By Diane Long
This is just a quick Mother's Day ficlet I dreamed up while making my own mother
a high tea today (sometime in 2000). This
takes place after the events of "Ghost in the Machine".
Dressed in her casual blue and yellow kimono, Ryoko looked at the display in the
window of a science
hardware store, a hand-held anti-entropy-field generator catching her eye.
Washu would find that handy
with Mihoshi around. Ryoko phased through the plate glass to look at the price
tag. Two million Jurai!
Who had that kind of money? Not her. Her hand reached out. It would be so easy
to steal it. She curled
her fingers back. No. She wasn't a pirate anymore. Her crimes had been
forgiven. Stealing was a bad
habit she needed to break. Time for plan B. She teleported out of the stellar
shopping center, and a quick
Ryo-Ohki ride later, she was back home and in Washu's lab before breakfast.
"Mom?" Ryoko asked as she entered the deepest part of Washu's lab.
"Over here Ryoko, dear!" An adult Washu still in a robe and slippers looked up
with a smile, happy for the
Ryoko walked over to Washu's desk and stood stiffly, her hands behind her back.
"Do you, ah, have any money?" Ryoko felt so ridiculous she almost blushed.
Washu chuckled, enjoying the normalcy of the situation. "That's a request I
haven't heard from you in a
long time. What do we say little Ryoko?"
Ryoko rolled her eyes, but complied. "Please," she managed to say.
Washu cackled and dug into one of her robe's pockets and handed Ryoko 200,000
yen. "That should buy
you a bottle of sake. Try to wait till after lunch, `kay?"
Ryoko took the paltry sum and shot her mother a sour look. This wouldn't buy
her a single computer chip
of that cool gadget. Then again, it would buy her one bottle of good sake, or
two bottles of the cheap stuff.
She smiled and pocketed the bills. "Thanks."
"You're welcome, and don't buy the cheap stuff. You can taste now, remember?"
Washu reminded and
went back to work at her microscope.
"Hey..." Ryoko started again.
Washu looked up, she had assumed Ryoko had just come down to borrow some money.
"Well. yes. Do you need anything?" Ryoko asked sounding cool.
Washu blinked. "Do I need anything?"
"Yes. Is there anything you need... anything you want?" Ryoko smiled trying to
act like this wasn't killing
"Want?" Washu repeated.
"You know something small, like a - a test tube, or - or some new headbands?"
200,000 yen wouldn't go
Washu shook her head slowly. "Nooooo. I'm good on all of those things," she
said, her tone broadcasting
"Oh, okay. Bye then." Ryoko teleported away without further comment.
Washu thought for a minute then shrugged. Kids were so strange.
Flying towards her tree house Ryoko spotted Ayeka working in the gardens. Now
that was someone who
had two million Jurai. Or even better yet..
Mini Chapter One
"Crap!" Ryoko muttered, trying to get the clear tape to tear at the end of the
dispenser. "Come on you
worthless thing. cut! Cut!"
The tape only sawed against the serrated edge with little perforation.
She scowled, trying to hold the final fold of the bright purple wrapping paper
down with one hand while
the other tried to score the needed piece of tape. Maybe if Noboyuki's home
office supplies weren't so old
this would be easier.
Her tongue peeked out from her lips as she scooted her bottom so that one leg
could swing up onto the
desktop. Carefully placing her big toe where her thumb had been, she held the
wrapping paper in place
while she used both hands to work with the tape. Even with both hands, this
last, vital piece of tape refused
to be cut free.
Taking a deep, focusing breath, Ryoko laid the tape dispenser on the desktop and
pointed a finger at the
tape filament and gently, gently raised her power, honing it into a thin blade.
With a loud pop, the dispenser exploded as she tried to cut the tape.
"AUGH!" she screamed, realizing there was no more tape. "Now what?"
Ryoko slumped back into the chair, sliding her foot off of the package allowing
the folded paper to peel
back. This was becoming a pain in the ass.
There was a loud knock at the locked office door. "Ryoko? Is everything ok?"
"Yes, Tenchi. It's a-ok fine in here," she said with forced gaiety. "Ha ha ha!"
"But I heard an explosion," came his voice through the door.
"It was Mihoshi. Mihoshi, OUTSIDE," Ryoko lied.
The door handle rattled. "Why is the door locked? What are you up to?"
Ryoko frowned at that. After all they had been through, he still didn't trust
her. "Taking over the
Universe!" she snapped.
"Ryoko." he said tiredly.
"Or maybe I'm stealing office supplies!"
"You know I didn't mean it that way," Tenchi said softly.
She frowned, not answering. She knew that, but even now old habits ran deeply.
It was so easy to take
"Yes, Tenchi?" she asked with a heavy weariness.
"Is everything alright?"
"Yes. I just need some privacy, ok?" She tried to make her words more gentle.
"Sure thing, Ryoko. See you later, then." The warmth in his voice let her know
he had understood as she
heard his footsteps retreating down the hall.
Feeling calmer after venting at Tenchi, Ryoko pawed through the desk drawers,
grinning largely when she
encountered a large container of rubber cement.
She took a swig straight from her new bottle of sake and set about her task.
Mini Chapter Two
Washu emerged from a dimensional doorway and looked around at her first level
lab. This was where she
worked on the routine things. It was nice to be close to the entrance to the
Masaki house whenever
possible. It made it easier for them to call her to meals, and it was also the
prettiest of her labs, with trees
and plantings as well as a fabricated sky that changed colors with the passing
of a typical earth day,
matched to local time of course. She kept her more dangerous experiments in
labs that were several
dimensional layers deeper, to protect the family, but she was done with that
sort of thing for the day. Now
it was time to enter data until supper. Then she could check in with Ryoko as
well. She had acted very
strangely this morning.
As she walked to her favorite spot, a curved balcony that faced the false sky,
Washu noticed that her pillow
was already waiting for her in its typical spot. How odd, she was sure she had
put it away earlier. Getting
closer, she saw that it was teal instead of purple. What had Ryoko been doing
in here? Naughty girl, she
must have been up to something earlier. Washu groaned wondering what sort of
mess Ryoko had made.
"Oh. What's all this?"
Lying on top of the pillow was a roughly wrapped package and a jelly jar of
mangled daisies, some missing
a few petals, others with their heads dangling limply from their stems. Washu
looked at the package and
smiled at the puckers and tears in the purple wrapping paper. A certain someone
never had been a patient
She picked up the small package and her fingers were immediately covered in wet
"Huh? Yuck!" she yelped in surprise, wiping her hands on her cargo shorts.
"Little Ryoko! You are so
Washu unwrapped the present, tossing the sticky paper behind her. She regarded
the plain white box for a
moment. Why in the world had Ryoko left her a present? It wasn't Startica, and
it wasn't her birthday
Curious, Washu took the lid off of the box. Inside was a smooth river stone.
Its shape reminiscent of a
rounded triangle, it sparkled softly in the low light, reddish streaks of
mineral deposits making a rough crab
pattern against a grey background.
What a lovely gift. It was perfect, a stone from her daughter's collection that
had a crab on it. How utterly
Washu gently took the stone out of the box and closed her fingers around it.
This offering touched her
heart in a way that she had thought was lost to her forever. Not only had Ryoko
accepted her as a mother,
and was an active part of her life, Ryoko also understood her. How long had it
been since anyone had
understood her, Washu the unreachable genius.
"Little Washu. I mean Ms. Washu!" Sasami called. "Dinner's ready!"
"I'll be right there!" Washu called sliding the stone back into the box and
picking up the jar of daises. But
why had Ryoko given her a present today?
Mini Chapter Three
"I'm telling you, some wild animal is destroying my garden!" Ayeka fumed,
tapping her chopsticks against
against her plate. "And I plan to get to the bottom of it!"
Sitting across from her, Ryoko arched an eyebrow. "What's going on?" she asked
indifference. She popped a rice ball in her mouth and tried to look innocent.
"Something mauled my daises, that's what's going on! A whole shrub was ripped
out of the ground and
something ate all of the flowers." Ayeka grumbled.
"That's too bad princess. What do you think did it?" Ryoko asked.
"I don't know. Maybe it was a Moose," Ayeka paused and cast a suspicious eye at
Ryoko. "What's so
Ryoko tried to hold in her laughter with little success. Her efforts only made
small bits of rice spray from
her mouth. She swallowed to avoid choking. "Sorry, but there aren't any Moose
in Japan. Try Alaska."
"Maybe it was a deer," Tenchi suggested helpfully, trying to ward off an
"Little Ryoko?' Washu called, walking over to her spot at the table, her gifts
in hand. "Why did you give
"Aw Geeze! Don't bring those out here!" Ryoko hid her face in her hands.
"My daises!" Ayeka shrieked. "I should have known it was you Ryoko!"
"Did you have to bring them out here?" Ryoko muttered as Ayeka began whapping
her with a serving
spoon. "Ow! That hurts! Stop!"
"You flower killing demon!"
"Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!"
Stunned, Washu remained standing and watched the bizarre scene in front of her
with confusion. What was
wrong with the daises? Was there a dimensional problem going on? Nothing was
making sense today.
Leaning away from Ryoko so as to be out of Ayeka's range, Tenchi turned to Washu
trying to see what it
was that had started this spat.
"What have you got there, Little Washu?"
"I'm not sure Tenchi. I think it was a present from Ryoko. But what's going
"Oh! Ryoko got you a Mother's Day present! Happy Mother's Day Washu!" chimed
Sasami with a big
Ayeka paused her beating. "Mother's Day?"
Washu arched an eyebrow. "What's that?"
Sasami giggled. "It's an American holiday. Ryoko and I heard about it on the
world news last week. It's a
day when children honor their mothers."
Washu's eyes turned glassy as she took in Sasami's words. Ryoko had gone out of
her way to honor her.
To honor her as a mother.
"That was really sweet Ryoko!" Sasami said approvingly.
Ryoko, her head still protected by her arms, peeked out at Ayeka. "Are you
Ayeka put down the spoon with a sniff. "You still shouldn't have torn up my
Ryoko sighed, lowering her arms. How had this become public? Couldn't she do
anything privately in this
house? "Since when are they YOUR gardens? Last I heard this was the Masaki
residence," she jibbed
trying to throw the conversation in a new direction.
"Oh no you don't," Washu said. "No changing the subject. Sasami is right.
This was very sweet. Thank
you Ryoko." She pressed a hand to her heart silently showing Ryoko what this
meant to her.
Everyone, including Ayeka, smiled at Ryoko. It was heart warming to see the
softer emotions Ryoko still
kept so closely hidden.
Ryoko squirmed under their attention with an expression of someone caught doing
"Well. ..." she stammered.
Washu mock rolled her eyes. "Ryoko. Just say: `Your welcome'. It's mostly
Ryoko folded her hands in her lap and looked into her plate. "You're welcome
mom," she whispered.
Washu smiled and sat down at the table. She took out the stone and passed it
around so the others could
While the others were distracted Ryoko caught Ayeka's eye. "I'm sorry about the
flowers. I wanted to do
something nice for Washu. but I didn't have any money."
Ayeka wiped her lips on her napkin and thought. "You have a point too. The
flowers are for all of us. I
just wish you hadn't killed the entire plant."
"That's not how you do it?"
Ayeka shook her head. "I think you should let me teach you how to garden," she
said holding out her hand.
"Just a little bit. Then you can have flowers with out killing the plant."
Ryoko took it with a firm squeeze. "Deal." The idea of being a helper of life
and growth appealed to her
Tenchi watched the interaction with a smile. Not only was Ryoko finding more
peace every day, but she
had also had a large glob of rubber cement drying in her blue hair. The very
same type of adhesive he had
found lying uncapped amongst discarded wrapping materials in his father's
He tapped Ryoko's thigh to get her attention. "I know what you were doing in
dad's office earlier," he
whispered in her ear.
She smiled, but remained silent.
"Are you still mad at me?" he whispered.
"Mmm-mmm," she said softly, shaking her head, signaling that she wasn't.
"I would have helped you know."
"I know," she said, turning her head so she could see him better.
"But you like secrets." He grinned.
"No, I like privacy. My feelings about Washu are hard to share. I can do it
better now, but I need space."
She took his hand under the table and squeezed it.
Seeing that no one was watching them, Tenchi placed a small kiss on Ryoko's
cheek. "Sorry I made a big
deal about the door being locked."
"Yeah, well, sorry I got about it," she said leaning into him.
He slipped an arm around her and murmured, "There is only one way you can make
it up to me."
She licked her lips and pressed closer to him. "And what is that my Tenchi?" she
He placed his mouth against her earlobe and breathed, "Clean up your mess in
"Tenchi!" she laughed pulling away from him and focusing again on her dinner.
He laughed as well, knowing he had gotten in a rare successful tease. Then he
caught Ryoko's eye and sent
her a smoldering look that promised her what she had been hoping for.
Ryoko's laughter cut off and she began to eat faster.
Her chin propped up with one hand, Washu watched this interaction from across
the table enjoying the
feelings of love and happiness echoing down her mental connection with her
daughter. This was how she
had always hoped her and Ryoko's life would be.
Yosho handed Washu the stone and joined her in watching Tenchi and Ryoko. "Soon
we will have another
mother in this house, I think," he said softly.
"Maybe, " Washu replied. "If and when she's ready."
"Is it possible?" Yosho asked looking away and sipping his tea.
"Yes." Washu smiled at the thought of grandchildren. "I made sure of that."
"But I also made sure that it would never be accidental. Children are meant to
be loved, not tolerated,"
Washu said firmly.
"The same holds true for mothers," Yosho said with a smile.
Washu puckered her lips and blew a silent kiss at her daughter. Ryoko's eyes
lit up with mischief and then
she jerked back and moaned as if the kiss had hit her like a slap. With a
dramatic wave of her arms she
toppled over backwards and lay on the floor groaning. As a confused Tenchi
helped her back to her seat,
Ryoko gave Washu a broad grin and a wink.
"Yes," Washu answered Yosho. "I guess I'm just lucky that way."
Update 12/19/2010: This story is ten years old and finding its way back to during an inspired clean-up!