Chapter Thirty
Good-bye Till We Meet Again

Zack wrote quickly in the notebook. "It's worth the expense. Charley can keep her books for the garage on it, and you can always use the 'but it'll help me with classes' excuse for the Internet."

"Hey if I can't convince Charley, I know I can convince Tala." Sparks leaned against the van's open door. "She might make it an even trade, but she won't say no 'bout much."

"What are you two planning?" Allie tossed a duffel bag into the back of the Turtle Van through its side door. She sauntered around the van to meet the hurried exchange of notebook and pen.

"Who? Us? What makes you think we're up to somethin'?"

Allie crossed her arms. "Right, like I don't know that expression. You inherited it from me."

Zack grinned and stood away from the van's bumper. He wrapped his arms around his sister, stunned again that they were the same height. "Welcome back, Sis."

"Remind me to tell you 'bout the ideas I've had while I was gone."

"We gotta long ride."

Allie released him with a grin. "Everybody's headed down here now. Figured you'd appreciate the heads up."

"Thanks, Allie." The human and mouse boy moved away from the van and closer to where the Black Bones' bikes were parked in Tala's garage.

"Your sister likes surprising what people expect from her, huh?"

"For as long as I've known her."

"This totally sucks." Trash complained loudly from the seat of the just-bought, used car. Her seat was almost totally reclined back. "Am I expected to keep the baby entertained the whole trip?"

"Sedating you is still an option." Di said as she adjusted the driver's seat.

"And I might take you up on it."

Modo strapped Kōun into the baby seat in the middle of the back seat. The cluster of baby bags was piled behind Di's seat. "Ya won't let him forget 'bout us, will ya?"

"He'll know the story by heart, Modo. Promise."

Modo nodded as he closed the car door. Sparks moved quickly to his side, wrapping his arm around his waist. Modo set his flesh hand on Sparks' right shoulder.

Donnie moved quickly toward the car while Di climbed out. He quickly embraced her, saying something too low to be heard. She drew back slightly but with a smile, and kissed him.

Modo moved Sparks away. Allie was saying her good-byes to the Bones. She hugged Smarts and Eight, and paused before Ryan. "Take care of Trash. You know how good she is at watching herself."

"I will. Here." He thrust his arms around her, leaving a Black Bones leather jacket on her shoulders. "Back where it belongs."

"But Ryan...."

"Once a Bone, always a Bone. You can't get rid of us that easily, Allie-Cat."

"Wouldn't want to try." She hugged him.

"Remember you gotta show us all the fun spots in New York next time we're there!" Trash yelled out of the car.

"I will!"

Throttle grabbed Ryan's hand. "Take care of your crew."

"Same to you."

Everyone moved back and let them mount up. Mike slung an arm around Donnie's shoulders as the car headed out the garage doors. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm gonna see her again."

"Just as long as I'm there when you take her to meet Splinter."

"Do you really think...?"

Mike chortled. "Nah, but you do panicked really well."

Zack grinned. Now that Donnie had a girl, they'd probably turn all attention to him getting one. The grin faded.

A late start after a good party; Throttle stared out at the sunny street outside the doors. He guessed what time they left didn't really matter since they would be hidden in the van. He was glad the team-up had worked better than expected, but he couldn't deny that he was glad to get back to just the group he knew best. He glanced at Tala. Okay, so I'm still trying to figure her out.

Leo grasped Throttle's hand. "You guys need to come visit us in New York. Maybe we'll get a new super-villain you can help with."

"Yeah, having a nice evening at a Broadway show would be out of the question." Every male in the garage stared at Charley in slack-jawed shock. "It was a joke, really guys. A joke. Like I could get you to go see Cats. Allie, I brought your bike back."

Throttle shook his head as Allie and Charley moved away. "She gets hung up on educating us on Earth culture."

"And we already know the best parts," Vinnie added as he pumped Leo's hand.

Throttle decided not to even comment on that. Charley had gotten annoyed with them more than once for what she considered an elementary fact. "A road trip would be fun, if we ever get some vacation time comin' to us."

"Don't get sick days with saving the world." Mona shook her head with a smirk.

"And people look down on me for being a mercenary," Tala shrugged. "At least I get paid."

"Yeah, well, we better get movin'. Late enough start as it is." Leo shook Modo and Tala's hands before going to the dark blue bike to shake Charley's. "Thank you for fixing the van. I hope we can repay the debt some day."

"Just get home safely." She turned back to Allie. "And you are taking this bike. Skulls gave it to you."

Allie shrugged. "I thought I'd offer."

"I have a kick-butt bike design of my own I need to rebuild. And you really don't want to get rid of it."

"Alright, alright, I take it back." Allie grinned as she held up her hands in surrender.

Raph shook hands like his mommy was making him behave. Mona's good-byes at least had a smile attached. "Yeah, don't hafta hang onto the back of a bike!" She clambered into the van.

"What's wrong with bikes?" Vinnie demanded.

"Nothin' when you got a tail like yours."

"No sweat, I'll ride with Allie." Mike shook hands and grabbed his trench coat and fedora out of the van.

Donnie shook hands quickly, lingering with Charley. "We should build something together."

"I'd like that," Charley said.

Zack shook hands last. "Hey if you can't come to New York, maybe I can come this way."

"Will you get in here?" Raph demanded.

"It was just a suggestion. Allie went cross-country when she was fifteen, you guys were fighting the first Shredder, and I can't come back to Chicago?"

Leo climbed behind the wheel as Allie and Mike got on her bike. The mice, Charley, and Tala waved until the yellow van was out of sight.

Tala heaved a sigh. "Now things can get back to normal."

"Normal hasn't been around much since they crashed here," Charley shot back.

"You've loved every minute of it, Charley-girl. And they're a fun group too." Vinnie sliced the air with a clumsy karate chop. "Bet I can out-ninja them, tho'."

"But your mouth would give you away." Sparks smirked.

"That's it, you're sand squid bait! And don't dare go hidin' behind Modo!"

Leo set a course toward Lake Michigan. Mike gave Allie's waist a squeeze to get her attention. "Are you okay? With going back to New York. I know you didn't find the guy you were lookin' for."

"No, but my question got answered anyway. Why stay away from you, when all Caine would do is send me back?"

"Righteous, it's me. I thought you could be comin' home for Zack's sake." He hugged her. "How can you convince me I'm your one and only?"

Allie laughed. "You'll have to wait till we stop. I can't talk romance on the back of a bike. I just can't."

They rounded a corner and passed Limburger Plaza. Bulldozers pushed the debris away so the cranes could swing the massive support columns into place. Mike felt Allie stiffen. "He's rebuilding already!"

"Guess he must've breathed on some of the red tape bureaucrats. That'd speed up the process."

"How can they possible beat him back? If he always pulls a comeback?"

Mike frowned as they passed a full dump truck. "If he's busy rebuilding and decorating every time there's a skirmish, that keeps him occupied. It takes forever before they're done."

"Yeah maybe."

"Don't sweat it, babe. We'll be back to get our licks in." He glanced over his shoulder. "I've seen it."