Disclaimer: I don't own Tail of the Moon
Usagi Momochi was four years old when her mother died. During that time she like all the others her age could already walk and talk, though unlike others she had no interest in taking up ninjutsu. Her only interests were playing and medicine making. All this changed when she met her best friend Kame.
Kame and she were only five when they became friends, and both had a lot in common. Kame and Usagi were both at the bottom of their class and loved to play, Kame often helped Usagi gather the herbs she needed for a medicinal recipe that had caught her eye. However where Kame was loyal and hardworking, Usagi was lazy and a glutton.
However this all changed when a bet was struck.
"Kame do you want to play with me?" Five year old Usagi asked as she looked down to where her new best friend was kneeling. The girl in question looked up from where she was gathering herbs and smiled apologetically as she shook her head.
"Sorry Usa-chan but I have to go to training today. My father might get angry. How about you come with me and we make the class a game." Kame said to her friend who just stared at her curiously and asked "What type of game?" Kame smiled wider this time knowing she had gotten Usagi's interest.
"We can try seeing which one of us does better in class for the day and then we get a prize. And if we beat the others in the class we can ask our parents for sweets." Usagi's eyes widened at the words her friend was speaking. "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" Usagi thought.
"Deal! But we have to continue this until we receive our qualifications and absolutely no backing out." Usagi said as she held her hand out to Kame who paused for a moment before shaking Usagi's hands and looking at her with determined eyes.
End of Flashback
After that things went well for Usagi and Kame in terms of their training. They had beaten the rest of the class and were given a tougher training then the others. Since they had no infants to use for their piggyback training they were given large stones carved into the shape and size of infants to use as a replacement. They were also taught to read and write, help out in the household chores as part of their bridal training and to act as proper ladies as a way to prepare them for their missions. This all happened while Usagi continued to learn about being a herbalist and raising the infant she adopted and named Mamezou with the help of her fiancé Goemon and Kame. The biggest surprise came when they received their qualifications at the age of seven which led to them receiving numerous proposals.
However, the years weren't all happiness and success, the worst blow for Usagi probably happened when her only surviving parent, her father, died from a bear attack. Leaving her an orphan, this in turn caused her to strive to reach the top. Although, the one thing they noticed was that she had kept her positive attitude, clumsy ways and bouncy nature when she was outside an assignment.
The years passed and the girls only grew into beautiful, fine and respectable young women who had absolutely no interests in marriage or love. The girls would often look back at their earlier assignments and remember their first one with the fondest smile.
The girls were in Kyoto on an undercover mission. They were going to play the nieces of a couple working in a tea shop. With them was Shiro, Usagi's trained dog and her 'son' Mamezou or Mame for short. He had a fear of dog's which the two believe stems from the fact that Mame was found by Shiro. During the two months there Usagi used the name Nadeshiko while Kame took up the name Sakura. During their time there they or rather Usagi befriended a Nanman healer who taught her a few things about medicine, left her with a few books about the Nanman culture and some clothes in a trunk, she also met a herbalist who taught her about the different herbs and how they could be used.
End of Flashback
Now fifteen year old Usagi was running late at seeing her best friend off. Mamezou was trailing behind Usagi who just happened to trip on a rock and land right in front of Kame's feet. "Usa-chan are you okay?" Kame asked looking down worriedly at her best friend, who at the moment was spitting sand out of her mouth.
"I'm fine. I just wanted to see you off…" Usagi started as she put her hand into her pocket "and give you this." She finished as she pulled out a rabbit's foot. "It's to give you good luck and speed." Usagi added with a smile as she handed it out to Kame.
Kame took it with a smile and asked "Did you catch it Usa?" Usagi shook her head as Mamezou said "No I did." Kame then kneeled down and said "Then I'll treasure it. Mamezou please take care of Usa for me, we all know how much of a klutz she is outside of a mission."
Usagi looked offended at that as she said "Hey!" Kame just laughed and said "You know it's true Usa. We graduated at the top of our class and everything. You're so graceful during missions but out of them you let your guard down and you trip over anything."
"Fine, you win. Take care of yourself Sakura. I'll see you soon." Usagi said as Kame laughed "Alright. You better do that too Nadeshiko and don't forget to write. I mean that." Kame said seriously as she looked at Usagi in the eye as if trying to tell her "I need to know what is going on and if you're ever in danger. Just like I know you would want to know what's going on in my life." 'Nadeshiko' just smiled as she nodded and watched her friend walk away on her first mission alone.
"Usa! Usa!" Kame yelled as she ran to the girl sitting by the fields. The girl in question turned to face her with a smile on her face as Kame looked at her with worry and sadness.
"Usa, I'm so sorry about Goemon. I never thought he'd break off the engagement." Kame said as she looked at her friend and noticed that her eyes were red.
Usagi shook her head and said "It's okay. I knew this was coming. At least if I can't be his wife I can still be his friend right? Besides, Kame-chan's the one who likes Goemon right?" Kame looked at her friend and blushed, she knew that Usagi held a small amount of romantic feelings for Goemon but knew that she also feels like marrying him somehow feels so wrong for her.
"Ahh! Before I forget, great-grandfather wants to see both of us. I think we've got a new assignment." Usagi said immediately standing up as she grabbed Kame's hand and ran to her house.
In Master Tanba Momochi's House
The two girls were kneeling in front of an old monkey like figure. Well actually Kame was the only one who was kneeling Usagi was sitting down on the floor. The old man had his eyes closed as if he were meditating. "So what's our next assignment great-grandpa?" Usagi asked innocently as she reached beside her to grab an apple.
"This time the two of you will be going on separate missions. Kame you'll be going to the capital and keep an eye out for any activity that may suggest that Lord Nobunaga's planning an attack on Iga. You have to get close to him at all cost and we think the only way to do that, the only way to earn his trust is to become the lover of Ranmaru Mori his most trusted and loyal retainer. You can't go in to the city with a name like Kame; you'd have to use a code name. I'll leave that up to you." Tanba said as Usagi dropped the apple she was about to eat and Kame's mouth hung open.
"Great-grandpa why are we going to be separated? Why does Kame have to go to the city and be that man's lover? Why…" Usagi started but was interrupted by Tanba raising his hand.
"I'm not finished yet Usagi. If she doesn't do it then we may be unprepared for the attack and that could result in the downfall of Iga. Now then, Usagi your assignment is to marry Hanzo Hattori and bear his children and secure the future unity of Iga." Tanba finished as he looked at the two girls who literally had both of their eyes pooping out and their jaws on the floor.
"Great-grandpa I refuse to have you arrange another marriage for me. Don't you remember that Goemon just ended our engagement a week ago?" Usagi said as she stood up to leave only pausing to help Kame up. Usagi was halfway out the door, her long hair swaying in the slight breeze, when she heard Tanba start again.
"Really? Won't you at least meet him? He's a great ninja, completely responsible, extremely smart and is rumored to be the most handsome man in all of Iga." This made Usagi pause as Kame who was still in shock kept walking and bumped into her knocking her out of her stupor.
"Did you just say handsome? Hmm, I guess it wouldn't hurt to see him." Usagi said as Kame rolled her eyes at the actions of her overly excited best friend before her face softened as she thought "Oh well, at least if she becomes Hanzo-sama's bride-elect and later his wife someone would be able to take care of her in my and Goemon's steed."
"Good then you leave in two days. Usagi help her choose a name and a background. Don't forget to choose a name for yourself as well. You may never know when you two might meet on the street or when you need to send a message to each other." Tanba said as he watched the two nod and leave.
End of Flashback
Usagi watched Kame disappear from her eyes as she turned around and face Mamezou before saying "Let's go back to the house and get our things. We also have to ensure that we have a gift to give the Hattori clan." Mamezou nodded and grabbed Usagi's hand and pulled her towards their house.
As Mamezou sat back and watched his foster mother rushing around double checking everything he couldn't help but notice in awe how beautiful his mom was. Sure his aunt Kame was beautiful but his mom was gorgeous and no one was ever going to compare to her.
He watched as she tied her long black hair, as she changed into a beautiful kimono that suited her perfectly, he saw that she was thinner and a bit more developed than the other girls in their village which made her look dainty and weak the exact opposite of how she really was clumsy yes, dainty no. Her heart shape face with small pink lips always in a smile, her nose was high, her onyx eyes huge and full of emotions, her skin was white and silky like a dolls, it had no scars or bruises it was just soft and creamy, her movements fluid and graceful.
He watched her close a huge wooden box and lock it as she placed some of the things she was going to bring on top of it. She turned around and asked "Well Mamezou how do I look?" Mamezou just smiled and said "You look beautiful Usa-sama. I'm glad I have such a beautiful and kind mother as you." Usagi blushed at the compliment as Tanba and Sandayu came in.
"We'll bring the gifts over with the rest of your things. Whatever you want to bring now you must have Mamezou carry." Tanba said as Sandayu added "Mamezou protect Usagi alright. Don't forget to come back for a visit you two."
"See you later Usagi." Sandayu said as he headed back into the house and Tanba said "Mamezou will act as a messenger for you so it won't be bad. I'll see you two later." With that Tanba turned around and left.
They had already traveled half way through the path going to the Hattori territory when Usagi decided to take a break to allow Mamezou to eat some of the snacks she made. As she sat down on a rock she noticed something moving behind the bushes and said "Mamezou would you please check behind that bush. I feel like something's watching us." Mamezou nodded and said "Hai Usa-sama." Usagi who was unpacking the rice balls suddenly heard Mamezou scream, this caused her to look up in alarm and nearly drop their food.
Usagi couldn't help but laugh at the scene. Mamezou was on a branch, clinging to the tree for dear life crying. When Mamezou heard his stepmother laugh he had to pout and say "How mean Usa-sama you know I hate dogs." This time Usagi sighed and repacked their food, she then approached the dog and started petting him. "See Mamezou there isn't anything to be afraid off. This dog won't attack you unless you provoke him." Usagi said.
Hearing that Mamezou turned to see the dog warming up to the touch, he thought that it was safe to go down. Unfortunately the branch he was on broke before he could get down and he let out a scream. Usagi who immediately saw what was going to happen, impulsively stood up and jumped under him, her left leg landing on a rock and spraining it. But she ignored the pain in favor of catching Mamezou who was hit by a few more branches going down.
As soon as Mamezou was safely in her arms she set him down and turned to the dog who stood up and started wagging its tail. Suddenly a handsome black haired blue eyed man came out and spoke to the dog. "There you are. I've been looking for you everywhere! How many times have I told you not to run off?" The dog's ears went down and it looked down as if it were ashamed of itself. It was then that the man realized that there were other people there.
He noticed that the woman was holding a crying boy who she was trying to comfort. "Oh, I'm sorry if my dog scared you. Here why don't I help you comfort him?" He said to the woman who he had to admit was extremely pretty and far too young to be traveling alone with a child as young as him. He saw the woman nod and walk slowly and realized that the woman might have somehow hurt her leg.
He sat her down by a rock beside a river and raised her left leg and noticed it was a bit sprained. All that time he noticed as well that the woman sat holding the boy who had a ninja sword that was much too large for him strapped on his back. "It seems as if you have a sprain, normally I would advise you to stay off it but as it seems as if you've got an important assignment to do." The man said as the woman had looked at him directly for the first time as the boy had calmed down enough and jumped of her lap.
"Thank you for your help. Mamezou can you please get some medicine from our bag." Mamezou smiled and nodded, he turned to run but tripped over the large sword. The man went up to the boy and helped him stand up as the woman watched all this while fighting off the blush from her face. "What am I doing? I can't like this man; I'm supposed to marry Hanzo Hattori. Although he is handsome he may be Hanzo Hattori but I can't be too sure. After all Hanzo-sama is supposed to be the most handsome man in all of Iga. Anyway the reason I'm heading there is to cancel the engagement anyway and I definitely cannot flirt with other men when I'm still promised to someone." Usagi thought.
"You tripped because you have that large sword on your back." The man said as Mamezou looked down and said "It's because Master Tanba told me not to let Usa-sama carry anything and I need to defend her someway, Onii-san said so." The man smiled down and said "Well how about I give you this ninja knife as payment for my dog scaring you earlier and you keep that sword away." Mamezou reached forward to take the knife with a happy smile as he clutched it to his heart and gave him a warm smile. "Thank you so much mister." He said to the man.
"Well you said you were from the Momochi clan, well I'm going to meet with Master Tanba in a few hours so I'll tell him I met you." The man said as Usagi looked at him and said "Thank you so much for giving Mamezou the knife." Usagi then gave him a heartwarming smile that made him blush and turn away. Soon enough he jumped on to a tree and made his way forward.
After Usagi finished rubbing the medicine on her leg she turned to Mamezou who was still eating and waited for him to finish and pack up. When everything was done, she noticed Mamezou was once again about to strap the sword on his back. "Mamezou give me that sword. I'll hold on to it. I need an intimidating weapon anyway." Usagi said as Mamezou nodded and gave her the sword.
As they walked on in silence for a few minutes Usagi suddenly stopped as she felt someone else with them. Soon enough two men appeared and bowed before her. "You must be Usagi-sama. We were wondering why you were late. Anyway Master Hanzo is away right now so we shall wait for him before proceeding with the ceremony." One of them said.
Usagi sighed as Mamezou looked at the two cautiously. "Right, about that, I was actually on my way to cancel the engagement." The two men looked up at her in shock and started to panic. "Okay, he hasn't heard that yet. Let's hurry and bring her back." The other said as the one who spoke first nodded and picked her up while the other carried Mamezou and headed for the village. Within minutes the struggling Usagi was at the front of the village and was immediately dressed in a wedding outfit and brought to a room.
Usagi who was in shock only snapped out when the man who helped them earlier entered. Suddenly everyone in the room started bowing and said "Congratulations Master Hanzo." The man in question took one look at the room and glared before turning around and saying "I refuse." Usagi only sighed and said "My assignment was to marry and bear Hanzo Hattori's children." Her voice was rather loud and forceful as she stood up and followed him out of the room.
"Have the children by yourself." Hanzo said as Usagi laughed and said "You know very well that I can't do it on my own. After all I am neither a hermaphrodite nor an asexual." Hanzo stopped and spun around "A what or a what?" he asked, Usagi once again sighed as she remembered that the term was something she learned from the nanman healer. "Asexual mean an organism that can reproduce without the help of a partner, and hermaphrodite meaning an organism with both male and female body parts." The others watched the events with confusion and happiness and couldn't help cheering her on with "You tell him Usagi-sama!" and "That's right!" It was at this point that Hanzo spun around and started walking away again.
"I refuse to marry you or anyone against my will." Hanzo replied as Usagi ran too him and yelled "WAIT!" Hanzo in turn spun around and opened his mouth "Wha…" his question was cut off when Usagi kissed him rather forcefully and said "This is an assignment I don't intend to fail." She watched him face them properly with a blank look which turned to a glare and stalk off in his normal composed manner, though inside he was extremely flustered.
"That was great Usagi-sama! You really caught him off guard." One of the women said as she smiled at them and looked at the elder. "Would it be possible to have dinner served in our rooms?" The elder only nodded as he watched the young woman turn away with the little boy grasping her hand tightly.
After dinner some of the women and men including the elder were gathered in Usagi's room as they watched her help Mamezou change.
"Usagi-sama thank you very much for changing your mind and helping us out." The man from earlier said.
Usagi just shook her head and smiled "It isn't really a big deal. It's just that this was all too sudden. Oh my I didn't even ask your name." Usagi said.
"I'm Hojo miss. May I ask why this is all too sudden?" Hojo asked as Usagi looked up from the needlework she was doing. It was a hobby that she learned from the book of culture the Nanman healer gave her, though it seemed to amaze the clan that was acting as her host.
"My fiancé of fifteen years broke off the engagement nine days ago. Today was supposed to be our wedding day."
After this sentence she looked back down at her work and waited for the others to digest what she had just said "I'm sorry. That's why you were reluctant to marry Hanzo-sama earlier." Hojo said. Mamezou suddenly looked up and said "It's alright Goemon-nii is still our friend and he looks out for Usa-sama." Usagi just smiled and said "Mame that's enough. I think it's time for you to sleep." Mamezou just nodded and said "Hai! Mama!"
The others were shell shocked and screamed "MAMA?" they expected Usagi to deny it and correct them, however they got the opposite reaction. All she did was laugh and say "Yes, Mamezou is my son. Now please it's late and Mamezou and I both need our rest. Would it be alright if we continue our conversation tomorrow?" The others nodded and left together.
Once they were sure they were out of hearing range from both Usagi and Hanzo they started whispering
"We can't allow her to marry Hanzo-sama now that we know the child is hers'." A woman said as they all sighed and though "What a shame she's the perfect bride for Hanzo-sama." "Well now this is a great complication. Let us all talk about it tomorrow." The elder said as he went inside to sleep as the others did as well.