Disclaimer: All of the characters of Tenchi Muyo are property of AIC and Pioneer LDC, INC. I'm just a poor college student so don't sue me.

("Hero" copyright Sony/Columbia 1993)

Thanks to my pal and pre-reader juliusmz for keeping me honest.


This fic contains some lemon content, so if you are under the age of 18 or it is illegal to view this material in your area please...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!STOP READING IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Every Lesson Learned

Episode II v2.0

by Arca Jeth

Another fine day was just beginning at the Masaki Shrine. The Shrine-Keeper, Katsuhito was up with the sun preparing for his daily chores while down the hill, the inhabitants of the Masaki household were still snug in their beds. Except, that is, for two young women who, usually would be fighting by now.

Within the room usually occupied by the two resident Juraian Crown princesses, lay one irate space pirate before one princess who was trying to keep a straight face.

"Ouch! Watch what you're doing back there," Ryoko hissed.

"Well excuse me Ryoko. I'm being as gentle as I can," came Aeka's quick reply as she bent closer over Ryoko's prone form.

"It would be much easier if you would stop squirming."

"Hey I'm doing my best here. Besides, this is all your fault Princess."

"My fault?" Aeka echoed. "I cannot be held responsible for my actions in the heat of the moment. Furthermore, I have already apologized to you."

"Easy for you to say Aeka, you don't look like you got between Ryo-Ohki and a carrot."

Ryoko angrily gestured at her exposed back, which was crisscrossed with thin, red scratches from the shoulder blades down to her lower back.

"Did you have to scratch me so many times? Hmm; I wonder what Juraian high society would think if they found out their Crown Princess is a freak!"

"Perhaps you can ask your mother!" Aeka retorted slapping Ryoko on her exposed rump.

"Hey that's not funny," Ryoko said apprehensively. "If Washu catches wind of this I'll never hear the end of it."

"Keep your voice down or she just might," Aeka said looking for a fresh cotton ball with which to apply the iodine. "However we may have to tell her anyway. You're supposed to be able to heal any wound in seconds. Why are these still fresh?"

"I don't know why, but if they don't heal by tomorrow I'm going to start getting worried. We'll just have to make something up."

"I suppose you're right," Aeka agreed. "But before I forget, thank you for

last night. It was wonderful."

"If I remember correctly, you already thanked me last night," Ryoko said giggling. "About three times I think."

Ryoko raised up to kiss the princess on the cheek. At that moment, Sasami walked in rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Aeka quickly pushed Ryoko down but couldn't cover her up in time.

"Oh, you're up early," Sasami said looking back and forth between the slightly blushing girls. "Uh, Ryoko; what happened to your back?"

"Well...you see...err, that is...I was..." Ryoko stammered.

"We were outside last night and Ryoko ran into a rose bush," Aeka jumped in.

"Yeah, that's right," Ryoko added. "I wanted to make a bouquet for Tenchi and the princess here saw me and..." she trailed off letting Sasami draw her own conclusions.

"And you two had another fight?"

"So you see it was all your sister's fault."

"I believe it's not all my fault, you did provoke me," Aeka retorted trying to keep the humor out of her voice.

"Will you two ever stop..." Sasami broke off as she spied the bottle of iodine, pile of used cotton balls and roll of bandages.

"Oh Aeka, you're tending to her wounds, that's so sweet!" The blue-hared girl's eyes lit up like stars.

"Now don't get any ideas Sasami," Aeka said non-committal. This changes nothing between Ryoko and myself. I just didn't want to hear her complaining all night."

But Sasami's smile only widened.

"So what was Ryoko doing in our room anyway? I knew you two could be friends," she beamed.

Aeka looked toward Ryoko for help.

"Hey Sasami, you look tired. How's about me and Aeka take care of breakfast," Ryoko offered.

"Um...no thanks." Sasami backed toward the door. "I can handle it."

"It's no trouble, really," Aeka added, catching the pirate's eye. "I'm sure we can muddle our way through it."

"No really, I was just on my way to the kitchen 'bye!"

Sasami nearly ran down Ryo-Ohki in her haste to get down stairs. The cabbit looked into the room looking questioningly at her mistress.

"Miya?" She asked, one ear cocked at an angle.

"I'll explain later now get going you furball," Ryoko said as Aeka closed the door.

"Thank you for saving me Ryoko."

"No problem Princess. Now, about my back?"

"Of course."

Aeka began applying the bandages.

"Hey Aeka, what are you going to do about Tenchi?"

Aeka's hands paused mid-wrap.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, are you going to forgive him for peeping at you last week or what?"

Ryoko motioned for her to continue.

"I...I'm not ready to talk to him yet," Aeka said quietly. "But why should you care whether I talk to him or not? Now you can spend as much time with him as you wish."

"To set the record straight Tenchi hasn't been real chatty lately," Ryoko answered. "Even when I'm with him he seems like he's worlds away. The only explanation I can think of is that he wants you to forgive him."

"I told you I'm not ready yet," Aeka said irritably.

"Come on princess, how long can you hold a grudge?"

Aeka just stared at her for a moment.

"Oh yeah, forgot who I was talking to. But Aeka, you can't just ignore him it's not right. And besides, I don't want to win him by default, I need competition."

Aeka looked at the far wall of the room, which held a framed photo of she and Tenchi standing before the lake and smiling. How she missed those days when she waited anxiously by the door for Tenchi to come home. She missed talking about the events of the day while waiting for his kind smile to melt her heart. Yet now she avoided him like the plague. The only times she saw him were at meals and maybe when everyone was watching TV. But then she made sure to put Mihoshi and Sasami between them.

*I can't live like this.*

Aeka set her face and looked up.

"Ryoko," she asked sweetly. "Would you keep Mihoshi company today?"

"Why whatever for Princess? Do you have something planned," Ryoko asked innocently.

"I need to speak with Lord Tenchi today; privately."

"Gee, I don't know Aeka. I have a pretty busy schedule today; lots of obligations."

"What do you have to do besides eating and sleeping?" Aeka asked getting irritated.

"For starters, I have to wish Tenchi a good morning, which reminds me..."

Ryoko zipped up her dress and promptly vanished. A moment later...


Ryoko popped back in and lay down once more.

"Well my schedule's clear but I don't give away my leisure time for free...." she trailed off.

"All right! What do you want, you mercenary?" Aeka said rolling her eyes.

"I hear they're doing wonderful things with whipped cream this year," Ryoko began.

Aeka sighed as she listened to the cyan-hared woman's demands. ^-^


Interlude: [.00123 light-years outside the Sol System]


The Galaxy Police cruiser Yagami sat dead in space. Yet there were no systems failures or hull damage. Its sole occupant, GP Detective First Class Kiyone Makibi had simply shut the systems down. She sat in the pilot's chair looking at the stars in the main viewscreen. Their serene indifference was a stark contrast to the turmoil in her heart.

Kiyone had broken speed records traveling back home from the Oseon system, that talk with Nagi still fresh in her mind. She'd been ready to face Mihoshi and try to sort out her feelings when she got there. But one errant thought stopped her dead in her tracks.

What will I say to her?

It was a stupid excuse, and she knew it, Kiyone's mind couldn't get past the

first "hello" when she finally saw her partner.

What do I say? 'gee, sorry for ditching you like that.' or 'I didn't mean

to rip your heart out.' Or my personal favorite, 'Was that your heart I just stepped on?

I thought it was a welcome mat!'

Giving up for the moment, Kiyone got up to take a shower. She had just gotten into a robe when her cabin's Comm system came to life. Sitting down in front of the desk console, Kiyone entered the proper access code and up-linked with GPHQ.

The section chief's face appeared on the screen.

"Detective Kiyone, I trust your vacation is going well," he said taking in her bathrobe.

"Um yes sir, it is section chief," Kiyone said surreptitiously pushing a large, stuffed cabbit out of camera range. "So what can I do for you sir?"

The section chief's eyes shifted uncomfortably.

"Are you...ahem...alone detective?"

"Yes sir," Kiyone answered carefully. "Detective Mihoshi and I are taking...separate vacations."

The chief seemed relieved.

"Very well then. You have been chosen by Galaxy police command for a special assignment."

Kiyone's eyes widened but she remained silent."It's nothing dangerous but it is important that the Galaxy Police be well represented," the chief continued.

*Therefore, no Mihoshi* Kiyone thought wryly.

"Do you recall the arrest you made last month?"

"Yes sir. It was that mercenary group, the Cha-Chi's," Kiyone reported. "We were ticketing them for entering the system too close to Earth when Mihoshi noticed one more life sign than their crew manifest stated. We challenged

this and they opened fire. After disabling their ship we boarded and found one male hostage; he was Carmonean I believe."

"Yes, that is correct," the chief nodded. "And if you recall he offered you a reward."

"Yes sir, and if *you* recall I declined as per Galaxy Police sub-ordinance S23-A-23 paragraph 2: 'No officer may accept gifts or rewards--monetary or material--from victims of a crime,'" Kiyone quoted defensively.

"No need to recite rules to me detective, I know you're honest," the chief said. "The fact is that the man you rescued is the Viceroy of Carmone."


"It's true," the chief went on. "The Viceroy was very impressed with you Kiyone. So much so that we're relaxing our regulations, just this once."

Speechless, Kiyone could only nod. The section chief pulled out a file folder.

"'I, Viceroy Caspian of the Carmone Cluster hereby request that Galaxy Police Detective 1st Class, Kiyone Makibi be given the Carmone Badge of Honor for her courage and ingenuity in rescuing myself. I further request that she be promoted to the rank of Inspector.'"

"It's...it's incredible," Kiyone said sudden tears forming in her eyes. After all the years of hard work and not recognition; loosing all contact and influence with command, Kiyone was finally getting her much deserved rewards.

"I'm so happy," she managed to choke out.

The chief waited to allow the detective to compose herself.

"So when is the promotion effective," she asked after dying her eyes.

"Right after your meeting with the Viceroy and the Carmonean parliament. There, they will present you with the award and the chief of the Inspectorate division will process your promotion order. You'll be in your dress blues of course."

"Of course sir," Kiyone agreed all smiles. But then her expression faltered.

"What's wrong," the chief asked.

"It's just that...shouldn't Detective Mihoshi be getting an award and promotion too? I couldn't have done it without her."

"Hmm, about that," the chief's eyes shifted once more. "The situation is the Viceroy only met *you* during the operation."

"Yes Mihoshi was in the control room shutting down the internal defenses. I couldn't have gotten to the their brig otherwise," Kiyone said an idea of what was going on but silently praying to any kami who might be listening that it wasn't true.

"Nevertheless, the official story will state that *you* saved the Viceroy. Look detective, I'll level with you," the chief's expression darkened. "The Carmone are a highly ordered people. They pride themselves on structure and ceremony and they abhor randomness. Detective Mihoshi, unfortunately is not the embodiment of order and reason. Command wishes to make a good impression on the Carmone and Detective Mihoshi is not part of that equation."

"I can't believe this!" Kiyone said standing up. "How can you do this to her? You're going to deny her a much deserved promotion just because of your political agenda!"

"Settle down Detective!" The chief yelled, not following his own advice.

"This wasn't my doing! Command decides these things."

Kiyone's temper cooled slightly.

"I apologize sir, but this is total bull...it's not right. How can they justify this?"

"I don't have an answer for you Kiyone."

"What does the Marshall think of all this?" Kiyone asked.

"From what I've been able to find out he doesn't know any of it," the chief answered.

"How is that possible? I thought he knew everything that went on at headquarters."

"The Marshall is a busy man and the promotion request was handled by the Inspectorate. Remember that the divisions act independently of each other and only the division heads need to brief the Marshall in on pending investigations."


"So they haven't broken any rules, they just neglected to give him one small piece of information."

The chief sat back down heavily. Meanwhile Kiyone stared out her window at the stars. Especially one particularly bright yellow dwarf; the one called Sol. A new idea began form in her mind but her pride and ambition immediately attacked it.

After all these years I've finally made it. Prestige, recognition,

accolades. This is what I've been working towards. But now I'm not so sure.

"Kiyone, this could be your chance to start over. A new job, a new location, and even a new partner. Isn't that what you wanted?" The chief tried again.

"I don't know what I want anymore," Kiyone said at last.

"You can't mean that Kiyone. You're the same person who filed transfer requests once a week, for your first two months of duty in the Sol system! Have your priorities changed detective?"

Kiyone looked over at the stuffed cabbit on her bed. It had a large, purple ribbon tied in a bow, around it's neck. The same type Mihoshi always wore in her hair.

She gave that to me for my birthday. No one else even remembered when my birthday was.

But this was her big chance; the one thing that would make her happy. Wasn't it?

"Sir," Kiyone said out loud. "Could I have a little time to think this over?"

"Of course detective," the section chief said with narrowed eyes. "I'll wait for one hour. You'll remember of course, not to contact Detective Mihoshi."

"Yes sir."

Kiyone gritted her teeth and signed off. Suddenly tired beyond her years, Kiyone dragged herself to Yagami's sonic shower. While it was no substitute for Washu's extra-dimensional bath, it would certainly do in a pinch. After disrobing Kiyone stepped into the enclosure and turned on the water as hot as she could stand. She then engaged the sonic wave inducer whose vibrations loosened dirt in the skin at a molecular level. As the waters cascaded down her body, Kiyone tried to clear her mind of conscious thought, believing that her subconscious would make the answer apparent. But the more she tried to forget her problem, the more it dominated her mind.

In her mind's eye Kiyone saw a balance scale with Mihoshi on one end and her new career on the other. On one end was an uncertain future with lots of setbacks and no palpable rewards and no guarantee of success. On the other was prestige, power, satisfaction and wide recognition as the top of her profession. Kiyone hit the shut-off switch, stepped out of the shower and began toweling off.

I really don't have any choice in the matter.

She wrapped a towel around her head and donned a fresh robe. Once again in her cabin, Kiyone dialed up headquarters and was immediately routed to the section chief's desk.

"Back so soon detective?" he asked, a knowing smirk on his face. "I take it you've made your decision."

Instead of answering him, Kiyone pulled out her keyboard and typed in a sentence. The section chief's smirk blossomed into a real smile.


Earth: [The Masaki Shrine, Tenchi's Vegetable Garden]


Even though it was a partly-cloudy day, and a cool breeze was coming down from the mountains, Tenchi Masaki had still managed to work up a sweat. His tan T-shirt clung to his back as he tirelessly toiled in the carrot patch.


Tenchi looked over to where the cabbit sat perched atop a fencepost.

"Sorry Ryo-Ohki," Tenchi apologized. "It's not harvest time yet. you'll have to wait a few months."

"Miyaaa!" Ryo-Ohki mewled with large, sad eyes. Tenchi briefly wondered if Sasami had taught her this particular trick.

"Oh all right!" Unable to take it anymore, Tenchi fished a carrot from his pocket (one from a stash carefully hidden in one of Washu's sub-space pockets), and tossed it in the cabbit's general direction.

Forgetting her melancholy mood, Ryo-Ohki caught it in mid air and hopped away; happily miyaing with her treasure.

"You're spoiling her," a quiet voice spoke up.

Turning around, Tenchi began to say: "I know, but I never could resist such a cute...face."

He trailed off as he met a pair of lovely ruby eyes. Eyes, which belonged to a beautiful face, framed by violet hair. Hair whose neatly trimmed bangs just covered an intricately carved crown. A crown in which, one week ago, Tenchi had done his best to betray, besmirch and dishonor. At least, according to the princess, he had. He couldn't forget the look in her eyes as he lost consciousness. They looked so betrayed and lost. After that Tenchi felt lower than the scum from the lake's bottom. He'd tried apologizing many times since, but Aeka wouldn't even look at him. She'd finally smiled at him briefly a few days ago, yet she still would not speak to him. Had this now changed?

"How are the carrots growing this year?" Aeka asked into the silence.

"Well...that is, they're doing fine. The soil is really good this year," Tenchi managed to get out.

"And the reserves?"

"They're fine too, except for the one Ryo-Ohki cleared out before we could transfer it over to subspace," Tenchi said with a nervous laugh. Once more, quiet descended.

"Lord Tenchi I..."

"Miss Aeka I..."

"Why don't you go first," Tenchi offered.

"Yes, thank you." Aeka paused to collect her thoughts. Then she raised her eyes to meet Tenchi's for the first time. "Lord Tenchi, please forgive me for my actions last week."

"What!?" Tenchi stood ramrod straight. But the princess continued.

"I was wrong to say those things to you. I know you didn't open the door with the intent of spying on me. It was just...a very private moment and I overreacted."

"B-but Miss Aeka, I opened the door! *I* should be the one apologizing. It was my fault for not looking away. I disrespected you," Tenchi protested. "I wouldn't be surprised if you never forgive me."

"Lord Tenchi," Aeka gasped. "I forgave you a week ago!"

"Then why didn't you...?"

"Speak to you?" Aeka nervously toyed with an errant strand of hair. "I was too embarrassed by my behavior towards you. And then, after my fight with Ryoko I wasn't in the mood for conversation."

"Hey Sasami tells me you two have been getting along lately," Tenchi observed."

"Yes, she apologized to me; and then she helped me realize something," Aeka trailed off.

"Realize what?" Tenchi questioned.

"That I'm perhaps a bit too shy when it comes to expressing myself." Aeka blushed at the memory of Ryoko's "lesson."

"Well, it would be nice to see you more comfortable with yourself," Tenchi said. "And I'd like you to be comfortable with me again too."

Aeka seemed to consider this but before she could answer a flat stone whizzed toward her face but Tenchi deftly knocked it away with his garden hoe.

"What the heck was that?" Tenchi exclaimed whirling around to face the threat.

"You're getting slow Tenchi!" Katsuhito stood just outside the garden with a small collection of stones in one hand and his bokken in the other.

"Grandpa, that's not funny, you could have hit Aeka," Tenchi returned angrily.

"She was in no danger." The old priest motioned past Tenchi with the handle of his bokken. Looking back, Tenchi saw that Aeka's miniature-log shield was up and humming.

"She has good reflexes," Katsuhito intoned. "Who was your teacher Aeka?"

"It was Master Thon of the palace guard Grandfather," Aeka said, blushing at the praise.

"Hmm." Katsuhito nodded slightly, then looked up. "Tenchi! You've missed three practice times. Do you mean to let your skills fall to the wayside?"

"I was a little...preoccupied at the time Grandpa." Tenchi said nervously rubbing the back of his head. "And I'm...uh...kind of in the middle of something."

"I'm sure your enemies will be glad to wait for you to deal with your personal affairs before they kill you."

Tenchi's shoulders sagged in defeat.

"I'll be right there as soon as I change," he said.

"Very well then," Katsuhito said. "I will be at the shrine." With a final nod to Aeka he left.

"Sorry about that Miss Aeka," Tenchi apologized. "I swear he gets weirder every year."

Aeka giggled lightly.

"He certainly keeps you on a short leash."

"Yeah, I guess he does..." Tenchi paused suddenly serious. "Miss Aeka we need to settle this...situation between us. How about...a picnic this week? So we can talk."

"Just the two of us, Lord Tenchi?" Even the though she had been upset with him, the promise of such an intimate setting with Tenchi made Aeka's heart flutter.

"Sure," Tenchi said. "I'll just have to talk to Ryoko so that she doesn't bother us. I think she'll understand." Even Mihoshi wouldn't believe that one.

"Well I'd better get going." As Tenchi trotted off to the house, Aeka watched him go feeling a little weak in the knees.

Imagine, me all alone with Tenchi for an entire afternoon.

A blush began to form on her cheeks when she began thinking of all the things they could do together. Perhaps a walk in the woods holding hands. Then she could feed him treats from their lunch. Or, they could lay back on a grassy knoll and watch the clouds go by. And maybe, just maybe, at sunset she could steal a kiss. And when they woke up together the next morning...

Hmm, Ryoko must be having an influence on my thoughts.


Aeka turned to see Ryo-Ohki looking up at her quizzically.

"And just how long have you been standing there?" Aeka asked.

"Miya, Miyaaa!" Ryo-Ohki said innocently.

Aeka laughed quietly as she withdrew a carrot from a hidden pocket of her kimono.

"Here you are," she said handing the carrot to the cabbit. "Just don't let Sasami catch you spoiling your dinner."

Ryo-Ohki followed the princess back to the house. The evidence, of course was long gone before they got there. ^-^

Ryoko was having a particularly bad day. She'd tried, she'd really tried to get along with Mihoshi, but whatever rapport Aeka had with the detective, it wasn't helping her.

"Ow! That hurts Ryoko!" Mihoshi wailed.

"Hold still, I'm trying to get it out now!." Ryoko struggled behind Mihoshi to get the object loose but was having no luck.

"But it huuuuurrrtts!" Mihoshi continued flailing her arms causing her elbows to connect more than once with the pirate's nose. Ryoko briefly wondered what Mihoshi would look like with a crew cut as she struggled to loose the brush from the detective's thick, blonde hair.

*But Aeka probably wouldn't like that.*

Though Ryoko couldn't figure out how, Aeka had crated a real bond with Mihoshi. So making friends with the detective was important to her.

But nobody said it would be easy

Ryoko had, at first, tried the easiest way to look after Mihoshi; go up on the roof for some sunbathing. However, when Ryoko tried to start a conversation Mihoshi kept going back to her work in the Galaxy Police. Of course many of her exploits included the arrests of the majority of Ryoko's former colleagues. Seeing the pirate's face turn so many shades of red, Mihoshi got the idea to give her a home facial. Everything was going well until it was time to apply the facemask--which just happened to contain the one substance in the galaxy that Ryoko was allergic to. An avocado was something she'd never even seen, much less used in a mask. It had all been downhill from there.

After taking a pill from Washu, to clear up the argyle rash, Ryoko had tried everything, from playing video games to watching TV all with similar results. At last, here she was attempting to brush Mihoshi's hair--something that Aeka said always relaxed the blonde--but Ryoko never really had to brush her own hair. All she had to do in the morning was phase it into shape. So she had no idea what she was doing. Mihoshi, meanwhile, wasn't helping with her constant complaining.

I wish Aeka were here.

And as if summoned by her thoughts, Aeka walked into the room as giddy as a schoolgirl.

"Hello you two," she said positively glowing.

"Hi Aeka!" Mihoshi tried to get up, dragging Ryoko with her. "Did you make up with Tenchi?" She asked, crushing the princess in a hug.

"Something like that," Aeka said giving her tangled hair an appraising look. "I take it this is your work Ryoko?"

"Hey, I tried my best but she's impossible," Ryoko said defensively.

"Here, let me try."

Aeka sat Mihoshi down in front of her on the couch and began disentangling the brush.

"Aahh. That's so much better." Mihoshi's voice mirrored her contentment.

As Ryoko looked on the two she couldn't help feeling a bit jealous of how well Aeka was handling the detective. She wished she had some of that patience.

*Maybe all that diplomacy training she had is good for something after all*

Feeling left out, Ryoko sat behind Aeka and began stroking her hair. Aeka sighed at the contact.

"So Princess," Ryoko began. "How did things go between you and Tenchi?"

"Very well, thank you," Aeka said smoothing Mihoshi's hair.

"How well is very well?" Ryoko put her face to Aeka's neck and breathed in the scent of her amethyst hair.

*Mmmm...she's using that strawberry-kiwi shampoo,* she thought as she began kissing the base of the neck. When Aeka didn't answer her question, Ryoko looked up.


"Shh..." Aeka held a finger to her lips then pointed down indicating a sleeping Mihoshi.

Aeka got up and carefully lowered the detective's head to the sofa. Taking her by the hand Ryoko led Aeka to the upstairs hall near the princess's room. She then stopped abruptly, pushed Aeka against the wall and kissed her passionately.

"Mmmm...Ryoko," Aeka said trying to catch her breath. "What was that for?"

"That was for saving me back there," Ryoko kissed her again. "That was for just being you."

She then wrapped her arms around the princess and gave her the deepest kiss yet.

"And that was for?" Aeka asked after a moment.

"Any I missed." Ryoko answered with a playful wink. With a wink of her own, Aeka began planting kisses along Ryoko's neckline. Ryoko responded by sliding her hands along the princess's rear. As her hands roamed freely over Aeka's body, Ryoko felt the day's tension melt away. Aeka led Ryoko into the room and down to her futon while still kissing her madly. Upon laying down, Ryoko felt the thrill of her body pressed against Aeka's.

"Aahh!" She cried out as Aeka grasped her ample breasts. Not to be out done, Ryoko loosened the princess's obi and began to negotiate her way beneath the kimono, but was impatient to get through all the layers.

"Jeez Aeka, do you have to wear all that *every* day?" she asked irritably.

"Just you wait," Aeka said pulling off her silk kimono and laying it neatly to the side. "It would be unseemly to walk around half-naked all day." With that she stripped off her undertunic exposing her underwear. Then she and Ryoko began making out anew.

"Mmm...It's been such a nice day," Aeka whispered.

"Which reminds me princess," Ryoko said working on her bra (it was of Juraian design with ten tiny clasps). "How did things go with Tenchi today?"

"Things went very well," Aeka said as she helped Ryoko with the clasps. "But everything was not resolved when Grandfather ordered him to sword practice. So Lord Tenchi invited me on a picnic this week for just the two of us." Aeka gasped as Ryoko suddenly sat up.

"What's wrong?"

"I'll tell you what's wrong," Ryoko said hotly. "Here I am trying to do you a favor and you go and stab me in the back!"

"I have no idea what you are talking about Ryoko," Aeka said bewildered.

"You know exactly what I'm talking about! I convinced you to forgive Tenchi and you went and took advantage of it. Tell me princess, how long did it take before you started the 'poor little me' act?"

Aeka could barely speak. "I-I-I never did that, he asked me to..."

"Yeah right Princess, we both know Tenchi wouldn't do that," Ryoko shot back. "It would be too much like making a...choice. You tricked him into it some way; made him feel so guilty about seeing your royal nakedness that he had to do something."

"Lord Tenchi asked me of his own free will," Aeka said standing up. "If you don't believe me then...you may ask him yourself!"

"That's a great idea. I think I will!" Ryoko promptly disappeared.

Aeka stood there for a moment staring at the place the space pirate had once occupied before collapsing to the futon weeping. As her body quaked with sobs Aeka vaguely wondered why she was reacting this way. Usually when Ryoko accused her of being less than scrupulous in the pursuit of Tenchi's love it simply annoyed her. But now...It felt like a kick in the ribs. What had changed between them to make her feel this way? Finally regaining control, Aeka quickly dressed and returned to the living room.

There, she found that Mihoshi was still asleep but that her sleep was troubled. The blonde detective tossed and turned, moaning in her sleep, while clutching a pillow to her breast. Leaning closer, Aeka could just make out some of her words.

"Mmph, Kiyone...why did you leave me alone? What did I do wrong? I love you so much..."

Tears started streaming from her eyes and Aeka's heart went out to her. She gently lifted Mihoshi's head and cradled her in her arms. Sensing the contact, Mihoshi calmed considerably, but tears still trickled from her eyes. Aeka rocked back and forth whispering words of encouragement until Mihoshi finally fell into a deeper, dreamless sleep.

Aeka hated to see her friend so troubled. Usually, just being with the vibrant young woman was enough to lift her spirits. Replacing her on the couch, Aeka got up and stood looking at the lake through the large picture window. She wondered where this new turn in her life would take her.


[In the forest near the Masaki Shrine]


For Tenchi, silence reigned.

A hush had fallen over the forest. The wind had died. Animals had stopped their chirruping to one another, and Tenchi could swear that the nearby stream had frozen in its track. Tenchi stood perfectly still with one foot planted forward and his bokken raised over his head.

He knew that his grandfather was lurking out there somewhere, but to run around blindly slashing at bushes would accomplish nothing. So he stood as he had been for over 15 minutes. Sweat poured down his face but he neglected to wipe it away. Every muscle, sinew and fiber of his being was poised to strike like a coiled steel spring.

A sudden breath of air on his neck caused Tenchi to spin around with a vicious downward slash.

There was no one there.

How did he get so close?

Tenchi quickly turned again and settle into a half-defensive crouch--this way he could parry and answer with a quick thrust of his own--only to find that his wooden practice sword had inexplicably vanished. Chagrined that Katsuhito had once again outsmarted him, Tenchi prepared himself for unarmed combat when he felt another breath of air on his neck.

"Tenchi," a sultry voice whispered.

Turning once more, Tenchi ran face first into a pair of soft yet firm mounds.

"Oh!" The voice squealed. "Not the reaction I expected but I could learn to like it!"

Jumping a full ten feet backward Tenchi looked up...into the smiling face of a cyan-tressed girl; who just happened to be holding his bokken.

"Hey Ryoko, give that back," Tenchi said blushing in spite of himself. "I'm right in the middle of training."

"I could train you myself." Ryoko said eyeing the piece of wood curiously.

"But its bigger than I thought it would be." She started running her hand along the wooden shaft.

"Uh, Ryoko I..."

"Mmm, it's soooo big; it might not fit," Ryoko purred, pressing the bokken between her large breasts. She then pressed them together and began rubbing the shaft slowly up and down.

"R-R-Ryoko..." Tenchi stammered, a trickle of blood falling from his nose. Ryoko's movements quickened and she began moaning in rhythm with the pistoning motion.

"Oh...oh yes Tenchi! It's so big! Harder, harder!!"

Tenchi was beginning to black out due to the lack of oxygen to his brain when he found himself on the ground and a foot in his chest.

"You are beaten. Do you surrender?" Katsuhito asked pointing his bokken at Tenchi's throat. Seeing that he was pretty much helpless, he relented.

"Sure, I give up," he said and his grandfather let him sit up.

"You should not let things distract you Tenchi," Katsuhito admonished him.

"How am I supposed to ignore her?" Tenchi asked, gesturing to Ryoko as she handed him his bokken.

"Thank you Ryoko." Katsuhito inclined his head slightly. And turned to go.

"Any time Grandpa!" Ryoko winked conspiratorially.

Still a bit dazed, Tenchi looked back and forth between the pirate and the disappearing priest.

"Take a break Tenchi," Katsuhito called over his shoulder. "I believe Ryoko has a question for you."

Man, I am never gonna trust another old person again. Tenchi thought.

As he got back to his feet Ryoko gave him a helping hand. And when he was at last standing she proceeded to wrap her arms around him in a powerful embrace.

"Come on Ryoko let me go!." Tenchi struggled for freedom.

"But I haven't asked my question yet Tenchi," she said her warm breath tickling his ear.

"All right, just make it quick already."

Instead of making a lewd comment about "quickies" Ryoko asked her question.

"I heard you and Aeka had a talk today. You didn't happen to make any...plans did you?" Ryoko used her most sensual voice.

"Well...you see Ryoko, about that...I...uh," Tenchi stammered. Ryoko leaned even closer to his ear.

"Tenchi," she barely whispered.



"Meandaekaaregoingonapicniclaterthisweek!" He said in one breath.

Ryoko abruptly released him and stepped away with her face in her hands. "How could you do this to me? Your first date was supposed to be with me."

"Now wait just a minute, this is not a date," Tenchi protested.

"Hmm, a guy and a girl go out by themselves to eat and share company. Gee what do you call that?" Ryoko said sarcastically.

"Now Ryoko, don't jump to conclusions. I asked her because..."

"You asked her because she tricked you Tenchi," Ryoko cut him off. "You may think she's sweet and kind but Aeka's really devious inside! She tricked me into staying with Mihoshi all day, and now she's guilt-tripped you into this date!"

"It wasn't like that at all," Tenchi shot back angrily. "She apologized to me."


"Aeka apologized to me for overreacting when I saw her. I don't agree with her on that point so I thought up the picnic so we could talk things over."

Feeling smaller than a proton, Ryoko walked back up to Tenchi.

"Guess I tend to overreact myself sometimes," she said sheepishly.

"Yeah well, I should have prepared you for it," Tenchi said. "So are we clear Ryoko?"

"It's not us I'm worried about," she answered. "I sort of unloaded on Aeka a while ago. I should probably go talk to her."

Tenchi was surprised to see genuine concern in the golden eyes.

May wonders never cease. Ryoko actually cares about Aeka's feelings.

He was about to voice his newfound insight when a loud whine of engines interrupted, as a large GP patrol ship passed overhead.

"It's the Yagami," he said to himself. "I guess Kiyone's decided to come back. I wonder what Mihoshi will do?"

"Well, let's find out," Ryoko said floating toward the shrine steps and pulling Tenchi behind her. "I missed my soaps today and I'm dying for some drama." ^_^



The stadium was filled to standing room only with every type of alien species imaginable. Over a million spectators waved banners and flags or clapped their hands, tentacles, flippers, etc. for their favorite competitor. Down in the center of the playing surface sat a single table, at which sat one blue-hared girl and one blonde-hared woman. Between them was a game board emblazoned with a grid of red and black squares. A roar went up in the crowd as both players turned to wave at their respective fans. Then a giant air horn sounded and both players' expressions changed to a look of extreme concentration.

"Welcome to the Inter-dimensional Coliseum for the first, and only checkers tournament for the rank of Supreme Ruler of the Universe!" Came the disembodied voice of the announcer. An announcer who curiously, sounded like a young girl. High above the stadium flew a helium blimp, which carried the camera crew and commentators for KWAI Inter-Galactic TV, radio, internet, sub-space and answering service.

"Hi folks! I'm your host Little Washu Hakubi with my partner...ahem..." the miniature scientist nudged the silent princess beside her.

"Princess Aeka Jurai," Aeka paused and put her hand over the microphone. "Do I have to say it?"

"No," Washu said as her holographic computer appeared in font of her with one flashing button, marked "kappa." "Not if you don't want to."

"All right I'll do it!" Turning back Aeka took a deep breath and said:


At once fireworks went off, cheerleaders rushed the field, and a giant stage appeared with a nervous looking Hank Williams Jr. singing "Are You Ready for some Checkers?"

Making sure that Washu wasn't looking Aeka rolled her eyes. ^_^

It had started out innocently enough. Sasami walked in from the kitchen and upon seeing her sister looking rather unhappy, she suggested that they play a game of checkers to lift their spirits. Several minutes later into the game, Mihoshi woke up and also wanted to play. So the girls set up a tournament with "Queen of the Household" as a prize. The detective and younger princess had easily eliminated Aeka, early on, and had been playing each other ever since. They were tied with three games each when Washu came out of her lab for a snack and got the idea for the stadium. Aeka didn't understand all of it but the semi-mad genius went on about pitting "innate skill versus blind luck in the ultimate grudge match." Though she wasn't in the mood for such games, Aeka was glad to see the others enjoying themselves. The pre-game show was almost over when Aeka noticed a light on Washu's board begin flashing.

"Little Washu," she spoke up. "What is that?"

"Huh?" Washu was engrossed in the unfolding spectacle on the field. "Hmm, looks like we've got company. Take her down Captain!" The chibi mecha puppets piloting the airship scrambled to comply.

"Aye, aye Washu!" "A" said, cutting the air speed.

"With greatest hate Washu!" "B" said sharply cutting the altitude.

"Washu wait, we're dropping too fast!" Aeka screamed as she clutched her armrests. But Washu didn't seem to hear as she laughed maniacally while the ship plummeted.


Birds took to flight as the red, streamlined spacecraft came in for a landing. Setting down just beside the lake, Kiyone set the Yagami's engines to standby and ran the requisite systems checks.

"All right," she said steadying herself on the console. "Here goes nothing."

Gathering her courage, Kiyone opened the hatch and disembarked...into a warm, partly sunny afternoon. She'd forgotten how pleasant the days could be on this planet. A cool breeze brought the scent of wild flowers to her nostrils. Kiyone began walking toward the house but stopped short when she saw a delegation coming to meet her.

Aeka walked briskly toward her, her mouth set in barely controlled anger while Mihoshi walked slightly to the side and behind her. Her eyes were downcast, but had no readable expression. Behind the first group walked Washu and Sasami along with Ryo-Ohki. While the two girls chatted among themselves the cabbit hopped around happily at their heels.

Kiyone noticed that Ryoko had materialized with Tenchi, about 20 yards to her left, yet they made no move to approach when the main group arrived.

"Well Kiyone," Aeka said, her indignation covered with a veneer of politeness. "You have finally decided to grace us with your presence. What have you got to say for yourself?"

Kiyone could hear the contempt in the princess's voice.

"Look, I'm sorry for leaving like I did," she said quickly. "I hope Mihoshi wasn't too much of a burden for you."

"She was not a burden," Aeka snapped dropping the polite act. "I'll have you know that we've enjoyed having Mihoshi here with us." The two stared each other down for a moment until Kiyone dropped her eyes.

"I know what I did was wrong," Kiyone began again. "But I've come to take Mihoshi home. We have some things to talk about."

Suddenly, Mihoshi grabbed Aeka's hand and looked at her pleadingly.

What the hell is going on here?

After a silent conversation with the blonde Aeka turned back to Kiyone.

"I'm afraid that isn't an option," she said. "Mihoshi doesn't wish to go anywhere with you."

"She said no such thing," Kiyone's voice raised. "I don't know what's going on here but I need to talk to Mihoshi."

"I don't see why you should," Aeka retorted hotly. "You didn't deem it necessary to even say goodbye when you abandoned her. Tell me, were you ever coming back, or did you just forget your toothbrush?"

Kiyone staggered back as if struck.

"Aeka!" Sasami spoke up but her sister ignored her.

"You must have the most colossal nerve, coming back as if nothing has happened," Aeka continued as Sasami and Mihoshi tried to hold her back. "You are so selfish, thinking only of yourself when someone who cares about you is waiting for you. How dare you come back after what you did? After what you said to me RYOKO?!"

Not even a bird dared to interrupt the thick silence. The princess felt the scrutinizing stares of the others on her back, and the bewildered looks of Mihoshi and her partner. She had to say something, do something to explain herself but was paralyzed with embarrassment. Aeka felt a hand touch her shoulder.


The princess turned to meet a pair of golden hued eyes.

"Ryoko I..." Aeka couldn't finish.

"Come on, let's get something to eat. I'm starved!" Ryoko said.

Though she didn't understand it, Kiyone saw something pass between the two young women. However, she couldn't dwell on the mystery.

"Uh...Mihoshi," the blonde detective looked up. "Can we go somewhere to talk?"

Once again Mihoshi turned to Aeka almost as if seeking her approval. Aeka gave her a slight nod, then she, Ryoko and the others headed back to the house. Tenchi, after waving a greeting to Kiyone, walked back up to the shrine. The teal-hared detective turned to find her partner already heading for the wooden dock that overlooked the lake.

Walking quickly to catch up, Kiyone followed Mihoshi to the end of the wooden structure. Mihoshi sat down, letting her feet dangle over the edge. After a moment's hesitation Kiyone followed suit. Minutes passed as the partners sat in silence staring at the placid lake. The occasional breeze ruffled the crystal waters causing the sun's reflected rays to dance. Kiyone warred with herself, wanting desperately to speak, but not knowing what to say. The decision was taken out of her hands when Mihoshi spoke.

"You hurt me Kiyone," she whispered.

"What?" Kiyone asked.

"You hurt me," Mihoshi repeated, louder this time.

"Look Mihoshi," Kiyone began. "I'm really sorry about leaving you behind."

"It's not that at all!" Mihoshi's eyes burned with emotion. "You hurt me!"

Kiyone's head snapped back at the blonde's forcefulness.

"I don't understand," she said.

"It's you Kiyone," Mihoshi said quietly. "You were the last person I ever though would do that. I thought it would even be safe to l..." Mihoshi broke off and looked away.

Kiyone put a hand on her shoulder and drew Mihoshi into her arms.

"I never meant to hurt you," she said. "I just needed some time to think."

They sat in silence for a long moment.

"I thought about you," Kiyone spoke up. "I tried to forget but all I could see was your face."

"I missed you too Kiyone."

Kiyone touched her partner's cheek and was shocked to find it dry.

I've never seen Mihoshi so upset that she couldn't cry.

Kiyone then realized just how close she was to loosing her best friend. She had to do something.

"Listen," she said. "I still have some of my vacation money left. Let's go sing karaoke like we used to."

"Really Kiyone?" Mihoshi's features brightened considerably. Kiyone nodded. "Can Aeka come too?"

"Well I guess so, if that's what you want," Kiyone answered, not sure what else to say."

"Yay!" Mihoshi jumped to her feet, once again her bubbly self. Encouraged by this, Kiyone touched her arm.

"Mihoshi," Kiyone said tentatively. "Are we okay?"

Mihoshi's smile faltered.

"No, we're not."

"Will we ever be?"

"I don't know..."


Ryoko and Aeka sat on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry's™ ice cream between them. Ryoko wanted to talk but the princess had shot down all attempts at conversation. She feigned interest in the brainless program on the television something to do with little blue creatures that always got into trouble). Tired of the silent treatment, the pirate touched the carton and absorbed some of it's cold. She then phased her hand through Aeka's clothes and onto her back.

"Ahhh!" she screamed nearly jumping out of her skin. "Ryoko you're terrible," she said trying to regain her composure but giggling in spite of herself.

"Good," Ryoko said. "At least we know you can still talk."

"I'm not talking to you," Aeka tried to turn away but Ryoko held her shoulder.

"We're going to talk about this right now."

"Fine, what do you want to say?"

Ryoko took a breath and plunged ahead.

"I'm sorry for what I said. I didn't mean it. I just jumped to the wrong conclusion."

"But that's just the problem Ryoko," Aeka said angrily. You were all too ready to believe the worst about me."

"Well I talked to Tenchi and he set me straight," Ryoko said. "Besides, you've been known to overreact yourself princess."

"Yes, I have," Aeka agreed a ghost of a smile touching her lips. "I suppose I should apologize to Kiyone now."

"I wouldn't worry about it too much," Ryoko said taking Aeka's hand. "She probably deserved about half of that." She gently kissed the back of the hand.

"Ryoko," Aeka said leaning on her shoulder. "Would you happen to have any more of that ice cream?"

Ryoko smiled as she handed her the spoon.


Later that night [Akio's Karaoke Joint]


Kiyone sat on the low couch hiding a smile as Mihoshi and Aeka giggled through their rendition "Rinbu Revolution." She sighed, amazed at how well those two were getting along.

Mihoshi's usually with me most of the time. I guess she never took the time to explore a friendship with Aeka.

"Hey Aeka," Ryoko called out from the other side of the couch with sake in hand. "The kennel just called and all the dogs are going crazy!"

Surprisingly, the princess only stuck her tongue out at the pirate. It had been like that all night. Ryoko would make a ribald remark about Aeka and the princess would reciprocate smartly. Although it seemed normal enough, Kiyone noticed that the banter none of its usual edge. It was missing that nastiness that made the Masaki household a near war zone. The girls were being almost...playful toward each other. Kiyone also noticed that when they weren't singing or insulting each other, Ryoko would lean over and whisper something in Aeka's ear. The princess would then blush slightly and quickly look away. Strange as all this was, it didn't hold Kiyone's attention for very long. She and Mihoshi had their own problems.

After Aeka agreed to come along for a night out and Ryoko invited herself along, Mihoshi decided to bring her things back to the apartment. So after unloading the Yagami and sending it to high orbit, the whole group walked the short distance to the detectives' favorite karaoke club. The whole night Mihoshi still hadn't said two words to Kiyone. Even when they sang together Kiyone noticed that the warm feeling she usually got was missing. It was as if she had been sitting near a comfortable fireplace for years and someone had suddenly dowsed the flames. She realized that Mihoshi was the warmth in her heart. Kiyone thought she could hear Nagi's mocking laughter.

*I have to do something,* she thought as the song ended and Aeka made for her seat. Mihoshi, meanwhile, had decided to sing once more. Not wishing to waste any more time, Kiyone got up and approached her.

"Hey Mihoshi," she said. "There are some things we need to talk about."

Mihoshi looked at her for a moment. Her blue gaze bored into Kiyone's eyes until she finally said:

"No, not yet Kiyone."


"Not right now. Why don't you listen to my song instead?" She turned away effectively ending the conversation. More confused than ever, Kiyone sat down next to Ryoko.

"Come on princess," she said her voice already slurred. "Loosen up and have a another."

"I do believe you're drunk Miss Ryoko," Aeka said shoving away the offered glass. "You just want me to become intoxicated so that I'll make a fool of myself."

"Well you are a lot less obnoxious when you've had a few."

"I'm already over my limit. And beside, someone will have to drag your inebriated carcass home!"

Kiyone smiled at the display.

*At least those two haven't changed...much.*

Kiyone's gaze returned to the front as the music started. It was a soft ballad that sounded vaguely familiar.

There's a hero,

If you look inside your heart

You don't have to be afraid of what you are.


There's an answer,

If you reach inside your soul

And the sorrow that you know

Will melt away.


And then a hero comes along,

With the strength to carry on

And you cast your fears aside,

And you know you can survive.

So when you feel like hope is gone,

Look inside you and be strong

And you'll finally see the truth,

That a hero lies in you.

Mihoshi's voice was strong and clear. Even Aeka and Ryoko paused their antics to listen in. While the melody was beautiful, Kiyone could only hear the words and the meaning behind them. The song was in English, one of several languages the detectives had to learn upon taking on the resident officer position.

"What's she saying?" Ryoko rasped in Kiyone's ear, her breath reeking of alcohol. But Kiyone was too stunned to answer. Mihoshi, the person she'd done her best abandon and forget was singing a song to her.

Lord knows,

Dreams are hard to follow.

But don't let anyone tear them away.

Hold on,

There will be tomorrow.

In time you'll find the way.


And then a hero comes along,

With the strength to carry on

And you cast your fears aside,

And you know you can survive.

So when you feel like hope is gone

Look inside you and be strong.

And you'll finally see the truth

That a hero lies in you.


As the song ended, Aeka and Ryoko began applauding and found herself standing up. Mihoshi replaced the microphone and walked up to her.

"Mihoshi," Kiyone said. "That was incredible."

Light color touched Mihoshi's cheeks.

"Kiyone," she said. "Do you think we can go home now?"

"Sure," Kiyone said looking back at the couch where the pirate and princess seemed to be...wrestling? "We'll just have to collect those two."

After dragging Ryoko from her position on top of Aeka, the group made the short walk back to Miho-Kiyo's apartment. Kiyone noted, at a later time, that Aeka wasn't as thrilled as she should have been to get Ryoko off of her. In fact she looked almost, disappointed.

When they got back to the apartment, the girls found themselves in a dilemma. Ryoko was far too drunk to teleport home.

"I'm not drunk!" Ryoko protested with bottle in hand. "I can get us home no problem Princess." And she dematerialized, only to reappear a moment later with her head stuck in the TV.

"Just as I thought," Aeka said as Mihoshi began yanking on Ryoko's legs. "Well I suppose we could take the train." Aeka stumbled and fell face first into Mihoshi, who had just managed to free Ryoko.

"I guess you two will just have to stay with us tonight." Kiyone paused thoughtfully. "Mihoshi, do we have any spare futons?"

Once again freeing the space pirate, Mihoshi shook her head negatively.

"We pawned the last two to get the hotplate out of pawn."

"We'll have to share then."

"Oh I hope we're not putting you out," Aeka fretted.

"Don't worry about it," Mihoshi said reassuringly. "Kiyone and I are used to it. We had to share a sleeping bag for our survival refresher course."

"Hey Aeka!" Ryoko floated over to Aeka's side and began tugging on her kimono. "You remember what all the survival experts say. We have to get naked to share body heat."

"I believe that alcohol has finally damaged your brain!"

"I'll give you brain damage..."

"Hey one of you had better call home and tell them what's happened," Kiyone said, disarming a potentially explosive exchange. "Here use the vid-link." She led Aeka to the flat screen console on the dresser.

"Oh I simply couldn't," Aeka protested. "If Lord Tenchi saw me like this he would think me a woman of loose morals."

"If your morals got any looser you might slip up and actually have a personality," Ryoko taunted.

"Fine I'll do it," Kiyone cut them off. While Mihoshi got the passively resisting girls ready for bed, Kiyone dialed up the sub-space vid-link that Washu had setup between the apartment and the Masaki residence for classified information and emergencies. After a moment, Tenchi appeared on the screen. At least she thought it was him. His face was covered in a green goo and his hair looked like it had gum in it.

"Hi," Kiyone said. "What happened to you?"

"Washu and Sasami wanted to have a slumber party," Tenchi said matter-of-factly. "I fell asleep first."

"Washu gets too carried away sometimes," Kiyone said trying to stifle a laugh.

"Washu? No this was Sasami's idea," Tenchi said a blur of blue hair passing behind him. "So how's your night going?"

"Fine thanks," Kiyone said. "But Ryoko and Aeka will have to stay with us tonight."

"Are they all right?"

"They're fine. It's nothing a good night's sleep and a cup of coffee won't fix." Tenchi nodded knowingly.

"Thank you guys for looking after them."

"It's no problem, really."

"Well," Tenchi paused to duck a thrown pillow. "I'd better go before they start pulling more pranks."

After signing off Kiyone turned to see that Aeka and Ryoko were both snug in their bed and Mihoshi was already in her pajamas.

"Mihoshi, could we talk before we go to bed?"

Mihoshi looked up for a moment, then nodded.

Kiyone grabbed her own teal pajamas and went to the bathroom to change. After a few minutes to gather her thoughts she emerged with a new determination.

"It's time to have that talk Mihoshi..." Kiyone broke off when she saw that the blonde wasn't looking at her but rather at a spot on the floor. Stepping away from the bathroom, Kiyone followed her partner's gaze to the strangely undulating futon.

"Uh, what's going on here?" Kiyone asked warily. A light giggling sound came from the futon as it began to move faster.

"Oh that?" Mihoshi asked, getting back to preparing the bed. "They've been doing stuff like that all week."

"Why didn't you say anything about this before," Kiyone asked, still eyeing the futon.

"I didn't think it was any of my business. I was just glad they were getting along."

"Maybe we should go out on the balcony to talk," Kiyone suggested.

"Oh I'm sure we could just ignore them."

*She's really nervous about being alone with me.* Kiyone thought. She considered staying indoors for a moment.

And then a pair of silk panties slapped her square in the face.

"Ryoko!" Aeka's voice gasped. "You really are a juvenile delinquent!"

"Prepare to be corrupted Princess," came Ryoko's voice followed by more giggling. Mihoshi carefully peeled the underwear from Kiyone's shocked face.

"Uh...how about you pull the futon outside while I put these somewhere," she suggested.


As Kiyone dragged the futon outside, the princess and pirate's giggling turned into panting and moaning. She tried to ignore the sound of their passion as she brought out some pillows and a blanket.

"I've had enough!" Aeka cried out. "For the sake of universal peace I will finish you off!"

"Alright," Ryoko answered huskily. "Let's just see if you really can...oh...oh yeah...harder! Yeah, right in my-"

Kiyone was spared that bit of detail when Mihoshi closed the sliding glass door.

"Thanks," Kiyone said handing her a pillow. "How did you put up with that for a week?"

"It wasn't so bad," Mihoshi said looking out at the city. "They've been pretty secretive about it. I only walked in on them three times but they were so into each other they didn't notice me."

The two lapsed into an awkward silence. Gazing out at the city, Kiyone marveled at how busy it seemed, even at this late hour.

So many lives are going on at this moment totally oblivious to the drama up here.

"It was a beautiful song." The voice jarred Kiyone from her thoughts. Even more shocking was that it was her own.

"I didn't know you were so good at English."

"Thank you," came Mihoshi's quiet reply. Kiyone tried to see her expression but her

face was turned away.

*What can I say to make this right?*

"We can't live like this Mihoshi," Kiyone said pleadingly. "Tell me how to make this right." The blonde woman trembled slightly.

"You hurt me Kiyone," she said again, quietly. "You, of all people hurt me."

Great, This again!

"What does that mean?" Kiyone cried flailing her arms in frustration. "How did I hurt you? Just tell me already!"

"I care for you!" Mihoshi screamed. She turned to her partner revealing a face streaked with tears. "For all my life people took advantage of me. My grandpa said I'm too trusting but I like trusting people. I want to find the good in everyone. But they just kept stepping all over me. It hurts, but I don't mind it much. When the people at headquarters made jokes behind my back I just ignored them. I know how I got my job and it's not because of who my grandfather is. Even when you yell at me Kiyone," the teal-hared woman tensed at the mention of her name.

"I know you're just trying to make me more responsible and a better detective. I know that you don't mean anything by it. But, when you left me..."

Mihoshi staggered and had to grab the railing for support. When Kiyone tried to place a hand on her shoulder, she shook it off violently.

"When you left me behind," she continued. "Without even saying goodbye. I knew that not only did you not want to work with me; but that you didn't even want me. You couldn't even stand the thought of being with me." Mihoshi was crying steadily now and was quickly flying out of control. However, she tried to continue.

"When we were first paired as partners, do you remember what you promised me?"

Kiyone shook her head 'no.' "You said that you'd always watch my back and I promised the same to you. I was so impressed when I first met you, Kiyone. You were smart and brave and very pretty. And you were honest too. I can't remember how many dirty cops I was partnered with before I found you. When I first found out who my new partner was going to be I stayed up all night reading your service record. I saw all your awards and commendations and even your test scores; but when I saw your face I knew, Kiyone. I knew that I was safe. That you wouldn't hurt me. Because Kiyone, you're my hero."

"What," Kiyone sputtered. "But...how?"

"It's who you are Kiyone, I can't explain it. You made me believe in people again; believe that there's a better way to live. Before you left, I thought it was safe to care about you. Before you left, I thought it was safe to...love you."

Mihoshi's voice trailed off into a sob and she sank to her knees weeping uncontrollably.

As she watched her partner weep an emotion rose in Kiyone. One for which she had no explanation.

"How could you Mihoshi?" She said coldly.


"How could you be so self-centered? Did you think it was all about you?"

"But Kiyone," Mihoshi protested.

"I'm not finished. You walk around everyday so righteous, thinking that you cornered the market on feelings and emotions. How dare you think that I don't care? Walking out that door was the hardest thing I've ever done. Did you know that I stood there for an hour just looking at you. And when I finally got to the Oseon System I couldn't get you out of my mind! Even when headquarters called me, I thought about you. I gave up, probably the biggest promotion of my career for you. Not because I care for you; not because I even like you. I did it because I love you!"

Kiyone's voice broke.

She felt the tears roll down her cheeks, their wetness cleansing the turmoil from her heart. Kiyone felt strong arms envelope her in a powerful embrace and the moisture of Mihoshi's cheek against her own. Raising one of Mihoshi's hands, Kiyone turned it over and kissed the inside of her wrist in an ancient gesture of affection from her home planet. Recognizing the significance of this, Mihoshi hugged her even more tightly.

"Kiyone," she said nervously.

"Yes Mihoshi?"

"I don't want to let go but...I need to..."

"What is it?"

"I'd like to kiss you, if you don't mind."

"Of course you can kiss me Mihoshi," Kiyone said turning herself so that she could look

into Mihoshi's eyes. "Why are you so nervous?"

"You see I...I never...you know kissed another woman before." She tried to look away but Kiyone held her face in her hands.

"That's alright, I'll help you out."

"You've done something like this before," Mihoshi asked with widening eyes.

"Well, only once," Kiyone confided. "It was after midterms at the academy and me and my roommate got really drunk to celebrate. We decided to do a little experimenting and...you know...happened. We never talked about it afterward though."

"Oh," Mihoshi said. Kiyone lifted her chin and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. Mihoshi then kissed Kiyone in the same manner. Then, as their lips moved closer together, Kiyone hesitated.

No turning back now.

She slowly but firmly pressed her lips against those of her partner. So soft!

It was like touching satin for the first time. Kiyone felt Mihoshi's hands running along her back, her neck, and burying themselves in her hair. Mihoshi tilted her head and her lips parted to release a sensual moan. It was a tone of voice Kiyone had never heard before in her partner, and it excited her. Finding an opening, Kiyone slid her tongue into Mihoshi's inviting mouth. Mihoshi reciprocated with her own tongue and pressed her body against Kiyone's making a perfect fit. It was as if they belonged that way.

Kiyone breathed in Mihoshi's cinnamon-like natural scent and slid her hands along her back until she reached her lovely neck. Pausing to loosen the purple hair ribbon, Kiyone allowed the golden tresses to spill down Mihoshi's back. Kiyone plunged her hands in, feeling the silky softness run through her fingers. She also felt a slight dampness there.

*What the...?*

Kiyone broke the kiss, suddenly stepping back. Mihoshi, still stunned from the kiss, could only stare at her questioningly. Kiyone merely pointed at the sky. And then the downpour began.

Kiyone put her arms back around the already soaked Mihoshi.

"Somehow," she said. "I knew that was going to happen."

"Well you know Kiyone," Mihoshi said into her ear. "I am your bad luck charm."

Both girls burst out laughing at that. When their laughter subsided, the rain had settled into a steady pace. Mihoshi fell silent, laying her head on her partner's shoulder.

"You wanna go back inside?" Kiyone asked.

Mihoshi shook her head.

"So you want to stay out here?"

A nod.

"We can't possibly sleep in this, we'll catch our deaths."

At that point Mihoshi looked up at her with a devilish grin. "I know a way we can keep warm," she said running her hands down to grasp Kiyone's firm rear end.

"Mmmm...that feels good," Kiyone purred.

"If I remember our survival training correctly," Mihoshi said in a most mischievous voice. "We'll have to get out of these wet clothes."

Taking the cue Kiyone slid her hands around to Mihoshi's front, gently exploring the soaking wet fabric of her pajama top. The garment clung to the blonde woman's voluptuous body like a second skin, and beneath it Kiyone could just make out the outline of a firm stomach, large round breasts capped with hardened nipples. As Kiyone's hands grazed these points of sensation Mihoshi moaned with pleasure. With agonizingly slow movements, Kiyone unbuttoned the pink top and peeled it away, exposing the bronze skin beneath. Kiyone knelt down facing Mihoshi's incredible mounds. Taking one in each hand, Kiyone buried her face in their softness.

"Ahh!" Mihoshi cried out as the teal-hared woman began pulling her sensitive, dark nipples. Kissing her way upward, Kiyone took a nipple in her mouth and suckled it, reveling in the taste of Mihoshi's skin mixed with the flavor of rainwater. Mihoshi gasped as Kiyone began pulling down her pajama bottoms.

"No Kiyone," she managed to get out.

"What," Kiyone asked as Mihoshi pulled her up to face her.

"Not yet," Mihoshi said as she began to kiss her partner. Kiyone shivered as Mihoshi kissed the raindrops from her neck.

"Oh Mihoshi," she crooned. "You're so good."

Mihoshi pulled Kiyone's light-teal top off and began massaging her firm breasts. She continued kissing and caressing until she reached Kiyone's erect nipples. Pausing for a moment, Mihoshi tilted her head as if in deep thought. Just as Kiyone was going to ask if she was alright, Mihoshi drew in a breath and gently blew across the nipples.

"Ohh!" Kiyone moaned at the sensation of her partner's breath and the rain drops on the sensitive region. Shivering as Mihoshi playfully flicked her tongue across her left nipple, Kiyone felt that she couldn't take much more of this teasing. Deciding that Kiyone had suffered enough, Mihoshi stood and embraced her partner once more. A thrill

ran down her spine as her own soft breasts came into contact with Kiyone's.

They kissed once more, but this was no mere kiss. Kiyone slid her tongue deeper than she thought possible. Her senses became acute and she could not only feel Mihoshi against her. She could also smell her electrifying scent. She could hear the rushing of blood in her veins. She could taste the pure passion that this woman exuded. Kiyone's kiss went deeper, level by level, towards the very core of Mihoshi's being, only to find...

Her self.

She found the person that she had thought was long dead after countless encounters with the dregs of the galaxy. That same idealism and zeal that had started her on the path of law enforcement. The eternally young girl, who believed that most beings were good inside and just needed a chance to prove that goodness. Kiyone knew that she could never again be that young or naive, but wanted to be none-the-less. While she had turned away from that life Mihoshi embraced it. Her bravery both confounded and intrigued Kiyone. The blonde woman remained open to the sticks and stones life threw at her on the slim hope that she would find a gem where a stone should have been. Kiyone felt that, while she could never be that courageous, she could at least touch that lost part of herself by loving Mihoshi as much as she could, for as long as she was able.

Reaching inside Mihoshi's pajama bottom, Kiyone found a warm wetness that was different than the cool rain. Mihoshi's breath caught in her throat and she began to tremble.

"Ki-Ki-Kiyone," she gasped. "Please d-don't stop!"

The blonde's pleasure increased seven-fold as Kiyone began to slowly rub the warm wetness. Kneeling once more, Kiyone gently tugged down the bottoms exposing a pair of white, cotton panties decorated with little pink hearts. The fabric was already soaked through and Kiyone could see the flaxen hairs that covered Mihoshi's sex. Kiyone grasped the sides of the panties and slowly pulled them down, all the while breathing in the heavenly aroma of Mihoshi's arousal. With her tongue, Kiyone parted the nether lips. Mihoshi moaned and grasped Kiyone's head, guiding her to her most sensitive areas. Kiyone's tongue wended its way to the hub of pleasure, Mihoshi's pink clitoris. Unable to keep her composure Mihoshi dropped to her knees.

"Wait Kiyone," she exclaimed.

"Why?" Kiyone sat back in surprise.

"I want our first time to be special so...Could we try it...at the same time?"

"Sure," Kiyone smiled, guessing where this was going.

Mihoshi tentatively pulled down Kiyone's shorts, discovering that she hadn't been wearing any underwear.

"Kiyone," Mihoshi exhaled at the sight of the teal-covered core. "It's..it's so pretty!"

"Thanks for noticing," Kiyone blushed. Mihoshi reached out and probed the nether region with her finger eliciting a moan from her partner. Encouraged by this, the blonde woman slid a finger inside and out in a steady rhythm. With each new thrust Kiyone's breath quickened until she was panting. She then drew Mihoshi closer and, with her own hand, began thrusting into her at the same rate. Both girls were nearing the edge, but neither wanted to stop. So when Mihoshi caught Kiyone's eye they moved into a new position.

Kiyone lay down while Mihoshi positioned her sex over her face. She then bent over, burying her face in Kiyone's eager snatch. With the cool rain washing over her back Kiyone's inner warmth was just what Mihoshi needed. Throwing herself into the effort, she lapped at Kiyone's tender insides while tweaking her clit.

"OH GOD!" Kiyone moaned into her muff.

As she began thrusting two fingers in at a frantic rate Kiyone felt her partner tense, then shudder tremendously.


Mihoshi's passionate cry lit Kiyone's heart afire as her back arched in an orgasm of her own. Mihoshi had been thrust into a universe of pure pleasure that was made even sweeter when she thought of who gave her that feeling. Kiyone, the woman whom she had loved at first sight, had returned that love. And now? She didn't know what would happen now but Mihoshi was sure they would face it together.

After getting back upright, the detectives held each other, huddling close for warmth.

"You know something?" Kiyone began.

"What?' Mihoshi asked into her shoulder.

"There probably isn't anyone else I'd rather be out on a balcony freezing with than you."

"I love you too Kiyone."


Miho-Kiyo's Apartment[Just before sunrise]


At around 5:30a.m. Mihoshi and Kiyone snuck back inside and grabbed some towels and robes for themselves. While Mihoshi dried her hair, Kiyone put on a pot of tea to boil. After it was done, Kiyone brought the tea out to the balcony, where Mihoshi was looking out at the slowly brightening city.

"Here," she sad handing over a cup.

"Thank you," Mihoshi said turning once again. "It'll be any minute now."

"Until what?" Kiyone queried.

"MISS RYOKO!" came Aeka's voice followed by a loud crash. "What are you doing in my bed?!"

"Your bed?" came Ryoko's groggy voice. "This is my bed! What are you trying to pull Princes?"

"That," Mihoshi finished, and both detectives shared a laugh.

"I wonder if they know that we know," Kiyone mused. "We'd better stop them before they trash the apartment."

"Oh, don't worry about that," Mihoshi said knowingly. "They won't go that far."

Before Kiyone could ask why, the glass door opened and Aeka stepped out looking quite disheveled with her kimono wrapped tightly around her. The princess' eyes darted to and fro as she approached the duo.

"You're up early Aeka,' Mihoshi said cheerfully.

"Yes I thought I'd watch the sun rise with you..." Aeka paused as if she wanted to say more.

"Ms. Aeka?" Kiyone prompted.

"I just...wanted to...apologize." She paused uncomfortably. "I may have seemed to be acting strangely last night but I assure you that whatever happened was because of my intoxication and that devil woman's antics. That said, I need you to tell me...er...if you know that is...where my..." A flush threatened to form on her cheeks and she prayed that the detectives couldn't see it.

"Hey Aeka," Ryoko called sticking her head through the door. "Did you find your panties yet?"

Aeka's flush came to life as she tried to keep from dying of embarrassment.

"It's not like it sounds! We were drunk and I was emotionally distressed! We-" The princess broke off at the sound of laughter. "Wha-what's so funny?"

"Your underwear is on my dresser," Mihoshi finally answered after catching her breath."

"Then...you knew?" Aeka's voice grew soft and wary.

"Mihoshi figured it out, even before last night," Kiyone answered.

"Oh no!" Aeka wailed. "If she knows then, does everyone else also know?"

"Not really," Mihoshi said. "Of course I only walked in on you two about three times. I can't speak for the others."

Ryoko came all the way outside and put her arms around Aeka.

"Relax Princess," she said. "At least we don't have so many people to keep our secret from anymore." She tried to kiss Aeka on the lips.

"Ugh! What morning breath," Aeka said pushing her away. "Go brush your teeth first."

Looking dejected Ryoko stalked back inside mumbling, "...you weren't complaining last night." When she was gone, Aeka's gaze returned to Mihoshi and Kiyone.

"Please, you must keep my secret," she pleaded. "If this got back to Jurai, or Lord Tenchi..."

"Don't worry about it Aeka," Kiyone said, hugging Mihoshi suddenly. "And besides, we have a little secret of our own."

Tears sprang from Aeka's eyes.

"You mean..?" Both detectives nodded. "I'm so happy for the both of you! I only hope that I can find true love such as yours."

"Aren't you and Ryoko in love too?" Mihoshi asked.

"Hell no!" Ryoko answered coming back outside. "It's more like a sick and twisted attraction, but it works." She put her arms around Aeka and once more tried a kiss, this time successfully. "By the way Kiyone, I had a little trouble with your tooth brush."

Ryoko held up the ragged remains of a blue GP issue toothbrush.

"Uh, keep it," Kiyone said.

"So, how about this sunrise?"

"Just keep looking ahead," Kiyone said pointing towards the buildings in the distance.

The faint light in the east grew and in five minutes the first sliver of golden-orange sunlight peeked shyly over the horizon. Just as the celestial light began to bathe the apartment in its splendor, an air horn blasted and a train passed directly in front of the view. Disappointed at the interruption, Aeka turned toward the sound of Kiyone and Mihoshi laughing once again.

"The 6:09 express," Kiyone said between laughs.

"Is always five minutes early," Mihoshi finished for her. The two shared a passionate kiss. Turning back, the princess as rewarded with the beautiful sunrise as the train speeded on its way.

"Mihoshi, Kiyone," she said. "You should see this."

"Don't bother," Ryoko said into her ear. "They're light-years away."

"But they're missing the best part."

"Princess, I don't think they're missing anything." ^-^




Preview of Next Episode

MIHOSHI: I'm so happy we're together now Kiyone! I want to tell the world!

KIYONE: Keep your voice down Mihoshi! I'm not ready to tell the others yet. And if headquarters finds out they'll split us up.

AEKA: It's finally time for my date with Lord Tenchi. What will I wear?

RYOKO: I thought it wasn't a date!

WASHU: Do I detect a note of jealousy in your voice Ryoko?

RYOKO: Have you been experimenting on your own brain again?

WASHU: Have some respect for your dear mother!

RYOKO: Yeah, right after I... Kappa! Kappa! Kappa!

TENCHI: All this and more on the next episode of TENCHI MUYO! Every Lesson Learned!

NOBUYUKI: It's surprisingly voyeuristic.