Chapter 144: Kicking Back

A/N: I know the show starts the final season next week, but I thought I would do a filler chapter about what happened after they defeated Shredder and what they did. I hope that you enjoy it. Thanks for reading and reviewing this story so far. It means a lot to me that you're enjoying it. I definitely enjoy writing it though I am sad that this story will soon be coming to an end.

Disclaimer: TMNT and all related characters are property of Nickelodeon. I only own the plot and nothing more.

Defeating our greatest enemy was the greatest thing ever, so we had to celebrate. We went back to the farmhouse so that Splinter would know exactly what had happened. It was bittersweet in a way because we always thought we would beat Shredder and then Splinter would praise us. Or, that Splinter himself would beat Shredder. Still, it wasn't time to dwell on any of that as we had to move on in the only way we could.

Karai came with us and marveled at how pretty the farmhouse was.

"It's so beautiful here," she said as she looked around at the woods.

Raph smirked. "Never took you as the type to admire nature, Princess," he teased.

Karai glared at him. "Well, it's easier to appreciate beauty when you don't have someone keeping you locked up all of the time," she retorted.

"Hey, no fighting today," Leo chastised.

"Yeah, it's time to partaaay!" Mikey added.

"I think I want to explore the woods some more," said Karai.

"I'll show you around," said Leo as he joined her.

Raph nudged me. "How much you wanna bet those two are gonna make out in the woods?" he asked me.

"I don't think they'll do that, Raph," I said. "Leo doesn't feel that way about her. He told me he can't have those feelings because of her relationship to you guys."

Raph lolled his eyes. "Leo is so full of shit, Tony, and you know it. Besides, she wasn't raised with us and isn't living with us, so I think he should go for it."

I smirked. "This coming from the guy who once told Leo to stay away from her because she was bad news," I teased. "I never thought you were the romantic type, Raph."

Raph shrugged. "Hey, if it sounds good, go with it."

I really wanted to spy on Leo and Karai but figured he wouldn't like that very much, so I went into the house with the others. Mikey made food to eat, and Leo and Karai joined us a little later on. I could tell Karai looked a little mad and wondered what that was about. Leo's face looked impassive, but I could tell something was up with him too. After my food was consumed, I went outside to practice by myself.

As I was finishing up the last kata Splinter had taught me before his death, I heard a voice say, "Not bad."

I turned to see Karai observing me. "You really think so?" I asked.

"Yeah, you're not bad, but you still have a ways to go," she answered.

"But I'm getting there, right?"

She nodded. "Yeah. So, what's Leo teaching you anyway?"

"He hasn't begun teaching me yet," I answered. "I expect he will after this vacation is over though."

"Well, I was thinking of something else," she said. "I don' really have anything else to do now, so how about if I teach you?"

I gaped at her. "You really want to teach me?"

"Sure. I know a lot more than Leo does, and if you learn from me, you can become a master ninja faster."

The idea was tempting. I was tired of always falling behind and not progressing as fast as I wanted to. Karai was definitely skilled and I knew I could learn a lot from her and progress faster so that I could fight better than ever before. But then I remembered Splinter's wish to have Leo teach me after his passing. I couldn't disregard that no matter what.

"I appreciate the offer, Karai, but Splinter wanted Leo to teach me if anything happened to him," I replied. "I wouldn't mind sparring with you though."

Karai sighed. "Suit yourself," she relented. "But at the rate Leo is going, you probably won't be a master ninja until you're thirty-five."

I laughed at that. "Hey, better to go slow than to rush it. Are you ready for this?"

She grinned wickedly. "I was born ready."

I charged at her, my swords poised, but she dodged my attack skillfully ad kicked me in the stomach. She tried for a leg sweep, but I jumped over it and gave her a roundhouse kick. Not deterred, she jumped up and tried for what would be a killing strike, but I blocked it. We strained as each of us tried our best to knock the other off balance. Karai was strong, and I knew I would have to do something to throw her off balance.

"Give up yet, Tony?" she teased.

"Never," I grunted.

"I admire your spirit, but you'll never beat me," she boasted.

"Don't be so sure," I panted. I head butted her, causing her to stumble back. Then I swept her legs from under her and went for the pin, but she bucked me off and flipped me over, pinning me down.

"Looks like I win," she said simply.

"I guess so," I conceded. "Nice match."

"You too," she replied.

"What's going on here?" demanded a voice.

We both turned to see Leo striding toward us.

"We were just sparring," I answered.

Leo glared at me. "I'm your teacher now, Tony," he said.

"I know that," I said. "Karai offered to spar with me."

"Is that all she offered?" he asked me.

"No, I offered to teach Tony, but he declined," she replied.

Leo bristled. "I told you that I wanted to teach Tony and that's what Splinter wanted too."

Karai rolled her eyes. "There's nothing wrong with Tony have two teachers," she protested.

The blue-clad Turtle glared at her. "I'm his teacher and that's final. If you want to spar with him, you have to ask me first."

"Since when do I have to have permission to spar with someone else?" I countered.

"Since Karai tried to usurp my position," he answered. Then he turned and went back to the farmhouse.

"What crawled up his shell?" I asked her.

Karai sighed. "I think he's just upset with what happened in the woods," she answered.

"What are you talking about?" I asked her.

"Well, he was showing me the woods and how pretty they were and we stopped to sit on this rock by a stream," she began. "He told me how he loved coming out there when he was hurt and how it helped him to feel better. I looked at the water and something just came over me. Before I knew it, I kissed him. He pulled back from me and got really angry. He said that I better not do it again because it was wrong and Splinter would be ashamed of us. I tried to reason with him, but he wouldn't listen to me, so I fled and found you."

"Well, I don't see the problem here, but I can see why he would," I said.

"Why is that?"

"Because when you first met, he liked you and you were the enemy for the longest time. Then he found out you were his sister and he felt all weird when you would flirt with him. Now Splinter's gone and he has to take his place and feels it would be wrong to pursue you in a romantic way because he never got his father's approval."

"I don't think Father would have minded about it," she said. "There were times he would see us together and give me a smile and a knowing look like he could tell how we felt about each other and he was fine with it. Yeah, I wish I could have asked him about it, but that didn't happen. Still, I don't think it would matter because we're not kids anymore and we can pretty much do what we want now."

"But Leo is still dealing with the fact that he's head of the Hamato Clan now," I pointed out. "It's a lot for him to deal with and I think you really need to give him time. Maybe after giving him some space, he'll come around to it."

She sighed. "I guess you have a point. Thanks, Tony. You really are a good friend to talk to."

"No problem," I said.

22222

Things seemed better after that. Leo apologized to Karai for being so harsh and said that she could spar with me any time she wanted to. She accepted his apology and acted like nothing else had happened. The rest of our days were spent swimming, hiking, playing games, and some training. On the final night of our visit, we had a campfire.

Mikey sighed. "I really wish we didn't have to go back to the city so soon," he said wistfully.

"New York is our home, Mikey," Leo pointed out. "We can't just leave there and abandon the people who need us."

"Sure we could," Raph countered. "Most of them don't care about us anyway. Besides, the Mutanmals could take over for us and we could just relax here for the rest of our lives and not to have to worry about anything."

"We still have enemies out there, Raph," Leo pointed out. "Just because Shredder's dead doesn't mean there aren't others who will take his place. We have to go back and be ready to face whatever challenges we have."

"I get what Raph's saying though," Donnie chimed in. "It is nice to relax for a bit and not have to worry about anyone bothering us for a while."

"And leaving means leaving Splinter's grave," Raph added.

"But we can visit him whenever we want to and he's always here in spirit," I said. "He'll never really be gone."

"Tony's right," Leo said. "Plus, I think Sensei would want us to go back and keep patrolling the city just as we always do. He wouldn't want us to abandon our home."

Raph sighed. "Okay, fine," he grumbled. "We'll go back."

"Great," Leo said. "We can always come back another time."

"Plus, I have school and I need to pass if I want to graduate," I said.

"You have a point there," Donnie conceded.

We lapsed into silence as we watched the flames. We stayed like that until they burned out and then went back inside to go to bed.

22222

The next day, we packed up and left later that night so we wouldn't be spotted on the roads. The drive back was quiet as we thought about going back home and how it would be so empty without Splinter there to greet us. But I knew he would always be with us and we just had to keep believing that he would always be there for us when we needed him. Leo told me he was going to teach me how to reach the astral plane so I could talk to Splinter myself and that was something I was excited for. Yeah, we still had to worry about enemies, but at this moment, I was just happy to be with my friends having a nice vacation and coming home after a good long rest.

A/N: So glad I got this interlude done! Sorry it took me a while but I had other stories to think about and write so that sort of got in the way of this, but it's done now. Feel free to leave a review and have a shelltastic day.