It turned out Chaplin did have quit a bit tucked away for a rainy day, enough for two people to spend a comfortable few months flying wherever their fancy took them, staying in hotel rooms, eating in fancy restaurants. It was almost like being back in the Foot again, only less death and destruction and terror and more people waiting on her hand and foot if she wanted them to. Chaplin, who had apparently grown up rather poor and had never stayed in a motel, started a collection of Gideon Bibles, which Karai indulged with a luxuriousness she'd never experienced. If the man wanted a thousand or more books cluttering up his apartment, why not let him?
April called while she was in Fiji getting a massage at a spa, and she waved aside her apology with an ease she knew had April worried. The thought made her laugh. While she was in Germany April called to let her know that Casey had unknowingly begun training at Khan's dojo. Karai was thoughtful for a moment, and then told her that if Khan had mismanaged the Foot so badly that he had to start recruiting people like Casey, she could consider that a victory. April laughed. The most surprising thing was that Karai laughed too.
She was in Honduras plying her hand at vigilantism when April told her the turtles were back.
She stood in the middle of her bunker, Chaplin safely back in the city at some scientific conference, and tried to fit what April had just told her into her head.
"Where were they? It has been over a year. How can they simply be back?"
April's voice had been hesitant when she told her the news, but she seemed to grow bolder when Karai didn't vow vengeance and crawl through the phone line back to New York. Or something.
"You're never going to believe this… They were in the future. Apparently my great-grandson…Well, anyway, they're back now. Um…"
She trailed off. Karai couldn't blame her. She knew she should call Chaplin, pack her bags, and catch the next plane back to La Guardia. But somehow… it didn't seem so important now. Oh, she still hated them, for what they did to her father and for what they made her realize about herself. But killing them would not bring back Oroku Saki, and something told her even bringing back Ch'rell would not do that either. She had known from the time she was thirteen that her father was actually an alien, and she had grown used to the idea. She had known of his plans for world (and eventually galactic) domination, and had shoved all the implications of that into the back of her mind, content merely to do as her beloved master and father ordered her to do. The second anniversary of her father's… passing, she had begun to call it, was not so very far away, and those two years loomed large in her memory, acting as a barrier between her and her vengeance.
"I am happy for you, Miss O'Neil," Karai said, wondering if she would ever feel comfortable calling her April, and then wondering why she wanted to. "I do not know when I will be back in New York, but I will call ahead when I return."
"Uh… thanks." April sounded far away, and not just because of the long distance. They exchanged a few more pleasantries, and then hung up. Karai thought she'd like to go to South Africa next. Or Malaysia. Whichever was furthest from New York.
She was in India when she received the wedding invitation.
It had followed her over quite a few continents, and the envelope was stained and had clearly been opened. She hoped nothing was missing from the contents, but the invitation itself was still mostly intact. The date and time were nearly illegible, having been printed in a script that was so fancy it was barely English, but she was pretty sure they would still be able to make it. Karai had seen wedding invitations before, from college friends who felt it was polite to include their frosty acquaintance on the guest list or rich socialites who wanted to make connections because of her father. This one was… unusual. For one thing, April's parents' names were totally absent. No one was giving her away to Casey, who only had one parent listed. For another, the location was listed simply as, "The Farmhouse."
"What farmhouse?" she muttered to herself. Chaplin murmured sleepily. She swatted at him from her chair next to the bed. "Why aren't you awake yet?" she demanded absently. "It is past noon."
He gave a great yawn and sat up, fumbling for his glasses.
"Well, I would have been awake sooner, but somebody kept me awake all night," he teased, giving her a smile. She allowed herself a very small blush.
"I should not have been expected to know that the festival would last that long," she said primly. "I expected us to be home by ten."
"Seriously? When do festivals ever end that early?"
She shook her head, not looking at him. It was still… awkward, for her, to share a hotel room with him. They had separate beds, but there was no avoiding the sight of each other first thing in the morning, and Chaplin apparently slept in his underwear. She had attempted to fix that by giving him a set of pajamas she'd gotten in Dubai, but he rebelled by only sleeping in the bottom half. His chest was far more muscular than a caffeine-addicted scientist's had any right to be, and he was developing a nice tan after months of travel in exotic places.
"What is that?" he asked, swinging his legs out of bed. She considered keeping it a secret, but it had been addressed to both of them.
"Miss O'Neil has invited the both of us to her wedding."
"Oh, really? Who's she getting married to?"
She gave him a disparaging look. He would have cringed, once upon a time. Today all he did was shrug.
"Well, I'm guessing Casey, but I didn't want to assume." He got out of bed, and she watched him surreptitiously.
"The only address I was given is 'the Farmhouse.' Does that hold any meaning for you?"
He stepped into the bathroom and called out, "Nope. Why don't you call and ask her?"
"I am going to," she said with mild irritation. "I simply thought it was odd."
"Well it is kinda weird. Maybe it's code for something?" Chaplin stepped out of the bathroom, brushing his teeth, and Karai pretended she'd been looking at the invitation the whole time.
"We shall see."
"So, wait—we're going? We're really gonna go?"
Karai quirked her mouth down at his surprise and looked him full in the face.
"Miss O'Neil is my friend. Of course we are going to her wedding."
The grin that slowly spread across his face was somehow worse than the surprise, and she pushed past him into the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. Only once she was alone did she allow herself her own smile: smaller and less exuberant, but equally genuine.