Chapter 18
Silenced filled the early morning air of the house, it seemed as if all noise had been erased from existence. The dark clouds, which were accompanied by a harsh wind, gave those few occupants inside a sense of foreboding. Even as they gathered together in the living room, dressed in subdued and somber clothes, it was obvious they each knew what would be discussed and what would happen.

Today the family of Masaki Tenchi would discuss his funeral.

Aekea stood near a large picture window, staring out at the depressing sunrise, her beautiful features marred by a frown. She had forsaken her casual robes for the more official ones of her station, this was the only way she could hope to deal with what she was about to face. It was only due to Chijiro's insistent last night that had prompted her to call the family together, he was right and they had delayed long enough. Prince Tenchi's funeral had to be arranged, it had to be done properly as was fitting for his status.

The others understood this of course, even Ukyo who had refused to accept his role as a family member. Yet despite all those present, none of them had any real input into the arrangements. Unfortunately Ryoko, who by custom should be here, was refusing to admit the heartbreaking truth. Which forced Aekea to make a very difficult and all together dangerous decision, rejecting any rights that Ryoko had in the matter.

Sighing she turned away from the scene outside and her thoughts instead focusing on the gathered family, which was missing only Sasami, Katsuhito and Ryoko, then looked at Lord Chijiro nodding briefly. The silver haired lord cleared his throat, looking at the family members gathered, before speaking "I wish that I could have met you all under different circumstances, but wishing is a fool hardy effort. I also wish I did not, as Princess Aekea has requested of me, have to speak of a matter of great importance. Not just you, the family gathered here but to the Jurai Empire and the Emperor himself.

"I speak of course about the...arrangements for Prince Tenchi's funeral. It is, our ancient custom that only direct blood relatives or those who have taken the vows may be involved, but we lack both. So Princess Aekea, acting as blood relative, has asked that you all be involved in these...matters."

Aekea closed her lavender eyes, waiting, who would be first. Who would say the truth of the matter?

"He would have liked a simple ceremony," someone said softly "Maybe Shinto." Aekea opened her eyes, staring at the serious face of Washu. The red headed scientist, seeing the attention she had continued her tone soft "We all know that's what he wanted. He was never comfortable with big things, with grand displays of feelings. I believe it should be simple and Shinto."

Aekea stood there a moment, resisting the urge to adjust her official robes, letting everyone digest what had just been said. Then, with all the dignity and solemness of her station she responded "Yes. I know this as well, but the Royal Family will insist on a traditional Juraian ceremony. Very rarely does one of its members die at such a young ag-"

"He's not dead," Ryoko's disembodied voice interrupted, this statement was followed immediately by a lithe cyan haired female who materialized in the center of the group "I can't believe you've all give up on him so easily. He's survived these type of situations before, he can do it again."

Her statement brought an immediate silence to the room, while all present save Aekea glanced at each other. The purple haired princess however remained impassive staring into the golden eyes of Ryoko. This was what she had feared Ryoko would never accept his passing, would never allow them to put his memory to rest. This was why she had made her decision that morning before leaving the room. "Ryoko, you do not belong here. You have no voice in this matter."

Suddenly the mood of the room grew ominous as all eyes shifted to Ryoko, who was staring at Aekea like she had only just now seen her properly "I damn well do have a 'voice in this matter' since it was my-"

"You have no voice," Aekea repeated firmly, eyes hard "You and Tenchi never exchanged vows. You are not involved, you are not his wife, your not directly related to him by blood. You were merely his intended, his girlfriend...nothing more and nothing less."

It happened quicker than anyone had thought or expected. One minute Aekea was on her feet, face resolute and the next; she was on the ground, blood splattering her robe and floor from where Ryoko's slap had connected. Calmly, resolutely, Aekea pushed herself back to her feet. Her blood beaded and ran down her chin, falling uselessly onto the ground between them.

"You may slap me Ryoko, but it does not change the truth. You might kill me, but it will not change anything. Prince Tenchi is dead and you have no voice in his funeral." There was a moment in which nothing moved, nobody dared breath lest they upset the situation so that even more blood was spilled. Aekea, refusing to wipe her blood away, spoke after several minutes her voice firm "Now leave."

Ryoko remained where she was, her gaze one of pure, murderous rage. When she spoke her voice was like death itself "If you say one more word, I will kill you. I know the truth, he's alive and he's coming back. I won't let you bury him and if you try to brush me off it will be the last thing you ever do."

Tense seconds passed, the only sound now was that of the house settling in. Then someone cleared their throat, speaking in an old, weary voice "Ryoko, I have something of yours." All eyes shifted to the figure standing in the entrance to the living room, their Shinto priest robes immaculate and his features unchanged since the last time they had seen him.

Then Aekea, like the others, saw what he was holding in his arms. Ryoko stood their a moment then sobbing moved toward the limp figure in the old mans arms. Hands trembling the ex-pirate reached out to stroke his cheek, then took his body as the old priest handed Tenchi over.

"He is still alive." Those words brought a new type of stillness into being, nobody dared to believe it. Not that Ryoko heard, she stumbled back before falling to her knees, cradling his body in her arms and crying. Washu was the first one to move, jumping off her cushion she approached her daughter and typing on her holo-computer teleported both Tenchi and Ryoko away.

"I-I," Washu paused looking away from the other stunned members of the family, turning her gaze on Katsuhito "Thank you..."

"You are welcome," he responded, bowing slightly. Washu stood there a moment longer then rushed out of the room and into the door that led to her labs.

"I-this is..." Aekea mumbled, her heart split in two. Ryoko had been right, he had lived. What did this mean for her? If she had so easily believed that he could be dead, then could she have ever really loved him? If she had loved him so deeply how could she not feel that he was alive as strongly as Ryoko had. Not because she now loved Chijiro, no because even then she should have known.

Lacking other words and ignoring the stares she was receiving Aekea turned away to stare out the window at the now raining world. She was mutely aware of the family members continuing to watch her, until it was clear she was going to say nothing else. She heard the slight rustling noises as they each left, one by one, all save for her future-husband who stood just at her shoulder silent and thoughtful.

Pushing the swinging door open slowly the black haired young knight peered into the sunlit kitchen, as if seeking someone. His eyes finally settled on the teal haired woman seated at the counter, sipping a cup with steam rising from it. He had to do this, his future with Mihoshi rested on the next few minutes. If Kiyone was what he feared, then it would be an uphill battle. Squaring his shoulders he entered the kitchen and cleared his throat.

Kiyone twisted slightly in her seat to spot the knight and then turned back to her drink, not saying a word. Frowning even more Ukyo crossed the small room, moving around the counter to stare her in the eyes. Much to this surprise he found her staring back, as if waiting for him to say something. All of his carefully planned thoughts and argument were forgotten and he found himself asking what seemed to be the most pressing question. "Do you love her?"

Kiyone blinked twice then set her cup down on the counter, frowning "Do I love you?"

"Mihoshi," Ukyo responded simply "I need to know, right now...because I love her." Kiyone seemed unimpressed as she picked her cup back up and took another sip, shaking her head she set the cup down still not responding "Well? Do you love Mihoshi or not?"

"No," she said finally, a note of annoyance in her voice "I don't love her. Now do you mind, I'm trying to figure out how to fill out a report." No sooner had she said this than Ukyo finally noticed the small PDA type device on the counter in front of her. He looked back up at her and she quirked a slender eyebrow "Are you secure now? You don't have to fight for her heart..."

"I, that is..." Ukyo fell silent then sat down, staring at the counter top "She didn't seem anxious to be near me this morning at the...I thought she might, you know love someone else. I just-"

"Assumed that I was her lover? That's the stupidest thing ever," Kiyone responded shaking her head as he brushed a strand of her teal hair over her shoulder "We're just friends. She's very attractive...but date her? That's just asking for trouble. Look the reason she's avoiding you is because she's afraid."

"Of what?"

Kiyone sighed, reaching up to rub the bridge of her nose "You have to be-look, in a nutshell, she's worried your just some guy that's trying to score and using love to get into her pants. There, get it now? That's why she's anxious, she's afraid your just some jerk and if you asked she'd probably sleep with you because she actually loves you."

Ukyo opened his mouth, obviously preparing to respond then closed it. He had never thought of that, it was so obvious and clear. Of course she'd be afraid of that, she'd probably had a lot of guys claiming to love her over her lifetime. Mihoshi was very easy on the eyes, it would only be natural people would try to use her feelings. He suddenly buried his face in his hands "How could I have been so stupid."

"You love her," Kiyone responded wearily "That's how. Now if we're done with this introspective moment I really do have a report to fill out and you need to talk with Mihoshi." Ukyo nodded mutely, unable to believe just how stupid he had been. Sighing he stood and walked out of the kitchen without another word, where was Mihoshi? He could ask Kiyone but she'd treat him like an idiot yet again, which of course he was. Honestly, how could he not know that Mihoshi would be scared of him just pretending. Sighing he started up the stairs to the second floor to check her room first.

Ryoko paced behind the so far impenetrable energy field surrounding her watching as her mother, who was wearing a white lab coat with an ID tag reading 'Washu Hakbi, M.D.', moved away from the bed where a hurt and barely breathing Tenchi laid unconscious. The cyan haired woman watched with narrowed eyes as the red headed genius paused and turned back, raising her hand to summon her holographic computer.

Without a word the genius began typing as several small, metallic globes dropped out of the inky blackness of the surrounding lab and began to move toward Tenchi. Washu looked up only briefly as the globes moved into position, then turned her attention back to her computer. Seconds later the globes gave birth to red scanning beams that roamed the battered and cut body of the young prince. Seconds later Washu's face grew even more serious and she glanced at Ryoko, causing a holographic display of data to appear in front of her.

"What the hell is this!" Ryoko demanded, staring at the information angrily.

Washu let out a breath turning back to her screen "Those are Tenchi's vitals; breathing, heart rate, brain activity. These," she continued, pushing a key to switch the display to a different set of vitals "are his energy vitals. His Jurai power is working at the maximum and his Light Hawk Wings are...well they're just off the charts."

"What the hell is going on! What's wrong with him?" Ryoko raged, glaring at her mother who continued typing and studying her readouts. "Hey, are you even listening to me? I want to know wha-"

"There's something inside him, trying very hard to kill him in a very painful way." Washu interrupted calmly, not looking up from her data "I have a feeling I know what it is, I'm hoping I'm wrong but..."

Ryoko narrowed eyes as her mother trailed off and struck out at the energy field surrounding her but found it only trembled "What is it?"

"Damn, I don't believe...but I suppose that the explosion could have, especially if his powers were trying might explain..." Washu muttered her hand hesitating over her keys then looked over at her daughter "Listen to me very carefully Ryoko, more carefully than you have ever listened to anything. I'm going to let you out of that energy field, but you can't go to Tenchi. You stay right were you are."


"Because he's got a very rare form of negative subspace radiation. If he was a regular Juraian or humanoid he'd be dead by now, he's almost dead as it is." Washu's voice grew to an almost unnatural calm "His powers are fighting the Deta Particles right now, but that can't go on for much longer. His bodies going to give out from the effort and when that does the Deta particles are going to cause his organs to deteriorate to the point of death."

"Deta? Negative subspace?" Ryoko repeated slowly, almost as if she was a child trying to grasp the concept of death. Suddenly her face contorted in anger "I don't give a damn about that! Let me out of here, now!"

Washu frowned slightly "Listen to me. You go near him, your powers could inadvertently push his body over the edge and cause the Deta particles to spread. It's a form of radiation Ryoko, if he dies and they finish with his body they'll be released into lab...we'll both be in the same boat as him and when Mihoshi opens the door to the lab they'll spread to the rest of the house!"

"Well your the genius! Do something already." Ryoko demanded hotly, looking at Tenchi "Please, do something...I can't loose him..." A second later the energy field faded away and Ryoko stumbled from where she had been leaning against it.

"I can't do anything Ryoko," Washu said softly, turning back to her holographic computer "Not really. I can't remove this radiation, I can't neutralize it. His body wouldn't be able to handle it,"

Ryoko's shoulders sagged and she collapsed to her knees, hands resting against the floor as she struggled to keep her tears in check "C-cant you...isn't there anything..."

Washu was silent for a moment then nodded to herself, seeming to have come to a decision "There is something, it'll be extremely painful for him. It might even push him over the edge, but it'd keep the radiation trapped. Its his one shot and its very slim, I can't make the decision..."

"Tell me," Ryoko said her voice suddenly calm "What exactly will it do?"

"If it works perfectly and it doesn't push his body over the edge, it'll draw the deta particles. Contain and turn them dormant. They'd always be present, but they'd be harmless even if he ever died. If it doesn't go perfectly, if his body does give out, the Deta particles would still be contained and dormant."

"Do it," Ryoko said after several minutes, her voice resolute "If it's the only chance he's got then do it. I can't, won't, loose him." The red headed scientist gave a curt nod as a small subspace hole shoulder height opened. With one hand typing she reached into the subspace hole and began searching for something, then silently she withdrew her hand producing a small, square reddish-black box.

Banishing her holographic computer she snapped her fingers and a table rolled out of the darkness to stop in front of her. With careful ease she set the box down and opened the lid, revealing a dark red gem. Lifting her head she looked up at her daughter speaking softly "Ever since you got your gems back, your real gems, I've been keeping one of your copies just in case. Its drained of power, but if its inserted and'll absorb the radiation indefinitely."

Ryoko lifted her head, turning her head to look at her mother and the gem "Jumpstarted?"

"After its bonded to his body, a burst of energy will cause it to start absorbing energy. I just need to alter its molecular structure to absorb only deta particles." That said Washu picked it up and looked to her left as a glass sphere, connected to a spiraling metal case that was attached to a dozen or so cables extended from the darkness.

Ryoko watched detachedly as the gem bobbed in place when it was inserted into the sphere among the energy swirling around it. After a few minutes she got back to her feet, holding her hands limply at her sides, voice detached "How much energy will I have to use?"

"Enough to shock him, no more and no less. Too much and you could tear the fabric of time and space, too little and you'd just be wasting your time." Washu said as she held her hand out for the gem to float out of the sphere and into her hand "Don't use any power inherent to you. Concentrate on the power in your gems, that's the power needed. Channel it, control it."

Ryoko nodded and watched as Washu released the gem which hovered in place for a moment before being seized by a three fingered robotic arm. The arm slid steadily through the darkness to the medical bed where several restraining straps had been extended over the prone body. Seconds later as the gem bearing arm came to a stop two more appeared one grabbing right wrist twisting it so that the other that had sprouted a surgical laser could concentrate on its job.

"Remember," Washu said turning to stare at the scene in front of her "just enough to shock him from your gems." Ryoko nodded mutely and turned striding across the lab to stand next to the bed while the gem bearing arm slowly inserted the dark red gem into the incision. Seconds later bolts of blue and white energy sprang to life, swirling and racing up and down Tenchi's arm while his skin bonded to the gem.

Ryoko however remained motionless, watching as the robotic arms shattered from the energy. The various cuts on his body actually seemed to glow with the energy involved and his breath grew both louder and more irregular. After it became apparent that nothing was going to stop Ryoko reached out tentatively moving her hand toward his wrist. As she did so, his power leapt out to entangle her slender fingers. She hesitated for a moment then continued, biting her lip as the power slowly worked its way up her arm, burning away the material of the dress she was wearing.

Narrowing her eyes and fighting the pain that was actually racing up her arm she grasped his wrist and gem. Head swimming she closed her eyes and screwed her face up in concentration. Seconds later a pulse seemed to race through the lab as the gems in her wrists and neck pulsed with power. Seconds later Tenchi's body jerked as red energy intermingled with blue and white, yet Ryoko was the one that screamed.

Eyes opening wide she released him and collapsed to her knees once more, retching. Minutes later she fell forward so that her cheek was resting against the cold floor of the lab, tears spilling from her eyes. Her gems continued to glow for several minutes before they finally faded back to their dormant state. Sobbing she gazed upwards the best she could, watching her mother kneel before her, reaching out to softly touch her cheek. Ryoko attempted to say something but nothing came out and seconds later her eyes fluttered closed as she passed out.

Watching the rain splatter against the panes of glass, Aekea felt very much like an island. Her mind was adrift among the various thoughts and feelings that stormed and raged inside her. Tenchi was back, he had survived. It was amazing, unbelievable. It also confirmed her worst fears, now that she knew he was alive she felt a relief that overshadowed every other feeling she had.

So what if Sasami was still in her coma, Tenchi was alive. So what if her mother was slowly starving herself to death, he was back. So what if Chijiro was the one that she loved, Tenchi was alive and handsome and brave and she loved him too. It was that love that frightened her most, because it was more than for a close family member. Whatever she had told herself, she did still love Tenchi. Just as fiercely as she ever had and she was jealous and angry of Ryoko all over again.

It broke her heart, would it always be like this for her? No, it couldn't be, she wouldn't let it be. Chijiro was there in her heart as well, she loved him too. How could she not, he was handsome too, and kind and he loved her. But how could she love him or anybody with her heart and mind divided. She couldn't, she had to talk with some, someone that would understand and help her.

That left only one person, the only person that could possibly understand what she was feeling. Her brother, he had loved more than one person before. He could tell her the secret to stopping the pain, stopping the constant war that would dominate her heart. He would help, she'd see him soon. So lost in her thoughts and feelings she barely noticed the feather light touch that graced her cheek, lowering her lavender eyes from the window she turned toward the owner of the hand and found herself staring into the eyes of her silver haired lord.""A credit for your thoughts.""

Aekea gave him a reluctant smile, not looking away from his gaze ""I was thinking about my family, I will need to speak with my brother soon."" When Chijiro nodded and reached up to stroke her cheek, she reached up to hold his hand in place ""You shouldn't...there are things I need to,""

Chijiro stared at her closely, then a look of disappointed understanding crossed his features and he lowered his hand stepping back ""Of course. I'm sorry if I was...""

""Its not, Chijiro your not..."" Aekea began but fell silent staring at the ground, feeling horrible ""I just need to, I do not know what, but I have to deal with it before we can...""

""I understand,"" he responded softly ""If there is anything I can do...""

""I don't think you can. This...this will be the last time I'm on Earth and I need to resolve the problems in my family now.""

""But you love the Earth, why are you not going to come back?""

""Yes, I do love Earth. I love its forests, its rivers and its soul. I won't come back because its not mine, I don't belong here."" she was silent then sighed glancing up at him ""I love it, but there are other things that I love more...""

""I-he, when will you speak with Lord Katsuhito?"" Chijiro asked softly, looking away from her, hands behind his back.

""Soon. Maybe within the next hour,"" Aekea responded ""I request humbly that you, that you check on my sister and mother. Devote yourself to their care, for me. I must be alone, there is much I have to face.""

""As you wish,"" Chijiro responded gently, turning to leave then paused looking back at her ""I love you."" That said he turned completely and strode out of the room regally.

Sighing Aekea watched him, then turned back to the window and the rain. Closing her eyes she ignored the tear that escaped her and made its way slowly down her cheek, where it hung for a moment before falling to the floor "I love you too."

Sasami was floating on a cloud, sailing across a lavender sky, with cabbits flitting around her. Beneath her the land passed by in a patch work of green, brown and blues. Her long aqua hair ruffled gently in the breeze and she recognized the sensations, she was dreaming. It took her a moment but then, if she was already dreaming how could she be dreaming again? Slowly she began to rise from the depths of unconsciousness, her sense reporting in before she reached full alertness.

Whatever she was laying was extremely soft, giving both support and a soothing rest. Obviously this was her dream cloud, what else could it have been? Faintly her ears heard the soft rippling energy of a medical energy field. Struggling against her urge to remain asleep she attempted to open her eyes and found that they refused to corporate. Giving up on that for a moment, she laid there enjoying the sensation of being awake.

After a few moments she curled her fingers, testing to see how the rest of her body would react. It took a great deal of effort to close her hands, but she could manage it. How long had she been asleep? There was no telling, her sense of time was severely skewered. Turning her mind away from that she strained to hear something besides that rippling sound, she was rewarded with voice, buzzing like angry bees.

Whatever they were saying was lost to her, but she recognized one. It was plaintive and emotional, it reached out to her from her dimmest memories. It was her mothers voice. Driven by an all consuming desire to her see her mother, Sasami once more attempted to open her eyes, succeeding fractionally. At first her vision was blurry, overwhelmed by a blue light, but at least she could see. Blinking rapidly she found that her vision cleared quickly, giving her a better view of her surroundings. The blue light was actually an energy field found on emergency medical beds.

Frowning she lifted her head weakly attempting to see around the room, anxious to find her mother. It was a maddening desire, her mother was here. She wanted to see her mom, her mom could make everything better. Finding nothing she allowed her head to fall back onto the pillow and sighed. Maybe she had only dreamed her mothers voice, but it had sounded so really. If her mom was here why wasn't she at her bedside waiting for Sasami to wake up?

Then a shadow fell across her and she turned her gaze toward it to find herself staring up at her mother. The beautiful woman was looking decidedly disheveled, her hair unkempt and her skin a sickly hue. Her eyes were bloodshot and it was obvious she was still crying. Sasami opened her mouth, intent on saying something, on drawing attention to the fact that she was awake, but instead found she couldn't speak.

But she saw her moms eyes widen in shock, concentrating every ounce of strength she had into her arm she lifted it up fingers brushing the blue field above them. Her mother took a step back and shouted ""She's Awake!""

Coughing Sasami let her arm drop back to her side and turned to stare up at her mom, her voice raspy as she finally managed to speak ""Mommy.""

Dressed in a fresh white and blue Juraian knight uniform and kneeling comfortable on a futon in the dimly lit bedroom, a young blacked haired young man fixed his gaze upon the blond woman across from him. Her tanned skin seemed to be covered with a sheen of sweat, though in reality it was due to having only recently come inside out of the rain. Neither man or woman spoke, seemingly uninterested in doing anything other than stare at each other.

Finally she lowered her blue eyes and the knight sighed lowering his as well. Several moments passed and then he looked back up at her, as if he wished to say something but he remained silent. The woman in question spoke, not looking up from the ground in front of her "Why?"

"Why not?" The knight responded calmly "I love you, you love me."

At this she lifted her head and stared at him steadily "No." A frown formed as she shook her head "Not until you tell me why."

"I can't tell you Mihoshi," he responded gently "Its your voice, your eyes, your presence. Its everything you are, your innocence." He shrugged slightly "I love you and I can't change how I feel."

"Others have," the blond responded softly lowering her gaze "I can't..."

"Mihoshi, listen to your heart. It knows what I'm saying is true, forget the others." the knight responded firmly "Love can't change. It can never change. Those other men were morons and don't deserve a second of your time."

"I-I" Mihoshi stammered then fell silent. Several silent moments passed before she spoke up "How can you love me? I'm a clueless klutz...Kagato told the truth I'm a burn out..."

"Your Mihoshi Kuramistu, Galaxy Police officer. Granddaughter of the Galaxy Police Marshal. You are the woman I love, even if you are a bit of a klutz." The knight smiled "Nobodies perfect."

Mihoshi lifted her gaze to stare at him, tears threatening to escape her "I-I, you don't have to be so nice or lie. If you want to just sleep with me...I'll let you..."

Quietly the knight leaned forward, hands going to the floor followed by his forehead moving to rest against them "I, Ihara Ukyo, Knight and First Lieutenant in the Jurai Empire, declare that I am in love with you. Until we are joined in marriage I shall not share your bed. Do you, Mihoshi Kuramistu, accept my proposal?" He remained in this position for a moment and then rose back into his kneeling position to stare at her calmly.

Mihoshi stared at him mutely, her eyes wide seemingly unable to think of a response. Finally she spoke "Y-you want to marry me?" She finsihed low, in a tone of incredlous awe. When he nodded she continued to stare at him, her face a mixture of joy, surprise and fear. "Why?" she finally managed with a stunned tone in her voice.

"I love you. I fear that with whats happening to everybody we may never get the chance." Ukyo answered calmly "You are one of the kindest, gentlest people I've ever met. I've been close to death many times, both here and far away, but until I met you I never had a reason to come back besides my duty."

She remained silent then with an agility that caught the knight by surprise she launched herself from her kneeling position to crash into his chest carrying them both to the ground. The thud that echoed was drowned out only by the squeal of happiness from the blond that was doing everything in her power to choke Ukyo to death. "I'm...oh'RE GETTING MARRIED!"

As if cued by this declaration the door to the room slid open with a resounding bang, revealing a startled Kiyone. The teal haired officer took in the scene for a moment then smirked "Am I intertupting something?" In reponse Mihoshi lept to her feet, leaving Ukyo on the groung gasping for his breath. Then squealing and much to Kiyones obvious dismay tackled her in a bone-crushing hug.

Ukyo sat up, pounding his chest looking around at the two and smiled ruefully at the other girl "I-er...asked Mihoshi to marry me." At this Kiyone gasped as Mihoshi tightend her hug, squealing even louder.

Then,cutting across Mihoshi's earsplitting squeals of joy, another voice started shouting ""She's awake! Princess Sasami's awake!"" Ukyo was on his feet in an instant, weapon in hand. He squeezed past the two officers, to stare at young silver haired lord shouting it from the doorway.

Increduality on his face Ukyoturned back to the two officers, Kiyone had finally gotten her partner to release the hug. Nodding he turned and raced down the hallway, followed by the two galaxy police officers.

The room was as simple and spares as ever, a thick scent of sakura blossoms in the air. Over head the rain beat out a random tune against the shingles and the rice paper shutters. In the center of the room was a low wooden table that held an ancient tea set, of which two cups were currently holding warm green tea. One either side of the table, kneeling on faded cushions, was an old Shinto priest and a lovely young woman with flowing purple hair.

Neither said a word or moved, intent it seemed on outlasting the other one. Finally the girl reached out and encircled the cup with her delicate hand. Lifting it, she sipped politely and then returned to its spot on the table. Lifting her lavender eyes from the liquid inside the cup she stared at the old man in silence. A still moment followed then finally she spoke "I am glad that you found Lord Tenchi,"

The Shinto priest remained silent, the light flickering on his glasses as he picked up his cup and took a sip. Seemingly unwilling to speak, he placed the cup back on the table before returning his hands to their meditative position in his lap "Do not pretend Aekea, what is it you really wish to speak about?"

The princess was silent for a moment then let out a soft breath, preparing to bare her heart to the one man that would understand her problems. It took her only moments, though it felt like a life time. Once she had finished he merely continued to stare at her, the only sign that he was alive was his breathing. Quietly Aekea picked up her cup and took yet another sip before speaking once more "Do you see why I came to you?"

"You came seeking an answer," he said after a moment "An answer I can not give you. This problem lies with you and Tenchi, it is not something I can solve."

"Please, it is not Tenchi's fault." Aekea pleaded, tears forming in the corner of her eyes "He told me the truth, it is my fault. I can not let go of what I feel for him."

Katsuhito silently picked up the white and red tea pot, refilling both of their cups. Setting it back to the side he spoke up "It is his fault, as much as its mine. He knew longer than any of us would have guessed who he loved, yet he refused to listen to his heart. It was his indecision that caused you this problem...and I can not solve it for you."


"No!" Katsuhito said forcefully "You are Aekea Masaki Jurai, future Queen of the Jurai Empire! I can not make this choice for you, this is a problem you must answer yourself."

"I-I can't...please, I need help..."

"I can not help you, not like you want. I have no magic words to make things easier," Katsuhito told her gently, taking a sip of his tea. Aekea fell silent, bowing her head in defeat. All of her hopes had been built upon her brothers willingness to help her, to guide her but he was refusing. What other chance did she have to solve this problem, was her heart going to be forever divided? Was that her fate, to love two men one of whom she could never have?

"I would suggest," Katsuhito continued "you speak with Tenchi when he awakens."

"I-I don't think..." Aekea said lifting her head to stare at her brother "No, if you will not help me then I will ask no one else."

Nodding the old man set his cup down and lowered his gaze to the table "There was once two great warriors. One was called Kabu and the other Omi. They met in battle one fateful day, and found that they were evenly matched. It would seem they would be forced to battle for all of eternity, until at last Omi made a mistake. Kabu having stuck a killing blow granted his fallen opponent a request.

Omi asked only one question 'How did you beat me?' Kabu was silent for a moment and the closed his eyes answering 'A false heart for the world to see, another in my chest to show my very special friends and family. Then my real one, the true one, the secert one, which is never known to anyone except myself.' Omi smiled and died muttering 'I understand.'"

Aekea blinked twice, opened her mouth as if to say something then shook her head "Why are you telling me that story? Am I suppose to find some great lesson in there?"

Katsuhito sighed, taking a sip of his tea "It is the lesson of the Three Fold Heart. I tried to teach it to Tenchi but he could never quite grasp the concept."

"Can you...teach me this 'Three Fold Heart'?" Aekea asked hesitantly, holding her hands tightly in her lap.

"No. Speak with Tenchi, his choice must be understoood. But I can not teach you this lesson, it is something you have to learn on your own."

"I, but how do I-" however Aekea was cut off as the door the office slid open to reveal a drenched and panting Kiyone, who leaned against the door frame. Aekea stood immediately, aware that her brother was still seated and taking another sip of his tea.

After several more deep breaths Kiyone spoke up, excitement and fear in her tone "Sasami's awake! She's awake!"

Located in the sixth level of her subspace lab, the greatest genius in the universe sat on her floating pillows chin in hand. To her right, located on a medical bed next to a now resting Tenchi, was her daughter. Washu's attention however was located on the half dozen view screens directly in front of her. Three were dedicated exclusively to Tenchi's status, another was located on the kitchen, another was on the living room and the last one showed Sasami's room.

Washu had felt an overwhelming sense of relief when Sasami had woken up, but that quickly passed and now she was considering the timing of such an event. Why now, what had changed? Tenchi was back at the house, that was the only change, but how significant could that be? Then again, if Tenchi was connected to Tsunami through his wings and Sasami was the goddess avatar, maybe the prince and princess were connected in some obscure way.

Frowning Washu reached out pulling up any information her scanners had recorded last night. Her frowned deepened as she considered what she saw, it had been only been half a minute, but in that minuscule time a negative subspace hole had been ripped open in the Earth's atmosphere and sealed. There was no scientific reason for such an even to happen it took a massive amount of power to open one, nearly on par with Zero-point energy, yet it had happened.

"Strange," Washu whispered. As she considered this problem and all the questions that it raised she felt something stirring in her mind. Pushing the equations, mathematical formulas and theories that were currently occupying her attention away she focused on the feeling, which could only be termed a voice. Silently she turned her head and focused on her daughter, covered under a blanket. Hopping off her seat she crossed the short distance between them and paused staring at the sensors hovering over Ryoko's prone form, keeping track of her life signs.

motioning them with a wave of her hand she turned her attention to Ryoko's face. Tentatively she ran her right hand along her daughters cheek then her cyan hair. Ryoko wasn't awake yet, but her mind was active, and that was a good sign. Washu had been so scared when Ryoko had collapsed, she hadn't expected that reaction but at least no permanent harm had been done. Absently she delved into her daughters mind. Many thoughts and images swirled inside her head, but the common theme unsurprisingly was that of Tenchi.

Ryoko's chief fear was that Tenchi would die despite her efforts. She was terrified of that, of living her life without him. If she lost him, then she had lost everything. Washu pulled away from Ryoko's mind, unwilling to intrude any further. Those were private thoughts and fears that Washu had no business with, especially if she was trying to be Ryoko's mother. Frowning the red headed genius turned away from her daughter and considered Tenchi silently, now here was a mind she wished to listen to.

This young man, whose power had now subsided once the gem had absorbed the deta particles, was the key to a great many mysteries. She had watched Ryoko for a long time through they're link and she had decided long ago that her daughter would never mature and would never be anything other than a puppet. Yet Tenchi had proved her wrong, because Ryoko was maturing and she wasn't a puppet any longer.

Washu had also ran the mathematical chances for everybody that currently made up the family to met again, without Tenchi, and found that it would never happen. He was a pivotal figure in the universe, even if he didn't know it and yet nobody, including Ryoko, really understood how he thought.

She was pulled from her thoughts on Tenchi by a moan behind her and turning Washu found Ryoko moving under the blanket slowly. Seconds later her golden, feline eyes fluttered open and she stared at the dark ceiling of the lab. After a moment the ex-pirate turned her head to stare at Washu, speaking in a hoarse whisper "What the hell happened to me?"

"Oh," Washu responded, reaching out to type on her keyboard once more "It was feedback, your power and his power interacted violently with the Deta particles. But it worked the particles are contained and Tenchi pulled through." Washu paused looking at her daughter smiling triumphantly "By the way Sasami woke up."

" the little brat finally woke up," Ryoko muttered, though she sounded rather pleased. Washu watched as her daughters eyes closed, heralding her return to sleep. Washu reached out stroking her daughters cheek then banishing her holo-computer turned moving back to her float cushion and the various monitors.

Resting weakly against her mothers side, who was busy crying and hugging her, the aqua haired princess stared up at the doctor who was almost frantaic and muttering to himself. In the corner stood Ukyo and Chijiro, both looked relieved and serious. But the most paramount thought in her mind was the question of where her sister was. Almost mechincally she let the doctor lift her arm and check her bloodpressure once more, the second he let it go she lowered her arm.

Seconds later, the door to the room burst open to reveal a dripping wet and mud splattered purple princess with lavender eyes, with an equally muddy and wet Kiyone at her side. Aekea took a catious step into the room, her robe leaving a trial behind her as she moved past Chijiro. Nobody made a noise as the princess came to a halt near the medical bed to stare at her sister and mother.

"Hi Aekea," Sasami managed, crying. Aekea stood there, almost as if frozen, obviously fighting her urge to cry and embrace her sister.

"S-Sasami," Aekea returned, tears trailing down her cheeks mixing with the rain. It was an awkward moment, then slowly Aekea lowered herself onto the bed, adjusting her robe carefully. With a slightly shaking hand the elder sister reached out to stroke the pink eyed princess cheek "Y-your voice is as beautiful as ever, sister..." Sasami closed her eyes and thrust herself forward into her sisters arms, wishing to be envolped in a hug. Aekea oblinged and in turn was envloped into a hug from her mother and her sister.

Ukyo turned away from the scene, glancing at the noble who nodded. Nodding back the black haired knight moved toward Kiyone and a crying Mihoshi, ushering them both out the room sliding the door shut behind them. He jumped however as the door shook and looking down he found the source a gray and white furball that had banged head first into the wall. Smiling slightly the knight slid the door open for the small cabbit, who looked up at meowed its thanks before disappearing into the room.

ni9htdreame12: Well I updated...I hope you still totally love this fic.

MasterWraithe: Hey, I do try and provide good ones. Hopefully this one is good as well.

ThebigW: Hey! At least I'm not predictable, but I'm glad that the dramatic buildup was nice and kept you guessing. I know you waited a long time, pateince is a virtue after all, still sorry about that. I can promise you that the guilty shall, well, you'll have to read and find out. Unfourtnately, you may have to shovel snow again before this fic is over.

I refuse to tell them that since they might very well lynch me...but you feel free to tell them. I promise though that I'll finish before any of my readers are eligible for AARP.

Why bother? Aekea knows she came within a ants hair-breath of death. She knows how foolish it was and how much she risked...but she was gambling more on Ryoko's love of Tenchi and need to remain unbloody for him than her tenuous friendship.

Oh you have no clue just how much its killing Washu. Her emotional release will...eventually, just read and wait. I promise it'll be as orginal as I can make it.

And your quite welcome for the fic.

wendyghost: Glad you love the fic, I can't hurry but I'm trying to be fast.

Lupus1377: How could I ever forget about my masterpiece?

lost: Well, hopefully you finally got to sleep...but otherwise all answers shall remained, unanswered.

Kayla: You should feel sorry for her, really you should. I'm glad that I provde material worth reading in school (though knowing some classes that's nothing impressive)Hope ya enjoyed the other chapters.

Ovrboost: Actually its more depressing than weird. I'm glad it caught your attention and impressed you. I try not to make anyone wait to long, espcially space priates that can kill me by flicking her wrist.

Kayla Holder: I'm glad you love my writing style. Ya know, back in the day when I first started it the popular opinon was Tenchi should be with Ryoko cause Aekea was an uber-witch...funny how things stay the same and yet change. Fortunately for you I'm still in the Tenchi and Ryoko camp and always will be...I'm glad I'm your favorite writer, so far.

Sean: Hey, I'm more than happy to please. I'm going to continue writing because I would hate to disappoint you or anyone else.

alighthawk: I'm glad to see that you've hung around as well. Makes me feelt better to know I'm not the only one that's still kickin. Glad I managed to show their inner strengths, such a tough thing to do after all.

bizoitnott: Yep and i updated again. I hope you love this one as well.

Jill-chanL: Thanks.


Well, here's the next chapter. It took me a bit to write, but hey at least I'm making head way on the fic. The Science this chapter, I hope it was was alwaysone of my favoirte subjectsin school.
Deta Particles don't exist, nor does Negative subspace (At least as far as I know) Zero-point energy does. Its basic defination is that theres an unlimited energy everywhere and ineverything. Anyway,if I messed up any otherfacts let me know, but please be constructivewith it.
Anyway, I hopethis chapterisn't a let down and that you guys enjoy it. Enjoy.

A NekoShipper