*Disclaimer: The main characters in this story are property of AIC, Pioneer, & Viz Comics. All others were thought of by me. Any similarities are just dumb luck so please don't sue me.

** Author's notes: This story takes place many years after "No Need for Conclusions", but with one exception…. ENJOY!!

Second Chance of a Lifetime: by alighthawk

Part One:

As the sun beamed down at the Okayama countryside, its rays baking the ground and all living things under it, a young Shinto priest was concluding his daily routine of sweeping and maintaining the Temple grounds when an ancient voice bellowed out.

"Did you finish sweeping the stairs?"

"Yes Grandfather."

"Did you clean the grounds around the family graves?"

"Yes Grandfather."

"Did you call about Mrs. Hasegawa about the wedding ceremony for her daughter next week?"

"Yes Grandfather, I reminded her twice."

"How about…?"

"The seminar in Tokyo? All taken care off. Really Gramps, I'm not totally dense you know."

"I know that Katsuhito, but since time's getting short, I just wanted to make sure that you're prepared to take over for when I'm gone."

"Grandfather, please don't say that. Professor Washu said you have time left."

"Kats, despite of what Washu says, I know my time on this world is limited, or my name isn't Tenchi Masaki."

    ********************************

On the base of the stone stairways that led to the Masaki Shrine, a lone figure stood alone, wrapped in her thoughts and uncertain on what to do next. It's been so many years. I wonder if he remembers me? Hell, he may not even want to see me if he does, but I promised myself that I will confront him and tell him everything before he goes.

As she looked up towards the Shrine, a teardrop streaked down from her right eye. Her heart began to beat faster as she proceeded to climb the steps, hoping that the long overdue reunion would turn out all right.

********************************

The year was 2067 and as eighty-six year old Tenchi Masaki sat outside the small modest shrine office, he watched his grandson Katsuhito Masaki performed his daily chores. As always, he looked up at the noon sky, trying to see straight through the clear blue color as if he could penetrate the layers of atmosphere and gaze upon the whole universe. Random thoughts were going through his mind; questioning of what was or what could have been. Then he sighed and put his head down as if the Gods weren't answering him today.

As Kats was finishing cleaning the top of the stone steps, he spotted the lone figure coming towards him. He couldn't make out the face because the person was wearing a black cloak with the hood covering her head. But he could tell by her walk and body language that it was a young woman.

"Yes, can I help you madam?"

The woman raised her head. She was wearing shades, but she also had two long tendrils of hair flowing down to her chest. Her skin had a light complexion, but he couldn't tell for sure because of the hood covering the rest of her features. As she got up to the top of the stairs, he realized that she was quite tall for a woman, and suddenly noticed her hair has an unusual color, a sort of bluish-silver color. He seen that color somewhere before, but couldn't quite place it.

The woman paused for a second, then glanced at the young priest with a smile, "Sorry to disturb you, but I'm looking for the priest."

"Well, that would be me I guess." Replied Kats.

"No dear, I meant the 'old' priest, Tenchi Masaki."

"Oh, you mean Grandpa. Well, uh, he's right there by the shrine office. Was he expecting you?"

"No…No he sure isn't. But I'm here to see him anyway."

"Well, let me escort you to him. Say, I don't recall seeing you around here before. Are you a friend of Grandfather's?"

"Let just say I'm an old friend that he hasn't seen in many years." Replied the cloaked woman.

For someone who's an old friend of gramps, she looks well preserved. I wonder where do they know each other? Kats thought to himself. He had been a priest for five years under his grandfather tutelage, and during that time he never recalled seeing this woman before. By the look of her face, she couldn't be much older than her mid-twenties. This ought to be interesting.

As the two approached the office, the elder Masaki looked up and saw the cloaked figure coming towards him. He couldn't make out whom it was, but a strange sensation overcame him as if this was a familiar person. His face had a puzzled expression as Kats pointed him out and stood behind as the figure slowly came up to the office steps.

"Yes miss? Can I be of some assistance?" Tenchi politely asked.

Then the woman raised her left hand and lowered her hood, revealing her long cyan mane. Her right hand came up and removed her shades, displaying a long forgotten sight that Tenchi thought he would never see again. As his eyes became fixated on the golden eyes that belonged to the woman he knew from long ago, he stuttered out the name that hasn't been spoken for decades: "R-R-Ryoko?!?"

"H-Hello my Tenchi. It's been a long time, hasn't it?" She said, as she tried to overcome the nervousness that kept her jittery.

*******************************

"GRANDPA!! Are you okay? You look like you just seen a ghost!!" Katsuhito ran over as the elder Masaki had just received the biggest shock of his life after so many years.

"I'm…okay Kats. Please help me up." Tenchi motioned to his grandson as he tried to get up from the office front steps. Ryoko stood there, wondering if this was such a good idea after all.

"I'm sorry, Tenchi. I didn't mean to surprise you like this, but I just had to come and see you."

"Surprise me? SURPRISE ME?!? Ryoko, it's been sixty-eight years that I last saw you. Sixty-eight years of wondering what happened to you. Were you dead? Were you mad at me? Now all of the sudden you just appear from out of the blue. WHERE THE HELL WAS YOU?!?"

"Grandpa calm down. Getting worked up like this isn't good for your condition. I'm sure Ms. Ryoko has her reasons for coming now. Right ma'am?" Kats looked back at Ryoko who was visibly shaken after Tenchi's outburst. This was something she had hoped to avoid, but now there was no way around it.

The cyan beauty dropped to both knees as she reached for Tenchi's right hand. Her eyes were swelled up, ready to burst into tears. Sixty-eight years of staying away from the one thing she loved more than the universe was looking at her with confusion and anger. She tried to gather her wits before she could look at his weathered face. As she looked up, her golden orbs gazed deeply into his soft eyes. Despite the passage of time, his brown eyes were still warm and loving. She then recovered and started to spin her tale.

"Tenchi please let me explain. I know you're angry and confused right now, but try to understand what I'm about to say." She pleaded to her old love. The old shrine master looked back at her angelic face, seeing the pain in her eyes and in her voice. Whatever secrets or feelings she was holding were ready to be let out. He motioned Kats to step away while he carefully sat down again, hoping to regain his composure.

Once he calmed down, he again gazed into those beautiful golden eyes of hers. He never thought he'd see such beauty again and now that time was running short, he began to feel emotions that he thought were locked away forever in the far reaches of his soul.

"I'm sorry Ryoko, I didn't mean to scold you like that, but you have to understand that this is all a shock to me right now. To see you like this again, still young and beautiful. It's as if the gods have decided to answer a old riddle that I never thought would be solved." With that the old prince couldn't help but start to cry.

Ryoko got up and sat next to him. She wrapped her arms around in a gentle, loving embrace as Tenchi placed his head on her chest. Despite the passage of time and age, she still felt the bond between them and the emotions that stirred within her as well.

"Ryoko, why have you come back after all these years?" He finally asked.

"Because Washu told me what's going to happen soon. I needed to see you and confront you about a lot of things as well as telling you why I never came back."

              *****************************

"You saw Washu? When was this?"

"About six months ago. I've been keeping touch with her from time to time, but the last time she told me about your condition. Are you really dying Tenchi?"

"Yes, from what she told me from her examination, as well as the doctors from both Earth and Jurai had also concluded. It's some rare form of cancer and there's little they can do about it. But tell me, what happen to you Ryoko? Why didn't you come back to me? The last thing I remembered was you escorting the royal knights and myself off at the royal palace on Jurai when I had to face Kagato. I remembered you being injured as I ran into the palace to save Ayeka. I never thought in my wildest dreams that it would be the final time I saw you."

Ryoko broke away as she began to relive those painful moments. " To tell you the truth Tenchi, I thought I wasn't going to survive the voyage myself. Right after you took off, I left Jurai with Ryo-Ohki for deep space. What you didn't know was that the wound I suffered from Kagato was almost fatal. Only Nagi knew the extent of the damage, but I didn't care. I wasn't going to let you go unless I could get you out of there and help you in some way."

"That was foolish Ryoko. Kamidake told me later about the injury he saw with Azaka. You could have died. But where did you go?"

"Well basically, I was dying and figured that was it. I remembered saying your name over and over until I passed out. If anything, I knew you'd find a way to kill that bastard and free Ayeka. But as I lay unconscious, Ryo-Ohki started scanning for any habitable planet that supported life. It was then she found Ryuten, a planet in a nearby system that was similar to Jurai. She headed straight for it and landed on some continent that had little humanoid life. It was there that she converted herself to stasis chamber."

"Stasis chamber? Ryo-Ohki could do that?" Tenchi looked amazed as he hung on to every word Ryoko was saying.

"Yeah, it's rather hard to explain, but basically she placed the command center into a stasis field, sort of putting me in suspended animation. Then she converted the nearby sun's solar energy to photonic energy, which is basis of my powers. Normally I heal quickly, but the injury Kagato left me was too much for me to rejuvenate. With Ryo-Ohki's help though, she fed me enough energy to recover, but it was weeks before I woke up."

"Ok, that explains why you didn't come back to Jurai right away, but…oh where are my manners? Katsuhito, go inside and get Ryoko something to drink." Ordered the old man as Kats jumped up. He was really getting into the former space pirate's story.

"Ok Grandfather, but could you hold that thought Ms. Ryoko? I don't want to miss the good stuff."

"Don't worry kiddo, I'll tell you more about it later. What's there to drink?"

"Uhmm, lemonade I think. Is that all right?" Asked the young priest.

"Sure, that'll be fine. Don't forget one for gramps here." Ryoko let out a smile when she spoke. She was starting to get comfortable with Tenchi once more, which usually meant that she would tease him whenever possible; even at his advanced age.

"Gramps? As I recall, you're a lot older than me, despite your looks."

"Yeah but remember Tenchi, the age ratio of the average Earthling as compared to someone in the Galactic Union is 12 years to one. Which means that I only aged about five years since you saw me last."

"And I must say, time has certainly agreed with you. You still look beautiful as the day I first saw you." Reminisced Tenchi. Ryoko couldn't help but blushed at the comment. What she wouldn't have given to hear that when her love was still a young man.

"Oh Tenchi, that's very sweet of you to say that. Too bad this wasn't seven decades ago."

"Tell me about it. * ahem* anyway, you still didn't explain what happened to you after you woke up."

"Well, I decided to head for Jurai to confront you & Ayeka. I know you did what you had to do, but there was no way in hell I was going to give you up without a fight. Sure enough, as I scanned through the galactic media channels, they showed Ayeka being named regent for the royal family until she was to be married. At first I was sad. I thought you were to be her consort, but then I realized that she would only be named regent if you didn't accept the crown. Right there I had Ryo-Ohki raced back towards Earth. I wanted to be sure you were still there and maybe finally tell you how much I loved you."

"But Ryoko, you didn't come back. When I told Ayeka that I wasn't accepting the throne, she knew that I was rejecting her as well."

"So you were never in love with Ayeka at any time?"

Tenchi paused to think about it, "I thought I did at one time, when she first came to Earth. I thought that being in love with a princess was a grand thing, but as time went on and you girls stayed around, I had a change of heart."

"And when did this happened?" Ryoko asked with curiosity all over her face.

"By the time we reached the old abandoned palace where Kagato ambushed us, Ayeka confronted me about accepting the throne, and that she can be near me always. I realized right there that my heart wasn't for the throne nor for her. I did love her dearly, but only as a friend or a close relative."

"Well that explains for you going back to Earth. I guess the others stayed away also?" Inquired Ryoko.

"Sasami had no choice but to stay with Ayeka. It would be many years before I saw either of them again. Mihoshi and Kiyone got promoted to high rank positions in the Galaxy Police. I saw them from time to time when their schedule permitted it. The only one that actually came back was Washu, about a couple of months after she got kicked out of the Science Academy. She was lonely as I was when none of you girls came back, but a funny thing happened. She and Grandpa grew close with each other. Now as far I can remember, nothing intimate really happened, but they seemed to be happy and comfortable with each other. I guess it was one of those deep relationships that needed no words, but an understanding of each other. They stayed pretty close until he passed away years ago. After that Washu decided to head out into space again, but she always kept in touch with me, even today."

"Good ol' Washu, always dependable; except for her inventions sometimes. But I'm sorry about Yosho." Ryoko sighed. "He was a great man. He always treated me with respect, even when he knew my reputation and my past. Uh, when did he pass away?"

"Oh, it's been about thirty-three years I think. The whole town came up to pay their final respects. It was a pretty emotional ceremony."

"I'll bet. What about your father, Nobuyuki?"

"Dad passed on about fifteen years ago. He looked so peaceful on his deathbed. I guess he knew he was finally going to join my mother after so many years. I hope to look that peaceful when my time comes."

Ryoko looked at Tenchi rather sadly when she heard that. Is he in so much pain that he's looking forward to his death? She thought as Katsuhito came out with the refreshments. "Here you go. Hope is cold enough for you"

Tenchi took both glasses of lemonade and placed his next to him on the steps. He passed the other to Ryoko as she tried not to look so sad in front of his presence. "Anything wrong Ryoko? You look kind of sullen all of the sudden."

"It's nothing really. Just thinking about the old days that's all."

"Then now maybe you can explain to me why you didn't contact me when you came back to Earth?"

               *******************************

"It was probably the hardest thing I ever did," Ryoko started to go back to the point of where she reached the Earth and was ready to return to Tenchi. " Ryo-Ohki got to Earth real quick and I was so excited with the prospect of falling into your arms again, but I decided to stay in orbit and just watch you from Ryo-Ohki's monitor."

"Why you did that?" Tenchi asked.

"I wanted to see how you were getting around. To see how you were doing in school and at home without us girls falling over you." Ryoko got up and just looked up into the afternoon sky. Showing no emotion, she continued her tale.

"I remembered that time you told me that would be nice to have that normal life you once had; to have everything as it was before any of us showed up at your house." She turned around and looked back at the elder Masaki as tears started to swell up in her eyes, "Of course I think you said that to me because I annoyed you so much when we first met, you just wanted some peace and quiet without having six girls making life so complicated for you."

"Ryoko, I may have said that in the beginning because I didn't know any of you at first and I was scared like hell. But you should have known my perspective on the matter changed as I gotten to know everyone. But what does it have to do you not returning?"

"Tenchi my love, if Ayeka or any of the GP girls came back, I would have also…but as I kept watching you all day and seeing how well adjusted you were without a hint of sorrow or regret, I realized what 'normal' meant to you. If this what a normal life was to you, I felt that it was better that I didn't come back at all; to give you a clean slate so to speak."

Tenchi just looked at Ryoko with such a confused look. Here he was listening for something that would led him to believe that maybe it was something he did to drive the space pirate away, but instead it turned out that she committed probably the most unselfish thing she ever did. Regardless of the pain it caused her. She wanted him to be happy and have a normal life, but to her it meant not being around her love. She came to the conclusion that the life he wished to lead wasn't something she could give him.

"Ryoko, I…"

"Tenchi! Please let me finish." She had finally gotten the courage to tell him everything and she wanted to and now she wanted to be able to finish it in its entirety. "I stayed in Earth's orbit for a couple of days, watching over you and deciding time after time if I wasn't making a hasty decision. But it occurred to me then that even if you didn't stay with Ayeka, what certainty did I have that you were going to choose me? I knew you liked me enough that you must have considered me a friend, but I couldn't bear the thought of waiting for you to choose for such a long time, so in the end I just left. It took me a long time to accept my decision. I wanted so badly to tell you how much I loved you and wanting to be with you always, but I felt this was the best for both of us. Tenchi, please believe me when I tell you that I'm so sorry that I never came back or even let you know where I was. I really felt that you needed to go on with your life without having to go through the 'carnival' again."

Ryoko couldn't help but covered her face as the tears started to flow without constraint. Her long burden was being unloaded, but remembering that time had reopened the heartache and pain she endured as she finally left Earth's orbit and out of Tenchi's life. She was sobbing uncontrollably until a pair of arms wrapped themselves around her for comfort.

"My God Ryoko, I can't believe you did that for me. I'm so sorry that I didn't have the courage to tell you how I felt when I knew." Tenchi couldn't help but cry also as he stroked the cyan girl's hair. It was still soft despite its spiky appearance, and it had the slight scent of Jasmine. Now his heart had started to remember those old emotions and pain as well.

Katsuhito stood by the office door, having heard all this with such attentiveness and sadness. There were times when his Grandfather would look out into the evening sky and just stared at the stars for hours. He always assumed that maybe he was missing his grandmother and looking for some answers when he had that puzzled look from time to time.

He was looking for her. All these years and he never forgot about her. The old fool never told her how much he loved her and he had to keep that to himself all this time. Kats just sighed and went inside, not wanting to disturb the star-crossed lovers.

                                      ******************************

After wiping away the tears from his face, Tenchi broke away from Ryoko with such a sad expression on his ancient face. He pulled a handkerchief out and gave it to her in order for her to wipe away her tears as well.

"Ryoko, it appears our decisions to hide our feelings from one another has cost us something, but it's been almost seven decades since then. We can't undo what's done, but now that you're here, let's make the best of our present situation shall we?" Tenchi tried putting up a smile so he could get the space pirate's mind into something more positive.

* sniff * "Yes you're right Tenchi. What's done is done, but we still have some time left. Let's say we try to catch up on each other lives since we last met." Ryoko managed to put up a slight smile, but her face was still showed some traces of sadness as they tried to move on. "How 'bout you starting off first?"

Tenchi paused for a minute. He wasn't sure where to begin, but figured to start all the way from the time he realized Ryoko and the girls weren't coming back.

"I guess things changed for me when I realized that nobody was coming back. Washu eventually did, but it wasn't the same. She came out of her lab less often than she used to and only when Grandpa coaxed her to. When I started college, I saw little of her and since she didn't love me like you and Ayeka did, our relationship had changed. Of course, when I realized that she and Grandpa were sort of fond of each other, I wasn't too worry about her well-being after that."

"Guess Yosho kept Washu in line since you didn't mentioned any explosions and runaway experiments she was performing." Ryoko chimed in. Tenchi could see that the conversation was starting to take her mind off of what could have been. "So college did you wonders, huh?" Ryoko asked.

"Not at first. You see the first two years after you guys went away were probably the most difficult time of my life. I was sad that Ayeka, Sasami, Kiyone and Mihoshi never came back, but I understood why. I was mainly depressed because of you." Then Tenchi realized he must have gone senile since he brought up the 'sore subject'. He looked at Ryoko with worry, but she wasn't showing any emotions… yet. He decided to continue.

* ahem * "Anyway, I finished high school and enrolled in college. Nothing great happened in the first year, but in my second year, my life changed for the better. That's when I met my wife." Tenchi eyes got misty when the thought of his long deceased wife popped into his mind.

"What was your wife's name Tenchi?" Ryoko asked.

"Her name was Sakuya…Sakuya Kumashiro. My friend Amagasaki introduced me to her when my second year started."

"Amagasaki? Wasn't that nerdy guy with you in high school?"

"Yep. We somehow ended up in the same university, but didn't have the same freshmen classes. It was during his World History class that he met Sakuya. He tried to go out on a date with her, but she wasn't going for it."

"I can see why, God he was butt-ugly, Ha!" Ryoko laughed out loud.

"Be nice Ryoko, he was the best man at my wedding you know." Tenchi answered.

Ryoko decided to keep her comments to her herself and nodded to Tenchi, "Sorry about that. Please go on."

"Anyway, they struck up a friendship and by next year, Amagasaki decided to introduce us to each other, seeing that I was unattached and down on the dumps during that time. We actually hit it off well and since by chance we were in some of the same classes, we were always together. Eventually we started dating, fell in love and by our last year of college, we got engaged."

Ryoko sat there straight-faced, not showing one hint of emotion. But inside, she was feeling something. Jealousy perhaps? No, it felt more like envy. She was happy that Tenchi picked his life up and moved on with somebody he could be with, but it did make her stop and wondered what if she had stayed?

"Uh… that's great Tenchi, I'm so glad that you were able to find someone special. Hope you didn't make them wait that long like you did to some people I know." Ryoko sniped with sarcasm. Tenchi glared back at her, but realized what she meant by the comment.

"No…I managed to learn from my big mistake. Once I knew she had my heart, I told her how I felt and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She didn't wait too long to say yes either."

Ryoko held her breath with that last remark, Girl must have been really special. She did the one thing neither Ayeka, myself or the rest of the girls couldn't do. Well, at least somebody got chosen. "So when did you guys get hitched?"

"About six months after we graduated. Grandpa performed the ceremonies right here at the shrine with Amagasaki as best man, and dad taping everything on his camcorder, as always. Sakuya was kind enough to wear my mother's wedding kimono as I wore dad's."

"I…I'm sure she was a lovely bride; it must have been the happiest day for the both of you."

"It was, although something was missing." Tenchi commented.

Ryoko looked puzzled. "What was missing Tenchi? Forgot the ring or something? Heh-heh"

Tenchi looked back at Ryoko with a faint smile, but didn't feel like responding to her remark. "It occurred to me as I was getting married that while Sakuya had her family and we had our mutual friends there, I was kind of sad that my 'family' wasn't there except for Washu. The other girls sent their regards, but they couldn't make it. Of course you were another story."

"Tenchi, even if I wanted to, I couldn't have been there either, due to certain circumstances beyond my control."

"What do you mean by that Ryoko?"

"Uhh… I'll explain later. Say, don't you have any pictures or somethin'? After sixty-eight years, you should have racked up one huge collection of photographs."

Tenchi gently smacked the side of his head. "Silly me, of course I do! There're down at the house with the family holographic images as well. Let me show you and while we're at it I'll give you the tour of the house."

"Tenchi, I used to live here remember? I don't think a tour is necessary."

"Tenchi waved his hand at Ryoko as he got up, "Don't be silly Ryoko, it's been a long time. I'm sure you'll notice some changes since you left. And as my guest I'll…I'll…oh my!" Suddenly Tenchi fell back to the floor, clutching the left side of his chest, while appearing to be moaning in pain.

"TENCHI! What's wrong?!?" Ryoko screamed hysterically as she grabbed hold of the stricken man. Katsuhito, who was inside the office, ran outside to see his grandfather on the floor in great discomfort. He quickly ran back inside, opened the top drawer of the office desk and took out a small orange bottle of what appeared to be some sort of medicine. He then went over to the small pantry and poured some water into a brown colored cup. He ran back outside and right away took two pills out and put them into his grandfather's mouth.

"Here gramps, take these and swallow. Is it the cancer again grandpa?" Kats asked. Tenchi nodded as he swallowed the pills and allowed Ryoko to put the cup of water next to his mouth so as to help swallow the medication. Ryoko felt relieved when she saw the grim expression on Tenchi was subsiding.

"The cancer is causing you this pain Tenchi?" Ryoko asked with a huge concerned look on her face. She tried to contain her concern and her fear all at once. She knew that her love might be suffering from the illness, but she wasn't quite ready for this reaction. "Why don't you ask Washu or some doctor to help you with this?"

"Like I said Ryoko, there's very little they can do and I don't want to be drugged up and incoherent when there are still some unfinished business to take care off. Kats, help me up please. I think it's time to retire to the house."

Sure Gramps, Ms. Ryoko, could you help me bring Grandpa back to the house? The medicine is kind of strong and the doctors have recommended that he takes a nap after a dosage."

"It'll be a pleasure. I'll just teleport over; Tenchi, is your room still at the same spot?" Ryoko asked, seeing that Tenchi was starting to get groggy from the pills.

"Yep, you know the way." Tenchi replied. He then looked over to Kats and held his arm. "Listen Kats, while I'm taking my nap, start dinner and make sure Ryoko is treated well. Ryoko, can you stay for a while? I'm sorry about the inconvenience my condition is causing, but I would still like to catch up on old times."

"Tenchi, nothing is going to keep me away from you. There're still a lot of things I still need to say to you. Now hold still while I teleport us to the house. Kats, you coming?"

"Not yet, but I'll catch up. Just make grandpa comfortable and once he's asleep, meet me downstairs by the kitchen."

"Sounds good. Ready Tenchi?"

"Let's go Ryoko." He answered. Then in an instant, they phased away from the shrine. Katsuhito just stood there in amazement. He never seen someone teleport before and watching his grandfather disappeared like that was eerie. Amazing! And to think they must have done it so many times when she lived here. Grandfather, I'm not complaining that you married grandma, but how could you have let Ryoko go? It was a question Kats was going to find out.

           *******************************

A few seconds later, two figures phased into a sunlit bedroom. As Ryoko laid Tenchi down and removed his sandals, she looked around the room. Some things stayed the same: The window overlooking the lake, the small glass roof window above the ceiling. The walls and wood frames were still there, but the colors and furniture were different. The bed was made from a brass frame with a fishnet-like curtain tied at the back of the bedpost. A large bureau replaced the old desk where Tenchi did his schoolwork with an oval mirror posted on top. Everything seemed to have been changed around by Tenchi's departed wife.

Guess he wanted to keep everything as a remainder of what they have. She certainly had good taste. Ryoko thought to herself as she fluffed the pillows and placed them under Tenchi's head so he would be comfortable.

Tenchi strained to remove his priestly garments before he lied down. Ryoko assisted him and then reached for the bed sheet so she could wrap it around him. As he turned his face up, he once again stared into those golden eyes. If this was the last time he was going to be awake, he couldn't asked for a better way to go. Ryoko smiled back as he tried to get comfortable in bed.

"Is there anything else you need Tenchi? I'll be happy to get it for you." Ryoko asked.

"No, I'll be fine. I just need a few hours of sleep and I'll be as good as new. Thank you for helping me Ryoko."

"No prob. For you, I'll do anything. I just wish you weren't in such pain though." Ryoko let her right hand caressed Tenchi's cheeks. It felt kind of odd. She used to remember how his features were so soft and gentle and while time had made them dry and wrinkled, those eyes hadn't changed one bit.

"Well, go get some sleep and I'll see you later downstairs. How Kats' cooking by the way? Ryoko inquired.

"It's never going to be good as Sasami's, but it's decent. Just remind him to save some of the miso soup for me ok?"

"You betcha. Tenchi, I'm so happy to see you again." Ryoko whispered to him as she was getting up from the bed. As she got to the door, Tenchi smiled back as he saw the afternoon light surrounded Ryoko with a warm glow.

"Ryoko, just seeing you after all these years just made me realize how much I missed you. You can't imagine how happy this old man is right now."

"Well, I can imagine plenty, but we'll talk later. Get some rest will you?" Ryoko said in a motherly tone.

"Will do. See you later my Ryoko." With that, Tenchi turned sideways and closed his eyes to slumber land.

Ryoko slid the door closed, but then decided to leave a crack open. She peeked once more inside to see her love falling asleep. A smile once more appeared on her face as she thought about what he just said.

My Ryoko! MY RYOKO! Does this mean he really missed me? Oh Tenchi, I hope to God you really meant what you said, because what I have to tell you later is going to have a big impact on both our lives. Sleep well my love. Ryoko then shut the door closed and phased out of the hallway.

                                 ******************************

A/N: This story is taking longer than I originally intended. But I wanted to imagine what would Tenchi and Ryoko say to each other after so many years apart. I'm kind of stuck with 'The Trial' right now so figured a story with an different angle would help me out.

I decided to do this piece after watching a show on the sci-fi channel. I don't recall if it was 'the outer limits' or 'the twilight zone', but after seeing the episode, this story popped up. I'll explain how the show went about after the conclusion of this story.

As always, C&C are welcome. If you want a more elaborate explanation, you can email me at a.falc@verizon.net

Happy New Year to everyone.