Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Tenchi characters Pioneer does. Matt is my character however and if you would like to use him please obtain my permission first.

Preface: This story is a continuation of the Dreams Continuum story arch started in Midnight on the Last Perfect Day, if you haven't ready it you probably won't know who several key characters are so I urge you to go have a look there first.

A Dream No More

Ryoko stood there staring out the huge bay window across the darkened landscape unable to sleep again. It had been a week since Tenchi had left to return to Earth and she had decided to stay behind. Holding the thick drapes aside with one hand Ryoko looked at the expansive view of the palace she had from her suite, it was a wonderful view dotted with the lights of the palace and the fields beyond. It all looked so peaceful, if only she felt the same.

Across the room Matt was dead asleep on the couch, exhausted from his day's training. While they shared the same room the two of them hadn't slept together in the massive bed since the first night after Tenchi had left. That night Ryoko had terrible dreams she couldn't remember and Matt spent the rest of the night comforting her. The second night they tried again only the tension in the room kept them both awake, finally Matt left the bed and slept on the couch. And so they had kept up this routine but for the past two nights Ryoko had been unable to sleep her mind to full of 'what ifs'.

Ryoko let go of the curtain allowing it to fall back across the window. She padded silently across the room and sat down on the chest at the foot of her bed and watched Matt as he slept hoping some of his peacefulness would rub off on her. He was sprawled across the couch with one arm throne above his head and one leg off the edge resting on the floor. A blue blanket was thrown across his bare chest as an after thought and had slipped down revealing the chiseled contours of his muscles. Of course half the reason the blanket wouldn't stay up were the two balls of fur curled up at his side snuggled into the blanket.

Ryoko couldn't repress a grin when she though about those two. The bond between the two was strange at best, Ryo-Ohki was playful and active while Ses was more morose, they fought constantly. Yet when it was all said and done you could always find the two curled up together in some comfortable spot sleeping away. Their favorite spot however was rarely available as Matt spent most of his time right now training with Misaki or in private meditation as he learned to refocus his powers.

Finally a gaping yawn drew the former pirate away from her contemplations and she turned and crawled across the bed hoping this time sleep would claim her. Hugging a pillow to herself Ryoko buried her head into it and pulled the smooth sheets and warm comforter up to her chin. closing her eyes Ryoko willed away the swirl of images she always found there before finding peaceful oblivion, if only for a few hours.

Ryoko came awake as a shaft of light found it's way through the heavy curtains and came to rest on her face. With a groan the cyan haired woman rolled over and pulled a pillow atop her head shutting out the annoying light. Moments later the pillow went sailing across the large room landing despondently on the floor after bouncing off the wall. With a frustrated growl Ryoko sat up and looked around the bedroom, her much needed sleep fleeing from her again. Of course Matt wasn't there, he awoke at dawn every blasted morning to start his training. Training, Ryoko hated the word now, it was all about his training and controlling his powers. She barely saw the man she had given up Tenchi for and that did not sit well with ex-pirate.

"It still doesn't seem right," Matt said running a hand through his hair in frustration.

"Then show me how you would do it then," Misaki challenged equally frustrated with her pupil.

For the past two hours the blue haired queen had been trying to show Matt how to incorporate his essence into his techniques but at every turn he questioned her, now she was merely going to show him how it was done. Teacher and student both fell into their respective fighting stances, although Matt looked somewhat uncomfortable. Misaki waved her hand towards the tall fighter urging him to attack. Matt did not disappoint. He took two running strides before quickly lowering his balance and throwing the punch at the queen's impassive face. His fist, covered in blue sparks, screamed towards Misaki promising pain. Instead, however, it was Matt who retracted his hand with a yelp of pain a split second later as Misaki slammed her own glowing fist into his.

"You're not letting your power direct your movements," Misaki preached while the Guardian nursed his bruised knuckles, "You are trying to direct the power and your body at the same time, not only does it make you slow, but it weakens the power to bring forth."

"But you know what can happen if I let my essence get out of control," Matt retorted angrily, "I could kill you."

"I know very well what your power is capable of," Misaki said calmly, "But you have to let it flow freely if you are ever going to master what I have to teach you."

"Yes Sensei," Matt bowed to her.

"Good I think we've had enough for this morning," the Queen said tossing him a towel, "Take the rest of the day off, but don't forget to spend some time in meditation."

"Yes Sensei," Matt said again before turning to leave the gardens where they met daily to train.

Hello doctor, The voice flooded through his mind causing the once powerful genius to raise his head and try to locate the source of the voice.

"Who's there," his voice cracked as he spoke in a barely audible whisper, vocal cords weak from long disuse.

The Mistress has need of you doctor, The voice said as a shadow materialized in the darkened cell. Even though his one good eye was accustomed to the darkness, the prisoner could not distinguish the figure before his, it was vaguely humanoid in shape, however it's gender was indeterminable. He blinked a few more times at the shadow and then swallowed what little saliva he had trying to stimulate his voice.

"What does the Lady wish of me," he croaked. Hope filled him for the first time in over a year.

I was not informed, the figure answered, I was merely ordered to retrieve you because the Mistress has need of you.

Clay heard the disdain in the creatures voice and could hardly blame him or her for it. Once he had been one of the mightiest scientists in the known universe, only one had ever out classed him. Now, however, Clay had been reduced to a mere shell of his former self. His portly frame had been reduced to skin and bones. The perfectly styled beard, his pride and joy, was mangy and hung down his thin shoulders like a tarp. Two long years of imprisonment had instilled a burning need for revenge in the doctor's twisted mind. Now, hopefully, the time had come to claim that vengeance he so owed his nemesis. When the shadow figure opened a black gate Clay stepped through willingly.

Sasami was bored. There was no helping it, since returning home the princess had little to do but attend to her studies, which were boring in the extreme. All day her tutors droned on about the history of Jurai and how to conduct herself as a princess of the Royal Family. With her lectures and lessons over for the day the blue haired princess was wandering the palace looking for something to do. On Earth constant chores and cooking had kept her busy caring for the Masaki household, but that had been a labor of love. Now with the palace staff at her beck and call she was sliding back into her more mischievous self. Idle hands were the devil's work after all.

Her tricks were small at first, a guard missing his energy weapon here, a stuffy advisor waking to sight of all her undergarments flying on a pole outside her window there. You know harmless stuff. She knew it was wrong, but there just had to be some excitement in the palace from time to time. Of course the fall out from Ryoko's crash was still being cleaned up and the romance between the former pirate and her appointed Guardian was a keen source of interest to the almost teenager. Not that Matt was ever around to protect her or anything, he spent all his time with her mother training. On a sudden impulse Sasmai decided to pay a visit to Ryoko and see what juicy details she could elicit from the ex-pirate.

"Greetings Princess," Sasami stopped in her tracks at the sound of the high pitched voice, "I hope to find you well on this marvelous day."

"Greetings to you too Prince Seriyou," Samasi said with false enthusiasm and a slight curtsey in deference to his princely standing. Not that he's much of a prince, Sasami thought to herself looking at him. Always dressed garishly, with his pink haired styled more than any court lady, Sasami thought him a flop. Recently the once deposed of suitor had been on the fringes of court hoping for another chance to woo Ayeka along with a host of other dandies. In Sasami's mind none of them came close to equaling Tenchi.

"I was hoping your sister would accept my invitation to dine with me tonight at the consulate," Seriyou intoned his lisp creeping into invitation.

"I'll let my sister know," Sasami lied and curtsied to him once more before continuing on towards Ryoko and Matt's shared suite.

"What do you mean escaped," Ayeka roared into the panel before her fangs showing, "Doctor Clay was being held in an Science Academy designed holding cell based off our own force field designs. No one has ever escaped!"

The Galaxy Police officer at the other end of the terminal, and luckily several light years away, had been given the unenviable task of informing the Juraian ruler about the recent escape. Two days ago Clay had merely disappeared from his cell. As of yet the GP were stumped as to how the evil genius had escaped. Worse it was known that Clay had a score to settle with a rival genius and the group of people that had been instrumental in his capture. Namely Officer Mihoshi, the former space pirate Ryoko, and both the crown prince and princess of the Jurai Empire.

"We're doing all in our power to recapture the fugitive Princess Ayeka," the officer explained, "We'll find him."

"And just what are we supposed to do in the mean time," Ayeka raged on, "Twiddle our fingers and hope for the best? We are still recovering from the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks, my resources are not limitless you know."

"I understand you concerns Princess Ayeka, please be assured we are doing all in our power to apprehend the suspect," it was all he could say at this point in the investigation, until they had more to go on, "We will update you if he come across any relevant information."

Ayeka slammed her fist against the console in frustration as the GP signed off. As if she didn't have enough problems. It would be weeks before the damage to the palace made by Ryo-Ohki's crash was fully repaired and even longer before her Royal Guard was back at full strength. Her problems didn't end there either, with her father bed ridden for the time being she had been placed in charge of the Empire with all it's endless politics. Suitors were lined up around the palace hoping to catch her favor, not that any of them could hold a candle up to Tenchi, but it was getting to be distracting. Of course Tenchi had left her behind to fend for herself and return to Earth, who had she been left with, Ryoko!

The purple haired princess had one more problem that, for some reason, over rid all the others, her Guardian was a next to useless. According to her mother, Matt was progressing slowly in his new training and remained a hollow shell of what he had been mere weeks before. The Guardians records on how they channeled their power might have helped in this, but her obstinate father had them all destroyed after the Guardians, Matt's ancestors, were exiled. Things were going to hell in the proverbial hand basket and there seemed nothing Ayeka could do to stop it.

I really think it would be better if you spent some time with Ryoko, Ses communicated to his host, This training his getting you nowhere.

"I have to find a way Ses," Matt argued aloud as they moved through the corridors of the great palace, "Without my powers under control how am I supposed to do my job?"

You were fine before this why not go back to the way you did it then, Ses replied. The winged cat was slowing flying at Matt's shoulder height his gossamer wings beating the air gently. Ses drew his life force from Matt's mental energies and as such knew something about his powers. On Earth the weapons master had been confident and used his powers freely when the occasion called for it. Now though that confidence had been shattered when Matt had gone into a killing rage after his rough treatment by the King of Jurai. Restoring that confidence was what Ses believed Matt had to do not this silly plan of his to give up on his former training altogether.

"I can't," Matt said simply, "You know that."

"And how useless you are without that power," said a male voice causing Matt to stop in his tracks. The figure materialized a second later to stand before the surprised Guardian. Dressed in dark loose fitting clothes he flashed a wicked smile before bringing up his right hand and pointing a dark blue crystal at Matt. Matt instantly fell into a defensive fighting stance and called upon his essence to protect him as Misaki had taught him. A beam of light shot forth from the crystal too quickly for Matt to even begin to roll away and caught him full in the chest.

Matt fell to the floor with a cry and lay very still while Ses called out frantically to his host hoping to wake him up. Ses was filled with a terrible dread as a dark mist began to rise from the fallen Guardian. As it began to condense into a humanoid shape the shadow flicked out a hand to send to poor golden creature flying into the wall. As his vision began to blur Ses saw the man with the crystal kneel before the shadow and present the item to her. Finally the psychic cat could no longer hold onto consciousness and slid into darkness.

"Hello Ryoko my dear," Clay said as he stepped from the shadowy portal into the red hued room. He grinned as he saw the look of surprise and then recognition spread across her face. He couldn't wait to see the look of terror when she found out what he had planned for her.

"Clay, what are you doing here." Ryoko spat instantly on her guard the moment her shock wore off. The former pirate barely recognized the evil doctor. Not only had he lost a considerable amount of weight but his once curled beard now hung down his chest in two straight blades of gray. His robes were white with a single band of black running down the shoulders to the cuffs that hid his hands. "What are you doing here."

"I've come for you Ryoko," Clay answered with evil intent, "Lady Tokimi as taken an interest in you, or more importantly your Gems."

"I'm not going anywhere with you Clay," Ryoko stated defiantly, the last time she had been in his clutches was not one of her more enjoyable memories. She ignited her energy foil in one hand while forming any energy blast in the other. Remembering her first encounter with the doctor Ryoko phased to the side as a mass of green slime formed around the spot she had just been standing in. Ryoko let loose her energy blast which was predictably absorbed by a wall of energy. Ryoko didn't stop there though as she follow the blast in foil swinging. But Clay wasn't standing there for the attack, another opponent was. This one far more dangerous than even Clay with all his technology.

Ryoko was thrown across the spacious room to small hard into the wall leaving an imprint. In the split second it took her to recover she lost the fight as a slender hand closed around her throat. Ryoko tried to yell for help but her voice was gone along with her strength as the figure before her began to drain the energy out of her. Clay smiled and then began to chuckle as his companion opened another shadowy gate transporting both of them and his new test subject back to his new laboratory. They had work to do.

Matt slowly returned to the world of the living as a hand was urgently shaking his shoulder. Propping himself up on one elbow Matt allowed a moment for his vision to focus. A huge pair of tear filled, pink eyes stared back. Sasami was calling his name over and over as the Guardian shook the grogginess from his mind. The last thing he remembered was that strange man pointing a crystal at him and everything going black. Finally Matt focused on what Sasami was saying, her words did little to comfort him.

"Ryoko's gone."

Author's Note

Finally got back to this story, things have been hectic with work and school. Up dates will probably be rather infrequent but I'll try to get a chapter up every few weeks. Anyways this story goes along with another I'm working called A Dream Lost which focuses more on Tenchi, that one will be up early next week I hope. This story is going to focus on Matt and Ryoko trying to rebuild their lives, of course there's going to be some rather big complications. Expect this to be a little more dark than Midnight but I'm not going totally angst. Anyways I'm bringing Clay into the picture because he's a perfect A morale villain with a grudge and if he can't take it out on Washu , Ryoko and the others are the next best thing. I know this chapter is rather vague but I did it on purpose to build up the mood of the story. If you have figured out who the shadow is please don't post it in a review and ruin it for everyone, just E-mail me.

It's good to be working on this story arch again I hope You all like it as well as you did Midnight.

Smack54