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Old 31-03-2001, 10:15 PM   #1   [permalink]
Katfum
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Here's something I posted to tmffa.com and fanfiction.net...

Disclaimer:
Tenchi Muyo! and all related characters, concepts, etc. are property of AIC and Pioneer. I only *wish* they were mine.
This story is copyright Kenneth Patterson, Two Thousand and One A.D.
Contains no squid.


Become
------

I read a book tonight.

Oh, don't look at me like that. Just because I act lazy some of the time... okay, most of the time... that doesn't mean I don't take it on myself to do something intelligent once in a while.

Anyway, Tenchi spends a lot of his time at school, so I decided to see what he spends all that time on. If it keeps him away from me, it had better be good. So, tonight, I snuck into his room. Not that uncommon an occurance, but less common than it used to be. He says it frightens him to wake up with someone else in the room. Is it anyone he would be frightened of, or I am I unique in that regard? Would he be so frightened if...

Right, can that line of thought.

As usual, he was sleeping so hard he wouldn't have noticed if Washu yanked him into her lab for another round of 'experiments.' Sometimes I wish he wasn't so sound asleep, so that he might notice me watching over him, or that I could hear him whisper in his dreams. It's not like I have any chance of telling how he feels when he's awake. Why can't he open up to me for once? What is it that...

Other times, I'm glad he doesn't wake up. If he had when I/Zero nearly... I don't know how he could ever look at me again without fear in his eyes. And other times, I'm just glad that he can keep that peaceful expression on his face, and that he can't try and avoid me or tell me to go away.

Tonight, instead of hovering over his bed, I went to his desk. The contents of his backpack were scattered around his desk. Good; he'd be much less likely to notice something moved around this mess. Looking through his books, I grabbed three of them, and teleported to the roof to read.

The first two books were math and science textbooks. I breezed through those. The math was ridiculously easy for me; being the product of the *finest* technology of our resident older-than-some-civilizations nut, she made sure that I would never be short of computational power. The science curriculum was about as primitive as you would expect for a race that has only recently left their own atmosphere. Such a silly, shortsighted understanding they have. *Is that you thinking or me?*

The third was a sourcebook for a philosophy course. Essentially, it was a series of quotes and commentary on them, deisgned to stimulate discussion of Deep Issues. For a while, I found it hilarious. This planet has produced many fine artists and thinkers, but it has also produced more than its share of pompous blowhards who are so completely sure of themselves that they have no problem proclaiming the most ridiculous statements, just because they thought of them. So small, but so arrogant, they seem like small dogs yapping at passersby, convinced that they can scare them away.

I read it for a while, sometimes trying no to laugh, sometimes nodding my head in agreement.

And then...

"I am made Shiva, destroyer of worlds."

Without knowing why, I broke down in tears. There, in one line, was the thing that keeps me from him. I am, no matter how I slant it, Ryoko, infamous space pirate... and destroyer of worlds. I have, in the course of my 5000 years of life, killed countless individuals, and stripped entire worlds bare of life. I am, like Ayeka calls me, a monster.

I try and tell myself that it doesn't matter, because it wasn't me that was driven to kill and burn, that I wasn't the one who directed those hands to choke the life out of the sea of faces, that it's *not my fault*...

But in the end, I am the one with the blood left on my hands, no matter how much I try and wash them by starting a new life.

When I finally calmed from the rage of my defeat at Yosho's hands, I actually felt freed by my imprisonment. I was free to let the universe live without me ripping it apart. But as with all things, the freedom grew dull in the monotony that was the interior of the cave. Being able to see the outside was nice, but there was nothing to *do*...

Then, I saw Tenchi, and, for a moment, he saw me... He looked at me, and he didn't see Ryoko, space pirate and Shiva incarnate... he saw Ryoko. Simply Ryoko. Suddenly, I could see a chance, a chance to build something for a change. And so, I spent the next decade watching over him whenever he was near, praying that I would one day have a chance to realize that.

And that day finally came.

I know he didn't mean to hurt me. He was confused, frightened, and in contact with things beyond his understanding. I know that now.

I didn't then.

And so, I became Shiva once more.

You see, for all the adaptiveness Washu built into me, I am very much a creature of habit. If something works for me, I stick with it. Sometimes, even when it doesn't...

I saw something that hurt me. Without knowing, he hurt me as deeply as any wound I have ever felt. And, in the past, things that caused pain were to be... destroyed.

So, Tenchi's first real impression of me beyond the vauge feelings of a child was of Ryoko the destroyer, the demon.

Since then, what have I done with him? I destroyed his peaceful life, I destroyed part of one of these earth cities when Ryo-ohki and Ryu-oh crashed, I nearly destroyed the onsen we visited, and, under Kagato's control once more, I nearly destroyed him.

I destroyed, I destroyed, I destroyed...

Is that all I know? Is that all I can do? Washu said she created a daughter, not a superweapon. So why haven't I done anything but destroy?

What am I?

Ever since my non-birth, I haven't been my own person. For millennia, I was nothing but a tool, harnessed to be an engine of destruction. After being imprisoned, I was the product of loneliness and memories of past sins. Since being released, I have been the enjoyment of my freedom. But, after all the time I have lived, all I have done, I still don't know who I am.

All I know is is this: I don't want to be Shiva. I don't want to destroy.

So what do I do? How does a 5000-year old artificial lifeform change who she is? I never asked for this power. I don't want it. It tempts me. It tells me that life is easier when my obstacles are eliminated. It tells me that I have the power to do it.

Perhaps it is right. But not how it thinks.

*It* is my obstacle. And it is within my power to destroy it.

I am powerful enough to not be powerful anymore.

The books, I carefully replaced in his room. Then, I returned to the cave, where this chapter began, and will now end. I braced myself.

I do not do this just for him. This, I also do for myself.

I will become something else.

For most people, cutting through their wrist is an end. For me, it is a beginning.

What would he think? What would any of them think?

Ayeka will flip out. Now we can't take out our agression on each other without her looking like a bully. Who knows, maybe she'll accuse me of resorting to 'desperate tactics' to win Tenchi's heart. *Or to win Tenchi. Did we try too much for the second to think about the first?*

Mihoshi, if she even notices, will probably just be glad to have one less major threat in the area.

Who knows what goes on inside Washu's head?

Sasami might understand. She knows the desire to make things better, even if she has never known the pain of making them worse. Though who knows what memories of Tsunami's she might have in that regard...

And Tenchi?

I don't know. All I can do is pray. Pray that he can see me without fear. Pray that he lets me close. Pray that he'll let me hold his children some day, even if they aren't mine.

I still have some power, it is true. But that power is not so tempting. That power can be used to do more than destroy. I can use that power to build.

Perhaps I'll give it back to him tonight. Perhaps on his birthday. *Do I even know when that is? So much I never thought about.* How many boys can say that their girlfriend gave them such a gem for their birthday? How many girls were ever given a gem this valuable by their lovers?

In the end, it does not matter which I do. The time has simply come.

Become.



*fin*


Notes:

One of the things that I always felt was skimmed over in the OVA series was Ryoko's emotional reaction to having killed millions during her period of being controlled by Kagato. From the flashbacks shown, it is quite clear that she did a LOT of destroying. 28 and planets and 69 colonies, to be exact. And yet, in the present she never seems that troubled by her past, except for a few rare glimpses. If *you'd* personally killed a million people, you'd be pretty messed up emotionally. Now multiply the number of deaths a few times... more than a few, actually. The time in the cave must have done a *great* deal towards exorcising her ghosts of the past.

This piece was inspired in a roundabout fashion by the song "My Beloved Monster", by the Eels. Listen to it, if you can. It is, as a friend pointed out to me, the
perfect song to describe Ryoko.

Comments, criticism, and even flames are gratefully accpeted. Email is Katfum@tmbg.org.
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Old 02-04-2001, 07:04 PM   #2   [permalink]
Reika the Dark Angel
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That was beautiful by the time I was finished reading, I was crying. What a wonderful and emotional piece of work!
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Old 23-04-2001, 04:37 PM   #3   [permalink]
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Very nice. A deeply impressive internal narrative. I hope the future OVAs give this much explicit consideration to Ryoko's character.
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Old 23-04-2001, 08:24 PM   #4   [permalink]
Kamono Shibaiko
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That was so good! You did a nice job of writing as Ryoko, I could just hear her saying it.
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Old 23-04-2001, 10:00 PM   #5   [permalink]
yue
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that was very good although i have never seen Tenchi i still like that alot
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Old 24-04-2001, 03:49 PM   #6   [permalink]
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Beautiful, truly inspired work that you have done. You have a lot gifts as a writer and I look forward to seeing more of your material.
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