Note: This takes place after "Turtles Forever" and is book six of a ten-book series. The other books in the series include: "So Long, No Thanks For All The Fish", "My Seer, My Secretary", "Raphael Counts 'Em All", "The Lotus and The Sun" and "Mutants and Miracles".

The events of the fifth book, "Mutants and Miracles", are VITAL to understanding some of the developments that occur in this and future books in the series, so be sure to read it before continuing. Thank you.


Disclaimer: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are trademarked by Nickelodeon. Characters from the 1987 TMNT animated series are trademarked by Fred Wolf. All original characters are mine.


Donatello took one look in the mirror, examined the grey suit and black tie he was dressed in, and thought "too shady" to himself.

He went through the wardrobe and found another suit. He tried it on and took again to the mirror.

This one was heavily laced with checkers.

"I'm not selling a car am I?" he thought, and hastily removed it.

The third option was a more reliable choice. Black all over with a red tie.

"Like going to a funeral" Donatello said aloud, and permitted himself a tiny chuckle, knowing that wasn't far from the truth.

It was going to be a busy day. A day of reflection on past sins, a day where people would remember names and faces, a time and a place. A day where the past would be reflected on and over time mercilessly picked apart before it all culminated in a decision that would decide a great deal of futures.

A very formal and detail ridden wake. All yet to come.

But first came the hounding.

He peered out of the window of Irma Langenstien's apartment, gazing out at the teeming mass of reporters and photographers stationed outside. All of them eagerly awaiting his exit.

Donatello felt something brush against his legs, he looked down to see Irma's beloved dog standing on it's back legs, lifting it's paws up with a look of strong affection. Donatello knelt down and patted it on the head

"Yeah boy, on any normal day, this would be a good time for a walk. Too bad there IS such a thing as freedom of the press" Donatello said, the dog affectionately licking his fingers.

The door to the main bedroom opened and out emerged Irma, the girl Donatello had been miraculously calling his girlfriend for a long time.

Unlike Donatello, she hadn't been indecisive about her appearance and was dressed for the occasion, sharply attired in a strict white collar shirt, black tie, and purple waistcoat. Her glasses were in her right hand, and her lips were rich with ruby lipstick.

She approached Donatello and kissed him rosily on the cheek.

"And how are we feeling this morning?" Irma asked

"I feel more like I'm IN Mourning" Donatello said, continuing to look out at the packed crowd of paparazzi.

"Pay them no mind, they're not so tough out there once you start chipping away at the little things about them" Irma remarked

"What little things?" Donatello asked

"Oh you know, their lack of a good aftershave, pointing out their teeth remain unwashed, the general sense of guilt they have over driving everyone they meet to fatigue and ruin...once you throw it in their face with a good lecture, their already vain reflections in the mirror crack and fall apart"

Irma sat down to put her high heels on and collect her purse, which was perched on the table opposite her.

Her loyal dog walked over to her and jumped up on the couch next to her. Irma took another gander at Donatello's outfit.

"You're not wearing that to the kind of circus we're going to" she said

"Do you have any brighter suggestions" Donatello said as he examined the crude blackness of his suit.

"Just the thing" Irma replied, and, after putting on her shoes, got up and looked through the wardrobe.

As he watched her, Donatello thought long and hard to himself, trying to fathom how he had gotten this far with her.

This was the woman who, several years ago, ran away from the notion of marrying three of his love-sick brothers.

This was the woman who had crushed on Master Splinter and had ran away in sheer horror when she saw him for the first time and realized he was a rat.

Yet this was also the same woman who had crushed on a robot of all things, Rex-1, and had openly blushed at Donatello when she mistook his compliments towards a satellite dish for some affectionate nod to her looks.

In retrospect, Donatello wasn't exactly sure himself if he meant the dish or not. After all, he'd been privately sorting out his feelings for her around the same time.

He didn't quite know when it had begun. He initially reckoned it was after Tony Vivaldi's men brought a whole building crashing down on him and she was the one to care for him when he reached out for help at her place of work at the time, a kind move which gave him back the strength he needed to act against Vivaldi and rescue his brothers.

Irma's odd behaviour and Donatello's general weariness of humanity triggered a rollercoaster wave of emotions and thoughts in his mind...he detested the way humans looked down on mutants even after all they'd done for them, and equally despaired when they let the Turtles know how much they appreciated their help.

They were so hard to pin down, so untrustworthy, so flawed.

He'd been tempted several times to put the human race behind him, knowing he'd been on this kind of rollercoaster all his life, but something always told him to have some measure of faith as that ride got bumpy.

Maybe it was because Master Splinter, the sensei that had taught him right from wrong and to put his mind to whatever he thought mattered, had been human once upon a time, and had shown great courage at the prospect of teaching four highly combustible elements how to function in the world, perfecting them in the art of skill and compassion.

Those traits conspired to anchor Donatello to the world he would very often tire of.

Sometimes he regretted it, as was the case today.

And then he would look at Irma, and all that weariness would wash away.

He didn't have to consider much else regarding the issue anymore.

He was there, they were here, because they loved each other.

Irma finished her search and emerged with a bright emerald green suit and matching tie with a white shirt and brown trousers, she tossed it to Donatello

"There, put it on" she said, "It's better to feel like you're in your element"

"Proud colours Irma" Donatello remarked, and promptly changed. He found the trousers a tight fit, and struggled a little in getting them on. He ended up tripping and falling down, which amused Irma greatly.

Finally, he was able to pull the trousers up and stood upright.

"There, how do I look?" he said.

"Like you're all over the place?" Irma remarked.

Donatello sighed, and slouched slightly. Irma, sensing his uncertainty, walked over to him and straightened him up.

"Look sharp solider" she said, "The day needs a bit of green fingers"

Donatello smiled, "I'll try to sculpt something out of the hedges that'll be bearing down on us"

Irma put her finger under Donatello's chin and leaned closer to his face, "I can always count on you cutting in" she replied

And then, in a moment of pure magic, the two exchanged a tender kiss that calmed every shot nerve in Donatello's body.

He was ready.

Irma disengaged from the kiss and walked over to the door, she hugged her dog tight and let it run out in front.

"First, let's cut our way through the weeds outside" Irma said, looking at the media wolf pack outside.

"Mustn't forget my pound of flesh" Donatello said, grabbing his goofy rubber human looking mask and putting it on to conceal his features.

No matter how important the story was today, the very notion of a public human and Turtle romance would only serve to over-sensationalise something already brimming with controversy.

After dropping the dog off at a neighbour nearby, the couple went down the stairs of the apartment complex, approached the lobby, clutched each other's hands tight, and exited the building, try to dash as quickly as possible to the car that was standing by to take them to their destination.

The pack struck hard with flashing cameras in their hands and frequent questions emitting from their lips

"Ms. Langenstien, or is it Ms. 'Tello? What can you share with us on your meeting today?" asked one, who Irma quickly dismissed.

"Can you explain just what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were doing at the party that evening?" asked another

"Why does your boyfriend have green hands?" asked a third.

"He's very sick" Irma said. followed by a sharp utterance of "...Of you"

Donatello moved in front of Irma, trying to shield her from the photographers. The driver of their car opened the door for them and they clambered in.

Soon the car was shooting down the main road. Some of the press tried following on foot, some took to their motorcycles. Donatello and Irma glanced at one another and breathed a sigh of relief as they were able to catch their breath from such a trying ordeal.

"That was nightmarish" Donatello said, "And you wonder why I only give some people my time of day"

Irma reached into her purse and pulled out a pair of gloves, "Put these on so they don't spot any trace of green beyond your waistcoat"

Donatello complied and put them on, "Sorry Irma, I didn't think about this"

"It's ok Donny, no one else is thinking, otherwise they'd be in their right minds about all this"

"I better call the guys, let them know we're on our way" Donatello said, and collected his turtle-com from the purse, he activated it and Michelangelo's friendly face greeted him

"Hey there bro, we're all gathered around the tube ready to watch the inquiry go live. You sure Irma is ready for something this monumental?" Michelangelo asked

"It's my fault she's in this much hot water, I just hope cooler heads prevail in there" Donatello remarked

Following a few slight detours to avoid any busy afternoon traffic as well as the persistence of the paparazzi, the car arrived at a large business complex, the Howard Oswald Tower, a think tank for shrewd businessmen and home to a very public inquiry.

Channel Six news reporters were on hand to greet Irma and Donatello as they emerged from the vehicle and attempted to head inside.

Leading the pack was Vernon.

"Well well Irma, it's nice to see you making a big splash in the papers" he said mockingly, "It's such a pity that your consistent habit of mucking things up is what gets you this sort of press, but then, what else would earn you a reputation?"

Irma's hand trembled as she clenched it into a fist.

"Why you condescending one-note, spineless little..." Irma began, only to be escorted away by Donatello and a flock of security guards.

"So much for journalistic impartiality" Donatello said.

"Oh I'm so glad I parted ways with that network...and thanks for parting me from him before I could arrange the same between his nose and his face" Irma replied

The two entered a vast room that was quickly locked behind them.

In front of them were a row of seats with people circling them from left to right, cameras zoomed in on the pair as they made their way to their own seats.

In the middle of the room were three officious looking people, two men, one woman. All were wearing glasses..

The two sat down, Donatello waved at the tribunal of three. They didn't wave back

"Not very accommodating on a social front" Donatello whispered

"Are we sitting comfortably?" said one of the three, pushing his papers together and staring menacingly at Irma and Donatello

"Ready when you are Mr. Speaker" Irma said.

"Before we begin Ms 'Tello...Langenstien, whichever alias you're using this day of the week, I hope you understand the futility of trying our patience. We have been told by reasonable sources that you have a tendency to be self-deprecating or break out into anecdotes about how badly your days have been, pointing out the smallest possible nitpicks and elongating them beyond the point of anyone's patience, this inquiry intends to get to the point very quickly, do not waste our time"

"I won't" Irma replied. Donatello approved, proud of Irma's bravery.

"It is my understanding that your boyfriend was also present during the evening in question...but that he had disappeared just as events spiralled out of control" the man continued

"I feel he is a credible enough witness, he had interactions with Professor Sagan" Irma replied.

"And you think a few rounds of casual social lingo can explain in great detail how an eccentric, yet well respected figure in the scientific community went out of his way to unleash unprecedented havoc on a vast group of innocent people assembled at that event?"

"You'd be surprised at what I can pick up after someone takes too much spiked punch" Donatello began

"Speak when you are spoken to" the man replied.

Donatello suddenly felt a lot smaller.

And as the tribunal's lead speaker continued his opening argument, grilling Irma over what role she had played in a tense situation that had unfolded those many months ago and how it had led to the fall of an overambitious scientist and a frightening ordeal for so many assembled at what appeared to be a harmless event, one thought crossed Donatello's mind.

How DID they get here?

Ask a silly question

He knew exactly how they got here.