Chapter 1: Anxiety
A Tenchi Muyo Fanfic
Disclaimer: Tenchi Muyo!, its characters and settings, © Hitoshi Okuda, AIC / Pioneer LDC, and Viz Communications, Inc.
Introduction: This Fanfic is based upon the timeline set forth by the Tenchi OAV series, and takes place after the final episode thereof. Some minor things are borrowed from Magical Project S.
There has been a phrase quoted from many civilizations and many languages. This phrase, usually considered a blessing of the highest regard, is "May you live in boring times." I have found this to be a bit of a paradox, having over many years lived through both boring and exciting times in the history of the universe. There is something to be said about exciting times. There were periods during which the turmoil of social events caused me much benefit. The converse has also been true. More importantly, though, exiting times are those of change. Heroes are born during strife and conflict, and lead as an example for people for decades, centuries, or in the case of the long-lived Juraians, even millennia after. This, I believe, is very important.
I must in good conscience however, take notice of the albeit brief period I spent in the Masaki home. I believe, without a doubt in my mind, that these peaceful days were the best of my existence. Many times later on I have looked back on those times spent among friends and been forced to smile at how good it truly was. Innocence and goodness abounded with those young people, and I was able to live in peace, though not always in quiet.
Truly, this was what was intended by the phrase.
- Hakubi Washuu (-chan). 'Memoirs of a Super-Genius'
Typical days never were the forte of the Masaki home. This day was not a notable exception. In fact, this particular day would have not particularly stuck out in the minds of the inhabitants of the house were it not for its special significance: Valentine's day.
Valentines Day in Japan is, like in other countries that celebrate it, a time for the come-about of feelings. It is a day for love; a day for anticipation; a day for beginnings.
Tenchi woke up as the sunlight came shining in through the window onto his face. Normally, Sasami came to wake him in the morning. Thinking of this and having a slight memory of events a few hours previous, he looked down. The Jurai princess was not there. He lazily figured she had woken up, and would soon be in to wake him as well. So, feeling the drowsy effects of sleep still pulling at his consciousness, he submitted, rolling over to return there. A wasted effort, he should have realized.
"Where do you think you're going with that?" came a very loud high-pitched voice from outside the hall.
"You know exactly where I'm going!" a lower, similar-volumed voice replied.
Tenchi opened his eyes, turned his body a little and stared at the wall, his life coming back to him. He laid there for a moment, listening to the argument continue but not comprehending it.
"But Tenchi-sama has not woken yet! You can't just go in and wake him up like that!" the higher voice continued it's assault.
"Oh, you don't think so?" the lower voice replied. In the back of his mind, Tenchi knew he should probably pick himself up and get dressed immediately, but his sleep reflex kept him in check.
"Just try and stop me, then, Ojo-chan!" the lower voice threatened.
Warning lights were going off inside Tenchi's half-conscious brain, but the sleep instinct was stronger, pulling him back to his peaceful world.
"I won't allow you to!" came the higher voice.
The noise of breaking furniture outside the door had finally begun to make an impression on Tenchi's consciousness, but the effect was increased a hundred fold when the door to his room flew inwards, embedding it in the wall by the head of his futon, Ryoko sprawling to the floor afterwards.
"Ow! That hurt!" she said, pulling herself into the sitting position, and grabbing the back of her head with one hand, holding a small wrapped package in the other.
"Well you should have thought of that before-" Aeka scolded her from the doorway, then stopped when she looked at the boy on the futon.
Tenchi was sitting straight up, looking backwards at the door, now embedded in the wall sideways. His mouth was agape, his eyes wide, sitting motionless, staring. The room was completely silent and there was a long pause as he continued staring at the large wooden object that had violated his room, right where his head had been seconds earlier.
After a while, he moved his head to the side, to stare at Aeka, she stood looking downward, not moving, not breathing. In both hands she held a white heart-shaped box. Behind her were Azaka and Kamidake, looking as blank as usual. Tenchi moved his head backward to see Ryoko, equally motionless and tense, staring at him with a frightened look in her eyes, now holding her package, a black, square-shaped one with a bow, with both hands.
Then, he looked down, thinking for a moment.
Sasami had woken earlier that day, and had left without disturbing Tenchi. Afterwards, she went to the business of making breakfast as she did every morning. Today, there was a special bounce in the way she went about making the food. She was happy today. She didn't know exactly why, but the previous night's experience had comforted her, given her more energy to go on with the day's events. She was also excited.
'Today,' she thought, 'Today I can give Tenchi-niichan my gift.'
She glanced down at her package. It was a green with a purple bow. She had spent much of the week previous preparing it. After getting the best ingredients she could from places around town, Sasami had worked late at night to keep anyone from seeing her. This also meant that she had been getting little sleep, but in her mind it was worth it. The time was almost at hand.
This morning, Sasami had decided on a mixture of Japanese-style and Juraian-style breakfast. She started with Kanomipu, a dish made up of several vegetables baked into a small roll, and then served with a sweet fruit sauce. As a complimentary dish, she went with Japanese rice, which Tenchi's grandfather insisted upon being served at every meal. She topped the rice with Finchi, which was a small edible flower that was good both as decoration, and as an edible food. Then she finished off the meal with the traditional Miso soup, made from scratch, just like Tenchi's aunt had taught her.
She then continued cooking, using extra rice she had made to create rice balls, and putting a variety of other things in the middle. Taking the rice balls, she placed three of each into four small plastic containers. A few of these were set aside for Tenchi's grandfather to eat. The food was decorated with various small food pieces, and she closed them up. She then stacked the bento boxes on top of each other, so that the names showed on the sides.
'Aeka-oneechan, Ryoko-oneechan, Tenchi-niichan, and mine.' She counted them off in her head.
She didn't have to worry about Nobuyuki today; he was off on a business trip and wouldn't be back for another couple of days. She looked at the clock; seeing it was past time to wake up Tenchi, and almost time for breakfast, she decided to go and wake him. She made a step towards the stairs, but stopped short as she heard sounds of an argument coming from upstairs. Thinking to herself, she realized it was pointless, the job was already done. So, her food preparation completed, she went about setting the table for the meal.
Tenchi came down a few minutes later dressed for school, his satchel in hand, alone. He barely looked at Sasami as she greeted him cheerfully and sat down at the table of beautifully prepared food laid out before him. Without a word to her, and not so much as an "itedakimasu", he began to eat the food without looking at it. Not even showing an expression of his gratitude or whether or not he liked it, he ate the rolls, plucked at the rice, and drank the miso. Then, he gave an inflectionless "Gochisosama deshita", and stood up. Without looking at Sasami, he grabbed his bento from the stack, and walked towards the door.
Sasami wanted to call after him, wanted to say something to make him acknowledge her. She tried, but couldn't come up with the words to say. All she could do is watch him as he went to the front door.
Ryoko and Aeka were already there, their shoes already on. They stood there in their navy blue school uniforms, holding their satchels in front of them with both hands, both eyes on the floor. As if statues, only their eyes glanced up as he walked in, returning immediately to the floor as they saw his brooding expression.
He sat down to put on his shoes, paying them no heed. There was a long silent moment as Sasami watched Tenchi put on his shoes from behind Tenchi.
As he finished and went to walk out the door, they both cheerlessly followed. Sasami continued watching without a word, her heart in her stomach as her hopes and expectations walked out the door with Tenchi-niichan.
After retrieving their Bento, Aeka and Ryoko followed, without breakfast.
It had been the joint decision of the elders of the Masaki family, and the Jurai council, that the princesses should continue their education on earth during their stay there. While Aeka had originally opposed it - though she refused to admit it - out of fear, eventually she was persuaded.
Sasami was neutral through the whole proceeding. She wasn't opposed to the idea of taking classes on earth, but she didn't have a particular desire to have to study as hard as Tenchi did. Ryoko was also forced into school, partially as a concession to Aeka for her assent to studying. She had been firmly opposed to it at first, but after a talk with Washuu (unsupervised by everyone else), she emerged from Washuu's lab optimistic about going. Strangely enough, Ryoko also agreed to many of the things Washuu requested of her without question for the next couple of days.
Sasami had a hard time concentrating in English class. Her mind was stuck in the morning's events. Tenchi had been so mean to her, not even acknowledge her presence, not even letting her present the chocolate she had worked so hard to make for him. Why had he done that? Was he mad at her? She had forgotten to wake him up on time, but that shouldn't be enough to make him angry, should it? Sasami worried over the thought again and again, the blame in her mind gathering like a rolling snowball down a hill.
While the Jurai princess had been making breakfast, Tenchi must have had a rude awakening at the hands of Ryoko and Aeka. Sasami blamed herself for that, but did Tenchi, too? That had to be it, otherwise he would have been nicer to her, right? The sinking feeling in her gut deepened, feeling like in some way she had really screwed up.
"Jurai-san!" called the angry teacher.
"Uh, eeh, hai! Sensei!" Sasami bolted upright, knocking her chair down behind her, making a loud crash on the floor. She stood completely still and stared at the teacher's feet as she heard the snickers from the back of the room. She winced, recognizing the voices.
"Jurai-san, I've asked you three times, read this sentence!" she continued.
Sasami looked down at her desk to the book the class had been following along in, she then realized that she had no idea of where in the reading they were. Sasami felt like panicking for a moment; then considered asking the teacher. Her problem was solved when she felt a pat on her shoulder, she looked to see the girl next to her offering her book, her thumb held on the page in a spot at the beginning of a sentence.
Sasami was relieved, she bowed her head quickly and took the book, and began to read out loud immediately.
"If I- pay attention in… crass, I can quickly rearn to- speak Engrish correctly." she said, halting occasionally.
The teacher, thinking Sasami had done an acceptable job, nodded her assent and walked back to the board to continue the lesson. Sasami breathed a sigh of relief as she sat down, feeling the center of attention leave her. She looked over to the girl who had handed her the English book, and gave a smile. The girl smiled back, and accepted the book as it was returned.
Sasami looked at the girl. She was short by even Japanese standards. She was very thin, had long hair, and a cute face. Sasami had seen her around quite a bit, and she did sit next to her in class, but for some reason they didn't talk much, the other girl just didn't seem very sociable.
Sasami stopped for a moment, trying to come up with a name. She thought hard, trying to remember when she had heard the girl addressed last.
"Misenki… Misanko… oh yeah, Misao" she mouthed, finally remembering. "Amano Misao'
Sasami glanced up at the teacher. She was talking into the board once again, as if she was teaching to it. For some reason, this teacher seemed to be constantly angry. It was almost as if she didn't want to be here. The teacher continued to talk, muffling her voice by the proximity to the blackboard. She jumped, startled, as an especially high-pitched child's voice sounded from the outside. This was a common occurrence and no one else was startled by the noise or her reaction. High-pitched voices seemed to scare the teacher, that's all the class really knew, this teacher had told the class nothing about her past or her affiliations.
'She's such an odd person', Sasami thought, staring at the woman's back, at her long hair that fell down to the middle of her back, a single band around the end of the long lock.
'It's almost as if she doesn't want to be here.' Sasami wondered at that, why would a person become a teacher if you didn't want to? On top of that, there was something odd about how she related to Sasami that bugged her. She seemed to watch her like a hawk when she thought Sasami wasn't looking. It always made Sasami feel like a goldfish in a jar. On top of that, her mannerisms were slightly off in some way Sasami couldn't figure out, she seemed to be trying to be Japanese rather that it coming naturally. Juraian customs were very similar to Japanese customs, and so Sasami did not have to try hard to emulate them, but she still had to get used to a few things, and her experience with this made her keener in sensing this from the woman.
Another odd thing that everyone noticed is how consistently polite she was, even though she was a teacher and didn't have to use kego to the extent that she did. So many peculiarities, but she didn't know, and it really didn't matter.
Giving up, she glanced over at again, just as she did so, she saw movement out of the side of her eye, and saw Misao flinch. Barely a moment later, Sasami felt something small and hard hit the side of her head, it stung, but didn't really hurt badly. She immediately looked back to see where it had come from, and was angry, but not surprised to see three boys in the back of the room smiling at her and chuckling. Sasami grimaced, then faced back forward, knowing there was nothing she could do right now.
The three boys were the most annoying people Sasami had ever met. They had formed a small gang in the elementary school, making students give up their bentos, and beating kids who did much better than their leader in class. Their leader, Daigo had been just transferred into Sasami's class last week. Since then, Sasami had heard a rumor that another one of the students in the class, a quiet boy named Shuji, had transferred out after a 'meeting' with this small gang. Sasami hated them.
Still, she went back to facing the front, enduring the projectiles through the rest of the class period, and trying to ignore them.
On an ordinary day, lunchtime in elementary school is an important ordeal. On Valentine's day, lunchtime is vital. This was the time where the girls customarily did their delivery of chocolate, and the boys waited patiently, hoping that a particular girl would approach.
Sasami sat around and watched the scene with disinterest, feeling still the pangs of guilt from that morning. She simply sat under a not-yet-blooming Sakura tree, picking at the bento she had made for herself. Looking at the food only reminded her of the events that transpired that morning.
Sasami was not the only one who was sitting alone that day. Misao sat alone at a table in the courtyard of the school less than 15 meters from her, holding a small package of chocolates. She didn't know exactly why she had them; she really didn't have any friends to speak of, and didn't have anyone particular in mind to give it to. She just sat there and stared at it, looking helpless. A few minutes later, she was interrupted.
"Whacha' got there, little girl?" came a rough voice from above her.
Misao looked up, and saw Daigo standing there. Two of his lackeys, Shohei and Guy, flanked him on either side, forming a wall between her and the world. She looked around, people were around, but no one seemed to pay attention, possibly because they were too busy, or possibly out of fear of Daigo. Except one.
Sasami, seeing the girl who had helped her earlier in trouble snapped Sasami out of the endless circle going in her head. She stood up, and slowly walked over to the scene.
"Oh, are those for me?" Daigo mocked. "Why thank you so very much!" Saying so, he easily snatched the box of candy from her hands.
Misao felt degraded by the ease with witch he took the candy from her. As if her worth as a person had been taken away with it.
"Please, give it back." she asked softly. The request was weak, and the boys ignored her.
Daigo had passed the chocolates to Shohei, who had opened the top, and was now eating the chocolate inside.
"Not bad, not bad." he said. "Could be much better, though."
The leader simply watched the girl's torment as his subordinate ate her chocolates. She looked like a little puppy that had done something wrong, begging for forgiveness. He enjoyed this. This is what made him feel good; made him feel powerful. He was about to sweeten the deal by reaching for her hair, when he felt a hard strike, and his left knee collapsed under him.
"Daigo!" his subordinates called in unison. He didn't answer them, merely turned his head to face behind him, to see who had caused him to stumble.
Sasami was startled, not exactly sure why she did it. She had felt anger take over her body for a moment, and then the boy was on one knee, looking at her with malice in his eyes. However, feeling that she had to continue, as their attention was now not on Misao, she spoke.
"Leave her alone." it came out in as stern a voice as she was able to muster.
Daigo, not letting this girl get one up on him, calmly turned his head back towards Misao, straightened his legs, and turned around to face Sasami. The effect was immense. The boy towered over the shorter girl, making her seem like a rabbit does to a tiger.
"Shit, what's this? It seems I have a little sister to discipline." Daigo said to his subordinates. This incited a chuckle from the two other boys.
"Fight! Hey everybody, there's a fight!" came a call from behind Daigo. A crowd began forming behind the picnic table. Daigo didn't move, liking the attention his business that was accruing.
"Daigo's gonna fight a GIRL?" came a voice.
"More like he's gonna beat her." replied another.
"I've heard rumors, but I thought he had more taste than that."
"He doesn't care, anybody who gets in his way is in trouble."
"Poor girl, she's only been here a few months."
"I know, it's really sad."
Sasami listened to the whole schoolyard speak about her fate, and the overwhelming fact that she was outmatched came into horrifying focus.
There was no way she could fight him on his terms, and there was no way she could use her Juraian power in front of all the school. She hated fact that violence had and was going to happen, she hated the fact that those guys had picked on Misao, but most of all, she hated the leader of the punks who had pushed the issue. She would not back down.
"Makibi-sensei!" came a call from the now very thick crowd.
The circle that had formed around Sasami and the three boys parted in a single place, and a tall figure came wading through the sea of 4th graders. Sasami kept her eyes locked on Daigo, not willing to flinch. He met her.
"Jurai-san, Kazuki-san, what exactly is going on here?" came a familiar voice.
Sasami and Daigo kept their heads locked in place, but glanced up at the sound. Then, seeing the teacher was near, she awkwardly relaxed and looked at the ground. Daigo continued to stare, but said nothing.
"I repeat, what is going on here?" she asked. Again, no response.
"I asked what's going on here, now am I gonna have to bring you all inside?" she asked, getting angry.
"Nothing." came a voice behind Daigo, who stepped to the side. Misao walked out to the teacher.
"I was just giving them some candy," she said softly.
"Yeah, that's all." Guy added.
Not a stupid person, the teacher knew the situation, but there was not really much she could do about this to make it better, and besides, she knew better than to interfere…
"Alright then," she said, and turned around.
"All of you, what are you looking at? It's not polite to stare, you know." she barked at the crowd, which promptly dispersed in a wave of hustle to get away from an angry teacher.
Daigo waited for a moment, then, with a sweep of his head, began walking away, passing between Misao and Sasami. Shohei passed Misao, immediately afterward dropping the chocolate to the ground and stepping on the box.
Misao felt her heart flutter in her stomach as his shoe made a crunching noise with the chocolates inside. Sasami watched her go over to the broken box and pick it up. She looked like a waif, sad and broken.
Misao returned to the table, placing the box in her lap. Sasami slowly walked over to her and sat by her side. They sat there for a long moment, the silence between them speaking louder than words ever could. Misao stared at the box, Sasami at her folded hands. Girls around them continued with their deliveries, and boys continued their hopeful waiting. After a long time, Misao put her hands under the crumpled edges of the box, and lifted them up. She peeled back the broken cardboard to reveal the inside: pieces upon pieces of what once were heart-shaped flat chocolate candies. Sasami looked in and saw this also, then, suddenly, she noticed something.
"Hey, look…" she said, reaching into the box pushing past the broken pieces of chocolate all the way to the bottom where she pulled something out. She then held it up for Misao to see.
"Look! There's one that's not broken!" she exclaimed.
Sasami and Misao both looked at it. It was a thin, heart-shaped chocolate candy with a very ornate imprint on the front. The design was of a tree, a Sakura tree, and the inside of the grooves were filled perfectly with a red gel, most likely cherry in flavor, from what Sasami could tell.
"Wow! That's really neat Misao-chan, where'd you get it?"
"I… I… umm, made it…" she said softly.
"You made this?" she exclaimed, astonished, "that's really pretty!"
Misao looked at her, asking more with her eyes than her mouth.
"Mmm!" she responded with a smile.
"Then, I would like Sasami-san to have it." she said.
"Misao-chan, you know my name?"
"Of course, you sit right next to me." she replied, a little embarrassed.
"Oh, yeah, I guess you're right…" this time Sasami was the one embarrassed. "Oh, and just call me Sasami, okay?"
"Okay, then you can call me Misao, okay?"
Sasami then looked at the work of art in her hand again.
"You're really good at cooking, you know that?"
"Oh, no, I'm really not…"
"No, Misao, this is one of the prettiest designs I've ever seen made on food before. It's a Sakura tree, right?"
"Okay, then." Sasami said as she brought her other hand up to the chocolate, and broke it in half.
"Then let's eat it together, then, okay?"
Misao smiled and took the piece of chocolate from Sasami.
"Itedakimasu!" Sasami called out rather loudly, then literally threw the entire piece of chocolate into her mouth.
Misao laughed at this, clutching the chocolate in her hand for a long moment. Sasami watched her laugh as she chewed the confection. After she finally stopped, Misao followed suit.
"Itedakimasu." she said in her soft voice. She then began to eat.
The girls talked for a few minutes after until the bell rang signaling the end of lunch. The two walked off together towards class, inadvertently leaving the box of chocolates behind.
To be continued.
Chapter 1, Part 1 Notes:
Japanese -> English Dictionary:
Ojo-chan: (Not literally, but can be taken as) 'Little Princess'
Itedakimasu: A thank you for food, said before eating
Gochisosama deshita: Lit. 'It was a feast'. Said after finishing eating
Bento: A boxed lunch, usually served in a reusable, plastic container
Sakura: Cherry Tree, or Cherry Blossoms
Author's notes: Here we are. I finished the first part of the first chapter and I'm already exhausted. The following things I learned from this experience:
1) Never write at 3 a.m.
I do have an epic idea behind what I'm planning to do with this fanfic, but time might be an issue. I will be moving to Japan on a scholarship in late August or early October, and will not be back for a full year. I don't know what my life will be like when I'm there, or whether or not I'll be able to continue writing. As a result, I don't know if this will ever finish. But I'll try!
If you like this work, please encourage me to continue. I am not the most secure writer, and as a result, no feedback tends to drain my will to write, while positive AND negative feedback both push me on.
Thanks to anyone who responds!
Nall-ohki (Tyson Roberts)
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