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TMNT With the First Beat of the Heart
travels_11.rtf
Keywords male 981069, fox 206293, rabbit 109294, lion 36162, turtle 9516, teenage mutant ninja turtles 6304, usagi yojimbo 211
They walked in silence, the only sounds were the gentle sobs from Jotaro. After about half a day’s travel, they reached Katsuichi’s hut as the sun was about to set. The old lion master was in his garden with his two students, collecting some of the ripe vegetables.

He was everything Leonardo had expected him to be. Even from far away, Leonardo could see that Katsuichi was a noble warrior. He looked powerful, despite his age and Leo suspected that he would not be able to best the samurai in a fight. Part of him wished he could stay and learn from him. He was sure that Katsuichi had a great deal to teach to those who he deemed worthy to learn.

Katsuichi looked up as they approached. “Usagi, it is good to see you. What brings you out this way and who are your traveling companions?”

“Hello, Master,” Usagi bowed as he walked up to the old samurai. “I had returned to my village to check on the progress of their recovery. Sadly things are still not well for them and we could not stay so we traveled here to see how you have fared.” Usagi turned and indicated Leonardo. “This is my friend Leonardo. He is from another world. We met at the Battle Nexus Tournament a few years ago. He is a strong and noble warrior.”

Usagi then looked down at his son, who had fallen asleep in his arms. “This is Jotaro. I had agreed to care for him after the quake to ease the burden on the village as his parents recovered. When we returned… we discovered that his parents had not survived their injuries.”

“I am sorry to hear that,” Katsuichi said as he looked down at Jotaro. “So this is Jotaro.” His eyes narrowed and he looked up at Usagi. “He is the son of your childhood love, is he not?”

“Yes,” Usagi answered. “She married Kenichi shortly after I left for my training under Lord Mifune.”

“She did not wait long,” Katsuichi stated. “I wonder why that is?”

“It was devastating when I received the message,” Usagi replied. “I nearly left Lord Mifune in my grief.”

Katsuichi hummed and then shifted his gaze back to Leonardo. “Welcome,” he bowed. “That is an interesting set of children you have with you, young kame. I’m sure the story behind how they came into your care is equally as interesting. Come, you all look tired. I will have one of my students prepare us a meal and you can share the stories of your adventures.”

“Thank you,” Leonardo bowed in return as Umō tried to stifle a yawn. Leo chuckled. “I think it is well passed their bedtime.”

“Then we will take care of that first,” Katsuichi said as he turned and signaled for them to follow.

Kuroko’s eyes were drooping as they were led into the hut. His head bobbed as he fought to stay awake. Umō needed to be carried the rest of the way and was asleep by the time the tatami was laid out. Kuroko managed to crawl onto the tatami on his own and was asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow.

Leonardo laid Umō down on one side of Kuroko and Usagi laid Jotaro down on the other. Leo couldn’t help the smile that spread across his beak. He knew that they had faced great hardship but they looked peaceful as they slept.

They quietly left the room and sat down to have some tea as Katsuichi’s students prepared them a meal. As they ate they told their stories. “Have you competed in the Nexus Tournament or were you there as an observer?” Katsuichi asked as he poured Leo another cup of tea.

“I have competed,” Leo replied. “My brothers and I followed our father when he traveled through the portal. Though we were not expected, we managed to earn a spot in the tournament. Unfortunately I was targeted by the Daimyo’s son and was unable to finish. My brother ended up winning. Have you competed?”

Katsuichi nodded. “A long time ago.”

“Did you ever compete with a man named Hamato Yoshi?” Leo asked. “Or perhaps a rat names Splinter?”

“I had competed against Yoshi,” Katsuichi replied. “He was a great fighter. I lost to him, in fact. How do you know him?”

“I do not know him personally,” Leo answered. “He was my master’s master.”

Lifting his furry brow, Katsuichi tilted his head to the side. “It was my understanding that Yoshi came from a world inhabited with only humans and lesser beasts.”

“He did,” Leo nodded. “My father, my brothers, and I were what you would call lesser beasts. We all came into contact with… a strange substance that transformed us. We became like the people of your world. Sadly, because we are unique, we must stay hidden.”

“And you are going to take those children into that world with you?” Katsuichi asked.

Smiling, Leo looked back over his shoulder in the direction of where the children were sleeping. “It won’t be an easy life for them but it’s better than what awaited them here.”

Katsuichi smiled as well. “It is a commendable thing you are doing.”

Leo shrugged. “I was adopted. I guess you can say that I’m following in my father’s footsteps.”

Once they were done eating, Katsuichi sent his students to a task. Leonardo had no doubts that it was because the old samurai wanted to speak with Usagi without them near.

“Do you take me for a fool, Usagi,” Katsuichi said as soon as the students were gone. “I may have only one eye but I can see just fine.”

Usagi looked up at the old lion. “Master?”

“I can also do the math,” Katsuichi stated flatly. “You traveled to your home for a time before going off for your training with Lord Mifune. The boy is old enough.” He looked at Usagi in such a way that reminded Leo of the way Splinter would look at him when he knew Leo had been lying.

“A bastard cannot be a samurai,” Usagi replied. His voice was almost pleading.

“Ah,” Katsuichi nodded. “And having a bastard child would have brought shame on Mariko and her noble samurai name.”

“Indeed,” Usagi agreed. “She would have been forced to leave the village in shame.”

Katsuichi sighed. “I thought I taught you better than that, Usagi.”

“It was a momentary lapse of good judgment.” Usagi bowed his head, touching his forehead to the floor. “He cannot live the life of a bastard, he’s been through enough. Please, will you still train him and keep this secret. It is one that even he does not know.”

Shaking his head, Katsuichi looked down at Usagi. “If he is anything like you, it would be a shame to waste such talent.”

“So, you will still train Jotaro?” Usagi’s asked.

“I will,” Katsuichi sighed as he nodded. “I will keep the fact that he is your bastard a secret and train him.”

“What?”

They turned to see Jotaro standing in the doorway. There was a glimmer of fear in Usagi’s eyes as he stood and moved towards Jotaro. “What did you hear?”

Taking a step back, Jotaro’s eyes filled with tears. “Your bastard?”

“Let me explain,” Usagi pleaded, reaching out to him. Jotaro turned but Usagi was able to grab him before he was able to run off.

“You lied to me,” Jotaro shouted as he struggled to get away. “You lied to everyone. Kenichi wasn’t my father.”

Usagi desperately fought to keep his hold on his struggling son. “We had to. I’m sorry but we had to. Kenichi saved your mother from the dishonor I brought to her.”

Hearing those words, Jotaro stopped moving and fell over crying.

Usagi cradled his son to his chest and held him tight. “Though we were rivals, Kenichi clamed you as his son. He was a better man than me. I’m sorry I did this to you. But, you know that a bastard cannot be a samurai. If you want it, then we will have to continue the lie.” Tears fell from Usagi’s eyes as his kissed Jotaro on the head. Jotaro had stopped crying and was staring blankly out at nothing. “I loved your mother.” Usagi buried his face against his son as a sob broke free. “You are all I have left of that love. I would claim you as mine but… I want you to have a good life. Please understand.”

Jotaro’s small hand slid up and wrapped behind Usagi’s neck. “Okay.”

Usagi stood and carried Jotaro over to sit him next to Leo. Grabbing a bowl, Usagi filled it with some rice and vegetables. “You need to eat,” he stated, passing the bowl to Jotaro.

With a numb nod, Jotaro accepted the bowl and set it in his lap. The chopsticks remained sitting across the bowl as Jotaro stared down at it.

“Eat,” Usagi insisted, as he sat on the other side of Jotaro and ran his hand down Jotaro’s head. “You haven’t had much all day. You need your strength.”

Jotaro lifted the chopsticks and poked them down into the rice and vegetables. Lifting a small sliver of bok choy, he took a bite. As the food touched his tongue, his hunger took over and the next bite held more food. It wasn’t long before Jotaro was shoveling the food into his mouth as fast as he could until his bowl was empty. Once he was done, Jotaro placed the chopsticks across the bowl and held them out to Usagi.

“Did you have enough to eat?” Usagi asked as he took the bowl.

Jotaro slowly nodded in response, dropping his hands into his lap as soon as the bowl left them. He looked numb, like his was in a mild state of shock and Leo could understand why. The poor boy’s world had been turned upside down.

Sensing Jotaro’s distress, Usagi picked him up and placed him in his lap. “Try to get to sleep. We will continue our journey in the morning.”

Jotaro curled up in Usagi’s arms and closed his eyes. Katsuichi watched as the young bunny fell asleep and smiled softly. “He will be a great samurai one day. I hope he’s not as pigheaded as you were,” Katsuichi scoffed. “But he will learn different life lessons as he travels with you. He won’t be a pampered child of the magistrate.”

“I was hoping that you would… take him now,” Usagi practically pleaded.

With a wave of his hand Katsuichi struck down the notion. “He is too young. Bring him back in no less than seven years.”

“Seven years?” Usagi’s voice was scarcely a whisper. “I am a wanderer. Life on the road is no place for a child. It isn’t safe. ”

“I know,” Katsuichi nodded, placing his hand on Usagi’s shoulder. “But I already have two students and I am in no condition to take care of a child. You would not be the first samurai to travel with his son.”

“I understand,” Usagi nodded and then looked up to address Katsuichi. “We will be on our way in the morning. I can see that although your small farm is faring well you do not have enough resources to keep us long. Thank you for sharing what little you have with us.”

“I was good to see you again, Usagi,” Katsuichi replied. “Where will you go?”

“Niigata,” Usagi answered as he stood. “It is a few days journey from here. We should get there in time for the festival.”

Katsuichi nodded. “That will be good for the children’s spirits.”

It would be good for the children to have a day of fun after all the heartache they had been through. They had each lost so much. At the same time, Leo couldn’t help but feel a small amount of excitement. To be able to go to a festival is something he could only dream about before coming to Usagi’s world. He wondered what they were going to celebrate. Not that it really mattered. They could be celebrating a frog for all he cared. It was a festival.

Leonardo and Usagi bade Katsuichi a good night and headed to their room. Usagi placed Jotaro with the others and then stood looking down at him. “I have damaged him.”

“He’ll be fine,” Leo assured him, placing a hand on Usagi’s shoulder. “Children are resilient.” He could tell that Usagi was fighting to keep his composure. “It’s alright,” Leo soothed. “It’s just you and me. You can let it out.”

Tears fell from Usagi’s eyes as he turned to look at Leo. “I loved her and now she is gone. She could be standing at the gates of hell because of me.” Leo didn’t know how to respond. He didn’t know Mariko so could not say anything about her character. “I should be there with her,” Usagi sobbed.

Leo pulled Usagi into a warm embrace. “You are a noble warrior, Usagi. You have lived your life with honor. And Mariko had to have been an honorable woman for you to love her. I do not believe that one lapse in judgment would be enough to send either of you to the gates of hell. You were in love when it happened and you were blessed with Jotaro. He is not a result of dishonor but of love. No one gets sent to hell for love.”

Leaning into the embrace, Usagi wrapped his arms around Leo. “Thank you.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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TMNT Travels #9
TMNT Travels #12
Keywords
male 981,069, fox 206,293, rabbit 109,294, lion 36,162, turtle 9,516, teenage mutant ninja turtles 6,304, usagi yojimbo 211
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 7 years, 5 months ago
Rating: General

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Ruran
7 years, 5 months ago
Nuuuuh sadness, I'm not strong enough for this!! (。┰ω┰。) But I have to keep reading, I'm so invested in this now.
SadoraNortica
7 years, 5 months ago
XD I'm glad you enjoy it.
Bakameganekko
7 years, 5 months ago
Aww poor Jotaro. Knowing that his parents are dead and that he's really a bastard son and the one he thought was his uncle was really his true father, it's just too much for the little bunny to take in :( At least he can stay with Usagi for some years now.
SadoraNortica
7 years, 5 months ago
He admires Usagi so that helps to soften the blow a little.
FoxKid1302
7 years, 4 months ago
Goes to show how strict and old-fashioned Japan was. The Bushido code has many remarkable things, but honoring love doesn't seem to be one of them. I could feel Usagi's anguish in his voice...
SadoraNortica
7 years, 4 months ago
Most cultures in the past did not treat bastard children well. I'm not 100% sure Japan was this way but it works for the story. <3
ensodancer
7 years, 4 months ago
Oh the pain and confusion is just palpable here.  I'm glad Usagi has Leo there for support.
SadoraNortica
7 years, 4 months ago
It would be harder if Leo wasn't there.
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