have to sweep the stairs."

Aekea nodded and bowed. She looked up to see Tenchi's back as he walked out the door of the kitchen. Immediately, she refocused her attention on Ryoko who was now sitting silently. What had happened was not to Aekea's liking, it was too much like be chastised by Tenchi, the man she loved, in front of this woman. But somewhere deeper, she felt that something had changed, that it was something that would affect her entire life.

Pushing the feeling aside she stooped to gather up the intact dishes and began carrying them to the sink, knowing Sasami would be back soon and she wanted to give her as little to do as possible. When she returned to the table, she bit back the comment that had risen in her mind; it would not do to say anything just now.

Ryoko looked at the princess as she phased out of the room in which Aekea sighed and began to relax a little. As much as she liked Ryoko, as much as a sister, a fight was just natural. Still she was glad that Tenchi had stopped them, although it was very un-Tenchi like.

Sasami entered the kitchen and smiled at her little sister as she turned and left the dishes to her. Aekea walked through the house, gathering up the clothes.

Even though she knew that Tenchi didn't expect it, she just felt that if she didn't do it then she would be no better than Ryoko. Aekea hummed as she worked, thinking about this and that, yet her mind always working its way back around to the question that was nagging at her…What did Tenchi want to talk about with her?

***

Ryoko was upset; she had broken her promise to herself. She had fought with that damn princess. She had almost blurted the secret that Tenchi had made her promise to keep. She had almost betrayed Tenchi's trust, his love.

Ryoko had left knowing that she was a source of tension for the princess and because she wanted to be alone. Now that Tenchi had known, she felt that she really wasn't worthy of his love. She looked out across the snowy landscape, lost in dark thoughts.

The cold chill in the air was nothing to how she felt inside. She felt the tug at the back of her mind, having completely forgotten about it. 'Yes *Mom*?'

Ryoko could feel sympathy and understanding from her mom flooding across the link, but she ignored it. Washu had a good idea how her daughter felt so she had decided to intervene, knowing that the pain would be long and drawn out.

'Why are you up there?'

Ryoko sighed as she reluctantly answered the red haired scientist, 'because I blew it, I broke a promise. I almost told Aekea.'

Washu sighed as she thought to herself, 'Young love', and then continued her mental conversation. 'Oh and that's why you feel that you need to be up there instead of talking with him?

'I can't face him; I betrayed his trust. I'm not worthy of his love.'

Washu bite her lip and narrowed her eyes, knowing there was only one thing she could say that would force her daughter to act. However, it would be a very underhanded thing to do, but she did it anyway. 'Alright then just stay up there and wallow in your self pity, believe what Kagato told you cause apparently he was right.'

Ryoko's eyes narrowed and low guttural growl escaped her as she stood, her hands making fists. 'He was wrong! You're Wrong! I'm going to find Tenchi!' Ryoko lifted off and took off like a bullet she ignored Washu's rather cocky sounding comment, 'You're welcome.' and shut her end of the link.

Ryoko blasted through the sky. Her mother had struck a cord, a very fearful cord in her daughter. It had played upon her worst fear and Ryoko believed that doing this showed that her worst fear, her nightmare, that the sick bastard Kagato still had control over her even after his death was false.

***

Tenchi reached the snow covered steps leading to the shrine, he started to sweep but then angrily tossed his broom to the ground and slumped down the back of a tree. He was such a baka because he should have known better. He should have told Aekea and he shouldn't have put Ryoko into this situation.

He called himself every name he could think of from A to Z; he should have told Aekea then and there and he should have faced what he had to do. But what really made him loathe himself was the fact that he knew Ryoko was up on the roof blaming herself.

He should have comforted her, told her it wasn't her fault, instead of running off. He was running again, he was causing pain to the woman he loved, the woman he cared the most about.

He stood up slowly, his face set and his mind made up. He was going to go back to find her, to do what he should have before hand. Even as he resolved to head home, something held him there, it was a feeling that he should stay. He gave in, only because he had learned to listen to his feelings. He hated himself every minute that he stayed there.

With mounting frustration he started to take a step forward when he felt a presence overhead and the feeling dissipated. He lifted his head; squinting into the winter sun he saw a female figure descending, her hair and clothes fluttering out behind her as she descended. He smiled despite himself thinking, 'My angel's here.'

Ryoko gazed down at Tenchi at the stairs; she was torn knowing he had to be mad with her. Would he, when he saw her, tell her to leave? Would he shout at her? She landed with a soft sound on the snow-covered ground and studied his face then looked away. She wanted him to take her in his arms and hug her, to comfort her, to kiss her and to tell her that he still loved her. But she betrayed his trust so she bowed her head, not wanting to look into his kind brown eyes.

Tenchi stood there, his heart pounding in his chest, his palms sweating and his mind racing. He wanted to run forward and hug her, to kiss her, but one thing stopped him…would she let him? Ryoko grew more depressed with each moment as she stood there cursing Zero, and cursing Kagato's training even more so. It was those years of training that told her that a weapon couldn't show feelings, and the influence from Zero was urging her to go ahead. So they stood across from the each other, each wanting to move but afraid to.

***

As the two of them stood across from each other, Washu sat in her lab, tears running down her face. True, Ryoko had closed the link with her, but the empathy link between them was still wide open and all of Ryoko's feelings were being amplified.

They provoked long forgotten feelings and memories in Washu of her husband and child. She had forced these feelings of pain and suffering away, forgetting them. But now they came back worse than ever and she cried for both herself as well as for her daughter.

***

Sasami dropped the carrot that she had been shaving on the ground as the sadness filled her very being. She didn't know where it came from, but from its intensity she could tell it was coming from someplace close by. Being bonded with Tsunami she was often subjected to feelings like this.

Ryo-Oki laid on the ground the carrot that Sasami had dropped in front of her, but she was oblivious to it. Her empathy link with Ryoko was working overtime because the cabbit was in the presence of a goddess.

***

Aekea had just finished the laundry and had been settling in for her favorite show when she felt the flood of emotions. Even without the influence of the Goddess and her connection to Sasami, Aekea would have felt something.

In the far reaches of space onboard a Galaxy Police ship, Mihoshi for no apparent reason began to cry because at the sudden feeling of sadness.

***

Slowly the dam that held Tenchi and Ryoko's feelings broke, allowing Tenchi to hesitantly take a step, then another and another until he was running towards her. He had stood in his spot watching her sob quietly and suddenly he knew what he had to do.

Ryoko's will finally won out over Kagato's training and she rushed towards Tenchi. They embraced each other, Tenchi stumbling back from the force of Ryoko's momentum. They kissed and long after they each had quit crying they held each other as if the other was all that kept them from death.

It was Tenchi who spoke first, "Ryo-chan gomen nasai."

Ryoko looked up at him, her golden catlike eyes filled with questions. "Gomen nasai for what?"

Tenchi sighed "For putting you in this situation...I should have told her...."

Ryoko gently placed her finger to his mouth to stop him from talking, and taking a deep breath to steady herself as she spoke. "No Ten-Chan It was my fault. I broke a promise to myself, not to fight with her. I almost told her the truth and I betrayed your trust. Love is supposed to be filled with trust not anger or doubt...."

This time it was Tenchi who had raised his finger to her lips to stop her from speaking. Gently he dropped his hand to her chin and tilted her head from its bowed position that she had placed it in when she was talking.

When they were looking in each other's eyes he spoke, "Ryo-Chan, love is strange. It is always filled with trust, but it also holds anger and doubt. Love has room for all of the feelings, because without anger and doubt, sadness and envy, then we wouldn't know love because we would never know what love is like." He paused, taking a breath and then continued, "It is much like without the darkness, then we wouldn't appreciate the light."

Ryoko let a smile cross her. Tenchi saw it and let a smile cross his as well "Ryo-chan, I love you so lets not dwell on what's been done."

Ryoko let her smile become wider and happier as Tenchi's grew to match hers. The wind blew gently across the lovers as the snow covered branches swayed. After several minutes, Ryoko spoke, breaking the moment much to his disappointment. "Ten-chan? Can I help you sweep the steps?"

He smiled at her and nodded his consent. Ryoko started up the steps as Tenchi walked over to where he dropped the broom, bending down to picked it up; he had no sooner stood up holding the broom than a snowball hit him on the side of his head.

He blinked as he reached up to wipe the snow from his hair and turned looking up the stairs to see smiling Ryoko looking down at him. In one hand she was bouncing a snowball and nervously Tenchi started scratching the back of his head.

Ryoko smiled even broader and launched the snowball as it found its mark, squarely in his face as she muttered, "Teach you to make me cry."

***

Tenchi sighed as he walked up the steps to the shrine, his bokken held absently. He could see the red wooden torii at the entrance of the shrine. He frowned, this was the chore he really hated because of this chore that he had learned to kill.

That was the reason he didn't want the others to see him practice. Since he had killed Kagato, he had changed. Now when he practiced with Jiichan, he practiced with a fury and anger held in a tight check.

He hated himself, the darkness, the dark joy he took in that side of himself. Aekea was wrong when she called Ryoko a demon, or a monster. She had done it against her will, she had owned up to her actions. But he had done it of his own free will, and he did not own up to it. Every time he remembered killing Kagato he felt good for the darkness had tainted his soul.

He knew that to everyone he was a nice, gentle, sweet guy, who would never hurt anybody. He did not want any of them to know that he did relish the violence, the killing. That he had to struggle to keep his darker side that was always there, always threatening to break loose.

It was yet another reason he had taken so long to choose. Whoever he did choose would have to find out about this side of him. But it was thanks to the darkness that ate at his soul that he could recognize love. He might have denied it for a long time but he knew it. When he was with Ryoko, the darkness was crushed, his soul returned to its original peaceful state.

He couldn't help but smile as he remembered the second snowball fight. She had won, but he wasn't all that upset. They had just finished sweeping the steps, and surprisingly she hadn't tried to seduce him. Not that he would have objected; at least he didn't think he would have. Anyway, they had finished early and as Tenchi was putting up the broom snowballs pelted him. Thankfully his training kicked in and he dodged them all. Tenchi dived behind a mound of snow and quickly making his own snowball as he cautiously peeked over the top of the mound.

His eyes darted here and there, but Ryoko was nowhere to be seen. He was surprised until in the back of his mind he felt her phased behind him. He spun quickly and while her face showed her surprise, he pulled the top of her shirt out and dropped his snowball down it.

Ryoko had shot straight up and started hunting for it while saying a few choice words. Tenchi smiled and started whistling. When they had returned home she vowed that he was going to pay for his tactic in the snowball fight. Tenchi was not put off from that, but when he was heading out of the house, his bokken in hand, Tenchi had seen her go into the kitchen.

Tenchi was so lost in thought that Katsuhito almost caught him as he reacted with a duck and counter only out of instinct. Katsuhito blocked his counter and struck again, but Tenchi quickly blocked and leapt back into a better position leveling his sword before him.

Katsuhito slipped into his at rest stance, his sword held at his side the wooden blade positioned for an upward slice if need be. When he spoke, Tenchi knew all to well it was his teaching voice, "Tenchi, you should pay better attention."

Tenchi sighed and looked at his grandfather annoyed. He had stopped the attack so what more could he want, which is exactly what he said. "I blocked your attack."

Katsuhito didn't let the smile he felt show; it was at times like this when his grandson reminded him of himself when he was younger." True. But I have been following you since you started towards the shrine."

Tenchi was shocked and his face showed it. "W...What??"

Katsuhito sighed as he shook his head, "Tenchi…Tenchi…one must be aware of his surroundings at all times and one's thoughts should not distract him."

Tenchi bowed his head in understanding, slipping his body into position for an attack, but Katsuhito shook his head and turned to face the woods, showing his back to Tenchi. For one brief instant Tenchi considered attacking the old man, but fought the urge.

"We'll continue the lesson at the shrine." With that Katsuhito headed off through the forest and within a few minutes, disappeared for sight. Tenchi sighed and started up the steps to the shrine again.

***

Ryoko smiled contently as she floated up the steps to the shrine. She held the thermos and sandwiches close to her to keep them warm. 'I am so clever.'

Ryoko's curiosity, like the others, knew that Tenchi didn't want them watching him at practice or anywhere near the shrine when he was there. She wanted to spend some time with him, so she had come up with a sure fire plan, lunch. He couldn't yell at her for bringing lunch.

Ryoko came to a stop at the top step and glanced around but she didn't see Tenchi or Katsuhito anywhere. She was about to leave when they appeared and for a moment Ryoko wondered if this was the wrong shrine. This was not how Tenchi and Katsuhito practiced; this practice was fierce, almost war-like.

Katsuhito attacked viciously, forcing Tenchi to block and turn Katsuhito's attack away. Each lunge from Katsuhito forced Tenchi back, his slashes strong and almost overpowering. Then suddenly Tenchi quit blocking and launched his own attack at Katsuhito, who blocked and turned away Tenchi's lunges and slashes, forcing Katsuhito back.

Then it changed again and Tenchi was blocking once again. Ryoko suddenly became aware of where she was and phased behind a tree closer to the practice area where she wanted to watch without distracting her love. As she watched, she noted Katsuhito's face was the same as always, calm and cool. The only thing that showed otherwise was the more concentrated way he ducked and bobbed to avoid Tenchi's swings.

Then Ryoko saw Tenchi's face and her body went rigged and her blood ran cold. Her hands shook as she recognized the look on his face. It was the face she had worn when she was destroying planets and laying waste to people's lives under Kagato's control. It was the look of someone who enjoyed the utter wanton destruction. It was the look of one who would kill without thought.

Yes Ryoko knew it all to well and suddenly she knew why Tenchi never wanted anybody to see him training. Now that she thought about it, he had not let anyone see him train ever since his fight with Kagato. How often at night while he slept, she would hear him mumble about fighting Kagato and killing him and afterwards the tears that came in his sleep. Ryoko had never known why they came, but now she knew. He had to hate this side of himself, the side that let him love the feeling of killing Kagato, the side of himself that had let him enjoy that feeling.

Ryoko snapped out of her thoughts, realizing that the sound of wood clashing on wood had gone and the normal forest noise had returned. Focusing at the area before her, Tenchi and Katsuhito were standing across from each other, each watching the other warily and breathing heavy. With their swords held at their sides, Katsuhito suddenly spoke, "Tenchi, you were distracted."

Tenchi bowed his head, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips, fighting to keep the amusement out of his voice as he spoke. "Sorry grandfather."

Katsuhito smiled grimly and continued, "A warrior never allows himself to be distracted." he paused and then continued. "Even by a girl bearing food."

Ryoko felt a jolt of surprise come over her. Katsuhito had known she was here, and apparently so had Tenchi. Ryoko fought down her surprise and phased out from behind the tree to where Tenchi stood he turned his head and looked over at her smiling and Ryoko returned it happily.

Tenchi glanced back over at Katsuhito and bowed while respectfully asking, "Ojiisama, will you joining us for lunch?"

Katsuhito shook his head and let himself smile, "No Tenchi, this is a lunch for two not three."

Ryoko smiled, glad that Katsuhito had enough sense to know that this was a private lunch, but she also noted that although he was smiling, his eyes held worry.

Katsuhito turned and headed into his office. Tenchi smiled and turned around to look at Ryoko. "Ryo-chan where do you want to have lunch?"

Ryoko refocused on Tenchi and smiled quickly as she looked around the shrine area for a spot that wasn't completely snow covered. Finally, she pointed to a bare spot under the limbs of a heavily snow laden tree on the outskirts of the shrine. "How about under that tree over there?"

Tenchi glanced over at the place she had pointed and turning back, he smiled at her. "Perfect."

Ryoko smiled and they walked towards the tree. As he sat down, she handed him the food and thermos in which Tenchi took them and then looked up questioningly at why she didn't sit. Ryoko smiled and held up a hand to stop him from asking any questions, "I have to talk with grandfather for a minute."

She leaned forward until their faces were mere inches apart, smelling the excitement coming off him and her smile growing broader. "When I get back, you'll really enjoy lunch."

Tenchi gulped and nodded his head vigorously and Ryoko, pleased with herself smiled and phased into Katsuhito's office, leaving a very nervous Tenchi.

Katsuhito felt her presence before he looked up. Silently sighing he looked up at Ryoko who bowed her head as she landed on the office floor and stood there for a moment before speaking. "Okay what is it that bothers you so much?"

Katsuhito sat back and crossed his arms as he regarded her for a moment. Ryoko shifted uncomfortably under Katsuhito's silent searching gaze and then finally to her relief he spoke, "Please sit."

When he gestured at the empty spot across from him, Ryoko nodded her head and sat down. The old priest took a cup and poured her some tea. Ryoko took it and smiled at him as she drank it, listening as Katsuhito spoke. "Ryoko, you saw Tenchi at practice today correct?"

She nodded, her interest clearly recognizable as she sat the empty tea bowel down and listened. "What bothers me is that he is having a hard time dealing with what he has done. Tenchi's soul is one of peace, but it has become one that is blemished with darkness. Killing Kagato changed him, at times I fear for the worst. He has spent a long time fighting his dark feelings."

Katsuhito saw from the look on her face that she had figured that out and continued. "You should know Tenchi almost lost. He came very close to being consumed. However, today when you arrived he changed, he calmed down."

Ryoko felt her curiosity peek, why had he calmed with her around? She had to know, "Why?"

Katsuhito smiled, this time his eyes shared amusement that was on his face. "You are his balance. With his love for you he can subdue the darkness, imagine much the same way you have done it with your love for him."

Katsuhito kept his impassive face, but he was glad that she had come to him so that he could explain some of what she saw. If she was to be with his grandson then she needed to know as much as he could tell her. "You had best go before he thinks I stole his girl."

Ryoko nodded and as she stood up and handed the cup of tea to Katsuhito; a smile broadly crossing her face. "Thank you for the tea," and almost as a whisper she added, "And thank you for your kind words."

Ryoko phased out of his office leaving Katsuhito with his thoughts.

***

Katsuhito sat there in silence, his thoughts gradually moving from his conversation about his grandson and onto Ryoko and Tenchi's love. Katsuhito had tried to figure out why Tenchi had chosen Ryoko, was it because she banished his dark side?

But Katsuhito knew that wasn't it for Tenchi had loved her before Kagato. Katsuhito settled for a much simpler answer, Tenchi loved her because that was how he felt but Katsuhito was bothered by something else. He had accepted the fact that Tenchi loved Ryoko and that Ryoko loved him.

It was the fact that he thought of Ryoko the same as Aekea did. He liked Ryoko like a daughter but he also hated her because he had hunted Ryoko down to this planet and yet at the last minute he spared her life because he realized that she had been killing against her will.

But he still hated her and it was hard not to, after all she had attacked Jurai, killing friends and family and almost killing him. He kept these thoughts from everyone, especially Tenchi. He knew that if his grandson found out his feelings he would be very upset which often at times Katsuhito wished that Tenchi hadn't let her out of the cave at all.

He remembered that he had often watched Tenchi play with Ryoko when he was younger and had worried that he would let her out. Katsuhito also remembered that he had known exactly where his grandson was the day his mother had died. Slowly the memory played:

The forest was quiet and the animals made no noise. The only sound was that of sobbing. Katsuhito silently made his way to the cave, knowing that Tenchi would be there. Tenchi would go back to where he felt safe, where his mother had taken him, where his imaginary friend lived.

Katsuhito approached quietly and stopped just at the edge of the forest. Another step and he would be in the open but he watched silently as Tenchi cried on a rock. He was oblivious to the comfort that Ryoko was trying to give him. Katsuhito watched as she laid her hand on the young Tenchi's back and noted the pain when Ryoko saw that Tenchi was unable to see or feel her.

Katsuhito felt a pang of sadness for her and suddenly Ryoko looked over to where he stood. Her face, masking the grief from both the death of Tenchi's mother and from the knowledge that Tenchi couldn't see her anymore.

Ryoko's eyes were pleading for Katsuhito to help. Katsuhito nodded his head and quickly made his way to Tenchi's side. His grandson looked up at him thorough the tears in his eyes as Katsuhito gently placed a hand on his shoulder. Tenchi spoke between his sobs "J...Jiichan, where did my mom go?"

Katsuhito shook his head knowing that this was going to be tough "Tenchi she went to a place of peace."

"W...why couldn't she be at peace here?"

"Because, she needed more peace than we could give."

"W...why?"

Tenchi was making this extremely hard and Katsuhito did the only thing he could think of. "Tenchi come, you will begin your training today."

Tenchi shook his head violently "But my friend, I want to see my friend."

Katsuhito looked at Tenchi and sighed "Tenchi not today, but you will see her again I promise."

Tenchi looked at his grandfather and accepted what his grandfather said and took one last look at the cave and headed off through the woods. Katsuhito sadly watched him go and turning back he looked at Ryoko who smiled sadly, her tears drying. Katsuhito sighed and said what he felt, "He will see you again I am certain."

Katsuhito offered her a smile of his own and hurried off to find Tenchi.

As suddenly as the memory came it left. Katsuhito smiled, 'I was right, he saw her again.' he thought as he went back to work on the papers before him.

The lovers walked down the steps from the shrine holding hands. Lunch had been a joyful one, as the house came into view they let go of the other's hand and side-by-side they continued to the house. Tenchi slid the door open and stepping inside and waited for Ryoko.

After a few minutes it dawned on him that she had told him that she was going to get some sleep. Closing the door and smiling, he made his way to the kitchen where he found Sasami in her normal spot in front of the stove. Smiling even broader he spoke, "Sasami, I am going to the bath. Is dinner almost done?"

Sasami jumped slightly and turned with a smile on her face, her pink eyes wide, holding the same happiness of any nine year old. "It's almost done, but you and Ryoko had lunch didn't you?"

Tenchi smiled sheepishly and put his hand behind his head and got the look of somebody that had got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. "Yeah we did."

Sasami smiled and turned back to the stove and continued to fix dinner.

Tenchi stood there for a moment, unsure of himself. Finally he turned to leave and as he was going out the kitchen door he ran into Aekea, knocking her down. Quickly Tenchi extended his hand an apologized, "I'm sorry miss Aekea, are you alright?"

Aekea looked up at Tenchi and hesitantly she took his hand. "I'm fine lord Tenchi."

Aekea smiled at him and Tenchi smiled back. "Excuse me Miss Aekea, I am going to the bath."

Aekea nodded her head as she watched him continue out of the kitchen and to the stairs. Again the thought hit her, 'Something's changed.' and again tossed it to the side.

Tenchi quickly got his clothes and made his way out to the bath. He had the whole men's bath to himself and he relaxed back into the hot water, trying to let his cares fade away, but one thought kept nagging him, 'I'm going to have major trouble when I tell Aekea about me and Ryoko.'

Slowly a smile crept across his face and he closed his eyes, losing himself in the memory of the bath earlier that day with some changes.

***

Ryoko stepped through the door that led to Washu's lab and found herself back on level 1. She shook her head as she stood amidst a bunch of machines. Sighing, Ryoko started looking for the little red headed scientist.

Washu's lab was huge, taking up to five planets, with each one holding a different lab and Ryoko knew that she could spend her entire life in here just trying to find Washu. It was easy to find the red haired scientist when she wanted you to, but if you wanted her on your own, she made you work for it. Thankfully, Washu wasn't that hard to find for Ryoko since all she had to do was use her link with her *mother*.

Washu knew her daughter was looking for her and smiled as she started to reach for the keyboard to have some fun but her smile faded and her hand froze hovering over the keyboard when she felt her daughter standing behind her. She was caught red handed and slowly Washu turned to face her daughter.

Ryoko had a look of both curiosity and disbelief on her face as she ignored Washu; her attention completely focused on the screen behind diminutive genius. Washu tried to reach behind her to turn it off but Ryoko stopped her, "Mom! What the hell do you think you're watching?"

Ryoko gestured towards the screen and the red haired scientist let out a weak laugh and put a hand behind her head. Ryoko reached out to grab her and began to shake her while she screamed, "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE WATCHING?????"

Washu managed to answer as she was being shaken violently, "Q...Quit shaking me and I'll tell you."

Ryoko immediately let her mother go, putting her hands on her hips and started tapping her foot waiting.

Washu straighten herself up and smoothed out the winkles in her outfit. Finally she answered her daughter. "I was just flipping through my security cameras and this was the only thing that was happening."

Washu tensed and waited for a blast or something but she wasn't ready for the grin that slowly worked it's way across Ryoko's face. Washu leaned away from her daughter, unsure if she was completely sane or not.

Ryoko had the same look in her eyes that signaled that she had a scheme, like when she used to fight with Aekea over Tenchi. Slowly Ryoko approached the screen, staring at it intently and Washu waited tensely. Finally Ryoko spoke over her shoulder, "Does this thing have a volume control?"

Washu felt a slow smile creep onto her face as she quickly adjusted herself to face the screen. She reached past her daughter to the keyboard and tapped a couple of keys and suddenly the lab was filled with sounds from the bath where Tenchi sat relaxing.

Ryoko glanced over at her mom smiling and Washu smiled back, glad that this wasn't going to end in an explosion. Washu turned her attention back to the screen and joined her daughter in watching.

***

Tenchi slumped further into the water and relaxed, he didn't want to admit it but he was enjoying his time alone. However, he was going to miss the way Ryoko would sneak into the bath to try and seduce him. He chuckled, remembering that Aekea would immediately interrupt and then when would remember where she was at. She would hide her eyes and ask Tenchi's forgiveness and at the same time cursing Ryoko. Naturally a fight would ensue.

Absently, as the water did its trick and relaxed his muscles, he thought back to the fond fantasies that he like any red-blooded male had; the ones of Aekea where she wouldn't catch her and Ryoko would seduce him. Joining those were the ones were Aekea would catch her, but instead of stopping her, she helped the space pirate. The fantasies were having an effect on him and he stopped on the ones concerning him and all of the girls.

As he closed his eyes and slowed his pulse down, he smiled a little. He opened his eyes, his body back to normal and looked around, curiously he thought to himself. 'Where is she?' He would have sworn that she would have followed him. His eyes locked onto the security camera of Washu's and smiled. Smiling, a wicked idea formed in his head and as he slid through he water with a smile that matched any that Ryoko could muster he absently thought, 'She's rubbing off on me.' He stopped at the edge of the bath and placing his hands in their proper place, lifted himself out of the water as he spoke in a loud voice. "Did you want to see this?"

Tenchi smiled and made his way out of the cameras view and toweled off. 'I hope I gave them a good laugh.' he thought as he picked up his towel and left the bath.

***

In Washu's lab both Ryoko and Washu slapped their hands over the other's eyes while at the same time trying to see past the other. With all the struggling, Washu tripped, her hand slipping from over her daughter's eyes and Ryoko smiled evilly.

Washu stood up sighed, maybe such things were not meant for her to see. Ryoko started laughing and Washu smirked, speaking with amusement lacing her voice. "You're a bad influence on him."

Ryoko sighed and felt a seed of doubt sprout inside her. What her mother said was attached to the main reason why she had come here in the first place. "I have a question that only the greatest scientific genius can handle."

Washu smiled. At least her daughter knew how to get her to answer a question. "Go ahead."

"It's about Tenchi, I saw him at practice today." Ryoko let the statement hang in the air.

Washu nodded her head; her curiosity peeked. She had been curious as to what Tenchi was like during practice for a long time, but he had never let anyone up there to see it. When Katsuhito sensed her or one of her machines trying to sneak up there, he stopped practice. Washu waved her hand for her daughter to continue as she typed on her computer turning on a recorder.

Ryoko cleared her throat and looked at the ground. "I can't really explain what I saw. The easiest thing would be, you know my nightmares, that look on my face when I…" her voice failed and she went quiet and then continued. "That was how he looked during practice. It frightened me. I talked to Katsuhito, and he said it was because his soul was in turmoil…and that I was helping him to keep his soul at peace."

Washu understood since this was what she thought she was going to say, but she also knew that her daughter wasn't finished yet. "Can you tell me..." she took a breath and looked as she continued, "I mean I know why I was like that. But Tenchi, I don't undertand. I know he hates his dark side but he embraces it the same as I did, but it's worse some how because he knows it wrong, I didn't."

Washu nodded in understanding; Ryoko wanted her to explain one of the most complex aspects of mortals that even she barely understood. Cautiously she spoke. "Ryoko, it's difficult to explain. The simple answer is he's human. True, he's part Juraian, but still very human. They're complex creatures and I based you along those lines. He changed radically and his innocence was ripped away when he made the conscious choice of killing."

She studied her daughter who didn't make a comment and continued. "He has obviously had a very difficult time dealing with the dark feelings and emotions that infest their soul after something like that. In his case he has learned a trick, a way to control his darker side. Tenchi has from what I gather used his love of you as the trick."

Ryoko was processing everything her mother had just told her, but suddenly snapped herself out of it when she felt Washu hugging her. Ryoko, for the first time, didn't consider teleporting. She just let her mother hug her and deep down inside her she admitted to herself that it felt good to have a mother hug her. Washu kept her head turned away from her daughter as she didn't want her daughter to see her tears; she wasn't sure why she was crying but her daughter didn't need to know.

Ryoko broke the hug and shrugged away, blanketing Washu's actions. "Dinner should be ready by now."

Washu looked at her daughter and waved her hand back to normal. "Go on ahead, I have an experiment to check first."

Ryoko nodded her head and phased back to door leading to the rest of the house. she sighed as she opened the door and stepped out to join the one she loved.

***

Washu stood there, lost in her thoughts, her body slowly shifted to that of a young adult and then to full adult. She looked down at herself and heaved a deep sigh. She had took this form for several reasons but foremost was that fact that she reasoned children would not be able to feel the kind of pain she had endured. How wrong had she been?

She wiped her cheeks, clearing them of her tears and summoned a hand mirror and studied her face, smiling a dazzlingly smile and thinking to herself. 'I look so kawaii, I can't wait to let everyone see me like this and freak. It'd serve Tenchi right after his little trick in the bath.'

***

The dining room was unusually quiet, probably an after effect of this morning's breakfast. Tenchi was seated in his normal spot, with Ryoko and Aekea situated on each side of him. Sasami sat next to her sister and Nobuyuki was seated on the side next to Ryoko. He had learned to give her plenty of space since she had a tendency to break his fingers every so often otherwise.

What really made it a full-fledged oddness was that Katsuhito had come of his own will and the only response they could get from him was it was going to be a very interesting evening.

They all waited patiently for Washu to arrive although Tenchi had to keep reminding Ryoko not yet, since she kept eyeing the food, and he knew him.

The quiet that had descended on the room was shattered with one word, "Hi."

Everybody looked over to see Washu in her adult form and they all got a look of extreme shock and surprise on their faces. They stared at her and Washu smiled as she moved over to where she normally sat next to Nobuyuki. They all stared at her in disbelief and Washu giggled, deciding that if she didn't say something no one was going to eat. "I decided that it was time for a change."

Nobuyuki scooted closer to the adult Washu and nodded his head vigorously, "Oh I agree, it is definitely a time for a change."

Washu smiled back at him non-pulsed for the awkward silence that had descended was broken as they started into their regular dinnertime rituals.

Nobuyuki glanced up at the table with a mouth full of food. He asked Sasami to hand him his paper and she smiled as she held it up saying, "Did you want to see this?"

Ryoko and Washu broke out laughing while Tenchi's face slowly filled with a smile at the same time, going a little red. He ducked his head so that nobody could see it.

Nobuyuki, Katsuhito, Sasami, and Aekea all stared at the two women, confused as to where this strange behavior came from.

After the laughter died down, they noticed the looks they were getting and quickly apologized. They focused on their food and when it became apparent that they weren't going to talk about it, the rest returned to their food.

***

Tenchi sneezed and laid his head back onto his pillow; he was sick and he hated it. He knew that it was his fault for getting sick for he should have known better than to take a bath and then walk through winter winds two times in the same day. After being out in the snow all day, he was just thankful that Washu had fixed the alarm on his door so it would let in both Ryoko and Tenchi, not that it could really stop her but still.

As an added bonus that he had not been expecting, Ryoko was to be appointed his nurse by Washu herself, so no matter how much Aekea hated, it she had to accept it.

Tenchi rolled over and slid his arm around the shoulder of Ryoko, who was asleep, and smiled slightly. She had almost begged to stay with him and Tenchi had give in. He could never say no to her and besides she was his nurse. Closing his eyes, Tenchi drifted off to sleep.

______________________________________________________________________________

Author's notes:

First and foremost I am sorry for the long wait I know I promised this story sooner but I got side tracked. Next I must approach a problem some are more than likely going to notice I have the men's bath in the onsen I know that there not there in the OVA which this is based on but I couldn't remember where it was.
And before anyone asks I will tell you now even though this is based on the OVA there will be bleeding over from Universe although I will try and keep them to a minimum. Also I'm not really sure how you get into the onsen so if I say inside door or outside door it is my fault and I do apologize. If you can clear this problem up for me send me an email or leave a review. Also I am not sure if this is up to par with the rest of my stories since I don't have a beta reader and had to edit, reedit and rewrite this all by myself. I tend to be harsher with myself than others so it should be up to my standards but if it's not I just thought I would let you know. Also I'm not shameless if you feel you can be a good beta reader then let me know and I will gladly use you. That's it be on the look out for the next chapter and I promise it will be a shorter wait, I plan on posting the next one at the most on the anniversary date of the is one, the 24 of next month. That means that if I can do it then ever month on the 24 I will post a new chapter. Again that's the maximum wait length between chapters. That's it and if my muse doesn't have anything to add thanks and good-bye.

I updated and revised this, so if you've read it before you might want to re-read it and tell me if the changes were good or not. Oh and David S. send me your email address and we'll talk.

Major thanks goes to Alighthawk for going back through and cleaning up any mess I had left behind me.

Sincerely,
Geor-sama
A Nekoshipper