The Galactic Bride
Hana's wrist was killing her. She sat behind a table at the biggest book store in Tokyo, giving signatures. Her second book was a world-wide best seller, and may even come close to topping the record of her first. Of course she had no competition the her genre, Alien Non-Fiction, and had become a Millionaire overnight.
In the three years she had returned to Earth, she had become a celebrity. She gave more interviews than she could possibly remember, and wrote article after article describing her experience. But when she finally sat down and wrote her first book the world exploded for her.
The first book was about the adventure itself. She found it easier to write it as if it were fiction, as it seemed too painful just to describe what had happened. But in the process of making Akihiko into a character, she had to get inside of his head. And once there she felt a sense of guilt on her part of things. But making Lani and General Anura characters as well balanced things out. Her first book ended with her leaving Turr and hearing the news of the Minister election. Akihiko had won by a landslide.
Her second book wasn't fiction at all. She devoted this one to describe everything she saw off-world. What the aliens looked like, how they dressed, what the ships and technology looked like, and the intricate process of marriages and seed-sharing. Using her Feedster helped with some of the things she didn't understand, as well as provide pictures.
When not working on her books, Hana started a website that included all the topics her books were about, plus the news going on in space. While she had a team of people to work on the website and help write articles for her, unfortunately she was the only one who could understand the common tongue and read it from the Feedster. So most of her job was spent training the staff to be able to speak and read the common tongue, or else describing everything going on in as much detail as possible to her writers. It was an exhausting job.
While she was currently signing her second book's cover for an overweight otaku, her mind was focused on something else. Her life had become about aliens and the stars, and she regretted some of it. She wanted to be a girl and meet someone. Maybe fall in love again. But that wasn't possible now. Not when governments contacted her to ask about how ion canons worked, or fashion designers asking what was the latest trend on Sheplam. The world had gone alien crazy, and she was the only source they had.
The otaku left and the next person in line walked up. It was a girl. She must have been embarrassed to come to a book signing, because she seemed to be dressed very conservatively, trying to hide her face with glasses, a hat, and a zipped-up jacket with a hoody.
She was about to sign it and give the girl a polite smile but then she saw it. A pointed tooth. Then the features started to reveal themselves to her. This wasn't just any girl. It was her. It was the ruler of the Galaxy. All these people who were going crazy about Hana's connection to space, and standing in front of them was Akihiko, and they had no clue.
"Excuse me." Hana stood up, slightly breathless and feeling light headed from the surprise of it all. "I'm sorry, but I need to take a break. I hope you don't mind, it's just that my wrist hurts."
There was some groaning of displeasure from some, but most of the crowd seemed fine with it. Hana took Akihiko by the hand and led him into the backroom, ignoring the looks of confusion of those who noticed. Once alone she wrapped her arms around him and gave him a giant hug. He hugged her back, trying not hold back his laugher at her excitement. She didn't care. She really missed him.
"What are you doing here?!" Hana asked, pulling back from the embrace.
"I said I'd visit if I could." Akihiko said. His japanese had a slight accent to it now. Of course it did. He never had the chance to use it.
"This is crazy! Do you know what people would do it they found out you're here?"
"Probably go insane." Akihiko laughed again. "My advisors were really mad when I told them I wanted to visit Earth. But I've been doing so much for everyone else they can't complain when I ask for one thing for myself."
"I've been reading the Feeds. I know what you've been up too.. at least politically." Hana admitted. "I've been busy too."
"Yeah, I saw your website."
"You saw that?"
"Well, I was curious on what you've been doing too, you know."
Hana blushed slightly. "It's not that great. I probably get a lot of things wrong. It's just me translating so…"
"It's fine. And if you're wrong, who's going to know?" Akihiko teased her.
"How Anura doing?" Hana asked, wanting to know more about him than talking about what she had been up too.
"You wouldn't know she's a concubine. Those other girls are scared of her. She pretty much rules the mansion."
"Sounds like her." Hana smirked feeling a bit envious. "How hard is it… have 2 wives and a concubine?"
"Don't forget Kahwool's wife and the other concubines on top of all that." Akihiko reminded her.
"Well it's sort of lonely to be honest. I'm so busy I don't see them. And when I do, they sort of take turns being with me so I'm not overwhelmed. I feel kind of sorry for them, to be honest."
"Have you… umm… you know?"
"Oh shush." Hana blushed.
"We've had sex, and I'm pressured to give my seeds, but I can't really do that yet. It's still to weird to me." Akihiko looked embarrassed now. "I can't hold off forever."
"Thinking of you having children is scary. You're not that old, you're only 19."
"Yeah. But I guess everyone wants there to be a royal family, as such. I'm trying to get them to hold more elections than just when Parliament calls for it, but so far that's not making any headway."
Hana still felt envious of the other girls, even after all this time. "Well if you do have children, don't just let Kahwool have one… That stuck up snob doesn't deserve it."
Akihiko laughed. "If I do have kids, I'm giving a seed to her, Kono, and maybe Anura."
"Will they let you do that?"
"They can depose me for breaking tradition, I guess." Akihiko shrugged. "Let them, I don't want the job anyway. I just think it's not right to leave Anura out."
Hana felt a pit in her stomach. Part of her from the past wanted to kidnap Akihiko and keep him for herself. That part wanted to have his children on her own, and forget the galaxy and everyone else. It had been over three years and she still wasn't over him. He seemed to be thinking of simpler times as well, his beautiful eyes gazed into her through the glasses.
"H-Have you been able to talk to Lani." Hana changed the subject, her heart racing.
"She working for a Nimbonian research ship on the edge of the galaxy." Akihiko looked disappointed. "She'll talk to me, but in a polite way. But I can tell it's an act. She hates me for what I did to her…."
Hana had to admit she understood Lani's feelings on the matter. Out of the two of them, Lani was hurt the most. She understood, of course, why Akihiko had to do what he did, but that didn't mean she had to like it. Lani had lost her true love, her fiancée and one of her seeds to a woman she could never have. Hana wondered if Lani had fooled herself into thinking that things would work out, which made the disappointment even worse for her when they didn't.
"Hana-chan… do you hate me too?"
He had asked this to her every time they spoke on the Feeds. Every time she told him no. But in person it felt different. He still felt like he wronged her. And in a way he did. But she had grown more rational now that she had gotten away from all of that. She wasn't like Lani and understood she couldn't have her way.
"I don't hate you Aki-chan."
"I'm sorry I keep asking." Akihiko rubbed the back of his neck, looking stressed. "I just keep thinking I'm losing myself. You've got a part of me that I don't want to fade away."
"Don't let those other girls hear you talk like that." Hana teased him. Why did he have to be so sweet?
"Sorry. I don't mean to make things harder on you." Akihiko sighed. He breathed in, then asked something that he must have been dying to know. "So… are you seeing anyone?"
"Maybe?" Hana gave him a playful look. "How's your Mom doing?"
"She's fine." Akihiko shot the subject change away quickly, seeing what she was doing. "Just tell me."
"There is this guy who works for me. I've been trying to teach him the common tongue. We spend a lot of late nights together. He's pretty cute. Then one day he asked him out. " All this was true, but Hana left out the cruel part where she decline him almost immediate and it had been awkward for them every since.
Akihiko obviously looked miserable at this idea, and part of her wanted to rub it in is face. That's how she felt with all those girls hanging all over him. But at the same time, she didn't think the guy she was talking about was cute. It had been three years and she still wasn't over Akihiko. She'd never admit that to him though.
"I'm happy for you." Akihiko lied. Some ruler of the galaxy, he had the worst poker face ever.
"Maybe you can meet him the next time you visit." Hana found herself saying before she could stop herself.
He flinched, but took a smile. She forgot the fangs sometimes. "I guess I deserve that."
Hana looked down and shook her head. "No, I'm being nasty. I'm sorry. I shouldn't be mean to you since I don't know when I'll see you again. Truth is I'm not seeing anyone. I just wanted to make you feel jealous."
"It's so stupid. You've got all those girls and I still like you." Hana shrugged refusing to look at him.
"I wish it didn't turn out that way." Akihiko sighed after a moment. "I wish for a lot of things. Sometimes I think about how easier it would have been for everyone if I had just died in that Contest."
"Then the galaxy would be at war, I'd be slave somewhere, and Lani might be dead from some sort of space battle." Hana quickly rounded on him. "It's like you said before. You're noble born, so you had to do what you needed to. No regrets, okay?"
"Yeah, yeah. Anura hates it when I get all self-loathing too."
"Well I hate it too." Hana nodded. "Don't talk like that again when you're around me."
"I can't imagine what it's been like for you." Hana went on. "It must suck. But it helps me to be a little selfish every now and then and say things I know can't happen and aren't true. So don't get so worked up over it."
Akihiko laughed a bit. "I've missed you so much."
Hana smiled a tiny smile. "Me too."
"Think you have time to spend the night with me? I'm only on Earth for a day or so. I'd really like to just be alone… and not in some backroom somewhere."
"I have to finish my books signings and cancel the rest of the night." Hana told him. If it's okay with you can you meet me at my place later tonight?"
"I don't know where that is." Akihiko admitted.
"Here." Hana looked around, and saw a box lid. She ripped off the corner and used her autograph pen to write out her address. She handed it to him then give him a sarcastic smile. "If you can't find my house with that, just Google it. I'm super famous now."