Part 6: Absolution
Curious and purposeful, April began to explore Donnie's skin, tracing her fingers along his wrist; into the crook of his elbow; over the muscles defining his shoulder. Gently, carefully she brushed the palm of her hand over the solid plates shielding Donnie's torso. April pushed through her timidity to walk her fingers along the outline of his shell where it connected to his skin, fascinated with the contrast of soft skin against rigid carapace where both melded together.
Donnie stirred, and was quiet again. With the same hand, April continued her journey, intoxicated by her discovery of the new, giddy with her explorations.
She contoured the muscles of Donnie's thigh. Even if she'd had no previous experience with boys, she of course knew what would be there, but wasn't in Donnie. She also knew what made normal turtles tick here (April did her research, too). She was exhilarated to see how far this held for her Turtle.
Just as her fingers lightly meandered upwards, Donnie snapped awake, oriented and terrified by what he realized April was doing. "April, NO!" Wide-eyed, he caught her wrist, and tried to pull her back up to him. "April, you…You don't have to do that. I'm not…it's not…I don't expect… just…Please. Stop. Come back up here".
April wasn't buying it. "Donnie, that's not fair", she softly chided. Then she dropped her voice low: "You had me: exposed, vulnerable…" Her voice caught in her throat; "…out of my shell", she finally giggled nervously. Then, serious again, the redhead husked, "I want to do the same for you. It's my turn now…and your turn to let go and open up for me".
Donnie couldn't speak, so deeply conflicted and afraid that this part of him would repel April, destroying any shred of a pretense that he might be a human counterpart to her. April didn't care, however, having firmly decided long ago that she was embracing Donnie as he was on the outside as well as on the inside.
Shifting to her knees to firmly place a silencing finger over his mouth, eyes locked on his, April very deliberately reached back with her exploring hand despite the world of tension in Donnie's body.
As her fingers roved she felt the ninja relax in spite of his nerves, heard an almost-silent breath escape Donnie's chest. April looked down, exhilarated and absorbed in discovering what she could do with him, where she could take him.
When she looked up again, April saw Donnie watching her with a mix of amazement that she'd not left yet, and terror that she'd finally realize what he was and bolt forever. Despite knowing that if April fumbled his heart, it would shatter, in that moment Donnie made the choice to trust her entirely.
April resumed, listening to and feeling an enamoured Donnie respond to her. Within minutes Donnie surrendered completely, unable to hold onto his fear and worry, unable to make any sense of what he was feeling being done with him for the first time in his life. The roaring in his head increased, deafening, until; in his mind there was perfect silence, against which he felt the sweetest, sharpest, brightest * pin-drop * ripple outward and echo through every measure of his body.
Then his world went quiet again, and he was a mote of an atom of a molecule that was part of everything, everywhere, all at once. All Donatello could feel was utter peace and total completion.
"Booyakasha", whispered a smiling, very self-satisfied, April O'Neil; and, as reply, she was gifted with the laziest of gap-toothed grins.
C'est ça. Pour maintenant.
Too many times a great storyline gets tanked because the romantic sub-plot becomes the focus and the audience becomes exhausted with the "will-they, won't-they?" tension of watching two people skirt around their feelings for each other. The same risk is true of the Donnie/April romance story.
This (and the pesky cross-species thing) presented an interesting challenge to see if Donnie and April might consummate their affections for each other in a way that was believable and acceptable to the reader; and didn't trip up the main story.
Here, Donnie and April's experience is about authenticity, vulnerability, desire, trust and acceptance. These are universal themes that, for whatever reason, few people seem discuss with respect to, erm, well, sex; which is a shame, because dealing with those feelings in healthy ways is really important (not in the least because it makes things [yes of course *those* things] lots more fun, right?).
Whether Donnie and April's romance goes long-term isn't the point. Rather, the point is the deep formative experience that they share together, that helps each of them to grow, and hopefully imparts warm memories when they're each old and gray. That is, if the Kraang and Shredder let them live that long.
Anyway, thanks to those who posted reviews as each chapter went up; it was really exciting to get your live feedback. New reviews are absolutely welcome, especially if you have reflections to share on the story's themes.