Lily Amidst Thorns
A Tenchi Fanfic by Achariyth
Diclaimer: Tenchi Muyo! and all characters from the show... Ah, hell, the license's gone through so many hands over the last 20 or so years. Let's just say it isn't mine, I'm not doing this for profit, and it'll vanish if someone representing the copyright owners asks me to remove it.
Will I find love?
You know, as I orbit this backwater planet known as Terra in my standard issue Galaxy Police cruiser, praying for some small excuse to justify my already threatened paycheck and break the monotony of patrol, and listening to the faint emanations from the surface below, I can't but help feel depressed. Let's set aside the boredom typical of patrolling a non-spacefaring people and focus upon the cruel joke the cosmos has played on me. I just happen across a song that echoes my musings by accident? Right. If there is anything I have learned in my stay at the Masaki shrine, it is that there are no coincidences in life.
"Will I find love?" For some, it is just an innocent question. For others, the reek of desperation is so thick that one can literally smell it. Let me assure you, dear friends, that I have not reached that desperation that hastens women to marry prematurely. But at same time I do have to wonder about my fate. Am I doomed to be alone for the rest of my life?
Trust me, I would not lack for willing companions if I so desired. Many men would love to fall into lust with me. I am not blind. I see the looks that some of my more lecherous male co-workers give my body when they think I am not watching them. And I do have to admit that it is nice to be appreciated, just not always in that way. Unfortunately for the more forward of my co-workers, I do not desire a merely physical relationship, no matter how pleasant it can become. I have learned, through painful experience, that sex is not the same as love. Rather, it is the ultimate expression of one's love for their partner and the times I have shared myself with someone who truly loved me have been the most fulfilling physical experiences of my life. Such an act should not be entered into lightly. I just wish I knew that when I was fifteen.
I am twenty-three now, almost twenty-four, and I would like to think I am somewhat wiser now. In reality, it seems that I make the same number of mistakes, just different ones than the innocent young woman I once was. Unfortunately, I have to wonder whether or not accepting my posting to Terra was an example of my most recent mistakes.
Now, let me explain something before you condemn me. I do consider everyone at the Masaki shrine as some of my closest and dearest friends. Yes, that even includes that space pirate Ryoko, after we had a little "discussion" out in the fields. If I were ever to be asked whether or not I could imagine a life without Tenchi, Ayeka, Ryoko, Sasami, and the rest, I would have to say "No." Its just that my idiot partner can be so infuriating. I can't believe someone as inept as her was actually hired. If you looked up the word "Ditz" in the Dictionaria Galactica Jurai, you would find a full page devoted to Mihoshi. I sometimes wonder how many in Personnel must I have offended to be partnered with her. But I digress.
Remember, when I say that living on Terra is a mistake, it is in the context of chasing after True Love, as the more romantic of beings, myself included, call it. Let me be very quick to point out that I have no interest in Tenchi beyond that of a friend. He's still a teenager, and he has yet to experience many of the things I already have. I mean, I've graduated from my planet's school system, experienced a rigorous college schedule, and have undergone a rigorous training regimen, not to mention embarking on a career. Add to that the seven additional years of experience in matters of the heart that I have over him, and you can quickly see reasons why I am not fighting Ayeka and Ryoko for Tenchi's attention. Although I do have to admit the endless and fierce competition would be a deterrent of the highest order if I ever grew interested in Tenchi.
But you might say to me "Certainly there are other fish in the sea," or some other silly idiomatic cliché regarding the selection of candidates for love. Not on Terra! I don't believe you have taken into consideration Terra's current xenophobia. It's quite common amongst pre-interstellar civilizations, so I am not surprised, but it sure does not make my love life any easier. Bear with me for a moment and I'll explain as I share from personal experience. Think of it as one of Kiyone's life lessons.
In a moment of weakness, I began to date a co-worker at one of these part time jobs I must work at to make ends meet. Normally, I do not make it a practice, but as I said, I was weak. No, I guess I was intoxicated by the young man in question. After all, he was handsome, charming, kind, considerate, and owned a clever and witty sense of humor. Add to this the almost instant sparks of mutual attraction and friendship and you can understand why I deluded myself in thinking that a relationship with him would work out. Unfortunately, my life pattern proves that whatever can go wrong will. Everything was running smoothly for about two weeks. After months of an unjust universe crushing me under the weight of its irrational and overwhelming cruelty (for some reason, the universe loves to torment me. How else can you explain Mihoshi as my partner?), it was a breath of fresh air to be the center of his growing affection. My happiness actually mattered to someone on this overgrown speck of dust. I wish I could say that my friends were actually concerned about my happiness, but after that little fiasco with Washu's machine, I know exactly where my happiness stands with most of them and it disgusts me.
This is how the relationship ended. We were at his house, in the midst of prolonged cuddling on his couch punctuated by moments of deep conversation, when he asked me about my family and where I came from. It was a fair question. After all, he had just told me about his family in a series of humorous and moving anecdotes. So I told him about my family and my place of origin. You might ask why I did not lie. I feel that honesty is truly the best, if not the only, policy for any relationship. Whenever I have lied to my partner in the past, it has invited the disasters that the universe loves to play to me. Besides, how can trust develop unless it is nurtured in an atmosphere of complete honesty? To make a long story short, he did not believe me, I let him inside _Yagami_ in an effort to convince him I was not lying, he panicked as he realized I was not kidding, and thus ended our relationship with a great bang and me whimpering about the unfairness that shadows my life. Now, the former object of my affections is wealthier now, since he sold his "Encounter with an Alien Seductress" slander to some sleaze magazine. I had to quit my job and everyone living at the Masaki shrine had to hide for a month until the paparazzi who staked out the grounds finally left. I really should send Ryoko to visit him in return for the trouble he has caused me.
Now can you understand why Terra is not suitable for finding a suitor?
Add to this mistake another. In the months leading up to my transfer here, I had just befriended a male officer assigned to the same precinct as Mihoshi and I were stationed. He was shy, more so than I had expected, but after a while his shyness left whenever I was around. It was a month before I realized that he was attracted to me. I should have noticed sooner, but as I said, he was shy. After a few conversations with him, I started to get the impression that he could be the ever elusive One I was looking for. It really was a pleasure to spend time around him. However, I should have seen the handwriting on the wall when he told me that whenever he started to befriend a woman that either he or she moved soon afterward. True to form, I got reassigned to Terra. Now my academy roommate tells me that my old rival is starting to spend time with him, no doubt to steal him away from me, that tramp. A ansible call just cannot replace being in person. Maybe I need to request that my rival be my replacement on Terra and advise that she try to arrest Ryoko.
Now, if you notice I have not used first names for my old flames and rival, there is a reason for that. Well, for my old boyfriends, that is. My rival's name is Hiroko, and her V-mail address is [REDACTED] for all you spammers out there. Oh, and I never told you this. But about my old boyfriends, both of them took a chance when they decided to share their lives with me, and because of this, I will not spread their names across the ansible networks and betray their trust. If you want a cheap thrill, go stick your tongue in a light socket.
I know that after sharing this, some people would be sick of listening to me complain. After all, I am only twenty-three, it isn't like my biological clock is ticking away like many older single women. Besides, I can be transferred away from Terra into a more populated sector of space. I have used these points to try to soothe my mind when it peruses these matters, but there still remains the need for meaningful male companionship. Unfortunately, life keeps me too busy to be able to address this need. My career has been too eventful to spend much time in relationships, even more so since I met Tenchi, Ryoko, Washu, and the princesses. Sometimes I wonder if I have become part of a guard forming around Tenchi. Rumors circulating around the Galaxy Police nets do indicate that Terra and the people at the Masaki shrine will be a nexus that will help shape the face of the galaxy's future. Because of this, the Marshal is demanding that Jurai allow the Galaxy Police to strengthen our presence. Emperor Azusa has been less than cooperative. The point of all this is that my chances for a transfer to greener pastures are sub-atomic in size.
So there lies the crux of my problem. Xenophobic natives and no chance of meeting men of my age and maturity (galactically speaking, of course). I have to envy Ayeka and Ryoko. They already have chosen who they think they will wed, if he would ever return their affections. Good luck, girls. I hope you have better luck.
It is time for my patrol to end. It's about time. The boredom of my patrol often gets to me. Oh, and I am sure I do not need to tell you why I patrol solo. The result is that I have too much time to contemplate my lack of a love life, among many other depressing issues. No wonder Washu has been checking me for ulcers lately. It seems that I have exhausted all reasonable alternatives, and my search for True Love is in stasis right now.
So I guess I'll try something I recently learned from Sasami. After all, it can't hurt.
"Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight..."
This story was loosely inspired by Harlan Ellison's "True Love: Groping for the Holy Grail." It is not a carbon copy of his work, except for one line, and any similarities are superficial at best.
Before anyone complains, yes, this is mine, written some 14 years ago, reposted with minor edits. If you enjoyed this, I invite you to check out my current works in the Touhou community, with other series coming soon.