so we're both orphans and that's okay (not really)
(a/n) because i still think the boys have it rough and leo is an awkward kid that never had a chance to be a child and now his dad is dead and usagi (is the best) understands how that feels so this happened
Being back in actual nature felt better than Leo expected. It felt new and familiar, comfortable and still so odd it held him a little on edge, a little guarded. Maybe it was the warm affinity that those trees carried, gracing his face when the wind blew through them or maybe it was the way Usagi was talking, calm and low and steady- that made his heart seize up and skip a beat and then fall back slower with a forgotten kind of placidity. Because this ronin’s voice is even and patient.
Just like his father used to be.
Or maybe Leo was thinking too much, mind was racing and assessing his surroundings too fast- again. Everything was happening fast now and there was not a whole lot of time to process all the things that messed them up. But now it’s quiet, and Leo’s head still as a buzzing in it (oh, right, brainwashed. how many times is it now? like, seventy-two?) so he just lets whatever Usagi tells him wash over and soak in. He listens to his tale like he used to listen to make believe legends engrained into his head so he could lust for battle and strive for something just a touch above greatness.
And when the fateful story ends as terribly as Leonardo half-expects it to, he pulls back from emotions to let this soak in.
It was almost like second nature taking over, and he was kinda fine with that- with this fire and the stars above him and the sound of his brothers close by. Mikey is laughing (probably at the expense of the kid they’re now stuck with that never shuts up and has enough insults to him he puts Donnie and Raph to shame) and it sounds a little richer than it does in New York, buried under pipes and tunnels, tucked and hidden and still sort of hurting from fresh loss and almost dying and stuff.
But then he looks over at Usagi, and the tale has passed into the breeze, but the pain still lingers in his eyes. And Leo knows those eyes well. He’s seen them in the mirror on the hardest nights, on the loneliest mornings where he meditates only, consulting a ghost for guidance his stolen boyhood barely had time to grasp. He doesn’t like thinking about it much anymore because it happened , and apparently time mistresses and robots only come to fix mistakes on universal scales. They turn back time for gapping black holes in the known universe, and beyond that. Not for the ones in your heart, ripping at you, denying such great, terrible things like being orphaned at seventeen.
No lords over time will fix that. So Leo hates dwelling on it, talkimg about it, acknowledging how much it matters.
He’s growing up though, so are his brothers; it’s time to forget selfishness and superiority and petty childhood rivalry, and it’s time to stop denying this pain, too.
So he scooches a little closer to the ronin, hands fidgeting a little, eyes flickering from the fire to Usagi, “I…um-” he coughs and tries not to sound so small (not so lost and young) “I lost my master- well, we . We lost ours, too. He was…our sensei- our father.”
Leo doesn’t know, at first, if it helps, if it lifts the guilt away from Usagi, or if just saying it out loud heals him an inch more. But the ronin’s eyes widen, briefly, begore staring back into the fire. And for some crazy reason Leo takes that as a okay i need to get this out and you’re pretty quiet so i’m just gonna…talk now? a lot. okay? and rubs his hands together, feeling new scars and scrapes, looking over at his brothers who sit by the stream.
“It was- well he died before…and kind of before that too,” Leo says, and snorts bitterly, glancing up at Usagi who begins to watch him keenly, almost pulling the words from Leonardo with his eyes, “B-but…but, um, well, every time he…whenever he would…die we would- we could always get him back like magic. There was always a second chance which was…of course I am…we were grateful. For them- the chances, I mean. But then- when Saki -” he spits his name with every piece of hatred and every bit of agony he feels, throat seizing for a moment ad he hangs his head.
“We couldn’t stop him. My brothers. Even after…years a-and years of training. Our….master- it was too late and I think Raph’s got it worse; he was right there. But anyway um…it’s…that was months ago, anyway. It doesn’t matter now…” his voice wavers and it’s light and laced with the buried things of that night and each second afterwards.
Leonardo, in the more insecure, irrational parts of himself, almost expects for the ronin to laugh because isn’t it pathetic- he’s supposed to be ninja. He should have swallowed this down the moment his father’s body hit the pavement. He shoukd have acknowledged it and let it go and forget and grow up already-
“You miss him a very great deal,” Usagi says, after moments pass in silence with the crackling fire rising into the stars, “And that does matter, Kappa. I experienced similar pains and regrets long after I became ronin- do not believe them to leave your side.” he adds that with a small, sad smile that makes the moisture in Leo’s eyes sweeter.
Because in the end they’re both kind of alone, but Leo got lucky with the burning love that is family, and he thinks- as his shoulders start to shake and some tears fall and there’s a crooked, relieved, faltering smile on his face, as Usagi moves closer instead of away with a steadfast sort of comfort and understanding- that maybe Usagi could use that too.
He’ll tell more tales in the future, the both of them together under stars and constellations like the ones right now, by fires bigger than this and closer in a bittersweet way. But for now this is just the beginning and the pages are turning and old hurts are melting into new ones, being tamed by this warmth of a firm hand and the far off sounds of his brothers.