17 of 17
AN: Been looking at this story for the better part of two months now, and getting precisely crap done, so I think I’m going to end it here with this chapter – you have been warned, I might miss a few plot holes, but I’m doing my best to keep this from being too painful.
(Two years later)
Things had quieted down, Xander noted even as he looked in the mirror at his tuxedo. Finally, after nearly two years of open revolt, the battles had finally stopped and the universe was getting back to what passed for normal.
It had started when Tenchi had assumed the throne, an open declaration of revolt from within the Empire that had spread like wildfire among the various planets and the peoples within them. After years of oppression from Asuza and the more iron-fisted of the Royal family (distant though they might have been), the people of the Jurian empire were not going to have any part of this new Emperor and had revolted. Within weeks the Empire was in shambles, with all but a very few core worlds belonging to the revolutionaries, and Tenchi had had his work cut out for him even as the people continued to cry for Asuza’s head on a pike, but he’d sucked it up and Tenchi proved that he wasn’t just a pretty face and a battleship full of luck. Planet by planet the remaining forces of Jurai had moved and reclaimed their lands, and with every planet not only did the body counts on both side skyrocket, but experience hard-won only by battle and sacrifice shaped Tenchi.
By the end of the first six months, the core worlds of the Empire were back under the control of Tenchi, but compared to what would come in the next eighteen months, they would be considered a cakewalk. Tenchi had to prove time and again that not only was he NOT the same breed as Asuza, but that he was an Emperor of the people, that he was going to change things, and this helped bring in the trust and resources of the planets and the people.
Of course, he had not done this alone – Ryoko and Ayeka, even while pregnant, had helped with the effort and had even taken control of situations that arose while Tenchi was busy elsewhere. The First Queen, Ayeka, was a thoughtful and decisive tactician that weighed her choices carefully before she attacked or defended, and with every victory she refortified the holdings of the Empire by doing what was necessary to gain the trust of the revolutionaries. The Second Queen, Ryoko, though, was different in that while she put in thought to her plans, she was a force to be reckoned with as she called upon old friends from her pirating days to bolster the occasionally waning forces of the Empire. She earned the respect of the people, the pirates and the soldiers, but more than that, she appeared to earn the respect of her sister Queen, even if that respect didn’t register a great deal in their very vocal arguments.
In all of this, though, two little miracles had been born – Ryo, the child of Ryoko, had been born first and the little price was an odd mixture of his mother and his father. He played fast and loose with the rules when he could but he also had an air of innocence and likeability around him that seemed to draw any and everyone in towards him. It was no wonder to Xander that the little tyke was not only his protégé in the arts of pranking, but that Ryo had learned early on that his other solitary duty in life was to irritate his ‘uncle Xander’ by up and disappearing.
Achika, by and large, was the most darling thing you ever could think of meeting so long as you didn’t cross her – she, apparently, had taken after her mother in her temperament and her father in looks, but when it came down to it, Xander knew she was a good kid. Sure, she had this stare that almost said ‘I will KEEL you’ ever since he’d helped change her first diaper, and even two years later she gave him that look, but generally she reserved her temperamental nature for her mother and father. Xander knew she was going to be a heartbreaker when she grew up, so he’d already started crafting a nice shovel that would be used to torment royalty and nobles for decades to come, as he wasn’t going to let her even start dating until she was thirty.
A soft chime brought him out of his thoughts as he turned towards the door, “Enter.” The door slid open and in walked Kiyone, wearing her formal uniform and holding a cane as she limped in, “Hey, Ki-chan.”
The teal-haired woman smiled as she made her way over, a very faint whirring sound following her as she did, “Hey, Xander. Are you ready?”
He gave her a deadpan look, “I’m about to get married – what do you think?”
She gave him a smirk as her blue eyes twinkled in mirth, “We could run away and elope, you know.”
He arched an eyebrow at her, “And risk pissing off Misaki, Funhao AND Sasami? I’m crazy, not stupid, babe.”
Somewhere in the past two years Xander and Kiyone had come to an agreement of some kind, that they were friends, great friends, but not really in the realm of lovers, and this had been highlighted only two months before when an attack had taken off Kiyone’s leg at the mid-thigh. Under normal circumstances, he would have found those responsible for the attack and started introducing them to their internal organs alphabetically, but a higher sense of duty had overridden these instincts and he’d taken the wounded officer to Washu for medical attention. The leg had not been salvageable, and while Washu offered to regrow it for the former Galaxy Police officer, but Kiyone had said no and opted for a cybernetic replacement instead. Xander had joked with her that she was tired of shaving her legs and was happy to get rid of one (a joke that she’d taken in kind and had laughed heartily at, but a joke that both Mihoshi and Sasami had not taken well and had smacked him in unison), but even though he knew it was her idea, he still mentally winced every time he heard the whine.
Kiyone walked up to him and hugged him, wincingly slightly as she did, “You’re a good man, Xander Harris, and those two are lucky to get you.”
He ran his hand on the outside of her cybernetic leg teasingly as he hugged her back, “You know, we can just as easily add you into this ceremony. They’d both love to have you.”
Kiyone snorted and pulled away, “Those two may put on a good front, Xander, but they don’t like sharing, you especially. Still,” she went on with a grin, her eyes again twinkling with mirth, “if you play your cards right and ask them both VERY nicely, you might be able to get me as your very own concubine.”
Xander shook his head quickly, “No. You’d never be a concubine, Kiyone, only a wife would do.” He then sighed and reached back and scratched the long tail of hair that was bound at the base of his neck, “This is REALLY annoying. Why do I have to wear my hair long?”
“The price of royalty, they say,” Kiyone teased him. “But if it’s any consolation, I think you look pretty good in it.” She then got serious and asked, “Are you ready?”
Xander took a breath and nodded, “I’m ready.”
As they started walking towards the door to the ceremony, Kiyone shouted, “Dead man walking!” A second later, a meaty smack was heard and she paused in mid step, “Don’t smack me on the ass unless you mean it, Xander.”
Xander grinned at her for a moment and squared his shoulders, “We’ll finish this some other time, Kiyone.” With that, they walked into the hall and, with every step, Xander felt full-grown cabbits starting to brawl within his stomach.
Sasami took another drink from the bottle in front of her and hoped that it would quell the feeling that she had in her stomach. As much as she liked attending weddings, the thought that she was about to go through her own wedding was scaring the unloving daylights out of her.
“Take it easy on that stuff, squirt,” Ryoko said even as she changed Ryo’s diaper on the other side of the room. “People might get the impression that you’re nervous.”
She shot the Second Queen a sour look, “I AM nervous, Ryoko.”
The former space pirate snorted, “Trust me, Sasami, you’ll do fine.”
Two seats away Mihoshi, who was finishing her makeup, looked at her with a grin, “And if that doesn’t help, remember that this is YOUR doing.”
The look that Sasami shot her soon to be sister in marriage didn’t bear thinking about, but the blonde WAS right – this was entirely her fault, as she had been the one to propose to Xander and to Mihoshi.
It had been almost ten months previous, just as the wars were starting to wind down, when the events that had lead to her proposing to Xander and Mihoshi had come to pass – they had, after several weeks of constant fighting, taken a system from the last of the fragmented revolutionaries and, in a moment of pure joy, she had opened up a case of old brandy that they had found some months before while salvaging stores from an old station. At first it had started as a victory toast, but soon after it had somehow mutated into her going shot for shot with Mihoshi even as Xander stared at his first, though half-finished, drink with a brooding look on his face. This, she remembered, had been confronted with her and Mihoshi saying that it was alright to have a drink, but he’d told them that if he started, he might not be able to stop – Mihoshi had told him that it was alright, that they all needed to unwind, so unwind they did.
Lost in the alcoholic fumes and jumbled memories she had kissed them both, kissing them until the point that oxygen started to become an issue, and while sprawled in their laps she had asked them both to marry her. Mihoshi had been the first to answer, raising the last bottle of brandy to her lips before saying yes and passing the bottle to Xander, who did the same, but of course none of them remembered this.
The only reason any of them knew any of this had happened, though, was because of a data transmission of the entire affair that had arrived the next day with a note on it, ‘Watch me’. At that point, Sasami had not been wanting to watch anything but the inside of her eyelids, and even that hurt, but from her place between Xander and Mihoshi, she was able to instruct one of them to put it in and they all listened to the drunken proposals and acceptances.
Sasami smiled at the memory of both Xander and Mihoshi looking quiet ill as the implication of what they had heard (and apparently said and accepted) but Sasami couldn’t stop smiling – yes, her infatuation with Xander was quiet well-known, in fact she had heard that there was a pool amongst the troops as to when she would pop the question (incidentally, she’d done so on a day that nobody had taken and the money had been given back to the troopers whom had been betting), but what many had not known was exactly how close she had gotten with Mihoshi. While not devoted lovers, it had been Mihoshi whom had given her her first kiss with another woman, drunken though it may have been, and it had been Mihoshi whom had pulled her off to the side a year earlier and had told her that if Xander was still alive and single at the end of the war, that she (Mihoshi) would rectify the part about him being single. This worried Sasami to no end until she remembered that a Jurian husband could have two wives and numerous concubines, legally, and this had set her mind at ease a little.
‘It also doesn’t hurt that you think she’s gorgeous,’ a voice in her mind said with a definite smirk.
Sasami repressed a sigh even as she realized that, yes, she and Tsunami might be one, but the goddess still had a separate essence and had spent FAR too much time around Xander for her liking. While reserved, the goddess could fire off a one-liner or a snark with an unerring accuracy that Sasami KNEW she could blame on Xander, but she didn’t as it often made life just a little more bearable. ‘Of course I think she’s gorgeous. Xander and I both think so.’
‘True, but you’ve been looking at some of those books that your mother left you a few weeks ago FAR too much to not have just a passing interest in her, Sasami.’
Sasami gave a mental sniff, ‘Those books were simply ways to help royals get used to the fact that they will have two spouses and how to deal with them.’
‘Riiiiight,’ the goddess said with a drawled tone in her voice.
“Sasami? Are you ready?” She looked over at Ayeka, who was showing signs of her impending birth of the third royal child (often called the ‘trifecta of the unholy terrors’), and nodded, “Very well, let us go.”
Sasami stood and, after taking a moment to straighten her robes, she lowered her veil and looked at Mihoshi, “What do you think?” They were dressed in identical white robes, white veils, and had long trains that would probably get tripped over at least once or twice before they got to the alter, but all in all they were simple affairs in keeping with the simplistic wedding… even if planning it had taken close to nine months.
The soon-to-be-Sister-Wife stood and lowered her veil, “Fine… but I think I’m going to throw up. I’m so NERVOUS…”
Ryoko snorted as she redressed her son, “Don’t worry, this is the easy part.”
Mihoshi looked at the Queen hopefully, even if her veil hid it, “It is?”
“Yup. The hard part, though, comes later.” Ryoko slid her hands over her son’s ears and grinned, “Who gets to test drive him first for the wedding night.”
From under their veils, both Sasami and Mihoshi blushed a bright, bright crimson even as Ayeka denounced her sister-wife for such bawdy remarks. Being married, a Queen and a mother had done a lot to mellow Ryoko out, but one thing that hadn’t changed was her sense of humor.
“… I now pronounce you husband, wife and wife. Alexander, you may kiss your brides.”
She had to admit that, even as she watched this hallowed event, she couldn’t help but feel a little gypped at being left out. Sure, she was technically there, given that the ceremony was happening under her branches, and yes, she was technically able to be in the minds of any or all of the trio, but still, it sucked. She was a goddess, but she still had to wait in line to congratulate the wedded couple.
Tsunami smiled as she watched Xander first kiss Sasami and then Mihoshi, feeling the three join in their souls and she even shivered slightly as she felt Mihoshi slip him a bit of tongue, but she also looked out at the small congregation of people whom had assembled.
First of all came Tenchi, Ryoko and Ayeka, all of whom looked proud of Sasami and her spouses, even if the two smallest of the brood, Ryo and Achika, both were asleep by this point, and she could feel that the third child growing within Ayeka was also happy. ‘Hmm… I wonder if I should tell them that Ryoko’s pregnant again? Nah, let Tenchi figure that one out himself…’
Next came Misaki and Funhao, both of whom were embracing and crying openly as the three were announced to the group. They had had a hard time since the war had started, especially when it had come to light everything that their husband, the late and unlamented Asuza, had done right under their noses, but they were getting along as well as they could. Asuza, though dead, was also there in spirit and while he never had approved to Xander, he could understand that his youngest was growing up and he accepted her choice. “Prick. I hope that heart attack you had hurt a lot.’ Alright, she was a goddess, but she was still entitled to her opinions of people, living and deceased…
Finally her gaze settled on Kiyone, who was also crying, and Tsunami felt like crying too – damn it, why didn’t she just say yes and be happy? She hated seeing someone who was so close to Sasami, Mihoshi and Xander be so miserable, and if she, as a goddess, had any pull, the teal-haired woman wasn’t going to be miserable for long. Now, how to convince her…
Tsunami blinked for a moment and shivered as she felt someone join her, ‘Sister.’
Tokimi nodded at her, ‘Sister. It is time we ended this, once and for all.’
Tsunami sighed, ‘Very well.’ She held out her fist, ‘Ready?’
Tokimi nodded and held out her own fist, ‘I am.’
As one, they shook their hands, ‘Paper, scissors, rock!’
AN: What, expecting something dramatic? They are sisters – short of a knock-down, drag-out, hair-pulling and cloth-ripping fight, this is the easy way to do things.
Yes, it’s about damned time I finished this thing, and here it is. Reviews, please (and, sorry, no plans to write ‘Suiting Up – The Wedding Night’).