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By A Moonlit Lake

A/N: Warning, Ayeka fans. This is a Tenchi Ryoko story! sorry ^_~

Okays, I better mention that I wrote this fic for my best friend (/enemy -_-) Xilmin Nerrar. Do you hear me Xi-chan! I wrote this mush for you, so read it! Or I'll send u to Kami!! =P

By the way, I'm not a huge Tenchi fan. I'm really only writing this for my friend, so beware, the characters are probably really OOC. Gomen!

Ryoko sat at the edge of the lake, an enigmatic expression painted on her face. She wasn’t even a shadow of her usual self. Ayeka made a double take before she finally recognised Ryoko under the dim light of the moon.

Ayeka smirked. She wouldn’t have realised that it was that demon woman if it wasn’t for her ‘unique’ hairstyle.

Ryoko hugged her knees closer, letting two salty tears fall into the calm, crystalline lake below. What was the point? What was the point in going after him anymore? Ryoko never wanted to admit it, but somewhere, deep in a dark corner of her mind, a little voice had been calling out to her. Telling her to forget all about him. Leave him to the little princess, and be done with them all! But then she would feel that sharp piercing dagger in her chest, and the dull throbbing in the pit of her stomach. If she was to live without him, why bother living at all?

"Damn!" She cursed. ~I’m supposed to be stronger than that…~

"Poor little Ryoko." The dark, slim figure snorted from behind, "And what, may I ask, has gotten you so down?"

Ryoko didn’t turn around. Keeping her stare locked on the dark lake. Ayeka sighed irritably, foot tapping the ground in an attempt to ease her growing impatience.

"Ugh!" she growled, "Are you going to tell me or not? I have better things to do you know!"

"Well then, you should take care of your business and leave me alone." Ryoko spoke in a voice barely above a whisper. Ayeka hadn’t expected that. She had been prepared for one of Ryoko’s tantrums or some kind of cocky, snide remark. But for once, she seemed to be generally upset.

And now she didn’t know what to do! If Ryoko was just some *normal Human friend* , then Ayeka would be glad to stay and comfort her…but, but, she was a demon! A monster! Not to mention she was after her Tenchi.

Suddenly Ayeka noticed the small ripples forming on the calm surface of the lake. It wasn’t raining, that was for sure. Ayeka gasped. They were tears! Ryoko’s tears!

Ryoko was trying her hardest to keep those burning, salty tears back. This seemed to completely drain her body of power. But the last thing she wanted in the universe was to let her rival see her cry! ~I’m stronger than this. Falling pray to such emotions……but Tenchi, I…~

"Ryoko…?" Ryoko felt a small pressure on her left shoulder, and turned to face the young princess. Ayeka frowned, more than a little shocked. She had been right. Ryoko was crying. Her eyes were red and puffy, and her knees were tucked closely against her chest. Ayeka had never seen her look so weak and fragile before. Sighing heavily, the little princess wrapped an arm around the demon girl.

Ryoko covered her face with her hands, letting her tears flow freely. She couldn’t care less if it was Ayeka she was crying beside. All she could think about was Tenchi. Would he ever realise how strong her feelings were for him? Could she ever tell him? And if she did… would he even care?

"Tenchi." Ryoko whispered through her sobs.

Ayeka's eyes widened, stunned as she realised that Tenchi was the reason Ryoko was acting so…so, so un-Ryoko like! Did she honestly care for him this much? Ayeka remembered that sorrowful look Ryoko had given her earlier, puffy eyes flooded with tears. Maybe Ayeka had been wrong about Ryoko chasing after Tenchi. Maybe Ryoko cared about him more than she herself did. This led her to question her own feelings for the handsome young warrior.

Suddenly, Ryoko broke free of Ayeka's hold and rose to her feet, still sniffling a little. Ayeka looked up at her with a questioning expression.

"And where do you think you're going?" Ayeka asked, masking the concern she held for her. Ryoko didn't make any eye contact with the little princess. Her golden eyes continued to stare into the darkness, but there was a small hint of a smile.

"Guess I'm doing something I should've done a long time ago. See ya later.....friend." Turning her back on the human girl, Ryoko began walking off into the dark night air, refusing to look back.

"But…but…Ryoko!" Ayeka called, a little scared that this time Ryoko wasn't playing around. "Aaarrrr, Ryoko!! I am ordering you to get back here right now!" There was no reply. Ayeka could only stand rooted to the spot as Ryoko disappeared into the black night air.

The stars were sparkling like a thousand diamonds in the velvety midnight sky. Tenchi always found them mesmerising at this time of night. Just like the glistening dew on fresh spring grass… or the sparkle in her eyes when his stare happened to fall upon hers. He felt his heart beat faster at the mere thought of her in his arms, sweet breath caressing his cheek as she whispered in his ear, right before they ki--

"TENCHI!! TENCHI!!" Ayeka shrieked, loud enough to wake the dead.

Tenchi leapt to his feet, his eyes wide with concern. "Wh, wh, what?! What's the matter Ayeka?" He asked, resting his hand on her shoulder.

Ayeka was in a fit. She had been searching high and low for Ryoko, but it seemed as if she had disappeared off the face of the earth.

"I looked! Tenchi believe me a looked!" Ayeka wailed. "She was upset so I tried to help her, but now she's gone off and…AND!!!"

Tenchi was seriously getting worried now, "What? What is it?"

The little princess howled, "SHE CALLED ME A FRIEND!!!!" Ayeka fell into Tenchi's arms, burrowing her face in his chest. Tenchi thought about this for a second before he realised who Ayeka was talking about.

"Ryoko? Where did you leave her? I mean, where did you last see her?" He stuttered, trying to keep his body from shaking. Ayeka snuffled loudy before pointing in the general direction of the lake. Before she had a chance to speak, Tenchi had bolted off into the darkness. Ayeka watched him slowly disappear as she began drying her puffy red eyes with her sleeve.

"I really hope you find each other."

Ryoko tensed as she heard Tenchi's calls through the blackened forest. ~That little do-gooder princess. Doesn't she know when she's won?~ Ryoko thought bitterly as she quickened her pace. Tenchi's calls were getting closer and closer. What would happpen if he found her. She'd be forced to tell him the reason why she was running away. Then she would have to hear him turn her down. Ryoko couldn't handle that. Even the thought of him denying her love cut her deeper than the sharpest of daggers.

She wasn't meant to be with him. Ryoko undertsood that now. ~Tenchi deserves a princess. Not a pirate.~

Ryoko pressed herself against the wide, rough trunk of a tree as she heard him pass her by. She swallowed thickly as she heard Tenchi repeatedly call her name. He sounded so hurt and betrayed.

"Ryoko!!...Ryoko...come back."

Ryoko bit her lip as she watched him run further into the black woods. She had never wanted to hurt him. Never. Maybe he couldn't return her love, but at least she'd be there for him. A friend, perhaps? Could she do that?

~A true warrior never runs away...then what the hec am I doing?~

Ryoko looked back at the path she had taken, then forward, to the bleak, dark trail ahead.

Tenchi walked back towards the house, feeling like his heart had just sunk to the bottom of his feet. There was that familiar hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach, but he wasn't hungry. The last thing he wanted was food! All he wanted was to have her back.

The sky was now a mix of pinks, red and oranges. He could smell that crisp morning freshness in the air. But it didn't make him feel any better; not now. He had been out all night searching for Ryoko without luck. Ayeka had been right, it was as if she had disappeared off the face of the--


Tenchi stood there, mouth gaping open at the sight of her. The burning red sun was beginning to rise behind him, lighting her face up with a warm golden glow. Tenchi's heart was beating so fast that he was sure he'd collapse. But then he recognised the fear and sorrow on her face. It just didn't belong there. Suddenly, he discovered the strength inside and raced towards her. Ryoko, forgetting all shock, fell into his warm embrace and held him tightly.

Tenchi continued to hold her in his arms, breathing in her sweet scent. The thought of losing her completely had never really occurred to him. But now he'd make sure that she would never leave. Even if she didn't return his love, he'd be there as a friend no matter what.

"Tenchi I'm, uhh...I didn't mean to..." Ryoko couldn't string the words together. She was so comfortable in his arms right now. To tell Tenchi that she loved him. What would happen? He'd let her go, that's what would happen.

"Ryoko, tell me. Tell me why you left...tell me why you came back?" He asked, gently tilting her chin up so that her golden eyes met with his.

"I'm in love with you Tenchi." She whispered, squeezing her eyes closed. There was nothing but silence. He hadn't answered her. Ryoko waited for his grip to loosen, their sweet embrace broken for all eternity.

Tenchi lifted a hand to carress her smooth cheek. She could feel his finger trailing down her nose, gently brushing her soft, full lips before finally sliding round to the back of her neck. Ryoko's eyes fluttered open, locking with his once more.

Losing all fear, Tenchi bent forward, and whispered softly into her ear, "I love you Ryoko, longer than forever."

Tenchi looked back into her sparkling golden eyes before pressing his lips against hers. The kiss soon turned into a long passionate embrace, promising the other an unbreakable bond of trust, friendship and love.

Tenchi lay on the bank beside the calm, crystalline lake, Ryoko wrapped tightly in his arms as they watched the sunrise. Ryoko's hand slipped into his as she snuggled closer against his chest. Her eyelids were slowly getting heavier and she knew sleep would soon take over. But that didn't matter anymore. Because she was no longer alone.

A/N: Erm, that was my very first Tenchi fic, and most defintitely my last, cos that totally SUCKED!! Apart from anything, it was a romance story! What is possessing me to write f**king romance stories god damnit!!!! ARG! mush, mush mush! nothin' but pathetic, fluffy mush!!....Fluffy mush??? o.O ......eeeeewwwwwww!!!

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