Hello, again, alligators. Just figured I'd bring this piece of goodness I've been thinking up for a while. Hope you enjoy it!

I do not own Tenchi Muyo.

Ryouko stared up at the ceiling, deep in thought as the house bustled around her. Ayeka and Mihoshi were cleaning with cartoons on in the background, Tenchi was at school, Sasami was in the kitchen cooking with Ryo-Ohki, and Kiyone was helping Nobuyuki with his budget for next month. Washu was in her lab like usual and Katsuhito was up at the shrine. It was a regular day like any other, even if it was a little warm with summer being on its way.

There were some things that had changed among the group, though. For starters, Mihoshi was helping with chores because she often slept at the house whenever she and Kiyone visited, so her partner had reprimanded her and given her the chores as punishment for being so rude. Sasami had taken to calling Ryouko 'big sis' as the silver-haired pirate had grown very fond of the younger princess since they had arrived on earth. Ryo-Ohki was starting a proper diet that didn't consist solely of carrots. She now also ate assorted meats and plenty of spinach to help her strength as a ship. Washu wasn't setting the house on fire or experimenting on them as often, either, a relief to the majority of the household. Ryouko didn't really mind since Washu only wanted to test her limited power (she could easily create thirteen clones of herself and twenty-three with a bit of strain). Aside from all of these changes, Ayeka had, in Ryouko's opinion, somehow gotten even more annoying.

A few weeks ago, they had finally gotten back safely to their dimension after the fiasco that was traveling through time and space. Ryouko still couldn't believe Sasami had made her fall in love with Ayeka, of all people. But at least every other dimension had been okay. The last, however, had been… it had been perfect. Just her and Tenchi traveling the world, stealing and having fun. But he hadn't thought so, he wasn't one for a life of crime and didn't want to stay in the world she had created.

If Ryouko was honest with herself—and for one of these rare moments, she was—that hurt more than him choosing Ayeka ever could. She was a pirate, someone who took and rarely gave. That kind of world is the only one that fit with her personality, the only one she knew how to be. For Tenchi to reject that… it was as if he was rejecting her and the person she was.

Sasami walked in and beamed at everyone. "Lunch is ready!" she called happily.

Ayeka and Mihoshi immediately breathed in relief at the reprieve, settling down at the table. Ryouko simply continued staring at the ceiling, seeming not to have even heard the call. Ryo-Ohki leaped onto her mistress' stomach and mewed to get her attention. Ryouko blinked and turned her attention to the cabbit in confusion. Ryo-Ohki mewed once more and Ryouko looked over to where everyone was gathering. "Oh. Is it that time already?" Ryo-Ohki nodded in affirmation. "Alright, here I come."

Standing and stretching, Ryouko teleported over to the table and accepted the bowl Sasami handed her. Simply staring down at the bowl, Ryouko sighed and pulled one of the platters to her, placing a piece of meat in it before doing the same with a few other dishes. Stirring the food about, the pirate returned to her deep thought, occasionally taking a bite of the food. The others simply spoke about what was happening with Mihoshi complaining about the amount of cleaning to be done and Kiyone reprimanding her since she often slept here.

Once lunch was finished, Sasami and Ayeka began cleaning the table, but both paused when they noticed Ryouko still sitting, her food barely touched. "Big sis?" Sasami called, gaining the pirate's attention.

"Yes, Sasami?" the silverette asked.

"Aren't you going to eat?" Both princesses watched in confusion as Ryouko glanced down at her plate before sighing.

"Guess I'm not that hungry. I'll take it to Washu and see if she wants it. Thank you, Sasami."

The entire group stared after Ryouko as she phased through the wall on her way out, still looking deep in thought. "Has anyone else noticed her acting strangely?" Kiyone inquired.

"Yeah, she's been like that for quite a while," Sasami murmured, worry in her pink eyes. "She always seems distracted."

"Maybe she's sick?" Kiyone suggested, allowing Nobuyuki to head back to work on the budget. "It would explain why she's not eating."

Sasami hugged Ryo-Ohki close, sighing. "I don't know," she whispered.

"It's probably nothing to worry about," Ayeka said loftily, carrying the dishes in her hands into the kitchen. "It'll probably pass."

Sasami and Kiyone glanced at one another, not having expected anything more from Ayeka anyway. However, the fact that Ryouko had been like this for so long was beginning to worry the both of them. Kiyone resolved to keep an eye on the pirate, lest she spiral past the point of no return. Sasami simply hoped Ryouko got better soon.

Ryouko opened the door to the laboratory without knocking, strolling through the machinery on her way to Washu's work desk. Once or twice, she even walked straight through a sparking wire without even the slightest thought to it. Coming to the work desk, Ryouko set the food down beside the scientist, startling Washu from what she was doing. Turning to Ryouko, the pinkette cocked her head at the frown on the taller woman's features.

"Here's lunch, Washu," Ryouko murmured, turning to leave.

"Thank you," Washu responded, watching Ryouko curiously. The pirate simply walked through her machinery, as if her body was on autopilot. What's going on with her? the mad genius wondered. I'll have to talk to her about it. One of these days, she might not be able to walk through something. Turning back to her work, the scientist took a bite from the meal and continued on.

Ryouko strode through the living room and out onto the porch, passing the rest of the household without a glance. Kiyone resolved to watch her once more as she and Mihoshi left for Galaxy Police business, promising to come back once it was finished. Ryouko teleported up to the roof, laying back and staring up at the sky. Guess I gotta put my time into something else, she thought, closing her eyes and letting the sun warm her face. Wonder what I should do now…

First chapter done. Hope ya enjoyed this first look at Ryouko's insecurity! It only gets better from here!

Remember, sneak peeks and update info can be found on my tumblr, gothalbinoangel-fanfiction! I just opened commissions!