Tenchi Muyo: A Choice is made, but not received.

I do not own Tenchi Muyo, or any of its characters or ideas, but I wish I did. As for this story, it was written as a sort of what if, while I wait for the OVA 3 and GXP to be releases stateside. To my knowledge, it's only in Japanese at the moment and not even subtitled yet. I started on this after wondering, what if, what if he made a choice and the choice did not go as he intended? Some time has passed since the last Tenchi Muyo episode and even more times has passed since the Daughter of Darkness movie. Mayuka has been re-born but she is still an infant at the moment. SIDE NOTE: I have been told that the characters are very OOC and I do agree that they are. I tend to believe strongly in the Tenchi & Ryoko pairing, but in this story I tried, and I do stress tried, to deviate from that slightly. The only way I could see this happening was to have the characters be OOC. Please if you see some major problems in the story (besides OOC'ness let me know). I hope you enjoy this.

This was partially co-written with a good friend of mine, Top Quark, over ICQ.

+++++

Tenchi Muyo: A Choice is made, but not received.

"Ayeka come on, be reasonable…" Tenchi said as he tried to calm the Princess. Had he thought of it, what he was asking her to be reasonable about was something that until lately, he was not ready to accept. She was standing just a few feet in before him, with her sister sitting beside her to the right holding a now terrified Ryo-Ohki.

Ayeka looked at him and just shouted back, "No Tenchi! It's me or her, not both!"

"He said it," said a bewildered and happy ex-space pirate as she sat to his left beside Washu with Mihoshi and Kiyone between her mother and Sasami.

Their placement had been on purpose as it had put her and Ayeka as far away from each other as possible. This placement also made him have to turn his head from one side to the other to look between Ayeka and Ryoko while trying to decide what he should say next. He knew that he had put this off for too long, and so with some help from his grandfather, namely a bokken to the head, Tenchi had made his decision. He had called all of the girls together and had told them that he cared for them all but his heart was so torn between two that he's had trouble trying to choose, but he had finally made his choice. He thought about running away again after they had all assembled but his grandfather happened to be behind them with Nobuyuki giving him no exit.

"I will not share you with that… that… demon!" Ayeka yelled again. Sasami gasped and held the cabbit closer.

"He said it." Ryoko seemed to be completely oblivious to everything else as she repeated herself again, for he was sure about the tenth time. Washu just patted her shoulder and he was sure that by now the little scientist was getting tired of hearing it as well.

Mihoshi and Kiyone seemed totally amazed. Kiyone because he had finally made a choice and he had chosen both Ayeka and Ryoko.

He sighed and wondered why this had to happen. He had chosen, he chose both Ryoko and Ayeka. For her part, Ryoko had just sat there stunned as he had said he loved her. She was too stunned to even make a fuss over him saying that he loved Ayeka too, at least he thought so. Ayeka though was livid and continued to yell. "But, Miss Ayeka, please…"

"No Tenchi. You must choose which one you love more. Me or… 'her'."

Ryoko seemed to come alive as Ayeka spoke. "Oh Tenchi!" She squealed as she jumped up, flew at him and gave him a big hug.

"R-R-Ryoko… need… air," he gasped out, as her hug seemed to be cutting him off from the air around him.

"Oh, sorry Tenchi," she said and she loosened her grip on him allowing him to breathe but she was still holding him close. He could see the fury on Ayeka's face, but he saw quite the opposite on his fathers' face. Nobuyuki was smiling broadly and looked to be holding back tears. He knew that his father had wanted him to pick one of the girls, so now that he picked two it had to have made him happy.

Mihoshi looked as if she were about to cry, while Kiyone had a distant look in her eyes, like she was remembering a happier time in her life. He was not sure if that would have been a time away from Mihoshi or with someone else. Sasami was smiling at him and holding Ryo-Ohki who looked to be near tears though he hoped they were of joy. Washu looked, like a proud parent, for once, as she looked at him and Ryoko. Ayeka screaming pulled him from his thoughts.

"Get away from him!" Ayeka screamed grabbing for Ryoko's hair to pull her away but Tenchi somehow managed to move both him and the pirate to the side so all Ayeka grabbed was air. Ryoko only felt him pulling her closer, as he had to wrap his arms around her to move them out of the way. So they were both standing in each other's arms with her head against his shoulder but his eyes stayed on Ayeka and not Ryoko.

"Lord Tenchi how could you love this monster more than me?"

"I never said that," he said as he thought, 'but I'm starting to.'

"Then why did you choose her over me?"

"Ayeka listen, please. I chose you both. I love you and I love Ryoko." At saying love and Ryoko, he could hear the pirate sighing happily. He thought it funny that she just seemed to not notice he said anything about Ayeka. "Ryoko?"

"Yes?" Her voice sounded almost as if she were in a happy dream.

"You know I love Ayeka too, right?" She just nodded her head against him and he could almost feel her smiling. "Ayeka, why…"

He did not get to finish, "You devil woman! You've corrupted him. I order you to let go of him this instant!"

Tenchi let out a defeated sigh as he tried to think of another way to do this, as it just did not seem to be going the way he had hoped. He was about to respond when Ryoko turned towards Ayeka still holding him. Many possibilities of things raced through his mind as to what she might do or say and he pulled her closer to him barely thinking about it hoping she would not get Ayeka madder. "Ayeka I told you before you could go first. What's your problem?" He was floored over this. She had said that Ayeka could go first! First in what though, first to be with him, first to marry him, or what? Then his mind registered slowly that Ryoko was fine with sharing him or if she wasn't then she was hiding it very well.

"It's not who goes first but," she stopped abruptly as if remembering an old argument. She growled a moment then continued, "I most certainly will not share him! He's the crown prince of Jurai and by blood he should be mine, you have not right to him you monster!"

He heard something from Ryoko and he was not sure if it was a whimper or something else but he could tell that what Ayeka was saying was affecting her. He leaned his head towards her ear; "You're not a monster or a demon." Looking back at Ayeka, he could see the rage and furry dancing on her face. 'This has gone far enough,' he thought to himself. "Fine Ayeka you don't have to share me. I'm sorry but if you can't live with both Ryoko and I then you will have to live without us."

A collective gasp was heard from all the members of the family as he said that. Ryoko had been near tears before he started talking, as the things Ayeka had said hurt her deeply. She feared that he might turn her away and stay with the princess. But he did the very opposite of what she thought would happen. He chose just her, the Space Pirate Ryoko.

"Tenchi! How could you do this? How could you do this to me?"

Grinding his teeth and trying to relax himself, he paused before answering. "Ayeka, I…" something caught his attention. He looked towards Ryoko and noticed that where she had her head against his shoulder he could feel a growing wet spot on his shirt. 'She's crying? Why?' He looked back at Ayeka and the princess was beyond angry. Sadly, he realized that Ayeka would never let him be with Ryoko too. She might have shared him if it had been one of the other girls, but not Ryoko. The more he became aware of Ryoko's crying the harder he found it to calm himself. Finally he blurted out, "Ayeka it's your choice, it's either Ryoko and I or not at all." He looked at the others, "I'm sorry for this, for hurting you all and making you watch this." Turning his head towards the cyan-hared woman in his arms, he whispered. "Can you, um, teleport us away from here for a while?"

She nodded and as he looked up he saw Ayeka powering up, but before he could utter a word the scene suddenly changed and he was standing on the roof. He looked down and saw a blast of energy shoot out the side of the house. "Oh man," he mumbled.

"Tenchi, I…" her voice dropped off and he turned to look into her eyes. Many times before he had woken up to see a pair of blood-shot golden eyes watching him, but he never noticed before how beautiful they were or how much he enjoyed seeing them. He was barely aware of her saying anything, but he was jerked out of his thoughts as she spoke again. "I, I don't know what to say. I've never had anyone want to be around me. I…" her voice cracked and he could see that she was still crying.

He removed one arm from around her and used his hand to brush away her tears. "Ryoko, I think I can understand. But everything will be different now." He hoped that he was right, but with finally making a decision and seeing how the two girls handled it, he was not sure what would happen now. Instead of thinking as he normally did when this close to Ryoko he found his normal fears were not yelling quite so loud. Instead, he heard a soft voice in his head, 'Kiss her,' it said to him. Tilting her face to his, he stared into her eyes again and he did not realize how close their faces were drifting. He barely even noticed as her eyes closed and then his did too right before their lips met.

The simple gesture of a kiss suddenly loosed tidal waves of feelings and emotions inside them both and in unison the kiss deepened to a one that neither ever wanted to end. Her arms wrapped around him as his wrapped around her so that they could pull themselves closer to the other. If anyone were to have seen it, they would have thought that they were trying to become one body. But just like everything, the kiss had to come to an end. He was surprised when he realized that it was her that pulled away first.

"I love you." Her voice seemed to barely whisper the words, but he heard them. But beyond just hearing he could feel it, he could feel it in her arms, see it in her face and still taste it on his lips.

"I love you too," he said as he pulled her closer for just one more kiss. His mind barely could remember all the times she tried to kiss him and he would run away. The simple thought of running just was not there anymore. After getting that first kiss, he found himself hungering and wanting more of them.

Downstairs Ayeka was looking at the spot that Tenchi and Ryoko had been standing. She stared straight ahead at the spot and through the hole in the wall and into the trees that had been partially destroyed by the blast. 'He's lost to me, forever.' She could not believe in her anger and jealously she had not listened, 'he said he loved me, and I… I just…. Just did not listen.'

Slowly the others brought their arms down from covering their faces. When Ayeka started powering up they had closed their eyes preparing for the worst. After the first blast, they expected to hear more but when there were no other sounds they had slowly started to look around.

Katsuhito looked at his sister and he could tell that she felt horrible for what happened, but she had brought this on herself. "Nobuyuki."

"Huh, yea?" He looked towards his father in law.

"You will take Mihoshi, Kiyone, Sasami, Ryo-Ohki and Washu into town. I need to talk to someone." Ayeka looked down as his gaze settled on her. She knew what was coming, and she was starting to think she deserved more than a little scolding.

Nobuyuki just nodded his head and went to collect his things, Mihoshi just looked at he blank spot where Tenchi and Ryoko had been, and she asked quietly, "Did she kill them?"

Kiyone just patted her back as Mihoshi seemed ready to cry, "No, Ryoko just teleported them to somewhere else for right now."

The blonde just sniffled and looked up at her. "Don't worry, it takes more than that to hurt them," Washu proclaimed. It seemed to cheer up the distraught ditz up so the scientist turned to the old priest. "If it's ok, I would prefer to stay here, but I'll be in my lab."

Katsuhito nodded and warned her, "If you stay then you will not interfere." Seeing the stern look Washu just nodded and bounced into her lab to get her drones started on the repairs again.

Sasami had been holding Ryo-Ohki through this all and when the blast had gone off, she tried to protect the cabbit. Even now, she held her protectively, afraid that Ayeka would do something to the cabbit. Since her half-brother had asked them to leave she contemplated leaving as well then turned to the man who used to be Yosho. "Um, brother."

"Yes Sasami."

"I would like to go, but I have to prepare the baby's things otherwise she'll be left here alone."

"I do not think she will be alone, but it might be better if she left with you. Thank you for reminding me," he smiled slightly. It had been a few months since Washu had brought Mayuka back and the girl was just an infant still. It was a hard thing to get used to, but there was a baby in the house again. This time it was his great-granddaughter, the daughter of Tenchi. He wondered how things would be around here as the child grew. It was no surprise to him that his grandson had picked Ryoko as she had changed a lot from the brash person that she used to be.

Mihoshi and Kiyone went upstairs quickly to get some things and then came downstairs to meet Nobuyuki at the door ready to go. Sasami showed up a few moments later with the baby, and Ryo-Ohki. Ushering them all outside to the family car, he headed to town. He was not sure what he would do there to take up time but he knew that he had to make sure they were gone for at least several hours.

"Ayeka." The voice was harsh and commanding. She turned to see Katsuhito by the door. "You will meet me at the shrine in no more than ten minutes." She nodded then looked back at the wall. The door opened and closed a few times and she knew she was in the house alone now, but still she stared at the hole. When a few portals opened up and some robotic crab-like things came out she turned and went towards the shrine.

On the roof, the two new lovers were still in the middle of a kiss when they heard the car start. Breaking the kiss and looking around he saw his dad by the car helping Sasami put Mayuka in a car seat. He began to smile as they took loving care of his daughter. It seemed odd to him to have a daughter at his age, as he was barely even twenty and already a father. Ryoko watched with him as his father, Mayuka, Sasami, Ryo-Ohki, Kiyone and Mihoshi left the house together.

A few moments later they saw Ayeka making her way to the shrine, looking sad and defeated. "I guess grandfather is going to…." He stopped as he noticed a sad look on Ryoko's face. "Ryoko, are you ok?"

"I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad." She turned to look at him and she giggled a little at his confusion. "I'm happy that you love me, but she was so sad. I know I tease her, but she's…"

"I know. She may see you as a friend too. Give her some time and she might change her mind." He suddenly screamed inwardly, 'You idiot! You're choosing them both again! Don't you remember how hard I said it was going to be with even one of them around and now you want them both again?' He sighed as he recognized that inner voice. It was his, his more reasonable side. He had fought that side for a long time and he had finally come to a decision and picked both Ayeka and Ryoko much to the displeasure of that side of himself. And now it seemed to be returning if not only in full force but more. She hugged him and the voice was suddenly silenced as he felt her against him. 'After today though can I say I love her again?' He watched the form of Ayeka move slowly away from their view.

He was torn from his thoughts as he felt Ryoko moving a finger along his chest, "Tenchi?" He gulped, as her voice seemed to take on a completely different tone, more seductive and enticing. "Since everyone has left that means we have the house to ourselves…"

It did not take him more than that to tell what she was getting at, or rather what she was wanting. "Ryoko," his voice cracked as she leaned closer to him. "Please not right now." He would have slapped a hand over his mouth had they not both been wrapped around her.

"You don't want me?"

He gulped louder, and his inner voice was about to say something when he opened his mouth, "You don't know how much I've wanted you…" He froze as he realized what he had said. The surprise and joy on her face melted the ice that was starting to freeze him in place. "I've always thought you were cute, even when I first met you at my school." He could not believe he was saying this, he had never wanted to tell anyone, but it was coming out too fast to stop it. "Even that night when I saw you in my bed I wanted…" He blushed a bright red, "but I'm not ready for that yet, ok? I think we need to wait a little longer." He breathed a sigh of relief as he had finally finished, but he was still very red. He noticed that she was too and he thought that it made her look even cuter than before.

"Ok," she managed to say while blushing. She had thought her blushing days were over, as Zero had caused her to blush about anything and it had taken her a long time to get herself back to normal. However now she found herself blushing and over of all things, Tenchi saying that he thought she was cute and that he had wanted her too.

He placed his hands on her shoulders pulling her just a little closer. The movement was bringing a slight blush to both of them. "Ryoko, I… I do love you. I just think we should wait on that a while, ok?" She just smiled happily and pulled him into a kiss. She had all she wanted and needed at this moment, he was there with her and he was saying the words she had wanted to hear for too long.

Ayeka had gone up to the shrine to see her brother, but she was not looking forward to this talk. He was seated in his office at a small table sipping some tea. He motioned for her to sit, and even as she did, he remained silent. Pouring her a cup of tea, he remained silent much to her surprise, but it did nothing to calm her fears. She did not want to have this talk; she knew what it was about and what the outcome would already be. She looked into her cup and realized that she had drunk most of it and still not a word had been said. "Brother I…"

"Yes?"

She didn't know why she spoke up, but she had started it. Desperately she searched for her words again so she could finish this. "Brother I know, I know what I did was wrong." He just nodded and re-filed his cup of tea. "I shouldn't have done that," she said quietly as she stared into the bottom of her cup. "Do you…"

He asked her, "Do I what?"

"Do you think, he…" she could not say another word, she was scared of the answer. After her actions, she was not sure she wanted it answered.

"Could still love you?" His voice seemed void of care or emotions though she knew he was concerned for her. She just nodded meekly, unable to voice her concerns. "You will have to ask him, but do you love him enough?"

She looked up at him questionably, "enough?"

"Yes, can you love him enough to share him as your mother does for father?"

She looked back down into her cup. Sharing had never came into her mind before, as always she had imagined him proclaiming his love for her alone. Never had she thought that he'd love any of the other girls, much less Ryoko. But he did, and he had chosen both and she had reacted poorly. That was the one thing that gnawed at her innards, she had reacted so badly that she might have lost him. Lost him not to Ryoko because she was better, but lost him due to her own actions.

Silence reigned in his office for some time as she thought about what he had asked, and what should she do now. There seemed to be only one answer, to ask him. 'But could he forgive me? I tried to kill him earlier, why would he forgive me?'

"Ayeka," a calm voice called to her, the voice was tender and kind, it reminded her of her brother from so many years ago. "Ayeka, it is time to decide and act. You will only make yourself feel worse by sitting here." She looked up to see the kind gentle eyes of her half-brother Yosho. Even though his body remained that of a much older man, his eyes reminded her of when he was much younger.

Sitting her cup down she started to rise to her feet before pausing, "Thank you."

Tenchi and Ryoko were sitting on the room of the house watching the sun set. She had her head on his shoulder while his arm was around her, holding her close. As the sun was setting, he could see a figure walking down the steps slowly making its way back to the house. "Ryoko?"

She sighed contentedly, "Yes my Tenchi?"

He blushed at her calling him that, but he had something else on his mind. "What do I do about Ayeka?"

Her body tensed for a moment then relaxed. "Did you mean what you said earlier?"

Turning to look her in the eyes he told her, "Yes, I do love you Ryoko…"

Though she loved hearing him say that she had to force the thoughts though her. "…I meant about her."

His head drooped and he looked at the ground, "Yes, I'm sorry if it hurts… I… I love you both."

No matter how much she wanted to float away at hearing him say he loved her, she had to deal with what he was saying. "Do you still?"

Raising an eyebrow at her he wondered what she could mean, then catching the gaze of her eyes he looked down at the figure walking down the steps. It is then that he realizes she's asking about Ayeka. "I don't know… I thought of the two of you she would handle it better." He received a light slap on the back of his head for that comment. "Hay it's true!"

She just looked at him evilly for a moment, "You really don't know me too well do you?"

With slumped shoulders and bowed head, he told her softly, "You're right, I don't. That's been one of my biggest problems. I don't know any of you very well and I never knew how to."

Ryoko felt sorry for him and decided to let him off the hook, at least for now. Lifting his head, she placed a quick kiss on his lips. "Well, now's your chance. What do you want to know?"

He smiled slightly; "I don't even know where to start." Sitting on the roof again, he looked up at the sky thinking as she sat down beside him. "I know what they say you used to be…" he paused as she bristled slightly at that. Placing an arm around her he continued, "… but from what I have seen of you I know that all of what they say is not true. You could never do those things."

"You're wrong…" she said in a haunting voice, "…I… I did those things and more. Every night I keep seeing their faces… hearing their screams…" She began to cry as he held her close.

"Ryoko, he did those things, not you. Just hearing the way you talk about it tells me so." She just nodded and leaned into an embrace that he was offering. It felt so right, yet strange that he was offering to hold her, but she was not about to pass it up. Settling into his arms as they both sat on the roof looking at the stars, she wondered about their future, not weather or not he would choose her anymore, as he had. 'Would it be just us? Or will Ayeka be there too?' The possibility of sharing him was not so bad; the idea of sharing a bed with him and Ayeka just seemed a little strange.

The two sat there with decidedly different thoughts running through their minds but the thoughts were about the same person. She was wondering if it would be possible to not just share his love, but his bed with Ayeka, while he was thinking what he should do now about Ayeka. 'I told her I love her, and she attacked us both, how can I just go on like nothing happened?' He knew that he still cared for her, but he completely neglected to remember that the first time he saw Ryoko she had tried to kill him as well. 'This is going to be interesting, what am I going to do now?'

He did not have much time to think as both of their ears soon picked up the sound of feet scuffling across the top of the roof towards them. He could feel Ryoko stiffen against him, but as to her reasons, he could only guess. However he was nervous as well, what would he say? What could he say?

Ayeka made her way to the couple on the roof, she was confused as to what she would tell them but she knew one thing she couldn't loose Tenchi.

"Hello Ayeka," Ryoko said as calmly as she could; though Tenchi remained silent, wondering what he should do

Biting back a snotty retort to her rival, she just ignored Ryoko and turned towards Tenchi with tears her eyes. She wasn't sure what she would do, could she ask for forgiveness. Would she apologize, 'I think not. That she-monster really should die.' The words repeated in her mind, but a little tiny voice kept repeating the exact opposite.

Ryoko had seen how Ayeka had walked back to the house, she had seen how the once proud princess looked unbelievably sad, but she was her rival for so long. What could she say to make things better? Or should she just let things stay as they were, just her and Tenchi.

Tenchi slowly stood and turned towards Ayeka, Ryoko still unmoving, and seemingly frozen in place. 'I can't face her,' she cried mentally.

"Ayeka... I...." the words died in his throat as he tried to think of what to say. Ayeka's confidence was reaching an all time low, the man she loved now loves another and also can't seem to look at her. Hearing his voice crack tore at Ryoko's heart. She hated seeing him hurt, but her first instinct was to toss the princess off the house, but she knew that would only hurt him worse. Instead, she fought to remain quiet, as this was between them.

Slowly his face tilted up to look at Ayeka though his mind was also wondering why Ryoko had not moved from her spot. Looking at Ayeka he could not help but feel pain, pain for what she must be feeling. Everything about her sure and proud ways seemed to be missing from her as she stood there.

Ayeka knew she had to do something to get back his respect, and as her pride and confidence grew smaller and more crushed, she knew what she had to do. She would have to ask forgiveness. She kneeled down and bowed as low as she could, "Ryoko, I humbly ask for your forgiveness for attacking you at such an important time. Forgive me for acting before I thought of Lord Tenchi's feelings." She bowed even lower and turned towards Tenchi, "I am sorry for what I did and I can never ask you for your forgiveness. I will be leaving soon and I hope you are both happy, I have already sent a message to Jurai." She stood up before they could react and ran off the roof. As she ran her foot slipped and she fell to her side. "Tenchi!" she screamed as she slid helplessly towards the side of the house.

Tenchi watched in horror as she fell, but he was still frozen from the shock. 'She's leaving,' rang through his head and her body disappeared over the side before he could even register that she had fallen. Ryoko snapped out of her mental battle when she heard the princess apologize, and she had only half turned towards the princess when she fell. But she saw what happened.

Ayeka caught a brief glimpse of the ground before her world suddenly stopped moving. She could not tell if she had hit the ground and was hurt or what had happened. She could no longer see the ground, but she could not really see anything for a moment.

Opening her eyes she was surprised by the first image she saw, a face, a smiling face. But not any face, Ryoko's. "You know that's not the best way to step off the roof," she said trying to smile.

Ayeka struggled to get loose and ran into the house and locked herself into her room, all she had to do was wait for her father to come pick her up. She couldn't stand to look at them; she had really tried to kill them. Never had she really tried to hurt them like she had wanted to at that moment

Ryoko stood there dumbfounded for a moment. She had just tried to help her, 'why'd she run away?'

Tenchi, who was still on the roof, unfroze just moments after Ayeka had fallen, but he was too late to help her. Her words still rang in his ears and it just hurt that much more. 'Damn it! Why can't I ever say what I want to,' he wanted to scream. Hurrying over to the ladder, he rushed down to see what had happened. He was surprised to see Ryoko standing where Ayeka should have fallen and she was just staring at the door to the house. "What..." he began though he really did not know which question he wanted to ask more, what happened to Ayeka or what was Ryoko doing.

"Tenchi!" A voice called from behind him by the stairs. Turning he could see his grandfather there.

"Yes grandfather?"

'No wonder Yosho left me!' Ayeka mentally screamed as she lay on her bed crying.

"Tenchi what have you done now!"

Tenchi was stunned, why was he being blamed for this! "Nothing!" Ryoko turned towards the two of them and she was at a loss herself as to what to do.

"Exactly, as usually your stood there and waited instead of reacting. You must realize that some times you have to take control." Yosho didn't want to make his grandson feel worse, but he had to learn that just standing back and waiting for an answer would make things worse at time like this.

He grumbled, but he could not argue with that. He had always been slow to act, but what should he do? He looked at his grandfather helplessly, "What do I do? She said she's leaving... and… then she ran... but..." he cursed himself inwardly. He was screwing things up again, this time even worse. "I can't lose her," he said as tears formed.

"Then don't, and I can not tell you what to do. I have also made mistakes when it has come to my beautiful sister." He hoped that his true feelings for his sister didn't come through, he knew that Tenchi could love her more and make her more happy than he ever could.

Tenchi," Ryoko said from beside him, "she's ok… I... I saved her."

He tuned towards Ryoko, "Thank you," he said placing a hand on her cheek. "I need to talk to her..."

"Then you better do it now," she prodded as she stepped away from him while everything in her screamed to just hold on to him a bit longer.

Tenchi walked into the house and up to the princess's' room slowly, as his feet felt like lead at this moment. Stopping outside her door, he knocked quietly at first, then slightly louder even though it sounded like gongs in his ears.

Ignoring the knock, she got into the fetal position under her covers. She didn't want to talk to anyone, didn't want to see anyone. All she wanted was to be left alone and to live alone forever.

Tenchi knocked louder hoping that she would say something. He began to wonder if she would open the door after several minutes of nothing from inside. He looked at the door and placing a hand on the handle, he took a breath before pulling the door open slightly. It was one thing he had always wondered about, but his dad had built the house with very few locks on any doors. Sure there were locks on the exterior doors, but on those inside, there were no locks.

Silently summoning Azaka and Kamadake, she used her crown to mentally tell them to transport her away from the house until her escort home arrived. Which they did just before the door opened.

Tenchi opened the door only to see the room empty. "NO!" He rushed into the room looking for her frantically and then throwing open the window so fast it nearly broke he looked around the yard hoping to find her. Looking down he saw Ryoko and his grandfather still. "She's not here!" He screamed as he rushed out of the room. Ryoko instantly took to the air to find her. She didn't know why she wanted to, but she felt compelled that she had to find her.

In space far above the earth a large wooden ship floated along. In the heart of the ship a large tree stood, and at it's base a number or people moved around. Some were working on piloting the vessel and others watching over various things in the large ship.

A window suddenly appeared before its captain. "Captain," the voice commanded and all movement stopped as they knew the voice of their emperor."

"Yes your Majesty!"

"I received word from my daughter that she wishes to return home. Your ship is closest to that region so I want you to go to Earth, and pick up Princess Ayeka and the Princess Sasami."

"Y-y-y-yes sir!" he stammered out and the screen disappeared. Breathing a sigh of relief, he turned to his crew. "Ok you heard him, set coarse for Earth and prepare a room for the princesses." He looked at the maps that his tree provided him, "I see so it'll take a few hours to get there, very well. This will give us a chance to prepare." The large ship turned towards earth and sped off it its direction. Only a few on Earth knew it was on the way. Ayeka, as she had summoned it. Tsunami, as she knew where all of her tree's were, and lastly Washu. Her sensors could pick up any ship within days of the planet.

In town Nobuyuki had tried to think of anything he could think of to keep everyone busy for several hours to give those back at the house time to work things out. He had taken them first to a Kareoki place and let Kiyone and Mihoshi sing. Which they gladly took advantage of and the two sang for hours until Kiyone complained that she would loose her voice. Leaving there, they went to the mall nearby and finally to see a movie.

Ayeka had eluded both Tenchi and Ryoko's search for several hours and was hiding out deep in Ryoko's cave, It was so dark and dreary, and she wondered how Ryoko had survived the loneliness and had not gone insane. As she sat there by the reflective pool, she caught sight of a mask. She remembered that on Jurai this type of mask was used to cover the face of a corpse as it was buried, but this one had a gash on one side of it.

Tenchi and Ryoko had searched for what seemed like hours and still there was no sign of the princess. Gathering his courage, he knocked on Washu's door to ask her if she could find her. Ryoko had floated by her cave several times and she felt that she should go inside, but she could not face that place again.

First Yosho left, then Tenchi can't bare to look at me, and I tried to kill him.' "I am truly the demon on this planet. Ryoko never tried to hurt Tenchi, she never tried to kill her either." As she fell more and more into the depths of despair and self hate, she wondered what she would do with her life.

Ryoko's acute senses heard the princess's voice from inside the cave. She was paralyzed by fear of just the sight of it again, but she had to enter it. Walking in step by step until she was fully inside the cave was sheer torture, but the cries of anguish she was hearing compelled her further.

She floated down to the place where she had slept for so many years she felt she would suffocate, but as the princess said those words again she fought off her fears, "No, I tried to kill him too," she said fearful, not of Ayeka, but of the cave. "When he released me and ran I was so angry that I tried to kill him and I ended destroying his school. I... I..." she could no longer breathe and she passed out.

Ayeka was startled by the sound of Ryoko's voice. And then even more so by what the pirate said, and then did. At first she was not sure what to make if it. She started to walk towards the entrance and was getting ready to summon her guardians again when she noticed that Ryoko really was passed out. "Oh Tsunami!" She ran back towards Ryoko and tried to pick her up, but she couldn't lift her. "Azaka, carry her out of here." She commanded.

"Yes ma'am" it responded and using a force field he carefully moved her to outside the cave.

As Ayeka exited the cave, she saw the sky darken even more as the transport suddenly appeared.

Washu had just let Tenchi in after debating on weather or not to step into this after Yosho's earlier warning. But despite that she could not help but get involved, especially with a Jurai transport coming down to the planet.

"Washu, you have to help me, Ayeka's disappeared!"

"What do you mean disappeared?"

"We can't find her, Ryoko's been out looking and we can't..." he suddenly stopped as the scientist grabbed her head moaning and then fell to her knees. "Washu?"

"Ryoko... cave... so much, pain... Ayeka!" She suddenly screamed and Tenchi raced out of the lab headed up to the cave. He was only halfway up the stairs when the ship arrived.

"I will finally get my daughters back, but I must still deal with that boy. He is a disgrace to the Royal bloodline." The king of the most powerful empire laughed in his throne room.

Ayeka had Ryoko set on the grass outside the cave and after making sure that Ryoko would be ok she had her guardians teleport her up to the ship.

"Welcome aboard Your highness," greeted the captain. We were sent to get you and your sister, is she around?"

"No, but she does not need to return right now, please, just take me away from here."

"Uh, but the Emperor..."

"Take me away from here, now!"

The ship pulled away from Earth as Tenchi watched and wondered what had just happened, he had no clue that Ayeka had just left him. Racing on towards the cave, he saw Ryoko lying there shivering. Kneeling beside her and lifting her up he tried to massage her arms thinking she was cold, but he soon realized that she wasn't cold. In fact, she seemed to be terrified. "Ryoko? Ryoko! Speak to me, what happened?" He cradled her in his arms as he held her, again feeling helpless. Everything he had tried to do today had turned out horribly wrong. First he had made that decision, and in doing so, he had done something horrible. There were few times in his life that he could recall feeling this bad. Once was when he had slapped Ryoko that night that Mayuka had been lost. Once before then, he had even said he hated her! Hated the very one he did not think he could live without over nothing more than a ripped kimono. Even if it was his grandmothers, it was still a thing, and he had spoken so hastily then. Ryoko had not been the only one that he had hurt; today he had hurt Ayeka possibly more than he had hurt anyone in the past. At least Ryoko was still here, but Ayeka was gone.

Tsunami knew her time to step in was coming, but it wasn't right now. Though she knew there would be pain, she could not stop that. 'Right now I cannot step in,' she thought. Looking around she could see Sasami, Ryo-Ohki and Mayuka asleep in a theater seat. The three girls were fast asleep, as it was way beyond their normal bedtime. Mayuka was curled up in Sasami's lap with Ryo-Ohki, and Sasami was leaning against Kiyone. Smiling the goddess regarded the three adults that she was with. Nobuyuki was fast asleep as well, though his reason was from exhaustion. For the past week he had been staying up late and leaving early working on an 'important project' he had said, though the goddess knew it was not that important.

The theater they sat in was playing an American movie and since it had been playing for many weeks, the place was near empty giving the goddess a chance to view more of humanity on Earth. She had thought it was funny how he went on and on about the movie but the second the lights dimmed he was asleep. Beside him and equally asleep was Kiyone. Tsunami figured since this was an earthling's view on space and the girl was with the galaxy police, then she must have found it rather boring. The funny part was she was using his shoulder as a pillow as Sasami lay against the woman's side.

Mihoshi was the only one of the group wide-awake, though she was holding on to his arm like it was a life preserver. Occasionally when the blonde thought a scary part occurred she would press her face into his arm to hide from the scary images. It was quite funny to see them like this, but to make sure they remained safe she placed a shield around them. And then she looked to the screen, 'These earthlings have strange views of space. Large metal ships, no trees at all.' Tough she was impressed with their weapons, 'interesting they use blades of light as well, but why would they give those evil men sabers that used light? It seems that they should use something besides light blades,' she thought as she too watched the movie.

Tenchi carried Ryoko back to the house and was met at the door by Washu. "Little Washu, I don't know where Ayeka is, but… but…" He motioned his head towards Ryoko who was still seemingly asleep. Washu put her hand on her daughter's head and then a slight glow enveloped not only her hand but also Ryoko's body. Tenchi hoped that this was a good sign. Ryoko suddenly took a big breath then settled back into his arms as he looked at Washu strangely.

"She's breathing again. She doesn't need to breathe to survive, I made her tougher than that." He looked at her with such an obvious question forming she decided to answer it first. "All I did was force her body to breathe again, she'll be ok in a moment."

"What happened to her?"

"She went into the cave she saw Ayeka there and tried to talk to her, but being in there again was too much for her and she passed out."

"But she was outside when I found her?"

"Ayeka must have brought her outside before she left," Washu decided as she put her hand to her chin.

"She left!"

"Yes on that Jurai transport. My machines were able to detect that they brought her onboard then left."

"Then we have to go after her!"

"First we need Ryoko to wake up, so she can call Ryo-Ohki back. She's the fastest ship we have and with the head start they have we will need the speed."

Tenchi felt helpless and small, he could not go after her on his own and all he could do was wait as a piece of his heart drifted further and further away. He took Ryoko into the house and set her on the couch until she woke up, and to wait for everyone else to get home. He did not have to wait long as Ryoko suddenly sat upright from the couch. "Tenchi!"

"I'm here," he said as he moved from the chair that he had setup beside her to sitting beside her on the couch.

"Where is she?" Ryoko seemed to be confused as to where she was for a moment then realized that she was in the living room and not in the cave anymore.

"She brought you out of the cave then left on a Jurai Transport," he said sadly.

"What… what are we going to do? She thinks…" she choked up while remembering not only what the princess thought but also what she had done in the past. "She thinks she's the demon, she… sh-she thinks I've never tried to hurt you."

"Ryoko, don't say that."

"She believes it! I heard her crying and saying it!" Tenchi watched as Ryoko began to cry, "I told her how I tried to kill you after you released me."

He moved closer to her and placed his arms around her, "I know you won't hurt me, I trust you with my life."

"But I still tried to!" She screamed at him through the pain she was feeling.

"I know, but I've done worse."

"How!" She scoffed.

"I called you… a monster back then, I… I've said I hated you, I've even… slapped you," tears were falling down his face faster than she could brush them away. "I've hurt you and her so much…"

Ryoko was not sure what to do, or even what to say, he was right. He had hurt them both so much by never telling them his feelings and they had fought over him daily for what seemed like years. She had to ask him one thing, this was what she needed to hear the most. "Do you still love me?"

He looked up at her, "Yes. I do."

They both threw their arms around each other, "That's all I need," she told him. They held each other for a moment before the sound of a vehicle approaching forced them to move.

Outside Nobuyuki was pulling up to the house, and once he stopped Kiyone got out grumbling while Mihoshi jumped out laughing. "But it's true!"

"Shut-up Mihoshi!" Kiyone screamed through clenched teeth while Nobuyuki blushed.

Sasami was giggling slightly as she pulled out a sleeping Mayuka with Ryo-Ohki holding on to the top of her head, "Mihoshi, can you carry her stuff for me?"

"Sure!" The ditz then bounced over to Sasami and began collecting the baby's things. Kiyone stormed into the house Followed shortly by Nobuyuki.

"Dad, what happened?"

"Um, nothing… noting at all," he said hurriedly though his face was red. Kiyone, Tenchi noticed, had stopped moving until after he stopped talking.

"Nothing?" Mihoshi said, "But the manager said you two slept together."

"I… we… well… nothing happened!" He said defensively though Kiyone looked ready to explode.

Sasami came in with Mayuka and looked around, almost everyone was in the room, but two people. Her brother, who was not normally here, and her sister. "Tenchi, where's Ayeka?"

"She's gone," Ryoko said flatly. The way she said it got everyone's attention.

Tenchi sighed, "She didn't handle things well, and neither did I. She ran away and hid in Ryoko's cave." Ryoko shivered remembering that place.

"And while they were trying to find her a Jurai transport came and picked her up," added Washu.

Sasami felt very week and her arms loosened, but before she could fall over completely Ryoko had appeared and supported both her and Mayuka. "She's gone?"

"For the moment, but Tenchi and I are going to bring her back," Ryoko told the princess, then she looked over at him and he nodded to her. "So don't worry, we'll be back before morning!" She floated over to the couch and set the little princess there with Mayuka still in her arms. "Come on Ryo-Ohki," she said picking up the cabbit, "we have a princess to catch." Appearing beside Tenchi she grabbed his arm and pulled him outside. The others followed and wished them good luck.

Tossing Ryo-Ohki into the air, she transformed into a space ship again, and though Tenchi had seen this happen before it was still surprising. Appearing on the bridge, they both yelled out, "Ryo-Ohki, lets go!"

"MIYA!" She screamed in response and shot off into the air.

As they passed out of the Earth atmosphere into space Washu appeared to them on one of Ryo-Ohki's communication screens. "Ok, I've found their trail, though it looks like a straight shot to Jurai."

"Ok, thanks," Ryoko told her, then looking up at one of the control crystals she announced, "well Ryo-Ohki, looks like we have a ship to catch."

"Can she catch them?" He asked worriedly.

"If not she won't get carrots for a week!" Ryoko laughed as Ryo-Ohki miyad in distress. "Well, step on it then!"

"MIYA!" she screamed out and took of faster than both Ryoko and Tenchi were expecting.

Ryoko looked up from the floor form where she had fallen with Tenchi beneath her. "I think we'll catch them soon."

"Uh, huh," he groaned as Ryoko levitated up allowing him to get up as well.

The transport was in no real hurry to get back to Jurai, mainly because the captain was worried about his orders. 'Damn it! He told me to get both Ayeka and Sasami, but only Ayeka showed up and ordered me to leave. What am I gonna do now?' He covered his face with his hands as he tried to think. 'If I tell her no she could have my head, but he told me to get them both and he will surely have my head!' He was so caught up in his thoughts that it took his first officer several moments to get his attention.

"Sir, excuse me sir. Um, sir?" He asked for what he was sure the hundredth time.

"Huh," he looked up to see the officer there. "What is it?"

"Sir we are being followed."

He stood and walked to a display screen, "By what?" The officer hit a button and he could see the Ryo-Ohki catching up on them fast. "AHHHH! It's the Ryo-Ohki!"

"Sir what do we do?" The officer asked worriedly.

"BATTLE STATIONS! Shoot it down!" He cried frantically while inside he was cringing, 'It's gonna kill us!'

"Tenchi, We caught up to them!" Ryoko proclaimed happily before she was knocked over as the ship lurched. "Ryo-Ohki! What the hell was that?"

"Miya!" she cried worriedly.

"What so you mean they're shooting at us?" Ryoko was shocked, but hearing her ship cry out again she looked to Tenchi who shook his head. "Fine, don't fire back, evasive action."

Tenchi approached one of the crystals, "Ryo-Ohki, can you, um… call them?"

She responded and tried calling them, while on the transport the captain looked at this strange turn in events. 'They're not firing back? Why?'

"Captain, there're hailing us."

"Um, on screen." The first image he saw was not what he expected, he had expected to see the devil, but instead it looked like a boy. "What do you want?"

"Stop firing please! I only want to talk to Ayeka."

"How dare you talk of the Princess like she was a commoner," one of the officers hollered out.

In her stateroom Ayeka sat and could not help but cry. But then a strange thing happened; she heard the ship begin firing on something. At first, she did not care, but since it continued and there were no signs of return fire she became concerned. "Azaka, Kamadike," she called though her voice was getting hoarse from all her crying.

"Yes ma'am," the chorused as they appeared before her.

"What is the ship firing on?"

"The ship is firing on Ryo-Ohki, who is following us," they said.

"WHAT!" she screeched.

"The ship is firing on Ryo-Ohki, who is following us," they said again.

"Why? Why are they following us and why is the ship firing?"

"The captain ordered the attack once he saw the Ryo-Ohki."

"Oh no!" She then ran out of her room and made her way to the bridge as fast as she could run. She didn't know who was on board but she could bet it was at least Tenchi and Ryoko. 'I can't let them get hurt. I've already hurt them enough…. I won't let anyone else hurt them.'

"Would you stop shooting already!" Tenchi yelled as the captain was obviously not paying attention to them.

"You won't hurt the Princess!" He yelled back at Tenchi.

"Well at least we know she's on there," Ryoko said from behind Tenchi.

"STOP!" Everyone heard Ayeka's voice as she came running onto the bridge. Tenchi instantly felt his heart break, as she had very red eyes from where she had obviously been crying. Panting she approached the captain. "You will not fire on them again if you want to keep your position."

"Y-y-yes your Highness," he stammered out, then he ordered a cease-fire order not realizing that the gunners had stopped when they heard Ayeka yell stop.

She brushed her hair back and approached the monitor where Tenchi could be seen. "Lord Tenchi, I'm sorry for his actions, but I am going back to Jurai."

This caught everyone's attention, especially the captain, 'Lord! Lord!! Why'd she call him that?'

"Ayeka, don't go," he pleaded.

"Why not? I tried… I tried to kill you… I-I'm not worthy of you."

"Ayeka," he pleaded again.

The captain was amazed, 'Why'd she say she's not worthy of him? That trash isn't worthy of even looking at her, and yet he is not even calling her by her title!'

"Captain, resume course to Jurai. The Ryo-Ohki, will not follow us anymore." She then turned away from Tenchi's image. She could not look at him, he was hurting and it was all her fault.

"Yes, Your Highness," he said amazed, "Ahead full speed to Jurai."

Tenchi watched as Ayeka turned away from him, then hearing the captain he began to cry. "No! Wait Ayeka! STOP!" Tenchi felt power flow through him as he said that and looking out Ryo-Ohki front window, he could see the transport come to an immediate halt. When he looked at the communication screen, he did not see anyone for a moment.

"Oh…." Groaned the captain as he got up from the floor. "What happened?"

"Oh Tenchi," Ryoko called getting his attention, but before he could ask, she pointed at his sword that was hanging partially out of his pocket. He gasped as he realized it was glowing blue. "Didn't they say that your key is the master key?"

He grinned and pulled it out holding it for them to see. "Cool," he then commanded, "You will not move until Ayeka is returned to me." He felt a rush of power and he could not help but grin.

Ayeka looked at the screen and saw him holding the master key and she could not help herself, "Damn."

As the captain looked, he recognized the sword, "The Master Key! Why does he have it?"

"Because it's his," Ayeka snapped.

"B-b-but the master key is only held by…"

"I know, Yosho passed it down to him."

"Oh, ok…. YOSHO! As in prince Yosho?" Ayeka nodded, "That means that he's…"

Ryoko moved into the screen beside Tenchi, "Yep, Prince Tenchi Masaki, first prince of Jurai!"

"Um, thanks Ryoko," he said calmly.

"No problem, I wanted to do that sooo bad!" He just laughed and he looked back at the captain who was now white and trembling.

"Why won't you let me go?" Ayeka asked as she stormed over closer to the screen.

"I can't let you go."

"Why not?"

"Because I love you," he told her sincerely.

"You… you love me? How? Why? I nearly killed you!"

"Hay princess, I told you before I tried the same thing before," Ryoko said from over his shoulder.

"You did?"

"Ayeka, I know you were hurt and you didn't mean to do that," he said to her, as Ayeka looked down ashamed. Those on the bridge were amazed by what they were seeing. "Please, come back to us… come back to me."

Though her world seemed to be falling apart around her, he seemed to truly want her. For a moment, the raging storm of emotions inside her seemed to calm as she thought of him, and what he said. "Ok, I will… I will come back." She looked up smiling.

"B-b-b-but princess!" The captain gawked, "your father commanded up to bring you and Princess Sasami back home!"

"I see, well you will be fulfilling your duty by taking me back to Earth. I'm going home!" She smiled at looked at Tenchi's smiling face. Never before had she thought he looked this cute.

"Captain," Tenchi called, "If you would have Ayeka join us on the Ryo-Ohki, we can take her home. There is no need for you to follow us.

"B-b-but… out orders… the Emperor…" He seemed utterly at a loss and Tenchi felt sorry for him.

"Don't worry about my father, I will straighten things out when I talk to him later," Ayeka told him as she placed a hand on his shoulder. She did feel sorry for him in a way, being caught between a princess, an emperor and Tenchi. As long as Tenchi was there the sip would not move, but he did have his orders, though she cared little of orders.

"I guess… I guess I have no choice." He stood and looked back at Tenchi, "I'm sorry your Highness, I didn't know who you were. If I did, I would never have…"

"It's ok, don't worry," Tenchi reassured him. "Ryo-Ohki, moves beside them and bring Ayeka on board ok."

"Miya!" She cheered and brought the princess over to them.

The first thing Ayeka did was hug Tenchi. "I'm sorry," she whispered to him. She did not even realize that Ryoko was watching this with a smile.

"It's all right Ayeka," He pulled slightly away from her so he could see her face. Brushing a few tears away, he did something that he had never thought he would do especially with Ryoko nearby. Leaning in towards her while lifting her head up slightly his lips made contact with hers. Ayeka may have been stunned, but she did not let that interfere, as she returned the kiss happily.

"Uh-hum," a voice said after the kiss lasted for several moments. Ryoko had watched them kiss for a while and she felt happiness, joy, jealously and envy seeing them together. But no matter what she felt she knew that he loved her too, he had told her as much and even demonstrated it before. The two broke apart and Ayeka tried to take a few steps backwards but Tenchi's arms had not let go of her yet. "I hate to break this up, but Tenchi needs to release them," she said pointing out the window at the Jurai Transport.

"Huh, oh yea." He backed up and held up the master key. "I… um, release you. You may go back to Jurai now." He then rubbed the back of his head. "I think that worked."

Ayeka just snickered as Ryoko laughed while the three of them watched the transport start moving and then speed away from them. "Let's go home," Ayeka said as she moved beside Tenchi.

Ryoko moved beside him as well and he placed his arms around them both. He whispered 'I love you' to them both before they had Ryo-Ohki take them all home.

+++++

To be... Ah you know the story, but I promise I am working on the sequel. I have a few ideas, one I need to have a serious talk between Ryoko and Ayeka, and the emperor reacts to his daughters' decision.