A/N - Sharing a quickly written and belated 4th of July drabble that I just couldn't resist. I'm not entirely sure which months they were at the farmhouse, so just go with it, ok? :)
The summer air was hot and humid, despite the late hour. The bugs in the air were nipping at April's skin, and it was just too damn hot to cover up more than the denim shorts and loose yellow tank offered. She'd practically bathed in bug spray, but as they trudged further into the trees, the mosquitos had gotten thicker, and unfortunately she was traveling with a pack of mutated turtles, whose skin was either too thick for the blood-sucking beasts, or perhaps just not palatable.
"Ugh! These bugs are driving me insane!" Casey, the only other human companion groaned out, from the back of the group. He jumped around waving his hands angrily in the air, as though somehow it might scare away a few of the buzzing invaders.
"Quit yer' bitchin'" Raph teased over his shoulder as he kept trekking forward.
"You guys don't understand, I'm being eaten alive out here!" He smacked his arm, and scrunched up his nose in distaste, seeing the bloody, splattered remains of the bug he had caught in action. "Red, I was all for this camp-out idea and all, but why the hell are we going so far?!"
April rolled her eyes at the boy as she continued her lead through the underbrush, following the remains of a path that was barely still visible.
"Just out of curiosity April, exactly how much further do we have to go?" Leonardo spoke up, in the polite manner that only he could pull off, while trying his best to hide the fact that he was panting.
He still had a crutch under one arm, helping him along with his bum knee, and after months of being laid up, he was not quite back to his usual level of fitness. She had worried that it was a bit of a hike for him, but so far he had refused any offer to sit and rest along the way. The other boys who were weighed down with backpacks of snacks and other goodies (that she had been rather secretive about), seemed a little disappointed each time he had stubbornly insisted that they just keep moving.
"We're almost there you guys. You're doing great!" She let out a slightly sarcastic punch into the air to look a little more motivational.
"Don't mind them April, it's a beautiful night." Donatello chirped from beside her, causing a groan from both Casey and Raph in the back.
"Donnie's right you guys!" Mikey taunted, before flailing his tongue about at the complainers bringing up the rear. "We shouldn't celebrate our beautiful Country's birthday from our butts on the couch, when we actually have the chance to be outside enjoying it!"
"Thank you guys." April turned back to smile at the two youngest turtles.
Mikey bounded forward a few steps, swinging a cooler containing his meltable cat in one hand, while using the 'ultimate walking stick', as he'd dubbed it, with his other hand. Just a few steps in front of him, he could see his brother in purple straighten back up again, with the boost of confidence Mikey and April had just renewed in him.
It was not much further and April announced that they had arrived.
Stepping through an opening amongst the thick trees, lead to an open grassy hilltop and even the guys complaining couldn't help but let out an audible "wow", once they'd caught sight of the view.
Though the hike itself had been relatively mellow, they had been steadily working their way uphill, and the pay off had been this secret oasis; a small clearing that sat on a rather large hill, overlooking the countryside below in a breathtaking manner.
Behind them was nothing but the tops of trees and lush greenery reaching so far back that they could not even see the farmhouse. Ahead of them, for as far as they could see, were rolling fields of green farms and little dots marking the barns and houses along the twisting country roads in the distance. The center of town could be seen just below them, flags raised and balloons escaping, the smoke of BBQs and the roar of laughter could just barely be heard as it traveled along the wind.
"Ok, April, this was totally worth it." Leo announced, before finding a good sized rock to sit down on and rest his aching knee.
Seeing their leader finally stop, the rest of the group immediately dropped their bags to the ground, and collapsed into the soft grass of the field.
"How do you even find these places April?!" Mikey exclaimed, moving his limbs, to make angels in the long grass.
The redhead spun around to smile at him, her ponytail whipping around behind her, and shrugged. "My parents brought us up here when I was a kid, but I don't know how they found it."
"Well thank you for sharing it with us, April." Donatello touched her shoulder and met her eyes with his own smile. He'd noticed the way it both pained her and excited her to share these special childhood memories with them. Feeling close to her mother and father in these old recollections, also reminded her how much she missed them both. And having recently lost their own father, the boys were quite familiar with this pain.
She returned his smile, appreciative of his concern, but also not wanting to dwell on sadness today.
Setting her heavy pack on the ground, she over-dramatically placed her hands on her hips and announced to the others, "Now, let's eat some grub!"
Cheers burst out amongst the boys in response!
Bellies full and bodies rested, the group laid sprawled out amongst the blankets in the warm grass as the sun grew low on the horizon.
April's surprise bag had turned out to be filled with a small collection of fireworks that she'd found tucked away in the back of the barn.
They lay watching and giggling as they took turns lighting the small explosives on the rocky edge of the clearing, careful not to let the sparks get too close to the grass.
Much to April's delight, Donatello had been particularly keen to set off explosions without getting yelled out by his brothers. Granted in their defense, most of the blasts he had detonated in the past, were typically accidental and the reason they were often met with distaste.
The big one they had saved for the end, was a fountain that set off sparks of color a good 10 feet into the air. The brothers whooped and cheered as the bursts of lights changed from green, to red to gold.
Their miniature display long over, and the sun almost gone, the group settled into the grass. Mikey on his belly, kicking his legs playfully behind him as he made faces with his ice-cream cat peeking out from her frozen shelter. Leo lay beside him on his back watching the first few stars begin to twinkle. Casey and Raphael were wrestling over the last of the chips, laughing maniacally as they playfully fought one another.
Doing a quick head-count, April realized she had lost track of Donatello. Searching around she found him sitting on the edge of the overhang, his legs dangling off the side.
He had been a little distant since Bigfoot had left some weeks ago. Probably nothing all that noticeable to the others, but she could tell that he was making it a point to back off a little when it came to showing his affections.
Walking over beside him, she gestured to the rocky ground and casually asked, "Is this seat taken?"
Donnie jumped a little at her question, his face deep in thought; he must not have noticed her arrive. "Oh, of course not. Here, join me."
He scooted over a bit, so she wouldn't have to sit over a large crack in the rock.
"Gorgeous view." He said casually, and April was proud of him for not letting his voice crack.
"Maybe we should start a fire soon?" Donnie asked. They both faced West, and the last bit of sunshine was finally hiding behind the horizon.
"Not quite yet, I still have another surprise for you guys." April answered. A turn of her head, revealing a sly smile plastered on her features.
"What kind of sur–" Donatello's question was cut short when a large burst of gold erupted high in the sky above them, the flickering color bouncing off of April's freckled face and illuminating her smile.
"Whoooooah!" Mikey exclaimed.
The resounding 'bang' followed shortly. And then another explosion of light filled the air, the cheer of the crowds erupting below them echoed across the field.
"What the heck?" Casey muttered, his head caught in a lock from Raphael's bicep.
"Welcome to the real show, you guys: The best fireworks in the county." April called out.
The group was quick to stop what they were doing, each person finding a comfortable spot to sit back and enjoy the show.
April cast a glance over to see Donatello's reaction to her surprise, but found that he was watching her instead of the lights. A warm glow around his grin, accentuated by the sparkling sky.
"What?" She asked with a small giggle.
"You really know how to keep a secret." He teased back.
"Yeah well, we could all use a little 'happy surprise', these days."
Donatello nodded silently, turning his attention back to the sky. Their time at the farmhouse had been full of surprises thus far, but none had been happy: the Creep, the Kraang ship, Leo's slow healing, among others.
April shifted in her spot beside him and scooted in closer, letting her hip and thigh press up against his. She snaked her arm under his, pulling him in and running her hand down to lay comfortably inside his.
Donatello had to suppress an audible gulp. He braved a glimpse of her face, but she was focused on the fireworks. She was positively beaming. The warm evening breeze rustled her bangs and she leaned in, laying her head on his shoulder.
The bursts of light continued to decorate the night sky, in their colorful combinations. The residual thunder of their 'booms' felt deep in the chests of the six teens as they watched. Each new spark, followed by a chorus of "ooohs and aaahs" thanks to Michelangelo and Casey.
As the finalé began, the rockets exploding in such quick succession that the entire sky seemed to glow from their light, Donatello couldn't help but feel that they were nothing in comparison to the internal fireworks he felt whenever April showed him such attention.
If he had learned anything hiking up here today, it's that some things are most definitely worth the wait, and if you're patient enough, you might just be in for a surprise.