When Ryoma came home from school one day, barely said hello, and turned to his video games, Rinko was worried.
When he didn't bring home any friends for her (or Nanjiroh, for that matter, but the lecher would have just challenged them to a game of tennis) to meet, she grew even more worried.
Finally, a few weeks before school started in Japan (part of Rinko followed the school year there for no apparent reason), Rinko pulled her husband aside, and quite flatly told him about her concerns. He listened, for once the façade of the pervert gone.
The next morning after staying up all night with someone on the phone, he announced to the breakfast table that they were moving to Japan in a week in time for Ryoma to be enrolled at his middle school alma mater, leading Rinko to believe Nanjiroh had been planning this for some time.
When Ryoma just slouched down, eating his grilled fish and rice, and merely saying "Okay," Rinko had known she had made the right decision in speaking to Nanjiroh about this.
Rinko felt better about their move-it had been easy to get a job, as her company had a Tokyo branch who were only too happy to receive her services-once Nanako had pulled her aside and told of how Ryoma had taken the catnip into his bag by accident that day, and Karupin being attached to it as she was, had followed him to school. Ryoma had spent all day searching for his cat, but hadn't found it, and so went home. His senpai-tachi had found her, and brought her home. At first, without seeing his cat, he had attempted to close the door, but then Karupin peeked out, and all's well that end's well.
Rinko was happy when she discovered that Ryoma had made friends in his own awkward way.
Rinko remembered clearly when she had first met Tezuka and Fuji. It had been directly after Nationals had finished. She was the only one home for once, and when the polite knock came on the door, she was pleasantly startled when she saw the stern-looking tall boy supporting Ryoma's exhausted form, with a petite, smiling boy who gently told her that her son had fallen asleep on the bus, and that both Fuji and Tezuka were not quite sure Ryoma would be able to make it home without falling asleep standing.
It wasn't until later, after they had carefully carried him upstairs to tuck him into his bed that she recalled they had referred to Ryoma by his first name without an honorific.
It was not hard to flash back to when Rinko first met Atobe Keigo. It was a rare week day she had off, and according to a tradition that both she and Ryoma had held back in the States, he also had the day off.
There had come a brisk knock at the door, and when she opened it, she found a boy flipping his hair, and demanding to know Echizen was home.
She had replied which Echizen did he mean?
For a moment, his composure had slipped, leaving him looking almost human, until he recovered, and said Ryoma.
She had invited him in, and called Ryoma down. When the still-petite boy had come, rubbing his eyes tiredly, his hair mussed, Rinko had seen the emotion flash quickly in Atobe's (as he had informed what his glorious name was) eyes.
Ryoma was shocked to see the arrogant older boy in their living room, but when Atobe asked for a match, Ryoma complied easily enough.
That told Rinko more than Ryoma ever would.
Rinko could easily conjure up when she met Sanada Genichirou. It had been close to Christmas, and Fuji, Tezuka, and Atobe had come over to help decorate the house, especially to provide support to Ryoma.
Rinko had to fight tears at the memory. That was the year they had lost Nanjiroh to lung cancer.
A knock came on the door, and she had volunteered to go get it. She blinked upon meeting a chest face-first, and then had to tilt her head up to see the taller man's face. He wore a black cap, looking confused and a bit embarrassed. When he spoke, he only quietly inquired if this was the Echizen residence.
She had confirmed this, and when he came in, and the four others greeted him boisterously with good-natured teasing.
Later, when they sat in the living room, admiring the boys' handiwork, Rinko saw how the other four held Ryoma almost carelessly, and she knew.
When Ryoma told her that he was in a fivesome with those four others' and they had recently adopted twins, she had only smiled and asked to meet the children.
After all, she reflected, if they had not come to Japan, Ryoma would never have been this happy.
For her, that was enough.