Things had been rather quiet for the Hamato family since their reunion at Galactic Enterprises. For the first time in months, there were no villains to fight, no injured or missing family members to worry about, and even Hisako’s nightmares seemed to have gone on vacation. Everyone was enjoying the peace and tranquility.
Of course, teenagers can only be peaceful for so long.
“Heads up Don!” Mikey shouted.
Donny looked up from his latest project just in time for a water balloon to connect with his face. He stood there for a moment, water dripping off of him and a blank look on his face. Mikey punched the air, grinning widely.
“Aw yeah!” he declared. “Perfect shot!”
Donnie shook his head, a small smile on his face as he reached for something under his work table. Seconds later, a water balloon connected with Mikey’s face, cutting off his triumphant laughter.
“You were saying?” Donny asked smugly.
Mikey wiped his face, then he reached for the bucket of water balloons beside him. Or at least he tried, but his hand only met air.
“Lookin’ for something?” Raph asked.
Mikey froze, then slowly turned to see the red turtle standing beside him, holding the bucket of water balloons and tossing one up and down in his hand.
“Aw shell...” Mikey said, closing his eyes and bracing himself.
Both Don and Raph began pelting the orange turtle over and over, his shrieks filling the lair, as well as Don and Raph’s laughter. In the dojo, Splinter, Miwa, Hisako, and Leo were all meditating, though the latter three couldn’t help but smirk at the sounds.
“Sounds like Mikey’s finally getting his comeuppance.” Leo remarked.
“I’m surprised he didn’t try to hit us.” Miwa commented.
“He tried once.” Hisako replied. “I just sent the water balloons flying right back at him.”
Miwa giggled, imagining the look on Mikey’s face as his own projectiles turned on him.
“Now that I’d love to see.” she admitted.
“I’m pretty sure Donny has it recorded on his shell cell.” Leo commented.
That got all three siblings laughing, and even their sensei couldn’t help but crack a smile.
“While I am certain your brother deserves his comeuppance, I better go and make sure that his aggressors are not getting the living room soaked again.” Splinter interjected, rising to his feet.
As Splinter left the dojo, the three siblings ceased their attempts at meditation, rising as well. Hisako gave a stretch, then glanced over at Miwa.
“Hey, there’s this street fair going on down near the boardwalk.” Hisako remarked. “You want to go check it out with me? Maybe we could even swing by the roller coasters and ride a few.”
“Sounds like a great idea.” she replied. “I’ve been wanting to visit the boardwalk since I got to New York.”
Hisako chuckled, then held out her hand. Miwa took it and the two dashed out of the Dojo.
“Dad, Hisako and I are going to that street fair by the boardwalk!” Leo could hear Miwa shouting as they made their way out of the lair.
“Have fun! And be safe!” Splinter called out.
Leo hear the sound of the doors to the lair opening and closing, signaling his sisters’ exit. He went out to join his brothers, then he caught sight of the calendar that hung by the door of the dojo. He glanced at it, noticing a small note written on the current date.
“Hisako’s Discovery Day” it read in dark green ink.
“That’s today?” Leo mumbled to himself. “I’d forgotten.”
Deciding that this couldn’t stand, Leo made his way out into the living room. Splinter had confiscated the remaining water balloons from Raph and Donny, and was currently helping a very wet Mikey dry off with an old towel.
“Alright boys,” Leo addressed. “We got a major mission to attend to.”
“What major mission?” Raph asked. “The Purple Dragons are a minor threat, the Foot have disappeared, Shredder’s dead, what do we have to worry about?”
“Hisako’s Discovery Day.” Leo told them.
Donny blinked, then pulled out his shell cell, checking the date on the screen. Raph immediately ducked into the dojo to check the calendar.
“Well whaddya know, it is her Discovery Day.” Raph remarked.
“I guess with all that’s happened, we kinda lost track of time, and dates.” Mikey added, pulling to towel off his head, leaving his hair even wilder and messier than usual.
“Right,” Leo agreed. “And given the year Hisako’s had, we need to make this one the best yet.”
“What are you thinking, Leo?” Donny questioned.
“A surprise party.” Leo replied, smirking.
Raph raised an eyebrow at that.
“Leo, Hisako is a psychic.” Raph reminded him. “Trying to surprise her is like trying to lie to Master Splinter. It’s impossible.”
“If she was here, yes.” Leo allowed. “However, she and Miwa aren’t here right now, and are no doubt going to be out of the lair for several hours, giving us plenty of time to set up a party without her finding out.”
“You seriously think we can pull this off?” Mikey asked.
“Not standing around gabbing about it we ain’t.” Raph told him. “I’ll call up Casey and see if he can bring some pizzas down to the lair.”
“I will handle preparing a cake.” Splinter offered.
“Leave decorations to me.” Donny declared. “I’ll have the entire lair looking better than ever.”
“Great.” Leo said with a smirk. “Now all we have to worry about are presents.”
“Correction.” Donny interjected, rummaging around his lab for supplies. “All of you have to worry about are presents. I already have the perfect gift for Hisako, and I’m certain she’s going to love it.”
“That’s good for you, Don.” Mikey grumbled. “But where the shell are we supposed to find gifts for Hisako?”
“Might I suggest the street fair Hisako mentioned?” Splinter offered.
“You mean the one she went to with Miwa?” Mikey asked. “Where she could see us and probe our minds if we were there?”
“Only if we’re caught little brother.” Raph replied, patting him on the shell. “Only if we’re caught.”
“Consider it a training exercise, my son.” Splinter suggested. “You all could certainly use one.”
Donny winced a bit, giving his brothers a sympathetic look, even if it was marred by a grin on his face.
“I’ve got some aloe vera for those burns if you need it.” he joked.
“Donny, quiet.” Mikey replied.
Hisako and Miwa walked toward the large street fair that had been erected in front of the boardwalk. There was music, games, little stands with various tchotchkes and knick knacks of all shapes and sizes, and a bigger variety of food and food trucks than either girl had ever seen before. To say Hisako was in awe of it all would be an understatement.
“Look at all this.” she gasped. “So many people. It’s all so… massive.”
Miwa placed a hand on her sister’s shoulder.
“You gonna be okay?” she asked, genuinely worried.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.” Hisako assured her.
“You’re not gonna get a migraine from all the people here?” Miwa questioned.
“Not a chance.” Hisako promised. “After my experiences on D’Hoonib, I’ve learned to tune out the unnecessary voices and clear my mind. Basically, I’ve turned them all off.”
Miwa nodded, then the two sisters hooked arms, looking around.
“Where should we go first?” Miwa questioned.
“I don’t know about you, but I have always wanted to try a funnel cake.” Hisako answered.
“I think I see a stand for one not far from here.” Miwa told her.
The girls shared grins, then ran off for their deep fried treat.
Leo leapt across the roof-tops, making sure to stay in the areas where shadows were prominent. While it was the middle of the day, and a rather sunny one despite it being the beginning of October, the shadows provided ample cover for the turtle.
Pretty soon, he reached the street fair Hisako had mentioned, letting out a whistle at the size of it.
“Should have known it’d be big.” he said to himself. “At least this should make avoiding Hisako easier.”
With that, Leo leapt down to the ground and ducked behind a stand that appeared to be doing face painting. Already he could see little kids, and even some teenagers, running around with various pictures and decorations painted on their faces.
“Face paint, perfect.” Leo said quietly.
He rolled his sleeves all the way down, then slid a pair of gloves over his hands to hide his lack of fingers. After making sure his shell was completely hidden, he slipped into the crowd as if he had always been a part of it.
“Hey man, cool face paint!” a teenager called out to him. “You going for a hulk look?”
“Uh… yeah.” He replied. “Pretty neat, huh?”
“Totally.” the guy replied.
Leo repressed the urge to punch the air, happy that his impromptu plan worked out.
“Now, to find a gift for Hisako.”
Mikey stood in an alley not far from the street fair. He glanced left, then right, then silently slipped a mascot turtle head over his own head. He had scoured the dump for some type of disguise to wear, and when he laid hands on the turtle head, he had practically squealed in joy.
“This is perfect!” he exclaimed. “The ultimate ninja disguise!”
As he walked through the crowd, a little boy looked up at him curiously.
“Who are you?” he asked, pointing right at Mikey.
“I’m, uh…” He stammered, trying to wrack his brain for some kind of name. “I’m… Cowabunga… Carl! Yeah! I’m Cowabunga Carl!”
The little boy tilted his head a bit.
“Do you do tricks?” he asked.
“Just watch me.” Mikey told him.
Looking around, he grabbed some soft balls from a booth and began juggling them. The kid’s eyes lit up, and a few more little kids were gathering around, enamored by the turtle’s juggling trick. Mikey smiled, grateful Master Splinter used juggling to teach him hand-eye coordination.
“How’s that for a trick?” Mikey asked.
The kids all began applauding, eliciting a grin from the orange turtle. This was his first time ever receiving praise from anyone outside of his family, and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy it.
“You liked that, well just you wait. Cowabunga Carl has so many more tricks in store!” he promised.
Raph pulled an old Knicks ball cap on over his head, making sure the brim was pulled down over his eyes before flipping his hood on over it all. He rolled his sleeves down and stuffed his hands in his pockets before making his way into the crowd. He was surrounded on all sides by so many different people, and he found his fists unintentionally clenching in his pockets. He was quickly finding out he was not a fan of crowds.
“Keep it together Raphael.” he muttered to himself. “You can’t draw attention to yourself. Just find something for Hisako, then get the shell outta dodge.”
“Raphael?” April’s voice suddenly asked from behind him.
Raph jumped at the sound of his name before turning to see April walking up to him. She was looking at him confused, and more than a bit worried.
“Raph is that you?” she asked, keeping her voice down. “What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing.” Raph replied. “Don’t you know not to sneak up on a turtle?”
“Don’t you know not to come out to a public place like this?” April countered. “In broad daylight no less, and without a disguise.”
“I am in disguise.” Raph argued.
“A baseball cap and a hoodie?” April questioned sardonically.
“What do you want?” Raph asked. “A trench coat and a fedora?”
April groaned, pinching the bridge of your nose.
“This is getting nowhere.” she mumbled. “Why are you even here? This is possibly the worst place for someone like you to be.”
“Looking for a present for Hisako.” Raph explained.
“A present?” April repeated. “Why?”
“Today is Hisako’s Discovery Day.” Raph answered. “We’re throwing her a surprise party and I’m trying to find a present for her.”
“Oh.” April said, feeling like someone had taken the wind out of her sails. “So, you’re out here for Hisako.”
“Exactly.” Raph confirmed.
“Well then, maybe I can help you.” April offered. “Maybe if we work together, we can find the perfect present for her.”
“Sounds good to me.” Raph replied, giving her a thumbs up.
April quickly grabbed his hand, shoving it down.
“Newsflash, Raph.” she hissed. “Normal people have five fingers.”
“Right, sorry.” he replied, sticking his hand back in his pocket.
“C’mon.” April declared, walking deeper into the fair. “The sooner we start looking, the better.”
Miwa and Hisako sat on a bench, both of them practically coated in powdered sugar. The decimated remains of their funnel cake sat between them as they tried in a futile effort to lick the sugar off if their fingers.
“Man, all those TV shows weren’t kidding when they said that these things were good.” Hisako remarked.
“Agreed.” Miwa replied, rubbing her hands together to dislodge bits of powdered sugar.
The two girls remained on the bench, Hisako leaning back as she felt the cool wind drift through her hair.
“I wonder if this is what it feels like.” she said, looking up at the few fluffy clouds rolling across the sky.
“How what feels?” Miwa questioned, turning towards her sister.
Hisako’s eyes never left the sky.
“Being normal.” she replied.
Miwa chuckled somewhat, leaning back as well and gazing up at the clouds.
“Honestly, I don’t know.” she replied. “I’ve never exactly been normal myself.”
“True.” Hisako admitted. “You were trained to be a deadly ninja assassin.”
“Says the girl who lives in the sewers with turtles and a rat.” Miwa quipped lightly.
Hisako playfully punched Miwa’s arm, still smiling.
“Don’t forget, you live right there with me.” she jabbed jokingly.
“Touché little sis.” Miwa allowed.
The two shared a brief chuckle, then returned to their peaceful cloud watching. After a moment, Miwa spoke up again.
“Just out of curiosity, what do you think of when you imagine being normal?” She questioned.
“April.” Hisako replied simply. “I mean, she’s the most normal person I know. She went to school, graduated, she’s going to college, got a job… you know, all that stuff normal people do.”
Miwa let a small laugh slip through, eliciting a confused look from Hisako.
“What’s so funny?” she asked.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but all that stuff just sounds, no offense to April, boring.” Miwa explained.
“Maybe, but she didn’t have to worry about psychic powers, mutants, ninjas, aliens… Not until she met us.” Hisako argued.
“But I bet if you asked her, she’d say she’s enjoyed her abnormal life.” Miwa countered.
“You really think so?” Hisako asked.
“Positive.” Miwa replied, getting to her feet. “Besides, being normal is overrated. I personally like being abnormal.”
Hisako’s smile grew as she too rose to her feet.
“You’re right.” she agreed. “I’ll take abnormal any day.”
Miwa tossed their trash in a nearby trash can, then took her sister’s hand.
“How about we hit the roller coasters next?” she suggested. “I’m personally curious about the Comet Coaster.”
“You read my mind.”
Both girls snorted, then raced off towards the rides.
Down in the lair, Donny vaulted across the second floor of the lair, sticking of streamers of every shade of green you could think of. Green balloons were tied to every column, and a banner hung right in view of the door that read ‘HAPPY DISCOVERY DAY’.
“There we go.” Donny declared, jumping down and landing right in the middle of the living room. “What do you think, Sensei?”
Splinter stuck his head out of the kitchen, a flour covered apron tied around his waist as he looked around the lair. A smile graced his snout as he gave a nod of approval.
“Well done, Donatello.” He complimented. “I am certain your sister will love them.”
“I hope so.” Donny remarked, giving a stretch as he returned to his lab. “Now that the decorations are done, I need to get back on Hisako’s present.”
He grabbed a safety mask, placing it over his mouth and the slits that served as his nose, then he grabbed a can of green spray paint and began spraying away at his project. He became so enraptured by his work that he didn’t hear the door to the lair opening. Luckily, Splinter’s ears perked at the sound, and once again, he withdrew from the kitchen to see who it was.
“Hey everyone!” Casey called, balancing several pizza boxes in his hand as he entered the lair. “Whoa, did I miss out on a party?”
“That you did not, Mr. Jones.” Splinter answered, relieving Casey of his pizzas. “The party had yet to begin.”
Casey looked around at Donny’s decorations, squinting at the sign.
“What’s a Discovery Day?” Casey questioned. “Some sort of mutant holiday?”
“It’s the anniversary of the day we found Hisako.” Donny explained, never looking up from his work. “The guys and I share a Mutation day, so Hisako has a discovery day. It’s the closest thing we’ve got to birthdays.”
Casey let out a whistle.
“Man, just when I think I know everything there is to know about you guys, you throw me another curve ball.” He commented, glancing around the lair. “Hey, if this is supposed to be Hisako’s birthday, where is everybody?”
“Leo, Raph, and Mikey are all out looking for presents for Hisako.” Donny explained, finally setting down the spray can and removing his safety mask. “Meanwhile, Hisako and Miwa are out at the street fair in town.”
“Cool.” Casey remarked, looking around. “Well, I ain’t gotta return to work, seeing as you guys were my last delivery, so maybe I could lend a hand.”
“I could use some assistance in decorating the cake.” Splinter informed him.
Casey grinned, then cracked his knuckles.
“Just point me in the direction of the icing.” He told the rat.
Leo browsed through the various stands and tents that had been erected all across the street fair, each one selling a different type of item or ware. He had lost count of all of the booths he had passed, many of them selling clothes, jewelry, or various decorations that Leo couldn’t even dream of Hisako wanting.
“Ugh… why did I think this was a good idea?” Leo groaned. “Parties we’ve done before, but we’ve never done presents…”
He turned and leaned against a lamp post, resting his forehead against the metal.
“What the shell am I supposed to get Hisako?” he muttered.
“Having trouble, young one?” a wizened old voice called out.
Leo turned, noticing an old Chinese man sitting in front of a booth displaying many Chinese pieces of artwork. The man was giving Leo a smile, gesturing for him to approach. Leo turned away from the lamp post, approaching the booth.
“Were you talking to me?” Leo questioned.
The old man nodded.
“Your eyes are conflicted.” The man explained. “Trying to make a decision that appears impossible.”
“Yeah…” Leo admitted, rubbing the back of his head. “My sister… it’s her Disc- err, Birthday today, and I’m trying to find the perfect gift for her.”
“I have seen you walk past many stands with trinkets that would interest any young girl.” The old man noted.
“Well, Hisako’s not just any girl.” Leo explained. “She’s had to fight every day of her life, and abhors everything girly because she thinks it makes her appear weak. Things like clothes, jewelry… she wouldn’t touch it with a 40 foot Bo staff.”
The old man gave a nod, smiling a bit as Leo’s analogy.
“So, she is a fighter.” He remarked. “Perhaps I can help you.”
The old man rose from his seat, moving deeper into his tent before taking an ornate, Chinese box from a table in the back. He returned to his seat, placing the box on the table before him before turning it towards Leo. The blue turtles leaned towards the box as the old man opened it, revealing its contents.
“I think this will prove to be a suitable gift for your sister.” The old man informed him.
Leo grinned, closing the box and picking it up.
“I’ll take it.” He declared.
Mikey, or Cowabunga Carl as the kids were chanting, stood in front of a ring tossing carnival game. Under his mascot head, Mikey had a determined look on his face, focusing on trying to win the grand prize. So far, he had succeeded in getting his rings on all but one of the bottles. Holding up his final ring, Mikey focused hard, then gave it a toss. The ring sailed through the air until it made contact with one of the bottles. It bounced a bit before finally settling on the bottle, sealing Mikey’s victory.
“Yeah!” Mikey cheered, punching the air. “Cowabunga Carl for the win!”
All of the little kids cheered as the carnie reached up to the top shelf of his prize display, pulling down the largest stuffed animal he had before handing it to Mikey. The orange turtle took his prize, giving his cheering fans a grand bow.
“A-thank you.” he told them all. “Thank you, you’re too kind.”
As he rose from his bow, his shell cell began to chirp, signaling an incoming text. He fished into his pocket, pulling out his phone to see he had a text from Leo.
“Got my gift. Headed back to the lair. - L”
Mikey’s face turned a lighter shade of green as he remembered the entire reason he was out at the street fair in the first place.
“Hisako’s gift!” he exclaimed. “Oh shell, I forgot!”
He began frantically patting his pockets, trying to see how much money he had left on hand. Unfortunately, he had spent it all on the games and was now 100% broke.
“Great.” He let out. “Now what am I-?”
He paused, then his eyes drifted down at the large prize he had just won. He picked it up, giving it an analytical glance as an idea began to form.
“I’ve got to work fast.” he declared, tucking the prize under his arm before vanishing into the crowd.
April and Raph stood in front of a vendor selling various pieces of jewelry, scanning the wares for viable gifts.
“How about this one?” April suggested, holding up a large, beaded necklace in various shades of green.
“You kidding? Hisako wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that.” Raph quipped.
April sighed, then set the necklace down, picking up a pair of earrings.
“What about these?” she tried.
“Hisako’s ears ain’t pierced.” Raph reminded her.
“She could get them pierced.” April argued.
“Yeah right.” Raph snorted. “Hisako with needles and antiseptics. Brilliant idea, April.”
“Hey, I’m trying to help you, hot head.” April snapped. “This is the fifth booth we’ve been to today, and you’ve turned down every gift I’ve suggested.”
“Well it’s not like Hisako’s the easiest girl to shop for!” Raph replied.
“She’s your sister!” April reiterated. “You should know her better than anyone!”
“In case you forgot, she’s the psychic, not me!” Raph shouted.
April threw her hands up in defeat, letting out a growl.
“I swear, you are about as useful as a pencil with two erasers!” She told him.
Before Raph could begin his counterargument, he spotted a pair of familiar faces in the crowd. Falling back on years of instincts, Raph dove for cover, snagging April by the arm and pulling her behind the booth they had just been looking at. April went to say something, but Raph quickly slapped a hand over her mouth, silencing her.
“Hisako’s here.” he hissed. “Don’t move, and don’t think.”
April rolled her eyes, but didn’t fight Raph’s grip on her. Leaning against the fabric of the tent over the booth, Raph listened for Hisako and Miwa, waiting for them to pass.
“Okay, okay, which ride was your favorite?” Hisako questioned.
“Definitely the Swirling Vortex of Terror.” Miwa replied. “I felt like I was weightless as some points.”
“I know what you mean, though I have to say mine was the Thunderbolt.” Hisako declared. “That sudden drop made me feel like I was jumping across rooftops with the guys.”
“Respect.” Miwa allowed.
The two were about to pass Raph and April’s hiding place, but they paused before they did. For a split second, Raph was almost sure they’d been made, but then Miwa spoke up again, easing his fears.
“Hisako, check out some of these drawings.” Miwa called out, gesturing to a booth displaying several pieces of homemade art.
Hisako followed her sister’s gaze, a smile gracing her face.
“You want to see artwork, you should talk to Raph.” Hisako told her.
“Wait, Raph draws?” Miwa questioned.
“Yeah.” Hisako answered. “Master Splinter suggested he take up drawing as a way to express his anger in a ‘constructive’ manner. He hides his sketchbook, afraid we’d tease him about it, but honestly, I think he’s as good as his namesake.”
Raph found himself blushing a bit at the compliment. Hisako was right about his reasons for hiding his sketchbook, but it seemed that he really couldn’t keep secrets with a psychic in the family.
“Have you ever gotten a look at his sketchbook to be a judge of its contents?” Miwa wondered.
“Once.” Hisako explained. “When we were moving into the new lair. He has this beautiful drawing of all of us as a family. It was before you were part of it, but it was by far my favorite drawing in the book.”
“You are such a sap, sis.” Miwa poked playfully, ruffling Hisako’s hair.
The two girls shared a few giggles before disappearing into the crowd. Once she was out of sight, Raph released April and the two reemerged from their hiding spot.
“So, the hot head is an artist.” April quipped playfully, nudging Raph’s side. “I guess even tough guys have their soft spots.”
“I guess.” Raph agreed. “Though I think I just figured out my gift for Hisako.”
The sun had long since disappeared over the horizon by the time Miwa and Hisako began making their way back to the lair. They approached the door, still laughing and giggling about their shared experiences. The laughter died somewhat when they found all the lights in the lair had been shut off, plunging the entire area into a pitch blackness.
“Guys?” Miwa called out.
“Master Splinter?” Hisako shouted.
All of a sudden, the lights turned on as all four turtles, along with Casey and April, jumped out from behind the living room couch.
“Surprise!” they all shouted.
Donny hit a button, which released buckets of green confetti, showering the entire lair in a rain of green paper.
“Happy Discovery Day, Hisako.” Splinter declared, emerging from the kitchen with a large birthday cake, safely covered with a glass lid to protect it from the confetti.
Hisako covered her mouth in shock, looking around as Miwa slid over to Leo, giving him a confused look.
“Discovery day?” she questioned.
“Hisako’s birthday for all intents and purposes.” he quickly supplied.
Hisako looked close to crying happy tears as she ran to her family, hugging them all tightly.
“I can’t believe you guys did this!” she said, a huge grin on her face as she wiped her eyes. “Miwa, did you-?”
“I had nothing to do with this.” she replied.
“We saw the opportunity and took it.” Donny informed her. “So, were you surprised?”
“Oh was I.” Hisako replied.
Mikey immediately grabbed Hisako by the arm, dragging her over to the couch, where four presents of varying sizes and colors sat waiting for her.
“That sure is a lot of presents.” Mikey noted, grabbing one off the table. “Why don’t you open this one first?”
He flashed her a wink, signifying it was his. Of course, she could tell it was his due to the bright orange wrapping paper, but she didn’t tell him that. She eagerly tore through the paper, revealing a large, stuffed turtle inside. It was easily half Hisako’s size, wearing a black mask that had been tied around its eyes, a black belt around its shell, and it even had a cardboard mace tied to its hand.
“Hisako, meet Slash!” Mikey declared.
Hisako broke out into a grin, holding him up to the others.
“Look guys, another ninja turtle!” she proclaimed.
The others let out a chuckle in response.
“Nice one Mikey.” Leo told him.
“Yep.” Mikey declared, striking a triumphant pose. “I was gonna name it Spike, but that was Raph’s imaginary friend back when we were five.”
Raph responded by tossing his ball cap at him, the brim connecting with Mikey’s forehead.
“So who wants to go next?” Mikey asked, rubbing his smarting forehead.
“I’ll go.” Donny volunteered.
He picked up a package wrapping in purple paper, placing it on Hisako’s lap. Once again, she tore away at the paper, revealing a large, metal turtle shell. It was spray painted to resemble an actual turtle shell, decorated with a few New York bumper stickers here and there. Hisako picked it up surprised by how light it was despite being made entirely out of metal.
“What is it, Don?” she asked.
“That is your new turtle shell backpack.” Donny answered, taking it from her and placing it against her back.
Once the back of the backpack touched her skin, a pair of straps shot out of it, bisecting Hisako’s chest before connecting on the lower part of the backpack. Hisako gave an experimental stretch, surprised to find that she still had full mobility.
“The backpack itself is made out of Utromidium, a metal compound native to the Utrom home world.” Donny explained. “It’s incredibly lightweight and extremely durable. No punk with a blade is gonna shred this pack.”
“Nifty.” Mikey commented. “But aren’t backpacks supposed to be able to hold stuff?”
Donny pressed a small section at the top of the backpack, which opened up to reveal the interior of the shell.
“Yes.” Donny replied with no small amount of smugness. “Yes it is.”
Hisako threw her arms around Donny, giving him a hug.
“I love it Don, thank you.” she told him. “I’ve been wanting a new backpack for a while now.”
“Okay, my turn.” Leo decided, reaching for the small wooden box the old man had given him. “Mine’s not wrapped, but I just couldn’t bring myself to cover the box in paper.”
Hisako took the box, running her fingers over the cover before slowly lifting the lid. Inside the box was a pair of thin, black chopsticks with wooden dragons on the top. Hisako gasped, then gently pulled them out.
“Leo, these… these are beautiful.” she whispered.
“You haven’t seen the best part.” Leo told her.
He reached for one, taking hold of the dragon and gently tugging it. The dragon pulled away from the black chopstick, unveiling a thin metal dagger.
“The chop sticks go in your hair, and they double as a hidden weapon.” he explained, sliding the blade back into place.
Hisako took the chopsticks, sliding then back into the box before hugging Leo tightly.
“They’re amazing Leo.” she told him. “Thank you so much.”
“Hey Raph, your turn!” Casey declared. “Where’s your gift?”
“I... Uh…” Raph started to reply.
April grabbed Raph’s present off of the table. It was wrapped in newspaper held together with duct tape, and almost immediately, Raph tried to take it back. Unfortunately, he didn’t move fast enough, and Hisako had it in her hands before he could stop it. The newspaper quickly joined the purple and orange wrapping paper on the ground as a picture frame was revealed. Nestled in the picture frame was a hand drawn family portrait of the entire Hamato Clan, including Miwa. In the corner of the picture was a small message from Raph.
“To my sister, I’m glad you’re part of this family.”
Hisako covered her mouth once again, tears returning to her eyes as she looked over at Raph.
“Did- Did you draw this?” she asked.
“Yeah.” He confirmed. “Not as cool as a stuffed turtle or a metal backpack but-”
Hisako tackled Raph in a hug, holding him tighter than she’d ever held him before.
“It’s the best present I could have ever asked for.” she told him, her happy tears staining his shirt. “Thank you Raphael.”
For a moment, the red turtle was stunned, then he slowly wrapped his arms around her. A smile graced his face as his eyes closed.
“Happy Discovery Day, sis.” he replied.
“Okay, enough sappy stuff!” Casey suddenly called out. “Let’s eat some cake!”
Everyone let out a laugh as Hisako released her brother, even if she kept her arm around him. Together, the two joined their friends and family around the kitchen table for cake and pizza. As they all ate, chatted and laughed, Hisako could feel their combined happiness and contentment filling her.
“Best. Discovery Day. Ever.” she declared.