The Same, But Different.April sludged her way through New York City's vast underground network, absently contemplating why she'd chosen to become a reporter.
Phil, her boss, had been on her case all day, she had a splitting headache from the renovating racket one floor above, an assistant she'd been assigned had accidently deleted half her computer files, and just to top everything off, her favourite pen had leaked all over her favourite jacket. Neither was her favourite any more.
April could vaguely hear the harmony of domestic battle as she neared the turtles' lair, and sighed inwardly. I should have known it would be too much to hope for a nice peaceful visit.
She wished Raph would learn to control himself and be a bit quieter, like Leo or Donny. "Hi, guys," she called above the noise, clambering down the skinny ladder.
She walked into the living area and was mildly surprised to see Raphael and Michaelangelo lolling on the couch, watching a game show and sharing a bowl of popcorn.
"Good evening, my child," Splinter said tranquilly, lowering his book.
"Hey April! How ya doin?"
"Yo! What's shakin dudette!"
April smiled at the characteristic greetings and settled on the couch between the two teenagers. Meanwhile the fighting continued in the background, and April realized with a start that obviously Leonardo and Donatello were responsible.
"What's going on?" April asked. Splinter spoke up. "Leonardo and Donatello were having a disagreement, and I suggested they take it to the training room", he explained calmly.
"Yeah, and I wish they'd settle it already, I can't even hear myself think," Raph complained, raising his voice in the direction of the dojo.
A rather loud thud was heard, suggesting that something the size of a mutant turtle had been flung to the floor, and April jumped a little. She wasn't used to the "quiet" ones having disagreements.
"I betcha thought it was me again, dinya?" Raph questioned her, grinning.
Mikey motioned for them to be quiet, to April's relief, and they listened:
"Why don't you just admit you're wrong for once Donatello!"
"I would if I was, but you know very well I'm not Leonardo!"
"For someone who's supposed to be so clever, you can be pretty stupid!"
"Yeah well you'd know all about that particular subject!"
"THAT'S IT! YOU'RE GOIN DOWN!"
"BRING IT ON, YOU GUTLESS WONDER!"
CRASH THUMP BANG.
Mikey was giggling like a hyena, and Raph couldn't keep a straight face either. Splinter just shook his head and kept reading. April looked round nervously. "Uh, guys, shouldn't someone break them up? What if they get hurt?"
Mikey's giggles grew into a full-blown belly laugh as Raph pointed out the katanas and bo staff laying neatly next to Splinter's chair.
"They won't hurt each other, April," he said.
Splinter held up a paw. "Go and see for yourself, child"
April went hesitantly to the door of their training room, wondering how they could all be so calm and dismissive. Even without weapons she knew they could do serious damage to each other, given they were all so strong and well trained in unarmed combat.
She peeked cautiously around the open door, neither turtle noticed, still caught up screaming, and struggling with each other.
"YOU CAN BE SUCH AN ARROGANT PIG!"
"HAVE YOU LOOKED IN THE MIRROR TODAY?!"
April caught sight of what they were brandishing, and ducked back out before a guffaw escaped.
Donatello had Leonardo pinned to the ground by the legs, face up, threatening him with a plastic spoon, and Leo had Don in a strange headlock, trying to disembowel him with an ancient toothbrush. The sad thing was, they were dead serious about it.
April left them to it and wandered back to the others in stitches. Even Splinter couldn't keep back a small smile.
"I can't believe it", she gasped, wiping away tears of laughter, "And they're supposed to be the smart ones!"
Raph snorted in mirth, "Yeah and it shows don't it!", setting Mikey off again. April collapsed back onto the couch, thinking that the absence of peace and quiet wasn't so bad after all. Even her headache was gone!
The sounds of battle died down. Someone cleared their throat quietly behind the couch. The three turned to see two embarrassed and red-faced turtles.
"I didn't hear you come in, April," Leo said, trying to appear composed and orderly. Donny just wished he could disappear.
"Don't hurt me Donny!" Mikey yelped, diving behind April.
"Wha-", Donatello started to say, and realized he was still clutching his dangerous weapon. He whipped his hand behind his back and tried to look nonchalant.
Splinter eyed his two feuding sons. "And now, my sons, have you resolved your differences?"
They both squirmed.
"Um, well, not exactly Sensei," Leo mumbled, "But we've agreed to disagree, and it won't happen again"
Don nodded emphatically, avoiding Splinter's gaze. "It's a complex situation, one that can't really be settled."
"Can I help at all?" April asked gently. Mike and Raph sniggered.
Splinter looked at her kindly. "April, no one can help those who do not wish to be helped. They are unwilling to seek other's opinions. I believe "stubborn" would be a likely word."
He glared slightly at Leonardo and Donatello. "Ten flips, now. My sons, you are lucky my old paws are growing weak, or I would turn each of you over my knees. Go".
Mikey and Raph were helpless with mirth, and April bit the inside of her mouth, trying hard not to embarrass her friends further.
Leo and Donny slunk off, shame-faced.
Splinter sighed and returned to his reading. "Kids".
Mike settled back, weak with laughing, and offered April the popcorn bowl. Raphael rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes, still snickering, and got up.
"Anyone wanna drink?"
Raph strolled to the kitchen, and saw that Don and Leo's glasses still sat on the counter, abandoned when they started carrying on.
"Hey, April? Whaddya want, Coke or Pepsi?"
April shrugged, "Whichever Raph. It's much of a muchness, don't you think?"
Michaelangelo grinned and laid his head on her shoulder.
"Donny and Leo don't think so!"