All "Tenchi Muyo" references are copyrighted by AIC and Pioneer LD. This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.
These stories were partly inspired by the mighty Hospitaller’s “Iscariot Wept” series, and also from eighteen very happy years of marriage to The Redhead. Write what you know, they say, and so I have…
“Really, Tenchi, I don’t know why you insist on spending so many nights with Ryoko.” Ayeka paused in her nightly hairbrushing ritual to turn toward her weary husband, who was lying in bed praying for her to finish up and turn the damned lights out. “I mean, at the very least we should ask Miss Washu to do something about the sleep-fighting. Furniture does not grow on trees…well, I suppose that it does! Isn’t that funny?” the Empress of Jurai chuckled heartily at her own little joke.
“I did talk to Washu. She told me that we’re damned fortunate this is all Ryoko does, given what Kagato did to her all those years.” Tired as he was, Tenchi could not help but drink in the vision of his wife’s lissome form as it moved within the sheer silk nightgown that barely covered it. While Ryoko’s body was in a class by itself, Ayeka had nothing to be ashamed of. She had a soft, sleek glow to her skin and soft curves that rested in perfect proportion to the rest of her body. Ayeka moved with a casual grace that stirred his soul every time he watched her.
“Well, I suppose she’s right,” Ayeka conceded, returning to her grooming. “I suppose that she’ll get over it someday, given time and support from her family.” The Empress of Jurai smiled and gave her husband a look that hinted at fires burning deep within. “And you know, my Lord Tenchi, both Ryoko and I would like nothing better than to make our little family grow a bit, if you know what I mean.”
Tenchi closed his eyes and tried not to groan. “Most nights, Ayeka, I would know exactly what you mean. But as much as I hate to say this, tonight I’m exhausted.”
“Oh dear.” The disappointment on her face was evident. “Ah well,” she quickly added. “I quite understand, Tenchi. Perhaps a good night’s sleep will do you a world of good, hmm?”
“I’ll make it up to you, Ayeka. I promise.”
“Oh, I know you will. I’ll make sure you do.” She smiled coquettishly and rose to her feet. “Very well, lights off and to sleep tonight, then. But let me go use the bathroom first.” She hurried into the other room, which allowed Tenchi to fall back against the pillows and roll his eyes heavenward safely. There were times he firmly believed that a bathroom visit preceded anything Ayeka did. He was almost certain that when her time had at last come, her final words would be ‘wait…I need to use the bathroom first…’
She glided back into the room a few minutes later. “Lights, please.” The illumination dimmed instantly at her request. Ayeka slipped into bed with one easy, graceful motion and snuggled up against her beloved Tenchi, pressing her body up against him as closely as she could.
One second later, his lower limbs reported a state of emergency to his brain, which immediately sounded the alarm. “God, Ayeka!”
“Hmmm? What’s wrong, Tenchi?”
“Your legs and feet are like blocks of ice!”
“Mmmm…and yours are so nice and toasty warm…”
Tenchi rolled over on his side. He sandwiched his head between his pillows. He tried burying himself beneath the covers. He closed his eyes tightly and tried to think of pleasant thoughts, of warm afternoons on the beach, or cool evenings in front of a fireplace. Unfortunately, time and again his attempted daydreams quickly faded away, to be replaced by the terrible sounds of Juraian trees being cut down by an army of roaring chainsaws.
Ayeka lay placidly beside him, flat on her back with her eyes closed. Her hands were clasped and resting on her chest, which rose and fell in a slow, steady rhythm. And the most hideous snorts, gasps and other noises imaginable continued to stream out of her open mouth as she slept.
“Oh God, this is worse than Ryoko…” Tenchi cried softly as he tried in vain to shut the awful sounds out. He’d tried to rouse her, but Ayeka was a very deep, very sound sleeper, and once down for the count, she was extremely difficult to wake up. If anything, it tended to make her talk in her sleep; one night she’d blessed her sleepless husband with her complete coronation speech. Frankly, he was surprised Ryoko or Sasami hadn’t come in to complain about tonight’s performance…it was certainly one of her better ones.
Tenchi sat up and hugged his pillow tightly, then drew back and stared at it intently. A moment later his eyes focused on the delicate features of his wife’s face. Ayeka chose to give off a particularly spectacular twenty-one gun salute, and for just a second or two he was almost, just almost tempted to press the pillow down and shut her up…
“Nah. I couldn’t.” Tenchi shook his head, sighed, and lay back down to try and get back to sleep.
Tenchi’s slumber was abruptly shattered by a solid blow to his right calf. “What? What?” he yelped, instantly awake.
“Roll over, Tenchi,” came Ayeka’s sleepy voice from her side of the bed. “You’re snoring.”
Tenchi stirred from a fitful sleep, somehow aware that something was amiss in the bedroom. “Ayeka?” he called groggily, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. “Ayeka, you okay?” When no answer was forthcoming, he turned toward her side of the bed…and found the covers neatly pushed away and only a slight indentation upon the pillow to indicate that anyone had been there at all. “Oh no,” he groaned, rolling over to his edge of the bed and feeling around for his slippers. “Not again.”
A quick peek into the bathroom confirmed that Ayeka was not in the immediate vicinity. Fortunately, experience had given Tenchi a checklist of sorts to run down, but he was going to need some help. He considered Ryoko and quickly eliminated that possibility…the last time she’d ‘helped’, it had ended up with a bowl of lukewarm water, a soaking wet nightgown and an infuriated Ayeka. Shaking his head at the memory, Tenchi chose instead to knock on Sasami’s door.
The young princess opened the door just a hair, looking a bit rumpled, out of breath, and rather irritated. “What is it, Tenchi? I’m BUSY, if you know what I mean…”
“Ayeka’s sleepwalking again.”
Sasami snorted. “So? Either she’s in her office working or she’s on the main balcony giving a speech to the people. She’ll be back in an hour or so, what’s the big deal?”
“Well…” Tenchi felt acutely aware of his sister-in-law’s laser-sharp gaze upon him. “What if she hurts herself?”
“Look, Tenchi. I told you the last time to tie her to the bed. She’d probably enjoy it. I know I do. Now if you don’t mind, I need to get back…” She glanced over her shoulder, smiled, and before Tenchi could protest the door was shut…and locked from within.
“Great, just great.” Tenchi sighed, and set off in search of his wife.
He found Ayeka standing on the main balcony, arms outstretched and singing. “The truth is, I neeeeeever left you…”
“I should have never taken her to see that movie,” he grumbled. “Come on, Ayeka, it’s time to go back to bed.”
“My people, my people! My poor, poor descamisados!”
“Yes, yes, the descamisados love you, Ayeka, now let’s head back inside where it’s warm.”
“Don’t cry for me, Argennnnnnntina….”
Ten minutes later, Ayeka was back in bed, sound asleep and snoring away. Tenchi shook his head, lay back down and prayed for deliverance.
The Next Morning
“Well, good morning, Ryoko!” Ayeka declared as her fellow wife entered the dining room. The Empress of Jurai was sipping at her morning tea and waiting for breakfast to be served. “And how did you sleep last night?”
“Ehh, pretty good, I guess.” Ryoko flopped down into a chair and scratched at her wild mane of hair. “But I never sleep as well as I do when Tenchi’s there.”
“I know what you mean. I had a perfectly restful night, myself.” Ayeka nodded her thanks to the serving maid and placed her napkin neatly on her lap. “But you know, I am getting a bit worried about Tenchi, since you mention it.”
“Oh? What’s the problem?” Ryoko picked up her chopsticks and attacked a slice of salmon.
“Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but he’s sleeping in more and more these days. I believe he’s taking naps in the afternoon as well. And he’s been a bit out of sorts, too.” Ayeka frowned as she took a rice ball and daintily placed it in her mouth. “Perhaps we should have him see a doctor and determine the problem.”
“Ehh, we don’t need a doctor. I know perfectly well what’s wrong.”
Ryoko grinned. “It’s because you snore.”
“Me? I hardly think so!”
“Princess, you can be heard all the way to Earth on a good night.”
Ayeka’s face reddened. “Well, at least I don’t go attacking Kagato in MY sleep!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Ryoko’s features tightened at the sound of that name.
“Haven’t you noticed that your room’s furniture is never the same? It’s because we have to replace it every time you have one of your ‘dream bouts’ with that lunatic! And then you have the nerve to wonder why Tenchi hates sleeping with you!”
“Now wait just a second,” Ryoko growled. “It isn’t me wandering around in a nightie singing about those…’descami…’ whatever they are.”
“Descamisados,” Ayeka corrected without thinking. “And I don’t see what that has to do with anything! I do not sleepwalk, I will have you know! If anyone in this room is responsible for Tenchi’s being unable to rest, it is you!”
“Wanna make something of it, priss?”
“Bring it on, demon woman!”
Tenchi had just reached for the dining room door when he heard the rising voices. With a heavy, heartfelt sigh he turned around and headed back for bed.