Hiatus by Val Shrum  (Tenchi timeline, several years after Tenchi Universe).

  The city bustled with the usual activity for the beginning of the weekend.  "It's been three years since I'd been here last." reminisced the mid-20's Galaxy Police officer. "Good memories." she murmured under her breath.  Kiyone Makibi, now 26 years old, placed her hands into the pockets of her mid-lengthed brown jacket.  She ran a hand through her hair, letting her bangs fall just slightly over her eyes.  She walked down the crowded street, idly browsing the different shops along the path.  Her eyes shifted along to a cozy little ramen kiosk off to the side.  She settled in at the end chair, ordering the first thing on the menu and a cup of sake.

   "Drinking alone?" asked the chef.

   "It goes well with the meal.  I'm entitled to relax every now and again."  She commented. 'Thank god I was able to go on vacation while Mihoshi was stuck catching up on required training.'

   "That's very true.  You look like you've had a long day.  Gotta love the grind of everyday corporations.  That's why I love working here, out in the open.  I try to bring a little happiness to each of my customers."

   "Thank you.  I bet you do a fine job of it too."  Kiyone smiled.  She carefully held the sake cup in her hand, taking a small sip.  The alcohol warmed her body, making her cheeks a little pink.  She continued to drink lightly until her meal arrived.  She ate her ramen slowly, savoring each bite.  "It's very good, thank you very much." She told the chef.  'I should find a place to stay tonight.  I haven't found an inn or hotel, been too busy sightseeing.' she reminded herself.

  Kiyone stood up from her seat.  She paid the owner and started to stroll down the street.  The crowd thickened as dusk turned into full out nighttime.  She sped up her pace, attempting to dodge the already fluid crowd of evening city-goers.  She yelped, getting pushed into an oncoming stranger. "Sorry!" She said out of embarrassment.

   "...Kiyone?" asked the man.

  She looked up, taking a moment to recognize those soft features.  A round face, accompanied by dark brown eyes and thick black hair.  She blinked, finally recognizing the familiar man, "Masaki Tenchi, is that you?"  Her voice seemed confused more than anything.  He looked very different from the last time she had encountered the youth.

   "That's my name."  He laughed light heartedly. "You look confused, are you okay?"

   "I'm fine, fine.."  She put a hand to her forehead. "I guess that drink was stronger than I thought.  You look..."  Her voice trailed off, eyes deeply examining his face "Different."

   "Really?  Well, I have been working out." He laughed again.  "I started to let my hair grow out when I got to college."

   "College?  I'm so out of touch."

   "Where's Mihoshi?  What are you doing here anyway?  Am I in danger again?"  He looked a little frustrated with the last statement.

   "No... nothing like that."  She pointed over to a nearby bar. "Let's sit down and talk, okay?  I promise it's nothing bad."

  Tenchi nodded, leading the way as he politely opened the door for Kiyone.  She found a small booth, setting down and ordered another drink.  Tenchi ordered the same. "It's killing me... why are you in Japan?"

   "Give the third degree much?"  She waved a hand at him, "The galaxy does not revolve around Tenchi, you know."  She paused, taking a sip of her drink when it arrived. "I... needed a vacation, badly.  This last mission I had been on -- well, I'm not going to go into details.  Mihoshi is taking a refresher course for the botched mission.  We were lucky to get out alive, and I requested some much needed time off away from her and the Galaxy Police."

   "How long has it been since you've been here?"  Tenchi asked, taking a hesitant drink from his own cup.

   "I don't know, a few years.  You were shorter back then."  She grinned. "I just... Earth always had this calming affect on me.  The jobs, the pleasant atmosphere... even when I was here  trying to make a living, I enjoyed my time here the more I thought about it.  I only realized what this place really meant to me recently."

   "I think I understand what you mean."  He spoke softly, "I tried to consider living on Jurai... and couldn't do it.  It may have been because I was born here, but Grandfather came all the way from there to here and created a life on his own on Earth.  Maybe there's something about this tiny planet that means more than I could ever understand in my lifetime."

  She nodded in quiet understanding, watching his face in gentle admiration. "So what are you studying in school now that you're not trying to be the future Prince?"

   "Well, I'm just taking care of the core classes right now...  but I'm actually thinking about becoming an Architect, like my Dad.  A lot of the buildings on Jurai gave me ideas.  Japan needs a facelift or two, and I think it'd be fun to pull it off."  He looked over at Kiyone, "Did you.. always want to be a Galaxy Police officer, or did it take some soul searching to find your place?"

   "This is weird."  She commented, "I don't think I've ever really had a full conversation with you without being interrupted."  She looked mildly perplexed, but the moment passed, "Well.. I've always had this strong sense of justice.  I guess the Galaxy Police was the next step, you know?  I just like to do what's right."

   "I think you're right.  I don't think I know anything about you at all.  I mean, I know you're a little older than me, but I honestly have no idea what you're really like.  A strong sense of justice... that would do it."  He finished his drink. "Where are you staying while visiting the city?"

   "I don't know."  She shrugged. "I was about to find a place to settle into, but I ran into you.  I find this much more exciting than watching television alone."

  He smiled, "Hey, I don't live too far from here.  We can stop by there and I can see if there are any nearby hotels with good deals.  Better than searching on foot, right?"

   "That's very true.  You're a good man, Tenchi."

  Tenchi blushed. "I'm just helping out a friend."

  Kiyone pulled on her coat as she stretched and stood up from the booth.  "Lead the way."  She voiced.

  Tenchi pulled on his own jacket.  "That's what I planned on doing."  He lead the way down the street and over to a smaller apartment complex.  Not quite along the downtown path, but pretty close.  He pulled out a key and went over to a mailbox. "Sorry, this'll just take a minute."

   "Take your time."  She rubbed her arms a little, the night air getting colder as the night progressed. "So you Dad and Grandfather set you up with this?"

   "It's really close to campus.  It's actually considered part of their dormitory program, so it is taken out of my tuition for the school."   He looked through the letters, "Hmm.. nothing too important.  Let's head up to put these away, and then I'll check the directory for local hotels for you."

   "I don't want to be any trouble."  She hugged herself, a little cold.

   "No trouble at all.  C'mon.  I'll make some cocoa to warm you up."  He smiled, placing a hand at the small of her back, gently urging her to walk beside him over to the apartment door.

  Tenchi opened the apartment door and flipped on a light.  He placed his mail on the kitchen counter and pointed over to the bed. "Sit down.  I'll get the cocoa ready."

   "Ah... lacking furniture I see.  How quaint."

   "Hey!  I'm a college student!  Who needs a couch when I have a desk, chair, kitchenette, and a bed?  It's not like I'm housing five other women or anything."

  Kiyone laughed lightly, "That would be a tight fit."  She looked around, taking in the view.  "Do you like living in the city?"

   "I like the freedom.  I'm not exactly the best cook though.  So.. I guess I miss the food back home.  I think College is this test for the real world."  He idly boiled some water on the stove, "I think I'll be able to survive.  I was a bachelor long before everyone appeared on Earth.  I know how to make a mean miso soup too."

   "You don't say?  I'll have to taste it before I believe it."  She yawned, glancing back over to the kitchen to catch a glimpse at Tenchi, who is just barely out of view.  She curled up on her side, laying carefully near the end of his bed.  She closed her eyes and pulled her jacket over herself like a blanket.

  Tenchi turned off the light in the kitchen area, carefully carrying two mugs of cocoa to the main room.  "Kiyone, here..."  He stopped, mid-statement.  He placed the mugs down on his desk and sighed, 'Another girl in my bed.  That's all I need.'  He took a deep breath, sitting down on his chair at the desk. 'I guess I should let her stay the night.  She's really exhausted.  I've never seen her like this...  I guess I can sleep on the floor.'  He moved from the chair to position himself over Kiyone.  He carefully slid his hands under her arms, lifting her slightly to place her at the head of the bed.  Her head softly fell against the pillow, Tenchi making sure to lift the covers for her to be comfortable.  Kiyone opened her eyes mid-positioning as he was innocently positioning her in the bed.

   "...T...Tenchi..."  She blushed as her heartbeat quickened. "Wha...what...wha..." She tried to sit up, forcing Tenchi to fall off balance and topple onto her.

   "Uwah!"  He grunted.  His cheeks flushed red, "I was just trying to help you lay down!"

  Kiyone nodded, "Okay..."  not really trying to move much from her position pinned beneath Tenchi.  'He's Tenchi!  What's wrong with you?!  Not your type, not even a possibility!'  She spoke up, "Are... you comfortable?"

  Tenchi also blushed a great deal. "..Well, now that you mention it... this is nice... but..."  He looked her over, "My arm is trapped..."

   "Ooh...s-sorry."  She moved forward, hoping to release his arm.  Her nose touched his for a moment.  They sat locked in that position - frozen in each others gaze.  She tilted her head quickly to the side, grazing his cheek with her own.  She set her forehead against his shoulder.  "That was close."  Kiyone whispered under her breath.

   "... I made us cocoa..."  He seemed to murmur through his nervous lips.  The sound of his quick heartbeat echoed in his chest.  He gulped rather audibly, his body tensed up against her.

  She whispered, "...thank you." into his ear.  Her hand touched the middle of his chest, "...Tenchi, are you okay?" pulling back just enough to view his expression.  He smiled nervously. "Of course I'm fine!"  She nodded again, moving in close to him.  'I think... I want this.  I'm so tired...' she thought.  Her eyes closed, head tilted just slightly before placing a shy kiss onto the lips of Masaki Tenchi.

  Her sweet, alcohol splashed lips touched his.  In that moment in time, everything that he had known about this person shattered.  Her hand moved from the center of his chest to his waist, settling softly there to hold him close.  Tenchi closed his eyes, returning his police womans' gesture with his own kiss.

  Kiyone pulled away.  Her fingers gently ran through the back of Tenchi's thick black hair.  She blushed, looking away from his gaze. 'What are you doing, Kiyone?  This is Tenchi... this is YOU.'

   "H...hey..."  He spoke up finally, "...maybe the question would be, are you okay?"

   "I'm a little embarrassed."

   "You shouldn't be.  You're a beautiful woman."

   "You're just saying that now to make me feel like less of a fool."  She looked up at Tenchi, "...are you involved with someone?"

   "I was, but not at the moment."  His voice echoed a little sadness.

  She touched his cheek and took a long moment to respond.  Her eyes looked back into his, searching for any answers they may have.  She finally spoke, "... I don't know if I can trust myself.  I think I want something here that I'm not really sure is the right thing."

  Tenchi placed a hand on her shoulder, "Lay back."  He eased her back down against the bed, propping himself up on his side next to her.  His hand moved to touch her chin, "I think I have a pretty good idea."

   "I didn't come here for that."  She sounded a little angry.

   "You don't seem like the type, actually.  I've met a lot of... persuasive women in my time."

   "Oh, well, you had the harem most men would kill for."

   "Hey!  It wasn't a harem!"  He defended.  Kiyone looked a little scared.  Tenchi noticed her expression, "...I'm sorry... I guess I'm a little protective.  I always thought of them as my family, not really a harem.  I was referring more to college girls."

   "My fault... I'm not thinking straight.  Maybe I should just go."  Kiyone tried to sit up.  He placed a hand on her shoulder, body stopped mid-way.  She looked a little bit shocked. "...or not."

  His hand moved from her shoulder to graze her cheek.  He softly said, "Let's try this again."  Taking the initiative, leaning over her and pressed his lips to hers quickly.  She relaxed under his touch.  Letting herself get lost in his kiss.  He pulled away, touching his forehead to hers. "You're enjoying this."

  She lightly nodded, "I am."  She whispered, "I am not looking for a relationship.  I just..."  Her voice trailed off.

   "You just... what?"  He spoke softly.

   "No strings."

  Tenchi seemed surprised. "What?!"

   "You heard me.  No strings attached.  If... we stop, we stop.  If we keep going... then, it happens, but don't expect something more.  I don't want to regret anything, and I'm not about to give you something to look forward to.  Something I cannot provide.  So, no strings."

  Tenchi looked at her for a very long moment. "You're serious."

   "I have to be.  This is a serious thing."

  He nodded. "You're right.  Well, I'm here.  I accept those rules.  I'm not stupid, you're really beautiful."
 

   "At least I have some redeeming features."  She smirked, "You're not too bad yourself.  You've certainly grown up from the boy I knew before.  Very... handsome."

  Tenchi blushed, "So... what do you have in mind?"

   "First... let's take this shirt off."  She touched his side, fingers trailed along the cotton shirt, finding a tucked in corner.  Her cheeks a permanent state of blush, her hand carefully pulled on the shirt to escape from his jeans.  She slid her hand under, fingertips grazing his thinly muscled stomach, pausing only to sit up and help pull his shirt off.

  He took in a deep breath, "Okay.  Now my turn."  Tenchi ran a hand through his messed up hair to straighten it out.  He smiled nervously, lifting Kiyone's shirt to show off her stomach.  He leaned down and placed a light kiss near her navel.  Her hand reached down, idly playing with his hair.  He moved back up to be face to face with Kiyone.  Tenchi tilted his head, affectionately pushing into another kiss.  Her fingers tangled through his black locks, massaging intently.  The kiss deepened rather quickly, Kiyone shuddered as she felt his hand raise under her shirt to cup her breast.  His tongue darted into her mouth.  She tensed under his sudden aggressiveness, her hands slid down on each of his side, placing her hands securely there to pull his weight over her.

  Kiyone didn't miss a beat, leaning forward as he pulled her shirt completely off.  He laid back over her, continuing the kiss with a feverish passion.  Her hand slid down the front of his chest, stopping at the top of his jeans.  Her hand fumbled nervously with the button, unzipping quickly.  His hands went to hers, helping to slide the jeans down his hips and off, only clothed now in a pair of boxers.  She broke the kiss and observed Tenchi intently.  He looked a little dazed, moving his hand up over her flat stomach.

   "You work out a lot."  He commented as he slipped a finger under the fabric of her bra.

   "I think it's not exactly wise to be unfit in my profession."  She leaned forward against Tenchi.  She kissed along his jawline, down his neck to where it met his shoulder.  Tenchi undid the clasp to her bra.  She let out a slight gasp of relief, letting Tenchi pull off that piece of clothing.

   "You look good... I mean... *really* good.  You hide behind your uniform too much."

  She pressed her chest into his for a much needed hug.  She whispered, "Tenchi.."  She nuzzled against his skin, placing gentle kisses between heated breathes.  He urged her to lay back down again, his hand going to her slacks button fly.  He placed a faint kiss onto her lips, then moved along across her cheek and down her neck.  His hands stopped unbuttoning and moved up to cup her left breast.  He rubbed the edge of her nipple with the tip of his thumb, head lowered down over her chest.  His mouth opened as his thumb moved aside, taking the entire area in.  She whimpered a little as she attempted to wriggle out of her now unbuttoned slacks.  He raised his head, blowing a little cool air over the wet skin.  He continued to kiss downward, stopping at the opening of her pants.  His hands moved to each side, tugging down lightly to pull them off with better success than she had.  Tenchi moved back up atop her, his boxers fit his frame rather tightly.  She reached up nervously, hand gripped carefully around his clothed manhood.  The erect package defined against the thin cloth of his silk boxers.

   "W...watch what you're doing there!"  Tenchi yelped.  She started by stroking along over the member.  He leaned back down, kissing her again.  "Are you... ready?"  He asked nervously as he tousled her long hair in his fingertips.

  She stopped what she had been doing. Kiyone then nodded in affirmation. "Only if you are."

  Tenchi paused, his voice nervous,  "Kiyone... are you familiar with protection?"

   "Ohh, well... I think so.  Please forgive me for asking this... what exactly is used on Earth?  It can't be all that different, can it?"

   "I can show you."  He leaned over to his end table, pulling out a small package. "It's like a glove.  It goes over the uh... penis to make sure pregnancy and diseases aren't spread."

  She hugged him softly, "I see.  Actually, when I first joined up with the Galaxy Police I started taking a monthly dose of a medicine to make sure I couldn't get pregnant.  At least... not by accident.  I figured if I ever found someone.. I really wouldn't want something like a child to come along and ruin my plans.  I'd have kids when I'm good and ready."

   "Oh... I see."  He laughed nervously, "I'm such an idiot, I didn't even consider something like that."

  She murmured, "It's okay.  Not something I announce to everyone I know.  Friends or otherwise."

   "I understand."  He smiled.  He leaned over and kissed her again on the lips.  The soft, gentle kiss made her body ache for affection.  He carefully slid his boxers off, letting himself be exposed.  He tore the edge of the package open, pulling the condom out.

  She moved her panties down and off, letting them drop off the side of the bed.  She took the condom from Tenchi, "Tell me how to put it on for you."  He guided her hands down, helping the placement of the rubber be placed in the right direction.  She caught on quickly as she rolled it down and covered him completely.

  Tenchi gulped as he took her hand in his.  He moved between her legs, his tip grazed against her entrance.  He moved further into her, his sex being engulfed by her warm embrace.

  She let out a gasp she felt him enter.  Her body moved slowly with his, gently meeting his rhythmic rocking.  She found his lips and kissed them with fluid movements.  The moment of the actual act seemed quite short compared to the evening leading up to the event.  Their bodies moved as one, finding pleasure and comfort within each others arms for what felt like an eternity.  It was a harmonious moment of need that they both fulfilled in the small bed of Tenchi's dorm room.  Kiyone fell asleep shortly after, her exhausted body spooned to his under a light blanket.

  Tenchi stayed up part of the night, reveling in the feelings, watched her sleep next to him and mentally fought all his curiosity until sleep finally took over for this young Juraian Prince.

          *                                  *                                   *

  The digital alarm clock brightly lit the numbers 11:35.  Daylight peeked through the few windows of the apartment, giving it a you-should-be-up-by-now kind of feel.  Kiyone sat up quickly, panting slightly and holding her forehead.  She looked around, 'What a horrible dream!  It must have all been a dream.  Where am I?'  Her eyes focused over at the clock, 'Not... the whole dream was a dream... oh god.'  She looked under the blanket. 'Naked!  Oh no... I can't believe the luck.  This isn't my place... this isn't the hotel.  I can't believe this...'  She put her head on her knees, pulling up the blanket to cover her body.  Her bangs hung over her eyes, shaded from the light.  She hugged her knees close up to her with a deep sigh.  She murmured, "Might as well face reality."  She spoke up, "Tenchi... you here?"  She looked around the room, "Hey, Masaki!"  Her eyes focused on a small pile of clothes and a note placed on the chair facing the bed.  'Oh, I see...'  She reached over, taking the note in hand and began to read.

   "Kiyone,

I hope you slept well.  I had two early classes today, so I wasn't able to be here when you woke up.  Sorry about that.  You looked really peaceful, I didn't want to bother you.  I made breakfast.  It's left over in the kitchen.  I also took the liberty of taking your clothes down to be washed.  Here's a shirt and some shorts.  It should be done by the time I get home around noon.  We need to talk.  If you want to shower, it's the first door on the right, across from the kitchen.  Hope you slept well.

-- Tenchi"

   "Slept well.. I did until images of Space Pirates and Juraian Princesses lynching me invaded my dreams."  She grumbled to herself.  She gathered the clothing and made a quick jaunt to the bathroom.

  Simple white tiles are the design for the bathroom.  Kiyone turned the shower on, carefully adjusting the stream of water to her height.  She leaned back against the wall of the small stall.  'What AM I doing here, huh?  Japan... you should have just went home.  I don't belong here.'  She leaned forward again, letting the hot water run through her long black hair.  She looked around to find something to cleanse herself with.  She soaped up a small rag, running it down and over her body.  She rinsed down, mind drowning under 'what if's?'  Kiyone toweled off and dressed in the clothes left for her.  A large longsleeved button up shirt, and a pair of shorts.  "How attractive."  She commented to herself in the mirror.   She stepped out of the bathroom, towel around her neck as she let her hair hang down to dry.

  Tenchi looked up, taking notice to the bathroom door opening.  He walked to the hallway, stating, "I see you found the bathroom."

  At about the word 'see', Kiyone knocked into Tenchi.  She shrieked, "What are you doing here so fast!?  You scared me!"  She defensively grabbed the front of his shirt with both her fists.

   "Don't hurt me, I live here!"  He yelped. "I wasn't about to go into the bathroom to greet you!"

   "That'd be about up for par for my weekend of 'impossible' situations I could possibly have encountered."  She let him go, "Sorry.  I'm tense."

   "Still?  Where do you work up all this tension?"

   "Don't you start with me."  She grumbled. "Maybe I need therapy."

   "... sit down.  Where does it hurt?"

   "I think it's a permanent state of mind for me, Tenchi."

   "You seemed pretty relaxed last night."

  Kiyone shrugged, walking past Tenchi to sit down at the edge of the bed. "Right, you wanted to talk about that?"  She masked the fear in her voice well enough to get past him.

  He followed her, nudging her forward.  She moved forward about a foot, Tenchi sliding in behind her and placing his hands onto her shoulders. "You're muscles are tense.  You're not afraid of me, are you?"

   "Eh heh... what gave you that idea?  I have nothing to fear from you, really.  Eh...heh."

   "Oh, come on!  For starters, your voice is shaking and your muscles are hard as bricks."

   "I'm a strong person, Tenchi."  She calmed down, reaching up to touch one of his hands, "I just had a bad dream.  It's nothing to do with... our talk."

  He carefully started to massage her shoulders, "I didn't sleep much last night.  I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed being with you.  Not just the sex.  I mean, everything about last night.  You looked very peaceful while you slept... I worried about what you really thought of me after everything."

   "Being self conscious about that is something you *really* don't need to worry about."  She blushed, although Tenchi really can't see it from his angle.  "That wasn't your first time, was it?"

   "No."

   "That makes me feel a bit better.  It'd been so long, I was wondering if virginal boys suddenly got really experienced."

   "Hey!"  He nudged her playfully. "I'm not a promiscuous person."

   "Neither am I, but here we are the night after."  She commented, "I can't help but wonder if I would have had the gall to do this without the influence of something else.  Probably not.  You may be a great man, Tenchi, but I can say that the idea of us doing that on a regular basis scares me a little."

   "Afraid you may fall for me?"  He joked, "I'm really a nice guy, but a bad idea.  I think I've just told half the girls at the school that I'm gay just to keep them from chasing after me.  It's better that way."

  Kiyone let out a deep sigh.  "Not exactly that.  More like I'm afraid for my life."  She leaned back, head cushioned against his chest.  He placed his chin on the top of her head lightly, instinctively placing his arms around her in a hug.

   "Your secret is safe with me, officer."  Tenchi quipped.  She blushed under his hug.

   "I'm just not an assertive person when it comes to this.  I could only see us as being... being..."

   "Really good friends."  He finished her sentence.

   "Yes, that's right."

   "Who just happened to have sex."

   "Is that all you really think about?"  She turned around to look at him.  Kiyone grabbed his crotch area, carefully taking a hold through his baggy pants. "You're different than you used to be."

  Tenchi's eyes widened, cheeks burned bright with embarrassment, "K.. Kiyone!  That's dangerous!"  Despite his apparent fear, she felt the cloth in her hand tighten with his bulge.

   "You're horrible!"  She let go of his pants, "And there's a lot more where that came from, I'm sure."  She stuck her tongue out.

   "Oh really?  I thought you said you were the shy one!"  He seemed more annoyed than anything.

  She looked at him and asked, "What did you want to talk about, seriously.  We're just working ourselves up."

   "I thought we already did."  He paused, taking note of her expression.  She didn't seem pleased with that answer.  He spoke again, "You said no strings, right?  I'm happy the way things are."

   "Of course.  It's the only way I can work."  She spoke softly, "Hey, well... we all need a little affection sometimes, right?"

   "Do you get lonely very often, Kiyone?"

   "... well... I've got Mihoshi, and I'm always escorting criminals back to HQ."

   "That's not what I'm asking.  Honestly, you *know* what I'm talking about."

   "I try to ignore it as best I can.  I've got my friends, and my career.  I'm not about to..."

   ".. jump into a relationship you can't maintain.. right.  No wonder you needed this vacation, you sound like a broken record."  Tenchi reached over, pushing her still damp hair back. "No one really knows the real you."

  Kiyone looked away shyly.  'He's so gentle.  So sweet.'  "Tenchi... we..."  'Can't keep acting like lovers.  That's what I want to say, right?  Why can't I?  Do I really want to keep this up?  I think I'm enjoying his youthful energy too much.'

  Tenchi put his finger over her lips before she spoke another word.  He ran the thumb along her lower lip, pressing her mouth just the tiniest bit open.  He countered by meeting her lips with his, the words lost by the distraction.

  She returned his gift lovingly.  Starved for the attention, she positioned herself up to trap his legs with her weight, straddling him.  She reached over and cupped his face with her hands, breaking the kiss only after a long two minutes.

  Tenchi broke the kiss this time.  His hands went to her hips, pulling her closer.  He spoke nervously, "Well... I liked that."   He smiled as he tried to put in an appearance of cool.

   "I liked it too."  She touched his neck, moving a finger along the edge.  She leaned close to whisper into his ear, "Undo your pants."

   "What?!  I guess..."  He seemed surprised by her forward, sober nature.  His hand fumbled at the buckle a little bit.  She reached down and helped with the zipper, easing his boxers down to free his erection.  He seemed a little bit relieved by this gasp of air.

  Kiyone leaned over him again, kissing him forcefully on the lips.  She awkwardly glided out of her own shorts, using her hand on his shoulder to balance her from falling over.  She tossed the shorts aside, breaking the kiss to move back over to his ear.  She kissed his earlobe and huskily whispered, "I want you.  Like this, like the girl I never can be.  You, as the boy I can never really have."

  Tenchi responded, "I want you as you really are."  He grabbed her by the hips, carefully guiding her atop him.  She met with him easily, using her arms on his shoulders for balance.  He let out a heated groan once she lowered herself completely.  She started by moving herself up and down with his aid.  Kiyone gasped at each downward thrust.  He placed tiny kisses on her lips every time she engulfed him.  Her breathing was jagged and short, her sexual peak was nearing a lot faster this time.  Tenchi started to thrust upwards, a little harder than before. His hands held her steady with each sharp meeting.  She shuddered the moment she felt his seed explode into her, rocking slowly into her own gentle orgasm.  She bit into Tenchi's shoulder, letting a faint whimper escape.  He wrapped his arms around her to hold her close to his body.

   "...Tenchi.."  She asked after another long silence, "This is not how I expected to spend my vacation in Japan."  She whispered, cuddling up against him, "I don't regret a single thing.  I just hope you won't either."

   "I would have stopped you if this wasn't something I wasn't prepared to handle."  He said, "I'll be honest... I've been rather lonely too.  I want to help you, and... doing that helped me too."  He said softly, "I think they call this casual sex."

   "Please don't misunderstand me.  This may be casual... but, it does have meaning to me."

   "Friends with benefits, right?  I think I can live with that."

  Kiyone smiled. "We should shower again, and get some food.  I haven't eaten yet.  I don't have much time left here, you know?  I don't want to be spending it all cooped up inside, even if it is with you."

  He laughed.  "Okay, okay."  He then kissed her on the cheek, "Let's just sit here a little longer, okay?"

   "I think I'd like that."

  Kiyone stayed curled up with him for a long time.  Her eyes were closed and her breath was calmed.  Tenchi said softly, "You're finally relaxed.  I think you need a live-in boyfriend to help with the stress of every day life for you."

   "Mihoshi would accidentally kill him in less than a week... or I'd probably get sick of having one around.  I'm fine.  Really.  This did help.  You have a soothing affect on people if you're not making them kill each other for your affections, Tenchi."

   "I'll take that as a compliment."

   "Do you have anymore classes today?"

   "Nope.  Just the two morning ones.  C'mon, let's shower."  He nudged.

  Kiyone climbed out of his lap with a faint sigh.  He carefully tucked himself back into his pants.  They wandered over to the bathroom nonchalantly.  Tenchi pulled off his shirt and tossed it aside.  He turned on the water, adjusting the temperature a little.  Kiyone hugged Tenchi from behind, "You are wonderful.  Thank you."

   "Hush... let's just shower.  I have some ideas as to what we can do today.  I have some extra passes for a game zone place.  There are some food places right around there."

   "Sounds like fun."  She smiled, tickling his sides before pulling away from the hug.  She pulled off the shirt and stepped into the shower.  She offered a hand over to Tenchi, "Don't just stand there, come join me."

   "You're very demanding."  He grinned, "Must be from all that police training."  He dropped his pants, stepping into the shower behind Kiyone. "Isn't that right, detective?"

   "Do you really want me to pull the cuffs out on you?"  She teased.

  Tenchi turned around to face her, "Oh, please?"

   "And you say I'm the tease."  She poked him in the stomach.  "Turn around, I'll wash your back."

  In all reality, it was a pretty innocent shower session compared to earlier events.  They washed up together, then moved on to dress up.  Tenchi had brought in the laundry and so Kiyone had fresh clothes once again.

   "Free passes, hmm?  What's this Game Zone place like?  Sounds... interesting."

   "I don't know.  It's about two blocks from the college.  They were giving them out one day.  I figured today is as good as any to go.  I don't get visitors that often."

   "Alright."  She leaned over and kissed Tenchi on the cheek. "Lead the way."

  They walked beside each other as good friends.  The talk between them was warm and interesting.  Kiyone seemed playful and young at heart.  Very different from the woman Tenchi had first thought her to be.  Her impression of Tenchi changed a bit as well.  They talked as if it were a first date, but there was the familiarity of the years behind it all.  Tenchi liked that.  He watched her with a warm expression on his face and a feeling of true caring in his heart.  The two eventually arrived at the gaming center.

   "Hey, Tenchi!" yelled a voice.

   "Eh?  Oh!  Hey guys."  Tenchi noticed the two fellows.  One was a little taller, light brown hair.  The other had thick black hair, and wore glasses.

   "New girlfriend, I see?"  The larger one teased. "Won't Ryoko get mad?"

  Kiyone looked over to Tenchi.  He responded coolly, "Why should she?  We're 'off' right now.  She wants to do her own thing.  Stop trying to disrespect my guest.  This is Makibi Kiyone, a friend visiting from... Tokyo."

   "Pleased to meet you."  She bowed to the boys.

   "Good to see not all the good women are wasted on you, Masaki.  Hello there, I'm Kentaro.  This is Amagasaki."  The brown haired fellow smiled, stepping over to Kiyone.

   "Cut it out!  She's only here for a few days."  Tenchi grumbled.

   "You never let us have any fun, Tenchi."  Amagasaki commented. "Anyway, we were going to the game center for a game of laser tag.  Are you two up for a round?"

   "I think that would be fun, wouldn't it Tenchi?"  Kiyone smiled.

   "Oh... uh... yeah, I guess."  Tenchi turned to Kiyone and whispered. "Uhm... it's not a fair match.  You're part of the Galaxy Police."

   "I know, let's beat them senseless!  It'll be fun.  They seem to tease you a lot anyway.  It's more fun if we kick their asses."

   "Alright.... alright."

  Tenchi turned to the guys, "Alright, we accept your challenge."

   "Masaki won't know what hit him."  The boys joked.

  Too bad it was much like the opposite.  Kiyone's training and Tenchi's blind luck beat the opposing team several thousand points over.  She had the most dead on hits, but Tenchi definitely had a knack for the game.  Tenchi's two friends sulked in the corner. "I can't believe it!  Beat by Masaki and a girl!"  Tenchi couldn't help but feel a little full of himself for this.

   "Alright guys, we're starved.  I'll see you in class next week." Tenchi  snickered to himself.  It felt good to be on the winning end this time.  "C'mon Kiyone, let's go."

  They walked over to the restaurant across the street.  Kiyone and Tenchi took a window booth and ordered drinks from the waitress.

   "So..."  Kiyone broke the silence, "Ryoko, eh?  She's your 'one'?"

   "On and off.  She would visit... we'd be together... then suddenly she'd get sick of my monotonous college life.  She'd run back to the stars.  This would just repeat itself.  Last time she tried to take me with.  I told her I couldn't take that.  It's not who I am.  I think I broke her heart, but... my life is on Earth!  Even Aeka understood that."

  Kiyone nodded, taking a sip from her cup of tea. "Do you still love her?"

   "I'll always love her, in my own way.  It's not the same as it was when we first were... 'us'.  It's like your first true thing... then you find out they no longer love you anymore, or the relationship turns sour.  I will always hold a love for her.  Maybe someday she can grow up... I just hope that at that point, I will want her back.  Right now, I'm happy being single for once.  She's a little... how can I put it... overwhelming."

  She smiled at Tenchi, "You're so funny.  Any man in the WORLD ... hell, even the galaxy would want to be in your shoes.  Ryoko may be a criminal, but she's very beautiful and amazingly loyal to you.  She just wanted to share her life with you.  There's nothing wrong with that."

   "I can't believe you're taking her side on this."

   "I can understand her position.  I understand yours, too.  Just a little more than hers.  Deep down it all comes down to what is best for you both.  Follow your heart, Tenchi.  That's the best advice I can give.  I do a terrible time of doing that myself, but it's always the advice givers that are the worst at following their own sagely-sounding advice."

   "You're right.  You know you're right.  Might I give some advice of my own?"  He reached over and touched her hand.

   "Sure, I'm willing."

   "Take more time to relax.  Life is just too exciting to just let even the simplest things like relaxation be lost in it all.  I'm not talking about anything like we've been doing, I'm just saying that you probably would be happier if you took some time to just enjoy life instead of living in the fast lane all the time."

   "Advice taken and cataloged for future reference.  You have to admit, I'm damn good at what I do for a living.  If it wasn't for my job... I would have never been all over the galaxy... and I would have never met everyone."

   "You may be a great GP officer, but you're still a person who has feelings."

   "Yes yes, I know."  She squeezed his hand, moving back to her drink.

  A waitress approached the table.  The two ordered from the menu while getting refills of their drinks.

  Kiyone stood up after the waitress left. "I'll be right back."

   "Alright, take your time.  We've still got a few minutes before our food arrives."  Tenchi smiled.

  She walked over to the bathroom and opened the door to a single-toilet bathroom.  Kiyone stepped forward, then had a sudden sense that she wasn't alone.  She stopped, went to turn around when someone grabbed her from behind.  Arms locked at her side from the tense embrace.  "Tenchi, this isn't funny."

   "I'm not Tenchi."

  Kiyone yelped, her senses at full alert now. 'I let myself get too comfortable.',  She struggled, whipping down and around.  Her hand went into her jacket, drawing her gun on the would-be assailant.

   "Don't shoot, Detective.  I was only playing.  You still have your reflexes I see."

   "Argh, Ryoko!  Don't you EVER sneak up on me like that!  What the hell are you doing here?"  Kiyone put her gun back into her hidden holster.

   "I'd like to ask the same about you.  You visit Japan about as often as I visit GPHQ."  Ryoko crossed her arms.  "Is Tenchi in danger again?  A criminal putting the Masaki family at risk?"

   "No, and no.  I'm on hiatus from work.  Came here to get away and..."  Kiyone suddenly thought to herself 'No, I can't say I stayed at Tenchi's place.'  "I ran into Tenchi.  We decided to meet up for lunch today.  It's good to see him all grown up.  He's done well for himself.  Did you see him out there on your way in?"

   "He doesn't know I'm here.  I thought maybe you came down to steal my man."

   "That's got to be the silliest thing I've ever heard you say.  Arrest YOU, maybe, but that just sounds a little out of my league."  Kiyone commented, trying to hide a little guilt.

   "It was meant to be a joke."  Ryoko snapped.

   "Of course it was.  Step outside, I need to use the bathroom.  I didn't come in here to get ambushed by a pirate.  We'll go to the table together to meet Tenchi, okay?"

   "I can't do that.  He doesn't even know I'm here!  I've been watching you two all day.  He thinks I'm up there."  She pointed up to the sky.  She tilted her head at Kiyone, "You two seem to be getting along pretty well.  Has he talked to you about anything?"

   "I'm not about to step in the middle of something I don't know anything about... but... you should talk to him.  Even if it's only for a few minutes.  You both have some things to resolve.  I see that now."  Kiyone leaned back against the bathroom counter.

  Ryoko floated up to sit on the counter next to Kiyone.  She spoke up, "Kiyone... he promised to see the stars with me.  I love him so much."  She folded her arms, "Why am I telling you this?"

   "Because I'm listening."

   "..."  Ryoko looked at Kiyone carefully.  Kiyone had this sincere look of concern on her face.  Ryoko spoke again, "I'm pouring my heart out to the police.  It must be the end of the line for me."

   "Ryoko, what exactly do you want to accomplish?  Break his heart again?  Break your heart even more?  You both are hurting.  Sure, he looks fine... but... he's a different man now.  He's matured into a very fine adult, but he's still got a lot of Earthly duties he needs to complete.  You should respect that."

   "You're always the one to talk about duties."

   "Yes, and responsibility is my middle name too." Kiyone answered bitterly, "Why'd you leave, for that matter?!  It's not like you at all.  Monotony doesn't sound like the true reason."

   "You're right, Detective.  I had my reasons."

   "... fine, okay.  Whatever."  Kiyone moved away from the counter.  She turned to face Ryoko, lifting her hand to strike forcefully across Ryoko's cheek, leaving a very bright imprinted mark.  Ryoko's eyes widened as Kiyone rose her voice, "Reasons my ass.  Stop acting like a spoiled child and GROW UP!  Stop sulking and start making things go RIGHT!  You are going to talk to Tenchi, today."

  Ryoko stared at Kiyone, in shock from her burning cheek.  She turned away from Kiyone's angry eyes, "..."

   "So you are going to be a good girl, step outside this bathroom door and WAIT for me to take you to the table to talk to him.  If you disappear, I swear I will hunt you down in the Yagami and bring you back to this tiny little island bound and gagged.  Comprehend?"

   "You were always the good girl, Kiyone."

   "Shut up and do as I say, Ryoko."

   "Yes yes... I'll be right here."   Ryoko phased backwards through the door and out.

  Kiyone rubbed her temples. 'I hope I'm doing right by this.'.  She did her business and stepped back outside of the bathroom.  Ryoko was still there.  She looked Ryoko over, "You can do this."  She grabbed Ryoko's hand and practically dragged her over to the table. "Hey Tenchi... look who I ran into."

  Tenchi seemed to groan. "Hello Ryoko.  Come to try and drag me off again?"

   "Tenchi..."  Kiyone stepped in, "I think she wants to talk.  I'll wait for the food, maybe you two should take a walk.  I'll be here when you get back, okay?"  She touched Tenchi gently on the shoulder, then went to sit down across from him.

  Ryoko gave Kiyone a look.  She didn't seem jealous, just a little defeated.  Her cheek still the tiniest bit red from Kiyone's slap.

  Tenchi stood up and waved a hand toward the exit. "After you, Ryoko."  She walked out with him.

  Kiyone watched from the window.  Ten, maybe fifteen minutes of silent dialog.  She watched as they hugged, then Ryoko teleported away in her usual fashion.  Tenchi returned to the table at about the time the food began to arrive.

   "I give you an 8.6... you could have at least kissed her."  Kiyone commented upon him returning.

   "Oh come off it."  He waved his hand. "She had it coming."

   "She loves you, you know.  More genuinely than most women you will ever meet, Tenchi.  Well, save for Aeka... but that didn't work out, right?"

   "Princess Aeka... I wondered what she ever saw in me.  Sure, I'm a Juraian Prince.  Big deal.  There's lots of those, right?"  He hesitated, "There was a choice that had to be made."

  Kiyone took another sip of her tea, "And Ryoko?  What just happened now?"

   "An agreement.  We're 'off', until I finish college.  She said she had some business in space, but that she'd be back for me once my four years are up.  Then, I'll make a choice if we both feel the same then.  Did... you slap her?"

   "Yes.  What exactly was your relationship before?"  Kiyone inquired.

   "We broke up pretty violently before.  Outstanding arguments... emotionally draining nights.  Off again, on again, off again.  We're great together, but we clashed when I didn't agree with her nature."

   "I see."  She took a long sip of her tea, "Well.  I'm happy for you, Tenchi.  It's resolved.  You must have a giant weight lifted off of your shoulder now."

   "Right.  And this doesn't bother you at all, right?"

   "Why should it?"  She blinked, "No strings, remember?  I know how I feel about you.  It's how I've always felt.  We're just closer now than before.  Maybe in another lifetime, things would be different, but here I'm just your friend and resident Galaxy Police officer, okay?  Friends with benefits, as you put it."

   "I will never understand women."

   "Maybe you aren't ever meant to, Tenchi."

  The weekend was short but very memorable.  Tenchi was a wonderful host, and Kiyone finally found that vacation she deserved.  After sunday, Kiyone boarded the Yagami and headed back to Headquarters.  A small photo taken on Sunday laid in her personal quarters of her and Tenchi wrapped in a silver picture frame with the simple statement of 'Friends' along the top.

                                        - The End-

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