April woke up with a start. For a moment she was disoriented, unsure what was going on. Casey muttered beside her and curled into a tighter ball on top of the covers. A breeze wafted through the window, bringing the dry scent of dirt and scorched fields. She looked around the room. No sign of the boys, and no sign of Tammy either. She grinned a little at that. She still called them boys, even though they were older now than she was when she first met them. By several years when she worked it out.

She leaned back against the pillows and stretched, and like a wave crashing on the beach, the events of the previous night flooded her consciousness. "Ohmygod..." Her feet hit the floor before she had finished the expletive, and she was half way to the door before she heard a burst of laughter from downstairs.

She stopped with her hand on the door handle in confusion. Laughter? Did that meant that everything was OK? She opened the door and stuck her head into the hallway. "...Guys?"

Raphael's voice drifted up from the main floor. "Hey April! You're awake. Come on down, the coffee's made."

"What about that...thing from yesterday? And where's Tammy?"

"Don't worry about it, the problem's been taken care of. Get dressed and we'll tell you about it when you get down here. Tammy's up already and she's had breakfast."

April backed her way down the hall, still eyeing the stairs with her disbelief. She closed the bedroom door and looked over her shoulder. Casey was still asleep and showing no signs of stirring. She vaguely recalled that he had been awake when she had drifted off to sleep, and she wondered how long he had stood watch over them before succumbing himself. They hadn't let him join in the fray, but it was just like him to keep his own private watch over the two of them.

A quick change into clean clothes later, April descended the stairs. She could hear Tammy and Raphael in the living room, playing some sort of game that involved lots of giggling on her part. From the kitchen she could hear the murmur of soft conversation, and concluded that Donatello and Leonardo were in there. She ignored the living room for the moment and headed towards the kitchen to get the promised cup of coffee. Caffiene first. Then she could handle whatever explanations came her way. Some things never did change.

Leonardo was leaving the kitchen as she entered. She noticed he was no longer wearing either his mask or the swords, and held two cups of black coffee in his hands. Wordlessly he handed one to her and continued past, heading towards the noises from the other room.

April sipped the coffee and sighed. Perfect. Black as sin and hot enough to scald. She peeked into the kitchen and saw Donatello seated on a stool he had dragged near the stove, flipper in hand and keeping a close eye on the eggs that were bubbling and spitting away in the frying pan. "Whoa! What happened to you?" April took in the bruises that covered his body and the gleaming white bandage wrapped around his head.

Donatello looked up from the breakfast and offered her a half-hearted grin. "It's not as bad as it looks. To be honest, I don't really understand it myself, I was out cold for all of the important parts. Why don't you go ask Leo? He could probably tell you."

"I'll do that." April turned towards the living room, completely missing the sly smirk that Donatello gave her back.

"Leonardo what..." April's voice trailed off as she entered the living room and took in the scene before her.

Leonardo and Raphael were seated on the couch, talking quietly with one another, glancing every once in a while at the scene that was playing itself out on the floor. Tammy stood in the middle of the living room, trying to crane her neck around to trace the, fairies??! that were circling around her, singing in sweet piping voices that barely descended into the audible range. Leaning up against the far wall a third turtle waved a hand as if directing an orchestra, and the flight of fairies dipped and swayed in time. April's jaw hung open, and her coffee mug slipped unnoticed from numb fingers. "M...michealangelo?" She whispered.

The third turtle looked up, a wide grin grew across his features. "Hiya Ape!"

Before she could come up with a suitable reply, her coffee mug floated back up in front of her face, not a drop spilled from it. The black shadow that supported it stared at her with its sooty red eyes for a second, then one of them closed into an unmistakable wink. Unable to cope and unsure how to try, April did the only thing she could think of. She fainted.

* * *

"I think she's coming around."

"You know, you'd think in the ten years I've been gone you could have cured her of this."

"Heh. I just married her Mike. That was enough of a shock to her system."

"Guys, will you quit it? She's awake!"

April opened her eyes to see Casey, Tammy and four turtles gathered around her. Michaelangelo knelt closest to her head, and he twisted up his lip in a wry apology. "Sorry about that Apr-" his sentence was cut off as she lunged off the couch and caught him in a huge hug. "Whoa! Good thing I've got a shell, or ribs would be nothing but a fond memory here!"

A few minutes later, April had a fresh cup of coffee, and everyone but Michaelangelo were seated in various spots around the living room. "Leo, there's something I have to do...could you explain it to them?" His voice was surprisingly meek, and his eyes kept straying towards the door and the yard outside.

Leonardo caught and held his gaze for a long minute. April didn't know what he read there, but it seemed to satisfy him. His expression softened, and he nodded once. As Michaelangelo slipped out the door, Leonardo began to speak. "Well, you know where it started ten years ago, when Mike went out to pick up a pizza..."

The sun streamed through the trees and dappled across the ground, patterns of light and shadow shifting as leaves were moved by the breeze. Michaelangelo reached the spot he was looking for. He stared up at the huge tree apprehensively for a moment, and with a nearly inaudible sigh he sank to his knees before it. Placing both palms on the cool ground, he leaned forward until his forehead touched as well. After a second he pushed himself upright and sat back on his heels, enjoying the shade of the gnarled oak tree that overlooked the riverbank.

"Forgive me for not coming by earlier Master. I wasn't feeling myself."

~Welcome home, my son.~





**AN: There, that's it, finished, done, kaput! Thank you to everyone who's taken the time to read my story. And extra big thank you's to everyone who wrote reviews for it! Twenty thousand words and two months later, all I can think is that I can't believe this whole thing started because of one static image remembered from a dream. The rest of this fic was put together so I had a semi-plausible (OK, I know I'm stretching it here) lead up and a conclusion I could live with as an excuse to get the whole thing on paper. LOL, classic case of playing "What if?" Followed by "What then?" Anyways I'm done rambling here. See ya later, and here's hoping that the next time I eat Italian sausage and ice cream before bed I get more story ideas!