In the end, Beverly won the argument.
Donatello stood in the middle of the living room at the farmhouse, wondering how the shell he let her talk him into this and how he'd gotten roped into not only coming back to the farmhouse a mere eight months after his ordeal with her brother, but allowing her to bring the sheriff here to meet them all.
"He's a family friend. I trust him," Beverly insisted.
"Bev, he's a cop." Don stared at her as if she'd gone straight out of her mind.
"I've known Andy Wilson my entire life," she argued. "Don. You've got to trust me." She came close, taking his hands in her own. "I promise, it'll be ok."
She kissed him then and all Don's common sense, all his carefully thought out arguments, everything vaguely resembling cognizant thought, flew straight out the window as his arms came automatically around her waist and his insides seemed to melt.
"Don. Please," she whispered against his skin. "Give him a chance."
"You'll have to convince Leo and Master Splinter," he said finally, swallowing hard.
Hiding behind Fearless and Splinter seemed like a good idea at the time. She couldn't very well kiss either of them into submission. He'd severely underestimated Beverly Koban.
"My son." Splinter's voice snapped Donatello out of his reverie.
"Father." Don swallowed, fidgeting.
"I do not believe you will be needing this, Donatello." Splinter gently took Don's bo out of his hands.
Don held on instinctively for an instant before relinquishing the weapon.
"Sorry, Sensei," he muttered, staring at the floor. "I just… Are you sure this is a good idea?"
"Donatello. We have discussed this at length. Why is your spirit not settled, my son? Do you not trust the woman you propose to marry?"
"It's… it's not that, Father," said Don. "It's just… this man is a policeman. You've always taught us to stay in the shadows, out of sight. She's bringing him here…"
"Donatello. You have known Miss Beverly for eight months. She has given up everything, her life here, to live with us in the city. Do you still wish to marry her?"
"Yes, Sensei, you know I do."
"And do you respect her?" Black eyes bored into Don's own.
"Yes, Father," he said softly.
"Donatello. She wishes to be married in the fashion of her culture. Your brother was fortunate to find a pastor to perform the service for himself and Austin. Beverly trusts this man, as her friend, to do this for her. When you entered a relationship with this woman, you placed us all into her hands."
"But what if he betrays us?" Donatello finally voiced the fear that had his stomach clenching.
What if he turns us in and it's all my fault?
"There is always a danger in trusting, my son," said Splinter gently. "Do you believe your intended mate would risk our family's safety lightly?"
"No," admitted Don reluctantly.
"Then trust in her judgment, Donatello. As I have chosen to trust yours." He touched Don's arm lightly. Donatello looked into his father's eyes and swallowed hard.
"Hai, Sensei," he whispered with a short bow.
Splinter smiled. "You are not the only one who will be nervous about this meeting," he told Don. "I am afraid this young man is in for a shock."
Donatello smiled for the first time since Beverly left to pick Andy up. "Yeah," he said. "I guess he is."
All told, Andy Wilson took meeting Beverly's fiancée's family rather well. Sure, he got a little light-headed when the rat appeared, speaking gravely to him with a Japanese accent. And the big turtle with the dark skin and eerie amber eyes had him reaching for the empty holster where his gun would've been, if Beverly hadn't insisted he come unarmed. He was grateful for her advice when he saw Raphael's eyes following his every move. If he'd drawn a gun, he had a feeling he would never have had a chance to pull the trigger before those odd three-pronged weapons drove the life from his chest.
Once he was over the initial shock, though, he was deeply honored by the very civilized welcome he received from the Hamato clan. He shook Don's hand, manfully swallowing his pride and accepting the fact that his one-time sweetheart was marrying another. Not even another man, but a turtle.
"It's... um... nice to meet you, Don," he said, swallowing hard. The turtle's hand was strong in his grip, leathery and firm. Don's brown eyes met Andy's gaze steadily.
"Likewise," he said.
Something in his eyes... Andy smiled ruefully. "You're a lucky guy," he said.
Donatello relaxed, the tension easing from his shoulders. Releasing the sheriff's hand, he slipped a muscular arm around Bev's waist. "Yeah," he answered, glancing at his intended. "I really am."
After that, the ice broke between the two. Andy sat on the couch, amazed at how quickly he'd gotten used to the family's outward appearance, and listened to the story of how they came to be. He was fascinated, but finally he couldn't contain himself any longer.
"And how, exactly, did you and Bev meet, Donatello?" he asked.
A ripple of tension ran through the little family. For an instant, Andy was nervous. What had he said wrong?
Donatello looked at Bev, took a deep breath, and started talking.
"I actually met Jack first," he said quietly. Beverly saved my life."
As the story came out about the kidnapping, Andy listened, watching Donatello. He noticed the turtle didn't fill in many details of his imprisonment and began to suspect he hadn't told Beverly half of what Jack had done.
He doesn't want to hurt her, he realized. I've never met anyone as strong and caring as he seems to be. This might be weird, but she really seems happy. And he really does seem to love her.
Over the next couple days, Andy found himself seeking out the purple-masked ninja's company. He liked Don's quiet demeanor and calm intelligence. Andy saw the reverent gentleness with which he treated Beverly. It didn't take long for him to understand how deeply in love she was. He'd agreed to the secrecy Beverly demanded at first as a concession to their long-time friendship, but as he got to know the family, he knew he would've given them his absolute loyalty even if they'd met in other circumstances.
They're good people, he thought. Even if Bev isn't marrying into a conventional family, I know she'll be taken good care of. She deserves a chance at happiness. I'm just glad I'm getting to be a part of this.
The wedding preparations didn't take long. Beverly wanted to wear her mother's gown. April, Ann and Austin would serve as bridesmaids, while the boys would be Don's groomsmen. Andy gulped a bit when it came out that a seven-foot tall, bipedal, talking crocodile would be Donatello's best man, but when he heard LeatherHead speak for the first time, the soothing rumble of his voice reassured Andy that at least the guests wouldn't become snacks at the reception.
The addition of the crocodilian made for an uneven number of attendants, but Leatherhead assured them that he would be happy to serve for the ceremony and sit out for the dancing, anyway, as his claws would only damage the rented parquet dance floor.
The next shock came when Andy realized the sheer size of the wedding. He'd expected a simple, very private ceremony. Instead he was amazed to find that the mutant family had a guest list nearly a hundred long. The day would prove interesting indeed.
Beverly adjusted the satin sleeve, tenderly tucking the edge of the lace back under a fold.
I wish you were here, Mom, she thought. I think you would've liked him.
She brushed one stubborn curl back, tucking it behind her ear again. April offered to help with her hair, but Beverly'd refused. She hadn't quite forgiven the other girls for their initial distrust, though she was slowly warming to April and it was hard not to like the soft-spoken Austin.
That Ann, though, she's something else again. I see why she gets along with Raphael so well, they both seem to have a temper problem.
"Leave it," said a soft voice, causing her to turn, startled. "I like your curls hanging loose."
"Donatello! You're not supposed to see me yet," she scolded, smiling.
Her breath caught in her throat. He looked amazing. He was wearing what she knew now to be a traditional Japanese hakama. The short kimono was deep purple, accented neatly by the lighter purple pants. Bev had been fascinated when Don explained the seven pleats represented the seven principals of bushido.
"Yeah, well, I couldn't wait any longer." He moved closer, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind and nuzzling the side of her neck.
Beverly shivered, leaning back against him.
"Are you sure about this, Beverly?" he whispered against her skin.
She turned, wrapping her arms firmly around his shoulders and gazed into his face.
"Don. I'm sure. Are you?"
"I've been sure since I first laid eyes on you," he whispered.
"Oh yeah?" she frowned, skeptical, but a grin tugged at her lips, she couldn't help it. He was just so cute when he was blushing.
"Yeah. I thought I was dreaming."
Bev shivered, remembering the hopeless fear she'd seen in his brown eyes that day in the barn.
Has it really only been eight months since I met him? I feel as though we've been together for a lifetime.
"Now… I know I'm dreaming," he said softly. "And I never want to wake up."
"Oh, Donatello," she whispered. She nuzzled his neck and was rewarded by a soft, hitching gasp. Teasing, she trailed gentle kisses along his collarbone at the edge of his plastron. "I love you, Hamato Donatello," she whispered.
"I love you, Beverly Koban," he answered. He drew a shaky breath. "Are you sure you're not going to regret this? We're not… rushing things, are we?"
"Don," she leaned back to gaze into his eyes. "I spent years searching for you."
His eyes widened. "Oh?"
"Yep. I've been sitting by the fountain all this time," she whispered. "Waiting for my prince to come."
"Oh, Beverly…" Donatello smiled. "Sorry I took so long."
Bev sniffed. "I never did like waiting."
"I'll try to be more punctual from now on," he whispered.
She grinned. "You can start by getting out there. You're going to be late for your own wedding."
"What? Oh no!"
Don looked so flustered, Beverly giggled.
Yep. He's definitely cute when he's blushing.
Giving him one more cheeky grin, she took him by the hand.
"Come on, Romeo, let's go." she said gently. "Just lean on me."
She shrieked as he scooped her up, returning her grin full-force.
"No way," he said, leaning close to kiss her. "The prince is supposed to carry off the princess, remember?"
Bev laughed. "You are such a corn-ball, Romeo."
"Yeah, but you're my Juliet."
She leaned into his plastron, tipping her head back to nuzzle his neck, enjoying the shiver that ran through him.
"Do you believe in happily ever after, Don?"
He smiled as she gazed into his soft brown eyes.
"I do, now Bev. I really do."
And they lived happily ever after...
(Yeah, you guessed it. "At least until the next fic...")
A/N: Oh, now that was just too cute for words. heh I loved writing Donny into a relationship... He's so cautious and shy, but I believe he's the kind of man who would love deeply and with all his heart. It took him a while, but once he's in love, it's for good.
Onward... Many thanks to the multitude of reviewers. You guys absolutely rock, and have made this fic more fun than should be legal.
I'm really excited about Leonardo's Angel, the last book in the series. It feels like the culmination of the stories... the completion of the family. I hope you'll all enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
One last time, thanks to my beta-readers, raphfreak, 54 Viruses and also Melody Winters who has read over a few chaps for me of various fics. You gals all ROCK OUT LOUD as always. Also to Duckie Pray for her read of a pivotal chap of Leo's Angel and her kind words of support.
As always, many thanks to the reviewers:
xLannyx for "pocket-sized Donny", which made me laugh so hard I nearly hurt myself
Candelight for being an inspiration and one of the most talented writers I've met in a long time
Fantasyfan4ever for calling Don a "knight in shining shell" lol
DuckiePray for writing even more evil cliffhangers than my own (EVERYONE- go read Buried!!)
Kyaserin Marii for the mental image of Don singing "Hello Darlin'" which made me burst randomly into hysterical laughter for days.
TigerToa for holding tight to the happy ending
AlyssaFelixa for wanting villains to come to a sticky end
54Viruses for faithful beta-reading, for calling Donnie a "dunderhead" and for letting her inner fan-girl loose.
Scribe of Turesa for encouraging me to take drastic measures
mariarosa for threatening Jack's manhood (LOL)
xS. E. Raglandx for her heart racing during "horrible" scenes
AJsHellCat for bringing Don coffee in the barn
WebMistressGina for popping in to review
Nightwatcher'sUnknownGirl for getting excited. ;)
MewSakura for not wanting Donny tortured (Don appreciates the sentiment as well) heh
Ramica for vocabulary lessons
MelodyWinters for being a great writer, an amazing artist and a dear friend
Polaris'05 for getting through (almost) the whole fic without yelling ;)
allithea for calling this her daily "fix" lol
sait4soreyes for putting the "happy endings mantra" into effect
Nala162024 for calling Jack a "crazed murderer"
Jemz16 for reading the whole series
Eridani23 for promising to keep up. ;)
stylin-cute for calling Jack a "psycho dude" lol
Fyrefly for wanting Don to warm up to Bev
April101 for guessing Beverly is related to April (sorry, no. lol)
1woof1 for a kind review
The Happy Stalker Ball for loving Jars of Claysabra jaguar
BlackShuriken for "shame on you" (yelling at me for all I put Donny through) ;)
FairDrea for becoming a Don fan *sends Raph to FD's* heh
CindySilverwhip for wanting a liquid version of the fic (ROFLOL)
Kolaida for betting Donny could get used to Bev's massages. heh
GoddessHanyuu for loving the story
Repicheep22 for getting fuzzy over the Don/Bev fluff
dreamer for a kind review
drunken . lotus for encouragement