I was always just a side note. I watched as their popularity soared, how the businesses would pop up all over the city. Turtle Co. was everywhere. I would wonder if they ever thought of the old times. Of that time so long ago when we were teenagers. They all had their lives. Mike had the orphanage with Gabrielle. Don had his inventions still to relay on to keep him busy.

But what stung was Raphael, he married a woman by the name of Mezcaal and has been happy ever since. We wrote for years before, and I never chose to come back to New York to see him. By the time I was nineteen I learned he had fallen for a fox named Ninjara and I had been completely forgotten. I had thought that somewhere in that head of his I held some special place. Something that would linger inside of him. But I wasn't. My contact, my friend told me that the relationship had lasted years until finally Ninjara chose to end it. She remained in Alaska for many years. My research had shown she had mothered several children by the one she stayed for. Mokoshan.

It had hurt Raphael in plenty of ways. Leo would later write to me how Raphael went on like nothing had changed. Like he hadn't fallen in love at all with someone. A glimmer of hope had come. I came back to New York, to…. Try and at least get back into contact with Leo and his brothers. I was greeted by a glare from Raphael the moment I stepped in. But I stayed for Leo. I talked with him and kept him entertained when he had spare moments. Splinter….. Sensei.. Whatever I called him back then cared so much. He let me sit in on their practices their training and I was always impressed. It had been Leo who suggested I joined them one night. This spear headed my hobby of learning martial arts. In months I had been able to spar with Leo and Raph both respectfully. And sometimes I would win.

My head had become so very messed up after living among them for so long. I had dined and watched bad movies. Drank beer and burped stupid songs. I wanted to stay, wanted to keep them company. But I knew that if I had stayed… Inevitably Raph would see through the web of well constructed lies. He only cared when he was drunk. He would tell me about Ninjara, the relationship and how it ended. And he would occasionally ask if I ever regret us. How we didn't last long. And I would always answer the same each time. We had been young and stupid, you can be in love with someone, but if you can't truly be happy with them without damage being done… It's worth nothing.

I had my heart in a locked box. With dozens of chains and locks. Promising I would never set myself up for disappointment again. Not from Raph… Not from anyone. I had so many conflicting thoughts during that time. I would meditate with Leo and try to come to peace with my conflicts. With all the screaming going on in my head and especially in my heart. But it never worked. There would be silence for only so long before the noise would come back again.

My heart had let go of the sadness I shoved onto myself and chose to reach out to someone else. And spite all my effort… My heart reached out and pulled itself into another heart. That heart and mine knew the truth. But the bodies and minds attached… We were just a little too stubborn to admit such a thing out loud.