This came from a Fic Challenge called A Year Without Turtles. Plus I've always been intrigued by the hints of KaraixChaplin in the show. It seems an odd pairing to make canon. I posted this over at Stealthy Stories a while ago, and I thought you guys might like it too. All the action takes place during Fast Forward and Back to the Sewers, and begins some time after the turtles left for the future.
"I will inform my maid of my change in address," Karai said, pushing past him. Chaplin let himself be pushed, gaping at the sight of her in his apartment. At the sight of her in casual clothes. Were those—jeans? She dropped the small bag she carried on the couch and entered the kitchen, frowning at the piles of dishes on the counter tops. "Clearly she has much work to do," she muttered. Chaplin finally managed to close his mouth and the front door.
"Uh, Mistress?" he queried. "What, uh… I mean, not that I'm not honored by your presence, as always, but… Why are you here?"
She snapped her gaze to his, as though she had forgotten he was there.
"I live here now," she said slowly, as though to a simpleton, and then disappeared into the bathroom.
Chaplin awoke with a start to heavy breathing. He peeked over the edge of the couch and found his Mistress, apparently in the throes of training.
"A ninja starts her day early," she said in a clipped tone. Chaplin scrambled for his glasses and squinted at the clock.
"Seriously Mistress? It's three in the morning. I'm pretty sure even you don't wake up that early."
"Do you question me, worm?" she hissed, thrusting her face into his. He backed up, falling off the couch and scrambling to his feet.
"No, no, of course not! It's just… well, to repeat my earlier question… why are you here?"
She dropped her arms out of stance and appeared to deflate slightly.
"I am no longer welcome at Saki manor."
"But—but you own Saki manor."
"Not," she hissed. "Anymore." And went back to training.
Chaplin made coffee.
Eventually he got the story out of her: after gaining enough power to scale down the operations that had included Chaplin, Khan had forcibly removed Karai from Saki Enterprises, the Foot, and eventually her own quarters. And she'd had nowhere else to go but here. Not that she said as much. But Chaplin knew if she had anywhere else to be, she'd be there.
"We have much work to do, Chaplin. I will not allow that man to steal everything my Master worked so hard to build. Do you still have access to the computer systems?"
Chaplin spilled his coffee, wiping himself down as he answered.
"Ah, I uh, well… I could probably hack in…"
"Good. Do so. Inform me of Khan's movements."
"Wh-where are you going?" he asked her retreating back.
"The store. You have no tea."
In the end, though, there was nothing they could do.
Chaplin looked at his Mistress, her eyes staring into nothing. It scared him. He'd never seen her so unfocused. In fact, he'd never seen her even look thoughtful. She was always present, always intense.
"Nothing?" she repeated, her voice barely above a whisper.
"No, Mistress." Her tone scared him even more than her unfocused eyes. Her lips pressed tightly together in a thin line. Then,
"I see." And she got up and went into the bedroom, closing the door carefully behind her. He hesitated for a moment, and then got up and knocked.
"Mistress?" No answer. Chaplin was suddenly afraid. "Mistress?" he called louder, trying the doorknob. Damn. She'd locked it. "Mistress Karai, please let me in. I… I know what you're doing in there." He prayed he was wrong.
"Chaplin," came her soft voice, "You have always been my loyal vassal, and for that I am grateful. Now please allow me the one honor left to me."
He was right.
Forgetting, for a moment, any consideration of physics or respect for personal property, he backed up and kicked at the door. To the surprise of them both it flung open, the flimsy lock giving way. He froze, shocked that it had actually worked.
"Your landlord will not like that," she said wryly, her voice still soft, but less weak. He strode in and carefully took the unsheathed blade out of her unresisting hands.
"He'd like blood spatter on the carpet even less!" Chaplin snapped, the broken door and the katana making him feel dangerous. She merely looked at him coolly. The dangerous feeling left him, and he set the katana aside. "I know things look bad right now," he tried.
"I have nothing to live for anymore," she said flatly. "The turtles took away my family, and Khan has taken everything else."
"You still have me." The words came before he could stop them. She gave him an almost kind look, and he could hear the unspoken rebuke: What good are you to me?
"You said I was your loyal vassal," he tried again. "What is a vassal without a Mistress? I'd make a terrible ronin."
And she laughed.
"Yes, you would," she agreed. He knelt before her, meeting her eyes more boldly than he ever had before.
"I don't have much to offer you, Mistress, but what I do have, I will gladly give you. Including…" He gulped. He was not at all sure this was the appropriate time for this. "Including my heart."
She was silent, and frowning.
"Chaplin, I do not—"
"I know you don't return the feeling," he said, with only a very little pang, after all. "But that's okay. You don't have to. I'm still yours, in whatever capacity you want me."
She reached out and cupped his face in her hand, her expression almost tender.
"Very well," she said after a long while. "I will put this aside," gesturing to the sword on the table, "for now." He heard the words she did not say: I make no promise to you that I will not take it up again in the future.
This was good enough for him. For now.