The party had been going on for over an hour, and it didn't look like it was going to be winding down any time soon. Half nude dancing girls were paired up with many of the ladies and gents, a few actually dancing up on the tables. The other tables were covered with food and drink, and a pile of unopened gifts sat nearby.
Minagi waved the sake bottle, "So did we surprise you?"
Ryouko laughed, toasting her sister with her own bottle. "Considering you nearly got skewered, I'd say yes," she grinned. When the lights came up she had been so startled her sword manifested, much to everyone's great amusement.
Looking almost like two elves Washu and Yume danced together slowly. The near immortal women clearly loved each other deeply, a life long pair. 'I hope Ayeka and I can be like that someday,' Ryouko thought.
Nagi sauntered over to where they were standing, smiling as she grasped Minagi's arm, "Can I take her away for a bit?"
"Go for it," Ryouko laughed. Nagi barely gave Minagi a chance to put her bottle of booze down before pulling her into a tight clinch. They kissed deeply, much to the blushing Minagi's embarrassment.
The two had met when Nagi showed up after the bounty the Galaxy Police put on Ryouko's head, mistaking Minagi for her. They straightened that out, and found themselves deeply attracted to each other. After being in a state of serious denial about it for a few months, they finally accepted that they belonged together.
"Would you like to have another drink?" Ryouko heard a voice ask from right beside where she was sitting.
She turned to see a scantily clad serving girl standing there, her costume consisting of a few artistically placed straps of leather and not very much else. She bent over with the urn of wine she carried, high lighting her many charms. Not that long ago, Ryouko might have been tempted by her, but not any more.
'Guess I'm really hung up on Ayeka,' she thought to herself ruefully. Aloud, Ryouko said to her gently, "No, thank you."
The girl gave a disappointed pout, and slinked off, her bottom swaying.
There was a sound from up on the improvised stage, and Ryouko felt her stomach drop as she saw that her mother was standing up there with Yume, grinning from ear to ear. 'What is she up to now?' she worried.
"All right everybody," Washu grinned, "it's time for the real fun to begin!" A screen activated behind her, and a image formed.
"Oh, no," Ryouko whispered.
Ryouko as a child stood there, looking quite abashed. A blanket with a large wet stain on it hung over a line nearby. "I bet you all didn't know Ryouko had a bed wetting problem," Washu grinned at them maniacally.
Minagi was snickering softly, and Ryouko shot her a glare. Minagi just grinned back, "Hey, you laughed when she did it to me."
"If I knew she was going to dig that up, I'd have destroyed all the files," Ryouko said with a soft groan.
"And now for the past girlfriends!" Yume spoke up as Washu hit another switch, and the torture continued...
Ayeka blushed fiercely as she opened up the first gift. Her co-mother Misaki grinned at her as the box opened up, Ayeka took one look inside and then quickly stuffed the gift back in.
"What is it?" Sasami asked her eagerly.
She, Asashi, Funaho, and more than a few of Ayeka's closer friends from the noble families of Jurai all looked on curiously. Ayeka blushed brightly, reluctantly drawing out the x-rated lace number that her mother had bought her.
"Wear it on your wedding night," Misaki smirked.
Funaho grinned as Ayeka blushed even brighter. "I think it will almost certainly make Ryouko happy to see you," she also smirked. Thoughtfully, she then added, "Of course, being totally nude is always good, too..."
"Why weren't you saying that when we were discussing the ceremony?" Misaki asked.
"Mothers!" Ayeka protested, looking over at Sasami and Asashi in concern.
Asashi sighed, "Guess I shouldn't tell her what's in my gift."
"Me, either," Sasami agreed.
Ayeka looked in surprise at both younger girls, then she buried her face in her hands and groaned softly.
"Drink this," Funaho passed her a glass of something that smelled quite potent, "it'll probably help."
Ayeka downed it in one go, and her friend Rhione cheered her on, "Way to go!" The redhead sat down by Ayeka, "So, have you two... done the deed, yet?"
"No!" Ayeka looked shocked at the suggestion.
"Too bad," Misaki murmured.
Rhione patted her on the shoulder, "You always were an old fashioned girl." She took a drink, and with a devilish look asked, "Are you two getting married in the Manticorian custom?" Over Ayeka's growing protests she cheerfully explained to the eager crowd of young ladies, "They marry in the nude, you know."
"Sorry, they're just performing an simple exchange of vows," Funaho took mercy on the fiercely blushing Ayeka.
"Too bad," Rhione smirked. She frowned slightly, then spoke more quietly, "Ayeka, have you ever... at all?"
Ayeka looked startled, "I've had experience."
"What kind of experience?" Misaki asked eagerly.
"Sufficient experience," Ayeka said evasively.
Funaho had an odd look on her face. "I don't mean childhood experimentation, or a bit of fumbling in the dark," she said, looking over at Ayeka worriedly, "have you..."
Ayeka spoke softly, admitting, "No."
Her parents, as well as Rhione, were all looking at her oddly. "But," Rhione said, "you had plenty of chances, and not a few men or women panting after you."
"Panting after wealth or power, you mean," Ayeka sighed. "I learned to see the gold diggers fairly early on," she added.
"A virgin bride," Misaki remarked, looking just a bit tipsy, "I thought they were extinct."
Ryouko groaned softly, keeping her head down on the table.
"And then there was Lum," Washu grinned, "but she insisted on their getting married immediately. I understand that her people, the Oni, are all still trying to track Ryouko down."
"I didn't know you had dated so much," Nagi remarked quietly.
Ryouko sighed, "Youthful indiscretions."
"Urd and Mara both dated her at the same time," Yume laughed, "until they each found out about the other one. When the smoke finally cleared, Ryouko was gone and they were dating each other instead."
"How much longer is this going to go on?" Minagi asked from Ryouko's other side.
"They're gonna run out of names pretty soon," Ryouko's voice was muffled by her being face down on the table.
"Then she was taken captive by Usagi and her harem," Washu said as images of eight young women appeared on the screen, "and she barely escaped before they killed her by exhaustion."
"Be strong," Nagi patted Ryouko on the shoulder.
"Myah," Ryo-ohki offered in sympathy. She was munching on a basket full of carrots, so it was a bit muffled, but it sounded sympathetic, any way.
"And then there was her affair with Kiyone..." Yume started.
"Hey!" Ryouko protested, "I never had an affair with her!"
Kiyone chuckled softly, watching the party on the bridge's monitor screen. Scattered around the bridge were Honor, Tita, Mihoshi and a few of the other fleet captains.
Yamamoto Yohko sighed softly, pushing her red hair back, "I almost feel sorry for her." She paused, smiled, "Almost."
"Why aren't you down there?" Tita asked Kiyone. You've been serving in the fleet longer than any of us, and I know you were invited," she smiled.
"It wouldn't have been appropriate," Kiyone shook her head. "I'll give her my best wishes on her wedding later, in private," she finished.
"She's right," Honor nodded. Her uniform was crisp and neat, though it was a bit spoiled by Michelle Henke hanging off her arm and Nimitz perched on her shoulder.
"Bleek," the tree-cat chided them all.
"Besides," Mihoshi said to them cheerfully, "this way Kiyone and I can give Ryouko her special gift in private."
"Special gift?" Yohko asked.
Sounding quite perky, Mihoshi said, "A deluxe trip for her and Ayeka to the Pleasure Planet for their honeymoon!"
A moment of dead silence in the room...
Ayeka watched the party with a slightly tipsy smile on her face. Funaho and Masaki were cuddling together, the nobles were pairing up and dancing, and even Asashi and Sasami were sitting together, talking quietly.
"I need some air," she sighed, and Ayeka slipped quietly out of the room. She walked down the halls, her steps eventually taking her to a view port.
'This is where Ryouko and I talked,' Ayeka remembered, 'and where she first asked me to marry her.'
The planet of Jurai turned below them, and Ayeka gazed down at her home-world a little sadly. So much had happened to her in such a short time, she could hardly believe it. The conquest, a new Queen, the proposal, and then... falling for her.
Ayeka closed her eyes, and Ryouko's cat like eyes flashed in her mind, that saucy grin, and the silky mane of blue hair that she longed to run her fingers through. 'I just wish that I knew what she sees in me,' she thought.
A figure slowly walked out of the shadows, and Ayeka blinked in surprise to see who she had been thinking of. "Ryouko?" she asked quietly.
Ryouko looked up, and her face lit up with a smile, "Ayeka." She stepped up to stand beside her, and Ryouko's typically spicy scent surrounded them both.
"You left your party, too?" Ayeka asked. "Or did it just run down?" she added.
"Nagi was about to do her striptease for us," Ryouko smiled wryly, "and I figured that would be a bit much, even for me." She looked out at the planet that was slowly turning below, "Jurai is such a beautiful world."
"Is it very much different from Manticore?" Ayeka asked.
"Yes and no," Ryouko smiled. "Manticore is more green, a wild place. We haven't chosen to disturb the forests much, it's a dangerous place, but also a beautiful one,' she finished. She looked down at Ayeka, "I'm not describing it well, I think."
"You love it, I can hear it in your voice," Ayeka said quietly. A pause, "And beside you I'm sure I could learn to love it, too."
"We don't have to live there," Ryouko said gently, "we could settle just as easily on Jurai if you wish it."
Ayeka smiled up at her, a few tears glistening in her eyes. "Thank you," Ayeka said, and slipped an arm around Ryouko's neck. She then drew her down gently into a very thorough, very vigorous kiss.
"Wow," Ryouko murmured softly.
Ayeka smiled demurely, "We'll decide where to live after the wedding, all right?"
Ryouko said innocently, "Yes, dear."
Ayeka batted her on the arm gently, and they shared a quiet laugh.