"Tenchi Muyo!" and all characters herein are the property of Pioneer and AIC save those created by the author.  All the warnings from the previous chapters apply to this one as well.


Chapter Six: Paint the Sky

            Tenchi sighed as he tried to make himself more comfortable in his seat.  Hisashi had arranged top-notch travel for him and Ryoko, flying them first class non-stop on JAL from Tokyo to Honolulu.  The only draw back of the flight was its eight and a half hour endurance.  The seats on the Boeing 777 were wide enough and plush enough and the video screen in each seatback helped to alleviate the boredom. Even with all of this, Tenchi just could not make himself comfortable, unlike Ryoko who had conveniently nodded off the moment the planes tires left the runway.  For the past seven hours Tenchi had been reflecting on the summers many revelations and noting the other passengers on the flight.  Most were families on one last vacation or businessmen going to the U.S. for some reason or another. 

            Tenchi glanced over at Ryoko as she rolled over in her seat.  She looked so peaceful when she was asleep.  A soft murmur escaped her lips as she dreamed some unknown dream.  A soft chuckle passed from Tenchi as Ryoko scrunched her nose.  Things had changed so rapidly for him this past summer.  His family had evolved so much, yet had inherently remained the same.   His great fear of everything coming to an end once he had followed his heart had not come to pass; in fact the opposite had occurred.  The family as a unit was stronger than ever, and the added aspect of his and Ryoko's relationship had provided a new dynamic, a new spark of life.

            Even Ayeka, whom he feared would be shattered by his decisions, had evolved.  He knew that at some level she still hurt form his actions, but she was genuinely happy for them.  Tenchi remembered back to a walk he and Ayeka had shared a few days before.  He had told her how thankful he was that she had stayed, and not gone back to Jurai as he had feared she would. It was Ayeka who had then brought forward the metaphor of the family evolving, much like a caterpillar into a chrysalis, then into its final form.  She had come to realize that just because one part of the family had changed, fundamentally they were as close as ever, maybe even more so.  On earth and in this house particularly she was just Ayeka, not the crowned princess of the most powerful empire that had ever existed.  Everyone loved her for who she really was, not for the title she held.  That is why she told Tenchi that she had stayed.  It is because she was loved as Ayeka, and she could be her self, even more so now.  Her and Ryoko's friendship, which had always been veiled and strained by their competition for Tenchi, had blossomed openly. One constant though, was that they both seemed to delight in teasing him from time to time.

            Tenchi stroked Ryoko's hair after she shifted around in her seat and nuzzled up against him. 

            "Hello mister," a small voice said from the seat in front of him.

            Tenchi looked up to see a bright eyed child of no more than five years smiling back at him.  The little boy was standing on the seat cushion and his small hands were pulling up on top of the back rest so he could see over it.  "Hello," Tenchi replied.

            "Are you two going to Ha-wi…Ha-wi…the beach too?" he finally squeaked out.

            "Yeh," Tenchi said with a warm smile.  "We're visiting some friends."

            "That's nice," the little boy smiled.  "You have a pretty wife mister," the boy added.  "I like her hair."  Tenchi felt a small flush rush to his cheeks at the child's words.  Allowing himself a smile and a soft chortle, Tenchi leaned back into his chair.    

            "We're not married," Ryoko said rousing from her nap, "yet" she added with a playful undertone.

            "Oh," the little boy said, losing none of his chipper smile at this revelation.  "You will be one day," he added before settling back into his seat.

            "He's right you know," Ryoko said, nuzzling back up against Tenchi. 

            "I think he is," Tenchi said, laying his head atop Ryoko's.  Lacing his fingers through hers, Tenchi sighed softly as sleep reclaimed Ryoko.  The rest of the flight followed in relative calm.  Once again Tenchi allowed his thoughts to drift to his family, his Ryoko, and what the future may hold in store for them all.


            "JAL Flight Seventeen-Oh-One, from Tokyo to Honolulu now arriving, gate eighteen," a female voice announced over the intercom at Honolulu International Airport.  Scads of tourists in loudly colored Hawaiian shirts and baggy shorts crowded the terminal as Toka and Hisashi waited on the passengers to disembark.

            "I can't wait to see Tenchi again," Toka said as the first of the brightly clad throng of passengers began to disembark.  "That and I finally get to meet Ryoko."

            "I do to," Hisashi said, craning his neck as he spotted a tall young lady with oddly colored hair.  "I think I see them."

            "Hey!" Tenchi called out as he spied Hisashi and Toka standing in the concourse. 

            "Is that them?" Ryoko asked softly as Tenchi began to steer them towards the pair.

            "Yup," Tenchi chuckled.  "Inoue Toka, Jonouchi Hisashi," he began, "I would like you to meet Hakubi Ryoko." 

            "Pleased," Hisashi said with a short bow while Toka nodded.

            "Tenchi's told me so much about you two," Ryoko said as they began to navigate the crowded concourse.  "I understand you talked some sense into him Toka," she added giving Tenchi a sly grin.

            "Just a little," Toka laughed, holding her hands about a foot apart.

            "I'm not that bad," Tenchi said in a mock tone of disbelief.

            "Yes you were," Ryoko teased as Toka and Hisashi sniggered.

            "So what do you two want to do first," Hisashi asked as he helped Tenchi gather his and Ryoko's luggage from the turnstile.

            "I've never been to Hawaii before," Tenchi replied as he hefted Ryoko's suitcase onto a cart.  "You're the tour guide here."

            "I need a new bathing suit," Ryoko said, sliding the strap to her travel bag over her shoulder.  "You could use a new one too," she added smiling at Tenchi.

            "Sounds like a shopping trip to me," Toka said, knowing just where to go.

            "I get cold chills every time she says that," Hisashi whispered to Tenchi right before Toka slapped him upside the back of his head.

            "I heard that," Toka scowled as Ryoko snickered beside her.

            "You're on your own," Tenchi laughed as Hisashi looked to him for help, then back at Toka.  "Come on," he laughed, "let's go."


            "Don't you think that bathing suit is a tad small?" Tenchi asked as Ryoko laid a tiny powder-blue bikini out on the bed.  Their shopping trip had been a fruitful one, yielding several new suits apiece.

Ryoko just smirked as Tenchi walked across the room and raised the wood framed window.  Hisashi had given them the guest house for their stay, calling it the 'little house.' The two-story bungalow was located on his father's estate, just east of Diamondhead.  As Tenchi opened the white stained shutters, he thought small was a relative term.  The two-story bungalow had all of the amenities of a full sized house, including a full kitchen, and separate living and dining rooms.  The upper floor was occupied by a master bedroom and bath, with a smaller bedroom to the side with twin bunk beds, obviously for when members of Hisashi's extended family came for a visit.  The view out over the hillside was dense and green, not the evergreen of the hills around Okayama, but a brighter, more fragrant tropical green.

"I thought you would like it," Ryoko said coyly, holding the top with its twin, albeit small, triangles of fabric up to her chest.

"I do like it," Tenchi said, imagining just how little the suit would cover.  The look on his face expressed his only concern.

"I know if anyone gets lewd," Ryoko said as she walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around his shoulder, "you'll set them straight."

"I think I'm going to be busy," Tenchi smiled as he felt her breasts press into his back and her deceptively strong arms lace around his torso.

"So what about tonight?" Ryoko broached, scenting the heavy flavor of salt on the cool breeze.

"What do you mean?" Tenchi said, not exactly sure what Ryoko was inferring.

"I mean," she sighed, not just how to voice her concern.  'We've come so far, and I don't want to scare him away…'  "There's only one bed in here," she finally spat out in a hushed tone.

"It'll be fine," Tenchi said reassuringly.

"I mean I can sleep in one of the other room-" Ryoko began before Tenchi's words sank in on her.  "It will be?"

"Yeah," Tenchi said, "it will be."  Ryoko smiled and let out a small sigh as he hugged her tightly.  "Let's go to the beach."


            Tenchi tilted his head so that his mirrored sunglasses slid down on his nose a little ways allowing him to look out at the stark white beach and cobalt water unhindered.  Smiling, he watched Ryoko and Toka splash in the incoming surf.  The weather was balmy and the sky clear blue, interrupted only by the occasional milky condensation trail left by a high flying plane.  'So beautiful,' he thought as Ryoko jumped into an oncoming wave and effortlessly rode it back to shoreline.

            "Are you sure you've never been to the beach before?" Toka asked as she trudged on in knee deep surf towards Ryoko.

            "Yup," Ryoko smiled as white foam formed around her ankles before it was sucked back out into the endless mass of blue.

            "Well, you rode that wave like a pro," Toka laughed.  "Most people would have been knocked on their butts!"

            'Most people don't have Ryoko's abilities either,' Tenchi chortled to himself.

            "Beer man!" Hisashi hollered as he returned with four clear bottles of golden ale, each with a slice of lime protruding from its mouth.

            "Thanks," Ryoko said, plopping down next to Tenchi on his beach towel, which was adorned with little cabbits and carrots.  "It's so beautiful here," she said, taking one of the ice cold bottles.

            "Japan has beautiful beaches too," Hisashi said, "but these islands hold a certain mystique."

            "I agree," Tenchi said, poking the slice of lime down into the bottle of beer.

            "What are we doing tonight?" Ryoko asked as she drained the last golden drops from her bottle.

            "I know some folks that are throwing a luau," Hisashi said.  "I told them I had some friends coming over from all over the place and they said 'come on'.  So, do you two want to go?"

            "Sounds like fun," Tenchi said as Ryoko nodded along in affirmation. 

            The rest of the day passed relatively quickly for Tenchi and Ryoko, Hisashi and Toka as they enjoyed the waning hours of evening light.  Tenchi smiled as he thought how glad he was that no one on the beach stepped out of line towards Ryoko.  He knew he would have stepped in, but he also knew Ryoko would have taken care of things before he could.  In the back of his mind he had envisioned some poor fellow being knocked into next week for some lewd call or action towards her.  All most did was give Tenchi an envious look, before having to convince their significant others that they were not gawking. Even Hisashi had fallen victim to another smack to the back of the head from Toka when he had first seen Ryoko in her bathing suit.

            The luau was held at a small park near Waikiki.  The sun had since set, and the last molten red bands of sky were lingering on the horizon, not wanting night to fully claim this day just yet. An almost full moon was high in the newly night sky, and the ocean was awash in silvery light.  The first pewter gray fingers of clouds had begun to lace across the orb of the night by the time everyone arrived at the park.

            Ryoko watched through the window in awe as Hisashi parked his small Honda SUV and everyone got out.  Small torches lit the area, washing the mass of brightly colored shirts and dresses in an orange light.  The sounds of drums hammered in a tribal cadence echoed across the beach and a throng of people were near a stage similar to a beach teahouse watching a grass-skirted fellow twirl a fiery stave.  "This way," Hisashi instructed, pointing to one of the long tables.

            The group meandered their way through the crowd until they came across one of the tables occupied by a few people.  "Everyone," Hisashi began, gesturing to Tenchi and Ryoko, "these are my friends from Japan, Tenchi Masaki and Ryoko Hakubi."  The group exchanged salutations as Hisashi introduced each of his friends.  Most were from Hawaii, but a number of them from other parts of the United States Tenchi noted, places called New York, Ohio, Alabama, Texas, and one all the way from Great Britain.  All had come to the islands this week for vacations, and all seemed to have come at Hisashi's beckoning.

            Dinner seemed to pass all too quickly as the night wound on.  Music and food, coupled with dance and drink made the evening a blur.  Before the night ended Tenchi and Ryoko took to the dance floor for the final dance of the evening.  Both were entranced by the other, illumined only by moonlight and tiki-torches.  The song may have only lasted a few minutes, but the moment transcended time.

  It was early in the morning by the time the group returned home.  Toka had driven, seeing as she had drank the least, and was wrestling a still tipsy Hisashi up the stairs.  "You two take care," Toka said as she steadied Hisashi long enough to get a firm grip on the sliding door.  "We'll see you in the morning."

            "All right," Tenchi said.  He too was feeling a little under the influence, and had an arm snaked around Ryoko for support.  The two waited for Toka and Hisashi to disappear fully from sight before Tenchi pulled Ryoko into a deep kiss. 

            "Hold on," Ryoko whispered into Tenchi's ear.  Before he could reply, Ryoko teleported them directly to the bedroom of the guest house. 

            "Thanks," Tenchi said before giving Ryoko one more quick kiss.

            Ryoko just smiled as she made her way to the bathroom to get ready for bed.  All the time, she could not help but think how much she had enjoyed today, especially being with Tenchi.  When she opened the door back to the bedroom, Ryoko found Tenchi waiting.  He quickly kissed her on the lips and ushered her out before her ducked into the bathroom himself.  Ryoko just chuckled as she phased over to the bed side and slipped under the covers.  The room was very dark, and only the slightest sliver of silver moon could be seen from behind the clouds that had moved in even more than earlier.  Ryoko sighed and smiled as she waited on Tenchi to come out, but he seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time.  The longer she waited, the more Ryoko worried.  Old fears and insecurities, which had nearly been buried, began to sneak their way back into her subconscious.  Dark images began to fill Ryoko's mind just as she felt the mattresses springs rebound from Tenchi laying down on them.

            "What's the matter?" he asked, seeing Ryoko lying all the way over to the other side of the mattress.   Her silent answer did little to ease his mind as she scooted over to her.  "Ryoko," Tenchi said softly, "what's wrong?"

            "You're not mad at me?" she asked softly, as Tenchi drew her backside into his chest.

            "Not in the least," Tenchi said, somewhat confused.  "Are you ok?"

            Ryoko smiled.  "I was just burying the last of some very old demons."

            "That's good," Tenchi said, pulling her even closer to himself.  "I don't think I could be upset with you right now if I had to be."

            "Wrapped around my little finger," Ryoko giggled, as she shifted around in her lovers embrace.  "I love you," she said softly.

            "I know," Tenchi said, before showing his affections with a kiss. 

            Ryoko scooted closer to him as the kiss deepened.  "Hmmmm…" she muttered as she slipped a knee between Tenchi's legs.  His hands had found their way under her nightshirt and he had begun to massage her breasts as best as he could.  Ryoko inhaled sharply as Tenchi gently pinched her nipples before smoothing his hands over the erect skin.  "You enjoy those," she giggled into his ear.

            "Uh-huh," he said as she began to feel around the front of his boxer shorts.  Tenchi's hands fell still as Ryoko petted him through his boxers.  He was straining against the flannel of the boxers, and the tip of his penis was peeking through the fly of the shorts.  Tenchi's breathing became a little ragged as Ryoko fondled him.  "Just becareful," he said quickly in response to one of Ryoko's more forceful gropes.

            "Sorry," she atoned, slipping him fully back into his shorts.

            "It's ok," he said in a hushed whisper, pulling her into an embrace.

            "Mm-hmm…" she said, nuzzling her cheek against his.  "I love you," she said in a drowsy whisper.

            "I know," Tenchi said as he petted the back of her head.   "I know."  Ryoko's only response was a soft purr-like snore.  Tenchi held Ryoko close to him while he waited for sleep to claim him.  As he did, shadows of swaying palm branches danced across the wall opposite him.  Tenchi was thinking that the scene would make a lovely painting for one of his classes, when he remembered he had brought his drawing of Ryoko with him.  It was snuggly tucked away in his suitcase, away from prying eyes he hoped.

            'I'll give it to her tomorrow,' Tenchi promised himself as his eyelids became heavier and heavier.  'And maybe even she'll want me to draw a new one…'


            Ryoko woke long before Tenchi did.  As she lay there, she listened minutely to the sound of his breathing and soft snoring.  Every aspect of Tenchi was comforting to her.  His arms were still wrapped around her chest in a loving cuddle and she could feel the gentle warmth of his exhales on the back of her neck.  All was right in the world when he held her.  All of her past anguish and torments seemed inconsequential compared to what the future held in store for the two of them together.

            "About time you woke up," Ryoko said softly as Tenchi began to rustle behind her.

            "That's a fine 'good morning'," he said playfully.

            "Oh hush," Ryoko returned.  "It looks so nice outside today."

            "Then let's get ready and see if Hisashi survived his hangover," Tenchi laughed, grabbing the blankets up from the bed and taking off with them towards the bathroom.

            "Come back here!" Ryoko exclaimed, as she chased Tenchi down and quickly tackled him.  "You're not getting away from me without a good morning kiss!" she warned sternly.

            "Like this?" Tenchi asked, drawing Ryoko into what she had requested.

            "Just like that," Ryoko affirmed, before leaning back into the kiss.

            The morning trip to the beach was interrupted by thick layer of clouds that rolled in right before noon.  The weepy, gray masses of nimbi had borne the first signs of an afternoon rain shower which would put the damper on anything related to the beach. 

"What now?" Tenchi said as he folded the last of the beach towels and tossed it into the back of Hisashi's SUV. 

            "We can wait it out," Hisashi said, shielding his eyes with the plane of his hand, "we can go home and watch a movie, or we can go into town."

            "I like the last one," Ryoko said, wrapping her arms around Tenchi's neck and laying her chin in shoulder.

            "What about the rest of you?" Hisashi asked as he closed the clamshell tailgate to the vehicle.  "It doesn't really matter to me what we do."

            "Sounds fine to me," Toka said, as Tenchi nodded along. 

            "Then let's get going," Hisashi laughed. 

            "Are we boyfriends or beasts of burden?" Hisashi asked Tenchi as they sat down of the ledge of a fountain in the center court of the shopping mall they had decided to visit after lunch.  The girls had promised it would be a quick trip to pick up a few items.  That was three hours and many bags and boxes ago.

            "They're worth it," Tenchi chuckled as Toka and Ryoko headed for another store. 

            "Yeh," Hisashi agreed.  "We're pretty lucky," he said with a smile.

            "You're right," Tenchi said, watching the smile on Ryoko's face.  "Thank you for helping me see what I was missing."

            "You just needed a swift kick in the pants," Hisashi laughed.  "And after dinner that night, I think Toka would have eagerly obliged."

            "I was pretty dense," Tenchi said nonchalantly.

            "Dense, thickheaded, clueless…" Hisashi began, ticking each trait off on a finger.  "But I'd say you did all right."

            "I would too," Tenchi said.  'And I wouldn't trade a second of it for anything.'


            Soft rain pelted the roof as Ryoko sat back onto the plush floral patterned cushion that covered the rattan sofa.  Everything was so peaceful here with just the two of them.  The luau the day before had been great, but today had been marred by light rain showers. To beat the rain, they had gone site seeing in Honolulu, and shopping in one of the larger malls.  That had been fun, especially the exasperated looks on Tenchi and Hisashi's faces as the bundles of boxes and bags increased after each store.  'Tenchi told me to get what I wanted,' Ryoko defended mentally.  'Maybe later I can show him some of the stuff Toka and I bought in that one boutique…' she thought iniquitously of her more risqué purchases.

            Ryoko sighed softly as she clicked the television on.  "There still showing Dragonball reruns over here?" she laughed as she channel surfed.  Truth be told, the past two days had been heaven sent.  The fact that Tenchi had openly welcomed the idea of sharing a bed with her, and that they had cuddled all night made her so happy.  'Only one thing could have been better,' she thought.

            "If only that phone hadn't wrung," she laughed to herself, remembering the goings on of a week ago.  "I wonder what's keeping 'lover boy'?" he sighed, casting a glance up towards the spiral staircase.

            Tenchi ran a towel through is hair, knocking off most of the moisture from the shower. A knot formed in the pit of his stomach as he glanced over to his travel bag in the corner.  After pulling on a pair of khaki's and a shirt he produced the covered pencil board from his travel bag.  Flipping the cover open, he slipped the picture he had drawn back in Hiroshima of Ryoko.  Chewing his bottom lip, Tenchi decided that he would show it to her finally.  Replacing the slipcover, Tenchi slid the board under his arm and made his way down the stairs to the bungalows lower level.

            "It's about time you came down," Ryoko teased, never looking away from the television.

            "What gave me away?" Tenchi laughed as he sat down at the far end of the sofa from her.

            "Whole bunch of things," she explained, beginning to tick reasons off on her fingers: "Stomping down the stairs like an elephant, the smell of your aftershave, any number of things."

            "I just can't sneak up on you, can I?" he playfully taunted.


            Tenchi sat in silence for a moment before he remembered he had the slipcase under his arm still.  Absently he began to fidget with its flap, trying to decide what the best way to broach the subject of the picture.  Everything he thought of seemed cliché and corny to him.

            "Whatcha got there?" Ryoko asked after a heavy sigh from Tenchi caught her attention.  With out saying a word, Tenchi handed her the slipcase.  After reading the note from the professor that was clipped to the cover, Ryoko timidly slid the board out.  Tears brimmed in her wide eyes as she saw the drawing of herself Tenchi has done.  "Oh my," she finally muttered.

            "I did it back in the spring," Tenchi said softly.

            "It's gorgeous…" Ryoko said, almost too softly to be heard.  "You did this?"

            "Yeah," Tenchi said sheepishly.

            "From memory?" she asked, tracing a finger across the curve of the drawings shoulder.

            "Kinda," Tenchi confessed.  'It's not exactly the truth, but it'll do…'

            Ryoko smiled warmly at the thought that Tenchi dreamed of her.  Sliding the board back into its case, she carefully placed it on the glass-topped coffee table.  "Thank you," she breathed, wrapping her arms around him.  "That is the most beautiful thing anyone has ever given me."

            "Well," Tenchi said, stroking her back, "I was hoping I could draw a new one…"

            "You really want to?" Ryoko asked, pulling back to look him in the eyes.  

            "Yes," Tenchi said resolutely, but tenderly.  "I really want to." 

Ryoko pulled him back into a hug.  "Thank you," she whispered into his ear.  "Can I pose like I am in the picture?"

"Yes…" Tenchi said, tightening his part of the hug.  All of his dreams of Ryoko posing for him, the pose that sparked the love in his heart, rushed back to him.  'Gods…I'm sounding like one of dad's bad shojo mangas,' he laughed to himself.

"I'll be right back," Ryoko said, disappearing with a chime.  Instantaneously she reappeared in the bedroom and plopped down on the bed.  Her heart was fluttering at the prospect of Tenchi sketching her.  The thought of his earlier drawing flashed across her eyes, lingering like an after image.  Calming her nerves a bit, Ryoko began to gather herself. 

"What to wear…what to wear…." she mumbled aimlessly as Tenchi's drawing once again flashed before her eyes.  A Mihoshi like giggle rose to her lips and Ryoko had to fight off the urge to jump and down like a three year old. Her Tenchi was going to sketch her, just for her!  "He drew me before," she said happily.  'Gods only know how many times I've wanted him to!' she thought with a wicked grin.

With a thought Ryoko's clothes disappeared from her body with a chime and reappeared neatly folded on the bedside.  Admiring herself in the mirror, Ryoko chuckled.  "You're still one sexy demon!" she laughed remembering all those years back.  Opening the dresser, Ryoko looked for the just the right thing.  A red and black silk robe was pulled from the drawer and laid on the bed.  Ryoko then sat back down on the edge and drew one of the small bags from her shopping trip off the floor.  Pulling the pink tuft of tissue paper from its mouth, she produced a pair of black lace thongs and a matching black strapless brassier.  Nipping the tags off with her teeth, Ryoko frenetically tossed the refuse aside and shimmed into the thongs.  After several failed attempts to get the bra's back clasps to catch, Ryoko sat down on the bed in frustration.

"Breathe," she warned herself.  Taking a few deep breathes; she gave the clasps one more try before she tossed the brassiere aside.  "He's seen them before," she laughed before disappearing and then reappearing in front of the bathroom vanity.  Lightly touching up her makeup, Ryoko took a bottle of perfume bearing a red and black tartan across its top bearing the name 'Burberry' from her makeup bag.  She dabbed some of the scented liquid behind each ear and wrist, before drizzling a little between her breasts.

"Make that one very sexy demon," Ryoko said after examining herself one last time.  An instant later she reappeared by the bedside and slipped on the robe and tied its sash in a quick and loose knot.  After starting to teleport down to the den, Ryoko decided on second thought to walk down the stairs instead.

While Ryoko was upstairs Tenchi had been busy readying his art supplies and utensils.  He had hurriedly pulled closed all the blinds and draperies and he had repositioned the floor lamps to cast their light as best he could.  It was not a perfect studio, but it would have to suffice.  'I'll do an even better one when we get back!' he thought as he pulled the coffee table towards the rattan chair he was going to use.  Once seated Tenchi opened his small art pack and began to lay out the assortment of pencils, crayons, and charcoals out onto his makeshift easel. 

Slipping his sketch book from its slipcase, Tenchi flipped past all the previous still lives and figure studies until he came to a new page.  This was the same book that he had used when he had sketched out his dream, and then for Ayeka's portrait as well.  Tenchi smiled at that thought.  The book had now come full circle, much as he had.  It had held his dreams, it had seen him been told to follow those dreams, and now, it was there when his dreams were going to be realized.  Tenchi smoothed the heavy cotton-bond page down with a tack cloth, knocking off any errant dust or loose fibers.  Satisfied that all was in order, he picked up a medium pencil and began to twist it into a drum shaped sharpener.   

It was then that he heard the door at the top of the stairs creak open and the soft pad of footfalls as the wooden stair treads creaked against the nails that held them in place.  The first Tenchi saw of Ryoko was her ankles, then calves as the stairway spiraled down.  His heart skipped a beat when the treads passed behind the central column and blocked her from his sight.  A scant second later she reemerged from her unwanted eclipse.  Tenchi swallowed hard as he got his first true glimpse of the goddess descending in front of him.  The red silk robe she wore was edged in black and had golden accents in the form of delicate cherry blossoms woven lightly into the silk.

Tenchi could feel the warmth flood into his cheeks as they reddened and his pulse quickened even more.  He had seen Ryoko dressed seductively before, and even flagrantly come after him in the nude, but never had he reacted as so before.  Not a word was spoken between them as Ryoko made her way over to the settee across from Tenchi and gracefully sat down. 

While Ryoko situated herself Tenchi realized he had been sharpening the pencil all the while, and now all that remained was a nub.  "Oh well," he chuckled sheepishly, as he held the diminutive pencil up for Ryoko to see.

"Be careful with that one," she teased as Tenchi began to hone another pencil.  "How should I pose?"

Tenchi looked up and bit his bottom lip in thought for a second.  "Let the robe drape down from your shoulders a bit," he instructed.

"Mm-hmmmm," Ryoko said, as she loosened the sash a little and allowed the supple fabric to slide from her shoulders, exposing the ridge of her collarbones and inner curves of her bosom.  "Like this?" she prompted.

Tenchi looked up and his heart nearly stopped.  The picture before him was more vivid that any he had ever seen before.  Time seemed to slow and everything became hyper-defined for him as he took in the sight of Ryoko posing for him, just as he had dreamed.  "Yeah," he said weakly, reaching out with a trembling hand towards the sketch book.  'Hold it together!' Tenchi scolded himself.  Finally after a few deep breathes he managed to calm himself enough to begin, but his nerves had not gone unnoticed. 

Ryoko remained as stationary as possible while Tenchi began his work.  But beneath her poised exterior her insides were tying themselves in knots.  All of her confidence and bravado had bled away.  'He's not scared of me,' she doubted, 'is he?'  She cautiously watched Tenchi's body language and began to worry the inside of her bottom lip with her fang.

Tenchi tried to keep his eyes focused on his sketch book as much as he could.  Each little glance up allowed some snippet of his imagination to return to one of his myriad of fantasies.   'Dammit! Stay focused!' he cursed inwardly.

'He is scared,' Ryoko thought as she watched Tenchi's left knee develop a nervous tick, which he was obviously trying to keep in check.  It was taking Ryoko every ounce of her willpower to keep from crumbling emotionally as Tenchi continued to refuse to look at her.  His blank stares at the book in front of him and the seemingly random jerks of his wrists as he sketched her form comforted Ryoko little.  'What went wrong?' she cried inwardly, remembering all the progress their relationship had made in the past several months.  'It's all my fault,' she worried.  'I've ruined everything…'

Tenchi stopped drawing when he noticed a small shudder reverberate through Ryoko.  Her gaze was turned down and a barely audible sniffle came across the short gulf that separated them.  'What's the matter?' he wondered.

Ryoko glanced towards Tenchi when she noticed the soft scritch of his pencil had ceased.  Neither of them new how much time had gone by, just that the other was staring.  With a loud sniff Ryoko straightened her self back up and Tenchi slowly began to sketch anew.  Both inwardly wondered what they had done wrong to elicit such reactions from the other.  Tenchi was certain he had screwed up and Ryoko knew she had scared him off.  Neither of them had noticed that Ryoko's robe had slipped down, revealing the dark flesh of her left areola and the tip of a firm nipple.

Tenchi glanced up to check a contour when he spied the exposed flesh, darting his eyes from Ryoko's to her breast and back.  She weakly smiled, and reached across to close the robe back.  In doing so, the other side slid down, revealing even more of her other breast than the tiny bit exposed before.  Sniffing loudly, Ryoko tried to gather her robe back up when she felt a warm hand on her shoulder.  Looking up, her eyes met Tenchi's.  He had sat the sketch book down and knelt by her side.  His heart ached to see her scared or dejected as she was now.  All he wanted was for her to be happy, and he would do what ever he could to make that happen. Delicately, Tenchi slid one side of Ryoko's robe back to her shoulder, and then the other.  Once done, he smiled warmly at her.

"What's wrong?" Tenchi asked in a concerned tone.  "Have I done something?" he added, his voice breaking a little at the end.

"I'm sorry," she said quietly.

"What ever for?" Tenchi asked, not understanding.

"I was moving too fast," Ryoko said in one breath.  "I didn't mean to scare you…"

"I'm not scared," Tenchi said softly.  "I could never be scared of you."

"But you were shaking," Ryoko sniffed.

"I was just nervous," Tenchi admitted.  "It's just that this…this…"  Ryoko's face scrunched in befuddlement as Tenchi sighed and shook his head.  "This is how my dream went," he admitted to an even more confused look from Ryoko.

"Dream?" she inquired, in a perplexed tone.

"The one that inspired the picture," Tenchi clarified. 

"Oh," Ryoko said, gaining a bit of insight into Tenchi's nervousness.  "So it's not me?"

"No. Never," Tenchi assured with a hug.

Ryoko smiled and stymied her last sniffle. "You dreamed about me?" she asked demurely.

Tenchi rubbed her shoulders, feeling the knot of stress that had built in them. "The first of many," he said, his age's old blush flooding back to his cheeks.

Ryoko smiled a little. "You dreamed about Me?" she asked, feigning disbelief.

Tenchi chuckled softly as Ryoko's eyes broadened. "Yes, you," he added, tapping her nose with a finger.

Ryoko sniffled as her heart sang.  "Me."

Tenchi felt a lump form in his chest as he drew her close to him.  "Even though they stole my memories from me, they couldn't take you from my heart," he whispered into her ear.

"I love you," Ryoko said, returning his embrace.

"I love you too."

While Tenchi continued to hold her, a smirk crept onto Ryoko's face.  "Did you say 'many'?"

Tenchi laughed softly as he leaned in to kiss her.  "I love you so much."

Ryoko smiled in return and wrapped her arms around Tenchi's neck, pulling his head onto her shoulder.  "I love you," she whispered.

"I love you," Tenchi said, sitting up onto the rattan settee to be at eye level with her.  "I love you more than you can imagine."  Ryoko just pulled him back into a hug before Tenchi leaned into a kiss.  The kiss started slow and tenderly, each of them savoring the others taste as it lingered on their tongues.  Ryoko moaned as Tenchi's hands smoothed over her back, one cradling the base of her neck, and the other resting right above her buttocks.  Her hands found their way around him, clawing at the muscles in his back through his shirt.  It did not take much for their embrace to become heated.  Soft moans and groans escaped them both as their tongues explored each others mouths.  After a moment or so Tenchi slid one hand up and caressed Ryoko's breast through the soft silk of her robe.  His thumb paused on her pert nipple, wishing that the scarce layer of fabric was not there.   Sensing this, Ryoko took Tenchi's hand in her own and guided it into her robe, giving him free access to her bosom. 

Ryoko moaned even more as Tenchi massaged her breast, going between cupping and squeezing the supple mound of flesh.  Tenchi then slid his other hand up Ryoko's side from her breast and knocked her robe back, exposing her clavicle and shoulder.  Gooseflesh raised her back as Tenchi ghosted a series of kisses and nibbles from her earlobe down her neck to her shoulder.  "Ohhhhh," Ryoko moaned softly as Tenchi sucked on the tight flesh of her shoulder, before tracing his kisses back up to her neck.  With her free hand she began to explore his body as he nipped at her earlobe.  She explored the musculature of his chest, feeling the firmness of his pectorals for moving down to firm plane of his stomach.  Her hand lingered above his belt for a second before Ryoko glided it down to feel his groin. 

Tenchi's breathing became heavier and more labored as Ryoko groped him with a firmer grip.  She could tell he was excited, just as much as she was, may be even a little bit more so.  Ryoko pushed Tenchi's shoulders back against the sofa and slid her legs over him so that she was now straddling him, allowing herself to grind her pelvis into his.  By now her robe had been discarded completely, lying in a crumple of red and black, revealing the sheer lace of her panties.  

Tenchi allowed his hands to explore all of Ryoko now that she was in front of him.  Slowly, he worked his hands down her arms, all the while tenderly kissing the side of her neck.  He momentarily laced his fingers with hers before he darted his hands over to her hips.  Ryoko exhaled heavily as Tenchi groped her rear end and pulled her down onto him.  As Ryoko slowly began to grind her hips into his, Tenchi slid his thumbs up under the bands of her panties, and then up her slender sides to cup the bottoms of her breast.  They felt so warm and fluid to him, while being firm and smooth at the same time.

"You're driving me crazy," Ryoko said breathily into his ear.

"That's good," Tenchi teased as he began to circle her nipples with his thumbs, "because you're driving me wild."

"I meant it," Ryoko affirmed in a sultry tone.  "I really want you."

Tenchi paused for a second while he decided for the last time that he was ready to take their relationship to the next level.  "I want you too," he said with an air of confidence that six months ago would have been impossible.

Ryoko smiled and pulled Tenchi into a loving hug.  As she held Tenchi close to her, she shed tears of joy.  All her hopes and dreams were about to come true.  She and Tenchi would be one as they never had been before.  Together, they would share the ultimate expression of their love for one another.  How this would change the dynamics of their lives, Ryoko neither knew nor did she care at the moment.  All she wanted was for this instance to be frozen in time.  As wistful as that seemed, both knew that this would be a night that they would always cherish.  Easing her embrace, Ryoko gently kissed Tenchi on the neck, before resting her head on his shoulder.

"Are you ok?" Tenchi asked when he saw Ryoko wipe away the glistening streaks running down her face.

"Uh-huh," she answered.  "I'm just happy."  Tenchi smiled and gently kissed Ryoko on the forehead.  "I love you," she said. 

Tenchi's reply was unspoken, but the look in his eyes was more than an unspoken 'I love you.'  His eyes shown with a fire that have ignited heaven itself as Ryoko gazed into them.  During the odyssey of emotions that was the past few months, he had come to a greater understanding of himself and the woman he loved.  He knew it was neither a childish infatuation nor just an adolescent lusting.  He loved Ryoko with every fiber of his being.  Having his memories gifted back to him only solidified his resolve.  Tenchi's heart sank momentarily as he remembered the night they were returned.  He had hit rock bottom, fearing his own stupidity had cost him his love's heart.  Now he stood at the pinnacle of that love.      

Tenchi raised his arms as Ryoko tugged the hem of his shirt free from his trousers and began to pull it off of him.  Tossing the shirt aside, Ryoko dragged her fingernails down his chest, before easing off him and kneeling on the floor.  Tenchi inhaled sharply as Ryoko began to kiss his pectorals, taking a moment to lavish a kiss on his nipples as well.  Ghosting kisses down his abdomen, she looked up seductively when she reached the waist of his pants. 

Tenchi nodded in encouragement as Ryoko began to fumble with the button fly.  Slowly, she eased each button from its hole, finally opening the fly.  Ryoko shot Tenchi a feral, sultry look when done; then fluidly moved back atop of him.

"Wouldn't the bed be better?" Tenchi asked, toying with the front fabric of Ryoko's panties.

"Later," Ryoko said in one breath before she kissed him heatedly.  Tenchi returned the kiss with equal vigor.  Neither of them wanted to lose this moment.  Ryoko felt her heart pound in her chest as Tenchi ran his hands from her back down to her buttocks and back.  His pheromones were nearly overwhelming by now.  Each breath she took drew more of him into her: his scent, the both of their pheromones, and the smell of their erogenous zones.

Tenchi pulled Ryoko close and tried to shift his weight on the couch, allowing them the freedom of being reclined.  Ryoko extended one leg to the floor to steady them, but in the heat of the moment the move only unbalanced them.  Right as they began to tumble off the couch Ryoko instantaneously phased them to the floor, never missing a moment of passion.  Tenchi's fervor only increased once they were unencumbered by the confines of the divan.

Ryoko slid her had into the fly of his boxers, feeling the warmth irradiating from him.  "Are you ready?" she asked, almost in a pant.

"Only if you are," Tenchi said, reaching up to stroke the side of her face.  Ryoko nodded as he placed his hands on her knees while she pulled his member out of the boxers fly.  Tenchi held his breath as Ryoko slid the fabric of her panties over revealing the glistening moistened folds of her love.  Their eyes met as she gently guided him into herself. 

Tenchi let out a long exhale as the warmth of Ryoko's vagina washed over him.  The heat of their desire radiated from them in palpable waves as she started to rock her hips back and forth.  Tenchi added a little motion to the mix, thrusting upwards as much as he could.  His heart was racing faster than it ever had before.  Every muscle in his body was sending the same signal to his brain as Ryoko ground into him.  Tenchi grunted as he tried to relax those muscles, in what would ultimately be a futile attempt to stave off his climax.    

Ryoko's breaths were coming short, ragged inhales as she rocked on top of Tenchi's groin.  The sensations of him being inside of her were nothing short of amazing.  The rapturous frictions of his light thrusting combined with her gyrations provided just enough stimulation to her clitoris to send shudders speeding up her back. She saw the strained look on Tenchi's face and knew that this sensation would not last for much longer.  To help him endure, Ryoko slowed her motions a little.  Even as she did so, Tenchi reached his breaking point.

In one great bucking thrust Tenchi came inside of Ryoko.  He had tried to hold back as long as he could, wanting to savor every second of Ryoko's warmth as she slid up and down on him.  With a primal grunt, Tenchi felt the charge of his seed leave him.

Ryoko breathed in heavily as she felt Tenchi's ejaculate spurted inside of her.  The rush of heat was unexpected, and surprisingly encompassing.  A shiver passed across her body as the warmth rapidly sublimated, leaving a feeling of totality. 

The rush of intercourse drained them both.  Ryoko eased her body down atop Tenchi's chest, pressing her still firm breasts and nipples into his chest.  Tenchi gently kissed her on the lips and drew her cheeks close to his.

"I'm sorry I didn't last longer," he atoned as Ryoko began to nibble on his earlobe.

"It's ok," she purred.  "You were just fine.  More than fine," she encouraged.

"I love you," Tenchi said tenderly.

"I love you too," Ryoko said, as a thought crossed her mind.  "Do you still love Ry'ko?" she teased.

"More than ever," Tenchi stated.

"She'd like to hear that too…"

Tenchi chuckled softly.  "I love you, Ry'ko," he said with a smile.

"Really?" Ryoko asked in a feigned small voice.

"Yes.  Really," Tenchi confirmed.  "I love you more than life itself."  The both of them laid there contently for a while.  Neither Tenchi nor Ryoko wanted to moved, for fear of want of not being near the other.  Tenchi smiled and thought pleasant thoughts as Ryoko nuzzled her cheek against him.  She was his Ryoko; his Ry'ko.  He felt like a piece of his that had been missing, even so after his memories were returned to him, and finally it came home.

"Love you," Ryoko said softly as he stroked her back.

"Mm-hmm," Tenchi said.  He shifted his weight under Ryoko a little, letting him ease his knees somewhat.  Tenchi's mind was racing as he held her.  Every second of the experience was flash burned into his mind. The warmth, the moistness, the motion; the totality of filling a void he never knew existed.  Tenchi slid a hand down one side of Ryoko's buttock as felt the still moist fabric of her thong.   He knew that she could have been more comfortable, but the moment was too perfect to waste with trivialities.  Feeling the smooth skin her inner thigh, Tenchi noticed that Ryoko was still very moist, and just as importantly, he felt his own erection begin to rise again.

"What's the matter?" Ryoko cooed as Tenchi began to shift under her. 

"Just doing things right," Tenchi said as he sat up and she rose to her knees.  Ryoko gave him an inquisitive look as he fastened the top button on his khakis.

"Tenchi?" she asked, just before he scooped her up in his arms.

"Like I said," he began before kissing her softly, "I'm doing things the right way."  Ryoko smiled broadly and wrapped her arms around Tenchi's neck as he began to ascend the spiral staircase up the bungalow's master suite.  Fresh tears of joy streaked her face as Tenchi took each step carefully, keeping his precious cargo in mind.  With each step Ryoko thought of her life, how she went from being a child to demon space pirate, then to tortured soul, then to a competitor for the heart of the only person she had ever truly loved.  Now with out a shadow of a doubt she was the sole recipient of that love.  She felt alive.  Moreover, for the first time she felt human.  Tenchi saw nothing but a young lady that he had professed his undying love to.  She was just Ryoko.  His Ryoko.        

Tenchi gently laid her down on top of the comforter and knelt beside her.  Their lips met once again in a heated kiss as he fumbled to kick off his shoes.  Ryoko moaned softly and raked her fingers across his bare back as Tenchi reached down and unfastened the sole button holding his trousers up, allowing them to fall down around his knees.  Ryoko frowned for a second as he stood up and stepped out of the pants before he resumed his position above her.

"Am I still driving you crazy?" he said into her ear.  All Ryoko could do was nod as his hot breath sent gooseflesh spreading down her neck and arms. 

"Oh yeah," she finally managed as Tenchi began to trace kisses down the side of her neck, then to her sternum before focusing in on one breast.  Ryoko shifted her hips under him as he drew his tongue around the puckered flesh of her areola.  With a smack, Tenchi encompassed her nipple and surrounding flesh with his mouth.  Ryoko tried to take long deep breaths as Tenchi flicked his tongue across her nipple and gently suckled on the peak of flesh.  Between her legs was becoming more and more moist by the second, and his penis was pressing through the fabric of his boxers and her panties in just the right spot.  More soft moans and purrs escaped Ryoko when Tenchi shifted focus to her other breast, lavishing it with the same loving attention it opposite had received.

Tenchi saw the look of ecstatic anticipation Ryoko face as he ran his tongue down her belly.  He smiled when giggled at him playing with her navel.  "I've always wanted to do this," Tenchi said, rising up to his knees, "so bear with me." 

Ryoko gave him a puzzled look until he extended one of her legs and began kissing her ankle.  "Ohhhh," she moaned as he teasingly kissed and nibbled all the way down to her inner thigh.  Tenchi slowly nuzzled Ryoko's groin, tantalizing her every second, before he took her other leg and began the process over.  "You tease," she playfully admonished as Tenchi made his way back down her other leg.  This time, Tenchi raised Ryoko's bottom up from the bed and slid her underwear off.  Ryoko placed a hand between her legs, hiding herself from his sight as he slid her feet free of the elastic bands.

"Awe," Tenchi playfully pouted, as Ryoko kept her hand in place, but his smile soon matched her mischievous grin when she tantalizing slid her hand up from her vulva, smoothing over her stomach before cupping one of her breast.  "You're beautiful," Tenchi said lovingly.

"My handsome prince," Ryoko said, as Tenchi lay back upon her and kissed her fully.

Tenchi grinned and began to slowly, teasingly, trace kisses down the side of her neck, between her breasts, and then down her tummy.  His lips paused just above the small patch of slightly darker cyan hair that rested atop her most erogenous of zones. Tenchi heard Ryoko inhale heavily as his lips brushed the short curls of fur.  Tenchi slid his arms around Ryoko's hips to allow himself an unfettered view of her.  The sight of the smooth skin between Ryoko's legs and the first signs of her inner lips peeking out from her cleft excited him even more so.

"Go on," Ryoko encouraged as Tenchi gently spread the wings of her love apart, to where her genitalia resembled a blossoming flower.  Her heart rate increased drastically as he first probed inside her with his finger.  Tenchi lightly touched the velvety, glistening skin, eliciting pleasured moans from his lover.  He wanted to know every aspect of her, the texture of the skin, every fold, and every ridge; marveling at how such a seemingly nondescript part could hold such a mystic aura.  

Tenchi knew he had found the spot he was looking for when Ryoko's hips began to quiver.  The little nub of pink flesh was almost indistinguishable from its surroundings, but he knew it was the right spot.  Remembering where it was, Tenchi began to lightly kiss the tender flesh of Ryoko's vagina.  The slightly salty and earthy taste splashed over his taste buds as his tongue caressed her innermost parts.

"Oh my…" Ryoko moaned as Tenchi's tongue lighted on her clitoris.  She moaned throatily as Tenchi continued to kindle her fire.  Each lick or flick of his tongue sent a new wave of intense sensations speeding though her body.  Ryoko was glad that Tenchi had hooked his arms around her thighs and hips, because that was the only thing restraining her to the bed at this point.  "Tench-i-i-i-i-i-i!" she whined as teased her even more.  "Please," she added in a high pitched beg.  Ryoko screamed in ecstasy as she felt her inner barriers snap, opening a floodgate of pleasure like she had never felt before.

Tenchi gently kept his arms around Ryoko's hips as she started to buck wildly.  He knew she had to be close to release when she screamed his name in euphoric bliss.  As her motions stopped, Tenchi pulled himself back up to eye level with Ryoko.  Her bangs were plastered to her forehead with perspiration and her chest was rising in great heaves, struggling for each breath.

"That was incredible," she said, kissing Tenchi lightly on the lips.

"I'm glad," he chuckled.

"Where'd you learn how to do that?" Ryoko asked. 

"Just listening to guys brag and sneaking dad's video collection from time to time," he admitted.

"You little hentai," she teased.  Tenchi just smiled and cuddled up next to her.  "Are you hard?" she asked sultrily into his ear.

"Yeah," he answered.

"Then why aren't you in me?"

Tenchi smiled kissed Ryoko again, tracing his tongue across her teeth.  Sitting up to his knees, Tenchi began to pull his boxers off.  Once unencumbered, his full length strained forward to find the sanctuary it wanted.  Their eyes locked as Tenchi knelt back down.  Ryoko spread her legs for him, welcoming what was to come.  Tenchi took Ryoko's hand and brought it up to his lips for a tender kiss, before he guided it to his manhood, allowing her the honor of showing him the way.

Tenchi shivered as the sudden rush of warmth from her vagina washed over him again, but this time it was more intense than before.  The velvety texture of her insides clung to his erect member, exciting him even more than the time before.  Tenchi savored every sensation as Ryoko's love enclosed him, making him apart of her.  Slowly, Tenchi began to thrust into her.

Ryoko moaned as she felt Tenchi fill her. She was already very excited and sensitive from his oral pleasuring, and now every part of her was hyper-responsive.  The friction of every thrust rekindled the fires of her passions.  As Tenchi gained momentum, she wrapped her legs around him, drawing him closer, allowing him to penetrate her as deeply as possible.  Barriers that had barely returned began to rupture again, sending waves of euphoria coursing through her body.

Tenchi gritted his teeth as Ryoko's finger nails dug into his back.  She was moaning and calling his name in orgasmic ecstasy the likes of which he had only dreamed of before.  Tenchi's pace increased as his heart rate skyrocketed.  His breathing came in great huffs that washed over Ryoko's neck as he felt his own barriers begin to slip away.  "Oh god…" he groaned huskily.

"Tenchi-i-i-i!" Ryoko begged, as another wave of ecstasy rocked her body.  He was driving her absolutely wild in ways she never dreamed of before.  The combination of his earlier cunnilingus and this round of love play were almost too much.  Each thrust gave her new and unfound feelings, almost to the point of sensory overload.

With one final drive Tenchi felt himself orgasm once more.  Expended, he collapsed onto Ryoko, panting for each breath.

Ryoko smiled as the last of her orgasms passed over her.  She could feel Tenchi's erection begin to flag within, but that did not matter.  Ryoko gently stroked his back as she relaxed her legs and allowed him to become more comfortable.  "Thank you," she said softly. Tenchi gave her a perplexed look, but the smile on Ryoko's face eased any misgivings he might have had. 

"For what?" he whispered.

"For loving me," she answered, pulling him into a hug.

"I love you," Tenchi said, caressing her forehead.  "And nothing will ever change that."  A few tears squeezed from Ryoko's eyes as she hugged Tenchi again.     

They lay together all night, their cooling bodies entwined in one another.  Sleep claimed them both, and each rested peacefully, knowing that their hearts belonged to the other, and no one else.  All was right in the universe, the universe created by their love.



            "Sister!  Sister!" Sasami called excitedly as she ran down the path leading from the gate of the Masaki residence. 

            "Whatever is the matter?" Ayeka asked, looking up from her sweeping.  She had been lost in thought about Tenchi, but not thoughts of longing.  She had been remembering all the happiness that he had brought into her life, and how much she missed him over the past week.  She had even caught herself missing Ryoko too.

            "We've got a letter from Tenchi and Ryoko!" Sasami giggled, handing the envelope to her older sister.  "I'll go get lil' Washu and Mihoshi!" she squeaked. 

            Ayeka smiled and followed her sister into the house, but at not quite the same pace.  She was excited to receive word from Tenchi and Ryoko, but she also felt a slight tugging at her heart. 

            "So what do we have?" Washu asked taking a seat next to Ayeka as Mihoshi and Sasami piled onto the sofa as well. 

            "Let's see," Ayeka said, carefully opening the letter.  "Everyone," she began to read.  "We hope that this makes it to you before we get back, but if not, oh well.  We've had a great time here, and Hisashi and Toka sends their hellos as well. We have so many stories to tell you when we get back: the beaches, the jungles, the volcanoes; everything!  Anyway, Hisashi has charted a boat to take us to one of the other islands, so we have to be going.  We've sent a few pictures too." Ayeka finished, before reading the letters closing.  "We love all you, and miss you terribly.  Signed: Tenchi and Ryoko."

            "Lemme see the pictures!" Mihoshi bubbled, taking the small deck of photographs from the envelope.  They were all pictures from the island, and a few of the group at the beach.  One was of a couple waving to the camera, labeled 'Toka and Hisashi' in Tenchi's handwriting down the side.  Another was one of he and Ryoko snapped at the beach.

            "Ryoko has never been one for modesty," Ayeka sighed, noting the lack of size to her bathing suite.

            "Quit being a stick in the mud," Washu playfully admonished, taking the pictures from Mihoshi.  "It looks like their having a good time."

            "But I really miss them," Sasami whined.

            "We all do," Ayeka confessed.  "But they will be back soon, and we will all be together again."


Notes:  So there you have it.  Daydreams is over, and I apologize for the long wait on the final chapter. All letters of protest can be addressed to the graduate school at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.  I really hope that you enjoyed my first and definitely not last foray into the worlds of lemons.  This timeline is too fun to leave alone, and it will be revisited, but only after a few other projects are finished.  So in closing, let me thank all of my online guinea pigs, errr, friends, whose encouragement and feedback help make this story what it is.  Also, thanks goes to Diane Long, who scripted a little vignette for this chapter.  Thank you so much.  So, until we meet again, I thank each and every one of you, and please, do not hesitate to tell me your thoughts on this chapter, good or bad.  Thanks again.

William 'Thundergod' Nichols   


On anther note, the title for this chapter came from one of my favorite songs, 'Heavens on Fire.'  The chorus goes:

Feel my heat, taking you higher

Burn with me, heavens on fire

Pain the sky, with desire,

Angels fly, heavens on fire



In the cold darkness of space evil still lurks.  A thousand worlds burn under the iron heal of one man…

"For seven long years my heart has been as cold as space itself, ever since the day of my darkest defeat, turned greatest triumph.  My soul is as cold as the lifeless steel that is now my arm; my arm taken by that wretched half-breed.

"For seven years I have toiled to bring my vision to reality.  My sacred vision granted by T'K'Mai and presented by her knight, shrouded in black, emblazoned in gold.

"The time has come.  With the chosen of T'K'Mai by my side, I will have my vengeance.  Jurai shall burn.  The champion shall fall.  And the glory of T'K'Mai shall shine throughout the universe.

"For I am K'snis Tectharin, the Changer of Ways, the Despoiler of Worlds, the Thirster for Blood, the Keeper of Secrets; Emperor of all that T'K'Mai has created."   

  The Odyssey shall begin anew in: Fractured Mirror.