'Tender Loving Care'

"I'm terribly sorry to bother about this, from what you've told me, this should have been a happier occasion," Kasumi stated in a calm and motherly tone, as she set down her cup of tea from her previous sip.

"Yes," the woman across from her at the coffee table agreed, though with a slightly nervous tone, "Though I have waited ten long years for this moment, it does seem remarkably... tainted by recent events."

"I suppose, but boys will be boys... as well as my little tomboy will forever remain a tomboy," Kasumi smiled fondly at the thought of her little sister; mischievous little troublemaker that she was.

The woman across the table frowned, "Ranma was supposed to become a man among men upon his return."

Kasumi frowned in turn, before returning her face its previous pleasant expression, "Do you still have that contract? Can I see it?"

The woman beamed, before pulling a folded piece of rice paper from whereabouts unknown, "Yes, even without my son in my presence, I keep this around for comfort."

Kasumi smiled as she retrieved the paper from her long time friend, "Of course, I underst- ooh ooh! Firefingers!"

"ACK!" the visiting woman screamed, as she witnessed the contract suddenly burst into green flame.

Kasumi sighed dramatically, "I'm terribly sorry, you see, old paper tends to spontaneously combust with an ethereal flame in this household."

The woman shrugged, seeming not to notice the sarcastic, dry tone of her hostess, "Well, this copy is a bit newer."

Kasumi blinked, as she was handed another folded piece of rice paper, and groaned, as it also ignited into green flame. She rolled her eyes to the auburn haired woman across from her, and frowned deeper at the unphased expression she wore, "I don't suppose you have more copies of this, do you?"

The woman smirked, understanding she had the upper hand, "Well, I thought it would be prudent if backups were available, just in case my husband attempted to go back on his word..." Or other incidents were to occur.

Kasumi gave her guest a flat stare, "Nodoka, don't make me burn down your house to protect the life of your son."

The woman named Nodoka baulked at the threat; she recalled an older woman than Kasumi giving a similar threat, except with one of her youngest daughter's cooking attempts being replaced by pyromaniac intentions, "Er... well accidents can still happen, I suppose... I'll arrange for them to happen when I get home."

"You could always be a sensible woman when you were shown reason," Kasumi dry-toned.

Nodoka shifted more in her seat, now feeling a bit more uncomfortable with her present company, "It is... good to talk with you once again... but, um... isn't it a bit, shall I say... awkward to be possessing your daughter's body?"

Kasumi double blinked, before raising her eyebrows in understanding, "Oh, not at all! In fact it's quite interesting, Kasumi-dear has so many interesting stories to tell her mother..." The possessed Kasumi's eyes widened in scandal, "KASUMI! With that Hayashi boy? Where could I have gone wrong with you?"

"Yes... well, I think that as much as your daughter enjoys this mother/daughter bonding moment... perhaps it is time for you to return to your rest?" Nodoka felt some sympathy towards the young home maker; her thoughts should be private, even if Nodoka herself admitted she would do the same thing the deceased Tendou was doing to her daughter if she had the opportunity with her son."

"Yes, well, I do suppose I overstayed my welcome, but I do so miss my children," Mrs. Tendou said, wistfully. She clasped onto the other woman's hands, before making her plea, "Please, if it's not too much to ask, watch over them too, as well as your son. And let them know that regardless of their quirks, I love them, and I'm still proud of all of them."

"Well, at least there will be someone to mother, if I do so have to proclaim my son unmanly..."

"No. Do. Ka."

Nodoka's eyebrows raised; that was rather impressive how the specter before her had managed to make a sentence out of each syllable in her name, "Perhaps this is all unwarranted, I'm sure Genma did a fine job with our son."

Kasumi's expression turned dubious, "Of course, 'Aburama' Saotome is the very example of manliness..."

Nodoka pouted, "He's not fat, he holds a great deal of girth."

Mrs. Tendou patted Mrs. Saotome's hand gently, before Kasumi slumped over. The Saotome matriarch quickly moved to ensure the girl didn't fall face-first into her tea, but found her caution unwarranted, as Kasumi caught herself, and sat up. She shifted her eyes side to side, and then upwards, before putting her face in her hands, "My mother thinks I'm a slut!"

"There, there, she thinks nothing of the sort," Nodoka consoled, massaging the girl's hands to comfort her.


"Ow... quit it! Ow... quit it! OW!" Akane turned from her homework to glare at the pigtailed young man sitting on the raven haired girl's bed.

Ranma ceased shooting bits of thickly folded paper from a rubber band at Akane, "Come on, aren't you gonna do something back?"

Akane glared sullenly at Ranma, before turning back to her homework, "Mom says I need to behave."

Ranma threw himself back onto Akane's bed, "So, you just gonna fold because your mother told ya to?" Ranma snorted, "And you were just starting to get entertaining."

"Some of us think it's important to listen to our parents..."

"Only when they find out they're capable of possessing their siblings and issuing spankings in public," Ranma added, smirking at the way Akane went rigid.

"Yeah, well...," Was all Akane dared to retort, before stating more to herself than the room's other occupant, "At least she didn't possess Nabiki." Akane was more than sure that Nabiki would take great glee in reddening her younger sister's bottom, and provide any assistance to her possessor, as well as suggestions for 'disciplinary implementations'. You 'accidentally' break her hip, and she gains an ever lasting vindictive streak against you, sisters...

"Yeah yeah, 'Her power level would be over FIVE THOUSAND!" Ranma stated in a deep voice and incredulous that mimicked a character from a certain power battle anime, as he mock-baulked at the thought. "You're no fun. I mean, what's it to ya if your mother is into public humiliation? It's not like you're gonna be embarrassed forever."

Akane turned to regard Ranma, and tilted her head to the side. After some thought, she smirked, "You know, Ranma? I think you'll understand soon enough."

"What? You mean that woman claiming to be my mom?" Ranma enquired, before snorting, "Not likely."

"Well, young man, I think it's a highly likely scenario..."

Ranma lazily raised his head to regard the woman standing in Akane's doorway, "Oh, it's you."

"First, you will not address me as 'you'," the woman commanded, "Second, you will respect me, I am your mother, and-"

"If you're my mother, why didn't Pop ever mention ya?" Ranma interjected, staring up at the ceiling as if it were more interesting than the woman in the threshold.

"It's because I... wait, what do you mean he never mentioned me?"

Ranma blew a stray hair that was tickling his nose from his bangs, "Pop never talked about ya, he never even hinted at ya, nutt'n. You some kinda scam artist? If you are, Pop's ain't exactly loaded."

Nodoka's left eye twitched, "Well, I think I'll discuss this... oversight with your father on a later date, as for you? While I shall give your father the benefit of the doubt... for the time being... that he has successfully raised you to meet the capabilities he boasted he would instill in you, I think it's time you learned how to be a man of proper society, as well as a man among men."

"Izzat so...?" Ranma drawled, unimpressed by the woman, "What makes you think you can succeed where a whole village of warrior women failed?"

"She's not out to kill you, Ranma," Akane interjected, before turning back to her homework, "Though once she gets to know you..."

"I thought I was such a lovable guy, too."

"Like the Anti-Christ is a lovable guy."

"Enough, you will treat me with the respect I am warranted as your mother and your elder, or else..."

"Or else... what?" Ranma challenged, sitting up on the bed and glaring defiantly at the woman.

Nodoka fingered the wrapped bundle she had been holding against her shoulder in the crook of her left arm, "Or else... I shall have to discipline you?"

"I'd like to see you try!"

"Please try somewhere else, I'm trying to study for this Calculus test," Akane asked, finally growing tired of the son/mother posturing.