Kayla entered her bedroom, gently closing her door behind her. Her legs and arms ached, she was sweating, and her head was pounding. They'd just gotten done with their usual training. Master Splinter had worked them extra hard, having them switch partners back and forth every so often. Afterwards Raph made her bench press thirty forty-pound reps with him spotting her. Now she just wanted to pass out. As soon as she reached her bed she flopped down on her back and rested her upper arm on her sweating forehead, one leg up with the other hanging off the side of the bed.

Glancing over she saw one of the many bricks in her wall sticking out a bit. Thinking for a moment she groaned in pain as she sat up and leaned forward. Grabbing the edges in her fingers she managed to pull the brick out of the wall and placed it on her bed by her legs, which were sprawled out because it hurt to bend them. Reaching her left hand, which was closest to the wall, into the hole left by the brick she pulled out a notebook. This was a notebook she'd had since middle school. None of her brothers knew it, and she'd make sure they never did, but she loved to write poetry.

Living in a family of all guys you have to be as tough as possible, and that didn't leave room for writing poems. She figured she'd never be able to live it down if they knew. But ever since seventh grade, when they'd done a poetry unit in language arts, she loved expressing herself through poetry. Kayla blew the dust and concrete powder off the notebook before flipping it open. Flipping through the first few pages she stopped and smiled. This was a poem she'd written as an assignment in ninth grade. The assignment had been to pick a family member and write a poem about them. She smiled as she read:

My Big Brother

I remember first seeing you

Your big, golden brown eyes looking into mine

I remember you being there

every time I looked back

I loved following you everywhere

Copying your every move

Mimicking your every word

I loved you holding me in your arms

Like a castle wall protecting me from all the monsters

I love the feeling when I look up at you

And you're smiling down at me

Promising that you'd always be my big brother

Kayla felt her smile grow as she turned the page to look on the back. She'd handed in the original copy to her teacher but she'd copied it down in her notebook first so she could always look at it whenever she wanted. When she'd gotten her grade she wrote it down on the back of this copy. 23/25, her teacher had said it was really well written. She'd never let her brothers know she was a poet, and she'd definitely never let them see THIS poem. They'd know from the eye color described in the beginning that it was about Raph. They'd never let either of them live it down. Turning back to the poem and skimming through it again she couldn't help but smile.

Without really thinking she set the notebook on her lap, turned, and pulled something out from under her pillow behind her. Carefully holding the small photograph in both her hands she smiled down at it, carefully taking in all the faces. This picture was a good seven or eight years old. Her brothers were probably about ten, maybe eleven. Leo was standing in the middle, Donny was to his left, Raph and Mikey to his right with Mikey giving Raph bunny ears. Kayla was perched on Leo's shoulders; a huge, laughing smile on her face and her hands on the top of Leo's head.

She remembered those days. Back before April and Don enrolled her into school; before they knew about the Shredder; before they'd even heard of the Purple Dragons. Back then everything seemed so…simple…compared to now. Sometimes she wished she could go back to then. Back to when the most important thing she needed to worry about was working on her ninjitsu skills, perfecting her kick flip, and making sure she got her share of pizza before her brothers hogged it all.

"Hey, Kay!" a knock on her door jolted Kayla out of her thoughts and Mikey peaked his head in. "Wanna see if you can actually beat me on Mummy Fighters 3, yet?" he smirked at her, "Unless you're too afraid." he added tauntingly.

"Dream on, Mike!" she joked, throwing her pillow at the door, "I'll be out in a minute!" she yelled as he shut the door to avoid the pillow. Kayla quickly closed her notebook, slipped it back into the hole in the wall, and slid the brick back into place. Grabbing her pillow off the floor she glanced at the picture once more before putting it back on her bed under her pillow.

Yeah, she loved her life back then, but that was the past. And right now, she needed to focus on the present.