Chapter One: Flo The Bunny
(Author's Note: This first chapter is a gift for No Guns Only Roses, who was wonderfully kind enough to draw me several scenes from my fanfics. When she mailed me the original drawings, she included a small pink and white plush bunny named Flo, and wondered what it would be like if Mikey met Flo. So here it is. Small caution: Girls discuss sex.)
It happened after Donatello and April walked in on Michelangelo having a seizure. His beloved teddy bear had new rips in it from his spastic grip, and his arms sported long bloody scratches from his own fingernails. It was beyond upsetting, the way he curled in on himself, the hitches in his breath, and Donnie and April soothed him and nuzzled him until he came out of it, gasping and tearful.
Mikey whispered, "My bear…" and April took it carefully, holding the stuffing inside as best she could. It would take some time to sew up. The old thing was so worn and sad. Mikey stared at her with his puppy eyes, and all she could do was half-smile and send a warm thought, I'll see what I can do. You need to rest. And Mikey burrowed his nose into Donnie's plastron, sighing as Donnie cleaned up the scratches on his arms.
Gaia called April as April was sitting in her living room, as though Gaia had known – and of course she had known, it was Gaia – and suggested a shopping date, just the two of them. April frowned, because she'd forgotten to ask how Gaia went out in public without her feline features being commented on.
There were too many things she didn't know about her newest human-mutant friend. Mikey had once said they shared a similar origin story, but Gaia's involved family genetics instead of alien DNA.
April recalled a series of comic books she collected as a kid, where people were born with fantastic superhuman powers and called mutants, due to a literally mutated gene. She would have laughed, except Mikey was so serious, nodding. And then he asked if she still had those comics stashed away anywhere. Luckily, she did. She had hundreds of issues of "The Mutant Gene" and as as it turned out, she shared a favorite character with Mikey: "Firebird," a psionic who could recover from even death. She would need to ask Gaia about that. She had a sneaking suspicion Gaia might like the geeky "Cat Shadow," another psionic who shifted into different breeds of feline.
Now, feeling the spring breeze on her face, April stood smiling in front of Manhattan Mall on West 33nd. It had been ages since she was in this area. Gaia took her and and smiled, and took a very, very deep and long breath.
"Autistic Anxiety, right?" April guessed.
Gaia just smiled again. "I'll be fine. Mine if I draw energy from you?"
Of course it was fine, and April lent as much energy as Gaia needed. Gaia had opened to her, creating a bridge, so April felt the horrible pounding of crowds and sounds and adjusted her aura expansion. After a few minutes, the calico girl's face smoothed out, her eyes becoming gentle slits of calm.
"Are you sure people won't get weird about your looks?" April asked.
Gaia looked at her, rolling her neck, and smirked. She tapped her nose. She blurred. And April was staring at a completely human Gaia Anastasia Mako, tail and ears and nose gone. Her hair was still striped calico, but it looked like a dye job.
"Okay, then," April grinned, not letting go of her hand. They stepped into the mall together.
April always wondered what it felt like to be around a telepath stronger than herself. Those walls and shields were the most impressive she had ever sensed. Gaia was so…open. And also closed off just enough. No wonder Donnie loved experimenting with her.
"Anyway," April asked, slowing her pace so Gaia could keep up, "I'm curious about your family thing. Mikey said your sister is psychic?"
Gaia grinned. "Oh, shoot, did I never tell you? Yeah, my second oldest sister, Athena. She specializes in clairvoyance, remote viewing, that stuff. She works with a, um, private sector in law enforcement. She can't talk about her job. Had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and everything."
April widened her eyes. "Like a psychic detective?"
"Yeah. She's the only one they take seriously."
"Huh," April hummed.
"And you're thinking about the Mutant Gene comics, aren't you?"
April smirked. "Yup."
Gaia shrugged and tossed her hair. "Yeah, it's something like that." She smiled, showing a fang. "Technically, Athena and I are mutants. Rhea got the model looks, Athena and I got the psychic stuff, Hestia got the athletics, she's super bendy and really fast. But Thee and I actually have literal mutations in our genes. Rhea thinks it's why the mutagen that splashed on me and Akeso didn't turn me all the way feline."
"Sort of like how I'm immune to the mutagen in the first place?"
"Something like that. Ooh, let's go in there. Plushies!"
And she tugged at April's hand, limping rapidly toward the small shop featuring stuffed animals in the window. "Maybe we can replace Mike's bear with a kitty or a panda."
April found herself surrounded by colorful stuffed animals and had to suppress a loud, "Whoa." She was so busy moving through a shelf that she almost didn't hear Gaia's tiny gasp of delight.
"April, look! This is perfect!"
Gaia slid over, holding a very small, very pink rabbit in one hand. It was almost pocket-sized. April grinned. "Now that's adorable. I bet he can fit it in his belt."
"Exactly! Feel her fur, it's really soft. I like how she's upright, like the teddy bear."
"Well, I found this red panda, would he work too?"
This time, Gaia squealed and grabbed for it. "Oh my gods, yes!"
There was a slight pause, and April grinned. "You're gonna name them right now, aren't you?"
Gaia lifted her nose in the air. "Mikey may choose whatever names he wants. But yes, the bunny is Flo and the red panda is Jack."
"Why Flo and Jack?"
April picked out a small green elephant, perfect for sitting on Donnie's computer desk.
"I meant to ask," Gaia said after they had made their purchases and walked out, "did you ever reciprocate Don's crush on you back then?"
April bit her lip. "Um. Not exactly? It's…hard to explain. I love him but not, like, romantic love? Like, I always felt like I screwed up when I kissed him at the farmhouse. I told you about that, right? After the Bigfoot thing? I never meant to lead him on, or Casey. I just…didn't feel anything. I just wanted him to be my best friend. And once we had really established that bond, I felt closer to him than ever. I mean, I've thought about…what sex with him would be like, but it wasn't a big thing. Like, I think I could, if I wanted, but not until recently. Does…does that make sense?"
Gaia was grinning so widely that April wondered if it hurt. "Aw, April! You're demisexual!"
"You don't experience desires for anyone until you form a strong emotional bond with them," Gaia said happily. "How often have you fantasized about him?"
April tried not to blush. "Enough? Like, I keep meaning to ask you what he's like in bed."
Gaia chuckled. "Gentle. Curious. Kind of really kinky."
"Really? I wouldn't have thought."
"Oh, please. The guy's an inventor. He loves gadgets. You should see the charts and graphs we cook up. What we do, how we do it, what we can use as toys, which positions and touches spark the best neurochemical reactions…he likes silk."
The blush was spreading to April's neck. "I…I see."
Gaia wrapped her arm around April's shoulders. "Come. We should talk. There's a sex shop on the second floor. I keep meaning to find new toys the three of us can work with anyway."
"Uh, who's the third?"
"Mikey, of course! Trust me, you've never seen a pair of brothers so comfortable around each other. I'm pretty sure they're not even brothers, they were just raised that way."
April didn't think her face could get any warmer. But Gaia's extraordinarily casual comfort helped her breathe. "Is, um, is that why Donnie's the only other one you're physical with, instead of psychically?"
"Mostly because of the scientific curiosity factor. Also, Raph feels more comfortable in the astral plane and Leo…I'm pretty sure he's demi. It doesn't matter to him as long as there's real emotion behind it."
April nodded, feeling her blush begin to fade. Emotions, huh?
"Now, Karai, there's some kink. But we both have fangs anyway. Did you know that cats evolved their hiss to mimic a snake?" And Gaia was almost rambling, but April loved that about her, she was so quiet most of the time.
April found herself asking questions she'd never thought of asking, and walked out of the sex shop with a present for herself, after Gaia and the cashier had chatted excitedly about…well, she didn't quite understand, but it sounded as though Gaia had bought something interesting, as the scents of leather and metal wafted from her shopping bag.
"I haven't bought silk lingerie in a while," Gaia was saying cheerily. "They'll both love it. And I love your choice. It's got four different speed settings, so have fun."
This time, April didn't blush, she only smirked.
April managed to hide her purchases in Karai's room, except for the elephant, which she kept in its own bag positioned on her lap. Next to her on the couch, Gaia and Mikey nuzzled and then Gaia murmured, "So I found something for you, Sunshine. It should help."
And Mikey rifled through the red wrapping in the bag, pulling out Jack, who was carefully holding Flo. His eyes got impossibly wide and he reverently took the bunny in one hand. "Dude," he whispered, "Kitten, I dreamed about this bunny rabbit a couple days ago!"
Gaia lifted an eyebrow. "Well, then!"
He grinned at her. "Her name's Flo, isn't it?"
"Oh, is it?"
And he booped her nose with the red panda. "And this is Jack. You silly."
"Yeah, I'm silly."
"I love you."
"Yeah, you do."
On the nearest bean bag, Raph smirked and rolled his eyes. On the other couch, Leo gave a very geeky grin, while next to him Karai just shook her head in amusement. And Donnie leaned against the arm of the couch next to April, smiling in what looked like relief.
"Hey, Donnie," April said softly, and held up the bag from the toy shop, "I saw this and thought of you."
"Really? Aww, thanks, April, you didn't have to-" And he reached into the purple wrap paper. "A green elephant? April you're the best! Pachyderms are almost human-like in their intellectual and psychological and emotional functioning!"
"Well, yeah," Gaia called from where she had wrapped her arms around Mikey's neck, "that's why it's perfect!"
"What she said," April laughed, beaming up at her best friend.
He leaned down to give her a strong hug, and she felt warmth blossom through her chest. She scooted over to give him room to sit, and spent the next hour leaned against him watching Mikey, Gaia, and Leo play with Flo and Jack, Leo doing spot-on impressions of the Space Heroes characters. Somewhere in there, Donnie joined in with Wesley the elephant, and Raph even put in a tape of Space Heroes for everyone to watch. At some point, Chompy wandered into the mix, Karai brought Ice Cream Kitty in her cooler, Mikey telekinetically retrieved some action figures from his room, and April glanced up to see Master Splinter standing at the edge of the pit, hands behind his back, watching his children play with a bright gleam in his eyes.
As Mikey made Flo The Bunny float through the group and give kisses, April laughed and clapped her hands, bringing out her phone to take pictures. Who knew something as small as a plush pink bunny would be big enough to bring the entire family together?