Thank you everyone who read and reviewed my last chapter, as always, you guys are awesome! If you haven't reviewed yet, please do. I live for reviews. They keep me going! Not to mention that I love hearing from my readers! I do in fact allow anonymous reviews, so don't be shy! XD Please note that while I will accept constructive criticism (how else can I make my story better?), flames will NOT be tolerated.
WebMistressGina: I'm SO glad that I've managed to keep your mellow unharshed XD
Morbid Crow: As always, my dearest friend, thank you so very much for letting me bounce ideas off of you, for listening to me ramble, and for providing my Muse with cookies and doughnuts. You so totally rock in the most awesome of ways! XD
Disclaimer:All cannon characters are the property of Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman, and Mirage Comics respectively (I don't care if Nickelodeon bought the rights, to me the turtles will ALWAYS belong to Eastman and Laird). I don't own any of the cannon characters (unfortunately -,-) and am making no money whatsoever off this fic (also quite unfortunate -,-).
…Hamptons; almost ten months later…
"Dexter…" Violet cooed softly with a warm smile as she hid her face behind a small washcloth. "Where's Dexter?" She lowered the towel. "There he is!" she cheered softly—giggling in delight as her infant son gurgled and cooed happily while smiling up at her with a wide, gummy smile from his position on the bed.
Dexter Copernicus Hamato had been born on February the tenth—coming into the world on a cold but clear morning after almost six hours of labor, and even after four months of having him in this world, Violet was no less in awe of him as she had been upon his birth. Like his father, Dexter had a plastron and a carapace, though it was evident that his carapace would be much smaller than his father's as he grew. His skin was also the same shade of olive green as his father's. However, like his twin cousins, Dexter's skin was soft like a human's, his face had more human-like features, and he had ten fingers and toes. While he had his father's hazel eyes, it was his mother's golden hair that covered his head.
He was more precious than Violet could have ever imagined.
Dexter's birth had been a home birth. He had not been born down in the lair, but above ground in the home that his father and uncles had made for themselves all those years ago. Because of all the trials being held against the Humanists, tensions were running very high throughout the city, and his parents had opted not to have the birth take place in a hospital—thinking it would be for the best to avoid the media that would no doubt be swarming a public place.
Because of all the atrocities committed by the Humanist extremists being brought to light, sympathies were running very high for mutants. The trials were televised world-wide, and for many around the globe, the documented events of hate-fueled violence brought to mind the crimes against humanity that had been committed by Hitler and Stalin. The fact that such horrible atrocities could so easily be repeated had caused the non-extremist Humanists to rethink their ways.
As a result of sympathies soaring high in the favor of mutants, the turtles no longer saw the need to hide their growing family below ground.
David and Beatrice were able to see their daughter and grandchildren…
And Violet had been able to see Doctor Cooper throughout the remaining months of her pregnancy in order to assure that everything was alright with her child.
Doctor Cooper had been very much the mother hen once Ruby and Violet had gone to her once they had been able to do so. She had run every possible test upon Aviva and Sakura to ensure that they were healthy, and was pleasantly surprised to find them in perfect health despite the conditions of their birth. She had also fussed over Ruby a great deal—wanting to ensure that no long-term damage had been caused to her during the course of her delivery.
Like her two daughters, Ruby was in perfect health.
Secure in the good health of Ruby and the twins, Doctor Cooper had been free to focus on Violet. In the remaining months of her patient's pregnancy, the mutant physician had monitored her health and progression very closely. Then, as the days drew closer to Violet's delivery date, Doctor Cooper had remained on call at all hours of the day and night—ready to race to the turtle's home when needed.
Because he had not had to share his mother's womb with a sibling, Dexter had been bigger than his two cousins—coming into the world at seven and a half pounds. Yet even so, he was dwarfed in the arms of his loving father and doting uncles.
But Dexter's birth, the new country home, and the rampant Humanist trials were not the only changes to occur…
Richard and Devon had been awarded full, legal custody of Adam and where now his parents in the eyes of the law. The wolf hybrid was now an official part of the ever-growing, motley family, and his doting parents as well as his aunts and uncles could not have been happier.
Adam's life would be one of being surrounded by those who loved him, and he would never be wanting for playmates or company. Between Jesse, Parker, Matthew, Sakura, Aviva, Dexter, and any other babies that would be born into the family—including the one Mona was currently carrying inside of her, Adam would never be alone.
"Oh, my little angel…how I love you so much," she said fondly as she tenderly kissed her son's forehead before grinning impishly and playfully nibbling his tiny, green feet—giggling in merriment as her son gurgled and giggled in delight. "Such cute little feet you've got. Oh, I could just eat them up!"
"You'd better get in line then," Donatello said with a smile as he entered the room he and Violet had claimed as their own before the purchase of the new house had even been finalized.
With their family ever growing, Violet and her Uncle Richard had thought it best, not to mention more cost-effective, to simply buy a new house that was larger than the other one had been instead of rebuilding the old one and making it bigger. The new house sat on a larger plot of property than the old one had. It had a tennis court as well as a much bigger swimming pool which Donatello had begun altering for Nessie the moment the sale had been finalized.
Violet could not help but chuckle softly at that. It seemed as though her husband spent every last waking moment of his life making pools for Nessie so she would never be excluded from them. He was even going so far as to build a pool in the lowest level of the house for days they could not go outside to visit Nessie because of rain. Donnie felt indebted to the aquatic creature for all she had done to help in the rescue of his wife and unborn child that he did everything in his power to assure that she was comfortable in her new surroundings. As it was, the ceremony and reception were set up to take place around the pool so that Nessie could be included in the important event.
But it was not just the building of pools that Donnie had been occupied with.
The night of Saki's death, Leonardo had called Donatello in secret and informed him of the video file—telling him that he had deleted it, but wanting him to hack into the system to ensure that he had indeed eliminated the evidence. So, Donnie had done so. He had hacked into Saki's system and completely removed all traces of the footage of him and Violet being on the boat.
"And just why is that the case?" Violet asked with a playfully raised eyebrow as she looked over her shoulder at her approaching husband.
"Because I called dibs," he said playfully as he wrapped his arms around his wife form behind and rested his chin upon her shoulder as he gazed down at his son. "I still can't believe we made him," he said in awe. "I mean, I understand all the mechanics of it and can believe it all from a scientific point of view, but I just…"
"I know," Violet said softly with a fond smile as she leaned her head lightly against her husband's and rested her arms over his. "It's a miracle whose beauty can't be put into words." Her smile grew. "He's a part of the two of us…a physical manifestation of the love we have for each other, and there is nothing more beautiful than that."
Donnie grinned and chuckled fondly. "Leave it to you, the wordsmith to put into words what I can't," he said before tenderly kissing his wife's cheek.
The sound of claws against the hard wood floor caused both parents to turn and smile at the sight of Goliath padding into the room before closing the distance between them and resting his massive head upon the bed. That done, he sighed and simply stared at the still giggling baby—his tail wagging slowly.
Her smile growing, Violet slowly pulled away from Donatello and knelt beside her faithful companion—taking care not to wrinkle her dress. "It's your job to protect him, my dearest friend," she said as she kissed the top of the dog's head. "Protect him just as you've protected me for all these years."
Goliath yipped softly and wagged his tail harder.
"Good boy," Violet said as she scratched Goliath behind the ears before standing. "I'd best go see to the bride," she said as she smoothed the skirt of her strapless, calf-length, pale orange dress. "Will you be alright with him?"
"Of course I will," Donnie said with a smile as he carefully gathered his son and held him effortlessly in one arm while drawing Violet close with the other. "You're so beautiful," he murmured before softly kissing her lips.
"Thank you," Violet answered with a soft smile.
"Thank you," Donatello replied.
"For what?" Violet asked with a confused blink.
"For loving me…for marrying me…for giving me a son…for everything," Donnie answered as he gently rested his forehead against his wife's and gazed into her eyes. "I love you so much."
Violet smiled and tenderly kissed her husband while sliding an arm around his neck and gently cupping Dexter's head with her free hand. "And I love you." She kissed Donnie one more time before turning her head and brushing a kiss to Dexter's forehead while gently smoothing his thick, golden hair. "I'll see the both of you outside," she said with a smile before stepping away from her family and turning to leave the room—the heels of her golden sandals clicking softly against the wooden floor.
After a few minutes of walking down the hall, she soon came across Ruby who was just putting her hand on the door to the room being used as the bridal dressing room. She was dressed in a knee-length, halter dress of a very deep red with strappy sandals of the same color.
"You look lovely, sister dear," Violet said with a smile as she hugged Ruby and fondly kissed her cheek.
Ruby smiled and hugged Violet in return. "So do you. How's my darling nephew?"
"Just fine," Violet answered with a happy sigh. "He's with his daddy…and how are my adorable nieces?"
"Wrapping their grandparents further around their little fingers as we speak," Ruby said with a giggle. "Well, shall we?" she asked as she motioned to the door.
"By all means," Violet answered as she linked an arm through Ruby's just as the latter turned the knob and pushed the door to reveal both Claudia and Tabitha in wedding dresses.
Tabitha looked like a fairy princess in her dress with its spaghetti straps, flowing skirt and flowing ribbons tied around the waist. The small, white flowers woven into her hair did not hurt either, and neither did the dainty sandals she was currently slipping onto her little feet. Claudia's dress though more simple and practical with its halter-style bodice was no less lovely. Rather, its elegance was in its simplicity, and as the Italian woman gazed into the mirror to affix a simple, gold crucifix around her neck, Claudia looked every bit the princess as Tabitha.
"Mikey and Raph won't know what hit them," Ruby said with a smile.
"Oh, I completely agree," Violet said with a matching smile as she let her head fall onto Ruby's shoulder.
"Viola!" Tabitha exclaimed happily as she bounded over to her life-long friend and threw her arms around her. "Oh, you make such a lovely matron of honor," she said as she kissed Violet's cheek. "And just think…we're going to be sisters for real now."
"Yeah," Claudia said with a smile as she approached—lifting her skirt just a little because she was not yet wearing her shoes. "One big, happy family that'll stick together through thick and thin." She hugged Ruby. "That dress looks amazing on you, sis."
"Thank you," Ruby answered before smiling sheepishly. "I'm so sorry for shirking my matron of honor duties today…I feel horrible."
Claudia gave a small wave of her hand. "Don't worry about it, sweetie. You've got three ankle-biters to wrangle up. Even with Leo helping you, I'm betting it's hard."
Ruby giggled softly. "Yes…both of the girls needed feeding then changing, and my parents were keeping Matti occupied."
"How long until the ceremony starts?" Tabitha asked eagerly. "I can't believe I'm going to be a married woman. Oh, did I tell you? I was approached the other day by a casting official…they're looking to turn the 'Once More With Feeling' Episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer into a full-blown Broadway musical, and they want me to try out for the role of Buffy."
"Oh, Tabs…really?" Violet asked in excitement. "Are you going to do it?"
Tabitha sighed softly. "I've been playing Glinda for so long, it will hard to leave the role, but you know how big of a Buffy fan I am, Viola…so I'm considering it very seriously," she said with a grin before lightly nudging Claudia in the side. "Maybe I can convince you to try out for the role of Anya?"
"No way, Tabi-kat," Claudia said with a chuckle and a small shake of her head. "The stage and theater are your worlds, and the streets of Brooklyn are mine."
"But they won't be forever, will they?" Tabitha asked. "What happens when you and Raphie start having babies?"
"Then I'll retire and be a full-time mommy," Claudia said with a nod of finality. "But until that day comes, I'm going to put as many dirtbags behind bars as I possibly can."
"Only you could pull off talking about dirtbags while in a wedding dress," a new female voice said with a chuckle.
All four girls turned to find April standing in the doorway with a fond smile upon her lips.
"Are you girls ready?" April asked with a cheeky grin. "While I know that they can't start without the two brides, I don't know how much longer Mikey and Raph can wait. They're practically climbing the gazebo."
Tabitha giggled and hurried to the ice bucket that was holding her and Violet's bouquets—both an arrangement of lilies, though Violet's were of various shades of orange and yellow. "Oh, my poor ickle imp," she said as she took up both bouquets and handed the correct one to Violet who had followed her to the bucket.
Claudia started towards the buckets, but found herself stopped by Ruby.
"I'll worry about the flowers," Ruby said firmly as she moved past Claudia to grab the bouquets from the second ice bucket. Both were arrangements of roses, though Ruby's were of different shades of red. "You put your shoes on."
"Oh, yeah…I forgot about those," Claudia said sheepishly as she hurried over to the divan and sat before slipping her feet into her white pumps. "Where's my dad?"
"Both he and Kirk are waiting for the two of you at the starting point," April answered. "You're your mom is helping David and Beatrice with Matti and the twins since Jesse and Parker are busy being the ring-bearers."
Claudia gasped softly in mock shock. "You mean she's stopped fussing over Mona and her baby bump? How shocking!" Grinning, she soon broke into a soft series of chuckles.
April grinned and snorted softly. "Yeah, Mona's fuss-free…for now in any case. Oh, and Claudia…please tell me you don't have a gun strapped to you somewhere," she said dryly. "I don't think your priestly brother could handle that again," she said with the smallest of chuckles.
"You'll be happy to know that I don't," Claudia said with a playful roll of her eyes as she lifted her skirt to show that she in fact did not have a weapon strapped to either of her legs. She then stood and accepted her bouquet.
"Good," April said with a nod before standing away from the door and grinning impishly. "Now, ladies…unless you can think of anything else, let's make honest women out of the two of you."
…Thirty minutes later…
Throughout the entire ceremony, Leonardo could not stop smiling. He could not believe how far he and his family had come.
It seemed almost like a dream…
There had been love and loss. But now there was so much more happiness than they could ever have hoped to achieve. They were all four married to women who completed them in ways they had never thought possible. He and Donnie were fathers now, and he knew that it would only be a matter of time before Raph and Mikey followed suit.
Leo grinned softly at that thought.
There was a poll going on between Donnie, Casey, April and himself as to which brother would become a father first.
April and Donnie were pulling for Michelangelo. After all, though he was still the 'baby' of the four, he was no longer the child he once was. He was an adult with a career he loved, and a woman he adored. Then there was the fact that he absolutely loved children and was so very good with them—always diffusing pouts and tantrums with great ease.
Leo and Casey on the other hand were pulling steadfastly for Raphael. As hot-headed as the terrapin was, there was no denying the longing in his eyes when he held his baby nieces or nephews. Raph wanted to be a father, and Leonardo had no doubt in his mind that his hot-headed brother would be an excellent one.
Sighing softly, Leonardo found himself wishing for the hundredth time that day that Splinter had lived to see all of this…that he had lived to see his sons achieve their dreams of normalcy and romantic love. He wished that Splinter had lived to meet the women who filled his son's with such happiness, and that he had lived to see the demise of his family's mortal enemy. But above all, Leo wished that Splinter had lived to see his grandchildren come into the world…that he had been able to hold them and see that the Hamato line would in fact continue despite all the odds.
At the sound of Vincent's voice, Leo was brought out of his thoughts and back to reality, and his smile grew at the knowledge of what was coming next.
"By the power so vested in me by God and the state of New York, I now pronounce the four of you husbands and wives," Vincent said with a smile. "Raphael and Michelangelo, you may now kiss your brides."
Applause and cheers erupted from the guests, and Nessie splashed happily in her pool before leaping high into the air and executing a graceful flip and twist in the air before diving back into the water as the two terrapins claimed the lips of their respective brides in deep kisses while holding them close. Devon busied himself with snapping what would be flawless photos of the kissing couples before carefully walking backwards up the aisle—ready to snap pictures of the two couples taking their first steps as married couples.
As his brothers and their wives joined hands and began their procession, Leonardo took Ruby's hand in his and raised it to his mouth to brush a kiss to her knuckles before falling in step behind Donnie and Violet as they walked up the aisle. As he looked out at all the smiling faces around him, Leo could not help the swell of joy in his chest as his smile grew.
This was his family…
Once small, but now so very big despite all the odds that had once been against it…
They had been through the very fires of Hell, and had emerged all that much stronger. They had faced every danger and hardship together as a family—a formidable force that not even the deepest hatred could tear asunder.
And that was how they would stay.
Now and forever.
A/N: To all of my wonderful readers...as I turn the final page on yet another story, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading my work and for sticking with me for the year that it took for me to write it. When I first started out with this story, I had no idea that it would grow to the length that it did, but it did. It grew until it became something bigger and more thought-consuming than I ever imagined it would. For the year that I have been writing this story, it has completely consumed my mind as I strode to make it the best story that I could possibly make it, and I will not deny that it has been quite a ride...and sometimes a bumpy one. But throughout it all, it was all of you, my dear readers, who kept me going. So once again, I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope to see you again on the pages on my next story.
*Bows low* Until we meet again...