Okay, let me start off by saying: OMIGOD! THIS IS FINALLY DONE!
(coughs) Now that we have that out of the way, I'd like to tell you that, until Jessiy Landroz reviewed the last chapter, I knew exactly how this was ending. But then, with that review, a bloody plot bunny hopped its way into my life.
Yes, this has a point. What I'm saying is, if this ending leaves you guys unsatisfied, I will write up an alternate ending and post it as a one-shot. But that's only if this one isn't up to par! It's all up to you.
And now, the long process of thanking everyone who has reviewed. Thanks to all fifty-seven of my reviewers: spootycup, Dory's human replica, sporksareweird, Sassyblondexoxo, Sailor Vegeta, kikiyophoenix19, pacphys, MidnightHeir, BubblyShell22, reviewer49, Leo's Katana-Babe, Chibi Nataly, Darktiger2, Lioness-Goddess, coldsunshin (a.k.a. BlueRaven), DigDugBug, Madvy, Chibi Rose Angel, Gemdrive, Digmon Girl, The REAL Cheese Monkey, Spawn Guy, Dona Tello625, Phoenix Red Lion, pheofox22, Ted, Sapphire93, kerrbear, eldarsevenstar, Turtlefreak121, Inumaru12, Dreema Azaleia Wingblade, The Sacred Heart 2, Cynlee, Amberli Raven, Jessiy Landroz, Dierdre, moonie016, RedCat8, RAPHAELFAN02, Longing for Leo, mikey'sgirl, Sewer Slider, JediMasterKalta-74, Kellie Fay, Jerico Cacaw, Nimthiriel of Mirkwood, Tewi, LostxElf, Soon to be world renown Gracie, Bioniclefangirl, Loresta D'Kin, Kittens Have Claws, calliopechild, thechickenlittle,my best friend Janajyo,and Therabidsquirrel. And thanks to everyone who's read this story!
Time to finish this, now that that's out of the way. Oh, this chapter takes place one month after the last one. Figured that was valuable information.
With that said, let's go and finish this baby up! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Of the many TMNT items I own, ownership of them is not a part of my collection. Yet.
Tinkering with one of his inventions, Donatello glanced up at the clock that was hanging on the wall, finding that it was a lot later than he'd thought.
Where does the time go? He wondered, putting his tools down on the table. After sudden consideration, he decided to put them away, fearful of a certain little brother who might venture into his lab and decide to use his screwdriver to retrieve some object that had rolled under the refrigerator. Again.
Seriously, some of the stuff that gathered down there was nasty enough to make the brainier turtle's skin crawl.
Walking out of his lab, Donny quietly snuck into the kitchen, where Master Splinter sat at the table, drinking a cup of tea. Though the rat did not turn, his ears flicked backwards, showing his son that he was aware of his presence.
Sheepishly, the purple-clad turtle moved into the room and sat down across from his sensei. "Am I late for lunch?" he asked.
"That depends." Splinter said, sitting his cup down. "Do you consider five in the afternoon to be late?"
Splinter smiled. "Then, yes. I believe you are late."
Grinning slightly, Don stood up and walked over to the counter. He began to prepare a light snack to hold him over until dinner. April and Casey were coming over, returned from their week's vacation in Las Vegas. He didn't want to ruin supper by being ravenous, nor full.
"Where's everyone else at?" he asked his Sensei.
Taking another sip of tea, Splinter answered him. "Raphael is in the garage, working on his Shell Cycle, if I am not mistaken. Michelangelo has gone to read his most recent comic and I believe is upstairs."
Nodding at this explanation, Don began to make a small cheese sandwich, using just one slice of bread and not bothering to melt the cheese, as he normally would. After getting a glass of milk, he sat down in his seat.
Since the incident with Stockman; the children; the nightmares; things were slowly returning to normal. For the first week or so, Leo had slept heavily, at least twelve hours a day, despite his attempts to remain awake and able to train.
For those few days, he was, for the first time in his life, behind his brothers in their Ninjitsu lessons… But he'd quickly made up for it four days later, much to their disappointment.
The matter of sleep, however, was not as simple. Now one month after the incident with Stockman, the blue-clad turtle was just now returning to his normal sleeping habits.
The effects of Curtis' land of horrors obviously took great toll on the mind. And while all four of them had been subjected to it, you couldn't argue that Leo had had the worst end of the deal there. Don was just glad that it was over.
It was strange though. Curtis, as Stockman's Slayer, had really been a victim himself, despite being the one to have furthered this hell in the first place. Truly, though he'd been Stockman's greatest and most prized weapon, he'd also been his main outlet of affliction.
It was a shame that he'd been killed. Even worse, that he'd had to have been left behind in that horrible place, body destroyed. Don still felt bad about that.
But it wasn't like they could do anything about it now.
Finished with his snack, Donny said goodbye to Master Splinter and left the room, waving to Mikey, who was going into the kitchen, on his way. When he entered his lab, he immediately went for his tools, wanting to finish his project before April and Casey arrived.
Opening the drawer, he froze. "Where's my screwdriver?"
Leo sat in his room calmly, enjoying the silence around him. Well, he had been, until he heard Mikey screaming and Donny yelling something about a screwdriver.
He'd come to immensely enjoy the quiet. Sure, he still liked talking with his friends and family, but silence, since the ending of his come-to-life nightmares, had taken on a whole new meaning for him.
Peace. Peace was good.
From the sound of it, Don had won the battle with Mikey over the screwdriver, though it seemed to have taken him a trip around the kitchen, upstairs, and into two rooms to do it. Walking over to his door and opening it a crack, looking to the right, he watched as Don released their younger brother, reminding him that his tools were not, under any circumstances, to be used under the refrigerator.
Mike tried to defend himself. "Well, it's not like they were my first choice. But how am I supposed to get Raph's sais off him while he's awake?"
Over his frustration, like only the purple-clad turtle could do so quickly, Donny laughed. "Mikey, if you were to do that, be he asleep or awake, I guarantee that you'd be willing to take on the Shredder by yourself over Raph."
"Exactly." Mikey said, believing his point had been realized. "So can I have the screwdriver?" Smack. The orange-clad turned to find Raph behind him. He stuck his tongue out at him. "I was asking him, not you."
"That wasn't for the stinkin' screwdriver." Raph explained with a grin. "That to remind ya that if you ever swipe one of my sais, what Don said won't even come close to what I'll actually do to you."
Shaking his head with a small grin, Leo stepped out of his room. "C'mon guys." He began, not needing to tell them what to do in this position. They'd heard the lecture a million times by now, by him and Splinter.
To put it simply, they knew what he meant.
Shrugging, Mikey headed for the stairs. "I wonder if Sensei will let me use his walking stick…"
Not daring to ask what he was retrieving, Leo headed back into his room as soon as Raph and Don left.
Happy that he was back to sleeping only at night, and for his regular seven hours at a time, he checked his clock. In about two hours, April and Casey would be here. It was a good thing he wouldn't be asleep with their visit.
Scratching his head, he sat on his bed, cross-legged, and closed his eyes. Besides the usual house sounds and the few bits of conversation he could hear downstairs, it was quiet again.
As much as she enjoyed her friends' company, and as homey as their lair was, April still didn't exactly like the journey to it. Biting her lip, she looked down at her new pants and tisked as she noticed a few spots on them that had flecked stains made by miniscule amounts sewer water. I am definitely going shopping tomorrow.
Casey seemed to realize this as he recognized one of the 'looks' he'd grown accustom to by now. "Oh no." He said, stopping to tell her this. "We just got back. The only place we're goin' is my grandma's farmhouse."
The redhead folded her arms over her chest. "Do you honestly expect me to stay up there for over a month without clothes?"
"Ya bought about ten different outfits up in Vegas!"
Rolling her eyes, she corrected him, starting back towards the lair again. "I bought eight, and that's not nearly enough for a woman, Casey Jones. Your mother can tell you that."
Groaning, Casey quickly caught up with her. "No thank you. As much as I love ma, I think I've had enough of her for the next month or so."
April looked behind her and smiled as they came to the door. "Okay," she whispered to Casey, "remember, it's a surprise."
The minute the two were in the lair, a certain orange and green blur was upon them. "Hey April! Hi, Casey! You guys are here early."
Casey scratched the back of his head with his left hand. "Yeah, well our plans went quicker than we expected."
Raph entered the room, coming out of the dojo. "What plans? I though all you guys had to do was unpack?"
"Um, yeah-" Casey was cut off by Mikey, who was suddenly only inched in front of April.
Suddenly rather uncomfortable, and feeling part of her plan falling to pieces, she clutched her hands together and took a step backwards. "What?"
Mike's grin was growing larger. He looked up at her. "What's that on your hand, April?" He asked, playing innocent.
Casey, by now having realized this too, tried to salvage their surprise, albeit miserably. "Um, oh- that? Yeah," he peered at April's hand; "yeah, that's skin. It, uh, looks good on her, wouldn't you say?"
The strange comment stopped Mikey for a moment, but then, rather speedily, he pried April's hands apart, revealing a small, but beautiful diamond ring. "Ooh… shiny." He said, still grinning. "Interesting, April. It happens to be on your left hand."
Raph was by them now, too. He looked up at them, grinning as well. "You two got hitched in Vegas?" He started laughing. "Lemme guess- Casey planned the wedding."
Blushing now, April looked at Mike, stunned. "How did you know?" She asked. Upon entering, she had been so careful to hide her ring…
Rubbing his hands, Mikey used an eerie voice, or rather, tried to. "I am ninja… We know all."
Now that the secret was out, Casey brought down his left hand, revealing his own wedding band. "Sorry you guys couldn't come. But we figured that you guys could come to the farmhouse with us for the weekend."
"Don't worry about it." Raph said. "Hey, I'll go get the others." He said, walking away.
Once he returned and everyone was situated at the table, the news broken in about two minutes, they started getting the dishes ready.
After looking at Casey, raising her eyebrows in an attempt to remind him of the other half of their surprise, an effort that proved fruitless, she gently nudged him in the side to get his attention.
Frowning, the vigilante looked at her. It was only when she nodded her head to the door of the lair did he realize what she meant. "Oh!" He turned to the rest of them. "Hey guys… well, there was kinda another reason why me and April got married."
The red-clad turtle eyed April carefully. "Jeez, Case. Don't tell me you got her pregnant."
April turned sharply to him, not believing what she'd just heard. "Excuse me?"
Raph turned back to the plates he was gathering. "I didn't say anything."
Narrowing her eyes at him, April eventually turned away. That's what I thought.
Donny smiled. "So you were saying?"
Taking over for her husband, April folded her hands together and smiled. "Well, there are a few certain privileges you're allowed in the world today that you can't have when you're single. So…"
Holding hands, she and Casey walked back over to the entrance of the lair, the door never having been shut. A very confused group of mutants followed them. Standing in front of the door, she took a deep breath. "Guys, I'd like you to meet our daughter."
On cue, Silhouette Cole, now Silhouette Jones, stepped into the lair.
Between the hugs Sil received from the four of them, Raph was surprised the girl could still breathe when it was all over. Not only that, she looked extremely happy.
Much happier than when they'd last saw her a month ago.
According to April, she, along with the other children who'd made it through Stockman's experiments, were receiving counseling, and making good progress too. Naturally, with all the publicity their story had made, all eight of them went straight to the top of the adoption lists.
As Mikey dragged Sil into the kitchen, in order for her to choose a desert for him to make, Don had a question for April. "For a lot of people, it takes years and years to get a child. How did you guys manage to do it within a week?"
April shrugged. "Well, when you were the one who, as far as the rest of the world knows, found them and basically saved their lives, you tend to get a little bit of special treatment. Besides, both Casey and I have good jobs, a steady income, and" she held his hand; "we're married. It works out nicely."
Raph smirked. "Any excuse to tie the knot, huh, Case?"
Though the vigilante did not answer, he was visibly turning red.
Then a shout was heard from the kitchen. "Mud pie? Mud pie!" Mikey yelled. "Okay, I know I said pick any dessert, but I meant pick one that I have the ingredients for!"
Sil could be heard. "Then go and get them, wise guy. Honestly, you're a teenager, how can you not have ice cream?"
"Well, I did… but I kinda ate it all…"
The girl put on a display that would put any star in a soap opera to shame. "What? How could you do such a thing without offering me any? You've ripped my true love from my grasp; how can I ever forgive you?" She added a few sobs to finish it off.
Damn, is she good.
Mikey sounded like he was being given the third degree. "I'm sorry! Here, I'll make you strawberry shortcake!" He paused. "And apple strudel?" The fake cries grew louder. "And chocolate chip cookies!"
The cries ceased. "Okay." Sil simply said. "Happy baking." Instantly, she was out of the kitchen, walking over to them while Michelangelo mumbled muffled curses. She stopped short though when she saw Leo.
With his own sick feeling rising in his stomach, Raph had turned to watch Leo halfway through the performance in the kitchen. Despite how phony he and, he assumed, that Leo knew Sil's cries to be, in a way, they did sound realistic.
Apparently realizing this, a haunted look passing over her features resembling Leo's, the twelve-year-old girl finished walking through the room and moved over to him, giving him a hug. "It's okay." She whispered. "It wasn't real."
Leo returned the hug, nodding. "I know."
Dinner, along with the three different desserts, was excellent. Though Sil felt bad for manipulating Mike into making it, and for reminding everyone for what had happened a month ago, she had to admit, it was very good.
When it was over, while nearly everyone else was downstairs talking and making plans for the trip to the farmhouse, Sil went upstairs and found Leo, who was retrieving a book that he'd borrowed from April.
Entering, she smiled. Ninja senses ever so keen; Leo turned, immediately aware of her presence. "Hi." She said.
Leo nodded his hello. "How have you been?"
"I'm okay. Been going to this counselor. He's nice and all, but the 'how do you feel about this?' and 'how do you feel about that?' questions are kinda getting annoying." She paused, fiddled with her thumbs. "So… I've heard you've been sleeping a lot."
"Quite a bit in the beginning," he told her, "but not so much now."
"Cool." She said, looking around the room. She finally came out with what she'd been wanting to say. "I never got to tell you how much it meant to us. You being… there."
Leo looked at her curiously. She explained. "Before, when I wasn't in there, I didn't understand. But when I was, and I got to know what it was like…" she trailed off, trying to find the right words. "When Curtis made that bridge, connecting you to us, we were able to give some of our pain to you. And, while it wasn't really all that fair to you, it kept us alive. You being out of our world, trying to help us, gave us hope. I can only imagine what it was like for some of the others who were in there longer." She smirked, remembering that statement she'd made before. "And for that, you'll always be my hero."
Walking over to the door, Leo grinned gently, placing a hand on her shoulder. "And you'll be mine."
Nearing two in the morning, the movie they were watching finally came to a close. No one complained over how much popcorn Mikey had eaten- after all, he had spent most of the night creating all those desserts, after all.
Leo yawned, shooting Raph a glare when he saw him grinning. Just because he was back to his normal sleeping schedule didn't mean he could quite yet stay up so late.
And neither could a twelve-year-old. Sil, her head on Leo's knee and stomach and legs stretched out across her new parents' laps, looked tired. The minute the movie was over, she was sitting up, obviously trying not to convey that to everyone in the room.
"All right." April said. "I think it's time for us to go home."
Frowning, Casey raised his hand. "But I don't usually leave 'til around four or so."
Standing, his wife smiled before pulling on his arm. "That was before you were married. Get used to it."
Naturally, this brought an onslaught of marriage remarks from three of the turtles. As she followed April and Casey, Sil paused to look at Leo. "How the heck do you put up with these guys?" She asked, wearing that smirk that so commonly graced her features.
Raph tousled her hair. "Watch it, Sil. You're the one who's gonna have to put up with Casey as a dad for the next six years."
As if she was just now realizing this, Sil's face froze in mock fear.
April laughed. "C'mon, Sil. I'll protect you from most of his moronic habits."
"Hey," Casey began, "I specifically remember that priest guy said to 'love and to cherish'. I ain't feelin' none of that right now."
Kissing him on the cheek, April opened the door to the lair. She waved. "Bye guys!"
After saying goodbye to them all, Sil taking especially long, they left, leaving everyone ready to go to bed.
Making his way to his room, Leo sighed and shut off the lights, making his way to his bed. He lay there for a good five minutes before sleep took him, surrounded by the blind spots that, not so long ago, would've sent him into full-blown terror.
But now, the night wasn't so bad any longer.
Done! It is done! Hallelujah, it is done!
So, what did you think? Good? Sucky? Ya gotta tell me!
P.S. I will be posting a new horror story a few weeks from now, so look for that.