Title: Once We Parse Notions

Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)

Rating: G

Pairing: None

Word Count (fic portion): 678

Notes: Part of LJ's fanfic 100, prompt 28: children. I have NO IDEA where this came from, but it grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go. :)


He loves secretly visiting April and Casey's apartment. It's spacious but surprisingly cramped, filled top to bottom with antiques and knick knacks, souvenirs that April brings from all her trips around the world; bringing back lost relics and items for stuffy collectors with too much time and money on their hands.

Casey's stuff is mixed in there too; dusty weight sets and equipment with faded and patched leather seats and handles next to antique Korean vases and statues from Xi'An. Baseball bats and ball gloves, hockey sticks and pool cues lined up in the hallway next to the umbrella stand that April swears is from 1886, and God help anyone who scratches or dings it in any way.

It's homey, and warm, well-lit, comfortable, smelling of potpourri sachets and air fresheners and the lingering traces of charcoal from Casey's latest attempts to cook something that doesn't come ready-made from a frozen package. And ever since it happened, it's been even more inviting to him, a beacon, a lure he can't resist.

Tiny baby shoes on the rack next to Casey's worn-out high tops with the broken laces. A little pink jacket with bunnies stitched on the back, next to April's full-length black trench coat – the one that makes Casey salivate like a dog every time she puts it on. A Fisher-Price plastic golf club next to a Mizuno driver. Plastic and cotton bibs in the same drawer as the dish towels.

Facets of a life he and his brothers will never know. Sometimes it's hard to sit there on the cold metal fire escape, crouched down in a ball to keep prying eyes from spotting him so easily. Splaying fingers on the glass, feeling the warmth from within trying to reach him; he leaves prints behind, tries to buff them away with a bandanna tail. Like he's trying to tell himself not to touch, not to let anyone know he was there.

It's their life, a real life, one that has nothing to do with dark alleys or deadly ninjas. They worry about bills and clients, the rising cost of universities (something that's now a legitimate concern for them), whose turn it is to do the dishes, and he is supposed to watch but not get involved.

His life is broken down into training, sparring, sleeping, eating, patrolling, and when he's not doing any of the above, he plays video games or watches the fictional lives of people on TV doing things he never will. His brothers blithely go day by day, seemingly without thinking, without feeling half of what he does.

It's not fair. Maybe he watches too much TV after all.

"Mikey?" The window opens, and April's head pokes through. Snow immediately begins to cling to her hair and eye lashes, and she lets out a puff of breath, blowing her bangs back and out of her eyes. "It's freezing out here! What are you doing, lurking like some reptilian gargoyle? Get in here!"

The warmth of the room is in her voice;her eyes are stern, brooking no disobedience but he can see affection and love in them.

"Yo, Mook!" Casey too. He smiles, genuine, heartfelt, happy to see him. "Get your butt in here before you turn into a freaky ice gnome or something."

"Unca' Mikey!" And he exhales, watching with awe as the tiny offspring of his two favorite humans in the world dashes forward, trying vainly to shove her mother away from the window so she can see too. "Mommy's makin' hot chocolate! We can put 'mallows in!"

It's not his world. It's a package of human life that as a turtle, he has no right to be a part of. But with his 'niece' beaming up at him, with his best friends pulling at his arms, tugging him inside, he realizes he already is a part of it; a puzzle piece suddenly fitting somehow, and even though he can't have what the TV families have, he's got something better, and he wouldn't have it any other way.