Firstly, I would like to thank Eastman, Laird and Sakai for giving us their characters. For letting us share in their lives and follow their stories. For letting their grief be our grief, and their triumphs our triumphs. There is no fathomable way to ever thank you for what you have given us.
When I started this story, my confidence in my writing was absolute, complete and utter rock bottom. When I say I had NO confidence in my writing whatsoever it is a gross understatement! I knew I could sculpt imagery ok, but I didn't believe I had any skill as far as constructing a story went. I was convinced I was a hopeless case who would never be able to write anything of substantial worth no matter how hard I tried.
In writing this little fanfiction, my self esteem and confidence has strengthened staggeringly, not only in my writing ability but also just in general. I have never, ever done anything like this before in my life. It was more fun than I could every imagine, and I've never been prouder of anything I've created.
I want to thank those of you who stuck with me, through rough patches in the story, bouts of tantrums and severe cases of self doubt and uncertainty. The Only reason this fic ever reached completion is, with sincerity and honesty, because of the feedback you left me as I wrote. I am NOTORIOUS for NEVER finishing any fic I start. I still can't believe I was not only able to write such a long story, but that I enjoyed doing so to the very last sentence.
I thank you all from the very bottom of my heart, and cannot tell you how grateful I am for your comments, reviews and words of encouragement.
To those who followed the story but didn't comment, I want to thank you for sticking with it and seeing the whole thing through. I really hope you enjoyed it, and found it worthy of your time.
And lastly, to those who may discover this later on, I hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know it is flawed in some ways, but for my first attempt at a serious fanfiction I am very proud, an I hope you got some joy out of reading it, even if you were not able to follow the updates as they happened. (Which might be a good thing. Some of my cliff-hangers were, I admit, brutally cruel)
I must apologise though, I never meant for this fic to get this long and out of control XD; I do hope you found it worth it as I never needlessly padded the story and let it unfold at its own pace and how I felt the flow should go. But I am sorry if it turned some people away after a while ^^;
lastly, my thanks to:
Krimzon, for inspiring me to start writing a fic of my own and then encouraging me once I voiced concerns about how good it would be
Arwing, for his encouragement and BETAing some of the chapters
DmajorBoss, ALSO for encouraging me to start the story. (I whined to a loooooot of people before I started writing)
The TMNT fanfic authors out there who made me cry and wail and go through emo bouts of "I could never do anything that long and awesome!"
The Rurouni Kenshin Soundtrack, for knowing JUST how to set the mood
NeoOffice. For NOT being MS Word
My local comic book store, for supplying me with my crack-habit in the form of TMNT and UY Comics.
I have not read UY Book 1 (I started on Book 2) but I believe Jotaro's first appearance is in Book 6, entitled "Circles". I didn't elaborate on the story behind Jotaro, Usagi, Mariko and Kenichi because I saw no point in retelling something when Stan Sakai himself already wrote it more sadly and beautifully than I ever could. If you want to know exactly what the story is behind Usagi's Lover and child, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this book.
Again, Usagi Yojimbo Book 6: Circles.
Jotaro surfaces again in Book 18 (Travels with Jotaro) and Book 19 (Fathers and Sons) I do own them but haven't read them yet, although I am led to believe they are the two single most heartbreaking issues in the entire series (so far at least). I have a feeling once I read them I might come to despise this fic I've written for its inaccuracies XD;;
Jim in the chapter "What Jim Saw" I named after Jim Lawson, my favourite TMNT comic writer/artist.
'Tibalt' is the name of a street I grew up on.
Usagi's "Dorothy Syndrome" (That is, the feeling of displacement in an environment, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) that he shows through most of the fic in the Turtle's home is actually a LOT of self projection. I am originally from South Africa, but I have been studying in Canada for over a year now. I find it a very strange and frightening place, so a lot of my uncertainty and frustration is reflected in Usagi's lack of understanding of the Turtle's world.
I would have liked to include Casey and April in this story, but that would've made the cast of characters a ridiculous size, so they were left out, besides, I wasn't entirely sure how to fit them in properly without upsetting the atmosphere.
My only regret is I didn't have a chance to show Mikey's silliness more. On the same not, due to his stress levels I was unable to let Usagi's dorkier side have its moments.
Pray for me, as my mother has requested to read this fic XD;;
And finally, I've had a request to draw some of the scenes depicted in this story. At the time of writing this I haven't physically drawn anything yet, but I most certainly will in the near future :) I have always been a more confident artist than a writer. If you're interested, feel free to drop by my DeviantArt account (My name is also "C-Puff" there)
Thank you, every-one who read this story at whatever time.
It means more to me than you'll ever know.
All my Love