Mother's Day

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".

Mini Prologue

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

company.

Ryoko walked over to Washu's desk and stood stiffly, her hands behind her back.

"Ummm."

"Yes?"

"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.

"Is there

something else?"

"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

her.

"Want?" Washu repeated.

"You know something small, like a - a test tube, or - or some new headbands?"

200,000 yen wouldn't go

very far.

Washu shook her head slowly. "Nooooo. I'm good on all of those things," she

said, her tone broadcasting

her confusion.

"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.

"Damn!"

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

offense.

"Ryoko?"

"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

girl.

She picked up the small package and her fingers were immediately covered in wet

rubber cement.

"Huh? Yuck!" she yelped in surprise, wiping her hands on her cargo shorts.

"Little Ryoko! You are so

messy!"

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

either.

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

perfect.

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

with feigned

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

funny?"

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

argument.

"Little Ryoko?' Washu called, walking over to her spot at the table, her gifts

in hand. "Why did you give

me these?"

"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

on?"

"Oh! Ryoko got you a Mother's Day present! Happy Mother's Day Washu!" chimed

Sasami with a big

smile.

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

finished?"

Ayeka put down the spoon with a sniff. "You still shouldn't have torn up my

garden."

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

something naughty.

"Well. ..." she stammered.

Washu mock rolled her eyes. "Ryoko. Just say: `Your welcome'. It's mostly

pain-free."

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

admire it.

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

very much.

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

office.

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

purred seductively.

He placed his mouth against her earlobe and breathed, "Clean up your mess in

dad's office."

"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."

Yosho nodded.

"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."

END!

Update 12/19/2010: This story is ten years old and finding its way back to during an inspired clean-up!