The Unmatched One

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"I hear you're eighteen today," Charlie said to Takara as they walked along in the hallway.


"Good work on the game."

"I almost got knifed. And I didn't get on base at all," she said.

"No matter. When you and Empy would lean over and yell'No batter! No batter!'it got 'em all to strike out. Really turned the tide of the game," Charlie said.

"It's the cleavage," she said.

"Well, sure. Who can resist? I know I can't."

"Back off," she snarled.

"Why? You're eighteen, Takara. I thought we could, uh...."

"Well, you thought wrong. I'm holding out, remember?"

"Oh yeah," he said, "I was just thinking, I mean, it's your birthday, we just won, and we gotta hit the showers anyway, so, whaddaya say?"

"I am still thinking it over," she said, "There's you, there's Tommy and there's Joss. There's others, to be sure, but you've got competition."

"Oh," he said, "Well, but you haven't let them get any further than you've let me get. Right, Takara?"

"That's for me to know. Now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta get ready for my birthday dinner," he continued following her, "Oh, go back to the surface," she said, "I'm sure Hodgkins or one of the collectors can get you back down there, to your hovel."

"Hovel? It's a campsite," he said, "Dad, Mom and Betsy and I built it from scratch."

"Yeah, and it looks it," she said, "Really, didja think I would spend more than minimal time with you, Charlie? You aren't exactly high class. Tommy will be a soldier – a Lieutenant Commander or better, I'm sure. And Joss! You know where he'll be. You, you're just a grease monkey's boy. Good for fun, not much more, unless you can improve yourself pretty dramatically."

He grabbed her arm, "Look, Takara, are you gonna just keep teasing me forever?"

"As long as I want to. I'm the Empress's daughter, I'll do what I like."


 "Empy! Empy! Sheesh, can't I talk to you for a sec?" It was Kirin following her.

"No, I'm busy."

"You aren't too busy," he backed her into a wall and kissed her, but she pushed him back after a while, "What gives?"

"I got what to do," she said, "Can't be bothering with you."

"Ah, yeah. The play for Jun, right?"

"Maybe," she shrugged, "Or Izo."


"His father is second in command, in case you haven't been paying attention," she said.

"I see. So you'll throw me over for the pilot's boy," he said, grabbing at her again.

"Or there's Jun – first-born definitely counts for a lot," she tossed her hair in his face, "Or Takeo, he's son of the third in command. I could give a very nice present to the birthday boy tonight."

"You're giving that to me," he said, kissing her again.

"Maybe," she said, writhing just a bit, "But probably not. There's also Arashi."

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