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 SAINW AU - Aftermath

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VampireCat92
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PostSubject: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:44 pm

The room was too quiet after Donatello faded away. The Shredder was dead and there was so much blood on the floor. April tried her best no to cry, from relief and remorse. It was a major victory and a extreme loss. She needed to figure out a way to get out, but didn't worry too much about it. Every day was a fight for her life, today would be no different. Taking a breath, she went to go grab her rocket launcher and find a gun. A control room would be useful, and she could find a way to free the good Utroms and turn the Legions. There had to be a way to do it from this Palace because it was the main hub of the Shredder. She could discover the location of the dungeon as well and she could free some prisoners and maybe have some help since she was alone now.

One step at a time. A control room. First order of business. As she picked up her rocket launcher the ground shook. She jumped back and got it ready, preparing for an attack, when the ground around the Turtle Tunneler shifted and the dill moved forward. Who came out, she was not expecting at all. "Fireside! What are you doing here?!"

"Heard from a skittering spider than something big was going down!" A woman with ginger hair she remembered was named Andrea hauled herself up and once on her feet. She dusted herself off and looked around, then turned back and grabbed the hand of a black haired woman who looked greasy and just as rugged as April did wearing a ripped up grey mechanic's outfit.

"You're late." April put her hand on her hip, watching as four other people came out. She recognized the black haired mechanic as Madeline, or Maddy, along with Phoenix "Nix" and Sam. Following them was a young girl, Harlequin "HQ" "Harley", who was friends with her own daughter Abigail "Abby" and the two teenagers were about fifteen. The last was a black haired man, Andrew, otherwise known as Andy. "We got two other hackers and three people with fire power. What I wouldn't give to have had you all about thirty minutes ago."

"What?! What do you mean...oh god, Uncle Sam! The turtles!" Harley gasped as she took a glance around the room.

Nix cursed under his breath, "Madeline, Andrew..."


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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:53 pm

Andrew didn't need anyone to tell him what was going on and he rushed to the turtle's side, along side Madeline who also didn't see the point in being told what to do. They took their time, evaluating the injuries and checking for pulses.  Right now, they just needed to know who to save.

Which turned out all three of them. "Got a pulse." Was practically the chorus and each time it was said, a little less tension was released but a little more worry piled on. "We need to get them all into the hideout for proper medical." Andrew said briskly. "Maddie can you give us a hand?"

"No problem." Madeline took a breath in and out and started gathering up her magic to gently lift the turtles up. "Direct me."

Andrew did so, moving with his hands to show her how far up she needed to lift them, where to push, and when to stop so that he could get inside the drill and started to pile them in, being careful and mindful of the injuries. "We need to take this and go asap. Maddie's with me." He told them. "Everyone else is on their own."

"I see how you are, Andy." Sam teased, though the light didn't exactly touch his eyes. It never had since that tragic day. "Just drop us to a party that we're already late for."

"Isn't that Cassandra's line?" Andy retorted, but looked over at April. "You need them more than you need us."
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:55 pm

"Alright, time for orders. We're going to find the control room." April turned to who was left. Fire wielders and their one and only electric user. "Harley, you handle the Legions as you do. The rest of you guard all our sides. I'll take point. I remember the blueprints of the palace, it's just a matter of getting there."

"Lead the way, April. This place even have prisoners?" Nix asked, folding his arms.

"Karai was Shredder's pride and joy. If there are any, she would be the one to have them. That would be down below, but the control room will also have the direct location and the doors might be electronic so we'd need the access codes. We might have to do some back and forth." April shrugged, "Let's move out." She hauled up her rocket launcher and kept her eye out for a gun as they headed out the door to the hall where there was most definitely attackers lying in wait.

Harley just hoped the brothers would survive. After so long being separated, they needed to make it. Maddie and Andy would do their best, she knew that. She supposed she should be harder than this, but everyone told her to never lose hope. Hope is what drove them, along with love and care for each other. So, she did. She kept her head held high and still laughed and cried when those around her couldn't and wouldn't. Abigail was tougher than she was, too, and rarely cried. Daniel, Uncle Nicky, and Cassidy were the only other ones who would cry still, even if it was hard to do so. Someone had to.

They moved through the Palace with practiced ease, a formation automatic around her, a method natural and automatic. She would short-circuit the Karai Legions and the smell of burnt flesh and wires joined the smell of blood. At least she could say she had a hard stomach. Daniel didn't do on-site battles very well, and neither did Uncle Nicky.

It took them a while, but they made it to a control room at April's direction with a few nicks from near-missed bullets but nothing a quick bandage and ointment couldn't fix. April and her dashed to the leather seats after dispatching the people in the room and set to work.

"Geez, watching their fingers fly could make anyone's head spin." Andrea muttered as she stood by the door with Nix and Sam. "Let's just hope this works."

"Stockman gave me all the information he had on the Karai Bots years ago, especially after we captured the one and started modifying it." April answered her, "So that's what I'm doing first while Harley's trying to find the information on the control chips."

"Well, that makes sense I suppose." She took breaths to calm her heart-rate. Staying on an adrenaline run too long would be bad in the long haul since they still had to go to the dungeons. Avoiding a crash was necessary.

"I think I got the chips!" Harley called excitedly, "There's a lot of different types from the flying Utroms to the scientists. I'll do the flying ones first." She muttered to herself.

"And...I found the Legions!" April said next, happy and with a few quick clicks and taps the screen in front of her flashed green. There was suddenly shouting outside and screams and more shooting. "It worked. Now the prisoners..." she pulled up a level-by-level screen of the Palace.

"Trevor would be so proud about this." Sam muttered to Nix as he watched Harely work her magic at the computers. "Him and Miranda." He looked over at his brother in law. "I haven't seen Candy in a while."

"You and Mattie live elsewhere, even though Ian's arms are always open. Candy is doing well. Misses his music, of course. Keeps an eye out always when we go scavenging for a CDs for the CD player Harley made him last Yule." Nix smiled gently, sadly, his dark blue eyes black in the dim light, "How's Mattie?"

Sam pursed his lips together. "I'm worried." He admitted after a moment, shifting. "She's fine...but if she gets too excited, which is all the time, or if she does something that causes her to breathe fast or her heart to go fast, she starts coughing blood. It got so bad one time, I called Andrew to come over and check on her. It scared Harley half to death. It scared me worse."

"Of course it did, brother. At this point I don't think Harley or Cass could bring you back if anything happened. Of course, I am the same with Candy. We need to keep each other in check. I think...with the Shredder gone, you will hate this, but you should come to live with us now. Harley doesn't need to be protected from the separation anymore, and the turtles started fighting at fifteen as well. Just look at her. She's got this. The turtles are together again, on top of it all." Nix told him firmly, using logic to sway him.

Sam looked over at his niece, who was working excitedly to get things done. He couldn't see her expression, but he wouldn't doubt that there was a little furrow at the brow like Miranda, and her tongue poking out at the inner corner of her mouth like Trevor when they were concentrating so hard on something. "...I'll talk to Matt. She'll say yes, but...I'll talk to her anyway."

"You do that." Nix gripped his shoulder firmly, before looking at the women, "Are we going to move soon? If we don't the whole Palace will come crashing down around us before we reach the prisoners."

"Yes, yes I have everything I need. HQ?" April looked at the girl with one green eye, one amber.

"Yes....I just managed to switch the last microchips, the scientists. There were fire alerts popping up all over on my screen so it took me longer than I intended." Harley hopped out of her chair, "Let's hurry up!"

"Hey, I'm one one giving orders, little lady." April gave her shoulder a little shove, smiling, and nodded to the two men and Andrea. This time, they didn't have to fight as much as the Legions were wiping out the guards and people were running this way and that. Some tried to shoot at them, but they were burned and the group kept moving.

Down, down, down they went. It took them longer to get to the dungeons than it did tot he control room, but they made it. April took over here, flying to all the cells and punching in numbers, not even looking to see if there was anybody in them or if she knew them if there were. All she wanted to do was open them all, and let the people move and run. There were plenty of what looked like maimed scientists similar to Stockman, some regular workers, and a couple guards who had spoken out and paid for it.

Then, Harley cried out and grabbed her Uncle Sam's shirt, pointing, her eyes huge and wide. She was so shocked that she couldn't speak.

Casey was rubbing his eyes as he walked out into the bright room.
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:20 pm

"Didn't think I was going to see /that/ again." He muttered before he managed to really open his eyes to see what was happening. What he saw, made him stop cold. "April?" Her hair. It was cut so short, and she looked...she looked damn beautiful, but she also looked so tired. He went over to her, but he was careful. He didn't want her to think that she was going to get hurt, or that she was dealing with some sort of brainwashed moron. Not that April couldn't handle herself. "Holy shit!"

April's eyes were wide and she took a step back, her breath audibly catching in her throat, "No...no, it can't be..." she muttered. He looked damn near anorexic. They didn't feed him enough. He probably did pushups and crunches when he was bored, he had /some/ muscle still, but he was beat and cut up everywhere, scars littering his body probably closer to Leo's level than Raph's. His hair had streaks of grey and even white from stress. His limp from his bad knee was a little worse. "Raph...Raph saw you die."

"I got cut down, but not dead enough." Casey explained, rubbing the back of his neck. "They thought that since I was the best friend, they might be able to get information out of me. Then they thought maybe they could use me? Only the brainwashing thingy that they were working on never took. Whatever the hell it was. Jesus, April, it's been years...how's Abby? She's in her teens now isn't she? Fucking hell, I missed so much, I'm sorry."

"What's...going on out here?" A raspy, unused voice called and even Nix's 'holy shit' mingled with Harley's even louder cry of surprise. "I didn't even notice the door was open..." the cell behind the creature that emerged was littered with scratch marks and even old traces of blood.

"D-D-Donny?!" April's hand went to her chest, grasping over her heart, "You...you too?!"

"Fuck, April, breathe. You really might have a heart attack or stroke. My god." Nix bolted over to her side where she leaned heavily on him. He watched Casey look at Don with equal amounts of shock and even a bit of confusion.

"Casey? When did...April? Why do you all look so...?" Donny stared at them as they stared at him. His bandanna was nearly black-purple from grime, ripped in spots and tattered at the edges. His level of scarring was similar to Mikey's, but April recognized them as medical cuts rather than battle wounds. His eyes were also unfocused and glazed, like he wasn't all there.

"Okay, I get it. We're all back from the dead. We gotta get going. We can marvel at each other later." Sam said quickly, "I'm glad you guys are alive."

"Uncle Casey, Abby's going to be so happy to see you!" Harley came over to Casey's side now that Sam's voice got them all to look at him rather than each other, breaking them from their stupor, "Come on!"

"Who are all you people?" Don watched Sam, Nix, and Harley warily.

April straightened her back and got into Leader Mode, "They're friends, Donny. A lot of things have changed. You've been gone fifteen years, but it feels so much longer. Come on, I can explain everything later, like Sam said." She gave Casey a longing look to let him know she'd get to him later, too, but went for Donny, hooking her arm around his shell, his arm over her neck, "Come on, buddy. I got you."

"Okay." Donny said weakly, quietly. He could trust April. Then a new voice joined the fray.

"You're all going to die if you go that way."

"Who the hell are you and why should we listen to you?" Nix immediately had summoned some blue fire in his palm, wielding it threateningly. He was closest, he could protect his precious crew if need be.

"I'm a Betrayer. I was locked up, too. I was just waiting for the reunion to be done." The girl had shoulder-length dark brown hair and in the dim light what looked like dark brown eyes, "Karai was merciful on me, which is why I'm alive and standing here. I know a faster, safer way out. If you wish to leave me at the gate, that is fine. I would like to go with you, however."

She was pretty. Donny's smile was a little loopy, but he did, "If she helps us, I don't see why not. She can always leave later."

"God, that's so you..." April choked on the raw emotions in her throat, "Alright. At least give us a name."

"Sumiko. Come." She motioned to them and went a completely different way than where they had come in.

"Maddie's gonna want to keep her," Sam muttered to Nix. He knew that the lighthearted part of his tone was a little too dry for the moment, but he remembered how Maddie would pick up those who she thought needed the protection the most. It nearly got her killed, but she never, ever didn't reach her hand out. It made him feel a little sick that he would have to talk to Matt about moving back...even if it was a good idea.

"The more the merrier. I can test her later if you want me to." Nix muttered back as they moved through the halls.

"Sounds good, but later when we get everything sorted." Sam agreed, folding his arms and following them out of the building, happy that he wasn't stuck there for too long.

~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:04 pm

"You and your boy almost done?" Kyle called over the radio as he and Jacob sat in their second getaway car, waiting for their explosive experts to be done slapping C4 on the looming compound.

"Hooking up the last one right now." Jason said over the radio. "After that this place will be nothing but rubble and ash, thank the heavens."

"By the war in the skies I'm positive April and Harley managed to fix those microchips controlling everyone, and those scary ass Legions aren't an issue anymore, either. I'll still be happy to get out of here." Kyle called back, "Just waiting for a sign."

Jason looked over at Jose. "How about it, you done programming it? Should we tell Kyle to rev it up?"

Jose clicked one last wire into place and beamed at Jason, "As soon as April and the others pop out, we can watch the fireworks!"

Jason nodded, "Alright Kyle, everything's in place. We're just waiting for Team Fire to get out and then boom pop pow."

"Love it when you say that." Kyle cheered and turned the key on his car, "Get to your own van, then, just in case we have more than we bargained for."

"Which seems to be the case." Jacob hummed as he watched one of the side-doors pop open, and he switched the channel on his radio, "Lightning Force is to your left, we're over here to your right. We can only take four, Rebel Seven."

April took a moment to respond, getting her radio out, "Roger. We got some /very/ unexpected company."

Team Fire split off, taking little miss Electric with them and some random stranger while April lumbered towards them with...Jacob's breath hitched. "Well I'll be damned."

"What black magic is this?!" Kyle stared as Casey opened the door so he could fit the olive-toned turtle in. Well. Yeah, okay, he was big enough for two people, that was for sure and it was a squeeze for Casey and April on either side of him, but neither seemed to care. "Raph is going to lose his shit, you big loony! Good to see you!"

"Damn Kyle, did you forget how a pair of scissors work? Your hair is so long you could probably whip someone with that." Casey quipped back, even though Kyle's hair was only to his shoulders, much like how he's /used/ to be before they decided to get at it short. Well, it saved the major headache when someone decided that grabbing his hair and yanking it forward was a way to get him to pay attention. For him, it was just a fast way to get spit into their eyes. Not that they appreciated it. "How is Raph doing anyway?"

"Oh Case..." Kyle sighed, revving up his car and zooming out just as he finally saw Jason's van move, "Too much has happened."

"Raph's badly hurt right now. Maddie's taking care of him as we speak." April explained softly, "There was a big fight. Donny...there was some magical time jumping going on, like back in the old days, before all this. His younger self showed up. Brought Raph, Mikey, and Leo all back together."

"What...They separated?" Donny looked at April in confusion.

"Fifteen years." April reminded kindly, "Don't you see outside?"

Donny paused, obviously he hadn't paid much attention, but he leaned forward through the gap between the front seats, blinking slowly and his jaw dropped. "No..."

"Yes." Jacob frowned, "Anyway, April sent out a message through Kyle to get Raph to meet at the base, and April sent a random soldier to find Leo. Kyle had to go all the way back to Fireside to let them know, so we don't know what happened."

"Raph lost an eye." Kyle looked in his rear-view mirror at Casey, watching as Donny shot back in horror, "The fight you were /supposed/ to have /died/ in, he also brought back your broken mask. We used that as a way to bury you since he was too disoriented to bring back your body."

"The fight in the compound was real bad. Leo has a sword slash from Karai in his shell. Mikey's all cut up, too, probably will have scars to match Leo now." April added.

"Jesus." Casey sighed as he leaned back against the chair. "I wish I was apart of that fight. Woulda made them pay for a lot of things. I'm sorry Donny, I had no idea you were with me the entire time. I thought you were dead...I was worried about your brothers too. It was hard keeping Raph from blowing up...he wanted to hunt everyone down that could've been involved with you disappearing."

"Fifteen years..." Donny murmured, "It's awful here. A nightmare. New York...it's not bright and shining anymore..."

"Neither is the world." April rubbed Donny's arm, "Shredder did a complete takeover, and was working towards ruling the galaxy."

"That..." Donny's fists clenched in his lap, "Monster. That's what he is. Horrible monster. My brothers, my poor brothers...the world..."

"It's a nightmare." April echoed Donny and he looked at her puzzled. "Your other self said that, too. Nearly exactly."

"Good, because it's true. You...Kyle? Can you go faster?" Donny asked, "I want to see them."

"Casey boy, did you hear that? He asked me if I can go /faster/." Kyle grinned wide in the mirror.

"Hell man, if he wants fast, then you better put the peddle to the metal and start zooming. Otherwise you're going to make your spiders cry." Casey teased. "Brace yourself Donny, you don't know what you just asked for."

Jason leaned back in his seat and gripped the sides of it, tightening his seat belt, "Here we go." He sighed in exasperation.

"Yeehaw! That's right!" Kyle chirped and grabbed the gear-shift, and before they knew it, they were weaving in and out of the New York streets like the devil was on their tail.

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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:02 pm

His head pounded and he was becoming aware of the bright annoying light beyond his eyelids. Uck. April's lair. He didn't belong here. He belonged dead on the street. He shifted and hissed, feeling fire shoot through his abdomen. Fuck! His body was sore. There was a big fight, wasn't there? Shredder...Karai...he had flown at her and she slashed her katana at him. He had collapsed on Leo. Wait...if he was alive, was Leo? Maybe not Mikey, which made his chest ache, but if Leo was alive he could apologize properly. He cracked his eyes open and grunted, promptly closing them again, "Too bright, damn it, April..."

"Well, I hate to say it but I can't control the lights in here." A familiar voice said lightly, "Also I'm not April, but I can grab her if my ugly mug's too much for you."

Raph's eyes snapped open and he jerked, regretting it but he gritted his teeth through the fire of pain, and he nearly had a heart attack at who he saw. "Casey?!"

"Yo. You look just as bad as I do." Casey said with a small smile. "Long time no see...I missed you."

"Casey...you're not a ghost..." He had been sure he saw Casey's ghost haunting him all these years, but he was here. He wasn't see-through. "First Donny, now you. What...I can't..." he felt his eyes burning, "Casey, you're alive! You...you were taken prisoner, weren't you? Shredder was going to use you against me? That damn bastard..."

"Apparently Donny was in two places at once. With you and in prison with me for the longest time. Not that I knew about it." Casey bit his lip. "Yeah, he was going to do the whole brainwashy thing. You did good with Abby. I got to hang with her a bit before I decided to sit with you and surprise you. She's all grown up. Dude, she's amazing."

"Buttercup...oh god, she got to see you. Harley and Daniel...They really have grown. I did my best for you, man. I wasn't around much, I'm sure you've heard all about it, but I tried. I can't say no to Buttercup." Raph choked up, and he reached out to Casey, "You're too far in my blind spot, come closer, you big bonehead. Shit, I'll have to find you a new mask." Then the other part of what Casey said hit him, "What?! Donny's /actually/ alive?!"

"Yeah man, he's sitting with Leo right now." Casey grinned and moved closer so that he could be in Raph's sight. He was about to open his mouth when he noticed that someone was standing over the bed. "Oh...Hey Mads."

The young female had dark black hair that barely touched her shoulders and her mechanic's outfit had been changed for a tanktop and some cut up jeans. Her hands were nervously tapping at her thigh. "You're over exciting, Casey." She said gently. "Raph needs rest, not you rising his blood pressure every five seconds."

"This is you trying to kick me out." Casey grinned, though he looked hesitant. "Come on, if I promise I won't do anything else, can I stay?"

"Casey I know you, you won't." Maddie frowned folding her arms. "Rest and healing comes first. You can play catch up later."

"Don't you dare make him leave." Raph's hand found Casey's wrist, panic welling in his chest. "Who are you, anyway? You're not April. Who are you to tell me my medical crap?"

"You wouldn't make it past me." Madeline said confidently. "But your stomach is fucked up as you put it. The more strain you have on laughter or tears or any strong emotion, the more it'll tear. I'm not saying he's going to be barred forever. Just for now."

"Raph as much as this is amusing to me to see her try to fight you, I /really/ don't want to try to carry you the way I am back to the bed if you collapse." Casey said gently to him. "I'm sure you'd put up the effort, but I just don't got the strength."

Raph hadn't missed how thin Casey's wrist was in his hand, or how hallow his cheeks were. "I'll let you go if you go eat some fucking food."

"I'll eat something," Casey promised. "And Maddie over here's going to drag me to over to Andy if that's his name, and then I'll be sorted nutrition wise and then I'll sneak back in here and we'll hang."

"Don't tell her your plan, genius." Raph rolled his eyes, but he slowly, hesitantly, released his wrist.

"Well, I'm not the one with the fuck up stomach, I can take her." Casey promised as he stood up and gently patted Raph's shoulder. "I'll eat something and then you can have your moment to rest and it'll be good." He turned to Maddie. "He's rough around the edges, but he's a soft teddy bear underneath it. So don't let him scare you."

Maddie's lips quirked up and she watched Casey leave. Her smile disappeared, "He should be in medic too, but he's stubborn." She turned to Raph. "Just breathe. When he's done eating he can come back here. Just don't be...um...loud and obnoxious."

Raph grumbled low, but he snorted and settled back on the medical cot, "I just don't want him to disappear..." he muttered tiredly, realizing just how riled up he had become, "I already lost him. He's real this time."

Madeline walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed, letting one of her hands start smoothing out the fabric. "He won't disappear on you." She said softly. "Just like Donny won't. Just like Leo and Mikey won't either. They're real. You held his wrist. Just remember that. You touched him. That makes him more real than any nightmare."

"Mikey's here, too? The Bots got him good. I thought..." Raph closed his eyes, the adrenaline from seeing Casey and learning about Donny wearing down, "That's good, real good. If Leo and Mikey are going to be okay, then I guess you're not so bad."

Madeline stood up and patted his shoulder gently. "Sleep. Rest. I'm glad you no longer um...see me in a bad light. Go to sleep." She turned off the light by him and moved away, quietly walking out so that she could check on others.

"I thought I was gunna have to grab April, things were getting kinda heated in there." Andrea greeted Maddie as she came out, "Leo's starting to wake up, but Donny's got him. I just saw Cassidy go to Mikey's infirmary room. The kitten must've escaped."

Madeline closed her eyes and pinched her nose. "I'm going to go towards Cassidy then, that kitten better not be knocking over Andrew's equipment I'll never hear the /end/ of it."

Andrea laughed quietly, "I'll keep an eye on Donny and Leo and come get you if needed."

Madeline gave her a thumbs up and headed off towards Mikey's room, letting out a soft whistle of a sigh.

~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:12 pm

Cassidy knew from the bottom of her heart that she was going to be in so much trouble if that poor kitten didn't get out from underneath Mikey's bed. The playful little fluff of orange thought that everything was a game and a toy, so why wouldn't it have a ball of fun trying to destroying things that were precious and medical and /needed/. "Come on." She whispered, inching herself against the edge of the bed, reaching her hand out. The kitten smart enough to only be a finger tip away. "Get out from underneath there, I can't physically get under here."

The kitten just stared at her with both challenge and with no fucks given. Cassidy wanted to groan, this was not going to look good if Madeline found her like this, or better Mikey waking up because what girl in her right mind try to get underneath a turtle?

No girl. Not even for sex.

Which was kind of a shame, Mikey was kind of cute looking. But that was so beside the point, she needed to get this kitten /out/. Deciding that staying on that one end wasn't going to do much, she shoved herself off the floor and quietly made her way to the other side. The kitten already scampered out from underneath the bed, making Cassidy curse. She cursed louder when she thunked her head from trying to pull away from the bed too fast. Well thank god for small mercies that Mikey was /still/ out like a light, though he did shift.

Madeline was going to flay her alive.

Cassidy managed to get on her hands and knees and got herself up. And just as the kitten thought it was wise enough to pass her, she threw herself on to the floor and managed to catch the damn thing. "Ha ah!" She said as she picked up the orange kitten. "You couldn't outsmart me for long you rascal you." She looked over at the bed and she gave the kitten a look. "Since we're here...let's stay a while. Maddie can't get /too/ mad at us...poor guy doesn't have anyone by his bedside unlike his brothers. No fair."

It wasn't too long before Mikey shifted some more. He had vaguely heard the scuffle, but he couldn't bring himself to wake up. He just wanted to sleep. It didn't feel like a threat, anyway. He became more aware as there was an indent in his bed. Light. Had to be a female. April? No, she had too much to do. No one really stayed with him when he was injured except maybe Nicky or the teens. It was nice to be a role model. Still, it was lonely. He fell into the darkness again, but came back to consciousness with a start as he heard a mew.

He fought hard with his body to work out of his stupor. He was heavily medicated, he could feel it. When he opened his eyes, everything was blurry and unfocused yet the colors were extra sharp. He closed them and opened them again, trying to find the source of the next mew and all he could really see was orange and the rough shape of a cat. "Klunk?" he asked, feeling tears well up and he sniffed, "Is that you, buddy?" No, it couldn't be. Klunk had died when the base got raided. Even if he hadn't, he would be too old to be alive besides.

"Klunk's a good name." Cassidy said gently as she looked at the cat that was on her lap. She stroked the fur. "I haven't gotten a chance to name him...he was underneath a building that collapsed. His mama and his siblings all gone, he was barely surviving...I decided that I should take him in."

"Too...blurry. Can't really...see you." Mikey raised his hand, feeling the IV in his arm as he did so. He was wobbly and unstable, "May I...Pet?" He was crying now, "Miss...my cat."

"Yeah." Cassidy said softly and she got up and sat down closer to him on the bed. She gently grabbed his hand and lead it down to the cat so that he could pet. The kitten mewed and then started purring loudly.

"You like me? Hmm?" Mikey asked the little thing. He could feel he could barely fit in his hand if he held him. "Just a...baby. Klunk the Second?" he offered, his unfocused baby blues flicking up to Cassidy's face, "What's...what your name? M'Mikey."

"I'm Cassidy and Klunk Junior sounds good to me." Cassidy smiled, feeling her own tears well up. She was happy that she was able to give him something. Even if she didn't have any medical training or any type of magic or abilities, she was able to give him some sort of comfort in the form of a cat. "I didn't want you to wake up alone."

Mikey's bottom lip quivered, and he made a soft choking sound. "Klunk Junior. Yeah...thank you, Cassidy. Pretty name. Sure...sure you're pretty, too. Leo'd say...you'd have a good....soul, I'm sure. He here? Raph? Cant be...just me."

"Raph and Maddie got into a fight about what it means to rest." Cassidy assured. "And Leo's still asleep last time I checked. Donny's with him and Casey was with Raph....though he did leave so I think Raph knocked himself out."

That got a weak smile from Mikey and he shook his head slowly, "Stubborn..." he mumbled fondly, but then he stilled. "Young Don?...Casey?" He was so very confused. "That's not...what?"

"Well, he looks young." Cassidy frowned as she petted K.J and sighed when the cat left her lap to start climbing up on Mikey. "Traitor." She whispered though smiled anyway as the cat curled up on Mikey's lap defiantly. "But yeah they were imprisoned by the Foot. Apparently they were going to try a brainwashing technique on them to have them go up against you guys, but it kept failing."

"Our Don...not time-travel Don..." Mikey rubbed his face, then went back to petting baby Klunk, enjoying the warm feeling as the fluffy ball curled up right on his plastron, "Casey, too...wow. Alive for real. That's...amazing. So happy. Raph needed Casey...Donny'll keep us together. Always had. Proved that...across dimensions."

"I'm glad I was able to give that to you." Cassidy said with a smile on her face. "I'm happy that you're happy and your spirit seems brighter. You were so sad earlier. I'm glad I managed to brighten you up somehow, someway. Maddie would be so angry with me if all I did was make you upset."

"I'd like you...to stay, if she'll let you. I know how...picky healers can be." He smiled wistfully, "April...too busy. Raph laid up...and feels like he can't. Leo the same. Lonely. You help." He promised her, "KJ helps. Not so lonely."

"I'll let her stay." Maddie said softly making Cassidy jump ten feet in the air. "Sorry I was just waiting for a moment." She said with a smile as Cassidy stuck her tongue out. "She seems to be doing you more good than what Casey was doing to Raph and you could use the company. How are you feeling, Mikey?"

"Tongue keeps sticking. Mouth dry." Mikey answered easily enough. He was usually the most cooperative with medics, Leo always lying and saying he's fine, Raph just outright grouchy. "Hope Raph didn't...snap too bad. Had he...been human, he wouldn't...go to the hospital or doctor...unless it was life or death."

"He didn't want me to take Casey away and I told him to fight me." Madeline said with a smile as she approached. "I'm going to touch your arm and I'm just going to look at your eyes...you're a bit drugged up so I'm not surprised you have a dry mouth. Will you be alright if I give Cassidy some ice chips? When you're feeling a little more stable and a little less drugged, we'll talk about getting some food into you. Something easy on the stomach. That sound good to you?"

"Mmm...ice sounds good." Mikey agreed, "Drugs makin' things real blurry. Told Cassidy she's...pretty anyway."

Madeline's smile went wide. "Well. No one told me you'd be the charmer. I'll let Andy know and we'll start tapering it off a bit so that you're not walking around blind as a bat and calling everything you see pretty. Cassidy will take offense to it."

"I will not." Cassidy's cheeks flamed. "Don't listen to her, Mikey. You can call whatever you want pretty."

Mikey actually felt a chuckle bubbling up and he winced, and when he smiled his lips split and started bleeding, but his body continued to shake, "I like you. Humor. Hard to find."

"Oh man Maddie look what you did." Cassidy fretted as she found a few tissues and started blotting his lips. "Get out before you make him bleed more."

"Don't tell the medic to get out." Mikey's chuckle bubbled into his voice.

Madeline cracked up. "I like you." She said cheerfully. "I think you and I will get along real swell. But Cassidy's right I'm the one troubling you now." She patted his shoulder. "I'll go grab you those ice chips and talk to Andy about getting you a little less high."

"Mmm...maybe being high is...good right now. Don't feel...much pain. Legion Bots...messed me up. I know they did." Mikey shook his head, "Ice yes. Thank you."

"Alright." Maddie said and left the room. Cassidy beaming and she turned to Mikey with a grin.

"I'm glad she made you laugh." Cassidy told him. "You have the best laugh."

"Haven't in a long time. Should 'ear me when...it's a real deep..." Mikey started yawning, splitting his lip more but he just couldn't stop the flip-jaw yawn until it was done and clicked his teeth when it was over on it's own, and he shook his head again, "Real deep belly laugh. S'rry. Try 'n' stay awake...fer that ice, but m'tired."

"I'll tell you what, the second you wake up, I'll grab the ice for you." Cassidy said gently. "You need rest more."

Mikey smiled at her and nodded, petting Klunk a few more times before he let his eyes drift closed fully now and mumbled 'thanks' again under his breath before the darkness found him.

~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:16 pm

Don's mind was thinking of everything and nothing.

There were times where he would blank out from his current train of thought, look at the clock and it had been twenty minutes, an hour, once or twice more than one hour. Then he'd be going on and on in circles for roughly the same amount of time. Madeline tried to get him to rest, as did April, but he just smiled at them and told them he knew the drill. He did fall asleep on Leo's bed once in a while, but it never lasted very long. He'd never been very good at sleeping, or taking his own advice.

His insomnia had proved to be both a boon and a bane. Days blurred together, weeks, months, then eventually years. He maybe kept track of about five of the fifteen, scattered here and there. He counted by the routine checkups to make sure he was still alive, and that their meager portions of food was enough to keep him sustained. They'd also take the time to do blood tests and cut on him and poke him. Experiments, wanting to try and recreate the ooze that had changed him and his brothers. Shredder wanted a mutant army, retarded monsters raised from birth to be nothing but pawns, or unfortunate captured soldiers mutated to be something they should never be.

He had managed to fight them sometimes, but he had always been the weaker of the four brothers, and they kept him too drugged up after the first few times for him to get very far in a plan. He never made it out of the palace in any of his attempts. Too many enemies ready to drag him back.

The drugs were also why everything blurred together too much, where there were times he didn't even remember the experimentation days to count. The brainwashing Casey mentioned, too. Electroshock therapy to turn them to jelly, repeating things over and over in their ears. He was too smart for it. Casey had a deep rooted sense of self and knew how to pretend to lessen the pain, make them think it worked when it didn't. He probably fought a lot harder, too.

Casey had come in a time or two from sneaking in and out of Raph's room to give him a quiet pat on the shoulder to make him stay in the present, or to offer him a sandwich. Good food, real food. He'd forgotten what it was like. It would probably be a long time before anyone had things like pizza or burgers. After things settled down, people would begin to farm, grow their own gardens. New York would be rebuilt from the ground up. He might be able to rig up some internet by finding a place to re-calibrate a satellite. Maybe even make his own 'turtle dish' or something of the sorts, but he had no way to get it up there. Maybe the good Utroms could help that along.

Wonderings and plans for a far off future. That was all he had the time to do in that cell. Why his nails were permanently chipped and bloody, even if he had tore apart the bedding and used nails and screws to etch on the walls instead.

He was so wrapped up in his own head, he didn't notice the bed shifting and a firm hand grasping his arm from where he was leaning on the bed.

Leo opened his eyes, though they were sightless. He couldn't see anything but the shadows that were surrounding him and a dark purple aura that was sitting next to him. Younger Donny had a bright purple, that showed that he hadn't lost himself in the battles and the years that he had went missing. But this purple was vastly different. He didn't know anyone who had a purple aura, besides' Donny. He gripped the wrist that he was holding a little tighter, and softly gasped. "Donny?"

Don blinked rapidly and the room came back into focus. "You awake now, hmm?" he smiled softly, prying Leo's hand off his wrist so he could grasp it in both hands instead, "I was kidnapped, Leo. I'm so sorry."

"No, don't be sorry." Leo said, trying to sit up. For once he cursed that he didn't have his sight. He wanted to know what Donny looked like right now at this time. He could remember how enthusiastic the younger Donny had been, but this one. This one was so different. He squeezed Donny's hands. "I'm the one that's sorry. We thought you were dead or that you just...left us. That you got fed up and wanted to try to live your own life. We're the ones that's sorry. We failed you. /I/ failed you."

"Leo..." Donny's voice was thick, and he pressed his other hand on Leo's chest, "You stay right where you are, your shell must be hurting like no tomorrow." He ordered firmly, watching the recognition flash across his face. He had seen the sunglasses on the bedside table, and looking at the cloudy brown orbs he knew. "I don't know why any of you thought I'd up and leave you. No note, not a word. That's not like me at all and I do feel a bit ashamed at you all for assuming that. Something to someone, or a message on my computer system, in my room. Raph's more the type to up and leave, but he always comes back, or usually makes his presence known in some fashion. I would have done the same, even if I did just pop out. Being dead is a more reasonable thought process."

"It was such a better thought than thinking you were dead, Don." Leo said his voice heavy with emotion. "I'd much rather you would have left without a trace...thinking you were alive. Than to have images in my head that we weren't fast enough to save you. That you were dead...and that we just didn't..." He sighed heavy and he squeezed his hand again. "We failed you anyway, for not trying harder. For not getting to you faster. But I'm so glad. So glad you're here." He felt a few tears fall down his cheeks. "Raph needed you so much...his fire just overwhelmed him. He couldn't see anything else but revenge. Mikey...he just wanted to do the right thing. I was stuck. I was stuck trying to live to what Master Splinter wanted me to be, and the world that was changing so rapidly I knew it wouldn't go."

Don could understand that, and felt his eyes burn. "I became rather cynical and realistic in that cell. Forgive me for being insensitive, brother." He rubbed his hand over Leo's plastron where it sat, "I'm not...well. In the head, at least. I haven't wanted April to do a checkup on all my vitals and internals and things, not yet. I needed to process what was going on, and...as you all would come to me to vent, you were always someone I could be calm with."

"You know I forgive you, Donny. I don't doubt we're all sick in some fashion," Leo said, closing his eyes to the dark purple and opening them again, taking him in as much as he could. "If you were doing really well in that cell, I'd be more concerned for your health. So much has happened..." He sighed softly. "But I'm glad you still see me as someone that you can be calm with. Even after all these years."

"I am going to be very clear with all of you as I get the chance, but I can start with you. Fifteen years doesn't mean anything." Donny was the one to grip Leo's hand real tight now, "Come to me, just as you used to. I want to hear it all. I want to be there for you now. I don't care how deep or dark it is, if it's irrational or it's rude and mean about everybody else and how things have gone. Everything's always been confidential. If you're the leader, then I'm the team therapist, damn it. I know, I can see, you've all resorted to killing. Maybe not you, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mikey and Raph have picked up a gun. I sure as hell saw April's rocket launcher."

"Mikey did. Has." Leo sighed closing his eyes again. "I'm sure Raph has too. I wouldn't be surprised, Casey's death...it hit him so hard. Losing his eye, even more."

"And you, your sight. Are you really, completely blind, Leo? Or has your spirituality helped you out?" Donny asked, placing his head heavily on Leo's knuckles.

"I can see your aura. It's a very dark purple, when your younger self would be a bright and vibrant shade of it." Leo opened his eyes and gently tugged Donny's hands to get him to lay his head down on his shoulder and used his hand to hold him at the neck instead. A lot more comfortable and a lot more comforting and grounding to know that he was really there. "But everything else, I just see shadows and that's only on a good day. Sometimes my sight...wavers between good and bad. Sometimes I can only see auras and everything else is black. Sometimes, I'm lucky enough to see shadows."

Donny wished he could climb onto the bed beside Leo, but settled for this, holding him tight around his middle, his tears starting to soak his mask and then down to Leo's skin, his ruined trench coat hauled off somewhere to be repaired. "I'm going to continue what my younger, alternate self was doing. I'm going to keep trying to bring everybody back together. I can do it, I can find what I need. A prosthetic for Mikey, maybe a fake eye for Raph, or cybernetics. It'll be so nice, to hear them shout 'cool' and 'radical' again, wouldn't it? I think you'll be able to see auras better and more frequently as we mend. Less stress, more meditation, training together like we used to. You've always been heavy on your beliefs. If it granted you Aura Sight, you can heal with it, too."

It was nice, to hear Donny rattle about what he wanted to do and fix. It hurt his heart that Donny placed his brothers on that list, for they didn't deserve it. But he wasn't ever going to spit at Donny's gift. "Just don't burn yourself out, Don. I know how you can get. Have you been sleeping at all? You should rest."

"I've caught a few winks here and there." Don told him honestly. "I'll rest, right here. You go back to sleep, too."

Leo chuckled softly, "Can't be too comfortable sleeping like this, but I'll take what I can get. Normally I'd just bully you back into bed."

"You make a good enough pillow, now shut up." Don smiled against Leo's shoulder, "We can talk more later."

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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:36 pm

Leo stood at the doorway that was leading into Mikey's room. The dark dusty orange aura of his baby brother was a constant agonizing reminder of how much he had fucked up. Not finding Donny, and not fighting harder to try to get Mieky away from the Resistance. For not realizing sooner that perhaps he needed to change his ways before anyone else got hurt. He knew that he should go in. He knew that he should sit down by Mikey's side and talk to him, but at the same time he wondered if that was the right thing to do. Mikey was so fast to forgive, so fast to show mercy, he wondered how many scars were on his heart for it. How many times he turned to help, only to discover that no one was there. He was so proud of him. Proud that he did the right thing, proud that he was stronger than everyone of them. Master Splinter always saw potential in him. He knew that he could grow up strong. Stronger than Leo, and he did. He did at such a terrible, terrible cost.

What he wouldn't give, to see a brighter orange.

"This isn't particularly the type of world where shoulda-coulda-wouldas should sing a tune."

Leo looked over to the voice and saw a pale yellow aura staring right at him. "You're a mind reader? Or am I that obvious?"

"Plain answer is yes, it's pretty obvious by your longing expression and the fact you're standing here like a ghost. My answer is you're movement is similar to our own leader, Ian. Yet your hesitating to take care of your team." She folded her arms, "Even with a cat and a new friend, his heart still aches. The four of you bleed the same note of loneliness."

"He found a cat? A new friend?" Leo shouldn't be surprised, but he kind of was. He was surprised that once more Mikey proved to be stronger than them. He had a friend made and a cat. Leo huffed a soft laugh. "Master Splinter would be proud of him."

"Broken records are no fun." She shook her head, "Are you proud of him?"

"So proud." Leo said looking back into the room. "He didn't let this war destroy him."

"Then continue to sing that tune and tell him that. Replace the old record with a new one and take care of it this time." She unfolded her arms and waved her hand at him, walking passed him down the hall without another word.

Leo watched her leave with a little bit of awe and curiosity, but he decided not to go after her and press it. She was right, it didn't do well for no one to hear his praise besides strangers. He walked into the room, the shadows were a little worse today so he had to use his hands and carefully move himself around the room. He came to the chair that someone must have been sitting in before, probably Mikey's new friend and sat down in it. He looked at the orange that was resting on the bed and he decided to remain vigilant till he woke up. Whenever that was.

It didn't take long. As Andy and Maddie had lowered the dosage of his medication, he was becoming more aware of when people came in and out of his room. He usually got excited and woke up quickly when he recognized the light, airy movements of Cassidy or the cute mews of KJ. This time, he took his time, wary. This presence he knew, certainly. It was more solid. Dense was a better word. It didn't pulse like the other one, the one he knew was Raph's. He felt this one less, mainly because Raph was ten times more protective of him being the baby bro and even as he never showed his face through the years, he hadn't truly abandoned him. Raph was brash and loud, but a true ninja when he wanted to be.

"Leo." He acknowledged slowly, carefully, as he blinked his eyes open. too restless to keep them closed any longer.

"Hello, Mikey." Leo understood the caution, the weariness. He knew that if he was laid up in bed and it was them that were coming to visit, he would be as tense as a bow string. He smiled, hopefully kindly and hopefully it made his little brother relax a bit. "How are you feeling?"

They just fought and nearly died together. He shouldn't be rude. Mikey took a breath slowly, in and out, to stay calm. "Since they lowered my dosage, I'm feeling more sore than I did the other day. At least, no offence to you, things aren't so damn blurry and I can see what's going on. I'm petty bandaged up and all the medics told me I'd probably be in here at least two weeks."

Leo clicked his tongue, but he was pleased that he wasn't seeing double anymore. "I heard from someone with a yellow aura that you have a friend that visits. That should take away at least some of the boredom. Though I know you'll be itching to get out of bed and doing things you want to do as soon as you're able. You used...or maybe are...highly active."

"It's what's kept me going, so you're not wrong." Mikey thought for a minute. Who could have a yellow aura...Cassidy would be a bright color, but maybe more green than yellow. Maddie might probably be red or pink. "Andrea? Did she talk in phrase?"

"If you mean talking about records and broken and playing a new song, then yes." Leo said with an amused chuckle. "So that's her name, I was curious. Do you mind if I ask what your friend's name is? I also heard you found a cat..."

"Ah, yeah, that's her. She came to chat with Cassidy while they thought I was asleep. Cassidy was there when I woke up the first time. I called her pretty even though I couldn't see her properly. I was also on my drug high. Then when I saw her face for real, I said 'wow you really are pretty' because I got excited." Mikey was kind of glad Leo couldn't see his tinted cheeks, "The kitten, he's just a baby. Real little. A couple months at least since he's active. I..." he paused, his voice catching in his throat, "I...thought he was Klunk. We...we named him KJ, or Klunk Junior instead."

Leo's smile softened at the catch that Mikey had. He reached out, but he didn't know where Mikey was injured, nor did he know which arm was the bad one. So instead, he just rested his palms on the bed. "She sounds like she's good for you. I'm glad that you found another cat to bond with, I know how much Klunk meant to you."

"You trying to touch me, Leo?" Mikey asked gently, "My left arm was the one I lost. You'll have to move your hand up to my shoulder instead since you won't...find anything there."

Leo moved his hand up and felt Mikey's shoulder. He moved his hand a little more and was able to give it a proper squeeze. "...You know you were always braver and stronger than me."

Mikey gave him a disbelieving sidelong look, hoping he /felt/ it even if he couldn't see it. "Now what on earth makes you say that? I sure as hell wasn't able to keep us all together. At least you two didn't lose any limbs, either." The venom dripped into his voice now.

Leo let it hit him. He let the jab hurt and then let it fade. He deserved worse. So much worse. "You were able to do the right thing and move with a world that I wanted to rebel against. You, who seen so much and went through so much, was able to make a friend and you bonded with a cat despite losing Klunk. You moved through this world with so much grace, Master Splinter would've been so proud of you. I'm proud of you. You lost so much...yet you endured a lot better than I have."

Master Splinter was always proud of them no matter what. He was their father. Yet, the second part gave Mikey pause. He was quiet a moment, letting it tumble in his head just to make sure he heard right. "It's different when you say it." He told him when the shock wore off and he wasn't opening and closing his mouth like a fish. "You're...proud of me?"

"Very much so." Leo said, letting his voice show the emotion that he bottled. "Everyone called me Fearless. That name should have belonged to you. I'm sure there were many, many times you were scared, but I know that you always showed fear what it was dealing with. Even if it took something away from you. You still stood up and said you wouldn't be afraid of it anymore."

"Being adaptable is what helped me a lot of the time. We're all pretty stubborn, too." Mikey agreed softly, regarding his eldest brother with a mix of awe and curiosity and a tear slipping down his cheek startled him. He wiped at it, "Please tell me, Leo. Raph I get. Raph makes sense, why he left. Why did you?"

"Because I was no longer certain." Leo said after a moment. "Of how much use a blind ninja would be, and how much use it would've been fighting against the Shredder. I watched countries fall. I listened to people get hurt. I stayed on the streets and did my best to protect those that I could, but in the end, I just had...I had to go away...to find my resolve again. To figure out, if this was really a world I wanted to end my life fighting. I was prepared...I was finally prepared to die. And die knowing that maybe, just maybe, we were able to fix the mistakes that we made. That I was able to fix my own. Now I'm here, and the war's finally over and not a single one of us is perished. For me, I'm grateful for that....and I vow to fix this. Even if we don't fit the same anymore."

"I joined the resistance because I didn't like fighting by myself. I'm no leader, and you wouldn't guide me anymore, blind or not. I know we argued about joining it together, but while it is nice in it's own way you thought I could handle myself, I still needed you. Getting sidetracked almost killed me, with no one to give me orders or snap me to attention. I didn't want April to be my leader, but she gave me a path to follow. I really am a follower type of person." Mikey explained, his throat feeling raw and he was crying more now. "While I never saw him, Raph saved my tail a lot of time. I never felt you watching me. It made me so sad, that you wouldn't even come to check on me."

Leo felt his heart clench and he bowed his head, letting his hand fall away from Mikey's shoulder. "I wish I had known the hurt I caused you. I wish I could have gone back in time, and at the very least did what Raph done and checked in. But I didn't and I am sorry. I know it fixes nothing, but it's all I can give."

"I know. I'm just..." Mikey's heart ached seeing Leo's dejected expression and he had to twist to grab him with his right hand, "I don't mean to hurt you with this. I'm just...trying to explain to you, what I was thinking, how I felt. Time travel would only create a paradox. We know how that works. What matters is here and now. That's also how I kept going. I didn't look back. I would be hurt in the moment, but once it passed I could go a little further."

Leo wished, once more that he could see Mikey. See really what he had become. But all he had was tales, his voice, and his aura and it would have to be enough. He gently pushed Mikey back onto his shell and placed his hand back on his shoulder. "I know." He said softly. "You see what I mean? Stronger than me."

"I'm a shell-fer-brains, remember?" Mikey's smile was weak, "You think too much. I just...am. You are strong, Leo. So is Raph. You two survived all by your lonesome, even with the loss of sight. I couldn't. That's how we always worked, playing off each other's strengths and weaknesses. Your plans, you wouldn't hesitate to actually give Raph a role to go on his own somewhere to do something while you'd pair me with somebody to keep my head on straight. I miss that. I miss you, droning on about this that and the other thing while you point at maps, Donny blabbering about his gadgets and gizmos we got to use that night, Raph arguing points of your plans if he thought something was screwy, but always to better the plan. I hate you two...that he...and it all fell apart." He knew it was a sore spot to mention /that/, on /how/ Leo got blind. "Donny's back now, though. Maybe we can fix it. Mostly."

"Mostly." Leo said, but taking everything Mikey said to heart. He gently moved his hand from Mikey's shoulder and found his head. He ran it back and forth a bit before he once more set his hand down. "We got a lot of work to do, but right now, you and Raph should rest. As much as you two can."

"Watch your footing so you don't kick the fuzzball, since your free. I dunno how animals work with your shadows and auras and stuff." Mikey settled back on his cot, feeling emotionally drained along with physically exhausted, "Drop back and lemme know what you think of Cassie's aura, I think I said you'd think she'd have a pretty soul. I was real high."

"Well, one of us had to have the ability to talk to women. Raph would just terrify them and I'm not too sure how well I'd do. Donny wouldn't care or at the very least they'd have to be able to keep up." Leo said standing up carefully. "But I will come back again. And hopefully I'll get to meet your friend. I'm sure she does have a pretty soul. Someone who can connect to you must."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:05 am

It was about the evening of the third day when he heard hasty footsteps. He stiffened and for the millionth time looked for his Sais on the far counter in a basket to make sure they hadn't been moved. It would be just their luck to get holed up somewhere to rest and then get raided. He heard the door click open, a light shine in, and a shadow he'd come to recognize stepped through hastily. She closed the door, plunging the room in darkness again and he heard rather than saw her body dragging and skidding, finally ending with a clank under his bed. "The hell?" He muttered, but he heard his own amusement seep into his tone, his unasked question getting a huff in response. He let his eyes adjust again to the dim light and rolled over in his cot. He didn't need an IV since yesterday, all his vitals normal, all he had to do was heal up enough they could take the stitches out. This left him free to move, and he peered down under his bed, amber meeting green. "What in carnation made you pick /me/ of all people to be your bodyguard?"

Maddie had curled up in a ball, her ipod was the only bright light that was shining on her face. Her eyes were red, but there weren't any tear marks. She looked up at him and blinked, realizing that she was being asked a question. "You're um safer." She explained. "Cassidy's with Mikey and Leo's all healed up. It's uh safer down here too. Under the bed." She explained. "It's not like people are going to um barge in here. If they do, Andy'll yell at them because they're disturbing you."

"Mmmhmm and /you're/ not disturbing me?" Raph arched a brow at her, his face looking a little weird upside down as he was.

Maddie swallowed. "Do you want me to go?"

Raph pulled back and actually got off the bed this time, coming down to sit on the floor with her, "Why is it safer with me?" he asked instead.

"I know you're...uh....injured and that you should be in /bed/. But..." She looked away, curling herself up a little more. "No one's going to be looking for me here. And I know that uh...you wouldn't let someone get hurt in front of you."

"You're right, I wouldn't. Aren't you a bit more of a noticeable presence to be missing, though?" Raph stretched out, his hand in his elbow as he laid sideways, "I mean, you sure don't have a problem with on your mind out your mouth, or is there some sort of daytime/nighttime persona I'm missing?"

"Anxiety attack." Was the only thing Madeline could tell him. "I...uh stutter when I get scared and I hide underneath things, too. And I'm missing but...no one's really going to um...go searching for me. They know better. I mean, Sam's here."

"Dunno who Sam is." Raph shrugged, "Heard his name a time or two from people walkin' by. Something about celebration since he and his wife moved back?"

"Yeah." Maddie looked up at him. "We were good friends. Since we were all part of the same team we worked well together. Then he lost Trevor and Miranda to an attack that happened, his brother and his sister-in-law and that left him with Harley. And then his wife got attacked and...she's on a limited amount of time. I told him and..." She trailed off.

The pieces clicked into place and Raph's face turned a bit steely, "I see. Yeah, alright. So you're hangin' with the other hothead cuz I'll get pissy from bein' woken up." He pointed at her Ipad, "How the hell do you even have one of those? Isn't that like, ancient?" Maybe this would be a good subject changer. He sure as hell was the last person to judge Sam, but he wouldn't tell Maddie that.

"I fix things." Madeline moved over a little closer to the other end of the bed so that she could show Raph. "I mean more than just people. Electronics and gadgets were the first thing I learned how to fix, and then it moved on to being cars and trucks. Then I just started to look for other things to fix. It helps that I can cheat a little and use my magic. I...used to be really afraid to use it. I hurt Killian and I just ran away from home for a good, long while till he found me again. He told me that he wasn't angry that I hurt him, he was really proud I got a good hit."

"Hmm." Tch. If only it was that easy. Leo had damn near been ready to kill him when he met up at April's hide out when young Don got them together. They had a brief truce, but now that the fight was over, would Leo really forgive him for his fuckup? "I don't got much room to talk on this subject, but it sounds like you can't judge Sam, either."

"There's a difference, between hitting in a spar and hitting because your anger gets the best of you." Madeline said quietly, swallowing thickly. "One is to learn. The other is out of hate. I've been hit a lot because things were my fault. And I thought that my friends wouldn't do that to me. When Sam hit me, and yelled at me, I felt like I was back at my parent's place. I felt...trapped. And scared."

Raph's mouth was in a thin line. What exactly could he say to her that wouldn't make her run out of here after coming to him for safety? He was just like Sam. Apparently, just like her parents, too. He was a menace and more than just a hothead these days. He had to try. Silence was also incriminating. "Losing, or almost losing, a loved one, is terrifying. The mix of emotions well up and you don't know what to do with it. The stages of grief. Crying, yelling, screaming, denial, acceptance. Not necessarily in that order and I'm sure I forgot something." He rolled onto his shell and stared at the ceiling, scowling just a bit at the concrete. A warehouse wasn't the prettiest place, but it was better than the pure whites of a hospital, which Donny's medical would mirror. "There's a difference between an excuse and a reason. Sam had a reason. Not a very good one, and probably would've hit anybody closest to him, not just you. Probably would've even hit a wall if it was within reach."

Maddie watched him for a while before she scooted a little closer out from under the bed, but she was still a little bit underneath it too. "Did you do something similar to someone you cared for?"

Madeline didn't move. She didn't jump out from underneath the mattress and ran away. She just listened. She rested her head against her arm and asked quietly. "Do you feel guilty about it?"

"Course I do. I always did. Didn't it stop it from happening over and over. Nearly did it again and ended it all, before the big fight. Young Donny stopped us. Granted, he was about to finish it, too. Wouldn't have blamed him for taking out an uncontrollable beast like me." Raph grunted.

Madeline made up her mind and she rolled out a little more so that she could poke him in the arm, making him look at her. "I don't think you're a beast." Madeline told him honestly. "You still feel safe."

"Honestly, I call bullshit." Raph turned towards her again, brows furrowed tight together, "I /blinded/ my /brother/ because we lost our father. I fight with him all the time. He's not the only one I've nearly hurt, either. I nearly clubbed Mikey with a damn pipe when we were younger." He shook his head, "I'm really not a safe person. Sam's probably a lot less hotheaded than I am. No doubt, if he's a part of this group, that he feels like the worst for it. He might even want to apologize to you for it, but you running away doesn't help. I can't promise I wouldn't hurt him again, even if I did."

Madeline watched him for the longest time and then she got herself all the way out of the bed and she knelt down next to him. "You're right." She said after a moment. "That is dangerous and terrifying. That isn't something anyone would consider 'safe' even in the most normal of circumstances." She stopped her voice for a moment and then said quietly. "But now that I know that your temper rises like that, I know how to stop you from hurting me. Sam was different. Sam...he didn't hurt his friends. He /never/ rose his hand against any of us. Not even to Cassie and let me tell you Cassie's /real/ easy to punch sometimes. That's the difference. The betrayal of trust. But you know, if you're feeling guilty and I'm hurting Sam for not letting him apologize, and we're sitting here wondering and hurting and feeling guilty, I wonder if we can do something about it. Together. You know. Actually get some loose ends tied. I'll jump if you jump."

"Go...down to the party?" Raphael stared at her for a very long time. Long enough for her to start squirming and looking hesitant. "Aren't I supposed to stay in bed?" he asked, though he tried to keep some lightness to his voice, "I'm not one to be a coward. I can jump."

"As long as you don't try to hit anyone, I think you could walk around a bit. Just a bit. But if you feel tired, I don't care how stubborn you are, you tell me and I'll get you to rest a bit or make up something so you can come back up here." Madeline said firmly.

"Or you know. I can just sit on the /couch/ for a while." Raph rolled his eyes and he rolled up onto his feet. Even injured, he was graceful like his ninja training allowed him to be, and he held his hand out to her. "You did chose me to be your bodyguard. Lets get you taken care of, first."

Madeline took his hand and let him help her up. "Right. Got to set the example." She felt her heart race and she had to fight every inch of her to go back underneath the bed. "Okay. I...I uh....I can do this."

Raph sighed in lighthearted exasperation and he moved his arm around her shoulders, "Gimme a little support." He winked at her. He didn't need it, he got to the door without any issues, but she'd nearly frozen before he could put his hand on the doorknob.

Madeline knew what he was doing and was grateful for it. She got him "steady" and they headed out of the room. It took a bit, considering he was injured and she was still fighting with her head, but soon enough they were down where the party was, and Madeline was starting to shake and not from over exerting herself. She thanked whatever god or goddess there was for Raph, because he not only kept her steady, but he managed to distract her for a time till there was no point anymore and they were in the lion's den. That didn't mean he had her let him go though. It turned out they kind of needed this...since Raph might just bolt too.

"There any room left on these couches for a limp noodle?" Raph quipped at the crowd, gathering their attention.

"Well look at that, it's the two stray cats." Andrea smiled at Maddie in a secret sort of way.

"Are you /sure/ cats are the right term?" A girl with long red hair and a low cut midriff top asked as she looked them over. She could look like sex on legs if she wanted to, though that was probably her job description. "They remind me of wolves."

"Ooooh, you know that would make sense. Wolves do have a pretty song." Andrea tapped her chin with her finger.

"Lone wolf sounds fine by me. Thought myself as one anyway." Raph shrugged. Andy was sitting besides the redhead, what could look like the male version of her on another couch with a bright woman glued to his side. Now the two blonds side by side /definitely/ looked like twins, and the blond boy with what looked like a hearing aid on was practically in the lap of the long-legged black haired man with soul-searching dark blue eyes. The opposing couch from Andy and his woman had Leo and Andrea in it.

The only seating.

Fantastic.

"A lot of us haven't gotten to meet you, Raphael. Pleasure. I am Nix, and this is Candice, Matt, and Sam." Nix motioned to each in turn, "Sam's sister is with Andrew, her name is Cassandra."

"Yo." Cassie said with a wave. "Though for that lone wolf comment, I was gonna say you're not so lonely anymore."

"Heard there was a party and needed some help down the stairs." Raph shrugged, "Don't make something out of nothing. Medics are pretty fussy." He watched Andrew roll his eyes and he went to sit on the arm of the couch Leo was in, not close but not far.

Leo wondered how to breech the gaping chasm that was between the two of them. What could he say, that wouldn't make Raphael go nuts and himself to strangle him. They both were so ready, so ready to kill each other and now he was just tired. He watched as the two different hues of red came close and sat down next to him and Andrea. Maddie was the one with the deep red while Raphael was dark and clouded. He was about to speak, when Sam spoke up.

"I thought you were going to hide forever." Sam said watching the two of them with a steady gaze. "Parties weren't really your thing, Black."

Matt slapped him on the shoulder. "Be nice."

"Maddie's real picky 'bout who she dances with." Andrea agreed with Sam, tilting her head at her friend, "Though you could smooth out that scratch in your CD, Hass."

Madeline tensed so much, she felt like she was about to head off or run or something. She could feel her panic rising and her chest hurting. She felt like she was both too close to a flame and miles away, watching all of this from afar.

Raph internally groaned. Welp. Here goes. He pitched his body, reaching out to grab Maddie and he tugged her over the cough arm with him as he toppled down into the cushion. "Woops. I fell." He looked up at Leo, who was wearing his sunglasses, while his arms were latched around Maddie who had landed squarely on his chest. His stomach burned, he tugged at some stitches and he heard Andy gasp and growl a little in frustration. He didn't let it show on his face. He was good at that. "Leo, this little shit has a music player. Think we can waylay Don before he gets wrapped up in his own projects to make us some?"

Andrea smiled slow and looked at Cassandra and flourished her fingers by her ears while she swayed her body. Cass was right.

Leo was a little surprised that he was being spoken to, even more so that Raph was trying to engage with him in a conversation. He didn't think Raph should be out of bed, but if Maddie was alright with it, then at least he had a healer by his side. Though he didn't miss that growl Andy made. He clearly wasn't pleased. "I think as long as we make it fast. Donny already has a list of things he wants to accomplish already. An arm for Mikey, an eye for you...and other things."

Madeline was quite surprised that Raphael had shown the courage he did and started to relax in his hold. Breathe.

Raph loosened his tight hold as she did, but not by much, "Oh, dang, gunna make me and Mike like Cyborg from Teen Titans? Gettin' a little tired of the pirate look, though it might make me look more scary. Have to make sure I don't end up looking like terminator instead."

Madeline snorted before she put her head into his shoulders and just laughed. "That's a sight."

Matt snickered, "Well if anyone could do it, it's probably him. That guy probably doesn't sleep with how fast his head spins."

"You have no idea." Leo said solemnly. "We've all tried to get him to figure out what sleep means."

"Donny always had the worse insomnia. We usually took turns to see who could coax him to bed. Three days tended to be our limit before we had to /actually/ wrestle him to his room if he didn't pass out on his keyboard." Raph agreed and he rolled, moving so he was actually sitting beside Leo now, getting Maddie on his other side, his arm still tight on her shoulders. This felt...natural. Right. Like the good ol' days. "Too bad Mikey can't come down; way too laid up. He always enjoys a chance to boogie."

"Cassidy's with him." Cassandra grinned. "Leo hasn't gotten to meet her yet, and we were all debating if we should do a trip up there so he can meet the girl Mikey had his heart stolen by."

"You mean /will/." Matt corrected. "Will get his heart stolen by. She hasn't done much yet."

"Mikey found himself a lady? When was I gunna hear about it?" Raph grunted, "Least he has somebody to keep him company."

Leo laughed lightly, "The first time I heard about it was today. So you're not too far out of the loop. You have Madeline though, don't you?"

"She's not a wolf, she's a rabbit." Raph looked at Sam pointedly.

Sam bit the inner corner of his lip, "She told you?"

"Sam." Nix rubbed his temple, "Weren't we /just/ talking about this?"

"I was just asking what she said," Sam said looking over at Nix. "That can't be a crime."

"And a conversation like that can be kept in the room it came from." Raph drawled.

Madeline was really, really thankful for Raph. Leo seemed to have tensed, but it wasn't a tense like he was going to run away either. But like he was thinking, or maybe he was listening. Maddie didn't know, but Sam let out a slow breath.

"...Sorry's not going to cut it." Sam said after a moment, after letting the silence hang for a moment. "I know what I did to you was awful, Maddie. I know you were already blaming yourself and I made it worse. And it didn't help that we got into an argument about your magic, your abilities. I lost my temper. I burnt you really badly, and I know when I shoved you into the equipment, you were bruised up too. I know that what I did, what I said, was the exact mirror of what happened to you back then. Killian tore a strip of my hide off of me. He forgave me, but he did tell me that I'd better watch it with you. Your trust is a lot more fragile than we know. You give it...but it's so easy for you to snatch it back up. I broke it."

Raph did let Maddie go now, and gave her a pat on the back in encouragement and reassurance.

Maddie was kind of glad that Raph was still touching her, because she was scared that if he let her go completely she would just leave. But he was still reminding her that he was there and that was all she needed. "You're right. You did." She wasn't going to sugar coat this. "It hurt. It hurt so much. It's like you forgot what Trevor and Miranda meant to all of us. Like I said to you before, did you really, honestly think that if there was /anything/ I could do to save Matt any pain...I wouldn't do it?" Tears fell down her cheeks. "I know that people lose their tempers. I know that sometimes you're supposed to stand up and go toe to toe against them. Sometimes, it's not even their anger that's getting in the way, but the anguish. The hurt and sometimes they need to lash out, I get that. I understand. But I don't deserve your hate...and that's exactly how you lashed out at me."

Raph swallowed thickly around the lump in his throat and glanced sideways at Leo, who was keeping very still. He felt like Maddie was speaking for two people right now, and he just rubbed circles into her back minutely, feeling cold. He knew he did Leo a horrible wrong. He wanted this to finish playing out first, however.

Sam bowed his head. "What can I do to fix this?"

Maddie pursed her lips together and then answered softly, "We burn a bridge and we try again from the ground up."

"Maybe you two could seal the deal with a handshake? Or will the world explode?" Raph joked with Maddie.

Maddie bowed her head a small smile quirking at her lips before she leaned forward and held her hand out. Sam blinked, a little surprised that Raph got her to do something like this, but he reached over and shook her hand.

Leo let out a slow breath. A lot of things that she had said about her troubles with Sam, matched with what troubles he had with Raph. But he wondered if their bond was too deep to just "burn a bridge and begin anew". He wondered if maybe Raphael did lash out in hate for a reason...and it wasn't just in anguish and despair.

"I can't make any promises, Leo. I keep breaking them." Raph took his turn now, like he had promised. At least he had broken the ice already. He turned towards his brother, "I can't say I won't do it again, because I will. I always do. I can say...that...I'm sorry. I won't...run away again. I'll leave, to cool off, but I'll come back. You know actions are louder than words for me. We can shake hands, move on. Get Donny to help us talk it out, hear each other when it's bad so we don't let anything fester. We're not teenagers anymore. I can man up and spit out two simple words."

It was Maddie's turn to be the one that was a touch stone. She rested one of her hands against his thigh, not doing anything more than being there for him.

Leo closed his eyes, blacking out everything that was surrounding him. He took in a breath and held it for a bit before letting out slowly and he turned to face Raph or at least where the darkest and cloudiest red was. The other red, flicked just a bit. He knew. He knew that Cassandra and Matt were teasing, but he couldn't help but to think that he had stayed there with Maddie as she hashed out her problems with Sam. "...I can handle a lot of what you can throw at me, Raph. Taking my sight away was a messed up thing to do and I can't forgive you for it. But you offered a solution and I'll take it. We get heated, we go to Don or we just find a way to cool down. It's probably best we practice on each other, before you try to get into a fight with your girl."

"Don't you say my damn thoughts aloud, now I'm really wondering." Raph deadpanned.

Matt burst into laughter. "I'm sorry! I know it's supposed to be a serious moment! Just ignore me!"

Andrea cracked up at that, putting her hand over her mouth and she reach out to grab Leo's shell as she doubled over, "I can't! Cass! You started it!"

Leo was even highly amused. "And you /wonder/." He teased his brother.

"Maybe instead of hiding under the bed she can hide under you instead?" Cassandra asked, licking her lips and wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

"Here I am trying to apologize to my brother and everybody's flippin' shit cuz you and I supported each other and now you're reading my damn mind and I am going to agree with the ginger. I can't even. I'm out." Raph smacked his hand on Leo's leg instead of making a handshake truce and got up to storm out, though there wasn't anger in his steps.

Leo laughed lightly and watched as Maddie also got up quick so she wasn't a victim in this either. "That's how we make truces in this family Raphael!"

"Donny'll be so proud that I busted some of my stitches for you, sure." Raph called back as he reached the stairs and hopped up them, "Ya'll just laugh it up. Better give Mikey hell of a time, too, asshats."

"You didn't really bust any stitches did you? Goddamn it." Andy stood up. "I'm helping you back into your room."

Andrea snorted some more as Andy bolted and Cassandra sighed in disappointment, "That was the most entertaining apology I've ever seen."

"I wonder if Raphael will ever /meet/ Cassidy." Cassandra mused. "I bet he'd give her hell just to make this go away."

"She's too sweet, he wouldn't be able to do it." Leo denied.

"Just from hearing Mikey talk about her, you got her hook line and sinker don't ya?" Cassandra's eyes twinkled. "You should be there when it all goes to hell too. You know maybe next time we should do this in his room."

"He'll be pleased to see people dancing to a happy tune instead of a sad one." Andrea agreed, "His song's shifting. Switching out that record did wonders."

"It did." Leo agreed softly. "It really did."

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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:42 pm

Some would think in an enclosed warehouse with at /least/ a dozen people in it, you'd see anybody and everybody at least once through the day.

Nope.

Everyone had their own thing to do, people they prioritized above others. Plans to make. Scavenging to do. Checking on the world that was burning for the second time. A week in, holed up in the basement where a laboratory had been put in place, Don hadn't seen a lot of people. It felt nice, to get his hands on a screwdriver and put goggles on his face, feel the heat of a welding gun and sparks showering his skin.

Raph and he had chatted. Not a lot of things to say, them two. A lot of it had already been hashed out with Leo. Raph didn't talk much, anyway and Don knew that. Silent agreements and exchanges. Raph had mainly come down to ask him for a music player like Madeline's, who he /also/ had yet to meet. It had taken him two days to pop out three of them with the parts and things available to him from the scavenging runs they all did. It was easier to find things if you knew what you were looking for.

Don hadn't stepped out of the warehouse. Not only did he not /want/ to, well...Raph had been clear with him that if he were, someone was to be by his side. So he was supposed to be babysat. Which was fine. He understood it. It didn't bother him, and so he stayed in the basement.

He had met Ian who had given him a blueprint of the warehouse and had outright said that he could do whatever whenever he wanted, so long as they had a little bit of warning and discussion of whatever plans and modifications he had in mind to strengthen the fortress.

Harley, too. She was a big help. Electric powers were /fantastic/ and he marveled at her, the two of them chattering to each other about this that and the other thing. A hacker, but not a scientist like himself or April. Which was fine. You could be knowledgeable about things but still not well versed.

Leo checked on him as much as Raph did, bringing him food, but he only had to tell both Raph and Leo to lay off about telling him to sleep once each. Three days. They could tell him to sleep every three days, because time blurred together and he wouldn't notice. His insomnia had never gone away and would never. He had too much to do, and too many nightmares. They took the three-day agreement and snapped their turtle beaks shut.

Don hummed to himself as he worked, only to freeze when he heard a 'mew'. "Kluuuunnnkkkk..." he called in a warning, pulling away from the microscope test and looked around the room, eyes adjusting to seeing it all. Now, the kitten on the other hand was a frequent encounter, whether here in the lab or upstairs when he went to eat. Somehow, someway, the kitten would find himself in here. He was tiny enough still he probably fit through a rat hole.

Two minutes. That's how long it took for the door to pop open.
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:56 pm

Cassidy knew that if she was going to see Mikey, bringing Klunk with her was practically a requirement. It wasn't that he didn't like seeing her by herself or anything, but she knew how much of a help the kitten was to Mikey's spirits. He was happier with the kitten and she liked seeing him smile. Now finding the cat posed another problem. The warehouse was /huge/, which meant more often than not she would sometimes run into people. She ran into Raph when she found Klunk in his room. She ran into Andy and Cassandra when they tossed the kitten out of theirs because trying to get busy with a /kitten/ just posed problems. She ran into plenty of people but she never had to venture very far into the basement. She never had a reason to...and boy was it like walking into a new dimension.

She knew Donny stayed down here, the elusive turtle that he was. She also knew that she was practically in his domain and what he said went. She never met the scientist, but she heard good things about him from Harley who was more than excited to learn things from "Abby's Uncle Donny" and she heard his name pop up time to time when she spoke to Mikey. Now she was starting to see what it was Mikey saw. A genius. A genius who liked to build things. He would probably discover ways to strengthen Maddie's magic, how to build something crazy like an electrical generator. "Maddie would kill for this type of workplace." She muttered to herself as she looked around. She didn't really understand it...she wasn't afraid to admit that most of the equipment went over her head...there was a reason why high school hated her. But she liked the passion. She liked that Donny made this his home somehow.

"I don't suppose you're looking for a tiny little something that's orange?" Donny came up from under one of the desks, holding the little rascal in both of his large turtle hands, KJ mewing as he saw his mommy.

"No, I caught him before he managed to do much. He mews a lot. Not a very stealthy ninja cat, but I'm sure he'll learn with Mikey as his daddy." Donny gave her a fond, playful smile, "Some of my chemicals smell sweet when mixed. As long as he didn't actually lick my fingers I knew I could lure him out. Though, on that same note it'd be best if some time was taken to plug up the rat holes around here so he doesn't slip through them. As he get older, he might get stuck thinking he's this size when he's not."

Cassidy winced at his explanation, for that was a good point. "I'll talk to Sam. He likes to do things around the warehouse so I'm sure if I told him to help me board up some of the holes, he'd do it." She took her time to really drink in the sight now that she wasn't too worried about K.J. His skin looked a little pale for the green that was supposed to be healthy and she knew that if he took the mask off, she'd see dark circles underneath his eyes. She held the kitten close to her chest as she petted his head. She wondered how to breech that kind of subject with him. Maddie wouldn't be afraid to tell him that he looked like hell, but she doubted that was what he needed to hear right now. "Mikey told me a lot about you."

"I'm sure he has. I'm sure they all have. I haven't gone to see him because I don't want to cause him stress. I know he would want to talk to me about a lot of things, and I just want him to be a little better before I do that." Don told her gently, going over to a sink and washing his hand off of the chemicals he had mentioned, "I know Raph hasn't gone to say hello for the same reason. Raph's always been the overprotective one."

"He knows." Cassidy said watching him. That tired slump in his shoulders wasn't going away. She doubted it ever would. He was locked in a cage and didn't see daylight for days, years. She couldn't imagine the effects it would have on her. On anyone for that matter. "But I think it causes him stress no matter which way you slice the cake."

"Because I am leaving him alone again, aren't I?" Don murmured, turning off the water and drying his hand, though took too long with the towel, turning it over and over in his hands, "Would've wanted me to give him his music player, instead, right?"

"I think everyone's trying to do the right thing without really knowing what's "right"." Cassidy said quietly to Donny, watching him a little nervously. She wasn't afraid. She just didn't want him to see her as a bad first impression. She didn't want him to color her in a way she couldn't uncolor. "I think...that everyone's forgetting that it's okay to not be okay."

"Fifteen years..." Don echoed softly, "Normal...doesn't really exist anymore, does it Cassidy?" He finally set the towel in the ring above the sink, but he kept standing there, looking at his distorted reflection in the metal of the nozzle. "Funny...how the warped impression of this feels more accurate than looking in a real mirror."

"Do you think your crazy or something?" Cassidy couldn't help that question. From the way he was acting, he was thinking that he had lost something along the way.

"Hmm...insane would be the more accurate word, wouldn't it?" Don shrugged, finally moving to look at her again, "I'm not psychotic, or schizophrenic. No voices in my head and no want to hurt people. More like...round and around. Time has no meaning to me. A minute could be an hour, or an hour a minute. It's twelve twenty-seven? Oh I blinked, it's now one fourty-three." He rubbed his forehead, "I'm not trying very hard to find a classification for it. I don't need to. I just know I'm not dangerous. To myself, maybe. Self-neglect, but accidental. Leo brought me breakfast."

"I wouldn't call you insane." Cassidy said walking over to him and chancing a risk to put her hand on his shoulder. "You just get lost sometimes and that's alright. Ian does the same thing sometimes. Sometimes he just...goes into a trance and we can't bring him back. It's been like that since Lese died. And Nicky's always playing his guitar but he doesn't sing anymore. Candy tries to D.J but his music doesn't flow. Matt used to be the most bubbly person you'd ever meet. Now if she even laughs too hard, she could die. Don't get me started on your brothers and Maddie and Candy-Cane. If you're insane, Donny...then we all are."

"I haven't had a chance to really ask..." Don paused and tilted his head at her, "We've all loved and lost. Yet, there's still so many of you left. How? This place should have been blown sky high a long time ago."

Cassidy bit her lip and then said honestly. "Maddie. She's a magic user and our healer. More than Andy is. I mean, Andy is like our physical doctor, but if you're...feeling on the edge. If you're thinking about jumping...Maddie's your last resort."

That wasn't quite the question he was asking, but maybe Cassidy wasn't the person to ask. Even without Cassie's admission, there was magic here, he had seen it and could sense it. "I am glad you all have someone you can talk to in that sense. I guess I'm that one for my brothers. I'm glad to be back, I really am. I know they'll take their time to come to me, but they will."

"You should talk to Maddie." Cassidy told him with a small smile. "While you're waiting for them to come to you. She's always in the garage...she's never asleep." She petted K.J a little and she looked over at the clock. "I think Mikey's gonna wonder if I'm ever going to show up so..I should get going but...it'd be nice to see you again. Can...can I come down here? Just to chat?"

Sometime therapists needed a therapists. Also a fellow insomniac, how nice. "Of course, Cassidy. I don't mind that at all. I think a break from the lab would be pleasant, too." He gave her a tender smile and patted her shoulder back.

Cassidy beamed, "Then I'll come see you again. I'll tell Mikey you said hello. Thank you for finding K.J and for being a good brother!" Without saying another word, she quickly moved out of his lab so that she could get to Mikey quickly. He'd be so thrilled!

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:03 pm

Killian leaned back against the chair, propping it up on the back of it’s legs as he watched Mikey slumber. Cassidy had nearly begged him to stay with him while she went to find the orange kitten that was running amok somewhere, causing chaos in what was supposed to be a peaceful warehouse. He didn’t get much of a chance to meet the turtle brothers as it had been so busy and Killian’s knees were starting to bother him more than he wanted to admit.

But he knew that his injuries could provide comfort to those who had severe ones. Scars for Raphael and Mikey. The inability to do the things one used to with Leo and probably most importantly the sickness of the mind with Donatello. The problem with approaching them, was that the girls already had decided who was going to be under their wing. Maddie didn’t count, considering she took everyone she could, and nearly broke herself in the process.

When did she become so selfless? When did she change her outlook? It always mind-boggled Killian on how fast everyone changed.

Andrea with her school and the massacre.

Cassidy and the pain of horrors she went through.

Maddie who had to see everyone’s ghosts and was unable to show someone she trusted her own.

Killian let out a slow, sigh when he noticed that the orange banded turtle was starting to wake up. “Well, merry merry morning to you sunshine.” He teased.

Mikey started, surprised by the new face in his room. "Sunshine. No one's called me that in a while." He said after he yawned wide, "Who are you?"

"My name's Killian Ryder. Killian if you want. Or Kelly though that's Nicky's and Ian's last name and they're not too kind on me taking it." Killian said kindly as he placed his chair down. He was quite impressed with himself, being able to balance like that for a sixty year old maniac. "Hope you don't mind me being here. Cassie ran off looking for K.J and told me that I'd better make sure you weren't alone."

Mikey's smile was soft and endearing, "She's taken the job as bedside watcher quite seriously. Killian? That's...hmm...your parents must've been on drugs, unless you changed your name to that, to which...that's kind of ironic, these days." He shook his head, "I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend. I've taken to saying what's on my mind since this war, because being quiet gets me nowhere."

Killian laughed and shook his head, "Nah, not on drugs. Killian's a family name. "Ryder" though...yeah I changed that as fast as I could. My parents weren't the best people on the block and I thought I was being cool when I did it. Eighteen year old me didn't have a damn clue what I was doing to myself. But, people really did like my last name. Got me into the cool kid's club a few times when I started teaching. A little dangerous, but...my students were always a second family to me, so I didn't mind." He looked at Mikey kindly. "Go ahead, say what's on your mind. I'm hard to offend. Harder to anger. I'm sixty. Not much you're going to say is going to shock me."

"Sixty...you remind me of my father. He was real old but still kicked ass." Mikey's smile was small, sadness in his eyes, "He used a cane, too." He nodded to the piece of wood leaning on his hospital bed, "I bet you smack us unruly whippersnappers with it every so often when we do somethin' real dumb."

Killian snickered. "More times than I can count. I'm glad I remind of someone pleasant. Cassidy was real talkative about you and now I'm starting to see why. I should have started off with this, but how are you feeling? I know Mads took you a bit low on the painkillers. You still doing alright with that?"

"It keeps my head clearer. I try not to move around too much, but after this last week, it's not so bad. I'm starting to get stiff from inactivity." He really didn't have as many bandages now as when he first woke up, just his middle, both arms, and one of his legs. "Maddie and Andy still say I should be able to get out of here by the end of this week. The one on my side will still take a while, but I won't bust anything by walking once my leg heals."

"That's good." Killian nodded his head, "What are you going to once you're all healed up?"

"Meet everyone who's been too wrapped up to come see me. Get Raph and Don to talk to me. I didn't say a lot of things to the other Don that saved us, saved the world, because he didn't deserve it. This Don doesn't really either, but he's our Don. He won't disappear like the other one." Mikey admitted to him, "When I'm healed up all the way, I might try and go get Angel's squadron. Angel will want to know Casey's alive, too. I know April probably forgot to contact her. She was in the process of taking out a fuel tank before the other Don showed up."

Killian smiled, "Sounds like you have a decent plan and you thought things through. You thinking of staying here or do you think the wind will take you on another journey?"

"I...don't know. The library was the only base we kept for any amount of time. April did say she was taking Casey over that way." Mikey frowned, "I want to stay near my brothers. Leo promised we'd try this time. He also came in and told me Raph apologized to him. There's a chance of us being a family again. I'm going to take it. After I bring Angel home to this side of the city, she might stay with April at the library. I heard through Nicky that Ian gave Don the basement. If this is going to be our new home, I'll get used to it easily enough. I don't have anywhere else to go besides the library."

"Cassidy would be thrilled to have you stay with her. She gets lonely easy and I know that she'd let you take K.J with you no matter where you went. I'm glad to hear that your brothers are willing to try again to be a family. I don't think you'd be wasting your chance trying again, so it's good you decided to do that." Killian leaned back against the chair, putting his hands on his lap.

"I like Cassie. She's a sweet person, and that would make sense why she decided to stay beside me. She understands." Mikey nodded a bit, "Have you met any of my brothers?"

"No. Just you so far. Everyone's been hiding." Killian shook his head from side to side. "I'm sure I'll stumble upon one of them sooner or later. Probably Leo or someone. I did hear from the grapevine that one of your brothers, Raphael, has a thing for Maddie. So there's a huge chance I could see him."

"What?!" Mikey's eyes went huge, "Raph got himself somebody? Maddie's seemed way bouncier than when I first met her. So that's what's going on."

"Apparently, he helped he through a very bad spot and she helped him through his." Killian smiled warmly. "At least that's what Andrea tells me through her music code."

"Would it be too personal to ask what's up with that?" Mikey furrowed his brows, "I've heard and seen some strange things, even before the war. Usually it's old mystic people that speak in coded riddles. I haven't really /seen/ her, just heard her talk to Cassie."

"She used to run a dance studio. Everything was about music and grace with movement and expression. She was one of my best students and assistant teacher to my own studio save for Madeline." Killian explained, leaning forward and placing his folded hands against his knees. "One day she came to her studio...and it was like she walked into a butcher's shop. Blood..and bodies...and not a single survivor. It broke her. Tore her soul into pieces. She was catatonic for the longest time. It took months for Maddie to get her back."

"That...must've been at the beginning of the war. Shredder's forces don't know mercy. The only one who did was Karai." Mikey bit his lip, his chest aching for Andrea. "The first time I saw a child die was horrible. I feel her pain. I am sure you do, too, if you ran a dojo." He sat up a little further on his bed, wincing at the tug and pull on his side, but he settled quickly enough.

The silence stretched and Mikey swallowed, "So, um...Maddie. She's good at what she does and you speak pretty fond of her. What's your relation with her? Just another student?"

Killian grinned as he leaned back again. "She's my daughter in everything but blood and flesh." He said proudly. "Though when we first met, she was just another student. She was a shy little thing. Smaller than the rest of the class. Always hesitant to throw a punch or throw a kick unless you managed to find the right buttons to press. That wasn't hard, just insult Cassidy and you're on the floor." He smiled fondly at the memory. "See these scars I got? Notice how I don't got an eye? That was her doing. She was damn good at what she was doing, but I made a rookie mistake. She took advantage of it, but she thought that I was feinting or something. You know one of those you couldn't take a chance with. Got me /real/ good with her magic. She was so horrified the poor thing. Thought I'd hate her forever. She tried to suppress her magic after that for the longest time...six years I think was how long that lasted. Only did magic for little, minor things. But...never in a fight. But I got her back on straight and with the world the way it is...she didn't have a choice."

"I haven't seen her use a whole lot of magic, but I'm sure that'll change when I get out of here and see your guys' training room. Andrea has the same charge to her, so does she use magic, too? What about Cassidy? Have the three of them been friends since before the war?" He didn't mean to ask a ton of questions, but he was real interested in knowing more about Cassidy.

"Cassidy was Maddie's high school friend. She pretty much kept Maddie off the ground though after I discovered what was going on at home and where I found her, she dropped out. Cassidy graduated high school. Cassidy has light magic. Meaning that she can create pure light. It's handy when you're in a dark tunnel. Andrea is a fire user. Andrea was the one that found Maddie for me in the alleyway. I should probably put that in chronological order shouldn't I?"

"Haha, nah, that's fine. I get it." Mikey snickered a little. "Cassie has a knack for helping people, then. In a different way than Maddie or even Donny. I like that. She has a big heart. I'm...real glad she didn't lose that along the way. I know I lost a good chunk of mine."

Killian watched him and he nodded, "We all did. To us, Cassidy was unscathed by the war, but you know..." He smiled gently. "She told me once that kindness never killed a single soul. And that's her weapon and through all the darkness that we've been through, I'm thankful that it is her weapon. Maddie can fight the ghosts and the horrors, but we all need a little light in our lives. A little company to share, not the ghosts and horrors, but ourselves. To just /be/."

"Thank you, Killian." Mikey's smile was bittersweet. He wished he had been able to hang on to half that. "Cassie is someone to treasure, for sure. I'm sure she'll be in here soon. I appreciate someone new coming to hang with me, even if you were asked to."

"Please," Killian waved it off with a smile. "This was no chore. I'm told I have wonderful bedside manners." He stood up. "I believe I hear Cassidy nearing the door, along with a cat. I'll let you two bond. I know I got no place in this relationship." He couldn't help but to tease on that.

Mikey wasn't about to disillusion himself, but he smiled and let his cheeks tint appropriately, following along. Killian left, and he did smile wider and true when she came bouncing in, looking like she had something to say. He would do his best to protect her, even if she'd never be his.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:41 pm

Meanwhile Cassidy was a little surprised that she got to run into Leo the way she did. He was going down the stairs, his feet taking him steady as he went without hesitation or worry that he was going to miss a step or that he was going to hit something or another. She had half of the mind to tell him that she could guide him up, but something told her that it would be insulting to his pride.

He looked well enough. He stood with a straight back rather than the slump that she had saw from Donny’s. He also didn’t have a haunted expression that was permanently on his face like Raphael. He was neutral, but she could tell that it was a facade.

These turtle brothers were really good at them. Mikey wasn’t, but everyone else certainly seemed to have a mask they wanted her to see. But she wondered if Leo knew that she was there and that was why his face was a permanent rest.

“What color’s my aura?” She asked when he finally got down the stairs and he turned to face her. The sunglasses made it a little weird, she didn’t like that she couldn’t see his eyes. Then again, he probably didn’t like everyone else seeing his. It had to be weird, looking into something sightless.

“Pink.” He said after a moment. “It’s a very lovely shade too.”

Cassidy grinned. “It sounds awesome. It must help you a lot in knowing people.”

“It does a little.” Leo conceded, moving out of the way in case there were others that were coming down or were about to go up the stairs. “Did you come find me just for that?”

“Nah, I was going to go see Mikey. I have K.J.” She held up the kitten, but Leo didn’t acknowledge nor did he try to reach out to try to pet.

Why would he? Cats didn’t have auras. She set the cat back into her arms, the kitten giving a mew of protest. “Have you talked to Mikey?”

“I was able to,” Leo said with a small smile. “Though Killian’s with him right now and they seemed to be in a deep conversation. I decided to visit another time.”

Cassidy’s cheeks tinted. “I couldn’t find you, so I asked Killian to watch over Mikey while I tried to hunt the rascal down.”

“You seem to be very attached to the cat. You know you could visit Mikey without him.” Leo told her kindly.

Cassidy thought about it and shook her head. “He needs K.J a little more than he needs me.” She started scratching K.J’s ears. “I’m just glad to be someone he can converse with.”

Leo tilted his head towards her in thought. He found it a little strange that Mikey would choose an animal over Cassidy, but he also wondered if that was just Cassidy projecting what she thought Mikey needed. Mikey was really happy when Cassidy was mentioned, he wasn’t afraid to be teased about her. He liked the fact that she took care of him, was there for him.

“Mikey was right, you do have a lovely soul.” Leo said after a moment. “You’re happy with just little and it’s genuine. You really care.”

“Why wouldn’t I care?” Cassidy was a little puzzled. Everyone in Fireside seemed to think that she was holding on to naivety. That she wasn’t smart enough to see that people were dying left to right and that the world was burning to the ground. That she didn’t see people’s pain and suffering. “Is kindness really that bad of a thing?”

“No, just rare.” Leo replied, “It’s a type of thing that we’re not faced with often. Especially me and my brothers, considering what we are.”

Cassidy’s eyes narrowed. “A good man that’s holding the world on his shoulders, a good man that protected Maddie when she needed him the most, a good man that’s trying his hardest not show weakness, and a good man that’s trying very, very hard to see at least a little of a silver lining?”

Leo was a little taken aback at how quick Cassidy was to defend them. He knew that she was talking about him and his brothers and he knew which phase belonged to which turtle as well. “You talked to Donny?”

“K.J was causing problems in his basement, so I told him to talk to Maddie.” Cassidy shrugged. “If anyone knows what it’s like to be warped in darkness, it’s her.”

Leo only knew Maddie from that one little interaction where she fought with Sam. Where she voiced her’s and Leo’s thoughts without even thinking. Where Raph, who surprisingly showed her kindness and gentleness and wasn’t afraid to be the protector that she needed. That night had been filled with surprises...and things he thought he knew about his brother had disappeared with it.

“I hear a lot of people talk highly of her.” Leo said after a moment. “Is she that important to Fireside?”

“More so than everyone wants to believe or think.” Cassidy replied. “Though a lot of it is just us…putting a lot of burdens on her when she has her own to deal with. You should go down to the basement every once in a while. If you need help getting there, just say the word. I already got permission from Donny to visit him.”

“I’ll do that soon.” Leo promised and watched Cassidy go up the stairs without saying her goodbyes. He thought about what she had said and the conversation that just passed. He had to smile softly. Mikey got lucky, having her for a guardian angel.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:39 am

Don had finished what he was doing and took the time to go up above. Cassidy had sparked curiosity in him, which was a good thing. He found Sam and asked him where the garage was, and after being pointed in the right direction he headed off. He wanted to know. So many questions. She seemed to be one of the more powerful people here, even more so than Ian. Which baffled him because he was the leader of Fireside.

It didn't take long before he found the faded and chipped red door and pushed it open. "Hello?" He called, only to pause as he reached the bottom of the tiny flight of stairs.

The bell overhead had jingled, but it felt more like a lonely echo that went along with his greeting. The garage could have been another three rooms put together. There was enough space to at least fit three trucks back when they were still in working order. The garage was filled with greenery as well. There was plants and flowers by the window sills, up on the ceiling, and a few that were down in hidden corners where there was more shade. On the north end of the garage was table with a green cloth on it. There was two candlestick holders and a knife and a stick with some sort of crystal that was tied at the end. The two candles in the stick were both white, and burning. There was a soft smell of incense burning and that was where the attention was drawn to the west.

The west had an alter with a white tablecloth and a white pillar candle. There was also a little incense burner that had a stick already wafting up. Madeline was sitting across from it, her eyes staring at the pictures on the wall and on the table. Approaching cautiously, it was easy to see from the pictures that they were people that were long gone. There was a picture of a man with white hair and pale skin, holding a woman with brown hair and looking like a sweaty mess in a hospital gown holding a baby in her arms. There was a picture of a beautiful dark haired woman in a white wedding gown, holding a bouquet of pink carnations and red roses, her lipstick smile beautiful.

But above all of them was a collage of small hand cut pictures clearly taken from old year books. They were students. Most of them were high school, but he could see that there were a few that were a bit younger than that. Thirteen. Twelve.

Madeline looked over her shoulder. “I was wondering when you were going to figure out sunlight wouldn’t be found underground.”

"Old habits die hard, but...I haven't seen greenery in such a long time." Don marveled, veering from the white altar until she finished with her prayer and went to touch a plant, feeling the texture of it's leaves, "This is...marvelous. How have you kept them alive? Is this area like a greenhouse? Or do you use your magic more often than not?"

Madeline smiled as she stood up and she walked over. "A little bit of magic to coax them, but other than that it was mostly just pure luck. A little water, a lot of love and sunlight or shade and they'll grow. It's like a green house...if I put them on the rooftop, they'd suffer a lot more. I learned that the hard way when I first started."

"The flying Utroms would've seen it, too. A living thing in a dead world." Dan nodded. He leaned down and took a deep breath of the flower on the plant, "I'd forgotten what flowers smelled like. So sweet. This really is amazing, Maddie. You should get Raph and Leo in here to see, too. Mikey, when he feels better, for sure. I like that you have fresh tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. I see you have medicinal herbs on top of it." He fingered a still-green tomato and his smile crinkled his eyes, "How wonderful."

Maddie's heart lifted. "I do admit that I had to use magic on that. Fruits are a little more needy since they need a little more energy than a flower does. But they're doing good. Do you remember, back in history class, where people would talk about the Victory Gardens they'd make during World War 2? I thought about that when I was finding seeds during food raids. I thought...maybe a victory garden is a good idea and...well every time I see my plants thriving, it gives me a sense that at least something will live."

"It makes sense, why you guys have such a good food supply, too." Don marveled, "I wondered how Casey and Leo were bringing me /sandwiches/ when bread would be hard to come by, but if you can make yeast why not make your own bread?" He gave her a proud look, "When things settle down outside, there's a cottage out in the countryside. Casey's grandma's place. We could make a real farm out there, if someone else hasn't taken it. It /used/ to be one. Has a barn, too. Leo and Raph forged new swords after Shredder broke one of Leo's earliest set. That was such a long, long time ago, before we knew about Utroms and all that."

"I bet the soil would be good since it hasn't been used in a long time." Maddie said thoughtfully as she looked at her plants, imagining an entire field. It almost made her dizzy. When was the last time she saw a farm? That she saw so much food in one place? "We do our best to survive. We still go on food raids of course, but hopefully we'll be able to do less than that. Maybe we'll find livestock that are still around and learn to work around them again. We're just going to have to learn from our ancestors on what they did to survive such harsh conditions. We're a little lucky though. Technology is still a working thing."

"Internet may be hard to work up until the good Utroms and scientists fix it all up, but April told me she used one of the libraries as a base. I'm sure we can find plenty of farming books. We would probably have to come up with who'd do animal butchering and things. But, I'm getting ahead of myself." Don shook his head, "We could talk for days about farming and things of that nature. I didn't mean to interrupt your prayer, but may I ask who you're praying for?" He took the time now to go to the white alter he had avoided.

"You. Your brothers. Guidance on what to do. Gratefulness you all survived." Maddie said as she watched him go over to the white alter. "Mostly, though I was just remembering them. I'm the only one that really does anything here with it. Andrea would just go back into her mind, Sam and Cassandra would just demand me to take it down and Ian...well..Ian and Nicky are the only ones that ever come by." She pointed at the wedding dress. "That's Lese, our former healer. She used to know herbs like the back of her hand. I learned from her." She pointed at another picture, of a woman with bright blue eyes and brown hair that was pinned up professionally. She was holding a baby boy. "Ally. Nicky's wife. She died just as the war started...she was really, really sick. We still don't know what with...but we're thankful that Daniel isn't."

"At least she didn't get to see the world fall apart or her baby learn what death and gore are. I see the white haired man's uniform...fell to Shredders forces, I can guess." Don knelt at the altar, taking them all in, "Is that what all the children are? Andrea's?" She had explained the others, but not them.

"They were her students. She used to run a dance studio and when she came to it one day....it was a massacre. Not a single soul left alive." Maddie looked at the students' faces. "It broke her. It broke her so badly, I didn't know if I could save her. It took me months and so many nights wondering if she was going to jump the nearest bridge or...just be one of those with a shadow for a body and no soul to go with it. I managed. I managed by the skin of my teeth. Shes' better now. She'll never be alright, but she's better. I keep the students here because no one else is going to remember them. I even wrote their names. I don't know them. I wish I had. I wish I went to the studio more. But I wonder...if I had would I have been able to save Andrea? Maybe it was a good thing I was so detached. But I still feel awful. Their parents only mourned for a few days I'm sure. Death's quick to follow families around once it gets a taste of blood."

Don winced, "Yeah...we can all attest to that. It is good, that you brought her back." He agreed and he bowed his head, allowing time for a short prayer of his own. He didn't let his mind go too far, or that would put him in a dark place he didn't want to be. When he opened his eyes he bowed politely and stood back up, going to walk around the garage now, her tools and workstations, "So, what kind of magic are you?"

"Um...now that's a hard question." Maddie laughed a little as she scratched her wrist. "I don't know what type I am. I mean...there's types on the internet I could give you thousands. But as for like...magic types. I don't have a clue. I just...know I'm able to do things." She walked over to her station and with a wave of her hand, one of the drawers opened to reveal a few wrenches and bolts. She flicked her wrist again and the drawer shut. "My parents...uh...didn't like the fact I could do things like that. So it's...um...no surprise I uh don't know."

"Telekinetic?" Don paused and shook his head, "No. Hmm. I feel like you're true magic, not elemental. I've been around lots of magic and strange things. They have a unique feeling. Andrea, Sam, Nix, and a few others have a magic feeling, but you have a different...consistency?" He tapped his chin, "I asked Cassidy, but she didn't quite give me the answer I was looking for. I want to know how Fireside has stood standing all this time? She mentioned you, but nothing specific."

Maddie was kind of impressed that he had managed to analyze that so quickly. She wondered if she showed him more he would be able to give her more detail of what it could be. Instead of jumping on that, she fought that enthusiasm and she had to sigh at the question. "Back when I hated my magic, I made Cassidy swear up down and sideways never to talk about it to mention little as possible. Even though I'm back on magic again, she holds true to the promise, but mostly because for my safety. As for why Fireside is still standing, they're using my protection wards. They're etched into the walls and reinforced with blood every full moon since I'm paranoid. Though they don't need to be done that often...I could let it wait for a year before reinforcing it again, but...once you get raided once, you never want it to happen again."

"No, I would think not, and that is good friendship." Don was impressed, "Blood is very common in magic. That makes sense to me. I have to ask, have you put protection spells on April's base, too? Shredder knew she was an ally of ours and would have tried to hunt her down."

Maddie nodded, "Once she became our ally, I told her that it's required for me to do my thing. I didn't tell her what I was doing...I didn't want her to sell me out if she turned out untrustworthy, but I have one. For a while it I reinforced it every other month since I didn't want to be sold, but when she proved to be really loyal and kind and trustworthy did I start doing it the same amount I did ours."

"I'm glad. I wouldn't be here if not for her. Even the other Don wouldn't have gotten as far as quickly as he did without her. So, I thank you for taking her under your wing." Don smiled, "Cassie also mentioned that you like technology? Raph told me you're the reason why he asked me to make three of them."

Maddie facepalmed. "Of course he latched on to that." She let her hand go from her face with a sheepish smile. "It saved my life besides Killian." She explained as she walked over to one of her plants idly checking the soil. "Music did so I used to carry and Ipod around with me at all times. Anxiety attack? Take out the Ipod. Feeling depressed and not so hot? Take out the Ipod. Want to shut the door and listen to some music while you're parents are yelling at each other and you're trying not to think about if one of them will take a swing? Ipod. It...really was a lifesaver. Music was my anchor for the longest time and of course with music comes computers. Computers come with coding. Coding comes with trying to understand formulas and basics and soon enough you're trying to build your own computer from scratch." She paused and she flushed deep. "I uh I'm sorry. That was...unintentional."

"No, no, I ramble quite a bit as well." He shook his head, "That's a reason why Cassie suggested I come down here to you. She was concerned for me and my thought process. Saying things like...the reflection in the faucet feels more accurate than the mirror."

"Is that your code?" Maddie couldn't help but to laugh at that. "Andrea talks in music and we're going to hear you talk in plumbing? It is a little...concerning, but you were locked away for fifteen years. It must be surreal."

Don snorted and put his hand over his beak to stifle the chuckles, "No, I will not talk in plumbing. I talk in scientific code more often than not and that was /before/ my captivity. Raph would always yell at me 'in English Donny'." His shoulders shook a little bit more, "It is surreal, you are right. So many things I haven't seen or heard or felt in a long time."

"But you're still in the basement." Maddie concluded.

"Yet here I stand." Don quipped back.

"Because Cassidy can't keep her mouth shut to save her life." Maddie retorted, but her smile didn't fade. She folded her arms. "And you saw my garden and you saw my alter and you're talking to me and you're looking like the world just spun on you again."

"You hit the nail on the head." Don agreed, "I may be in the basement a lot of the time, but I will come out with the right kind of coaxing. I already told Raph and Leo they could bug me to go to sleep every three days. Cassidy peeked my interest about you, so I came to say hello. Answers were given and I feel content with the knowledge I've gathered. As there are plants in here, I might come in once in a while to 'stop and spell the flowers' as they say. In turn, I did hear Cassie mutter to herself that you'd enjoy my laboratory setup, so you are welcome to drop by as you please. If you prefer to keep your work-space up here, that is fine, but we can share supplies. April used to be the one I'd experiment with, but she has a resistance to continue to run, cleaning up the ashes from the fire."

Maddie watched him for a while and then she broached another topic. "You can do more than just smell the flowers here." At his quizzed look she gestured to the area. "This is safe. Safer than indoors." She pointed at the door. "I know that some people don't want to admit the darkest, deepest secrets. Sometimes they feel like it's not their right. Sometimes...well...I have the alter of the dead and you've been missing for fifteen years. I'm sorry I don't have something of your master's to put there in memory, but perhaps memory is all we can offer right now till it gets better. I know that you're hurting. Probably more than you want to admit. But I seen a lot and heard a lot and while you're probably hesitant to burden my shoulders, well...I think sharing each other's personal space is a nice sense of trust to get for now. Hopefully, you'll trust me with more as I did with you."

He was taken aback by the offer even as he had been expecting it to pop up. He smiled slow and tender, "That is a precious gift you have offered me. I will take it into consideration, and trust me, I'll open up eventually. I haven't seen the old turtle lair since I was freed, but maybe if I go there I might be able to find a picture that hasn't burned or crumbled away."

Maddie smiled back, her shoulders relaxing. "I'm glad you came up here. You should do it more often so you breathe more fresh air. Also you should see Mikey soon before he gets up and runs around causing chaos in your lab again. Those days of peace and quiet probably were rare back in the day."

"Oh, you do have a point there." Don laughed just a small bit and he turned towards the door, "I'll be sure to do that. Cassie grumped at me in her own way to go see him, too, so I will. This was very enlightening, and I look forward to next time. I'll see you later."

She waved at him and Don headed back through the warehouse, thinking hard. He had spent too long underground as it was, she was right. It was his own sort of safe space, surrounded by his tools and experiments and projects. He had been able to write ideas down on paper instead of a cement wall. His fingers were slowly healing and going back to looking less like a horror-show. Yet. She was right. Fresh air was something he had missed and here he was, falling back into his old way of life. That wasn't completely valid anymore. All his brothers had changed. Had to. It might be an odd comfort for them to know he was working with his tech, like the good ol' days or something, but as he kept thinking about the flowers, how wonderful it felt to have that leaf under his thumb...

He spotted Sam, nailing a plank over a rat hole, trap discarded overall in the corner. Cassidy had delivered his message. Walking over, he watched Sam look up, "Mind if I ask you a few questions?"

"Sure." Sam said as he pushed his hair out of his face and sat back on his heels. "Hope you didn't mind. Cassidy told me that K.J's been trying to figure out if he's a rat or a kitten so, I decided best to do this now before he decided he's a rat."

"No, of course. I told her of that because that's the only way he could've gotten into my lab, and I already found and boarded it up on my end. Still. I don't want him to get stuck as he grows." Don explained, "So, I was fairly out of it when we escaped Shredder's Palace. I do remember you and Andrea and Nix throwing fire magic, however. How hot does your fire burn? Can you melt glass and steel?"

Sam was a little surprised at the question. "I can if I'm super pissed off or if my adrenaline's running high." He explained as he stood up trying to figure out where this question was going to lead.

"I know a pretty healthy way to get you to concentrate and work on that without pushing any buttons." Don's grin actually split his face in a mischievous way, "Do we have a truck? We're going to need a lot of glass and steel. I also, as per rules of my brothers, am not allowed to go anywhere without someone with me. I want to make Maddie a greenhouse, so the back of the warehouse will need to be cleared of all it's rubble."

Sam was taken aback. "You want to build Maddie a greenhouse." He repeated. "Your brothers told me you were smart, but hell...nothing about how you'd go far for a stranger. Alright. I'll bite. God knows that girl could probably need it...and I need a better apology than the one I gave her."

"We can get others on it, too. Nix and Andrea have fire magic, as well. We can work on getting supplies and clearing space and I'll put what I had on hold to create a building blueprint. Ian will want to know, of course. His base and that was the deal he made me. I only..." he put his finger to his beak and winked, "Want to keep it secret from her. Might coerce Raph to keep her occupied. I've heard through the grapevine what happened."

Sam thought about it and nodded. "Andrea would go for it, she loves Maddie to death and Nix might be all in for it. Candy would do it in a heartbeat. He doesn't have fire powers, but he's telekinetic. Raph's a good distraction. Maddie chose him after all. She doesn't choose people very often."

"I'm sure she doesn't. Alright, game plan set. I'll find Ian first and work my way around while you do the same. Thanks, Sam." This would be a wonderful way to get her rolling and ready for a farm out in the countryside, since she had looked so daunted by it when he mentioned it. A little bit at a time. Maybe while they were out, they could also find some seeds to pack away until they were done.

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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:06 am

Sumiko was certain everyone had forgotten about her almost right away. She had ridden in the second getaway car with Andrea, Nix, Sam and Harley, but once they had arrived everyone was too concerned for the turtle brothers and Casey. So, she faded into the shadows and found herself a place to lick her own wounds. That place happened to be Madeline's garage. She wasn't a practitioner of Witchcraft but she did light the white candle from time to time when she knew the mechanic would be away for a portion of time, praying to those who were long lost but never forgotten. She hoped her apologies were heard beyond the grave, but she didn't expect them to be accepted.

Of course, Madeline was not dumb. She knew the candle had been burned each and every time she did it. The first time she had been prickly, but she supposed because it was the white altar and not the regular one, that she was allowed to stay in the shadows and kept the peace. Unbeknownst to the rest of the people in Fireside, she also was also brought rations. Left by the plants so she wouldn't mistake them for anything but hers.

By the mid-point of the second week, Sumi felt it was time to stop being a living ghost and she made her presence known at first by flickering the candle lighting up Madeline's workstation. "Didn't want to scare you by suddenly talking in the dead of night." She explained after she had tensed.

"So you decided a heart attack was better?" Maddie quipped though she relaxed a little and turned to face her. She looked better than the turtles, but not by much. She didn't like how hollow she looked. "I'm glad you finally came out. I was starting to wonder if I should start baiting you to come out further by putting the food by the alter or something."

"Well, baiting me like a wild animal wouldn't be far from the truth." Sumi mused, "I knew you knew I was there, even without me lighting the candle. You felt me with your magic, right?" She shrugged, "You wouldn't have been able to see me even if you did do that. I use shadow magic. I can hide myself in plain sight. Though, I have tried to also leave when I know your conversations are supposed to be private. I can use them to teleport, like smoke."

"I knew when you left," Maddie said shrugging. "Your magic is easy to feel when you know what you're looking for. You are right, I wouldn't see you. I'm sure I looked right at you a thousand times and never saw you. But I always knew where you were. It's a handy trick."

"Indeed. Karai had my cell warded, which is why even though I could shadow teleport, I could never do it while I was prisoner." Sumi leaned against the wall near the station, looking at what she was working on, "Feeding me was kind of you. You could have had be fleshed out with some of your other members, either to drive me away or to get me into the open to question me."

"They know better than to make me do anything like that." Maddie said as she moved away from her work station and walked over to her north alter. She sat down and gestured Sumiko to sit down next to her. "If I decide that someone's worth saving someone's worth saving."

"Good to know I fit into that category." Sumi hummed, settling beside her as offered, "May I ask, what went through your mind when you saw the candle had been burned? Besides the obvious 'who messed with my crap'?"

"Who did you lose." Maddie's answer was swift. "It's an alter for memory. Of course, not...everyone uses it. No one really. Donny was the first person besides you to have used it."

"I have lost my friendship. Karai was like my sister, even if I didn't feel as though Oroku Saki was my father. I was an orphan. Came here from Japan to fight beside them in the war. I didn't enjoy it. I just wanted to be a photographer. I tried a lot to get away, but as he hauled more and more people away to labor camps, the strong and the able, leaving the rest to die, I knew that would never happen and so I destroyed my own camera." Sumi told her story willingly. Who else did she have to tell? "The years faded in and out after that, there was nowhere for me to go now. Then I snapped to it...when Casey was brought in to be revived. I found out that instead of letting him die he wanted to use him against Raphael. I balked at the idea. Dishonorable. Karai didn't like the idea as well, but she would never rebel. I did, and she fought for me to simply be put in a cell. Said I could be brainwashed instead, if I wouldn't fight willingly."

"I wonder if it was really even friendship." Maddie said softly, but she shook her head from side to side. "But a loss is still a loss no matter how the coin flips. I'm sorry you had to lose something important to you. I should see if I can't find a camera base and try to fix it up...that'll be a good project to work on."

"I think I would take a lot of pictures of this place and the people in it. I've ventured around during quite times. Cassidy and Mikey, Raph and Casey when he comes by, Don in his lab, and the others. Remember that saying, a picture can say a thousand words? There's so many I would've taken. Your little garden is pretty, too. I was more of a landscaper, people are tricky, but there's so many stories that could be told in a picture." She didn't bother telling her she didn't have to. She'd gone this far, and would only do it anyway.

"As long as you aren't stalking them with the photos." Maddie rolled her eyes, "I think they wouldn't mind. It'd be nice to have happier memories recorded than the ones we have in our heads right now. I know I could use them." She glanced at the alter that they had talked about previously next to her and she sighed softly.

"Of course. I wouldn't betray the trust I've just been given." Sumi nodded, "My name is Sumiko. It is a pleasure to meet you finally. I...would like a little help, being introduced to the others. Leo's seen me flickering around. Can't hide from a man who's whole world is shadow and aura."

"I wouldn't mind doing that. We'll start off with the people I know won't freak out too much." Maddie said as she looked thoughtfully. "Casey and April are my first choice and then Ian since he's leader and should know you and then we'll tackle Leo. Once we get the harder ones out of the way, the rest will be easy."

"All the leaders first. Gotcha." Reasonable. She nodded, "I've been sleeping on the ground since I got here. We can tackle that tomorrow. Is there a spare cot I could use?"

"Yeah." Maddie stood up and she walked over to one of the cabinets that she used. She pulled out an old fashioned futon mattress and a couple of sheets. "I usually fall asleep in here anyway so it's best to have a bed that's a little portable." She shook it open and she laid it out. "I hope you don't mind being around the plants."

"That's where I've been sleeping, actually." Sumi smiled faintly, "They provide great cover. Honestly, you could've found me at anytime during the night when I sleep. Can't keep the shadows up when I'm unconscious." Such a weakness shouldn't be spoken of aloud, but Madeline deserved her trust for keeping her cover for so long. She got up and after helping her set it all up proper, she barely remembered laying down on it before she was out cold.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:22 am

Mikey was a bit more surprised when he felt a certain presence at his bedside than he was when Killian showed up there. "I was beginning to think it was all just a dream...that you really weren't back and I imagined it." He said as he blinked his eyes open sleepily. It was nighttime; he could feel it in how quiet the warehouse was. He couldn't really see the figure who was standing there very well, either, with most of the lights off.

"I know, I know, I'm so very sorry, Mikey. Hey, shield your eyes a sec." The light turned on after a moment and Donny was moving to sit on his bed, patting his plastron lightly, "There. See? I'm not a ghost. Not anymore. Solid and real."

"Why'd you take so long?" He asked on a yawn, covering his mouth until it passed. He didn't have to have an IV for quite a while, so he moved freely to sit up a bit more.

"You know me, bro. Get all tied up in my projects. How'd you like my first one, the music player?" Don smiled wide at him.

"I loved it. Wish you'd given it to me yourself, though." Mikey couldn't help but smile back.

Don nodded mostly to himself, "I thought so. I just knew we had to have a conversation, and I wanted to wait until you were better before I came up here. Again. I'm sorry. I'm here now. Will you accept that? I told Andy to let me look over your healing for the last couple days you're being held up in here. It'll get me outa the lab, which makes Leo and Raph happy. Everyone's planning on a large gathering once you're free, to get all introductions out of the way and things. Raph also must've said something about you liking parties."

"I /did/ like parties. It's been...a long time since we had one. Causes too much attention, even for birthdays. I dunno if anyone even knows what holidays are anymore. Also, parties require food. Which we need to be careful with." Mikey furrowed his brows.

Don shook his head, "That won't be a problem in a few months time. There's a project I got the whole warehouse in on. A greenhouse in the back, a real big one that could even be extended as more plants and things are found. Tall enough to put some apple, orange, lemon trees and things like that. It's a present for Maddie, so everyone knows but her. Raph agreed to be the distraction. I actually had planned on coming to see you yesterday, but I was making a building blueprint after spending half the day scavenging for glass and metal."

"A...greenhouse?" Mikey stared at him in awe, "We can...really start working on improving food supplies now, huh? With the forces in shambles..."

"You forgot about that, huh? It's okay. Yeah, a greenhouse. It's basically a small-scale farm that could turn into an actual farm later once we are able to rebuild some buildings and create a community. It'll be another decade before this is even a real city again, but it's easy enough to get construction equipment running. Apartment buildings, businesses, all that. Clear the roads of debris, start fixing Central Park and cleaning the water in the ponds and the Hudson river." Don hummed, letting the images play in his mind. It had been slow-going, breaking down a time or two while on the scavenging hunt with Sam because of how nightmarish New York had become. The future. He just had to keep thinking of it, and everything would be okay.

Mikey had tears stinging in his eyes, "Damn, Donny...I missed you rambling on like that. I bet you even have ideas on how to clean the park and the water."

"I do. That'll take a lot of technical scavenging but Harley's real good at electrical things. Water pumps and stuff are going to be set up slowly but surely, basically. We're gunna have to eventually find our own home away from home. There's no way Fireside is going to the wayside, not with how attached I heard you are to Cassie, and Raph to Maddie. That'll be a while from now, though. No big rush. We're still healing inside, too." Don patted his chest, "Which is also why I'm here."

"Thanks, Donny. I really...really missed you." Mikey sniffed. "There's so many thing I wanted to say..."

"And I'd deserve it." Don winced.

"But I can do it another time. On a bad day, to get it off my chest, but you...you really don't, Donny. It wasn't your fault at all." Mikey rubbed his eyes from his tears, "I've cried a lot more in the last two weeks than I have in two years."

"I bet you have." Don soothed, taking a tissue and dabbing the tears away, "It's good to cry. As your girl told me, it's okay to not be okay. So cry all you want. I'm here." He wasn't surprised as his baby brother burst into sobs at that, and he scooted forward so they could lock each other in a hug.

It was going to be a long night, but that was okay. They both needed this.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:50 am

"I guess you're all making the rounds." Mikey stared at Raph as he finally made it passed the doorway. "You've been out there for like, two hours. I know how much you hate being told what to do."

"Yeah, that's somethin' that hasn't changed." Raph stepped a little further inside.

"What, is the floor made of lava?" Mikey teased him, "C'mon, you're the last one to come see me. If anybody is the big scary monster, it's you. Just say 'aaarrggg'."

"What, should we have Donny attach a hook to your arm instead of a terminator arm?" Raph quipped back, but he rolled his eyes and came up to the side of Mikey's bed, his hands on his hips. The bandage on his plastron was still there. A gash like that was going to take about a month to heal fully. There was going to be quite a scar left over to join the rest, too. He still had stitches that Andy checked on every few days when the bandage was changed. "Last one to see ya, huh? I'm one hell of a crappy bro, then, comin' in behind everybody else."

'You really are.' Mikey had on the tip of his tongue, but even as it was in jest, it would hit a nerve. He didn't want to send Raph running when he had come all this way. "At least you're here." He chose instead, watching him with a tilt of his head, "So I heard you apologized to Leo, and Donny mentioned your name a bit so you must see him a lot."

"I...did and I do, yeah." Raph sighed through his nose, taking a seat on the chair instead of the bed. "I heard you found yourself a cat and a girl."

"I did. Because no one was at my bedside, Cassie took it upon herself to stay with me. Granted, K.J. was going to cause problems if she didn't catch him, but she stills stayed. Now, I know everybody was laid up. I don't blame you all for that. Still, Leo came to see me that second night, Raph. Donny didn't come see me until like...what, yesterday? Don't tell me you're not walking in here because you didn't know that, and you felt bad." Mikey scowled a bit at him.

Raph did wince, basically caught red-handed. "That's...true. Mike, I don't..."

"Deserve to even be here?" Mike sat up some more, ignoring the tugging and dull pain in his side. Probably just as deep and just as bad as Raph's, but it was on the soft tissue between shell and plastron, connecting the two. He'd gotten it as he had put his arms up to protect his face as he was cut down. "Is that what you were going to say?"

Raph shifted uncomfortably. This had to be worse than Leo. He did his best not to get up after just sitting down and leave. He had to do this. "Yes, Mike. That's what I was gunna say. I don't deserve to be here. I left Leo blind after we left Master Splinter to die. Whether we coulda saved 'im doesn't matter anymore; it's been so long I can't remember how it went down exactly. Though, even as I did that, I did what Donny didn't. I abandoned ya."

"You did." Mikey didn't refute him, "You left me and Leo and went to fight alongside Casey and April. I had to help Leo learn to fight blind, because short training sessions were nothing compared to long-term. I didn't have the medical prowess to save Leo's sight. We didn't have Donny, but if we had, he might have at least been left with severely blurred vision instead of shadows. Then Leo left me next because he felt inadequate. Like he couldn't be the leader he was meant to be anymore. We were just a two-man team anyway. That left me to fight with April, join her resistance because I had no one else, but you'd up and gone on your own, only coming when Casey needed ya for missions. Then you lost him and I never saw your face for six years."

Before Raph could open his mouth Mikey kept going, "Yet, even though you left me stranded, you would watch me. Kept a close eye on me from the shadows. When I lost my arm, you took me to April's. I know you did, because I watched the surveillance. You are also the only one strong enough to carry me that long of a distance and do a quick tourniquet to keep me alive. I knew before anyone said anything and before I saw the tapes. That meant more to me than anything, knowing I wasn't completely and utterly alone out there, even though I did feel like it a lot of the time."

"Mike..." Raph frowned, looking quite ashamed, as he should be.

"I'm glad for it. For you being there for me in the background. I missed you so much, Raph. And Leo. And Donny. Of course I did, but you were still there, even if I couldn't see you. So, while I was mad at you, and while I feel better because I didn't really yell at Leo or Don, I'm happy. You're my overprotective big bro, Raph, and you didn't truly abandon me." Mikey leaned forward and reached for Raph, their hands clasping together. "We're gunna be a family again, Raph. Everything's going to work out. What matters most is you still came in here to talk to me, even though you felt like you shouldn't. Donny said there's gunna be a party when I get out of here. We'll eat, drink, and be merry."

"Yeah...yeah, we sure will, Mikey. Like old times. You can jump on my back and everything." Raph smiled at him, squeezing his hand.

Mikey beamed, "I'll hold you to it."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:05 pm

Cassidy watched as Raphael left Mikey's room looking a little more lighter in the shoulders. She doubted that he saw her, too busy in his thoughts. If he did, he didn't acknowledge her or anything. She watched him leave, going down the hallway and the stairs. He was probably going to find Maddie, or maybe going to get something to eat. It was about lunchtime, which was why she wasn't holding a cat but a tray. She slipped into the room with a cheery smile.

"Did everything go alright?" She asked as she set the tray down and sat down next to him, scooting the chair in. "You look a little better. Your brow's not as furrowed as it is sometimes."
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:31 pm

"You're actually in here without Klunk." Mike arched a brow at her, then he shrugged a little, "Yeah, it did. I do feel lighter. I didn't really yell or get mad at Leo and Donny. I let my words cut with Leo, but nothing drastic. I actually snapped at Raph and it felt good to get it off my chest. We're looking forward to the party. Oh, and Don told me about the project. I was wondering why you were so exhausted yesterday."

"I'm sorry. The kitten took a residence is Leo's lap and I only have two hands to carry the tray with. I could have tried with one, but..." Cassidy's cheeks flushed. "I didn't want all the hard work put into it go down the drain if I tripped or if I lost it's balance or something." She smiled at him warmly. "Maddie's going to love it. We all wanted to pitch in and do something for her. She does way too much for us after all. It's about time we paid her back. It's a shame really. You would /love/ it. A greenhouse! With actual trees and flowers and /plants/. It'll be awesome."

"No...you can come in here without him, is what I'm saying. You don't have to bring him every time." Mikey assured her, "Yeah, that's what Donny told me. Rambled about it and all. It was nice." He took a bit of the food that she placed on his lap, nodding in appreciation, "This really would have been a shame to lose."

"Thank you." Cassidy smiled and she shrugged, "I know I can come here without him. It's just...I know he means a lot to you. I just want to try to make your life a little easier. I like how you light up."

"Do you think you don't make me light up?" Mikey asked her after finishing his bite so not to be rude.

Cassidy blinked, "I...do? I mean..." her cheeks tinted. "I hoped I wasn't annoying or I wasn't bothering you. I'm happy I can make you light up. I didn't know I did...could..."

"Cassidy...I called you pretty both when I was high as a kite on meds and when I was sober. I haven't changed my mind in two weeks. I enjoy having you here with me. You'd been there for me since I woke up and that means so much to me." Of all the beds they could've given him, his was where his bad arm was facing every visitor he had and he had to twist to do anything nice. He'd been too stubborn to ask for something better even though Raph and Leo had left theirs. So he moved the tray and threw his legs over the side, but he didn't stand, just sat there and reached for her like he wanted to, taking her wrist and pulling her just those few steps closer since she hadn't sat down, "I'm sure everyone keeps teasing you. I know they have been with me. We're basically in a second dark ages right now. Arranged marriages wouldn't surprise me. Love is going to be very hard to find already, and here I am, a turtle and only one of four. If chances were slim before, they're damn well impossible now. Still, even with all the teasing you still come to hang with me. Klunk's an added bonus, but you make me happy."

Cassidy let herself be pulled, captivated by what he had to say. She was glad that her simple action of staying by his side had done so much. But it broke her heart when he talked about love. How he thought it was impossible to reach. She took her hand and moved it in his wrist so that she could grip his. She looked at him. They shared their laughs, she listened to his hurt, she was pleased his brothers were finally taking time to see him. Even though he was about to be out of bed soon now, they still remembered that time wasn't kind. "Not impossible." She said softly, watching him. "Love isn't hard to find, Mikey. It's just going to be harder to listen to. I'm glad I make you happy. I'm glad that I'm able to do so much for you. I never wanted to see you lonely, or scared. It broke my heart when your brothers didn't show. I knew they were laid up, but...I was still upset. I hated I couldn't do a lot for you...and I wondered if anything I was doing was doing you any good. K.J...my stories....me sitting here. I just felt like you were someone who was already alone enough. Loneliness can kill a person. I seen it happen a lot. I didn't want it to kill you."

Mikey held her hand in his and he brought her fingers up to kiss the back of her knuckles, "You are a wonderful guiding light, Cassie. I look forward to spending more time with you outside this boring ol' medical room. Your laughs and your stories I look forward to every day. Even when I'm asleep, I could feel you just sitting there, watching over me. I'm not asking for love. It's hard to make connections knowing someone could die tomorrow. I did that often at the start, and tried to keep from getting attached. I also know that dating is no longer a thing anymore, either. If you like someone, you have to just say it because you might not get another chance. No slow buildup. No teasing, cute flirting. No movies, no dinners. What's a walk in the park when it's a graveyard? A walk by the river isn't all that romantic, either, green as it is. All we have are these late night talks and stories of old." He looked up at her, catching her pretty emerald eyes, enjoying how they shimmered even if it was with unshed tears, "I already told myself I'd protect you. Is that good enough for now?"

Cassidy knew that the world and it's romances were gone with the wind. She squeezed his hand and she smiled. "It's good enough." She said honestly. "More than enough. Just let me return the favor and protect you, too."

"That's a deal I can agree to." You had to be strong to survive in a world like this. So he trusted she could handle herself. "We'll see how this goes. No expectations, we just take it as it comes." He tugged her to sit beside him and grabbed the food tray. He was still hesitant, he was a turtle after all, but if she was ready and willing then he would be, too.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:44 am

It was driving her up the wall with all the secrecy that was going on. Every day, breakfast, lunch, dinner there would be people that were practically slumped over the tables trying to pretend that they were fine when their energies were so low, Maddie wasn’t sure if she needed to cast an energizing spell or make them go into bed with Andrew after them to make sure they didn’t have a fever. Yet no matter what she tried, no matter who she spoke to, they side-stepped her. Candy started to take out his hearing aids when she was around, and covered his eyes when she started to sign to him. Matt started to pretend that her mind reading abilities were louder since “everyone’s thoughts seem to be on a loudspeaker” and therefore suddenly couldn’t hear Maddie’s question. Nix played the riddle game and Sam just made excuses. Mikey didn’t have a clue since he was laid up, Cassidy who was the worst liar in the world would stick to Mikey’s bedside like glue and pretend that everything was fine and dandy.

Well, it kind of was considering their energies were a lot brighter, but that was going so far off the point. They were keeping secrets from her. The whole of Fireside was keeping a huge secret from her and it was making her itch. No one would dare to try to keep a secret from her unless it had something to do with Killian and he was fine. A little sore around the knees and was training with the younger teens, but fine.

Now, Maddie was just…trying to figure out if there were any clues that Sumiko might have told her. All she got from the damn woman was that they were doing something for her and that she should be grateful. Sumiko was off doing something, probably spying and getting around the warehouse now that Maddie knew that she was safe and was going to introduce her to the leaders soon. She probably found a bed and an empty room to stay the night in, since she hadn’t come down and it was nearing midnight.

Funny. Last time she looked at the clock it was about eight.

She wondered how much time Donny and her had lost between the two of them. She sighed softly as she looked around at her garage. The moonlight gently basked the plants in a silverly glow. Her alter at the north had a gorgeous moonlight shadow cast over it and the west alter was basked in the moonlight. She watched the shadows of the pictures rise and fall. She had to blink her eyes a few times for the shadow of the pictures looked like they were moving ghosts.

The bell jingled and she nearly jumped out of her skin. She hadn’t realized she had been so deep in thought.

Raph's hands had wraps on them since he'd gotten pretty scraped up moving more rubble out of the way out back and securing the four corner beams in the ground. They were going to work on setting up and securing the shortest wall, which would be in the back of the greenhouse, after the party in a few days. He hadn't been very good at distraction as he should, and Andy wasn't too happy he'd been helping build with his stomach still fucked up, but eh, it was worth it. He smirked at Madeline as he hopped down the stairs, looking around, "Hey, this is the first time I've been in here, isn't it?"

"It is." Maddie said as she moved to turn on one of the lights. She would have just lit a few candles, but Donny had wanted Raphael to see the garden in it's glory. Therefore, that's what she would give. She once they were on she had to close her eyes since she had sat in darkness for too long. She opened them and allowed her eyes some time to adjust. "Couldn't sleep?"

"Yeah, a little too wound up. Tried to do some exercise today and when Andy caught me he got mad. Left me with some energy to spare though the day." Raph told his half-truth smoothly, coming closer to the plants and looked at them in wonder. So this was what all the fuss was about; why Don dropped absolutely everything and got Fireside in on making a huge ass damn greenhouse. "Damn. You got quite a collection in here. No wonder we get some good fresh tomatoes on our sandwiches. Ever think of expanding your collection? I mean, all these years and so much space in the warehouse, ya could've picked a single room to designate to gardening."

She let her shoulders drop and she looked at the garden. "I suppose I could have, but this was the biggest space we have and this space was needed for more than just gardening. It's also the one room I feel safe in. All the other rooms I could feel reject me if I tried to make it my own. They were meant for someone else or they were just meant not to be used."

"Huh...I guess I don't feel that way since I'm not magical or somethin'?" Raph furrowed his brows at her, but he went and touched the leaves of one of her herbal plants, "You know, whenever I see these I can't help but think that some poor soul had to /taste/ these plants /raw/ to find out what they did like, oh hey this dusty bland piece of ginger is good for the stomach. Or some creepy alchemist in ye olden days shoved nightshade berries in someone's mouth and asked them 'so how does that make you feel?' before they keel over and /die/ from the poison."

Maddie snickered as she shook her head, "They still do that today. We call them children now." She teased him as she walked over to one of the plants. "Alchemists back then were looking for the elixir of life and used to consume mercury as well as other different types of elements just to see if it'll prolong their life. All they found in the end though was a painful and slow end. I'm not fond of them very much so I don't claim to be one. Witch covers a multitude of different things. Though Donny did start to wonder about what type of magic I am. He's not sure. He suspects that I'm made of something like "pure" magic. Whatever that could mean."

"It could mean a buncha things in Donny's mind. You just are what ya are. I don't really care." Raph shrugged and turned to look at her, "I see you got some altars. A memory one and just a regular one? What kind of stuff ya use? Crystals? Divination? I see an atheme..." he walked over and peered down at it, keeping his hands on his hips so he wouldn't touch anything he wasn't supposed to.

Madeline was kind of shocked that he knew what that was. She walked over to the altar, not really trying to make him uncomfortable or to keep an eye on him. She trusted that he wouldn't do anything. His curiosity was genuine. "If you want divination Cassandra's your best bet." She said with a grin. "She can tell you anything you wanted just from touching you. I use herbs mostly. I don't really do crystals, I don't have the affinity for it. But I do use them occasionally if I'm making a sachet spell or something that requires a crystal to help boost the herbs' potential. The most magic I use is with sigils though. Easier to maintain and to make since paper is still a thing and so are pencils and pens. Of course blood and water and sand are things too so...even better when you're using one to empower a sachet."

"Huh...okay, so what else can you do with your magic? You don't do any like, animal sacrifices, do ya? Do I need to protect poor K.J?" he gave her a teasing smirk, so it was pretty obvious he didn't believe she did.

"If he starts eating my plants you do." Madeline retorted, her words filled with laughter and mirth. "I can do those types of magic or I can do..." She lifted her hand up and she pointed her finger and started making a design. Her magic was a gentle light blue that faded soon after the first stroke was finished. "Something like that or..." She flicked her finger up and one of the pots floated up before she gently lowered her hand, the pot going with it. "Little things like that."

"You can move things and make them float, and you can do like, sparkler air drawings. That's cool. Have you done anything big with your magic before? Or do you try and keep it to a minimum? Can you control elements?" Raph walked over to the white altar and looked at the pictures there, feeling a pang in his chest as he saw children, "Your magic's how Fireside has stood standing for so long, isn't it? Do you use blood for that, to keep it pure and strong?"

"That right." Madeline said as she watched him go over to the white altar. She saw his expression change when he saw Andrea's students and she followed him quietly, but keeping a respectable distance away this time. "I haven't tried elements yet. Well, besides the one time a long time ago. Killian and I had been sparring and he did something, I don't remember what, and I got frightened. Burned his left side of his face and a bit on his side and shoulder. He's very proud of those scars."

"Okay, so maybe that's what Don means? You don't have, like, a /set/ power like Andrea or Candy? You can do a bunch of things." He looked around the rest of the garage, "Different topic so I'm not being boring. Do you still work on cars? I had a motorcycle Donny built me and I loved fine-tuning it and taking care of it all the time."

"Yes." Madeline beamed. "Kyle sometimes drags one over and we work on it together. We haven't had a motorcyle since those are a little dangerous. I mean, besides the normal danger. You can't really be protected and if you're trying to transport something you better hope it's not too heavy for the bike."

"Yeah, it's better for solo and getting away fast. It got wrecked during a fight and there was no coming back from that." Raph spotted her work station next, "Sorry if I'm bugging ya, moving all around your space. You can tell me to park it anytime, ya know."

"I like how you flow." Madeline shrugged. "Donny did the same thing, moving around from place to place and you do too. It's nice. To have someone else move around here that takes a little peace instead feeling suffocated. A lot of people do in Fireside, which is why they don't come in here. Especially since I have that." She nodded her head to the white altar. "I told Donny that I hoped to get something of your Master's to put there. He told me he might try to find something."

"Yeah, back at the old base. None of us have been there since it got ransacked, too dangerous, but maybe that can be a scavenger day, go and see what's salvageable." Raph hummed thoughtfully, seeing what sorts of tools she had, "You and Donny look like you're two peas in a pod."

"Cassidy said something to Donny about me loving his workshop, so I wouldn't doubt it." Maddie said with a smile as she watched him look through her things. "I haven't been down to the basement yet, I don't think he's ever down there anymore. Finally breathing the fresh air I told him to."

'Oh you have no idea.' Raph clicked his tongue so he didn't say anything, "So why aren't you sleepin? I gave you my reason, what's yours?"

Maddie wondered how many days it was since she /had/ slept. She was going on three...if it was five or something she would've started seeing things that weren't there and freaking people out. "I try not to uh unless I really have to. I have really um bad night terrors. I don't always uh...remember...where or uh who I am. Sometimes that's more dangerous than me staying awake for five days or six. However long it takes for me to um...imagine the dead coming back to life. Andrew usually has to knock me out by the time it gets that far. Having an enlightening conversation with a door tends to uh get some interesting looks."

"Doors, walls, and ceilings." Raph shook his head, "Do you like training? I could wear you out when Andy clears me for strenuous movement. Or does fresh air help? Donny told Leo and I we can tell him to go sleep unless it's been three days, so I understand the whole insomnia thing."

"I think it depends on what I need. But both could help tremendously." Madeline said slowly. She hadn't had anyone try to wear her out with training. No one wanted her to start screaming in the middle of the night. Which was why she tended to stay in the garage. No one would come. "I'll let you know which one I think I might need. Being keyed up and getting more agitated could cause more problems than fresh air, while getting fresh air while needing to hit a moving target could be a problem too."

"Well...since we both can't sleep, do ya wanna test that out? Air's our only option at the moment. We could go to the roof? The Shredder's labor camps have stopped working so the smogs lifting. You can see the stars now, if only a bit." Raph offered.

"Now I gotta wonder if this was you trying to fish for a date." Maddie couldn't help but to tease him. "Stroll through the garden and stargazing. Pulling out all the stops."

Raph sputtered and he felt his neck and face heat up as he cursed, "That wasn't...I wasn't...are we going back to the whole thing when we were getting teased by the others when I was trying to apologize to Leo? Were you taking them seriously?"

"Did you not want me to?" Madeline countered back, folding her arms and looking at him. She wasn't being judgmental. She was genuinely curious.

"I...that's just..." He was bloody fuckin' /flustered/ what the hell was this? "I'm a damn /turtle/. Mikey might be able to get away with it, Cassie and him have their bleeding hearts on their sleeves, but I don't got nothin' you could possibly want. Hell, don't even remember if I can reproduce with a human, it's been so long since Donny ran those tests."

Maddie tried so hard to have a straight face. Tried so damn hard. Instead she cracked up laughing so hard she nearly doubled over. "I'm sorry!" She had to fall down to the ground. "I don't know what I was expecting." She said through her laughter, tears at the corner of her eyes. She wasn't certain if they were tears of mirth or if she was actually legitimately crying. "But it wasn't that! Holy..." She wiped away the tears that were starting to fall on her cheeks. "I'm sorry. I know you were trying to be honest and I just laughed in your face, but..." She shook her head. "I don't want you for your amazing reproductive abilities that you may or may not have."

"Then what in de hell would ya want me fer?" Raph was tense, but he stood his ground, his Brooklyn accent getting thicker as he got upset, "I might as well be de Hulk. I'm this big green thin' with a shell an' even as de world comes back from this bullshit I probably /still/ won't be accepted. Ya'll a magical fancy dancy group it's no surprise ya don't really give a crap overall, but I'm not boyfriend material."

"The Hulk had some good qualities that went with him too." Madeline countered, getting up. She wasn't going to watch him tear himself apart. "The Hulk had a shy man who was more interested in science than he was hurting people. I feel safe around you and you liked to work on your motorcycle when you had it. You're probably just as good as a mechanic as Kyle is. The Hulk's anger is out of control and he is angry all the time, but that doesn't mean that he's a bad man. Just like your anger doesn't define you as being a horrible person either. You told Leo you would try your hardest to just leave an argument before it ever escalated into dangerous territory. Do you honestly think I'd let you fail that? That I wouldn't pull you away? Lastly. You both genuinely care about people. So why would I want you? I don't know. I don't have a good answer for that because I don't ask questions like that. I feel what I feel. If you don't want me to feel that way, that's fine. That's okay. I can handle rejection, it isn't going to make me bleed to death. I can always be your friend and move on. But I personally think that in this world, with little to nothing, it's kind of nice to know that emotions aren't reduced to sadness, anger, despair. That there's hope and love and light somewhere. Yes, Mikey and Cassidy could be the greatest couple in the universe and I'd be happy for them. But uh...so can we if we wanted to dare."

Raph could only stare at her for a while while he processed what she was saying. "So...ya do...want me, then?" he asked hesitantly, feeling a bit overwhelmed. First she laughed her ass off now she was serious and he didn't quite know what to do, say, or think. "Ya make a buncha fair points. I think yer an interestin' person, too, even though we haven't hung out nearly as much as Mikey an' Cassie. I wasn't just tryin' ta make small-talk earlier."

"You were trying to get to know me." Madeline smiled softly, seeing him relax. "I feel safe around you. I guess I should've asked my own questions. But I was kind of curious about your thoughts. Yes, Raph. I want you. I'm not afraid to admit that, even if that does make me seem weird. Maybe this is temporary. Maybe this is permanent. I think it'd be an interesting thing to find out for ourselves what it could be. Want to take a leap and see? We can start by going up to the rooftop. Get some fresh air and see those stars."

"Yeah...I could do that. I'm an all or nothin' kind of guy, though. So just...tell me to back off if I get too forward." Raph shrugged, "You lead the way. I haven't been to the roof yet." He motioned for her to go ahead.

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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:23 pm

The walk up here had been interesting to say the least. From Madeline's garage all the way up to the office on the top third floor did get her encountered with most of the other members of Fireside, seen but not spoken to. They gave her shocked expressions as well as sketchy narrowed eyes. She expected it. Even from the man in front of her, looking worn with stress and loss and time. Ian Kelly, leader of Fireside even if he was scarce, letting his mishmash of a family do as they pleased.

"When Madeline told me that you were staying in the garage for a time, I didn't know what to think." Ian said after a moment as he leaned back in his chair. His "office" was devoid of pictures. There was furniture, there was two chairs in front of his desk, maps and papers, a cup of pencils and pens that were scavenged, but mostly maps and thumbtacks decorated the walls rather than pictures of family. Of friends. "I trust her decisions, but that doesn't mean they're always correct."

"I was an enemy. I don't expect to be welcomed with open arms, sir." Sumiko told him honestly. "I'll answer everything to the best of my knowledge and ability. I wasn't always a part of the plans, understandably. I was just a lackey, even if Karai and I were close."

"...Why did you decide to stay nearby Madeline? A huge base like this and your ability to blend in...staying near someone who can sense magic isn't the best idea in the world. I'd be more shocked had you stayed near Leo...though to be honest, I don't know if he would've killed you on the spot or not. The Foot took more away from him than they did us...and believe me when I don't make the comparison light." Ian watched her.

"Just as the garage feels safe for her, it felt safe to me. It was isolated. Everyone was so concerned for the brothers, that it was a quiet place to rest. Her plants also provided enough cover I could hide as I fell in and out of consciousness." Sumi bowed her head just a bit politely, "It wasn't until the second night that I saw the altar, and she didn't rat me out even after she noticed I lit the candle."

Ian knew the altar that she was talking about. Madeline hoarded memories like she hoarded her plants and her Ipod and it's limited amount of music since computers were jammed up. It made him happy that his wife had a place on her memory altar, but it always broke his heart to know. To make it on her altar, was to admit it was final. Grief and loss...what were those emotions anymore than just words? "Not many people will." He said after a moment. "Too painful for them to try to recall that type of memory, it's best to let it come and go on it's own rather than to sit...and stare. So what made her trust you? Just the candle?"

"I suppose it was curiosity. She wanted to know who I'd lost, so she waited until I came out on my own. I shared my story with her, and asked her to help me meet people. Anything deeper you'd have to ask her." Sumi shrugged.

"So then why should I trust you?" Ian leaned back a little. "You betrayed the Foot because you no longer believed in their causes. You went to prison and could have never seen the light of day again. You were free to go as you so wished, but you decided to stay in a place where there are a lot of people who could feel like killing you would end a lot of their emotional pain. Even if it's wrong. While I agree that Madeline's garage is a place no one would ever walk in besides a few of the brothers, and you had ample opportunity to kill her, you have to admit that playing on her trust, getting us to trust, and then destroying us from the inside out would be an excellent plan. One that I'd even admit would probably work, if you knew how to do it."

"I'm not asking for trust." Sumiko shook her head, "If someone wants to kill me they can. I don't have anywhere to go, no one to turn to. Shredder and Karai are dead. You could use me to get into the camps if they hadn't been broken out of yet. You can ask me to fill a notebook of all the secrets I know and I'd do it. All I want, sir, all I've ever wanted, is the peace of photography. Madeline told me she would think of fixing up a camera for me. I'll stay in the garage, even. She has a spare cot she's let me use the last few nights. I won't be a bother, I just didn't want to be a ghost anymore."

Ian watched her for the longest time, looking for something that told him that she wasn't being sincere. But deep down, he knew that she was. Lese would even tell him that. He could practically see her hand resting on Sumiko's shoulder, if he tried hard enough. "At least you don't ask for more than what we can give. I'll give you free reign around the building and you'll be placed underneath Madeline's care. Do something to tarnish her reputation or hurt her in anyway, and no one will hesitate to do the same to you. Kill her and well...you already know what happens. The Hamato Brothers, my Informers, and the Resistance Seven are separate entities. I can only speak for Fireside."

"Arigato, sir." Sumiko bowed low this time, "Madeline told me Leo was next to cover that, and Casey and April next time they drop by. I appreciate your hospitality." She turned around and headed out the door to smile at Maddie who was waiting patiently outside Ian's office, "He said I can stay, but you're my guardian."

Maddie just raised an eyebrow and shook her head from side to side. "Well, at least it's a small bit of a start, isn't it? I think if you were going to talk to Leo, you should get all the brother's together. He may be leader, but he does listen to his brother's opinions. Maybe after the party. Let people loosen up a bit around you...and then tackle them."

"That's true. Mikey's nearly free. Not sure if I'm ready for a big party, I don't want anyone to be tense because of me. I'll wait until after. At least no one can really kill me without your wrath." She let out a breath, "What now, until then? Should I just...go back to the garage?"

"Ian's giving you free reign. We could find you a room for yourself." Madeline offered gently. "I know my garage is safe for you and I'm happy that it is, but if you wanted your own personal touch and your own space, I can show you a few rooms that might suit."

"Yeah...that sounds alright." Sumi took a breath an nodded, following Maddie through the halls yet again to find her own bedroom that would be her sanctuary.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:23 am

After Mikey's party, which had went successfully well, Madeline had went up to Leo and suggested an entire Hamato Clan meeting should take place in the living room. Nighttime of course, where it was less crowded and people were settling in. There was only person besides Madeline and the woman with the indigo aura that wasn't a Hamato that was in the meeting and she was sitting in Mikey's lap, happy and pleased to be considered part of the clan. Leo was just thankful that Cassidy had been there for Mikey when none of them could at the time. To him, she did more than earn her fair share. Though being with Mikey and making his orange a little brighter as time went on was helpful too.

"I remember you." Donny broke the ice as he watched Sumiko carefully, "You helped us out of the Palace before it was blown up."

"Hai." Sumi knew she could speak Japanese a little more freely with this family. "The way out the way the others had come in was full of enemies, prepared to take you out. The tunnel I took you through was an escape route not a lot know about just in case there's an emergency, like a fire."

Leo tilted his head, but said nothing. He knew that his brothers and Cassidy were going to ask the questions. He was just to listen for now, and judge on what he heard. What he believed was the right thing. Master Splinter always told him to trust his instinct, it was the best guide. Right now, that was what it was saying.

"But why have a meeting with all of us?" Cassidy frowned. "I mean, allies and making friends is one thing, but...Fireside's powerful. Stick with Maddie and you're golden, right? Why come to us?"

"You're important." Sumi told her gently, "Until you find a place of your own, you'll be living here. I simply wanted to come to an understanding, get introductions out of the way and all."

Leo had to admit, Cassidy was right to ask the question, but Sumiko's words were interesting too. "What kind of understanding are you looking for?"

"That you can perceive me however you wish. You are free to hate me or distrust me. I caused a lot of pain and suffering and I would deserve it. Basically, you stay off my back I won't be a bother to you. I just want to exist and be. Madeline is making me a camera." Sumi explained.

"You like photography?" Don tilted his head.

"I do. It brings me peace of mind, and had none of this ever happened, I would have found a way to break away to just be a photographer." Sumi nodded.

Cassidy frowned. A photographer was an artist and she liked that Sumiko wanted to find peace. However, where Maddie was concerned, photos were an entirely different thing. But she held her mouth shut. She just had to hope that Maddie wouldn't ever have to ask Sumiko for a copy of a picture ever again.

"Ya would've tried to run away? Why didn't ya try when ya were a part of the Foot?" Raph finally spoke up, finding something to latch onto.

"Well, it makes sense /now/, knowing Madeline put wards up, but I could never find a resistance to defect to. They'd all be destroyed. I was under the impression I had nowhere to run." Sumi wasn't perturbed by the question, squaring her shoulders.

"I always wondered if we were being too generous with those." Cassidy whispered to Mikey.

"Seems like that's a downside to your protection measures." Don looked at Madeline, tapping his chin, "They made bases invisible to more than just the enemy, unless you've already been there and know it's safe."

Leo saw a flick of Madeline's aura. It had turned a color. Very, very briefly, but he didn't get a chance to see what it was. She didn't answer, and for Leo that was enough to know that Donny hit the nail on the head. "There's no such thing as trust unless you're already inside the walls." Leo said after a moment. "Or if you know someone within."

"That's the gist of it." Madeline wasn't going to deflect. Leo knew that she knew every death that came at her front door. "But that doesn't mean that I blocked out the noise of the screams."
Sumiko patted Maddie's leg just a bit, "I'm here now, and you can finally let those sigils burn out. Let someone else deal with the screams. You could even make your own garage if you wanted to, as a neutral free-standing place for people to go, or an in-between to send them off towards someone else more suited."

Leo had to admit, Sumiko probably either saw the same flicker in Madeline's aura that he had saw or she was just more attuned to people and their actions. It could be handy, to have someone like her on their side. But again, she had a history. "Mikey. You've been awfully quiet. What's your thought?"

Mikey had been eyeing Sumiko with his nose pressed into Cassidy's shoulder. He had a lot of cause to hate her, distrust her. He had been quiet because he wanted to see where everything went. Raph also was still tense and quiet. He wanted to see her as someone he could accept, but it was going to be difficult. He shrugged when Leo addressed him.

"I already offered Ian-sama, but if provided with a notebook, I could provide all the information I know from living under their thumb for so long. The last five-six years are out of my reach because that's how long I was in the cell, but anything before that I could give." Sumi coaxed.

Mikey and Raph finally came to attention, sitting straighter or leaning forward, "Is that so?"

"Six to five years is about as long as Casey was considered dead and buried." Raph narrowed his eyes a bit.

"Hai. Because that's when I took a stand and got punished for it. I found it dishonorable that he was going to be used against you." Sumi answered the unasked question.

Cassidy didn't know Leo very well, but from the way he suddenly sat up straighter, she could assume that Sumiko used his favorite word...or his least favorite word. Something like it.

"What is your honor code?" Leo asked curiously. "You said that what they were going to do to Casey was wrong. So, what were they doing right all that time before you took your stand?"

"So that's everyone trigger. Honor. Of course." Sumi hummed quietly mostly to herself, "I'll put it in a way that'll make the most sense to you, as you tried so hard. As Karai was honor-bound to the Shredder, I was bound to Karai. I considered her my sister. Born in Japan, Karai was someone I ran into when we were young and we played. Shredder adopted me, but left me in Japan even as Karai moved here. I moved here after the war began. I hated the Shredder, and I did not believe what they were doing was right, but as I just explained, where did I have to go? I...hmm..." she thought about the word she wanted to use for a moment. "Faded. I faded in and out of myself through the years as things got worse and worse. Detached myself, perhaps would be better. The distaste of using brother against brother was what brought me back to myself."

"I think we should give her a chance." Cassidy said after letting that sink in.

"I was going to give her the benefit of the doubt, anyway, because she helped us before." Don agreed.

"You were the first one to speak out for me, too, back there." Sumi smiled just a bit.

"Donny's a big softy." Raph grunted, "We could, I guess. You're already under Mad's care so, that sort of deal's good enough for me anyway."

Leo had forgotten that Raphael was doing his best to try to put faith in someone new. Cassidy and Mikey were one thing, but Madeline was another. For him to put that faith in something very fragile and new was enough for Leo. "Then I suppose you have us at your back."

"Yeah, if my brothers are in than I am, too. Casey will love to hear about that little story." Mikey nuzzled Cassie's shoulder and sighed.

"I'm grateful. Arigato." Sumi bowed in her seat, "You didn't have to, but I am glad I proved myself at least enough." She smiled at Maddie, "So that covers it, for now anyway."

~*~

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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:50 pm

Andrea hadn't been too bothered that the Hamato family took their time to sing and dance around each other, but now it was nearing midnight and everyone's song was strange. The party didn't really count for all of them being together in one space for very long. That was a more intimate setting. The Sumi girl who's melody was a sad one, a lonely one, had calmed and she moved a bit more freely through the warehouse.

Madeline's song had a kink in it. It was going to be a bad night. She wasn't even in her garage, outside no doubt. Donny was concerned and so was Raph. He came down the stairs from the room he had chosen and was heading for the front door. As she moved to watch, she saw the sword and sheath strapped to a black coat sticking out over one of the couches. Leo hadn't gone to bed. His song was so confusing. It had healed considerably from when she first talked to him outside Mikey's infirmary room, but it was still strange. She couldn't quite put her finger on it.

Right now, she could hear the echos of a record different than the first one. This was a more nostalgic feeling, and it started and stopped, as if he was hesitant as Raph went by. He wanted to say something. Raph just out and left without a word being spoken, even though Raph did look back at him, narrowed his eyes, and walked away. Now his mind was going around in circles and she came up behind him. "You're not really asleep, are you?"

"What do you mean?" Leo asked, looking over his shoulder. He had a feeling that she was right behind him. She had a different way that she flowed. He recognized people more for their walks and their way of opening and closing doors when he couldn't see them.

"You pretended to be asleep when Raphael went by. You kept starting and stopping. Honestly, you should've just let it play and said what you wanted to say." Andrea moved to sit on the couch opposite him.

"Perhaps." Leo said slowly as he leaned back against the couch. "I don't think what I wanted to say would have worked. He went out somewhere, probably to see Casey and April. Or maybe to patrol. Though maybe you are right, maybe I should've."

"You don't have to worry. He's with Maddie. Something in your meeting put a hiccup in her music and he's worried /about/ her." Andrea explained.

"I had thought that might've happened." Leo sighed shaking his head. "Her aura flickered. Donny was saying that there was a downside to her protection sigils that are surrounding the building...since Sumiko had believed there wasn't a resistance army left and therefore couldn't escape."

Andrea frowned, "Oh dear...yes, that would've done it. She regrets every person that fell because they couldn't find safe harbor. She had to protect who we had, though. Curious, you see auras but are they colorful like heat-vision or are they solid glowing shapes?"

"She did say she remembers the screams," Leo confirmed, remembering that Sumiko had offered her to take them down and let her deal with it from now on, but he wasn't sure Maddie would give up that burden to someone else. Who would want the nightmares that clearly hurt her? "They're...not either." He said after a moment, trying to figure out a way to explain this. "The best way I think I can describe this...is if you were out in the desert...and you looked through the heat that was coming from the ground...and you can barely see a person. You think it might be a mirage...or maybe it really is. It's like that. I think the only reason why it's not clear or solid, is because auras have a tendency to move outside the body, too."

"So, you see shadows then as well? You move so fluently, one wouldn't quite tell right away you were blind. Do you fight by following their presence instead of their auras?" Andrea leaned forward, arms on her knees and she watched him with rapt attention, "What's Maddie's aura like?"

"I follow their presence. It helps that stairs vary in their shades and doors tend to be a bit lighter than an opening." Leo explained and thought about Maddie's aura. "Her aura's color is a dark red, I'd say it's about as dark as....and this is going to sound cliche, but a red rose. A standard for a date, but one of being highly impressive. As for what it feels like...well there's the feeling I get from her aura, and then the impression I get from her. Master Splinter would call her an "old soul". I remember how people used to be excited to find out what kind of soul they were. I never understood that phase. It was interesting, but weird. But now that I'm blind, I'm starting to see what the excitement was, though probably misplaced. Those with old souls, suffer a lot more than they show."

"I can confirm that. Maddie does remember bits and pieces from old lives she's had." Andrea hummed thoughtfully, "She's a witch every time, reborn over and over. Cassidy gets her powers every other generation, so she doesn't remember any of her pasts. It has to do with the magical attachment. Nix remembers, because he is a unique case. He and Candy are usually tragic, as queer people have been frowned upon for so long. Sam...never said if he does or not, but he's got the fighting style and skill of an old assassin. Not quite ninja, but possibly."

That would make sense. "It explains why her aura's so quiet. It's not loud like Raph's, nor is it excited and energetic like Mikey's...or thoughtful like Don's. It's soft. Like a sunshower, or an unexpected yet welcome breeze during a hot day." Leo mused.

"Such a poetic little tune. I like that description." Andrea swayed a little bit, just moving her shoulders from side to side with a smile on her face, "I'm like Cassidy I suppose. I don't remember my pasts. I always kept my powers hidden. If Maddie's like a red rose, what would Cassidy's be like? She's not nearly as loud as Mikey, either. She's a big teddy bear, though."

"She's a light pink," Leo was instant in that response. "She's not loud either, but she is energetic. She -and this is going to sound strange- reminds me of a stroll in a garden, or just a garden itself. Strong, growing, constant, but needs to be cared for and in turn will care for others. She's not afraid to hold her hands out to people who need it. She's not afraid to show what she feels and what she thinks. I think Mikey gets taken aback a lot by her fierceness. She saw him for exactly who he was, turtle and all, and still said that she wanted to be by his side. It's hard. Her life is going to get harder and she knows it. But she's not afraid of it, and she's smiling. I don't think I felt her without a smile. Her aura even smiles."

"That's absolutely adorable and sounds just right." Andrea gushed a bit, giggling, "I could ask you to talk about everyone's auras all night, but I'll leave it at just those two since they're my closest friends." She shook her head, "I do want to clear the air. I can't read your mind. I'm not like Matt. I can't explain how I knew you were awake, or that you were holding something back. I can't explain how I can hear tunes and see someone's dance change. It just...is. Maddie doesn't like me thinking about it too much, anyway."

Leo wondered why, but decided that wasn't a conversation that needed to happen. "You probably have good intuition. It's alright, I wasn't going to press for answers. Sometimes, there just isn't any. But do you mind if I ask you, how did you meet Maddie? You asked about her first, so I assume she's the one closest to you."

"Oh, that's easy. We were teens still. Considering New York was dangerous even back then, I still walked through alleyways. I was on my way home from Killian's dojo and I came across her in a nearby alley huddled up and nearly starved to death, all bruised up and everything no doubt from a recent thug fight. I could tell she was homeless from how her clothes were ripped and her greasy hair. At least it was still summer so she only really had to worry about heat stroke. The alleyways can be cool thanks to the shade, which is a boon. I took her back to Killian and he gave her a good meal and a shower and took her under his wing." Andrea beamed, proud of herself.

"She didn't have parents?" Leo was a little shocked. He could see her getting into a fight, he could see her losing if she wasn't good at it yet, or if she had to hold back because she was afraid of hurting them too much. But nearly starved and no home? It would explain a lot about why she protected everyone the way she did and how she felt guilty, for not protecting those who were probably in the very same condition she had been.

"Parents were abusive." Andrea huffed, "She ran away."

Leo sighed. Jeez. He could imagine that there were thousands of reasons. Thousands of different things. "No wonder her and Killian are close. I had wondered if he was a father-figure to her. What about Cassidy? I'm going to assume you met her through Maddie? Or did something else happen?"

"Yeah, she was the one person she called when Killian offered her the phone. She went as fast as the traffic would allow. Got there within the hour. She stayed the night, needless to say, and yelled at her for not coming to her while sobbing." Andrea nodded, remembering how distraught she had been.

Leo smiled softly. "It's good that she had you then. Had both you and Cassidy." He looked at her curiously. "Though why are you still up? Are you worried about her even though Raph's with her?"

"Not really, I'm just not all that tired yet so I was walking around the warehouse to try and tire myself out. I saw you, though, and Raph, and got curious by the nostalgic tune you were trying to play." Andrea tapped her chin, "Do you still know how to dance?"
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PostSubject: Re: SAINW AU - Aftermath   Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:57 am

She was more than likely talking about his katana. "It's been a long time." He answered, reaching for where he had placed it. "I don't think I quite remember the steps. Not with two anyway. I can do alright with the one, but...it's probably because I don't remember the steps that I fell in battle. I'm lucky. We were all lucky to have survived that."
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