Venus isn't exactly surprised when Splinter announces that she is going with Leonardo to train with the Ancient One, whoever that is. But she is as unhappy about it as her brothers, if only for different reasons. Being around Leo is painful these days, and despite Splinter's reassurances that the Ancient One will be able to help her block out the minds of those around her, she does not look forward to a two-month boat ride with only Leo for company.


"Venus de Milo," her father rebukes her sharply, and she knows, among other things, that his reprimand is partly for calling him father when he is acting as her sensei. "You are getting worse. It is plain for me to see. Even your brothers have noticed. I fear that only the Ancient One can help you, my daughter, just as he is now the only one that can help Leonardo. Besides," he says, forestalling another round of protests on her part, "your brother is in a vulnerable place. He needs at least some of his family with him as he struggles, and I also trust you to know when not to interfere in that struggle."

He doesn't trust her (or Leo) nearly as much as his words would imply, and it doesn't help that Splinter is nearly as terrified as she is at the idea of two of his children crossing the ocean and navigating a strange country on their own. The image in his head is of placing a great burden on his only daughter's shoulders, but Venus feels more like she is suffocating. Whether the suffocation feels more like being miles below the surface of the ocean or in the middle of space depends on which terror she is currently contemplating: the thought of staying here, her powers growing more and more out of her control, presses in on her like water; but the thought of leaving everything she has ever known makes her feel like she is in a vacuum with no rescue in sight.

She and Leo leave in the middle of the night, both of them feeling like traitors and runaways, and for the next two months they barely speak ten words to each other.

The fat little man nods in satisfaction at Leo's abbreviated answer, and then turns to Venus, who, so far, has felt like the biggest third wheel ever.

"And you, kame-hime." He has called her that since they met, (since before she could speak and reveal her gender), and its use is as sarcastic as calling Leo kumquat. "You have a rather different problem than your brother, yes?"

"Yes, sir," she says, still wary of a new human, still homesick, still bothered that she can't read this man's mind at all.

"Well," he says distractedly, "We'll figure something out."

His tone is flippant, and he clearly doesn't give a damn about her problems, and Venus finds herself caught in a surge of anger which she wraps like red hot metal around the spear of her mind, and with it, her anger and her powers working in tandem, she pierces his defenses, and for just a moment…

Then his wall is back up, and she feels weak and tired, and her only comfort is that one of the things she saw was that he does care, cares too deeply, so deeply he has to hide it away lest it consume him.

His piggy eyes are pleased, and for the first time since coming here (since leaving home, since realizing Leo had become someone else, since gaining her powers) she feels peace.

Well, folks, this is it. I'm very pleased to announce that Growing Up Sister won 3rd place for Best Alternate Universe over at Stealthy Stories, and it never would have gotten this far without all of you fine people. Thank you. This will be the last chapter in the main story, though I still have a few side stories I'll post now and then. I'm sorry to see her go, and I had a lot of fun writing her, but Venus has had her day, and it's time to move on. Thank you again.