Note: The final chapter! Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out: To Catch a Thief!
Dis: I don't own TMNT
Zoey scrambled eggs vigorously in a bowl as the newscast played in the background of her living room. She poured the mixture into a hot pan and watched as little bubbles formed, the smell of sizzling eggs hitting her nose. She turned her head to her bedroom door, a sudden wave of sadness overtaking her. She had woken up alone this morning with a pounding headache and a sheet of paper under her cheek. One phrase: I love you, written in his surprisingly neat handwriting, was all Raphael had said in his note.
She knew why he left, he'd been afraid that she would hate him for "taking advantage". The idiot, she was the one that took advantage last night. She knew he wanted her back and had given him incentive to stay. Standing here in her robe with her hair pulled back in a messy braid she had a lot to think about, like if she wanted him back, and how to go about it if she ended up going down that road again.
Grabbing a spatula she maneuvered the eggs around until they were cooked and then slid them onto a plate, she seasoned them with salt and pepper, turned off the stove, and then snagged her two pieces of buttered toast before settling against the cushions of her sofa. The news was the same, this crime, that crime, murder, and robberies: but something had her perking up. She reached for the remote to turn it up.
"… in other news Hunter Evans has been charged for his involvement with a murder of a seventeen year old boy last week…"
A picture of Hun was on the screen and Zoey quickly set her plate down on the coffee table and bolted to her purse which she found sitting on her kitchen table instead of the floor where she'd put it last. Her phone started ringing before she got to it and seeing the caller I.D. she quickly answered.
"Hell yeah," answered her cousin. "Bastard is finally about to go down for something."
"Hopefully." Zoey was half listening to the news. "You know how Shredder can be; he'll either get him cleared of all charges or have him killed before he can say anything about the Foot."
"Either way, it makes me smile. So, uh, how'd it go last night?"
"Ugh, not now Case."
"C'mon, Zo, I'm meeting the guys this afternoon to celebrate. I gotta know if my pal is going ta be in a mood or not."
"You're going to the lair today?" Zoey bit her bottom lip as her cousin's hum of affirmation. "Can… can I come with?"
"What for?" he asked suspiciously.
"Cause the henchmen that is half responsible for me almost getting killed and being a burden to our family since I was five is being put away and I want to celebrate too," she said bitingly.
"Geez! Fine! You can come with. Jus don't start nothin' all right?"
"Best behavior. Promise."
"Ok… Be there in an hour."
"I'll be ready."
Zoey inspected herself in the mirror. She wore her favorite pair of washed jeans and since she knew she was going in the sewer, her least favorite pair of black, knee high boots that she had tucked her jeans into so that they didn't get wet. She tossed on a simple white tank top over her bra then pulled on an Aztec patterned cardigan for warmth. She redid the braid in her hair to make it neat and pinned the flyaway strands back. She just put the finishing touches on her mascara when the buzzer rang. She spritzed herself with what she knew to be Raph's favorite perfume, grabbed her purse as well as another coat, and then headed out her door. She met April and Casey on the street and together they went to the nearest manhole. Being as inconspicuous as possible they entered the sewer and soon were heading to the guys' place.
"How you feeling, April?" asked Zoey.
"Ugh, horrible, but the news of Hun made me feel a lot better than I was before. I popped a couple Advil, they're starting to take effect… I see you're doing just fine."
"I had eggs. They are my hangover food. Well, eggs and pizza, of which they'd best be ordering."
"Casey told me you left with Raph." April ignored Casey's hum of warning. "How did that go?"
"Surprisingly well," said Zoey. "We talked, we laughed, and we fell into bed together."
"WHAT?" chorused April and Casey, their echoes traveling deep into the tunnels.
"Yes, the makeup sex was great," said Zoey, making Casey scrunch his nose in distaste.
"Are you messing around with us?" asked April.
"Maybe," said Zoey with a smile.
"I hate it when she does that," muttered Casey, making the girls laugh.
"But… things with you and Raphael aren't… weird?" asked April.
"We'll be fine," said Zoey. "I'll behave and I'm certain with much goading from not only Leo but Casey, he will too. So where's Shadow?"
"With Angel for the night."
"Mikey will be sad he didn't get a chance to race around with her tonight," said Zoey.
They continued the rest of their trek in silence, which must've been a new record for Casey, to not make any noise for so long. When getting to the secret entrance Zoey watched Casey as he pulled the magical lever and suddenly instead of cold, dark, smelly sewer they were in a warmer, brighter place that smelled of pizza.
"Casey! April! Where's-Zoey?"
"Hey Mikey," said Zoey, taking off her coat.
"ZOEY!" Michelangelo launched forward, taking the girl down with him as he wrapped her up in a hug. She grunted slightly as she hit the floor but was soon laughing as Mikey rolled around with her on the floor. "I've missed you!"
"Good to see you, too, Mikey, now get off!"
"Oh!" Mikey was quickly on his feet then helping her up. "Sorry."
"It's okay, I'd get overly excited if I got to meet myself as well," she said with a cheeky grin.
"Haha," said Mikey, taking her coat, then April's and Casey's, and hanging them up on a coatrack. "Leo and Don are in the kitchen grabbing a slice. Splinter is making tea of you don't want soda and Raph…" Mikey broke off, casting a worried glance at Zoey and she did her best not to look down. "He's in his room. I'll… tell him you're all here."
"Well that wasn't awkward," muttered Zoey as Mikey rushed off. April patted her on the back as they went into the kitchen. Like Mikey, Leo and Don were surprised to see her, and offered her tight hugs but she luckily didn't end up on the floor. Leo cast a worried glance at the doorway toward Raph's room and Zoey reassured him with her eyes that it would be ok. "It's good to see you guys again."
"Likewise, sis," said Mikey as he entered the kitchen… without Raphael.
Zoey didn't worry. She knew him all too well. He was still in his room, she was certain, composing himself for seeing her. She knew he didn't want her to see him vulnerable like he's been the past few days and that he might even ignore her, or greet her casually.
"Yo Case!" Zoey almost jumped when hearing the greeting from the other room. Raphael. "April. I see yer looking betta than when I last saw ya."
"Hello Raph," said April and even though Zoey couldn't see her, she was certain her friend was looking to the ground in embarrassment.
Zoey steeled herself up for this moment. Calmly she took a paper plate, took a slice of pepperoni pizza as well as a beer, and then walked out into the main room where Casey and Raphael were discussing something serious.
"…Lundqvisit's fortieth career shut out, they took dem Jets fer all they was worth…"
Hockey. Of course. However, upon her entrance, amber eyes strayed from the conversation to find her. They weren't hostile, nor sad, just curious. She gave a wave and he acknowledged it with a nod, eyes still on her, while Casey talked upon the upcoming game against the Flyers.
"By the way, Dudette," said Mikey, wrapping an arm over her shoulders and steering her toward April and Don. "Love the hair. Blonde is your color."
"Think so?" asked Zoey. "Some people said they like it better dark. I might go back to that next time."
"You could make blue hair look gorgeous," commented April, making Zoey blush happily at the compliment.
"Whatever, April, if I tried to make my hair red I'd fail. You work that color out!" said Zoey with a wink.
Zoey sat on the sofa with her pizza and beer and mingled mostly with Mikey and Donatello. Casey kept Raphael busy and Zoey was certain the reason behind not talking to Leonardo that much was because he was keeping an eye on his brother. Soon more drinks were passed around and when Splinter retired for the night Zoey was certain she was on her fifth beer. She was surely tipsy and by mound of bottles by Casey and the sleepy expression on April's face: they were probably spending the night.
Donatello and a VERY giggly Michelangelo excused themselves at the same time and Zoey thought nothing of it until her ex sat down next to her. They sat in silence for a moment, her with her feet tucked underneath her body and knees pointed in his direction and him leaned back fully, legs spread out in a comfortable position.
"Enjoying the party?" she asked, breaking the silence.
"I've been thinkin' on how tah get near ya all damn night. Whenever I tried Case or Leo had somethin' they had tah tell me. What's goin' on? You tell 'em you don't wanna be around me or somethin'?"
"No. I didn't. Maybe they were worried us together would start a fight," said Zoey, thumbnail now messing with the label on her beer bottle, eyes down until she timidly looked up. He was closed off, giving nothing away, his features completely schooled. She bit her bottom lip and looked away, gaze focusing on April who was passing out on the chair. "Two nights in a row."
Raphael followed her gazed then chuckled. "I take it yer stayin' tonight."
"Probably. Maybe leave you a note instead of saying goodbye when we go tomorrow."
He flinched a little, hands clenching around his own beer bottle, so she put her hand on his arm.
"Come with me."
She stood up then started walking. She made sure no one was paying much attention to her before exiting the party and heading to the dojo. She waited only a moment before Raphael joined her. She turned to him, eyes focusing in the darkness and falling upon the shadowed turtle. She walked to him, having sat her beer down on the ground and shrugged off her cardigan. She shivered slightly from the cold hair but she wouldn't let it deter her from taking his hand and pressing it against the spot between her breasts. She felt him tremble, but knew it wasn't from desire, but from remembering.
"I don't regret it," she said softly, keeping her hand in his. "I'd do it again."
"You can't tell me that you wouldn't have done the same thing. That if you saw Shredder coming at me with his blades drawn, me injured on the ground, that you wouldn't try to stop it."
"Fuck Zoey I had to watch as he…" He pulled her in against him. "It was my fault. If you had neva met me den you'd have been safe. It… it was all my fault."
"Hun has had it in for my family since I can remember. He might've taken me regardless of me knowing you or not. He wanted to see Casey suffer, THAT is why he took me… Yes, he found the shell-cell in my purse and that is the reason he took me to the Shredder but imagine what could have happened if he HADN'T. Think I'd still be alive? I'd probably be dead at the bottom of the Hudson."
"Don't talk like dat," he begged, arms tightening.
"Raphael, you need to stop blaming yourself for me getting hurt. Look what it's done to us. You left me at one of the most fragile times in my life and-"
"I KNOW!" He pulled away from her, looking more like a tiger in a cage than a turtle in a sewer. "You don't think I know dis now? I had Leo down my shell den Casey kicked the shell outta me-"
"I didn't know that," said Zoey.
"Well he did and even Mikey refused to talk to me fer a week cause of my leavin' ya like that. You know how hard it was? Lookin' back now yes, I was fucking stupid, and it was the biggest mistake of my damn life. I HATE myself for what I did to ya!"
Seeing him like this, tearing himself apart, made Zoey's eyes water and she sniffled, battling the cry session and failing. Raphael was soon there again, both hands cupping her cheeks, looking down at her with a love he reserved for her and her only.
"I'm dyin' without ya Zo. Take me back. Please take me back."
Something happened that no one thought the hot-headed turtle capable of until meeting this girl. He cried, fat tears falling down his green cheeks as he pulled her against him. She felt the wetness in her hair and felt tears of her own letting loose. Her arms went around his body.
"I love ya," he whispered.
"I love you, too," she answered. She turned her head to press her lips against his and his startled gasp transitioned into a desperate moan as he kissed her back. They pulled apart after a moment with smiles on their faces. "Do you promise not to be an idiot ever again? I love you, and I know what it means to be with you, and the danger I could be in. I can accept it, can you?"
"Yeah," he answered. "I can."
"Good. Now that the hard part is over…" She pressed her cheek against his. "Let's go back to the party, then go to bed." He hissed in a breath and she giggled. "Nuh uh, just sleeping, you have a lot to make up to me before you get sex again."
"What?" he asked, feigning disappointment. "C'mon!"
"You have to kiss my ass for a while."
"That can be arranged," he said with a leer.
"Could you BE any more of a pig right now?" she asked with a grin and a roll of her eyes.
"Yeah." He pulled her back into his arms, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "But I won't. I love ya, Zoey Jones."
"And I you, Hamato Raphael."
Short and sweet mini-fic…. Reviews wanted and cherished! J